Tally Monday- June 18, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Archie, vol 5




  1. Over Easy by Mimi Pond
  2. Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney

Reading You Do You by Sarah Knight, A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Chicken Soup for the SoulThe Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

I have not been a very good reader lately but I warned you that this was going to happen.  Television.  Video games.  Board games.  Coloring.  These things have expanded to fill my time.  And that’s just fine.  Also, my Graphic Friday expanded to fill my time last week.  It took me four days to read Over Easy.  It was good but it was long and had a lot of words.

This morning I made an executive decision.  I had been reading You Do You as my nonfiction, 10 pages/day, but I’ve been picking at A Natural History of the Senses for a week and was only 35 pages in.  It’s lovely.  It’s the kind of book that you want to take your time with and it’s the kind of book that takes time.  So, in the interest of keeping on, keeping on, I’ve switched the two.  I will most likely finish You Do You today and move on to my next book and I won’t feel so bad about taking my time with Senses.

About A Natural History of the Senses:  It’s kind of like a meditation on the senses.  We start with smell and I have to admit that I have been paying a lot more attention to this particular sense since starting the book.  There’s some science and some discussion of evolution but there’s also just the joy of smelling.  I’ve lit incense.  I’ve smelled my husband.  I’ve started using my pillow spray again.

It feels like I have a ton of books checked out right now and like I have a huge pile of reading to do but, you know, my stack is much smaller than it was and that feels good.  I am looking forward to getting back in control of it all and I am also looking forward to reading more of my own books.  I haven’t had such a craving to buy books lately.  Honestly, I’m drowning in them.

Well, I hope you read something good this week.  I have a video game to get to.


Tally Monday- June 11, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Over Easy by Mimi Pond





Reading: A natural History of the Senses by Diane Acherman, You Do You by Sarah Knight, Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney, Arabian NightsBest Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

What happened?  That must be what you are wondering right now.  I was doing really, really well.  I was ticking away at the TBR and it was starting to feel somewhat manageable.  Sure, I was checking stuff out still but whatevs.

What happened is that I was lulled into a book that wasn’t going to work.

Alright, for a while now I have been in the mood for a contemporary romance in a quirky small town.  I would prefer a southern town but any quirky small town would do.  So, I found a list that met these needs and I ordered a book from it.  The series is only four books long and the town isn’t southern but I was definitely looking forward to it.  I started it and the first chapter was great!  I loved the main character, who was a pretty basic hot mess but I can relate, and I liked the love interest even though he drove a motorcycle.  (Due to some personal shit, I am not a fan.)  I read the first chapter in bed on Monday night and didn’t want to put it down…

I opened up the second chapter on Tuesday when I had some down time and… I read a page, then stared into space, then read a page, then stared into space.  This pattern continued all week.  By the time I sat down to read yesterday, I had averaged out to about 7 pages/day.  Why?  I wasn’t sure.  I sat down to read and made it about five pages along before I realized that I had fallen into the trap:  I WANTED to like it but I didn’t ACTUALLY like it.

It was a combination of things.  The point of view flipped pretty randomly in one chapter and it threw me.  There was one paragraph that was full of typos.  The MC’s nipples “pebbled” which I found very disturbing for some reason.  More than that, while the initial meet-cute was great, there was this very off-putting second encounter.  There was no rhyme or reason to it and it went on and on in a way that was totally unrealistic.  And, yeah, I get that it’s fiction and it’s romance, which is a little more open to serendipity, but come the fuck on.  It was just a little much.

So, I put it aside.  I put it aside and picked up my next book: a study of the senses.  This book almost got returned before I even cracked it because my interest had waned.  It was suggested reading in Simple Abundance in, like, February.  I’d moved on.  But it’s actually really enjoyable so far.  I’ll stick to it and see what happens.

Real talk:  I probably WON’T be reading a lot this week.  It’s Summer Reading, which is the busiest time of year at work, and also the second season of Riverdale is on Netflix AND I’m like two seasons behind on The Ranch AND I haven’t finished my Star Wars re-watch.  Life is so hard.  It’s difficult to balance it all!  I’ll get it, though.  Slow and steady wins the race!

Tally Monday- DOUBLE DIGEST!

Checked Out

  1. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
  2. Unwasted by Sacha Scoblic
  3. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
  4. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter
  5. Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  6. America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money (again)
  7. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey


  1. Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase
  2. Witches of Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase
  3. Demons of Bourbon Street  by Deanna Chase
  4. Silverhill by Phyllis A. Whitney
  5. Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz
  6. Love, Alabama by Susan Sands


  1. Riverdale Digest, vol 2
  2. Stalking God by Anjali Kumar
  3. Riverdale Digest, vol 3
  4. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  5. Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  6. Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts
  7. “Departures” by Sarah Batkie

Reading: Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam, You Do You by Sarah Knight, Arabian NightsAttack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney, Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah ban Breathnach, and The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

So, last week I was in Wisconsin and I decided at the last minute not to take my laptop.  I didn’t want ANOTHER bag and I told myself that it would be a good idea to take a little break from writing.  It was, after all, a vacation and I have been completely rewriting the ending of my novel and working out complicated plot kinks and the work was going slowly.  The good news is that the writing is going much better now and you get a HUGE Tally Monday!

I’ve been busy.

I checked out a shit ton of books in the past two weeks because Podcasts mostly.  After readinga  blog post about a family that paid off $27k in debt in one year, I decided that I needed to get back on the Total Money Makeover track so I checked out that audio on my phone and listened to it IN A DAY.  In all fairness, I’ve already read it twice.  Last week I had two days of determination.  I considered having a garage sale and trying to pick up some side hustles to make a little extra cash.  That only lasted two days.  I got paid on Wednesday, paid my bills, listened to the audio on Thursday, got groceries, and by Friday night was like, “Fuck it.  I’m not doing that.  I want to ENJOY my life.”

And that kind of sums it up for me, right now.

You may have noticed that I have been checking out tons of self-help and self-help adjacent books lately.  I’ve been feeling LOST and a bit at loose ends.  Some have helped.  There was nothing like the high that I got from The Secret.  But I still feel LOST and like I need to fix EVERYTHING.  I don’t like how I have been living and I don’t like how I have been treating myself but I’ve realized this stems from trying to change.  Basically, I want to lose weight, pay off debt, have less stress, be happier, and be the best mother and wife that I can be…  So I tell myself that I need to stop drinking and smoking and that I need to eat less and work out more and that I should give more to my family and more to myself and at the end of the day THAT’S ALL TOO MUCH.

What ends up happening is that I suck the joy out of EVERYTHING.  So for the past couple of months I enjoy a couple of drinks and then immediately feel guilty.  I have a delicious meal and then beat myself up for eating too much.  I live by a strict budget until I can’t stand it anymore and a buy something irresponsible.  I tell myself to relax and then get angry at myself for letting the housework pile up.  I get angry with myself for my insomnia and then I can’t sleep because I am so upset.  I try to cater to my family, smile and compliment and love and anticipate their needs, and then I snap at them or mess something silly up and I just deteriorate.  I take time for myself and feel like the absolute worst.

I don’t want to live like this anymore.

What does this have to do with a Tally Monday?  Not a lot.  This week I am telling myself that slow and steady wins the race.  I am forgiving myself for minor mishaps.  I am trying to be NICE to myself.  I am trying to listen to my own needs a little better.  I hope that translates to some reading but I won’t call myself a loser if it doesn’t.

Reading is supposed to be joy.

Tally Monday- May 21, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Graphic Canon, vol 3


None!  I’m on a roll!


  1. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  2. The Outsider by Stephen King

Reading The Graphic CanonStalking God by Anjali Kumar, You Do You by Sarah McKnight,  The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

One thing that I have learned this year is that I get a lot of reading done when I buckle down and make myself do it.  Usually this kind of reading has some sort of deadline involved.  For instance, I tore through the last Battle Books because I HAD to have them done by the Battle.  And this last week I tore through the new Stephen King because I had to have it done by release day which is tomorrow.  I ended up two fisting it, print in one hand and audio in the other.  Lucky for me, it was a good read and it was pretty easy to plow through.  Honestly, I think I liked the audio better, though.

Now that that brief interlude is done, I can get back to reading my stupid tall stack of books that I keep adding to.  AND I can work on some more podcast listening.

I’ve basically become super stubbord about my TBR.  I have it stacked and I keep looking at it and thinking, “I am going to do this.”  Sometimes that means that I have to return stuff and then request it again.  Sometimes that means I basically want to sit under a table and cry.

Life would be perfect if I could read more and spend less.  And maybe sleep a little more too.

Reviews coming later today!

Tally Monday- May 14, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky




  1. Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
  2. The Graphic Canon, vol 2
  3. Road to Riverdale, vol 1

Reading Stalking God, Arabian Nights, The Outsider by Stephen King, The Feminine Mystique, The Best Loved Poems of the American People, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Simple Abundance, Empowered Mama

I was listening to an old By the Book episode this weekend and they were doing the Bored and Brilliant book.  They downloaded the Moment app which tracks how much they use their phone in a day and then worked on cutting down by doing things like deleting their most time consuming app and not using their phones while in motion…  And to me it sounded like hell.  Not use my phone when I’m in motion?  But one of my favorite parts of the day is when I call my mom during my commute.  Delete my most time sucking app?  That could be one of three:  Podcasts, which I use a lot to distract myself.  Habitica, which I use to track my To Do list.  Gardenscapes, which I freaking love playing.

But I also know that even if I took these things out of the equation, I waste a lot of time on my phone doing other things.  I am guilty of scrolling through Facebook for way longer than I should and sometimes not even realizing that I am doing it.  Seriously.  Sometimes when I’m reading, I’ll pick up my phone to Google something and just open the Facebook app without thinking about it and scrolling for 30 minutes before I even realize that I picked up the phone to do something completely different and I never did it.

I’m not going to download Moment and I’m not going to delete Gardenscapes but I did make an effort yesterday to be a little bit more mindful of iPhone use.  And you know what?  I played the shit out of Gardenscapes yesterday but I played it when I wanted to play it and until I ran out of lives.  Then I picked up my book.  Actually, I was able to pick up my book a lot yesterday just by thinking about not using my phone.

Also, LD is sick again and keen on sleeping on me.  That helps a lot.

I had one of those weeks that felt like it completely passed me by.  Every day I meant to spend tons of time reading and every night I realized how little time I had actually SPENT reading.  My time seemed to fill up as if by magic.  At work I would tell myself that I could read at the end of the day if I finished my work but I NEVER finished my work.  More and more things appeared on my to do list and tons of people came by to chat with me.  I love to chat.  Without it I kind of feel like I am marooned in my department.  At home it was the same.  My to do list stayed steady all week because for everything that I checked off, another thing appeared.

And so this weekend, when it was time to clean the house, I freaking didn’t.  “Fuck this,” I said.  “I don’t want to.  Nobody cares but me.  I am going to relax instead.”

Still I somehow have very little to show for it.  The house needs to be clean and I never seemed to get around to reading.  But after yesterday I have high hopes for this coming week.  I just have a few things to do first…

Tally Monday- May 7, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Graphic Canon, vol 2
  2. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
  3. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
  4. A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
  5. America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money by Steve and Annete Economides


None!  (I don’t think…)


  1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  2. “Mt. Adams at Mar Vista” by Gwen E. Kirby
  3. You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld
  4. Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena

Reading The Road to Riverdale, vol 1The Feminine MystiqueArabian NightsThe Graphic Canon, vol. 2, The Best Loved Poems of the American People, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Simple Abundance, Empowered Mama

Hey, do you guys remember the beginning of the year when I was all satisfied with my varied and crazy reading life?  I am not feeling that way right now.  No, right now the books are piling up and I have faith that I will get to them all eventually and that it will all work out but what I really want is to sit down and finish some shit.

Oh, and I want to stop ordering stuff.

I’m not going to say that it was a bad reading week because it wasn’t.  It’s just that I have a tendency to think that my supply of reading time is endless.

But it’s not.

Some of the things that contributed to my very strange week last week: (1) I was having an off week with Hubby.  In fact, I still have no idea if he was in a shitty mood or I was in a shitty mood and I was just projecting it onto him.  Anyway, that feels a bit better now and I think it’s a combination of improved moods and me feeling very grateful for all of the awesome things my husband does for me.  (Like change my wiper blades and buy me potatoes and cook awesome food.) (2) LD was sick.  This actually scored me a lot of reading time on Friday afternoon because he was exhausted and would only sleep ON me, so I spent some time in bed trapped under a baby, capable only of reading or playing on my phone.  (3) A sudden obsession with Star Wars that has me trying to watch all of the movies again.  (4)  A windy day that knocked our power out for 26 hours and sent me scrambling to figure out how to live without electricity with a sick baby.  (5)  A visit from my father-in-law the day after the restoration of power which sent us scrambling to get the fridge cleaned, the house picked up, and the laundry done so we could function this week.

So, yes, it was an off week.

But, also, I spent an afternoon in bed reading.  I spent an evening in bed reading.  I did extra reading on Saturday morning because there was no electricity and I was feeling very fuck it about chores.

Now the killer:  I have promised to give up reading my Kindle in bed.  I’m going to try it for a week and see how it goes.  I’m sure I’ve talked about my insomnia here before and it’s been pretty bad again this past month.  Hubby scolded me enough that I have decided to give it a try.  But I was REALLY enjoying the book I was reading.  So.  I need a new plan and I do LOVE making reading plans.

Well, guys, I have like 20 books checked out now and piles and files of books that I own.  Time to buckle down.

Tally Monday- May 30, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
  2. Jay’s Journal by “Anonymous”


  1. A River of Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa
  2. The House by the River by Lena Manta
  3. Still Waters by Viveca Sten
  4. The Great Passage by Shion Miura
  5. Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
  6. The Grey House by Mariam Petrosyan
  7. The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak
  8. The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
  9. Ten Women by Marcela Serrano
  10. Everybody Rise by Stephanie Curtis
  11. The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez


  1. The Complete Essays of Montaigne, vol 1
  2. The Graphic Canon, vol 1
  3. The Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney

ReadingThe Secret by Rhonda Byrne, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney, Arabian NightsThe Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld

I have this urge today to just get shit done.  Do you ever get like that?  I have my to-do list written out for the day and I want the sense of accomplishment I get from working steadily and competently.  But it’s not just that.  I want the day to arrange itself so that I can do some reading and watching and listening and coloring.  I want a nice day.  And I am looking forward to it.  Here in Michigan, it is actually spring now and the sunshine and promise of a nice day (which means I can eat in my car while I listen to my audiobook) it enough to just fill me right up.

Confession: I am 100% in on The Secret right now.  I am totally buying it, hook, line, and sinker.  For a lot of reasons!  Because I know that there are things I always tell myself that always come true.  Because the social interactions that were dragging me down just two weeks ago (like, terribly dragging me down) have sparkled like magic for the past week.  Because I FEEL good from implementing it and for the first time in my life I feel like I might be okay with always feeling good.  And listen to me!  I sound downright chipper!  I like it so much that I might even watch the DVD.  Seriously!

April 23 is World Book Day and to celebrate this year Amazon offered 9 books for free for the Kindle.  That’s why my bought list is so long up there.  I downloaded all 9.  It’s true that I may not get to them for a while but I am not one to turn down new books.  It won’t be long before I have more time on my hands for reading and I am just preparing for it.  I bought Everybody Rise and The Book of Unknown Americans at the dollar store, where I also got a copy of Questlove’s book for Hubby.  I had forgotten about their book section until I read a Book Riot article about it this week and I made a point to stop in and check it out.  I was feeling the need and it was fulfilled for $2, plus I got to get Hubby a gift.

LD really likes books.  He likes our books most of all and will flip through one of my big books and make cooing sounds.  Sometimes he’ll pull a random book from his shelf and sit on the floor with it.  Sometimes he’ll bring me a book and I try to make the time to sit down right there and read it to him.  He likes to flip the pages.  Ian is a year and a month old now and the only things he kisses are cat and books.  He’s basically me!  The new thing is that he’s discovered I use bookmarks and he tries to use everything as bookmarks in his books, including remotes, bottles, and other books.

Well, friends, I am looking forward to a productive day and I’m hoping to finish a book or two, as well.  I hope that it’s beautiful where you are and that you get a chance to do something you love!