Posted in in the craft room, in the reading room, on the screen, these days

these days…

When I perused today’s to-do list earlier this morning, I found that I’d put “blog post” on there for today. I think I’d hoped to be ready to write an RIP post, but while I’ve watched several things I haven’t yet finished another RIP book. So as I was throwing together the ingredients for a second loaf of bread for tonight’s supper, I was debating with myself whether I should just skip blogging for today. Trouble was I was so busy arguing with myself that I forgot to pay attention to how many cups of flour I was putting in the bread machine pan. *sigh* If I had to say, I’m guessing there’s about a 50/50 chance this loaf will come out edible. Seems that after possibly bungling up tonight’s grilled cheese due to my scatterbrainedness and lack of simple decision-making skills, I really ought to just blog and have something to show for it.

So, what’s been going on in my mundane little life…



I’m still working on The Secret History. Since I’ve been reading it for a couple weeks now, it might seem that I’m not terribly enthralled by it, but I assure you that’s not the case. It’s just that 1.) I’ve been reading other books for homeschooling, 2.) it’s a slow, meandering sort of read, 3.) it’s a fairly long book, and 4.) I’m just a pathetically slow reader.

In the meantime, I finished a reread of one non-fiction comic and read two novels. Economix: How Our Economy Works (And Doesn’t Work) in Words and Pictures by Michael Goodwin and Dan E. Burr is chock-full of so much excellent information that I just knew that I wanted to use it as our introductory book for our economics class. It was every bit as good the second time around, and I wholeheartedly recommend it, whether you’re interested in economics or not.

Next up was The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. We’re using a sci-fi course from The Great Courses for our English requirement this year, and thus far (only a few lectures in), I’m pleased with it. The lectures are more broad than deep, but that works quite well for us, as I tend to love for us to go off exploring on our own. While the number of works the lecturer talks about are still skewed towards white male authors, I worried it would be far worse than it is. In the last lecture I listened to, he spoke of works by Connie Willis, Octavia Butler, Nicola Griffith, and Jane Yolen. And it was obvious that he spoke of works he truly enjoyed, and wasn’t just doing so to avoid criticism. I loved the way he also matter-of-factly included a children’s book in the lecture. Hmmm…seems like I’ve gone on a bit about this course, but I can’t tell you how relieved I’ve been as sci-fi seems to include so many sexist fans in its ranks. Let’s just hope the rest of the lecture series doesn’t let me down. And back to The Devil’s Arithmetic, well I’ll suffice it to say that I thought this middle grade novel about the Holocaust was excellent.

But the book that I most loved was Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Passionately loved. As in it’s moved to my list of all-time favorite books. To me it shines as an example of how fiction can make us feel and understand things in a way non-fiction often can’t. And this is not a criticism of non-fiction, of course. I adore non-fiction. But the way Octavia Butler made the reality of slavery so very palpable was just extraordinary. This is simply one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.



I’ve worked a bit here and there on a number of projects the past couple of weeks, but the one I’ve focused most on is a sweater for Annie. And I’m happy to say that I’m close enough to finished that I feel confident in saying that it will make it under the Christmas tree this very year. 😉  I just have to finish the second sleeve (and if there’s enough yarn left, I may add a few rows on the body).



Actually watched quite a lot lately. It goes along with Christmas gift making, after all. 😊 And I suppose they all qualify as RIP-appropriate. After reading Natalie’s review of Don’t Bother to Knock, I knew I just had to watch it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I seldom watch older movies, not because I don’t like them, but more because I just don’t know which to watch. So I was happy to have read Natalie’s review, and instead of saying anything more, I’ll just suggest you read her post.

Finished up Quantico, which I watched because Max told me I might like it. And I sort of did, but I didn’t love it. I sincerely doubt I’ll watch season 2. There were things I enjoyed a lot, such as the diverse female cast (though diversity among the male cast was more lacking) and the exploration of how people deal with feelings of personal guilt (though I would have loved for this to have been explored deeper). But there were also things that I didn’t enjoy so much, but I don’t want to be spoiler-y so I’ll just leave it at that.

Rich and I watched the first season of Between, and started the second season…but then we both sort of simultaneously voiced our opinions that life is far to short to watch TV shows we’re not enjoying. It’s sort of Lord of the Flies meets Under the Dome, with not-so-great acting (though I honestly know nothing about acting, so take my comment for what it’s worth) and plot points that are so unbelievable that they’re downright laughable. On the surface, it sounded like a show I would have loved…but well, you can’t win them all, can you?

And lastly (I think anyway), I watched Marcella. I really loved this show. I found Marcella a completely fascinating character. Her complexity in some ways reminded me of Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder. Not that Marcella and Annalise have a ton in common, but more just the fact that we’re getting to see these characters as full-fledged human beings who don’t always fit that constricted little box that women are nearly always banished to if they want to found “likable.”

Okay, well, I thought I might talk about what was going on in my kitchen lately (not all that much exciting really) and in the organizing realm, but I feel like I’ve blathered on for long enough. More than long enough to check this off today’s to-do list.

(Edited: The bread? Completely inedible.)

Posted in an appreciative life, tidbits and babblings

sheesh, time, where the eff did you go…

Okay, so this is always a busy time of year. But still…where the hell did these last two weeks go?!! Yep, school started. Max off to high school for his 9th grade year. Gray and I embarking on another year of homeschooling. Rich and Annie back at it with new schedules. It’s always an adjustment. We’re nearly in the swing of things, I think. And honestly, school stuff isn’t really what has thrown me off. The day school started, my dad found out he has to have his thyroid removed. They don’t know whether it’s cancer or not, but it has to come out either way because it is so enlarged that it’s soon going to be causing problems. The very next evening, my brother ended up in the ER. Is admitted because his gall bladder needs to come out. Usually a pretty simple surgery, but there were complications and he ended up with a whopping 15″ incision and 4 day stay in the hospital. And yet that wasn’t the shocker. In fact, his gall bladder crapping out on him was likely a blessing. Because an astute ER doc ordered a CAT scan because all his symptoms didn’t line up with the gall bladder issues. And this scan caught the mass in his kidney. Which is cancer. And as soon as he has recovered from this surgery, he has to have a kidney removed. Rich and I drove down to see him in the hospital–this was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Both because I felt so much better after seeing him doing okay for myself, and because, though he’d never say so, I think he was really happy we came. My mom must have told me four or five times how much more talkative he was with me than he had been with her and my dad over the previous couple of days. Obviously, was great to see Mom and Dad too. Though omg, was not at all happy to see how hard a time my dad is having getting around. It wasn’t all that long ago that I last saw him, but the difference was frightening. He’s known he has to have his knees replaced for a while now, but he keeps putting it off. Don’t think he can put it off much longer. Anyway, there was even icing on that trip-to-my-hometown cake: I got to see my dear sweet wonderful friend Karen who happened to be in town for the weekend on one of her moving jaunts. (She’s moving back to the area permanently, which means I shall be able to see her much more frequently! 😊  Of course, it’s not hard to get more frequent than once, or now twice!, every 20 years, is it?)

Whew. Feel like I just dumped a big fat pile of stress on my dear old blog. Hopefully my dear old blog will forgive me, and hopefully so will any unfortunate soul who happened to read this. I had fully intended to make this an RIP post, but perhaps it would be better to just make that a post for another day…

Posted in an appreciative life, in the reading room, on the screen

the last few days in the RIP trenches…

ripeleven300I started what I thought was going to be book 2 for RIP, read 47 pages, and decided life was too short. So a DNF. Thing is, said book, The Murder Room, is pretty damn interesting. At least as far as I got. It’s a non-fiction book about the Vidocq Society, an elite group of detectives and forensics specialists who do pro bono work on solving cold cases. But for as interesting as I found it, there were a number of things that irked me. Lots of subtle sexism, a homophobic remark, and a smattering of other things that just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe in a different mood, I could have overlooked some of it and just enjoyed the interesting stories, but it just wasn’t happening now. And I’m going to give the book away, so it won’t be happening any other day either. 😉  After all, I’ve no shortage of other books to read.

So then I started the second book that I’m predicting will be my second book, The Secret History, because yes, I’m one of the few people who have yet to read it. But I’m in good company, because Chris is also one of those few people, and we have decided to read it together. I’m thus far finding it slow going though, so I may end up sneaking in a comic or a short novel while still reading this…in which case this won’t end up being book 2 for RIP either. 😜


Peril the First: still just 1/4.

I have made progress on another perilous quest, however. Go me! Yes, Rich and I devoured Stranger Things over the last couple of nights. I know we’re a little late jumping on this train, but this is a case of better late than never. Because yes, we both loved it! (A couple things annoyed me in the last episode, but we won’t go there because it would be spoiler-y. And they didn’t keep me from loving the show anyway.) But what did I like?

*The overwhelming nostalgic feeling of being transported right back to my high school days. My hometown was way, way, way smaller than the small town in the show, but still the feeling was just so totally nailed.

*Eleven. She owned my heart. ❤️

*Dustin and Mike and Lucas, and their whole dynamic.

*An okay level of creepiness for me. I actually would have loved to be scared a bit, but still it worked for me. And I don’t much like gore (though I did in my much younger days), and this hit the mark by not going overboard there.

*The not so subtle allusion to Firestarter, a book I positively loved way back when (and really need to reread).

*The way I got to have really interesting conversations with Eva about it.

You know, I probably could go on for quite a while with this list, but I’ll stop there and just say how very happy I am that RIP nudged me into finally watching it. RIP is oh-so-awesome that way, isn’t it?

ripnineperilscreen-600x268Peril of the Screen: 1/1

Also read my first short story (thanks to the RIP review site!), but think I’ll save that for another post.

Posted in an appreciative life, good stuff, in the great outdoors, out and about, thru the lens

today’s little happies…

*Sleeping with the window open and enjoying those crisp low 50s temps.

*Feeling productive by getting loads of school prep done today.

*Loading up photos from our walk at High Acres Natural Area yesterday.

*Chatting about other perspectives with a dear friend. So nice to have that implicit safety of disagreeing and learning with someone you trust.

*Having one of my favorite meals for supper tonight–mac and cheese bake, broccoli, and cantaloupe slices.

*Not having a single bout of nausea today. *knocks on wood*

*Anticipating finishing up Stranger Things with Rich this evening.

Posted in an appreciative life, good stuff, in the great outdoors, thru the lens

life is good, life is good, life is good…

on repeat…ad infinitum…or at least until it crowds out the other crap trying to control my mood. It’s not that I don’t think it’s okay to give the not-so-good stuff space, but I’m letting it take over more often than I’d like. Some pretty major financial worries, some stupid health issues, and the overwhelmed feeling that always comes as the school year is about to start–it’s not that I want to ignore them. It’s that I don’t want to allow them to create this weight that then darkens my whole attitude, that leaves me feeling cranky, that causes me to turn the small stuff like ruined plans or a splattered mirror after just cleaning the bathroom into matters worth crying or cursing over. Because you know what, LIFE IS GOOD. And the damn laundry is going to wait to be hung until I’ve made a list of the stuff that deserves my attention. The good stuff.

*The spectacular weather the last few days. Perfection. Utter perfection.

*This sweet little goldfinch in the coffee shop parking lot the other day. I must have sat watching him for close to ten minutes. He was just so intent on getting every last seed from this coneflower.


*Max finishing his summer homework with days to spare. Getting him to do homework during the school year is bad enough, so I wasn’t looking forward to battles that might ensue having to do so much over summer. I frankly think what they assigned was overkill (not just reading a decent sized book, but a big writing assignment to go with it, plus a big packet of other miscellaneous assignments)…I mean I thought it was supposed to be summer break. Ah, but welcome to high school, I guess. And the point is Max not only did it all with little complaint, he put in more than his typical “as little effort as possible” to get by. Proud of him.

*The beauty of dead flowers.


*All things RIP. I ended up making a book pool after all. It’s excessive. As usual. Just the way I love it. And this picture doesn’t include the next-in-the-series Marti McAlister book I ordered from PaperbackSwap or the handful of holds I put in at the library. Yes, excess is the way to go when it comes to RIP.


*I’ve hit the point where I’m eager for autumn’s arrival. I love all the seasons, and tend to have a hard time letting go of the current one. That is, until something clicks and I find myself ready to revel in all the wonderful things of the season to come. That something clicked, and I am so happy to be welcoming the early signs of autumn. Goldenrod and turning leaves and shorter daylight hours…

*Listening to Annie’s and Gray’s shared laughter as they watched videos on YouTube last night.

*The wondrous colors of sunsets.


Yes, I am blessed. And life is good.




Posted in in the reading room

in an RIP state of mind…


Finished my first RIP read last night. It sort of feels like cheating to say that, as I’d started it before the official begin date and only had the last 80-some pages to go. But it was such a wonderful, and wonderfully RIP-ish, book that I just have to say a few words about it.

The Between by Tananarive Due.

I loved this book. Even more than I thought I might. But why did I love this book? And what makes it a RIP-worthy book?

*The first lines immediately had me intrigued:

Hilton was seven when his grandmother died, and it was a bad time. But it was worse when she died again.

*Due’s writing. She writes in the way that I love best, though I’m not quite sure how to describe. Her writing is down-to-earth and in few words paints a perfect picture in my mind. There’s a beauty to it that never feels like she’s trying too hard.

*The adept mix of genres. The book takes place 30 years after the events of those first lines. Hilton is married and father to two awesome kids. Dede, his wife, is the first black judge in Dade County. Soon after her election, she begins receiving gut-wrenchingly horrid racist letters threatening her family. (Here we have the mystery/detective story.) Hilton begins having extreme nightmares, though he can never remember the specifics, after these threatening letters begin arriving. There are supernatural elements at play, and while Hilton begins to suspect this, those around him simply think he’s losing his grip on reality. (Here we have the supernatural horror story.) But what I think best of all, is the way Due slowly leads us down this path, building suspense, leaving us wondering what is real and what is surreal. (Here we have the psychological thriller.) These three elements are woven exquisitely, seamlessly together…and it made for a perfectly unsettling read.

*There were tears. And what can I say, I always give points to a book that can make me cry. Okay, it’s not all that hard to make me cry, but still…


The only thing I’d previously read by Tananarive Due was a short story titled “The Lake” (which is also very RIP-appropriate). I pretty much fell in love with her storytelling with that one short story. I think The Between pretty much cemented that love. There’s a strong possibility that I’ll be reading the first of her African Immortals series, My Soul to Keep, for RIP XI as well.


Peril the First: 1/4

Posted in in the reading room

it’s the most wonderful time of year (the reading year, that is)…

Art by the oh-so-freakin’ talented Abigail Larson.

I try hard not to be overly nostalgic. I do not want to be one of those people who cannot accept change. And yet I can’t quite get there. When it comes to blogging, my longing for those early years in the book blogging world remains strong. And while we can’t really go back, there are certain things that make it feel as if we can. Carl’s RIP reading challenge is one of those things. And you know I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m not the only one whose eyes filled with tears of gratitude this morning when I saw that Carl had announced RIP XI.

I always have the grandest plans of indulging to my heart’s content in the world of scary, creepy, mysterious books and movies, but life always gets in the way. (Back-to-school is always such a ridiculously busy time of year as we try yet again to get back in a groove that works for homeschooling and as we adjust to everyone’s new schedules; both the boys’ birthdays fall during RIP; I’m kicking things into high gear for Christmas gift making.) While I do finish at least 4 RIP-appropriate reads, I never quite seem to make the time to immerse myself quite as deeply as I’d like. I’ll hope to do better this year, while knowing it’s not likely. I can live with that.

As always, Carl, still and forever in my heart also known as the Challenge Host Extraordinaire, has provided us with a wonderful range of ways to participate. (But only 2 “rules”–to have fun and to share the fun. How awesome are those rules?!!) I personally am aiming to fulfill Peril the First (read 4 appropriately perilous books), Peril of the Short Story (read at least one appropriately perilous short story), Peril on the Screen (watch appropriately perilous stories on the big or small screen), and possibly Peril in Play (play appropriately perilous games, table or electronic).

I told myself that I was not going to make a pool of books this year, as I generally tear our bookcases apart and make massive piles of books, only to have to put them all away come November with but a small portion of them read. But you know what, I’m not sure I can help myself–it’s part of the fun! So expect a “pool post” tomorrow after I’ve finished wreaking havoc on my bedroom and library. 😉

As always, deep and sincere thanks to Carl. This is not a small amount of work he does. And while I know it’s a labor of love, it’s a labor nonetheless. And I always feel so grateful to be a recipient of his generosity of time. Thank you, Carl!!!

Posted in an appreciative life, good stuff, out and about, thru the lens

one of those days…

Turning Point Park.

Not “one of those days” in the negative sense. But one of those positively delightful days. One of those days where joy and contentment permeate every cell in the body. One of those days that catch you completely off guard and surprise you with the wonderfulness that life can hold.

My sweetie.

When I found out that I didn’t have to report on Monday for jury duty, Rich and I decided to conquer another section of the Genesee River Trail. We were to the portion that we’ve been most excited about exploring, Turning Point Park. In a summer that has been ridiculously hot, we lucked out with the most gloriously perfect weather, with highs in the low 70s. And the breeze along the river made it seem all the more heavenly.

So very peaceful.

Gray decided to go with us, and was most excellent company. (Side note: I am so enormously grateful for modern medicine. The thyroid medicine that the pediatric endocrinologist prescribed for him, well, the word that pops to mind is miracle.)

This kid. ❤️

A lot of the photos I took are of rather poor quality. I’d say that I don’t care, but of course, I wish they’d come out better. But in the end, what I care most about is the memories I captured, not the fact that I’m not a great photographer.

Flowers of Turning Point Park:

Birds of Turning Point Park:

And more wildlife:

And other stuff:

If only every day could be so perfect. 😊




Posted in in the reading room, list-mania, these days

these days…



*Panicking a bit over how fast the new school year is approaching, and how ill-prepared I am for the start of a new homeschool year. And btw, how the hell can he be in 11th grade?!!


*Reading, or I should say rereading, The Gunslinger. It’s been so long (30+ years) since I first read it. I read the first three in The Dark Tower series as they came out, but then gave up. Not because I didn’t like the books themselves, but because I hated the long wait between each. I have to admit though, that I’m having a hard time getting into The Gunslinger this time around. Not quite sure if it’s the book itself or just a matter of having so much else on my mind these days. Going to try to stick with it a bit longer though, and hopefully get through a couple more of them before the film comes out in February. There are aren’t many people I’d brave an actual movie theater to see, but Idris Elba is definitely one of the few. (Edited: I decided to just bag it. I’m too old to spend my time on books that aren’t doing it for me.)

Also rereading Economix by Michael Goodwin. Because this is the year we tackle economics as a course for Gray’s homeschooling, and this book is just so very excellent that I decided to use it as our introduction to the subject. But as I am trying to make a few handouts and assignments to go along with it, and because it is just so damn chock-full to the gills with important information, it’s taking me longer to get through this reread than I would have imagined.

Reading The City of Mirrors (the final book in Justin Cronin’s trilogy) aloud with Rich. But it’s very slow going. There are still two people ahead of us on the holds list for the audio book at the library, but maybe when we get it, we’ll be able to make better progress. To be honest, I’m not sure if I like where it feels like this book is headed. But it’s way too soon to judge, I suppose.


*Despising fibro, and IBS, and endometriosis. But bad stretches are eventually replaced by good stretches…so hooray for that!


*Missing friends. Both near and far. Note to self: Have Eva over very soon.




*Worrying about Max starting high school. I know I shouldn’t be. But I am.  A lot.


*Rejoicing for my dear mother-in-law. As this is public, and not my story to share, I can’t really explain. But suffice it to say that I am just so deeply, profoundly happy for the turn of events that has happened in my extended family over the last few weeks.


*Stressing over jury duty. Go to a completely unfamiliar place, be with lots of people you don’t know, have to talk and possibly even vocally disagree with other people…yeah, it’s a dream-come-true for someone with severe social anxiety. /sarcasm  Now if only I could end the nausea and shaking with a simple /.


*Baking a chocolate zucchini cake later this morning. And canning another batch of rhubarb jam. Thank you garden!


*Planning what to make as gifts for Christmas. But not making much progress on said plans. It’s already feeling like a burden instead of a joy…and that makes me sadder than I can say. Must make this the year I cut down on the overwhelming preparations! (And yes, I say that every year.)


*Needing to focus more on the good. Because really my life is full of so much good.



Posted in Uncategorized

one more go at this…

It seems to me hard to believe (and yet at the same time really not that hard at all) that I’ve been playing around at this blogging thing for more than a decade now. And over that time I’ve found myself in this same situation probably a dozen times or more. The “do I really want to do this anymore?” situation. But I gotta say it feels different this time. In the past, when I’ve contemplated walking away, there was always a piece of me that rebelled. A piece of me that just couldn’t let go. Even when I was 90% sure it was the right thing to do. But this time…I don’t know. I think that maybe I’d really and truly be okay with the decision to just give this up. I’m going to give it a few weeks…try writing here again…try writing in the way I would feel more comfortable writing if I do decide to stick it out. And see what happens. If I still feel this way in a few weeks, I think I can say goodbye to my blogging days with a true feeling of peace.

What do I mean by “the way I would feel more comfortable writing”? I’d be quite the happy, not-so-little, camper if I knew how to answer that one. It has to do with just being me. I do not lead an exciting life. I have no special talents. I am an anxiety-ridden mess who much of the time is afraid to speak even to the people I love most. None of these things make me unworthy as a human being. But each of those things does give me pause when it comes to taking up space on the internet. I have always blogged for myself. And while I’ve made the best friends through blogging and obviously wouldn’t change that for the world, to this day I sometimes find the idea that other people can read what I write a little unsettling.


But I love life. And I get excited about so many things. Too many things. I have no one thing to write about. I’ll never be a book blogger, or a mommy blogger, or a homeschool blogger, or a garden blogger, or a crafty blogger…. I like to record my life, as unexciting as it may be to the outside world. But I could record it in my pen and paper journals or I could record it here changing the setting to private–and I really think I could be happy with either of those options. But first, I’m going to give this one last shot. Maybe in an effort to tease out whether I could really walk away without having any regrets.