Category Archives: Unreasonable Goals

Still Relevant?

The small pile of books I read this January.

I read three books in January. One I loved, one I hated, and one changed my life a bit. Let’s start off with the book I hated: The Witches of Eastwick.This is one of the most poorly written, misogynistic, and stereotypical books depicting women I have ever read. That’s right- ever. Bonus: It was blurbed by Margaret Atwood and other literary luminaries as being a masterpiece and ahead of its time. Really? It was written in 1984. Here are the problems I had with the book, and you tell me if it is in-line with something ahead of its time for the mid-1980s

The witches, Sukie, Alex, and Jane, were so poorly written that I had a very difficult time telling them apart, even when they were in conversation with each other on the phone. They are all artists; writer, musician, sculptor. They are all divorced. They all have children whom they loath. They are jealous of other women and each other and they gossip about constantly. Here is how we are supposed to tell them apart – they have different hair colors and one thinks she is fat.

These three women, who have magical powers (that are never explained) use those magical powers to…wait for it….no actually – what would YOU use magical powers for? Especially if you are a single mother of multiple children in a falling down house? (Yes, all of their houses are in serious disrepair. I’m assuming because NO MAN). Would you, I don’t know – manifest money or success or a clean house even? Ha! Not these women! They use their powers to  get out of awkward social situations, hurt/kill women they don’t like, and most often – to seduce mediocre married men in their town. Seriously, they aren’t even seducing hot married men. One is actually Joe the plumber and is described as balding, hairy, and slightly overweight. Also? He has six children.  What a catch!

Blah blah, a demonic/type dude comes to town, they have orgies – because obviously – OH! I forgot to mention, did you know that women have hard nipples and think about them  ALL THE TIME? Well, John Updike reminds us of this truth about every two pages. Anyhow, demonic man comes to town, he marries another women, witches get mad, kill her, and demon dude skips town with dead wife’s brother.

Guess how this book ends? With the women growing apart, and each manifesting a nice, unmarried, mediocre man who marries her and whisks her away.

Apparently this book is supposed to be a commentary on effects of Puritanical values on women, which I get. However, the depiction of women is SO off base and off putting it rendered the book nearly unreadable. Updike is so grossly incompetent in his understanding and description of women that it’s hard to justify this as anything but a male-gaze, mansplaining novel of what women really want which is –  to have sex with mediocre married men.  Two thumbs down.

BUT! It’s not a total loss! Because the movie, which came out in 1987 and starred Michelle Pfieffer, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson, is FANTASTIC. It fixed everything that was wrong with the book. The women are distinct and different. They manifest the demon dude – Jack Nicholson who is the embodiment of what each of them want. Instead of harming an innocent women, in the end they kill HIM as he has been manipulating and harming them. Oh also? They love their kids.  AND? Instead of marrying random dudes and never seeing each other again, they move into a huge mansion TOGETHER with no dudes. See how that works? Highly recommend it if you want a fun, 80’s woman-power movie.

Look at this awesomeness. Via The Hollywood Reporter

Book reviews to be continued tomorrow!

Poof! I Disappeared!

I ended up deleting my Facebook account earlier than I planned. I’ve had a really hard time with Facebook since I signed up for it many years ago. I am exactly the type of person it’s terrible for. I love gossip, and I also love helping people. I easily get sucked into dramas or giving my opinion or advice – and even when it’s asked for – does anyone really want it? Will I really change the mind of the racist man whom was once my 7th grade boyfriend? No. Do I need to be constantly embarrassed and dismayed by the ignorant Trump supporting posts by my family? No. Do I need the constant bombardment of collective dismay and bad news posted all day by people I love and admire? Nope. The thing is, I’ve known all this for years. What it took for me to finally understand just how gross social media is, was a good old-fashioned mean girl.

Thing is, I’ve found it easy to allow the negativity wash over me. The cliche frog in the boiling water. So many #Metoo – none of which I was surprised about – but each like a tiny knife to the heart nonetheless, they became a blur. Mass shootings, murdered children, gofundme for basic medical care, Nazi rallies, and don’t get me started on 45. Yes, most of it is rehashing of news, but an endless stream with endless analysis all day. Still, this wasn’t enough to get me to understand how harmful it was to my brain. There are definite bright spots to Facebook, like the ability to keep in touch with people that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. And there are lots of funny things too. But all in all, it was a time suck that wasn’t good for me, and a bad habit.

Finally, last week, I finally had enough when, on a rather benign post about a local grocery store closing, a woman called me a bitch. Look, I’ll be 40 in a few days, I’ve been called a bitch many times, and honestly there are times when I deserved it. But this was different. I’d corrected this woman on some false information and asked her not to spread rumors, since I’d just spoken to the owner. She countered by calling me a bitch. I was astounded. There was nothing unkind or rude about what I said. Other people had also corrected her. I told her she was out of line, and it escalated from there. Basically, she continued to hurl insults at me in a weird and unhinged way. But, here’s the thing. This woman had publicly insulted and spread rumors about me before. A few years ago our neighbors sold their house to someone who turned it into a massive dog kennel. Our town let this happen with no oversight or regulation. Despite attending numerous meetings and trying to work things out – basically to get minimum business regulations which the town didn’t have because they said a kennel is agriculture – three town officials told us to get a lawyer. We did. The local paper published a story about it, because it went to court. The owner of the kennel, and this other woman took to spreading rumors about myself and my husband. It got pretty nasty. We ended up selling the house and moving. Anyhow, I reveal all of this because the woman, in this exchange on Facebook claimed not to know me. I had seen her a few times around town and at the kids’ school, and had decided to let it all go and had moved on. However, this exchange brought back a tidal wave of anger and pain. When I reminded her that she did, in fact, know me- by cutting and pasting her nasty comments about me that she’d posted on the local paper’s website – she responded by another raft of insults, claiming not to remember that either, and blocking me. I admit, this is all very small town and juvenile. But it’s what finally made me realize just how nasty Facebook can be. I deleted my account that day.

I’ve thought about this a lot. Either she’s lying and remembers me, or she’s not lying and she  doesn’t remember saying nasty things and spreading rumors. Frankly, from the private messages I received after the exchange from people that know her and are ‘friends’ with her, this is pretty regular behavior, so either explanation could be true. Cheryl Strayed frequently mentions her mother’s advice to, “put yourself in the way of beauty”. For me, Facebook was putting myself in the way of nastiness. Yes, some people are just sad an nasty. I am old enough to know this. That doesn’t mean I need to put myself in their way as an easy target.

I haven’t gone cold turkey on social media, but nothing else had the hold or made me feel as bad as Facebook. I’m trying to figure out what this will mean for my blog and promoting books. I’m not alone either. Almost every day I talk to someone else who has deleted their account. I’m already happier. I wonder how I’ll feel in a year?

2015 Recap and 2016 Unreasonable Goals

2015 is coming to a close, and despite a few bumps, I must say it has been one of the best years ever. It makes me a bit nervous saying that, since I don’t want to spoil my good luck, but 2014 was one of the worst years ever, so I was grateful for an amazing year. Hoping that 2016 is an average year 🙂

We moved into our dream house this fall, a giant old house in the middle of town. She needs a little love, but not too much, and we are looking forward to many happy years here. I got an amazing job, it’s basically perfect for me, and I couldn’t be happier. I finished a children’s book, which was illustrated by a good friend of mine. I will be publishing it myself via CreateSpace later this year.

All good things! I was pretty slack about recording my goals last year, but after going through them this morning, it looks like I came in at about 60%. Not bad! I’ve made a new list, changed some things, rolled other things over into the new year. Yada yada. Here are a couple of links to things I’ve mentioned on the list, including my Goodreads where I’ve started making a list of books I hope to read this year, I’m always looking for suggestions!



Yoga Camp

I am attempting to put up my goal list in the tab above, hopefully it comes through. Wishing all a Happy New Year! Would love to hear about any goals you may have for the new year.

Overnight Oatmeal

This could also be called ‘cold oatmeal’ or ‘refrigerator oatmeal’.  I’m including this in the Reddit 52 week challenge under dairy, because it is in fact, over half dairy. Or in my case, non-dairy. Here’s the thing about me, I’m not a strictly non-dairy person. I’m more of a limited-dairy person. I’m not entirely intolerant, but more like ‘moderately bothered’ by dairy. That’s why you’ll see me posting recipes that use coconut milk instead of milk, but still will include butter. Sometimes I just dairy it up like crazy, guts be damned. Enough about my guts. I very loosely based this recipe from one I found here, but modified it like crazy, so now it’s MINE, all MINE! Muahahaha!

Raspberries and whatnot!

Raspberries and whatnot!

This is my very informal recipe:

2 Cups Old-Fashioned (non-instant) Oats
1 can coconut milk (I used low-fat but you could use whatever. You could also use regular milk or goat milk or soy milk or almond milk or emu milk or whatever milk you kids are drinking these days)
1 glug of maple syrup (If I had to wager how much that was exactly, I’d say 2.5 Tablespoons)
1 shakea shakea of vanilla extract (maybe a teaspoon?)
1 sprinkle of cinnamon

Dump everything into a bowl, mix it, cover it, put it in the fridge overnight. This was a BIT too liquidy for me, but I like my oatmeal kind of dry. The kids said it was perfect, though.

You can eat this cold, or you can heat it up in the microwave or stove top for a minute or so. Top it with whatever you want. I used frozen raspberries and toasted coconut. My kids lobbied pretty hard for some whipped cream on top, so of course I let them have some. That makes it even more dairy-tastic.

If you want to be a super hipster, you can put this in a jar and take it to work. Enjoy!

Non-Diet Diet Meal.

This year, for the first time in at least a decade, I did not include ‘lose 20lbs’ on my list of yearly goals. I do plan on eating healthily and getting lots of exercise this year, but with overall health and happiness as my main objective.  So, of course this year for the first challenge of the 2015 Reddit 52 Weeks of Cooking was Diet Foods. After reading the description, you can see it’s meant to be pretty tongue in cheek, in that with all the diets out there, you could make pretty much anything and have it fit into the category.

I was a little behind on the challenge this week and made my food on the 8th (deadline, 7th) but y’all know that’s how I roll. What did I make for ‘Diet Food’? Well, I had a wisdom tooth out and had to have a ‘diet’ of mushy food for at least 24 hours. Did you think I’d eat t jello and chicken broth? Oh, hell no. I made myself some high-quality mushy food.

First I made this:

Doesn't this look delicious?

Doesn’t this look delicious?

I know, flesh-colored pudding doesn’t exactly make you say, “I want to eat that!” But listen to me, this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It’s Butterscotch Pudding from Smitten Kitchen. No, it doesn’t taste like that horrible brown Jello Pudding Mix. It’s creamy and sweet and a little salty. I modified it a bit and used full-fat coconut milk, but I did use butter, so it’s not entirely dairy-free. Seriously, make this. It’s delicious.

For dinner I made this:

This looks a bit yummier, right?

This looks a bit yummier, right?

The Perfect Potato Soup by Pioneer Woman.  This has been on my ‘to make’ list since it came out 2 years ago. I used butter instead of bacon because I couldn’t eat bacon due to my tooth extraction, and I have to suffer, everyone has to suffer! I stirred the cheese in until it melted. I also skipped the heavy cream. As I blog more recipes that I try, you will realize that I almost NEVER follow them. I can’t help it. I mean I CAN help it, I just don’t want to. Anyhow, this soup is extremely delicious – Oh! And another thing I did was I pureed all of it, she leaves chunks. But I felt it was a very nourishing and hearty meal, and I ate two bowls of it.

Don’t these look kind of…gross? I”m sorry! I’m a horrible food photographer. Go check out the links to the recipes, the authors are much better photographers than I am. You know who else sucks at food photography? Martha Stewart. At least I’m in good company.



Why Amanda Palmer Is Like a Farmer

Via Creative Commons. If you read the book you’ll get it.


I just finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer last night. I’ll try to tell you about it without spoilers. You should read this book, especially if you are someone working in the creative economy right now. If you don’t know who Amanda Palmer is, read her wiki. I’ll wait. Also, watch her TED talk.

Her  book is part autobiography, part expansion on her TED talk. She explains in depth  how she’s made a living as a musician making some pretty bold choices, like: ditching her label, not charging for music, creating a Kickstarter to fund making a record. She’s gotten a lot of flack from these choices from other artists and just the general public. A lot of people seem to have a big problem with crowdfunding, and I have mixed feelings about it, in certain cases. However, the way Palmer, and many reputable Kickstarters set-up their ‘asks’ is not unlike the CSA I join each year for vegetables. I prepay a certain amount of money in the spring, and then throughout the summer I get vegetables. The prepayment allows for the farmers to have money when they need it to buy seeds, equipment etc. This is exactly how Palmer’s Kickstarter worked. She needed money to make a record. People prepaid for the record and other goodies (some even bought private concerts) when the record was done, she sent it to them. That said, she already had a really good fanbase and was vetted as a known and reputable artist. She made sure to give some examples in her book of Kickstarters that have failed, what went wrong, and how it could have gone better.

This book is not entirely about Kickstarter, it touches a lot on her personal life, more than I was expecting actually, and I learned a lot about her life and her marriage to Neil Gaiman (who is an amazing writer). But she also speaks volumes about trust and how in her experience people are willing to help, if they are simply asked.

Finally, another thing that stuck with me from this book is that there are, as you know, lots of haters out there. People who were just generally shitty and said horrible thing to her and about her in the press and directly via her website, on many various topics. Palmer is very frank about this. People say mean shit and it hurts. She hears it, she sees it. What I want to know is, what do people gain from it? In this lovely book about trust and empathy, the trolls sneak in. Just as they do in real life. Of course not everyone likes Palmer’s music or how she dresses or how she looks or how she makes her living. That’s OK. We don’t all have to like each other. However, what is gained by being mean to her, just for the sake of being mean? Does it make people feel better when they write shitty things? One of my final thoughts, and I had many while reading this book, is that we all need to do better to just keep our mouths shut. If you don’t like something and it’s not hurting you or anyone else – especially if it’s art or music or writing, just shut up about it. Nothing good is coming from personally attacking the creator.

In conclusion, no matter what you think about Amanda Palmer personally, or about her music, this is a great book. Highly recommend.


2015 Reading List

Via Creative Commons

I haven’t done this before, though I LOVE lists, so I’m surprised I haven’t. Here’s a list of books I am definitely going to read in 2015. A lot of these just showed up on ‘Best of 2014’ book lists (which I can’t get enough of) but some of these are books that have been on my to-read list on Goodreads for a long time.  I set a goal of 12 books this year, which seems really low compared to the enormous goal lists I’m seeing out there. I don’t really care. I’m finishing my last semester of college. I have two kids. If I can read a book a month, I consider myself a smashing success. I may bust through this list with lightning speed, who knows. Anyhow, here it is:

1. The Art of Asking, Amanda Palmer – disclaimer ( I am already cheating. I got this book for Christmas but am only about 1/2 way through. I’m counting it for this year. It’s pretty good.)

2.  Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

3. Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe, Yumi Sakugawa

4. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott

5.Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

6. Father of the Rain, Lily King

7. We Are Water, Wally Lamb

8. White Teeth, Zadie Smith

9. Yes Please, Amy Poehler

10. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

11. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, David Sedaris

12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

What an odd list, eh? If you know me you’re probably like, “Where’s all the horror and murder?” Truth be told, I’ve kind of lost my taste for it lately. I’ve been super into biographies and memoir. Novels. Less violence. Also, as you can see by my last entry, I have a renewed interest in reading the classics. True confession, I am woefully, woefully lacking in classical reading. Thanks to a set of ‘Read The Classics Comic Books’ my grandmother gave me when I was about 10, I at least have a pretty good idea of the major plot points of all the greatest hits. I have never read the Brontes, either one. No Dickens. No Tolstoy. Moby Dick? Nope. I know. I’m a horrible creature. Luckily I can get most of them for free on my Kindle.  Well, that’s the list. I have no idea what order I will read them in. Oh, well actually I take that back. I am currently reading The Art of Asking, and next will read Traveling Mercies because I just got it at the library. Other than THAT I have no idea what’s next. Probably I’ll work my way through depending on what’s at the library – aka free.