Tag 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!

I Will Achieve Some of My Goals!

Still nearly my constant view.

Remember when I turned 30 and freaked out and started a blog, the  30 list? No? Well read that link, it’s all explained there. When I look at the list, I cringe. It was a terrible list. However, it started a new tradition and every year I make a new list of goals, although now I call it my Unreasonable Goals. At first I tried to match the number of goals to my age, then I got lazy and kept it to 30. Now I am nearly 39. It’s time to freak out. I mean, freak out more than I’m normally freaking out. I’m jacking the list back up to 39. Will I achieve all my goals? Probably not. Looking back over the years, I think at my best I run at about 50% achievement. That’s awesome. I’ll take it. My new motto: I will achieve some of the goals!

Looking back, many of my goals stay the same from year to year: Read X amount of books, Knit X things. Many times goals rolled over from year to year.  One first year a goal was, “Take one class at UMA”. I didn’t that year. I didn’t the year after that. Or the next. Finally, in 2014 I bit the bullet and re-nrolled at USM. Last year I not only finished college but applied for and now am enrolled in grad school. I wanted to have my MFA by the time I hit 40, but I’m OK with 41. Things I did that were not on my list? Have another child. Move. Both amazing things.

This year the list has a lot of writing goals, and a separate writing spreadsheet (I was inspired by one of my professors, Theodora Goss, she has very ambitious writing goals and an equally ambitious spreadsheet). As usual I will post the list here, and hopefully it will automatically update when I update it. I will also do a little recap of 2016 goals in another post.

I’m also happy to report that my daughter is doing her own list this year! She is doing a spreadsheet with 11 goals. When I asked her if she wanted help figuring out how to add sums and percentages she said, “Uh, no. I learned how like last year.” Thank God. Now she can help me figure out the graphing part.

Anyhow, that’s where I’m at at the end of 2016. Looking at 2017 with a big list of things I want to do.


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.

Ringers Are Key

Chugging right along on my list of Unreasonable Goals. Doing really well this year. I have to say, I’m really enjoying the Reddit food challenge. No, I haven’t posted any of my progress on Reddit because I’m scared to death of those kids. I’ve taken some pretty crappy photos of some of my meals so far:


Challenge Eggs. I didn’t do anything wild, just scrambies.

Challenge Polish. I made my first pierogies! They looked horrible but tasted pretty good. Didn’t make wrappers, used wonton instead. Not bad.

Challenge One Pot. Beef Stew. So good

I’m trying to stretch my cooking legs a bit, but I admit to making some stuff I’ve made before. I’ve kept up with each week so far, well, except last week – poaching. I plan on poaching something AND doing a TV inspired meal this week. I’m thinking about making an enormous amount of pudding, inspired by Walking Dead:

Oh, Carl. Such a little shit. Via Mashable

I’m taking a class at USM this semester, and it requires a fair amount of reading. In order to stay on my game, I’m counting my books for class towards my goal. ONLY if I read the whole book though. OCD, OCD. I just read Gilgamesh for class. I think I read it when I was a freshmen in high school also. I highly recommend it. Excellent read. I just finished the Man Booker Prize winning Luminaries. I give it a hearty shoulder shrug. Good mystery. Relied way to heavily on structural tricks. I don’t have time for that sort of thing. Interesting concept though.

I registered for the Dynamic Dirt Challenge, so I’m on my way to completing that goal. If it ever stops snowing I can start running again. Meanwhile I’m working on upper body strength, since according to YouTube videos of the event, I will need to do some army crawling through pipes and whatnot.

I’ve been updating my spreadsheet regularly and am really happy with my progress so far this year. I never expect to reach all my goals each year. Honestly, I figure if I end up with a year-end avg of over 30% I’ve done a hell of a job.