fun, home life, school, working

Taking It Slow

This was the first week of school with students, and I was worried I would be stressed out and overwhelmed and rethinking my life choices.

Instead, I’m zen.

Ok, not completely. There were several nights where I wanted to fall into bed at 8 o’clock but couldn’t, because: kid, dishes, bath time, bedtime stories, prep for the next day, reading to relax, having time to breathe, etc. The essentials.

But I managed. And I don’t feel confused or uncertain right now. I know I made the right choice in taking this job (not that I could have ever said no, it’s pretty custom-built!) and putting my kid in this school and refocusing my priorities – for now, anyway.

I did get a little frustrated on Tuesday night. I had so much to do – prep for work, housework, work for my volunteer duties with YALSA, a podcast to record… not to mention the major project I’ve conveniently been putting out of my mind or else my body would seize up in stress. It was too much. I couldn’t do it. I was overwhelmed. I started writing a list of things I could cut out of my life to simplify and give myself more time for… anything.

I was going to delete Twitter, because I only use it for promo/re-tweeting and rarely interact there anymore. I used to have great friends on Twitter, and our morning back-and-forths were better than that first cup of coffee. But Twitter has changed, and my relationship with it has changed. Same with blogging, actually – so I could delete my blog, too. This one, and We Are Storytellers, and if I was deleting that blog I could delete its Instagram, too. That would definitely simplify things. No more creative blog posts or pictures to post. No more podcasts to record. The only Instagram account I’d have would be #bookstagram, and there was no way I’d have trouble posting there!

Wednesday, someone emailed a piece they wanted featured on We Are Storytellers. A great piece. And I thought… hm, this is becoming the community I wanted. It won’t be all on me forever. And I love podcasting – just because I don’t want to do it this week or don’t feel inspired doesn’t mean I should shut it down, because once I do – I’ll miss it. It’s happened before, hence my podcasting “career” stopping and restarting.

This one email, one shared Google Doc, helped me put it all in perspective. So I recorded the podcast – short and sweet, but I did it. I’m sticking with it. I do these things – these blogs, podcasts, Instagrams – because I enjoy them. Just because my time is crunched now and I’m too exhausted to have passion doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. I have ideas for all of those outlets, and I don’t want to stop them completely just because of a mood.

Since then, I’ve been taking things slowly. Not stressing about the extras on top of my job and home life. I am trying to pause more during the day – at work and home – and take notice of all I have. Take it slow. Enjoy what I have. Appreciate it all.

food, fun, holidays, home life, natural living

4th of July

Happy 4th of July, American friends! How are you celebrating this holiday?

I love having a cookout on the 4th, or going to one. This is such a social holiday to me; Thanksgiving and Christmas of course naturally mean a lot of family is getting together, but it always feels a little more formal – even though my family is pretty casual! I love the 4th because it’s all about eating and being together and waiting for darkness so you can have fun with sparklers and fireworks!

Do you use disposable plates and utensils for the 4th of July?


It’s logical since you’re eating outside and don’t want to risk your regular dishes breaking – or being too heavy if you’re balancing it on your lap. I have hosted a few “dinner parties” with friends eating inside, and then I always use my own dishes and cups because it’s more formal. But outside events are more casual so you want to accommodate your guests while still being conscious of the environment.

Using disposables is so easy because you can throw away all the napkins and recycle the cups, plates, and utensils – depending on your city’s recycling policy. But I still feel like it’s creating so much waste – and a lot of plates can’t be recycled, if they’re coated with that weird filmy plastic.

There are companies that sell biodegradable party supplies, which is something to look into. I don’t often host anymore, usually just attend others. But I could still stock up on these supplies and offer to bring the plates and utensils as my contribution to the party!

This tableware collection in particular looks great to have on hand for parties – I love the idea of just being able to toss the “trash” on your compost pile! Have you ever tried biodegradable products? What do you use when you host parties?


Kindness and Consideration

One of my biggest issues with “people these days” is that so many think they are beyond rules. Beyond obeying signs in traffic that say “Merge left one mile” and instead wait until they can’t go further and try to cut in front of someone who got over when they were supposed to. People who clearly see everyone doing one thing and think they are the special snowflake that doesn’t have to follow the rules.

Leaving the Levitt Shell Sunday, my son said he needed to use the bathroom. My sister-in-law said her son did, too, but she hoped the line wasn’t long. We walk back to the bathrooms (not porta potties – nice permanent bathrooms, 2 for women on one side of a small building and 2 for men on the other side) and there is only one woman waiting in line.

“Oh that’s not bad,” my sister-in-law said, and we get in line behind the one woman with our two children, and another friend behind us.

The one woman goes into the bathroom. A woman gets in line behind us. Another woman walks up to the grassy space between the two bathroom doors. Immediately I know she’s cutting in line because, let’s be honest – I always think the worst of people. By now there are two girls and their boyfriends in line behind the woman who came up behind our small group.

The other bathroom doors opens and the woman standing in the grassy spot walks towards it as I loudly tell my son “Go on in that… Oh, ok nevermind, we will keep waiting IN LINE.”

The woman gave me the stink eye, starting closing the door, and then opened it back up. “I’ve been waiting to go FOREVER,” she says snidely.

“When we walked up there was ONE WOMAN IN LINE and she just went in that one,” I pointed.

“You’re REALLY going to start this in front of your kid?” she scoffed.

I was baffled. “Start this”? Standing up for ourselves? Was she trying to mom-shame me? Excuse me, but – Bitch, please. “YES, I am,” I said, “Because he knows it’s right to wait for your turn and I don’t want people walking all over him his whole life.”

My five-year-old nephew even loudly said “Yeah, that’s skipping!”

She didn’t comment but I hope she heard it all before going into that bathroom.

I seriously had at LEAST 2 grown witnesses and 2 children witnesses – I’m not sure what the woman who got into line behind us saw. But I was just… flabbergasted. She clearly WAS NOT waiting in line when we got in line. If she had been “waiting to go FOREVER” she must have been holding it during the concert and that’s her own fault. But she was NOT in line, or even anywhere near the bathrooms when my small group approached.

There is also clearly a place for a line. We went to a show Friday night to and used the bathrooms twice and there is just a natural place for the line to form next to the railing.

But besides all that… You are really going to skip ahead of two children (WHO WERE WAITING IN LINE) who need to pee? Maybe she thought they would be messy and us parents wouldn’t clean up after them, but that’s a stretch. She was clearly only thinking of herself. I really try to not judge people on looks but she was young, blond, decked out in athletic gear, and clearly was used to getting her way, uncontested. That’s why as soon as she walked up, I was like “Yup, I know what’s happening here.”

I don’t like when people cut in front of me in traffic when signs gave you a mile to merge. And I don’t like you skipping in line in front of my son and nephew who need to pee just because you’re entitled and are used to getting your way. I speak up about stuff like that, and YES I do it in front of my kid because I don’t want HIM to be that jerk that cuts in front of people. I want him to follow the rules BUT ALSO call out those who don’t. Because they are the ones messing up the flow.

I know everyone has their own problems, but… if you’re out in public, please just follow the rules and be a decent person so everyone else can have a decent day. In this case, if she came running up and whispered that she was on her period or even “I drank 12 beers and really need to pee!” I would have ushered her in front of us with no qualms. But walking up and being ENTITLED to it is what pisses me off, and then trying to MOM-SHAME me about “starting this” in front of my kid makes my blood boil.

The only thing that gives me peace of mind about this is that she clearly doesn’t have any kids… yet. I can only hope that once she does, she’ll have learned a lesson or two and will raise them to be decent human beings, instead of being raised to be a replica of her. We don’t need anymore people like that. Be kind, show compassion, follow the rules… be decent.


donating, fun, home life

Let the Music Do the Talking

I used to have a HUGE music collection. As a teenager, there was nothing I loved more than spending my money on CDs. This was that weird period where CD and cassette singles were being phased out, but iTunes wasn’t up and running to buy whatever individual songs you wanted. There was Napster, sure (wow am I dating myself…), but you ran the risk of downloading something that was 3 minutes of static instead of the song, or even worse, a virus that could kill your computer. What a time to be alive!

Instead, I’d go to Best Buy (I can’t stand them now because of all the time I spent there as a teen) and buy an $18 CD. I always made myself listen to the whole album… kinda. I would start it and listen to all the songs before the radio single (which always seems to be track 3 or 4). Then I’d usually be hooked on those songs and keep going back to re-listen. Which was actually ok, because then I had “new” music to listen to later, when I finally listened to the last half of the album!

Cut to present day. I decided to upload all of my music onto my computer and give away most of my CDs. I kept all of my favorite bands’ albums, and some bootlegs and rare stuff. Even some CD singles, believe it or not! (I still have a few cassettes in my car from when my tape player worked – RIP.)

I still buy music, but through iTunes. No liner notes to read over as the album plays – so sad! Did anyone else love doing that? If I buy a record from a favorite artist, it will come with a digital download code, so I download and import into iTunes.

My laptop died about a year ago; I was sad, but thought “oh well.” I logged into iTunes on my desktop and voila – over half my music was gone! Apple support told me that those albums had been downloaded onto my hard drive, not into iTunes – even though I imported all of the music into iTunes.

Is this common knowledge? If not, I’m an idiot and missed it somehow. But I feel like this is not really advertised. Of course, there is the whole issue of you not really “owning” the music you buy through iTunes like you would “own” a CD, so I’m pretty confused about all of that. But I digress.

Luckily I backed up my computers regularly, including my iTunes folders, so I still have most or all of the albums as digital files on my external hard drive. But if I hadn’t done that, just thinking “Since they’re in my iTunes account, they’ll link up anywhere!”, then I would be out a WHOLE lot of music.

In the long run, it wouldn’t REALLY matter, because I don’t know what albums I’m missing. I could go through it all and check, but that won’t happen. What usually happens is I’m dying to hear a certain song, scroll around, and realize it’s not on my iPod. (Yes I still have an iPod.) Then I get sad, but I usually just find it on YouTube or look for it on my external drive if I remember by the time I get home.

I got rid of a lot of CDs and am very proud of that – compare my collections! This was my collection in high school/college – sorry for the blurriness, but you can get a good idea of how many CDs I owned!


I think my mom gave me this card catalog when I moved into my first apartment. All of those drawers used to be filled with CDs, with others stacked on top. I have more CDs than shown here – each drawer holds about 18 – which is a LOT! And I don’t even have a CD player, besides my computer. But they hold memories and I can’t let go yet, so at least they are nicely organized and out of the way.


Next up: getting rid of records!



fun, home life


Writing 26 blog posts has been hard. Blogging used to be easy for me; I typically wrote 12 posts a month, which is way less than 26, but way more than… what have I been averaging lately… 2? That might be a little generous.

It’s interesting, though. I like pushing myself to write every day, and to write on a topic, however loose that topic may be. I journal 3 pages every morning, but this is different. I feel like I’m getting back to my old blogging self, which might also sound weird… I feel like most people don’t think blogging is hard, or something that takes merit or talent. But I feel like it does, if you’re really doing it. Don’t get me started on “big” bloggers with sponsored posts all over the place. But blogging like how it actually started way back when? That’s fun. And I think it takes drive and talent to do it and keep at it and engage readers.

But it’s been so different than what my writing and creative life have been for the past four years. So I have been trying to write ahead a bit, and take a break. Like my Reading post. Or breathing with Spring.


And now. With playing underneath a homemade tent with my son. The killer klowns are after us, but we can shoot them with his fart blaster and they go away. So I’m off to help fight the good fight.

(And yes, we had to anchor them to the drawers with underpants. Another U!)

fun, home life, money, shopping

Tax Refund!

Before we even did our taxes, my husband asked what I wanted to spend our tax refund on. He wanted a new grill, and probably some other things. I, of course, wanted to put it into savings. And probably still will. But it made me daydream about…

An upgraded camera body

A macro lens

A home studio setup

New books to read

A trip to somewhere relax

A camping trip

New tattoos

A fancy, delicious dinner out

A fun evening bowling, snacking, drinking, eating


Did you get a tax refund this year?

fun, home life, natural living


Talk about going green! Spring has always been my favorite season because it’s full of possibility. You don’t have to bundle up (usually… this spring has been a bit wacky), school is almost out, you have spring break, the daylight stretches out past eight o’clock, the summer is ahead, it’s beautiful outside, you can open the windows and let the fresh air in while you gaze out at the green grass and blooming trees.

This year especially, spring feels so full of possibility. I have been through a hard year or two or three or four of trying to figure out what I want to do, how I can do it, how it could fit in with a “real” job… or not. I have tried 3 different jobs in the past two years and thought they were perfect when I started them. But they weren’t.

So here I am. I know what I love and what I am passionate about, and I am determined to make these things work together (and they do) to make a career for myself. It might not be a “set” career like society may think, and it may end up being several jobs cobbled together, but I see it. I see the end product. I’m breaking it into steps and working toward each one to make this actually happen and be substantial and not fall the second I stop to catch my breath.

Spring is also great for my creativity. The air, the blooms, I want to be out in it and take photos of it all and then just sit back and take a deep breath.

That’s it. I seriously just realized it. That is exactly why I love spring – the possibilities, the inspiration, the excitement, but also the invitation to sit back and relax and soak it all in and breathe.