7 Books Before September!



There is nothing I love more than a good, solid, unequivocal challenge.

Now, reading is not the challenge.  I love reading!  Reading has been one of my favorite past times in my life.  I look forward to curling up on a couch and breaking out my pen, and diving into a book while making notes in the margins and underlining key sentences, and just generally enjoying the story while marking up the book.

However, I am way behind on my reading schedule…

Therefore, it is time to make a new challenge for myself: 7 Books Before September!

The reason why this is a challenge… is not the reading, itself.  It is not the challenge of understanding what I am reading, or not even enjoying what I am reading.

I have no idea when I will find time to read anything…

But I have 7 Books Before September to finish, and I am a determined woman!

Let’s go!


1) A Wrinkle In Time

by Madeleine L’Engle



I love Anne Lamott.  Her book, Bird by Bird, might as well just be a roadmap of my soul.  She has this wonderful insight into writing, without being weird. You know those writing gurus who talk about writing like it was this pleasant, pleasurable experience and all the worlds just come tumbling out in the right order, and you never grab your hair and scream at your laptop saying, “WHY AREN’T YOU JUST DOING WHAT IS IN MY HEAD…GAAAHHHHH!!!

Anne understands, and she walks us through the hardest moments. Being the first moments. And some of the middle…and the end. And most of the rest of the trip. So, kind of all of it. Without being enabling. (thank you Anne)

What I love about her interview is when she was talking about the books she hates: “I don’t enjoy Jonathan Franzen, although I mean to. I couldn’t finish “The Corrections” and thought “Freedom” was hilariously overrated. Maybe I am just bitter because it was such a gigantic success.”

I’m looking at you, Cheryl Strayed and Wild. (why does she have be so talented. ugh.)

Anyway. I found this book on Anne Lamott’s reading list, during a recent interview, being her favorite book of all time, so naturally I thought, “I should go find out why it is her favorite book!”

The funny thing is that apparently, I am super late to the show on this. Since everyone on earth has already read this. And it is their favorite book, as well.

So, only fashionably late to the party.

2) Agnes Gray


Another Anne I love!

I was intrigued by this book, after reading the full biography of Anne Bronte.  Her other book, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,” will go down in history as my favorite book of all time. Besides a few others. But this one I actually recommend (HIGHLY) to people, kind of all the time. Agnes Gray is supposed to be much more autobiographical in nature, and surrounded around her experiences as a governess in a rather affluent social circle.  I am dying to know how she survived, so this book is on the list.




byWilliam Worthington Fowler

(online text only)


Woman on the American Frontier / A Valuable and Authentic History of the Heroism, Adventures, Privations, Captivities, Trials, and Noble Lives and Deaths of the “Pioneer Mothers of the Republic” (Kindle Locations 13-15).

I think it is pretty obvious why I am interested in this book.

A book studying the Pioneer Women, who raised their own food, shot their own meat, raised their kids in the wilderness and just generally were amazing during their lifetimes?

I am all over this.



4) Singing School: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters



I was taking a poetry course on edX, taught by Pinsky, and I never finished his book (or the course. I’m so sorry, Pinsky. We moved halfway through!).

I remember it being amazingly insightful, yet utterly pragmatic. How do you write poetry…that sounds like poetry? How do you work the words to your advantage? How do you manipulate the line to carry the weight of a different meaning? How can you be so bold as to say what you mean, clearly? And simply? Without being pretentious, but also carrying the weight of a poet?

This is a good book to read, so I am getting back into it.


5) Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

by Jenny Lawson




Ah, Jenny Lawson.

I am completely in awe of her writing.

She just…writes, man. About things. And stuff. And it is crazy weird things, and normal things, and vulnerable things.

I need to figure out how she does this. Because I am way far behind her mad skillz.

And I’m not bitterly jealous (anymore).

6) Dynamics of Faith

by Paul Tillich


A good friend recommended this a while ago, and I am really loving this right now. It is a very interesting book. Very straightforward, very clear. It is…not Beth Moore. How’s that? (no, I don’t like her writing. I am sure she is a lovely person.)


7) Why Not Me?

By Mindy Kaling



Okay, I’m not sure if Mindy Kaling can be my spirit animal, but just for this instance I am going to say she is.

LOVE Mindy Kaling, because she is a very creative, intelligent, very confident woman who loves 4 inch heels and amazing dresses almost as much as I do.

So I simply must read her book. Because I am positive it will be epic.

And then I will invite her out for coffee. (#callme)



I Require For Myself A Proper Sitting Room

A project I am slowly plotting to begin is the construction of my proper Sitting Room.

I believe if every woman needs A Room of One’s Own, then my room should be a Sitting Room, in which I shall fervently read on a big squishy chair in the afternoon sunlight, and consequently in which to also fall asleep in said chair, with said book.

However, the construction of the perfect Sitting Room requires a thorough understanding of its purpose, and some forethought into the planning.



This is the Lincoln Room in the White House Museum.

Yes, yes.  Planning a Sitting Room based on the designs of the White House Museum might be a little much, in comparison to my meager empty breakfast nook that I am planning on transforming.  But I think raising the bar can be a good thing, don’t you?  At least it is giving me a destination on which to set my sights.

The breakfast nook in my house is the most perfect Sitting Room on earth.  It is small and cozy, but not too small, and not too cozy.  It faces southeast, so it gathers the morning and afternoon sun.  It is bright, comfortable, sunny and just begging to be made into a Sitting Room with two big, squishy chairs, in which to sink and read books, and a low coffee table, on which to hold coffee, and probably my feet.


IMG_3161You can feel the sunlight already…I might need to make some coffee.  I’m getting sleepy just looking at this.


For a little while I believed I should go the conventional route and actually put in the space a round breakfast nook table with some matching chairs; but, I just can’t do it.  It is too conventional, and this space is too perfect for reading, and I cannot let this opportunity go.

So, with all this being said, here are some ideas I had:


Screenshot 2015-04-15 16.03.30


This is the Pinterest page I have for my Sitting Room idea.


A couple things that I liked, in particular:

michael s smith greige


I like the layout of the chairs and table here, but it is feels a little cold.




I like the warm coziness here, but I don’t like how stiff the chairs look or the open space in front of the chairs. It is a warm feeling, but not cozy enough.




I like how this room feels.  It’s warm, casual, lots of squishy pillows and comfortable.  I could easily see myself reading many books in a space like this. However, I’m afraid I could lose my books/keys/shoes/phone/kids in the jumble, so it might not be a good idea, exactly.

So, these are the plans I have so far.  We’ll see what I can find!


Time To Read: Top 5 Books On My Reading List

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the meadow that is my front yard, and sharing a nice, warm cup of green tea with little Eve.  We were watching our tomcat prowl through the grass to find a nice, sunny spot on which to nap.  A neighbor had a chainsaw running somewhere in the distance.  There was a little breeze, but not much got through the woods and we were just watching the tops of the cedars blow gently in the canopy.

I love Sunday afternoons.

There is no day in the week which harbors the afternoon sunlight quite like Sundays.

I spent a good amount of time out there being a good steward of the sun,  enjoying the warmth and the green, quiet forest; but I realized….something was missing.


Now that things have settled into a routine here, I am getting back to small hobbies.  Like reading.  Yet, I have read all the books I own!  What is a girl to do??

I shall make for myself a list!!

Okay, anyone who doesn’t love the movie is crazy with a capital CRAY.  However, the book is better…OR SO I HAVE HEARD.
I have never read this book, and it has been on my list for years.  Beyond the wonderful story of Buttercup and Wesley, there is a small mystery of this book, which I find delightfully manipulative.  The mystery is that the main character of the story references a book he used to read as a child, and now he is going to read it for his grandson.  But, if you think this is the book he read as a child, you are very wrong.  Goldman actually references a book that never existed.  In his book, of a man reading the original book, that doesn’t exist.  It’s this funny Inception-book thing, which is hilarious (to me).
So, top of the list: The Princess Bride.
The Princess Bride
I am so back-logged on Science Fiction, it is embarrassing.

Fortunately, I have most of the big ones under my belt already.  Dune, Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, Mists of Avalon, The Firebrand, The Martian Chronicles, 5 pages of Cryptonomicon (I think that counts),  1984, Brave New World, Heinlein, Asimov, Vonnegut…

But there are so many I haven’t read yet.  The Foundation series, Discworld, Ringworld
So, here is one for the list: Ready Player One.
Ready Player One
And, in memory of Mr. Pratchett: The Color of Magic.  
The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind #1)
I also want some contemporary fiction in here, for balance.


I’m rather intrigued by this book, so I’m going to give it a shot.  There will always be a draw for me towards books about messy, but not criminally messy, relationships.  They are puzzles to be solved, which gives me some meat to chew on while I read.  This is a pretty classic “dysfunctional, middle America” American fiction.
Faux-Pax-Americana item: Vinegar Hill.


Vinegar Hill
And finally, another Faux-Pax-Americana book, where the characters set out with hopes and dreams, and are introduced to the realities of insurance, debt, mortgages, trials and hopelessness: The Weight of Dreams
Next month I might switch to lighter subjects with more optimism.
But today is not that day!
The Weight of Dreams

Patreon: The End of the YouTube Salon and the Rise of Artists

Let me tell you the story about Patreon.

Actually, Let Jack Conte tell you.  He created it.

But before we do that, here is my favorite Jack Conte video.  He said Nataly Dawn was gone for a couple days, so he “didn’t have anyone to regulate him, or make sure he ate” (paraphrasing), so he spent 20 hour days turning his garage into an anamatronic Millenium Falcon.

It is honestly too cool for words.


So, what is Patreon and why should we totally love it to pieces?

Screenshot 2015-01-21 23.16.49


“Patreon, based in San Francisco, is a crowdfunding platform created by musician Jack Conte and developer Sam Yam. [1] It allows artists to obtain funding from patrons on a recurring basis or per artwork. It is popular with YouTube content creators, musicians, and webcomic artists and has been featured in Forbes, Time, and Billboard magazines.”

“Patreon was founded in May 2013 by artist Jack Conte, who was looking for a way to make a living from his popular YouTube videos.Together with Sam Yam he developed a platform that allows patrons to donate a set amount of money every time an artist creates a work of art.”


How does it work if you are an artist?

“Artists set up a page on the Patreon website, where patrons can pledge to donate a given amount of money to an artist every time she or he creates a piece of art, optionally setting a monthly maximum. Alternatively a fixed monthly amount can be pledged... Similar to other platforms however, artists will often provide rewards for their patrons.  Patreon takes a 5% commission on pledges.

So, for example, this is part of the Patreon page for Jack Conte’s “Pedals”:

“Pledge $1.00 or more per video

572 patrons
  • Access to my patron only stream
  • First dibs on concert tickets.  I’ll announce my shows in my Patreon stream first, before publicly posting them anywhere else.

Pledge $3.00 or more per video

461 patrons
  • Access to my patron only stream
  • First dibs on concert tickets.  I’ll announce my shows in my Patreon stream first, before publicly posting them anywhere else.
  • Access to video tutorials about audio production.  I’ll show you my tips and tricks and talk about my workflows.
  • Each time I release a new Music Video, I’ll put out a short, useful tutorial as well.  These will be super helpful if you’re an audio producer.

Pledge $5.00 or more per video

138 patrons
  • Access to my patron only stream
  • First dibs on concert tickets.  I’ll announce my shows in my Patreon stream first, before publicly posting them anywhere else.
  • Access to video tutorials about audio production.  I’ll show you my tips and tricks and talk about my workflows.
    • Each time I release a new video, I’ll put out a short, useful tutorial as well.  These will be super helpful if you’re an audio producer.
  • First dibs on Audio Production lessons through BandPage Experiences. When they go on sale, my $5+ Patrons will be notified first.”


Who All Does This?

“As of February 2014, almost half of the artists produce YouTube videos, while the rest are writers, draw webcomics or make podcasts. [10] On average, patrons donate $7 per creation. Patreon is growing rapidly both in patrons and creators, with 10,000 artists expected to use Patreon by the end of February 2014. While the website initially targeted musicians, established webcomic artists such as Jonathan Rosenberg, Zach Weinersmith and Paul Taylor are successfully using it.”

So here is Jack Conte explaining his vision!


And finally, here is another music video from Jack Conte.

I absolutely love his videos to death.  They are very unique, very interesting…very fresh.  Real artistry, I believe.

But this is a man thinking outside the box to create music and build something really amazing with new technology.

This is the stuff that keeps me up at night, and wondering what else we can do, folks 🙂

Big Ol’ List of Free Kindle Books: Drawing, Reading, Classics & A Tongue Twister

Being the beginning of a new year, one of the most frequent resolutions is that we each resolve to read more…for serious, this time.

I was never interested in Kindle, because I am a bibliophile.  I love the feel of the book in my hands, I like writing in the margins and analyzing the story on the pages.  I love seeing the books waiting for me on a shelf, and flipping through pages to see what I see…

You just can’t do that with Kindle.


With a Kindle, you also don’t lose books in rooms, behind couches, under couches, in the spare tire space of the car, under the car, on top of the car, in somebody else’s car…

So, I was sold on Kindle books.  I haven’t lost one, yet!!

There are a ton of free Kindle books available, and it is a great way to start the year off!

























Movie Review: Moms’ Night Out


I have to admit something horrible.  I’m kind of a movie cynic. 

There are a few movies I really like, and a handful I like…but most movies are either not my taste because of writing/plot/acting (“Grindhouse” is not my kind of movie), or they are a “laundry movie.”  They’re good, but they keep you company while you’re doing the laundry.  For the record, “Overboard” is absolutely the best “laundry movie” on earth.  I can quote that thing backward and forward.

So, knowing all this, I  didn’t really think I would like this movie at all.  

It’s a “Mom” movie, so I figured it would just be full of dumb jokes and stressed out moms.  I expected to leave the theater embarrassed of my profession, honestly.

I was EXTREMELY surprised with how it turned out!

Continue reading “Movie Review: Moms’ Night Out”