How to Have Happy Thoughts During a Global Pandemic

Well, hello 2020, you disease-infested whore.

Had to start with a little bitterness, so the sweet will be more effective later. So, like you (unless you are a jerk or a healthcare hero), I’m at home. In my teens and early twenties, this didn’t happen often. I was what they call a “social butterfly” – flitting about, singing love songs, being the most emotional version of myself, falling in and out of love with boys (cough. cough. And… men – sorry, Mom.) I was still shaping who I was. Thank heavens TikTok did not exist. Sidenote: That’s the scariest, weirdest social media outlet I’ve ever seen, and I’m a professional digital marketer. To be honest, I’d have probably just made videos of attempting to roll nice joints and played Blind Melon songs like “Mouthful of Cavities” acoustically on mine. I digress.

So, back then, when I was all hormones and high hopes, I was absorbing most of who I was from those I loved or looked up to. Poetry, music, writing- it was shared, and easily consumable, content. I remember reading Philip Larkin’s poem “Sad Steps” in R.S. Gwynn’s poetry class. (I still send him poems, hoping he’ll mark them up for me like he did then. He usually does.) The poem, which you can read here, really moved me. Still does. It represents those moments in life when you look to nature during some simple act and are reminded about the beginning and the end of your life. I think now, as we are huddled inside dealing with this global pandemic, it’s important to look for these moments of beauty and mortality, even when we are making a throne or small house of the toilet paper we’ve stolen from the elderly (kidding).

For those who know me well, you know I’m incredibly dark and morbid for an upbeat and generally cheerful person. This unique take is somewhat heightened by the “C” word. My husband had to tell me to stop talking about death yesterday. Apparently four death talks in one day is enough for him. When I was a little girl, Mom will have to give you the exact age, my mom got so sick of me saying that I was dying that she brought me to our primary care physician and had him draw blood, run a few tests, just to assure me I wasn’t dying so that I would shut up about dying. When I was in my twenties, I spent a full day creating a will and my own obituary, complete with pictures and songs. I’m sure this isn’t that uncommon. ::pretend it isn’t:: As an adult, as many of us do, I use dark humor and death jokes to placate fear. I am not saying it’s healthy – it’s just the reality of my approach to feeling uncomfortable or worried (and luckily, my weirdo siblings are on the same page.) A typical conversation with a sibling might be:

Me: Hey, have you talked to Mom, or did she die?

Sister : I think she’s alive. Her phone just isn’t charged.

These exchanges are frequent and would be disturbing to most. What’s interesting about these exchanges today are that the reality of the conversations have become more unsettling. Mom is a respiratory therapist, over 60, with a history of heart problems. Sara, my sister, is a nurse. My grandma just completed four rounds of chemo for a platelet disorder. (Don’t worry, we locked her away immediately.)

Me: Hey, Mom. Don’t die at work, okay?

Mom: I’ll try not to.

As I’m writing this, my Mom has asked if she can drive by my house (not come in) and wave to me and talk to me through the car window. I don’t have a medical mask, but I do have an alien mask created for me by a friend (that’s normal, right?), so we will probably have an encounter in just a few. Back to the point of this whole post, HAPPY THOUGHTS.

So, the question becomes, how can we effectively be less of a drag right now. Well, like the nature of the disease, I think this is going to be fluid. One day you’ll probably spend most of your time sleeping and feeling bogged down by worry, the next you might write a blog or create something cool- a recipe you’ve been wanting to try, a painting with your kid – I’ve seen a lot of chalk art that looks fun. Here are a few suggestions, my approach, and a few projects I’m hoping to knock out:

  1. FaceTime the crap out of everyone. It’s fun and offers a little bit of reprieve from the loneliness of seclusion. If you don’t have someone to FaceTime, feel free to hit me up. I can’t promise I’ll be clean or pretty, but I’m relatively entertaining in small bursts.
  2. Read a book. Yesterday I knocked out We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman. Domestic Violets is also amazing, and I plan on reading his newest as well. Today, I’m going to work through American Dirt.
  3. Play with your kids, pets, or plants. Hell, as I watch all of these videos online, it makes me really wish I had a few kiddies. I don’t, so I’ve been snuggling my rescue pup, Max, and will be attempting to bring life back to my plants.
  4. Give a personal Kudos to those who work in healthcare or the public sector. Now is the time to write a letter or record a quick video of appreciation. Even a text would probably help: “Hey, thanks for selflessly helping people. Hope you don’t die.”Or, something like that.
  5. Write. Event if you aren’t a writer, I’m a firm believer that vomiting brain matter through words is beneficial for mental health. Put your fears on paper, get them out of your body.
  6. Go outside. Preferably, just in your yard. Listening to nature can quiet the noise of fear. (Also, I’m pretty sure Tanner is now a cardinal, so we have been hanging out every now and then.)
  7. Tap into something spiritual. If you believe in prayer, do that. If you don’t, meditate or simply read a non-fiction book about the cosmos, harness your Chi, or do anything where you try to connect or navigate through the largeness and smallness of humanity.
  8. Organize the shit out of your house. Kon-Mari method anyone? Now is the time to wipe down the base boards and lick your toilet bowl clean. Kidding. I was just seeing if you were paying attention. Use gloves or a dental dam.
  9. Try to put your phone down. It’s hard. I know. But, I promise you there is no positive self development happening to your brain when you scroll through five hundred tweets about how Kim Kardashian and Kanye West lied about Taylor Swift knowing he was going to call her a “bitch” in his song “Famous.” I did that for an hour yesterday. I am not a better person for it. Instead, listen to an album you’ve been meaning to give a deep listen to.
  10. Last, but not least, prepare for death. Okay, now, I’m not saying pick out your plot, urn, or write a will (though I am a proponent of preparation), what I’m saying is now is the time to tell all those you love, you love them. When my mom was sick last year, I did this. I spent a few weekends ago recording an hour-long interview with my grandmother. She knows how I feel. Hopefully everyone that I know, knows the breadth of my love for them – it’s expansive. And if anything is going to get us through this, it’s that kind of love.

So, in closing, I’ll just ask that you all come to my funeral if I die. I’d like a small outdoor service. Release doves, or at the very least, play the weirdest Bonnie Prince Billy videos you can find.

And, remember, life is short. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to try to die loving it, die trying to find the beauty in the ugliest, most painful parts.

See you all soon.

My Brother’s Hands

I held your hands during the entire visitation.
Made them warm in mine, rubbing my thumb
between your thumbs and forefingers.
I spent those three hours shaping and reshaping
the edges of your red beard, bright against
the dark blue and plum of a new, stiff plaid shirt.

Only three weeks before, I held your hands,
navigating moss-covered rocks in the mountains
of North Carolina. You caught a brown trout
though- even then- we were searching for a
rainbow. We took our shoes off and travelled
the edge of the cool stream, heavy with current.

I watched your hands scramble farm-fresh eggs,
flip a steak with a fork, piece together a tent
at the campsite we made in the middle of the
Smokies. We joked about bears, talked, laughed.
You caught a firefly in your hands at the cabin,
the house with the spray of blue hydrangeas.
I understand now how your hands lost their way.

As your sky darkened around you, starless now,
no found vein could map a path to happiness.
On Friday, I adjusted the glasses we had to borrow.
You just didn’t look right without them.
And now the final hand off – back to earth,
to dust, as Claire de lune plays in the background.


Header image: Henry Darger, 175 At Jennie Richee. Everything is allright though storm continues., Watercolor, pencil, carbon tracing, and collage on pieced paper; double-sided, 24 x 108 1/4 inches. American Folk Art Museum purchase, 2001.

My 30 Day Digital Detox

I’ve started the new year feeling like a gosh dang ninja. I don’t know if it’s the vitamin or podcast consumption, but I’m PUMPED. My current goal is to learn to treat myself as my most valuable asset. I am making health a top priority, adapting to a more minimalistic lifestyle, attempting to live in gratitude, optimizing how I spend my time, and, last but not least, I’m refocusing on improving myself via continued learning, creative writing, and critical reading. Don’t get me wrong, I am the type of ninja that still sets down my mental Nunchucks and vegitates on the couch after work like a log for hours watching Father Brown. British Mysteries are my kryptonite.

In the spirit of my spiritual “reset,” I’m also undertaking a thirty day “Digital Detox” from social media after listening to an interview with Cal Newport and reading his book: “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.” My goals for the detox are to 1. To break the habit of picking up my phone and checking updates and social media, and watching endless videos of puppies being REAL cute. 2. To be more intentional with how I’m spending time. And, 3. To re-establish how I choose to interact with social media. As suggested by Cal Newport, we have to continually ask ourselves if how we are spending our time is bringing us closer or farther away from the person we want to become. After I lose the habit, I want to create boundaries and limit my interaction with most social medial. I also thought this would be an interesting blog post for February, which will further hold me accountable each day. Plus, it might inspire others to take the leap for 30 days!

Note: My Mom and my sister are joining me on the challenge, so I’ll be checking in with their progress as well.

Day 1: 1/11/20 This was the day of my Uncle Tory’s memorial service, so I kept my phone in another room and spent the day visiting with family. I did not delete the apps from my phone. I found myself wanting to post the pictures I took of my family on Instagram, but other than that, no major issues with refraining. We spent the day eating gumbo, playing music, and telling stories with my cousins.

Day 2: 1/12/20 This morning I did catch myself wanting to open Instagram. I opened it and closed it out of habit quite a few times. I spent the day cleaning, reading, writing, and I even got in 36 minutes of a workout. My sister, who deleted her apps from her phone on Day 1, said she picked up her phone a few times out of habit. My Mom said, “Ummmm, yeah, I failed.” She made it to 5:30 PM on Day 2. My Mom also wouldn’t allow her “Distraction Data” to be seen or posted.

Ashlynn – Distraction Data

Sara – Distraction Data

Day 3: 1/13/2020 Today my sister Sara asked if Pinterest is considered social media because she has been looking up recipes as well as researching my future sister–in-law’s wedding board. We agreed it is definitely social media, but we decided it can be used for gathering recipes if the time is limited, and there is no mindless perusing.

Days 4-5: 1/14 and 1/15 The last few days have been exceptionally busy, but I do miss my daily dose of LinkedIn. As of yesterday afternoon, I’m also rocking red hair, so I missed out on posting the obligatory, “Look at my new hair post.” A tomato and carrot mixed = the color. I have been picking up my phone more. I pick it up, and put it down once I realize what I’m doing.

Days 6-7: 1/16 and 1/17 Yesterday I had a lovely solo dinner after work at one of my favorite Houston haunts -Liberty Kitchen on Studewood. I usually use my phone as a back-up if I don’t meet someone interesting to chat with or if Micah, my longtime bartender friend, isn’t there. Luckily, I met a father and son duo (Hi, Pat and Landon), and we had a great conversation about books, plays, food, and, social media. Landon said he has a problem too. We looked around at those at the bar, and there were probably seven people engaged with their phone rather than with their neighbor or guest. Tonight I’m visiting with a good friend that I haven’t seen in a while. Human connections for the win!

Days 8-9: 1/18 and 1/19 Saturday night I had two of my long-time bff’s over, Celine and Bruce. They have known me for over 15 years at this point. Celine and I looked at pictures and talked about her recent trip home to France while Bruce was mentally preparing for the Houston Marathon (he was running the half, saving his energy for Boston!) I spent the morning cleaning, reading, and shopping for spaghetti supplies. Ended the day with red wine (Becker Vineyards!) and an early night. On Sunday, my sister relayed that she had worked out 6 of the past 7 days and had begun a no-carb diet. She also said she had been cleaning her house and spending more time with her kids. Looks like we are moving in the right direction! I still pick up my phone WAY too much. And, I have been texting quite a bit.

Days 10-16: 1/20 through 1/26 It’s been 15 days of no social media. I’m to the point now where I am not missing the platforms. My sister too. We both feel that there is no going back to the way we previously interacted with social media. My sister has started working out every day. She says she feels happier. I am less like a zombie when I have my phone with me, but I don’t feel completely unplugged as I still use and pick up my phone too much.

Days 17-23: 1/27 to 2/3 This weekend, I feel like I cheated a little bit. I did scroll a news feed on my phone for an hour. It was as mindless as my typical social media binge, so I am confessing. I know my distraction data at the end will now reflect this relapse. I do feel a little bothered by the fact that I’m missing out on certain social activities because many of my friends create invites only on the Facebook platform. I missed one of my best friend’s little girl’s birthday parties. I missed a memorial service of an old friend. This is the collateral damage of not being connected- though, overall, I feel more productive and happy.

Days 24-27: 2/4 to 2/7 Yesterday was the HARDEST day to avoid an Instagram post. Why, you ask? Well, one of my marketing clients had a freaking pony. It hung out with us in the house. It also goes on walks and car rides like a dog. So I basically got paid today to feed a pony carrots and bread. Adding the image here because you need to see them. I also told my husband to add pony to the Valentine’s list. This week my older brother was in town, so we hit an amazing sushi restaurant. It’s possible that less social media = more glasses of red wine, but I’ll have to continue compiling research on that.

Days 28-30: 2/8 to 2/10 Well, I’ve officially made it. ::ring all the bells:: 30 days of no social media. This weekend, however, I wish I would have been a little more digital. I felt the pain of not having a phone near me. On Saturday, I was enjoying a lovely day on blanket in the sunshine, taking a nap on the grass in the backyard with the dog. Unfortunately, my husband left for a BBQ and accidentally locked me in the backyard. I had no phone. I don’t know my neighbors. I hopped the fence, knocked on a neighbor’s door to use the phone, only to realize I also don’t know my own husband’s phone number by memory. Fail. So, I called my Mom and my best friend. No answer. No answer. I left a frantic text message with my best friend, and then hoped for the best as the neighbors were leaving. I decided at sunset I would break a small window with a pipe I found. Luckily, my husband rescued me just in time, two hours later. It was quite the adventure. I’m not going to lie when I say, the end of the thirty days doesn’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything too major. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling funky today. Maybe it’s because I simply replaced the social media browsing with “News” browsing this past week (and there was nothing good to see there!). Despite the fact that I did not get on social media AT ALL in 30 days, my screen time remained similar to before the detox. However, one thing that I did find kind of weird based on this little experiment: when my phone was inactive, at 6 a.m. specifically, my phone visited many sites that I don’t have a clue about. I even tried to set limits on those exact sites, and to no avail, my phone would visit them. I even tried clearing history, resetting the phone. I must have some hardcore cookies stored somewhere that I can’t escape from. Here is the end data. Nothing too exciting to see here. In fact, turn your head.

Ashlynn – Distraction Data

Sara – Distraction Data

Takeaways

Ashlynn: For me, even though I still picked up my phone and socialized on our family group chat more often, I consider this detox a win. I’m not going to totally rid myself of social media, but I will set limits for it in the future. I still have some work to do in terms of using my phone as a tool rather than a crutch.

Sara: I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m happier. I don’t compare myself to others multiple times a day anymore. Everyone posts their “best” – so, before, I believed everyone’s life was perfect, and I was doing something wrong. I know everyone is struggling in some way and they may too have a messy life, but you don’t see that. I could be on day three of “low days” with Aaron, dirty floors, fighting kids, bills while “Miss Molly” is backpacking in New Zealand with her family of five. Post-detox I’ve been working out, so I’m sure that that too has helped me regain confidence in myself. I also enjoy that I haven’t started any conversations with “Did you see on Facebook..” I’ve had more time to get things done at home, and my next challenge will be decluttering!

Out of the Blackest Black:

Well, I wish I had some good advice to give you, friends. I don’t.

In truth, I have both a bucket of nothing and everything as I sit here reliving the past year. 2019 left me with wreckage that was beautiful, heartbreaking, and completely soul-rearranging.  Parts of it were so heavy that, at times, I felt my chest would cave in or burst. Ever felt like your whole body was encased in a compression sleeve? If you have lived life and experienced struggle, I’m sure you can relate. Right now, however, it feels like the calm after the atomic bombs, and I’m going to carry these leftover bricks with me into 2020 with hope and grace in the chance that I can set up new foundations and habits, make something pretty out of the rubble. Write more. Read more. Create more. Nothing is remarkable about my pain, but I hope to make something remarkable out of myself.

Books aside for a moment, let’s chat a little bit more about death because so much in life sits on its lap. I am forever changed. Transformed. When we nearly lost my mother, I felt as if my body was carrying a bag of skin around. My skin bag (sounds gross, but still using it) went to hospitals and emergency rooms. It tried to sleep. It listened to doctors. It researched the heart’s anatomy. My brain couldn’t connect to the present moment. Then, when I lost my brother, my family and I felt the kind of loss that you would never wish on anyone. Let me pray that each of you never have to receive that call first, that you never have to hear your mother cry over a lost child. When people say grief comes in waves, I know now what they mean. It’s a tsunami that becomes a hurricane. The storm never ends, but there are moments of reprieve.

Pain changes the landscape. The lens from which I see the world now has been permanently corrected. There has been a pinpointed focus applied to living in the present moment now, along with a monumental shift of beliefs. I take care of my time. I treasure it. I value it. I believe in God. I protect my new marriage, which is my one bright spot from last year. I look at problems and my own faults with an intensity I never have before. When it feels like all is lost and there is no hope, the world goes from blackest black, to black and white, to gray, and then, ultimately, to all the shades of color you never took time to see. It’s the pain that turned the leaves from green to gold, the sadness that made me stop to feel the warmth in the patch of sunlight on the grass again. And like I said, these feeling aren’t original, but DAMN, it it still feels nice to dump them out on the page.

Let’s get back to books and reconnect to my original intentions. This post isn’t so much about my brother and loss as it is about beauty. To get through the blackest black, I started working through my hopelessness, depression, and anxiety with therapy and medication (Thank you, appropriately parceled doses of Prozac, Xanax and B-12); during the black and white phase, I started to try to improve my health in small ways: eating less fast food, hot yoga, listening to friends with good intentions and advice, drinking less- I started to read again; during the gray phase, I questioned everything about myself, how I spent my time, my choices, my work, my passions, who I am, who I want to be, how I treat others day-to-day, the last words I say to people. It didn’t happen overnight, but I started to see colors again. It is in this spirit that I’ve decided to share with you a few books that I read in 2019 that allowed me to discover bits of beauty and hope and color. It’s the least I can do for anyone else that is entering blackest black or leaving the gray.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I found this book on Bill Gates’ “Summer Reading List.” I thought, “Well, if Bill Gates likes it, it must be decent fiction.” Replace “decent” with “enchanting.” I believe Amor Towles has become my all-time favorite modern author. A Gentleman in Moscow was transporting in a way that I needed at that exact moment. I connected with the idea of being confined and imprisoned yet surrounded by magic that could be found in the ordinary, a book, a conversation, a room. For me, I was captivated by the delectable words – words that made you want to roll them around on your tongue for a while. His book made me want to read and write poetry, eat fine foods and wines, have tea with a stranger on a rooftop, appreciate freedom. All the descriptions made you feel as if you too were staying at Hotel Metropol, finding treasures, feeling lost and found, finding love, companionship. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov’s relationship with Nina and his commitment to his friends, Andrey and Emile, sharing secret dinners in the kitchen. Oh! What a treat. It’s not a dense or easy read, it lies somewhere in the middle. And once you devour it, immediately pick up Rules of Civility. Also amazing.

Educated by Tara Westover

Any recovering homeschooler will want to read this memoir. ::raises hand:: Think Glass Castle or Running with Scissors, but darker and less humorous. It’s so graphic and painful that every few chapters or so I had to put it down and take little breaks. My own parents went through what I thought then was an extremely religious period in life where I felt the fire of God was constantly breathing down my neck. My Dad played Satan in the passion play. We spent three days of the week at church. However, there is no comparison of my upbringing when compared to the threat-laden junkyard of the Westover family in the mountains of Idaho. Without giving too much away, I’ll say this. If you are struggling to overcome something heinous or any type of abuse, this memoir’s author and all she accomplished, amidst battling her father’s dangerous belief system, will give you hope. It will leave you with a feeling, in what I call your “deep tummy,” of both hope and sadness.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn = creator of the most memorable characters. The heroines are so poignant, the villains so despicable. I read the Alice Network in bite sizes, savoring and appreciating its rich characters, picturesque post-war landscapes, and poetic language. The heroines, of which there are many in this book, (Charlie St. Clair, Rose, Eve, Lili, Violette) each seem to capture a raw, zestful spirit and exhibit angles of the female psyche that aren’t as often portrayed in historical fiction. Though these women may have bent stems and withered petals, they are empowered by their harsher edges and experiences. These “Fleurs du mal” that spied throughout the Great War personified the fury and passion and unraveling of the many unknown victims of a war that was fought by woman who kept to the shadows, risking their lives to pass secret messages and codes to the resistance, wrapping them around rings and hairpins. I really enjoyed all of the dead ends, loose ends, paths, and routes taken in this book. Whether Finn was at the wheel of the Lagonda or Eve was steering her Luger in a certain direction, everything about the story was in motion and each road was interesting and felt necessary. I’ll be honest that I did have to put the book down for a few weeks when I realized I was getting close to discovering or witnessing what happened to cause Eve’s disfigured hands. And, man, that scene was oh so painful and oh so poignant at the same time. I will never see Baudelaire the same. Yeats all the way, for me.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I think it was in 2006 that I went to Paris with my brother, my friend Julian, and our French teacher, Mr. Hanks, from our High School, who we begged to be our chaperone and show us the sights. We saw the Louvre. Ate snails. Went to Versailles. It was the first time me or my brother had taken a trip together or left the state of Texas, and I’m so grateful to have those memories of magic. What this book did was make me want to revisit France as an adult, and if I can’t, I’ll just reread this book over and over. The main character, Perdu is a character that makes you want to unhinge your barge and float downstream peddling books like medicines for those with maladies of the heart and mind. And the tango scene. I must learn to dance tango immediately.

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

Last, but not least, if you are obsessed with lists and tasks and goals and spreadsheets, you have to read up on The Bullet Journal Method aka #Bujo. This book is a tool that will make you remember your love of putting pen to paper, writing notes in hand. Even if you find yourself lost in technology and your various machines, you can appreciate this method of removing and prioritizing brain clutter. I ended my 2019 with this book to begin my 2020 with a clear path and plan ahead.

Note: It was before the death of my uncle, our troubles with Iran, and the national coverage of the devastating fires of Australia that I began to write this. It feels very inconsequential to explore personal feelings and hardships when so much of the world is suffering or on that brink of the blackest black. Ultimately, opted to share, but not without deep regard for current affairs, fears, and loss.

My Melted Baby and Other Post-Readathon Commentary

Light Reading

I would deem last night’s readathon a complete success. Though I didn’t get much in-depth reading done (I won’t even admit the page count), I did eat a lot of snacks: guacamole and chips, pizza rolls, and even some corn chowder that Adrienne brought over. It was a strange combo, and since we were both already in a slightly somber, yet relaxed-and-groovy mood, we opted for apple juice instead of wine.

Now, as far as Mitford’s’ novel Don’t Tell Alfred goes, I still can’t really tell you much. I’ve tried to read it three times now. Pfff. Nancy and I usually get along swimmingly, but I just reach a block at page forty or so.

My favorite lines thus far, however, have been Fanny’s thoughts regarding motherhood. She has just found out that her son Alfred has been appointed Ambassador to Paris and is happy and distraught upon hearing the news, which makes her contemplate the nature of the relationship between a mother and her child:

(I have formatting issues so if this block quote doesn’t come out right…..Doh!)

In moments of introspection I often thought that a woman’s need for children is almost entirely physical. When they are babies one cuddles  and kisses and slaps them and has a highly satisfying animal  relationship with them. But when they grow up and leave the nest  they hardly seem to belong any more (19).

I like this idea that kids are just sort of physical necessities. You knock em’ around, smash their faces between your palms and smooch em’….all to satisfy an “animal” need of some sort. I guess it is best one of my children is plastic and the other one is furry.

My friend Justin Varner (who is also an amazing artist!) gave me a miniature, plastic baby boy he found at a toy stoy in Austin after hearing of my various, “When are you having a baby and getting married?” troubles. I keep it on the dashboard of my car, and it is now all melted and mutant looking, which shows I am a shitty mother, even to plastic babies. On that note, I will leave you with this picture:

My Melted Baby

Sunday’s Craft Attempt: crocheting. I had a book (see pic in slideshow below) and a friend show me the basics. All I’ve successfully created is something that looks like a tortured blue sperm. Sigh. Will keep you updated on my success. Maybe the blue sperm will turn into a cute baby…blanket.

Hope everyone enjoys cooking or reading or eating or just being plain lazy today.

I’d also like to send a big thanks and a hug to all who came out to the benefit to support Marlee yesterday. We sold so much jambalaya and we had a great time playing for such a great cause.  I promise I’ll start working on the new cd again soon. I just have to finish this blanket first.

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Eating. Reading. Taking My Pants Off.

Okay, today I’m participating in my first readathon, and I’m really excited. With what is left of the evening, I plan on taking my pants off  and reading. I guess I should wait until I get home to do that since I’m using the interwebs at my friend Brittany’s house and don’t want to freak her out by unzipping. Plus, she just offered me some CHEEZ-ITs.

My TBR list consists of a couple of Barbara Pym finds from the Galveston book store (above), and Nancy Mitford’s Don’t Tell Alfred, which I hope is as funny and charming as her Love in a Cold Climate.

I feel so behind in the snacking. I definitely need to catch up on the snacking. If anyone else wants to nerd out with me, stop by my house and bring some vino. I will have the fire going, and I may even drum up a batch of wassail.

If I don’t have time to drive to the law firm down the road and steal some wifi again, I’ll get out the ol’ crystal ball and tell you how things went down: I ate too much, read too little, and plan on doing this again soon.

Thanks to Amanda at deadwhiteguys for letting this newbie blogger join in!