Random thoughts:Or, Liveblogging my brain

Last night the weather prediction said that it was supposed to rain today around 11 am. When I woke up this morning, the sun was bright and the next door neighbor had her laundry hanging out, so I decided to risk it. (Pertinent facts: It’s supposed to rain for the next couple days, our dryer is not effective so we have to hang clothes out, B just came back from a week long trip so we have a decent amount of laundry to get done, and I trust my neighbor implicitly on all things laundry hanging related.) As it got closer to 11, the sky got darker and darker, and I began the game I like to call, How Long Can I Leave the Laundry Out? It is sister games with How Dry Will the Clothes Be? As it turns out, all but 1 pair of pants were dry by the time the rain started, so I think I win that round.

I’m planning our school curriculum for next year. It’s a bit early, but my parents will be visiting during April and May, which is when I would generally start working on it, and we’ll be traveling/busy/moving during the summer months and I want things all set and ready to go when the school year starts. That means preparation now. We’re continuing the artist and composer study that we’re doing this year, but without the guidance of a specific curriculum. I found that a lot of the activities that were provided with the composer curriculum that we’re working off of this year are just distracting to the girls and weren’t really serving a purpose. So I’m creating activities that will work better for them. We’ll be focusing on classical composers- Bach, Handel, Beethoven (“It’s under Beet oven in the index”), Mozart, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, someone else I can’t recall at this moment, George Gershwin, and John Williams. (I realize those last two aren’t classical.)  As I’ve been pulling out songs to use (I now have a very long playlist of 8 songs per artist) I have been so humbled as I listen to this gorgeous music. It’s just so very beautiful. And breathtaking to think that it came from someone’s mind. I really think that people who say they don’t like classical music either haven’t actually listened to any, or listened to the wrong stuff. Baroque stuff that’s heavy on the harpsichord I can see going a little sour on you. But how can this not make your heart sing at least a little?

For our artist study, we’re focusing on women and Black artists. This year we only had one woman artist in our study, and Tiny pointed out the inequity (be still my heart). I was going to do only women next year, but there aren’t nine women featured in the books we’re using as the spines of our study (to be accurate, there are, but we’ve done a couple of them already), so I figured we’d fill out the year with other non white male artists since we’ve already done lots of those.  I love that I have the freedom to impart values to the girls as they’re learning about things. They’re learning about art, yes, but they’re also learning that anyone can be an artist (and thus, THEY can be artists), and that it’s important to be purposeful and aware in our consuming of art. So we’ll be doing Mary Cassatt, Dorothea Lange, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Paul Klee (our token white male, but Tiny will LOVE his work), Frida Kahlo, and Grandma Moses.

We’re also continuing our Shakespeare study, which means I have to sit down and put it together. That’s the one that takes the most work, because I’m creating it all. But it’s fun to put together and the girls enjoy it, so it’s worth it.

While putting together the songs for music I was reminded of Josh Groban (I’m using his version of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring along with a classical version). Somehow I’d forgotten he existed. Well, not that he existed, because I recently saw a thing about him and Kat Dennings dating, which DELIGHTS me to no end, because I adore her. Her rapport with Thor is far more entertaining than Natalie Portman’s. BUT ANYWAY. I’d forgotten that I really enjoy Josh Groban’s voice. So now I am listening to him. This song just came on and it’s my favorite.  (And I’d totally forgotten about the Corrs too! How does this happen?)

This is good, because I’ve been obsessively listening to Paloma Faith, and I’d gotten to the point where her songs were on constant repeat in my head, which gets a little old. But seriously, listen to this song, it’s SO good. The video has a parent advisory because there’s a skotch of a bare bum and a lot of rolling around on a bed. But it’s very pretty rolling around on a bed. I just realized that it also amuses me because she kind of looks like Billie Piper when she has the blonde hair.

Her pipes are just stunning- she can belt so cleanly.

I watched the 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited, finally. The book is in my top 5, so I had really high expectations. It suffers from the problem of many adaptations- there’s just too much to fit into a 2 hour movie, so a lot of the character development and plot get shorthanded. If you’ve read the book then you’re solid, but if you haven’t then I have to think it would be a bit perplexing. “Why in the world did he do that??” kind of moments. But visually- whoa nelly. It is breathtakingly gorgeous. The casting is perfection. I mean just look. So painful to watch two hours of these people, you know?




Matthew Goode is Charles Ryder and plays his hopeful obsessive part to perfection. Hayley Atwell is Julia Flyte, and while this should not surprise me because she’s an actress and it’s her job, she plays her so drastically different than her brilliant portrayal of Peggy Carter in Agent Carter. Her Julia is fragile and struggling with her faith and her obligations and she’s just so so good. And Ben Whishaw. Oh my giddy aunt. He plays Sebastian Flyte, who is easily one of my very favorite characters ever, and he SLAYS him. The bravado covering deep insecurity, the fear, the faith, the terror of being a disappointment, the flaws, oh goodness. He’s just so good.

The story, if you don’t know it, is pretty straightforward. It’s set in that magic time period in England between the wars. Charles comes from a modest family and goes to Oxford. He meets Sebastian (who is riiiiiiiiiiiiich and whose family lives in the Brideshead manor of the title) and they tumble headlong into that combination of friendship and love that seemed to happen at men’s colleges a lot. Sebastian doesn’t want Charles to meet his family, wanting to keep him for himself, which turns out to be a good plan, because as soon as he meets Julia (Sebastian’s sister) he is smitten, and when he meets his mother she tries to conscript him into influencing Sebastian the way she wants. Lady Marchmain (played briliantly by Emma Thompson) is staunchly Catholic, worrying more about her children’s eternal happiness than their happiness in this life. That Catholicism runs up against Charles’ atheism and her children’s doubts. Charles makes some hurtful decisions in the direction of Julia, Sebastian makes some hurtful decisions in response, and it’s all more complicated and complex than the movie can sustain, but they do their darndest. Lady Marchmain’s cry of “I just want to see my children safe, and all they do is hate me!” is so heartbreaking.

I read the other day that the most effective scenes are those in which everyone is right (I want you to know that when I read that, I thought, “I should copy this because I’m going to want it at some future point”. But I didn’t. So just now I tried to go through all of the websites I would have looked, in order to find it. And I thought, “if only there was some way to go back and look at the history of all the websites I’ve looked at. Oh wait.” And I just went through my browser history to find it. You’re welcome.) It was Beau Willimon about House of Cards, a show I don’t watch. But he said,

David Fincher told me this maxim and it’s so true and one of the best writing lessons I’ve ever learned: In a great scene everyone is right. And I think they’re both right in that scene. When both people are right, but not right to each other, then you have conflict.

And that’s at the crux of the story of Brideshead Revisited, everyone thinks that they’re right. It’s such a compelling story, and you should read the book and watch the movie because they’re both glorious.

I’ve been struggling with reading lately, I think I’ve started 6 different books and not finished them. It’s gotten to the point that I’m not starting books that I really want to read because I know I’m in the wrong mood for them. I’ve been reading the new Catherynne Valente book for 3 days, which should tell you something, because I inhale those things in hours. (The book, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, is lovely, the problem is totally me.) I need to get over this because I just got new books early for my birthday, and there is a new Gail Carriger book coming out soon (Prudence (The Custard Protocol) ). My continued existence on this Earth depends upon me reading it as soon as it comes out.

I play a little game when I read the synopsis for books (or movies) that consists of seeing how many words into the blurb I get before I am definitively in or out. Gail Carriger’s books are always within the first sentence of the blurb. My friend was telling me about a book the other day and said, “I’m just giving you two words. Clones and opium.” and I was in. Sometimes it takes more than that- for example, the book  Our Ecstatic Days by Steve Erickson. The synopsis is this:

Our Ecstatic Days begins as the memoir of a young mother desperate to forget a single act, committed out of love and fear, that has changed forever the world around her. In the waning days of summer, a lake appears, almost overnight, in the middle of Los Angeles. In an instant of either madness or revelation, convinced that the lake means to take her small son from her, Kristin becomes determined to stop it. Three thousand miles away, on the eve of a momentous event, another young woman — with a bond to Kristin that she can’t even know — meets a mysterious figure who announces in the dark, “The Age of Chaos is here.”

Are you in, or out? I’m in, at “convinced that the lake means to take her small son”. The lake appearing is good, but her take on it is what makes it interesting. But then you have something like Aurorarama:

New Venice–the “pearl of the Arctic”–is a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate sled-gondolas and elegant Victorian garb, of long nights and short days and endless vistas of crystalline ice. But as the city prepares for spring, it feels more like qarrtsiluni— “the time when something is about to explode in the dark.”  Meanwhile, a mysterious and ominous black airship hovers over the city like a supernatural threat–is New Venice about to come under assault, or is it another government ploy?

And I’m close at “the pearl of the Arctic” and fully in at “ice palaces and pneumatic tubes”. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Or The Rabbit Back Literature Society:

Only nine people have ever been chosen by renowned children’s author Laura White to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: a young literature teacher named Ella.  Soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual known as “The Game”? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura White’s winter party? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, as Ella explores the Society and its history, disturbing secrets that had been buried for years start to come to light. . . .  In Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s chilling, darkly funny novel, The Rabbit Back Literature Society, praised as “Twin Peaks meets the Brothers Grimm” (The Telegraph), the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways.

I’m in solidly at “the Game”, and the rearranging words, secrets and comparison to Twin Peaks are just icing on the cake.

Conversely, it’s similarly innocuous things that put me “out”. For example:

Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-1990s, when a young Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an aggressive anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a ten-year-old boy while struggling with an angel-dusted berserker on a crowded street.

“Aggressive anti-crime unit” did it for me. Not interested.


On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband, and her two surviving children, determined to start over.

Yeah, no. Out at locking the kid in the car, further out at starting life over.

U., a “corporate anthropologist,” is tasked with writing the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions, willing them to coalesce into symbols that can be translated into some kind of account that makes sense. As he begins to wonder if the Great Report might remain a shapeless, oozing plasma, his senses are startled awake by a dream of an apocalyptic cityscape.

Out at “corporate anthropologist”.

Those were all from books Amazon recommended for me based on previous purchases, so it’s not like I couldn’t possibly like them- that’s what makes it interesting to me. Just the question of what draws people in and what doesn’t.

Speaking of what draws me in, I’m super excited about the new Sherlock Holmes movie with Ian McKellen as an older Holmes. It looks so good.

I’m going to go work on curriculum. What’s going on with you?

Random thoughts

It’s Jan. 2 and we’re all lounging about, doing not much at all. I got to sleep in until 9:45. It’s a nice  way to start the year.

Bruce and I watched Ascension (the Scyfy mini-series) last night. It was so thought provoking, and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I hope that they bring it back for a full season, because I have questions and theories. Did you watch it?

I just read this article about the problem with reading challenges (like to read a certain number of books in a year) and I agree with it, even though I have reading goals for myself. (Go read it, so you know what I’m agreeing with.)  I want to make clear that I don’t post about the books I’m reading here to boast, but because I love books and I love hearing about books I don’t know about, and figure that you might too. Besides, writing about them helps me sort out my thoughts. I have thought about having a year where I just read really long books. I’d only finish like 20 in the year, but they’d all be massive.

I do have two reading goals this year. The first is that I want to read more books by women. Last year, almost exactly half of the books I read were written by women, but I’ve been thinking about the #readwomen2014 movement, which encouraged people to read more women authors (you can read more about it here ) and about some of the people who chose to read only women authors in 2014. I’m not going to make that complete of a commitment, as I have already pre-ordered at least a couple of books written by men that I’m dying to read, but I am going to aim for 80% of the books I read to be by women. I think that’s completely doable. I even went through all of the books on the Haunted Kindle of Doom (I got a new Kindle Voyage for Christmas!) and put all of the books by women into their own collection, so I can just go in and pick what to read next. There are a lot of books in there. I’ll be covered for quite some time.

This is good, because my second goal is to only buy one book a month. Last year my goal was to buy no new books, and I failed so laughably. I have come to the realization that I function with a scarcity mentality when it comes to books- I’m always looking for the next perfect book, and if I don’t buy books right now then I’ll never have the chance again. This is obviously disproved by the backlog on the H.K.o.D. So my goal is to focus on the collection of books I already have, and to allow for one purchase a month, of a book that I really really want. It doesn’t take into account a couple of books that I have pre-ordered that are all coming out in January, but I won’t buy an additional book in January.  We’ll see how it goes.

Speaking of goals, this is an awesome list of goals that have to do with writing, although they’re pretty awesome goals for anyone. My writing goals for the year involve editing, revising, and hopefully publishing at least one novel (maybe 2).

I’m also trying to step away from sugar. (I’m phrasing it that way so my brain doesn’t freak out.) I went all yesterday with no sugar, and frankly, I’m pretty amazed.

I also have the goal of doing something creative every day. Writing, sewing, painting, doodling, taking a picture, something. Doesn’t have to be good, just has to be something.

make 4I read a post about being embarrassed to still love the musical Rent, (which I think is ridiculous- you can think the bohos are kind of full of it for not wanting to be responsible adults while acknowledging the emotion and struggle as real and valid) and have had songs from it stuck in my head all week.

I love that music so much I can hardly stand it.  I’ve loved it ever since I saw the cast perform on the Tonys in 1996 and the soundtrack wasn’t even out yet, and I waited and waited and waited, and then it finally came out and I listened to it over and over until I’d memorized every word. Look at Idina’s hair!

I have also had The Phantom of the Opera stuck in my head. Apparently my brain wants more musicals. Speaking of which- this looks SO good. I have the soundtrack and it’s amazing.  Her songs go backwards, from the end of their relationship to the beginning, and his songs go from the beginning of their relationship to the end. So you piece the story together as you go. It’s beautiful and so sad. And I’d love to hear Anna Kendrick sing all the songs.

School starts again next week. We’re finishing up units on Monet, John Phillips Sousa, and Twelfth Night.  We start a unit on Duke Ellington in a couple weeks, which I’m really excited about. And we’ll do Hamlet as well, which will include references to both Nightmare Before Christmas and David Tennant, so that will be enjoyable.

If you haven’t watched this version of Hamlet you should, it’s so incredibly good. The portrayal of Ophelia completely changed the way I saw the play. Her genuine madness reveals Hamlet’s for the shadow it is. He’s not crazy, he’s grieving. Ophelia, on the other hand, has lost the plot, as they say.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Got to go start rice for dinner. Why is it always dinnertime?

Random thoughts

I haven’t done a rambly post in a while, and I enjoy rambling, so here we go.

It’s almost Christmas! In that spirit, I give you this:

I post it every year, but it’s one of my very favorite things ever. I don’t think any one else should ever sing this song, Bono just owns it. It must be sung with heartbreaking abandon. I adore Bono so much. I saw U2 in concert once, and he is so magnetic you could feel it across the amphitheater. Plus The Edge’s eyeroll at 1:28 is magnificent.

Watching this, I realized that I think early Bono is the look that little John Taylor whatshisname was going for on The Voice.

It’s not really his fault that he got the “super special little snowflake” treatment this season. He has a good voice, the whole “he has a VISION, people!” thing just got old. He’s too young not to take some advice.

And can I just say that Gwen and Pharrell were adorable together? The complete adoration he has for her just kills me.

Also for your Christmas cheese enjoyment:

Thoughts while watching:

I love this song so much. I know it’s cheesy, but I loved it so much anytime it came on the radio when I was little. This was really the first “activism” of any kind I knew about. This was how you spread information back then, there was no internet, no twitter to get people informed and motivated. But you could influence people through music, and the thought of all these artists getting together to do this still warms my heart. The more recent version, however, is an abomination and should be burned with fire.

Some shallow thoughts:Do you think Sting asked for them to show him during the “bitter sting of tears” lyric?  Boy George has lovely teeth. So does George Michael. I appreciate a good eye tooth. Paul Weller is incredibly lovely. Like, seriously incredibly lovely.

paul weller


I watched the documentary The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden and it was fascinating. It started out slow with two families moving to the Galapagos Islands to find solitude. The islands were mostly uninhabited at that point, and the whole idea of people moving to the middle of an inhospitable nowhere is interesting in and of itself. But all of the sudden it took an Agatha Christie turn with the arrival of a young baroness and her two lovers. What happens is fascinating, but what impressed me most is that it made me appreciate Dame Agatha all the more (and she is my idol, so that’s impressive) because these people were so fully realized (um, because they were real people) but they felt just like her characters, which meant she had such an incredible facility for capturing people’s quirks and the things that make them alive.

Anyway, the documentary is really interesting, and I’m currently reading one of the books it’s based on, also called Satan Came to Eden, by Dore Strauch, one of the women who lived it.

I just fell down a random youtube rabbit hole and came across this. This is one of my favorite David Bowie songs. When I was writing the first novel I ever wrote (during NaNoWriMo 2001?) I picked a bunch of songs to lead what I was writing. There’s a death in that book, and this song, while it’s really about missing someone who moved away, became the touchstone for one of the character’s grief. So now every time I hear it, I think of this character singing it to his friend who is dead and not there anymore.  Plus at the end of this video is his version of Cactus, which is one of my favorite covers of all time.

And of course, Bowie always makes me think of Swinton, because they really are so visually similar. Have you seen Only Lovers Left Alive yet? You really should. It’s so beautiful. You have to be in the right mood for it, but dear goodness, I could watch it forever. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hilddleston are vampires who are spending their eternity making music and reading books, and it’s a Jim Jarmusch movie so nothing happens. Either that appeals to you or it doesn’t, but it’s pretty much my ideal movie.

Neil Gaiman recently mentioned Tom Hiddleston in relation to the Morpheus role in the movie version of the Sandman comics, and while I read it as tongue in cheek, I think Tom Hiddleston would be fantastic. I’d prefer Joseph Gordon Levitt, who’s the one that’s been attached to it, but Tom Hiddleston would kill that role.

I have to go bag up some marshmallows (marshmallows were made today). I went outside my comfort zone and made chocolate marshmallows, which turned out pretty well.  So I’ll leave you now.

What’s going on with you?

Utterly random thoughts

Ok, not so random, as the first couple of them were brought on by reading gofugyourself.com today. But they will seem random here.

I’m super excited for Gwen Stefani to be on The Voice. I love her unabashedly. She is gorgeous (THAT FACE!) and would choose her as my spirit animal if my spirit animal could be a person. How about fairy godmother? I’d choose her as my fairy godmother. This video (and song) is one of my favorite things ever.

I think The Voice an excellent venue for the judges, because they actually get to show off their personalities. I enjoyed Maroon 5 before watching the show, but never really had an opinion about Adam Levine. But he’s utterly adorable on the show and I totally like him now. Same with Shakira. So I’m excited to see Gwen Stefani show her stuff.

I don’t understand Pitbull at all. His music bugs me, and his face always surprises me. I don’t know what I think he should look like, but it’s not this:


Speaking of gofugyourself.com (which, if you recall, I was), their write up of this weeks Royals News is awesome. I love their writing in general, but this whole post made me smile. A sample:

Also, you know William is like, “I cannot believe I am this jetlagged still and now I have to keep Harry from getting naked and streaking Graceland with a bunch of bridesmaids. I AM BUT ONE MAN,” 

I finished the book Greatby Sarah Benincasa yesterday, and while I will post about it in this week’s book post, I will just say now that I have thoughts. So many thoughts.

Have you ever thought about what your catchphrase would be if you were a mentor on some show like Project Runway or something? You know, something you say often, like St. Tim Gunn says, “Make it work” or “That’s a lot of look”? Mine would be “I have thoughts” and “I have a crazy idea”. I feel like I say or write those two things all the time. And I would love to be a mentor on a reality show about people trying to accomplish goals. I love encouraging people to dream big and try crazy things.

Speaking of crazy ideas, I’ve had one percolating over the last couple of days that involves chemistry and candy. I don’t know if I know enough about chemistry or candy to pull it off, but that has never stopped me before.

If you haven’t seen the movie About Time, you should check it out. It’s utterly lovely. It’s done by the Love Actually guy, and knowing that, I thought it was going to kind of be sappy, but it isn’t at all. The premise is that a young man turns 21 and his dad (played by the incredible Bill Nighy) tells him that the males in their family can travel backward in time. They can only go within their lifespans, and Tim (the young man) uses this ability to find love. The scope of the movie is so much bigger than that, though, and it is really just so very good. There is some swearing in it, but it’s not ridiculous. Just go with it, it’s so worth it. You will probably cry. Just saying.

I’m figuring out school for next year and it’s hurting my brain. But it’s exciting. I think it’s starting to come together, and I love it when I can start to see the outlines of the vision.

I’ve been seeking out new music lately, and I ran across White Sea, who is coming out with an album later this month. I love her voice, and I’ve been listening to this song over and over.

I’m really excited that So You Think You Can Dance is starting soon. I miss it when it’s away. Truly.

I watched Center Stage a couple nights ago for the first time in a long time. My viewing choice came down to Dirty Dancing and Center Stage, but apparently a completely impossible costume/hair/stage background change beat out Baby. I’d forgotten not only how pretty everyone in the movie is, but just how incredible some of the dancing is. Did you know that Ethan Stiefel, the guy who plays Cooper Neilsen, was the Dean of the University of North Carolina’s School of Dance? Or that he is (was?) the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet? It’s true.

I’d also forgotten how atrocious some of the writing/acting is, which is why it’s such a blessing that the dancing is so incredible. Both of these guys are just so good.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m going to go dive back into The Thin Man, which is just lovely. I love gorgeous dialogue.

What’s your catchphrase? On what kind of reality show would you want to be a mentor?

Emptying my head

I’ve got a lot rolling around in my head these days, but I’ve been struck by a cold and none of it’s coming out very coherently. So I present instead some random thoughts.

I found this post really interesting, and it put together really well some thoughts I’ve been trying to sort out about compassion. I feel like I’m getting a masters (or maybe just intense beginners) class on compassion lately.

This post is part of that class too. Read it, if just for the second paragraph.

This is my new favorite blog. She writes gorgeously and honestly.

These pictures inspire me.

These inspire me even more. (I LOVE the idea of pininterest, and love collecting pictures, but I have the feeling I’d just end up taking everyone else’s pictures.

I’ve been listening to this album nonstop this week: Lamb of God: a sacred work for choir, orchestra and soloists, it’s so amazingly gorgeous. I can’t recommend it highly enough in preparing for Easter.

Speaking of Easter, I am not the least bit prepared. I haven’t gotten out any of our Easter books, I don’t know that the Easter bunny has thought about baskets… I need to get in touch with that guy.

Do you want to see some stuff I’ve made recently?

These little guys were a quick make- and the girls love them. They’re supposed to have legs, but, well, they don’t.

I made the two little bear/bunnies for a baby shower gift- the dark brown and green for her new little boy, and the white and pink for his big sister- because you know she’d try to steal the other one. 🙂 The Godzilla was just for fun, and is sitting on top of my desk, though Z wants it desperately. I expect it will end up in her room by the end of the week.

I have the problem that I just have too many things I want to make. This is my craft book shelf:

(And I realized that one book is missing.) I compiled a list, and out of these books, there are over 50 projects that I want to do. That’s a lot.

My next project is supposed to be this:


A quilt for Z. The fabric is even cut into strips to be further cut so I can start sewing:

But I found this fabric the other day:

and I am completely and utterly distracted. I’m envisioning a quilt with 12 inch “windows” from this fabric, surrounded by thin brown strips (to make the window frame), then basket weave squares (like in the skull quilt above) in these colors:

with a little of this thrown in for good measure.

Or maybe that on the back? I’m not sure yet.

But I do need to get to the skull quilt first, as Z is getting a new bed, and needs a bigger quilt to go with it. All of her current quilts are definitely toddler bed-ish size, and she, sadly is not.

I don’t think I have anything else to say. I’m going to go make the lasagna that we’re going to have for dinner. What are you up to today?

At this moment

I was about to start a new post when I found this unfinished one from earlier in the month. There were a couple of things I wanted to remember in it, so here they are, before I type anything new.

– Part of why I’m tired is because someone yelled “Momma” at 3 am this morning. I went in to see what was going on, and both girls seemed asleep. I assumed it had been Tiny, as she has a tendency to talk (and yell) in her sleep. Z had kicked off her blankets and it was cold, so I covered her up. I didn’t touch Tiny because if you touch her she wakes up and starts demanding things. This morning, Z mentioned that she had been cold in the night and had yelled for me. We had an impromptu lesson on reaching down and pulling up her own dang covers. (Presented much more kindly, of course.) I even had her lay in bed and practice.

– I’m reading Heidi with Z before bed. I’d never read it before, and I really like it. We’re reading an abridged version, and I need to get the real one, there’s a lot of good stuff in it. Z is loving it. We read a couple chapters and then she said no thank you to another one. She usually only does that if there’s something scary in the book, but everything was happy, so I asked her why she didn’t want to keep reading. She said that she was afraid we’d get to the end of the book. That’s my girl! I promised that we could start over again at the beginning if she wanted to once we’d finished.

-I ordered business cards for my etsy shop today from Moo.com. They have pretty awesome cards, and you can have different designs or pictures on one side of every card. And no, there is nothing in my etsy store yet, but the cards were free through a dealie thing, and baby steps, right? Once we move I’m hoping to get the box of stuff I have to sell photographed and up on the site. I’ll let you know.

-I finished Evelyn Waugh’s Work Suspended. Goodness, I love that man’s writing. This is a collection of his short stories, and they’re brilliant. I know I throw that word around a lot, but he really was. He just had the ability to capture the joy and tragedy and absurdity of life with such affection.

Ok, here I am again today. 🙂

At this moment:

I should mention that I finished the unabridged Heidi and it was marvelous.

I’m listening to this over and over again. I just love it.

I really want to make this for the girls’ new room.

Speaking of their new room, I can’t wait until they are in it! We’re days away from being able to start to move, and I can’t wait. We are precisely at the point where we can’t pack more without tripping over boxes, but I still want to get more done. Hopefully we will have everything moved by the middle of next Saturday, and hopefully I will have had the chance to unpack some things as we went. I will post pictures when I have them.

Z gets to sing with the primary during Sacrament tomorrow. She also gets to say the prayer in opening exercises. In her words, “There are so many exciting things I get to do!”

I can’t stop thinking about these two posts. (Here and here ) I don’t have much to comment about them, they’re just truly awe inspiring accounts of the hand of the Lord in people’s lives. I highly recommend them, but make sure you have time and tissues. I will warn that the first one is absolutely devastating – the last lines will rip you open. It’s amazing to me how much people endure in this life, in the valleys of death we must walk through. And we never really know what people are going through, or have gone through- do we?

I’m heading to bed. What’s going on with you at this moment?

Check out my new blog!

Remember my blog post from a couple days ago? The post full of recommendations? Well, since then I’ve thought of more to post, and I didn’t want to just go back and add them to that post, because they’d get lost, so, long story short, I have a new blog, just for the things I like the best. So if I’ve ever told you about something and forgot to send you a link to it, this is where you should go. If you want a new game to play or a new book to read, check it out. You might find something you like.

Here it is: May I Recommend…

Let me know what you think!

All in one place: A reference post

Apparently I recommend things a lot, and I thought it might be useful to someone (ahem, Becky, Sherry… 🙂 ) to have all my recommendations in one place. SO… while this may not be every recommendation I have ever made, it will be as many as I can think of at the moment. Hopefully you find something you like; personally, I love all of these things. And I’m not getting paid by any of them to say that. (And I’m in no way guaranteeing any of them, though to the best of my knowledge and experience they work great.) I’ve included links to everything, so I’m not really going to go into too much description of what they are, just why I like them. 🙂

Crafting stuff:

Fat Quarter Shop: This is where I buy all my fabric online. They have fair prices, sometimes amazing sales, and they stock a TON of stuff. They also carry packs of fabric that’s already cut, and quilt kits. Their shipping prices are good, and they have great customer service.

Joann Fabric and Craft: This is where I buy a lot of my fabric in person. Good prices, great coupons, really nice selection.

Custom Crops: This is where I buy scrapbook and other crafting supplies online. They have the best prices on Cricut cartridges that I’ve found, if you’ve tumbled down that particular well. They also carry glimmer mist and lots of other wonderful things.

Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life: This book changed my entire outlook on homemaking and cleaning. Seriously life changing.


100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style : This book is essential for anyone starting out homeschooling, or just trying to sort out their view of education or trying to figure out their child’s learning style. I seriously cannot recommend this book highly enough. A word of warning though- DON’T get the Kindle edition- there’s a multi page survey in graph form (that’s essential to the whole point of the book) that is rendered completely ineffective in digital form.

A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning, A Charlotte Mason Education, and More Charlotte Mason Education: Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is what we’re following for our homeschooling, and these books give the best introduction and practical application I’ve found. The first is long and is meant to be read over a period of time and thought about, the second two are super fast reads but SUPER informative. I recommend reading the second two first, and then getting into the first one. (I really should have put them in a different order, shouldn’t I? HAHA, I’m not changing it now!)


LeapFrog – Letter Factory: This DVD, along with the Talking Words Factory, Word Caper, Learn to Read at the Storybook Factory make up a FANTASTIC introduction to letters and reading. They really work incredibly well. There are math DVDs too, but we haven’t used them as much. I should get them out again.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: This is the book we used with Z, and it is fantastic. We did have to stop at around lesson 65 as it takes the kids up to a 1st or 2nd grade reading level, and she hit her personal ceiling. HIGHLY recommended.

Now I’m Reading! Playful Pals, Level 1 : This is what we’re working through now for reading lessons, and Z is loving them. Each “book” has 10 mini books inside, and there are 5 or 6 sets.

There Is a Bird On Your Head! (An Elephant and Piggie Book): Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series is a new hit at our house. The words are straight forward enough that Z can read them, and the pictures are hilarious enough that she WANTS to read them.

Tell Me A Story Cards: OK, so technically I haven’t actually tried these yet, but I have it on good authority that they’re amazing, and I just ordered them. There are 4 sets, “Mystery in the Forest”, “Fairy Tale Mix Up”, “Little Robot’s Mission”, and “Circus Animals’ Adventure”. The pictures on the cards look really evocative, but vague enough that you could get some really great story telling happening. At less than $10 a set, I kind of want all of them.


Come Look With Me: World of Play : This series of books is so fantastic that I want to own every single one. Each two page spread contains a full page reproduction of a piece of art, and the facing page has a little paragraph about the piece and the artist, and questions intended to get your kid really looking at the art, finding new things, thinking about it. I LOVE these.

MathArts: Exploring Math Through Art for 3 to 6 Year Olds and Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff (Mary Ann Kohl Books): Both of these are chock full of AWESOME and fairly easy art projects.

The Artful Parent: This blog is full of super fun ideas for art projects to do with kids, we’ve stolen at least 4 or 5 since I started reading it just about a month ago.

Filth Wizardry: Also full of crazy fun art ideas. So inspiring.


Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown: It’s a quick, intense, good workout. Lots of movement within poses to keep your heartrate up, short periods of holding the poses to build strength.

Fat Free Yoga and Ultimate Stretch Yoga Workout : Both of these are Kundalini Yoga, and so there’s lots of movement, lots of crazy breathing. 🙂 I LOVE both of these. They both come equipped with a heavy duty Matrix menu where you can pick and choose which parts you want to do, which is awesome when you have a specific amount of time.

Shiva Rea – Creative Core Abs and Yoga Shakti: Both of these are by Shiva Rea, who is a crazy amazing yogi. They’re both very flow-y, with a lot of standard yoga asanas that flow effortlessly (hah!) into each other. Yoga Shakti includes some super heavy duty moves, but they tend to be inspiring rather than depressing (at least to me). Both workouts are filmed in amazing settings- one of the beaches is seriously SO pretty. And Yoga Shakti comes with a Matrix menu. The Creative Core Abs really is “creative”; she introduces the movements and then says “do what you want! Let your body move!”, which could be kind of irritating if you don’t like that kind of thing. I enjoy it, and definitely feel it the next day.

Gaiam Kids: Yogakids Fun Collection: The two dvds in this collection are awesome. My girls LOVE them, and love yoga because of them.


Cape Verde: I love this album for it’s “multi-culturalism”, but mostly for it’s ability to make me feel like I’m living in an Ocean’s Eleven style heist movie. The girls really enjoy it too.

You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell: This is what Z calls “calm music” – calming and quiet without being boring. I turn this on when the girls are getting crazy and it tends to tone things down a bit.

Here Come the ABCs, Here Come the 123’s, and Here Comes Science by They Might be Giants: Awesome music that teaches basic letters, numbers, and science concepts in a way that won’t want you to cut your ears off. Seriously, some of the songs are really catchy. We listen to “High Five” in increments of about 30 times in a row.

That’s all that I can think of at the moment. If I’ve recommended something to you and forgotten and you think it would be helpful, let me know and I’ll add it.

Now it’s your turn! What do you recommend?

Random thoughts

Are you ready for summer? We are.

She would wear this everyday if I’d let her. She won’t be so eager once she starts swim lessons, but that’s a fight for another day. 🙂 Our “summer” starts in a couple of weeks- preschool ends and swim lessons start- I’m excited. I love our preschool and the fun things we do with our friends for adventure days, but it will be nice to just have time to be outside and play. (Of course, seeing as I have to have everything organized, we still have a “schedule” for the summer – lots of pool days and park days and beach days and adventures. But it’s a lot more open than the non-summer months have been.)

I really think my Auntie (and my favorite Uncle and cutie pants cousin too…) should come visit me for a weekend (at least) and go to the beach with us…. I’m just sayin’….

I really feel like I should be heading to bed, it’s late (for me) but I totally scored today and took a 2 hour nap, which I think may doom me for falling asleep at any normal time. But who knows, maybe it won’t.

I’m reading some really interesting books right now- Come Be My Light by Mother Teresa, which is fascinating- I’ve not read much about her before; and Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson, which is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. It looks at the spiritual implications and ramifications of homemaking and housekeeping, and as my dearly loved Brandy expressed about it- it’s extremely validating. Peterson puts into words so many things I’ve felt, and explores connections that I immediately recognize as truth. My favorite part so far – when speaking about the scripture in Matthew about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, and “as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” :

“There is a tendency, I think, on the part of those of us who are well fed, clothed, and housed to imagine that the needy people to whom Jesus refers in Matthew 25 are people we don’t know- the sort of people who are served at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, at which we ought therefore to volunteer at least occasionally. But housework is about feeding and clothing and sheltering people who, in the absence of that daily work, would otherwise be hungry and ill-clad and ill-housed.”

Isn’t that stunning?

Oh, and this too:

“God’s own presence with his people is mediated through dwelling places and domestic activities. In the book of Genesis we read of how the Lord appeared to Abraham as he sat at the door of his tent beside the oaks of Mamre. God’s appearing took the form of a visit from three strangers whom Abraham and Sarah welcomed by preparing and serving a meal of bread and meat and curds, and as they welcomed these strangers they welcomed God himself and became recipients of God’s promise and blessing.”

I love it.

Truly a random thought- did you know I never actually learned to type? Like I never took a class or anything. I just wrote hundreds of papers in high school and college and by the middle of my freshman year in college (I’m fairly sure), my fingers had the muscle memory from all the hunt and peck. I have no idea how fast I type now, but it’s not too shabby. Like I said- random.

We just started watching Modern Family- it’s cute. And we’re catching up on Doctor Who, which is fantabulous. I love that show. Not at all convinced I’m going to love the new Doctor, but I thought that about David Tennant too, and I absolutely adore him.

Ooh, I’m also reading poetry by Kay Ryan, current U.S. poet laureate, and absolutely LOVING it. I’m not huge on poetry- it has to hit the right tone for me- but she’s awesome. Snarky, smart, slightly biting- perfect.

Polish and Balm

Dust develops

from inside

as well as

on top when

objects stop

being used.

No unguent

can soothe

the chap of


Who knew

the polish

and balm in

a person’s

simple passage

among her things.

We knew she

loved them

but not what

love meant.

So lovely.

I bought new sandals. They’re awesome and my toenails are painted red in their honor.

I really want another s’mores cupcake like the one B brought home for me the other day. It was super yummy. And it had toasted marshmallow frosting. That’s just awesome.

I really don’t want to plan out dinners for the next week. Anyone have any great ideas of new (fairly easy) recipes I can try?

I’m running out of random thoughts, so I will tie this up with some cuteness.

All I will say about the contents of that cup is that while it should have kept her awake, it did not. Thank goodness. 🙂

She is not, in fact, re-inacting the Monty Python Silly Walks sketch, although I can see how you’d think that.

Really, I think this is the absolute cutest, to die for picture ever of all time:

Grandpas are just the best. 🙂

Hopefully that was sufficiently entertaining and didn’t bore anyone to death. I think I may be ready to fall asleep. And I want to get my booty out of bed tomorrow morning and do some yoga, so I better get to it.

What’s going on with you? 🙂

Well hello, peoples

It was pointed out to me this evening that I haven’t posted in a while. And it always slightly disappoints me when I go to my regularly scheduled blogs and there’s no new post, so…..

B was gone to Ireland for a week and a half, 8 days, somewhere in there. He’s back now, which is lovely. I missed him. The girls missed him. We enjoyed the fact that we live in the future and have the equivalent of video phones, except without the accidentally answering it with your hair in curlers. Wasn’t that always the fear about video phones? And it was before answering machines, so the idea that you could JUST NOT ANSWER THE PHONE wasn’t a possibility? Wow I’m kind of rambly tonight.

While he was gone I:

watched a lot of movies set in the 1920s (including but not limited to: Being Julia, Gosford Park, and The Cat’s Meow),

worked on some projects which I will not detail here as they are intended for a couple readers of this blog,

hosted both an Oscar party and a jewelry party (both great fun),

skipped on over to Santa Cruz where we visited beloved friends, bought wonderful things (including a pair of foxy boots that make me look like a space pirate- seriously, just add a jaunty cap and I could be piloting a dirigible), and went to the beach. The girls LOVED it. We need to do it more often.

did NOT finish Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, which I feel like I’ve been reading for YEARS now,

went to bed early a bunch of nights. It’s tiring doing this mom thing on my own!

But now he’s back- hooray! And just in time for my birthday, an occasion on which I was thoroughly and gorgeously spoiled. I received not only awesome rag doll Alice in Wonderland toys, but also a new Haunted Kindle! which I’ve decided should actually be officially named The Haunted Kindle. The original haunted Kindle (lower case h) still works fine, but is a little “janky” as B puts it, and has it’s personality quirks. It will have a loving new home (not on a lovely farm with lots of room for it to run…) and I will enjoy the razor quickness, longer battery life, and overall slickness of The Magic Haunted Kindle of Doom, complete with swanky pink case. All the books are moved over, and I will continue trudging through Positive Discipline for Preschoolers.

In other birthday news, this post really rings true for me.

And speaking of posts that ring true, this one is amazing. (The comments are amazing too.) I’ve been thinking a lot recently (inspired by lessons and things, not life tragedies) about how so many things that happen in life happen because we’re living in an imperfect world and sometimes that just sucks, and that most of the time the horrible things that happen are NOT God’s will, but that if we turn them over to Him, He will sanctify them for our good and make them part of a positive process for us. And that’s so much better than holding on to bitterness and anger over them, because there is no positive process there. Anyway.

And speaking of thinking about things, I’ve been thinking lately about how we don’t receive more knowledge until we do something with the knowledge that’s already being offered to us. And how sometimes (many times?) our definitions and assumptions of how things work get in the way of our seeing the way they really do work. I’ll write more about this later, I think.

And with no sneaky segue, can I just sa that daylight savings time is killing me? I just thought I’d mention it. I will not mention how my children are doing with it for about another week or so. Or maybe never. Don’t want to jinx/mess up anything. Let’s just say there’s a yin/yang element to it.

My cousin just had a baby girl who is currently in the NICU (I think), please extend prayers on her behalf (the baby and the mama. And the daddy. And the grandparents and uncles and aunts for good measure. And the little sister of the baby).

I think that’s it for now. I’m tired and going to bed.


Oh goodness. I was about to go to bed when all drama erupted. Let’s just say that if you’ve told a little girl that she isn’t supposed to get out of bed, but that if she needs to pee in the night that she can call you and you’ll come get her, you need to have a contingency plan for what happens if you don’t hear her. And I will pass along the wisdom of said same little girl, “When you have all your crys in you, it feels all frusterating. But when you get all your crys out, it feels happy!”. Do with that what you will. Just keep in mind that getting all said crys out can take upwards of 15 minutes.