Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon


Whelp, we’re all moved in to our new home. A few more pictures and lights up and there will be a full post on the new place. I’ve been so productive these past few weeks, but at the expense of my reading. I have read a damn thing in two weeks. I finally accepted that Germinal needed to go back on the shelf, because I’m in a new place and want to start a different book (I’m so fickle).

In fact, I’m so scattered I don’t even know if I signed up for this weekend’s readathon yet. So, here we are. This year I’m stepping back from helping. I need this chance for some down time. I’m eager to spend the day chugging coffee and reading. I’ll be sending Sam and the kids to a family fall festival at the school (although I have some guilt about not going with them).

On to readathon plans! First up, I did a bullet journal spread for readathon this year:


Shout out to Andi’s sweet sticker shop for the bitchin stickers. I never thought I’d be a planner sticker gal, but I am HOOKED.

I’ve assembled a book pile with the hope of completing at least three of the six books:


Let me know if and where you’ll be readathoning and I’ll make sure to stop in and say hello! Happy Reading!

I had an urge to blog…

… so I decided to jump on it.

There’s been very little poetry writing, reading of any sort, crocheting, or – obviously – blogging for me this month. I’m actually not too worried about it because I’ve had an amazingly productive October thus far.

First of all I have been professional AF. I attended our state library association’s annual conference last week. The sessions were great, but honestly hanging out with my good friends Erin, Catherine, Kim, and the rest of the rad librarian gang was the best. At the conference I co-presented on a student-employee management system I developed with our research and instruction team. I was elected vice-chair of the paraprofessional division. in addition, I slayed at a major marketing campaign back at the library and I was asked by a BIG academic publisher to review a book proposal. Oh yeah, and I applied to library school. I’m slightly paranoid that all my materials won’t be in by the admission deadline of Saturday. I priority 2-day shipped my transcript and now the tracking number isn’t working. Oh well. The worst thing that could happen is that I apply for the fall of 2017 instead of the spring of 2017 as originally planned.


A colleague snapped a picture of me presenting (aka terrified and faking my way through the entire thing). 

Second big thing in October: MOVING. On Saturday we’re moving from our apartment to a townhome in the same complex. We’ve liked our apartment until about eight months ago. We got some new upstairs neighbors and they are stomping and slamming and rowdy from 8pm until 6am every damn day. We’ve also kind of outgrown out apartment. There isn’t a safe place to play outdoors, the entry way to the building is disgusting, and I’m pretty sure someone in this building is selling dope given there are so many people coming and going at all hours.

The townhome will give us an increase of about 300 square feet. It has two and a half baths, a gas fireplace, big windows, a lovely few, carport and storage, and space for the kids to play indoors and outdoors. Some quick pics of the new place:


That space by the fireplace is part of a long room that has the dining room on one end near the kitchen . That little fireplace area will be my writing spot. Tomorrow is a full day with packing and a trip to the vet for Beau. Sam is taking his GACE exam and is presenting a state art educators conference. We’re busy, y’all.

I can already feel a big swell of calm from settling things down. I go back to work on Monday and will be working on my normal work load (one last marketing push, but no more presentations and projects for a bit). I’ve planned some fallish, fun things for later in the month. There’s readathon approaching (I’m just reading this year). I did my first Once a Month Cooking blitz since 2010 (when I was nesting with Atticus) and I’m planning on blogging about it.

Blogging. Yes. I’m back at it again with the blog plans. Expect more posts!

Product Review: Cottonelle Mega Roll

I signed up for Influenster to get rad, free stuff and I decided to properly review each item received for a bit of writing practice. Then I learned that this month’s box is toilet paper. Toilet. Paper. I don’t have much brand loyalty for products in general except for when it comes to toilet paper. I’ve been a consistent Scott toilet paper buyer the entirety of my adult life. Perhaps it is time to branch out? Maybe I’ll switch ass allegiance and become a rabid Cottonelle fan?


Influenster provided me with this product for free in exchange for an HONEST review.


When my Cottonelle Mega Roll pack arrived I immediately noted the soft squishy largeness of each roll. “A dab will do you,” I thought with penny-pincher glee.

Sadly, Cottonelle was a mega disappointment. I feared I was alone in my dislike of Cottonelle and spent some time after dinner last night casually discussing toilet paper with my husband, teenager, and little kids and learned I’m not alone in my dislike.

First of all Cottonelle swiped through my delicate lady region with the ferocity of a thousand sands. All those absorbing little ripples irritated my vajayjay. I actually questioned my ability to wipe myself. Was I too rough? I tried to daintily wipe and that lessened the vag rage, but I seriously did not feel like the clean fresh daisy I know I am. I actually spent time talking with my teen daughter about this and she said she learned to “just keep dabbing and do not wipe” so she didn’t feel like she was using sandpaper.

And can we talk about the lint Cottonelle leaves behind in my behind? I felt like my rear was part of the cotton mill scene in the BBC production of North and South. Richard Armitage wasn’t there so I was not jiving with the feeling of CottonMILL in my butt. (call me, Richard!)


My husband and teen also echoed that Cottonelle was “very linty,” but what about the little kids?

Imagine you have a sweet preschool daughter who shits bricks like a grown man. Imagine after a very messy poop-explosion she asks for some help wiping. Imagine wiping her wee bum with Cottonelle and the horror – HORROR – when half the toilet paper stays in your hand and the other half is in shitty shreds hanging out of her bum like some sort of a DIY birthday party streamer nightmare. Imagine having to locate baby wipes to clean her up while she screams at you that you’re basically a crap mom for treating her like a baby and using wipes. IMAGINE.

Even yuckier than the scraping and lint is Cottonelle’s completely asinine cultural appropriation of yoga. Yes, YOGA. Now I enjoy a nice relaxing yoga session as much as the next anxiety riddled gal, but I’m mindful with my practice. When the British began colonizing India over 300 years ago they stripped yoga of spirituality and vilified those who practiced yoga. Through the years elements of yoga was used for health and exercise with no spirituality and for the last 50 years yoga has enjoyed a resurgence of practice with spirituality. It is difficult to sift through and discern a respectful and culturally sensitive practice from the appropriating practices. In addition some contemporary yoga practices have appropriated spiritual and cultural symbols from yoga and commercialized them to cash in on health conscious modern moms. To approach yoga with reverence and recognition of the deep spirituality and history of yoga is fine, but don’t use it to sell me green tea, expensive “yoga” pants, or TOILET PAPER.

Yes, folks, Cottonelle went there by partnering with some culturally appropriating shit storm of a “yoga” festival called Wanderlust (I don’t know jack about this festival, but the Cottonelle ads are so bad I’m assuming someone at Wanderlust is clueless). Behold:

Image result for wanderlust cottonelle

Transform your mind, body, and bum? Namast’ay clean? REALLY?! You’re going to take a deeply spiritual concept and word and have a bunch of white American women take selfies with toilet paper or “dare to go commando at Wanderlust?” I cannot even with how offensive this is. I identify as Christian and I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone to take the hymn “Washed in the Blood of the Lamb” and make it cute to sell me tampons.


No, Cottonelle. I will not wipe my ass with you, but you can sure as hell kiss my ass.

Hello, October


Thank the heavens October is here. September was a weird, weird month. When I look back over my calendar for September it seems like a normal month with the same level of activity. In truth, I’ve been emotionally drained since my Grandfather passed in July. Grieving his passing and then moving into a busy season at work and home knocked me for a loop. Hope had knee surgery and took longer than expected to recover, work was insanely busy, the cat had stitches, Atticus had significant issues starting Kindergarten, and I was rejected from graduate school. God heavens. I didn’t read jack, I couldn’t write, and I was barely staying afloat.

Now, a new month, a fresh page, and a discernible crispness in the air. Let’s see what’s on my agenda for October:

  • I’m attending a library conference at the end of this week and co-presenting on a management game involving our student-employees and Harry Potter. Oddly enough the biggest challenge for me with this conference is planning how I will maintain sobriety. I completely abstain from alcohol after I learned I have Bipolar II, but I feel like everyone around me has plans to drink. I’ve booked a room with one of my dearest and most understanding friends away from the party hotel and I have plans to meet up with another pal one night for dinner. I’m looking forward to squeezing some reading and writing in during the early morning and late night hours.
  • The week after the conference I’m only working my Sunday shift at the library and then I’m taking some vacation days. I use the phrase vacation lightly. I’ve plans to do a once a month cooking session and I’m planning on packing up to move house.
  • On Saturday, 15 October, we move. I’m so excited to be in a town home and be done with people stomping above me at all hours of the night. We’ll have a bit more room, a larger porch, a gas fireplace, and the most beautiful trees that turn crimson-tipped in late October. I cannot wait to show you all the trees.
  • October 15th is also the day my graduate school file needs to be complete. I’ve decided to take the plunge and go for my Masters in Library and Information Science. If I get rejected from this school I really will be depressed.
  • Readathon is happening on October 22nd and I’m stoked for it.
  • Speaking of reading, I’ve made it my goal to read at least 50 pages a day in October in an effort to jump start my reading. Of course, it is October 2nd and I don’t think I’ll get to read tonight, but whatever. I’m making the effort.
  • The kids have some great stuff coming up. Atticus will turn 6 at the end of the month and I’m planning a space-themed party. Hope is getting her braces, which she is excited about. Atticus and Hope have a few days of fall break and then Persy has fall break the following week. This means each kiddo should have a little bit of one-on-one time with mom.
  • I’m still working on some poems and a crocheted blanket here and there. You know, in my free time.

I’m feeling really good about October. Cheers to pumpkin spice lattes and cool evenings with a book and a quilt.


On Writing, Rejection, and Living to Tell the Tale



Today I determined that I’ve been rejected by Warren Wilson’s low-residency MFA program. I say determined because my application has been marked completed. In Submittable speak, that’s a nice way to say rejected. I expect a thin envelope to arrive in a matter of days. This rejection is coming on the tail end of a slew of rejections. I’ve consistently poured 10 to 15 hours a week into writing, revising, and reading poems. I have had one acceptance (forthcoming) and approximately 30 writing related rejections. I know this is part of the game, but it is still crushing.

I am amazingly okay right now.

Let me make clear that I am aware that an MFA is not the only path to becoming a writer. I want to earn an MFA because that has been my dream since high school and because I crave intentional time to write. I spend time away from my husband, children, and friends in order to write poems that have a less than 3% chance of getting accepted and offers zero to little pay. When people ask what I’m doing and I say I’m writing, the assumption is the writing will be published and make money (ha!) or it must be for some other tangible reason like earning a degree. That is a mostly correct assumption (except I know there’s no money in it).  I’m not writing poems in a void. I want someone to read and connect with them and that means pursing writing in a professional vein and not filling a journal with stanzas that only I will read. Publication is the goal. I want my “writer self” to be full and fleshed out; in other words, this isn’t a hobby. I am compelled to write.

All of this writing takes time and space. As a woman and a mother it is difficult to carve out time and identity to oneself. I wanted the 20 days a year away from home to write and engage with other writers (is that bad?). I wanted to have an excuse to let the kids go to daycare when I’m off work and let them subsist on pizza rolls while I hole up in a coffee shop to write and read. Call me selfish, but I tell you that when my husband leaves the house to paint no one is asking him if I am at home babysitting. There’s a double standard. Working on an MFA would have given me a chance to deepen my reading, learn from kick ass writers, and separate myself from my identity as a mother. Motherhood informs and enriches my writing and I love my children, but I want my daughters to know they have a self outside of motherhood and I want my son to realize that women are more than caretakers. Think of it this way, Sam is an artist, student, and dad. He is always those three things whether he is painting, in class, or playing with the kids. Society grants men the right to move fluidly through different roles. As a mom I’m a mom and then everything else comes second or I’m perceived as a shitty mom. As a result, I’m a mom who works at a library and writes. Mom consumes most of my identity and the other things are in addition to motherhood.

Some may argue with this assertion and they wouldn’t be necessarily wrong. There are intersections at work here that extend beyond gender. Class figures into this predominantly.  What if I could afford to stay home and write while the little kids are at school from 7:30 until 2:30? What if I could afford to take an online poetry class or travel to a writing conference?  What if I could pay someone to babysit several times a month while I go to readings or a workshop? The what ifs are pointless and the reality is that I have a 40-hour a week job, I’m the primary breadwinner, and I rely on the quality medical insurance I have at my job to keep my mental health in check.

And mental health is where we get to the amazingly okay part.

In college I tried to commit suicide. I have PTSD and – at the time undiagnosed – Bipolar II disorder. When you have depression everything feels insurmountable and at the same time it feels like it is completely your own stupid fault. Well, that’s how it was for me. Nothing happened just because shit happens. I thought shit happened because I was shit. My child was having behavior problems at school (probably because I’m a shitty mom). I was earning a C in a class that really mattered to me (probably because I’m really stupid). I would have periods of time where I was brash, angry, and rambled incoherently for hours and thought I was brilliant and then I would be embarrassed when I realized I was ridiculous. On the flip side, I would have days on end where things like “bathing” and “going to work” were impossible. Also, coming from a past with abuse and having PTSD meant that being vulnerable was scary. Any perception of rejection or dislike was internalized and scraped at an already bruised self that felt unworthy, unloved, and stupid. In the days before I tried to die I felt the same thud of words in my brain, “burden, burden, burden.” I was the burden. A waste of space and time and air. It all felt like too much.

I didn’t die. I got help, but it was spotty. Recovery was complicated by too many or too few pills, inconsistent finances, unattainable mental health services, and trying to work a enough hours to take care of my daughter. I spent the next thirteen years becoming stable: building a career in the library, meeting Sam and getting married, and having more babies. I still wanted to write, but I didn’t want to end up in the dark place rejection sent me. No more of that. I’d blog and write in my journal, but I pushed aside all dreams of poems and publication.

Then, in April of 2015, I found a good therapist and we started to peel away years of hurt, secrets, and despair. I was feeling better, but then last fall I felt angry all the time, I hardly slept, and I was almost terminated from my job. December found me depressed and in outpatient psych hospitalization. I was diagnosed as having Bipolar II disorder and began medication.

Then, a breath of relief. In March I wanted to write a poem. I had to write the poem. I started writing every day. I sent stuff out and it was rejected. Oh reader, I was able to see and acknowledge those feelings from rejection- yes, disappointment, frustration, embarrassment, and impatience, I see you – and then put them away and carry on with revising and rewriting.

Today when I realized I’d been rejected to Warren Wilson I spent a half hour feeling shitty, worthless, and frustrated.Then I moved on. I MOVED ON.  I wasn’t plunged into depression, I didn’t have to fight the urge to drink or hurt myself, I didn’t throw all my writing into a big fire and refuse to read another line . Tonight I’ll probably tell myself I deserve a pumpkin spice latte and spend the evening with a large classic novel on the couch. I’ll probably have blips of disappointment and I may have a week or two before I get back into writing. BUT SWEET JESUS WHAT A CHANGE! I’m not depressed. I’m not depressed. When I realized that I was able to see this as a career blip and not catastrophic indication that my writing sucks, I was filled with the biggest sense of peace and a hell of a lot of pride in how far I’m come in being mentally well.

Silver linings, y’all. I didn’t get into grad school, but it proved that the medicine and therapy is working and making my life better each day. As far as grad school goes, I’ll apply again and to a few other low-res places. With a 10% or less acceptance rate I cannot be too upset. I’m channeling my frustration into drawing up my own reading lists and rejigging my schedule to make as much time as I can for writing. Warren Wilson, expect my application to hit you again in the spring!




Crazy About Autumn


Georgia is still hot and humid, but we have had some teases of rain with cooler winds hinting at autumn. The leaves are just starting to turn. I’m excited for our move in October (to a town home in the same apartment complex) because the sidewalk in front is lined with trees that turn fiery orange and red in autumn. From the back porch is a clear view to the mountains and the lake.

I’ve had my fair share of pumpkin spice lattes, but I’m really behaving and only buying one on Friday and then sometimes picking up one if I am working a closing shift. I’ve made some delicious soups and the recipes are forthcoming on Fig and Thistle. I’m crocheting a blanket in the evenings. Listening to loads of Keaton Henson. Dreaming of autumn clothes.

Well, I have some autumn clothes. I’m waiting until the weather dips below 80 to wear them and I don’t care if I sweat. I bought two pairs of sumptuous skinny corduroy pants from ModCloth and I cannot wait to wear them. My favorite fall purchase so far is this bag:



I love it! Everything fits so nicely in my bag. I’m not a purse person; I have to have a tote bag or satchel for all of my books and notebooks or I feel naked. The navy and fox pattern on this one hints at autumn woodlands so I really dig it.

Readerly Rambles: 19 September 2016



What I finished: Not a damn thing.

What I’m reading: I have three books going at the moment. I am participating in #GerminalAlong, but I’m behind. Last week I read the first 50 pages and I’m ready to read more. Germinal is a favorite that I haven’t read in ages. I’m also dipping into The Virago Book of Ghost Stories for RIP XI. It is perfectly spooky for rainy days (now if the cooler temps could just get here!). For poetry I’m reading Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. Can I be honest? I don’t love it. I am deeply moved by the subject manner and as a sort of journaling about trauma, but I don’t dig this style of poetry. It verges on the cloyingly over dramatic. I’ll finish it and see if my opinion changes.

What’s up next: I’m hoping to finish at least one of the above titles this week and pick up some Patricia Highsmith reading for next week.


Happy Reading!