Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, Oct 2017

Dewey’s Readathon—10th-Birthday Edition!—starts right now, so here’s my quick kickoff post.

My stack:

The bullet journal progress page that I stayed up late and probably sabotaged my readathon to put together:

My meme responses:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Central Massachusetts, where fall is falling.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. I might just treat myself and start there.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Ginger kombucha and a gallon of La Croix.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

No time for such niceties! I’ve got to get reading!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?

I’m going to stay off of social media except for the kickoff (hi!) and the wrap-up posts and maybe one or two check-ins on Instagram (@imperfecthappiness) and maybe here, too, so I can dedicate myself more to reading than I often do.

Now that I’ve kicked off, to the books!

TBR List Declutter, Issue 19

I’m gearing up for this weekend’s Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. Right now, I think none of the books in my readathon stack are from my TBR list. Typical.

Wondering what this is all about? Check out the introductory post.

Read More

TBR List Declutter, Issue 18

Odd. I usually have a few things to say before I jump into the list, but I’m drawing a blank today. (Actually, I have lots of things on my mind, but I don’t want to share any of them with the Internet. It’s nothing personal; they’re just not ready to be shared yet.)

So, let’s just get to the books.

Wondering what this is all about? Check out the introductory post. Read More

TBR List Declutter, Issue 17

Going through this list, I started wondering if there’s a month in which I’m most likely to add titles or if they’re fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. So, I crunched some numbers (instead of, you know, reading the books on my list) and here’s what I came up with:

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 3.04.10 PM

This chart represents the average number of titles I’ve added each month from when I joined Goodreads in September 2007 until 31 August 2017. It’s not totally accurate since it doesn’t include titles I’ve already scrapped via this most recent TBR declutter nor does it include the many titles I scrapped during various declutter-fests over the past ten years, but it gives a decent idea of when I’ve added books.

Based on this chart, it looks like March is the clear winner, with November and December essentially tying for second place.

Now that I’ve got the chart, what is the significance of these data? What am I doing in March (and November and December) that makes me add so many books to my TBR? Just like with the number of licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

Wondering what this is all about? Check out the introductory post.

Titles 161-170: Read More

Bookends: September 2017

A lot happened in September. Heck, a lot has happened in the first three days of October. The hits just keep on coming.

On the reading front, September was a fairly dry month for me. I let too many other things distract me (like my TBR List Declutter ). But October 21-22 is Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, and I’m getting excited for that, so hopefully this month will be more read-y for me.

In caterpillar news, I am sad to report that although the long-lived last caterpillar formed a J, he/she did not successfully pupate and is now at rest in our compost bin. Our snail pets are doing well, but we’re thinking about setting them free before cold weather because snails are really only so interesting, and I think they’d be happier in the garden than in a plastic terrarium listening (do snails have ears?) to my kids practice piano.

Now to the point of this post: The list of books I read in September!

Read More

TBR List Declutter, Issue 16

Last week I mentioned my plan to think about making a plan to speed this declutter up a little. I’m still mulling on that plan to plan, and I’ve not gotten much closer than to look slack-jawed at the master spreadsheet I have of all of my TBRs and think, “I’m going to be 42 years old before this project is done.”

Act in haste, repent at leisure, the sages say—or rather, “married in haste, we may repent at leisure,” per William Congreve in 1693, who likely modified his version from Shakespeare, who is the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon of English aphorisms (if Six Degrees of William Shakespeare isn’t already an English major game, it really should be). Whatever the saying, I’m neither hastily marrying nor hastily making more changes to my TBR List Declutter.

Actually, I have made one tiny change. You might have noticed that the title of this post says “Issue 16” rather than “Week 16.” That’s so I have the leeway to publish more than one declutter post a week, should I decide to plan on making that part of my speed-up plan.

Wondering what this is all about? (I think we’re all a bit confused by now.) Check out the introductory post.

Read More

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

Not only was this a great book to take with me to Utah, it’s also one of the books from my TBR list! The TBR List Declutter is working!


Shortly after my daughter was born, my in-laws came to visit us in California. While there, they drove to Yosemite National Park for a few days. When they got back, my spouse asked them what they’d seen while they were there.

Everything,” his dad replied.

What he meant, of course, was everything they could see within a fifty-yard walk from their car.

On that trip, my in-laws were just the kind of national park tourists Abbey pities and despises. “So long as they are unwilling to crawl out of their cars they will not discover the treasures of the national parks and will never escape the stress and turmoil of those urban-suburban complexes which they had hoped, presumably, to leave behind for a while.” (52)

Abbey opines in 1968 that automobiles are ruining the parks by necessitating the construction of roads and parking lots and ruining the experience for the visitors by keeping them encapsulated in steel and separated from the very experiences they’ve come to experience. He proposes a solution: ban automobiles from the parks. Read More

TBR List Declutter Week 15

Another week, another batch of titles!

I wonder if I should start posting ten titles twice a week to get through the list faster. I do feel like I have some momentum now, and I’m actually starting to read from my TBR, so maybe this project of mine is working. But I don’t want to be too hasty about implementing a plan that will increase my weekly workload unless I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to keep up with it. I’ll mull it over.

Wondering what this is all about? Check out the Introductory Post.

Titles 141-150: Read More

Spicy Chicken, Tomato, and Rice in the Slow Cooker

It’s been a long time (like, four years) since I published a recipe post. I used to publish them a lot, testing out new recipes and variations on old recipes and scarfing down the failures and successes alike, until I noticed a correlation between recipe blogging and the upward progression of the numbers on my bathroom scale, especially once we moved to the suburbs and my incidental physical activity decreased dramatically. So, I cooled my jets on food-related posts for a while.

Then when I was in Utah recently (yes, I’m mentioning Utah again, but it’s just a passing mention this time), I stumbled upon a simple skillet-to-oven way to cook chicken. When I got home, I modified it for the slow cooker and decided to share the results with the Internet. Read More

Scenes from Utah

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, my kids and I traveled to Utah early in September, and we had a fabulous time. The trip reminded me for the second time this year (the first was our visit to Joshua Tree National Park this past spring) how much I love the western United States and how much I love the desert especially. Next time I travel west, I hope to visit some or all of the five National Parks in Utah. I’ve been to Arches, but it bears a return trip, especially now that I’ve read Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey.

But even staying in and near Salt Lake City, we had a blast. Some photos from our adventures, curated to remove anything unpleasant—like my son’s epic nosebleed and almost-very-bad head wound—because that’s what blogs are for:

Tracy Aviary, Salt Lake City:

Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship, Midway, Utah:

Salt Lake City Public Library:

Around Salt Lake City: