Reporting from Procrastination Nation

Posted in Personal by

desk spaceDisclosure: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase a copy of the book via Amazon, I will receive a commision from the sale.

Things I should probably be doing today:

  • revising my novel
  • working out

Things I’m doing instead:

  • cleaning out my computer files
  • glancing out the window for the mail truck every five minutes
  • jamming out to Dashboard Confessional
  • window shopping Etsy + Amazon

When I wasn’t busy socializing and spending all of my energy on that, I spent the weekend doing my first read through of You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, and I loved it. I’m planning on buying myself a copy asap since the one I read was from the library as per usual.

And yet.

Here I am, Monday morning, doing pretty much anything except the two things I feel like I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m not really sure how I feel about that. Do I roll with the punches? Do I try to force myself back on track? Will that just ruin my mood for the rest of the day? Because I know that if I have a bad workout (i.e. do not perform at the unrealistic expectations I have for myself today) then I’ll feel shitty for at least a few hours if not the rest of my day. But I also know that if I don’t try at all I’ll also feel shitty for…not even trying. It’s something of a catch-22 here. A rock and a hard place. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

My current approach is taking my time, trying to do other things that at least make me feel productive–like writing this post–and hoping that I’ll get a burst of motivation later on, or at least be less afraid of whatever comes from trying (a.k.a. failure).

I’m also thinking of rereading the You Are a Badass chapter on procrastination because it never hurts to give yourself a reminder, even if it’s something you just read a day or two ago.

tl;dr: Already my day is not going as planned, but I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about it.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

May 14, 2018

Review: The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Posted in Book Reviews by

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
Disclosure: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase a copy of the book via Amazon, I will receive a commision from the sale.

Every once in a while I’m struck by the fact that Ted Bundy was executed only two years before I was born. As my friend Katie pointed out a few nights ago, we never had to breathe the same air as he did. At the same time, though, it feels like something that should’ve happened so much further from my own life than it actually did. The thought struck me hardest as I read my way through Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me over the past week or so, and I still can’t stop thinking about it–about him–about them, the girls, the victims.

But let’s take a step back a moment.

I’ve been fascinated in true crime since the earliest I can remember–I think it came with my love for horror, which also developed early. I’ve spent countless hours of my life immersing myself in stories of true crime, from watching far too many episodes of Snapped with my dad to adding myriad true crime podcasts to my Stitcher favorites. (I mean, who isn’t a fan of My Favorite Murder at this point?) Like I’m sure it is for a lot of us, now that it seems a little safer to admit, true crime is a fascination for me that can’t be sated even after two decades.

As a result, I’ve known for years about The Stranger Beside Me, a true crime book with a level of insight not often seen in the genre. Author Ann Rule was already a crime writer at the time of the “Ted” murders and disappearances were occurring but no one had an explanation. Little did she know that the man she had worked with in a crisis clinic, fielding calls from suicidal callers, alcoholic callers, and abuse victims, would provide so many answers to the horror that had occurred and was still to come.

Like I said, I’ve heard my share of true crime tales; I even knew the basics of Ted Bundy’s story before reading this book–the Volkswagen, the fake injuries, the standard victim profile–but nothing has hit me quite as hard as this book did. I would find myself reading this in bed, as you do when you’re a glutton for terror, and I would actually get out of bed just to go downstairs and check the locks before letting myself fall asleep. As someone who’s fallen asleep to many an episode of My Favorite Murder, this was not an experience I’d had before, and I can only assume that the combination of details and Rule’s storytelling combined to make the reading experience a horrifying, but educational, one.

Rule writes with an insightful perception of both Teds–the downtrodden, confused, and compassionate one whom she befriended in the crisis clinic, the one who would take calls and talk through issues with people on the other line with a heartfelt ear; and the one who could transform before a woman’s eyes into the last, most terrifying thing she would see, the one who ravaged scores of women beyond recognition. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that, even knowing everything he did, the way she writes about him makes him  appear not sympathetic but as if he’s two people entirely, and I find myself sympathizing with the false side of him, wishing that if only that could have been his whole personality, he could have done some great things. Instead, the monster inside was too strong, and Ann Rule’s writing on that part of him is just as compelling, ultimately making him an unsympathetic and appalling character.

This is not a book I would recommend going into lightly, in case you hadn’t already realized that. It’s fascinating and educational, but it also leaves you wondering about that man walking by on the sidewalk, that car going a little slower than usual past your home, and the creaking sounds of your house as you fall asleep at night. The book is thick and thorough, at over 600 pages in the copy I read. It’s rife with detail ranging from Ted’s scandalous birth and its effect on his development until his final few moments before that last electric jolt ripped through his limbs.

May 9, 2018

New Zineland + MA Feminist Zine Fest 2018

Posted in Zines by

What an amazing weekend I had! I found out a few months ago that New Zineland and the new Massachusetts Feminist Zine Fest were happening back to back over the same weekend, so Dan agreed to make it a little weekend away so I could do both. We got a room at an inn in Brookline, and I spent Saturday in Cambridge at New Zineland before booking it over to the Simmons College library near Fenway to do a reading for the MAFZF.

Saturday was actually a bit of a mixed day. The zine fest itself wasn’t my favorite; it felt stressful and a bit too hipster for me–I actually sent that Steve Buscemi “How do you do, fellow kids?” GIF to a few people because it was so representative of how I was feeling all day. I did make a few sales, so I was able to turn right around and buy some goodies from others, but overall I didn’t have nearly as good of a time at New Zineland as I did the rest of the weekend.

Saturday night, like I mentioned, I went to do a reading and ended up choosing a few pieces from my chapbook to share. The reading was scheduled from six to eight in the evening, but it only went until about seven because there just didn’t turn out to be that many people. Basically, everyone who was there also ended up reading (except for Dan, hehe), and it was maybe half a dozen of us altogether. It was a blast, though; everyone was friendly and supportive, and it made it easy to share my work.

After that, Dan and I headed out for a late dinner a few T stops down the green line for our first ever meal at The Cheesecake Factory. The wait turned out to be about an hour–which I anticipated and Dan did not–so we put our name in and browsed around the nearby Barnes & Noble for a bit. When it was finally our turn to be seated, we went all out with some drinks and three courses, plus an amazing bread basket, and it was nothing short of a satisfying meal, so even though the zine fest that day was underwhelming, the day ended on a high note.

Sunday morning, we woke up surprisingly early and browsed breakfast options from bed before deciding on the Paris Creperie in Brookline. I’m a sucker for puns, and with crepes with names like “John Gouda-man,” “Ruth Bader Cinnsburg,” and “The Yam-wise,” it instantly had my vote. I also had the most amazing Nutella latte, so it was an overall fantastic choice for breakfast.

My favorite part of the morning, though? Killing time in Brookline Booksmith. It is one hundred percent, no doubt, my new favorite bookstore. It had some excellent bargain book options, amazing stationery and writing tools, and so many fun novelty items like coasters, mugs, jewelry–you name it. I kept asking Dan if I could live there because it was just that much fun. I ended up buying a copy of Rock She Wrote, which is a collection of essays about rock written by women, as you could probably have guessed by the title. It has pieces from anywhere from Rolling Stone to the zine Jigsaw. It wasn’t even a question of whether or not I was going to buy it; I had to have it.

We actually ended up getting back to Simmons College–this time in the School of Management building–about half an hour after setup started, but that was fine because my table takes almost no time to put together anyway. I just lay out the makeshift tablecloth, which is really just two kinds of fabric from Joann layered on top of one another, then set my stacks of zines on top. Simple but effective.

MAFZF ended up being such a positive experience in contrast to New Zineland; with about thirty vendors, it felt much more intimate and everyone was so friendly with one another. It felt like my scene far more than the fest the day before. I ended up making a bunch of new friends and trading so many zines with people. It left me feeling more inspired and motivated than I have in months, and I can’t wait to start putting some new ideas into action.

I actually sold out of quite a few things on Sunday, too, and by about four pm I was feeling exhausted, so Dan and I left early to start the drive back home to the fur babies and to the bubble bath that was waiting for me.

For weeks before leaving on Saturday, I felt so anxious and unenthusiastic about going. More than once I started preparing emails to back out of both zine fests, but I’m glad that I didn’t because MAFZF turned out to be such a positive experience that it has me excited for the Litchfield County Zine Fest, which I’ll be tabling at next month. I have one or two zines planned to have finished by then, and I’m looking forward to diving back into the community now that I’ve been reminded of just how amazing it can be.


April 23, 2018

Trisha Yearwood’s Carrot Cake

Posted in Food by

Happy Monday!

I’ve done so much today (a bit of knitting-related shopping and house cleaning mostly), so now I’m taking a short breather to listen to a bit of ABBA and share pictures of the amazing carrot cake I made last week!

Most of the goodies I bake end up going to work with Dan the next morning, and while this was no exception, I was so excited when Dan brought some leftovers home, as much as we absolutely did not need any. I may or may not have made myself sick eating the last slice last night. #worthit

I saw the recipe for Trisha Yearwood’s carrot cake in the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine when it arrived, and since I’d been wanting to make a second attempt at one–after last year’s failed, rubbery, Greek yogurt carrot cake–I went for it and, for the most part, was totally happy with it. I did bake the cakes for a little less time than the recipe states (about 35 minutes) because it actually started to smell like they were burning, and I alwaysalwaysalways use half as much powdered sugar as any cream cheese icing recipe calls for to avoid it being too sweet, but other than that, I followed the recipe as it was written!

And now to the photos! (I apologize now if they make you hungry.)

My plan for the rest of the week is just knitting, reading, and getting ready for a long weekend in NYC for my sister-in-law’s wedding. I already have my next knitting project ready to take with me on the drive, of course. I also need to step it up and make sure I’m prepared for the zine fests next weekend. I have no idea what I have for zine stock at the moment, and I haven’t even thought about what I’ll share at the reading Saturday night yet. Oops!

April 9, 2018

A Fresh Start + Upcoming Events

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I just spent the last hour or so deleting every old post on this website and all the unnecessary graphics leftover from them. (And maybe a few necessary ones as well by accident.)

It was like a technological spring cleaning.

I lay in bed last night around 11 pm fighting with myself to fall asleep and stop thinking about coming downstairs to my office to delete everything right away, and it was one of the few times I’ve won that kind of fight. Most of the time my sleep schedule is nonexistent, only slightly irregular if I’m lucky. So here I am now, a clean slate on my laptop, typing out this new little hello to the universe.

I’ve been thinking far too much about my relationship with the internet lately; it’s lost the joy and excitement that it had for me when I was in high school. It spiked my anxiety and depression to highs and lows I’d never known before–thanks, Facebook–and it didn’t feel worth it anymore. But we all know it’s something that can’t easily be kicked aside. It’s so much a part of daily lives that it takes only moments to feel left out or for the phantom buzz of a notification to tickle your pocket, only for you to remember, “Oh, wait… I don’t have that app anymore.”

I’m still trying to find a balance between being something of a hermit or a Luddite and remaining involved with the internet because it’s always felt integral to how I connect with others and make new friends. It’s challenging to find that balance, and it’s still tempting to throw it all away and spend my time knitting, gardening, and baking instead, but I don’t think that’s really the answer.

For now, I go into this with the intention of no more “regular features,” no more pressure about photos and graphics–if I want to make and include them, great; if not, fine–and no schedule. I’ll blog when I want and about what I want.

Because I’m getting too old for this popularity contest shit.

upcoming events header
If you’ll be in the Boston area April 21-22, I’ll be tabling at both New Zineland 2018 and the Massachusetts Feminist Zine Fest, along with doing a reading the night before MAFZF.

For more information, check out their pages: New Zineland | MA Feminist Zine Fest

You can also keep up with my events page to know where else I’ll be hocking my wares this year.

April 5, 2018