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Sonya

Summer Solstice 2018 | How I’ll Be Celebrating

Posted in Spiritual, Witchcraft by

I’ve always been interested in witchcraft, paganism, and all that woo-woo spiritual goodness–which I’ll write more about in the future–and I’ve been trying harder over the past few months to commit myself more to these habits and beliefs. One of the first things I’m really doing, along with throwing myself back in Tarot, is celebrating the changing of the seasons and the Wheel of the Year (though I’d like to emphasize that I don’t identify as Wiccan).

I’ve been making note of the sabbats over the last few months, but the upcoming Summer Solstice (a.k.a., Midsummer, Litha) tomorrow–June 21–is the first one I’ve felt prepared for in time to celebrate this year. I thought I’d share my plans for the day, and if anyone else wanted to join in, even just to get some of the good summer vibes going, I urge you to do so.

Since the Solstice is all about a sun-centered celebration, being the longest day of the year, I’ll be planning my day around spending time outdoors, soaking up the sun, and implementing things (mostly food) that give off sunny vibes.

I’d like to get up and watch the sun rise, but to be honest, I like sleep, so we’ll have to see how that idea pans out. If it works, I’m thinking of following it up with either some outdoors yoga, meditation, or both to get my day started on the right track. Even if I don’t get up in time, I’d love to do a yoga/meditation session outside for the day.

Solstice food for the day will be homemade lemonade with berries plus some mini honey-lemon cakes. All three ingredients–honey, lemon, and berries–are great ways to celebrate the summer. If I can, I’d love to go strawberry picking in the morning to get the berries for the lemonade because I recently found a place in town that’s open daily.

I also plan to do a manifestation ritual around noon or so when the sun is strongest. I’ll light a candle, write down a list of manifestations I’d like to achieve, and let the piece of paper burn–in a controlled setting of course! (Because nothing is sexier than fire safety.)

Free time will probably include reading outdoors and maybe cleaning up the house a bit for a fresh space, though I’ve already been doing so much cleaning lately that there might not be much to do.

And lastly I think I’ll treat Dan to a picnic dinner when he gets home from work. Maybe I can convince him to go to the park with our picnic basket, and I’ll have the lemonade, cakes, plus some salad and sandwiches packed up for us to enjoy.

I’m looking forward to my first sabbat celebration, and I think it’s a really lovely one to start with because it already feels so full of good, bright vibes.

June 20, 2018
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Mutton & Mead Festival 2018 | Montague, MA

Posted in Local, Personal by

After much cajoling and a determined search to prove to Dan he would not need to dress up, I finally managed to convince him to take me to the Renaissance fair this year. Every year come June we see the signs advertising it, and every year I bounce around the car shouting, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” but it’s taken five years of living in this town to make the whopping ten-minute drive to the grounds.

By far my favorite part was Cirque du Sewer, a trained rats and cats show. I had seen it on the attractions list online and wanted to check it out, but it was by pure luck that we got to see it because we were walking in the area about fifteen minutes before the next showtime.

In true cat fashion, most of them didn’t want to participate in the tricks for the day–particularly one Pad Kee Meow, the cat on the far right stand above. They were all adorable, though, and for the kinds animals they are, I was impressed by both the rats and the cats–and the team’s ability to get them to do anything in the first place. (A lot of turkey was used to entice them, if we’re being honest–but still! Impressive!)

There was so much beautiful and fascinating stuff for sale, too, but the only thing I ended up getting was some food and a henna feather on my shoulder. I would have gotten quite a bit, but with a trip to Salem coming up at the end of the month, I made it a point to pull back on my spending. Even without throwing my money at every stand, though, the whole experience was a ton of fun. It was silly and exciting and impressive on so many levels. Even though dressing up wasn’t required like Dan had feared, so many people did come in costume and I was blown away by the craftsmanship and commitment of so many of them.

I ended up visiting my parents yesterday for Father’s Day, and I was vehement in telling my mom she needs to come next year because I think she’d love it. I know I plan on going again.

June 18, 2018
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Get Off the Internet

Posted in Personal by

I haven’t used Facebook in weeks, and I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels.

I’ve been progressively uninterested in the internet in the past few months, and while I’m a little disappointed about that and feeling something like nostalgic for the good ol’ days of Livejournal, MySpace, and AIM, it’s also turned out to be a good thing. It’s not exactly news that people are “addicted” to their phones and technology and mindless scrolling, and I’m not even close to immune, but I’ve gotten so much better at it lately and it’s amazing how much better I’ve been feeling.

Things I’ve done besides scroll:

  • started a quilted project
  • knit a shawl
  • read more books than I thought I could handle
  • improved my cooking skills
  • started practicing yoga
  • gone to the gym on a semi-regular schedule

This isn’t to say that I don’t use the internet–obviously it’s how I’m posting this, and I still spend countless hours on YouTube. What I am saying is that I’ve started cutting out the toxic parts from my life. Personally, this was mostly Facebook and Twitter because people would always be sharing news that outraged them or posting general complaints or call outs or criticisms, and it all piled up on me emotionally until I realized I just needed to turn it off.

And this weekend, instead of constantly checking my notifications, I plan to go on a hike, finish another book, and maybe work on my next zine. I also hope to get back into learning photography and finish up revising my novel in the coming weeks, and I’d like to think those are pretty reasonable goals.

June 8, 2018
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Small Goals | June 2018

Posted in Personal by

small goals header

I was in bed the other night thinking about what I’d like to get done through the upcoming month and it struck me–why not write up a blog post about it? No strings attached! (Except, maybe, trying to achieve the goals.) So I’m hopping back onto the small goals wagon and taking the same approach I am with just about everything else right now–do it how I want, when I want, if I want.

So what was floating in my brain when I was wishing I was already asleep?

Draft a new short story. / It’s been a hot minute since I wrote up something new (anything new), so I’ve got an itch to work on a new short horror piece.

Read ten books. / I just…really like to read. And I want to get caught up/a little ahead on my goal of 75 books for the years, so ten sounds like a nice round number to attempt.

Bake a blueberry pie. / Again, I just really like blueberry pie. It’s been years since I made one, but I feel like I’m always craving it, so I thought it would be a good project for June.

And that’s it! Nice and simple. The biggest challenge is going to be the ten books, but I managed eight in March, April, and May, so I’m feeling confident on throwing in those last two.

Any goals for your upcoming June?

May 31, 2018
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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
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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
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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
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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
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A Fresh Start + Upcoming Events

Posted in Personal by

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
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