Three Things — 1.18.18

Things I’m loving this week

“Strange Weather” by Joe Hill. The author is the son of Stephen King and he certainly inherited his father’s gift for terror and telling tall tales that captivate you.  This book actually contains four short novels. All are good. The 2nd book really pissed me off because of the ending, but…you’ll have that. The last two were the kind of stories that stay with you — that you walk around thinking about all day and dream about at night.  I remember King’s Night Shift doing the same thing to me. To this day, I cannot sit outside of a truck stop or enter a laundromat without thinking about that book.

#ErieOpioidProject. It feels strange to put this in “things I’m loving” because that sounds to light and happy and this project, a series of videos by the Jefferson Society with Erie residents affected by the crisis, is anything but. It is a wake-up call and what I love about it is that people are talking about it. They’re putting it in the obits as the cause of death. They’re speaking their truth. They’re sharing their stories in hopes that they can save someone else. Though, one thing that is apparent from these videos is that you can’t love the addict out of someone.  If that video above doesn’t break your f#$%ing heart, you don’t have one.  Open the video in YouTube and you’ll see others on the right-hand rail.

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Kids who love Queen. And AC/DC and Van Halen and Foreigner and other great bands of the ’70s & ’80s. I heard Kelly belting out “Somebody to Love” in the shower the other day and I was, like, sing it, girl! Lauren’s a big fan of Aerosmith and Rush. They frequently raid our CD rack (yes, I kept my CDs…in fact, I still play them in my car) for oldies but goodies, which reminds me…I really need to introduce them to Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.

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Swim meets. Meets are long and often hot, but I like them because I can get some reading done between events and a steamy pool deck is not a bad place to hang out in January/February. Meets are even better when your kid does well. Lauren had two great meets this weekend. She’s on the Eastside Y swim team, which is a great league (is it called a league in swimming? I don’t know). Anyway…she set PRs in both the 50 fly and 100 fly this weekend. She also came close to her PR in the 50 free, and set a P.R. and took 1st place in the 50 back, and would’ve done the same in the 100 free, but was disqualified for starting late (she was talking to the girls behind her…sigh).  I sooo wish Lauren could swim for a High School team, but no pool at her school. 😦

Things I’m not loving this week

Heaven’s Gate podcast.  Here’s the podcast description: “In 1997, thirty-nine people took their own lives in an apparent mass suicide. The events captivated the media and had people across the planet asking the same question…‘Why?’ 20 years later, those who lost loved ones and those who still believe – tell their story.” Sounds really interesting, right? It is, but….oh. my. God. I cannot take the podcaster anymore. I stopped listening just because I find his manner of speaking. In. Which. He Emphasizes. And. Clearly. Enunciates. Every.  Single. Word. highly annoying. I stuck with it for about 7 episodes, but I just can’t anymore…

Headaches. Thankfully, I don’t get them very often. But…as a writer, it makes doing your job, almost literally impossible.

The GOP Congressmen and women defending 45. Have you no shame? Do you think your loyalty will put you in the madman’s good graces? Wrong: Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C.  I could probably use the whole alphabet here, but I have better things to do. To those of you still standing standing behind that train wreck….refusing to budge or scream or do anything…..Your day of reckoning is coming. Save the date: Nov. 6!



Worth Reading — 1.17.18

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Women’s Health: This 27-Year-Old Shared The Most Beautiful Post Right Before She Died From Cancer (click on the link in the story to read her FB post. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Now go out there and live for Holly.)

ADDitude Magazine: The Truth about ADHD and Lying (L tells a lot of tall tales and blatant untruths and it irritates me because….Trump….but this article sheds some light on why she lies…no word on why 45 is a world-class liar — a lethal mix of arrogance & ignorance, I suspect).

The Washington Post: Foreign Spies are Watching—and Probably Targeting—Fox News Channel.

“A truly aggressive intelligence effort would not just monitor what’s being said on the network. It would target the on-air talent, as well as the folks behind the scenes who make the network’s programming possible: producers, bookers, associate producers, production assistants and the like. This might range from opening friendly contacts with these employees to outright recruitment. Another avenue for exploitation: Trump reportedly calls Sean Hannity after his show. If hostile foreign services compromise Hannity’s phone (or place a listening device in the room where Hannity takes his private calls), that could provide real-time intelligence on the American president and his thoughts.”

If that doesn’t scare you enough….there’s this:

New York Times Magazine: Making China Great Again (China is stepping right in to fill our “world leader” spot as Trump retreats and retreats and retreats, giving up our seat at the head of the table. To China, Trump’s presidency is a world of opportunity. )

One way 2017 didn’t suck for me


One of my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions was to find a way to fit more books into my life, and I have to say that I’m one of the few people who actually made good on a resolution.

*pause for applause*

I started watching less TV, opting to spend that time reading; started carrying a book with me at all times (in the car, at home, etc.) so I could make use of unexpected free-time (easy with Kindle Reader on the phone); and, generally, chose to read books instead of mindlessly scrolling social media (I took Facebook off my phone and shut off all notifications). I’m also in a book club, which forces to me read things I might not otherwise pickup.

Here’s what I’ve got to show for it — a list of all the books I crammed into my little head last year:

  1. Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
  2. Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  3. The Nest, Cynthia Sweeney
  4. Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
  5. Lucky by Alice Seibold
  6. A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds
  7. Because We Are: a story of Haiti by Ted Oswald
  8. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  9. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow
  10. Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
  11. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  12. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  13. The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty
  14. Sophie’s choice by William Styron
  15. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  16. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  17. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  18. Deeper Than The Dead by Tami Hoag
  19. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
  20. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
  21. All we know of Heaven by Jacquelyn mitchard
  22. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
  23. The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead
  24. Replay by Ken Grimwood
  25. Eight Tales of Terror by Edgar Allan Poe
  26. This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t by Augusten Burroughs
  27. Night Shift by Stephen King
  28. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  29. Allegheny Front by Matthew Neill Null
  30. The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
  31. Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
  32. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  33. Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott
  34. Taking Aim by Eva Shockey

I’m pretty proud of that list — averaging 2.5 books a month — and consider it a challenge for 2018. I’ve already finished two this year.

Three things — 1.11.18

Things I’m loving this week

Image result for double walled coffee mug

GetGo reusable mug. I’ve been stopping at GetGo for coffee most mornings because their cups are bigger and because their PR dept. doesn’t appear to be made up of a-holes like another convenience store chain I used to frequent until they lashed out at me like an 8-year-old (or a commander in chief) who cannot take constructive criticism. ANYWHOO….I’ve felt guilty about tossing a paper cup and plastic lid every day so Dan got me a double-walled 24-ounce GetGo mug for Xmas and now my refills are just a buck. Also….the cup keeps my coffee super hot while I leave it sitting on my desk for hours (ha..ha…it doesn’t last an hour). My only complaint is that the double-walled thing means the mug itself is not hot and half of the joy of drinking coffee in winter is holding a hot cup in my hands, so I just pour it into a ceramic mug when I get to work.

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Isotoner mittens. The are $20 in most department stores, but they are the best mittens for grown women who live and work in the snowbelt. Hands, er….mittens down.

good will hunting

Free scripts online. I’m writing a story about a couple of screenwriters and one of them asked me if I’d ever read a screenplay and I was like, OMG, I have not! How can a professional writer not be versed in all forms of writing? (OK…in my defense I was a Communications major, not an English or Journalism major, so…that’s how.) The guy I was interviewing suggested I read Good Will Hunting. I looked at all the libraries for it and, surprise, they don’t offer many screenplays for reading, so I asked a Creative Writing professor who sent me to this awesome site, where I could download Good Will Hunting and 49 more screenplays for FREE.

Things I’m not loving this week

Slow-melting snow. Seriously…I need this stuff to melt quick before we get blasted again….or we (ha…ha…..let’s be honest, Dan) may end up roofing in February.

Searching for wheels. We found used snowtires for my 2014 Jeep Liberty 4×4, but who knew it would be so hard…impossible, really, to find wheels to put them on (other than the ones currently on the car). Apparently, they are some very odd size because we can’t even find them new. For now, we’ll have them mounted on the wheels we’ve got and see if they make a difference and are even worth the cost of finding four more rims.

Fox News and Twitter. Because every nation in the world has an inside track to what’s on the tiny mind of our Tweeter in Chief.  Again, I say: I cannot believe this is the country I’m living in now. *smdh*



Worth Reading — 1.10.18

A random collection of blog posts, articles, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.  7 Clever Ways To Clean All Of The Stubbornly Dirty Things

Scary Mommy: To my Almost Grown Daughter, I Love you And I’m Sorry. (This. I’m not crying, you’re crying.)

“I can only hope that the deliberate good I’ve done greatly outweighs any unintended damage I may have caused. And I pray that my immense love for you overshadows any other feelings you may have sensed from me over the years. My frustrations were never really about you anyway—they were about me not living up to my own unrealistic standards for myself.”

Stonekettle Station: Lemonade

“And the real problem is that every single time the bubble bursts, the rich lose nothing. And the middle class? Well, the middle class and the poor lose everything.

The problem is that the profits are privatized, the risks are socialized. That’s the actual problem right there. When the bubble bursts, the working poor and the middle class have no choice but to prop up the rich, lest it all collapses and we all face another Great Depression. And that, ladies and gentlemen, in point of fact, is the lesson of the Great Depression. That’s what the rich learned, the ones that survived. Socialize the risks, privatize the profits. Never, ever, risk your own money.

And that – that right there – that is exactly what trickle-down economics is.”

Scary Mommy: Alcohol is Ruining my Life (Do you see yourself here? Life is really much better without it.)

The Best Soup I’ve Ever Made: Zuppa Toscana

I love soup and I recently made the best one—hands down—that I’ve ever made.

Let me clarify, I made this recipe which claims to approximate a recipe/soup made by Olive Garden. So, when I say I made it, I mean, I cooked it…I didn’t actually conceive of the blend of flavors/ingredients. That honor probably goes to some snooty chef in New York City who is likely horrified at how us common folks have bastardized his magnificent creation.

For example, I used venison sausage and I didn’t peel my potatoes (because I used red ones and I am super lazy) and I used bacon bits instead of real bacon (because you know bacon is like $5 and a total pain to cook) and I only had like 1/3 cup of whipping cream, so I used half-and-half for the rest. Also, I used a lot more kale because I like kale.

I do things my way. And, in this case, it worked out for me.


If you’re a rule follower, though, here’s the actual recipe I started with from

Zuppa Toscana Soup