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Day 5 and 6.

7 Nov

My hometown: Burlington, Iowa. (Picture above – not mine – is from one of my favorite places: a park over the Mississippi River. This is actually not too far from where my husband and I tied the knot.)

Burlington is an interesting place. We’re a river and a railroad town, and the fact that those two modes of transportation are a thing in the past are reflected in the sort of charming rundown-ness of the city. When I was a kid, Burlington probably had a population of 25,000. Now it’s closer to 16,000, I imagine.

Burlington wasn’t a bad place to grown up, but I’m glad to be out of there. There isn’t much industry anymore and people my age who didn’t leave aren’t there doing their dream jobs, if you follow me. I always have mixed feelings about the town, but it’s part of me.

Man. That was a depressing description.

Day 6! A book I’m reading right now… a list, actually:

1) Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (who is on Twitter! Whodathunkit?)
2) God’s Dog by Webster Kitchell
3) a few business books, a few creative inspiration books
4) and I desperately want to start something new and vaguely sinister… I’m thinking Stephen King.

Day 3.

5 Nov

Something I never leave the house without. I almost wrote a post about how I never consistently have any particular thing with me, but that’s boring, so I thought it over. If I’m carrying a bag, I’m guaranteed to have the following:

Reading material. You never know when you’re going to get stuck in a line or a traffic jam or a boring dinner party. (Okay, not that last one, but seriously. You know what I mean.) I can’t even wrap my head around people who don’t read and don’t have the compulsion to always have a book on them.

Current reading: lots of indie business books, lots of books on how to boost creativity, and God’s Dog by Webster Kitchell.

A notebook. I think this is key for creative types, but before I acquired a smartphone last year, a small notebook saved my sanity when it came to “What did I mean to Google once I got to the computer?”

This time of year, you would find me naked before you found me without a notebook. So many good ideas for stories get lost without a good notebook on hand. Field Notes brand are my favorites.

Other things I usually have about my person: a good pen (loving InkJoy 700s right now), my cellphone, a flat snack like fruit leather that fits in my In Touch Clutch, which I also usually have with me. It’s a must for those who are trying to bring back the lost art of snail mail.

(FYI: my favorite bag – found in the first picture – is from Target. I also have been known to carry this and one similar to this┬áin purple. Also, today I special ordered a purse charm from this lovely Etsy seller. As I’ve said before, she rocks. Go spend your money.)

Current Obsessions #4

25 Apr

01) SmashBooking


I’ve embarked on a SmashBook project that is a little more involved that the average throw-it-all-in-so-it-sticks sort of thing. I’m making an old-timey (read: Middle Ages) Book of Hours, which traditionally would be a book of prayers recited at different times of the day. For example, my book has a section called “Lamplight”, which is a throwback to vespers, a time when the lamps were lit and prayers were recited among monks in Medieval times. I’ve got fun stuff, though, like songs and recipes and journal entries and lots of summery pictures all smashed up in my trusty travel-ish themed journal. It’s been great fun so far, and I recommend Smashing, whether you decide to do it name brand or just on your own. (There are some great homemade SmashBook inspirations if you do a search on Google.)

02) Joe Pug‘s The Great Despiser

Came out this week and is incredible!

03) Justin Townes Earle‘s Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now

Came out… last week? Maybe? And is also incredible!

04) This Etsy shop makes the best quality handmade garments I’ve ever seen.


05) the sermons of Webster Kitchell

I’ve been reading God’s Dog, which is the first in a collection of sermons that Reverend Kitchell wrote about his conversations with Coyote, the demi-god that rules the mythology of the American Southwest. The sermons are entertaining and thought provoking and I highly recommend them for everyone, but especially for Unitarians and people who kind of… blend their religions to help them make sense of the world. (To give you a feeling for what I’m into right now, I’m also reading Monday Night Class, Transcendental Meditation and the Jefferson Bible. It’s an odd, heavy, lovely load I’m self-imposing.)

06) Chocolate Frosting Shots


I can’t wait to make these!

Current obsessions #3

13 Jan

Okay, to be honest, my current biggest obsession is Tumblr. Just threw myself into the fray and good lord is it a lot of fun. If you’re looking for me, I might be spending quite a bit of blog time there (at Just Us Folk, of course), pondering the meaning of my hippie existence and wondering if the big blog is worth the work. (Sigh.)

All right. Onto the list:

1) You Won’t.

Great band. Check them out!

2) Score and Solder

Of late I have been dreaming of a tiny succulent garden to call my own. I think this would be an excellent home for that garden, don’t you?

3) This chevron tunic/dress from Etsy.

4) The weekend.

I don’t know why the weekend is still so radical for me because I’m out of work. But it is. I feel like on the weekends I can at least not stress so much about not having a job and just chill.

5) My new rug.

We got this ENORMOUS Oriental-style rug for our living room and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve spent a lot of my day just laying on it under the guise of flattening out wrinkles. Really, it’s just super comfy and awesome. (Though I hate it when something is suddenly $30 cheaper than you paid for it. Grr.)

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Current obsessions #2: Best songs ever.

16 Dec

Okay, this one is a toughy, but this song came on my iTunes today:

And I thought of all the times I had hit repeat on this particular track. One of the best songs ever. So I thought I would make a list of what I’m currently considering my favorite tunes. (Note: if you asked me tomorrow, these would probably be different. Also note: these are not necessarily desert island artists. Neil Young will always top out the charts there. And everyone knows not to get me talking about Joe Pug, correct? Okay, here we go.)

1) American Pie by Don McLean.

This has been my favorite song for as long as I can remember. I clearly recall sitting in the backseat of the family sedan as a child, devising lyrics to make this an “opposite song”. You know. Hi, hi, Mr. Russian Cake. We were weird kids with hippie parents. This album by McLean remains one of my favorites to spin to this day.

2) Kashmir by Led Zeppelin.

No justification required on this one.

3) Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show

I know this one is played out, but I don’t care. Everything about it is perfect which proves one thing: Bob Dylan is universal and I love him. (Don’t believe me? See Exhibits B: Jimi Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower and C: The Byrds’ Mr. Tambourine Man.)

4) The Spy by The Doors

Not only is it a fabulous song that never appears on “Best of” albums (because the very best never do, do they?), this is the song that inspired an ENORMOUS creative pursuit for me. It’s the song that launched one play, one patron saint, three novels, five talismans and countless nights of dreams. It also rekindled my childhood love of the Doors, and for that I am eternally grateful.

5) Black Coffee by Peggy Lee

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sung this in my car acapella. (The other song I tend to break into just to hear myself is, oddly enough, the national anthem. But I’ve always been a weird chick.)

6) Dance Me to the End of Love by Madeleine Peyroux

“Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove.” Sigh. I have a thing for jazzy tunes like this. Nick and I had our very first dance to In the Mood (big Glenn Miller people), our “song” is Strangers in the Night by Sinatra and the first dance at our wedding was to I Could Write a Book by Harry Connick Jr. But this song… this song makes me think of dances we haven’t had yet. Geesh. Romantic much?

7) Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells

Wow. My family has a deep, profound love of Tommy James and the Shondells. In the sixties my grandfather owned a music hall with his best friend and they got some really great acts. The Zombies. Strawberry Alarm Clock. The freaking Box Tops. (THE BOX TOPS.) And then Al (grandpa’s partner) procured Tommy James and my mom lost her mind. Her very favorite artist played the hall and she got to meet him. (She’s still oddly mortified that all she could think to say to him was “I like your music”. Um… that’s not embarrassing, Mom.)

So now I’m set to groove for the day. What’s on your list?


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