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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Unexpected Joys.

  • Binge watching Bates Motel by myself.
  • Eating sunflower seeds, especially on a long drive with Mom.
  • Writing and making collages in a notebook at 3 a.m. next to a dorm entrance.
  • Feeling so eager about the mail even though I knew it would hold rejections. It meant I was trying!
  • Swimming in a deep lake, treading water for an hour.
  • Taking Oliver to speech and occupational therapy and talking about him with his therapists.
  • Being a mother.
  • The low, dirty pond behind our apartment.
  • Draining a pen. I have to find another pen, but I feel accomplished.
  • Enjoying True Grit.
  • Bruce.
  • Journaling for about 16 years off and on--but mostly on. 
  • Teaching. I have some great memories.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

In My Makeup Bag.

 I love makeup. It helps me be confident, and it's another way to be expressive and creative. Of course, I wish everything had glitter in it. This bag is too small for my eyeshadow palettes, but it holds most of what I use each day.

The bag itself is beggining to fall apart. It's gunmetal-glitter gray with whirling musical notes (peeling) hot pink accents. I bought it maybe 13 years ago. It was connected to VH-1's Save the Music. The bag may not last much longer.

But the contents! Some hair clips, hair ties and bobby pins have sunk to the bottom along with a sewing kit's pair of tiny scissors.


L'Oreal's True Match Powder in Neutral Soft Ivory. I've been wearing this instead of foundation this summer.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen 55.

An eyeshadow brush and a crease brush. I've completely gotten over little sponge eyeshadow applicators. I use a brush or clean fingers.

A sparkly pink Too Faced eye pencil sharpener.


A sample of Benefit Benetint, which I use as lip stain.

Revlon Balm Stain in Honey (mauve-ish pink) and Romantic (red). I often wear one of these over the Benetint.

Nars lip pencil sample in Cruella (red).

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Ruby (best lip balm line I've tried).


Purple eyelash curler

Buxom mascara sample (love it).

Cover Girl eyeshadow quad in Breathtaking Blues. Great sparkle!

Ulta Glitter Eye Top Coat in Fairy Princess (wildly glittery champagne) and Gold Digger (bright metallic gold).

Sephora mini turquoise sparkle shadow sample.

Ulta Gold glitter eyeliner

Stila Smudge Stick eyeliners in Triggerfish (gunmetal silver) and Tetra (just-right purple).

Urban Decay eyeshadow single in Uzi (so much silver glitterr!)

Revlon Diamond Lust eyeshadow in Starry Pink

Nyx Roll-On Shimmer in Onyx (gray/black sparkle), Light Blue, Purple, and Mauve Pink. They are so easy to apply (and correct) as eyeshadow. Roll it on, perfect it with your fingers, and you're done. I've really only seen Nyx at Ulta, and they're under $5.

What makes other people's makeup bags so interesting?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Quick Thoughts on Spreading Glitter.

At 16, I often sprinkled glitter into my bag, books, and journal. Just seeing those glints in random places (oh, how they travel!) reminds me that life is worth living and that wonderful experiences and objects exist.

My marshmallow body glitter makes me feel beautiful because I'm sparkly and sweetened.

I have a small white box that contains most of my glitters in little jars and bottles. I can pick a glitter for the day and blow it like a kiss.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How I Want to Travel.

I recently had the great idea that Mom and I should go to Paris someday, just us. She would be braver and more informed than I. We could skip this and spend forever on that. She said she couldn't go until my stepdad Shane got to go. I wish Paris trips were unlimited! We could all go together too, and the traveling companions would make each trip different.

I got to go see Phantom twice in one year. Shows can feel like traveling. I used to be kind of obsessed with time travel.

I'd like to do a road trip of sorts...focused on bookstores (chain and independent) and aquariums. I would buy at least one book in each state, and I would scribble or even write stories in every aquarium. I don't know who would want to join that. Maybe Josh would.

I used to enjoy packing. Now, it's stressful, but I used to love selecting what I'd have with me on a plan or in a hotel room. I had to have a notebook. That's still true.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Messes That Suggest a Full Life.

A dashed stack of books suggesting that someone tried to add one book too many or upset the stack while removing a certain volume.

A spread or pile of pens--someone has been admiring the collection or searching for a certain color and texture or effect to use for that moment's writing.

Glitter on the counter from making a miniature relaxation jar.

A spread of rejected clothes for a safe, meaningful job.

Family mess mixed in with personal or creative work, like a photo and design clippings.

Sticky notes, notebooks, binders, pens, highlighters, index cards--a mess from working to learn.

My "house purse" spilling magazines, markers, sticky flags, clippings, books...the rations for my spirit and mind. I have plenty of stores to replenish the bag. But first, I have to be present for that steady feast.

Monday, July 25, 2016


  • Rock concerts--anticipation!
  • Shows--costumes, the orchestra tuning up
  • Oliver's voluntarily cuddling with me
  • The text message sound on my phone
  • The crack of opening a soda can
  • Sonic--those big drinks!
  • Recognizing an actor
  • Updating Bruce on everything
  • Going out to shop or explore with Mom
  • Seeing someone open a gift from me
  • Seeing books on writing
  • Fairy tale retellings
  • Playing on GoodReads
  • The mail
  • Doctor Who
  • Starting a movie with Bruce
  • Cine Barre 
  • Shirley Temples
  • Arrival of food at a restaurant
  • Seeing Mom's new crafts
  • The intro of "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Beauty Underneath"
  • The coming Beauty and the Beast movie
  • Most Disney stuff.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Creative To-Do List.

  • Find an easily accessible place for my illustrated fairy tales and art books.
  • Write in one of my composition books all the quotations I've marked in special books.
  • Go on another coloring date with crayons and colored pencils at the library. Bruce and I did this a couple of weeks ago.
  • Revise Essential Showtunes playlist on Spotify.
  • Put stickers in the journals I'll use soon.
  • Continue to watch movie musicals regularly.
  • Go places that push me to be a reader and a writer, such as Barnes, Paper Source, Michaels...just looking around can spark something.
  • Work on my design scrapbook with all its beautiful rooms.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day on Pinterest. Let the images flow over me.
  • Keep creating a special, quiet space in the guest room.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Celebrate the Art of Being You.

Those words caught my attention in a Pottery Barn Teen catalog. Celebrate is a beautiful word. Though I don't drink, I like the image of starry champagne flutes on a silver tray.

I guess it's easy for our true selves to sink below the surface of our roles. So much of life requires carefully-constructed personae. That's a lot of work, and it often means little energy and time are left for being oneself. So when we do manage it, if only for an afternoon scribble or work on a sewing project, that is something worth celebrating.

One must do what one loves. If I'm not reading or not writing, something is wrong or will be. I think it's a cycle: the more I skip reading, the worse I feel. And the worse I feel, the less likely I am to write.

Sometimes, Josh will tell me I'm a great wife and mother. Then, he'll say that he wants me to work on being Becky. When he sees me reading or writing, he often says how much he likes to see me doing Becky things. He makes me feel proud (never guilty) about taking care of my truest self, which, I suppose, is what he fell in love with in the first place.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Read Past It.

Read past it and write through it. These have been charms for me lately. Reading helps me skip over troubles that I can't control--it give me brain some time to rest. Writing through it usually means writing about the trouble until it has little power over me.

When I had a nightmare as a child, Mom would sometimes tell me to read--to cleanse my mind of the scary images.

Falling asleep while reading is rather blissful.

Lately, Oliver has often observed Josh and I both reading. And now, Oliver loves taking out his own books and "reading" them to us. The modeling seems to be working!

I think of reading books as a vital life skill.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Buying More Books.

I love the thought of buying more books. But I have to finish at least one before I buy another. When I finished Night Sister, I immediately ordered another novel by Jennifer McMahon. I'll probably want to read all her books.

Ideally, I'll give away or sell (to 2nd and Charles) a book before I buy another. I want to have more of an in-and-out system with my books, holding onto my dearest and most useful ones (and the ones I haven't read yet--which is a great number!). I no longer feel the need to keep all of the books I've read.

Amazon sells most used books for as little at 1 cent plus $3.99 shipping. $4! We get most of our books this way.

But there is an enchantment to wandering through a bookstore, finding a treasure, and buying it directly. This should happen occasionally. It's just thrilling. Ask or Barnes gift cards, so you can buy books on-site without guilt.

How do you get and keep your books?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Favorite Songs.

These are in no particular order.
  • "Hysteria" by Def Leppard
  • "Send Her My Love" by Journey
  • "Melody" by Steve Perry
  • "Up on a Roof" by James Taylor
  • "I Want It All" by Edwin McCain
  • "Paris Nights/New York Mornings" by Corinne Bailey Rae
  • "The Phantom of the Opera" from Phantom
  • "Waiting in Vain" by Annie Lennox
  • "There's Me" from the concept album for Starlight Express
  • "You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins
  • "Rocket Man" by Elton John
  • "Mandolin Rain" by Bruce Hornsby
  • "Light" from Next to Normal
  • "Guardian" by Alanis Morisette
  • "Right Here Waiting for You" by Richard Marx
  • "Trial by Fire" by Journey
  • "Show Me Light" by Ramin Karimloo
  • "Save Me" by Richard Marx
  • "Ships" by Patty Loveless
  • "When Love and Hate Collide" by Def Leppard
  • "There's No One Like You" by Sarah Brightman
  • "If Only Quartet" from The Little Mermaid
  • "What about Us?" by John Barrowman
  • "I Do" from Starlight Express

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Words I Wish Described Me.

Some of these may describe me sometimes. Others...not so much! Some may even contradict each other. But they are worth striving for.
  • Luminous!
  • Clever
  • Kind
  • Warm
  • Loyal
  • Fierce
  • Strong
  • Lovable
  • Sweet
  • Brave
  • Fascinating
  • Mysterious
  • Competent
  • Incandescent
  • Stunning
  • Ethereal
  • Reliable
  • Creative
  • Articulate
  • Brilliant
  • Graceful
  • Passionate
  • Thrilling
  • Slender
  • Thoughtful
  • Gentle
  • Quiet
  • Confident
  • Peaceful
  • Sparkling
  • Quick
  • Joyful
  • Well-read
  • Comfortable
  • Loving
  • Surprising
Which descriptions do you want most?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Some Happy Thoughts.

  • My husband put a glow-in-the-dark solar system on our bedroom ceiling.
  • Live-action Beauty and the Beast comes out next year!
  • Oliver knows my name.
  • My mom drew me a beautiful mermaid, and I look at the picture several times a day.
  • Blue an violet mason jars exist.
  • Bruce gave me a glitter library (it's labeled as such!).
  • I have so many books to read.
  • I can read and write. What worlds I can access because of that!
  • Oliver is up to the 32nd percentile in weight. He doesn't seem so brittle anymore.
  • My bedroom lamps have scalloped shades with beads.
  • Our 10th wedding anniversary isn't far away.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Literary Subscription Box.

Subscription boxes are so big right now, and they are so varied! Cosmetics, clothes, even books. Some send a book plus interesting items that go along with it.

I love the thought of it, and I think putting the boxes together would be fun. If I had more money, I would certainly subscribe to a few.

If I were putting together a box for F451, I would include matches, a lighter with a candle (for a safe fire experience!), one of the great shirts from Out of Print, and other strange banned books. I'd have to re-read the book to get more ideas. It's the kind of thing I can see Josh, Bruce, and Mom working on with me.

If I did one for Night Sister, which I just read, I would include Entertainment Weekly for cutting out celebrity photos like Sylvie did, a flashlight with extra batteries, a reporter's notebook and pen for jotting down clues, and Juicy Fruit gum (You'll have to read it!).

What kind of subscription box would you like?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Some Favorite Things.

  • Watching Oliver eat a green apple.
  • Hydrangeas--colorful joy puffs.
  • Finding wild violets.
  • Walking with wisteria dripping beside me.
  • Vanilla bean ice cream (Magic Shell is an unnecessary but lovely addition).
  • Book passages that make me smile or laugh--not just on the inside.
  • Fireworks, an almost overwhelmingly fantastic store in the SEA-TAC airport.
  • Cherries plucked from someone else's fridge.
  • Crushed ice.
  • Sharing the too-small armchair with Oliver.
  • Sarah Addision Allen's writing magical realism set in NC.
  • Revisiting my book of fairies and deciding which fairies look like people in my life.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Bookstore Games.

Note: If you don't have the money to buy books at a regular bookstore, check Amazon, which has cheap used books. See if a used bookstore or a library has what you need. Or make a list and buy when you are able.
  • Check every bay (individual bookcase) and try to find at least one book you've read. If you haven't read anything on a bay, chose, buy, and read a book from that bay. This is more fun with a friend.
  • Pick a color. Seek 3+ interesting-looking books with covers or spines in that color. Share your discoveries with a friend and select one book to buy and read.
  • Set up a scavenger hunt for a close friend. Hide literary clues or shared-memory-driven hints to the next book. Make the last destination interesting. 
  • Write tiny, encouraging notes and hide them among the books. Customers or staff will eventually find them.
  • Go with a friend and each choose books the other needs. These can be a combination of silly and sincere.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bright, Whole, and Engaged.

These words came to me somehow, maybe through a book or maybe just something that my mind had been churning like sea glass.

Bright, Whole, Engaged. This is how I want to approach the world, my close relationships, my creative work, and myself.

I know that when I'm overwhelmed, overstimulated, or just fried, my lights dim. I'm looking out through a fog. Or I'm trapped in the fog. But I want to be bright--alert, clever, attentive.

Often, though less so lately, I don't feel whole. It's as if some experiences have burned, hacked, or drowned away some of me. But I heal continuously. I'm on the way to whole.

Engaging is something I often avoid. But maybe a little more engagement would help me be whole, bright.

These are words to keep in my pocket and discover over and over.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Winter Journal.

One of my happiest writing memories is of having a beautiful snow fairy journal and writing in it (only with my favorite purple, pink, an blue pens) on a plane to Paris. Doesn't everything in that sentence sound lovely?

Stephen Mackey was the artist. I already loved snowflakes, so his combining those with fairies was, obviously, magic. And then, someone put it on the cover of a spiral-bound journal. Amazing. And the image had a silvery shift in the light.

I probably should re-read that whole journal. I wonder what I'd find.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Ideal Journal.

I've had so many wonderful journals with many of these characteristics but perhaps not all of them. I usually just see a journal and check its pages to know we belong together for a few weeks or months. But these are the qualities I like best in a journal:
  • Smooth pages that take pens easily.
  • Strong, thick cover that will provide a writing surface.
  • Thick pages that can accept fountain pens and markers without bleeding.
  • A beautiful cover that draws my attention.
  • An easily portable size, about the size of a quality paperback.
  • Inspirational quotations on each spread.
  • A ribbon bookmark.
  • A pocket at the back.
  • No perforations. 
  • Lies flat. It could be a spiral journal with a spiral that doesn't twist or come loose.
  • An elastic closure.
  • And...a little glitter on the cover would certainly be welcome.
I like hunting for these qualities. But of course, the cover comes first, luring me to test the pages.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Packing for a Three-Month Stay in Martha's Vineyard.

I'm reading about Susan Branch (one of my favorite artists) doing this when her life was a mess. I thought, "How can you pack for that?" I know I'd miss all my books, my filled journals, even some furniture.

I'd bring
  • Several books and hope to find more at a library or little bookshop.
  • My current journal and 4 or 5 blank ones. 
  • My favorite movies and favorite background movies that don't require my attention.
  • My laptop--hopefully for writing books or stories.
  • My coziest fleece lounge wear. 
  • A couple of dresses and my gold sparkle heels just in case.
  • Comfortable clothes.
  • Necklaces--I enjoy wearing them even when I'm alone.
  • Illustrated fairy tale books to soothe me.
I'd have to ship some of this!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Making Libraries for Each Other.

I read in the The Gospel According to Coco Chanel that Chanel hired someone to buy first editions of all the books Coco ought to have read. That fascinated me. It seems so intimate and so trusting: someone else selecting what will fill one's mind and alter one's thoughts. But I guess we participate in this every time we share a book or give or receive one as a gift. Often, Josh and my dad give me several books for my birthday. That has a great impact.

I like the idea of creative a library for someone I love. Maybe I'd fill just one bookcase. Even this would be a major challenge. Mom has already read a great many of the books I've read, but I'd still try. Josh is usually aware of what I'm reading. And I don't know if I could fill a bookcase for Oliver once he's reading, but I'd include Louisa May Alcott books, Matilda, the Narnia books, James and the Giant Peach, Stargirl...

Josh might fill a bookcase for me with a lot of books I wouldn't understand. But I know Frankenstein and To Kill a Mockingbird would be there (and I will read them). We have pushed each other to read some of the same books. My contributions might not interest him--some key Francesca Lia Block books, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Writing Down the Bones...

Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Book a Day.

I've written about this before, but it interests me so much. I'd like to meet some people who do that--discover their habits and ask them about the effects of so much reading.

I might be able to do it if I gathered enough poetry and children's chapter books. Imagine a year of 300+ books! I like taking my time with books, but I don't want to fall behind, and I don't want to miss some treasure double-stacked on my bookshelf.

A new favorite movie of mine, God Help the Girl, has one song with the line, "I read a book a day like an apple." I love that. I do think that all kinds of reading can contribute to intelligence, awareness, imagination, confidence, and common decency.

Lately, I've become a stronger, more determined and more successful as a reader. This comes and goes depending on my practice. I've been reading for hours. Maybe that can get even better.

Friday, July 1, 2016

No Saving.

I like this idea of not saving. It makes sense because anything could happen before a person gets to use or enjoy something he or she had been saving for some future event or feeling.

I do quite a bit of misguided saving. For tomorrow, for when I'm ready, for when conditions are perfect. I could lose my chance. But I'm also just depriving myself of joy when in fact, more joys will follow.

Some of these are especially silly.
  • Stickers. Sometimes, I find myself not using the prettiest ones. I buy stickers to use in my journals, so I should use them! I have plenty (though I'm always watching for more!).
  • Bubble bath and such. I save my favorite scents, but I should just jump in and enjoy them.
  • Journals. I save the best for some more appropriate time. Silly.
  • Books. I do this less often now, but I've almost unconsciously saved the most delicious-seeming books for some future self. 
My future self will find and create more joy and more beauty.