Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith review

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on FaithTraveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hi, I’m Kim. I’m a woman, early 40s, spiritual but churchless, and a somewhat-intelligent Christian with a soft spot for crystals and “woo.” My cat just died, I can’t get pregnant and I’m wondering what in the heck the point of my existence even is!

In other words, I am this book’s target audience. The only thing missing is the “to Kim” in the dedication. Therefore, I’m not the best person to objectively review this book. It’s like when I read Eat, Pray, Love right after my divorce. Or anything else Elizabeth Gilbert writes. Slam dunk.

I didn’t have any books coming up any time soon from the library, so I begrudgingly bought this for my Nook. It’s writer Anne Lamott’s reflections on her journey into and out of and into faith. Over the next two days I laughed on the sofa, cried on the train, and even used my Nook’s futzy UI to highlight and save certain passages forever. Such as:

“Grief, as I read somewhere once, is a lazy Susan. One day it is heavy and underwater, and the next day it spins and stops at loud and rageful, and the next day at wounded keening, and the next day numbness, silence.”


“Maybe it leaves me needing to consider how wealthy I am in the knowledge that the girl of my past is still in me while a marvelous dreadlocked crone is in the future — and that I hold both of these females inside.”

Needless to say I’m ridiculously happy I bought this book.

If you’re a LOLRELIGION goober, Zombie Jesus tee-shirt wearer, or a Religous person who is disdainful of free spirits this isn’t going to be the book for you. But if you think you’d enjoy warm, witty stories of a woman who is constantly flailing toward faith, give it a shot.

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Stupid beading tricks: planning

I haven’t been doing a lot of jewelry making lately. But I’ve been doing some planning!

I bought this pendant in a moment of weakness from White Clover Kiln. I want to make it into a necklace similar to the orange flower one that I did before. Instead of launching right into it, I sketched it out first.

Future necklace

Future necklace

I think I’m going to go with the Autumn Chirp palette for inspiration for the beads on the chain.

I’m definitely making bracelets out of the red poppy beads I bought at Beadfest. I found a bit of inspiration on Pinterest, and decided to use leather.

Future bracelets

Future bracelets

It’s nice to be able to think things out a bit before just hopping in with my wire and beads and creating a bunch of crap before something nice comes along. I need leather tab closure thingies though. And some copper chain for yet another idea I have. (Yay shopping!)

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Friday 5: Happy Birthday Bruce

Welp, another workweek in the books. This week I was…

Watching: Sleepy Hollow, The Mindy Project, Scandal, and a smattering of WWE. WM got hooked on Blue Bloods this summer (although this is a Donnie Wahlberg show, this was NOT my doing although I benefit GREATLY from this) so that’s on as I write this. I like to imagine there’s a “Days without Family Drama” sign in Frank Reagan’s kitchen and it’s constantly set to zero.

Reading: Outlander. Sweet merciful crap! It started out as a boring-ass story about a boring nurse and her boring husband doing boring things in Scotland. And now it’s nonstop kilts (yay!), killing and sex. Claire and Jamie? You are both effed up individuals but MAN you know how to get it on. Unfortunately, it has too much torture and rape for my tastes, so I’m going to skip ahead to the post-torture nookie and call it good.

Eating: Actual food. For those who haven’t been reading forever, I’m a yo-yo dieter. Earlier this week I saw a number on the scale that I do not ever want to see again, so I’m going full-force YO. Lots of protein, cutting back on carbs. Pizza was served at work today and I had NONE of it. I restarted DDP Yoga and I even measured myself (!!) and took the before photos. Like I said, full-force YO.

Dreading: Tomorrow morning. Ollie has a grooming appointment and Max has another vet check. And these are NOT big tasks, but tonight they seem big to me.

Other than that, it’s time for the Friday 5. The theme is Happy Birthday Bruce. As in Springsteen. Here’s where my Jersey cred takes a hit, but I don’t really like Bruce. Just not my type of music. However, in the spirit of the Friday 5, I persevere.

1. Hey, what else can we do now, except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair? (“Thunder Road,” 1975)

Maybe roll it back up. As I age, I’m less fond of air blowing directly on me. So in the car, I’ll put the back windows down. I try to avoid sitting right under air conditioner vents or ceiling fans. I used to want a convertible but I think now it would drive me insane.

2. Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse? (“The River,” 1980)

It’s not a lie, because a dream isn’t a promise. It’s more of a “What if?” I can honestly say that many of the dreams I had haven’t come true. But it’s not a bad thing and I’m not sad or morose about it. I’m happy with the way things are now.

3. So tell me who I see when I look in your eyes: is that you, baby, or just a brilliant disguise? (“Brilliant Disguise,” 1987)

It’s all me. It’s too much energy to try and be someone who I’m not. This magnificent crazy flawed body and personality is mine. And I like that song.

4. Do you think what I’m asking’s too much? (“Human Touch,” 1992)

Are you kidding? Five questions a week is pretty minimal!

5. Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart? (“Life Itself,” 2009)

That’s what happens when you start “Outlanding” your tambourine player/backup singer while you’re married to Juliette Phillips.

And that’s it. I have a full tasklist of things to do this weekend. Have a good one!

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Delicious! review

Delicious!Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

In Delicious!, Billie Breslin gets a job at a prestigious food magazine, makes friends with Minorities, and uncovers a not-very-interesting mystery, all while dealing with sister issues and being unaware of her own devastating beauty, intelligence, amazing fashion sense and culinary genius.

I haven’t read any of Reichl’s memoirs but I saw so many great reviews of her first foray into fiction that I gave it a try. It’s a Mary Sue/Cinderella story with a bunch of food porn and a young heroine who needs a man to guide her through everything. Daddy paid her rent, Jake told her what to write about, Sal taught her about cheese and all things Italian-American, Sammy guided her through the card catalog and a makeover, and then Daddy facilitated the ending.

There is also, literally, a lose-the-eyeglasses-and-cut-your-hair subplot that results in omgRomance! The dialogue is continuously broken up by long passages about historical events.

Sammy’s dialogue was so stilted, that it seemed like every line was a result of a program that did a search/replace function with a thesaurus. Example: “Dare I conjecture… that you have not plummeted into this slough of despond merely because of Lulu?” Seriously?

It’s one gigantic after school special. All that’s missing is an accidental pregnancy. I’m going to read one of Reichl’s memoir to cleanse my palate.

I was inspired write my own (slightly spoilery, sorry) alternate endings.

Alternate ending 1

Flanked by a nurse, Lulu Swan burst out of her room and into the visitor’s area of the facility, a shriveled sight with a head of white matted hair and a nightgown that risked falling off of her bony frame with every gesture.

“Lulu Swan?” Billie asked, naively, as the scent of bleach three corridors away assaulted her preternatural senses. “I thought – I thought you would be a major figure in the elite cooking world of Akron, Ohio!”

“I was once, Lulu cackled! I was a cooking marvel – a girl with the perfect palate!”

“Like me?” Billie adjusted the sleeve of the haute military-style jacket she was wearing. She wore it with a thrifted prom dress, mohair legwarmers, a pair of Toms and a feather boa. The outfit was so perfect that Sammy sent a picture of it to Anna Wintour and she was pondering whether or not to feature Billie in the next Vogue.

“Could you tell what a spice was by one speck of it on your tongue?” she shrieked. “Then yes, like you!” Lulu swatted at the imaginary bugs. “James Beard called me a prodigy! My milkweed brought all the boys to the yard. BUT THEN!”

“What happened, Lulu?” Billie asked, unaware of her naturally trim figure, bewitching eyes and amazing hair.

“I GOT A MAKEOVER! I cut my hair and bought modern clothes. I became desired by men but the curse fell upon me and my golden palate was gone. GONE!! And yours will be too, Bobbie! The best souffle on earth will taste like a communion wafer!”

“Hm, that sounds Catholic,” Billie thought as a nurse swooned at her from across the room. “I’ll have to ask my Italian-American friends Sal and Rosalie about that.”

Lulu pulled a handful of plastic leaves from the fake plant nearby and threw them at Billie. “EAT MY PUMPKIN LEAVES!”

“That’ll be all,” the nurse said as she took Lulu by the upper arm and pulled her away.

“STOP CRYING MOTHER!” Lulu hollered as she was restrained to her bed. “FATHER’S EATING ICE CREAM IN FRANCE!”

Alternate ending #2

The moonlight shone on Billie Breslin as she stood calf-deep in the hole she was digging next to Lulu Swan’s grave. Her hair bounced gorgeously everytime the spade hit the dirt.

“Oh, I’ll find you, Lulu Swan. I’ll find you tonight.”

Billie reached down, grabbed a handful of dirt and put it in her mouth. “Coriander,” she said aloud to nobody. “From the great Coriander Disaster of 1992, no doubt. It nearly wiped out all of Akron, and the spice workers were placed in internment camps. A tragedy that should never again happen in America.”

Wearing a dress made of Lulu’s letters crudely taped together, Billie continued to dig. Her naturally toned arms and upper body strength made the chore an easy one. An hour later, she tasted another mouthful of dirt. She recalled the metallic tang from when she licked Genie’s casket at the service and knew she was finally close to meeting Lulu.

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