Saturday, June 29, 2019

Five quick wedding tips

I got married before I blogged, so you're welcome for not sharing 293840398 posts of excruciating details no one gives a shit about aside from me. I have been thinking of weddings recently so I'm going to do some wedding tips posts. When you’re planning a wedding, the more tips and tricks you can use, the better.

1. Make it easy to RSVP
Organizing any event is difficult when you don’t know how many guests will be attending. Make it easy for your invitees to RSVP by setting up an online portal or email address. With a quick and user-friendly way for people to reply, they’re more likely to RSVP in good time. If you’re sending RSVPs by mail, number your invites and attach corresponding names on your handy invite spreadsheet (just me? Surely not). It's easy to keep track of missing responses when you have numbered cards. I wish I would have saved the postage and had an online portal reply thingy.

2. Be prepared for an outdoor wedding
If you’re planning your marriage vows to be said outside like we did, make sure you’re ready for any weather conditions. Literally the only thing you cannot control is the weather. Having back-up plans in case of rain or excessive heat will ensure that everyone is comfortable and that your day isn’t spoiled by whatever the weather throws at you. If you're wearing a veil, veil weights are good for stopping your veil from blowing away in the wind. If you're wearing heels, heel attachments will prevent high heels from sinking into the grass. And if your wedding reception is in the sand, take it from me and wear a shorter dress. I did not and always wish I did. 

3. Second hand saves
Wedding decorations can be costly. If you want to try something different, hit all the antique shops, garage sales, and markets you can find in the run-up to your wedding and snap up vintage vases, candle holders and centerpieces to give your wedding decorations a bespoke and budget-friendly twist. Or just go largely without like I did. 

4. Create a wedding planner
Whether you opt for a book, folder, or online organizer (I had a binder like the dork I am...not a trapper keeper though), keeping an up-to-date wedding planner makes things so much easier. When you come across tips to help you on your big day, just like this page, you can save them directly to your online planner (pinterest board, too) or jot them down in your hard copy wedding book. With all of your ideas and plans in one place, you can ensure nothing will be overlooked in the run-up to the event.

5. The Cake
Many couples want to have a showstopper cake at their wedding, but it’s easy to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a cake alone (not me, we had a family member make ours and it was perfect, thank the lord). If you don't know an awesome cake lady, to keep costs down have a smaller masterpiece to display and cut, as well as a sheet cake in the back to serve. With two cakes, you can keep the top layer of your showstopper for your first anniversary and have a stunning cake to display while you enjoy a delicious sweet treat with your guests.

Married people, give me the first five wedding tips that come to mind for you - not like "don't worry about anything" but like solid try this hack tips. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Being a solid support system to moms to be

Congratulations! Your BFF/sister/work wife/ insert close proximity person here is pregnant and you're going to be an aunt! But first, you're going to be a solid support system to the pregnant person.

See her
Ask how she is and how she's feeling of course, but over everything else don't lose sight of her as a person, not just an expectant mother. Go see her and bring a gift suitable for her temporary change of circumstance, bring some snacks, and bring some chill. 

Bring food
There can be cravings, getting hangry is more dangerous than ever before, and summoning the energy to make food can be difficult. Help a sister out by getting mail order food gifts, so she doesn’t have to take care of it, or stopping by to cook a meal for everyone or drop off a pre-made meal every now and then. I usually do that after the baby is born, but before is helpful too if you can swing it.

Celebrate her
As one of the closest women in her life, contribute to the baby shower bash that she’ll be having at some point. If you are not the chief planner, find out who is and offer your services to make food or favors or arrangements or take photos or set up/clean up/decorate, or whatever the chief organizer needs. 

Reassure her
It’s not just a myth. Baby brain has been proven real and feeling forgetful can  impact a mom to be's self-esteem. You’re there to offer a guilt-free, understanding zone, and a helping hand when she forgets something. No questions asked.

Listen up
Don't be dismissive or talk down to someone when she’s worried about something pregnancy related. Listen as she navigates the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real labor. Help her find the answers when she’s not certain if everything is normal or encourage her to get in touch with the doctor or midwife.

If it’s her first pregnancy and she’s feeling a little stressed about being unprepared as the big day approaches, be a sounding board for her birth plan. Be her sounding board period, like you would in any circumstance. Just with a little more oomph because she might need a little more oomph from you.

Other tips for being a solid support system to framily through pregnancy?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - How does it feel when there's no destination that's too far and somewhere on the way you might find out who you are?

1. You know how your brain gets jammed up and things take longer to process/tasks take longer to complete and you know you need a break? That's me right now. Vacation is coming! Signs of that are always on the spare room bed.
2. "It's a road trip but we are going in super light," she says, after she places an Amazon order to ensure the proper coffee is there the first day and takes up most of a bag with books.

3. I got to see Melissa and Evil Stephanie #1 and Alex for dinner on Monday. I always enjoy meeting up with them when Stephanie is out on this coast. Fish tacos and service at National Mechanics were both great. Originally built in 1837 as Mechanics National Bank, the building is pretty cool too. Good pic as well except Melissa's GD eyes are closed.
4. Not a mug you'll be seeing in my mug collection.
5. Things that have kept me up at night this week, causing me to write my congress people close to midnight, Item A: people caring more about the word we use to describe the camps or the fact that other presidents had camps or how the children got here. These are fucking children. They need adequate food, water, beds, soap, diapers. If this was your kid, what would you want people to do on your behalf? This is not a political issue. This is a human issue. Children should not suffer because of the actions of adults. I have to think anyone with a heart believes that. Action: call your govt reps, donate to RAICES , and be be vocal about this because staying silent or neutral is choosing the side of the oppressor. I always did like Highlights and that is the gift of the year this year to support them.
6. Things that have kept me up at night this week, Item B: When They See Us. All hard, but episode four was just...fuck. And this happens, more than we'd like to admit. Action: examine yourself and the systems around you. Read White Fragility. Speak up when you see differential treatment under the law and everywhere.

7. The big todo in our house this week is a bladder infection. Poor Mae. One zillion dollars later, she is on a shit ton of antibiotics and still uncomfortable but back to growling at the other dogs and eating food and treats. Not an expense or a worry you want before vacation. I hope she's back to normal by the time we leave.

8. Co-signed. It's crazy unrealistic to expect happiness all the time yet there are happiness and positivity pushers out there and just stop with that. That’s not real life, it’s smothering people so they can’t express the reality of where they are, putting on a false happy while inside they stew and stagnate instead of having the space to grow through pain and adversity. I have a sign with "Sunshine all the time makes a desert" in my house so you know where I stand. 

9. Reminder: I love seeing street art from one of my favorites in the wild.

10. Ecards:

Thank you and good day. I SAID GOOD DAY.

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Living in America by James Brown

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Reflecting on life as I start my 64th year

Obviously I'm not starting my 64th year (that is obvious, right?!), but my mom is as her birthday was last week and this post is from her. 

In a million years, I never thought---

-I’d wear loose, long, maternity-type tops and let my bra straps show!  Big no-no years ago!

-I'd take (thanks iphone camera) and have (thanks Snapfish) so many pictures! Over 8,300 pictures and over 1,300 videos on my phone mostly of grandchickens that I send to their parents when they are with me and look back at them when the kids are not with me and I miss them!! Also many furry kid pictures, too! I am in the process of sorting pictures for all of our kids and extended families for them or for upcoming events that require picture boards. It takes forever, but #everypicturetellsastory, so it’s nice!

-We’d buy water! We have filtered water in our fridge, but we still buy water. And that so many people and so much money is spent on buying coffee, too!!! Hashtag GOLDMINE

-I would be able to compile my favorite songs and ask Alexa to play them AND request songs on a whim for grandchicken dance parties!!

-I'd have heated seats and push button starts on cars! And Tiles and a phone app to find the key fob when some people lose theirs 50 million times! Also- GPS, DVD players, Apple car play!

-The cell phone and internet - a little computer and camera and KIT-er right in my hand and the internet, social media for letting me communicate with people all over the world and expose injustice!!! The phone apps!! Just amazing!

-I’d feel such absolute joy and love for our four grandchickens - 2 pictured - 2 social media shy. It is, by far, the best and most beautiful love ever! Bonding with them is priceless. Being the oldest of six and I was 13 when my mom had triplets and almost 21 when I had my Stephanie, I have been around and cared for babies forever, it seems, BUT, this love is like no other! I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with my maternal grandparents who thought the sun rose and set on me. I also witnessed my own kids with their grandparents and my Stephanie with her great grandmother was really awesome!!! All you have to do is love them!!!

There is much more, I am sure, but I chose to focus on good stuff! I send healing lights and love and angels to all and may all of our free will choices be for the highest good! Be kind! Be grateful!
Thanks to the universe for our wonderful lives!!!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I want you to commit to participating in Plastic Free July

Happy Tuesday! Coming in hot and late five days before Plastic Free July.

As you know I am committed to my journey of reducing single use plastics and living more sustainably in general (see Discipline Over Convenience, Weaning Myself off Fast Fashion, and Sustainable Switches to start). Steph at Not Entirely Perfect is as well. Please check out her post today.

I am asking every single damn person in my life - that includes you - to commit to doing something for Plastic Free July, whether that's absolutely no single use plastics or making one small change or somewhere in between. Please. Commit to participating in some way that requires you to make a change to how you are operating in your life right now.

And if I can be so bold, if you are struggling with which change to make, might I suggest two easy switches: giving up single use plastic water bottles and single use coffee cups? Every person I know can do this and already has the tools to replace those things in their homes. If you have a water problem, how about a Brita or at least a gallon jug of water in lieu of the single use plastics?

For Plastic Free July, we're planning a number of things and would love if you'd join us, whether you blog or not:
1 - Sometime in the first two weeks of July, post a day in the life post on your blog or a series of photos on your Instagram account specifically focused on what you're doing to reduce single-use plastics or ways you're struggling/when you forget.

2 - Help! Looking for alternatives to...(insert single use plastic item here). In the third week of July, post on your blog or Instagram asking for alternatives to whatever you're looking to replace.

3 - How we did. In the last week of July, post on your blog or Instagram sharing how you did on whatever you chose to change in Plastic Free July and hopefully report in that you have made this change permanently. Last year I started taking a reusable coffee cup when I bought coffee out and never looked back. I can't believe it took me that long to make that change. If you want to buy the single use cup from Starbucks so it's instagrammable, I'm calling bullshit on that.

If bloggers are interested, we're happy to do link ups, so let one of us know.

On Instagram I am here and Steph is here, and we're going to use the hashtag #sustainablestephs and ask that you do the same and tag us in your posts. We're going to do a Swell bottle giveaway and I think Betsy is kicking in some metal straws too.

What do you think? Are you in? Can you commit to making a small change to reduce your single use plastic use?

Monday, June 24, 2019

TWTW - the first official one of summer

Friday Summer solstice! You know the drill - I worked from the shore, hit up the library book sale at lunch (all these books for $8.50), and painted my nails (Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Cherry Fast) and got Gus CBD oil refills. All errands via bike of course. MFD got Cinco de Mayo for dinner. Oh and I also had to call the cops again, second Friday in a row, for an abandoned car on the street with a flat, missing window, and no license plates. Between the abandoned boat earlier this year, the guy blocking the drive last week, and this, all on this tiny block, I'm over it. 
After work I headed to the beach for some ahhhh time, and I caught the sunset by the bay too. MFD had the nieces and nephews down so I hung with them Thursday night when I got back from the boards and they were down a few times while I was working. They all left by Friday night and MFD took Gus & Mae home so I was alone at the shore with Bruce and Ben. 

I was up reading until after midnight and up at 4:45 to walk the dogs, which I followed up with a solo sunrise trip. I read and put the house together for guests checking in then hit the beach for three hours. It was a picture perfect day. 
I packed up the car and was home by 7. Reading and asleep by 11:30.

Since I got no fucking sleep Friday night, I woke up at 7 Sunday and forced myself back to sleep until 10:30. I should have gotten up and gone to the grocery store, but alas, I did not. I did have coffee out back with the sun dogs though.
Sunday afternoon was a 60th Anniversary celebration at Spring House Tavern for Carol's parents, Ruth & Pete. They are the best! It was a nice luncheon. 
We went to my Mom & Rich's for a casual dinner after. I ate 402834 cookies and was overstuffed. Way. I hit Aldi on the way home, but not a good one, and was annoyed with myself for not picking a different one. I got home at 8 and read while my house was a gross horrible mess around me. 

Weekly food prep: breakfast is hard boiled eggs from the air fryer with everything but the bagel seasoning and fruit. Lunch is tuna salad over spinach. Dinners are air fryer chicken tenders with salad and I'm not sure what else but that's a good start. I'm good for Monday but need to get this shit done by Tuesday. 

And just like that, it was Monday again. 

How was yours? 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Dealing With Grumpy, Hormonal Teens Calmly and Coolly

Happy Friday, happy summer solstice! What's the surest way to know I have a guest writer, class? When the post is about kids - when I allow guest posts it's usually to cover topics I don't or to give friends some space. I love some kids, but writing about them is not my lane. My friend Jessie from across the pond is picking up my chosen Friday slack today to talk about parenting teens going through hormonal changes, also known as a portion of my life I am happy to never have to live again. Enjoy the read and enjoy the weekend!

It was bound to happen one day: your sweet little angel has turned into a stroppy teenager. They no longer want to cuddle with you on the couch in the evenings. Now they lock themselves in their rooms and exchange the odd grunt and groan at the dinner table. As your children are getting older it can be very difficult to deal with their changes in behavior. You want to know about every single thing going on in their life, but they seem like a closed book to you. As a parent, you need to understand that their behavior is no reflection on you. Teenagers go through hormonal changes at a rapid rate, which mean their mood swings are out of control. You need to learn how to deal with these sudden changes in emotion so you don’t encroach on their privacy too much, but you are still protecting them. Here are some useful techniques that might help you to deal with your grumpy and hormonal teenager in a calm and cool manner.

Keeping an Eye on Their Online Activity
As your teenagers grow more and more distant parents in this day and age start to wonder what they are getting up to online. Your teen probably has their own mobile phone, computer or tablet, so you want to keep an eye on their online activity. With an android parental control app you can have peace of mind that your youngster is totally safe online. You can track where they are, the websites they are visiting, and their text messages. Of course you don’t want to invade their privacy completely, but this will help you to relax a little bit as your trust grows stronger and stronger.

Respect Their Space
Believe it or not, teenagers love their own company - they're learning who they are and need some space to do so. As much as you want to chat to them all night long about how their day was, they probably just want to play computer games or read a book or watch the latest reality television program. At times like this, you need to respect their space and give them the privacy they need. If you start becoming too overbearing they will only push you away even more.

Open Up the Lines of Communication
Having a chat and opening up with your teen helps you to check in with how they are feeling. Although they might be totally reluctant to express their emotions, you can gauge how they're doing by their actions a lot of the time. If you are ever worried about the health or safety of your child you should definitely seek out the advice of a professional. Sometimes distant behavior can lead to worse scenarios, so keep an eye on them if you can.

Don’t Take Things Personally
When your child doesn’t want to talk to you or open up, try not to take it too personally. To them, parents are pretty embarrassing and they would rather keep you in the background when their friends are around. They will soon grow out of this way of thinking and you will have them back in your arms in no time.

Allow Them to Grow Up
When it comes to raising a teenager, there is no right or wrong answer. You need to allow them to spread their wings in their own time without being too overbearing. Assess your teen as an individual and you will soon get to grips with how you need to respond as their parent.

As you raise your children you will start to discover that they are completely different to each other. Your best friend might have had the smoothest journey with their teenager, but you could have had the rockiest ride ever. Now you know that everybody’s experience is unique to them, so you will never be able to compare and contrast the two. Deal with your teenager in a way that feels right for you personally. If it is important for you to monitor their online safety, you should take special measures to do so. If you think it is more useful to give them space, do that. You know your child better than anybody else so you will know how to handle each situation as it arises. Raising grumpy and hormonal teenagers will never be easy, but you can get through even the darkest days with a little bit of positivity and bravery.

Anything to add, parents in or who have survived the teen years?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - I've run out of comments, I'm tired of the violence

1. I don't bread things often (like, ever), but this week I did with bone-in pork chops and it sent me back to the first meal I knew how to make for my family using the oven at age 11: shake & bake pork chops in the oven with stovetop rice and kidney beans. I'd been making soups at my Mom Mom's side since I could stand on a chair at the stove, but this is what I think of when I think of the first actual meal I was tasked with cooking. What's the first meal you learned how to make and how old were you?

2. I had to go to the fucking dentist yesterday for a cleaning. If you're new here, the dentist is my kryptonite. My appointment was for 1:15 and I managed to not call and lie myself out of going the five times I had the urge to. Give me compliments.

3. It is still so weird to me that I live less than 10 minutes from a casino with neon lights. It must be weird to the deer too. 
4. I love this new sign but I hate the new Love Park in general. I miss the fountain a lot. Fountains are my jam. If they ever try to move or alter the fountain in Logan Square I will chain myself to it. You heard it here first. 

5. I love glimpsing grand buildings through trees. I took this on my way to the library the other day. It was so humid I nearly died. Summer in Philly. 

6. This week has been sort of lazy. I've run a few errands at night and during the day, but I've slacked and sat on my ass and read a lot too. Last night I had to turn it up at home. The dogs did not hear me raise the volume. 

7. I'll work from the shore tomorrow as usual and I am freaking pumped to attend the library book sale after work. I'm looking to score some less than $1 paperbacks to take on vacation. 

8. trump has done irreparable harm to the Central Park Five, way back when he whipped everyone into a frenzy and now when he refuses to acknowledge their exoneration. Trash person but in line with the racist dog whistles blowing everywhere. Actually they're no longer dog whistles, they're bullhorns, and threatening to round up and deport mass amounts of people is a loud and clear call to rally his base rabid for people to blame for the problems in this country other than those who actually deserve it - the ones they continually vote into office against their own interests who have no godly intention of making things better for Joe and Mary Citizen and every intention of making sure the rich get richer and that they themselves are among the rich. The cost of food, gas, medication, everything is up up up and if I'm feeling it, it has to be absolutely crushing people on the poverty line. If we stopped concentrating on keeping black and brown people down, what women were doing with their vaginas, who is having sex with who, etc., and joined together to PRESS EVERY OFFICIAL to ensure there are fair wages, income equality, equity for ALL of us, equal justice under the law, single payer healthcare with no middlemen making profit off of pain standing between people and emotional/mental/physical well being, and our basic living needs were met, we'd be unstoppable. Instead people who make $25 an hour want to make sure people making $8 don't ever make more while the guy at the top makes an obscene amount and kids can't pay for their school lunches. And the people who make $8 an hour want to blame brown people for taking jobs they don't even want instead of the guy making an obscene amount who doesn't give a shit about them or their ability to eat or live without fear. It makes no sense to me. Not much does anymore. 

9. Reminder: art and reminder via The Sweet Feminist

10. Ecards:

Have a good weekend!

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Special by Garbage

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Something I usually avoid: Blanket book recommendations

People know I read a lot, so I often get asked to recommend books. That's easier to do if the asker gives me a genre to work within but when they just want a good book or any book I've liked, that's trickier. Liking or loving a book could be due to many things, and they're rarely the same across the board: sometimes it's the writing, or the characters, or the story line, or a surprise, or the setting, or the subject. Sometimes it's a few of those things. Sometimes it's none of those things but one. Sometimes it's where I am in my life when I read it, or it's a reminder of a place I've been in my life - physical or emotional or a state of mind.

So it's very hard, when you ask someone for a book they like that you expect to like too. A book I think is good is not one you will like if you don't like the types of books I read. A book that hit me in the soul is not one that will hit you if you don't identify with the piece of it I identified with. In general I'd rather do what I do in Show Us Your Books posts: tell you I liked it or didn't and give a quasi-why and let you decide for yourself.

Not to mention that once I start naming books I've liked, it's hard for me to stop. I've read 88 books so far this year, 139 last year, 158 in 2017, 129 in 2016...I have a lot of material to pull from. For this list I just glanced over my last three years of reads and pulled a small few from the depths. Even as I finish this, I keep thinking of more and more and I just need to stop.

But here I am, throwing caution to the wind and making blanket book recommendations divvied up into a few non-professional opinion categories. I'm not even going to tell you why I liked them in all instances. It's safe to say I'd throw these recommendations out to various people depending on who was asking.

 Let us begin...all links go to Goodreads where you can read a synopsis of the book or where to find it because someone else already does a very good job of summarizing books for pay so I never do that for free. For series books, may I suggest google? Most series books I like are character driven. If you read one and you don't like the character, you will likely not like the rest.

Women's fiction
Other People's Houses by Abbi Waxman

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid - Like you're living in a rock and roll book.

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren - It's like a romance book for people who don't like romance books.

 The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin  - I love books about reading, and while this is about other things, it's largely about the powerful impact reading can have on our lives.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Literary fiction
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson 

The Lost Man by Jane Harper - This is a long, slow burn.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - Complicated, emotional, nuanced, superbly written

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - In which geography and time are characters

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain - This was a beautiful and romantic novel tinged with loss, triumph, and hardship.

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde  - This book pinged a lot of my points - a road trip to Yellowstone, sobriety, dog love, choosing your family. Sometimes it feels like you come across a book at a perfect time, and this was one of those books for me.

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler - I really loved this book and can't explain why. Beautifully written, so that's surely a part of it. A stellar title, that's part of it too. But I think most of it is just falling into its rhythm and rocking in its cadence.

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - Familiar with the Frankenstein story, I was unprepared for the nuanced writing of Shelley.

Books that are difficult to read due to content but important/worth it-most have triggers of some type
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum - This broke me a thousand times. It was a hard read, but if it was hard for me to read, how hard is it for some women to live? Beautiful writing and a perspective I have not read previously.  

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See - What a tremendous story and exceptional strength in these women. They felt so real to me and that is the mark of a very good book.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - I have feelings for this book. The story itself and the telling are absolutely masterful as well. I've never read anything like it. I will feel the impact of this one for years.

Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell - This book might have started my love of hard life in Appalachia tales back in the early 2000s.

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly - I could not even think of reading another WWII book for two years after this one.

Mystery/murder-y/full of psychos
Run Away by Harlan Coben - I've read all of Harlan Coben's books and usually prefer the Myron Bolitar series over his stand alones but I freaking loved this. Layers upon layers and a great pace.

Sadie by Courtney Summers - Compulsively readable. I couldn't put this down.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell - Tightly woven, well written mystery

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone - This was a quick read and a good one.

You by Caroline Kepnes  - If a book contains a psycho, chances are I'll like it. If it contains a psycho that the author manages to make likable, I will love it.

Young Adult Books that Adults Will Like Also
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Read it. As soon as you can. And make sure your mind is open to something that is likely not your reality. This is a YA book that people of all ages should be reading.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay - Beautiful writing, well shaped characters, and the intensity of the emotions of youth combine for a riveting read.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles - Phineas remains larger than life in my mind and in literary history.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo - Written by a white person for white people who think they are beyond all racism, I wish this was required reading.

Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow -  This is straight from the reformed white supremacist's mouth.

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land - You know why I loved this? It read like fiction. This is a wild fucking story.

The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx - I continue to be amazed that Sixx is alive.

Lake Wobegon Summer, 1956 by Garrison Keillor - This book made me laugh my ass off. Not sure if it's totally nonfiction as much as storytelling but it was hilarious.

Kate Burkholder novels by Linda Castillo
Fina Ludlow novels by Ingrid Thoft
Alphabet novels of Kinsey Milhone by Sue Grafton - the last ones are not good but I loved the series in total
Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch
Virgil Flowers books by John Sandford
Archy McNally books by Lawrence Sanders
Red Rising series by Pierce Brown

Happy Juneteenth, the official end of slavery in the US 154 years ago today. As of today, Juneteenth will be an observed holiday here in PA. Unofficially of course slavery never truly died, with the oppression of black people continuing with Jim Crow laws and still today in the for profit prison system and the current era of mass incarceration so we have work to do. We meaning white people these are our systems to smash.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM TODAY! And my cousin Ashley as well!

Books you would blanket recommend?

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