Tiny House Update!

(This draft was written August 25th, but I’m publishing it now anyway. Enjoy the late update!).

Two weeks ago I realized a big part of why I was discouraged at doing any work on the tiny house was this: even if we finished 100% of the house tomorrow, there is still a butt-load of work to be done on the land before we could move the tiny house TO the land.


-Dig up the power cord to the cabin and encase it in PVC, then re-bury it.

-Put an RV plug on the light pole.

-Weed whack the 2-foot-high grass.

-Move the rock fence to make room for the tiny house to come through.

-Level the ground where the tiny house will go.

-Move a tree (I’m like 99% sure it’s a mountain laurel, which is heartbreaking because mountain laurel are my absolute favorite, but we’ll plant another one if we can’t transplant it).

Then it hit me: we need to prep the land first. Then we can move the house. Somehow this makes me want to work on the tiny house again, knowing that the land is fully ready for us.

Another realization coincided with this thought: after the drywall is hung up and mudded, the flooring will go in. We were planning on doing this while the tiny house is still at our build site (my boss’ second driveway, bless their patience), but I realized that we can’t install hardwood floor in a non-AC house. The AC has to go in first. But we can’t put the AC in until we move the house to the land, because we need to plug the house into an RV plug, which is only located on our property (once we install it anyway).

A plan fell into place based off of these requirements, and while that may not sound like a big deal, I assure you, it is. It’s really hard to stay on task while building a tiny house, when all the decisions are totally up to you. Having parameters, even as simple as “Sorry folks, you can’t put the floor in until the AC is hooked up, and you can’t hook up the AC until it’s on the land.” And suddenly, we were back in business.

Weekend before last, we loaded up our car with garden tools stolen from my parents’ garage with big plans to simply weed whack the area above the line, “pull up” the old power line (rest assured, there is currently no power going to the property at all so we felt comfortable doing this), encase it in PVC, drop it back in the earth, and ta-da! All done.

On the drive up there, Casey decided he wanted to replace the power line entirely. Which is totally fine. And it went from “replacing would be a good thing to do” to, after digging it up, “holy crap, this old line is spliced and DUCT TAPED together underground, of COURSE we are replacing it.”

We weed whacked. Casey dug up the old janky line, and then decided to dig an 18″ deep and two foot wide, forty-foot long trench in rocky, South Texas “soil.” Loooong story short, we have now made three trips out to the property, one of which was with a friend who was the BIGGEST help ever, and now Casey is only two feet away from being finished with digging.


Ah, all these tiny house projects. “Just dig a trench” seemed like a, oh, four to six hour project. Hahahaha!


I also mopped the nasty cabin floors. We’re probably going to gut the place anyway when it’s all said and done, especially since that’s the only way to know if the electrical wiring is duct taped in the walls, too. Eep.

Meanwhile, over at the tiny house…

My health is crap for at least 50% of the month, guaranteed, sometimes more than 50%, so I have to take advantage of my energy when I have it for use as I have had it this last week. So far I have used it to: weed whack a ton of the land, pick up garbage on the property, mop the nasty floors of the cabin, and trim a bunch of the trees there.

Then last Friday, I decided to wash the siding of the tiny house to prep it for painting.

Then I spent two hours in Lowe’s getting paint, painting supplies, stain for the wood siding on the porch, etc. Two hours! Two hours. For about a minute I was irritated at how long everything was taking and then I realized, “What else would I be doing today? This is the best use of my time, even if it takes awhile.” And it was. Because today, I was able to wake up and head out before it was oven-hot and I painted part of the house! I painted it!

This is literally the first time in the history of tiny tiny house where one of us managed to do eight hundred times more than we expected. I told myself when I woke up this morning that if all I could do today was just get putty in the nail holes on the lower half (non-ladder-half) of the house, then it would be a win. Well, I did that in about 30 minutes. And then I started painting. And painting. And painting. And then I really got the hang of it and four hours later, the house looked like this:




There is no trim up yet on the corners but whatever. That’s easy to install and paint later. That’s Casey’s job.

This is where we stand with things that need doing in the next four weeks (deadline September 30th-ISH, gah, all this takes so much longer than we plan):


1) Finish digging the trench. Install new cable safely wrapped in PVC. Re-bury cable.

2) Install RV plug on property.

3) Have land-clearers come out and dig up tree, trim big branches, and level out a space for the tiny house.


1) Finish painting exterior.

2) Run a few new tech-y wires in the walls. Finish hanging drywall and backer board.

3) Install porch ceiling. Stain it, ideally.

4) MOVE IT. Find a truck and tow it up to our property. Put it in place, level it out, and install the AC. Have power turned on at property. Hook up AC.

Then a million things after that but it will be MOVED and that will be awesome.

And like I said at the beginning of this post, this is progress as of August 25. So maybe in two weeks I will have the update as of today, September 13. It is nice to look at all this and realize we have made huge strides since then! In fact, for a sneak peak of what the drywall looked like a week ago, go here to my husband’s blog for pictures.

Posted in our tiny house, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Gone Girl: What is Artistic Responsibility?

I read Gone Girl in one sitting yesterday.

I stayed up until two o’clock this morning, turning digital pages in my hand (40 percent…68 percent…94 percent…FINISHED AND NOW WIDE AWAKE).

I realllllly want to talk about this book with someone, but I know of no one in my circle who has read it, so I’m writing this blog post instead.

*Also note I’m adding edits to this. I wrote this on 6 hours of sleep. :-/


I went online to see precisely what people were saying about the book in regards to its treatment of women, and other than this PDF by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, I found nothing that exactly pinpointed my concerns. There are a ton of discussions about misogyny and feminism, all of which I feel cloud the main issue of the book.

It’s also worth saying that I am not being deeply critical of this book because it was written by a woman. I’m deeply critical of all the books I read, the movies I watch, the TV shows I devour. It’s part of my nature.

First off, and this should go without saying since I read it in one sitting, it’s a really cleverly constructed thriller. I found the verrry end of it to be a little implausible that even Amazing Amy could have managed to construct and re-construct two different stories and setups that could overlay perfectly without leaving behind one single solitary mistake (why didn’t anyone ask for Desi’s whereabouts when Amy was allegedly taken by him? Because he would have been with his mom? And no one trusted her?). But overall I found it a compelling read about two co-dependent individuals and their exceedingly fucked up relationship with one another.

An aside: Some people on the Internet are saying that Amy was “too smart” to be convinced by dumb Nick with only a few words from him on TV that he still loved her. Sociopaths don’t care what other people think, they’ve said. Well, sociopath may be one good description for Amy (and it’s one used by Nick), but more importantly and unstated explicitly by the two unreliable narrators is that Amy suffers from textbook Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And someone with NPD will absolutely respond to someone telling them exactly what they want to hear. How did I pick up on this? Other than my own extensive life experience with such people, Amy tells us. In Act 2, when we find out Amy is framing Nick, and we start to hear her in her own words, she tells us. She kicks off her honesty by describing how her whole life, she has put on costumes, slipped different personalities onto her being like she was an actor in a play. Actually, just read this link, it will save you my ramblings on NPD: Amy has literally every single one of those symptoms. I applaud Gillian Flynn for such an accurate portrayal of extreme NPD, all the way down to the childhood with parents who failed to appropriately praise her. End aside.

So what was my problem with the book? It stems from a question I’ve been toying with for a few years now: what is the responsibility of artists for how people will view their work in the larger context of real, actual society? Or better said: do artists need to think about how their work will affect the world?

Allow me a series of small diversions.

When Dave Chapelle left behind both his highly successful comedy show and a large sum of money, he said the inciting incident was watching back a recently-filmed skit on the monitors in-studio. The skit was heavily racially charged (duh, it’s Chapelle). Dave Chapelle later said that in that moment, one of the white cameramen laughed in a way that made Chapelle uncomfortable. The laugh was a little too long. A little too loud. It was the wrong kind of laugh. For the first time Chapelle thought that maybe there were people out there laughing in the wrong way at his skits, and that his comedy wasn’t as responsible as he thought it was.

I felt this same way when I went to see Borat in theaters. Here’s a statement filled with redundancy: I saw it in a theater in an incredibly conservative town in North Carolina. During the scene where Borat was discussing how in his nation they “hang homosexuals,” a group of young white men behind me started laughing uproariously. They laughed in the wrong way, and they continued to laugh in the wrong way, at the wrong things, throughout the whole movie. I walked out of that theater deeply aware that art has consequences.

Does this mean an artist can’t touch race or gender or sexuality at all? No, it doesn’t. I feel that the subject of racism and misogyny and homophobia can all be handled deftly by adding in appropriate reactions of sane, surrounding characters. Like on the US version of The Office: any time Michael Scott ends up being racist or sexist or homophobic, the camera pans to the shocked, disapproving, head-shaking, socially-aware characters around him. It is then that we realize that we aren’t meant to be laughing at the intolerant joke he made, we are meant to be laughing at him and how hard he is trying to not be intolerant while failing miserably.

What the hell does this have to do with Gone Girl? Okay. The setup of the book rests upon the in-real-life fact that in the vast majority of cases where a woman goes missing, it is nearly almost always at the hands of a man, and that man is nearly always someone she knows, and that male someone she knows is nearly always her husband. This is a fact of reality. Men are, by and large, the perpetrators of violence against women. (Gavin deBecker talks at length about this in his wonderful book, The Gift of Fear).

The twist within the pages of Gone Girl is that in fact, the missing woman is not missing at the hands of her husband, a man she knows, nor a man at all.

The missing woman is missing from everyone but herself. Because Amy, sufferer of NPD and sociopathy, has faked her own murder and framed her husband to teach him a lesson about infidelity. Clever! Yes. Clever. For the sake of art, it is clever to insert a completely unlikely situation because the readers won’t be looking for it when the twist comes. They aren’t expecting it, because most women do not fake rape and abuse and pregnancy and their own death and then set up a complex series of clues to frame their husbands. Most deceased, pregnant women who have cheating husbands with violent tendencies have died at the hands of their cheating husbands with violent tendencies.

That Amy has a long past of accusing men of rape and stalking just to satisfy her own bizarre egomania is also another layer on the cake of discomfort for me.

But it’s art! Who cares?

I care. Remember what I said about context?

The other deeply clever part of the book is that it’s told by two completely unreliable narrators. That makes for a good read. It also means we have no context, no reality to grip onto, no other characters to base our own reactions off of (which again, makes for a great read).  And while the central conceit of Gone Girl is terribly clever because it inverts what actually happens in reality, the fact that it is presented in a completely familiar, completely real world (post-recession middle America) is deeply troubling. We are told that what Amy has done is because of her mental illnesses, that what Amy has done has almost zero precedent in the real world, that it is so uncommon that no one even thinks it could be real, yet we are told this in the wrappings of our own world. The plot is fictional, but the setting is real. It feels like it is real, down to the dead-on Nancy Grace impersonator within its pages. And that’s the problem I have.

I’m afraid at how the book is being received. I’m afraid that women, who are already disproportionate victims not only of violent crime but of the justice system, will further suffer from the absolutely massive popularity of this book, a book that shows us that “Hey guys, even women commit violence, and when they do, it is absolutely terrifying.” We live in a society where Men’s Rights Activists exist, stating that to be completely “fair,” we must say that women and men do things in equal measure, all the way down to violence. That you can’t use the pronoun “he” as a rule when talking about perpetrators of violence, and that you shouldn’t use the pronoun “she” as a rule when talking about victims, because that’s not “fair to men.”

In reality, women committing violence against men is the absolute exception. To be “fair” in this case is to be statistically inaccurate, to paraphrase Gavin deBecker. Women on men violence is the exception. But when you’re in the pages of the book, it feels like the rule.

Is it Gillian Flynn’s fault if people take it that way? I think it is. I think writers have a responsibility to their audiences to present socially responsible literature. I think writers have to consider how their fictional work fits into the very real context of society.

There’s also the disturbing question of why the book is popular: is it because it is so engrossing and well-written (certainly)? But is it also because it fits the narrative in our society that women who claim victimhood are untrustworthy, manipulative, lying, bitches? I don’t know. I hope not.

I really, really hope not. But I’m also not naïve.

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Most tiny house blog posts I’m like TL;DR, get to the photos.

And I know I’m not alone in this, so I’ve generously peppered my words here with photos of MASSIVE progress, courtesy of my husband.

When I’m feeling discouraged, I hit up Instagram (my account is here!) and scroll through the tiny house hashtag. I see how far we’ve come when I see people just pulling an empty flatbed into their driveways, or people just scribbling ideas on paper. I mean, look at our house!


This was but a twinkle in our eyes three years ago! Two years ago this week, this was a an empty flatbed in a generously borrowed driveway.

I also see a good amount of people on Instagram re-posting photos of other people’s tiny houses (like our friend Macy’s; her gorgeous, modern tiny house is a popular one) and writing “This is my dream! Oh I want one of these!”. This is my completely non-evidence-based opinion: 99% of the people posting that will never, ever build a tiny house. Because tiny house building is hard. fucking. work.

I get it. The houses are so twee looking on all the blogs, and much like a movie, you can skip ahead to the happy ending. The people talking about their insanely low living costs, photos of cats snuggling in a sunbeam in a cozy loft, the brags about 20-minutes of deep cleaning a diminutive space once a week – these are all things that intrigue people and inspire people to want a “simpler life.” What most people don’t choose to write about and even more people don’t choose to read are the “simple” 1000+ hours of building. Of teaching yourself every little step and then getting out in the 98 degree heat to go do that little step. Day after day after day. Of getting into the house and realizing you don’t have all the parts you need. The million trips to Lowe’s, the contractors who never call back, the orders that are cancelled. This is not to mention all of the hours worked to pay for those materials.

If I’m making it sound like hell: good. I want to balance out the people who post “TA-DA!!!!” reveal photos, the people who make it seem like electrical work for a complete newbie takes one brief weekend.

Someone on a financial forum told me that 18 months sounded like an excessively long time to be building a tiny house. I told him this seemed the average amount of time, at least for people blogging about their builds. The guy wrote back that he was estimating “three weekends” for his own build.  I typed: “Definitely blog about it! We all have a lot to learn from you!” all the while shaking my head and laughing from behind my keyboard.

But I’m not saying all this work isn’t worth it. So while I want to pop the hope bubbles of doe-eyed dreamers, I also don’t want other people looking at our life and thinking: “Wow, why are they doing this? What a terrible thing to put yourself through. Life should be easier.” All good things, all things worth having – wonderful marriages, financial security, being a great cook – take work. This is the burden of being human: if someone told you that they would hand you, tomorrow, your ideal life, with no effort required by you; you would be enamoured of it for a few weeks before the emptiness and boredom set in and you started setting new goals.

The good people over at Rebel Heart recently (and very publicly) lost what they’d worked so hard for: their sailboat home and a dream of sailing around the world with their young children. Eric wrote a beautiful post about that dream, the one they lived for two years. I completely resonated with his words, particularly this part:

“…what made those two years possible was the decade before it. It was acquiring a lot of sea time. Buying a boat. Paying down debt. Long hours in the office. Getting my commercial license. Many, many hours of physical labor. 

Those were not sexy years. They do not capture the eye with pictures of amazing sunsets or tropical paradises. But the reality for most of us is that if you want to achieve something you need to put some serious time in at the grindstone to get there.”


Meredith Gersten posted a wonderful Vince Lombardi quote last week:

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

He made it there one small decision, one small action at a time. Over and over and over again.


Posted in our tiny house | 6 Comments

Opinions Are Like Assholes.

alpaca-don't-careThis alpaca couldn’t give two fucks. Note to self: be more like alpaca. Texas Hill Country. November 2013. Nikon D90.

At any given moment, I either want to hug the Internet or tell it to fuck off.

It seems about equally filled with complete pricks and really nice people.

There was a guy yesterday on a forum I post to who was so clearly trolling, but he was SO GOOD at it that I failed to notice before I got really angry. This guy was so good at getting people riled up and turning them against one another. It was the master troll formula of post something somewhat plausible, don’t respond to anyone other than “Thanks for your input. You didn’t understand my post. Here is my ridiculous question that doesn’t make any sense.” Over and over and over again. Then when I called him out on trolling and someone else did, too, he called both of us trolls.

It was ridiculous. Thankfully I stopped after two posts.

Then there are the Grammar Pricks. Seriously, stop picking apart people’s grammar in comment threads. It’s almost always ad-hominem, adds nothing to the discussion, and comes off so prick-ish I just can’t stand it. Inevitably, the first Grammar Prick makes a grammar mistake of his own, thusly starting the “I know English more good than you do” trail of comments when all I want to know is if anyone else thinks The Voice has become the most boring talent show in all of television history. Seriously, not even Usher’s dimples and biceps make me want to tune in anymore and WHO ELSE IS WITH ME?

Then there’s every single time I read Pat’s Bumfuzzle blog. Pat is currently renovating an incredible Travco so his family can go be awesome on the road together. There are definitely nice people in the comments, but inevitably the prick comments go like this: “Nice job, but I could have done it better/faster/cheaper/bow down to my undocumented armchair expertise.” It’s a refrain I’m sensitive to because, well, the entire tiny house online community is filled with pricks like that.

Say prick again!


Speaking of tiny house blogs, Macy Miller posted what can best be described as a completely overwhelming look at how women are treated on the Internet. Granted, many of the “better, faster, cheaper” comments would have still been directed at a male builder. The rest, the ones questioning her morals, her judgment, and her life choices? Were decidedly targeted, anti-female attacks. The misogynist pigs have been out in full force in the comments of all of the many articles featuring Macy’s gorgeous tiny house, and it makes me sick.

I really don’t know where I’m going with all of this but damn, are some people really that bored that all they want to do is troll and be angry?

Then again, I’m guilty of it too. I find that the more irritated I get by something else someone has done/is doing, the more I need to look at what *I* am doing or not doing with my life. I usually get extra critical when I am experiencing discomfort or discord with my own decisions.

I am once again re-examining my exposure to things that make me angry, because anger is a pretty useless emotion. This will, once again, limit the things I look at online. I’ve been really great in 2014 not looking at things that piss me off thus far, but I slipped over the weekend in the absence of good book reading material. I guess a better way of saying it is that I’ve been spending too much of the precious little energy I have becoming invested in someone else’s shit. It’s a powerful pull, and something I’ve worked hard on decreasing for the last six years or so. I’ve come a long way, and still have a ways to go.

For now, I’m increasing my awareness and changing my behavior because it makes me happier.

For anyone who made it this far down: that alpaca at the top of the post actually took a dump while he was eating. Like I said, that alpaca couldn’t give two fucks.

Long live the happy people and pooping-while-eating alpacas of the world! I will end this completely random post with an Internet hug.


Posted in this is my life | 4 Comments



DSC_0049 DSC_0016







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I’ve been learning how to be idle. Mid-day epsom salt baths with my favorite candle, long rests, reading piles of books.

We went downtown and saw (and smelled) the first mountain laurel of the season. The next day we saw the first bluebonnets, thick and lush in the highway median. I love spring in Texas.

The tiny house is plowing along quite well. We went up to our land and peace settled over both of us. It’s just so quiet. Clean air and silence. Natural silence. It was lovely.

I hope you are doing well in whatever pursuits you are pursuing.

Happy spring, everyone in the northern hemisphere!

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Tiny House Floor Plan and a Metric Ton of Details.

Tiny-House-Floor-PlanJessica brought it to my attention that I’ve never posted a floor plan of our tiny house. This is exactly the type of thing that bothers me when I’m perusing other tiny house sites, so thanks for the reminder!

Above is a basic picture of our tiny house floor plan that I quickly drew up in Pages. Here is a Sketchup image, courtesy of Casey:


Here’s all you (n)ever wanted to know about the house:

Living room: We have no plans as of yet for furniture in this room other than a stand up desk (a fold-down, wall-mounted Ikea table) for Casey. I read years ago on someone’s tiny house blog that he waited to see how he used the space before building a bunch of furniture. In space planning, this is called “desire lines.” Architects/landscape architects will wait to see the paths of least resistance carved into the grass before they pour sidewalks. In the meantime, we will have a bunch of floor pillows for lounging.

Entryway: This area is raised 8″ from the other two thirds of the house to accommodate the wheel wells of the trailer. The back wall will be covered in cabinets for storage. This is the wall where our mini-split ductless AC/heater will be. The fridge will be in the far right cabinet next to the kitchen.

Kitchen: Tankless water heater under the sink, a Camp Chef stove (affiliate link) because we could not find a correctly sized, well-priced oven, a stove vent, and a CO detector of course.

Bathroom: 36″ wide. Ofuro tub made of plywood and fiberglass by Casey so I have a place to soak when my endometriosis acts up (he’s the best!). Tiny Ikea sink underneath the window. Humanure bucket toilet, TP storage next to it, cabinets above the toilet for bathroom stuff like cases of deodorant, extra toothbrush heads, etc.

Loft: Two skylights in the ceiling, two awning windows for circulation. I think the loft is less than 3′ at the highest point. I can sit up inside the skylights and not hit my head (I’m 5’7″ tall). I am horribly claustrophobic, but all of the bright light makes this space incredibly open and cozy at the same time. I spend hours up here while Casey builds. We’ll have some type of foam sheeting up there for a “mattress.” I think we’re going to go all out and get enough pieces to cover the entire loft floor like one giant mattress. We’re both sprawlers so I’m looking forward to having an 8.5′ wide bed. The loft is open to the rest of the house:DSC_0005

Land: we have a piece of unrestricted (yay!) land (about 2/10 acre) with this view:landview

The land has a small cabin on it already that we will use for a studio. There is already high speed internet and electricity, and all of the mountain cedar has been cleared out, which is really a big freaking deal. We’ll be buying more rain barrels for water catchment (there is one on the property already), and I’ll be setting up a greywater garden of some kind.

Other info: the tiny house is on a trailer. It’s 13.5′ tall from the ground to the pitch of the roof. So far we’ve spent maybe $14k on it, and that includes the $3200 trailer, $1500 to have someone install the most gorgeous standing seam roof you’ve ever seen in your life, and brand new windows and doors. We’ve actually purchased everything new, mostly at Lowe’s. Scavenging for materials is admirable but doesn’t work for us. The land was less than $17k. When it’s all said and done, we will have a custom-built home and studio on a quiet piece of land for around $33k, or about the cost of three and a half years of apartment rent. That’s not keeping in mind what we save on utilities, furniture, and general “stuff.” We are a bit of a ways out of the city but we’re not far from a grocery store.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Posted in our tiny house, tiny house floor plan, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Tiny House Update: Porch Progress!!!

There are approximately one million steps in the tiny house process. Some steps are small and some are large. Some take forrrrrever and are completely hidden and others take half a day and are a huge visual payoff. I prefer the latter, for obvious reasons. And there are some that take forever and are a huge visual payoff, and some that are completely hidden and take half a day or like five seconds. There are many combos of these. You get it. Moving on.

Casey has been wiring the house over the last few weeks, and while the thrill of being able to click a switch in the wall (no lights quite yet) is wonderful, it’s something we have to point out to people who drop by.

This is something that needs no explanation or introduction:

THISONETHATONENo more Tyvek on the porch!!! No more Tyvek on the porch!!! By the way, as simple as this looks, it took half the day and THREE trips to Lowe’s. Through the magic of the Internet, it appears in front of you now as a two-second process with no decisions or sawdust on your clothes.

We were planning on just sealing the with a clear coat, but I have now decided that we should stain it. Unbeknownst to Casey. ;-) I will convince him with the power of a thousand Houzz images. Marital miscommunication. OF COURSE WE WILL STAIN IT. Casey had the idea first. I thought he said “clear coat only” and I had the hope that the wood would not be yellow when we picked it up from the store. The “clear coat only” part is apparently not what happened. My ears. They don’t listen so good.

Casey also finally put the last two pieces of decking on the deck. We ran out of wood like, a year and a half ago? and never bought the final board. Until yesterday. Now we have a finished deck. I think the best part is coming around the corner up to the tiny house and seeing such a finished look. And stepping out onto the deck feels so cozy. Like you’re being blanketed in wood. Or something.

The next project area to be tackled is plumbing. I originally typed “the next step is plumbing” but that makes it sound like plumbing is one step, a single item to be checked off of the list. Nothing in a tiny house is a single item. Listing things out like that in the past slowed us way, way down. Now we have a verrrry general project outline and we take it one step at a time.

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That Time I Became a Published Author.



Well, I’m in a magazine.

Do you like how I said that? Like I’m totally calm, cool, and collected about it?

Because in reality I gleefully tore open the envelope and actually squeaked, yes, squeaked, when I saw my name in print in the table of contents. Then I ran upstairs and used the magazine as a fake top hat as I danced across the floor in front of Casey while singing “Rose’s Turn.” Not making any that up.

I am completely honored to have had my first essay submission to any real live magazine be published.

I’ve been too excited to read the stories from fellow submissions, but I can’t wait to dive in and read of the brave souls who doubtless had a much more difficult journey out of faith than I did.

You can buy the issue Free Inquiry here! And if you’re feeling charitable, check out the Center for Inquiry’s Freethought Book Project, wherein they are sending scientific and rational-thought books to prisoners. Be sure to check out the testimony from one of the recipients of the books. It’s a charitable cause well worth your money.

Posted in secular humanism, this is my life | 2 Comments

How I’m Dealing with My Internet Problem.


I’ve been in a bit of a January, gloomy, funk. It’s really cloudy in San Antonio in January, and in addition to that, it’s cedar season. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky. Cedar-Juniper is the most potent pollen on earth, or so says, well, science. It doesn’t fuck around, and cedar trees can release so much pollen at once that it looks like the trees are on fire. Welcome to Dante’s Pollen-ferno. Cedar season lasts about seven weeks (Christmas Day on the nose through mid-February) and I think this is week three, so we’ve nearly climbed the mountain at this point. February and March are typically the most beautiful weather months in South Texas, so there’s that to look forward to before the land and trees are literally on fire from drought, heat, and errant cigarette butts tossed onto highway medians.

So I’ve been feeling generally depressed but not unhappy, if that makes sense, and spending way too much time doing abso-fuck-all on the Internet as I am wont to do. Yesterday for funsies I challenged myself to not use the computer all afternoon. I made it from noon-6:30 PM (with copious help from a Neil deGrasse Tyson book, knitting, and a nap) mounted to physical pain when I told myself no. I started counting every time I felt the urge to surf, and it was, well. It was a lot. Like once every three minutes, a lot. But it tapered off radically after the first thirty minutes and I was able to push through getting some things done, like cleaning and working on a creative project. In the midst of sewing the edges of my spiral notebook cover prototype, I was pondering the root of my time spent on the Internet (about four hours a day on average) and realized that I go to the Internet for two reasons:

1) Boredom.

2) I’m sleepy and don’t want to calm my brain down enough to take a nap.

3) I’m hungry.

4) When there’s a decision that needs making and I don’t want to make it.

The last one is the most concerning to me. The decision can be big (“How do I start preparing my taxes?”), medium (“What size should I cut this piece of leather?”), small (“What’s for lunch?”), or embarrassingly minute (“Do I have the energy to pee right now?”). I’m presented with all four types of decisions, and my instinct and action are: “Computer time!!!” Taken over time, a lot of these snowball. Especially the medium ones, because they have to do with creative projects. “What color yarn should I use next?” or “How am I ever going to line up these stitch holes on this leather?” seem innocuous enough decisions to delay, but if I’m constantly avoiding them, the project never moves forward. Ever.

It’s been really helpful to me even in the last 24 hours to have this knowledge. I’ve realized over the last few years that if there is a behavior that I want to change, simply cutting the temptation out doesn’t work. I need the Internet to make my life easier. It’s easy to communicate, it’s easy to promote my business, I like blogging, I like gathering recipes. In the past I thought I needed to cut myself off from it entirely. But that isn’t the case. Because the Internet usage I just listed are not behaviors that need to be curtailed. It’s the mindless browsing for hours. It’s reading Instagram feeds that make me ragey. It’s engaging in fruitless discussion in online forums. It’s keeping up with other people’s lives, people I don’t even know. It’s sitting down “just to check my email” and then two hours later getting up and saying “What was it I’m supposed to be doing?” not knowing, and then going back to the computer again because it’s easy and it’s there.

I’m starting a part-time job next week (yay!), and I want my mornings to be productive creative times. For writing, for crafting, for resting. Instead of waiting for a routine to happen, I’m making it happen now. I’m instilling the behaviors I want to be instilling: reading a book instead of a website, cleaning up instead of commenting, knitting instead of surfing, meal-planning instead of browsing pictures of other people’s meal-planning, knocking projects off of the to-do list instead of reading about new ways to make to-do lists. I’m not banning myself from blogs this time, I’m not putting a timer on my computer, I’m not setting any rules or blocking anything that isn’t already blocked. I’m just making myself, for most of the time, do other things and confront my life head-on, especially when it makes me uncomfortable.

Posted in this is my life, under the weather | 2 Comments

Tiny House Update: First of the New Year.

Happy New Year, everyone! I rang it in with Kathy and Anderson on CNN as always (everyone else in the house was asleep already). Still upset to hear that John Zarella is leaving the network (thanks a bunch, Zucker) but it’s a sinking ship anyway, right? Even the violins have stopped playing.


I mentioned that we were taking a new tactic in regards to the tiny house: a little here, a little there. Just like I did with all that weaving last fall. In the last three weeks, so much progress has been made using that strategy.

Casey just did a detailed write up (with photos) on his blog. Check it out!

Posted in our tiny house | 2 Comments