Life Lately

 

Hello.

Gosh. It’s been ages since I’ve shown my shadow here on the blog. Well, I’m not going to apologize for the 2,357th time because I can’t seem to find my groove and saying sorry would only proved to be fruitless. I am still unable to find traction in this crazy life I seem to live now. But I think it’s enough that I do find it in me to pop in from time to time.

The Year That Never Happened

Needless to say, my 2017 ended with a weak ‘poof’. I didn’t meet my goal of 150 books. And I barely blogged in the latter half of the year. But despite all that, I’m still pretty happy that I read as much as I was able to. Granted, I’ve done a lot of re-reading old favourites but reading is reading. I would worry when I no longer feel the need to read, period. As such books are still my constant company. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, where I’m going. I always have a book or two within reach. I still visit the bookstore from time to time but because I’ve been so out of the loop, I don’t know what’s out and what’s good nowadays. Hopefully, I’ll be more aware this year.

Still Going

Health-wise, I’m on the latter end of my fitness goal. I have 15 lbs left to lose. I’m down 60 lbs since I started in May. I’m still going doing boot camp classes 4 times a day, 6 days a week. My goal this year is to run. I’ve started running for 20 minutes before and after my classes. I’m hoping to gain enough endurance to bump up my speed (currently at 5.0 on my treadmill). I am at my healthiest I’ve ever been and happiest with my body. I used to be so adverse to selfies, but one of the side effects of weight loss is I’ve gained self confidence. My gym helped me break out of my shell. I put myself out there; I help new members. I gained so many friends just by being a member of my gym. Honestly, it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. And I’ll forever be grateful.

2018 Read Blog Read Blog Read Blog

I’ve lessened my reading goal to 100 instead of 150. Besides the fact that I haven’t got room for more physical books, I’m going to be relying heavily on audio books this year. I’ll probably share my year in books sometime in the near future.

Thanks for sticking around.

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When Everything Else Becomes Insignificant

img_2504I’m sure a lot of us have been trying to come to terms with the outcome of the US’ presidential election. Some of you are probably jubilant that your candidate won. For the rest of us, however, it will probably take a bit of time (and therapy). And I know it’s hard – especially to the Americans who knew what was at stake going into the polls. So as we slowly – painstakingly find out how this election will shape history for the future generation, it’s hard not to feel anything else but fear and worry. It’s difficult to give him a chance when the people he is surrounding himself with are people whose beliefs are based on the exact things we’ve opposed him to begin with.

As a woman, and one who has followed Hillary’s career as a politician, I’m devastated. She has given me so much hope and courage to never settle, never give up and to keep fighting. Now more than ever, I’m reminded of all the ways her character has been unjustly assassinated during the course of her political life. Before she was the governor’s wife, she stood in the face of patriarchy and would continue to struggle to find her place in a world full of men who are uncomfortable with what she stands for. I, however, will always know her for the woman who fights for the children; for a charitable organization who continues to help the poor and the sick. For the environment; for the racial, social, and gender inequalities of the world.

 I will never forget what I learned in the last two years. I will never forget the hate and the ignorance. I will never forget the anger and the intolerance. I will never forget the lies and the manipulation. I will never forget to hope and be courageous. Most of all, I will never forget what she’s taught me and my daughter about a woman’s rightful place in this world.

Thank you, Hillary.

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Confessions of an Addict [42]: Hard Decisions

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As most of you would know, I’ve been plagued with so many upheavals in my life lately. From walking away from a job for 14 years to failing at a couple of placements, let’s just say, it’s been rough. Well, here’s another that had been so difficult to make.

Last weekend, we decided to put up our cabin for sale. It was a sad day, but I felt like we had to do it so we can stop worrying about having mortgages when an emergency comes up. I also wanted to simplify our life,  but I don’t know where to start.

The short list according to this article, is to identify what’s important to me and get rid of everything else. That’s easier said than done. You know what I have a lot of? Books, man. Books. I’m sure I’ll work my way to that sometime. For now, I’m looking at the big picture. Big, as in the second home. As much as it’s a wonderful place to have, it is a financial heavyweight that we never had to think about before I quit my old job. But now that I’m starting over again, I thought we needed to reprioritize. It took me days of instigating dialogues with my husband because he wanted to hold on to it as long as we can. Thankfully, he saw some sense in my latest epiphany.

We had some great memories in this place. Lots of family gatherings, camping, great pictures and laughter. But all good things must come to an end. I told my husband that this is really not the end of our dream. It will take us a few years, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be right on track again if we are disciplined enough. I know have to declutter my life, my house, my closet. But I thought I’d start with something as big as an extra mortgage.

Next up: Clothes, designer shoes and purses. Welp.

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When You Absolutely Want to Post Something but there’s Just Nothing There.

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This sucks.

I’ve been out of work for over a week now, but I’ve yet to actually finish a new book. You know what I’ve been doing? (I mean besides looking for a job, that is. ) Imagining the following:

Inside My Head

  • In my mind, I’ve won the lottery at least twice already.
  • I’ve lost at least 20 lbs doing nothing.
  • I’ve written half of my first draft of The Great Canadian novel (which will be shortlisted for Giller prize, take note).
  • My bookshelves are finally, finally organized alphabetically.
  • I don’t have to worry about my blog because the blog writes itself, obvs.
  • We’ve moved to Waco, Texas and Jo and Chip Gaines found us a great Fixer Upper that they’ve renovated for us.
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Oh to dream.

I’m quickly finding out that staying at home the whole day is not all it’s cracked up to be. It turns out, sitting on my butt for a couple of hours straight isn’t all that fun. Especially if you’re thinking about the coming Christmas season and how different it will be this year. We’re usually out of the country, but since I’m currently unemployed, we’re having ourselves a White Christmas this year.

But. Things are looking up. In fact, I’m starting a new job on Monday (yay), and I have another job interview tomorrow (eeeep). I’m so thankful that the job search hasn’t been a struggle, but it’s still not something I want to make a habit of doing. So this time, I’m going to suck it up and stick to this one until I find that job that I will be doing for the next 20 years.

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Bad Day

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Have you ever had one of those days when all the resentments, all the anger, all your frustrations come bubbling up from you that you have no way of stopping it? When nothing specific is wrong, but the world just seems like an unhappy place for you at the moment? When you feel like the tears are too close to the surface but you suppress them because crying would make you feel like an ungrateful asshole for the blessed life you have right now?

Today is that day for me. 

I have no appetite to read, much less write unless it’s about how much it sucks to be me right now. I’m not going to bore you with my personal problems, because it’s really tough to talk about something not nearly as world-ending as it might feel to some. I hate it when I can’t talk to my husband about anything because it’s just so petty and insignificant. But if they were petty and insignificant, then why the hell do I feel like shit?

Sorry this is way too close for comfort to some of you, but if I can’t talk to anyone about how I feel, who else can I turn to?

 I’m going to take a few days off. I’ll be around to visit your blogs, but there won’t be anything new this week unless I feel better. This negativity surrounding me sucks. I have to kick it to the curb.

Have a great week, and happy reading!

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Confessions [#34]: At Home with an Addict

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If you’ve been a regular reader of the blog, then you’d know that my husband has been the best (and the worst) enabler any book addict could ever ask for. You should also know by now, that he makes a periodical appearance on my reviews (without his knowledge, of course). So today, I thought I should finally put a face on this wonderful man.

A little background.

My husband and I have been married for 13 years (been together for 20). He does not share my passion for reading, so more often, he does his thing (NFL, sports) and I do mine. This man has the patience of a saint. He is a very understanding person who gives in to my whiles with just a simple, “please”.  But I can never get him to read my reviews. The last time I ask him to proofread my blog post,  his answer was  – in a whiney, 7-year-old voice – “but it’s too long!” Needless to say, I don’t ask him anymore.

I do know for a fact that he is an email subscriber of my blog, because, A: I made him, and B:  he asked me one day if I ever sleep at all (the concept of scheduled blog posts escapes him). He is a man of a few words, so I couldn’t get him to eruditate any further than he did. 🙂


  1. How do you really feel about my trips to the bookstore?

It’s your passion. I’m not going to be the schmuck that gets in the way of that. 

2.  Do you ever worry that our house is now more prone to fire because of the books scattered everywhere?

No. Not fire, per se. Just our floor collapsing…You buried in the rubble of concrete and books. How do we explain that to the insurance company?

3.  What is your greatest worry about my addiction?

Mostly that you’ll kick us out of the house because you’re in need of space. I think we’re getting closer to that, honey.

4.  Do you ever think that I need therapy or an intervention?

No. But if you ask me to build you some bookshelves again, I just might. 

5.  What annoys you the most about my vice?

Those earphones. You’re turning into our teen daughter whom we have to scream at to get her attention. I rue the day you discovered audiobooks.

6.  When was the last time you’ve ever come close to losing your sh*t over my addiction?

Maybe that one weekend when the bookstore didn’t have a copy of the book you’re looking for, so I had to drive you everywhere in the city in search of this magical book. We went to two!

…Or that time when you flew to Vancouver and back because you wanted to get your books signed. Thank God for air miles. 

…Or maybe all those weekends when you’d fake sickness so you don’t have to socialize even though I knew  you just wanted the house for yourself so you can read.was sick!

Or those times you have to forgo trips to the cabin because of blog tours (whatever that means). Yeah. About that…

Or those days when you’d call in sick because you didn’t sleep much the night before because you spent the night reading. I was tired, okay?! Sue me. 

Come to think of it, these things happen almost on a regular basis. Whatever.

7.  Do you have an advice for your spouses out there living with an addict like me?

Yes. Do what she says and no one gets hurt.

8.   *Glares* No. Seriously. Give them a helpful advice!

Kiss your wallets goodbye? 

I’m about to hit you.

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Confessions of an Addict [28]: Can I Just Stay Here?

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My library used to be dark and dingy. It was painted in brown and some sort of green that at one point was probably a good colour combination. As much as the books and the couch were good enough enticement to laze the day away, I found it hard to concentrate when I’m down there. I knew that all it would take is new colour on the walls and it would be the difference between a cave and a haven.

I suck at painting. I can tell you what accessories to use in your house, and how to pick a colour template based on a single object but I have the abilities of a kindergartener when it comes to painting the walls. Thankfully, my brother offered his services. Now, it’s my favourite room in the house. It’s so hard to leave and go to work when I have this place at home. It’s so serene and oh so divine.  I’m a huge fan of the minimalist movement. Some of you may know this, and some of you may not. But if you’re a hoarder, there’s no way that relationship would last. I thought that by painting the walls and the shelves white, I can at least achieve some semblance of a clean look. And I think I managed to do that handsomely.

The best thing about emptying my shelves was that  I was able to re-shelve them in a way that I’ve always planned to do. The left side of the shelves are YA and the right side are for Adult Fiction. I also managed to find my Penguin Classics collection its proper home. While organizing my shelves, I was astounded by how many books I have that remain unread. The number is astronomical. Another reason why keeping away from the bookstore is a good idea. I’m working through my addiction, aka, my hoarding tendencies. If I can just remember that there’s another wall-to-wall bookshelves in the basement full of books, then I’ll be okay.

I’m taking it one day at a time.

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Do you have any plans of redecorating your reading room? If so, what do you want to achieve?

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Confessions of an Addict [26]: Lazaretta?

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“My dear, find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into an eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly, and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover. ” – Falsely Yours by Charles Bukowski.

Some of you are probably wondering where I’ve been the last few weeks, huh? Well, aside from my constant whining about work and my inability to find the right balance between all the stuff that I do outside of blogging and reading, the tap has been opened. This is pretty much what’s been occupying my life at the moment. I’ve been writing – not stories, mind you. But poems. If you follow my Instagram account or my Tumblr, you would know that poetry has commandeered what little spare time I have. This thing, unfortunately is like a virus, but one that is a welcome infection. It has no cure or remedy. All I can do is to let it run its course. You also can’t force it. If you have to force it out of you, then it’s probably shit. I think Charles Bukowski said the same thing as well. Brilliant man.

I remember a post I did a while ago complaining about my muse being a cold-hearted wench who’d so cruelly abandoned me. And now, she seems to have come back in full force. I try not to suppress it, though. And it’s not like I can. I tried to remember what prompted this sudden burst of inspiration, and everything points to this lovely typewriter. It works like a charm and the clickity-clack sound it makes is music to my ears. Sometimes, I’ll sit there and type nonsensical stuff just because I want to hear it. I’m worried though. If I ran out of ribbon, does that mean my poems will stop writing itself?

What about you? What do you do outside of reading and blogging?

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The Guy and His Moleskin Book

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I never realize how alive this city is. I mean, I’ve read about how you don’t know what a rat race is until you’ve lived in the city of New York, but to see it and experience it first hand is quite an eye-opener. To be honest, I’m having a bit of a culture shock. This place is so fast-paced, and the people never seem to stop moving; molecules bumping into each other, creating an energy visible to anyone watching.

The city is beautiful in its own way; its architecture – both modern, and traditional – inspires a common pedestrian to take a stab at artistic photography. I’ve only seen a bit of Time Square and its vicinity, but the pictures I’ve taken inspired a different kind of creative medium. Writing.

I’ve always thought that there is nothing hotter than a man reading a novel.

I was wrong.

I think that a man writing on a moleskin notebook is infinitely hotter. This guy in particular, perfectly captured the ease in which an inspired writer solemnly unleash his words before inspiration wanes. The two hour-flight from Minneapolis to New York was not wasted.

I’d like to imagine that he was either writing poetry or song lyrics; a short story or the beginnings of The Great American Novel. But whatever it is, I wish I could thank this guy for inspiring me today. For tapping into my creative reserves without him realizing it.

Hey you. What are you writing?

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Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

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“I have never said ‘I love you’ to anyone. So they get upset or mad – usually both – and break up with me.”

“You never said ‘I love you’ to a single girlfriend?”

“Never.”

“Why not?”

“Because I intend to say it to only one person. When I’m sure. When the time is right.” He leans closer and smiles just a little. “And when I can predict with certainty what your response will be.”

And he kisses me – gently and lingering.


I love this book. I read this over the weekend at the lake, and thought that it was such a lovely story that a pretty picture is appropriate. There are books where you want to critique it to within an inch of its life, then there books that you want to just appreciate it for how it made it you feel. Love and Other Foreign Words is one of those books that made me feel good; made me grin like a fool. Josie is such a quirky, insightful, unintentionally funny character. She reminds me of Don Tillman; highly inquisitive, intellectual being who manages to be funny without fully intending to be so. 

This book also achieved being romantic even if the romance was subtle. Figure that out! It’s sweet and awkward, which to me is the perfect combination in a teen contemporary romance.  It wasn’t obvious, and if you were disciplined enough not to take a peek at the ending (unlike me), the romance may even surprise you. I should also mention that parents of all parties are very much present and accounted for, which is almost unheard of, if you ask me. 

The family dynamics is surreal, almost. They’re a close-knit bunch. Though the Bridezilla sister will probably annoy you, as well, Bridezilla’s fiancé. But in the end, you’ll probably forgive them anyway.

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