the hyphens that define my life

In A Rut November 6, 2013

Filed under: Books,Life — multihyphenatedme @ 9:32 pm

Sorry for not posting this week.

My post Monday was titled “Flatline” because I had nothing to post.  So much nothing, in fact, I posted nothing, not even the title.  Convinced this crazy detox diet had stolen my writing mojo, instead of posting, I went to bed and read the final two short stories in “The Best American Short Stories 2012,” a book on the “Real Simple 50 Books That Changed My Life.”

“The Best American Short Stories 2012” has taken me more time to read than any other book in my recollection.  There are only 20 stories, yet each are so consuming and incredible, I can only digest one story a night. The last two stories caught me by surprise.  I recognized the references, the locations and images portrayed in this story.  Turns out, the story, “Anything Helps,” is written by Spokane’s homegrown Jess Walter.  Dubbed “A ridiculously talented writer” by the New York Times, Jess Walter wrote “Beautiful Ruins,” a New York Times bestseller that I happened to read during my 2012 mega-read.  I was surprised that a Spokanian story of Spokane reality was contained in these pages.  With failed mojo, I was motivated and inspired my Mr. Walters story as well as the back story that inspired him to write this particular piece.

Then I fell asleep.

I don’t know if the time change was playing tricks on me or if it was the incredible amounts of greens we have been eating, but I woke up at 4 AM on Tuesday ready to take on the world.  Still concerned about my mojo yet not thinking about a recovery plan, I jumped into my daily routine, hours ahead of schedule.

I was awake to witness the snow begin to fall Tuesday morning.  Within 30 minutes, everything was covered and within 6 hours, solid snow accumulation had me concerned about the whereabouts of fall.  I took comfort in my Spokane friends complaining about the early onset of snow season, nobody was ready for snow on November 5.  Too early, too soon were the cries I heard.  Snovember is what my social media Spokane friend called it, and by the look of future forecasts, I have to agree.

The boys were disappointed it wasn’t a snow day but were happy to make snowmen at recess, throw snowballs and slip and slide.

Tuesday was also Election Day.  I was happy and proud to cast my first votes as a resident of Spokane Washington.  Washington is a vote-by-mail state.  Though you may vote in person, ballots are cast, for the majority by mail.  Hurray, I didn’t have to go out in the snow to vote.

The after school activity I had planned for the kids was squashed because of snow play.  The plan was to head downtown to see the Capitol Christmas Tree that was cut in Usk, WA making its way to Washington DC for the holiday festivities.  We learned that every year a different state provides the White House with a Christmas Tree.  Although it is an honor to be the chosen state, I can’t help but think what a waste of energy to transport a tree from Washington to Washington.  I guess ‘buy local’ doesn’t apply to government.  Snow and play were much more fun, though we didn’t partake in history, we made memories instead.

Waking up early messed with my schedule and I was too tired to think Tuesday night, so again, no blog post.  Now Wednesday, the snow is nearly melted and our lives have regained normalcy.  My mojo is still missing, the diet’s effectively progressing, the kids are well, my husband is good, the dog is shedding like a wild beast – black hair all over a white wool rug in the living room, yet I am in a writing rut.  Maybe this post just pulled me out.


Bury Me in Books August 28, 2013

My love for reading is beyond books. Subscriptions to newspapers and a ridiculous number of magazines prove this.  I just love stories at any time, any where.  I riddle new poeple I meet with questions so I can understand their story.  If driving in the car, I listen to an audio book or NPR public radio to hear world stories and views.  My mind is stimulated through learning how the threads of the fabric of our lives are woven together.  That is, until I trip on the threads and find myself down the rabbit hole in Wonderland.

Recently, Spokane news reported the tragic story of two teenagers that beat an 88-year-old man to death with a flashlight outside the Eagles Lodge in North Spokane.  I looked up the address of the Eagle’s Lodge when I read this report to see how far away from my door did this horrific tragedy occur.  Thankfully, far enough away for me not to give a second thought.  In the paper this morning, the teenagers claim that the old man shorted them in a crack cocaine deal and they beat him as the result.  The plot thickens.

Today, as I drove north on Division, turned right on Francis and made a left on Lidgerfeld, to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, I found myself on the same street, driving past the Eagles Lodge, where the incident occurred.    Hello.  I’m new to town.  Have I found myself suddenly in a drug zone? Is this a safe area?  Eek.  I pulled into the parking lot, parked the car, and hustled on into the DMV and took care of my business.  I mentioned the incident to the DMV clerk and she was, at first, oblivious to the entire ordeal.  When she came to her senses, she recalled the event and said the teenagers should be hung and quartered.   I told her of the news update of a drug deal gone bad and a switch flipped.  “Oh,” she said “Doesn’t that change your perspective.” Not having formulated an opinion, it was clearly not my perspective that had changed.

Correction.  My perspective has changed.  I am now an official Washingtonian and Spokanite and a card-carrying member of the Spokane Public Library.

Careful folks, I’m armed with books and dangerous.

I have, due to the overwhelmingly enormity of the challenge, given up on the New York/LA Times Best Seller’s lists.  I am exhausted from reading the same formula authors too.  I do love a good book list though, so when I saw “50 Great Books That Will Change Your Life” in Real Simple magazine, I thought this would be a great list to start my personal reading club of one.

Here’s the list: 

At first glance, I appreciated the humor, depth and variety of this list.  I was thrilled to check off The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Little Engine That Could, Of Mice and Men, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (I have this one memorized) as books I have read.  Starting at the top, I read and crossed off About Alice, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in recent weeks.

Then the list starts to agitate me. What the heck?  Book #4 on the list, Apartments for the Affluent:  A Historical Survey of Buildings in New York by Andrew Alpern is available on for $179.66 in used condition and for $895.00 in collectible condition.  My local library doesn’t carry this book nor does my prior library in Southern California.  How then, dear Real Simple, am I supposed to read all the books on this list?  Perhaps requiring that the books recommended be available to share with readers should have been considered prior to publication or please pick another book. Going for the obscure book on your list to recommend is a good joke. Thanks for the laugh Alexa Hampton, who recommended this book.  Real Simple provides a link to stating that the used price is $45.  This book must be a hot commodity because the price has gone through the roof since publication!

Thanks for the challenge, Real Simple, I’ll accept it.  I will be in New York City in October and I will make the excursion to the Mid Manhattan Library on 5th Avenue and read this book.  Maybe this is an east coast thing?  I’ll be in Seattle in September, I’ll see if they have the book too.

The online list (link provided above), specifically if you click [print], the list is much more manageable and provides great information.  I will stick with the list and have already requested several of the books from the library.

What are you reading?  Where do you get your book recommendations?  If you could only pick one book to recommend, what would it be?

I am currently reading My Life With Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall.  Spokane Public Schools recommends this book as summer reading for 7th graders, (along with Freak the Mighty, My Side of the Mountain and No More Dead Dogs and others) which is good enough for me.  This year, hardly any of the books I have read rise to the top to really challenges my senses. When all else fails, go for humor, so i recommend A.J. Jacobs’ Drop Dead Healthy (or any of his books) as my favorite.

My next read will be Woody Allen’s Without Feathers, recommended on the Real Simple list by my favorite, A.J. Jacobs.  It’s a give and take world.

Happy Reading!


Reduce Your Environmental Impact August 19, 2013

In 2012, my collegiate daughter enrolled in an English class that required her to read No Impact Man by Colin Beavan.  I found the book at the library and read it before handing it over to the actual student.  No Impact Man is chronicles the year-long experiment by Beavan and his family to have zero impact on the planet while living in Manhattan, NY.  This isn’t a story about a homesteader with a bunch of acreage in the middle of nowhere self-sustaining.  The author and his family give up things we take for granted, electricity and travel and only consuming food within a 250 mile radius of your home while living in the largest city in the world.

As a voracious reader, I loved the story for the impact it had on me.  This book made me think about how I can reduce my impact, my carbon footprint on the planet.   Your carbon footprint is the amount of gas emissions created by you and your family through the course of  life.  Of the 100 ways to reduce your carbon footprint on Green Wiki, I’m happy to report we are responsibly taking 50 measures to reduce our carbon footprint.  (This list was obtained from  check it out)

  1. Buy locally produced goods and services.
  2. Reduce consumption. Reuse items when you can. Recycle your waste.
  3. Make compost.
  4. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping.
  5. Clean the lint filter in your dryer. This will reduce energy consumption as well as electrical and environmental costs.
  6. Rake leaves and shovel snow manually instead of using a leafblower or snowblower.
  7. Only use your dryer, dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load; don’t do half loads. This reduces the number of loads and energy consumption.
  8. Use a dishwasher rather than washing by hand as the efficient ones use less water.
  9. Whenever possible, hang laundry outside to dry on a clothes line rather than throwing laundry into a dryer.
  10. When you remodel or paint a room, buy the right amount of paint. This reduces chemicals entering the atmosphere from paint production, energy to make the paint, and saves you money.
  11. Eat one less serving of meat a week. Use a cheese-free alternative each week. Cheese is an animal product and has the same carbon cost as meat. Cattle release a great deal of methane into the atmosphere. Consider unendangered fish, beans, and soy as replacements for beef, dairy, and fowl protein.
  12. Plant an organic garden and grow your own vegetables even if it’s just a small patch or a windowsill planter.
  13. Create a wormery. This uses worms in a sealed, hygienic, and non-smelling unit to compost your waste, which can then be used to fertilize your garden.
  14. Fit your garden hose with a trigger sprayer, this will reduce your water consumption.
  15. Stop watering your lawn. Grow a garden instead. Lawns require lawnmowers, which require fuel. Gardens allow you to grow veggies which require less trips to the produce section.
  16. Water your garden in the evening as this will save water.
  17. Use cotton towels and fabric napkins rather than paper ones.
  18. When cooking, don’t overfill saucepans and pots.
  19. Use the top shelf (the hottest shelf) of the oven so food cooks quicker and less energy is consumed.
  20. Use a toaster to toast bread instead of toasting bread under the grill.
  21. When cooking put the lids on your pots and pans to reduce heat loss.
  22. Don’t put hot or warm foods and drinks into your refrigerator.
  23. Use a laptop as opposed to a desktop, as laptops use up to 80% less energy.
  24. Unplug your phone charger when not in use.
  25. Buy secondhand household items and save the C cost of the production of new goods.
  26. Adjust your central heating thermostat down by 1°C (2°F) in winter and up in summer.
  27. Use passive solar heating to capture heat in your home by opening the curtains during the day and closing them at dusk. In summer, close your curtains during the heat of the day. You’ll save 25-75% on your heating and gas bill.
  28. Run ceiling fans instead of using air conditioning. Avoid using air conditioning in your home and car whenever possible. If you live in a hot climate, doing this could save more than one ton of CO2.
  29. Get your boiler serviced regularly to ensure it is working properly and not wasting your money.
  30. Switch off lights in rooms at home when leaving the room.
  31. Use “task” lighting rather than whole room lighting when a small amount of light is required.
  32. Take advantage of natural daylight as much as possible.
  33. Install insulated blinds on windows to crease energy escape.
  34. Only heat rooms in your house that are in use.
  35. Donate or recycle your old clothing to a thrift shop rather than throwing them away.
  36. Defrost your refrigerator; this will ensure that it runs efficiently.
  37. Buy uncertified wood to ensure sustainable forest management.
  38. Take a shower instead of a bath; a shower uses approximately one twentieth of the energy that a bath does.
  39. Filter your own water, rather than buying bottled water. Most tap water is safe to drink, and some bottled waters are flown in from the far corners of the earth and the production process of the bottles adds to greenhouse gas release. Additionally, many find that tap water tastes about the same as bottled water because bottled water is derived from tapwater to begin with.
  40. Adjust your water heater temperature downwards.
  41. Insulate your water heater or water tank with an insulation blanket to save on heat loss.
  42. Use cold water to wash and rinse clothes.
  43. Fix dripping faucets.
  44. Insulate your water pipes.
  45. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
  46. Space and water heating account for over 70% of energy used in the home, so switching to clean, renewable energy (e.g. wood fuel, solar energy or heat pump systems) makes a big reduction in the environmental impact of your home.
  47. Reduce excess baggage and pack lighter when travelling. Planes flying with extra baggage use more fuel.
  48. Telecommute or arrange with your employer to work one day a week from home.
  49. Drive at or below the speed limit as this reduces your vehicles emissions.
  50. Whenever possible only drive during non peak hours.

 This spring, I am ripping up my front lawn and installing our raised bed vegetable garden complete with a worm composting system. Plans are in process and I can hardly wait. Prior to our move (which definitely added to our footprint), I saw a project in Whole Living magazine that creatively used old cotton, collared shirts to make simple fringe-edged napkins. This project gave me the idea to use excess fabric yardage I had stored (every person that sews has a fabric horde somewhere) to make 17″ napkins instead of using paper napkins.  We now have very colorful meals using these napkins. I haven’t bought paper napkins since moving in June.

Being a total paper towel abuser, I decided to take this project a step further and stop buying paper towels.  I went to Ikea and purchased 70 white cotton kitchen towels with red stripe. Seventy is too many I now realize, forty is really the number I use on a weekly rotation.  I have a drawer in my kitchen filled with these towels and use them in place of paper towels.   The excess towels that I purchased are used for cleaning.  I wrote “cleaning” across the bottom of each with a fabric marker. Old habits die-hard, I am still buying paper towels but instead of purchasing the Costco super pack regularly, one roll is lasting weeks. According to the National Resource Defense Council, if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees.  The NRDC also states that if every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees. Though my cloth napkin and towel project has increased my laundry, my paper goods costs have dropped dramatically and trees are saved in the process.  That’s good, I like trees.

Use less, use better, use smarter is really the message. Kermit the Frog said, “It ain’t easy being green.”  Actually, Kermie, it is easy to be green, just try.  Take a look at the list and see what you currently do and what you could do better. 


Reading is a Good Thing July 21, 2013

Filed under: Books,Links — multihyphenatedme @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Reading is supposed to be a good thing, right?  Recently in the news, reading is enough of a brain stimulant to defend against Alzheimer’s.  I should be in good shape, right?  Ironically I can’t remember jack crap from one day to the next. How frightening my life would be if I didn’t read!

As you know, I love to read.  Reading is my escape from everything in my life.

When I love the book, really L.O.V.E love the book, then watch out.  I shut down and lose all sense of time, priority and care for life around me.

Moments before leaving for Lake Coeur D’Alene today, I realized that I didn’t have a book to read.  This was a moment of panic because my ALL TIME favorite thing to do is to bake in the sun on the beach with a book. To not have a book, sitting on the beach is great, just not excellent.  As Vince and the boys loaded into the car, I told them I needed two more minutes.  I quickly grabbed my Kindle and downloaded Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s novel, The Bucolic Plague:  How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: A Memoir (P.S).  Thank you high-speed internet!!

Since our last lake trip, we bought a bunch of floats and rafts and spent most of the day lounging in the lake.  Every time I was in my beach chair, I was reading.  I’m only on Chapter 10 but I have laughed out loud several times already and recounted a chapter to Vince that even got him laughing.

Tonight I researched Beekman Farm to learn that The Fabulous Beekman Boys have a TV show! No surprise that I don’t know this, I don’t watch TV, but check this out, the photos are great!  They were also on Amazing Race…another show I don’t watch but have you seen either show?

I also found Beekman 1802, their website  I am now following them on Facebook and Twitter and just 2,082 miles away from hanging out with them on a daily basis.  I’m a new fan and slightly obsessed.

My heart goes out to the Beekman Boys because they stumbled upon an adventure, trusted their hearts, and each other, to take a leap of faith to follow a plan they made up as they went along.  I can relate.

I’d write more but I have a book to finish reading.



Boobies July 18, 2013

Conversations with my 7 year old, Andre, take you down random paths you had no plans travelling.  Today’s random topic while soothing him from cracking himself in the head with the ball of a Kendama, focused on not understanding why boys and girls start out the same, with flat chests (pronounced chest-is), then girls get boobies.  How does that happen?  Easy enough, I can answer that one, puberty.  He didn’t understand.  Rather than go into the medical definition of puberty, I threw a curve ball of my own.  “Did you know that there are fish that are first boys and then become girls?”  “What?!?”  he shreiked.  “True story”.  “That’s just freaky” he proclaimed before running off to torture his brothers.

Probably not my finest maternal hour but I succeeded in two things: 1) he was distracted enough not to fret over bonking his head and 2) be careful who you drag with you down a strange path, they just might surprise you.

You’ve read this far, now you’re being dragged down a strange path.  Welcome.

I recently read Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s memoir, I’m Not Myself These Days.  This is an adventure filled journey through Manhattan as a transvestite by night and advertising director by day.  Don’t judge the book by it’s cute goldfish cover.  I was surprised, I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought this book at a yard sale.  I loved the book and I can’t wait to read Kilmer-Purcell’s two other novels.

In costume as Aqua, his transvestite persona, Josh had costumes designed to accommodate plastic globes with water and goldfish that he wore as boobs. Genius and awesome.  The one photo of Aqua in the book is impressive.  Aqua retired and Josh became a successful writer, happily ever after.

Earlier this year, I read an article about a woman, a triathlete, that, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a double mastectomy, decided not to have reconstructive surgery.  In the magazine, she was photographed, topless, showing her scars.  How brave.  I have since seen other photos where cancer survivors have opted for tattoos over their scars instead of reconstructive surgery.  tattoos covering scars totally make sense to me (see earlier post where tattoos boggle my mind).  After reading the article (forgive me for not remembering which magazine), I told Vince that I would not opt for reconstructive surgery either.  He raised his bushy eyebrows  but didn’t comment beyond, “ok”, which sounded more like ooooooooh kayyyyyyyy.  He’s learned long ago to just roll with whatever I throw at him.

I’m certain this post is going to ruffle some feathers. Reconstructive surgery is a personal choice.  I respect your decision to reconstruct, to go bigger or to downsize, reconstruction just isn’t for me.  I have not been diagnosed with breast cancer so I’m not subject to making that decision and hopefully will never be in that position.  I am confident I would stick with not opting for reconstructive surgery based on my own cancer history and having a third of my colon removed (right hemicolectomy) without reconstructive surgery.  As a woman, I’m not defined by my colon, my boobs, or by the length of my hair for that matter, but by how I live my life.

Remember it is ok to swim upstream, to be you, to consider all options and do what’s best for you.  Goldfish could be the way to go.



My Daily Blog T-14 Zelda before Zelda June 5, 2013

My husband once told me that my outfit made me look like Zelda.  Who is Zelda?  I had no idea what who he was referring to so I consulted my good friends on the internet. Turns out that The Adventures of Zelda is a Nintendo action, adventure and puzzle solving game.  Who knew? Princess Zelda is this elfin person that wears white and pink robes and a crown.  Definitely not the outfit I was sporting the day I earned the Zelda comment.  Turns out, a main protagonist in The Adventures of Zelda is Link, a character that wears belted green tunic, leggings and boots, similar to the belted sweater, tights and boots I wore that day. Apparently my husband doesn’t know the game either.  The Links (there are multiple of similarly dressed characters with the same name) have cool titles “Hero of Time” and “Hero Chosen By the Gods” to name two.   I was dressed like some clone characters, possibly a hero of some sort, but not her royal highness Princess Zelda.

While waiting with my daughter at the oral surgeon yesterday, she asked what book I brought to read while she was knocked out. I said, “Zelda”.  “Oh,” she said, “a book about the video game”?  What is it with this game? I went on to tell her that the book is titled Z: the novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler.  The Zelda before Zelda. Having both seen the 2103 movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby recently and having both read the book as part of her high school reading list, she was well versed in F. Scott Fitzgerald. We touched briefly on his wife, Zelda, before my daughter was called back to have her wisdom teeth removed.

Seventeen chapters still wait to be read in Z.  I am completely engrossed in this book.  I love the Jazz Age, the roaring 20’s in both America and in Europe and the commingling of incredible artists.  Does this happen today?  The Fitzgerald’s lives were wild and reckless and make for fantastic reading! Z also delves into or touches on the lives of other writers and artists like Hemingway and Picasso. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson.  I enjoyed this book and find myself drawn into the relationships between the Hemingways and the Fitzgeralds. Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris depicts the relationships as well.  Zelda makes a meaningful appearance in the movie, in true form.

Of the 36 chapters read, Zelda is a young woman trying to find herself and develop her talents.  Dancing, painting and writing are explored as she grows in the book. I strive for personal growth and appreciate Zelda’s efforts.  I paint.  I write.  Just the other day, I thought I’d start taking dance classes to change-up my workouts (and lack thereof).

Both Zelda’s seem fun. Whether your hobby is video games or reading or watching movies, I recommend checking out the Zelda’s.

Did you know that The Great Gatsby is only 50,000 words?  Only.  This post is 512 words.  I’m on my way.


Goodbye 2012 December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012.

It has been a good year overall.

I started a blog, this blog, multi-hyphenated-me.  Though only 8 posts this year, I love it and have big plans for the future.  I lived up to, or tried to live up to, my hyphens, every day.

My 7 month foot saga put me back in touch with my old friend Reading. Perhaps due to many Ohio winters with not much else to do or maybe it is the escape from reality that is reading’s gift, in either case, I have always been a reader.  Being a project person and needing a project that would keep me down and resting while my foot recovered, I turned to reading.  I decided to read all of the New York and Los Angeles Best Sellers , fiction, non fiction, children’s, hardback and paperback.  It was mid-January when I started this project and it was sometime in February that I realized I had to scale back the lists in order to be somewhat manageable.  The LA Times fiction nonfiction hardcover and paperback lists were my source of material.  The Public Library was my resource.  I’m happy to report that I have read 134 books in eleven and half months, roughly 12 books a month.  I have so many favorites.  I learned so much and was reminded of things I have known and lived and seen. There were a few books that were wasteful of my time spent reading them but I learned from them too. I travelled from Machu Picchu to Africa to Paris to India and points in between.  I cried.  Sobbed.  I laughed and laughed.  The library staff knows me by name. The intelligent, literary conversations I had with so many in discussing books was truly one of the highlights of this journey.  On Facebook I “liked” “The Book Isn’t Dead” Community and have been inspired by discussions and quotes and moments. This journey inspired me to be the Book Fair Chairperson with the elementary school PTA where we had our most profitable sale to date.  From my Book Fair experience and my frequent trips to the library, I learned about Battle of the Books and rallied 5 twelve year olds to form a team and read.  I was asked months ago if I would keep up the reading pace, off the same reading list in 2013.  My answer then and remains, no.  Will I continue to read?  Of course! To focus on the best-selling Pattersons, Silvas, Picoults, et al is a huge oversight to the countless great writers out there with books that deserve to be read. The best part is to say, because of this project, I have grown.

My foot finally healed and I embraced the ability to move.  I ran three 5 ks and one 8k.  My friend and I walked/ran 95+ miles in the month of August, in the wee hours of the morning before we had to go to work.

We, as a family, spent great time together.  Camping trips in the Santa Ynez mountains and at the Kern River.  An awesome house rental in Palm Springs, and resort living in San Diego.  Summer was filled with trips to the beach, the water slide park, movies and parks. We experienced the multi-facets of Southern California.

Successfully raising a child is one of life’s greatest rewards.  To bear witness to my daughter graduating high school is a huge milestone for me.  I am so proud of her.  It wasn’t until she finished her first 16 collegiate units that I realized how quickly the next phase of her life, the college years, would pass.  My work here is not complete, nor will it ever be.  Our boys are quickly aging up too and their perspectives and antics are heartwarming and hand wringing, usually at the same time.

This was my year of fundraising.  Or was it my year of baking?  A fantastic combination of both.  What I learned most, or what was reinforced most  from these efforts was the incredible group of friends and coworkers that support me and have major sugar addictions.  Thank you. I will keep you supplied.

This year, as a recruiter, I regained footing lost on the slippery slope of the recession. It feels great to have traction, being back in the groove, doing what I love.  The icing is that I get to work with awesome people at an amazing company too.  The chapter “How to Get a Job” in Augusten Burroughs book, This is How.  Any recruiting advice that starts with a dual personality reference to the movie Sybil  and the person we become when interviewing is terrific.   “The truth is:  You are only the person you actually are; you may not may not be the person they actually want.” This is How is one of my favorites and a book everyone should read.

As my boss tells me, with all on my plate, something has to give.  He’s right, just don’t tell him I said so. As much as I feel I accomplished this year, the counterbalance is that I didn’t stay on diets I self prescribed, or lose the weight I wanted to lose (with all that mileage you would think…). I didn’t travel to all the places I wanted to go.  I could have been a better wife, mother, friend, person, employee, better in all of my roles.  My garden could have been better.  I still can’t hula hoop. Something does have to give.  Figuring out that something every day is the challenge.

Two Thousand Twelve was good to me and my family and we lived life well. For this I am thankful and know we are blessed. Thank you for sharing this year with me.

2012 Reading List

*books I enjoyed


  1. The Book Thief*
  2. Extremely Loud Incredibly Close*
  3. The Marriage Plot
  4. The Art of Fielding*
  5. 1Q84*
  6. The Goon Squad
  7. Tinker Tailor Sodier Spy
  8. The Paris Wife*
  9. Against All Enemies
  10. Bonnie
  11. Then Again
  12. The Drop
  13. The Sense of An Ending
  14. Private #1 Suspect
  15. Breakdown
  16. Believing the Lie
  17. Raylan
  18. Death Comes to Pemberly
  19. Defending Jacob
  20. Homefront*
  21. The Summer Garden
  22. Kill Shot
  23. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
  24. Dreams of Joy*
  25. 44 Charles Street
  26. The 9th Judgment
  27. Celebrity in Death
  28. War Horse*
  29. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children*
  30. Night Road*
  31. Capture of the Earl of Glencrae
  32. The Starboard Sea*
  33. Sacre Bleu*
  34. Fifty Shades of Grey
  35. Fifty Shades Darker
  36. Fifty Shades Freed
  37. The Fault In Our Stars*
  38. The Lucky One*
  39. Calico Joe*
  40. All There Is*
  41. State of Wonder*
  42. Istanbul Passage *
  43. The Kings of Cool
  44. Beautiful Ruins*
  45. Private Games*
  46. Guilty Wives*
  47. Bones are Forever*
  48. The Beautiful Mystery*
  49. The Night Circus*
  50. The Next Best Thing*
  51. The Prisoner of Heaven*
  52. A Hologram fro the King
  53. Mission to Paris*
  54. The Age of Miracles*
  55. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?*
  56. Creole Bell*
  57. The Fallen Angel*
  58. Shadow of Night*
  59. The Life of Pi*
  60. Broken Harbor*
  61. 3rd Wheel Diary of a Whimpy Kid
  62. Invention of Hugo Cabret*
  63. The Timekeeper*
  64. Zoo
  65. Notorious Nineteen
  66. In One Person*
  67. The Perks of Being a Wallflower*
  68. Gone Girl*

Non Fiction

  1. Bossypants*
  2. Outliers: the story of success*
  3. Unbroken*
  4. Heaven is For Real
  5. Steve Jobs
  6. Elizabeth the Queen
  7. The Obamas
  8. Ameritopia
  9. Quiet: The Power of Introverts
  10. The Power of Habit*
  11. Wild*
  12. Bringing Up Bebe
  13. Killing Lincoln*
  14. Blue Nights
  15. Full Service
  16. Take the Stairs*
  17. Great by Choice*
  18. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks*
  19. Thinking Fast and Slow*
  20. The 17 Day Diet
  21. Taking People With You
  22. Abundance*
  23. Moneyball
  24. The Big Short
  25. Tipping Point*
  26. I Am A Pole*
  27. Turn Right at Machu Pichu*
  28. Pioneer Woman Cooks
  29. Behind the Beautiful Forevers*
  30. The 5 Love Languages*
  31. The Happiness Project*
  32. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt*
  33. I Remember Nothing
  34. The Vow
  35. Paris versus New York*
  36. The Irish Americans
  37. It Worked for Me
  38. Cronkite
  39. Mortality*
  40.  How to Be a Woman
  41. I Hate Everything Starting with Me
  42. Yes Chef
  43. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness*
  44. Not Taco Bell Material
  45. Farther Away*
  46. A Natural Woman*
  47. Go the F*** to Sleep*
  48. American Grown*
  49. Boomerang
  50. Blood Bones and Butter*
  51. The Mobile Wave
  52. The Amateur
  53. My Berlin Kitchen*
  54. Sh*itty Mom
  55. Moonwalking with Einstein*
  56. Drift
  57. Help Thanks Wow*
  58. America Again
  59. Along the Way*
  60. The Grand Design
  61. Joseph Anton
  62. F in Exams
  63. Dearie
  64. Strength Finders 2.0
  65. This is How*
  66. Darth Vader & Son





Crazy Busy June 25, 2012

Filed under: Books,Life,Work — multihyphenatedme @ 7:31 am
Tags: , , ,

“The moment you tell yourself you’re too busy is the moment you stop thinking creatively about how to get other potentially important items into your schedule and your routine.”

Rory Vaden

Take the Stairs

How many times have you heard or have yourself said “crazy busy”.  In my circles it seems to be the new catch phrase – or if not new, the most overused. According to Vaden’s Take the Stairs the issue lies with poor time management.  It is not an issue of being too busy, it is a scheduling issue.

I’m guilty.  I say that I’m too crazy busy to add another pta event, another work responsibility, another kid sporting event/activity, or other item to my schedule. After reading this book, and knowing that what you say you come to believe, I am not crazy busy.  The reality is that is that I either have schedule conflicts OR I just want to lay on my couch eating bon bons doing nothing as usual and do nothing else.

Going forward I will omit “crazy busy” from my vernacular (though I will retain cursing and 80’s speak to keep things interesting).  I will think creatively about how I can possibly juggle anything more into my schedule.  Please don’t be offended if and when I say, “No, I just don’t want to do your event or take on another responsibility.”


2012 Resolution #1: Read, Read and Keep Reading March 14, 2012

Filed under: Books — multihyphenatedme @ 11:19 am

The New Year must have rolled in with a gust of insanity that whooshed directly into my brain, forcing me to resolve that I would read every book on the LA + NY Times Bestseller lists. Maybe it wasn’t an insane resolution but it certainly wasn’t well thought out. Let’s call it stupid.

Every book.  Every hardcover and paperback fiction and non-fiction.  Every e-book, fiction and non-fiction, Every business, advice & “misc” hardcover and paperback. And, every children’s chapter book. The daunting task isn’t that the list is long. The shocker is how drastically the list changes from week to week. As of Sunday March 11, I have 102 books on my list – and I didn’t start as of January 1!   

I’m chipping away at the list, thanks to some coast to coast flights for work! Yes – I work.  Yes – I have a family.  I do not have hours and hours to sit around and read! Did I mention this is a daunting task?  And some of the books on the list are close to 1,000 pages.  Each.  

There is no way I could afford to buy all of these books to stock my personal library or my Kindle library.  My resource is the Yorba Linda Public Library. Using their online services, I request every book on my list, most of which have a number of requests ahead of me.  When the book is available, I pay $.50 to pull and hold the book at the front desk.  This is a genius service.  Who has time to search the library shelves?  Not me!  I have books to read!  I love this service and the spin-the-wheel randomness of what I’ll read next.

I am, with the exception of 2 so far, reading actual books.  If the books were all on my Kindle, I would lose sight and interest in the project.  The stack of 6 books I currently have in my house are a subtle reminder to get reading!

So far I’ve read 13 books:

Thinking Fast and Slow by nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman.  A well written pyschology/sociology textbook that related to my world of recruiting and HR.  My favorite part of the book addressed multi-tasking.  Being multi-hypenated, I believed I could multi-task.  Not so.  Our brains are only capable of focusing on one “core” task at a time.  Sure we can (or most of) walk, talk and chew gum at the same time, but to give total focus is limited to one task at a time.  At recent university career fairs,  I spoke with hundreds of students who claimed to have great multi-tasking abilities.  Though I wanted to say, “Hey I read the book, no you don’t”, I smiled and let them keep believing.

Taking People with You by Yum Foods Chairman and  CEO, David Novak.  I do not like business books, though I’ve read so many.  They are cheerleading books for management – rah rah siss boom bah – get your people working harder – rah rah rah!  Novak took many of the top motivational business books and wove together a fabric of all the best principles and practices and then treated the fabric with his own personal magic and created a hugely successful and very impressive global organization.  It didn’t hurt that he knows every bigwig CEO and meets annually with Warren Buffet. Smart and well-connected.  Genius.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by  Jonathan Safran Foer.  Loss, heartache, curiousity, adventure and family drama all laced with humor through the eyes of a 9 year old boy. I laughed and cried my way through the novel.  With 3 boys of similar age, I could really relate to this story.  I shared this story with my family at dinner one night.  To keep from being too heavy, I quoted “Succotash my Balzac, dipshittake” and shattered the rule-mongor-never-lets-us-have-any-fun image I believe my kids have of me. Staying true to my image and hyphens, the story was served with succotash, shittakes and a lesson on Balzac.

Bossypants by Tina Fey.  Thank you Tina Fey for providing humor to my reading list. Prior to reading Bossypants,  I more-than-twice-out-loud confused 30 Rock with 3rd Rock from the Sun.  My hsuband was so annoyed, he told me to stop saying 3rd Rock from the Sun, I sound like an idiot.  Thanks dear.  I don’t watch TV.   I read. To be led back into social grace by Tina Fey is a privilege.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.  This guy wrote The Virgin Suicides (a must read).  It is unfathomable that The Marriage Plot was written by the same person.  The Marriage Plot is overwritten cry-me-a-river self-inflicted drama that does not fly in my world.  Bestseller does not equate to a good read.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  This 925 page beast took me on a surreal, fantastic journey with an Alice in Wonderland/George Orwell’s 1984 vibe.  This is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Murakami and his followers say 1Q84 is not the book to start with in his collection of novels.  I beg to differ and look forward to my next Murakami read.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.  I’m not a baseball fan.  My kids aren’t interested in playing baseball, choosing soccer and basketball instead. Tasked with a baseball book was not high on my must-do list. The characters in The Art of Fielding reminded me of many people I know (CSULB vollleyball 1991 shoutout).  A great book about people and choices and how they shape and affect our lives.

The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.  What?  This book has 13 chapters that were initially short stories, all containing the same characters, and are put together as a novel. It doesn’t work.  Shocking to learn this book has earned Critics Choice Awards and has been made into an HBO series.   What a waste of my time.

Against all Enemies by Tom Clancy.  Yikes.  756 pages of military-esque espionage?  Shoot me now.  I loved the movie Hunt for Red October, a Clancy classic, hoping for the best, I opened the book.  Three days later, I finished and loved it.  First – didn’t I just see all this stuff in the news last week?  Current events!  Second – When is this movie being released?  Is it even in production?  Great story, action packed, sexy characters, plenty of bad guys and leaves you wanting more.  For not liking shoot-em-up spy novels, this book changed my mind.

44 Charles Street by Danielle Steele.  Where is summer when you need it?  This book is such a predictable easy read that it should come with a beach chair and a frozen drink. Make that a double.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  This book is on the Bestseller’s list under the category Children’s Chapter Books.  Narrated by Death, set in Nazi Germany, it is the story of a 9 year old girl (my second book involving a 9 year old….interesting). This is a story of growing up, of hope, sadness and sorrow, compassion and pain.  When i finished this book, I sighed heavily.  I sighed again.  After the third heavy sigh, my husband said “What’s with all the sighing?”  I couldn’t speak.  I sighed again and said, “This book”.  I was exhaling to escape the weightof this book has imprinted on my mind.  The obvious comparisons and the comparisons that could be drawn between The Book Thief and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close are endless. 

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae by Stephanie Laurens.  This book is the 3rd in a series of romance novels involving the Cynster sisters in 17th century London and the Scottish Highlands. Very predictable – bad guy who is really the good guy kidnaps the virginal maiden, she has already proclaimed him to be her hero, they join forces for the greater good, fall in love, conquer evil, she rescues him (girl power!) and they live happily ever after.  Lots of steamy sex scenes too.  Three of these books?  A series?  Who reads this stuff?  Ugh.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah.  I identified with this book more than all the others.  The book is about teenagers and a mom.  The choices each make and the consequences of those choices left me sobbing.  A great book.  The first I’ve recommended to my 17 year old daughter (she’d already seen the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close movie).

Nine books I would recommend, 4 books I would advise against reading.

I just went to the library and picked up my current holds:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  by John Le Carre

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Bonnie by Iris Johansen

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James

I have started reading The Start Up of You by Reid Hoffman on my Kindle bur have not made much progress.

Not sure where I will start with this group but one thing is for sure, they will all be read, cover to cover. Followed by many many others.