Where I’ve Been

It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this blog. I would apologize, but a lot has happened. Some of it has been amazing, but a lot… hasn’t.

My beloved cat, Sarek, passed away from a stroke on June 21. Not even a month later, on July 20, my mother died of lung cancer. She was admitted to the hospital with a bowel obstruction, something she had numerous times. We thought it would be like the last time: drop an NG tube, deflate her stomach, and the obstruction will resolve.

Unbeknownst to us, her cancer had already metastasized to her brain. My uncle and I were at her side when she passed.

I say “unbeknownst to us” because she kept scheduling PET scans over the past year, and she was repeatedly told the same thing. Due to the pandemic, PET scans were being performed “on an emergent basis only.” She would have to wait. The wait cost her her life.

Please, please, please, get vaccinated and continue wearing a mask. If you’re hesitant about receiving the vaccine, please wear a mask and avoid crowds. Please be responsible. People who did everything right are dying because so many have fallen prey to misinformation, are crippled by fear, or blatantly disregard the lives of others.

You may not know this, but I’ve been my mother’s caregiver since 2015. It’s been the one thing that defines my life above all others. Losing her has thrown my life into a state of flux. I genuinely don’t know who I am without her.

I changed my URL as a tribute to my mother. “Golden Slumbers” was her favorite Beatles song. It’s the first song I remember hearing as a child, and it’s the last song I played for my mother on her deathbed. I also want “smiles await you” to become a motto for me. Right now, life feels unbearable, but I will grow around my grief. Eventually, I’ll smile again.

Thank you to everyone who’s been so supportive. You have no idea how much I appreciate your kindness.

Where I’ve Been

So… as you may have noticed, I kind of went MIA for a bit, but it’s with good reason. Not only have I been sick as death, but I also became a new kitten mommy to five kittens rescued from death row! (Please, please, please adopt and don’t shop. You’re saving lives.) Two of these precious babies are my aunt and uncle’s, but the other three darlings are my new kitten children. I love them all so much.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

baby binx

This gorgeous little guy is Thackery Binx. We first met when he took a flying leap into my arms, kissed my nose, and stole my heart. He’s honestly the most affectionate kitten in the world, and he’s such a Mama’s Boy. He loves sleeping in his basket, nose kisses, and eating my mom’s toast.

baby ash

Say hello to Ash Tyler. She (yup, she’s a girl; fans of Star Trek Discovery will totally see the humor in naming a tiny girl kitten Ash Tyler) is the littlest kitten of the group, but she certainly insists on cuddle time. My tiny girl is feisty but has such a sweet personality. She loves hugs and chin-scratches more than life itself.

binx and logan

Binx with Logan (Howlett, named after Wolverine because my mom is as much of a nerd as I am). Logan is also a little girl, and her hobbies include clawing my arms (yeah, she’s totally a mini-Wolverine), jumping over her siblings like an Olympic athlete, and collapsing her playpens so she can lie on them. (Excuse the mess. They’ve shredded their cardboard house all over the floor, and I paused in the middle of unpacking a box to take this shot while they were semi-still. Photographing hyper kittens is hard, y’all.)

binx frodo simone

Simone, Frodo, and Binx. Simone has the cutest little blotch on the side of her nose, and she has more coloring on her torso than her brother. Simone is the shy one, but she loves to wrestle with her brother. She is also in love with my big boy, Sarek, and follows him everywhere. She’s my aunt’s baby, but I want to kidnap her so badly. Frodo is my uncle’s boy, and he loves play-fighting with Binx, stealing stuffed animals that are bigger than he is, and jumping in my mom’s plate.

simone kitten

A close-up of Simone’s precious little face. She actually didn’t like me at first, which has never happened before. I’ve been warned by friends that their grumpy old cat hates everyone only to wind up with said cat curled up on my lap, so I was heartbroken when little Simone ran away from me each time I tried to pet her. Then I woke up one morning and found her curled up at the foot of my bed, and we’ve been friends ever since.

They all have such distinctive personalities, and I love them beyond words. I also love that Binx looks like a long-haired version of Sarek, Ash resembles Evil, and Logan looks a lot like Teeny. This year has been pretty rough, but now it all feels worth it when I look at these little darlings and think, “You wouldn’t be alive now if we hadn’t taken you in.”

They’re hyper, and they’re definitely a lot of work, but when I think about how much they’ve enriched my life in the short time I’ve known them, I have no regrets. Please consider visiting a shelter and adopting this Christmas, and if you can’t, donations always help. I’ll link a few resources below. I’m not sponsored by any of them; I just think it’s a great cause.

Happy holidays, y’all. I hope you have fun!

Best Friends


Humane Society

I’m Not Dead!

brokenglassupdateSorry for the disappearance! Things got a little crazy around here, which I’ll detail more in another post. But here’s a quick recap of what’s been going on:

  • My aunt coming to visit.
  • Mom’s chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Loads of different projects (you can check them on my Instagram, which you should go follow if you don’t already!)
  • One of my cats dying.
  • My brother and his wife coming to visit.
  • One of my dogs dying.
  • Breaking my leg and avulsing the patellar tendon. Yup, on the knee I screwed up in the wreck. Lucky me, huh?

So that’s what’s up with me. How are all of you guys doing? I’ll be back soon (as in tomorrow or Monday) with my September favorites and the tea on my mom’s cancer treatment.

The Most Exciting New Books of Fall 2018

Okay, so… I vanished for two months. Hi, I’m not dead!

It’s kind of a funny story… except for the part where it’s not funny at all. Long story short, my mom and I were in a car accident in early August, and we both got pretty banged up. I’m going to be in physical therapy for quite some time (at least another two months according to my therapist) and will probably still need to have surgery on my knee, which sucks. But we’re both alive and didn’t sustain any life-threatening injuries, which is the important thing.

most anticipated books 2018 fall

So, yeah, that’s why I’ve been ignoring the blog. It’s incredibly difficult to sit down and write anything more substantial than “knee hurts; do not like” when pain keeps you up all night. Does anybody have tips for getting comfortable with a bad knee? Because nothing I’ve tried has helped so far.

Anyway, I’m back now, but I’m still getting around at a snail’s pace, so a lot of my previously planned posts are going to have to take a backseat to my current full-time job: physical therapy. Today we’ll be talking about one of my favorite things (not to mention one of the few things I’m able to enjoy right now with my less-than-stellar mobility).


While I admit I have a penchant for darkly inclined literature — Gothic horror, true crime, and anything Neil Gaiman writes always top my favorites list — I’m sure there will be something for absolutely everybody in my recommendations.

exciting new book releases 2018

1.) Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking: Does God exist? Will humanity survive on Earth? Are we all alone in the universe? The final book from famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking tackles with his characteristic humor and passion the important questions that keep us awake at night. (Release date: October 16, 2018).

Personal note: Reading this is going to be difficult for me because I know it’s his last book. Stephen Hawking has always been one of my biggest inspirations. I read A Brief History of Time in school and became enamored of the world of physics. One of the blurbs on the back of the book claimed Hawking married the wonder of a child with the intellect of a genius, and that remains true of all of his books. You feel like he’s in the room with you explaining it in terms you don’t have to be a genius to understand. I’m really going to miss that.

2.) The World of Lore: Dreadful Places by Aaron Mahnke: A collection that includes some of the most popular stories featured on the popular podcast Lore, Mahnke takes us on a journey through places touched by evil. From my home base of New Orleans to the ancient castles of the English countryside, readers travel from one unsettling destination to the next… if they’re brave enough. (Release date: October 9, 2018).

3.) The Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini: Written in the form of a letter from a father to his son, The Sea Prayer is Hosseini’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. As the boy sleeps, his father paints a vivid portrait of their life in Syria before the war and documents just how quickly a city can be transformed from a home into a treacherous war zone. (Release date: September 18, 2018).

Personal note: I have to admit the first time I ever experienced a true “book coma” was after reading Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. It so felt sacrilegious to leave behind the world he created and the characters I loved so much that I wasn’t able to read anything for close to a month. Anyone who knows me knows that’s completely unheard of because I’m usually reading two or three books at any given time. I look forward to reading The Sea Prayer, but I know it’s going to be a tear-jerker.

4.) The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King: Hailed as the definitive work on one of televisions most influential icons, The Good Neighbor is the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers. King draws on decades of archival footage, interviews, and oral histories to learn more about the man who used Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a platform to promote compassion and equality while addressing the fears of children in a serious manner. (Release date: September 4, 2018).

Personal note: I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Fred Rogers in 1996. I helped out at a little deli my grandmother took my brother and me to after school by shuttling orders from the counter to the table. I brought Mister Rogers a bottled water and growled at a couple of younger kids who thought they were being cool by yelling “Mister Gaywad!” as they ran by him.

With his trademark calm, Mister Rogers told me that children often act out when they’re really afraid, and we should be patient with people who are afraid because we all know how it feels to be scared. I won’t lie and say I always adhere to his advice — hey, I’m human — but every single time I falter, the first thing that pops into my head is, “You are not being the person Mister Rogers thought you could be.” I’m in my thirties now, and the thought of disappointing Mister Rogers is still enough to deliver a healthy dose of Act Right.

5.) The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman: Much loved by some and much loathed by others, Nabokov’s Lolita drew inspiration from the real-life abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner in 1948. After an exhausting investigation of legal documents, public records, and interviews with Horner’s remaining family members, Weinman reveals just how much Nabokov knew about the Horner case — as well as the lengths he went to in order to conceal that knowledge — without losing sight of Sally Horner and countless other girls who endured the same fate. (Release date: September 11, 2018).

new fall books 2018

Well, those are the books I plan on snapping up soon. I’m very excited to read all of them, but… this may sound weird, I am a little more hesitant to read The Good Neighbor because it feels like I’m being intrusive. Has anyone else felt that way about reading a biography of someone they’ve always respected?

What are you guys currently reading?