book reading update, week 2

hello! as you can see*, it’s a beautiful saturday morning here in la paz, and we have a party to go to this afternoon outside of the city, but i wanted to write a quick update on how the book reading is going.

first off: i’m already behind on my 52-books-in-one-year challenge. surprise, surprise! ;) i’m about 70% through Hild – i still like it quite a lot, but it’s very dense text, i can’t just skim over it like an albatross skims over the waves in the sea. (yikes, what a metaphor. and albatross? really, there’s got to be a better bird to use that has less doom and gloom associated with it. poor albatross.) nope, this book makes me pause and re-read and then mutter a bit out loud and so on. not because of its weighty ideas but because of the language – it’s gorgeous, yes, but oh my lordy, so archaic! and then it reads like a russian novel, with a billion and one characters, but at least they don’t each have half a dozen nicknames like good old Tolstoy. anyhow, so far, so good. i’m taking my time with that one.

but! i found a bunch of excellent fantasy/science fiction books in Spanish, actually written by Bolivians – which is so cool, because i don’t know Bolivian literature at all, much less literature in the fantastic genre which i so very much love. i found a collection of Andean mythology, and i swear my heart sped up triple-time when i spotted it. so awesome. also, i started reading an anthology of fantastic fiction yesterday called Vértigos and already read two stories. hooray!

and! i’ve committed to read Middlemarch by George Eliot – i have to have two hundred pages read by the end of the month. yup, a 900+ book, known for its weighty nature indeed.

so. reading this month is going swimmingly. knock on wood. happy weekend!

*this is part of the view from our bedroom & a big reason as to why we grabbed this apartment as soon as we found it. <3 you should have seen new years’ eve from here…!

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{ posted 226 days ago, under books }

reading in 2014


i won’t even pretend that i’ll post here again soon, much less catch you – whoever you are ;) – up on what’s been going on in my life. in a way, these infrequent posts over the past handful of years (!) prove to me that this site is what i always thought it was, albeit sometimes getting caught up in other ideas for it: a place for me to put ideas or notes or whatever that i want to access in the future. that’s it. it’s not for creating a following, making money, or even really informing others on things i know. i mean, if people follow a link i post and learn something, yay for that, but it’s not my goal at all. i keep up with family and friends in other ways, including digital ways, so this site here is now very simply just for me – and if it’s interesting to you too, then welcome. ;)

anyhow, to sum up the last handful of months: i was pregnant, had a second baby girl who is currently hiccuping on my chest as she tries to nap, oh and we moved days before she was born, and i finally got my double citizenship papers all done and just yesterday received my national id card. so, we’re really doing it – the whole living-in-bolivia-for-ever(ish) with kidS and all that. oh and we’re building a house too! exciting times. busy times. a lot of my personal interests have been largely put on hold temporarily and sometimes they still insisted on nagging me.

this year though, hello 2014, even with a newborn and toddler to wrestle, i’m determined to make a little more time for them, especially books. oh books, i miss you! it’s mostly ebooks nowadays, at least until starts free shipping to bolivia at least. :( so, last year i read a grand total of… wait for it.. 23 books. twenty-three!! that’s pathetic. my goal was 100. in 2012, i read over 70. anyway, at least they were almost all good books, and a handful were great to boot. i was thinking about not having a reading goal this year, but once again, the shiny widgets of goodreads tempted me and before i knew it i had committed to reading 52 books this year. but i also want to add two additional challenges: 1) read 12 non-fiction science books, and 2) read 12 books in spanish. now, for #2, those books do not have to be adult books, and in fact most of them will be middle grade books, and that is ok by me. it’s hard for me to read in spanish – i’m so darn sllllooowww and it drives me crazy. i’m faster if i read out loud but that gets old quick.

i’m going to try and post here when i start or finish new books each week or month as the case may be, in hopes of posting more. because clearly, whenever i do post, i babble away for paragraphs, long paragraphs! i’m currently halfway through Hild by Niccola Griffith and it’s as great as promised. for the spanish challenge, i’m considering Uma y el tren a las estrellas by Mariana Ruiz Romero -here’s a short youtube video based on it, done by illustrators of the book i believe. and then for the science challenge, i’m eyeing Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization by Robert Pogue Harrison, or Here On Earth: A Natural History of the Planet by Tim Flannery.

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{ posted 234 days ago, under familia! & books }

a midnight grouch

i’ve been fighting sleep for hours – it comes in waves, and when on the ebb, i think oh yay, i have energy so when this baby finally sleeps, i can do things!, but then back comes the wave and i’m rubbing at my eyes like a certain sleepy two year old i know, fighting sleep while absolutely losing the fight.

there’s so much i want to do – today, tomorrow, yesterday, this hour, four hours ago, next year, next month, five years from now, two years ago, but it’s really really hard at times to see that any of that will ever come to be. i’ve had a fear of failure for years now, with the very real risk of not even trying for my dreams (ha, dreams! even dinner at times seems out of reach. stretching ever day for just a few minutes. reading a book once a week. dreams?! that’s like beyond crazy-sounding at times. anyhow.) because i don’t want to screw them up and look and/or feel like a fool —- but at times like these, the fear of failure seems more serious, or cleaner or easier, something like that, than what i’m dealing with: straight out tiredness. a sapping of the energy in my soul. ugh!

thank goodness, it’s nothing like the first year of n’s life when i was pretty much constantly under slept. its not like that horrible no good very bad zombie-like time. seriously i get why sleep deprivation is an often used torture technique. it works, folks, it really does. so anyhow, it’s not that bad – it’s much better in fact, but still not good enough – at least for my lazy butt – to get more than the minimum done each day. the apartment is relatively clean (i.e. not very clean, but not totally embarrassing if we’re surprised with guests), i cook meals fairly regularly (even go on little cooking sprees ever couple weeks or so), we do a bunch of family stuff regularly like movies and outings. all of these things are very important and i do appreciate them a lot. they are what make my day, besides the smiles and hugs and kisses i get from my man and my baby.

but lordy geez, i must be really catching up finally on the sleep deprivation thing, because i want more. greedy me, i want to learn, to study, to make things, to figure things out – to use this brain of mine in more ways that i have been for a long time. but then i think about that, at 11:59 pm, and the baby just went to sleep 14 minutes ago, after over an hour of rolling around the bed, sticking her butt in the air (great downward dog), figuring out how to squeeze her toys just right to activate the little sound box in some of them (oh hooray), then throwing them around, then throwing herself at me while murmuring sweet words “mama, mama” over and over, then off she goes again rolling and rolling around, repeating the cycle, and oh, i just cannot fathom having any energy besides maybe opening facebook for a minute or maybe a bookmarked one-day-i’ll-read-you random web page and then throwing off my glasses and if i’m lucky, change in to pjs and crash into bed myself.

i tell myself – and others tell me too – that it is good she is my, and our, priority right now – she’s only two and you can see already that all this focus on her from her parents has been good for her. this time passes quickly, they say, and i know that logically – but i worry too about time passing quickly for me as well. i’m no spring chicken, and i feel it with every crick and crack my body makes when i get up in the morning. i guess i have to trust that things will work out – but it’s hard to just trust when one day seems to just run into the next, and it feels like i have very little to show for all this time passing.

i have no neat answer or ending to this whiny frustrated but also very grateful and loving post – seriously, i love my little family and wouldn’t trade them for anything anywhere ever – but it feels good to have just gotten it out there, wherever ‘there’ is. mostly, if anyone reading this has felt that way too, oh i feel your pain and frustration. this is one of the hardest parts of being a parent, it really is: i miss my time and my time is passing.

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{ posted 384 days ago, under cranky }

tv watching

i’ve become a big fan of the bbc. it started when i wanted to watch the olympics last year but bolivia doesn’t broadcast them, besides snippets, plus our tv connection is really spotty. so, going online, i tried cbs or whatever u.s. network it was that was supposed to broadcast it. the only way i could watch on my ipad was through their horrendously bad app, full of ads and, as far as i could find, almost all about the u.s. athletes and little about the rest of the world’s athletes. screw that. so i set up my vpn (i use tunnelbear) for the u.k. and tried the bbc. since it was the london olympics, i figured they’d have great coverage – and wow, it was great. super easy website, NO ads, no product placement even!, and lots of coverage – with yes, an emphasis on british athletes, but not in the drama-filled annoying u.s. way, and still lots of events, not jut the big draws, and lots of athletes. i loved it.

since then, i haven’t left the bbc. i have amazon prime, so sometimes i get sucked into some ridiculous reality show (dance mom miami? ugh, can’t believe i did that.) and a few times we’ve watched some moves (once upon a time in the west – great movie!), but mostly it’s the bbc for me. i haven’t watched a single sitcom/fiction piece, it’s allll about the documentaries, food shows, and house shows. LOVE them! for example, ‘masterchef’ – and oh the difference between the u.s. and u.k. versions are fascinating. says so so much about u.s. culture – and not in a flattering way. i’ve house-binged on ‘escape to the country’ – the u.k. has some beautiful rural spaces, folks! all those forests and streams make me long for maryland.

and then there’s the smaller series of documentaries. for example, one series called ‘the great british food revival‘ really impress me. they get famous u.k. chefs to pick one great neglected british food – cheese, apples, eels once, whatever – and then talk about their production in britain, how they taste better and are cheaper than imported versions, and basically encourage people to buy local. oh and they include mouth-watering recipes, like goat cheese and chives souffle, iced strawberry nougat, and much much more.

but! what brought me to write here was one series, just three shows, called ‘wild shepherdess‘ where a welsh sheep (meat only) farmer goes to afghanistan, then peru, and finally australia to see how people there traditionally manage their sheep herds. sounds like a snoozer, but for a fiber enthusiast, i was definitely intrigued. i’ve watched the first two episodes only and there were some annoying cultural elitist bits here and there, but nothing crazy different from the average national geographic documentary. then though, in peru – and yes, maybe i’m a tad defensive of the andes region, and maybe possessive, which is ridiculous i know – she says at some point, that though she hates it, she feels like maybe it’s best if the small farms disappear and then bigger ones take over. wtf! she was talking about alpaca production specifically, since in peru, like in bolivia, it’s not much about sheep but really alpacas, of course. she had been visiting a small (like 60 alpacas?) farm with a really poor typical andean family running it and then she went to a much bigger farm with thousands of alpacas and the comparison was overwhelming i guess. but it bothered me a lot. i mean, she’s a small welsh farmer herself – how can she not support other small farmers? and why is it ok for her to try and be a small farmer in wales but for peru? no, forget it, big farms are the answer. ugh.

so yeah, thanks for listening to my screed. that was frustrating and i yelled at my ipad for a bit, so it feels good to vent here. what small farmers here and worldwide need is support and aid, from their governments, their communities, and, i would think it would be automatic, from other small farmers! sheesh.

still love the bbc though. ;) …next post will have pictures, promise.


{ posted 420 days ago, under cranky }


please excuse the dust ~ it’s a mess here.

hello! i’m changing web hosts and trying to get all the old content up on this little corner of the web that i’ve been calling mine for over a decade now. i post so rarely, maybe it seems silly to continue, but it feels good to know it’s there, that i’m there, recording life, however spottily. for those of you who have tried to reach me at my mellowtrouble email – i’m sorry! that email has been inaccessible since december 2012 (!) and it seems pretty clear that all those emails are long gone (though i still hold out hope). if you need to get in contact with me, email me at my full name at, leave a comment here, or you can also use this (it works again, hooray).

more soon ~ life has been really good but confusing too, as always, with lots of big and little projects, frustrations, wonderings, and so much new stuff to learn and understand. all in all, things are good, very good, and the future looks slightly bleak but mostly yay yay yay. ;)

hope you’re doing well ~

eta: i’ve lost all my images for now, sob, but i’m determined to get them back. also, i need to get back all my posts from 2010-2013 2010-2011 (got the other two years back, phew), which weren’t many but were a quite important time in my life. yay for the wayback machine as always.


{ posted 424 days ago }

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