Ulysses Read-Along Guide: Pages 1-Not Far Off From 1


I have, in my day, made fun of James Joyce, because he’s a little bit like Gwyneth Paltrow: an easy target. But have I READ any James Joyce? Not willingly. (I read Portrait of an Artist and remember zero from it except that I hated every minute of it.)

So, I thought, dear Reader, that I would do a public service. I am going to create a reader’s guide of Ulysses, in the spirit of Cliff’s Notes (who, by the by, has a portrait at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Love Library, where I once worked, so it was inevitable that this would happen). With just a little bit more ado (…), I present to you: the first part of the Ulysses Read-Along Guide.

In the opening scene, we meet Buck Mulligan and Stephen Dedalus. I think they’re priests. Or…I don’t know. Jesuits? I’m not sure what’s going on. They’re very religiously oriented, but maybe they’re just euphemisms for something else. There’s something having to do with Buck crossing Stephen, and then mentioning that maybe Stephen killed his mom. Maybe. Buck spends the entire scene shaving.

Also, the term “scrotumtightening” is used to describe the sea.


Well, I’ll be, if I can’t see EXACTLY what Joyce is talking about. Maybe he IS the best writer in the Western world.

Nothing else happens. I mean, no one has a crush on anyone else, no one dies, there are no car chases or zombies. There are no proposals for marriage to billionaires. Yet. So it’s not my usual fair. YET.

I would keep reading but eh. Why? I’m waiting for the billionaire mogul with the body of sin to show up and sweep Ana off her feet. Wait. Wrong book.

I’ll pick up next time at the phrase “Palefaces.” At this rate, I should finish this read-along guide in 2034.


Outfit of the Day: How to wear a navy cardigan


So Elizabeth had to be all cute and pretty and funny and do this experiment where she wore a navy cardigan all week. She thought that she exhausted all the ways to wear that sweater, but LISTEN. She didn’t even scratch the surface. And hey, she might be prettier and smarter and have a cooler blog than me, but damn can I wear a navy cardigan.

So this here photo essay is to show you more great ways to get some bang for your buck.

WP_20140121_019This one is called, “I’ve got a secret. It’s that I didn’t wax my mustache.”


“The Rambo.”


“Sock bun.”


“Infinity scarf.”


The “I’m better than you so just deal.” Also known in some circles as the “BMW Salesman on his day off.”


And finally, my personal favorite, the “I have a master’s degree in Unicorn physiology.” Fashion bloggers sometimes call this one the “Paso Doble.”

WP_20140121_022Also, I wore pants. In case you were worried.

Outfit of the Day




Yellow and navy is much better than green and navy, Seahawks.

Sweater: Anthropologie (old), tank: Gap, Pants: J. Crew Factory

Vegetable Fact: Broccoli


I know a lot of you are trying to be healthier in the new year, so I thought I’d share a series of vegetable facts for the next few days.

Fact: Broccoli makes your hair curly.



Total truth. Swearsies.

Outfit of the Day


I call this one, “Little Mouse on the Prairie.”

Things That Make Me Happy


I’ve been a little bit down. Not, like, “OMG UP THE DOSAGE OF ALL THE MEDS!” down. Just…meh. Tired. Sleepy. Meh.

So, in order to combat the mehs, I’ve compiled a few things that are making me happy right now.


I’m leading with the best, first. I really, really love big underpants. You knew that already. LOVE. So comfy. Super sexy, too. What’s more sexy that underpants that hit your top rib and your knees at the same time? ALMOST NOTHING. Except NEW really big underpants. SCORE.

Rosie’s Instagram. Sigh. So great. I want to live in Bristol now. With Rosie. That won’t be weird, right, Rosie?

This song. 


My hair kind of fits into little pig tails. Ignore the dead look in my eyes and my terrible profile and my gray hair and my makeup-less face. Please.

This book of postcards is coming to me. I am thinking of making a postcard wall. Or sending postcards. Or looking at them. One of those, definitely.


New slippers that I got ON SALE. Almost as dead sexy as those underpants.

Naps. The fact that my life now allows for naps.

Anything you have to share that’s making you happy?

Should I Get Chickens?



This is a question I get asked frequently by people in real life, but my real life self doesn’t have a FAQ page. But my blog does! (Looks up. Wait, no it doesn’t.) So!

The short answer: no.

The long answer: eh.

I guess the long answer and the short answer were the same length.

Well, the long answer is really that chickens are not that much work, especially if you already have a coop or buy one from someone. The eggs are much better, both for the chickens and for the environment. You will always have eggs. (I just typed, “You will always have legs.” That too.) If you have a big family or eat a lot (I mean A LOT) of eggs, and have room in your backyard for it, sure. Go for it.

I clean the coop once a week in the winter, and one-two times a week in the summer. I refill their food and water a few times a week. We clip their wings (chickens can fly, FYI) about…well, we’ve clipped them once.

So, the question you’re now asking is, “This doesn’t sound so bad, Shalini? Why not?”

WELL. 1. Chickens are assholes. One of them pecked Sachin in the eyeball. EYE. BALL. When he was four, and playing in the backyard leaving her alone. If you try to introduce a new hen, sometimes for funsies they kill her because they don’t like her. We call those chickens “George Zimmermans.”

The number of times we’ve had to sequester chickens for pulling out other chickens feathers…this is really it. CHICKENS ARE SUCH ASSHOLES. They are such assholes that I have actually said multiple times, “I understand debeaking.” You’d debeak George Zimmerman, too, admit it.

1b. Chickens, therefore, make chicken owners assholes. Ignorance is bliss.

2. Chickens are dumb. No, really. The number of times they fight over the same piece of bread when thirteen other pieces are scattered in their yard just proves this. (Humans are dumb in this way, too.)

3. You will get sick of eggs.

For a while, anyway. And then you’ll have lots of eggs you have to eat anyway. You’ll get over it and eat them.

I love eggs, and if it wasn’t for my own chickens, I probably would give up on eating eggs entirely because of the environmental impact and horrific conditions blah etc blah, so I continue to put up with the ridiculous assholes. BUT THEY’RE SUCH ASSHOLES.

All that said, yeah, we’re probably going to have chickens forever. Because we’re dumb assholes and we deserve each other.


Outfit of the Day


I am positively meh about this outfit. Oh well. Clothes were worn. Libraries were librarianed in it. (It is approximately ten billion degrees in the library I was at this morning, thus no sweater.) I am a little tiny bit sleepy. Meh. My hair is a little Sideshow Bob this morning. Maybe I’ll get a tattoo that says, “Die Bart Die!” to commemorate this day.

More Things That Help My Depression




1. Lexapro

I went through a bunch of drugs, and this one makes me feel like the person I was a long, long time ago. It makes me feel…not normal, because we all know I’m not normal, but like life is fun again. I pair this with a high dose of SAM-e. I tried to cut out the SAM-e and the second day of a reduced dose I woke up having a panic attack. So. SAM-e still helps quite a bit.

2. Eating less junk food

I’ve been cutting up celery and carrots to snack on during the day with honey roasted almond or peanut butter, or hummus. It makes me less sleepy than eating chips or cookies, even though I am still an advocate for chips and cookies. Just maybe not all the time.

3. Walks

I am trying to take a long walk every single day. It helps that I have a dog that I make very happy when I do this.

4. Writing About Good Things

I don’t know if you noticed, but I am trying to be less angsty here. I read somewhere, a long time ago, that frequent journalers are unhappier than those who don’t navel-gaze. I don’t know if it’s true for everyone, but it sure seems to be true for me. I am not saying that I don’t talk about the hard stuff, but I am trying to focus less on that and more on my ridiculous kids and my great husband and making as many jokes about life as possible when I can.

I am also writing about good things that I want to happen to me, pretending they’ve already happened, to get the good feelings. Like, if I wanted to get a job, I would write about getting a job offer and what I felt like. It’s a little woo-woo, but it helps me focus less on the “I don’t have anything I want! *foot stomp*” and more on how great my life already is. It makes me want less and act more.

I did not write about that well at all. Sorry. I done no good. If you have questions about this, email me. I’d be happy to talk about it in more detail if you’re interested.

5.Taking time for myself

What I mean by this is that instead of taking time every evening when I collapse in a heap after I’m completely spent, I purposely plan for fun things. Tubing, shopping, baking, date nights, making time for friends, restaurant nights, vacations, etc. I make plans. Plans are happy-making.

6. Reading less

You guys, I said this last year and a bunch of you asked why I would do this, but sometimes I read too much. TOO. MUCH. I am purposely trying to read less. It helps that I’m kind of burned out on romance novels for the time being and I’m reading some literary fiction, which is…sloooow. And boring. And slow.

I hope this helps, and I hope you know that I still have bad days even though I share them less. I do. I don’t imagine a time in my life when I won’t struggle with this, but I figure this is all a process. Want to share something that helps you?

Outfit of the Day


Don’t be jealous, but our local bum asked me out, probably because of this outfit. He may have also called me “Mary Tyler Moore lady.” Those sweet talking alcoholic diabetics with gangreney toes. They get me every time with their words.

(Yes, I took a photo of myself in the bathtub. Several. This is the only one that made the cut. I’m trying to get better at photography, remember? I figured since I’m still talentless, I’d distract you with quirk. I have a lot of quirk. That’s why my hair is wavy. All that quirk. I’m working on stealing some talent. Coming soon!)