Funny Cat Penance

It’s been well over 2 weeks since I’ve posted on my blog.

It’s amazing how life can become overwhelming sometimes, and how even something like this blog, which is a positive creative outlet in my life, can take a backseat to things like sleep.

Or collapsing into an unconscious state at my kids’ bedtime.

Either way.

Point is:  I’ve been neglecting you.

As penance, I shall now post a funny cat video in honor of the Internet Spirits.

This one makes me laugh every time.  :)

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Words of Wisdom Art

Awhile back I came across this picture on Pinterest:

i am made of shattered stars

I followed to a page selling art (get it here) and discovered that it was a quote from Alexandra Franzen.

Curious, I visited her blog, and have been following her ever since.

She has a way with words that I find to be continually inspiring.

And today I just wanted to share some Franzen-inspired artwork by Kent Youngstrom.  He has a whole series based on the way Alexandra puts words together.  These are my favorites:

less talking more ing

what are you building

let's do something stupid

You can find the rest of the Words of Wisdom art at Gilt.

Now, go build something.  :)

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Eating My Feelings

Some days are just one of those days.

Today is that day.

But don’t worry – I’ve got everything under control now: I’ve raided the kitchen.

Here are some of the feelings I’ve been feeling while digesting my feelings.

Don't try to tell me that hungry is not an emotion because I feel tht shit in my soul.

30 Rock:  I'm gonna go talk to some food about this.

I'm eating my feelings and they taste delicious.

My face when I see food.

These cookies are mine.  ALL MINE.


I'm sad when my food is over.

I’m glad we’re all on the same page now.

And I feel a little less alone.  :)

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Happy 450th Birthday, Shakespeare!

Happy 450th Birthday, Shakespeare!

It is officially the 450th birthday of the Bard!

There are some pretty cool thing going on in Stratford-Upon-Avon (I’ve been there, by the way) and at the Folger Shakespeare Library in D.C. (I haven’t been there – yet) and there are people all over the place who probably have much more clever things to say in his honor than me, so for this post, I thought I’d stick with something simple:

I’m going to share some of my favorite Three-Panel Plays from Good Tickle Brain.  Because they are awesome.

And surprisingly comprehensive.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (in 3 Panels)

Antony and Cleopatra (in 3 Panels)

Hamlet (in 3 Panels)

King Lear (in 3 Panels)

Macbeth (in 3 Panels)

Much Ado About Nothing (in 3 Panels)

Othello (in 3 Panels)

Romeo and Juliet (in 3 Panels)

Titus Andronicus (in 1 Panel)


Now I think I’ll have some cake to celebrate.

snoopy birthday shakespeare

But I’ll make it myself.

Just in case Titus is in the kitchen.

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(comics:  Good Tickle Brain; photo:  Washington Post)


100 Followers on Roaming Rosie April 2014

My blog reached 100 followers today, which I’m pretty excited about!

That may not be the most gigantumous number on The Internet, but I’m pretty excited about it.

Celebrating milestones are a great way to stay motivated after all.

Next goal:  reach that number of likes on my Facebook page:  Roaming Rosie Remix.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve got some bunny-shaped spice cookies in the kitchen that aren’t going to bake themselves.  :)

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How to Get FREE and Really Cheap Books and eBooks

How to get FREE and Really Cheap Books

I read a lot.

Or, I read a lot now.

I read day and night as a kid.  As a teen.  But in college my time became absorbed by textbooks and term papers.  After college I found myself lost in some sort of television black hole that lasted into my early adulthood, punctuated only occasionally by books.  And then I had kids.  With two young kids I didn’t have the time to brush my teeth, let alone read.

But I’ve always been a writer.  Which means that I’ve also always been a reader.  I just took a little (very unfortunate) hiatus for awhile.

These days my oldest has finally hit preschooler age and a few months ago my youngest finally started sleeping through the night (more often than not), so I actually have time to read books.

What I don’t have, tho, is an endless budget to spend on books.

So I’ve found ways of working around my budget.  Getting my reading high on the cheap.

Now, I prefer paper books to electronic books, but I’m including tips for both, because I do read both, I just prefer the weight and texture of paper in my hands and thus opt for that whenever I can.  So that’s where we begin…

1.  Your Local Library

This may seem like a given:  borrow books for free, right?  Well, not really.  I rarely borrow books.

I like to own mine.  (I figure it’s a fairly healthy addiction.)

Luckily for me, libraries sell books, too.

My local library actually has an entire small room dedicated to books for sale, all ranging in price from 10 cents to $2, with a few rare exceptions priced higher (I found the hardcover box set of The Millennium Trilogy at my library).

Plus, twice a year, the library has a huge book sale which includes a limited time special of fill-a-bag-for-$5.

A bag stuffed full of hard covered book for a few bucks?  Hard to beat that.

Plus, all the proceeds go to funding programs at the library that foster the love of reading in the community, like the story time I take my kids to every week.  That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

How to get FREE and really cheap books!

2.  Chain Bookstores

Trouble occurs when I step inside a Barnes & Noble.  Seriously.  Unless I was to go in there with no cash or credit cards… but that never happens.

Anyway, I’ve learned that one of the ways to avoid disaster (and an empty bank account) is to stick to the bargain section.  They actually have a rather expansive bargain section.  And that makes me happy.  Borders used to have this, too, but they’re gone now.

But if you’re more interested in eBooks or shopping online, Barnes & Noble also offer a large selection of discounted books on their website.

Their bargain section includes categories like “books under $5” and “up to 85% off.”  There are quite a few bestsellers under $10 and even under $5.

Other large bookstores also offer discounts like these.  I’ve also picked up a bunch of $3 books at Books a Million, who also have a bargain section on their website with books as low as $1.97.

3.  Indie Bookstores

I’m a big advocate on shopping local, so I love local, indie bookstores.

If you don’t know of any where you live, you can do an online search with  “bookstores [your zip or town].”

And although local mom-and-pop stores are the only places I’m willing to spend a little more money on something I know I can get cheaper somewhere else, these are also great places to score cheap books.

One of the reasons for this is that many small bookstores carry used books and will allow you to exchange your used books for cash or credit.

A bookstore near me also offers the generous option of giving you an extra 40% for your books if you opt for store credit instead of cash.  And since you know you’re just going to buy more books anyway…

I spend more money on books than I spend on clothes.

4.  Thrift Stores

Thrift stores always seem to have shelves of books available.

And sometimes the books available are best sellers that are still going for at or near retail price elsewhere.  Of course, you won’t pay that:  I just drove by a thrift store yesterday that had a sign out front stating, “books 50 cents.”

So, thrift stores are worth a look.  Especially because so many of them benefit charities.  That way you’re not just scoring cheap books, you’re also helping people.

You can search for thrift store locations online, or call up local churches and charities to ask if they have one.

5.  Amazon

Yes, sells many books at a discounted price, and yes, I buy many books there because I like to read the reviews and utilize the handy “wish list,” but the main reason I’m bringing it up is to let people know (or to remind them) that Amazon also has a very large selection of free books.

That’s right:  free.  They’re eBooks, of course, but so many people have tablets nowadays that eBooks make sense for a lot of us.

Many of the free books they offer happen to be classics whose copyrights have expired, but if you love Poe, Twain, Dickens, or Verne, you’ll want to check out their free ebooks by clicking here.

Don’t have a Kindle or a Kindle Fire?  No problem:  Amazon has a free Kindle Reading App that allows you to read the eBooks on your phone and computer, too.

And if you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll have access to their free Lending Library which allows you to “borrow” a book for free each month.  Plus, the Lending Library offers a lot more than just Twain and Dickens:  they have over 500,000 titles, including New York Times bestsellers.

But – if you’re like me and prefer paper books – you also have the option of buying used books from Amazon.  You can find many listed for only a penny plus shipping and so come out to around $4.

I confess, I have an addiction.  If book were a drug, I would snort them.

6.  Gutenberg Project

Project Gutenberg is a website with over 45,000 free eBooks.

It gives you the option of reading them in a variety of formats, such as an HTML or Kindle version, with or without images, and in English, Portuguese, Dutch, or French.

It’s an ambitious project, founded by Michael Hart and begun in 1971.

The selections of books include (as per their site):

Light Literature; such as Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, Peter Pan, Aesop’s Fables, etc.

Heavy Literature; such as the Bible or other religious documents, Shakespeare, Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, etc.

References; such as Roget’s Thesaurus, almanacs, and a set of encyclopedia, dictionaries, etc.

In other words, there are a ton of awesome books available, but I only read books from here occasionally.  If you’re looking for some light, mind-dump type reading, you may want to consider one of my other suggestions.


There are a few websites out there that advertise free books, but I like Free-eBooks.

The reason I recommend it is partly because there are a lot of newer and mainstream books available here but also because it’s easier to search.  I’m big on user-friendly.

There are Spanish and Portuguese options for the eBooks, and the site also offers an extensive list of free Business, Computer, Engineering and Trade magazines.

There are two types of accounts:  free and VIP.

Free membership allows you download 5 eBooks for free each month.  VIP gives you unlimited access, mobile formats, priority service, and exclusive titles.  One of the VIP options is a lifetime membership, which is a pretty awesome deal, but there’s also a month-to-month option if you wanted to try it out first.  But the free membership works if you don’t have the time right now for more than 5 books a month.

I also have to bring up their wide variety of categories, which include everything from drama to business and mystery to self-improvement, but also because I find it infinitely amusing that the Top 10 “most popular” lists often include multiple erotica titles.

The site has a ton of eBooks that were submitted by lesser known authors and, while I love this, I love even more that I can preview the books.  I don’t want to download something (even a free something) if it means I’m going to have to drag myself through a massive storm of grammatical errors.

Luckily, the blurb usually tells you all you need to know in terms of whether or not the writing style of the book is something you’ll like, and a page or two of a preview is usually enough to tell me if I want to actually invest my time in reading it.

That said, I highly recommend Free-eBooks.  Their wide range of books and authors makes them well worth a visit.

8.  Dollar Stores

I darn near forgot to include this one – shame on me!

I get a huge amount of craft supplies for my kiddos at The Dollar Tree, and I often pick up small board books or coloring and activity books for them when I’m there, too.

But they also have books for adults.  Sometimes the pickings are slim and sometimes you have to dig through the not-as-appealing books people tossed in front of the actual novels written by New York Times bestselling authors, but they’re there.


Of course, much like large chain bookstores, these discounted books are likely to be the first in a series and the publisher is trying to hook you on buying more books.  But this isn’t always the case.

Okay, that about wraps things up, except for my nifty graphic:

8 Ways to get FREE and really cheap books

And please, please, please, if you have any suggestions to add about where you get free or cheap books, let us know in the comment section!

Happy Reading  :)

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free ebook downloads

Why I Write {a work forever in progress}

snoopy writing at typewriter

Just a few days ago I found myself sitting across from a man that helps people find suitable career paths for a living.

He asked me:  “If you could do anything, what would it be?”

“I’d be a writer,” I said, without even the slightest hesitation.

Because that has ALWAYS been the goal.

When I was about ten, I began writing a, ahem, novel.  It was probably a dozen pages long.  But it was a start.  And I promised myself – promised – that I would have my first novel published by the time I turned eighteen.

Yeah… and then, sometime in my twenties, when I still hadn’t managed to finish any of the novels I’d started, I extended that deadline to my thirtieth birthday.

Which came and went years ago.

So what the hell happened?  I mean, I’ve never completely stopped writing:  I wrote a ton of poems and short stories in college (NONE of which were ever accepted to any of the literary magazines to which I submitted them – yea for motivation…), but I just don’t seem to be on track with my goals.  Why?  What’s happened that’s gotten in my way of pursuing the one thing I believe I was put on this earth to do?

For starters, I don’t write enough.

That’s really one of the big reasons I started this blog.  Sure, I love, love, love posting about recipes and crafts and kid toys (no, really, I do), but if nothing else, it forces me to sit at a keyboard and put words together.

But sometimes that’s easier said then done.

Boromir:  One simply does not start writing without coffee.

For example, coffee is very important.

If there’s not enough coffee surging through my veins, then I don’t really function.  But that can also pose a problem since I get my best writing done at two in the morning.

Well, that and having to get up with my kids when the sun rises.

So, why do I bother?

Why do I keep trying?

you write because you need to write quote

I keep trying because I have to.

And I know I’m not alone.  If the advent of internet memes has taught me nothing, it has taught me this:  I am not alone in my literary torment.

The procrastination gene goes hand in hand with the writing gene.

So, at this point, I haven’t given myself a deadline for completing (or publishing) my next novel.  Mostly in an effort to avoid sobbing fits of devastation.

Instead, I have promised myself to write every day.

I mean, I’m aware that some days there will be very little or no writing done because I will be too busy controlling the beautiful but consuming tornado that is my toddler and preschooler, but I still promised myself I would try.

It’s kind of like a New Year’s Resolution – but for the rest of my life.

How hard could that be…

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.  Ernest Hemingway quote.

I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.

Because I have to.  I don’t have a choice.

It’s who I am.

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(sources: Boromir pic; Hemingway quote)

Sometimes We All Need a Good Whack With the Empathy Stick

Leonardo DiCaprio

I was reading an article on a random website, as I so often do in search of internet awesomeness, and I came across a link to an article claiming to reveal what Leonardo DiCaprio was looking for in a woman.

I couldn’t resist.  I clicked.

I vaguely remembered that he was only a few years older than me, so I was curious.  I’m going through a divorce, after all, which sometimes leaves me with a strange voyeuristic curiosity about the love lives of others.

Leo told CBS This Morning that he was looking for a woman who had “humility, a sense of humor and not a lot of drama.”  The article also mentioned his reputation for only dating supermodels.

My incredulity showed itself with a sound somewhat similar to:  Pfffttt!


Supermodels with humility?  And a sense of humor?  And not a lot of drama???


You’re lookin’ in the wrong crowd, buddy…

But then I stopped laughing, as suddenly as I’d started.  Wait… was I just … judging?  That one thing that other people do that I hate more than anything else?


I’ve become so accustomed to looking to the internet for humor, that I sometimes forget that I’m reading about real people.  And I spend so much time reading about others putting people in boxes that I sometimes forget to stop myself from categorizing.

Why can’t models be humble and funny and drama-free?  Because they’re not portrayed that way in stereotypical roles on TV and in movies?  Because that’s not how their faces read on the runways or in magazine ads?

But that’s just a part they play.

Somewhere beneath the face they show the public is a real person.  A real woman.  And that’s been a hard concept for me to grasp and to come to peaceful terms with.  A concept I know many still struggle with.

And that’s totally understandable.

I grew up surrounded by pictures of models in magazines that established my guidelines for what beauty was supposed to be.  I remember the rage I felt when I was older and first understood what Photoshop could actually do.  How angry I was when I realized that all those movies I’d watched growing up utilized things like filters:  Doris Day had freckles?  Brad Pitt had acne?  I had no idea.  I thought everyone in Hollywood really had perfect, smooth, and flawless skin.

I came of age long before HD magnified the imperfections of the world.  The imperfections I’d been sure had only existed on people like me, people who weren’t beautiful and who never would be.  Those movies and magazines were the reason that I was so sure, even when I was young and 116 pounds, that I my ugly, fat, pimpled, and hairy self could never be accepted or admired or loved.

But, for probably the first time in my life, I’m happy.  I know I’m beautiful.  When did this massively oppressive negative self-image dissipate?  I’m not sure exactly.  It’s been a long road.  But somewhere after pushing out two kids and escaping from an abusive marriage, I’ve finally found myself.  And not just peace, but a true and deep joy.  Something my younger self never imagined.

Not that my life is some sparkly, giddy rendition of a Disney musical:  I have some truly terrible days… but underneath it all I have this glowing core of hope and happiness.  Yes, it’s been a very, very long road, but I’ve finally found a version of myself that actually feels right.  Free. Happy.

And I wish I could stand on a street corner and pass out little burning globes of happiness to passersby.  But I don’t think they sell those things at the local drugstore.  Unfortunately, I think we all have to find happiness on our own.  And I wish it wasn’t so hard.

I wish that things like photos of skinny supermodels in magazines weren’t the more readily available comparisons for ourselves.  Because real women have curves.  AND, real women do not have curves.  Real men are rugged and muscular, AND real men are skinny and metrosexual.  Skinny or fat, male or female (or a little bit of both) – we’re ALL beautiful.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses and special imperfections that make our uniqueness beautiful.

And we don’t need to make fun of other people to feel better.  But we DO need to practice empathy more often.

I wish I could shout this shit from the rooftops, because we all need the reminder occasionally.  But I don’t have a suitable rooftop for the job, so my blog will have to do.

So here goes:

You are beautiful.  You are passionate and exciting and talented.  You are a miracle.  You are a Child of God.  You are loved.  You are cherished.  You are powerful and gentle and smart and kind.  You are strong.  A survivor.  A fighter.  A lover and a protector.  You make this earth more beautiful with your existence.  You are precious.  You are sweet.  You are deep and full and desirable.  You are worthy.  You are worth fighting for.  You are worth waiting for.  You are strong enough to be on your own and powerful enough to give yourself to another.  You are independent and vulnerable and soft and radiant.  You are allowed to be happy.  You are beautiful and you are allowed to show it. 

Know that:  you are beautiful. 

Understand that:  you are beautiful. 

NEVER be doubtful of the fact that, above everything else: 

You are beautiful.  

And you may not feel like all of those things some days.  On your worst days you may not feel like any of them.  But never forget that you are, in fact, beautiful.  And know this:  I think you are beautiful.  And I passionately hope and pray that you will find your beauty and happiness for yourself.

And I truly hope Leo finds what he seeks, too.

You Are Beautiful

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(Read the article I referenced here: Leo: What I’m Looking For In a Woman)

Still I Rise

Still I Rise

“Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

Just a few lines from a favorite poem.  I could read it over and over again.  Does it come as a surprise?

And I liked how these powerful words looked when paired with this image.

A dancing spirit.  Light.  Laughing.


I will rise through pain.  I will smile.  I will see goodness in the world.

No matter how many times you shoot me with your words or cut me with your eyes or kill me with your hatefulness:  I rise.

You do your best to hurt me.  To bring me down, to drown me.

But still, like air, I rise.

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Climb a Tree

10 Ways to Feel Light as a Feather

Was reading the Free People blog today and found this list of 10 ways to feel light as a feather.

I do sing a lot (louder than I should) and do a lot of dancing (especially when I’m singing) and I certainly go barefoot whenever I have the chance (sometimes in public), but it has been far too long since I’ve climbed a tree.

Years, in fact.

I was a climber when I was a kid.  Used to get yelled at by my mom for climbing trees in dresses.

Sometimes we let our childhood go in ways that we shouldn’t.  We let our childhood go by forgetting who we really are and what we really want in life.  What a terrible way to exist.

My kids know who they are.  If they wanted to climb a tree, they’d climb it.

Sometimes I think adults need to imitate children a little more often.

I’m going to go find my tree.

And I hope you find yours.

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