State of the Stack: March 8th, 2017


Current nightstand book tower.

Recently Read

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – so relevant, so powerful, and so on my list of books to say more about when I can put all the words together.
  • Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond – I’ve never been much of a Lois fan in other incarnations but I LOVE THIS LOIS. I grabbed Double Down for Kindle on sale the other day, plus the 2 short stories available, and pre-ordered Triple Threat so you know it’s true love.

Currently Reading

  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
    I feel like I’ve been working on this forever but I’ve been having another major bout of sleep troubles so my focus isn’t great, especially by the time the rest of the household’s gone down for the night and I actually have the opportunity to read without external distraction.


  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen
    I want to finish this in time for the #HereWeAre campaign next week but need to actually grab it from this book tower (it’s at the bottom because it had the largest footprint when I started the stack) and jump back in.

Signal Boosting: 3 Literacy Projects


Today I’ve selected 3 literacy projects from, each focusing on an aspect of literacy at a different grade stage: pre-literacy skill building in Pre-K, reading comprehension in Grade 3, and vocabulary expansion in high school.

Dramatic Play Equals Dramatic Academic Success! – Pre-K, Minneapolis, MN

My students need puppets, manipulatives, and costumes to practice speaking English and building pre-reading literacy skills!

Traveling Through a Book – Grade 3, Phoenix, AZ

My students need more fascinating books to read. Books like Rain School by James Rumford and Poison Dart Frogs Up Close by Carmen Bredeson will help my students explore different genres, while developing their reading comprehension.

Gamify Our Library  – Grades 9-12, Pittsburgh, PA

My students need games, puzzles and brainteasers to boost their problem-solving, logic and vocabulary skills.


I Had A Cunning Plan

MAL: I don’t plan on any shooting taking place during this job.
JAYNE: Well, what you plan and what takes place ain’t ever exactly been similar.

My health has very not been on board for meeting launch deadline with the amount and type of content I’d originally intended to have ready. I’m going through another bout of sleep issues and that fucks everything over, basically. Like, I had such plans and intentions and my brain and my body have been like, OH HELL NO.

So what I do definitely have for you right now is the bits and bobs I rolled out the past few days, including the IKEA trip recap and yesterday’s “Firefly is responsible for my marriage” post, plus a couple easy features scheduled to publish later today.

I’m not sure how the day is going to look from my end of things; as I write this, it’s around 5 am PST and I woke up just before noon on Tuesday. I did get a decent chunk of sleep yesterday so at least I have that going for me. Right now all I can think about is getting this post done and getting back to the coloring page I was working on earlier.

While this isn’t how I’d hoped for things to go, this is certainly an honest beginning.


This box on fire I drew for Owen the other day at his request really speaks to me right now.

A Series of Firefly-Initiated Events

2002-2007: The Shiny Prologue

2002: Firefly airs on broadcast TV.
2003: I receive Firefly: The Complete Series on DVD for Christmas.
2005Serenity premieres; I see it in the theatre 5x.
2007I start running a Serenity RPG campaign via forum, then flake out due to illness.

2008: A Virtual Courtship

Mid-January, I stumble upon an article about Firefly-themed builds in the virtual world of Second Life. In the wee hours of January 17th, I create an avatar (Amyla Wakowski) and begin exploring. Within a week of joining Second Life, I discover a little burg named Blackburne Downport, home to Firefly roleplaying with a strong post-apoc influence. There, in Firefly’s Bar, I meet a variety of folk, including a wry blue-skinned, winged fellow named Cholgosh Swindlehurst, who tends bar and DJs a few times a week.


What a cute, poorly rendered, not fully rezzed couple of nerds!

Onward, through January and beyond, Cholgosh and I hang out in the Downport more evenings than not. Although a 3-hour time difference was in play, I’m night owl battling insomnia and he’s typically online mid-evening to midnight Pacific US time so we have plenty of overlap in waking hours. We develop intense mutual crushes on one another as we spend all those hours both in-character and out-of-character.

February 13th becomes our official “coupleversary” when he confesses he likes me and I confirm the sentiment is mutual. We share more personal data than we have before.

February 14th, I write:

I swear I started on this Second Life thing purely for RP. I was going to play a character, play along with some storylines, interact with other characters, have my girl maybe make out with some cute soldiers or space cowboys at some point. But that’s really not how things are going at this point, because I blurred the line and put more of my own self out there than originally planned. And that line? Oh, it’s really, really blurry now because I have formed an attachment.

There are feelings, mutual feelings. I wasn’t looking for that, I honestly was just going to be a girl in the ‘Verse and keep it all there. I would have settled for RP romance, because I fall in love through characters all the gorram time anyway. I wasn’t expecting anyone to get attached to me, but I did wind up putting a lot of myself into my girl.

Mutual crushing, definitely. We don’t know how this’ll develop. It’s all very new.

Soon after Valentine’s Day, we connect via ICQ to chat outside of Second Life. While I’d intuited previously from various clues that there’s likely an age difference between us, his ICQ profile gives me the number: 20 years older, 47 years to my almost-27. I digest this fact and proceed to fall in love anyway.

February 23rd, I write:

Whatever this is, it’s getting bigger. He’s in love, we know that much is true. I still hesitate to label my feelings. I’m kind of terrified of feeling so much. It’s fast, isn’t it? Isn’t that what everyone will say? But what is an acceptable timeframe? As is, we hesitated, we waited to declare ourselves.


There are degrees of love. I am somewhere down the line, not all the way into your classic romantic love, but at one of the waystations. I don’t know how fast I’ll get all the way there, but I think maybe I’m headed in that direction.

I don’t know what will happen, but I know what I want to happen.

March 11th, I write: “I love him so fucking much.”

March 13th, our RP characters marry at the bar in Second Life where we met.



March 14th, he calls me from the video store he manages and leaves the cutest voicemail I may ever get: “Hey, Amy, it’s Jeremy. It’s, uh, I don’t know what time it is — noon, it’s 12:15 my time. I’m watching this movie — what am I watching? — August Rush. It’s about this kid and he’s a musician and it’s amazing and my heart is about to burst, so I had to call and tell you that I love you so fucking much. And now I’m gonna get back to work. But I just had to call, I really did. ‘K, bye.”

April 1st, I write: “I’m past being overwhelmed by the fact of this love; I could be constantly awed by the miracle of breathing, but breathing just happens, all the time. And this love’s like that — it just happens, all the time.”


Nine years on, this love still happens; I fall for him, innumerable times over.



Standing Outside the Renton IKEA, Smartphone in my Hand

To quote the good Cap’n Reynolds, “Never goes smooth. How come it never goes smooth?” In the case of our trip to IKEA this past weekend, the reason would be me, my streak of poor sleep, and my disrespect for mornings. So what would have been an epic, super-productive day wound up being a differently-epic experience — one of survival rather than conquest.

The Plan

Head out in the morning. Pick up Rx from local Target, then stop by another Target along way to IKEA to see if lamp I want is in stock as Target website claims. Proceed to Renton IKEA and be super-efficient.


Dawn was nearing when I finally went down for sleep and I didn’t get up until noonish. We left home a bit before 2 pm and I grabbed Rx and snacks from Target while the boys hit the gas station. We finally got on the road toward IKEA. We snacked in car on the drive.


Look at this happy child before we embarked for IKEA

The parking situation at Renton IKEA is still far from ideal; the new store is open but the main section of parking is still under construction. We had to park in an overflow lot and take the complimentary shuttle to the store. We finally got to the store around 3:30 pm.

Once inside, orienting ourselves took longer than expected. Kid was behaving increasingly poorly as time wore on; by partway through the showroom level, he was whining about being hungry. We resigned ourselves to hitting the cafeteria, as it was well past 4 pm and everyone was starting to feel hangry. Kid threw away his shot at having an ice cream cone after checkout; he kicked Jeremy while we were in line, then was rude during requisite chat regarding his misbehavior, so also lost himself any chance of appeal.

Verdict on new cafeteria itself: more spacious, but food was less satisfying to us on this trip than in the past.

We survived the self-serve areas and I didn’t have a complete meltdown in the warehouse. Checkout experience was pretty good: lines weren’t too long, I’d brought enough reusable shopping bags for everything, and we managed to get our stuff out of checkout in a reasonably timely fashion.

We acquired all the items on the final version of the list (new bed for kid, 2 guest chairs for dining area, TV stand and bookcase for living room), except for one substitution (we preferred another chair pad once evaluating options in-store). We hadn’t decided on which frying pan we’d get before getting to the store, so that wasn’t really an “extra,” but otherwise we didn’t wind up with too much unplanned stuff: small plate to replace a broken one, kitchen towels (does anyone have enough?), a couple cute USB-powered task lights, a few kitchen utensils (including 2 wooden spoons because 2017 is the year I’m bringing wooden spoons back into my life), another utensil container so all the utensils will have a place to live on the counter, and a frame for Jeremy to use for Owen art at work.

Kid and I waited at the vehicle loading area while Jeremy hopped the shuttle back to our car. Owen met some nice kids who shared their sidewalk chalk and let him keep a piece of blue chalk when they had to go. If he could have just kept drawing and not mindlessly wandering into the path of foot and cart traffic over and over and over, this portion of our IKEA adventure would have been more pleasant for both of us. Finally, Jeremy arrived with the car and we loaded it up.


IKEA Tetris

We had our usual post-IKEA confusion trying to get to the freeway (even with the aid of GPS). After we finally got home (almost 8 pm!), I tweeted:

A trip to wears me out as much, if not more, than 5K walk events. MY BODY IS WEARY, AS IS MY SPIRIT.


“Everything hurts and I’m dying.”

Title reference: Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand

Launch Day: March 8th!

Official launch date and time: Wednesday, March 8th, at 9:00 am PST (12:00 pm EST, 5:00 pm UTC)!

Leading up to launch, we’ll be publishing a couple items of the getting-to-know-you variety, and then on the big day we’ll have several new items to share with you.

Types of content you can expect from us: personal narrative, editorials, reviews, and links (resources, things we love, happenings, etc.).

Major areas of focus: education, family (marriage, parenting, faith and culture), feminism, health (mental and physical), LGBT+ issues, media (mostly literature, film and television), and social and political issues. Expect some overlap between topics; just as life doesn’t sort these topics into perfectly distinct, separate little boxes, neither can we as we explore and reflect upon the issues we face.