My Year of Binchy – Week 17: A New (Birb!) Feature

Monday, April 22
  • Book: Firefly Summer
  • Chapters: 18.5- 19
  • Location: Back yard by the fire pit
  • Smoking: Sour Sleep
  • Playlist: The Leftovers 1+2+3
  • Did I cry? Prediction: yes, because I have to deal with the aftermath of yesterday’s terrible events (in the book)

Here is a thing that I might not yet have explained. When I listen to “The Leftovers 1+2+3” it’s not just listening to music.

Oh god, this is going to sound so crazy, but here goes.

I use this playlist like I would a deck of tarot cards, I look for messages. Yes, this may be the magical thinking part of OCD taking over.

Here’s the thing, though, this playlist has yet to lead me astray. When Mickey was gone for weeks on end during the height of the pandemic, it got me through some dark times, as did full episodes of the show itself.

What I do when I am feeling unsure of myself or a situation, I’ll put this playlist on and let the songs talk to me. I think it helps me work through my emotions in a way. If an angry song comes on, I let myself feel that anger. I pay attention to how it feels in my body. Am I hot? Am I cold? Am I shaking? Is my brain racing? Is my heart? I really hone in on how my body reacts when I am feeling something.

Sad, too.

And it used to be I would skip the songs that made me feel sad. Especially when I would do my reading on the front porch, where all the world passing by could see the tears falling down my face (and also my face gets real ugly when I cry – my eyes turn bright blue, though.) I don’t care anymore, because I have learned through this weird playlist practice that it feels better to let them out than it does to keep them inside.

Feeling through them is what I guess I would call it. It’s hard as hell but I’m better for it.

Let’s read.

Okay, so for sure, I did cry. Multiple times, all right in a row.

Without too many spoilers… there was a major death, and tonight’s read put me right in the aftermath of that death.

And Maeve Binchy doesn’t gloss over grief one bit. She lingers and makes you sit with it. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s like she’s a visual writer, but with feelings. Like, instead of describing things with visual descriptions, she puts you right in the feels that she is trying to convey.

That is a terrible explanation, but hopefully someone out there understands what I am trying to say.

Mickey has cut an embarassing amount of the lawn since I’ve been reading. I say embarassing because I get 1/4 of the amount that he cut done in the same amount of time. And he weed whipped! And he leaf blew!

And he did some mystery thing behind me which I haven’t peeked over my shoulder to see what it is.

This book remains one of my favorites of this reread so far. I feel like something sad might be coming with horses, but I hope not, because that would be a lot of tragedy for one small Irish town.

Wednesday, April 24
  • Book: Firefly Summer
  • Chapters: 20-20.5
  • Location: Front stoop watching the birds absolutely annihikate a suet cake
  • Smoking: mish mash pish posh
  • Playlist: Succession Party
  • Did I cry? Prediction: probably yes. I might finish and can’t imagine a happy ending.

It’s cold outside y’all! 45 degrees! But it’s sunny and the birbs are out and I really want to read more, so here we are. Let’s get readin’.

It was so much verycold today that I only made it halfway through a chapter and it was good.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about why this book isn’t forcing me to reflect on the dark parts of my life like all the others do.

I think it’s because there isn’t an alcoholic character, which is a very weird realization to have.

Thursday, April 25
  • Book: Firefly Summer
  • Chapters 20.5-21
  • Location: Smack in the middle of the back driveway
  • Smoking: Hella jelly
  • Playlist: Succession Party AND I have the speaker attached to the chair I am sitting in, so I can really FEEL the bass. This is not why I did it, it was just convenient.
  • Did I cry?
  • New birds heard: Ladder-backed woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird, White-Throated Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Chestnut Backed Chiackadee, Brewer’s Blackird, (I swear there’s not normally this many, y’all),

Worki updates first.

  1. I am still loving writing for Only In Your State.
  2. My client, EngErotics, is allowing me to host a P-Valley “book club” this summer.
  3. Mickey heard back from another of his No. 1 prospects and is set to take an assessment to move forward on May 15. All the good vibes are appreciated. Just take some time out of your day to picture Mickey happy at work. That’s what we want more than anything.
  4. I have made my first planters in ceramics class and boy are they pretty.
  5. I am working on shopping around 5 books for various folks, myself and Mickey are two of them (there is only one other person that I’m doing this for, but they are the one that got me started in the first place, so I am grateful.)

Okay, now onto reading.

Oh, I forgot to say that before my reading hour began, Mickey and I walked around the yard with a vase and picked a bouquet of flowers to replace the ones we began drying out today. I love walking around our yard and I am glad that Mickey is more relaxed now and seems to enjoy it more as well.

Then we broke off to read and do whatever. I assumed his “whatever” would be going inside to play the new Fallout update, since he said it was chilly out here anyways. However, as I set up my reading equipment (it is a process, let me tell you… and it is one that I truly enjoy), I saw him puttering around the yard. And now, twenty minutes into reading, he is still out here with me. This part, I want to continue. The not having a job? notsomuch.

Oh, ps.


I decided to start noting the new birds I hear every day while I’m out here reading. I use the Merlin Bird App for this purpose. It is amazing and I love it and thank you forever Breanna for sharing it with me when I was in a darktime. It was very helpful and joyful.

Friday, April 26
  • Book: Firefly Summer
  • Chapters: 22-23
  • Location: back driveway – saw our neighbor and she just gifted us a box of bulbs to plant. I LOVE GROWING BULBS
  • Smoking: whatever was left from yesterday
  • Playlist: Fallout (Original Amazon Series Soundtrack) Radio (new playlist unlocked!!!)
  • Did I cry?
  • New birds heard: We have heard no new (to me) birbs today, so I will share three of my regulars: American Robin, Common Grackle, and the Brown-Headed Cowbird. Thank you. (imagine i did a curtsey there for some reason).

Mickey and I relax differently. He can’t sit and relax and read and type like me. He relaxes by tending to our yard and being with our nature. I felt a lot of guilt that I relaxed so passively and he, so actively. But then I said this out loud to the neighbor that brought us bulbs, “We relax differently and that is okay”.

And it is! As long as we are both actually relaxing and not avoiding thinking about whatever is ailing our brains. When we let the thoughts get trapped in there, that’s what cause explosions (or implosions, in my case).

Okay, I might finish this today.

I’m so close to the end, y’all.

Mickey already made a bed for the new flower bulbs we got from the neighbor. I’m gonna give her some of my dahlia bulbs as a thank you.

I just panicked as I was writing, because I was trying to remember if I said thank you for the bulbs. Not because I hoped that I did, but because I hoped that I didn’t.

Here’s why: Nadga gave me some ground cover stuff to plant in our yard (it is bright green and I can’t wait for it to cover more) before class one day. And I, of course, a southern gal with southern manners, said “thank you.”

And Nagda put up her hand and said, “No, don’t say that! That’s bad luck when someone gives you a plant! That means it will die!!”

So, now I am worried I might have killed about 50 mystery bulbs.

Saturday, April 27

  • Book: Firefly Summer
  • Chapters: 23-END
  • Location: Back driveway, its in the 70s but windy AF
  • Smoking: I have no idea. I picked a random bag’o bud and ground it up and now I am smoking it. This is very un-Jacki-like of me
  • Playlist: Succession Party- I want to hear this song “What if birds aren’t singing they’re screaming” and I am 99% sure it’s not on the playlist. Why don’t you just look up the song and play it, Jacki? Good question. I want the song to come about organically.
  • Did I cry?
  • New Birds Heard:

Today has been lovely. The weather is amazing so we walked down the street a bit to an ice cream stand that was having a Tijuana Taco Pop Up. Y’all, it was SO GOOD. Pics do not do them justice.

I had pollo and al pastor and they were both delicious. Then afterwards I got a Boston Cooler from the attached ice cream stand and we walked home.

When we got back home, both Mickey and I were kind of at a loss of what to do the rest of the day.

He said, “I feel guilty because all I feel like doing is playing my video game or watching TV”

I said, “go play your game! Don’t feel guilty because then I can go outside and read my book and not feel guilty”

And that is what we are doing.

I should finish this book today and maybe even start another one.

I keep pausing to look around and check my bird app because I don’t think I want this book to end.

Also I keep getting flashes of “Benji Spaghettihead” inspiration, so I keep pausing to jot those down too.

Also there are a lot of bumblebees and butterflies, so I have to keep stopping to watch them. I love the clumsyfat bumblbees the most.

Oh and if I haven’t said yet, “Benji Spaghettihead” is the other book I’m working on that is not about elephants. If I had to say what it is about, I wouldn’t even know what to say. Growing up with a brain that doesn’t know what to do with itself?

I have let two humans read it and they are humans that I trust implicitly and they say it is not the ramblings of a crazy person, so I’ll keep going with it.

Plus, another thing distracting me? These trees:

The color on these babies! I can’t believe this is my yard and I am keeping things alive. My roses are coming back to life and I can’t wait to include them in my desk flowers.

Okay, holy shit I finished the book and it literally ended with a bang. Like, woah. WTF and hello to the end of that book.

Okay, next up is Silver Wedding, which I also remember nothing about.

Sunday, April 28

It’s lovely out so I am out here reading. I’m not bothering with the other stuff, except I’m on the front porch and still listening to the same playlist as yesterday

I read all of Benji Spaghettihead yesterday and y’all, I didn’t hate it. In fact I thought it was good and wanted to know what happened next. So I guess I gotta write it.

It felt good to get to that level of inspiration again, so I’m trying to recapture that again today… before it starts raining again, at least.

I’m starting the new book today – Silver Wedding!

Oh here is my view:

Yes, I know I need to clean my railing, lol.

Ooh, ooh I think I remember this book! This book, if I remember correctly is all about how shitty it is to be an eldest daughter sometimes what with all the expextations laid directly on our heads. And I say that both as an eldest daughter and the mother of an eldest daughter who I unfairly put too many responsibilites on far too early.

Ok back to reading.

OKay I read some and it is a fine book, but there is nothing to report yet.

Back next week.


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