House stuff is still on track (!!) but I keep oscillating between being incredibly excited and out-of-my-mind terrified.  So maybe I'll do some crowdsourcing here: for those of you who own, what's one thing you wished people had told you before you became a homeowner?  What's the stuff you HAVE to have, or do, or remember that it seems like no one ever talks about?  Are there any super secret tips that you had to figure out the hard way?  All horror stories with implicit lessons welcome!


I just finished reading Ready Player One, which I devoured in about two days.  If you are nerdy, a gamer, or feel at all nostalgic for the 80s, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  If you're not any of those things... y'know, I'd still recommend it.  Hell, I barely remember the 80s, and I'm not much of a gamer, and I still loved every second of it.

Other fun things the internet has shown me lately:

- Since my whole life is in upheaval, I'm currently obsessed with Adulting and The Storage Geek.  Adulting, in particular.  Just... genius.

- Janice Hardy passed along the best plotting advice she's ever heard.  The advice from Cheryl Kline  stopped me in my tracks when I read it on her own blog, and then again when Janice mentioned it, so apparently it's good stuff.  Also, I have the memory of a goldfish.

- I stumbled across David Foster Wallace's 2005 Commencement Address to Kenyon College (excerpted nicely here).  I've always been a sucker for a good speech, but he said some things that resonated with me in that way that things tend to do when they hit you at exactly the right moment.  He was so clearly struggling, as I suppose he had been, and obviously continued to be, and the speech itself is raw with that struggle. The whole thing basically screams, "WAKE UP!"  And I love it.

But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.
That is real freedom.



Chris over at A Writer's Expanding and Slightly Warped Universe is regularly and deservedly lavished with awards from other bloggers, and he has been kind enough to pass along two of them to me.  (What he doesn't realize is that I'm mere seconds away from breaking out my Oscar speech.  What... you don't have one of those?)

First was the Liebster Award.

As Chris noted, "this is a blogging award that has been around for quite a while, and is passed on to 'new and upcoming' bloggers (those who have less than 200 followers), in order to give them more exposure."  The "rules" dictate that upon acceptance I pass this award along to 5 other blogs, which I'm thrilled to do.  So, some delightful people I think you should check out:

  1. Stephanie Scott over at A Girl and Her Diary, who blogs about writing and YA and TV and other fun things
  2. Lost Star at Many Steps Sideways, who writes about life and transitions and punctuates it all with lovely pictures
  3. Kern Windwraith at The Odd Particle [Re]View, who rocked A to Z even with a concussion, and, when she had to bow out toward the end, got by with a little help from her friends (one of my fave A to Z moments, actually)
  4. Amalie Berlin, who tells some of the funniest stories I've ever heard
  5. And finally, Iliad Fan at Story Gush, who blogs about the books you really should be reading

After that, Chris was sweet enough to grace me with the Kreativ Blogger Award.

The rules are: 
1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award.

2. Answer the ten questions below.

3. Share ten random facts/thoughts about yourself.

4. Nominate seven worthy blogs for the Kreativ Blogger Award
As for number one, it's not difficult to encourage you all to head over to Chris' blog - not only is he one of the nicest guys on the block, but I'm always excited to see that he's posted.  His blog is just a fun place to hang out, y'know?  So go!  Go I say!  Go see for yourself!
 And now for the ten questions:

1. What is your favorite song?
Sha-whaaaaa?  I have no idea how to even begin to answer that question.
Okay.  Okay.  
After some serious iTunes perusing and some deep thinking about what songs I've come back to over and over and over again in my life, I think Ani DiFranco's Joyful Girl is probably my favorite song of all time.  It's quiet, gorgeous, and "The world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world" was my senior quote.  It makes me think of all the people I love, and it has a lot of good reminders tucked away inside.  So there you have it.

(This actually isn't the version I was thinking of - this is the live version, but still beautiful.  Just scroll in about 35 seconds if you don't want to hear pre-song-chatter.)

2. What is your favorite dessert?

Chocolate.  Anything chocolate.  Preferably dark.

3. What ticks you off?

Stubbornness and an unwillingness to grow.  Pretentiousness.  Cruelty.  People who honk in traffic like it's going to make any of us move any faster.

4. When you're upset, what do you do?

Shut down, process alone, regroup, and try to respond thoughtfully once I've calmed down.  (I've found this is the only way I'm able to incorporate love and empathy into my response, which is my goal when I'm upset but trying to repair and move on.)

5. Which is/was your favorite pet?

Well, that question's just wrong.  I will say this: I have owned, in my lifetime, several cats, dogs, and fish, a ferret, a hedgehog, and a chameleon.  So, favorite?  Come on.  Apples and oranges, my friend.  Apples and oranges.

6. Which do you prefer to wear, black or white?

Black.  Mostly for the disguising of the spills.

7. What is your biggest fear?
The death of any of my family members.  And natural disasters/plagues that wipe out civilization as we know it.  (Uh huh.)

8. What is your attitude mostly?

Introverted, friendly, and loyal, with a dash of type-A OCD anxiety thrown in for good measure.

9. What is perfection?

10. What is your guilty pleasure?

Oh boy.  That would be, uh... *hangs head* Grey's Anatomy.  I just... I just love it.  (Go ahead and judge, but that show has colorblind casting, queer characters, and a whole lotta well-scripted twists, which is more than can be said for most everything else on TV.)  (Did that sound too defensive?  I just love it.)
Okay, now for 10 random things about me:
1. My Meyers-Briggs test puts me at an INFJ, and wow is it spot-on.
2. I'm kind of obsessed with the Neti Pot right now.  Allergies be gone!  (Yes, yes, brain-eating amoebas: use filtered water, folks.)
3. I can't draw.  Like, really.  Even my stick-figures are lopsided and misshapen.
4. I've never been out of the country.  I need to fix this soon.
5. I own a pair of these (and yes, people do give you weird looks).
6. I can recite all of the states in alphabetical order, really fast.  (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas...)  It's my go-to talent show talent.  Shout out to my 9th grade civics teacher!
7. I wrote a poem in kindergarten about the headless horseman that ended "For he got away with a bat... for he got away with a bat." In the margins surrounding the poem, I drew a picture of a baseball bat as well as a flying-animal-bat. To this day, I have no idea what the hell my 5-year-old self was talking about.
8. I once fell forward onto a cactus, and had to pull out close to 50 long, thick needles from my legs. Also, I had gotten a terrible sunburn on my back earlier in the day, so… yea, it was a pretty bad day.
9.  I have never served on a jury, and now that I’m a lawyer, I’ll probably never be chosen for one. 
10.  I had to start wearing glasses in the 3rd grade.  I remember putting them on for the first time and being just so absolutely filled with wonder that trees had leaves, and grass was made of individual stems, and brick walls weren't just giant red slabs.  Everything was sharp, and in-focus.  Everything was new again.  I try and remember that moment every time I write.

Alright, now I'm supposed to nominate 7 people for this award.  But that's kind of a tall order at the moment, since my brain is melting.  So I'll just say this: chances are, if you read my blog (and comment, so I know you exist), I read your blog.  And I love all the blogs I read.  I could nominate every one of you.  SO, that's exactly what I'm doing.  I'm nominating you.  Thaaaat's right: YOU, there, reading this, right now.  Congrats!  You really do deserve it.  Now get to answering those questions!  :)


we interrupt this silence

Things have not. stopped. moving. post-A to Z! Really though, not for a moment.  Work got busy and I spent last weekend at the Muse & the Marketplace conference (which was amazing and really needs a post all its own...) and it's possible that I just BOUGHT A HOUSE.  So... that's where I've been.  Running around like a crazy person, pretending to be a grown up, scheduling inspections, attending workshops, doing laundry, intermittently freaking out about the enormity of homeownership, having no time to write, etc.

So!  This is me, dropping a quick line to say hello there, yes, I AM still alive... and to give all kinds of celebratory high-fives to those of you who are also in A to Z recovery.  To those of you who are just stopping by now that all the blogging madness has died down: high-fives AND fist-bumps.  (Which is apparently my way of saying, so nice to meet you!)

Super special thanks and love to Chris over at A Writer's Expanding and Slightly Warped Universe for bestowing upon me the Liebster Award, which I will gratefully accept in a blog post that is less off-the-cuff, as it deserves proper recognition.  (If you're a writer and you didn't check out his blog during A to Z, you should go peruse - his theme was fundamentals of writing that we all ought to include in our work, and it's a pretty fantastic list!  Also, he's one of the nicest bloggers you'll ever meet.)

More super special love and thanks to Suze at Analog Breakfast, for consistently blowing my mind with her A to Z posts, and for following that up with a shout-out in her roundup post that made me all blushy.  Hers catapulted very quickly to one of my very favorite blogs (ever), so it meant a lot to know that she would send people this way.  Go check her out, if you don't know her.  You won't regret it.

And now I'm off to cross a few more things off my list.  But what about you all?  How're you keeping busy?  (I miss not getting daily posts from everyone!)