Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Wednesday list

1. We have a new (to us) car! A 2012 Mazda5. It's described as a "mini mini van." So it looks like a car, but has three short rows. The middle two seats are regular seats, slide forward and back, and our 6 ft. plus friend said they're very comfortable. The back two seats are best for kids or maybe adults if you aren't going very far. They fold down when you don't need them to give you lots of cargo space. We found a manual transmission, which is fun to drive again. I'm having to get used to not riding up so high (previously...I've been driving our truck around for the past few years), but parking is so much nicer now! Also carrying groceries home. ;)

2. I'm listening to Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch on audio right now. Have you read the Gentlemen Bastards series? This is the third book, and it's so good, y'all.

3. Hubby and I are finally getting around to watching the final season of Fringe. Fun (and creepy...and delightfully stressful) stuff.

4. Zucchini bread pancakes! Delicious. And a different way to use up all that fresh zucchini laying around in the spring and early summer.

5.  I've hit another tired spell -- call it not going to bed early enough consistently, pregnancy, restless (i.e. teething) sleeper, whatever -- so the writing is slow going these days, mostly because I either don't have the brain power or I desperately need a nap (and since said munchkin wants to be on the computer whenever mommy is...well, so far nap time or bed time is the best time for writing. Not complaining -- this season is what it is and each season is beautiful in its own way. I'm just going to keep tortoising my way along this writing journey and one day I'll hopefully end up with a completed novel. And then I can start on the next!

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) I've heard a lot of people rave about Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, and its sequels Scarlet and Cress, but until recently I'd held back reading them. Possibly out of some kind of strange stay-away-from-the-hype rebellion. Regardless, when my Facebook book group picked it to read, I was excited for the excuse to get it from the library.

Cinder, as you can probably tell from the title, is a loose retelling of Cinderella. We have a girl who is worked like a slave by her guardian and the guardian's two daughters. Although one daughter is friendly and kind. You have a handsome prince, and a ball. And....that's about where the similarities end. Cinder is a cyborg, fused with machine parts when she was 11, with no memories of life before. She lives in a future New Beijing, where she's a mechanic with dreams of escaping her life of servitude. Citizens in New Beijing are thinking about three things when the book opens: the Prince's annual ball, the currently incurable epidemic that plagues earth, and the unwelcome visit of the queen of Luna (the colony on the Earth's moon, populated by people who have evolved into a race with science-that-looks-like-magic, and can create glamours and influence people's minds). Cinder meets the prince when he comes to her to get an android fixed, becomes an unwilling then willing test subject for scientists looking for a cure for the disease, and becomes far more involved in Lunar-Earth politics than she'd like to be.

The story is fun and fresh, although I saw the "twist" coming a mile away. I'm not sure how surprising it's supposed to be, but for me it wasn't at all. Aside from that, the story is well-crafted and fast paced without being rushed. I like the world she's created, and while Cinder is clearly the beginning of a series, it's also a great and complete story on its own.

But one of my favorite things about the book is the character of Cinder. She desperately wants freedom, and just wants to be left alone. She's put in positions to be bold and daring, but she wants none of it. She's a true reluctant hero, but as the story progresses she finds the courage and character to do what she needs to, even at great embarrassment and personal cost. In my opinion, this makes her one of the bravest heroines I've read about in a while. And while there is some romance, this first-in-the-series doesn't have a happily ever after...yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Bottom line: a little bit fairy tale, a little bit sci-fi, and a lot of fun

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


It starts out fairly predictably: a small, special notebook. Possibly with a key. Each entry beginning with "Dear Diary." In my case, it's full of angst....but not because my life is all that dramatic, but because my pre-teen self doesn't see the need to write about the mundane aspects of life. I have yet to discover the beauty in capturing the ordinary.

As I become less of a pre-teen, I am no more disciplined and my pages reflect that. I spend more time writing (melo)dramatic stories than writing about real life. Those days where I absolutely must take pet to paper, it's generally because of a build up of emotion that desperately needs an outlet. I am angry or sad or extremely excited.

Post-college, I have a brief unemployed period where I decide that I should spend that time usefully -- as in developing some writing discipline. And there is born my writing journal -- a place to ostensibly do writing exercises, start stories, and essentially journal fiction (which is what I love). That...didn't last long. Like most people, I struggle with self-discipline, and any writer will tell you that the number one thing you need to do to be a successful writer is get your butt in a chair (or on a couch, or whatever) and write.

In my 20s I begin what seems to be a lifelong quest for the perfect "system." You might ask why. Why has journaling become so important to me? so necessary to "figure out." Partly because of the romantic writer within me who feels like "real" writers journal. There's the narcissist who likes to act like she's the star of her own novel or movie or t.v. show. But more than that, there's the practical reality that I have experienced the joy of journaling, the benefit for me personally in getting things out of my head and onto a piece of paper (or computer screen...whatever). My writing benefits (practice putting pen to paper) and my mental health benefits. Now, this search for the perfect system is not limited to journaling, by the way. Cleaning, cooking, Bible study, exercise...I have fallen prey to the myth that the perfect system or tool will make whatever it is I want to do regularly effortless. I am learning that a good system can make things easier....but the only thing that is effortless is inertia.

But low and behold, somewhere along the way I settle into a rhythm of journaling that works for me at this moment in my life -- 1. No pressure. If I go weeks without journaling, so be it. 2. One notebook. Everything jumbled together: creative writing, rants, exclamation points, lists, goals, dreams, planning, prayer lists, notes from a lecture or class, notes FOR a class. Right now, this is what works for me, because I finally identified what journaling is for me at this moment in time: it's my way of keeping my brain organized, of processing information, of documenting things I don't want to forget, of getting those pesky thoughts out of my head, and occasionally giving in to a momentary burst of creativity.

Do you journal? Why? What works for you?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Tuesday list

This is the height of randomness today, but it's just where my brain is at!

1. Family came to visit this weekend to celebrate the munchkin's first birthday. (how has it been a year again?). We had a full house and fun was had by all! Of course, now the munchkin wonders why there aren't 2 or 3 people to play with at all times.

2. 22 Weeks. I figure it's about time to mention that I'm expecting another baby -- due September 9. So if my posts seem....slightly disjointed I can blame baby brain AND pregnancy brain!

3. Which leads me to this: let's talk about cravings. I haven't had any weird cravings, but I am extremely susceptible right now to suggestion in the area of food -- if a character on a t.v. show is eating something that looks yummy, I want. And once I get a hankering for something I can't. until I've had some. Ice cream, check. Potato chips, check. Melty cheese, check.

4. Breyers Gelato Indulgences really are very good.

5. Going out to a movie this weekend, and so far none of the theater's near us have their schedules for Friday and Saturday posted. So weird.

6. In knitting news, I started a Christmas stocking and discovered that I really kind of dislike knitting on double pointed needles. Oh well! It seems like it'll go pretty quickly. Relatively quickly.