Category Archives: reading

The Best Library

It should come as no surprise that one of the greatest things I cherish is the value of good books. My library is very special to me and I am definitely one of those people who will pick up MORE books even if I haven’t finished the one (or six) I’ve already spent time reading. When Borders went out of business (sniff) I haunted that place like a bad case of fleas and I probably ended up taking home a couple hundred dollars worth of books to add to my library. I love books! (Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle too, but there’s just something awesome about real, solid books. A lot of times I’ll buy a book on my Kindle and then buy it again in hard copy because I feel like it needs to grace my shelves.) I can’t wait to pass on my love of reading and exploring to my daughter.

Last night some wonderful friends of mine threw me and Caroline a second baby shower because nobody was able to make it to the first after the flood. What a fun time! We laughed and played games and I think the whole thing was especially therapeutic because there just haven’t been that many chances to let loose and be silly and laugh amongst friends since the flood. We specified that there should be no gifts, but naturally there were, though I was pleased that the majority of them were….books! Caroline is well on her way to a wonderful library and I am so excited!

Just too appropriate after the flood! I think his name should be Rainy. (Or do you think it’s a her? For some reason I tend to inherently see teddy bears as male…)
Are these not the cutest damn things you’ve ever seen in your life?
Sophie!
Books, books, and more books!
More owls!
Definitely THE coolest! It belonged to a friend’s grandfather and was printed in 1905. If there’s one thing I love more than books, it’s old books. I have a mild obsession.

And though I forgot to take pictures, everyone decorated blank bibs, onesies and socks for Caroline which I thought was just the cutest. I also got a basket of bath goodies, because everyone knows Mommy needs to be pampered too. And a 2-year subscription to Parents (Parenting?) magazine! We had such a fun time and had some great food (one of the girls made a pumpkin spice cake with maple cinnamon frosting, OM NOM NOM) and played games…including one where you had to place a large potato between your knees and waddle over to a glass jar on the floor and deposit the potato inside. It was hysterical. Mostly I was glad to have some time to spend with friends, a few of whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time. Caroline will be well loved indeed!

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(Ooh, looks like WordPress heard my complaints and went back to the original template for new posts!)

Things are good at High Elevation. The nice weather seems to come and go. We had some hot weather and then since then it’s been kind of cool and rainy from time to time. More springlike I guess. The good news is that there is still a lot of moisture up top–when Trail Ridge Road opened about two weeks ago, there was still almost twenty feet of snow up at the top. They’ve had to close it a couple times since then because of snow and bad visibility and ice. The runoff has been moderately slow and the river is running high but not too high, which is a much needed relief after last year’s extra dry season.

Last week I left my job at the bank. I had intended to ride it out until the baby came, but it really did become unbearable. Management was…well, intolerable. I don’t want to go into too many details because frankly it’s not worth my time or effort, but needless to say I’m glad I left. I’m especially glad that a new opportunity came my way which allowed me to leave–in short, a friend in town who owns a local internet company came to me and asked if I was interested in working for her company and running their office. The pay is better, the hours are way better (seriously, who could complain about working from 9-3?), and the environment is just phenomenally better. I get to open up the windows when it’s nice and listen to the river sweeping by. It’s far more relaxed and management has confidence in me that I will finish my tasks without needing to constantly be hounded or followed around. It also appears that they will be flexible with coming back to work part time (a couple days a week) after baby comes, if I so desire, which is something I really couldn’t have done at the bank. I had planned on just being a stay at home mom, but if the opportunity presents itself and works out with our schedule, then I’ll look into it.

We had an OB appointment on Monday. Everything is still good to go. Baby’s heartbeat was 155, but since we have the doppler and tend to listen at home every couple of days, I already felt pretty comfortable about that. I’ve only gained 2 pounds since the beginning of this pregnancy, but the doctor is not too concerned about that. He said he would only be concerned if I had lost weight, and since baby is still so small, drastic weight gain is not really necessary at this point. (Or at any point really. That mantra of “eating for two” is kind of a fallacy. Baby is so small he/she does not need me to eat two meals.) So, I’m pretty pleased with that still. I was kind of worried of ballooning up but my weight has been pretty steady and I’m eating well, so I am not terribly worried about it right now. We have our ultrasound on July 2! This will more than likely be the only one we get during the pregnancy so I’m very excited. Hopefully we will be able to determine a gender too–but, this more than likely being our only one, if he/she is not cooperative, we are pretty much SOL and we will be forced to wait. I am still not having many concrete cravings, but I am craving juicy things. Pickles and clementines especially. I don’t know that there’s a way to explain that without sounding like I’m writing a porno, but you can probably imagine where I’m coming from.

I have been reading “Bringing up Bebe” by Pamela Druckerman. I’m finding a lot of wisdom in it. If you’re not familiar, the author is an American woman who had her children in France and found out about all the cultural differences between American and French parenting. My dad is French, and I feel like, in reading this book, many of these parenting methods make sense because I recognized that it was, perhaps indirectly, in part how I was raised (at least the parts that have to do with teaching your child things like, eating your food at dinnertime and respecting your elders). There is a very engaging section on getting baby to “do her nights,” or sleep through the night. In France it is fairly common for babies to start sleeping through the night starting as early as six weeks (though more commonly at 2-3 months). Obviously all babies are different and parenting never goes according to plan, but I think it’s helpful to have a loose structure for how you want to raise your child. Basically everything I read in this book aligns with how I feel naturally about how children should be raised, so I think that’s a pretty good sign that this is a road we should at least attempt. Can’t knock it till we try it!

In a weird way I still feel myself struggling to “connect” with this being inside me. Maybe that’s because it’s still so early, maybe it’s because I haven’t felt movement, I don’t know where it comes from. I definitely have these moments of connection where I feel that magic, but they seem to be fewer and farther between than I would like or would have expected. But I do have these moments of pure excitement of the moments we will soon have with our child. First Christmas, exploring the pumpkin patch, cooking treats together and doing crafts…all these moments that I see in the future happening soon. I really can’t wait to get there. Only 5 months until it all starts!

This week’s produce comparison is….

Pondering New Years’ Resolutions

I feel like pointing out before I start writing this blog that I am using some orajel to clear up a sore I have on my gum (from a rogue pretzel stick on Christmas day) and the numbing agent seems to be going everywhere in my mouth except for on the sore. Go figure.

Anyway, that’s not what I was going to write about. What I’m writing about today is New Year’s Resolutions. We all make them, don’t we? Either directly or indirectly, serious or not serious. We all think about the new year being the time to let go of the old and usher in the new.

And so of course I’m pondering what I shall make my new year’s resolution. I always think of new year’s resolutions as a way to set a goal for myself to achieve throughout the year. And I usually try to keep it specific–“being fit and healthy” is way too broad and personally I think that’s why a lot of people give that goal up within the first few weeks of the year. Keep it specific! To brag a little, I’m 2 for 2 as far as making resolutions and keeping them goes. In 2011, I resolved that by the end of the year, my novel would be completed and ready to start sending to agents. Check. In 2012, I resolved that I would find an agent by the end of the year. And that I did too! Now, obviously the next logical step would be to resolve in 2013 that by the end of the year my book would be on its way to publication or already published, but unfortunately that notion is somewhat out of my hands. If my experience with the effects of Hurricane Sandy on my agents has been any indication, there are a lot of factors that are completely out of my hands in the world of publishing. The revision process could be slowed by any and all factors and who knows how long it will take to get a publisher interested. So obviously I want to see it in publication by the end of the year, but realistically I know that’s probably not possible. But as long as I’m working towards it, I’m a happy camper.

(Thought break here–I forgot to post about the fact that I finally got in contact with my agent and we are having a meeting at the end of January when I come back from Hawaii to discuss starting revisions.)

So, where do I go from there? If having my book published by the end of the year is not a realistic or possible goal, what other goals for 2013 should I have? Continuing to write, obviously, is one of them. But that’s kind of a yearly (i.e. for the rest of my life) kind of goal and it’s too broad. Read more. Yes, that’s something I should always be doing. It’s been hard for me to decide on something I want to work on during the year! Here’s a few I’ve thought about:

  • Improve my French
  • Start sommelier classes (fancy word for wine snob)
  • Take a few culinary classes or find a way to go back to school
  • Complete a new novel (again, something that’s sort of out of my hands if the agents want me to pursue one thing or another)
  • Finish the Song of Ice and Fire series (I’m still in book 2)
  • Finish some serious home renovations (i.e. painting the rest of the house)

I’ve got a lot of interests! It’s going to be tough for me to decide. I get thinking about the things I want to do and then I come back to the fact that I really can’t plan for much because life changes so drastically sometimes. Obviously if I get pregnant this year, I’m not going to be starting sommelier classes. Life is always changing like that. You have to roll with the punches but still find goals that you can fit inside the ebb and flow of every day life.

Well, good thing I still have a couple days to think about it. Sometimes making resolutions is hard!

The Holding Pattern

It appears to be snowing on my WordPress dashboard. Well, at least it is snowing somewhere in Colorado even if it is a virtual snow.

On the fire front, some good news. According to the Estes Park News, the fire line was held exceptionally well last night even though we had wind gusts of up to 70mph. No new evacuation notices were posted. Of yet only one structure, a private cabin, has been destroyed and it was within the Park. The temperatures are a little cooler today and hopefully the winds will die down a little so that they can get some air support in there. Right now what we really need is the universe to cooperate and send us some moisture and lower temperatures. Everyone I know is coming up with “snow dance” remedies. A friend posted this morning something about a Pilgrim tradition of putting a spoon under one’s pillow. I’m a huge believer in the power of intention so hey, if it helps I will try it.

Let’s see, what else. I am still, unfortunately, waiting to hear from my agents. It is absolute torture as I believe I’ve mentioned before. The worst is not having any idea of a timeline for as far as when they might get back online. I am hesitant to contact them again because I don’t want to risk trying their patience if I am constantly contacting them asking how it’s going. I don’t want to be that annoying new client. I know, no matter what they say, that I and just about every other author they work with have to be very low on their list of priorities right now. And rightfully so. If I ran a business that was flooded and damaged during the storm I wouldn’t want to talk to any of my clients. So I get it. But being on the other end of that equation sucks. I would love to use this time to my advantage to get some writing done, perhaps work on the sequel or my other project, but as I was discussing with a professor last week, the agents and publishing company might want to go a completely different direction with the storyline and everything I have already written will be for nothing. So it’s a Catch-22. So, whether it’s psychological or not, I’ve worked myself into a terrible writing funk and basically haven’t done anything in a while. It is, needless to say, incredibly frustrating.

I am struggling right now to not think of my life as being in a holding pattern, waiting for my turn to get in the air and fly. Just about everything feels like a waiting game right now. Waiting to start working on the book, waiting to get pregnant, waiting for our trip to Hawaii, waiting for…something. I know it’s a lousy problem to have–there are much worse things that could be going on right now–but it’s an increasingly frustrating mindset. It’s hard to not have any goals that you are not actively working toward, you know? I have always been motivated by goals. I work hard on something because I know in the end it is going to feel good and if I know what that concrete goal is, it’s easier to get there. (I think this is part of the reason why I can never stick very easily to a fitness routine, because I am not able to “see” those goals.) My job is basically a filler for us right now to get money in the bank so that when I have a baby I will be able to quit working and just be a stay at home mom. I look forward to this every. single. day. But in the meantime, it’s just a clock-in-clock-out type situation. No particular career goals, no knowing “if I get this sales goal I’ll be promoted”, nothing like that. And that’s frustrating. It would be easier to cope with it if I had something going on in my home life that was making up for that lack of progress, (i.e. coming home and working on the book) but right now it’s just not happening. So in the meantime I just have to hope every single day that I’m going to open up my email and see that the editors are ready to go back to work. Like I said–I believe in the power of intention. I am so full of intention that I’ll probably explode if it doesn’t end up somewhere tangible soon.

Anyway, enough of that rant. Here’s a picture of my cat.

Disgruntled that my new Mac is cooler than he is
Disgruntled that my new Mac is cooler than he is

Till then.

What Have I Been Up To

A lot!

Dang, I have been married for 2 weeks! It feels like a long time ago. Last week I was actually really sad that it was over. All that time leading up to it and then it was such a beautiful day and it was over SO fast. I miss it. Not all the stress, but the having the family and friends near…being able to see people I haven’t seen in a long time. It was just a magical couple of days and I really wish I could have that back.

But onwards and upwards, I guess. I have a lot of things on my plate. First off, today I sent out my contract to the literary agency!

Here goes!

Soon I should begin the editing and revision process with my editor. I’m so ready to go. I have no idea what they’re going to want out of me so I’m very anxious to get going. I have to reconfigure my entire schedule around the kind of work they’ll want out of me and I foresee a lot of late nights spent editing. But I couldn’t be more happy about that. This is what I love and I am still in a state of shock that it’s moving forward.

What else. I’ve started running, which is a huge achievement for me because I am a terrible couch potato. I used to not care so much because when I worked in the restaurant I was on my feet and running around like crazy for 8 or 9 hours a day, but now at the bank I’m pretty sedentary and I know that could sneak up on me if I’m not careful. I definitely didn’t do enough before the wedding and I’m a little embarrassed about some of the wedding photos so that kind of bums me out even though there’s nothing I can do to change it. I’m using an iPhone app that takes you from 0-10K through a slow progression. I’m still pretty early on in the process but I’m glad to be doing it. I was originally planning on doing a 10K in December with some girlfriends, but my work schedule intervened and I’ll have to sit that one out, but it’s still a good thing to do for myself to stay healthy especially before I get pregnant.

Lately I’ve been working a lot on making the house feel more homey. We’ve been here for almost 5 months and it still feels….not ours. A house more than a home. So over the weekend I put up shelves in the kitchen and painted a wall in the living room to give it some character. We just got the proofs of the wedding photos and they are GORGEOUS so I can’t wait to have an absolute field day getting some printed and framed. (Speaking of wedding photos we still haven’t developed the disposable cameras we had at all the reception tables, we need to get on that.) Last week we planted some trees in the yard that our next door neighbor was nice enough to give to us. We put two aspens in the backyard and a “Siberian Snow Pea” in the front yard. I put it in quotations because I don’t know if that’s the actual name, that’s what our neighbors kept calling it. Either way we put it in the front because it is thorny and the elk won’t eat it! I organized the kitchen cabinets in an attempt to become less cluttered because that has been a huge challenge for us. I really hate clutter but for some reason it is just so easy to accumulate! Maybe now that the wedding is over and life is kind of “normal” now it might get a little easier. I hope anyway. I know it’s something that we have to work on together and it’s not just going to happen on its own but hopefully with things more organized it’ll be easier. I think my project this weekend will be to tackle the guest room because it looks like a bomb has gone off in there.

Painting the living room–yep that’s the top of the fireplace

Keeping the house clutter-free isn’t the only challenge I’ve had with routines lately. You’d think with me working pretty standard hours it would be easier to have a routine for getting things cleaned, doing the laundry, shopping for groceries, cooking dinner…but for some reason it is really hard. It’s even more hard to fit in things like, writing. I have been much better at keeping a good reading schedule, which is a habit I’ve been sorely remiss on lately. I am plowing my way through A Clash of Kings and this weekend when I accidentally left my book at work I felt really lonely.

Fall is pretty much coming to a fade here in Estes Park. The parking lot grows emptier and emptier every day which means the tourists are heading home (yay!). The weather forecast is calling for some pretty significant snow later this weekend and I am really excited! The trees have almost all dropped their leaves and it looks pretty much like early winter here even though the temperatures are still pretty mild. It’s strange going down the valley because a lot of the trees down there are still green. Such a wide range of stages of fall. Unfortunately we do still have a wildfire happening up here, but it is doing some good as it’s getting rid of a lot of the beetle kill in the higher areas which means we’ll start getting a lot more aspens and new trees up there. It looks bad because of the wind. This is how it looked today when I went to lunch.

From the library

It also looks a lot closer than it is. It’s only 7 miles away but it’s way up in the high terrain so there’s not a whole lot of danger to the city right now.

Welp, I think that about does it for now. Life continues to move forward. I’m excited to see what the next couple of weeks will bring with the agent. I’ll keep you updated!

Till then.

I’m going to explode.

I was going to write about something else today, but I guess that will have to wait–because this is way more important.

I got an agent to represent me and my novel for publication!

An accurate representation of how I feel

I could explode. The agency contacted me last week and said they wanted to talk to me about the book. This morning they called and told me that they were immensely impressed with my voice, my character dialogue, and my style. They said I could be a “tremendous contender” in the genre and they made me an offer immediately, just like that. They made it clear that there is work to be done with the plot and some other minor things but they are willing to go side by side with me for the revision and editing process.

I could not be more excited. I’ve been shaking since this morning. I am so stunned that it happened so fast–statistically speaking, authors are rejected dozens of times before getting a yes (the author of The Help had 60 rejections). I really beat the odds.

AHHHH HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP

More updates when I get them…I should be receiving my contract by Monday and then it is off to the races. I’m just…explodable.