Category Archives: writing

It Happened.

Really suddenly. Sort of unexpectedly.

Don’t get your feathers in a ruffle. I’m not pregnant and have zero plans to be.

No, what “it” is, is something else. I finished my book.

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Yes, it’s true. In case you’ve been reading this blog for some time you’ll know that I have been working on this book since…well…a long time ago. It’s been a very bumpy road getting here, including having to write an entirely new book for my agent. Well, 2 years, a natural disaster, a baby, postpartum depression, and a whole laundry list of other crap later, I have a finished draft.

I’m not quite sure how to feel about this. I was a little emotional at first. This story and these characters have been swimming around my head, fighting with me, growing on me, for a very long time. It’s like sending your kid off to boarding school. I sent the draft to my editor and was overcome with anxiety. I was terrified that she would tell me that my contract had become void because I had taken too long to produce anything, or that she was just going to tell me that it was complete crap. She e-mailed me back the next morning asking for a synopsis of the manuscript and told me she’d get to reading as soon as she could. Which means now…I wait.

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It’s not the end of the world, the waiting. So far. I’m enjoying the time “off” from having to think about it, stressing over how to finish the stupid thing, stressing over whether or not it’s any good or if it makes sense. My editor can decide that and we can go from there. In the meantime I’m tinkering with some new ideas to save for later. And packing. Right. Because we move next week.

…..I haven’t packed anything.

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Some Random…Ramblings

— Bean has been, fairly reliably, sleeping through the night for the better part of a month now, not including our trip to Maine. This means I’ve been getting away from my 8-month long mind fuck that said I had to go to bed as soon as she did because she was likely to be up a couple times during the night and I would need to get as much sleep as I could. Now that this has ended, I’ve thought about what a good opportunity it is to spend an hour or two working on the book (oh yeah, remember that?) before I come to bed. Have I done that yet? Noooooo….

— Speaking of Bean, she had her 9 month birthday when we were in Maine but we won’t have her checkup till next Monday. So I’ll update her new stats and what she’s been up to next week.

— My phone takes lousy panoramic pictures.
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— I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to IKEA. When it first came to Denver and those massive blue walls went up and everyone essentially lost their minds over affordable Swedish furniture, I scoffed at the fad. Silly, I thought. Theeeen I moved back to Denver about 15 minutes away from those massive blue walls and basically I’m there every other weekend now. I would literally replace every piece of furniture and accessory in my house with IKEA stuff if I had the money. So, sorry IKEA. However, you still haven’t won me over with your meatballs.
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— I read today that the Pumpkin Spice Latte launches on the 25th. I don’t have an in on Starbucks happenings anymore since Cameron left the company (I literally haven’t bought coffee in almost 5 years what am I going to DO) but it seems a little early to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as obsessed with pumpkin things as the next person, but everything in its due time. Summer is for lemon and caramel. Fall is for pumpkin. Okay and also caramel.

— Speaking of fall I had a moment of squee not too long ago when I realized we’d be able to take Bean to her first pumpkin patch soon! They also had costumes out at Costco today and I nearly died. SO EXCITED.

— Bean met a stuffed moose today. She was not impressed.

— I have been learning this summer, perhaps more than ever, that life is hard sometimes. Really hard. Sometimes life sucks and will hand you more than you think you can handle but somehow, the time passes, the sun goes down, and it comes up again the next morning just like it did the day before and will the day after that too. And sometimes it will rain, and thunder, and lightning will light up the sky and it will be scary for a while…but the storm always passes. It always does. And if you’re lucky, you get to see a rainbow when the clouds have lifted. And if you’re really lucky, it will look like this:
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Okay, y’all are weird.

And by y’all I don’t mean y’all who read this blog, I mean y’all out there in the wide world of the internet. You know, y’all.

So a few days ago I was taking a peek at the search terms that people have Googled and subsequently found their way to my blog. I thought this was such a cool idea and it would give me some insight as to what kinds of topics are bringing folks to my blog. In hindsight, I’m sort of wishing I didn’t. Because as the title suggests, y’all are weird.

Some of them were pretty normal, you know, in that “yeah, that makes perfect sense” category. Some of these included:

how to stop worrying during pregnancy. Makes sense. I wrote a post about how I was going to focus on not worrying while I was pregnant. It’s a fairly common thing for pregnant women to think about.

high elevation and pregnancy third trimester. Well, I never wrote about this specifically, but I live at high elevation and wrote often about the third trimester. A number of the search terms were about pregnancy at high elevation, actually. And I really have to wonder, is this honestly something people worry about? Maybe since I have lived at at least a mile high since I was a kid I never really think about that sort of thing…

santa fe renaissance faire. Another fairly normal search term I could see leading to my blog.

Then there were a couple that made me scratch my head a little, not just because they’re sort of weird but because I have no idea how they got to my blog with that search term.

lester holt cries. Well, that’s sad. He seems like a nice guy.

nano is my boyfriend chef. I don’t actually know what this means. But congratulations? I wish I had a personal chef.

should I bring name tags? Yes. I have no idea why, but it can’t hurt to be prepared.

limearitas bloat you? I hope not. I love those things.

And then, finally, were two search terms that really made me go, “What the fuck?” Brace yourself now, because they’re weird. I mean really weird. I think I spit out my coffee when I saw them.

thong and pasties in the park.

sherlock gdjskfdjk

 

Thank you, Sherlock, I had a similar thought. What on earth does that mean? Never mind. Maybe I don’t want to know.

And finally, the big one. I should hope you don’t use this blog as out-loud reading material for your small children, but if you do, I would suggest holding off on this one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

stories about girls getting an air hose up the ass and giving them painful cramps.

 

Huh. I mean, you couldn’t make this shit up. I don’t even know how you might go about making something like that up because that means you’re into some pretty weird shit–oh, never mind. Secondly, how on earth did someone with those search terms end up at my blog? I wonder if they were disappointed. This blog is sorely lacking in the…girls with air hoses in certain orifices department. Sorry to disappoint.

In conclusion….y’all are weird. But welcome to the blog anyway!

Odds n’ Ends

Because I felt like writing but at the same time wanted to procrastinate working on the book. Funny how that works.

Speaking of the book, I’ll start off with that first. Seems to be progressing at around the correct pace. I don’t always stick to my daily word count, but usually by the end of the week it ends up leveling out. I think I have finally nailed down an “opening” and I’m moving forward pretty consistently instead of backward. I added up the majority of the sections that I have written, since I tend to write out of sequence whenever the inspiration strikes, and found that I am right around 20,000 words written so far which is a little more than I thought I had. Trouble is connecting all these bits and pieces and deciding what to use and what not to use. I’m trying to let the new format work itself in and not force it, because that seemed to be what was killing me before. I keep having to remind myself, in Nike fashion, to just do it. (Plus the countdown on my phone seems to be a motivator, too.)

This week we got quite a few things for Celia. Our neighbor called us last week and said they were having a yard sale and that they had a cradle for sale, so we went over to take a look. I snapped it up as soon as I could. It was used for 3 kids since the late 60s but it’s still in excellent shape. It fits perfectly in the window in the living room, so we now have a place to put Celia down if we’re watching tv or otherwise don’t want to be upstairs.

 

Please don't warn me about the cable and the shade string. I got it.
Please don’t warn me about the cable and the shade string. I got it.

We also snagged a child’s chair and desk, which we thought would be great for once Celia gets a little older, as well as a set of Mr. Potatohead. My mom has a full collection at her house too so Ce is going to be more than set when it comes to Mr. Potatohead.

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Celia’s crib came last week too! My grandma and grandpa ordered it for us, hooray. It’s still sitting in the box upstairs waiting for the room to be painted and I am really eager to get that put together. We bought paint this weekend, a nice sky blue-gray that will pair really nicely with her yellow letters. We also got a new outfit for her courtesy of a coworker of Cameron’s, an adorable little sundress/cardigan number that I foresee using to take her first serious photographs. (I also took advantage of a Carter’s coupon and ordered 2 footie sleepers, a set of onesies, and some flowery headbands.)

And, naturally, here I am at 25 weeks:
Photo on 2013-08-07 at 18.03

I still feel pretty good all things considered, though I have definitely seen an upswing in heartburn/acid reflux in the last week or so. I have a feeling that I will be moving to the guest bed at some point in the near future, too. Our bed is pretty much the most comfortable thing in the world with a 4″ memory foam topper on it (we call it our cloud bed) but right now it’s almost a little too soft, because I end up getting stuck in certain positions and it’s really hard to move. So, might have to give up and move over to the firm bed in the other room. I don’t think I’ve slept through the night in at least a few weeks.

Still able to tie my shoes...but probably not for long.
Still able to tie my shoes…but probably not for long.

Lately my mom has been pressuring us to pick out a middle name for Celia, which is not going well (or as quickly as she’d like I’m sure). She’s being very persistent in sending me lists and lists of names, but only 1 out of 10 do I like. Thing is, Cameron and I took so long to come up with one! Just one! girl’s name that we both liked, coming up with a second is just turning out to be a frustration now, and I don’t want to pick a name just for the sake of picking one. I’m picky–it takes me forever to nail down names for fictional characters, now picking a name for a real person? Forget it. But it’s going to be with her forever (or until she gets married, because she could do like I did and “technically” remove her middle name) and I don’t want to not like it. So maybe she ends up not having one, I don’t know. Seems these days middle names are only useful when the kid is in trouble anyway. I guess it’s just not very high on my list of priorities.

I contacted the person at the hospital responsible for signing us up for childbirth classes, so hopefully soon I should get a schedule on when those are. I also finished up the registry and I know baby shower plans are in the works, so things are really moving fast now. I am so eager for autumn to be here. Football! Pumpkin things! Cool weather! And baby!

Along with fall I am really eager for the tourists to go home and for things to go back to being quiet. This tends to be a really touchy subject with a lot of people I know here in Estes. There seems to be this overbearing school of thought that we are so lucky to live here that we should like the tourists no matter what. I tend to feel a little more cynical than that. There’s the obvious–traffic is congested, no place to park, nobody knows where they’re going, the supermarket is such a madhouse all the time that I will go 45 minutes away to do my shopping, everything is always packed…that sort of stuff. But maybe more than ever this summer I have felt this terrible sense of isolation being up here, and I know a lot of it has to do with the tourists being here. I spend every evening at home because there’s nowhere in town to go that isn’t inundated with tourists. I can’t go sit in the corner table at Starbucks and work on the book because it’s too busy and distracting. It gets to you after a while. I think another facet of it is I just feel lonely, plain and simple. I haven’t seen any of my friends in months and every attempt I make at trying to get some of them to come visit is met like I’m suggesting they go to the moon, so after a while I just quit making the attempt. Add on top of that my two best friends ever just moved to Baltimore so they can start an amazing new life together (and how hard THAT has been to cope with) and the fact that I don’t have any friends my age up here, and it starts to bug you after a while. I worry often that when the baby comes I will feel even more isolated from my friends–not just by distance but by the entire new lifestyle I will have. But at least by the point when Celia arrives, it will be quiet enough in town that I will be able to walk down to the Starbucks with her and be around Cameron and his employees, all of whom I love, and not be stuck inside the house. In the end, I have to remind myself that we are not in Estes for life, and in a few years we’ll be moving back to Fort Collins (voted one of the happiest places to live in the country, I should point out…) and I can hopefully go back to enjoying Estes the way it is meant to be enjoyed–because I feel bad in saying so but I do resent it from time to time.

Anyway! That turned into far more of a vent than I had intended, so here’s something cool. I came across a company called Diamond Candles and ordered one on a whim. I thought, well, it’s not too much more expensive than buying a candle at Yankee, and this has jewelry inside it! So I splurged. My candle arrived on Monday and I promptly set to burning it so I could dig out the treasure.

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I don’t think the ring is worth anything, but at least it’s really pretty! I’m pretty pleased with the product overall–the candle is way bigger than I thought it would be and it smells fantastic. I hope they put out some fall scents soon because I am definitely not against ordering another. A cool idea overall.

And finally, one more piece of silliness. Last week Cameron and I were playing catch in the backyard and he said to me, “try to hit this saw horse with the football from the other side of the yard.” We have a pretty big yard, but I have pretty good aim, so I gave it a shot–and this happened.

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No joke! Literally split the uprights. That thing was jammed in there, too. Neither of us could believe it. First try from about 20 yards away. Probably could never do it again if I tried. But it did make me feel like the most badass pregnant woman ever.

Finally finally, a photo dump of my animals, because they’re cute. And everyone likes a blog with animal pictures.




6 Months

Say whaaaat?

Apparently so! We are 24 weeks in and only have 16 weeks to go. I am still trying to wrap my head around the notion that pregnancy is 9 months when it is…in fact….10. Can someone explain this one to me? 9 months and 40 weeks do not add up, folks. So the notion that I am 6 months in with 3 to go is, as Dwight Schrute would say, “false.” 

Latest OB appointment was yesterday and apparently everything is going just swimmingly still. Celia even kicked the doctor when he did the doppler to listen to her heartbeat. I still feel impossibly small for 24 weeks and it definitely doesn’t help when I am surrounded by exclamations of “you are so tiny!” which you’d think would feel like a compliment, but at this point it makes me worry that baby is not growing the way she should. I am reassured from my OB that she is, and anyone who makes me feel otherwise can stuff it. (Along with all the other stuff people say to a pregnant woman.)

I also got to talk to my OB about what to expect as far as “procedure” goes when we arrive at the hospital to have this baby. I have been filled with a lot of anxiety about certain things happening in labor, namely that I might be pressured into induction/Pitocin and a c-section. I also didn’t want to be forced to stay in bed the whole time, I wanted to be comfortable and walk or be in the tub or on the ball or eat and drink or whatever I might feel like I will need. As time goes on I feel increasingly sad that we can’t afford a home birth because I really, really wanted one, but I am at least a little comforted that we do have a birthing center here and it is as much of a compromise as I’ll be able to get. Anyway, my OB did make me feel better because when I brought it up he immediately said yes, a lot of women are concerned about these things, but he did say that episiotomies are the exception and not the norm, I will not have to constantly be attached to an IV (though I will have one inserted and ready to go just in case, I just won’t be attached), they only do intermittent fetal monitoring and induction is only an option once I’m at least a week overdue (fetal distress excepting). Once the baby actually arrives, they immediately allow skin-to-skin contact (again, fetal distress excepting), they wait to cut the cord till after it’s done pulsing, and they don’t even worry about measurements and all that good stuff until after I’ve been able to breastfeed. Which, all in all, is basically everything that I wanted some sort of say in. Ideally I’d like the option to birth and not just labor in the pool, but I guess I will take what I can get. And again, I am comforted by the fact that we live literally two blocks from the hospital and we will have the luxury of waiting as long as possible to head over there and not have to get there and sit around for a while because we had to drive in. 

 

Photo on 2013-07-31 at 16.05

My next appointment is the dreaded glucose test. The nurse gave me my bottle of liquid sugar yesterday and…naturally…it had to be orange flavored. Ugh. My worst nightmare. I’m trying to tell myself that I’m not concerned about the results but of course there is a little bit of nervousness there. Still, I know my risk is low and I’ve been doing well at keeping up my exercise and eating right, so hopefully it won’t be a problem.

Celia is continuing to be a crazy mover. I think sometimes she is using my uterus as a lap pool. I can literally see her moving from one side to the other. Her favorite game, it seems, is to play “Aliens.” I always have to be Ripley.

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While I am having a great time during this pregnancy, I am already tired of the unsolicited parenting advice. So tired of it. I know every pregnant woman gets to this point–and again, I feel compelled to give the disclaimer that I’m not calling out any individuals, just ranting. I think what really tends to get my goat when it happens is that it’s accompanied by this unspoken insinuation that because I’m not a parent yet, I’m a complete moron. Even when I try to post silly things on Facebook that are obviously “duh” things, people respond seriously like I have no idea what I’m talking about. Sometimes I really just want to say, “no shit.” Even legitimate questions in which I am actually asking for advice are met with responses that seem to reek of “well duh, you should know this.” And that’s frustrating, especially because I don’t really have any friends or close family who have had children in the last, say, twenty years, so I don’t have someone I can go to in confidence about those kinds of questions without being made to feel like a total idiot. It’s weird because I generally have a very thick skin (hello, author) but for some reason being told I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to raising my kid just turns me into that stereotypical crazy hormonal pregnant woman.

Anyway! Celia’s crib is officially on the way! My grandma and grandpa ordered it for us and I am so excited for it to arrive! That’s about the only big piece of furniture we need for her room so it will be awesome to get going on putting her nursery together. In the last few weeks I got her name letters (and subsequently glittered the everloving crap out of them) and a cute canvas that I found at Hobby Lobby.

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Pay no attention to the unfortunate tabletop that got stripped when an air freshener tipped over on it...who knew?
Pay no attention to the unfortunate tabletop that got stripped when an air freshener tipped over on it…who knew?

I’m still planning on doing a woodland theme, though I doubt it will be as in-depth as I had originally planned. I wanted to paint a big tree and some animals on the wall, but then I thought about how we are planning to move within 2-3 years and it would be a pain to paint it all over again, so I think I might just paint the room a solid color and then make use of those wall decals. Michaels had some really cute ones!

Anyway, I’m off with my swimming baby to rustle up some grub (hubby works late tonight) and maybe (fingers crossed) get a little writing done. This weekend is the final weekend for Renaissance Festival and I’m hoping it won’t be too hot so I can go down. It’s hard to be pregnant at ren faire…

Photo on 2013-07-31 at 16.08

Putting the Pedal to the Metal

I haven’t written about the book much lately. I guess it’s kind of been playing second fiddle to everything else that’s been going on around here.

I’ll admit it: I was floundering. I felt like I was not coming up with anything good and I was getting royally stuck. I’d gotten probably about 25% finished and pretty much stalled out. Adding to the problem (mostly mental) was that I hadn’t gotten an “official” stamp of approval from my editor to say that she had liked some pages I had sent her a couple months ago, so I was nervous that when we finally did talk, she’d want me to go back and redo it again. This is mostly due to the fact that between the manuscript that my agency picked me up on and the book I am working on now, everything has changed. Everything. Person, tense, characterization, plot. I’m not just writing a new book, I’m writing new characters too, and that change felt kind of foreign to me at first because I’d spent so long writing my main character a certain way and now I’m changing that. (And for the record I’m glad for that, the characters have all evolved out of what I had and what my editor suggested for me and I really think they’re more three-dimensional now.)

Luckily, I was wrong on that front, and when I spoke to her yesterday, she did like the direction I was going in. We finally laid out a plan of action concerning how the rest of the year is going, and she wants me to try to have a first draft done by November before the baby comes. That will leave only editing and revisions after the baby comes, which–though I will really have to push to find the time–is doable. It has to be. But I figure, this is going to be my job, and I’m lucky enough to not have to go back to my day job after the baby comes, which frees me up to work on this even if it’s just an hour a day. It will get done. A first draft completed this year also means potential publication by next year–so that’s exciting. Considering I was signed by this agency last October and then had such a long pause due to Hurricane Sandy, it really feels good to finally have a potential end date on this project floating around. 

The other benefit to having an editor is they seem to magically know exactly where you needed to go when you were totally stuck. Some of the suggestions she gave me yesterday really left me going “oh jeez, why didn’t I think of that in the first place?” She gave me tons to think about as far as characterization and side plots go, which is something I was really struggling with. Formulating a novel is harder than you might think. It isn’t just–this is my plot and these are points A, B, C, and D. There’s so many side points and arcs and other bits of meat that fill in the skeleton. So I’m still working on that but I have a feeling a lot of it will come as I’m finishing up the first draft. That’s how it’s worked in the past anyway, when I was working on my own schedule. 

So now comes the part where I wade through all the ideas, stick to a few, and really put my nose to the grindstone. I’m filled at once with some really exciting ideas and a looming sense of dread and self-doubt about the whole thing (can I really finish this novel in 3 months??)…but that must mean I’m a writer. 

Happenings at High Elevation

It’s finally spring in Estes Park!

We kicked off the beginning of the season with a visit from Cameron’s dad, Bruce, who came from North Carolina to build us a deck. It looks amazing. I’m so happy with it, thank you thank you thank you Bruce for coming and doing that for us. (For the record, it was a wedding gift!)


From above, before they finished putting the railings and the stairs on.


Brody was a great helper.


We FINALLY have some space outside to store things.

On the book front, I feel like I might finally be making some headway, I hope anyway. I sent off some new material to my editor yesterday which feels more stressful to me than it should. I guess there’s always that terrible fear that she’s going to hate everything I send. Good thing I have Sherlock to help give input on new scenes:

Other happenings:

Mt. Meeker & Longs Peak…still lots of snow up there!


Alpaca at a street fair in Boulder

Oh…and this….

I can’t explain what happened when I took this picture. It was like for the first time I finally felt that “wonder” of being pregnant. Up until now I had kind of been feeling…I hate to use the word indifferent, but that’s what it felt like. The belly felt like fat, I didn’t feel a connection to this thing that is supposedly in there, and I was just beginning to feel frustrated that this pregnancy so far seemed…boring. So maybe it was that I needed a change in perspective rather than just looking down at this bulge from above that just looked like too many donuts to me. But for the first time I finally felt actually, legitimately pregnant. It was an awesome feeling.