And Then Life Happened

Life Lately

It’s been a really long time since I posted! I’m happy to report that while this quarter sucked, I survived it. Here are some of the things I was up to when the state of the world didn’t leave me paralyzed by anxiety and/or depression:

Women’s March

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The sun came out for the Women’s March and the Women’s March alone.

I went to our Women’s March with the boy and his toddlords, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen so many people in one place in Bellingham. The energy was really positive and I’m glad I slacked off on homework for the day to go.

Western Washington University Children’s Literature Conference

I took advantage of having weekends off (and the student discount) to go to the annual Children’s Literature Conference at my alma mater and I’m so glad I was finally able to make it! The speakers were all incredible, although Laurie Halse Anderson (!!!) almost made me cry. Christian Robinson’s talk made me laugh so hard I almost cried. I’ll definitely be going to the conference again next year.

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Q & A panel with Rita Williams-Garcia, Laurie Halse Anderson, Christian Robinson, and Matt Phelan.

I loved all of the discussions of each author/illustrator’s process. My favorite advice was from Laurie, who said that she always tells people to write fifteen minutes a day, on anything, just to stay in the practice of writing. It made me feel better that, while I’ve been writing, I haven’t necessarily been writing on my WIPs.

Doug Ericksen Town Hall

In the interest of being more involved in local politics, the boy and I took a nice, romantic drive out to the County to go to our state senator’s town hall a couple weeks ago to politely inform him we disapprove of the job he’s doing. It was a very tense atmosphere, as many of the people who attended were people who drove up from Bellingham who were also displeased with him, and that irritated many of the people from the rest of the county who keep reelecting him. Senator Ericksen was very articulate and, for people unfamiliar with his Facebook posts, sounded very reasonable. He kept his cool even as people heckled and booed him (although not like the clips going around the internet from Mitch McConnell and Jason Chaffetz’s town halls). He gave very scripted-sounding answers to questions about well rights, climate change (which he believes is up for debate), his double duty (continuing to serve as our state senator while working for the EPA transition – which is what many people are angry about up here), and education funding, among other things. The only point at which I became well and truly angry was when he discussed how unfair it is to experts that if they want to teach in a public school in our state, they’re required to get a teaching certificate just like everyone else. His tone as he explained his position to my NBCT colleague felt dismissive, not to mention his response betrayed a profound lack of knowledge about the fact that teachers are experts in so much more than content. (I spent a good two hours later that afternoon crafting a letter in response to that position that was simultaneously polite and shade-filled. As expected, my wayward senator has not responded [another thing people in Bellingham are angry about].)

And Then Life Happened

Goodbye, 2016

2016, you were a dumpster fire in so many ways. But there were parts of you that weren’t that bad.

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February: This breakfast pizza my bestie and I encountered was not that bad.
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March: This coffee mug I bought was not that bad. (This selfie subsequently went on my Tinder profile to root out the weak.)
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June: This view of Niagara Falls was not that bad.
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September: Starting library school was not that bad.
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November: Eating free samples of chocolate was not that bad.
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December: Borrowing my parents’ dog when his favorite (my dad) was unavailable was not that bad.

Here’s hoping we can make it through the rest of 2016 in one piece.

And Then Life Happened

Currently…

img_3667Loving

Grad school. It is SO MUCH WORK (which I expected and still signed up for), but I love being around people who are so passionate about things like children’s books and wanting to make the world a better place. This quarter, I especially loved my children’s lit class. I don’t know as much about picture books and middle grade and everything in between, so it was really fun to read all sorts of new books, not to mention apply all of the things I’ve been learning to the elementary school kids I work with all the time.

My other class last quarter was a research methods class, which was a little more challenging for me because it was all based on social science research methods, and as a humanities person, most of it was completely new to me.

Anyway, that’s where I disappeared to. Grad school and also working two jobs and trying to, like, sleep. I’m hoping to get more writing done now that I have a better handle on things and I’m actually in the process of launching a Patreon where I’ll post the random things I write (like short stories and poems) and some behind the scenes things.

Reading

Right now I’m reading The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I love that, while Kvothe is clever, it’s more a source of trouble than it is anything else. He’s an extremely clever university student and gifted musician, but he’s also a teenage boy.

 

Watching

I just finished The Crown on Nextflix, which was like Downton Abbey in the 1950s. I wanted Queen Elizabeth’s entire wardrobe.

I also saw Rogue One on Wednesday and loved it. I’m so glad little girls have Rey and Jyn to look up to. I had Padme. Who was awesome until she got with Anakin, but at least she had a fabulous wardrobe, I guess?

Listening To

I’ve been intermittently listening to Welcome to Night Vale but since I usually listen to it before bed, I mostly end up falling asleep and having to re-listen to episodes.

Thinking About

All of the bad things in the world and how powerless I feel as more and more things pile up. I mean, I know it’s not physically possible to do EVERYTHING and to focus on the things I can do, but it’s still disheartening.

Anticipating

2017. While 2016 was a good year for me personally…well, AT WHAT COST? I would like to think things will be at least marginally better for the world in 2017. But who knows? Maybe we’re in for a crappy sequel.

Wishing

I had a Time Turner because I always have so much I want to do and so little time to do it in.

Making Me Happy

img_3654I went to the Northwest Chocolate Festival last month and it was so much fun! The panels and tastings were a little lackluster because they were held in a giant, echoey room with no walls so it was hard to hear. But the exhibits were nice. It was like Costco with chocolate, at least as far as free samples went.

Also, we’ve been getting snow these past couple weeks. We don’t generally get that much – once or twice a year, and then it melts by afternoon – so having it stick around was a treat…at first. It’s getting a little old now, but I guess it’s nice to look at.

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And Then Life Happened

Currently…

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The one place in Bellingham where dogs aren’t allowed.

Loving

The weather we’ve been having lately. Even though it’s pollen-y and it feels like I got punched in the face a lot of the time. (Thanks, allergies!) And even though it feels more like July than May. Days like the ones we’ve been having remind us all around here why we haven’t left.

Reading

I’m still reading THE NAME OF THE WIND. I have about 300 pages left. I’ve returned an embarrassing number of books to the library unread in the past month. I’m enjoying it, though.

Watching

I saw the new Captain America movie on Friday, and had way more feelings than I expected to have, all thanks to the complexity of the character relationships. Also, there was tons of moral ambiguity to go around. I think I still liked Winter Soldier more, but Civil War was up there.

Also, Game of Thrones is back, so I’ve been watching that. I really want to see Sansa actually get to DO something with all that awesome character development that’s been going on. Also, I actually felt sort of bad for Cersei, for once?

Listening To

Thinking AboutIMG_2932

Revisions. I’m about 13k into the new draft and it’s going much better. The pacing at the beginning has improved a lot since I cut a lot of things and consolidated some scenes, and I’m feeling a lot better about where the story is going now.

Anticipating

Summer is SO CLOSE. We’ve only got about five weeks left of the school year and it’ll probably fly by because I’ve also been super busy lately. It’s already been feeling like summer for the past couple weeks, so that should make things…exciting.

Wishing

I had a money tree. Because grad school is expensive. (But not sleeping for three years sounds cool, too.)

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Update: applying for scholarships is still the actual worst.

Making Me Happy

I’m doing the YA Buccaneers Spring Writing Bootcamp and it’s always nice to have people to check in with and cheer you on! And I love cheering other people on. (Shout out to Twitter for adding GIFs because this has upped my cheerleading game considerably.)

And Then Life Happened

Currently…

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Loving

12933064_10156739845780324_6922971929797076750_nI’m on spring break, and I have so much free time, and it’s nice. I’ve read some books and written some words and watched some movies and gotten some sleep.

Reading

In the past month, I’ve finished reading:

  • THE EYE OF THE WORLD by Robert Jordan: Delightfully nostalgic.
  • CLARIEL by Garth Nix: I mostly just want to reread the other books now? I enjoyed it, but not as much as its predecessors, although I did appreciate reading a book with an asexual protagonist.
  • ENDURE by Sara B. Larson: I enjoy this series because it reminds me a lot of Tamora Pierce’s books, although the character development in the villains was lacking for me.
  • QUEEN SONG by Victoria Aveyard: I was out in public earlier today when I finished this one. Otherwise I probably would’ve thrown my phone across the room.12976897_10156744236815324_6126522734596802509_o

Now, I’m starting THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss, which I bought awhile ago and just hadn’t gotten around to reading yet.

Watching

I discovered the other night that THE PRINCESS BRIDE is on Netflix, and I immediately watched it (even though I own it on DVD). Last night I watched BEFORE WE GO, which Chris Evans directed, so OF COURSE I had to watch it, and I loved it.

Listening To

Thinking About

Revisions, always. Last month I mentioned deciding to scrap what I had so far and rework the beginning, and then I didn’t really get time to work on that until this week.

12919747_10156677090150324_5704811851184224647_nAlso, a couple weeks ago, Washington had their Democratic caucuses, and I was thinking about how lucky we are that we even get a say in who runs for president. Even if many of the choices we don’t have this time don’t seem that appealing, at least we still get the chance to choose the least-awful of the bunch?

I might not have been thrilled at waking up early on the weekend to go participate, and then going immediately to work a nine hour shift afterward, but it was cool to see how many other people were also willing to give up four or five hours of their Saturday mornings to make their voices heard.

Anticipating

So, in this section last month, I said I was waiting to hear back about grad school. And I did. I got my acceptance email literally right as I hit “publish” on this post. So, I’m doing my MLIS online starting in September, and I’m excited to learn how to be a librarian, and I’m also excited because I already feel like I’ve found my people. I mean, I love teaching (that’s why I want to be a school librarian), but I feel like I BELONG in a library.

Wishing

Okay, but, like, does spring break have to be ONLY a week, though.

Making Me Happy

This mug I bought on Etsy is pretty swell.

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And Then Life Happened

Currently…

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Loving

I’m currently obsessed with the cover of this journal I repurposed into a planner, because it’s really soft. Also, it’s a nice shade of blue.

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Reading

Since my last post (in January 😖), I’ve read:

  • DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy: I loved the voice in this one (and I reviewed it here).
  • LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT by Ilana C. Myer: I loved the premise, but it felt like it lacked urgency.
  • SOUNDLESS by Richelle Mead: Despite claiming to be based on Chinese folklore – which was the reason I read it to begin with – it felt very generic to me. Like, the Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 10.15.59 AMsetting could’ve been literally anything. So I was disappointed.
  • SIREN’S FURY by Mary Weber: This series so far is quick and fun. I would’ve liked Nym’s internal conflict to be played up a little more in this book, though.
  • THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King: This is the first Stephen King book I’ve ever read. It won’t be the last. It wasn’t my usual thing, but the world was developed so well, I’m going to keep reading this series. And then kick my inner scaredy cat aside and read his other books.
  • ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder: I liked the writing, but the third person present narrative made it hard to feel attached to any of the characters.
  • MORNING STAR by Pierce Brown: I finished this one a week ago and I still have a lot of feelings. Also: BYE FELICIA.

I’m currently rereading THE EYE OF THE WORLD by Robert Jordan, because I got halfway through the Wheel of Time series before stopping and I’ve decided it’s time to finish it, except it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten basically everything that’s already happened.

Watching

I’ve sort of abandoned the TV shows I was watching (again) to have more time to read and write. But I HAVE been watching the presidential debates, and I also watch John Oliver’s show and The Daily Show religiously. So.

And now I feel sad again.

Listening To

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I’m still obsessed with Ellie Goulding’s latest album. Also, I usually enjoy Spotify’s #ThrowbackThursday playlist. There tend to be some fun things on there.

Thinking About

12783552_10156578040080324_5715194491208978722_oRevisions, as always. I got some feedback from a CP on the first 50 pages of FTA that made me rethink where my story actually starts (spoiler alert: not where I actually started it) so I’ve decided to scrap the 20k I’ve revised so far and start over back at the beginning since the changes I’ve decided to make will actually benefit the story as a whole. I talked the planned changes over with my other CPs, so now I’m ready to go!

Anticipating

I’m supposed to hear back from the University of Washington about grad school in the next week or two, and I’m trying not to freak out. Also, I’m having flashbacks to when I queried SHARDS, because waiting is the actual worst. (I use up all of my patience on my students and my customers, apparently.)

Wishing

The U.S. election cycle didn’t last a million years.

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Making Me Happy

Not working at the store on Saturdays for the past couple months. Is this what having a weekend feels like???

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And Then Life Happened

Currently…

IMG_2183Loving

Boots. Because it’s cold. Too cold. I don’t like it.

Reading

THE SHATTERED COURT by M.J. Scott, which is much heavier on the romance side than I was expecting. It is very much aimed toward adults.

I finished SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon earlier this week. I really liked the setting, which was inspired by Chinese folklore, but I had a hard time getting into other aspects of it. I’ll post an actual review soon.

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I also set my Goodreads Challenge at 100 books again this year, which LOL FOREVER given all of the other things I’m doing (two jobs! getting a MS ready to query this year! trying to go back to school!) but it never hurts to try, I guess.

Watching

I’ve seen the new Star Wars twice, and I love it. LOVE IT. I feel like J.J. Abrams did a great job righting the wrong that was the prequels. My family also marathoned Episodes I-VI over Christmas because my brother got them all on Blu-ray, and we laughed at all of Anakin’s horrible monologues in Attack of the Clones.

I also saw the Sherlock special at the movie theater on Wednesday night, so that was pretty cool. I was fortunate in that I somehow managed to avoid all of the spoilers on Twitter.

Listening To

Ellie Goulding came out with a new album a couple months back and I’ve been listening to it way more than I’ve been listening to Adele’s, tbh.

Thinking About

How many words I’ve actually written, and how exhausting that really is. I’m working on the fourth draft of the MS I’m planning to query later this year. THAT IS SO MANY WORDS. And yet I generally forget about that since I usually only focus on the words one day at a time. They really add up!

Anticipating

I applied to grad school. I’m hoping to go for a MLIS and also do a school library media endorsement, because while I love teaching, I also love being surrounded by books all day, so being a school librarian feels like the thing that makes the most sense to me at this point in my life. Also, talking to kids about books and seeing them so excited when they talk about them is the actual best, so sign me right up for that.

Anyway, I’m supposed to hear back in mid-March…right around my birthday.

Wishing

More hours in the day so I could actually read all of these books that almost crushed me to death in the earthquake last week. (Kidding. They didn’t even move. BUT WHAT IF THEY HAD.)

Making Me Happy

Hot chocolate. Because, as I’ve already stated, it is cold.

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