Archive for life


Merry Christmas!  Just as a heads up, I’m starting to move things over to Yes, that was my Christmas present to me.  Starting over with a grown-up blog (and twitter account!) that actually reflect my name.  About time!

For YOU, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I know I will. Be safe out there, folks!

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First Christmas-itis…

It’s December 23rd, and like most years, I’m a little nervous, and running a little late.  See, I like to make my Christmas presents—usually a necessity, considering I don’t have a lot of money and usually have a lot of yarn.  Or at least, yarn.  The problem with this is that I never start early enough, and I invariably forget someone extremely important to me.  I swear sometimes there are holes in my brain.  I’m sadly very, very good at missing the obvious sometimes.

So here I am, two days before Christmas… none of my Christmas cards are sent out, none of my gifties are done, and a couple of them are not yet even started. Gifts for my family also have not been sent. They’re sitting around the room, wrapped, but still definitely here in my apartment in Utah, rather than flying to their various locations elsewhere.

I don’t even have the gift I’m knitting for my husband done yet, and this stresses me out like none other.  Especially as I was particularly meaning for this to be a good Christmas for him, since it’s probably his first real Christmas in years, and he’s so very excited for it. (I am too, don’t get me wrong!)

So, excuse me if I run out of here and go work like mad to finish my presents up. I’m afraid that’s about all I’m going to get accomplished today, other than probably catching up on Vampire Diaries, because hey, at least I can do that while I knit.

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This is my blogging face.

I think I’m going to take up the habit of early-morning blogging.  You must understand, I am far from an early-morning kind of person.  I’m more of a write-until-the-middle-of-the-night-when-you-have-no-choice-but-to-pass-out person, and that was all well and good when I was single, but I’m starting to understand that that gets in the way of Married Life.  (Or vice-versa, but bygones).

Meanwhile, one of the things Married Life entails is making sure Husband gets up in the morning, and making a lunch for him, because prior knowledge proves that he’ll simply go without eating otherwise, and considering he works unfortunately long hours some days, that’s not something I’m willing to let happen.

This means I’m starting to make the slow transition from Night Owl to Morning Person.  Or at least, Able-To-Wake-Up-In-The-Morning-And-Accomplish-Things Person.  This is not a first for me.  I took an LDS Seminary class that started at 6:00 when I was in high school, which I was fairly (excuse the pun) religious about attending, so I am at least familiar with the concept that the sun actually rises, and doesn’t just appear in the sky and slowly set every day.

Still, as various parental figures in my life would tell you, morning has never really been my strong suit.  In fact, most of my early-morning romps of late have ended up with me falling asleep around nine or eleven anyhow, which is slightly pathetic, but at least for the moment still true.  What? I’m an eight-hours-of-sleep kinda girl, and that’s hard to do when you go to bed at midnight and wake up at five.

I’m planning on using quiet early morning time for other things that I’ve been neglecting of late, too… like reading, for instance. And the actual Writing writing that I’m supposed to be doing.  Isabelle Santiago and I are going to really challenge ourselves and each other to get some things done by March (March?).  In my case, I plan on having a first draft finished—finally finally finished—of my YA Paranormal.

Now excuse me, I have jobs in Japan to apply to.

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Talking about beauty, body image, and underground self-esteem movements

I have a post up at The Hollow Tree today that I really encourage you to go and read.  I stumbled over an event on Facebook this morning that really touched me, a high school senior inviting the whole world to tell the women and girls (and men and boys, too, why not?) that they’re beautiful—even and maybe especially if they don’t fit the world’s definition of beauty.   It’s called Tell Her She’s Beautiful, and it’s the latest in a string of things I’ve seen promoting self-esteem and positive body image… coming from a teenage boy.  I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about it.

My post is here, and I do hope you’ll read it, and pass it and the Facebook link on to others who might need to hear the message once in a while, because none of us can hear it often enough.

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2009 in Review

2009 had more ups and downs than I knew what to do with, and that’s the truth.  I spent the end of 2008 through June of this year almost constantly on the move, and when I did settle down, it wasn’t in my  beloved California, but instead somewhere up in the Rocky Mountains, which… wasn’t entirely by choice, let’s leave it at that.

That being said, this has been a really good past six months for me—despite a few minor technological revolts and a couple of serious family trials since moving up here.  Suffice it to say that 2009 tore me to shreds and made confetti out of me—which hopefully means that 2010 will be celebration-worthy.

So, with a glass of sparkling cider raised to the new year, here’s a quick look back at 2009…

Really, this has been a very defining year for me.  This is the year that I took the initiative and learned how to bind books (a la the University of Youtube), which lead to a none-too-shabby Etsy shop (CinderLisaDesign) which has kept me afloat for most of my utterly jobless year.  I was already a devout crafter—I’ve been hooked on knitting and crochet since my freshman year of college—but as a writer, learning how to make books out of paper, fabric and string has been a profound experience for me.  My love for books in the printed format couldn’t help but spill over to my love for handsewn books.  I still have a lot to learn in the bookbinding arena, but even with my extreme lack of knowledge, I can say proudly that I am a bookbinder, and part of a slow revival of a dying art.  I’ve found the bookbinding community (yes, there is one) to be a fantastic group of people, also.  Like most crafters, they have been welcome and encouraging to even the most blunder of attempts to learn their arts.

Moving to Utah has been quite an eye-opener, also.  The town I live in is very small and very simple, and while it’s busy for a tiny town, it’s a far cry from Southern California.  And being a member of the LDS Church, I have to admit that I had a very clear idea in my head in what I might expect from “Utah Mormons”—of which the less said the better.  The members here have been fab people, though, and come through for me in a number of ways that I can’t even begin to list.

2009 was also the first year I hit my 50-books-in-a-year challenge—I even hit (and exceeded! Okay by one, but still!) a 52 books in 52 weeks challenge.  Considering that there were moments this year when I didn’t think I’d pass 3o books, that’s quite something.

This year my good friend Isabelle Santiago and I also started Tales From the Hollow Tree, a review blog for all things Young Adult fantasy, and while getting a post up every single week day just between the two of us has been a challenge at times, it’s also been a blast!  I’ve read a lot of great books, along with some less-great books, and learned a lot from our Thursday Myths & Legends 101 posts.

In more personal news, I can just say honestly that despite the insanity that’s circled around me this year (and I seem to draw it like a moth to the flame sometimes) I’ve been really happy this year.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s been a good year, but I’ve been happy in it, which is the most I could have asked for this year, I guess.

Honestly looking forward to 2010.  It has to be better than 2009, and I have high hopes, personally.


Have fun and be safe out there!

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It’s taken 24 and a half years…

But I am now a convert.  Really this should have happened long ago, but there were always obstacles in the way, things that held me back… and what exactly am I talking about in the first place?


The public library.  That wonderful place that will let you take books away for free, so long as you promise to bring them back when you’re done.  Now, I know some of you are gasping in shock.  Here I am, a professed book-lover, and I wasn’t entirely familiar with these wonderful things called libraries?  Well hold back those pitchforks for a moment here… I was an avid school-library user growing up, but once I got to high schoolish age, I started buying books.  And… well it’s an addiction.

But like all true addictions, buying books costs money.  A lot more than I have at the moment.  And my library has a surprisingly nice selection of new YA (my constant guilty pleasure) and of course the classics that I live and breathe.

And it doesn’t hurt that there’s a decently adorable librarian boy who smiles at me when I come in.  It never does hurt, does it?  I had a library card back home, but I almost never used it… in fact, the two times I can remember using it in all the years I had it, was for big, boring non-fiction books that my mother needed for some reason or another.  Never for books for myself.  And so the freedom of drifting into the library, and picking up a book, or not, or just pulling one from the shelf and sitting down to read it… it’s just a delight.  Of the five times I’ve been to the library the past week (I’m having wireless issues) I’ve checked a book out three of those times… the latest today being Laurie Faria Stolarz’s Blue is for Nightmares, the first in a series I’ve looked at a hundred times and never bought… now I’m reading it fairly entranced, even though the magic stuff kind of squicks me out a teensy bit.  The mystery is keeping me stuck to the story.  A lot of Stolarz’s books (and she has more than I thought by far) look really good… and I’m sure I’ll be checking them out in due time.

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No, I’m not dead!

Simply maimed.  Or my laptop is, at least.  My shiny, 17″ HP g60-230US has… died on me.  After seven months of ownership.  My hard drive is completely fried, and I am… sad.

Thankfully almost all of my writing is safe.  The laptop was backed up until the beginning of July, and I have a habit (thankfully!) of emailing myself or close friends bits of my manuscript, or the whole thing, as I go along.

And HP is being nice and sending me a new hard drive, since this one is still considerably under warranty, but still I am, understandably frustrated.  My brand new Samsung camera started malfunctioning a few weeks ago, and now my laptop is dead!

In short, technology hates me and/or is doing its best to try my patience.  Hello, library computer.  I’m glad you’re here, at least!

So yes, until I get my new hard drive and get everything fixed up nicely, updates here will be rare.  I’ll be updating The Hollow Tree, though, so look there—coming this week, Cyn Balog’s Fairy Tale and a Myths & Legends 101 on Banshees!

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Hello, internet!  It’s taken a while, but I am now all moved and settled in.  My new home is a far cry from the San Diego suburb where I grew up, but this quiet little town is maybe just what the doctor ordered for my hectic, self-made schedule.  Since I’ve been here I’ve already made some headway in my alternate personality as a purveyor of fine handbound journals and notebooks, and I’ve done a good amount of writing, which brings me close to 7000 words on my young adult paranormal.


Life here is… well, like I said, quiet.  My brother and I drove through hours of hot dessert, and still hot mountain terrain to get to a surprisingly hot Utah valley.  I knew, cognitively, that it gets hot in Utah, but driving from Southern California, you sort of assume you’re headed to a cooler climate.  Or at the very least, that once you get out of the desert, things will start to cool down.

But I really didn’t mind much.  Driving through this country (as I’ve done a lot) of over the past year, you really get a feel for just how big it is, just how much open land and sky is out there.  It makes goals seem that much more reachable, somehow.  If there’s so much world out  there, there has to be a place for everybody, yes?

Anyhow, this is what I’ve been thinking.

I hope you all have been doing well.   It’s starting to cool off here in Utah now, and while we may have a few more hot days, for the most part the temperature will drop, drop, drop, from here on out.  I’ll be back to my routine book reviews and such now that I’m settled in, so keep an eye out.  Glad to be back, too!

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California Sun

Today was a perfect California day.  Pristine blue sky, hot sun, and a cool, lovely breeze.  What can you add to a naturally perfect day to make it even better?  How about an enclosed pool, friendly people, and maybe a book?  Also time, blessed time.

Today I went to a barbeque for the volunteer staff of the Anime Expo.  I’m not on the volunteer staff of the Anime Expo – in fact I haven’t even been to the expo—but I have friends in interesting places.  Really I don’t know much Anime beyond Studio Ghibli productions—but who doesn’t at the very least, love Totoro?  (So long as it’s not being voiced by Dakota Fanning?)

It was a lovely day, anyhow.  I hadn’t been actually swimming in a swimming pool for I don’t know how long.  And the best part is laying out in the sun afterwards, drying off and reading a book.  It was the longest block of straight reading time I’d had since I had to report for jury duty about a month ago – and sadly I am still reading the same book.  Making my way slowly through the latest Fablehaven.  My lack of speed has nothing  to do with the pacing of the book, which is fantastic once it gets going, but I just have not been able to stop and read lately, except for a chapter here or there while I’m taking a bath.  Writing time has been sadly even less.

What I have been able to do is work on my alternate personality a little bit.  Not much, but then it doesn’t take as many big blocks of time as writing does.  Mainly I’m focused on this move.  I have a good deal of stuff I need to get rid of, one way or another.  Places like Ravelry and Plurk keep me sane in the process.  Today was a fairly perfect day, though.  Tomorrow I’m back to the grind, though.  And the way I’m feeling right now, tomorrow might come on pretty fast, because I am worn out.

Goodnight, y’all.

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