Christmas in Hooville

Posted by on Dec 7, 2011 in home life

Last night I did something I haven’t done in five years: I put up a Christmas tree.

The first year I was married I decked out the apartment with lights, decorations, and endless Christmas music, but once I moved to Mexico it just never felt like the holiday. I’m a four-seasons kind of girl and have a hard time celebrating when I’m in a tank top and shorts and sweating enough to water the feral cats.

Last year—my first Christmas back in the US—I lived with my parents who, for reasons I don’t recall, didn’t put up a tree. So, this is a big year!

Many of my ornaments were gifts from my grandmother. She gave me my very first ornament when I was nine months old and has continued the tradition ever since. (Needless to say, when I moved out on my own after college my parents’ tree was suddenly VERY empty.)

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Being Thankful

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in books / reading, friends & family, home life, Owen (the dog), The Book of Good, work, writing / editing

I should have done this post last week and saved the NaNo update for the final day of the competition, but since when do I do things in the proper order?

Over the past week I’ve thought a lot about the things for which I’m thankful. Pretty much every aspect of my life has changed in the past year, almost all for the better, and I think I’ve finally closed the door on the chapter of my life that had dominated me for far too long.

In no particular order:

I adore my apartment. I’ve been in my place for almost six months and I absolutely love it. There’s a dog park for Owen, lots of trees, and soothing wall colors.

My new job is better than I could have hoped for. I’ve just started the actual work, but I love the atmosphere, the people, the perks… and the fact that it’s in Grand Rapids is icing on the paycheck.

I’ve gone public with my design business. Ink Slinger Designs is alive and kicking after YEARS of half-hearted freelance work. I’ve always known I wanted to specialize in something but couldn’t pinpoint my niche. Book covers feel like the perfect fit AND they’re fun to design.

The Book of Good is still going strong. I haven’t talked about here like I’d originally intended, but I’ve written in it just about every day this year. It’s a journal where I have to write at least three good things that happened each day. When things were especially difficult last winter, I decided that forcing myself to find even the tiniest good things would help me see past all the bad, and it’s really helped. I don’t allow myself to write anything negative (although I admit I’ve written “I didn’t kill so-and-so today” and “I survived today”), no matter how strong the urge. That’s what my regular journal is for.

My friends got agents, have been published, or are about to be! Including:
Stacey GrahamGirls’ Ghost Hunting Guide
June Kramin (as Ann T. Bugg) – Before Happily Ever After
Trish StewartTaking Lessons from Ernest
Jamie Mason – The Liar’s Margin

My mom gets to retire next summer. Her excitement is contagious.

I finally feel like I’m home and part of a community. When I first returned to the US, I didn’t have any intention of staying here. When I got divorced and signed a lease of my very own, I thought maybe I’d stick around for another year. Well I’m happy to report I’m slowly making real life friends (gasp!), I’ve joined activities away from the computer, and I’m looking forward to staying in west Michigan.

Writing. Unfortunately writing has fallen behind everything else going on, but I still consider myself a writer and have high hopes for my writing career in the next year.

This past year was just a warm-up.

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NaNo Recap

Posted by on Nov 23, 2011 in NaNoWriMo, writing / editing

There’s one week left in November, and it’s not looking good for this year’s NaNo. I started this month with high hopes, and even though I only wrote 500 words on day one, I figured I had plenty of time to catch up. It takes 1667 words per day to reach 50,000, so I’d just have to write a little extra.

Well… I’ve averaged 52 words per day.

Between finding a new job and launching my freelance business, I just haven’t been able to make time for writing. I’m happy with my five-page start, and I do plan to continue—just not at the pace I’d hoped. And I’m okay with that.

In the meantime, I plan to enjoy my Thanksgiving with my family (my gramma’s coming to see us for the first time since her surgery last year!) and celebrate my BFF’s upcoming baby.

There may also be some of this:

What do you have planned this weekend?

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News! I Have News!

Posted by on Nov 16, 2011 in home life, work

I haven’t written anything this month, completely failing at NaNo, but I have good reason…

I start my new job on Monday! I don’t want to go into much detail (like naming the company) until I’m situated and know how they feel about these things, but it’s still a design job, I’ll be part of an internal department (which I’ve wanted for a long time), and I can bring Owen (I don’t know how often yet)! It’s in Grand Rapids, which is where I ultimately want to live, so things are finally moving in the direction I want. Wheee!

I’m excited to share my other project, Ink Slinger Designs. I’ve found a way to combine my love of design and love of writing with my love for helping others and creating pretty things. Go! Go! Go check it out and please like my facebook page while you’re at it. And if you have an upcoming project, you know where to find me.

So what’s new with you?

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Stay Tuned…

Posted by on Nov 9, 2011 in friends & family

Hello! It’s been a crazy few days and I have lots of news to share with you, but I’m going to wait until next week. Sorry.

I went to Washington DC this past weekend, where I saw friends, monuments, and made more than my share of children and animals squeal. The best part? Having two of my favorite people within poking distance.

Slaps & Waggles + The Boss

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Like Slipping on an Old Pair of Jeans…

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in NaNoWriMo, writing / editing

…that have been dried on high for five hours with a little too much starch.

I haven’t written anything (aside from blog posts and the random lengthy tweet) since this time last year, and it’s been harder to get back in the swing of things than I expected. I’m using NaNo as a way to get back into writing every day—or as close to every day as I can manage—but I didn’t begin until nearly 11pm last night.

The hardest part for me is always getting started, so I know once I open that vein the words will being to flow, but I always have an excuse: one more email to reply to, one more facebook notification to check, one more scrabble move to play. Maybe if one of you could come over and quit the internet for me every evening, say around 7pm? That’d be great.

I know I’m not the only one who faces this, so what are your tricks for forcing your butt in the chair and fingers on the keyboard? I think once I remember how much I enjoy writing this won’t be a problem.

At least that’s my plan.

The good news is once I DID start I quickly remembered how much I love these characters. Welcome back Biz and Cameron!

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