NaNoWriMo

Today is November 1st and that means National Novel Writing Month. I signed up two years ago and didn’t get very far, but this year, I’m all in. I went to two Boulder region kick off parties, I have eleven write-ins on my calendar, and for the past eight weeks, I’ve started attending the Friday 500 and my biweekly Saturday writers group again. Plus, I’m simultaneously signed up for a novel workshop, which started two weeks ago, so I have to submit pages for that for critique. I am firmly in writing mode and have no excuses to not have a draft completed on November 30.

NaNoWriMo Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: More Ghost Stories

In the spirit of the season, here are three more events from my supposedly haunted house. It’s been a pretty quiet year, though, so don’t expect too much from this post.

Spookiness Level: 1/10
The Situation:
I opened a sample size tub of Hustle Butter Luxe I had and found the tub empty. It was sitting on a side table in my living room for a long time, but I know I didn’t use it.
The Ghostly Explanation: A ghost used it. Colorado is dry and ghosts need to moisturize their, um, non-existent skin too.
The Logical Explanation: It evaporated or a friend used it. Continue reading →

The Sunshine Returns And So Do I

Last Sunday’s snowstorm stripped a lot of our trees well before their time this season. The dying leaves couldn’t stand up to the onslaught of wet, heavy snow and ice. They fell to the ground in large clumps, robbing us of the autumn magic of slowly falling leaves that crunch happily underfoot. When the snow melted a few days later, the bare trees still cast a tone of death over the Front Range.

And we experienced a real death. A man our age that a friend of mine met a while back on a dating app passed away from sepsis. One day he was out working and laughing and enjoying the company of his friends, assuming he had at least 40 more years of life ahead. Two days later he was dead. Continue reading →

Conceding to Mother Nature

Summer may be perfect time to play in the Rocky Mountains, but there’s so much happening that time of year that I sometimes have a hard time getting out of town. So while I did some camping and hiking 14ers in July and August, when fall officially arrived, I suddenly panicked that I didn’t get out there enough. I was overcome by a need to be in the mountains as much as possible before the snow. But sometimes the snow comes sooner than you hope. The weekend of the 6th & 7th brought snow to the mountains and the weekend of the 13th & 14th brought snow to the Front Range. And if it’s snowing down here, you know it’s really dumping up there.  Continue reading →

New Old Name, Identical Unique Personality

As of one hour ago, I officially have a new name. Well, more accurately, I officially have my old name back. I left my ex-husband over seven years ago, but until about two years ago, I didn’t want to go back to my maiden name. My acquired surname was too cool. I liked it for its linguistic complexity and meaning, and I liked it for its difficulty of pronunciation and spelling. But then one day I decided I was over it. Nothing happened, I simply changed my mind. Then I spent a few years thinking about what name I could adopt instead, but that responsibility proved to be too much. Too many options. You can literally change your name to anything you want. Did you know that? Analysis paralysis set in. Eventually, I gave up and decided to take the boring route of going back to my maiden name. And so after waiting months for fingerprints and background checks and court dates, I’ve gone back to who I once was.  Continue reading →

Say What? Edition 8: When Native Speakers Sound Like They Aren’t

My roommate my first year in Russia told me that English was an easy language to start speaking and make yourself decently understood but near impossible to master because of all the idioms, nuance, unexpected pronunciations, and multiple ways of saying everything. No matter how long you speak it, you’re always going to encounter something a native speaker says or writes that baffles you. Russian is the opposite. It has a dense grammar with lots of irregularities that tongue ties you for a long, long time after beginning, but once you’ve got it, you just fly into proficiency. Today, I thought I’d focus on a few of the intricacies of English grammar that I’ve come across recently that I think wouldn’t be so obvious to fluent, non-native speakers or to native speakers, for that matter.

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Just Say No

After a summer of first dates and a steady fling, I’ve been taking some time off from dating. I’m feeling happily solitary at the moment, as you might have surmised from my last post. All I want to do is work out, hike, read, and do creative writing projects. But I still have my dating profile up and look at profiles for a few minutes almost every day. It’s an addiction. Many of the guys I see seem great, but when it comes to the idea of spending my time going to meet someone and making chitchat for an hour or two, I’m simply not interested. And maybe I’m too picky, but men’s profiles make it so easy to reject them. Aside from my usual reasons (has kids, is ex-military, doesn’t seem to have an active lifestyle, doesn’t seem to have any intellectual interests, didn’t write anything in his profile, wearing sunglasses and/or a hat in all his photos, simply not attractive), here are some of the many snap judgment reasons I have for swiping left. Continue reading →

An Autumn Weekend in Central Colorado

Last weekend, Trotsky and I took our first ever solo camping trip. In almost nine years, it’s never been just the two of us. Between trips with partners, casual lovers, friends who live locally, and friends who are far away, finding time to go places on your own is difficult. But last weekend, it happened. Not at first. At first there were several different plans. Meeting some people Saturday, meeting other people Sunday, having a camping companion…but eventually all the plans crumbled and it was just me and the beast. And how wonderful it was! Of course I love travelling with other people, sharing the moments of awe and excitement, experiencing the thrill of getting intimate in an exotic or wild location, and building common memories and bonds, but travelling alone is special in its own way.

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Being Dog’s Best Friend

When I was 21, I spent five months living in India. It was only the second foreign country I had ever been to, and the first was Australia, which didn’t really prepare me for what I was about to encounter. The conditions people existed in—both their own physical bodies and the environment around them—were horrific. People had all manner of rashes, diseases, infections, open wounds, and missing limbs. They lived six people to a single room or two people to a single patch of sidewalk. They were dirty and hungry and desperate. Every time I would walk down the street to run a simple errand or go somewhere, people would touch my light hair or my pale skin, or tug at my clothes and ask if I could help them. It was a shocking but crucial formative experience in my development as a compassionate human being and a critical thinker. Continue reading →

Manufactured Loyalty

Caveat: This post is long and a bit of a ramble. It has a lot of ideas in it that aren’t fully formed and should probably be split into several distinct posts. It’s more of a thought exercise about the role of place in one’s life, which is the focus of a new writing course I’m taking. The point is to get writing and generate ideas without a lot of self-censorship at this point. I’d love to hear thoughts from my readers if anything here resonates with you.

When I was young, I thought Buffalo, NY was the absolute best place in the country to live. Some of the reasons I can remember included:

  • bars were open until 4pm
  • we had a waterfront (although it was undeveloped at the time)
  • we could use Canadian coins interchangeably with American ones
  • our shitty beer was Labatt’s, not Budweiser or Miller

Continue reading →