Posts by Jen Seriously

Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Jennifer’s passion for reading began at the tender age of 3 when she enjoyed flipping through her father’s electronics catalogs to pick out the words she knew. That budding obsession with the written word progressed into late nights under the bed covers with books and a flashlight – and a reputation as the only child to be reprimanded for reading. As an adult, she found she still loved to read more than write, but is working on creating more of a balance between the two. She can be found 80 percent of the year in beautiful Boulder, Colorado hiking with her Finnish Lapphund, and the rest of the year travelling to exciting destinations, both domestic and international.

Ghosts of Colorado Past

At the end of June, I flew my dad out from Buffalo for a little visit. The last time he was here, four years ago, I lived in downtown Denver, by Union Station, so we did a lot of city activities. This time, I’m a Boulder gal and much more outdoorsy, so the itinerary was quite different. We made a huge loop from Boulder to Glenwood Springs, down to Ouray and Durango, across to South Fork, and then back up to Boulder. We visited some natural wonders, like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes National Park, but the main purpose of the trip was to check out old mining towns. My plans were somewhat thwarted by the massive dumps of snow Colorado had all winter, even as late as June 21, which meant some of the back country roads I wanted to take to get to the most remote places were still closed the last weekend of June. But we got to roam around plenty of places that were good fodder for the imagination. And I’m sure my dad was happy that he was saved from more jostling around in my SUV than he already got.

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Chi-Town, Take Two

Despite my love of big cities, I somehow didn’t make it to Chicago until I was 35 and then never made it back. So when Solar had a week long conference there—giving me a free place to stay right on the river—I decided to join. Why not? And when he suggested we extend the stay through the weekend since he has friends there we could stay with, again, why not? And so my United rewards ticket carried me off. With the exceptions of the view of Trump tower from my hotel and the weird sewage smells that hit my nostrils from time to time as I roamed the city, the trip was fantastic. Every day brought fun experiences, and here are the three best days.

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The Half Year Book Report (#5)

Here are the books I finished from January 1 through June 30 2019. Of particular note is that I just discovered Curtis Sittenfeld and clearly enjoy her work, since I read two of her books this period and am in the middle of a third. And then got to meet her at LitFest, along with some other wonderful authors Helen McDonald, Erika L Sanchez, Melissa Febos, and Ross Gay. Curtis was as lovely as her writing is. But…the highlight of LitFest was meeting my favorite, favorite, favorite essayist Sloane Crosley! She came right up to my table as I was enjoying the pre-panel discussion catering and we chatted for a few minutes. If I lived in NYC, I’d want to be her best friend. She’s just so cool!  Continue reading →

Faster Every Year

After basically not running all winter, I ran three races in four weeks and hit some exciting personal bests. But doing well makes me want to do even better, so I’ve signed up for the 14 mile Devil on the Divide race on September 7. It features 3,300 ft of elevation gain with a summit at 13,200 feet. Every summer weekend I’m not hiking a 14er (which is never going to happen because they’re all still covered in snow!), I’ll be running up Flagstaff, Sunshine, Four Mile, Magnolia, and all the other Boulder roads that head straight up from the canyon floor into the foothills. But why get ahead of myself? That race is many months away, so right now I should be celebrating this year’s early wins!

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The Art of the Sale

Last summer when I went to visit my friend Melissa on the east coast, I was plunged into  nostalgia. Partly because we spent a few days at her family’s house on the Jersey shore, where she and I lived during the summer of ’99, but also because she and her mom were having a garage sale my first day there. Garage sales were a big part of my youth. My family would often stop at sales on the way home from church summer Sundays, and we’d have a huge sale ourselves one weekend every year. But after spending much of my twenties living overseas, many of my American cultural habits faded away. Going to garage sales was one of them.

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It’s a Record!

No, not a running record (but stay tuned for that post soon) – a work record! I’m about to break my full time job tenure record. As of this Thursday, I’ll have been at LogRhythm for 3 years. I lasted 2 years and 11 months at the job before this one, although in theory I could have lasted longer if they hadn’t shut down. Before that, I lasted 2 years and 1 month. And before that, I did a bunch of random part time jobs while in grad school and bounced around from country to country teaching English. Being in a job this long is most unusual for me. Continue reading →

Say What? Edition 9: A Motley Collection

I’ve been keeping lists of weird things about English for a while. And by keeping lists, I mean that I write down one thing I think of and tell myself I should look for similar irregularities and fill the list so I can blog about the topic, but I never do. So, I’m cleaning out my blog drafts and putting all these oddball pronunciations and meanings and other bits of language that caught my interest into a single post. If you think of any examples that fit into these categories, I’d love to hear what they are!

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One Year of Dating

One year ago, I dipped my toe back into the dating pool after spending some time recovering from a rather shocking and heart-wrenching breakup. Most people I went out with were Bumble matches. A lot of people get down on online dating, but I’ve always found it be better than meeting a random person in a bar. Like social media, it’s all about how you use it and how much value you assign to the interactions you have with it. I’m a casual dater who generally just has fun with it. It also helps that I’m a writer because even if there is no romantic connection, I enjoy listening to people’s life stories. I’ve gathered so much material from all the people I’ve met. And I met a lot of people over the last 365 days. Let’s count them.

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It’s Just Something In My Eye

Back on April 28th, Trotsky and I hiked up to the Eagle’s View in Reynold’s Park. When we got to the 250 degree view at the top with a sea of green trees below and unique rock formations poking through and the snow-capped Rockies way out in the distance, I must have gotten a little dirt in my eyes because they got red and watery. Okay, okay, fine. I confess. I teared up. I had waited so, so, so long for this winter to be over, to be able to linger in the sunshine at the top of a trail and not hurriedly push through, shoulders hunched against the cold. To inhale the scent of the pine needles with every step and listen to the birds singing about the arrival of spring. To find a dry spot to sit down and share a picnic with my old dog. I was unbelievably happy in that moment and got a little carried away.

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The Novel: Which Critiques (Don’t) Matter

I now have a complete manuscript of my debut novel, a contemporary young adult story. Complete, of course, means that I still have another full edit to do over the summer…and then probably another one after I start to query in the fall. My first task is to incorporate the remaining comments I have from the Lighthouse critique group I’ve been going to since October. This group has been invaluable in pointing out legitimate plot holes, helping me understand reader reactions, and getting me unstuck when I couldn’t seem to move forward. I never would have finished without my peers and especially without the facilitator. In addition, some of us branched off into our own writing group, which helps me continue to find motivation through dedicated writing time and having people to bounce ideas off whose opinions I value and who know my story.  Continue reading →