Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Wow! It has been a while since we've talked, and I'd love to hear all of your updates! School is sort of eating my life right now - which you probably know from Facebook. But! Thanksgiving break has been a very very wonderful thing. I'm now on my fourth draft of one paper, third of another, and I'm very close to being ready to present both! It feels so much better than it did a month ago when I was panicking that I wouldn't have anything to say. Now it's just surviving the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break and that's the easy part!

Anyway, the family and I went to see Big Hero 6 yesterday and it was cute. I'm very excited for lots of upcoming movies so I hope they'll still be around when school is out.

Cassie and I are very crazy and have been working on editing our novel through all of this. That is definitely something I'm thankful for, because it has given me an excuse to take a break more than once (okay, more than LOTS), and it has provided a very good distraction. If we haven't sent you a copy to read, and you want to read it, let us know! We're always looking for more feedback! (Actually, I should probably check that with Cass first, but I'm sort of assuming it's okay?)

As for things I'm thankful for, I'm thankful this crazy semester is almost over, and that I'm almost halfway through this ridiculous program. I'm thankful for everyone who has helped me get through it, because this semester has been particularly hard, mentally and emotionally. I'm thankful that we've all kept in touch so well, and that I got to see ALL of you for the first time in four years.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, I know it isn't practical, because we all have our own traditions, but how much fun would it be to have a friends Thanksgiving? Turkey and stuffing and fancy dinner around a huge table (got to fit in those of you with significant others and all) and just having a really fun time! We seriously need to get together more often, and when all of us are less busy!

I love and miss you all!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Long time, no post!

Hey guys! So, it's been a while, and I have no idea whose turn it is, but I have a "vacation" and two three four papers to procrastinate, so why don't I start us up again. Anybody wanna guess what I want you to talk about?

Yep, it's Thanksgiving week. Let's be thankful again. And give updates, because it has been a while. Just to make sure you're all alive and all :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Time for a Check Up!

Oh, gosh, is that me, then? Kinda had a feeling it might be...

So, we're all super busy, I know, so I'd like to check in, I think.

How's life? What's going on? How are you doing?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tak and the Power of Juju

This was actually a really difficult thing for me to decide.  Seriously, I was getting nervous that I wasn't going to be able to post at all...

But I finally decided on Tak and the Power of Juju.  This is a Playstation 2 game, and it takes place in an ancient world without technology.  The pupanunu people worship the moon goddess, whose power is contained within three magic moonstones housed in the hut of the head shaman.  Tlaloc, an evil shaman who was passed over for head shaman, decides to take his revenge and steal the moonstones so he can destroy (or control, I forget which) the moon goddess and her power.  Prophecies foretold of these happenings, and of the one that would save them: a warrior trained in battle that will relieve Tlaloc of the moonstones and save everyone.

There's just one problem:  the mighty warrior, along with everyone else in the tribe (save the head shaman and you/Tak) have been turned into sheep.  Needless to say, that's not supposed to happen.  The mighty warrior is supposed to be immune from livestock transformations, so right from the start, the player knows something isn't right here.

Yeah, this game has humor out the wazoo, and it's really creative the way it's set up.  Along with the moon goddess, the tribe worship Juju: spirits with special abilities.  At the very beginning of the game, the head shaman is trying to conjure one, and then spots the player in a "magic box" with a strange stick in his/her hand (lol!).  The player is a Juju, basically, and is called upon to help Tak save the tribe and defeat Tlaloc.  Eventually, it's revealed that Tak is, in fact, the mighty warrior of prophecy, not the oaf that the head shaman trained.

But screw that!  I want to be there in place of Tak!  The adventure is really cool, and the world is gorgeous.  The graphics aren't great, but the colors are stellar, and the characters Tak meets along the way are both hilarious and awesome.  There's one island where the people worship chickens (yeah...they do), there are helpful animals all over the place, and some of the magical abilities that Tak acquires throughout the game are really cool.  Tak also gets to talk to the dead a couple times, and lead some mummies through their domain so he can open up a gate into the spirit realm.  I actually haven't beaten this game yet (Tlaloc's an asshole), but maybe if *I* were in there instead of Tak, I would do a better job =P

Video Games!

Yes, yes, the topic is a day late.  So sue me...

Okay, so I know that most of us play video games (with the exception of Cassie), so I want your input on this.  When I was a kid, I would always wonder what it would be like to be sucked into my favorite games and play them out live instead of with a silly controller.  I mean, how awesome would it be to be able to literally walk up to Donald and Goofy in Kingdom Hearts or race alongside the other characters in Mario Kart?  So here's the topic: if you could live inside a video game - play through it live instead of sitting outside it on the couch - which would you prefer and why?  Tell us what your favorite sections of the game would be, how the world is different from our own, and what sort of abilities your game self would have.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grandpa's Tree

And no, I'm not copying Cassie.  I do have a favorite tree, but it's not a particular type.  It is literally a particular tree in a specific place in the world.

My grandfather lived in the same neighborhood as my elementary school.  He, my grandmother, and my uncle cared for my sister and me after school every day, up until Grandma and Grandpa's deaths.  In the backyard of their house, there was a swing set.  It was a simple, unassuming thing - just two swings on a hardy frame that my sister and I spent a lot of time enjoying.  Grandpa would adjust the height of the swing as we grew so that our feet wouldn't hit the ground too much when we swung back down.  I remember how the ground was dug out underneath each swing from our feet, and the retaining wall running along the right side, made of slabs of stone.  I remember, once, my uncle found a bumblebee meandering along that wall, and she had a smaller bumblebee on her back.  I still can't believe that I wanted to squish them.  Then there was a really large shrub behind the swings, at the end of the wall, that we never went near, though I don't remember why.  I miss those swings...

Anyway, to the left of the swing set, there was a bar that my sister and I used to practice our gymnastics (you know, when we were still small enough to use it; it wasn't very far off the ground).  Further left, about ten feet from that bar, were two trees, growing behind the garage.  I have no idea what kind they are, but Grandpa always claimed that he had them specifically planted in his backyard for my sister and me.  Now, my grandfather made up a lot of stories (I cannot even begin to list all the things he did in the armed forces during World War II), but I believed this one wholeheartedly when I was a child, and I'd like to continue believing it.  I guess some evidence to the truth of the story could be that one tree was always taller than the other, though whether it was three years taller (because I'm three years older than my sister), I have no idea.

But this tree is easily my favorite in the whole world.  I don't care if Grandpa put it there specifically for me in his backyard.  The point is that it was my tree, and to be honest, I never realized how much I missed it until I started writing this post.  I don't even know if the tree is still there...

Sycamores and Simpson Garden

Tori posted a topic for us! Yay Tori! :) Good to see you around these parts, my friend!

So, trees, huh? I honestly hadn't really classified a favorite tree before being asked this question. I mean, I like the Christian symbolism of dogwoods, and I have fond memories of climbing an apple tree in Massachusetts and a giant fir tree in my front yard in Illinois, but unlike colors or books or moments involving Neville Longbottom, I never really had a favorite.

But then I started thinking about it, and one of my favorite scents has always been the scent of sycamore trees.

(Side note: Do you know how hard it is to have a favorite scent that is not widely known? Like, how do you describe it to someone else? If I say my favorite scent is roses or campfire smoke or baking bread, everyone knows what I mean. But if I say sycamore trees??? People say "What smell is that?" And it's not like a color or a sound -- I can't just show them or play a recording. And it took me forever to identify what produces the smell I love so much, but I did, and it is sycamore trees. And I'm very sorry I can't carry a vial of that scent with me so everyone can know exactly what I'm talking about, but that is the limitation of today. Maybe in the future. Side note done)

I love the smell of sycamore trees, and they're an interesting looking tree, too, so I'll go ahead and give sycamores the honor. :)

As for memories involving a plant, most of you know, I think, that my grandfather passed away about two years ago. (Side note: I can't believe it's been almost two years.) Well, last year, the family all pitched in to by him a memorial tree that was planted in Simpson Garden Park in Bowling Green. Grandma chose a blue spruce (I think -- I know it's a coniferous tree), so that it would look nice all year round, and there is a wonderful, wonderful plaque in Grandpa's memory. They planted it last year, back by the Japanese water garden (if any of you ever get the chance, go see it) because Simpson was one of Grandpa and Grandma's favorite places to go walking.

Simpson is also where Chase and I are holding our wedding reception, largely because of Grandma and Grandpa. So I know that we will be getting some of our wedding pictures done by Grandpa's tree. We had the chance to go visit when I was in town last, and I'm really glad that we're going to be able to have our reception there, that it's all official now.

So yeah. That's my bit. Hope to see us breathe some life back into this blog! :)

I'm gonna go out on a limb

In fact, I've done it before and it was a fun and rewarding experience. But right now I'd like to know about your inner-arborist. What is your favorite tree? And what is a unique experience you've had involving a plant?

Sunday, August 3, 2014




I realize this is out of order and I realize that I've been pretty sucky with keeping up with you and I'm so sorry I didn't get to talk to y'all when you were all together!

But I would like to tell you all that I do love you very much.

Like, a lot.  Like, oodles.  Like an elephant couldn't trumpet loud enough to express my love and appreciation for you all.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Let's GO somewhere!

OMG it's Saturday and I'm already typing up my post - look at me being productive! (aka, HOLY CRAP librarianship articles are super-dry and I have to read five and a half more in the next few weeks, please, oh, PLEASE give me something else to do!)

A lot of my bucket list involves travel. For starters, I would like to set foot in every one of the fifty states (and stopping for gas and a bathroom on my way through doesn't count). Current estimate is somewhere around half. Then, I would also like to set foot on 6 of the 7 continents, Antarctica not being particularly appealing to me. If I manage to miss them while doing the continents, I would like to be sure to go to Japan, India, New Zealand, Egypt, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia (and possibly Iceland), Northern Canada, Southern France, somewhere in the tropics, and the very tip of South America. And, of course, I would like to go to Harry Potter World, asap. I'm looking into maybe making it in the next year, I hope. Oh, and I want to go on a cruise, preferably an Alaskan one! I'd love to do a spontaneous road trip too, but I'm too much of a planner to really, you know, do it. So basically, if I ever settle down, he'd better like to travel!

Of course, I would also like to live abroad for a while, but I can see that not happening, because it will depend on the kind of job I can get, and if it doesn't happen before I meet someone, well, I can't very well ask them to pick up everything and move thousands of miles away from everyone they know just because I've always dreamed of living somewhere else.

I would like to publish something fictional, but will probably do so under a pen-name so the academic world doesn't look at me like I expressed a love for eating slugs.

I would like the six of us to all go on a vacation getaway together, because wouldn't that be fun! Especially if we went to Harry Potter World! Or a resort somewhere in the tropics!

I would like to meet a celebrity, but not in the disgusting fangirl way, in the "accidentally run into someone you really admire and be able to tell them so" way that never happens.

I would like to attend a Nerd conference, but probably not Comic-con, because that would be too many people, and not enough events that I'd like. Possibly Leaky Con or Book Expo America? Maybe that's still too big, but BEA sounds awesome, so I'd put up with it. AND I want a chance to cosplay. Katie and I were talking about how we should do Emma and Regina, because our hair is right (only mine isn't quite anymore - 8 inches came off on Thursday!)

And the boring stuff: I would like to find a job that I love, someone to settle down with, and have a little cottage with an entire room devoted to a library, in the mountains somewhere with a cat.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bucket List

I have actually given my "Bucket List" a lot of thought.  Most people (or, the ones that like to talk about their bucket lists) put daredevil things like skydiving or hang-gliding on theirs, but given my fear of heights and general anxiety about dangerous situations, those experiences legitimately do not intrigue me.  I guess it would be cool to go parasailing over the ocean, though.

Not that there aren't *any* dangerous things on my Bucket List.  There is definitely one thing that I want to do someday that most people would (and do) look at me like I'm an escapee from an insane asylum for wanting:  I want to swim with sharks.  And not just the bottom-dwelling nurse sharks that hardly ever attack humans.  Those species are cool, but come on now, those aren't *sharks*!  I want to swim with Great Whites in their natural habitat.  I would be in one of those cages, granted, but still.  To see Great Whites in the wild is my ultimate dream.

I also want to take a couple of trips.  The first (and probably most exciting for most of you to read about) is a week-long trip to Florida to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  And yes, I want the entire week to be devoted to that single attraction.  The other parks are great, but it's WWHP that I really want to take my time through and see in its entirety, and if it takes an entire week to do it, so be it  =)

I also want to see the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in America.  I know, surprise surprise, right?

A European tour is also on my list, though it's more like an English Isles tour.  I would prefer to stay out of places that don't speak English.  Mom really wants to see Italy, so I would be more than happy to go there with her, but I am more attracted to England, Scotland, and Ireland.  In particular, I want to be sitting in a pub during and England v. New Zealand rugby game (the only sport I'll tolerate), and I want to see a particular rock formation in Ireland.  This being a public blog, however, I will keep this destination under wraps for privacy reasons.  I really just want to explore the Isles and see the pretty scenery and bustling cities.

There are also a lot of shows I want to see.  I want to see a Broadway musical, ideally Wicked or Hairspray (though I know that means actually going to New York City, which scares the living daylights out of me), I want to see a comedian live (Jeff Dunham, Ron White, Bill Engvall just to name a few), and I want to attend a metal concert of one of my favorite bands.  Ideally it would be Nightwish, but they usually only tour Europe, so that might get tricky.  Oh, and Celtic Woman.  I really want to see Celtic Woman live.

I want to be "read" by a psychic at some point too.  I know most of them are frauds, but it would be cool to see if I could find someone legit.  I believe in the skill, I just don't believe that most of the people who claim it are telling the truth.

Falling in love would be nice, too...

Most would see my Bucket List as pretty boring, but again, I'm the opposite of the daredevil type, so one isn't going to find anything overly dangerous on it (with the exception of the whole shark thing).  But that's it.  You now know some of my life goals =)

Bucket Lists

Have we done Bucket Lists yet? Let's do Bucket Lists.

Where do you want to go, what do you want to accomplish, what do you want to see before the end of your life?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I don't care either

This is me NOT CARING about anything LeBron does with his life. I have much more important things to care about. Like articles that aren't getting written because I'm caring too much about putting my characters into situations that they will be unhappy about. And the fact that August is approaching like a brick wall at the speed of light, and I'm slightly worried that I'm gonna go splat.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I Don't Care

So Anne took my post last week, so I'm taking Maggie's week this week, and Maggie can have next week, and so on.

But yes, for a topic:

I cannot possibly express how much I don't care about Lebron James and his return to Cleveland. That is all. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Okay, first things first, JK Rowling just published MAJOR new info over on Pottermore, and we should talk about it, like, ASAP, so I can complain about how much she's screwing with my next gen headcanons, but that's not today's topic, so. Here are today's questions.

We've been doing this off and on for a whole year now!  (Okay a year and two months. Another birthday we kind of missed.)  What has changed for you in that year?  Do you like how this project is going?  Is there anything you would change?

I like how this has been going, honestly. Yes, there are weeks we all disappear, yes some of us disappear longer than others, but personally, I feel like this is a pretty low pressure project. Like, if we miss a few weeks, I don't feel like anyone takes it as an insult. We are very understanding of the idea that everyone is super busy, and sometimes blog posting falls by the wayside. 

As for how I've changed in that time, well, I finally got up my courage and moved out of Bowling Green. And I know now that I can be successful somewhere else. I have what it takes to make it. But I do miss Ohio and my family and all of you. I've learned a lot from the job I'm holding now, especially that I'm not cut out for it long-term, but also a lot about where my strengths and passions really are.

It's summer!  Woohoo!  What is your favorite summer pastime, and why?

I like to swim, and I like to travel.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Jobs and Swimming Pools

Option 1:  We've been doing this off and on for a whole year now!  (Okay a year and two months. Another birthday we kind of missed.)  What has changed for you in that year?  Do you like how this project is going?  Is there anything you would change?

I positively love this project.  Granted, we've all missed out on topics and postings, but overall, I think it's been pretty successful.  What I would change, however, is more contact with each other outside of the blog.  We kicked around the idea this past weekend of doing a Google chat (or whatever it's called) once a month or something, and I love that idea.  If someone shows or tells me how it would work, I am totally down for it.  Especially if we do a book club type of thing.

A lot has changed for me during the past year or so.  Loving and losing, for one, but I won't discuss that here.  Larger, more positive changes start with me getting my paralegal degree.  I truly enjoyed paralegal school at Lakeland, and I'm thinking about getting in touch with a couple of my old instructors and asking if they need someone to speak about how the program actually does work.  When I was there, there were complaints from the students that the program was essentially useless.  Thoughts on that idea?

Without that additional education, time-consuming as it was, I wouldn't be working today.  The Clerk of Courts called me out of the blue from viewing my resume online at Lakeland's website, and now I have a full-time job doing something that uses both my criminal justice and paralegal concentrations.  The job is difficult - I will probably be in training for about six months - but it has the potential to be fulfilling not only in the short run but also in the long run.

Because, let's face it, judges don't last forever.  There are only a certain number of terms that a judge can serve in Ohio before they age out.  The judge has...two?...more years of her current four-year term left, and then if she gets re-elected at the end of her term, she'll have another four years to go.  Usually, when new judges are elected, the first thing they do is throw their weight around and initiate a new regime.  Once a new judge is elected, all employees should essentially be worried about keeping their job.  However, the judge has told me before that if someone develops a good reputation in this area, finding something else shouldn't be a problem.

Option 2:  It's summer!  Woohoo!  What is your favorite summer pastime, and why?

My favorite summer pastime, hands-down, is swimming.  When my little sister and I were children, we were babysat by our grandparents every day.  We would walk to the local community pool by ourselves (only about half a block) and swim all afternoon.  I don't know what it is about being in the water, whether it's the weightlessness or the feeling of freedom, but I have always loved to swim.  It's also an awesome workout, and if there was a cheap way to do it around here, I totally would.


I had an awesome weekend with all of you.  I love and miss you guys, and I hope everyone had / has safe travels home.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Birthdays!

Hey ladies! We've all been missing for almost a MONTH! Can you believe it?

Firstly, we need to get some business out of the way - we had a birthday to celebrate yesterday! Yay for Cassie! And, our country's birthday is today! WOOHOO! [enough exclamation points yet?!]

And, since it's Friday and I'm posting anyway, I'mma assign ya'll a topic. You have two options, and you can address one or both. Eventually, it'd be nice if everyone voiced an opinion on option 1, but you don't necessarily have to do it in public.

Option 1: We've been doing this off and on for a whole year now! (Okay a year and two months. Another birthday we kind of missed.) What has changed for you in that year? Do you like how this project is going? Is there anything you would change?

Option 2: It's summer! Woohoo! What is your favorite summer pastime, and why?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not quite a stranger

Hey Zoe.

Your project sounds all kinds of fascinating, and I totally want to hear all about the final product. I hope you don't mind me writing to you, but Jimmy's my ride home, he's not done with his homework yet, and as my no-good, lousy Peace Corp brother has been to busy to write me lately, I don't have anything else to do.

And hey. You know, I might qualify as a stranger. (This is Caela Worthen, BTW) I mean, we've gone to school together for, what 11 years, but I would call us no more than acquaintances. So, maybe you can use this letter for something? I dunno. Just passing the time. Also, like I said, super interested.

So! Questions!

1. What is your name? Caela Worthen. Yes, I know that's an unusual spelling. My mother, for some reason, felt like she had to give her children normal (ish -- I mean, my brother's name is Rhyder, and Rider isn't that common, I guess) names with strange spellings. My little sister? Is Emmaleigh. 

2. What is your quest? Passing English 12.

3. Were you expecting this question to be about the air speed velocity of pigeons? You mean swallows, I think? And no, I was expecting "What is your favorite color?" It is green, if you wondered.

4. What is your Myers-Briggs personality type? Yeah, Jimmy was telling me about this. You took the quiz in your Soc class, yeah? I don't know off the top of my head, because I don't know that much about it, but a quick consult with Jimmy identifies me (according to him) as ISTP. So, that.

5. When was the last time you read your horoscope? Yeah, I don't do that.

6. How do you feel about unicorns? Not nearly as strongly as I did when I was eight. Which is probably true for most teenage girls, I think.

7. Describe your best friend in ten words. Skinny Jewish boy, likes to pretend to be other people.

8. What is your opinion of the Oxford Comma? The what now?

9. Where did you find this letter? Cuppa Joe's.

10. Do you want me to reply? Sure? I mean, spend more time on your actual people or whatever, but respond if you like. :)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Page 4


First of all, you seem far too advanced for a child as young as you claim to be.  Your letter made me very nervous and suspicious because my daughter is your age (or, your alleged age) and at the top of her class, yet I am positive that she is not yet capable of the diction and syntax of which you are capable.  Therefore, I’m choosing to end our correspondence here because I believe you to be some sort of criminal, fishing for a victim.  You are not, certainly, a high school student.  I do not believe there is a "project," at least not one of the nature you describe, and if I were you, I would be very, very careful of how I proceed.  I have taken your original letter and replaced it with this one, and by the time you read this, you letter will have been thoroughly examined by me and my colleagues at the San Diego Detective Bureau.


Detective-Sergeant Melody LeGrange (Badge #555)
San Diego Police Department

Creativity Jump Start

Well, since Anne went on about how good I am at posting topics, I feel a little bad that I didn't get one up yesterday, but in my defense, I got home from work and then immediately went on Date Night with Chase to see Emotional Devastation, The Movie  sorry, The Fault in Our Stars. And it was absolutely amazing, and I came home with a headache from crying, and then Chase and I sat down to watch episode two of season three of Sherlock because it's finally on Netflix, but work and church haven't given us time to actually start watching it until Thursday. It is likewise amazing, and Sherlock is precious, and The Sign of Three might be my favorite episode that they've done.

But you want a topic. And it seems like a fair number of us want to jump in and write this summer, so I'm going to give you a writing prompt, and you can do whatever you like with it. Apologies to Anne, who has already, technically, fulfilled this prompt (but I am interested to see how you might choose to fill it again).

Imagine that you (or a character you create) are visiting an establishment of some sort in San Diego. And there, on a shelf or a table or stuck to the wall is a manila envelope with the words "READ ME!" written in highlighter on the front. Intrigued, you go to the envelope and pull out the following letter. How do you (or your character) respond? (Your post this week should be your response). Have fun!

September 29

Like Alice when she fell down her rabbit hole, you have decided to follow the instructions written upon a random item, and have thus launched yourself upon An Adventure!
But don’t worry, I beg you. I can almost 100% guarantee that the results of reading a letter marked ‘Read Me’ will be far less confusing and trippy than eating a cookie marked ‘Eat Me.’ Nothing can be entirely guaranteed in this life, of course, but I swear that should you start to feel as if you’ve changed several times since this morning, and if that feeling should then unsettle you, you may inform me that I am nothing more than a pack of cards, and our time together can come to an end.
My name is Zoe, dear reader, and You have been invited (from my perspective in the future)/are being invited (from your perspective in your own personal present) to participate in a social experiment.
At this moment in time, two choices lie before you. If you want nothing more to do with me and my strangeness, you may fold this letter up and return it to the location whence you found it, its remaining pages unread. However, if your curiosity has been piqued, you may continue onto page 2. Another choice will then lie before you.

Page 2
Still with me? Excellent. I am thrilled to hear it.
As I said, you are a participant in a Social Experiment. Allow me to provide some details for you: I am seventeen, a junior in high school, and, most relevantly, a student in Mr. Zephran’s Sociology class, and he has instructed the 28 of us to develop and implement a Social Experiment.
Now, most of my classmates are going to stand backwards in elevators, and this kid in my class, Jimmy, will probably organize a flash mob a la Improv Everywhere, but I have this problem with making people uncomfortable. I really hate doing it. In fact, I will do almost anything in my power to help alleviate any discomfort being suffered by any person in my general vicinity. Do you see the problem? The majority of social experiments require making people uncomfortable.
So, I have developed an experiment that avoids that, or at least avoids my proximity to it.
(But seriously. If you’re uncomfortable, stop reading. I do honestly mean that.)
In seven strategic locations around the city of San Diego, I have placed these letters for strangers to find. If you’ve read this far, what happens next is up to you. You can take up the challenge and continue with the experiment, or you can not. If you accept the challenge, turn to page 3. If not, turn to page 4. In either case, thank you excessively for your time, and please. Have a fabulous day.

Zoe Ballard

Page 3

Taking up the challenge! I’m so excited! Or, just here to hear the challenge before you make up your mind? Fair enough. That makes a lot of sense, dear stranger. I like the way you think.

The Challenge:
    Write me a letter. My name and address are on the back of this page. Don’t get excited – it’s a PO Box I took out for this purpose. I’m trusting you, stranger, but not that much. I have family to think about. But that’s it. My social experiment is as simple as that. Write a letter to a stranger. You know my name, my age, that I live in San Diego, and who my Sociology professor is. You also know I’m a little bit nuts. But I am, to you, a stranger. Are you willing to write a letter to a stranger? If so, answer the questions below. If not, see you on Page 4.

1. What is your name?
2. What is your quest?
3. Were you expecting this question to be about the air speed velocity of pigeons?
4. What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?
5. When was the last time you read your horoscope?
6. How do you feel about unicorns?
7. Describe your best friend in ten words.
8. What is your opinion of the Oxford Comma?
9. Where did you find this letter?
10. Do you want me to reply?

I look forward most genuinely to hearing from you!

Page 4

You have chosen not to participate in the challenge. I understand, honestly, I do. Please take one of the blank slips of paper in this envelope, fill in the blanks of the sentence printed below, replace the slip in the envelope, and go about your beautiful and happy life, dear stranger! And in case you are wondering, I will remove the envelope from this location in two weeks’ time, should you change your mind.

Hey, Zoe. You seem ________________________________. Your letter made me ______________________________ because _______________________________. But I’m choosing to end our correspondence here because ________________________________________. I wish you and your project nothing but ______________________________________________!

Sincerely, _____________________________

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Guess what! I could yell Katie's name right now and she would HEAR ME! We're living in the same house! It's exciting!

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy. First, I went to NYC for a conference at NYU. We went a few days early and did some touristy stuff with the family (like a walking tour of the Lower East Side with samples of the foods all the immigrant groups would have eaten!). We went to see a show called A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, and if you ever get the chance, you should see it - it's billed as Downton Abbey meets Sweeney Todd, which it is but way funnier. I also made a point of visiting The Strand Bookstore, which advertises that it has 18 miles of shelving, and HOLY CRAP I could not live anywhere near NYC, because with how easy it is to get there by metro, I'd spend all my money. Sadly there was no red moleskine next to Franny and Zoey. Being a geek, I had to check, right? Anyway, then I gave my paper at the conference and it went really well - the moderator for my panel (who is a well-known and highly respected scholar in the field) suggested I revise my paper and submit it to the journal, so I may be a published scholar by this time next year (if I get my butt in gear, that is).

So, Monday we drove back from New Jersey, and I spent all of 15 hours in my parents' house sleeping and repacking before coming to Cleveland for my internship. Basically, it's REALLY COOL. I have an official badge thingy that gets me into everywhere (except for the archival storage which needs a badge AND a key, but there's a key I can sign out, so basically I can go anywhere). I got to take a tour of the whole museum, plus all the behind the scenes stuff, like the wall in the security entrance hall where they have all the famous people sign - I found Samuel L. Jackson, for example, who signed it when he came on a day off from filming The Avengers last summer! My internship is actually in a different building, so I don't get to see the famous people or any of that (and even if I did, I had to sign a professionalism contract saying that I wouldn't fangirl over all the famous people), but even working offsite at the library building, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a really nice place to work. Everyone has been incredibly nice, especially since I keep having to bug them to fix things, like my badge, which at first would only let me in the back door, so if I went in the stairwells, I would get stuck until somebody rescued me - PROBLEM! lol. If this weren't temporary, unpaid, and, well, an internship, I would want to stay here indefinitely (though in my own house. Sorry, Katie!)

Anyway, that's my update since we didn't have a prompt. Speaking of which WHERE IS EVERYBODY?! And did you know we passed one year as of the beginning of June? I know it's totally not my turn, but I do have a prompt idea, so unless anybody vehemently objects I'll probably post it tomorrow evening if there's nothing up yet. I'm not even sure whose turn it actually is... (oh hey, it's posted! It's Cassie's turn, and she's usually good about getting in prompts, so I'll save it :)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer Writing

I would love to get back into writing this summer.  I have a million ideas swarming through my head right now, and they're dying to get out.  Granted, a lot of those are just character designs, which means drawing them instead of writing them, but the story ideas are getting more and more elaborate.

For instance, that Wonderful Wizard of Oz retelling I've been talking about for years?  Yeah, it's expanded now to include not only Wonderland (which I think I've mentioned before), but also Neverland and the Darling children.  From the way things are going in my head right now, the Neverland story would not be modernized the way the Wonderland story would be.  Wendy and her brothers would go to Neverland back in whatever-time-period England, and their adventure would be a prelude to Dorothy's adventure in Oz and Alice's adventure in Wonderland.  How?  I have no idea, but my head is slowly working on that.

Then there's the story with characters designed loosely after all of us, with all those creatures and cryptids.  Random characters keep getting added on.  A boyfriend here, a crush there, another random-but-helpful mysterious person...Basically, there are so many that the story itself has been mentally shelved (or, at least, I've attempted to mentally shelve it) until I can make more sense of it.  I've also been entertaining the idea of setting the story in a time period similar to King Arthur's, with pretty dresses, knights, and ancient weapons.  One of the characters would be a homeless beggar making change by entertaining the public with their gift, while another is a duke or duchess who fears using their power at the risk of being dethroned.  There is an inherent flaw in this plan, however, since most of the creatures I've researched are modern myths, so I don't really know where to go from there.

So yes, lots of ideas, but nowhere for them to go right now.  My new job is pretty damn cool, though it is extremely hectic at times and makes me want to pull my hair out.  As all of you know, I live by a routine and a schedule, and when something interrupts that routine or schedule, I get stressed out.  This job, however, is nothing but interruptions.  Things change from one minute to the next, and I have to adjust accordingly.  It's stressful right now, but I think in the long run, it'll help me with my life outside of work.  I like it a lot, but I'm happy for weekends as well because I get a chance to rest.  I'm also looking forward to the judge coming back from her vacation on Wednesday.  I've missed her and her guard dog, and it's been strange trying to adjust not only to a new job, but to accommodate the visiting judges as well.

I love you guys!  I hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Young aspiring (but very amateur) author, seeking other amateur authors for a summer of fun writing project(s). Open to experimentation, but most familiar with the "letter-gaming" or "Nanowrimo" format.

Yeah, I was gonna get more creative with that and then ran out of ideas. Seriously though, IT'S SUMMER (wouldn't Olaf be psyched!) I have many projects on tap for the summer, but one of the big ones is reconnecting with some of the hobbies that I had to give up on during the year - writing, for example. Trouble is, I don't have anything started, and I'm not in the mood for editing (it's a bit too close to what I do for my "job" aka being a student). So, I was wondering if one of you beautiful ladies would be interested in embarking on a summer-long writing project. I have one condition: it has to be done (or able to be put on hold) as of August 22nd, because I cannot guarantee time to work on anything other than school once it starts back up again. I am happy to try a letter game (or a modified letter game - wouldn't it be interesting to do a letter game through a blog?), trading of prompts/chapters, or any other writing thing you wish to suggest, as long as it falls within the time frame. I honestly just want to get excited about writing again.

I know we're all busy "adults" now. I would love to do this with one of you lovely ladies, but if, say for example, you can't, but you have a friend who was just saying the other day how they wished they could do something similar, I would be most grateful if you would pass that info along. If nothing else, perhaps I'll sign up for July's Camp Nano this year.

Hope you are all doing well, I miss you dearly, and I apologize for going MIA for a bit. I needed to detox after the semester and had exactly zero ideas for topic suggestions.

P.S. Anyone know anything about Maggie or Tori? I haven't heard from either in a really long time.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Job Stuff

So, I failed to post on my own topic. But after reading Katie's post (yay! job!), I thought I'd talk about my own new job. I just started on Monday, and at first I was a little unsure about it. I'd been trying to get into Clemson since I graduated, and right after accepting the new job, Clemson had given me a call to interview for a part time, grant money sensitive position.

I decided not to interview for Clemson, mostly because I was really excited about working with Peggy, my supervisor, and from whom I'll be taking over certain responsibilities. The position is also full time as a contractor with the possibility of being hired by the company, and I really wanted some stability vs what Clemson was offering.

I didn't realize until I started working there, but the company is global. It's HUGE, and that's a little overwhelming. The drive is also an hour through heavily populated traffic, and that's not fun at all. But I'm really liking working in a communications department and putting my degree to work.

James and I will be moving in June, which will cut the drive in half. I'll still have to deal with heavily populated traffic, just not as much of it. The work schedule at the office is also flexible, and I'm getting into the office at 7:30 most days just to beat the really bad traffic. So once I get more situated in job responsibilities, I'll be seeing if I can move my hours to 7:30 to 4 with a half hour lunch. I'll also have the option to work from home twice a week.

So, I'm expecting to get cozy here. And I'm excited to see what the future weeks bring.

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Octopus Brain

NEW JOB.  I want to blog about my new job first.  I was hired this past Monday as Chief Bailiff for one of the local Municipal Courts.  I can already tell that I'm getting used to my new place, and that I'm learning.  I was really worried when I accepted the job because my part-time Deputy Bailiffs are all at least 40 years older than me, retired cops, and they've worked at the courthouse as bailiffs for years.  I was worried because I was told that they're old-school, so they might not take kindly to having a twenty-something, five-foot-one female as their boss.  Thankfully, I can tell it's not going to  be an issue.  All of "my guys" are great, and they've been very helpful teaching me the ropes and helping me adjust to my new job.

Basically, my first and foremost concern is the judge's safety and happiness.  Whatever she needs, I am in charge of getting it or delegating someone else to get it.  I am required to be armed, so I'll be looking into CCW classes and purchasing a gun.  There have already been a couple of defendants who have made me nervous, and all I could think was, "If he charges the bench, there's nothing I can do."  I hate feeling so helpless, so getting that firearm cannot come soon enough.  Luckily, the judge has a ninety-one-pound German Shepherd that she takes into the courtroom with her because she's had some threats, and I love this dog.  Whenever someone gets too close to the bench or goes where they're not supposed to (with the exception of the bailiffs and court personnel), she goes ballistic and barks her pretty head off.  Good girl!

I already have some plans for how I'm going to run things, so we'll see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

SCHOOL.  My Paralegal Certificate is over, and although I haven't checked grades yet, I'm pretty sure I did well.  I'm glad it's over.  I am registered right now for a class in the fall, but I'm probably going to drop it.  I love to learn, but I'm a little sick of school right now.

MEDIA.  Just last night, a teaser trailer hit YouTube for a live-action version of Cinderella!  I hear Cate Blanchett is in it.  I am excited.

I have also gotten myself to be excited about Maleficent.  I really dislike Angelina Jolie, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to go and see it, but the more trailers I see, the more I like it.  It's dark, the special effects look killer, and Jolie sounds like she nails this role.

I would like to gab about Once Upon a Time and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I'm behind on both of those shows, so I can't say much =(

I'm sure there's more, but that's all that I can think about right now.  Everyone in the family is doing well.  My little sister is in the police academy, her boyfriend is a full-time cop for a busy jurisdiction, and all the pets are happy and healthy.  Mom and I are both working all day now, so we're trying to make that work.  It's harder to get things done now, since there isn't someone at the house all day anymore =P

Love you guys!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fan-Canon and Experimental Storytelling

Anything we want, eh? Okay. I'm gonna talk about Kissing in the Rain. The webseries, that is. Not the act of kissing in the rain.*

Kissing in the Rain is a twelve-episode webseries in two parts, produced by Shipwrecked Comedy, and created and directed by one Yulin Kuang. It stars Mary Kate Wiles (from LBD), Sean Persaud, Sinead Persaud, and Sairus Graham.

The premise is simple: two couples keep finding themselves kissing in the rain. The fun part? Both couples are actors, filming scenes from movies where they keep finding themselves kissing in the rain. Then the director yells "Cut!" and we get to see the actors interact with each other.

The first seven episodes follow Lily and James (yes, that's a Harry Potter reference), who hate each other, and the last five follow Audrey and Henry, who are the most adorable dorks ever of all time. An episode is posted every Monday, and a short drabble accompanies each episode.

But here's where it gets really fun.

Yulin, the creator, wanted to create an experiment in how fandom contributes to a story. And so, with the first episode, she initiated a fan-canon experiment. She invited the fans of the show to watch, then write fiction or commentary or headcanons about the characters and post them all to a common tag on Tumblr.

Then, each week, before the new episode airs, she goes through the tag, reads all the posts, and chooses ones to become canon. These get reblogged to the official Tumblr and become part of the reality of the universe.

This project is fascinating to me. And it's not quite as overwhelming as it sounds.

Here are a bunch of links!

Shipwreck on Youtube, where you can find the episodes
Shipwrecked on Tumblr, where you can find the canon elements
The KitR tag on Tumblr, where you can find all the fan contributions
The KitR archivist tag on Tumblr, where you can find weekly summaries of canon info
Yulin's Tumblr

*Personally, I think the act of kissing in the rain is a bit overrated, you know? I mean, I enjoy kissing as much as the next non-asexual person, but I much prefer to do it without getting drenched, if such a thing can be at all avoided.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Topic: Anything

This week's topic is talk about anything you want! Whatever is on your mind / tickles your fancy. Go!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Missing Plots

I'm going off topic here, but I wanted to talk about stories I'd love to write but that I don't currently have any plot ideas for.

I want to write Albus Potter's first year at Hogwarts where he goes through this identity crisis as he ends up in a house different from his parents and older brother. And now that he knows the two people he was named after, he tries to find out who they are. He in turn spends a lot of time trying to figure out who he is - taking certain risks - and learning that he doesn't have to live up to anyone, just be himself.

I want to write about one year during Teddy Lupin's education at Hogwarts where he's particularly moody and his grades and personal life is slipping. Remus and Tonks are "sent back" so that only Teddy can see them, and they try to help him pick up the pieces and build a relationship with him among all the anger he has toward them.

I want to write a modernization of the Music Man set in high school, where Harold is this rebellious teen who charms all the teaches into giving him passing grades before he moves on to the next school and Marian is a tutor who sees right through him.

I want to write a Frozen fanfic where one of Han's older brothers visits Elsa kingdom to ensure relations between their two kingdoms is stable, and eventually they fall in love.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Grad school math

3 papers + 1 exam + 1 presentation / 4 days = 0 blog posts from Anne.

 Sorry! We'll catch up this summer, I promise.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Huh?  I looked around on the site and still don't completely understand what tropes are, and the articles I found seem almost completely nonsensical or talking about absolutely nothing.  Am I missing something here?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lose Yourself in Tropes

So, is a fun procrastinatory black hole. Seriously, you can go and get lost in there for ages. So go. Look around. Find some tropes you enjoy. Or some you hate. And talk about them.

Need a jumping off place? Fun fact: Matthew's self-published novel has a TVTropes page. You can start there. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

3 weeks and counting

Busy, 3 weeks left of semester, late, etc. etc.

So, I would tell you about what I'm gonna do this summer, but Katie kinda covered it. I doubt we'll get to ALL the things she's decided we'll do, but it's nice to have a list.

Otherwise, I'll be working three days a week at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives. I also have a part time position lined up (if it's still there *crosses fingers*) at New York & Co. to make a little extra money. Besides that, I will be doing lots of studying things like teaching myself German (so I don't have to take a class for my second language proficiency), reading all the film music books I can get my hands on, AND watching and annotating as many superhero films as possible, including transcriptions of all the tracks/themes and where/when they show up (so I don't have to do it later when I want to use this stuff for my dissertation). OH, and I'm taking one online class besides the internship - if I'm already paying tuition, might as well do another class, since it's not that much more money. Add in all of Katie's plans and the hour's commute each direction to the internship and, well, I'm sure I can sleep when I'm dead, right? :P

I kid, but really, I'm looking forward to summer. Even though about the same amount of time will be taken up with working as would be with school, I won't have anything to take home with me, meaning I can work on my own projects. Well, in theory anyways. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Way to miss your own topic there, Katie...

What I love most about summer is that I no longer feel trapped in the house.  I know the heat can get really assaulting, but it still doesn't keep people inside the way the deep chill of winter does.  Even when it's 90 degrees, I am still able to go out and do things.  Wildlife is more active as well, and there's more happy sunlight :-)

Plans this summer are both boring and exciting.  The boring part is that I plan on finding a job ASAP and working full-time to build my career.  I'm excited for this, but let's face it, work is boring.

But Anne is going to be here this summer!  Mom and I have brainstormed what we're going to do.  There's all kinds of stuff to see in downtown and the surrounding area, for instance.  We have yet to see the aquarium (don't know how that's happened), there's a pretty good zoo here, and various museums.  There's also a section of Amish country that's close enough to take a day trip, not to mention the downtown are of my hometown (FYI, it's adorable).  Mom and I have been taking walks every day since it warmed up, so that will probably continue unless it's too hot, and the dogs deserve a couple of walks as well.  A friend of mine has a camper, and I enjoy going out there for an evening to relax around their fire pit.  I also want to really get into drawing again.  I'm sad that I've been too busy to indulge in that hobby.

In short, after such a brutal winter, I plan on enjoying every second of this summer that I can.  Sitting out on the front porch or the back deck with the dogs, wearing flip-flops as often as possible, and maybe even enjoying a little nightlife.  I'm not letting the beautiful weather slip by me the way I did last year.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Summer's Coming!

The weather has finally broken here in northeastern Ohio!  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and cleaning up after the dogs in the yard has become a weekly chore.  I, for one, am looking forward to the summer months with great gusto.  So, what are everyone's plans for the summer?  Any vacations to exotic locations?  Will you be working this summer?  Will you be on a stay-cation?  And what is it you like most (or least) about summer?

Sorry this topic is kinda lame.  I ran out of ideas...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pipe Dreams

Before I get started on the topic at hand, can I just give a shout-out to TORI!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  I love you bunches and I'm so happy you were born!

Otay, now...

OPTION B:  Where do I see myself in 5 - 10 years?  By the end of five-years-from-now, I would like to have my own place, in a nice neighborhood, furnished just the way I want, and the money / job to keep it up.  I want to be working somewhere that I love, and building a long-term career.  I want a bedroom large enough to house the king-sized bedroom set that I will be buying off of Mom, I want a second bedroom that will become a nerd cave and art studio, and I (possibly) want a third bedroom where my current bed set will sit as a spare bedroom.  I want this third bedroom so I can keep the door closed from the cats, that way anyone allergic to kitties (i.e., Cassie) can stay with me without worrying about their allergies getting unbearable.  I want a nice kitchen with stainless steel appliances, including a garbage disposal and dishwasher, and granite counters, a double basin sink, and a separate pantry.  The living room will, hopefully, have a wall large enough to house my entertainment center.  There will be a kitty condo in every room (save the spare bedroom), kitty toys scattered about the hardwood floors, and squashy furniture where I can settle in and read a book, draw, or watch TV.  At that point, I also hope to have my CCW permit and handgun.  Basically, I want to be independent, plain and simple.

I love and miss you guys!  I hope everyone is doing well!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The future is both scary and exciting

It's my week to choose again, and for the second week in a row, I'm planning ahead! I'm so proud of myself.

This week, for me, has been all about planning my future - what classes am I taking next fall, can my summer internship count for credit, how many more YEARS of coursework do I have, how can I get the school to allow me to do a minor that might not exist after next year (aka how do I hack the system) etc. etc. So, I want you to talk about your futures! But, since I couldn't decide and it's kind of close to a few topics we've already done, I'm going to give you three options.

Option A: Do you have a bucket list and when is its end-date (i.e. "10 things I want to do before I'm 35")? Describe 2-3 things on it, tell us why/where you got the ideas, and how you see yourself accomplishing them.

Option B: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? (Admittedly this is similar to the "what's your 5 year plan" topic, though now, of course, I can't find the topic prompt for that... Anyways, if you did that one, then choose one of the others) It's okay if these plans are entirely fantastical - I mean, I keep telling myself I'm gonna be done with coursework in 2.5 years, and frankly, that's overly optimistic. And let's face it, my dream job will probably never happen.

Option C: Everyone always talks about what they want to tell their 10 or 15-year-old self - what would you like to tell your future self?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Summer IS coming despite what the weather says

So, no topic means updates, right? Normally I don't have much to say for updates, but this week I do have a kinda big one, so I'll share (though you may have seen it on Facebook, in which case, sorry, but I'm super excited!)

Last week, I finally accepted an internship for this summer! I will be interning at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives from June to August, cataloging one of their LP collections. They need it badly, since they have maybe half of one shelf of vinyl cataloged total. Suffice to say I am going to be BUSY. And that means, I get to move in with Katie for the summer! WOOHOO!  :-)

Since this past week was spring break I went over to Cleveland to try to get a (paying) job for the summer, and I already have one offer for a part-time thing at the mall. I haven't officially accepted it yet, because there's a library job going only a little bit further away and I'd like to put my name in for that at least. I doubt I'll get it because they're probably looking for someone more permanent, but on the off chance I might, I'd like to try. That looks WAY better on my resume than part-time at a clothing store (not that there's anything wrong with part-time at a clothing store, but it's definitely not on my personal career path).

One other short tidbit before I go try to remember how to brain again after spring break - remember when I told you all I got a paper accepted to a conference in New York? Well, the topic is BBC's Sherlock and as a dry-run, I will be presenting it to Dr. Diehl's class (this semester's topic is Sherlock Holmes and I am insanely jealous!) on April 21st. I haven't run this by him yet, but if you are in BG at that time (say, visiting for Easter) I would love to have you come and heckle me. I need all the heckling I can get to make this paper really good for my first "big-people's" conference state-side!

Okay ladies, have a good weekend! (Aren't you proud of me for posting on time for the first time in FOREVER?!)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Apparently I am perpetually late

Oops, sorry, yadda yadda, thing an' a thing, you know the drill.

For most of the week I was at a loss for what to post. I have a lot of memories from childhood because I have a pretty good memory, but I don't think there are any that I would specifically call "favorite." My past is my past, and it's over with - I don't tend to dwell on it unless it's bad and the bad-ness was my fault. But I *do* have one memory that is pretty unusual, so that's what you get.

When I was younger, my family loved to go on camping trips. Not just "park the RV in a state park somewhere," but "huge tent in the middle of nowhere, sometimes with no nearby showers and only pit toilets" camping (we maintain that the other kind is cheating). So, one time, when I was about 8 or 9, we went across the border to camp on the Canadian side of... Lake Huron, I believe, but it might have been Lake Erie. When you're that little, specifics of where you are aren't that important. This park was right on the lake with a pretty beach and sand dunes and lots of trails for hiking.

The night before we left there wasn't a cloud in the sky, so we decided to walk down to this overlook and watch the sunset. It was beautiful - all pinks and purples and peaches over the lake. It took a while for the sun to go completely down, but it went straight down into the water. And then, just as the sun slipped below the horizon, in the exact place where it had been, a purple column rose. It was a vibrant purple, the kind of color you rarely see in nature. The column was pretty far away, but it looked almost exactly like a ghost ship rising out of the water and setting sail for the night. I borrowed a nice lady's binoculars to get a better look, but it didn't help much - the shape was still fairly unclear.

Those with less imagination would probably be able to tell you exactly what kind of cloud formation it was, and why the refracting light from the sun made it such an eerie purple under the bright orange sky. But I maintain that I saw a ghost ship, rising from its sunken depths to roam the lake in darkness.

Oh, and I was supposed to do earliest. I will swear up and down that my earliest memory is of riding the train into Disney World, seeing a little girl with Mickey Ears on, and deciding my life was incomplete without a pair of my own. My mother says that while this is exactly what happened, I must be remembering it from people telling me (I doubt it) because I was only about 1 1/2 years old at the time.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brothers and Popsicles

My earliest memory is of falling down the stairs. I was two or three (though if I was three, this is not, in fact, my earliest memory), and as I remember it, there was a tornado coming, so we had to go down to the basement. My parents assure me that this is not true, that I was just going down to the basement to play, and I will acknowledge that they are probably right and I'm combining it with other memories in that house because basement=tornadoes in Illinois.

Anyway, I was going to the basement, and I had a popsicle in my hand, and I slipped and I fell all the way to the bottom. BUT! I saved my popsicle. It did not touch the ground once. And yet, my father took it away to replace it, but he replaced it with an orange popsicle, and the first one had been a cherry popsicle, and I didn't like the orange ones, and I was very upset.

I am intrigued that I remember the flavor of the popsicles in question but not whether or not there was a tornado.

My favorite childhood memory involves my brothers, which is an interesting statement if you know much about my childhood relationship with Matthew and Jeffrey. In short, we didn't get along.

But one summer, when I was about eight, we spent an entire afternoon in my bedroom, listening to Tom Chapin tapes and acting out the songs with my stuffed animals. It was a rare occasion free from sibling animosity, so I remember it very fondly.


And no, I'm not talking about the alcohol :-P

When I was five years old, and Angie was two, we were riding in the car with Mom in the way home from our grandfather's house, as he took care of us when we got off school every day. It was mid-May, around Mothers' Day, so it was warm enough to be outside, and people were walking their dogs. We turned down our street, and we see a dog being walked by its owner. I don't remember a thing about the dog or the people, just that both Angie and I turned to Mom and asked her (again) if we could get a doggie.

"No," Mom said, "I will be the one who ends up taking care of it."

Of course, being kids who REALLY wanted a dog and not understanding the amount of work that goes into caring for one, we insisted that no, *we* would do everything. But again, Mom said no, so Angie and I pouted for the remaining one minute of our ride home.

We got home, and when I walked into the house, lo and behold, there was a tiny puppy hiding behind my father's legs!  She was completely brown with a black nose and ears - a mix of Australian herding breeds and some terrier. Mom named her Kahlua because of her brown coloring, and she was our faithful, loving, obedient, and protective companion for fifteen years. I will never forget the way she stood firmly next to me when my first boyfriend came over to visit (I should have dumped him then), or the way she knew where the boundaries of her lawn were without being told, even when we moved. She once bowled Angie right over when she attempted to dash between her legs, and she would sit tall on the back porch and wait on the squirrels that would yell at her from the electrical wires and tree branches. We still miss her very dearly, even with three dogs in the house. As all pet owners know, your heart has room for many, but when one is lost, that hole cannot be filled.

Mom had no idea that Dad had picked up Kahlua that day. Turns out, she had told him earlier that year that, for Mothers' Day, she either wanted another baby or a puppy. Kahlua was Dad's answer to that question :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Topic.  Sorry, it's a few days late ><

What is your earliest/favorite childhood memory?

So I have 2.  The first is from when I was like 3, and I am pretty sure that I don't actually remember it, I've just heard it so many times that I think I remember it.

So. .  . . I was in the bath chillin' and my mom walked out to get a towel because I was done and wanted to go outside to play.  (I couldn't I had just taken a bath and it was bed time.)  So while my mom was out getting a towel, well I decided to go outside and play.  So I did.  I got out of the tube and went outside. Naked. And grabbed my wheelbarrow.

Yeah.  Sorry of my childhood.  What? I'm not supposed to do that? Well, let me do it in way that's 20 times worse than if you had just let me get my way.

I do remember most of my preschool year.  Including one time when I cut my finger and had to go to the nurse for a band-aid. And then got in trouble for cutting my finger 'cause I was playing with scissors.

One of my favorite memories is from a birthday party.  Maybe 1 or 2 grade.  I was still friends with a girl that I later came to despise, so it was very early in grade school.  Anyways, she gave me this hideous sweater and when I opened the package my first reaction was to go "Ewwww. What is this?'  My mom very quickly reprimanded me. I looked at her and turned tot he girl who gave it to me (the girl I later came to hate) and said. "Sorry.  Thanks. I love it."  I don't know why I think this memory is so funny, but it makes me laugh. Maybe because I went from hating it to loving it.

Yep.  So those are my memories.  Can't wait to hear yours.


Hey Katie, at least you weren't the LAST to post on this topic! In my defense (and it's a pretty poor one) I was suffering from severe spring-break-itis on Thursday and could barely bring myself to do anything that WASN'T getting ready to get out of dodge. BUT, now that I have had a whole day off to myself and am sitting down to start on all the millions of school-related things that must get done over spring break (what do you mean, spring break isn't called "catch-up week"?) I'm realizing I didn't post on one of the posts that should be the easiest to write. Oops. In penance (and procrastination) I will answer extra questions from the list.

Day 03 - The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Adult: Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.
YA/MG: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Day 04 - Your favourite book or series ever
I figure Harry Potter is a given, so I'm going to go in a different direction. I have read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern four times since I first discovered it approximately two years ago (twice by audiobook, which Jim Dale reads absolutely beautifully). You must all read it. Then, once you have, you are all invited to a midnight dinner at my place, because I SO want to have a Night Circus themed party someday. Or perhaps this could be the theme of our "Meet in the Middle" project?

Day 15 - Your "comfort" book
The Neverending Story, hands down.

Day 25 - Any five books from your "to be read" stack
This is probably NOT the best one to pick, because my "to-read" shelf on GoodReads is over 700 books long. In order to narrow it down, I've picked five sequels that I really need to get to, like, yesterday.
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Dark Triumph by Robin LeFevers
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
[The sad part is I either own or have checked out of the library all but one of these books since last August. Some of them I have checked out more than once. *facepalm*]

Day 39 - Favourite place to read? Can you read on a bus/car/train?
I can read anywhere. I'd prefer to read in a small space with a blanket, warmth, and very few people, because I get easily distracted by people walking by - in the car while someone else is driving is perfect! I hate to seem anti-social (I have enough trouble making friends as it is) so I tend to look up any time anyone goes past, unless I'm absolutely certain I'm somewhere where I won't run into anyone I know. That makes it hard to make any progress on reading, and gets too frustrating for me to really get into the story and enjoy it.

Day 49 - If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
This is a hard one. I can, and do on occasion, read in French, just because I think French is beautiful. However, I would prefer to read a novel in its original language if I could, so since many of my favorites were originally written in German, I would love to learn that (and I'm working on it as my second language for my degree, woohoo!). Also, someday I think it would be fun to learn Japanese so I could read manga in its original form. (And since I love languages, why don't we throw in Gaelic and Italian too - no, I'm not an overachiever, why do you ask?)

Day 55 - Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Most disappointing film adaptation?
As a kid, I loved the film The Secret Garden (Dickon was CUTE, y'all!). Recently I liked Stardust because even though it didn't stick to the letter of the original, it kept to the spirit of it. Also, the most recent one I saw was Austenland and it was adorabibble and terrible at the same time and I loved it. Most disappointing? I dunno, I have a pretty easy time of separating books from movies so I never feel like a movie completely failed. I had a few complaints about some of the Harry Potter adaptations I guess.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Failure at it's Finest

So it's still Saturday the 8th, right?  Because that's when I was supposed to post.  Fail...

Day 03:  The best book you've read in the last 12 months.

Basic Wills, Trusts, and Estates for Paralegals by Jeffrey A. Helewitz.

*snork*  No, no, that's just my smart-ass way of saying that I haven't had much time for "fun" reading throughout the past year because I've been in school.  In all seriousness, the best book I've read in the past year or so is The Diviners by Libba Bray (thanks, Anne!).  This book is set in the 1920s, the premise being that there is a series of murders occurring in New York City, and the main character, Evangeline (or Evi, as most call her), helps to solve them with a neat little gift she's had for the past few years.  Turns out that there are young people all across NYC with little gifts, and no two are alike (i.e., diviners).  So far the characters have not all come across one another; some still don't know about others, and it'll be interesting to see how they meet each other throughout the series.  This book is creepy as all get-out and hella interesting and I am very excited for the rest of the series.

Day 12:  A book or series of books you've read more than five times.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  Enough said.

Day 13:  My favorite children's book.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  I was *hooked* on this book as a kid.  When I was in preschool, we had story time every day, and every day, I would walk up to my teacher and request that this book be read.  I didn't care that it had been read to us every day of the week already.  I wanted to hear it again.

Day 25:  Any five books from my to-be-read stack.

So thanks to Anne, I have a number of book series started, but none of them have gotten past the first novel.  Here are all of the "book twos" I plan on reading at some point:

1.) Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, the sequel to her Throne of Glass.
2.) Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (released in March of 2015), the sequel to her Seraphina.
3.) Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the sequel to her Divergent.
4.) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, the sequel to her Cinder.
5.) Dark Triumph by Robin LeFevers, the sequel to her Grave Mercy.

Okay, so maybe five wasn't enough...

6.) The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher, the sequel to her Knightley Academy.

And one more, that Anne *didn't* recommend to me =P

7.) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, the final book of The Hunger Games series.

There are others, but I should probably stop there, but I will mention that I've written down almost all the of the books that you guys have recommended in past posts =D

Day 27:  If a book contains __________, you will always read it (and books or series of books that contain it).

Dragons, dragons, dragons!  If dragons exist in a book, I am more likely to want to read it.  I think dragons are the most fascinating and widely interpreted mythical creatures in the world, and I love them.  Maybe it's because I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon, or maybe it's because I have a fascination with all animals, real or mythical, but dragons have always captured and kept my imagination and interest.  Dragons are a huge part of the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini (damn good books), and the Seraphina series by Rachel Hartman.  Not to mention The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  The only exception so far is Game of Thrones...probably not gonna happen...

Day 50:  The most intimidating book you've ever read?  The most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?

Emma by Jane Austen.  Have you seen the size of that book?!  It's huge!

Day 55:  Your favorite and your most disappointing film adaptation.

My favorite film adaptation to a novel is probably Northanger Abbey, original work by Jane Austen, starring J.J. Feild as Henry Tilney and Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland.  The film-makers did an amazing job of portraying Tilney and his teasing, playful personality as well as the contrast between Tilney and the anti-heroes around him (namely John Thorpe, Austen's obligatory sleazebag, and General Tilney, Henry's father).  In a big city where innocent little Catherine is easily taken by people with questionable morals, she finds the gem of Henry Tilney, who shows her that trust can still be found, even in the most unlikely of places.  And she reads way too many novels, by the way.

My least-favorite film adaptation is Eragon, original work by Christopher Paolini and the first book in his Inheritance series.  Gracious, how Fox f***ed this up...there are missing characters, plot holes, inaccuracies galore, and why oh why does Saphina have wings like a bird?!  The book specifically talks about the membranes of her wings and how they are punctured and broken at various points during altercations, and the way they warm Eragon when she protectively drapes them over him at night.  Plus, it's just a stupid idea!  Dragons are reptiles!  They don't have feathers!  I realize it's a fantasy novel, but there is still such a thing as biological accuracy.  And I hear they're trying to make an Eldest movie, after the second book in the series.  How?!  There are so many missing characters and plot holes to the first one that they've buried themselves into a hole that they can't possibly expect to climb out of!

So yes, terribly sorry for posting late.  Life has been a bit insane.  As an aside, I was offered a job today.  It's for the local Municipal Court as a file clerk.  I don't know if I want the job, honestly, but I'm starting to think that maybe I should just go for it and see if something better pops up down the road.  It'll at least be a stepping stone, right?  What makes me feel guilty about doing that is that, from what I hear, everyone working there right now has been there for at least two years.  Jobs there don't have a high turnover rate.  They're a family, and they've thought enough of me to be a part of that family, so I feel bad thinking that I'll just keep the job for a few months and then find something "better."  I won't unload my entire thinking process here.  Suffice it to say I have a lot to ponder.

I love you guys!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

YAY, Books!

Day 02 - A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about.

I really like The Star Shards Chronicles. I originally found them in a bargain bin in a book store, so I assume they weren't selling well. But they looked interesting, and I read them, and I love them. And I wish more people knew about them an loved them as well.

Day 07 - Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise

When a character does something out of character or something completely illogical for the sake of the plot. It just completely ruins the story for me, especially if it's a series. Usually, if it's just one book, I can look past it (as long as it only happens once), but I've given up on book series when they employ that plot gimmick way too many times. Sorry, I was enjoying you, but no.

Day 26 - OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending

Tess of the D'urbervilles. WTF? Seriously.

Day 32 - Bad book habit? Do you ever dog-ear books? Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Not even with textbooks?

As most of you girls know, I'm very meticulous about taking care of my books. I don't dog-ear them, I don't crease spines, I don't write in the margins, and I don't use my dust jackets as bookmarks. But I do skip to the last page of every book to read the ending before I've actually gotten all the way through it. Every single book, the only exception being the Harry Potter series.

Day 40 - What is your policy on book lending?

Only if I know you are trustworthy enough to give it back or if I don't care about the book enough to care if you give it back.

Day 55 - Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Most disappointing film adaptation?

Favorite - honestly, any movie adaptation that I prefer to the book.
Most Disappointing - Ella Enchanted. Excuse me while I go cry in the corner.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Your Eyes Do Not Deceive You

OMG? WHAT? MAGGIE?  Where the hell did you come from?

. . . . Hi!  Soooooooooooooo, it's been a while, 'cause I'm awful at remembering to post.  I usually am thinking of you guys and I go, "Oh yeah, I need to post." And then it never happens. 

Story of my life.  

Anyways. On with the questions!!!

Day 01 - A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)  

Lemony Snicket  -You did not need 13 books.  I understand why you wanted them but the middle few are just painful to get through. 

There's a Manga called X-day.  It was only 2 volumes but it was freaking amazing and I wished they did more with it!  The ending, while realistic and fitting with the tone and the mood of the series (oooohhh look at me getting all English teacher-y), wasn't as satisfying as one would hope.  

Day 25 - Any five books from your "to be read" stack

1. Divergent 
2. Night
3. The Wave
4. Fahrenheit 451 

*All 4 of these are books we are reading in English 10 and I need to read them . . . not that it's really happening but you know.  I tried.

5. Shatterglass
*OMG I LOVE TAMORA PERICE - this is the last book in the Circle Opens quartet and I don't want it to end!!!

Day 40 - What is your policy on book lending?

They can keep it for all I care.   I very rarely re-read books.  It's hard enough for me to read through them the first time.  Honestly my policy is if I can't remember what you borrowed, then obviously I didn't care that much.  Now - this does not apply to ANY of my signed copies of books.  That's why you buy a non-signed copy. 

Day 52 - Favorite fictional villain?

Umbridge - she unites people in hatred against her. . . no one likes that bitch. 

Day 54 - What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Everything.  Literally anything. . .oh shiny. . .sorry what was I saying?  Right I get super distrac

Day 55 - Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Most disappointing film adaptation?

Ok my favorite adaptation isn't of a novel per se - it's a graphic novel.  Batman: Under The Red Hood.  It was brilliant, wonderful. As a stand alone and with background.  They did a great job filling things in for people who are so-so with Batman, but stuck so true to the story line, and got such good actors that for a veteran like me it was like reading the book for the first time all over again. 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters : WTF Why is Kronos alive? What the hell? Who is that? Is that supposed to be . . . ?  Are you freaking serious?  *Summary of my watching experience* 

Day 56 - The most money I've ever spent in the book shop at one time?

Don't want to talk about it. 

OK, well.  I miss you all terrible and hope to see you soon!!!  

LOVE!!!!!!! Mags