Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

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This month went by super fast! There was one tree at the beginning of the month in the lot where I park at work that had shed all its leaves (as if to say, “Come on, you guys – it’s time! Don’t be late!” I feel like that tree understands me.), but now they’re all turning/shedding. And I love it.

November has been busy, but happy busy. I had a minor writing delay when my laptop crashed, but my sister and brother-in-law gave me one of theirs, so I’m back on a roll, and just in time for the holidays! Here’s how the month went.

What I’m into reading or listening to:

  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram is a gem of a book. I love the perspective and the sweet friendship he forges when he goes to see his family.
  • I’m getting through Anna Karenina. I recognize that I’m in no position to critique a translation from Russian, as I do not know a lick of Russian, but I’m going to critique it anyway. I’m liking the story line and character development, but I frequently run across a passage where I think, “I bet that was beautiful in Russian. Too bad this phrasing is awkward and awful.” I may check a copy out of the library and see if that goes better.
  • I attending the UNT Jazz Singers’ fall concert/CD release party and picked up their new collection called A Thousand Nights. Highly recommend.

a thousand nights

What I’m into doing:

  • A Club Pilates location opened in Denton, and I am obsessed. I love Pilates on the reformer machines! If you’re in or near Denton, and you’re curious, you can take a free, 30-minute intro session.
  • Our Housing holiday party was fantastic. It was beautiful, the food was awesome, and they gifted everyone with a free ham or turkey. As you can see in the picture at the top, I couldn’t decide what to drink. So many choices. I made them all.
  • I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family. We only made four kinds of candy this year (one didn’t make it into buckets because it was only a small batch). I only suffered a minor burn, which is better than I usually do. I think my family actually enjoys the chocolate-covered salted peanut or pecan clusters I make to use up the excess chocolate more than they like the actual candy.
  • Speaking of chocolates, I refreshed our fair trade stash at church and put out a table with samples of chocolate, coffee, and tea. Hopefully the information I collected there can help guide our purchases better so that the products get bought before they go stale.

What I’m looking forward to:

  • There is a coffee crawl scheduled next weekend, and I’m very excited about it. It’s a fundraiser for the Explorium (a children’s museum in Denton), and I am happy to drink coffee to support them.
  • I’m also very excited about Christmas break. I am looking forward to having that time off.

What are you into these days?

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Friday Five3

By the time this post goes live, I will be up to my elbows in chocolate, celebrating our day-after-Thanksgiving ritual of making Christmas candy. But I wanted to share a few things I ran into on the internet this week (and a little bit of last week).

  1. Addie Zierman’s piece on feeding yourself (and issues involved therein) is a timely reminder. I love the simplicity of the question: Is this about connection or disconnection? It seems my habits are healthier when I approach food that way.
  2. In the wake of Stan Lee’s passing, there were many amazing tributes made. Fredrik Backman’s might be my favorite.
  3. The New York Times release their 100 notable books of 2018 list, and now I want to just sit in my reading chair and read them all (well, most of them). Okay, so it’s not just NOW that I want to do that. It’s always. I can’t blame NYT for that.
  4. Joy the Baker’s creamy smoked Gouda Brussels sprouts may be something that I need to make for my family this Christmas. Or make for myself this coming Monday. Whatever.
  5. I am feeling the draw of writer residencies. Specifically, I am feeling the draw of the Steinbeck Fellow Program and the New Orleans Writers’ Residency. Applications are due soon. Gotta get on it.

Share some things you’ve discovered recently!

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The Case of the Missing Pen
(that was just here one ^*&#%!@ minute ago)

I have learned in my short year of being a cubicle dweller that there are very few things in life that you can count on. Officemates cannot be trusted to make a fresh pot when they finish the last cup. Drawers and cabinets will be inexplicably left ajar. That report will not be on your desk on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., even though you desperately need it to be there in order to review it in time and not look like an idiot at the 1:30 meeting.

In fact, the only thing I can truly depend on is that, if I am not in my seat at 9:00 a.m., I will get a cheery text from Megan that reads, “Are we meant to experience the pleasure of your company today?” Which I guess is nicer than “Get your @$$ to work, you &$^#(*! slacker.”

What I really wish I could depend on is that when I leave my pen in one place that it will remain in that one place until I need it again. Alas, that is apparently not a reasonable expectation.

Eleven months ago, when I placed my first supply order for my desk, the office manager read over it and cackled. Once he recovered from his fit, he scratched out my naive order of three different pens, patted me on the shoulder and said, “I’ll just order you two boxes of each. For starters.”

He may have saved my life.

On a typical day, I lose three to five pens. I will put my pen down, but it will not be there when I go to pick it up. I don’t quite know how this happens, but I am committed to getting to the bottom of it.

First, the suspects. Usually, this loss occurs when I have walked away from my desk, so it could be any one who has access to my workspace. Coworkers. Supervisors. Passersby from other departments. Customers on their way to meet with the bosses. It could be anybody.

Second, the motivation. Do my coworkers see my absence as an invitation to come and hang out by my desk, during which gathering one of them will inevitably have a thought they can’t afford to lose and therefore grab my pen and scurry away with it, scribbling furiously on a notepad? Is there one lone offender who covets my pens so ferociously that a pen lingering unattended on my desk is too much temptation to avoid? Does the thrill of petty theft make customers who wander through feel alive?

Third, the evidence. Gathering proof is tricky. I could enlist an accomplice who watches my desk when I’m not around, but the drawback is that for all I know, I could be asking for help from the perpetrator. I could set up a hidden camera, but I’m sure legal would have issues with that. I could take my pen with me everywhere I go, but then who’s to say other things wouldn’t start to go missing?

I imagine all my pens hanging out together, somewhere, trapped and afraid because they know they’re not where they’re really supposed to be. Do they think I’ve abandoned them? Forgotten all about them? I most assuredly have not. Why, just this morning, I was about to read this report when…what’s that lump under there? Hey! My pen!

Case solved. Until next time.


During October, I’m writing a short story a day. Click to see the master list.

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What I'm Into

I had to use the picture of ice cream because I just had my first snow cone of the season on Friday. That’s usually more of a May thing. Clearly, I’m slacking.

June was chaotic but mostly the fun kind. I traveled a little and worked a lot and played as much as possible.  Here’s what June looked like:

Favorite things to watch/read:

  • Michelle and I have decided to watch Supernatural together, because we are both scaredy cats but also we love the actors on this show. This way, we can watch the boys with their adorable quips and adorable etc. with someone who won’t make fun of us if we happen to watch it through the holes in the knitted blanket we’re hiding behind.
  • Inspired by this list, I am starting the whole Arrow/Flash/Supergirl/etc.-verse over again and watching it in order. I’m about to start The Flash again, and I am ridiculously excited about it.
  • Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers is my favorite book I finished this month. I love Kaur’s poetry. I recommend starting this book at an outdoor jazz festival and catching snippets of it on lazy afternoons sipping craft beer.
  • Leigh Kramer’s A Storied Life is wonderful. I definitely ugly-cried toward the end, so you should be prepared for that.

Favorite events:

  • I drove to Virginia to attend the writer’s retreat at God’s Whisper Farm (next year is June 21-23, if you want to go ahead and mark it on your calendar now). It was the first time I have driven halfway across the country by myself and the first time I led a workshop at a writer’s retreat. It was relaxing and inspiring and I recommend it to everyone.
  • I finished a rough draft of my Fishbowl manuscript. I won’t allow myself to touch it officially until September when I read through it and give it a first round of edits. Ever the loophole seeker, however, I have a pile of notes that I keep jotting down for when I tackle it seriously again. For now, I’m basking in the first step.
  • I got to help Hope with her tabling event at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship assembly in Dallas. Getting paid to lure people with chocolate and talk about trade and coffee and hang out with Hope? Sign me up always.

Random favorites:

  • Pear liqueur. It may be my new favorite thing. Mix with pineapple/mango juice. Or whiskey.
  • Seeing students get more involved in civic events. We have had quite a few around town lately, and it’s exciting to see a bit of a younger crowd there.

What I’m looking forward to:

  • 3rd annual Hemingway party coming up this month. We’re going super easy (but always delicious) on the food and super plentiful on the hooch. You’re welcome, neighbors. Also, come on over.
  • 24in48 readathon! Few things thrill me as much as a weekend where I don’t leave the house (except for that one thing I’m leaving the house to do that weekend).

What are you into lately? I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer – hop over there to read more and add your two cents!

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Friday Five 4

Welcome to Friday, everyone. You did it! You survived the week. Hopefully it wasn’t too difficult.

I love these things:

Hope the rest of your Friday goes smoothly and you enjoy your weekend!

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Friday Five 4

Drive-by posting after a long week. Here are some fun things from the intrawebs this week:

  1. 50 Mums, 50 Kids, 1 Extra Chromosome. I defy you to watch this and not get sniffly.
  2. Save your mascara wands to save wildlife. There’s an address at the end of the video.
  3. The music lessons your parents forced you to take did good things for you. The thing missing from this list? They gave you music.
  4. I have long been skeptical about microwaved mug brownies. Leigh Kramer proved me wrong. This brownie is awesome.
  5. And I know it’s not for a while, but APRIL 5 IS NATIONAL CARAMEL DAY AND BETH MARIE’S IS DOING A THING.

This weekend, I’m going to rest and read and probably watch The Wire. Have a good weekend, everyone!

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Last month went by super fast, and it looked a lot different from January. In January, I read, walked, wrote, and played voraciously. Feverishly, even. In February, I fell into more of a sustainable rhythm, and I think it’s a good one. I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, but I have plotted out some time in the near future to remedy that.

Three Favorite Meals:

  • I made taco spaghetti for my Masterminds writing group gathering, and it was delicious. You can check out the recipe, but basically take all the things you put in a taco shell and throw it on top of pasta. DELICIOUS.
  • My brother-in-law made omelettes and buckwheat pancakes for my sister’s birthday. It was super filling and glorious.
  • I have been craving peanut butter and jelly all month. In related news, I think I ate more bread in February than I ate in the previous three months combined. Not the healthiest choice, but my bank account sure liked it.

Three Favorite Events:

  • My supper club met after a loooong hiatus. We came to my house and had waffles. There may have also been croissants and Nutella. So. Much. Nutella. It was good to hang out with folks.
  • I finally got to see the Communication department’s production of What We Talk About When We Talk About Race. They wrote the production together based on conversations they had over dinner (and many wines). It did not disappoint.
  • My sister turned 40! We spent the day together, eating and shopping and watching The Greatest Showman.

Three Random Favorites:

  • Redken’s No Blow Dry Just Right Cream. It tames my waves without making my hair crunchy, and it makes my head smell like a bouquet of gardenias. I am in love.
  • The blanket I’m knitting (see above). I have been looking for something to put on my bed, and I can’t find anything that I like, so I just decided to make it. A year later, it’s almost finished.
  • Midweek Lenten services. We are using Holden Evening Prayer, which is one of my favorite services of the year. I even got to cantor last week, which was a neat experience.

Three Things I’m Looking Forward To:

  • March is a great month. Not only is it Staff Appreciation Month at UNT (i.e., free food aplenty and lots of events on campus), but it’s also my birth month! Happy!
  • I get a little break starting next week. I’m going to use my days off to go to the old school reunion at the club one weekend and visit my parents the next.
  • I’ve started my final push to finish my Fishbowl manuscript. I’m averaging 1,000 words a day until it’s done. So far, so good!

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over and see what others are into!

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This post has been edited from its original form to exclude extraneous, navel-gazey drivel and include commentary from Witty Guy, who actually became a fun online friend.

Let’s say that you have a lot of time on your hands, and the world wide web at your disposal.

Let’s say that, in your urge to entertain yourself, you weave through the labyrinth that is livejournal, through your interests and friends…and through people who share those interests and friends.

Let’s say that, in said weavings, you run across a witty friend of a friend of a coworker’s dog (or something like that).

Let’s say that this new-found witty guy (oh…didn’t I mention he was male? No? Huh. Must’ve slipped my mind) also happens to be fairly attractive. Scruffy, even. Right up your alley.

[WG: Aw, shucks. I’m blushing. I’m a little upset that I’ve never been told that you like my face, since that’s apparently your go-to move. But whatevs.]

Let’s say that he also posted his address. In a public post. And he’s local…ish.

[WG: Ah, back when I was young and stupid. Why…]

Let’s say that you comment on this wealth of information that is, quite literally, at your fingertips in your livejournal, say something like “rawr,” and then promptly forget about it (you do, after all, have a short attention span).

[WG: HA! I forgot about that. I don’t remember you flirting, though. You were like, “Dude. Your address is showing.” I thought you were bossy. I remember being offended. 
Me: That’s an accurate assessment. I do enjoy being bossy. You took it down, though, so apparently you like being bossed. I regret nothing. And I probably saved your life. So YOU’RE WELCOME.]

Fast forward one week or so.

Let’s say that you are engaged in a conversation with the coworker (whose friend is Witty Guy’s friend) about online communities, and you mention that you have a livejournal and tell him/her your screenname.

Let’s say that this same coworker, whilst actually reading your livejournal (which people seldom do even if they say they will, so this was surprising.) runs across the post wherein you mentioned the scruffy hotness that is Witty Guy.

[WG: Really? I always read people’s blogs when I say I’m going to.
Me: Me, too. I think we’re outliers, though.
WG: We would be.]

Let’s say that this very same coworker suddenly develops a need to meet with you for coffee.

Let’s say that you have a coffee fetish and, thus, readily agree.

Let’s say that you show up at the agreed-upon coffee shop and scan the room for Coworker.

Let’s say that you see him/her.

Let’s say that s/he is not alone.

[WG: Oo! Is it me?!]

Let’s say that there is someone scruffy and, judging by the way Coworker is laughing, witty sitting at the table with him/her.

[WG: It is! It’s me!]

Let’s say that you consider fleeing, but don’t. Because hey – you could really use a cup of coffee right about now.

Let’s say that you wave to your sneaky traitor of a coworker and nonverbally indicate that you’re going to order coffee and seek to regain feeling in your legs.

Let’s say that Coworker cheerfully waves back, and his/her companion turns around.

Let’s say that this moment is glorious but did nothing for your legs.

[WG: You like my face. 
Me: I did.
WG: It’s ok. You can say it.
WG: You don’t have to, though. We both know it’s true.
Me: ...literally just said…never mind.]

Let’s say that you stumble dart walk normally to the counter and order a bottomless cup of coffee.

Let’s say that, while waiting for your cup, you are simultaneously planning something witty to say to Witty Guy and plotting the demise of Coworker.

Let’s say that you get your coffee and walk to the table.

Let’s say that you manage to sit down without spilling anything on yourself or others.

Let’s say that Coworker claimed to have forgotten that s/he had plans with both of you, so s/he decided to just combine said plans.

Let’s say that Coworker is a horrible liar, and it’s clear that both you and Witty Guy understand this. *cue raised eyebrows and knowing glances*

[WG: Least sneaky person ever.]

Let’s say that Witty Guy’s online picture does not do him justice at all.

[WG: You like my…
Me: Stop being needy.]

Let’s say that you, on the other hand, didn’t even bother to comb your hair before arrival.

[WG: I don’t remember this. Your hair looked fine. Probably.]

Let’s say that Witty Guy, it turns out, is also Kind Guy, and doesn’t seem to mind.

[WG: Oblivious guy. Who possibly wasn’t looking at your hair.]

Let’s say that, lucky for Coworker, you all have a very, very good time drinking many, many cups of coffee.

[WG: So much coffee.]

Let’s say that, although there was talk of “doing this again sometime,” there was no actual exchange of contact information.

Let’s say that, after Witty Guy leaves, Coworker huffs at you, “Why didn’t you ask for his phone number?”

Let’s say that sometimes you use sarcasm to avoid confrontation and that this is one of those times, so you quip, “Why do I need his phone number? I already have his address.”


Let’s say that Coworker thinks you’re serious and actually says, “You know, that’s a good point. You could just show up at his house. That would be cool!” Coworker might have then launched into a game plan for doing this mad, mad thing.

[WG: Um…]

Let’s say that you assure Crazy Coworker With Apparent Stalker Tendencies that you were joking and, just for the record, mention that such behavior would be wrong and bad. You might also have accidentally called Coworker “creepy and weird.”

[WG: You already knew that about this person, though, right?]

Let’s say that Coworker is now determined *cough*stubborn*cough* that showing up at Witty/Kind Guy’s house is the one and only way that you will ever see him again.

[WG: Thanks for not doing that. That would have been weird. Probably. I mean, maybe. You’re pretty nice. And I did put my address on the internet. Maybe I would have been okay with it.
Me: It would have been weird.
WG: Yeah. Probably.]

What would you say should be done next?

[WG: Was one of the answers “lecture me about internet safety?” If so…then check.
Me: No, my livejournal flist mostly just lol-ed and recommended that I wait for you to contact me. Also not my strong suit. Ergo the blog follow and slow, normal getting to know you on the internet. As a person does.
WG: I remember reading this post, having no idea it was about me.
Me: …you really are oblivious, aren’t you?
WG: Lol yeah. Well, thanks for not stalking me in person. Although that would have been a good story, too.
Me: I prefer good stories where I don’t wind up with a restraining order, thanks.]

I love internet friends.


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I’m gearing up for the first Sunday of Advent this weekend. Advent is one of my favorite seasons…in theory. I love it, but I want to do all the complicated things to make it Meaningful with a capital M. Which I recognize in my head is ridiculous. Especially for a season that is all about waiting and expectation and hoping, which frankly often means a whole lot of sitting around in stillness and quiet.

But last year, I endeavored to light the candles every day. Which in itself is not that much. But then after I lit the candle, I wanted to complete all the readings from the Book of Common Prayer for the day, which is not a bad goal but maybe not one to take on suddenly during one of the busiest months when I am not so great at doing that on a regular basis any other time of the year. Then after I read all the readings, I wanted to complete an art journal page reflecting the readings and also the word prompt from Advent Word (see image above) for the day that I had in my Advent calendar (which the previous year I had knitted and sewed together with my own two hands). This ritual was designed to play out against a playlist of seasonal hymns, perfectly timed to last the length that it took to finish all of the above.

This is not what waiting looks like. I’m exhausted just reading about it.

As you can imagine, there weren’t many days this actually happened. Specifically, looking back on my journal, I see that there were seven days out of the whole four weeks when I had time to do all of that, and I vividly remember doing two days’ pages at once on more than one occasion. Plans are only as good as their execution, so as plans go, this one was not awesome.

This year still has a plan, because otherwise Advent will pass on by without my giving it a thought other than on Sundays and Wednesdays. But it’s a slower plan that’s more conducive to hope and peace and joy and expectation. I still (will) have the candles (as soon as I buy them), because that part I did do every day last year, even if it was just during dinner. I will still use my cute calendar, but this year, as I have discovered that its little pockets are the perfect size for a tea bag or an Emergen-C packet or a single-serve bottle of hooch, I will simply be enjoying a daily beverage along with my candles/supper/staring at the Christmas tree lights.

There will likely be music in the background from my record player or a Spotify playlist. I will probably still read through some of the daily readings, as that is a habit I’d like to pick up this year, but I’m not going to make an issue of it or feel like I’m running behind if I don’t. I will also sporadically play along on Instagram with Advent Word or with Susannah Conway’s December Reflections prompts, because that’s fun.

But no extra stress or unreasonable to-do lists. Just waiting. And hope. And expecting. And joy. That’s what I hope to take from Advent this year.


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Friday Five 4

Today I am in training most of the day. It’s about a topic I’m interested in, and there are snacks. But real talk? I kinda just want to nap.

Here are some things I’ve loved this week. My Facebook saves have been cute-animal-intensive. This solidifies my plan to do as little as possible this weekend and rest.

  1. I appreciate the work that Pastor Charles Johnson is doing in Texas. Fair warning – this interview is from a highly biased source, and I find the interviewer annoying in that regard, but I like his answers. Yay, public education!
  2. Tracee Ellis’s speech that lifts up single women with no children? LOVE.
  3. Andi is reading books about books during the holidays. I might have to join her. Drop by and leave suggestions if you want.
  4. This dog. “THROW THE STICK YOU MONSTER.” Hilarious.
  5. Goats really are the best animals. THE BEST.

Feel free to drop inspiring things (especially cute animal videos) in the comments. Have a good day!

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