happy birthday, EVM

the last of my siblings’ birthdays is that of my younger sister. it’s the only one that falls on a blog posting day, so the baby sister E gets a full post to herself. how very last child of her. :) i’ll refrain from singing because that would blow out your ear drums, shatter the glass windows, and cause a volcano to erupt somewhere far from here. i don’t want to do that to you or to her as she turns 19.

when i turned 19, there were parades and parties and a prince that popped out of a fudge cake. that didn’t happen when you turned 19? what did?

in real life, when i turned 19, the year was 2000.  a new millennium for my last year of being a teenager. there weren’t any hoverboards ala back to the future, but i was hovering on the edge of independence. i was starting my second semester in college, so i was over the scariness of leaving home and enjoying the perks of collegiate life. i knew people. i was invited to parties now, i didn’t just crash them. lacrosse season was about to hit its stride. i took my first creative writing class. the words were stilted and awkward, much like me. i started to understand exactly how awesome my parents were. the friendships i’d tentatively formed first semester solidified. i left campus mid week. i took snowboarding lessons on a mountain in virginia, which is truly only a big hill. simply stated, the swan song of my teenage years was sweet, tough, uplifting, silly, serious, awesome, and surprising. i was turning into an adult with each class, practice, decision, game, lesson, and party.

i wish for the same things for sister E, but in ways the delight and surprise and sparkle and are coordinated just for her. she may have surpassed me in height, but she’ll always be my kid sister.

happy last year of your teens, E. go get ’em.


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jeannie moon to the rescue. here i am pondering what to tell you all when i find out she nominated me for a “stylish blog award” which means it’s now my turn to (a) reveal some secrets about me and (b) pay it forward.

PART A. facts about me.

1. i have never dyed my hair.

2. i used to have two holes pierced in each ear. now i only have one. i used to have my navel pierced. now i have none.

3. fingernails gross me out.

4. i have 2 plants in my office, a bamboo shoot and uh, something else. bamboo is basically a weed and so i couldn’t kill it if i tried and the second flower “likes sunshine and heat and indoors.” i can literally see it growing. it’s insane and kind of awesome, but it’s making me look like i have a green thumb. it’s a lie. a LIE i tell you. i think nameless flower is supposed to bloom sometime next month, but the whole “plant it outside in the spring” thing is going to be the death of that plant. you see, neither my apartment nor my work has a gardening plot. and thus, my lack of green thumb strikes again. at least i can enjoy the nameless flower for awhile longer.

5. my new netbook arrived and i spent last weekend writing. (note to self, remember to bring glasses home from work!) an unintended, but awesome side effect of owning a tiny computer…the screen is so small, it’s really annoying to look at the internet on it, which means i’m not tempted to do so which means WRITE ON with yo bad self.

6. my favorite gum is this which is nearly impossible to find anymore. the only store (and believe me, i’ve looked everywhere) that sells it anymore is a local place near work. they look at me funny when i buy 6 packs. i can’t help it. i’m addicted to this gum.

7. sleeping is my favorite. napping too.

PART B. pay it forward. so a lot of the names on jeannie’s list are ones that i would have listed, but the point is to introduce new blogs, so here are a few more than 15 MORE noteworthy blogs for you. their words inspire, teach, or provide a distraction. and now, i bequeath the stylish blog trophy to:

adriana kirilova

carrie harris

elizabeth ryann

ellen oh

embrace the detour

flirty baker

gina choe

the grateful project

janice hardy

jeffe kennedy

karla nellenbach

k.m. criddle

lay gastronomer

stephanie perkins

thoughtful eating

wander monster

when parents text

go forth and read.


star crossed self

the earth’s alignment has shifted. the new tilt has left wide spread changes in its wake.

what? you didn’t hear about it? you didn’t feel it? you didn’t smell the winds of change?

the new angle of the earth has affected the zodiac signs which means i went from being an independent and loyal (and awesome) capricorn to a globally thinking, fieryly enthusiastic sagittarius. i couldn’t even spell that word without looking it up and now it’s supposed to define me?

it sure seems as though everything describing a capricorn directly relates back to me, while the sagittarius depictions only relate to me in vague and foggy ways. but wait. when did i ever let the stars define me? i thought i was forged from the hardships and joys and triumphs and setbacks and giggles and tears and puddles and rainbows of every day life. and besides, how can a tilt of the earth change one’s personality?

i was born under the capricorn sign, so a capricorn i shall stay. although, being an archer sounds a lot more badass than a seagoat. maybe there is a silver lining in this shift of the stars.

i mean, if you believe in that sort of thing.

book club

BOOK HUNGRY: never let me go

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, vanessa noble, alyson peterson, cynthia reese, elizabeth ryann, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius. click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is:

NEVER LET ME GO by kazuo ishiguro

i have a confession.

i didn’t finish the book.

i can’t say that about many books, but this one? heck, i didn’t even make through the first 100 pages. i only reached page 69 (tee hee) and i can’t even remember the main character’s name. (ok, it’s kathy. i peeked.) i found the prose to be dull and lifeless and vague and confusing and i see from an amazon.com review that “misdirection” is an intended side effect, but ishiguro misdirected me right out of the book. i couldn’t get into it nor did i want to. the only reason i made it as far as i did was because of the external pressure i felt knowing others in my group were reading it, but there are far too many other books out there for me to waste my time on a book that i find unrelatable and uninteresting.

i know, i know, i’ve said that reading all kinds of books (even bad ones) is important because from them you learn what to do and what not to do in your own writing.

but, yet, this book is a different beast. i mean, ishiguro is a successful author. this is his sixth novel. it was turned into a movie! still, i couldn’t finish reading. i could barely even start reading and i’ll have you know that it wasn’t just me. out of the group, only patty finished it. isn’t that odd that only one person out of nine could complete it? we’re all readers and yet this story didn’t grab any of us? i know publishing is subjective and all, but i think the masses have spoken. book = bad. hey, maybe this is the exception to the “book is always better than the movie” rule. see for yourself:

it looks mildly entertaining, slightly creepy, but ultimately watchable, right? so what am i missing? why aren’t the words beckoning like usual? am i right to have given up so soon? should i have incurred the library fine and kept reading? what do you do when you find yourself reluctant to read? do you plod ahead? do other chores? put down the book for good? watch the movie instead?

in other reading news, these are the books i read instead of the book club selection: WHITE CAT by holly black, REVOLUTION by jennifer donnelley, and NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by justina chen headley. all of which had action and drama and real life moments that punch you in the gut. yes, i want to be slugged while reading. emotionally socked. aww, you know what i mean.

and i know that next month’s book (13 REASONS WHY by jay asher) will provide the punch. why? because i’ve already read it.

*pulls out boxing gloves*

i’m ready for ya.



mission (quasi) accomplished

as i previously mentioned, all of my siblings and i have january birthdays. brother G’s was yesterday. O HAPPY DAY! and yes, the mission i so vaguely mentioned last post was directly related to that event.

it actually started over a year ago when my SIL (M) asked me how i felt about being a present of the surprise variety for brother G. you see, they live on the west coast and so our time together is more often relegated to emails and texts and phone calls and skype than to time spent in the same time zone. M and i figured out the perfect plan and coordinated our schedules so that i could fly out and be all SURPRISE, i’m here!

brother G’s work sent him to london. i stayed on the east coast that year.

M and i resumed our talks a few months ago and this time, all signals were clear for take-off. even though mother nature played hard ball and dumped 15 inches of snow on boston the day before my flight was scheduled to leave. fortunately, the runways were clear the next night and i boarded and shut off my phone after receiving instruction to call G when i landed because he would be the one to pick me up. my flight took off. i landed 6 hours later and dialed. G picked up and his voice didn’t sound surprised.

GAH. what? why not?

now G and i are similar in that we don’t often show our emotions (i’m working on it!), but this was more than that. he knew. he KNEW. but, but, but, WHEN? HOW?

rewind. M hadn’t told her kids anything because, well, they’re kids and don’t yet understand the concept of a secret. or how to keep one. MMM (8yo niece) is getting there, but we didn’t want to test her limits, so M waited until a week before my arrival to tell her. MMM zipped her lips. the morning of my arrival, MMM was whispering with her mom and didn’t realize brother A was around the corner within hearing distance. later, as G drove them to school, A says, “Dad, you’re going to pick up your sister at the airport today.”

G says he was very surprised then. it was just 10 hours before my arrival…

but you know what? it doesn’t matter because even though it was a quick visit, it was jam packed. i got to see MMM and A play basketball (6yos who haven’t had a practice because of inclement weather playing their first game? HILARIOUS), i got L (2.5yo) to talk to me even if it was only for a minute or two, we played xbox connect (AMAZING), we ate lunch at the top of the space needle with uncle rob, we watched movies, we giggled, i saw L throw a football better than some high school kids i know, but best of all, i got to spend time with each of the seattle mumfords one on one – chatting, listening, learning, observing, getting to know them as they are now and at 3pm and at 3am and at 7am. i experienced their life as it is on a daily basis, 3 hours behind mine on the east coast. all the noise and the silence and the chaos and the laughter and the bickering and the tickling and the sharing and the snacking and the sleeping.

i may have started out as the present, but what a goody bag i received.