how to do real estate

(1) go to a “first time home buyer’s course.”

(2) determine paltry budget.

(3) get preapproved for a mortgage.

(3) obtain real estate agent.

(4) see condos. lots and lots and lots of condos. little ones, tiny ones, medium ones, itty bitty ones.

(5) fall in love with one.

(6) make an offer.

(7) be the fourth best offer out of fourteen.

(8) despair.

(9) go to more open houses upon open houses upon open houses.

(10) get lost driving to open houses.

(11) start to recognize neighborhoods.

(12) cringe every time someone asks how the search is going and you have nothing to report other than three failed offers.

(13) go to more open houses.

(14) receive advice from parents.

(15) narrow search.

(16) hey, how about going to some open houses?

(17) realize some sort of compromise is going to have to be made.

(18) drag feet at the thought of a compromise.

(19) expand search.

(20) go to some open houses of places you really can’t afford.

(19) cry.

(20) make some appointments to view some condos.

(21) gather advice from friends who know more than you. drag some of said friends to open houses with you.

(22) realize you’ve totally neglected your current rental in the hopes of having a fresh, new space to call home. clean.

(23) fall further in love with current location and current neighborhood.

(24) continue to despise lackadaisical landlords and crappy, falling down apartment.

(25) curse your luck at looking for a place to buy in an assuredly seller’s market.

(26) crunch numbers again.

(27) get re-preapproved for mortgage.

(28) buy lottery ticket.

(29) go to more open houses.

(30) receive text message from your godmother who thought of you because HGTV had a boston-centric episode.

(31) smile.

(32) rinse.

(33) repeat.


christmas eggs

left in the wake of AC’s departure, someone had to step to the stove. i’d been entrusted with the christmas eggs recipe, so i was the logical choice. after whisking and stiring and steaming and worrying and checking, the end product was not far off. after plating the eggs for my fellow writing retreaters, i sat down to a text message from her:

“don’t forget the special ingredient: love.”

i quickly texted back, “how about fear?”

i was only half kidding. AC is a killer in the kitchen and a giant when it comes to writing and is it any surprise she’s one of my main role models? but with her presence no longer here at #rockportwriting, i only had myself to rely on. i was in charge of seasoning my story and stirring the plot of the christmas eggs. there was no room for fear. only action.

and then this morning, we were faced with a lot of leftovers and only a half planned morning meal. the ingredients for christmas eggs were still in abundance, so i volunteered to whip up another batch. this time, i was in control. i gripped the spatula and added patience and love to taste.

book club

BOOK HUNGRY: life happens

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 nellenbachand myself. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email/phone. we post a review on our individual blogs the 3rd thursday of the month OR, well, we used to all post reviews. now, i think, it’s just patty and me. but anyways, go for it. click on their names above and if they have a review up, it’ll take you to there. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is: 

LIFE HAPPENS by sandra steffen

what it’s about from amazon: 

She’s Hiding Something…

Well, everyone is hiding something—but Mya Donohue’s secret is knocking on the front door, in no uncertain terms. Mya is about to answer to the daughter she’d given birth to nineteen years ago, and Elle has news for her biological mother. Mya is not only a mom, but a grandmother, too. And Elle isn’t sticking around for long. She can’t.

Offering Mya their assistance are her best friends—the only ones who will dare tell her the truth in unmitigated terms; her mother—a woman still sowing her own share of wild oats; and Elle’s father—a man of few words, but usually memorable ones, at that.

my opinion:

i liked it. i didn’t love it. the characters were interesting enough, the writing smooth enough, the reheated romance hot enough, the overall story compelling enough, but i don’t feel the need to re-read it, which kind of bums me out because i have my own shiny copy courtesy of kelly. yes, she was kind enough to send us all a digital copy of this book, which meant no long waits at the library! woohoo!! yay kelly!!! you rock!!!!

ahem, back to the book.

for some reason, my new thing with books is the ending and if the ending (whether it’s loud or slow or quiet or fast or cliff-hanger-y or wraps things up) remains true to the character, i dig it. i can think of three books (off the top of my head) that did this and it made me love those books all the more.

what books? GONE GIRL by gillian flynn, TEMPTING THE BILLIONAIRE by jessica lemmon and I HUNT KILLERS by barry lyga.

those endings weren’t necessarily tidy, but they were fearless. they made me either pump my fist, applaud, or hug the book close and with the exception of TEMPTING THE BILLIONAIRE, they’re not happy endings and i’m a HEA kind of girl, so this new method i have of deciding which books i like has caught me off guard.

my point? LIFE HAPPENS had a nice ending. a tidy ending. it was way too happily ever after. no, i don’t want people to die and no it’s not that i’m thinking misery loves company (though it does), it’s just that this ending felt like it was what the author wanted, not what the characters needed. again, i don’t mean the characters wanted doom and gloom, but i don’t think they wanted their lives tied up with a bow either. especially not elle. she’s not a pink ribbon kind of a girl and this, to me, was a pink ribbon kind of ending.

that said, i don’t think it was a waste of time to read this book. in fact, it’s helped me to articulate what’s going on in my brain re: endings and it just may help me better formulate the ending to my own MS, as i’ve just jumped back into it.

thank you for this lesson, kelly!

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random things

odd occurrences. unusual findings. funny cards. new websites. thoughts to live by.

(1) shopping for NOT YOUR DAUGHTER’S JEANS brand of jeans with your mother. you both get a pair.

(2) if you’re not a professional egg breaker and a bit of shell gets into the egg you just broke, use the remaining shell to scoop out that extraneous piece. it’s a virtual magnet for the broken bit whereas if you use a spoon or fork or anything other than the shell, you’ll be chasing it around the bowl/dish/pan for hours.

(3) to all my siblings:

royal bday card

(4) society 6

(5)  yeah, this.


musical notes

some nights take you by surprise. they tap your left shoulder and come ’round the right. they jump out from behind the door. they take your expectations and throw them on a roller coaster – spinning and speeding and swirling until you’re not entirely sure which end is up.

thursday night was one of those nights.

my expectations were these: i was there to support Z in yet one another of his musical incantations (he was conduting a high school concert), but it was a high school concert nevertheless, there’d be some music and uncomfortable chairs.

the reality was this: walking into a high school after hours feels slightly forbidden and wrong, even if you’re no longer in high school and haven’t ever take any classes in this particular building. i sounded like a teacher walking down the hall in my (straight from work) high heels. there were 5 people in the audience i knew, none on stage (except Z). 2 of those 5 were visiting from australia, which is the original reason i decided to go. i was ready to cheer for Z as he conducted one of the nine songs of the night.

the kids, all in matching white shirts and black pants/skirts, filed onto the stage. they giggled and whispered and set up their music. the awkwardness was palpable. i said a quick “thank you” for no longer being that age. i got out my pen to take notes on said awkwardness because i am, after all, working on a story about middle schoolers – prime awkward age. the conductor raiser her arms, the students raised their instruments and i wondered again how i came to be here.

all at once, the violins began to make music and i stopped wondering about life and took a deep breath. the music filled the room. everything was in unison – their clothes, their elbows, their arms, their fingers, their tapping toes, their backs straight, sitting at the edge of their seats. but it was the transformation from bumbling teenager to accomplished musician that was so astonishing. they were in charge of the room. they were leading us. they were showing us their talents. they knew, without question, what they were doing.

i thought i was there to watch (one of) the conductor(s), but it was the kids who captured my attention.

the music caught me off guard. it was gorgeous, both auditorally and visually. i was reminded just how different live music can be. the crisp sound. the way the arm moves. the focus on their faces. the delicate placement of the fingers. i may be tone deaf, but i know those kids are talented and it was impressive. they were no longer awkward, but confident. no longer giggling, but serious. no longer young, but old.

i found myself sitting at the edge of my seat. trying to get closer to the music. trying to touch their talent. trying to learn how to look like an adult when you’re not quite there yet yourself.