Birthday Reflections

I realized this week that I didn’t do one of these last year. Breaking a huge streak, actually. Granted, I had just had knee surgery 12 days before, and I probably was hopped up on drugs and just didn’t think about it. Which happens, sometimes.

And this year? I have spent a good part of this year anxious and angry about the state of the world. I have discovered that listening to the sound of the ocean helps me fall asleep when everything else (and I have a long list of “tricks”) does’t work. I have enjoyed getting to know my adult children as individuals rather than as “my children” and think they’re pretty awesome women. (You know what? The teenagers are pretty awesome, too.)

We bought a new-to-us sectional for the basement. K, who is 14 now, has been making a huge case for not buying new things because of the damage to the environment. So, we’re trying to do consignment and thrift stores for clothes and furniture. It’s been working well.

I re-discovered puzzles were fun to put together.

Like everyone, I’ve been weathering the pandemic with moderate success. The bookstore managed to stay open, and I managed to be one of the people who they kept employed. I have boxed up so many books to be mailed out I can’t even count. There were days when that was all I did for six hours. Now, I’m on the unpacking end, and with the fall season coming on, that means lots and lots of boxes of books.

I still find time to dance at Zumba and now Sh’bam (the classes at the gym are small and spread apart, and so far that seems to be working), because no one laughs at me when I look dumb. Mostly because everyone else looks like one too. But I enjoy throwing my body around to music too much to not go.

[Imagine a picture of me dancing here]

But, I’ve made it to 48, mostly in one piece, with only a moderate amount of aches and pains. I’m going to bake a cake, make some pulled pork, go to work and unpack however many boxes come in, dance a bit, and have a good day.

A Birthday Peek Into My World

It’s said (no, I don’t know by whom) that we, as a society, spend a lot of time on our phones and screens. I know that’s true in our family; the girls are constantly on their phones, and I’ve chosen to meet them there. Whether it’s Facebook (well, not the girls, but friends and relatives) or Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter or Marco Polo, I love the apps on my smartphone. And, I have to admit, I love the camera too. I don’t save everything I take a picture of, but sometimes, I come across something — either online or with the photos I take — that I just can’t bring myself to delete, no matter how much memory its taking up. Since today is my 46th (!) birthday, I thought I’d give y’all a peek into the photos I love.

Category 1: Stolen from the Internet. These are memes or tweets or photos that I just loved enough to take a screenshot of, and still find enough humor or meaning from that I can’t bring myself to delete.

(You knew Nathan Fillion had to be in there, right? I actually have several photos; that one is just my favorite.)

Category 2: Places I’ve been. I like to keep at least one picture from all my travels in order to remember something about the place I went to and/or the people I saw.

Category 3: Work-related pictures. I generally stick most of these on Instagram, so I don’t really have to keep them, but sometimes, I just don’t want to let them go. Not yet, anyway.

And category 4: my people. My family, my friends, my dog…

So, there you have it. All my life and loves in a nutshell! It’s been a good year. Here’s to another one.


It’s My Birthday, Version 4.5

After nearly 13 years of blogging, and 11 years of writing these birthday posts, I’m finding it challenging to come up with something new to write. I’m pretty much in the same(ish) place as I have been the past couple of years, though I’ve made the dream of getting  a MLS a reality (but now it’s a Masters of Information Science with an emphasis in librarianship, *sigh*) though I’m taking this semester off for various reasons. Life has been challenging this year. Not always bad (though there have been some genuinely bad days); there are have been some definite bright spots, but definitely more stressful than in the past.

So, in the wake of a stressful year and because I’m turning 45, here are a few things that have brought me joy.

1. I fell hard for a few things this year, particularly these:


I wasn’t a fan of Wonder Woman when I was a kid, though I do have vague memories of watching the show a few times. (Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of much of anything when I was a kid. I did like Star Wars and unicorns but that’s about it.) But I fell hard for the movie this time around (I’ve only seen it twice, though) and I happily spent money on merch (ALL of it please) to show my support for the incredible character that Diana Prince is.

I don’t know why  I fell in love with Moana. Something about the story and the Polynesian feel and my love of all things ocean and beach and island all combined to make this movie something that I adore.

My sister and M both told me I needed to watch this, and you know what? They were right. I love the baking, but I also love the Britishness of it, as well as Mel and Sue. K and I watched all of the seasons that were on Netflix together (and the most recent one on PBS) and have loved every minute.

2. Graphic Novels and Audio Books

I’ve always read graphic novels and listened to audio books, but I found that as my life got busier, my time to actually sit and read a “real” book went away. But, there was always time to sit and read a graphic novel, and audio books (and podcasts) kept me company with all the time I’ve spent driving around. Both have been a lifeline to reading (which I don’t want to do without) when my time read has diminished.

3. Sunday morning yoga and Meditation

We have afternoon church this year, and although it took a while, I eventually discovered a routine I absolutely love. I get up, take the dog for a walk with hubby (it’s a good time to just talk), and then take a half hour and do yoga in my backyard. I enjoy being outside (and it was never too hot for me this summer) in the morning, and while I prefer a real person running yoga, I’ve downloaded the Gaiam app  and do a routine or two. It’s heavenly.

4. Back in January, a local restaurant (the Wichita Brewing Company) decided to team up with other restaurants around town for a specialty pizza every month. And thus, #12pizzas12months was born. It gives Hubby and I a chance to go out every month, and we’ve really liked experimenting with all the different pizzas (and slowly working our way through the regular WBC menu). Some have been weird, many have been good, and I’ve enjoyed the foodie experience.

5. Trips by myself

Actually, this is something I discovered a while back: I love going places by myself. I enjoy the time alone to read and take long baths and watch TV and, sometimes, go to the beach. Granted, all my trips this year were to Texas (twice to school, but I extended with a couple extra days at the hotel to unwind, and once to the beach) so it’s not like I’m branching out and going lots of places. But I enjoy the time on my own, which is the real important thing.

So, that’s what’s making me happy at 45. Here’s to another year!

Your Birthday When You’re The Children’s Guru at an Independent Bookstore

Means you write this a week before your actual birthday, because there will be no time ON your birthday, and you don’t want to mess up ten years of birthday posts by missing one.

Means these two things that you’re in charge of will happen:

  • A storytime, in which we will be reading  birthday books and have cupcakes
  • An event with Sarah J. Maas in which we will deal with a large bunch of fans and hope everything goes well

It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s going to take up most of the day. And it will be lots of fun. (Pictures later. Tomorrow, maybe.)

After which, you take the girls to see the ICT Rollergirls. Because ROLLER DERBY.

And that is how you should spend your 44th birthday, I think.

Birthday Reflections

Back in February, my plans for getting a MLS derailed when the store I work at was awarded a grant by James Patterson. The owner decided that what she really wanted to do was put all the children/family/school stuff under one person and she sent out a job description that I really couldn’t turn down. And so, last March, I became the Children’s Event Coordinator.

There’s a lot that falls under my purview, from scheduling author visits (this past week it was with Judy Schachner) to helping promote children’s, middlde grade, and teen books at the store. I do outreach with the schools here in town (prepping and delivering 1800 letters was a lot of fun) with book talks and book orders and in-store book fairs. It’s all a lot of fun.

But, I have realized that my favorite thing is my Saturday morning story time/monthly party in which I get to express my inner dork.

I know this isn’t what I was thinking where I’d be last year at this time. But, I’m quite happy to be a dork at work. At least for the foreseeable future.

On Being the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

It’s been a rough year for me. Not life-altering serious illnesses or anything like that, but a lot of change and a lot of adjusting. And a lot of facing the fact that I’m no longer *gulp* young. What is it George Burns always said? “You can’t help growing older, but you don’t have to get old?” (Or something like that.) Most days, I’m okay, but there are sometimes when I just get in a funk about the direction of my life.

Two things have helped. The first are three fantastic songs:

All of them help remind me that I am just fine the way I am, and to not listen to the inner (and outer) voices that would make me think otherwise.

The second is a decision to go back to school and get my MLS. I’m terrified of this — my insecruities ask: who will want to hire a 46 year old librarian? — but I am pretty sure it will help me in the long run to be doing something I should have been doing all along. I’m just applying to schools now, so I don’t plan on any drastic changes just yet. But I am also excited.

So, here’s to a much better year!

What I Did for My Birthday

Iwas going to pack my minivan full of people and drive to Oklahoma City to see this movie:

BUT, a miracle occurred, and we didn’t have to! It came to Wichita. So, I took a whole group of people out to lunch (at a Mexican restaurant, because that’s what you eat before seeing a silly movie set in England):

And then we infiltrated stormed (seriously: we were basically the only ones in the theater. What is it with Wichitans???) went to the theater and had a grand old time! (Seriously: the movie was HILARIOUS, and had everyone — from the teenagers on up — guffawing. A LOT.)

I also bought these books:

Rose Under Fire, because ELIZABETH WEIN. I mean, how could I not??
Deadly Heat (which came out today) (remember my guilty pleasures from last year?)
Dream Thieves (which also came out today) because I had to own it. And because I sent my ARC along to some fellow YAckers so they could gush about it, too.

I call that a good way to celebrate 41 years on this planet.

In Honor of My Birthday

And because I’m this much today:

I give you a list of five of my guilty pleasures. Because if you can’t enjoy them on your birthday, when can you?

Or as Stephen Fry put it: “The kind of pleasures I’m talking about are things that fly in the face of the Protestant work ethic, things that fly in the face of bourgeois convention, and things that even fly in the face of one’s own self image.”

#1 Pit Bull

I blame Zumba, because his music often features prominently, but I’ve found — contrary to all my former musical tastes — that I really like his stuff. A lot.

(On a side note, Lady Gaga has also grown on me…)

#2 The Nerdist Podcasts
Out of all of these, this is the least unexpected. Yes, I am a nerd and I do have a thing for celebrity interviews. However, these are a lot more foul — or, rather, the host Chris Hardwick, is — than I generally like. But they’re also funny and smart, and really great background writing noise. I know I shouldn’t like them, but I do.

#3 This cookbook

I brought it home from work, and M said, “You are gong to make us all fat.” I don’t care. It’s heavenly. Lindsay Landis was brilliant: cookie dough in stuff?? How can you resist? See that cake in the corner? It’s what I made for myself for my birthday. Yum.

#4 Superhero movies

Actually, I should just say “blow-’em-up” movies (you know: the ones that are more explosions than plot), because while I consider myself somewhat of a pacifist, I get great pleasure in watching things blow up in implausible ways. Like that scene in Dark Knight where the semi truck completely flips over and explodes? Impossible, but I was giddy.

Also, this movie rocked:

#5 The Richard Castle books

No, they’re not good literature. No, they’re not even “real” books by a real author. And no, I will never pay money to own these. (Disney/ABC doesn’t need my money. Really.) But honestly? I love them, and yeah, I will read this one, sooner rather than later:

And there you have it.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

On My Birthday

I’m 39 years old today. And, probably for many reasons, Landslide is the song that has resonated the most with me in the past few months. There’s something about growing older, especially as my girls grow older, that makes me wistful for the past, but at the same time excited for the future. I read somewhere that Stevie Nicks wrote this in her late 20s; maybe I’m just behind, it’s not until I’m nearly 40 that I started feeling this way.

I don’t mind Stevie Nicks’ version of the song, but I do like the way the Dixie Chicks covered it better.

I’m happily hanging out in Seattle with bloggy friends at KidLitCon today, enjoying being with a lovely bunch of people. I can’t think of a better way to begin my last year in my 30s.

A Blast from the Past

Since I have started blogging, I have celebrated four birthdays. I have mused about what life was like when I was a kid, been surprised by my husband (I think that was my favorite), shared a birthday/cake quote, and given you 25 things about me (plus cake).

I have thought long and hard about what I could share for this, my not-quite-40th birthday. And it has occurred to me that what there has not been enough of over the years (though there was this post…) is pictures of me being the crazy child that I was. (Well, that, and possibly embarrassing stories or maybe a bucket list… but those are for other years.)

So. Here is me in all my glory (click to embiggen):

Now I think I’m going to go eat some cake.