Category: Musings

Jun 05

New Digs

Life, Musings 11

First look at our new place!

This morning is the first time I have had time to truly relax in several weeks. Yes, there have been moments or even an hour here and there, but for the most part my husband and I have just been GOGOGOGOGO with barely time to breathe. We finally have our own place again, and are trying to settle in…the majority (as in, 85%) of our belongings won’t be here until the end of the month, so we are getting by on what was in our suitcases and the furniture we bought back home! Yay, new furniture!! For the first time in…ever? I’m so excited about it. We were so blessed and able to get amazing deals from some family friends who were retiring their furniture store.

I am IN LOVE.

I am probably the most excited about the roll-top desk that actually stayed in Virginia, due to difficulty of moving and the fact that we will be – drumroll please – moving back there in about 6 months! Why yes, I just love moving twice in one year, don’t you? 😛 But then we will be back HOME and it will all be worth it.

Tennessee isn’t TOO far from home, anyway, and it’s a lot like home. At least it is in the States. Even if some of the uber-conservative-fanatics I’ve seen have me a bit scared. 😛

Sadly I missed the release party for When Dimple Met Rishi, which was in Nashville only about an hour’s drive away from our new place…which we weren’t yet moved into. My pre-ordered book is still waiting on me there, whenever I get a chance to go explore and find Parnassus Books. Which looks amazing, and is obviously a huge priority but I am totally peopled and traveled out and want to do nothing but sit at home on my couch and vegetate. By which I mean read and drink coffee.

Traveling like a little champ.

Tristan spent the last month with my sister-in-law’s family, during which time my 13-year-old niece became super attached to him and I felt horrible taking him back. But I missed my little buddy so so so much! And he seems very happy to be home…he went right back to sleeping in our bed and between us. His fur-parents are much pleased to be back with him. 😀

I’m hoping to be back at writing reviews and updates this week. Not holding my breath, because I’m still not quite sure how work is going to go and of course there’s all the organization stuff that absolutely MUST be done. I’m also trying to start a little container garden on my porch but the season is so far gone already that I’m behind!

So, what have I missed? What’s your new favorite release from April and May? What’s coming up this month that I might have overlooked?

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Apr 20

Reasons I Missed Home

Life, Musings 2

Spring cherry blossoms in South Korea are beautiful…and so is the road ahead.

Not book-related. Well, mostly not book-related. Just me. On all the reasons why moving home after 2 years abroad is such a huge deal. I’ve had great times in Korea…mostly related to the people I’ve met, not the place. The place has been an experience too, and one I’m very grateful to have had…but I’m a homebody. I miss MY family. I miss MY mountains. I miss MY traditions, MY food…my freedom. I’m going home to the States, but I think these feelings can apply to anyone who loves where they come from and is uprooted.

  • I miss my family. My family is nuts. But I love them, and so I miss them. I miss knowing that no matter what goes wrong, I always have a safe place to sleep. I could call my grandma, many of my aunts or uncles, if something in my life went horribly wrong…and as soon as I could get to them or them to me, I would be loved and cared for. I am so blessed. I know so many people who DON’T have that…one of my life goals is to be that place and that person for as many people as I can.
  • I miss having friends that share my interests. Over here…the Americans I hang out with think all my artsy-fartsy-ness is weird, for the most part. Occasionally I’ll get a “Oh that’s so cool I could never have the patience for that!” comment, but for the most part…I’m just the weird nerd standing in the corner while everyone else gets shit-faced drunk. But I’m also the person they call if they don’t know how to get something done. So…yeah, whatever folks. I love you guys, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to defend the things I like to do. Also, I don’t speak enough Korean to really try to find a group of same-interest folks. In the past 3 months I met a Korean that I quickly became friends with, who I share lots of interests with, and it kills me that I have to leave so soon after meeting her. One of those people that you would have done anything to meet earlier.
  • English. I.e., my native language. And my native language is one of if not the most dominant language in the world. How the HELL do people who speak a very minority language survive? Obviously, most of them learn the language of the country they live in, but…goddamn. My hat is off to all those people. I can barely speak a few phrases in Korean. When I first got here, I would get a headache every time I went out because the sheer NOISE of another language being spoken. Now it’s familiar, even if I don’t understand much of it…but I still nearly cry when I go out and someone speaks to me in English. Watch me go home and just spend 2 days bawling in the street because EVERYONE speaks English.
    • That said, this really has opened my eyes to have immigrants and other non-English speakers must feel when they come to the US or UK (or Australia?). I’ve also realized how awkward it feels to not speak the main language of the country in which you live. I see people all the time who just EXPECT South Koreans to speak English. Um, why? This is their country. They speak Korean. We are not entitled to people knowing how to speak English here (even though many do…many more than would speak Korean if they came to the US). Americans…get over it. Stop expecting the world to bow to you. I love my country just as much if not more than the average citizen, even if I admit to and see the many faults our country and government have…but I respect and admire other countries and cultures as well, and I expect that I will have to bend myself to their country when I visit, not the other way around.
  • Cultural differences. I’m all for experience another culture as much as you can. However…I have a lot of hangups when it comes to food (I’m very picky, heh). Also, the personal space bubble. This is far from being a Korea-only thing, as lots of countries and cultures have a much smaller personal bubble than Americans or maybe even other Western countries…but I get really freaked out when people stand all up on me in line, or on a train, or when in a store. It’s not rude here for people to run into you or even push you out of their way…it’s just how it is. And it drives. me. nuts. For god’s SAKE let me breathe.

Does anyone ever truly get used to a place so different from where they were born/raised/lived the majority of their lives? I wonder. I see many people here who have come from the US or the UK and made South Korea their home, and I wonder if I am just a freak or if I just missed the secret to being so happy here. I love experiencing new places and people, but in the end…I don’t belong here. I will miss some people here, very very much. I hope we can stay friends through e-mail and FB and if they ever come visit the US, they will have first dibs on my guest room or couch, whatever I can offer. But in the end, I don’t belong here. This is not my home. These 2 years have been hard. REALLY FREAKING HARD. I’ve struggled in relationships, struggled with my own depression, struggled with feeling like I was doing nothing of value. On the other hand, I have made friends that I know will remain friends no matter how many miles separate us. I have made friends that transcend time and distance, and for them I am eternally grateful – they are what has made my 2 years here worth it. No cultural “experience” can match that.

I’ve learned that making a difference in the quality of people’s lives is probably the single most important thing to me, and knowing that has driven me to make decisions I might not have otherwise had the strength to make. It takes a lot for me to make a decision. I’m not a very decisive person, but I’m hella stubborn and once I’ve made a decision…it pretty much takes hell itself to change my mind. I’m looking forward to the new changes coming, even if they may prove difficult and require some sacrifices.

I’m looking forward to being home.

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Feb 20

Something Else Sunday #25

Life, Musings 1

something else sunday

Happy Sunday, everyone! It’s time for another Something Else Sunday and unfortunately about the only “something else” that I got to this week was my job. 😛 Haha. However, there have been MASSIVE improvements on that front…a day late and a dollar short, but I will definitely enjoy them for the rest of the time I’m here. I haven’t been getting a whole lot of reading done either, sadly, but this weekend helped some with that. I actually did massive amounts of adulating this weekend…laundry, groceries…all that dumb stuff that’s necessary but annoying. 😉

Oh, I did get the pieces of my Iris the Gourmet Monster knitted. Now just to add eyes, stuff, and sew together! This is for my goddaughter (who I will meet for the first time when we go home in the late spring!). I’m using a yarn I spun a few months ago. I think it’s going to be pretty stinkin’ cute, if I do say so myself!

I also participated in the second Beat the Backlist Instagram challenge – I was behind the entire week but I’ve posted all my entries now! I’m not a huge romance reader so I struggled a bit with this one but I got a few good or at least decent pics. 

Other than that, here’s the rundown for the next week!

Upcoming Posts:

  • Down the TBR Hole #13
  • Iron Cast (YA review)
  • Writing Up Wednesday #5: What’s your POV?
  • The Get to Know Me Tag

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Jan 22

Something Else Sunday #22

Life, Musings 4

something else sunday

Hey everyone! It’s time for Something Else Sunday again and I’m feeling very disjointed and a little bit bummed out today…yay for all the political unrest on FB and general arguing I hear every single time I step outside my house (and sometimes within it). Blah. So, I’ve deleted the FB app from my phone (again…I did it for about 2-3 weeks back in November and it was very helpful) for an unspecified amount of time, and am going to try to  channel that energy into reading and writing.

I participated in the Beat the Backlist bookstagram challenge this week! I was SO EXCITED about this because I love bookstagram but feel like I don’t have the time to commit to it the way so many people do. A week long challenge was perfect, and I ended up with quite a few images I really liked. I realized there is a LOT to be said for lighting, because I took the first few pics on a day with perfect natural light and then didn’t have good light for the rest of the week!

I did a lot of stitching the week, accompanied as always by the faithful Sir Tristan. He’ll do anything for chin scratches, I swear.

If you haven’t entered the INTERNATIONAL bookish tea giveaway from Riddle’s Tea Shoppe, be sure to go to the original post and enter!

Last week on the blog:

Down the TBR Hole #8
The Star-Touched Queen (YA review)
Riddle’s Tea Shoppe (bookish review + giveaway)
Silver on the Tree (MG review)

This week on the blog:

Down the TBR Hole #9
The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin (fiction review)
Writing Up Wednesday (new meme for writer-reader-bloggers!)
Fear the Drowning Deep (YA review)
Green Witch (non-fiction review)

 

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Jan 01

Something Else Sunday #20: In Which We Attempt to Ski

Life, Musings, Pets 6

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope this finds you all well and enjoying a rest before diving into 2017.

I finally got around to making a graphic for Something Else Sunday! What do you all think? This is the regular post of each week where I talk about things OTHER than books (but usually I still end up saying something about them), since I have enough hobbies for, oh, about five people. 😛 Anyway, this is Something Else Sunday #20!

This week I was TOTALLY STOKED to go over 300 blog followers! Be sure to go enter my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Uprooted or Cinder! 😀

Your weekly dose of cuteness, from Sir Tristan. In this case, he’s demonstrating why I don’t have an actual bookstagram feed. He tries so hard to help. 😉 Haha.

It was our first time, and they made us wear vests. I’m guessing so the patrols of employees knew to look out for us? Hahahaha, not awkward at all.

It was a pretty small resort, and all the snow was fake, but the hills were good for beginners. Or so they said. I still fell. A lot. Like, A LOT. It’s been three days, and I’m still sore and finding new bruises. I want to go again though, and maybe stick with the smallest hill. I let someone talk me into trying the “intermediate” hill for my second run, and it happened to have a large amount of ice. No. Can. Do. 😛

It was super busy, lots of little kids running around ALL OVER the place! Said small children were better skiers than most of the adults. Hah. All in all it was a fun experience and while I was embarrassingly horrible at it, I’d like to go back and keep trying!

I got this poster for Christmas and I didn’t waste any time dropping it off at the frame shop. 😀 When we move, I’m reeeeeeally hoping we have a room I can turn into a library. If and when we do, this is going on the door! It came from the For Reading Addicts store.

Coming this Week:

  • Down the TBR Hole #6
  • TTT: Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For
  • Review of The Virgins, by Diana Gabaldon
  • Review of Dracula, by Bram Stoker

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Dec 02

NaNoWriMo 2016 Wrap-Up

Books/Writing, Musings 3

I am ecstatic about NaNoWriMo this year. Did I finish a novel? No. Did I reach 50K? No. BUT, I met my personal goal for NaNo and it’s the first time in forever that I’ve met a writing goal. My goal, as I wrote on my novel dashboard this year, was to plot – I just wanted a complete and detailed outline. I wrote a little about my novel in this post, taking from PaperFury’s Beautiful Books meme (which I sadly didn’t get to participate in again, since I wasn’t writing the actual story yet). Anyway.

GUYS, I FINISHED MY OUTLINE. My 11,425 word outline. How’s that for detailed?

I am in a teensy bit of awe at myself.

Also, I have a plan for actually finishing it. My goal is 120,000 words, to be finished by this time next year (which might mean no WriMo next year…hmm). I found the most amazing spreadsheets/worksheets to help me accomplish this, all from Sleepy Hollow Press on Etsy. Now I know what some of you are saying. “You PAID for writing worksheets? To print? When you use Scrivener?”

Sleepy Hollow Press's AMAZING worksheets.

Yes, yes I did. For reasons.

  • Writing by hand really, REALLY helps me think. This is one of the many reasons why I love writing letters. So this is like writing a love letter to my novel.
  • They all match. Let me say this again, because it’s that important to my little OCD-leaning brain. THEY. ALL. MATCH.
  • It helps me be concise. On a computer it’s too easy to just keyboard-flail and write 400 words when 100 will do.
  • I can touch them. Scrivener is possibly the most amazing thing to happen to authors in the past 20 years, but having actual paper in my hands makes me more excited. I know. I’m weird.

I might be doing a video about the novel planning binder I put together. Possibly. We shall see.

Did you meet your goals for NaNoWriMo? Are you happy with your results?

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Nov 14

Something Else Sunday #15

Books/Writing, Cats, Crafting, Life, Musings 2

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Tristan can feel my sadness, I think.

Yes, I’m pretty much an entire day late. Bite me. 😛 It’s been a rough week. I’m still reeling from everything – Alfie’s passing, then the election…we have such a road ahead of us. I really don’t understand how my country – that I thought was finally climbing out of the dark ages as far as diversity, equal rights, women’s issues, etc., goes…apparently IS NOT. In fact we just slipped back in time oh, about 60 years.

Pray to your deities of choice. Be there for your friends. Be there for strangers who are unfairly treated.

For all I’m saddened and horrified by the election results, I personally am one of the people who will be LEAST affected. I am one of the lucky ones. I have lived a life greatly sheltered from prejudice and discrimination. And honestly, I’m not sure what to do about that. I treat people…as people. Regardless of color, sexual orientation, nationality, language…and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, always. sometimes it bites me in the ass. But I would always, ALWAYS, rather err on the side of kindness and love. I don’t know what to say to my friends in this community and elsewhere who have been or possibly will be on the receiving end of all the hate that is suddenly so evident. Other than that I grieve with you and I will do my best to fight against the bigotry and intolerance.

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Trying to do some creating to get my equilibrium back, since I haven’t been able to concentrate on any books, sadly. It was…partially successful. I had a hard time concentrating on this too, but I did finish one square.

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More importantly, I started writing letters again. I only wrote one, and it was much shorter than my usual letters…but I wrote to a friend. I have a long way to go to get caught up, but I know my dear friends are caring and understanding. I hope that every person has at least one other that they can turn to for love and support.

Love and light to each and everyone.

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Nov 11

Sadness

Life, Musings 3

So much animosity and hatred present in our world right now. On top of the grief of losing a beloved companion…this. It’s making it really hard for me to function right now, and I can only imagine how many people in marginalized groups feel. I don’t even know all the “correct” terms to use, I just…I know this is not the country I thought we were.

I LOVE PEOPLE AND NO ONE DESERVES TO BE MADE TO FEEL SMALLER BECAUSE OF THEIR CHOICES OR LACK OF THEM, AND DEFINITELY NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE A DIFFERENT COLOR, DIFFERENT NATIONALITY, OR DIFFERENT RELIGION FROM MY OWN.

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Oct 31

NaNoWriMo ’16

Books/Writing, Musings 5

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What’s that you say? What’s Lizzy up to? Writing? Writing FICTION?!? What is the world coming to? I haven’t written a line of fiction in…about 7 years, I think. If you’ve read my last few Something Sunday posts, you’ll know I used to write fiction all the time, just for my own fun and amusement. And now…I slowly feel the joy returning, like strength to muscles long seized by cramp.

But enough drama. Cait has inspired me with her continuos happy meanderings about her novels. These questions have stirred the creative muddle of my brain. Without further chatter…here are the  questions from the awesome Beautiful Books meme, hosted by Cait at PaperFury and Sky at Further Up and Further In.

  1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea? For about 8 years, believe it or not. It was what I tried writing the last time I was writing fiction (did you follow that? if so good for you…haha)
  2. Describe what your novel is about! Medieval-type fantasy, elemental magic, overcoming prejudice and the trusty old good vs. evil…but what, exactly, makes something good or evil?
  3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like! Um…here, have a look at my Pinterest board for inspiration. Haha. 
  4. Introduce us to each of your characters! How about just the main two? At least the ones I think are the main two? Jaelle is the daughter of the overthrown king, a healer trained as spy. She is torn between what she sees as her duty to her family and what she sees as the best thing for her country and people. Her path is strewn with discovered secrets that make her doubt everything and everyone she ever knew. Denrilhan is the son of a duke, a hard charging battle captain with a disturbing disregard for his own life. His only care is for the people of his father’s province.
  5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?) Well, this time I’m outlining. IN DETAIL. ALL THE OUTLINE. I’m not even planning on writing any of the novel for NaNo. That’s right. Just the outline, some world-building and character worksheets if I’m inspired. I will not write the book itself, because the timeline will stress me out and kill my creativity, but I’m fairly certain I can manage the outline in a month.
  6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel? Seeing all the characters come together, and yet grow individually. 
  7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting. Medieval castles, dragons, secrets. 
  8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way? Jaelle wants to both save her family and prevent the genocide of her people by the rebel uprising. As the daughter of privilege, her motives are constantly suspect in the eyes of the people she is trying to help, and she is conflicted in herself because it seems that she cannot do both.
  9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel? In the end, she chooses to follow her heart over the traditions and expectations of her family. 
  10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over? Satisfied, but maybe a little sad. There won’t be happy ending for everyone here. Still, I hope that the deepest feeling is one of hope, the resilience of the human heart, and the power of truth.

 

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Oct 24

Something Else Sunday #13 – The Beginning of a Love Affair, Part 3

Life, Musings 5

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You’ll have to put up with a horrible selfie for today. Because this is Sir Tristan at his sweetest…he sleeps like this EVERY night, complete with tail curled around my arm.

This is the last week I’ll be telling my story, at least for awhile. Not that I have any intention of it stopping here, but I really don’t KNOW where I’m going from here, obviously…I only know where I currently AM and where I hope to be one day. Here’s where you can read Part 1 and Part 2. This part is LONG. I don’t know how to shorten it though, because…well. Not that I personally am very important, but this story is important, because emotional and mental abuse is real and the damage just as lasting as other types of abuse. Also, just this part alone took place over about 5 years. The real reason though, is so that maybe other people in bad relationships can know: it is possible to break free, to be free, and to live and love again. While my relationship was the traditional one of marriage between a man and a woman, abusive relationships take all forms – between parents and children, between people of all sexual orientations – and it’s not just men that can be abusive. If you recognize yourself in any of this, please look for help. You are worthy of so much more.

Oh, and the title? My love affair with words. Written by others, written by myself…I’ve finally come to call it what it is. 😉

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The little girl moved to Virginia, husband in tow. Her best friend moved from California at the same time. She was tired of living somewhere she hated, with no friends and no family. Somehow she and her husband agreed to move. Virginia was close to her grandparents and extended family, and with her best friend there, it felt as  close to perfect as she had ever been. It didn’t take her long to find a job at a blood bank. It was long hours, but she was good at it, the people who came to donate blood loved her, and she loved her job. 

Before too long though, that was the only part of her life that she loved. Her relationship was becoming more and more unhealthy. Every time she walked into her house, it was like a cloud descended on her head and stayed there, threatening to smother her. She was afraid. Afraid to be herself, afraid to do the things she loved. The only safe place was at work, where she knew it was okay to be good – she definitely wasn’t hurting anyone’s feelings by trying to be better or even the best. At work she was strong, independent, should could take care of other people, not just herself.

At home everything had to be just how he wanted. Her feelings were always wrong or unjustified. Her husband started to say things now and then that genuinely frightened her, both for his safety and her own. She silently resented that his choices always had to be THEIR choices, from what hung on the walls, to when they had sex, to how often they could visit her family. He didn’t like going places with her. When he did go out, he usually wanted to go alone. Her coworkers sometimes teased her that she had a pretend husband, because he would never even come inside her workplace, even to give her the keys she locked inside her vehicle one day. The last birthday gift she got him, she had planned and saved for months to be able to buy. She gave it to him, and he told her to return it. All the little hurts added up, over and over again, until she was just one big hurt. When she tried to tell him…well, obviously, she was wrong.

She could be a statue of liberty
She could be a Joan of Arc
But he’s scared of the light that’s inside of her
So he keeps her in the dark.

It was the night of her birthday party at a friend’s house that she told him she couldn’t do it. If things didn’t change, she wanted a divorce. He had just torn apart the bathroom she had finally decorated. It had taken her months to decide to do anything because she was so afraid he wouldn’t like it, and felt so guilty about spending the money on it. Her mom had sent her some birthday money a few days early, and so she had finally done it. In 30 seconds, it was destroyed and what little bit of her heart was left was broken. 

It was that summer before she finally found the courage to break free. She spent almost an entire weekend out with friends, and something finally snapped – she couldn’t keep going home. She felt like she no longer had a home. She was terrified. She was afraid he would hurt her, or her cat. The entire time she forced the words out, she shook from head to toe and her only thought beyond getting through her speech was to keep the couch between them. She never spent another night in the same house with him.

Her friends and family welcomed her with open arms. She discovered they had been worried about her for a long time, but afraid that she would shut them out if they tried to point out all the red flags that were so obvious to the rest of the world. She lived with her best friend for awhile, then managed, with a lot of help from her family, to get her own place.

She was so happy. At last, she answered to no one except herself. At last, she was free to feel – feel anything she wanted. Free to follow her heart. Free to eat whatever she wanted – or not at all. Free to climb mountains if she wanted. Free to spend the night on a boat on a lake with a guy she barely knew. Free to stay out until 2 in the morning and only have people call to check on her, not demand things from her. Free to explore. Free to go out or stay in, and not feel influenced or obligated to anyone. She decorated her little apartment and didn’t ask anyone for permission. She went to see her grandmother. She reclaimed her cat, who had had to stay with her ex-husband until she found a place. 

She made some new, rather drastic career choices. Her friends and new boyfriend supported her 100%. She was free to make her own mistakes. Not that no one cared, but for the first time ever in her life, no one was trying to control her. 

It took awhile for the creative muse to come back. Buried and discouraged for so long…but it still wasn’t dead. It took awhile for her love of WORDS to come back…she had almost stopped reading as well. That too, came back to her, along with her heart. She moved overseas, got married again…read piles and piles of books. 

And now she’s here. The muse took a long time to move beyond the look of colors, the texture of fabric and yarn, to move back into words. She feels them stirring, deep in her brain. Maybe they’ll come back into story form one day. But for now…she’s here. Buried in the depths of books, writing – writing SO MUCH. Not stories yet…but writing again. And it brings her joy, even if the words are just for her. Or one other person. Or the people that read this blog. It brings her joy.

Do you know that there’s a way out,
there’s a way out
there’s a way out
there’s a way out

You don’t have to be held down,
be held down
be held down
be held down

‘Cause I used to be a shell
Yeah, I let him rule my world
my world, oh, yeah

But I woke up and grew strong
And I can still go on
And no one can take my pearl

You don’t have to be a shell, no
YoU’RE THE ONE THAT RULES YOUR WORLD, OH
You are strong and you’ll learn
that you can still go on

And you’ll always be a—a pearl

She is unstoppable

Lyrics from Katy Perry’s “Pearl.”

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