oh yes i did!

... Just finish Les Miserables? Absolutely love it?

Why yes. Yes I did.

And with five hours to spare!

Mmmm. Nothing like a crazy book challenge to keep you cozy in the winter.


book crush thursday: Lost Horizon

"I don't recognize this part of the world," he commented. Then, more privately, for he did not wish to alarm the others, he added into Mallinson's ear: "Looks as if you're right. The man's lost his way." The plane was swooping down at a tremendous speed. -- James Hilton, Lost Horizon

So it begins with a kidnapping. Four people in a plane. A crash landing. The Tibetan mountains. A mysterious, polite guide. And a little journey into beautiful, puzzling Shangri-La.

I loved Conway, the main character. He makes me think of old Hollywood. Classy, black & white movies and handsome old-school actors. Yep.

Oooh, this is such a good book for a rainy night like tonight. Just dive into it, as the rain patters on your windows and the wind picks up. Lost Horizon will slowly pull you in, and keep you guessing until the very, very end.

Just thinking about it gives me a chill.

Recommendation: Definitely tea. Definitely strong.

Give this book your whole day: read it start to finish for a perfect late-February getaway.

all good girls eat their veggies.

Okay, so I'm here on a cold, rainy, windy night, wearing my coziest sweater, with a book in my hands. Which means it's Book Crush Thursday, of course.

But first. Since I'm still so happy about dinner... I had to say this: If you haven't personally experienced the Brussels Sprouts Revolution, then click right over here and try this recipe.

Because it will change your life.

Because you had no idea how awesome green could taste.

Okay, you're going to try them, right? Of course you are.

Because you're fabulous like that.


the days feel more real when i take notes.

I take a simple view of living. It is to keep your eyes open and get on with it. -- Laurence Olivier

Perfect toast and hazelnut coffee to start with. As starts go, that's not bad. (Someone needs to write a sonnet about perfect toast. Amber-colored, and the butter oozing into the holes? Yeah. That's what we want.)

And there was a run--my fourth! It's great to be outside... though running in thirty-eight degrees is a bit different from running in sixty-eight. Just to let you know.

Browsed some wonderful cooking blogs (like Joy's, Molly's, and Aran's). You know what's dangerous about food blogs? They make me dream about opening a café, a real bricks-and-mortar café, with the steamy windows and a bell on the door. Making crepes, soups, tea, and decadent chocolate amazingness.

Really. I can just see myself handing out warm scones and refilling mugs with coffee and wisdom...

Wisdom? Am I that wise? What would I say to myself, right now, if I were the customer with the empty mug?

No idea. Back to the novel, then.

I wrote the conversation scene, the one I'd been worrying about. I worried about it on my run. I worried about it in the shower. Usually all the brilliant ideas show up when there's water and soap, but not today.

But my character was ready when I got to the desk. I knew none of my dialogue ideas would work, but she knew what she wanted to say, and it was just right. Inspired! Effortless! And maybe even a little funny. We hope.

And then, what's left? I'll make myself a few promises: about spring cleaning. About running errands that I usually put off. About finishing all the knitting projects I've begun and then set aside. (Hmm. Knitting. Time to daydream springy things to make for the store. Time for a spring update, in fact!)

Finally my after-dinner date with Monsieur Victor Hugo and Les Miserables. He probably has more to say about the riots of 1832. And then, hopefully, a lot more about Jean Valjean, whom I can't help adoring.

And then there's poor foolish Marius and poor silly Cosette. I like them, but I also kind of want to kick them. Am I allowed to say that? I'm about fifty pages behind schedule, but maybe tonight's the night I get caught up.

Me, Victor Hugo, and a huge cup of tea. Just the right ending.


like today

Some days I feel a lot closer to six years old than twenty-six.


why i've been eyeing my running shoes lately (or: me & number 5)

Because a few weeks ago, life looked like this:

And this:

But we turned a corner. And this week has been this:

And this. I'm still speechless.

And this. Lovely. They look like hope.

So buckle up, number 5. I'm coming for you.


i am happily buried in a pile of pages.

I promise that I haven't forgotten that on Thursdays, I usually blab about my latest book love. I really do remember that, and I still have a list of books that you certainly shouldn't live without. Promise.

But my brain has been very happily full of Les Miserables lately, and between that and my work-in-progress (you remember the old lady, of course?), I haven't had much room for other books. I'm so sorry.

But these have been good days for a reader. Very good days. Cold days, warm blankets, a bit of wine, and a massive French novel on my lap? I'm doing just fine, thank you.

412 pages down. So I'm a third the way there? I'm a third of the way through.

And oh my goodness, I completely recommend this experience. It's selling me on the concept of the massive book. I can see myself doing this every February, certainly: maybe next February is Don Quixote, and then War and Peace, and then, and then?  

It makes me giddy.

Seriously, friends, Hugo is blowing me away. I've gotten so absorbed in this story, and I'm gasping and laughing out loud. (Who says a book isn't interactive??)

And I love how it fits into my days. I love getting time to read... okay, I love forcing myself to read! Reading in huge gulps. Love. It.

Reading is why I write: so then, why is reading so easy to skip? Pfffft.

Go get yourself lost in a sea of a novel, a big wide country of a book. Pack your blanket, your tea or coffee or wine, your soft pillow, your quote book, your patch of sunlight. And then go get lost. Seriously. You'll be so glad you did.


three fingers against the wrist

This morning, I spent a while prowling through the last month or so of posts over at habit. I know I've said it before, but I love love love that project. After browsing a few entries, I feel myself relaxing, focusing, noticing my own life differently.

Celebrating the small moments again. (Heck, and the big ones.)

Today is another day of quiet. I'm typing this directly above my coffee, catching the hazelnut-scented steam on my face.

And while I'm excited for another productive writing day (it's going so well!) and another evening of Les Miserables (which I am loving), I think I'll miss the activity of yesterday.

Because I lose my mind with happiness every time my niece calls me by her name for me (Ga-ga), and because every time she hands me a book and crawls up on my lap, I melt.

I'm so glad to have all those moments lining my pockets today. As well as the image of ice and fountains, somehow perfectly reflecting the wintry evening sky. It was a busy but beautiful day.

Today, then, is for brilliant productivity... but I might take a cue from habit, and pursue productivity with a sense of quiet.

Maybe I'll stay in my shabbiest coziest cardigan, and keep my feet buried in my favorite slippers, dream up the next few scenes of the book, enjoy the view out of my window. Notice the feathers that caught on the tips of the pine needles. Pick out the call of the bluejay.

Maybe I'll bake that pumpkin bread tonight after all. Or maybe it's an afternoon for crepes. (You can make and enjoy crepes alone, right?) I'll pay closer attention to the beauty and solace in the domestic little world around me.

Okay, and then yeah, I'll also write like a fiend.


truth is stranger than whatever.

After a patchy autumn and a hit-and-miss holiday season and--well--a rough January, I think I can confidently say: the writing is back on track.

Such a good feeling, too. When the work hits a wall, I feel like I'm being eaten alive. Slowly. By a million tiny jaws.

For it to be moving ahead steadily... well, it's a relief. Warm, buttery, sunshiny relief.

I've been stalking this project for a while, now, and longer than I originally planned. (I know, I know. Surprise.) Oh, those plans. They always get me in trouble. I've discarded about a dozen plans for how to make this book work, how to make the writing fly onto the page, how to get all the characters singing their perfect parts.

In the end, what has worked? A series of somewhat monotonous days at a desk. Carefully putting in my time. Asking the questions I know I need to ask. Waiting--not forcing--just waiting for the answers.

And suddenly, yesterday, one of my characters showed up. A very old, sharp-tongued woman, with zero tolerance for self-pity, and a no-nonsense stance on everything else.

I was--well, okay, I was taking a shower, and thinking, and staring at the soap suds around my toes, when I heard her voice in my head, scolding me.

I tried scolding back: Is nothing sacred? I'm showering, for Pete's sake!

She didn't really care. I guess I didn't expect her to. And in the tirade that followed, I gathered that she's ready for the plot to move forward. It's high time, she said, for this book to continue.

I'm still unclear on some things, I explained.

Does that really matter? she answered. We're waiting.

I forgot. You don't try to argue with her.

Today? Today, major plot pieces are sailing into place. Simple. Easy.

She was right.

i have this hunch...

that my life would be really perfect if I could learn how to knit socks.

I'm very sure of this.