Category Archives: Series of Sorts

Those “Repeat Features” that show up from time to time

Celebrate the Small Things! Party Time! (#16)


A weekly Blog-Hop, hosted by Lexa Cain where we celebrate those small things.

It’s my birthday!  Yup!  Today!  I’m celebrating over the weekend with friends and family.  Not to mention the Unbirthday Party I’m throwing right here (so I can celebrate with all of you!)

I’m also celebrating the awesome growth I’m seeing in a little project that I think is such a great idea.  1000 voices for compassion is trying to get 1000 bloggers and video makers to talk about compassion, kindness, caring for others, non-judgement, and the like on the same date (February 20).  I’m signed up to participate, and encourage others to join in!  Check out #1000Speaks on Twitter!




If We Were Having Coffee… #22

If we were having coffee I’d offer you a latte, I’m starting to get better at the milk-frothing thing!  Or we could go out for coffee, to one of those cozy coffee-shops with cushy chairs.  It’s one of those cloudy-drizzly days where it would be just lovely to slip off my shoes and curl up in an overstuffed chair.

I’m excited about my coffee-post this week, because I get to be involved in the inaugural #WeekendCoffeeShare, hosted by Part Time Monster!  What a great chance to connect with other weekend coffee folks.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that much of the week is still a bit of a blur.    Nothing spectacular happened, aside from having to report for Jury Duty one day (which didn’t end up with me sitting on a jury). Because I got out early from that, though, I had the chance to meet up with two friends, one for a very brief check-in during her lunch-break, and the other for a trip to Powell’s and lunch.  I rarely have the chance to see my friends during the week (with my commute I only get about 2.5 hours in the evening before I have to sleep, and my energy is generally completely gone by then) so it was a fun little treat.

I’ve been doing some planning for the Un-Birthday party Blog-Party I’m hosting next week.  It’s exciting to get back into the framing story, and really cool the way that it’s taking shape.  Taliana returns (after her experience at the Masque) and I can already see the way that her next party will take form.  I’ll see how the Un-Birthday goes, but am kind of thinking I might not be able to wait until next years Masquerade to continue her story — maybe I’ll do something in April, and again in July-ish (that’s, roughly evenly spaced through the year…).  It’s fun to think about.

I also started to dig back into Disparate Threads some, and have a better idea of where I’m going next.  Starting to feel more and more confident that I’ll be able to start up again by the end of the month.  It’s exciting to be getting back on track.

I’d also tell you that Saturday was a lovely day, I went to Mother’s Bistro for breakfast (nice atmosphere, good food), and then to a “Build, Remodel, and Landscape,” show.  Since I’m not actually looking at landscaping or doing renovations of my own (my friend is in the middle of a major remodel), I just wandered around and looked at pretty tiles and daydreamed about magical yards that took care of themselves and allowed me to have pretty spaces to sit and write.  I also managed to find myself a nice pair of earrings, and two pretty vases!  However, no books — though at a furniture/hardware store we stopped at on the way home I did find some old books that looked kind of interesting….

I adored these little sculptures! From WoodLawn Nursery

How has your week been?  Anything you’re looking forward to in the coming week?

Making Room Not To Write – Plus an Introduction

December was a month that saw very little writing on my part.  I had these grand plans for the month, I was going to get so much writing done, do some plotting for future editing, things like that.

But December did not go as I planned.  Almost no writing got done.  Absolutely no blog-formatting got done. Nearly no reading got done.

I’ll admit, I spent a bit of time beating myself up about that all.  I’ve told myself that I should have pushed, that I should have written even if it was a struggle, that I needed to write, that even if I wasn’t writing at least I could have looked at the layout of Disparate Threads, or revisited the outline of my novel-draft, or read more books. Something.

But I didn’t.  I hung out with friends some, and watched entirely too many shows on Netflix.  I did a little bit of cleaning, and a fair amount of sleeping.  There was work at the day job in there too, of course.  And I did make some Christmas gifts.

Still, I was beating myself up for not writing.  I wondered if I had been just fooling myself about being able to do “this writing thing.”  I had moments of wanting to think of myself as a failure — but something held me back from giving over entirely to that thought.

As I start to ease back into the writing work that I had intended to do in December, I realize something very important.  I needed to give myself that break — it wasn’t failure, rather self-care. Yes, sometimes there is a need to push yourself to keep going, even if you don’t feel like it, but sometimes it’s also important to allow yourself room to take a breath.  Giving myself permission to allow the space to not write helps me as I step back into my writing now.  A break does not mean failure.  Sometimes, a break is needed in order to refresh, recharge, and be able to keep going.

Yes, I’ve told myself this before, but apparently I need to be told it again.

This month we were invited to write a little Introduction about ourselves – so I’ll take a brief moment to do so.  There’s also plenty of “who am I?” pondering and rambling in my About Me page.

I’m Allison, and I hate writing bio’s and “about me” posts… I’m just bad at introducing myself.  I’m a writer, and technically a published author and poet, though the published piece isn’t something I mention often because I still feel like a fake in that regard in some ways.  I have an MA in Religion, a BA in History, and ponder going on for another Masters (in Public History) and maybe even a Doctorate. But for now I am focusing on keeping up at my pay-the-bills-job, and juggling my blogging and fiction writing in order to get an actual, functional, draft of my first novel done by the fall of 2015 (self-set goal). Also, I endeavor to stop using “and” and “but” at the start of so many of my sentences.

This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a IWSG badgegreat group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG. 

We have also, recently, put out a new book, for free (through most sites).  Check it out for all sorts of great articles on topics from writing to publishing, everything in-between and beyond!

If We Were Having Coffee #21

My espresso machine is still novel enough to be exciting, and I just acquired some cool cups and saucers so have the ability to serve up little cups of espresso, lattes, things like that for coffee today.  I’m still working on my milk-frothing skills though so… it won’t necessarily look pretty — I’ll get there though!

If we were having coffee I’d ask how your New Years Celebrations went — did you have a good time?  Did you make it to midnight, or were you asleep early?  Or is staying up until midnight par for the course for you?

I stayed up this year… it was a bit of a challenge — the past few years I haven’t made it to midnight, low-key celebrations all the way.  This year, though, was different.

For a few years a friend of mine has been hosting Friendsgiving.  Basically, when she’s back in town (about once a year) she has an event, inviting friends that live in the area.  This year we went in together on a beach-house rental, celebrating New Years Eve on the Oregon Coast.  It was awesome!

Sunset on the beach
Sunset on the beach

There was a whole crew of us, some I have known a long time, some that I didn’t really know.  It was cool to spend a few days with friends, seeing the kids run around like the wild-crazy-ones they are (I LOVE those kiddos).  I got to spend time wandering around the beach-town, and on the beach.

We opened a champagne bottle with a sword, which was very cool.  Midnight was spent out on the beach, watching people set off fireworks all around us, greeting the new year.  It was spectacularly fun.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’m excited to be gearing up for another writing blog-hop, an Un-birthday Celebration.  It’ll be great to have another group-writing project, I had a lot of fun with the Masquerade Ball in October.  I’m hoping that I’ll have at least as good participation as I had in October.

How are you doing?  What was your week like?  What’s coming up for you this month?

If We Were Having Coffee #20

If we were having coffee I’d offer you some espresso! I got an espresso maker for Christmas!  This may lead to me saving money 20141225_161607because I’ll be able to make espresso in the morning and therefore visit my coffee cart less often.  Or, it might lead to me just having more coffee.  Time will tell!

My Christmas was okay. Over the past fifteen years I’ve spent more Christmas away from my family than with them — and the majority of those times with them in those years I’ve been coming in from out of town. Having Christmas when it’s just the same people who are always in the house, going through slightly changed plans… it wasn’t what I expected.  But now I know that I have to take action to make Christmas what I want it to be next year – it can be done.

There’ve been some great parts too.  Christmas Eve one of my friends took me to see Into The Woods.  We got dinner first, and the place we went had gluten-free pasta!  I have been craving mac-and-cheese that I didn’t have to make myself, and was so happy!  The movie was good too — though I think I need to see it again before I write my promised review.

The train took us through another tunnel of light -- this was harder to get a picture of, but I kind of LOVE how it turned out!
The train took us through another tunnel of light — this was harder to get a picture of, but I kind of LOVE how it turned out!

On Friday I got to go with a friend and her kids to see ZooLights.  I love the Oregon Zoo, and it’s a beautiful to see it all covered in lights, some animated.  We took the train, and even got to see some animals!  It was fun to be out and about, around the excitement and energy (even if a little cranky and tired at moments) of little ones.

Colorful Lights above me and beside me -- I walked through a tunnel of rainbow lights!
Colorful Lights above me and beside me — I walked through a tunnel of rainbow lights!

Saturday night was Christmas Part Two – over at my Dads.  No presents, but food, yummy wine, and visiting.  It was a pretty good time.

I’m looking forward to New Years — for the first time in I don’t know how long I have plans!  A bunch of friends and I are getting a house on the coast and going to have a fun, two night, Friendsgiving celebration.  I’ll tell you all about it next week!

How were your holidays?  Did you do anything fun?  Any wacky stories to tell?  Any great plans for this week?

Would you like another cup of espresso?

If We Were Having Coffee.. #19

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that it’s a strange time for me. So much change happening in my world right now it’s kind of hard to find a perch to settle on.  But I’m trying.

Christmas Tree Reflection at Pioneer Courthouse Square
Christmas Tree Reflection at Pioneer Courthouse Square

I can’t believe that Christmas is this week.  Everything’s a bit of a swirl, but signs are clear.  Cards arriving in the mail (meaning I actually am getting mail, which I always love), lights and trees in the house and around the city.  Though it’s the second year I’ve spent Christmas somewhere that doesn’t have much of a chance at all of snow this holiday — and I miss that.

But it has been fun to see all the holiday things appearing.  Friends are posting all sorts of pictures of their decorations, and their kids celebrating and preparing.  My friends have some of the most adorable kids!

I managed to start writing again this week, a little bit on Disparate Threads.  There’s editing that needs to be done, and I’m worried that I’ll fall behind, but I need to start pushing myself some more.  It’s far too easy to fall into a slump, and I can’t have a slump that lasts too long, not if I plan on meeting the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

My cards so far this Holiday season– a mix of holiday and sympathy/condolence cards.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I have been having some thoughts about this blog in the coming year.  I’d like to start bringing in other voices, interviews with writers (and readers!) guest posts, things like that.  I’ll have to start figuring out the “how” of all that, but… it’s something I’m starting to think about.

How has your week been?  Are you enjoying the season, whatever celebrations it may bring for you?

Celebrate the Small Things #13

vik-small-things-2Today I celebrate the return to writing!  After what seemed like forever (19 days… really not that long in the grand scheme of things), I managed to get some actual fiction writing done!

It was work on Disparate Threads, which I’m excited about.  It’s going to be a real push to get done all that I had planned to get done over there this month (and some of the plans for webpage redesign may have to come later this winter), but it feels great to have gotten some writing for done for those characters (after, essentially, a month and a half away from them).

Lots else going on, but for now that’s my small thing.  It wasn’t much writing, a thousand words, if that.  But it felt so good to finally break through whatever had been holding me back and get into the characters again.

What do you celebrate today?