Saturday, November 23, 2013

November gratitude list

This time of year always makes me remember all the things I'm thankful for, and I feel like I'm living in a particularly good time of life right now, so it comes easy this year.

- My baby is in the sweetest, funniest, quirkiest stage right now at four months.  Her growly dragon noises and cackles (she misunderstands the purpose of laughter, we think--sometimes when she's just sitting there she'll erupt in this harsh, staccato, kind of maniacal cackle out of nowhere and then go instantly stone-faced again) when she's awake and her little sighs when she's asleep blast my heart into a thousand tiny pieces.  She likes being held while you're standing up only, and she's a terrible sleeper, but she's so much fun and so cute and in general just the best.  Every now and then she rediscovers her hands or sometimes her feet and will just sit there and stare at them like she's trying to figure them out, and I read somewhere that at this age babies haven't learned to separate themselves from their primary caregivers, which is to say that when she looks at her hands she thinks they belong to me.  HAHA.  I don't know why this amuses me so much, but it does.  I try to read to her every day and whenever I do she arches her back and stares around the room and sometimes tries to close the book, and I also learned that that--closing books--is a standard developmental stage.  Weird.

- I'm revising my manuscript for Disney, which is an up and down process, and actually if you asked my husband and friends I've been nonstop pestering with existential writing angst they'd probably say it sounds like it's all down, but my editor is terrific and her notes are fantastic, and I believe in her vision for the story (which is a life raft on the days I'm drowning in the self-doubt and the suspicion that I should just send her a blank document marked "improvements").  I'm also working on my next project, which I'm really excited about.

- I'm still figuring out the whole work/parenting balance thing (definitely a first-world problem), but my parents and aunt have been really generous about helping take care of my little girl and giving me a few extra hours to write.  I'm also happy she gets to see them more.

- Audrey's in that sweet spot where she's old enough to go places but still young enough to be immobile and portable, so we've gotten out enough to see friends and in general re-enter the world.  We even went to San Diego last month for a wedding, and to a gathering of friends in Twain Harte the month before that, and it was really really good to get to see friends and family we don't usually get to see.


- It had been for some reason a while since I'd met any new people and I was feeling my--admittedly incredible and fulfilling--circles shrinking a little as good friends were moving away for various reasons, but lately a smattering of really amazing new people have come into my life and I feel that happy excitement of new friendships.  Some are people I know from church, which is starting to feel like a real and vital community to me, and I also for the first time ever took the plunge and met a friend I'd met online (and it was really fun and I was so glad we clicked in person, and plus we ate cronuts, which, win--although frankly, overhyped).

- This.

- Thanks to Lee Kelly I became a member of The Freshmen Fifteen, a group of fifteen YA authors whose books are debuting in 2015, and not only has the community been incredible and not only have I been totally blown away by the talent and inventiveness of the other women and their work, I also got to meet up with authors Stacey Lee and Virginia Boecker and it was the best night ever.  I realized, as I was gushing about them afterwards to J, that it was the first time I've ever met anyone in person who's in the YA publishing community, and it was like coming home to my people.

- Also, I've found my critique partner soulmate in Lee.

- I had my ten-year high school reunion last month and it was so great to see everyone and catch up and in general just be in a room full of people just genuinely really, truly happy to see one another.  (It was also really fun to Google + hangout with my besties afterward so we could recap our night.)  I'm really kind of embarrassingly proud of where I come from, and everyone's just turned into such impressive, decent, overall great people.  Eleven-year reunion!  I hope.

- I became a member of the NaNoWriMo Associate Board, and last weekend I attended the Annual Night Of Writing Dangerously (and got to see an old friend from college whom I haven't seen since then!).  Driving home through Chinatown, pushing my rapidly-aging car up the steep hills where my grandmother saw my grandfather skating backwards and told a friend "that's the boy I'm going to marry," I felt really happy to be a part of a city and a community that can come around its writers and readers.  (Then I came home to a baby who had been screaming in such anguish for the past hour I almost took her to the hospital because I was scared something was really wrong, so it was fun being out for the night for the last time ever.)

- We live in a one-bedroom and moving somewhere bigger with a second bedroom seemed like the appropriate thing to do, and we looked all over the place and it turned out I have this irrational but EXTREMELY DEEPLY-ROOTED desire to live near trees and hills, probably thanks to having grown up where both were abundant and now feeling weirdly ungrounded when I can't see either one from where I live, and J had more normal desires for more living space and storage closets.  Also, have I complained yet about how a two-bedroom in the area goes for like 2800 right now?  Anyway, this weekend J rearranged the table in our living area and suddenly we have like six extra square feet and now it feels like we can live here forever.  So we stopped the obsessive Craigslist hunting and I'm really glad because I was heartbroken in advance to leave where we live now, my favorite place I've lived in my adult life.

- J's in thesis mode before he starts a new job very soon, and at the moment his schedule is relatively flexible, which I've been trying to take advantage of.  Last week we got holiday drinks and went for a walk, because our baby has a weird and all-consuming love of being outside, and it was autumn-y and just really nice.  Boo to real jobs.

- And next week's Thanksgiving!  Yay for family and friends!  I think this is my favorite time of year.


  1. Your daughter is so cute, and those mountain photos are gorgeous! You have a lot to be grateful for this year. :)

  2. Such a cute post! I just hope you're baby's apropos of nothing cackle is not an indication of some future scheme she's hatching.

    Also, I feel your pain re: Bay Area Real estate prices. That is nothing to be thankful for.

  3. I am so behind - I just read your last few posts. Congratulations on your BEAUTIFUL baby daughter!!! What a miraculous world we live in, that there can be nothing one day, and a little PERSON the next! So very happy for you and J.

  4. I can't handle how precious your baby is - I mean, the two of you are gorgeous, so it makes sense, but seriously - the awwww is out of control (and I don't even LIKE children).
    You've got so much awesomeness going on right now - so many accomplishments!

  5. I love this so much, Kelly! The photos are BEAUTIFUL! Those mountains! And Audrey is so freakin' cute. I can't help but smile when I see her photos! :) What a wonderful wrap-up for your year. And what a year! I had to laugh about the blank page labeled "improvements" - haaa - but I do hope your revisions go well. Here's to another amazing year!! :)

  6. Kelly, I haven't been to your blog in a gazillion years, and this post was absolutely WONDERFUL! I feel like I'm sort of caught up now.....but boy, that Audrey is changing sooooooo much! Thanks for posting some piccys so we can all share in her cuteness!!

    And I must say, I'm so jealous you got to meet actual people from the YA writing community, and that it felt like coming home. *on my wishlist for 2014*

    Have an amazing holiday with your perfect little family!

  7. Such absolutely gorgeous photos!!! Your daughter is adorable. And don't worry about the cackling, my nieces and nephews did that too. Once they figure it out, it's such a novelty they just want to try out the noise. Loved your description though! Too funny.

    Hope you and yours have a Happy Holiday! xo

  8. I used to read your blog when you were Startup Wife and I somehow lost track of you. I'm so glad to have re-discovered your writing! I can't wait to check out your book -- I remember when you were first working on it. I just sent in my edits to the galleys of mine, so I can totally relate to what you went through with the editing process.

    And a very late congratulations on your beautiful baby girl!

  9. Your baby is darling! I sympathize with the revisions angst—have definitely had many moments where I got myself all ready to "improve" a manuscript only to sit down at the computer and have my mind go totally blank. You can do it, though!!! And they say it's all worth it, right? ;)

  10. Audrey is just beautiful, Kelly!

    I am so incredibly happy for you and J. :-)


    P.S. Please forgive my email (back to you) being so belated.