Ready for the Sun.

Posted: March 8, 2019 by Rachel

current office view

It got cold again here in Las Vegas. Although I feel almost bad typing this when my friends and family back in Ontario, Canada are dealing with highs almost thirty degrees cooler, it’s still cold. And overcast. And rainy.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how the cold and darkness of winter was getting to me. We’ve had some glimpses of sun since them, but nothing that has stuck. I know Spring is just around the corner, and that the clocks jumping forward this week will help, but, again: oof. I’m ready now.

I’ve taken to raising the blinds here in my office while I work. Most days it’s not the most beautiful view, but it does serve to remind me that there is a world out there that exists, which is especially hard when I’m editing page 87 of a 249 page manuscript that we’re behind on. My editing muscle hasn’t been put to the test in quite a while on works other than my own. And Men’s Adventure isn’t usually my go-to genre. But I will say this for the genre: it moves fast, which keeps me on my toes.

Now I’ve forgotten what I came here to say.

Right, the world outside my window.

To say it’s been a crazy last twelve months is putting it lightly. I’m not one of those people who takes pride in being insanely busy. To me, it just means unnecessary stress, and when I’m stressed I cry. Oh boy do I cry. I cried last night and again this morning. I’ll probably cry tomorrow, too. It’s how I cope. Shopping also helps me cope, but that’s bad, so I’m not going to talk about that. (I have two items to be returned to their respective stores tonight that I’m not going to talk about either).

What I’m saying is that I’m ready for a new season. A slightly slower season. A sit-outside-with-a-book-and-iced-coffee kind of season. A season of teaching my son to ride his bike without training wheels, of watching my husband and son race cars out on the road. A season of park visits and messy popsicle juice dripping down our arm. A season where I turn the computer off at the end of the day and don’t check my email again until the next work day.

I’m ready for the sun.

oof.

Posted: February 22, 2019 by Rachel

I’m not the least bit ashamed to say I’ve been struggling a bit lately. February. Dark, cold, tiring February. I’m not a fan. I’m not the biggest fan of winter overall, actually. One of the best things I ever did was leave Canada for Las Vegas eight years ago. The winters here are much more mild and forgiving, though I feel strange writing this as we come off of two days of heavy (for us) snowfall. You heard me right; I said snow. That photo was taken looking out my front window.

So, February has kind of been kicking my butt. Oof. I feel perpetually tired (I’m talking exhausted once 4pm hits) and my inspiration levels have been steadily dropping. As I’m in the thick of writing my new book (just a little shy of 30k words at the moment) I worry about letting this melancholy get any worse. I’m worried my book will go down the drain.

I know I’m not the only one having these feelings–they’re all over social media and in my inbox and ears too. February is hard on so many of us. I wish I could snap my fingers and make it Spring. Just give me the light. Give me waking up to a bright room. Give me iced coffee and pink lemonade.

Sometimes cooking some of my favorite recipes helps, like this apricot and cheddar chicken melt that Dom can’t get enough of, or this honey sriracha sesame chicken with cauliflower. But, oof, my cooking has suffered too. The other night I made breakfast for dinner: hash browns, turkey bacon and eggs all mixed together. I added salsa verde to mine and devoured it. The boys loved it too. DJ asked for it the next night, and you know what? I made it again.

All of this has just been a long-winded way of saying I’m over you, February. Of course, before I know it it will be the dead of the summer and I’ll be complaining about how much I’m sweating and the very particular way the Las Vegas sun has of feeling as though it’s burning into your skin. But that’s a story for another day.

things I think about at 5:30a.m. on (what happens to be) valentine’s day morning

Posted: February 14, 2019 by Rachel

First, and always: go back to bed. Then… everything else.

I must remember to get heart balloons while DJ’s at school. I did that last year and he remembered, and asked if there would be balloons this year. He has a great memory when he wants to.

Should I change things up now, while it’s early, and use my full name as a writer?

More rain? And while we’re at it: I’m over this winter darkness and am ready for Spring.

I really should try just to have one cup of coffee today.

I’m not anti-Valentines Day but that doesn’t mean I enjoy the bombardment of cheesy instagram posts and awful jewelry ads I’ll be faced with today. #cliche

Is that a headache looming or am I just really tired?

Don’t forget to look for a copy of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for DJ’s birthday. Also: see if you can find the second book on sale for mom and dad to give him.

I’m tired, I could go back to bed.

Just 918 words left until I hit the halfway mark of my first draft. Do I have time to do it today?

Where is DJ’s red shirt that he wanted to wear to school today? I really hope it’s not in the wash (when was the last time I did laundry anyway?)

Do I have time to shower before everyone else gets up?

I’m up, so I may as well get working on those 918 words.

I’m tired; I need coffee.

things and thoughts

Posted: January 29, 2019 by Rachel

I spend too much time on Instagram–this I know to be true. But sometimes it has its benefits, like when I came across a quote from Portuguese author Jose Micard Teixerira that so accurately summed up my belief system these days. He said, among many things:

“I no longer have patience for certain things… simply because I have reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism.

I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me, and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate.

I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities.”

I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that happened in 2018, but I grew up. I realized I can’t please everyone, and I shouldn’t have to. I let go of friendships that were doing more harm than good. I learned that self-care is choosing not to argue with anyone committed to misunderstanding you.

I shed a lot of ugly last year. And I’m so much better for it.

Why I Journal

Posted: September 7, 2018 by Rachel

Why I Journal

In my 34 years on this planet, I have written and completed over thirty-two journals, and I often get asked, why. Why I journal. I recently discovered AllSwell (and their adorable notebooks) and immediately followed them on instagram. Recently, I received an email from them (I’d forgotten I’d signed up for their newsletter as well) with the subject line “are you an apology addict?”. I was intrigued, so I read on, coming across this:

People ask if I re-read my journals. I keep them but rarely revisit them… RSVP no, thank you. For me, I release, process and move on — a better version of myself for it. If you read them you wouldn’t be getting an accurate picture of how I feel or who I am. And for me that’s exactly the point, they aren’t intended to be read by anyone, including myself. No apologies necessary.

 

I read that and I thought: BINGO. There’s someone who not only gets it but who could perfectly put into words exactly how I feel about journaling.

It’s a release. A way to process my emotions before I know how I truly feel about something or someone. When I’m having a tough day, I go to my journal and I always come out with a much clearer head.

I journal to flex my writing muscle.

I journal so that I don’t forget the good, but also so that I can learn from the not-so-good.

I journal because it keeps me accountable.

I journal because its the only place I can be me without judgement, without fear. My journal is a dream catcher, an idea incubator, a place to learn about myself.

My journal never looks the same from year to year, but I always carry it with me. There are often times when I have a few minutes to waste, and so I can pull out my journal and gather my thoughts for the day.

**

Now that you know why I journal, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I don’t often come across people who keep journals, so if you do, please comment below and let me know.

How Am I Doing with that Must-Get-Around-to-Doing-that-Soon List?

Posted: August 9, 2018 by Rachel

By sheer, dumb luck I came across a list that I had written two and a half years ago. My MUST-GET-AROUND-TO-DOING-THAT-SOON LIST that I had completely forgotten about. Dare I read it over and see what I can scratch off the list?

My Must-Get-Around-to-Doing-That-Soon List

Book (and take) that vacation to Mexico for our fifth anniversary
Read more classics
Stop comparing myself to others
Publish my second book
Quarterly organization of DJ’s closet
Buy a new journal for 2016 (preferably before 2016 begins)
Try one new restaurant each month for date night
Go back to Bardot for the beet and goat cheese salad
Host a wine and cheese party
Try one of those wine and paint places
Spend a Christmas in Canada
Stop comparing myself to others
Give up caffeine for a month
Give up alcohol for a month
Be more patient
Finish reading The Most of Nora Ephron
Have updated family photos taken
Do something wildly out of my comfort zone

All in all, that’s not so good. But it was a good reminder, and I’m hopeful that if I come across this list again in another two and half years, I can scratch off a heck of a lot more than three things.

I’m curious, though, as to what is on your list, so please share!

700 Books

Posted: June 19, 2018 by Rachel

There are a lot of truly great things about my job, but among my favorite is meeting our authors. I’ve had June 18th and 19th marked on my calendar for a month; a potential new author and his wife coming into town. We had dinner at a nice steakhouse last night, and met again today for a working lunch.

“How many books have you written now?” I asked.

The author combed his hand over his gray beard, pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and smiled. “Over 700.”

I wish I knew the exact number, but am aware that it doesn’t entirely matter because SEVEN HUNDRED BOOKS. At least.

This is where I had to reel it in. You know: it. That writerly instinct that makes me want to yell out something like: “how do you do it how do you come up with so many ideas do you plot first or are you a pantser how do you find time to edit TEACH ME YOUR WAAAAYYYSSSS.” Just like that—lack of punctuation and all. The good news is that I ended up with the answers to these questions, I just had to sit back and let it happen organically.

My boss and the author left the cafe we met in twenty minutes ago, and here I sit. I said, “I’m going to stay and work for a bit; get everything we discussed down before I forget it.” It’s the truth, but also not. I’m feeling inspired and motivated but also transfixed. I’m motionless with terror and awe in equal parts.

700 books.

1. I have the coolest job.

2. I better get writing

las vegas and me

Posted: May 5, 2018 by Rachel

Las Vegas and Me

I’ve been asked why I don’t write about Las Vegas much. For that, I don’t really have an answer beyond: how do I write about a city I don’t really know?

It’s not like New York, where you might walk everywhere, where you run into friends on the subway or in line buying a bottle of wine. The closest I get to that kind of life is bumping into a fellow mom in the target grocery aisle (and even that, I can confidently say, has only happened twice in the just over seven years I’ve lived in this city).

My experience in Las Vegas is, I can guess, much different from a twenty-something single woman’s or someone who lives in those fancy oversized, over-priced housing developments that butt up against the mountains. And it is definitely different from someone who lives downtown, where I like to imagine they exist within a three-mile radius: coffee to work to home and repeat. Now that I could get on board with.

The truth is that Vegas and I are still getting to know one another. We’re at that stage in our relationship where we’re been seeing each other for a while and everyone has started asking us if we’re together or not. We own two homes here, work and play here. We are raising a kid here amidst my husbands big, italian family; so the reality is that yes, Vegas and I are together. We’re official.

But.

Seven years in and this city still feels strange to me. I’m more than on board with the weather here, with the affordable housing and food, with the great school district we found ourselves in. i’m on board with family close by. I’m on board with the incredible library system and the fact that there is always great coffee nearby.

But.

I could be somewhere else. If the opportunity came up, I could. There will probably always be a part of me that thinks how great it would be to move somewhere new. Maybe not forever—because I already live in an entirely different country than my family, why would I want to be far away from my husband’s too?—but it would be an adventure. One I wouldn’t shy away from. One I would embrace.

Maybe I’ll never want to be monogamous with Las Vegas. Maybe it will tell me itself that it’s had enough. Or maybe the answer is simply that we need to get to know each other a little better.

 

 

It’s not about the desk (ok, it’s a little about the desk)

Posted: April 20, 2018 by Rachel

I ordered a desk yesterday. A small, white thing with clean lines and a drawer that the reviews say is deceiving because it doesn’t open all the way. But what do I care about that, really? I didn’t talk to Dom about it first. I didn’t tell him I’d been debating the purchase for a couple months now, mostly because I knew what he’d say. “Why do you need another desk?”

I have a nice, big desk in a separate office that is cold in the winter and hot in the summer and I can never quite figure out how to dress properly so that I’m comfortable either way. But the problem is that I work from home, at that desk, in that space. For eight hours a day, I sign contracts there, finalize book interiors there, write marketing plans there, among the other eight hundred tasks I do as part of my publishing job.

That’s the problem.

When I’m in that office, sitting at that desk, I’m in day job mode. And no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I can’t break out of that work mode after work hours.

What I’m trying to say is that at that nice desk, in that lovely office, I cannot write.

So I started thinking about buying another desk. Just a small one that I could fit in the bedroom, or even the guest room if need be. It doesn’t really matter where it is at this point as long as it’s not in the office.

The desk is set to arrive by end of day Tuesday and I can only hope that once I figure out a home for it, the rest of it—the writing bit, the finishing-of-the-novel bit—will all sort itself out.

Why do I need another desk?

Let me show you why.

The Kind of Woman I Want To Be

Posted: March 24, 2018 by Rachel

I want to be the kind of woman who can easily turn away from social media when it feels like too much.

I want to be the kind of woman that wouldn’t care that her stomach oozes over her jeans when she’s bent over.

I want to wash my face at the end of every day (I still don’t do this, after all these years).

I want to be better about biting my tongue.

I want to never again throw away any of my journals (what a hard lesson to have learned).

I want to be more patient.

I want to be the kind of woman who isn’t afraid to eat by herself.

I want to be the kind of woman who doesn’t go shopping when she’s feeling blue. In the end, I only feel worse.

I want to perfect the at-home iced vanilla latte before summer comes around

I want to be the kind of woman who wears long, flowing skirts (like this one, recently purchased).

I want to always reach out to those I admire and tell them so.

I want to be the kind of woman who loves wholly and without judgment.

I want to be better about saying enough is enough.

I want to be the kind of woman who takes more risks, goes more places, takes more pictures.

I want to embrace being almost thirty-four.

**

P.S. The 2014 version