Ella and Teenage Kicks

I was walking this morning to pick up my bike from the train station where I left it on Monday afternoon, and my iPod died when I was about three blocks away from the house. But that was no matter, I don’t require constant amusement via technology.

So I kept merrily walking down the sidewalk, stepping over tree branches that are still downed from the October snowstorm, and started singing to myself in my head. Which, you know, is totally normal and totally fine, as long as the song doesn’t get stuck on repeat for the next thirty six hours.

Now, I care enough about this phenomenon to know the science behind it. So after listening to it in my head for about two hours as I flitted around town by foot and on a bike, I immediately turned the song on and listened to it over and over and over again. Unfortunately, it hasn’t helped.

All I’ve heard for hours on end is The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks.

Max spent an astonishing amount of time sitting on the washing machine and watching me sing and iron this afternoon, because apparently, I’m more amusing than a nice sunny piece of carpet (which, admittedly, is nice to know, even if I’m only getting the attention for doing something strange–don’t we all want to be more interesting than the carpet?). And I’ve only continued to sing:

“I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight;

Get teenage kicks right through the night”

Here’s hoping that going to sleep will clear this earworm up.

In other news, GUESS WHO FINISHED NANOWRIMO!!! If you guess me, you win this very exciting round of Ella’s Guessing Game. There is, unfortunately, no greater prize than a brief moment of satisfaction.

I’m positively thrilled and now have thousands of words of terrible writing on my hands. At a certain point I began freaking out and there are pages upon pages of very detailed descriptions of characters and settings. There are probably about twenty thousand salvageable words from the whole extravaganza, but it’s over and done with and I can stop be so darn stressed about the word count all the time.

In other, other news, my mother just handed me a heart-shaped card two of her students made for me. All it says is “HeLOW” and is addressed to me in big penciled letters with more interesting capitalization. If I still had bullitein board space, it would be pinned up very prominently.

In Which Ella Eats Chocolate and Finally Takes a Picture of the Skyline

I thought that I’d share some pictures from my somewhat wild adventure with Pippa on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Here’s a picture of my meal, replete with my very awkward hand placement. Note the big metal mixer that is entirely filled with melted chocolate.

And I also finally have a picture of the skyline. Just look at the light pollution! It’s both terribly depresssing, and oddly beautiful. When I was in Deleware for Thanksgiving, it felt so strange to be able to see the Milky Way when I looked up on a clear night–I’ve become so used to the purple-ish skies of cities.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive a weird spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Buys Books for Christmas

Since Thanksgiving is officially over, I can finally justify getting started on my Christmas shopping. And let me tell you, I take my Christmas shopping very, very seriously. While I do enjoy receiving presents (particularly books, all relatives who have been asking me for a Christmas wishlist), giving gifts is a thousand times more fun and exciting.

Today, after dropping Pippa at the the train station, I took the subway downtown to my favorite independent bookstore, The Strand, and hung out in their children’s book section for over an hour selecting titles for my youngest cousins. Of course, I can’t tell you any of the names here, because those two wonderful scoundrels could potentially wind up on this blog, but trust me, the books are good.

It was interesting selecting them because I am neither a ten-year-old boy or a twelve-year-old girl, and I have never had restrictions on what I was allowed to read. If it was in the house or the librarian would let me check it out, I could read it.

I was the type of kid that knew my own limits and would ask my parents questions about everything, and it all worked out okay. I read Fast Food Nation when I was ten and began making self-righteous rants about nutrition and cruelty anytime we passed a fast-food restaurant and throughly enjoyed being taken to two-hour long speeches about a book on Myanmar when I was nine (During the question and answer session I got to ask the author why he chose to write the book and completely surprised the author and audience with the seriousness of the question and how sincerely and earnestly I asked it. I also tried to convince my dad to let me visit the country, but for obvious reasons I wasn’t allowed.).

So when I was collecting books that I thought might interest my cousins, it felt strange to have to ask myself about how appropriate the book would be for that age group. One day, I know that the twelve-year-old will love Shine by Lauren Myracle someday, but rape, drug abuse, and a hate crime don’t exactly add up to something the average parent wants their twelve year old daughter to be reading. The oral sex scene, cursing, and smoking also knocked Looking for Alaska by John Green out of the running, even though I had been exactly her age when I read it. And even Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan was probably too much, considering that the characters meet each other in a porn store (they’re both there by accident), and there is some underaged drinking.

The ten-year-old was a bit more difficult because while I have been a twelve-year-old girl at one point, I have never been male. And from what I’ve heard, boys don’t often enjoy the same books as girls. Something about the ridiculously sparkling vampires and drama-filled romances seem to put them off, and frankly I can’t say that I disagree with them in many cases. It takes the rare author to pull it off. (Stephanie Perkins, I’m looking at you.) So I approached this gift selection with a bit of help. An employee and I traipsed up and down the aisles searching for things he might like, a task made more difficult by the fact that his reading abilities far outstrip his maturity–not many ten-year-olds are happily reading The Lord of the Rings on their own.

But despite the limitations, I still have a whole bunch of excellent books to give to both of them, and I cannot wait to hear what they think of them. December 25th cannot come soon enough.

Next on the Christmas to-do list is taking care of the cards and finding the world’s most ridiculous pair of underwear to give to Pippa as a gag gift. Pippa, the strange tutu-thong get-up I saw in Victoria’s Secret a few months ago is no longer for sale, but just you wait, I’ll find something ten times worse. Watch me.

And with that, Maxwell and I bid you all a good night from our very cushy and warm pile of blankets and pillows.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive a weird spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Reviews The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Named a Notable Children’s Book of 2011 by the New York Times, Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races is a Young Adult fantasy masterpiece. While her “Shiver” werewolf romances were number one New York Times bestsellers, The Scorpio Races trumps her past work unquestionably. Emerging from a genre cluttered with paranormal romances and post-apocolyptic or dystopian thrillers, The Scorpio Races diverges from tired clichés and tells a beautifully crafted story of courage and valor, based on the Irish and Scottish myths of a creature called the water horse or capaill uisce.

Set on the isolated island of Thisby, every year the islanders race these deadly animals along the beach of the Scorpio Sea, battling against mounts who are both hungry to eat their riders and return to depths of the sea. And every year, many are wounded or brutally killed in the process.

Steifvater writes her novel in two alternating first-person perspectives, centering the story around  Kate “Puck” Connolly and Sean Kendrick, two orphaned teenagers equally in love with horses and their island, and successfully establishes defined individual tones for each. Puck is attempting to be the first female rider and winner of the Scorpio Race in an effort to keep her eldest brother from leaving the island and to save her family’s house and land from being repossessed. Sean, taciturn and extraordinarily gifted with horses of both mythical and natural origins, is trying to win his fifth race so he can use the victory pot to finally purchase his beloved capaill uisce stallion from the horse merchant for whom he works. Both battle against the tremendous odds of their situations and the normal trials of the race, and the book ends with a conclusion that feels both satisfying and open-ended for a stand-alone novel.

Amongst the book’s strengths is that while the story does have some elements of a romance, the characters’ relationship lacks overblown and unbelievable drama and passion and instead evolves naturally out of deep mutual respect and understanding, something often forgotten and ignored in most modern YA. But perhaps Stiefvater’s greatest achievement is that the novel does not feel like a fantasy. Her excellent use of language, artful descriptions, and engaging dialogue make the characters and the story comes alive in such a way that it leaves you questioning how anyone could ever believe that the island of Thisby and capaill uisce races don’t exist, creating a novel so seemingly realistic that it can also easily be adored by readers who are not typically fantasy fans. In short, The Scorpio Races has the literary merit not frequently found in its genre, and Steifvater’s novel is so much more than the story of a killer horse race.

This fall has been full of young adult fiction gems, making it a both an easy and difficult task to choose holiday gifts for lovers of this genre. How can you narrow it down to just a few selections? But whatever books you settle on, I highly suggest that this novel make the cut. With strong cross-over appeal to adults and a story that demands to be reread countless times, The Scorpio Races is bound to delight anyone this holiday season.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Sadie’s Birthday Is Celebrated

Today, I hosted a “surprise party” for Sadie. Now, the only real surprise was that the get-together with all of my friends that I had organized wasn’t just an afternoon lunch, it was also a birthday party for Sadie’s nineteenth. I made an ice cream cake, other people brought snacks and dishes, and we played a long and rollicking game of Loaded Questions.

If you squinted, it was like we were still in high school having fun on another weekend afternoon, half-dreading and half-looking forward to another week of classes and hours spent together in rehearsal, in class, and eating sandwich while perched on stools in the art room. But come tomorrow morning we won’t be grumbling over our math homework and calling each other to double check the assignments for AP English, instead everyone will be traveling back to college, ready to jump back into their new and exciting lives.

Thankfully, this time we won’t have such a huge gap before we get to see each other again.  Winter holidays are rolling around soon, and in the coming weeks Clara and I will be busy planning this year’s New Year’s party.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

On Family Portraits

We took family portraits today, and I am very hopeful that this time I will not be the person to mess up the entire group shot. Here’s an example of what would happen five years ago when I was in middle school:

I kid you not, I look like this in about five out of the seven photographs my father took. I have my eyes half closed and a Cheshire Cat grin on my face in the other two.

But since as of late I seem to be particularly determined to add more bad pictures of my to the internet, here, have one that isn’t atrocious, just so that you know that I don’t look like a possessed demon in everyday life. (I bring that one out just for situations in which I’ll be photographed.)

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

A thanksgiving wish

Thanksgiving is the best family holiday. No gift-giving anxiety, no required religious observances, just being together, enjoying a meal and one another’s company.
Right now, Ella and Pippa are at a sleepover with their 4 first cousins, leaving Mr. Ella’s Dad to write this post.
The day hasn’t been about turkey, stuffing and football, although I’ve enjoyed a surfeit of all three. It’s about reconnecting with family — sharing memories, recalling the beloved departed, playing with toddlers, celebrating births and pregnancies, finding humor and love in stories and experiences we have in common.
While the older generations are engaged in recollecting past memories, the younger set is hanging out, creating new ones.
Here’s hoping that all of you are enjoying your own Thanksgiving with family, friends and loved ones, and that the memories you create and those you recall enrich you and sustain you throughout the coming year.

In Which Ella Surprisingly Ends Up Helping to Teach A Kindergarden Class

Note: I had planned for today’s post to be a continuation of the story I was telling yesterday from the time I went to the Maureen Johnson book launch, but then I realized that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and it would be much better to have a pre-written post for then.

Also, I have fun news to share!

Today, instead of writing doggedly at home, taking breaks, of course, to slam my forehead repeatedly into the table and drink way too much orange juice, I went into my mom’s school to help out. Now, I had been planning to do this for some time now, but it had taken quite a while for the proposal to work its way through the administration. But it entirely was worth it–spending the day in an inner city school is both incredibly fun and exciting. (Or at least that’s the way it felt for me, an eighteen-year-old who has a great deal of energy and almost boundless enthusiasm when it comes to kids.)

I started out just observing my mom’s class, which she teaches with another lovely woman, but after lunch I got to help out with their social studies lesson. They were supposed to watch a video made by the organization that runs Plimouth (how they spell it, for some reason–I always thought it was with an y.), have a discussion, and fill out a outline of the facts they learned before they wrote a letter to a child who lived through the first year of settlement. (We used the real names of the Plimouth children for this activity. Believe it or not, some of the kids had names like “Wrestling,” “Helpless,” “Dust,” “Delivery,” and “Ashes.”)

However, in the way that most things tend to go when it comes to kids or lesson plans, it did not go exactly as planned. The computer malfunctioned, turning the video into a series of brightly flashing pixels and a disembodied voice that sounded half like Sarah Palin and half like a robot, sending the class into peals of giggles. But my mom picked things back up again by just explaining the gist of the movie and drawing pictures with the LCD projector (It’s crazy how much technology has changed in the past eleven years. All we ever had in second grade was an overhead projector and three, bright blue Macs.).

I also got to use the pointer tool to point out the countries in Europe, explain religious persecution, and debunk a few common Thanksgiving misconceptions. (My mother had told me the night before that I was under no circumstances to tell them that European settlers started genocides, destroyed entire cultures, and were generally brutal to the native peoples. I was to keep it at “unfairly killed and hurt” for the day.)

But then the acting principal knocked on the door, called me “sweetheart” in an incredibly saccharine way (something I had sincerely hoped would have ended since I’m now an adult), and asked me to go help out in the kindergarden classroom. More than a little shocked, I followed orders and walked into the kindergarden classroom where the kids were having their Thanksgiving Day party. I’ve recently been babysitting several kids who are in kindergarden, so I felt right at home. They’re still at that wonderful age where they are (mostly) angelic and will try desperately to do the right thing to get your attention and affirmation.

I mostly spent the duration of their party checking homework and pulling together worksheets, while watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special (which, by the way, is  somewhat racist, paints the Pilgrims as huge heros, and portrays all parties involved as complete caricatures of themselves–and people wonder why I’ve never liked Charlie Brown or Disney movies) out of the corner of my eye. But then, school technically ended and “homework club” began. I read them two stories and then spent the next two hours, either squatting on the floor or perched in a very low chair, helping the kids with their math.

I must admit that I loved it. The kids were so sweet and were all trying very, very hard. One girl was having a lot of trouble forming her numbers properly and was printing them upside down and/or backwards, and while it was challenging, I really enjoyed working with her to write them correctly. One of the little boys kindly brought her a chart showing the letters and the way to form them in big print, and she very slowly managed to get it. Of course, this is not to say that the problem is entirely fixed, because an issue like that takes a lot of practice to correct, but it was a lot of fun helping her work through her frustration and succeed, and I’m looking forward to continuing working with her on it in the future. I have every confidence that she’ll get over this mistake. Pippa, after all, used to write her name like it was a mirror image of itself (every letter was backwards and in reverse order), and she’s turned out just wonderfully.

Also, giving little kids high-fives and pound-it’s is a tremendous amount of fun, and I’m coming up with all sorts of new ways to say “good job,” so I don’t sound like a broken record each time they figure something out. My current favorite is “rock on!” which the kids seem to find particularly funny.

But perhaps the best part about working with those kids is that I feel like I get to fix the mistakes that I thought my elementary school teachers made with me. I really want to give kids tons of praise, convince them that it is good to make mistakes and take risks, and tell them that they are smart and capable at every turn. If I had been given more of that, those unhappy years could have been greatly improved.

By the end of the day, I could throughly understand why my mother comes home so exhausted each night. (There aren’t many jobs where you are at work from seven a.m. to six p.m.-ish and spending many hours doing massive amounts of work at home.) But for right now, I’m totally in love with the whole experience and rearing to go back.

Thankfully, I’m babysitting some of the world’s sweetest children on Sunday evening, and I get to see my young cousins tomorrow, so I won’t be totally without young children in my life for too long.

On another note, Cecelia came home today, and I got to spend several hours with her this evening. We ended up driving around, looking at the skyline, with all of the buildings lit up and the light pollution turning the sky over the city an odd shade of purple-red and the low-laying clouds, grey tinged with orange, watching Obama’s speech at the 2011 White House Press Correspondents Dinner (this was my eighth viewing), and a plethora of time-lapse videos. It was loads and loads of fun and exactly the sort of low-key activity I needed before being surrounded by massive amounts of family for close to 48 hours. Also, I have missed her terribly since I last saw her in October (check out In Which Ella Gets Caught in the Rain, Tells Stories from Middle School, and Visits Cecelia at Yale, if you’d like to hear about that adventure.).

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Visits Many, Many Parks on Her Way to Maureen Johnson’s In the Name of the Star Book Launch

A month and a half later, I am picking up the story of the time I went to Maureen Johnson’s book launch and got to talk to Libba Bray right where I left off, sitting in a park and reading The Help at about 2:30 in the afternoon.

If you’d like to read the story start to finish, which I highly recommend you do, you can start here with A Scintillating Story in Which Ella Nearly Loses a Boot, Takes a Train, and Eats Lunch and then move onto In Which Ella Has a Costume Change. Those links will open those posts in another window, so you don’t have to worry about having to find this post again.

Okay, done reading?

Great, let’s go.

I had chosen a bench half under a shrub, in an attempt to avoid the sun, and was instead rewarded with a healthy amount of leaves taking up residence in my hair, which optimistically, gave me the look of a wood nymph, but more realistically, made me look like I stuck my head in a shrub. I am nothing if not glamorous.

Leaves or no leaves, I continued reading The Help. Like with any good book, all it took was a few paragraphs for me to fall into a new world. The heat and humidity suddenly didn’t just belong to the city, and I was no longer sitting on an uncomfortable green metal bench. No, I was in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s, a few years before my parents were born, drinking lemonade and contemplating the injustices of racism and the poor treatment of maids by their white employers. I was hanging over Skeeter’s shoulder as she labored over the typewriter in her stifling attic bedroom and following around Aibleen as she did her ironing while watching soaps.

But then the spell was broken when a man in a suit sat down next to me and began to have an extreme loud conversation on his cellphone with his health insurance company. Next, a dog ran through the park chasing a squirrel, nearly knocking down several people in its zeal, and I was totally distracted. So I got up, stuffed the book back into my purse and went to go find the bookstore to make sure I knew where it was for later.

I found it, the store almost perfectly bisecting a long numbered block with a huge Maureen Johnson display set up right in the front of the store. But I still had almost three hours to kill. I owed my mother a Mother’s Day present, the result of an agreement where she would tell me what she wanted when she found it, and it seemed like thanks to the power of texting pictures and calling her, I might be able to find something for her in one of the many boutiques in the area. And indeed I did.

Right next door to the bookstore was a very large art supply store. I went in, enticed by the neoprene laptop cases and my love of paint color charts. (While I may not be a very good artist, I have always been fond of art supplies and lucky enough to have family members who are very artistic, namely a mother who is known for her impressive gift wrapping and card-making skills and an uncle and aunt who are architects who also spend a lot of time drawing and painting and designing.) Speaking of my mother and gift-wrapping (And I’m talking about the fancy type of gift-wrapping here, not the I-got-this-pretty-paper-and-tied-a-bow wrapping. She spends all year visiting stationary shops and buying sheets of beautiful wrapping paper, tissue paper, stickers, ribbons, and cardstock. My favorite picks of hers so far this year have been a piece of incredibly soft paper that looks like eyelet fabric and some textured rice paper. This Christmas, I’m going to take pictures of the presents so you can see.), right to the right of the door they had a gift wrap section, with sheets draped on at least ten displays. Of course, I immediately called my mother.

After about ten minutes of debate, I selected three sheets (pictured below) and got them wrapped up in brown paper, also purchasing some funny sticky notes and jars to give to Maureen Johnson. Whenever I know that I’m going to meet someone whose work has really impacted me and that I really enjoy, I always feel like I need to bring them a present, to have some sort of tangible way of them knowing how much I care.

With that shopping done and a very excited mother waiting for me at home, I walked north again, towards another park to purchase dinner and read. I am not sure if many of you know about the glorious burger place called Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, but if you don’t, I highly recommend that you make its acquaintance posthaste. It’s part of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group that also runs other amazing restaurants like Grammercy Tavern and Union Square Café. Being somewhat of a hamburger and chocolate milkshake fanatic, I was throughly ready for dinner even though it was only four in the afternoon.

Some man had been collecting Venti-sized Starbucks coffee cups and was in the process of creating an amazing mobile like structure in a storefront. He was seated in the lit window display on a short, worn wooden stool, cup in hand, holding a thin paintbrush, painting a beautiful swirl of dark blues over the green mermaid logo. A palate was at his feet, covered with thick globs of paint, and there were scattered rolled up, but still carefully and tightly capped tubes of paint, covered with dried paint fingerprints and flecks. I would have paused and watched him, but the young children with their noses pressed up against the glass, fresh out of school, nannies holding their backpacks, seemed to be bothering him, so I walked on. Maybe someday soon I’ll walk past that store again and see it completed, cups twisting about on their strings as they are buffeted about by the air from heating ducts. But more likely than not, by the time I’m back in that area of the city, the cup mobile will be gone, part of only an endless tide of seasonal window dressings.

The park was crowded, the way it always is, so I walked its perimeter looking for an open space on a bench, trying to avoid eye contact with the homeless people begging for change. One followed me for a while, but there really was no reason to be scared. The whole park was full of people and if anything remotely bad would have happened to me all I would have needed to do was scream and thrash about and someone would have come to my aid. Besides, just because someone is homeless does not mean that they are a bad person or have any intent to harm, they are simply in need of aid. (However, I would advise you to rarely give money to them on the streets because in many cases they use it to further their drug habits. Instead, hand them unopened food or donate to organizations that help the homeless.)

I bought myself a hamburger and chocolate milkshake and settled down on my second green metal bench of the day and read as I ate and drank. Finishing The Help, I moved onto skimming one of the Maureen Johnson books I had brought along for her to sign. At some point some man sat down next to me to talk on his cellphone and then when he finished the call, which I hadn’t been listening to, he apologized for using so many curse words that he thought I would be upset by, judging by the “innocent” book I was reading. And then he started asking me about the book and myself. So I did what I very frequently do when on airplanes and made up an alternate persona.

Now there is uncomfortable I can put up with, and there is uncomfortable that really creeps me out. And maybe it’s because I am automatically and somewhat unreasonably distrustful of adults who start talking to me in parks in the city (unless they have young children with them or are asking for directions), but I really did not want to continue talking to him, no matter how normal he seemed. So I made my very speedy exit from the park and went back to the bookstore even though I still had close to an hour before the book launch.

And it actually turned out to be a good thing that I left when I did. When I got to the store around ten minutes later, there were already plenty of people there and it took a while for the store to get the book I reserved. I don’t normally go to events alone, and it was strange to be standing with no one to talk to in a room full of people chatting. But it sure made for fantastic eavesdropping. A few more minutes of standing around awkwardly later, it became apparent that hardly any of the other people knew each other before the event, either.

And that’s what I like about books: they bring people together. Every person there felt passionate enough about Maureen Johnson and her books to go to go to a bookstore for her book launch even though it was a school/work night. Some people even drove from Massachusetts (a state I will never spell properly, despite my sometimes residency) and Delaware. That means that they would be getting home quite, quite late! And yet they came because people love books, and people also love Maureen Johnson.

And let me tell you, even if Maureen Johnson wasn’t a fabulous author, I still would have gone to any event she hosted, because Maureen Johnson is hilarious and so much fun. She’s got a very funny blog and is amazingly fun to follow on Twitter. She tweets constantly and is known for such gems as:

But she also tackles more serious topics. Today, she was talking about Penguin deciding to stop allowing libraries to atop lending ebooks and the scrutiny books aimed at women are placed under, specifically Twilight.

I’ll leave the story here for the night, and pick it back up again tomorrow. That post is already written and has been set to publish at eight p.m.

(Note: This is the second time I’ve written this post, as the first copy was destroyed when my computer crashed. Thankfully, this version is far superior to the original. I’m beginning to think that my blog was conspiring against me to improve the quality of my work.)

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Are You Positive There Isn’t Any Chocolate Left on my Face?

As it turns out biking over three miles and then walking around the city for four hours while you’re getting over being sick makes one very, very worn out.

But it was still a lovely day filled with chocolate cake, many, many books, running into friends, fancy Spanish cheeses, and minimal arguing.

I did try to take pictures, but it got dark very early and so the pictures look more than a little wonky. Whoops. I’ll post some well lit pictures of Pippa’s and my desserts tomorrow. Expect to be very jealous of the chocolate yum.

Also, happy book birthday to Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher whose book, The Future of Us, (which I reviewed here) came out today! It was fun going into a bookstore and seeing it on display. It’s fantastic, and you should read it.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.