Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I've got a dream

So, chaps, I'm going back to school. Hooray!
I'm still a few classes off from getting my associates... yeah, MAJOR slacker over here. I regret not taking more classes (yes, Mom, I'll admit you were right) back before I worked full time and my parents or federal grants were paying for my education.

Back then, all I cared about was being on my parent's insurance. So I just took classes that caught my eye and fit my schedule. Things like ceramics, music appreciation, and of course creative writing. I did do some serious ones, like psychology, history, and English, but mostly I just goofed off.
So now I'm starting again, with a lot of classes under my belt but a bunch of yuckies still to do. Like math *SHUDDER*and a couple sciences.
But I tested out of reading!! I took the test today and scored a 111 out of 116. A 92 would have passed me out of reading. I did it! I wore my ladybug locket and charm bracelet for good luck. *smiley face*

We'd had a discussion on what I want to do with my life.
Here's the answer:

Be a mom.
and yes, I do still want to be an author, of course.

But when I'm at a point where my kids are old enough, I'm going to finish my education.
One day, with a PhD in British History and Literature. 
And with that degree, be a college professor. And with that paycheck, buy a house.

In England.
when I'm like, sixty of course.

Yep. My new dream.

I'd like to wake up with a crossword
In London, York, or Oxford.
By neighbors who use words like cheers and blimey.
In a country cottage pretty
Or a flat down in the city
To visit once a year or more or many.
I got a dream! I got a dream!
I'd just love to see an English sunset gleam.
And as every year goes by
I'll get it done instead of try
Because, my barmy chums, I've got a dream.

Anyone ever seen Tangled? If not, nevermind.

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22, 2006

I gave a similar post last year. But my friend Leigh is documenting her trip to Africa on her blog in a similar way. So I thought I'd be a copycat.

Then I read the journal entry I wrote five years ago today. It was really stupid. So I'll just say it differently.

Five years ago today, I was in England. First, we went to a place called Beale's Park and ate lunch. Larry Ivy, (last name sound familiar, heroes?) our tour guide, told us a story about a game a grandmother taught her grandson: imagining he was a bird and being able to soar high overhead, feel the wind, experience the thrill, see the world, all through his imagination. Larry's hope was that we would be able to do the same. See the world, feel the rush, experience the thrill of being in a new world and creating a place for that world in our hearts.
"Did you play the game?" The grandmother asked.
"I did, Grandma. And it was wonderful."

Did I play the game?
You bet your left big toe I did. Only it was real. And it was wonderful.

Pics of Beale's Park.
Doesn't do it justice.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I've been busy!

LOTS of refashioning, crafting, spray-painting, and picture hanging!
I've got more pictures to show, but to start with, here's a tutorial.

You know those lovely canvas/wood pictures with the witty phrases, Parisian cities, and/or other assorted wording on them?

I decided to save money and make my own. Plus, I got to customize it!

Materials needed:
Canvas (any size)
Black acrylic paint
Paint brush
carbon paper
colored pen

Step One:
Make a design for your canvas using lots of different fonts. I chose to do cities in the world: ones we've been to and ones we'd like to visit. Here's my mock-up:

Step 2: Print out the words the exact size you want them on the canvas. Using photoshop is a HUGE help because you can get the proportions right.

Step 3: Tape carbon paper beneath the printout. Make sure every layer is securely taped! You don't want the print out to move on you. It will make life very hard.

Step 4: Using moderate pressure, trace around the letters using a colored pen so you can see where you've traced. Make sure you don't forget to trace the inside of letters too! (I kept forgetting the inside of the letter a).

You can see how it looks traced.

Step 5: Double check you have everything traced before you remove the paper. Here's the canvas before I started painting.

Step 6: using a SMALL paint brush, fill in around the traced letters with black paint. This is where the patience part comes in. A lot more detail than I first thought.

The finished product!!

All I have to do now is hang it on the wall! When that is accomplished, I'll post pics.

And cuz I know you'll ask, the cities that either myself or Bret have been to are London, Berlin, Oxford, Avebury, and Dresden.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I went, I saw, I wept

I'm a huge Harry Potter fan.
I was sad I didn't see it at midnight.
But me and the Man went and saw it today.
I cried three times.

The film was amazing. Wonderful. A brilliant ending to a brilliant cinematic attempt at capturing such a well-beloved story.
With minimal disappointment as far as missing one or two of my favorite lines.

In honor of the triumph, I'm posting a short story I wrote a few years ago. It's what we call a Harry Potter fan-fiction. I like to write stories about the wizards of Harry Potter from the point of view of "muggles" who may have come into contact with them.

And since Chapterhouse Lane is booked up with The Streets of Elangard no pun intended I thought I'd post the story here. Hope you enjoy.

Lemon Drops

The store was completely empty. I gazed over the counter and leaned on one elbow. The fingernails of my other hand drummed pointlessly on the polished wood, breaking the agonizing silence. Not that I expected customers at this time of night, since most of them were under the age of twelve, but it did get a trifle boring after nine pm.
I had the shop ready for closing; the floor was swept, the windows had been washed, and the toffees, bubble gum, jelly beans, chocolates, lemon drops, and tins of treacle fudge had all been restocked. But Biddle’s Sweetshop never closed until ten, on old Mr. Biddle’s orders. I made a face at the thought and gazed around the shop with half a mind to dust the rows of brilliant candy jars behind the register counter. Again.
            I moved over to the window beside the counter. The Bungalow Street shopping lane of Little Whinging was always desolate long before this time of night. Why couldn’t Mr. Biddle just close the shop at eight, or even nine? There were a million other things I could be doing right now. I’m sure it won’t make the slightest difference in revenue if we closed an hour earlier. I didn’t know anyone that would want to shop at a candy store after dark but moody mothers with chocolate cravings.
            I sighed at the clock. It read 9:38. In twenty minutes’ time, I could finally lock the door. Twenty minutes always felt like such a long time to me. I almost wished Mr. Biddle hadn’t gone home for the night. The sound of his shuffling feet and the sight of his rosy, balding head and crinkly eyes would at least break up the monotony.
            It wasn’t as though it had been a bad day. It had actually been a very good one; well, a very entertaining one at any rate. We didn’t have many customers other than our usuals, but the strangest things kept happening. Not in the store, but outside on the lane…
            People walked up and down Bungalow Street, tugging their children impatiently away from the succulent front window of the candy shop. Well, that was all well and good; I was used to little ones plastering their widened eyes and round cheeks to the front window. But I couldn’t help noticing a few people in the foggy autumn background, beyond the faces of the passing patrons. They were strange people…different. Weirdos, if I may venture. They weren’t as weird as the owls though. I had never seen an owl on Bungalow Street in my life, even at night. But that afternoon, I counted no less than twelve sightings.
Perhaps I just wished for something extraordinary and the slightest abnormality was a welcome treat. But the people I saw...
            I shook my head. What was so interesting about people in cloaks? Nothing whatsoever. Still, I couldn’t help remembering the energy I had felt emanating from them; not so much like feeling the heat on my hands from the furnace, but a strange happiness. These people had stood out from all the others and I admit I had a peculiar desire to leave the candy counter and join them.
            Ah well, it was likely nothing. I was just suffering from another mundane routine at the candy store and had felt desperate for any liberation.
            I picked up the feather duster from under the counter and turned to the glittering candy jars. I looked at the clock again. It was 9:41. I rolled my eyes.
            As I swept the duster over the silver lids of the jars, I heard the bell at the door of the shop ring. The duster paused. A customer? At this time of night? I looked towards the door, but the customer had already disappeared down an isle. It was probably Mrs. Thomas looking for respite from her six children. I moved to the back of the store to get her usual bar of Swedish chocolate and readied myself for the nice long “woe-is-me” session from Mrs. Thomas.
            But as I came back through the isles, I spotted the Figure. He was looking at a shelf and thoughtfully drumming his fingers on his bearded chin. At first I was alarmed, but my fear soon faded to interest. What a curious old man!
He wore high buckled shoes…now I haven’t seen those but in history books. His shoes, however, were not the strangest thing about him. He wore dark purple robes beautifully embroidered with golden stars. He was holding a purple hat of the same design in his left hand. His hair and beard were long and silvery white. He looked like how I pictured Merlin from the tales of King Arthur to look. I took a step towards him.
            He turned and my step faltered. He looked at me over half-moon spectacles and smiled. At least, I think he did. His beard moved a little. His eyes…bluer than I had ever seen, were positively piercing, but in no way malicious. I couldn’t help but feel my intrigue deepen.
            “C-can I help you, sir?” I stammered.
            “Yes, young lady, I was in a bit of an uppity mood and thought I’d nip in here for some lemon drops. You know, sort of the icing on the cake, or the froth on the butterbeer if you know my meaning.” His voice was deep. It caused all apprehension to leave me. His nose was crooked, but it only made his appearance all the more likable and fascinating.
            “Of course,” I said, though I had no idea what butterbeer was, and walked to a different isle. I found the yellow boxes of lemon drops, selected one, and brought it to the counter. He followed, taking slow steps. Who was this man? The thought kept biting my insides.
            “And how much do I owe you?” he asked, pulling a few coins from a pocket inside his cloak.
            “That’ll be one pound and fifty pence, sir,” I replied, typing the buttons on the register. He sifted through several strange coins in his palm, finally selecting the correct change. I accepted the coins and handed him the box of lemon drops.
            “Thank you indeed.”
            “You’re welcome,” I replied, plinking the coins in the register as he put his remaining money and his lemon drops back inside his cloak. “Might I ask what puts you in high spirits this evening? Strange things are about.”
            “Oh?” he said, his eyes twinkling. “What kind of things?” I felt a sense of satisfaction that I had his attention as if he was an old but deeply admired grandfather.
            “I saw owls; flying in daylight,” I looked out the window to the dark, empty lane. “And there were people on Bungalow Street…dressed somewhat like…like you.” I looked down at the counter.
            “Ah yes. Owls in daylight…strange people…an outlandish old chap coming to your store to buy lemon drops. Must have been quite a day.”
            “What do you think is happening?” I asked. The old man’s face softened. He must have been smiling again. It took him a moment to answer.
            “In the world we live in, things do happen, don’t they? Both good and bad. Some rejoice while others weep,” at this, he looked down, his face dropping in wistful recollection; then he brought his gaze up again. “But I would advise, should you continue seeing daylight owls and strangers on the street over the next few days, that you do not worry about them.” He leaned forward a fraction. “And though you may not know why…rejoice. Always choose to rejoice, Tiffany.”
            My heart began pulsating so loud I was afraid the gentleman would hear it.
            “How did you know my name?”
He only smiled again.
            “I’m sorry to cut our talk short,” he said, as though he had been by for afternoon tea, “But I must be off now. I have an appointment. Thank you for the lemon drops.”
“Er, come again,” I muttered weakly.
He bowed his head, then turned to leave the store.
            “But what is your name?” I asked, wanting him to stay around longer, but not wanting to make him late for his appointment. The old man stopped, half in the store and half out, poised with one hand on the open door. The wind tossed the folds of his purple robes.
            “Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore.” He inclined his head again, and then departed. I hurried to the window to watch him go, probably looking a great deal like the children who so often peer at the sweets inside Biddle’s front window. The old man… Albus Dumbledore... was gone.
            The clock struck ten. I jumped at the sound of the chime. Gathering my wits, I moved to fetch the keys for the shop beneath the counter. I opened the drawer and picked up the key ring, then went to the door and locked it. As I turned back with the intention of turning off the lights, I heard a knock behind me. I whirled around.
            Mrs. Thomas, looking disheveled and forlorn, was standing there. Back to reality. I shook my head with a smile, unlocked the door, and went to retrieve Mrs. Thomas’s favorite Swedish chocolate bar and a stool.
            I never forgot the old man who came to buy lemon drops that late evening. Even years later, when I no longer worked at the sweetshop, I would walk down Bungalow Street of a night, hoping to see Albus Dumbledore again. But I never saw him. I suppose he only came to me because he was what I needed that night—a night when I failed to appreciate a few things about ordinary life.
            Still, every now and again, if I chance to see an owl flying, I glance over my shoulder to see if, perhaps, there is a friendly stranger nearby. Sometimes I would even carry a box of lemon drops.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


They say once you go Mac, you don't go back.
I wonder if that has anything to do with iMovie.
And all its serious fun-ness.

I made a trailer, yes a TRAILER aka preview, of our recent family vacation.

I defy you not to laugh.
Meanwhile, as this thing uploads, I'm going to go peruse pinterest.

wow, that didn't take very long.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Happy Independence Day everyone! Happy Birthday America. Love you to bits.

I'm on vacation right now too, so you won't be able to hear from me for this next week. But I'll post about it when I get home.
In the mean time, Chapterhouse Lane is still being regularly updated (hooray for post-dating!!) so drop on in if you're so inclined. Tanks.

Friday, July 1, 2011

And the winner is.....


No, not me.

Amy from Sunshine on my Mind!

All the way in AUSTRALIA!! Yay, go Aussies!

Her blog is always so positive and fascinating, since she's going through winter right now while "I'm baking like a toasted cheeser. It's so hot here!" in the summer.

Thank you everyone who participated, spread the word, and were such a huge support to me as I launched my story blog. I call you my heroes on Chapterhouse Lane and that is truly what you are!


I love you guys. Really. Thank you so much.

When The Streets of Elangard is done, I'll have another giveaway when the next story, Fathom, is launched.

Amy, make sure you send me your address on an email, along with your favorite treat, unless of course you want the gummy "bookworms". :)