Mar 27 2018

You Need to Go to the Northern California Writers’ Retreat

You Need to Go to the Northern California Writers’ Retreat

If I’m going to leave my babies for five whole days, it had better be for an absolutely perfect reason.

…Okay, let’s get real: this mama hasn’t slept solo in years. When I discovered the Northern California Writers’ Retreat involved several consecutive evenings without diapers or nightmares or snoring, I thought, I do not even remember what that’s like and also SIGN ME UP IMMEDIATELY. My husband is always the one who gets to gallivant around the world for work, and I (desperately) wanted to know what a business trip felt like, too.

I first heard about the opportunity a couple years ago at the San Francisco Writers Conference, where I met Heather Lazare, one of the retreat’s co-founders — she’s an independent editor who’s worked at some baller places in New York, and I’ve been creepily stalking the submission guidelines ever since. The retreat is clearly gaining steam; there were more than five times the number of submissions this year than when it launched in 2016. Finally, once Baby B was weaned and fully into toddlerhood, I gave it a shot: twenty pages. Crossed fingers and toes. Continue reading

Jul 13 2017

Back in Michigan: the Good, the Bad, and the Humidity

Back in Michigan: the Good, the Bad, and the Humidity

We are back in Michigan for the first time in almost a year, and whoo, boy, does it feel good! Totally worth the four-hour flight with an antsy toddler who refused to sleep.The plan is to be here for most of July, and I’m sort of ecstatic to be surrounded by my people again.

Things I Have Missed:

1. My people

2. Lakes

3. The ability to walk into a store and purchase Michigan clothing and accessories. Yay! It’s such a bummer to only have access to San Francisco Giants stuff all the time. I didn’t realize what a bizarre relief it would be to see Detroit Tigers gear and U of M shirts and YES, I was the one burying my face in the Red Wings jersey and sobbing tears of uncontrollable joy, okay? Continue reading

Apr 10 2017

My Kids Are Better Snowboarders Than I Am

My Kids Are Better Snowboarders Than I Am

To me, a vacation is not a vacation unless every necessary item could theoretically fit inside one duffel: flip flops, bathing suits, a couple sundresses, and a paperback. Done. Then I met my husband, whose idea of a “vacation” requires all manner of puffy hugeness: snow pants, down jackets, heavy equipment, rolls and rolls of woolen socks, and boots that seem like they could walk on the moon.

Now that we’re driving distance from Tahoe, Al has been dying to take the kids on a little road trip. I was game, since Baby B has never seen snow and Peaches doesn’t really remember it — plus, she’s been asking to snowboard for many, many months now.

This is basically the whole reason Al had children. He’s been conditioning her for this very moment from the day she was born. “Look at that mountain, P! Guess what people can do on a mountain? SNOWBOARD. Don’t you want to come snowboarding with Daddy, P?” Eventually, every time we passed a mountain (which happens constantly in California, obviously), she’d say it on her own: “Imma go snowboarding on that mountain. When do I go? Can I go today, Mommy?” Continue reading

Feb 17 2016

San Francisco Writers Conference: What to Expect

San Francisco Writers Conference: What to Expect

For two weekends in a row, I have not slept in my own bed. This is unusual for a homebody like me — who has handpicked my perfect pillow-top mattress and appreciates when all my stuff is in one ultra-organized location — but for the first half of February, I’ve been a traveling fool. We took our first-ever trip to Disneyland. And for the past four days, I was an attendee at the 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference.

I’d been wanting to go to a writing conference for years, but my teaching schedule got in the way, and then I got pregnant — twice — and then, and then, and then.

AND THEN, we moved to California, and even though I have a six-month-old, I told myself, No excuses. It’s serendipity. So I signed up. My mom flew in from Michigan to stay with P, and B came along with me. Before I went, I tried to do as much research as I could about what to expect; but to my surprise, there were very few thorough accounts of conferences past. I found a couple “What to Bring” lists, and one or two ultra-short blog posts from years ago, but nothing with the kind of specificity I wanted.

So, for any future attendees (and anyone else who might be curious about this kind of thing), I’m happy to share my experience. Continue reading

Feb 10 2016

Disneyland > The Super Bowl

Disneyland > The Super Bowl

Peyton Manning may be headed to Disneyland after his big win, but I wouldn’t really know. We didn’t watch the game because we were, um, at Disneyland.

Hey, don’t blame me. I’m not the one who planned it. Al’s brother and our new sister-in-law wanted to take Peaches for her birthday, and somehow that weekend made sense. Truth: until the Lions make it to the Super Bowl (ha!), I’m only in it for the commercials and the halftime show. More truth: I’m not exactly Beyoncé’s biggest fan.

dawson's creek please don't hurt me ugly cry

Are…are you still there? *wind whistles eerily down an empty street*

So anyway. I missed it. Continue reading