Notes from Lockdown

Story Genius book coverThis won’t be a very exciting post. Not a lot to report. Like everyone else, I’m stuck in lockdown, going stir crazy. I usually do most of my writing at Starbucks, so it’s been a challenge to learn to work at home. Especially when I’m working from home for my day job, too. I just sit in the same chair from 7 am to 8 or 9 pm, swapping out computers at about 3:30. One nice thing that is helping me not go crazy is that some of my writing friends and I meet on Zoom every day and chat and do writing sprints. It helps to talk to other people.

What I’m most busy with is my thesis (specifically the 15-20 page paper about a craft element in novels). I had to totally rewrite (well, reorganize) it this weekend. It’s due a week from Friday so I’ve only got one weekend after this one to finish it. It isn’t the final final version, since I can still work on it during next semester, but I don’t want to have too much to do on it.

I’m also working on planning out the final-to-be-written Sarah story, which will be the second-to-last in the collection. I’m using a method outlined in the book Story Genius (pictured here), but I signed up for the Story Genius Workshop, which is a self-paced online class that walks you through everything step-by-step. There are videos explaining everything, and then long worksheets to fill out. They also have the option to pay extra for a coach, someone who will give you feedback on every step. I applied for that and am waiting to hear how much it costs. We’ll see if I do it. One interesting thing about this process is that it is going to require me to change some things in the earlier story, especially the long first one.

I’ve also got Ugly out with a bunch of agents, though nobody’s biting. I keep getting form letter rejections. The gatekeepers hate me.

Heading Home

Time for a somewhat rambly post.

Yesterday my third MFA residency wrapped up. It was a good ten days, but now I’m sitting at the Oklahoma City airport waiting on my already-delayed flight. And there’s three more hours for it to be delayed even more. It’s likely snowing in Seattle so I’m really hoping that I get in and home okay. I can’t wait to see my kitties.

On the writing front, it seems like everything is focused on promotion for Finding Frances right now. One of the classes I’m taking this semester is “Professional Writing,” which is going to basically be the instructor helping me figure out how to promote Finding Frances and how to sell Ugly. I’m supposed to be figuring out possible venues for my release party. I was hoping to have it at Barnes and Noble in Issaquah, but I’m not sure they’ll work with my publisher. So I’ve got to find some backup locations. And I’m also trying to find ways to get reviews. In other promotion efforts, I signed up for a blog tour starting release day and running for four weeks (a “book blast” where they’ll put info on my book on several blogs). I also signed up for a review tour, also four weeks, where I’m supposed to get reviews. I have no idea if these will really give me a return on the money I put in, but I have to try something.

The other extra class I’m taking this semester is in pedagogy of creative writing. I am supposed to observe a class and also teach one before the end of the semester. So I have to figure out what to teach on. I’m a little nervous about this—it should be on some element of craft, but the field is wide open. I did ponder doing one on outlining at various stages of the writing process. I’m not sure if that would count.

Besides that, my faculty mentor is looking at the writing I’m planning to use for my thesis (I don’t have to produce any new creative writing this semester since I’ve done it all already) and I have to write five short papers and one big one, 15-20 pages.

That’s what I’m looking forward to this semester. I’ll be busy, but it should be good.

Moving Along

I don’t even remember why I missed posting last week. I think I was studying for the math class I just finished. I took the final for it yesterday. This was just a precursor—a review class—of what’s to come in August, when I’m starting the real classes. It’s going to be tough, but I’m hoping it’s worth it to my money-making career. 

As far as writing goes, I’m waiting on edits from my editor for Finding Frances. She should have them to me by the 29th, if not sooner. Then I’ll have 30 days to follow her suggestions (whatever they are; I have no idea what to expect). Apparently after that, things move fairly quickly. I’m hoping the book’s out by November. 

I’ve also got two partial requests out on Ugly, which is good, even though I’ve gotten about fifteen rejections. 

Waiting on the Editor

I’ve heard nothing from the editor about Finding Frances. I don’t know what that means, because I expected to hear something sooner, but I don’t really feel like following up yet, so I’m leaving it. Hopefully she just hasn’t had a chance to take it to the senior editors yet. Or who knows—maybe the process takes a while. Me = clueless. 

This month has been really rough. For reasons that I would be hard-pressed to explain, I’ve decided to apply to an online MS in applied statistics program (okay, there is a reason—I want to get better at stats for my job). I have to take a semester off from the MFA because of insufficient vacation days for the next residency, so I plan to start the stats degree this summer and take classes in the fall, then switch back to the MFA for a year, then back to the stats degree. I know, I know—I might be crazy. Anyway, the application requires the GRE, which I took today. Studying for that thing has sucked up so much of my time, and I still was disappointed by my score. Such is life. 

I went to Starbucks immediately after the test and managed to write another annotation, though it took me hours. I still have to write 1 short paper, 1 3-5-page paper, and rewrite another short paper, all by Friday. My poor little brain. 

Writing in 2018

2018 was a tough writing year in some ways, but also good. I had a bunch of rejections on Finding Frances, but I finally heard back from the editor I sent it to in September and she requested a full. This is the last shot for that book, but she sounded really interested in the sample she read, so I am hopeful. I should hear in the next few weeks. I’m sincerely hoping that even if it’s a no, she’ll give me some feedback on it. I’ll be setting it aside, but it would be good to have some pointers on what to try next, when I do decide to crack it open again.

I also spent a good portion of the year frantically working on Ugly, my 2017 NaNoWriMo book, trying to get it ready for the PNWA conference in September. I had several requests on it, which is pretty exciting since those were my first pitches on it (six pitches and six requests, including four fulls). The five I sent are all still out there (I skipped one of the agents because she doesn’t like something that appears in one of my other books, so she probably wouldn’t be a good fit for me). I didn’t send them until early November so I’m not expecting to hear anything for a bit. 

Also, of course, I spent half of the year on the MFA, which was great. I got two short stories done, both of which I’m happy with. One of them is going to be expanded a bit, but I like the short version and plan to enter it in some contests. I’m looking forward to the residency coming up and starting the next semester, especially the playwriting course (should be fun). I already made up my reading list and just need to get my faculty advisor to approve it or make her changes to it. This semester my mentor is Allison Amend. She’s written a few novels for adults. Still, I’m hoping to learn a lot from her, even if she isn’t focused on YA. 

I also judged for the mainstream category of the PNWA contest, which was a challenge and time-consuming, but also beneficial. It still took up most of May. I was bummed not to final in any of the categories I entered, but such is life. 

I was bummed not to do NaNoWriMo this year after a five-year successful run, but I had to prioritize the MFA. I may be able to do it 2019 because I won’t be doing the MFA that semester (I don’t have enough vacation so I have to wait until 2020 to start back).

Not directly writing-related but still significant to me, I also lost my favorite cat, Marvin, who would have been my muse if I’d had one. But I got a new little guy (Maddox) who’s actually a lot like Marvin. Not that he’s a replacement, but still. He’s affectionate but not overly so. 

Marvin made creepy by a Happy Light
My favorite picture of Marvin
Maddox posing for the camera by the window
The new guy, in a rare moment of calm

I suppose that’s it for 2018. I’m hoping 2019 has more actual good news in it than 2018 did, instead of just prospects. 

October Update

I don’t have a lot to report. I did get called for jury duty again, including on my birthday, which does not surprise me. I mean, it has been a whole year and a half since I last served, so when you have a biased random number generator, I can only expect it. Oh, and Friday as I was pulling out of a parking spot, I heard this series of plinks. And then I observed that my car was covered in bird shit. It got my back window, both driver side windows, the front passenger side window, and of course the windshield. Additionally, there were at least 25 white and brown spots on the roof of my car. Was there a time slip and a pterodactyl flew over my car? Seriously. My mom said it was probably a vendetta.

I closed down several open queries on Finding Frances that were over 100 days old so I’m pretty much done with that one. There is still a partial out, but I don’t expect anything to come of it. I guess I need to rewrite it, but I’m just going to ignore it for the time being because it’s never going to be the book that gets me an agent.

I have three people beta reading Ugly right now, including a Scottish friend so she can check for authenticity in the Scotland chapters. I’m hoping to get the other two back this week so I can start implementing changes. I told the editors and agents in the middle of September that it would be about a month before I could send it, so I’m going to be late. But I’m targeting the end of the month. I can work fast, assuming the required changes aren’t massive. I figure 6 weeks instead of 4 isn’t terrible.

The MFA is going well. This semester is over half over and I’m barreling toward the spring semester and the January residency. I’m working of revisions on two short stories. One is called “Little Monsters” and it’s the first in the timeline of the series that “Now Would Be Good” is in (it’s quite a bit before—she’s just started 8th grade—so I am pretty sure I’m going to include it as a bonus at the end). Then I wrote another one that’s going to be the last in that timeline, with her going off to college. That one is for one of my classes and is supposed to be no more than 4000 words. It’s really hard for me to keep things that short. I’ve got a scene I wrote for it (the first scene) that I’m going to throw out for the class, but then for real I’m going to add it back in and then add some more scenes, so it will ultimately be a very different story.

Things

I’ve been working away for my MFA courses. I’ve read 7 novels, 5 craft books, and 2 nonfiction titles related to YA literature (plus most of a collection of Chekhov stories and chapters from other books) since getting back on July 15th. That’s kind of crazy. I’ve written three short papers and mapped out 3 of the novels to help understand their structure. I temporarily dropped out of one of my writing groups because it just takes too much time that I could be working. Overall, I seem to be off to a good start. I also made it through revision of Ugly. I need to go through it again before I have a new, solid draft, but I should be able to do that over the next few weeks.

I had a lot planned for this weekend but didn’t manage to get as much as I’d hoped done because the worst thing happened Friday night. I came home from Starbucks and found Marvin dead. This has never happened to me before, as with all my other cats, they were sick (and suffering) enough to need to be euthanized. Even though it came up sort of unexpectedly a couple times, I still had a chance to prepare. But Marvin had been his happy self up to the last time I saw him alive. He slept curled up by my feet the night before and took his morning medicine like a champ.

It looked fairly peaceful. I’m pretty sure he just lay down and didn’t wake back up. He had a heart murmur, was on 3 medications, and was 14. But still. Finding him like that was horrible. I ended up wrapping him up in a couple of towels and taking him to the emergency vet, where I paid for a private cremation. I’ve never done that before, but this guy was so special to me that I decided to put his ashes in a wind chime designed for that purpose. I’ll hang it on my deck.

Then, in what was probably a highly unusual move, I went and adopted a new cat Saturday. I figured, I was going to get one eventually, anyway, and it would distract me now. It worked. I went to my favorite shelter and got their only FIV+ cat—a seal point Siamese. He’s very friendly and the listing warned that he was very loud. He is a little loud, but it’s not as bad as I thought it might be. He’s just very open about what he feels and thinks that everyone should know. His name at the shelter was Sparkles, which—just no. So I renamed him Maddox, sticking with the M-theme. Currently I’ve got Maddox locked in the room over my garage because that’s where I sleep in the summer (it has the AC) and Marlowe locked in the upstairs bedroom, though I’ve been letting each of them out into the rest of the house in turns.

Here are the requisite pictures. My favorite of Marvin, because he looks dangerous but was actually super-nice:

Dangerous Marvin

The last one I took of him, chillin’ on the couch on a hot day:

Marvin chillin on the couch

And of course, the new guy, Maddox:

Maddox the cat

I’ll get some better pictures of him later. See that dark spot on his back? He had a benign mass removed in June and they shaved the area, and that’s the color the fur grew back in, rather than the lighter color it should have. Weird. They say it might lighten back up, though there’s no guarantee.

Back to Real Life

The rest of the MFA residency was really good. It was a bit of a shock to the system to return to Seattle. I got home after 10pm and to work the next day at 7:30am. Apparently I needed some kind of break because I was dragging until I took a day off Thursday.

While I was at the residency, I finalized my semester plan and the list of 20 books I’m supposed to read this semester. As far as craft goes, I’m focusing on plot and structure, which is good because I struggle with that. I also decided to do a pedagogy elective so I’ll be learning to teach composition (a retirement plan). I’ll share the book list with you in case you’re curious:

  • Chekhov, Anton, Pevear, Richard, translator, and Volokhonsky, Larissa, translator. Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov (2000).
  • Gaitskill, Mary. Bad Behavior: Stories (1988).
  • Munro, Alice. The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose (1978).
  • Paley, Grace. The Collected Stories (1994).
  • Fitch, Janet. White Oleander (1999).
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day (1989).
  • Angel, Ann, editor. Things I’ll Never Say (2015).
  • Bauman, Beth Ann. Jersey Angel (2012).
  • Blume, Judy. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret (1970).
  • Blume, Judy. Forever… (1975).
  • Blume, Judy. Tiger Eyes (1981).
  • Dessen, Sarah. Just Listen (2008).
  • Downham, Jenny. You Against Me (2011).
  • Green, John. Looking for Alaska (2006).
  • Hoffmann, Kerry Cohen. Easy (2007).
  • Lockhart, E. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (2009).
  • Lockhart, E. Dramarama (2007).
  • Niven, Jennifer. All the Bright Places (2015).
  • O’Neill, Louise. The Surface Breaks: a reimagining of The Little Mermaid (2018).
  • Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park (2013).

About half of them I’ve already read, though I’ll still have to reread those to get some thoughts on craft out of them. I’ve already reread Eleanor & Park because it’s awesome and it had to be the one I went to first. I wrote my first short paper on the first scene of that book, discussing how it works as a strong opening. Now I just need to come up with a topic for the second one…

Fall 2018 books
Precariously balanced…

This is going to be a long 2.5 years for me. But it will be good, I’m sure of it. The only thing is I’m worried I may not be able to keep up the weekly blog posts. So if it gets a little quieter here, you’ll know why.

The MFA Begins

We’ve now finished Day 3 of the MFA residency and the first thing I have to mention is that it is hot here. I wasn’t wrong to expect that. However, I appear to be lucky in that it’s relatively mild right now—only in the low 90s.

The first event on Day 1 was a short one—the director made several announcements and introduced the faculty. Then each of the faculty gave a short talk on the topic of “How to write when you can’t.” They all gave good advice and I was especially happy to hear (from my mentor, though they all agreed) that the whole idea that you have to write every single day to be a writer is bunk. They acknowledged that there are many ways to be a writer and it’s an art so you can’t necessarily force it. I do think that sometimes it is worth making yourself do something because sometimes you’re stuck and if you just force your way past this one thing, you’ll find yourself smoothly moving along again. I’ve had to force my way through scenes to get to the next, easier one (even though what I’ve written is crap—but that’s what editing is for).

Yesterday was all informational sessions. We learned about the various type of “annotations” we have to do. These are basically analysis papers that look at a specific aspect of the writing craft as it relates to a book or two. We have to write 45 short ones (2 pages) in the first three semesters, 1 medium-length (3-5 pages) in each of the first two semesters, and one long one (15-20 pages) that goes into the thesis so it has to be done in the third semester. Plus every month we have to write 10-30 pages, which doesn’t sound bad to me. But I’m going to be working on my short story collection for the degree, so it may be more difficult than to come up with pages from a novel. More brand new material. I finished a draft of the first short story in the collection, which precedes the story that’s posted on this site. The draft is almost 40 pages, so I’m good for a couple months. I’ll probably have to work on the next story for the November submission.

The craft sessions started today. We had one that explored tone and voice. This involves things like diction and word choice (for instance, think of the difference between the words “childish” and ”childlike,” which mean the same thing but have different connotations). We did some interesting and entertaining exercises where we had to change a sentence so that the tone was totally different.

“How stupid do you have to be to not understand that?”

vs.

“Just how far do you think your looks will get you?”

The next workshop was on flash fiction, where we talked about the various types (and concluded that all other subtypes really are just flash fiction, which can be up to around 1000 words) and looked at some good examples. He also had us do an exercise where we wrote our own. I of course failed miserably at that because I 1. suck at writing on command, and 2. can’t write anything short to save my life.

Then we had a workshop on time control, which is a more complicated topic than I thought. I mean, most of what I write is in what’s called “classic time,” which is time that is relatively brief and is expressed in one continuous flow (a day, a month, a year). I haven’t written anything that spans decades or longer, which is called long time. And then there are more weird ones that I won’t go into because at least at this point, they don’t really interest me.

Finally, we had the faculty reading tonight, where the various faculty read from their books/poems. It was really good, even if it did make me feel a bit like a fraud. Oh well, maybe I’ll get better.

Anyway, that’s the update from here.

Quiet

I feel like it’s the calm before the storm. Things are ramping up to my MFA residency, in less than three weeks. There’s reading to do for the workshops, critiquing for the small critique group, and picking which excerpt I’m going to do at the reading (we have to read for 5 or 6 minutes in front of the other students). I’ve gotten most of the workshop readings done, finished critiquing today, and already picked out what to read. I also booked my hotel for the first night.

I’m pretty much ready. This is probably a good thing because it’s going to be intense, I imagine.

I did get my partial request on Finding Frances back this week. It was a no, but they did say my writing was “smooth and polished,” which was nice. That was my last outstanding query. And I guess I lied about not sending it out to more agents, because I already sent it to one. This one only takes exclusive queries, but they respond quickly (if interested, that is). I might look for some other ones that prefer exclusive queries after this one comes back before sending out a slew again.

I did repost the short story I wrote, “Now Would Be Good,” in case you’re interested in checking that out.

The only other notable thing is that I developed this weird inner ear problem that caused me to fall over from extreme dizziness, resulting in a day and a half of unplanned vacation, during which I read like crazy. Which was awesome.

Finally Done with Stuff

The past couple weeks have been about finishing things. My floor is finally done and I have the furniture back in place. It looks great. I’ve been able to start sitting downstairs at my table working again. It’s not hot enough yet for me to need to migrate to my Summer Room (the one with the portable AC). So I’ve been able to work on judging all my PNWA contest entries at the table, where I can spread out.

New floor with furniture

And I finished them, thank god. I finished writing up the critiques for all 12 of the 28-page entries, scored each section, and then went back and read over all the comments to make sure they weren’t mean. The batch I got this year was much harder to judge than last year’s batch. Some of them just weren’t very good. I did have some that were pretty good, though, which helped. But man, I haven’t gotten anything done this month except judging.

I’m so excited to get back to everything else. I got a beta read back on Ugly, so I want to work on implementing the needed changes. I’m going to apply for a mentorship program offered by the Western Washington SCBWI chapter. If I get selected, I’ll work one-on-one with a published author for six months. It’s $650, though they’re offering a scholarship for diverse applicants and I’m going to apply for that. I think gender nonconforming should count. They can decide if it doesn’t.

One other good thing that happened this past week is that I had a partial request (fifty pages) on Finding Frances. I have queries out with only three agents right now and I’m literally done submitting it. I’m not holding my breath, but it was still nice to get a request.

Distraction

So, right now, I’m in the middle of having my entire ground floor tiled at my house. Every day, I come home to find my refrigerator in a new place. Friday I got home from work to discover it in the official refrigerator spot, even though the kitchen is only half-tiled (and not the half under the fridge). My cats are living in my bedroom now. This is all a huge distraction. Yeah, I’m going to go with that. That’s why I’m having trouble writing.

tiling in process

Uh-huh.

I’ve been working on the short story collection, specifically on the first story. This is the only one that comes before the one I previously posted on the site, “Now Would Be Good.” And it’s pretty much dragging. I’m about halfway through it. I had it all planned out, but now I’ve decided to remove one of the sources of conflict (because it told the wrong story), so I’ve got to make sure that there’s enough conflict in the new version.

I mentioned earlier that I revisited Ugly a few weeks ago to generate a new solid draft. But one that naturally still needs a lot of work. However, I gave it to a friend for a beta read and I’m hoping to get that back next Sunday since she’d already read about half of it by last Sunday. The feedback she casually gave me is already going to be helpful, so I have high hopes for the final feedback.

In strange news: in a couple weeks, I’m going to have portraits done for my websites. I need a better photo than the silly selfie I put up on my about me page. But this is going to be pure torture because I hate having my picture taken. I know “everybody” says that, but they don’t mean it. I actually, truly, genuinely, positively hate it. I almost always manage to look pissed off in pictures because I am pissed off. Since I’m doing something I hate. For your amusement, I’m including the picture off my work badge where I look… you guessed it.

work badge picture

Not enthused for a new job at all. I do wish I’d at least tried to smile or something. Anyway, my photographer has no idea of the challenge ahead.

Other than that, I’m in the middle of judging mainstream entries for the PNWA contest (a lot of work) and looking forward to the MFA residency, which is only two months away. I’m trying not to think about the fact that it will be July in Oklahoma and I’m going to immediately melt.

Stuck

I’ve been trying to write lately with very little success. I went to a writing workshop with Mary Buckham last Saturday, which was great, but I haven’t done any real writing. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I have distracted myself with other work, namely painting my kitchen cabinets. They do look good, though I did have a tiny bit of trouble rehanging them with the new hinges I got. I have to make a few adjustments with my recently-purchased Dremel and a sanding block. I forgot to take before pictures, but I found an old one from when I moved in.

Kitchen Cabinets Before
Before

Kitchen Cabinets After
After

Much better, eh?

Anyway, it’s not helping me get any writing done. I’m (theoretically) working on two books right now: my third YA, entitled Ugly, and one other I’m writing under a pen name. I’m stuck on both. My writing group met yesterday morning and gave me feedback on Chapter 4 of Ugly, so that’s progress, but I should actually be going through my complete draft for my second pass because I’ve replotted some things and need to add a lot of details. The other book has also been significantly replotted and there is quite a bit to do on it (even more replotting, too).

I have sent Finding Frances out to a few more agents, but I haven’t heard anything back except a No or two. Sometimes it’s hard to know if I should take the hint or keep trying. But I guess I’ll keep submitting because otherwise I would probably get depressed. It’s strange that the constant refrain of “No” doesn’t depress me, but I suppose I have the illusion of eventual success.

I haven’t even looked at Sadie Speaks in months. I’m still not sure what to do with that one. It’s like my group said yesterday as we wallowed in self-pity—writing is hard.

Writing Update

It’s been a little while since I bored you with an update about what’s going on with my writing.

I’m working away on the third book, whose working title is Ugly. This is the 80,000-word novel I wrote in 28 days in November for NaNoWriMo. I’m taking it through my writing group chapter by chapter and met with them yesterday to go over Chapter 3. I like it and feel like it’s going to end up being a pretty solid book, though it’s going to take a lot of work. The first draft is pretty rough, though there is definitely some good stuff in there.

Sadie Speaks is still currently being neglected as I don’t know what to do with it. It needs major work, but it feels like I need somebody else to tell me what to do with it. A couple of freelance editors have seen it, but they didn’t quite share my editorial vision so I didn’t really agree with their suggestions. So I’m going to have to figure it out on my own.

Finding Frances is still getting nowhere with agents and editors. It’s currently with one of each, but I pinged them both Monday because they’ve had it for 3 months. The editor got back to me to say she had received it and would only contact me if she was interested in more. The agent never responded. So I’m not exactly holding my breath on either of those. I’m pretty worn out with querying it and am not sure I’m going to summon the energy to try again.

In related news, I decided to do an MFA (Master of Fine Arts). I got accepted to both of the ones I applied to, but I decided to go with Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth MFA and its concentration in Young Adult Fiction. I’m pretty excited about this. It starts in July. It’s a low-residency model, which means twice a year I have to go there for an intensive 10-day residency, where there are craft talks, I’ll meet with my faculty mentor for the semester, and I can mingle with other students. Then for the rest of the semester, I’ll send packets of writing in to my mentor, who will send back feedback. I also have to read a lot of books, as some of the writing is critical annotations of genre books or responses to craft books. I have to attend a residency before each of my four semesters and then go to the one immediately after my last semester to wrap things up.

Finally, in unrelated news, I started a new job at work. I’m no longer a software developer and am now a data scientist (my actual job title is Analytics Analyst, which is hilarious, and not deeply meaningful). I will leave you with a picture of my favorite parking space at work:

Parking space blocked by post

Just a Saturday

Yesterday was bit of an adventurous day for me. First of all, a couple friends came over to help me put together my dining room table, which has been sitting in two boxes for weeks. We did manage to get it together and I even set the chairs up so my house is starting to look like a real house now. Check it out:

dining room table

I even have the new chandelier up. It goes well with the sofa I put together a few weeks ago and the rug I’ve had rolled up in a closet since moving in:

sofa and rug

(Yes, that’s a giant cat wheel in the background. And no, they do not use it. Of course they don’t. They’re cats. Though if you want to see cats that do use one, check out the videos at http://onefastcat.com/. It’s sort of awesome.)

My friends also helped me move a large metal file cabinet in the garage and to get the old dining room table out of the kitchen and into the garage. Then we were standing there in the garage with the front door open when this woman shouts at someone out of sight about keeping their dog on leash. And then a minute later a dog races into the garage and nearly into the house, but my friend managed to block it (we figured out it was a she later). The dog races all around the garage, the driveway, the street, but she’s mostly centered on ramming into any of us humans silly enough to stand still for a moment.

Every time a car would go by, one of us would grab her collar. She had a pink one but no tag on it. She was obviously somebody’s very friendly but poorly-trained pet, but with no tag, we weren’t sure what to do. I live in a small townhouse complex, across from a large apartment complex, and there’s another large apartment complex at the end of the road. There’s an unfenced grassy area that serves as a dog park on my street a few houses down and houses that back up to it, but she could have easily run from literally anywhere, especially if she remembered the park. I happened to have a leash for a harness I’d gotten in case I wanted to take a cat for a walk (which I’ve never done…) so I ran inside to get that. Then we walked her down the street a little, but it was clear that wasn’t going to get us anywhere.

I ended up calling an animal control officer. We sat on my driveway with the dog and lots of cars came by but no one claimed her. When animal control got there, he scanned her and there was no microchip, which was really disappointing. I still feel really bad about sending her off, but I really didn’t know how to reunite her with her owner and I couldn’t keep her. No way would I let her in the house with my cats, and I couldn’t put her in the garage either and risk her chewing up the things out there. I think since she was so friendly she has a very good chance of getting adopted. Anyway, in my head her name was Peaches:

peaches the lost dog

Then after that, I went with my friends to a Polynesian festival where I ate Hawaiian shave ice for the first time. It was a million times better than a sno-cone, even though that’s what it looks like. The ice is shaved so fine it’s almost creamy. I got vanilla, grape, and passion fruit. Yum:

shave ice

And Hello Kitty was there (in a hula skirt with a lei, of course):

hello kitty

On another topic, Marvin and Marlowe are getting along well:

marvin and marlowe

And that was my adventure day. Any day that involves something other than being at home, work, or Starbucks is notable in my world.