Relief.

Friends.

The edits on my novel are finally done.

At least with this round of edits.... There is still so much work to be done, and now the truly terrifying part begins... Now is time for putting in front of others and getting... opinions. 

So... I will be making a public call for Beta Readers soon, but in the meantime... I'm just going to sit back, relax and soak in this sweet relief. 

via GIPHY

Perfect May the 4th Relaxation Gif? I think so.

What major goal are you working toward? Tell me in the comments below! YOU CAN DO IT! 

Plant Drama

The Mr and I decided to plant a vegetable garden this year. 

We think about doing this every year, but usually late in the summer when everyone else's gardens are providing them with food and we're all "HEY WE WANT THAT," but then nature is all "WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT A FEW MONTHS AGO, IDIOTS." 

Nature can be a real B sometimes that way. 

But this year? This year we are on top of things. We are ORGANIZED. And I am learning A LOT:

For example: Certain plants like each other and certain plants don't. They're sort of like middle school cliques in that way. Tomatoes and basil love each other, but don't you dare plant your tomatoes next to the beets. Apparently the beets said something about the tomatoes looking a little plump one year and it's been a drama-fest ever since. The basil doesn't really like drama, though, so Basil will hang out with anyone. Basil is like that guy at the party who wears those "Life is Good" shirts. He just smiles and nods at people and everyone is like "Oh heyyyy, Basil - what's up?" and Basil usually just responds with words like "Cool." 

I know what you're thinking: Emelie, what you described is totally the marijuana plant. 

But this is when I disagree, because have you ever looked at a marijuana plant? They're so loud looking - and very temperamental. They act like they're all chill, but really, marijuana plants are needy AF, so every other plant is like "Ugh, marijuana is here... great. Let's just get what we need from him and then someone else call his phone and tell him his heat lamp exploded at his house or whatever so that he leaves."

Which is just one reason why I won't be planting any marijuana plants in my veggie garden. I don't need that energy there. The other reason is that I don't smoke weed. Oh, and it's still illegal. 

Where was I? Oh right, so plants are very tribal, apparently, so now I have charts and graphs all over my apartment while I try and figure out who can sit next to who, which is hilarious given the fact that we didn't even have seating charts at our wedding because our families didn't even have this much drama. I feel like I need a mediator for my plants! 

OH, and then there was the moment when we realized that our garden was twice as large as we initially calculated because apparently MATH ISN'T OUR THING, so now we have to introduce a whole bunch of new plants into this middle school of a dirt mound and I'm just a little worried that our current plants are going to pull some serious pranks. 

Maybe I should give them a talking-to first? 

If you have any great tips or resources for vegetable gardening, I would love the help. Leave links or advice in the comments below! 


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Hey, have you become an Awkward Ambassador on Patreon yet? Now is the perfect time to sign up so that you can start getting rewards in May! 'What kind of rewards?" you ask? Stuff like cute pictures and videos of my dogs thanking you personally, book recs from me, exclusive content, and even crocheted critters handmade by yours truly. It's a great way to help me keep this blog ad-free, and therefore way less annoying. What's not to love? Click here to sign up! 

If any of my fans are rich, NOW IS YOUR CHANCE.

Monday was gross and rainy and cold, but it was also my day off from the bookshop and I had stuff to do. 

Specifically, I had picture frames to buy. 

After 4-5 years of living in this house, The Mr and I decided to finally put the art on the walls. Not newly acquired art, either, by the way. This is stuff that has been "flattening" under heavy books on the floor in my office for... at least three years? 

But we also needed frames. 

So The Mr and I finally measured all twenty-four things and on Monday, I set out on my journey. 

I don't know if you frequent the store HomeGoods, but I had never been and oh my damn, friends, this is a haven for everything you never knew you needed and so much more. The had a whole department FOR LAUNDRY HAMPERS.

LAUNDRY HAMPERS.

The true miracle here is that I didn't buy anything other than the picture frames on my list. Okay, I also bought a dog toy, but it was one that I didn't even realize I had in my cart until I was in the checkout line and at that point it's rude to turn around and go put something back, so I just bought it anyway, which later felt like a terrible situation because I bought only one toy for our two dogs and that's just mean, right? When I got home I had to sneak the toy into their toy basket and just let fate run its course, and here's the impressive thing: they found it and tore it in half. My dogs are better people than I am.

Wait, this isn't what this blog post was supposed to be about... where was I? Oh right, HOMEGOODS and my ability to restrain myself from spending all of my dollars. 

On laundry hampers, you ask?

No, no. 

On THIS: 

 Side note: Can we talk about the fact that there's a whole department specifically for Toss Pillows? 

Side note: Can we talk about the fact that there's a whole department specifically for Toss Pillows? 

Me: We need her.

The Mr: No we do not. 

Me: She would be a perfect guardian for our vegetable garden. 

The Mr: Like a scarecrow? 

Me: YES. 

The Mr: We agreed that you would stick to the list. 

Me: I CANNOT RESIST HER SIREN'S SONG. 

It turns out, however, that she was $800, which is mildly out of my price range, but people have started GoFundMe campaigns for weirder things, right? Plus, while that is expensive, she also seems kind of worth it, just for the amount of conversations she would start when we have guests over - or when people drive by. I mean, she's huge. Just look at this screenshot of the MarcoPolo video that I sent to The Mr for scale:

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Me: We would be the talk of the town. 

The Mr: I think you and I have different feelings about that. 

Me: I really thought sharing a bank account with you would be more fun. 

The Mr: We buy lots of fun things! 

Me: 

In other news, though, look at how nice our wall looks! 

 This isn't everything because the one thing HomeGoods weirdly didn't have all the frames I needed. I guess we'll just have to go back... 

This isn't everything because the one thing HomeGoods weirdly didn't have all the frames I needed. I guess we'll just have to go back... 

She's still one hot mamma.

Today is my mom's birthday and it's a significant one - or more than the others, I guess? I don't know, I feel like every birthday should be a big deal because there are so many ways to die EVERY DAY and the fact that we all keep managing to live another year is truly miraculous. I digress. 

My mother is 60 today. And more fabulous than ever. 

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So I thought I would share the first blog post I ever wrote about her today, because to this day it still makes me laugh. Enjoy, and Happy Birthday, Mom! 


I have a strange life problem. Well... it's really a blessing and a curse. I have a hot mom.

Don't get me wrong, 99% of the time, it freaking rocks to know that my parents are still so young at heart. It's the other 1% I try and block out. Let me explain.

My mom is in her mid-fifties and she looks like she's... well... much younger. Mind you, she has had no cosmetic surgery, the woman just teaches six aerobics classes a week, three of which are at 5:45 in the morning, and then she goes and rides her horse for at least an hour almost every day. Throw in the fact that we're 100% Swedish and you've got yourself one hot mamma. Needless to say, this woman can kick my ass. She's awesome.

She is also wonderfully weird.

We were sitting around the other day and having coffee, and the subject of Christmas came up.

Mom: Oh! If anyone is stuck on what to get me for Christmas, go to [insert big country horse supply store here]! They have so many awesome things!

Me: Okay, like what? Keep in mind that I'm poor.

Mom: Well, they even have horse treats.

Me: Mom... I'm not going to buy you a bag of horse treats for Christmas!

Mom: Well, I'll use them!

Me: Okay.. is there something that's in between horse treats and like... a new saddle?

Mom: Oh, I wouldn't ask you for a saddle. Oh, but you know what, they do have these awesome leather chaps that have fringe going all the way down the sides.

Me: As in... assless chaps?

Mom: Well, yeah, Emelie. All chaps are assless.

Me: I am not buying my mother anything that can be described as assless.

Mom: Why? I think they're cool!

Me: Let's change the subject please. How did your burlesque aerobics class go? I admit that this might not have been the best subject change, but this is how we talk, people.

Mom: Oh, it was so much fun! We had feather boas and everything, it was great. Oh, except my friend was sick and she was so upset that she couldn't be there.

Me: Oh, that sucks! She would have had fun.

Mom: I know, and she was supposed to make "penises in a blanket" so then we ended up not having any "penises in a blanket" :(

Me: Mom... I think it's about time I write about you in my blog.

Mom: Really? Why?

Me: Because I love you. And someone needs to start writing down the things that you say.

I'm not kidding, though. I truly do love my mom, and I rarely pass up the opportunity to hang out with her nowadays. I honestly hope that I'm as badass and free-spirited as she is for the rest of my life. She freaking rocks.

This also means I'm going to have to start working out, though...

I love you, Mom!

We Can Do This.

I feel ridiculously behind lately - basically ever since I hurt my back. While my back is feeling better, my brain seems to still be in "I can't do anything mode," so this entire week has just been about catching up with my goals.

I have a lot of goals.

I'm editing my novel, writing this blog twice a week, crocheting like crazy, trying to be a better housekeeper, and living a healthy lifestyle.

But they're all good goals! I like them! 

It's just all about the balance. 

And it's amazing how a few days of being in bed with back pain can really throw you off and screw with you. And then I start to feel guilty, because writing and crocheting don't require me to be up and walking around, so I should have taken advantage of the time that I was stuck in bed, but then the other voices in my head are all "yeah, but you still had to work in the bookshop for 8 hours every day and holding up your body is exhausting, so you should just be nice to you." 

And I know that the latter voices are correct. And my back is feeling better now, so hopefully, my brain will catch up soon. 

I know this isn't really sounding like an actual blog post, but it's as much as I can muster right now while I prepare for everything else going on. (Things like the reading I'm doing this weekend with my writing group!)

I'm sure I'm not the only one going through this right now, so if you are also feeling like you're struggling to tread water, leave a comment down below and let's just give each other all the virtual hugs, okay?

Because we can do this.

My precious revelation

If you've been following my Instagram story, you know that I, at the ripe old age of 27, threw my back out on Monday night and have been hobbling around ever since, not unlike the evil witch from Snow White. Not when she's all "Mirror mirror, tell me how pretty I am," but when she's all old and haggard and obsessed with apples. 

All I did was pick up a book, which hardly seems fair, as books have always been my dearest friends. Although now that I'm thinking of it, I've always been pretty sure that those who I counted as close friends were also people who were most likely to be responsible for my death, so I suppose the books were just fulfilling their true purpose and keeping my life interesting, but still... not cool, books. Not cool.

So I went to go see a chiropractor. A lot happened there that I think I have to save for another blog post or perhaps for my memoir because I'm still processing some of the ridiculousness. That being said, the chiropractor was awesome and my back is feeling somewhat human again, but he basically told me that my spina bifida occulta (which I love because it totally makes it sound like I'm part of a group that worships spines, doesn't it? The Spinosaurus would be our god. JOIN US...) or even just my body in general is a genetic minefield of weirdness. Yay! So I left and I was all "THANKS, MOM, FOR TEACHING ALL THOSE JAZZERCISE CLASSES WHILE YOU WERE PREGGO WITH ME" (true story) but then the angel on my shoulder was like "Hey, she was just trying to stay healthy. Besides, her birthday is coming up. Be nice." 

So I texted her to update her on the situation and to humbly tell her how nice I had decided to be:

 

So mysterious...

Last week I had a physical with a new GP and I was actually really excited about it because I've been having terrible migraines up to three times a month for the past... seven years? It felt like it was time to get it checked out. 

Up until now, I've tried a myriad of solutions: 

  • Acupuncture - relaxing, but generally ineffective.
  • Chiropractic treatments - this ultimately led to me discovering I have spina bifida aculta, which is great to be aware of but also did nothing to solve the migraine problem. 
  • Diet changes - I drank more water, less coffee, ate more iron-rich foods in case it was an iron deficiency, etc. Nothing works. 
  • Prayer - gave me general good vibes, but apparently, God isn't letting this one go that easily. 

So there I was at a real doctor's office at last, and I was finally going to get some answers, friends! She was going to check my blood and be all "HOLY CRAP, WHY AREN'T YOU EATING MORE CHEESE?" or something. I don't know what doctors really say when they look at bloodwork, but I assume the answer is always more cheese, but also I'm not sure it's possible for someone to eat more cheese than me? For example, my chef friend who we'll call "Sookie" for obvious reasons, texted me the other day that they had mac and cheese available at her restaurant for lunch and then she was all "unless you want your regular sandwich?" and I was all "how is this even up for debate right now?" and she responded with "I don't know! Maybe you had mac and cheese for dinner and breakfast?" at which point I told her that I would still want mac and cheese if that dream scenario were in fact true. 

Wait, what was my point again?

Oh right, I was at the doctor's and she was about to solve all of my problems. 

We talked for a while. I really liked her. She listened to my long list of concerns and thoughts and made me feel heard. That part was great. 

What was not awesome was when she was all "So we're going to check your bloodwork and if it's anemia or something, that's great because we can work on that, but otherwise, you should know that migraines often happen for seemingly no reason at all." 

So guess what happened when I called them to get my results, friends. 

"EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU IS NORMAL"

Now, obviously, most people would be thrilled to hear that their blood work came back with no glaring problems, but when you have a glaring problem with seemingly NO LOGICAL REASONING, you start to feel... what's the word? Oh right. Doomed. 

And then... a migraine hit me THE VERY NEXT DAY. 

But it's okay. It's all going to be okay. You know why? Because if you think about it really hard, this really just makes me more mysterious, right? And who doesn't love a woman of mystery? They're always dressed in cool dark dresses, with long hair and big eyes and men are all "oh man, she's so mysterious. I have to draw her." 

So I imagine The Mr will see me with my migraines and then be compelled to do the same. 

So romantic...

P.S. I just found this on giphy when I searched "woman of mystery" (which also brought up A LOT of borderline porny stuff, by the way) and I have no idea who drew it, but now I need to know, so if you have that info, please leave it in the comments! Thanks! 


Hey! On April 8th, my writer's group is performing excerpts of our work at The Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, CT! You should come. I'll be there and I'll be reading some new material! There will also be a bunch of talented people reading their work. 

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Details here

Just some casual girl talk.

An actual conversation I had with the Bestbian this morning via text*:

*The Mr also wants me to add a disclaimer that if you're grossed out by body talk, you might not dig this one. Sorry not sorry. 

Me: Whoa, <that girl we worked with five years ago at a restaurant> is pregnant now too?

Bestbian: APPARENTLY.

Me: WHAT.

Bestbian: Good lord all these women and their babies.

Me:  Why is everyone breeding so much? CALM DOWN, PEOPLE.

Bestbian: I KNOW, THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH ALREADY.

Me: Please don't get pregnant. I can't handle that responsibility. 

Bestbian: Never. You hold off at least for a while too, or I will freak out. 

Me: FOREVER. Pee and blood are the only things I will allow to come out of my vagina and that's only because I have no choice in the matter.

Bestbian:  ...I need to know that you know you don't pee from your vagina. 

Me: Well, yeah, but you know what I meant. That region is off limits.

Bestbian: No baby zone.

Me: Precisely. We should get spayed together one day.

Bestbian:  I would love that. Tubal ligation buddies! 

Me: Hooray!

Bestbian: We could put out notices that we're finally tying the knot. .........in our Fallopian tubes.

Me: YAAASSSSSSS. 


Still with me? YAY! Because I also have some news:

On April 8th, my writer's group is performing excerpts of our work at The Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, CT! You should come. I'll be there and I'll be reading some new material! There will also be a bunch of talented people reading their work. 

NoNameIG.png

Details here

Cold feet.

So yesterday my friend texted me a picture of a book that we have both been really excited about reading and it finally just came out and THE EXCITEMENT LEVEL IS HIGH, FRIENDS.

But, because it's me, there is an issue.

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So APPARENTLY The Mr is annoyed because he buys really nice socks and I have always opted for really cute socks.

His are warm. Mine have narwhals on them.

His are fancy moisture-repelling socks. Mine all have holes in them. 

And when we got married I was all "Yay! Free socks!" 

He did not agree. 

Which brings us to our next marital dispute... 

I have a lot of books. 

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IN MY DEFENSE many of these are free because I am a bookseller and I get a lot of Advanced Reader Copies from publishers, BUT I also buy a lot of these books too. Especially if I read the ARC and then really loved it, so I want the author the get dollars and I'll buy it just to be a good fan. 

Which brings us to today.

My sock drawer is full of holey socks (insert divine joke here) and my hold shelf at the bookstore is overflowing. 

But what am I supposed to do? None of the fancy socks have narwhals on them... But my narwhal socks are no longer providing any level of warmth. 

If only I could convince the two sock companies to join forces! 

Dear Fancy Sock Makers,

I have been forced to buy your socks in order to continue my love of buying books. Normally, this would not be a problem. Your socks are fantastic in all ways but one: THERE ARE NO NARWHALS ON THEM. 

While I appreciate your ability to include a wide array of colors and stripes - even polka dots! Go you! - I am saddened by the lack of cute animal patterns. 

Must I really sacrifice my love of the Sea Unicorn in order to have warm feet? 

Of course, it's not just narwhals that I enjoy on my socks. Puppies, sloths, and giraffes are also always welcome, just in case someone on staff has an aversion to narwhals. Although, why would you hire such a monster? 

Wishing you all the best,

Emelie

UPDATE: THEY RESPONDED

Hi Emelie,

Thank you so much for reaching out! I too love Narwhals, what an awesome idea :) I did share your feedback with our product team, we always appreciate customer feedback! I also want to make sure you've seen our Woodland Creature socks, they do have cute animals represented on them :) https://darntough.com/collections/womens-lifestyle/products/woodland-creatures-crew-light?variant=36489076295

Thanks for being on board with us and I hope you have an awesome weekend!

Thank you for choosing Darn Tough!

And for the record, I did NOT see those woodland socks before, but it's a good thing that they exist because now I can buy books again. 

Plus, I think we can all agree that if they do in fact add narwhals to their designs, I will be heralded as a True American Hero. 

You're welcome.

And it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign.

Whenever my schedule starts to fill up and my stress levels start to rise, the two things I cut out first are yoga and meditation. Because I'm a moron. 

I was born with a very mild form of spina bifida, which causes severe back and hip pain when it goes unchecked. I also get these mysterious migraines on a frequent basis that may or may not be related to the spina bifida or it could be that I've never had my wisdom teeth removed or possibly an iron deficiency? There are lots of theories floating around that have yet to be confirmed. Insurance has been gained and doctors appointments have been made and hopefully, we'll have solutions soon, but in the meantime, I live in a world of question marks. This world of question marks often leads to stress and anxiety. And when a question mark and a stress or anxiety ball love each other very much, my world then becomes populated with a lot of those question mark-exclamation point combos. 

It seems to me that a logical person would be very vigilant about doing the things that keep her brain and body happy when they are so keen on being very unhappy at the slightest disruption. 

Alas, I have never been known for my logic skills. I'm more one of those... excitable puppy types of people. I do whatever I fancy whenever I like as long as everyone in my life is happy. I forget to take care of myself until I'm reminded to do so when it's absolutely necessary. 

So yesterday I was discussing this very thing with a group of teens that my husband and I run a support group for at our church. The topic we were discussing was all about recognizing signs from God and how often these signs aren't very blatant, but instead are only obvious in hindsight and when we need or want to see these signs most is usually when we're least likely to be paying attention. 

But then last night I got home and I sat down on the couch with a heating pad on my back to soothe the pain and pulled up YouTube. Lo and behold, one of my favorite yoga instructors had uploaded a video titled "Yoga for Hips and Lower Back Release.

Alright, God. I hear you. 

P.S. I absolutely love this song, but can we please talk about this music video? I have so many questions! Why is everyone making out? What's with the weird cartwheels? I need to figure out this narrative.

P.P.S. If you don't know Yoga with Adriene yet... you're welcome. 

P.P.P.S. One of my favorite bloggers, Advice I Needed Yesterday, also wrote about her experience with fate and signs from the universe and it's like God is confirming my life choices all over again. Go read her now