13 Reasons I Dropped Off the Blog-Wagon this Winter

So I fell off the blogging bandwagon this winter and spring, but I have 13 good reasons. Scout’s honor.

1. I had a baby in January. (I offer photographic proof below. Need I post 12 more? Nevertheless . . . )

Why it's hard to blog with a new baby around

Sawyer Kate, the sweetest-ever blogging distraction

2. It is not a wise idea to post things online when massively sleep-deprived.
3. Did you know that the average newborn goes through 10 to 14 diapers a day in the first few weeks? Yeah. Mine definitely fell in the “to 14” end of the diapering spectrum.
3. I’ve been using what remains of my beleaguered brain cells to finish up my latest manuscript, Wishing Well. It’s done and submission ready! (Clouds part, angels sing, my husband faints with joy. Or perhaps relief, or horror—or then again, maybe that’s just the sleep deprivation, creating a narcoleptic attack.)
4. When you try to find a babysitter for four young children so you can write, people either laugh hysterically in your face, or run away screaming. Sometimes both.
5. This baby only weighs about 12 pounds right now, but she somehow creates more dirty laundry than the rest of the family members combined. I suspect she is secretly proud of this accomplishment.
6. And while we’re discussing mind-boggling levels of laundry, my dryer has some sort of rust issue, so that it’s putting lovely brown streaks on all our clothing…meaning I have been forced to hang most of our clothes to dry like someone straight out of the 1950s…LAUNDRY HAS TAKEN OVER MY LIFE.
7. I feel compelled to add here that while all this talk of having four children and drowning in laundry may make me sound like an old, boring person, I am no such thing. Exhausted, yes; old, no; boring, definitely not. Or so I tell myself. This is not a reason I have not blogged, it’s simply a fact that deserved a few lines.
8. In February, in the post-baby haze when I was too tired to write, I got a serious case of HGTV addiction. I spent any free moments (and there weren’t many) obsessing over that captivating question: Will they love it or list it?
9. In March, it was still cold, when it was supposed to be warm. And who can blog with cold toes?
10. In April, I decided to reread The Clockwork Prince in order to prepare for The Clockwork Princess. I have been consumed.
11. Did I mention I had a baby?
12. Did I mention sleep loss?
13. All this to say…I’m gradually digging out of the baby burrow I’ve been snuggled in all winter and spring. I haven’t stopped writing—I never stop writing; that would be like ceasing to breathe!—but the blog had to go into hibernation for a few months. Up next is a list I’ve been pondering for some time now: 13 Things I Wish I Could Teach My Dog.

13 Things I’ve Learned from Senior Citizens

I can’t wait to be an old person. Really. I think senior citizens are the coolest—I could hang out in retirement homes all day and have a blast. (Crystal Waters and I are alike in that way—it’s one of my favorite things about her.) I think that adoring my own grandparents the way I do has taught me to admire and appreciate and just thoroughly be delighted by the generations that have come before us. I could have listed a hundred things I’ve learned from senior citizens, but . . . sigh . . . you only get thirteen.

Things I've learned from senior citizens

My beloved grandmother, holding my beloved daughter

1. Laugh a lot. You’ll live longer.
2. Eat dinner at home. You’ll save money and stay married.
3. Save hotel soaps. You might need them in case of a hurricane or soap shortage. (And bar soap never goes bad, so you can save it for years. Really.)
4. Write letters. Real ones, with pen and paper.
5. Make friends with your neighbors.
6. Good advice is priceless. When you find someone who gives good advice, be quiet and listen.
7. All senior citizens in America are secretly required to attend water aerobics. You will not be arrested if you don’t go, but you will risk total social annihilation. The good news is, your fellow water aerobics participants will become best friends with each other and go out for coffee after class, so really, water aerobics is THE place to be after age seventy-five.
8. When it’s time to get a hearing aid, go for the good ones. The cheap ones just don’t cut it. And you should always, always keep hearing aid batteries on hand, just in case. You don’t want to miss a word your water aerobics friends are saying.
9. You can freeze almost anything.* Really. Even milk, and shredded cheese, and damp laundry that needs ironing, and wax spilled on fabric, and stamps that you want to pull off of envelopes that you didn’t mean to stamp so you can reuse the (unused) stamps later. (*You cannot, however, freeze sour cream.)
10. A little bacon never hurt anybody, but a lot of bacon did.
11. Those chain emails that warn you that you’ll be horribly mangled in a freak accident if you don’t forward the email on in the next five minutes to fifty friends . . . well, they’re probably not true, but you never know, so you should go ahead and forward them, just in case.
12. Cool shoes are overrated, and oftentimes ridiculous—especially uber-high heels. Comfort is where it’s at if you want to be a mall-walker all the way into your nineties. (Which I definitely do. Exercising AND window shopping, all at the same time? I don’t know why the whole world doesn’t exercise this way.) Three cheers for Aerosoles, anyone? I’ve totally bought some before, and they were surprisingly adorable.
13. If you are a single man over the age of seventy-five, and want to find the love of your life, volunteer to drive the church bus on all the adult field trips. You’ll be married in less than a year. (Corollary: If you are a single woman over the age of seventy-five, and want to find a husband, go on field trips with your church. Smile at the bus driver. I must warn you: the competition will be fierce, so bring your A game, and wear a little lipstick.)

Okay, I lied. Here are five more things I’ve learned, but since I’m not numbering them, I consider them bonus lessons, and so this isn’t really a list of eighteen things. Think of it as “read thirteen, get five free.” Like a pre-Black Friday special, only in life lessons disseminated via blog.

—You don’t need new stuff. Old stuff works just fine. And redecorating? Forgeddaboudit.
—If you like having real teeth, you should floss. (Ahem, Mr. “I Have Good Teeth So I Don’t Need to Floss”—nudge, nudge. You know who you are. You have been warned via blog post. If you think flossing is time-consuming, word on the street is, denture care is a beast.)
—Buy cars the size of boats. Sure, they’re hard to park, but everyone else on the road will get out of your way.
—Pay attention to politics, even when it drives you crazy.
—And one of my favorite lessons of all: A good book and a comfy recliner are all you need for a thrilling evening. You can travel the world without ever leaving your living room.

13 Killer Beach Reads

I’ve moved twice in the past ten months, and I’m afraid that in the chaos, blogging had to go on the backburner. Actually, blogging wasn’t really on the stove at all—it was in storage, along with half my stuff. But the boxes are (sort of) unpacked now, and I’m gradually rediscovering my brain and rekindling my creativity. And so I thought it would be fun to refocus the Lizzylit Blog for the next few months. In honor of The Thirteenth Summer, I’m going to start posting Lists of Thirteen Things. What kinds of things, you ask? Well . . . a lot of them will have to do with books (as in, Thirteen Book Villains You Never Want to Meet in a Dark Alley, that kind of thing); some will have to do with Rage and Crystal and their Thirteenth Summer world; and some will be ridiculously random (as in, Thirteen Songs That I Would Dance to, if Only I Knew How to Dance), just for kicks.

And now to introduce the first list: Thirteen Killer Beach Reads.

We’re going on our summer vacation soon, and I always want to have, not just A book to read, but a KILLER book to read—one that transforms me into a horribly neglectful wife and mother, incapable of speaking in more than grunts and monosyllables as I give myself paper cuts from feverishly flipping the pages. (I know, I know—I really should jump on the digital bandwagon.) I always crave a good mystery on vacation, something to set my scalp to tingling. And I don’t particularly like to cry my eyes out on vacation, so I usually don’t go for depressing books about mothers dying of cancer and such—although I don’t mind a meaningful story, or a dark, Gothic yarn.

So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite beach reads—it’s an eclectic list that spans many genres and age ranges, but they’re all fun books in their own way. (Disclaimer: Some of these books may not be appropriate for younger readers.)

Thirteen Killer Beach Reads

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—Hands down, my favorite Sherlock Holmes tale. Ghost stories don’t get any better than this. Or is it a ghost story?

2. A Great and Terrible Beauty (first in the Gemma Doyle trilogy), by Libba Bray—A spine-tingling, Gothic thriller that’s also beautifully written.

3. Delirium, by Lauren Oliver—Lose yourself in gorgeous poetry, a loveless dystopian society, and a romance that makes you ache.

4. Clockwork Angel (first in the Infernal Devices series), by Cassandra Clare—A mind-bending mystery, complete with demon-slayers and vampires and the like (not usually my thing, but I guess they work better for me in an old-fashioned setting), and the start of a fascinating love triangle.

5. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner—A shout-out to guy readers here . . . Fast-paced, fascinating scenario set in an awesome labyrinth with some truly disgusting monsters. (I actually convinced my husband, aka Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome, to read the sequel to this novel—The Scorch Trials—and he is loving it.)

6. The City of Ember (first in the Books of Ember series), by Jeanne DuPrau—This one’s for younger readers. I loved the way the mystery unfolded and I felt like I got to analyze the clues along with the characters.

7. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan—Another one for younger readers. This one made me laugh out loud many, many times. I recommend reading it privately, so you don’t embarrass yourself.

8. Juliet, by Anne Fortier—This one’s an adult novel (I hardly ever read Big Girl books, but this is one that the young at heart like me can connect to). It’s a dual twist on the story of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers: One storyline is set in 1340, and one is interpreted in a sassy, modern framework, with a compelling mystery tying both together.

9. Holes, by Louis Sachar—This is one of those amazing books where everything means something, and all the pieces and storylines eventually tie together in one of those tingly moments where you sit back and just go, “Now THAT was cool.”

10. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte—The most epic of epic novels. Be prepared not to sleep at all until you’re done.

11. Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier—This is a classic novel I missed out on until recently. It’s dark and brooding, but—wow. Haunting.

12. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares—On friendship, boys, mothers, and the best pair of jeans ever. It will make you laugh and cry, sometimes both at the same time.

13. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins—If you’re the last holdout in America who hasn’t read this book, it really is the ultimate adrenaline read.

“Blog” Rhymes with “Blah.” Sort of.

You might ask what this blog is about. And I might answer, That’s a good question.

I’ve always thought that blogging was a bizarre word and a rather strange concept altogether. I mean, let’s be honest: “Blog” rhymes with “blah.” Sort of. But at the same time, I get it… We all love the idea that our thoughts, our take on the world, even the minutiae of our daily life, might matter to other people. It’s like what Meg Ryan said in “You’ve Got Mail”: “I don’t really want an answer. I just want to throw this cosmic question out into the void.” A blog means that we throw our thoughts into the void, and someone besides God might actually pay attention—and if our blog gains devoted followers, we might even get some off-the-wall answers to our cosmic questions!