Archive for the ‘friends & family’ Category

When to Delete a Friend
November 15, 2010

This isn’t one of those posts. I have no complaint and no one has slighted me. Quite the opposite in fact.

Technology and social media has drastically changed the way we live our lives, most noticeably in how we communicate with people. I’m connected with friends and family on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, blogs and email, not to mention the phone and actually getting together in person.

I was on Skype over the weekend and when I scrolled through my list of contacts, I realized that one name towards the bottom of the list is a friend who died almost two years ago. We used to catch up as she traveled between Vegas, Chicago, and the various countries she’d visit to dance tango. Seeing her name brought all that back, much the same way looking through photos would.

Part of me feels like I should delete her as a contact, since clearly I won’t be calling her anymore, but it feels like a slight. I would never throw away her pictures, and I still have a few emails saved from back when we used to dance together, so why does it feel weird to keep her there?

I have other friends who’ve died and their Facebook accounts have been turned into memorial pages, but she didn’t have that. Aside from her email address, this is my only online evidence that she existed.

I realize there’s no right answer, but I’m curious what you all would do.


November 10, 2010

Last week I had the honor of meeting another online writing friend, Erica. We’ve been friends for a couple years and even though I’ve been in Michigan for over eight months, this was the first time we’ve gotten together.

She drove an hour and a half (!!) to join me at a local NaNo write-in. I’ve met quite a few online friends over the past year so my biggest concern was not recognizing her (Starbucks was filled with brunettes when I arrived) but I was her first. Once I realized that, I thought back to meeting MY first online friend and how nervous I was, but Erica was fine. We split a blueberry dessert minutes after meeting and debated skipping the write-in altogether. (Which probably would have been more productive.)

Neither of us had attended a write-in before and weren’t really sure what to expect. I haven’t sat in a roomful of people and been expected to write since high school, and even then I still talked to my neighbor. (Shocking, no?) We arrived about half an hour late (that dessert was goooood), sat down, and started taking pictures.

It’s a very important part of the writing process. Don’t question it.

There were maybe ten people there and while everyone had their laptops out (except for one girl writing by hand, oy) no one seemed to be actually writing. Conversations popped up at each table, then we all introduced ourselves. No one really knew what to say when I said I’m querying my novel from 2008. Maybe they aren’t writing with publication in mind, I don’t know.

Anyway, we shifted to the sofas since Erica’s computer was dying, and I was able to bang out 500 words — but that’s only because we did a word wars thing through the NaNo website. After the word wars one girl proceeded to tell us the plot for her SEVEN book series, then which jeans make her butt look good. Srsly.

Erica stopped at my house afterwards to meet Owen, who would NOT leave her alone. After twenty minutes of him gnawing on her fingers and trying to make her face his own, she headed out for the hour and a half drive home. Then I went back to writing.

We’re meeting again this Saturday, but I think we’ve agreed to skip the other writers and just do our own thing. And maybe go to dinner — but only after we meet our daily word goal.

Yet Another Example of Truth Being Stranger Than Fiction
November 8, 2010

Today is my divorce hearing. The past couple months, while stressful, have been relatively smooth (mom, it’s all a matter of perspective) and this date has arrived with little fanfare.

My friends and family have been very supportive since we first decided to split up, but I found an ally in one person I didn’t anticipate. I have an aunt who’s also going through a divorce, and over the summer we discovered that we could talk to each other in a way we couldn’t with anyone else. (At least that was the case for me.) Yes, I have friends who’ve been divorced and they’ve offered wonderful advice, but there’s something about talking to someone who’s going through it at the same time that’s especially helpful. Plus, most people — no matter how supportive — get tired of divorce talk after a period of time.

This morning I’m meeting my aunt for breakfast before I head to the courthouse, but she’s not joining me for moral support. As fate, luck, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it would have it, her court date is also today. At the same time. In the same courtroom. With the same judge.

And to top it all off, we’re both going back to our maiden names — Hooyenga. You can bet the judge doesn’t see THAT every day.

Zommmmmbies! (part 2)
November 5, 2010

Picking up where I left off on Wednesday…

Through a combination of staying out too late and being an Eastern Time zoner, I got one hour of sleep before meeting my friend Mary (who I know from Zihua) for breakfast at Pike Place Market. The one where they throw the fish. And get this — they threw TWO fish for me to take a picture but they threw them OVER MY HEAD! (the fish is the blurry thing right above the guy’s hands.)

I also ordered a dozen cookies. Through jail.

I got back to the hotel in time for Stacey’s 11am panel, which had been changed to 10am. From that point on it was referred to as the nanel (the non-panel) and we’ve affectionately renamed the entire weekend the Nanel Weekend. At least we got to see a group perform Thriller.

She got reeeeeally into it.

Their Sunday panel was also moved so I had the opportunity to lounge on a fancy couch at the front of the room and pretend I was important enough to be a panelist. Although one of the very helpful organizers (who looked JUST like John Malkovich) treated me as if I was part of their group, so I almost felt like an honorary member of their super cool club.

The rest of Sunday was a bit of a blur (one hour of sleep people) but I do recall the hottest tea I’ve ever been served and the best fish tacos I’ve had in a long time.

The whole reason we came!

My trip ended on a high note when Jesse and I ended up on the same flight to Chicago. We talked shop (and roofs) for the ENTIRE flight and I’m very excited to count her — and everyone else — as my new friends.

I did learn a few things worth noting:
– the publishing industry is hard even after you’re published
– “they” aren’t always right (in regards to writing/querying rules)
– George Romero is very tall
– Chuck Palahniuk (or Palucknucknuck as we kept calling him) is rather frisky
– it doesn’t rain EVERY day in Seattle
– people are rude no matter how polite you are
– little tiny cupcakes in the hotel lobby make everything okay
– fish don’t drip when flying through the air

And finally…
– zombies can’t talk because they don’t breathe

Zommmmmbies! (part 1)
November 3, 2010

I try to live my life by the mantra that if I go into a situation without any expectations — good OR bad — then more times than not I’ll end up having a good time. (Not that I didn’t expect anything but FUN with Jen and Stacey…)

This past weekend was no exception. After my four and a half hour flight to Seattle — during which I plotted my nano novel (yay!) — I galloped (yes galloped) into the arms of Jen!

(I swear I didn’t copy her post — I didn’t realize we used the same descriptions until after I wrote this. But check hers out for pictures.)

I hiked through the airport with her adorable family, then drove through a rainy Seattle (who knew?) to the Barnes & Noble where Stacey was signing books. Except she wasn’t there.

Turns out B&N had a booth at the actual convention. After much running in the rain and lamenting the jokers that kept moving the “you are here” dots on the directional maps, we found her!

That’s also when I met Scott, the author I interviewed last Friday. I attended their panel with writers Jesse and Scott, where I learned that zombies are people, too, then our entire entourage headed to dinner at a Chinese restaurant with the oddest menu I’ve ever seen. (Precious Nuts anyone?)

I was a little star-struck by all these published authors. And not just published — multi-published. We didn’t talk shop ALL night since half our group were non-writers, but it was fascinating to hear their stories. (I bought a book from each of them so my stash of autographed books doubled!)

We continued the evening at a couple places near the hotel where I learned that one person has been to Zihua several times (and lives a block from where I lived in Chicago), Stacey and Jen are super hugable and fun to take pictures with, and it is, in fact, today.

Tune in Friday for the rest of the story and more pictures!

Hungry for Zombies
October 4, 2010

I was running errands Saturday (MAN did I score some good deals) when I decided to pop into Barnes & Noble to say hello to my friends’ books. Specifically, Hungry For Your Love, a zombie anthology that includes a short story by my friend Stacey.

Living in west Michigan, I don’t always have the best luck finding what I’m looking for, but Hungry for Your Love was on one of the feature tables up front. I actually jumped up and down, then excitedly told the couple next to me that “THAT’S MY FRIEND’S BOOK!” Then I (politely) shoved them out of the way so I could take a picture. The “in the wild” pictures are very important.

After snatching a copy for myself, I headed to the general fiction section and eventually found my way to the young adult section. My next novel is (will be) YA, so it makes sense to immerse myself in that world, no? That’s what I thought. I grabbed three books that I’ve heard a lot of people say good things about, then marched to the checkout counter. It was only as the cashier rang me up that I made an odd discovery. Can you see it?

The best part about this excursion was knowing that in less than a month Stacey will sign my book! We’re going to Seattle (I’m not sure if I can say why yet…) and ANOTHER friend — JLC — is driving up to meet us for an afternoon. I cannot wait!

An Overdue Announcement
September 15, 2010

I have some news that I don’t think will surprise very many of you. In fact, unless there’s a legion of readers out there who never comment and therefore have never made me aware of their existence, I think the majority of you already know.

Last spring Ibis and I decided to separate, and I’ve since filed for divorce. I really hate getting into things this personal on my blog, but I’m planning to change my name back to Hooyenga and I thought that might raise a few questions if I didn’t say something. I’d rather not get into the particulars, but the split was amicable and we remain friendly.

I can’t begin to explain how wonderful my friends and family have been over the past several months. I’ve had a behind-the-scenes pep team/venting circle/wishing-they-could-buy-me-a-drink-but-can’t-because-they-live-in-the-intertoobs group that’s kept me smiling and looking towards the light at the end of all this.

I have another six weeks, give or take, until this is officially behind me, and I couldn’t do it without all of you.

September 11, 2010

US Flag

Remembering everything about that day nine years ago, but especially remembering my friend Craig who died that day.

Technological Octogenarian
August 16, 2010

I spent the weekend with my grandmother — the same one I stayed with for a month last winter — and aside from lunching at the Ford House and taking her to get her ears pierced, I taught her how to use a computer! She’s used webtv for years and kept having problems, so after seeing both me and my aunt playing (ahem, writing) on our netbooks, she decided that’d be a good idea for her, too.

My mom bought an Acer about a month ago, my dad loaded it up with Skype and assigned her a gmail account, and I was voted as the family most likely to successfully teach her how to use the darn thing. And teach I did. Me, a Mac baby.

For someone who’s never used a mouse or touchpad, she’s doing very well, and I only had one phone call after I got home Sunday night asking how to do something. I figure that’s pretty good for Day One.

Now let’s see if she remembers how to leave comment here. :)

Dustin Time, by June Kramin
August 4, 2010

Squee! My friend Bug has a book published!

Here’s the blurb on the back:

A successful veterinarian, Kaitlyn thought she was content with her life. That is, until she turns thirty and realizes that her current ‘boy toy’ is simply not the father material she was looking for. As her biological clock ticks loudly in her ear, both her ‘toy’ and fate strongly disagree.

But something happens and over the next several days, she starts traveling between her birthdays of an altered present and those of her past, leaving her more confused than ever. With the help of a kindly old custodian named Frank, Kaitlyn comes to terms with her feelings for Dustin. And can Dustin Time quiet the ticking she’s trying so desperately to ignore?

Dustin Time is still on my TBR list, so I can’t give you a review YET, but oh… I will. Right now it’s only available as an e-book but there will be a print edition available in a couple months.

You can learn more about “June”* on her site and you can buy her book here.

*I’m not allowed to call her June, but since this is about her book, I figured she’d cut me some slack. After all, I didn’t share the other picture.

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