Rock and Rolled and Great Friendships

January 30th

A group of girlfriends I swam with in high school got together a few weeks ago. We had dinner and caught up — many of us not having seen each other for 19-plus years. It was fun to hear how everyone was. Most have children and every single one of us still loves to exercise in some way.

I actually ran. In public.

 

Three of us decided to run the Rock and Roll 10k together that Sunday morning. This photo makes me smile. Natalie and I spent 80% of our childhoods together in the pool, or smelling like chlorine out of the pool. We were side by side through junior high and high school. And when she went to California to swim in college, and I headed to Flagstaff to take swimming as a PE elective (never the great athlete), we lost track of each other. It was so nice to see her and reconnect.

I actually ran. In public.

The race concludes after running over the Mill Avenue bridge in Tempe. Years ago, when I’d run over that bridge with Adam and Juliann in the mornings before work, we’d stop and pick up a rock and toss it in Tempe Town Lake at the bridge mid-point, with our good wishes for the day. It was a positive affirmation they made fun of me for, but rumor has it they continued doing it after I moved to Denver.

Now that both Adam and Juliann live in Denver (with their partners), I stopped to pick up a stone and take a quick photo before I crossed the bridge. Traditions, man! Also, I miss those two a lot.

I actually ran. In public.

After the race, our group found Elvis. Yes, this guy ran in that outfit. He was more than happy to pose with the long line of women who wanted photos with him afterward.

Afton, who I also hadn’t seen since high school, now lives in Portland. I didn’t realize how much fun she was until this weekend. We had so much to talk about and along with Natalie, we are planning a girls’ trip this year now that we’ve reconnected.

I am thankful that I grew up swimming for a bunch of reasons, crows feet and skin damage not included. Swimming taught me discipline and time management. You couldn’t be in the water for hours every day and be a good student, both of which were expected, if you didn’t keep on top of your priorities. And swimming gave me friendships that will last a lifetime. Most of my closest adult friends came through time spent in the pool, or church youth group. (And we spent a lot of time in church youth group in someone’s pool, now that I think of it.)

Ah, the childhoods of Arizona children.

To reconnecting with old friends, and maintaining friendships far and wide!

-KDW

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Journal
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Ebb and Flow

January 25th

I recently applied for a local writing contest and had to submit a few shorter pieces. Reviewing my portfolio, I’ve had my head down working on novels for the last 12-plus years. There has been occasional blogging when I was distracted with crafts or inspired by travel, but I’ve done very little other writing.

I spent several hours yesterday going over this space to find a couple essays I could include in my submission for the contest. In doing so, I am reminded why I blog. This site has served as my journal for the last 10 years. Moves across the country, countless recipes, adopting Nelson, marathons, a wedding and two books later — my life has taken turns I couldn’t have imagined.

Eyeing the craft supplies in the guest room, I wonder if I will ever return with a fervor to share the latest pattern or project. I now know I cannot be creatively focused on more than one project at a time. Finishing this novel is my priority; my sewing machine has grown dusty.

The one exception to this seems to be knitting. When I am winding down at night and my husband is watching sports or a food program, I find peace in knitting. (Not in Guy Fieri’s shoveling.)

I’m not giving up my crafting supplies yet, or this blog. Yet, I am giving myself the space to change. Expect more updates on writing process, knitting patterns and married life in the burbs.

-kdw

 

Posted in
Journal, Writing
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A Few Book Signing Photos

December 29th

Many thanks to my friend Amanda for always being willing to come to events with her camera. I love these shots and am using them on my new author page, too.

And, thank you to everyone who came to the signing, who has bought a copy of Basket Baby, and those who have sent a note of encouragement about the story. You never know how these things are going to go, and it is easy to let the most insecure thoughts win. The last month has added fuel to the fire that I may just be able to do this for a living one day.

If you have read Basket Baby and wouldn’t mind leaving an Amazon review, I’d really appreciate it. This is helpful in a variety of ways, namely that with enough reviews the Amazon robots pay attention to your book and will help promote sales. Thank you!

Now, to those great photos:

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

(How adorable is my husband?)

Basket Baby signing

Basket Baby signing

xo,

Kelli

Posted in
Writing
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A bit of time to relax

December 15th

Gigi

I am taking a few days off over the next three weeks. A couple days here. A couple days there. I plan on accomplishing the following:

 

  1. Driving to Winslow on a solo road trip to take photos and notes for the remaining chapters of Counting Coup. I need to do a bit of research too, including finding copies of Arizona Highways from the 1950s.
  2. Watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. I am new to this series. When it was on television, I remember thinking the dialog was too quick and seemed unnatural. Maybe I speak faster today, but I’m finding it very enjoyable. I do watch it (like all other TV) with the closed captioning on so I can be sure to pick up everything that is said. I’m in season 3, and at this point, I feel like I’m a little Paris, a little Emily, and a little Lane. I’d like to be more like Lorelai, or perhaps just have her ability to eat like a quarterback who magically stays a size 2.
  3. Oh, yes. And then there is my first Christmas as a married stepmama. Ha. I’m looking forward to this too. We’ll have lots of family around for pizza and board games and hands of Uno. With any luck, I’ll get my photo of us all in our Christmas jammies by the tree. Maybe I’ll even get a photo of Nelson with his antlers.

I hope you also get a chance to lounge around the house in comfy clothes, enjoy good company and great food and sleep without setting an alarm.

Wishing you the very best and brightest in 2017!

xo,

K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Celebrate!
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Writing in a Cul-de-sac

December 12th

Basket Baby, now available at online booksellers and Changing Hands

Photo by Amanda Nemec

Hi, all! The book signing this weekend went marvelously. It was, much like the wedding, full of unnecessary nervousness and over far too quickly. My face was hot for the reading, I was so flustered—which was silly because the room was full of people I know and love. This burgeoning writing career is a dream come true, and there is little that feels better than to know your tribe will come out and support your wild endeavors.

For those interested, there are signed copies still available at Changing Hands in Tempe, and there are copies also available online. (If you’ve read Basket Baby and wouldn’t mind providing a review, I’d appreciate it.) I’m offering to attend book clubs in person locally, and via Skype elsewhere. If you have a group interested, let’s email.

 

Now, on to the next book. I’m writing Counting Coup and am well into the final chapters. This is both exciting and unnerving because there are major plot holes and character issues I have to resolve with the next pass. This is when in the writing process, it is much easier to stuff the project in the back of a drawer (or a folder hidden within another folder on your hard drive.) It is like building a house and recognizing you have to add another room, and change where the fireplace is located. And maybe you need another bathroom? But first, you have to finish the drywall and the tiling. You’ll go back and knock down that part of the house later.

It is tempting to pull out the wrecking ball now, is what I’m trying to say. (That and I’m likely watching too much HGTV.) Editing now would be a very bad idea. When I have the end in sight, I have learned in the last ten-plus years of writing that it is critical to push on. The first draft is always bad. Always. Whether you are Tolstoy or Donley, you’re going to have to make some major revisions. But by not first writing the ending, you’re still in first draft limbo. And this gray area, for me, is a swamp of self-doubt and loathing. It is a murky land full of mean girl voices whispering how I’m never going to be a great writer and I don’t deserve to tell this story.

Those mean girls are bitches and deserve to stay in their swamp. This time, I’m not falling off the thin bridge I’ve built over their noise. I know at next pass, and the next, and quite likely the next, and then the final, that bridge will become more solid. And the negativity will go dormant until arriving here when telling the next story. I am not going to get caught walking in circles, writing and editing until I’m so frustrated I put it down, or worse—quit.

So, buckle up. We’re headed toward that tiny light on the horizon.

~K

 

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Writing
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Book signing tomorrow!

December 8th

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Hey local friends! Just a gentle reminder tomorrow I will be talking about Basket Baby and signing copies at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. 7 pm! I’ll be wearing new boots, and old turquoise and a nervous but happy smile. Let’s awkward hug and talk about dreams realized.

xo,

K

 

 

 

Posted in
Arizona, Celebrate!
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Traveling to Sonoita and Patagonia, Arizona

November 21st

Southeastern Arizona has a burgeoning wine culture that is driving tourists to visit. We were among them last month when we visited the region for five days. With wineries and hikes in mind, we rented a home on AirBNB and headed the 2 hours and 45 minutes south from Phoenix. The house was beyond what we needed, and a deal at $100 a night:

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

What we should have done was stop in Tucson for a late lunch, or big dinner. While the vistas in this region do not disappoint, the lack of dining does. This is my only complaint. There is a decent steakhouse in Sonoita, and a pizzeria in Patagonia. Both are worth a visit. Otherwise, next time we’ll stock up on groceries and plan more meals at home.

I sat on this porch in the mornings, reading and sipping coffee, wrapped in a blanket. The home we stayed in was surrounded by others that had farm animals. So, there were chickens in one direction and a braying donkey down the road. It was so quiet, one morning I heard a large raven flying overhead and looked up to realize I was actually hearing the wind go through the bird’s wings. That kind of quiet.

 

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

We did make it to a couple of the wineries. My favorite was the Dos Cabeza’s rose, although I really enjoyed the Flying Leap rose too. Jason’s favorite was the Flying Leap sangiovese.

Other worthwhile adventures when visiting this region:

Kartchner Caverns — no photography is allowed, but the cave tour is a must. It is such a strange, magical place.

Bisbee: this artsy mining town is full of color and character. Jason had never been, so it was fun to play tour guide and wander together. Bisbee is great for thrift stores, art galleries, the mine tour and wandering. It is home to the 1000 steps climb each October and you’ll find lots of narrow stairways in town.

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

If you make it to Bisbee, visit Jimmy’s. It is a hot dog shop (if that wasn’t obvious) and is excellent. A family-owned restaurant with a ton of character and great food.

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

We also visited Tombstone, Sierra Vista, and Nogales. My favorite adventure was to the Empire Ranch. 

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona HoneymoonSouthern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

It is a great place for a long walk and wander. This former ranch has been preserved and the surrounding areas are being used by biologists for animal and plant conservation. Loved it!

~K

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Arizona
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Hello? It’s me. I was wondering…

November 15th

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Oh, hello dear blog. I’ve neglected you long enough. There have been a bevy of excuses: the wedding, the exorbitant amount of time I am now spending commuting, family life, publishing.

Basket Baby is being published, and I’ll have a signing at Changing Hands in Tempe. (7 pm, December 9th. Come one, come all. Bring your holiday shopping list — this bookstore doesn’t disappoint.)

There are other reasons too, namely that the older I get, the less I need to share. Also, there are roughly a dozen other ways I now keep up with friends and family that weren’t around — or I wasn’t using — at the inception of blogging. Most of the friends I’ve made through blogging have called it off, instead posting to Instagram or Facebook.

There is still a place in my life for keeping up this journal, albeit less about the daily happenings in our household and more about what’s going on professionally.

This week, I’m re-reading Basket Baby and coming up with a passionate passage for the book signing. I’m also writing the first draft of the next novel, Counting Coup. I’m on chapter 24 and I haven’t written a word in more than a month. This is an oddly terrifying place to be as a novelist. I put the project down when wedding and honeymoon plans and activities took over, whispering to Creativity I’d be back.

Now, Creativity (and Inspiration) both feel ignored — and rightly so. We’re courting. I’m hoping to have the project back on track this week, depending on how stubborn they are. My goal is to have the first draft done by the time of the book signing. I’ve got a solid idea for the next novel (Draper Drive is the working title) and I am eager to get started.

One of my greatest motivators at the moment is sitting in traffic behind vehicles with “Make America Great Again!” bumper stickers. An hour to work, and hour home, I sit in a cloud of pollution, flipping through radio programs and dreaming of a home office where instead, I write. Dogs rest at my feet. I switch up a cup of coffee for an afternoon glass of rose and listen to classical music while the words pour out onto the page. My nails are manicured. The garden is weeded. Dinner is cooking downstairs. The housekeeper is managing laundry and taking out the recycling.

Yes. The pollution might be getting to me.

I have a feeling the next four years are going to see a brilliant surge of art in America. For no other reason, this may make America a bit better.

~K

Posted in
Good to Great
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Happily Ever After

November 4th

Happily ever after

Oh, dear blog. You have not been forgotten, although you have certainly been neglected lately. I’d apologize, but I have good reason. I was planning a wedding and a honeymoon and over-thinking everything.

We had a handful of our favorite people in one place and I have never had a better day. There were so many loved ones and we had a chance to chat and dance and toast and inhale green chile and homemade tortillas and gingersnaps with all of them. It was an overplanned, anxiously executed dream come true.

There were lots of great handmade details that were important to our big day. I made 100 jars of marmalade as the favors, painted the cake toppers and stitched the ring pillow. The invitations were handmade and printed on vintage handkerchiefs. My mom sewed a bow tie for Nelson and made our chuppah — which was a wedding ring pattern I love. A girlfriend’s mom made my bouquet and the boutonnieres. We had friends recite poetry and help read a blessing. My grandmother’s begonia was tucked in my bouquet, and I wore her sparkly necklace that I’ve adored since I was a girl. Another girlfriend’s mom made our guest book. Others brought cookies for the dessert table. I baked a small cake.

I’ll post more photos as I can about our special day, but here are few for now:

Happily ever after


Happily ever after

Happily ever after

More to come. In the meantime, I’ll be writing thank you cards, which I hope to finish before Christmas. And moming, which makes my heart so happy and full, my cheeks hurt.

xo,

K

Posted in
Celebrate!, Family
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Viva la Frida!

September 14th

Girlfriends organized and threw a Frida Kahlo-themed wedding shower for me over the weekend. It was, not to be too dramatic, the best day of my life. I had a handful of close friends and family in one room, all enjoying great food and each other’s company.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

Frida bridal shower: September 2016 Mesa, AZ

Frida bridal shower: September 2016 Mesa, AZFrida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

Frida Bridal Shower

A flower bar. A Frida-themed photo backdrop. They made me a flower headband to wear that matched my crazy Frida-dress. And then they packed up all the left-over churros and Frida stuff and sent me home with three vases of flowers.

I feel incredibly loved! (And I’m so happy to let my freak flag fly. There is no hiding how much I love Frida, guacamole, or my friends. Now, Jason’s family is well aware.)

Frida Bridal Shower

Many thanks to Shan, Meg and Katie for making this day so thoughtful and generous. And to my mom for flying in for the fiesta!

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Celebrate!
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