shelter pet photography!!

My mom has been a photographer for many years, and she recently started volunteering at the Humane Shelter for Noble County in Indiana. She has been doing shelter photography – taking pictures of the animals to help with their chances at adoption! This is something I have planned for my character Hilton to do in the future! 🙂 Check out my mom’s first blog entry about it here, with several pictures of adoptable – and adorable – cats!!! =D

Adoptable Pets at the Noble County Humane Shelter.

this i believe…

One of my English teacher friends gave her students an assignment to write 100 things they believe. She and I and a few other friends did it too, and today we got together to share them over beer, wine, and pizza. It was one of those afternoons I’ll never forget and one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Below is my list. Those marked with *** rather than a number are the brilliant insights I stole from my friends Krista, Debi, Callie, Jack, and Danielle. 🙂

This I believe…

1) Everything happens for a reason!
2) But I believe you have to go out and pursue your dreams, you can’t just sit around waiting for great things to come to you
3) I believe life is incomplete without pets

kitty variety pack
4) I believe in TRAVEL!!! It is powerful beyond description and will change anyone’s life
5) I believe in living somewhere outside the state or country where you were born for at least 6 months at some point in life
6) “I believe in song lines, obvious and not. I’ve ridden them like camels to some most peculiar spots. They run across the oceans, through mountains and saloons, and tonight out to the desert where I sit atop this dune. I was destined for this vantage point, though so far form the sea…” ~Jimmy Buffett, “Far Side of the World”…I believe in lyrics and their ability to take us places within our minds we wouldn’t have found otherwise
7) I believe “the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep, cuz every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser” ~Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”
8) I believe “if we weren’t all crazy, we would all go insane” ~Jimmy Buffett, “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude”
9) I believe in having “a lot of pretty, pretty boys that [I call] friends” ~Eagles, “Hotel California”…By this I mean I believe best guy friends are awesome and I believe in staying close with mine even when in a romantic relationship
10) I believe in making myself happy over trying to please others, especially when it comes to important things like my wedding, where I live, how I’ll raise my kids, etc. As Kelly Clarkson says, “This is my life, and I won’t be told what’s supposed to be right”
11) I believe in spontaneity
12) I believe intuition has our best interests at heart, and we should listen to it
13) I believe there is always a solution, always another way to look at a problem or obstacle. If you haven’t found the answer yet, keep looking. Stretch your mind
14) I believe when nothing is sure, anything is possible
***I believe in writing in bars
15) I believe in not allowing money, or lack of it, to limit me
16) I believe what Oscar Wilde said, that “anyone who lives within their means suffers from a serious lack of imagination”
17) I believe tired is a choice (most of the time)
18) I believe a situation does not determine our happiness or unhappiness. Our reaction to that situation does
19) I believe in valuing every situation and relationship as its own entity rather than comparing it to the last time or the best time
20) I believe in Left Bank Paris in the 1920s…the cafés filled with writers, artists, and dancers who were very poor and lived very well and happily
21) I believe the best relationships are those where two individuals align and compromise without losing parts of themselves, rather than those where two people merge into one and their identities become hard to separate. 2 independent personalities > 1 codependent personality!
22) I believe in being totally inappropriate and outrageous with my friends
23) I believe anybody can benefit from feeling uncomfortable, and I occasionally like to help people feel that way. Why be functional when you can be awkward?
24) I believe in God but not in organized religion. Steven Hyde from That 70s Show says it best, “While I respect the Judeo-Christian ethic, as well as the Eastern philosophies, and of course the teachings of Muhammad, I find that organized religion has corrupted those beliefs to justify countless atrocities throughout history”

25) I believe the Bible is not the work of God, but the work of humans who wanted to scare and influence others. It is a great work of literature worth studying but not basing every behavior or decision around
26) I believe people who judge others on the basis of religion are hypocrites, because a common concept in most religions is to love and not judge
27) I believe in the power of prayer, and I pray a lot
***I believe in recycling and other green efforts
28) I believe in being a person others live vicariously through
29) As evidenced by ending my last sentence (and several others) with a preposition, I believe in breaking the rules of grammar…not because I don’t know them, but because I do
30) I believe in knowing rules and knowing how to break them in general
31) I believe in the idea that “reality” is different for every person. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, “There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true”
32) I believe if we knew some of the things our government knows, “reality” would look drastically different. But I don’t believe we need to know these things. To quote another song line, “To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind. There’s no comfort in the truth” (~Wham!, “Careless Whisper”)
33) I believe in higher education
34) I believe in the concept of “the young so educated they never grow old”…that lifelong learning is the only way to move with the times (quote from “Seven” by Prince)
35) I believe the concept of war is barbaric because I see it as using mass murder to declare dominance, and I find it shocking it’s as easily accepted in modern society as it was thousands of years ago
36) I believe in living in the reality of our society. While I don’t believe in war and violence, I believe it’s necessary for our country to have an active military, and I believe in the right of individuals to own guns for personal protection. However, I think there should be a training and certification process anyone should have to go through to own a gun
37) I believe in the work of intelligence groups like the CIA and NSA and I find them fascinating
38) I believe I would make an excellent CIA agent or asset
39) I believe open-mindedness is one of the most important qualities any person can possess
40) I believe in Sunday Funday

at the coral room in denver

sunday funday at the coral room in denver

41) I believe day drinking is more fun than going out at night
***I believe everyone should get a summer break (or at least 8 weeks of vacation a year)
42) I believe animals deserve love, appreciation, and respectful treatment from humans
43) I believe in animal organizations and charities, especially those helping make shelters no-kill places
44) I believe in Trap, Neuter, Return programs to improve life quality for both community cats (aka stray or feral cats) and people who live in those communities
45) I believe in helping animals more than I believe in helping people. Animals are innocent, people are not
46) I believe humans and animals have souls that continue living after we die
47) I believe in the DREAM Act and other similar laws that allow undocumented students who have attended high school in a state for 3 years prior to graduation to attend college for in-state tuition
***I believe in walking and public transportation
48) I believe in gay marriage and hope one day the idea that it wasn’t always allowed will seem as backwards and uncivilized as slavery and not allowing women to vote seem now
49) I believe we are limitless. We all have things we say and think we would never do, but were the situation altered, we would do them
50) I believe in making a decision and then making it the right one. Emotion spent on options not chosen, other than a brief time for nostalgia or reflection, keeps us from moving forward
51) I believe an option not chosen at one time in life may be right at another time in life – thus the importance of reflection
52) I believe in going after what you want, because it’s better to say “oh well” than “what if”
53) I believe in asking for forgiveness rather than permission
54) I believe in no regrets, unless you hurt someone in an unnecessarily cruel way. Then, do anything you can to make up for it
55) I believe postcards are one of the greatest forms of storytelling in history, from the pictures to the written messages to modern creations like Post Secret

postcard i bought in old orchard beach, maine

postcard i bought in old orchard beach, maine

56) I believe honesty is NOT always the best policy
57) I believe I could be happy living anywhere, if the right people were with me
58) I believe I could be almost happy living in certain places, even if the right people weren’t with me
59) I believe in soulmates
60) I believe your soulmate can be anyone in your life; it doesn’t need to be your romantic partner
61) I believe different relationships in our lives fulfill us in different ways, and we shouldn’t look for everything we want and need to come from our romantic partners
62) I believe my character Lorylyn’s dissertation, which presents a modern version of Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love. Sternberg’s theory says physical attraction + friendship + commitment add up to “true love.” Lorylyn and I say those three things can add up to “friends with benefits,” if the commitment is more to the friendship than to being romantically together. We believe to have “true love,” a fourth piece is needed, which is the overwhelming feeling of knowing you’re in love with the other person
63) I believe in ghosts, but I’ve never seen one
64) I believe in leadership training and student council
65) I believe in dancing!
66) I believe anything in life can be related to an episode of Friends
67) I believe if you’re happy, you won’t look for every situation to give you something, and you’ll feel much more patient and generous
68) I believe in Britney
69) I believe having an amazing experience, the loss of which you know will later make you sad, is better than not having that experience
70) I believe it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all
***I believe a dozen roses is a waste of money
71) I believe in pushing boundaries
72) A character in a book I once read told two of his friends, “You are both extreme people.” He meant they each had such a drive to be independent and were so non-traditional in that way that not everyone would be able to deeply relate to them. I believe I am an extreme person
73) I believe I can never be limited by the place where I physically live, because I live in an international community built from my friends and travels, and anyone or anywhere is just a plane ride away

visiting kim in madrid (i'm also wearing the gray hoodie mentioned in #77)

visiting kim in madrid (i’m also wearing the gray hoodie mentioned in #77)

74) I believe in huge slices of New York style pizza
75) I believe in most other pizza too
76) I believe “pizza just gets me”
77) I believe the gray zip-up hoodie I’ve had since freshman year of high school is acceptable to wear with anything and the best piece of clothing I will ever own
78) I believe black cats and the number 13 are lucky
79) I believe in raising my kids in a diverse environment
80) I believe there is always a reason to love my life
81) I believe living a story is way better than listening to somebody else tell one
82) But my characters and books tell really damn good stories, and I believe they will add something to your life
83) I believe all forms of entertainment we can read, watch, look at, or create…books, music, movies, TV, video games, musicals, ballet, art, etc….are a way to learn as well as to live more than one life in more than one place
84) I believe there will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than ideal conditions…aka, reasons to make excuses. There is no such thing as the perfect time. The time is now
85) I believe in going to bed at the time most people are getting up
86) I believe Piano Man Bruce from the Neon Cactus at Purdue is the BEST piano bar player. I’ve been to many piano bars and never found anyone who comes close to comparing

oldie but a goodie w/ @PianoManBruce

oldie but a goodie w/ @PianoManBruce

87) I believe part of me is a New Yorker, even though I’ve never lived there
88) I believe in true love, and my definition of true love continues to evolve with my life experiences and those of my characters
89) I believe it’s possible to be truly in love with more than one person at the same time
***I believe in falling in love with a character in a novel, TV show, or movie
90) I believe what research says about humans using only a small percentage of our true brain power, and I am always trying to tap into a little bit more
91) I believe in Revenge the way Emily Thorne and Nolan Ross do it
92) I believe travel can give us the psychological space to heal and move on from any pain
93) I believe when you are dreaming about someone you know, they are dreaming or thinking about you too. I came across this theory while writing a research paper on dreams in tenth grade, and I have had weird experiences that validate it
94) I believe in spending as much time outside as possible
95) I believe in rooftop patios, parks, beaches, trails, and other areas that encourage people to spend time outside
96) I believe in living someplace where the sun doesn’t set till 10 pm in the summer
97) I believe humidity is more comfortable than dry heat
98) I believe the islands of southwest Florida make up one of the most magical and unique places on earth

fort myers beach, estero island, florida

fort myers beach, estero island, florida

***I believe the truth is in the eyes
99) I believe in signs, including the really big sign I got while writing about what I believe
100) I believe in cliffhangers 😉

the crazy thing about postcards

It took me a long time to decide what to call my blog. Two and a half years, really, because two and a half years ago is when I realized I should be blogging. But a few weeks ago, when I started thinking seriously about it, one of the first titles that came to mind was Living in a Postcard. It’s the name of one of my books, and the “living in a postcard” theory, which my characters Hilton and Jill created and use to define their lives, is one I very much believe in too. It’s all about finding those moments you would die for and actually living them. But in the end, the name for my blog came from “The Tigger Song.”

Yeah, “The Tigger Song.” From Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too. If you Google it, it’s everywhere. I remember it from a Tigger jacket I had when I was little. It was printed on the inside of the jacket, and I used to sing it to our cat Tigger, who had markings like a tiger. When I was throwing around titles for my blog and mentioned The Thing About Postcards, it suddenly reminded me of “The Tigger Song,” which I told my mom, and she said, “Yeah, it does!” And when I realized I could even rewrite the song to be about postcards, I knew that was my title. The song would go something like:

“The Postcard Song”

The crazy thing about postcards, is postcards aren’t just blurbs

Their fronts are made out of pictures, their backs are made out of words

They always tell a story, even if it’s just one line

But the craziest thing about postcards, is they capture a moment in time

I think postcards are fascinating, one of the best and most intriguing forms of art and communication in the world. In my book Living in a Postcard, my character Hilton views a postcard as a snapshot of her life at any given moment. And this is what postcards are. Every one of them tells a story of a life at a given moment in time. There’s the most obvious way – when the story is written in a paragraph or two describing what someone is doing on vacation in the place from where the postcard was sent. But even that is just one of many stories told by that particular postcard.

That postcard also tells a story about the relationship between the person who wrote it and the person at the address printed on it, even though often that story is only known between the two of them. It tells a story about the person or people who took the photograph(s) on the front, or put together the design. It tells a story of the place or thing(s) represented on the front at the time the postcard was created.

Postcards tell other stories too. What about the ones mailed with no writing, only an address, letting the picture on the front speak for itself, along with whatever the recipient reads into the blank space on the other side? What about postcards kept by the person who bought them, as part of a collection or a scrapbook? Those tell a story too, of that person’s travels, where he or she was and what struck him or her about that place that’s reflected in the postcard and immortalized in a personal collection or album. I buy postcards from lots of places I travel, and I have them hanging on a wall in my apartment. I see them every day and they take me back to those places I’ve been and the people who were there with me. They also give me this constant sense of the bigger world, what else is out there besides my small piece of it.

Postcards can tell funny stories, like the one I used to think was so hilarious to send to all my friends when I was in Florida for spring break – the one that was completely black on the front and said “Florida at Night.” Or the ecard postcards online with the hilarious sayings like, “Romeo and Juliet is not a love story. It’s a 3-day relationship between a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old that caused 6 deaths. Sincerely, everyone who actually read it.” Postcards can tell inspiring stories with a beautiful picture or a quote that somehow adds something to your life. They can even tell secrets, like on Post Secret. They tell stories of one moment in time – the people, the place, the feelings.

I heard this quote once I really liked, in a documentary about the Titanic, that talked about “a series of inconsequential events” leading to the sinking of the ship. The idea was that each of these events alone would not have caused the ship to hit the iceberg, but when aligned together, they did. I thought, isn’t everything really caused by a series of inconsequential events? We have seemingly small, random things happen in our lives every day, and we never know which ones will still be affecting us years later. I think of each of these individually inconsequential events as postcards, and when strung together and hung in a row next to each other, they tell part of the story of our lives.

For example, in my life a few of these postcards might be “finding a Tigger jacket in the Disney Store at the mall,” “my dog Abby chasing a cat up a tree,” and “living in Indy for a year.” These events happened over a span of 19 years and would seem to have no relation to each other, and really they don’t, but aligned together, they led to the name of my blog.

Another example for me is this one day I spent in New York City. The events that would’ve by themselves been inconsequential were that it rained in the morning, I tried to go to a movie in the early afternoon but found the showtime listed online didn’t really exist, and LaGuardia Airport was closed for an hour in the late afternoon. Aligned together in that one day, these events led to a discovery that has a major connection to a trilogy I’m writing and a timeless night in New York that I’ll use in some romanticized way in a future book.

It’s such a basic idea, about all these moments that make up our lives, that I never thought about it till I heard that quote in the Titanic documentary. But it’s exactly what my blog will be – a series of entries, each of which tells a small part of the story of my life or my characters’ lives, just like a postcard does.

The crazy thing about postcards is they connect people and places across time. They can be impersonal or intimate; they can tell a complete story or a fraction of one. Everyone can see what they say, yet they can be anonymous. They’re so little, yet they tell the story of the world.

The crazy thing about postcards is they help us piece together the moments of our lives. And those moments, some seemingly inconsequential, some standouts, are the stuff of my books, and now my blog.

So thanks, Abby, for chasing the cat who became Tigger up a tree that one afternoon. 🙂

Tigger and me!

Tigger and me!