Archive for the ‘This Rambling Life’ Category

WARNING: This is really long. But I don’t care.

Last Thursday night, I pulled into the parking of BookPeople (Austin’s beloved indie bookstore) 20 minutes before an author event and signing. As I parked my car, I yelled “WHERE IS EVERYONE HOW IS THERE SO MUCH PARKING AVAILABLE DON’T YOU KNOW SHANNON HALE IS HERE?!” Then I laughed at myself and thought about how I arrived at this moment.

*cue the flashback harp sound and wavy line effect*

It was 2003. I was 18 years old. Since I was 16, I spent most of my free time roaming around the Barnes & Noble five minutes from my house. On this particular day, I was wandering around the childrens/YA section, and noticed a book on an end cap. The cover was a pretty, simple, crackled illustration and I couldn’t decide if I liked at first. I picked it up, and flipped through the pages. The pages felt nice. It looked interesting. I read the first line and liked it. I was broke, so I wrote down the title and author in my notebook and soon checked it out from the library.

The book was The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and it changed my life. I just didn’t know it yet.

I read The Goose Girl before I read Harry Potter. As I sit here, sifting through my life, sorting out what has influenced and changed me, the Shannon Hale and J.K. Rowling piles seem about equal. They are very different piles of influence, but the effect they have had on me has been profound.

You know those quiet people who are so wonderful you sometimes take them for granted? That is Shannon Hale to me. Yes, I have given The Goose Girl as a gift multiple times. I have bought each of the subsequent books of Bayern in hardcover the week they have been released. I have named her as a favorite current author and I have read her blog since, well, she started one. But it wasn’t until this year that I realized how much The Books of Bayern and Shannon Hale mean to me. Part of me is still processing it, and so I can’t quite talk about it all right now, but re-reading The Goose Girl for its 10th (!!!) anniversary this summer finally opened my eyes to the ginormous and lasting impact Shannon Hale has had on my life.

So imagine me when I see the tweet announcing her upcoming book tour and Austin is one of the stops. Did you imagine me screaming? Because I did. Did you picture me sending capslocked tweets about it? Um, yeah. Now  imagine me picking up my Bayern books from my parents house (because most of my books are still in my old bookcases in my old room) and getting teary eyed. Seriously.

*squiggly lines and end of flashback music*

So there I was, super early to the Tween Panel with plenty of time to sit and freak out. This is where is pays to have unlimited text messaging and a best friend who will listen to your crazy. And this is when I learned, yet again, how awesome book people can be. There wasn’t a lot of people there early and the authors were late to come back from dinner, so it gave me a chance to chat with the other people waiting about how long we had been reading Shannon’s books, and to actually touch and hold an ARC of her new book, Dangerous (out next year!), a book blogger had brought along. It was great.

Eventually the authors arrived and more people showed up and it was a great panel with interesting questions and thoughtful, funny, fascinating, answers and full of good stories. It seemed to go by so fast and before I knew it, we were queueing up to get our books signed. I was trying SO HARD to stay calm and cool and collected. But I knew. I knew I was going to get up to that table and cry. I waited and watched as Shannon spent time with each fan (the younger kids this event was really for, and us older ones who grew up with Isi and Enna), talking to them, signing every book and taking pictures. Suddenly I realized *I* wanted a picture. I fumbled around my purse for my phone, clutching my five books close, and when I pulled it out and opened up the camera app, the mom behind me asked “Oh! You want me to take a picture of y’all when you get up there?” YES! Please! Thank you! And then I chatted with her and her daughter about our favorite Shannon books. Mom and daughter in the pink shirts, you guys were awesome and you helped make my night.

AND THEN IT WAS MY TURN. And I talked to Shannon Hale. And I was only about a 3 on the Christine awkward scale. And the pink shirt mom took my phone and started taking pictures while we were talking and Shannon was signing “because those pictures are always great, you’ll love them.” And I do.


I gushed. I rambled. I cried. I tried so hard not to loose it, but I totally almost did and so I just cried. And she asked me questions and I answered. I told her I gave the Goose Girl out as a gift more than any other book and she said she probably owed me some royalties. I told her something I haven’t told a lot of people and we chatted about that. And it was wonderful. And then it was time for a picture.

Me: “Okay, you know that super cheesy smile you make when you’re 3 years old?”
Her: “Yeah?”
Me: “Can you do that smile?”
Her: “OH, YEAH!”


It’s my new favorite picture.

I got my books signed. I got to talk with Shannon Hale. I got my cheesy smile picture. And I got a hug. I didn’t even have to ask for it. I think she just knew it was what I wanted most of all.

I cried the entire drive home. Because sometimes you don’t realize what an impact a person has made on you until years later. Sometimes you don’t get the chance to tell them–to thank them. Sometimes you will never meet them.

But sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll get a hug.

Thanks, Shannon Hale.
Christine H.


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I put this here so you have something pretty to look at in this post.

Hi there.

Just between you and me, does this year feel off to you? Don’t get me wrong, this year has had some great moments and awesome things have happened—but it’s also been full of things that just didn’t feel quite…right. Even Twitter has felt off. Am I the only one feeling this way? IS THIS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GROW UP? I hope not. Lame.

I have been doing a lot of thinking the past week. A LOT of thinking. Here are the things I have thought.

  1. I like writing.
  2. I miss blogging.
  3. I like reading what others people think and feel and connecting with them through the internets.
  4. I want to write a blog post every week.
  5. I don’t care if the only people who read my blog are Kate and my mom.
  6. I want to write whatever the hell I want to write!
  7. Simple, sincere writing is what I most love to read, so I’m gonna write that.
  8. I’m a nerd. There will probably be a post about Captain America.
  9. I didn’t really need to list all these things but OH WELL.

There was more I was going to say today, but I don’t want this post to turn into a rambling 1,500 word post because I feel the best way to dive back into blogging is to stick your toe into the water first. Then you back up, run, and cannonball into the Internet and scream and splash a bunch of people on Twitter and Instagram, and pop up laughing because oh my gosh, this is fun and it feels so right and what the hell took you so long to jump back in anyways?

I’ve missed the hell out of you, my darlings.

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I don’t even know where to begin.

I moved! Let’s start there.

Once upon a time, I decided I wanted a change from Austin. So I went on Twitter and asked Twitter who wanted to move to NYC with me. Or anywhere. One of my close Twitter followers said “You should move to Chicago and be my roommate!” Long story short, I did and now I am. The internet is weird and wonderful like that. I may also be a little bit crazy, but we already knew that.

Walking Through Chicago on a Lazy Afternoon

So here I am, not quite in the Windy City, but it’s a quick drive or train ride away. I’m sharing the second floor apartment of an older house that has been converted to two living spaces in downtown Super Cute Suburban Town with the super cool Roommate. I’ve been here six weeks and I am still unemployed (maybe one day I’ll tell you my hilariously awful job interview stories), but I worked my ass off last year and have the savings account to show for it, so I’m not too worried about it, honestly.

My Office on the Front Porch

I’m reveling in the free time I suddenly have. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, crafting, and some writing. Mostly though, I’ve been thinking. Thinking about life, the universe, friends, goals, what the hell I want to do with my life and how I get there. I found the perfect hike and bike trail that was made for evening walks, chasing the sunset. Sometimes I go on a walk and contemplate deep and meaningful questions, and sometimes I just walk and listen to the birds and smile at the passing joggers. I have no idea what tomorrow may bring–and I’m okay with that. In fact, I kinda like it.

I have loads more to share with you, but all in good time. Okay? Okay.

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I am obsessed with the following video. I’ve posted it on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook—basically everywhere on the internets. And if you follow me on any of those lovely places, you are probably over this. But I don’t care—I love this video and I want everyone to see it because I think it will make you happy.

WHY DO I LOVE THIS SO MUCH?! Granted, 80% of my love of this video comes from my love of all things Disney and my unbridled passion for the Happiest Place on Earth: Disneyland. Clearly, Lily loves Disneyland as much as I do. I kinda want to take Lily to Disneyland myself because I think we would have The. Greatest. Time. Ever. But I love this video for other reasons.

1. Lilly literally CAN NOT understand how her mom knew she wanted those DVDs. When was the last time someone bought you something you DID NOT ask for and it was exactly what you wanted? It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it? It means someone was paying attention to you. Someone knows you well enough to know exactly what you like and what you want before you even had to ask for it or buy it yourself. It seems like those type of surprise gifts don’t happen as often once we grow up, which is sad.

2. This is girl is excited about EVERYTHING. Everything is cool. Everything is a surprise. And she loves it all. Oh my gosh, I can not remember the last time I felt like that. Although thinking about it, it was probably at Disneyland.

3. Lily is cool with playing along and pretending. She has probably been told that even though she really, really wants to go to Disneyland all the time, she can’t. But she can play and pretend she’s going! That is a fun game! When her mom says “Why don’t we go?”, Lily goes along with it. She doesn’t sulk and say something about how she wants to go to Disneyland, but you said I can’t. Basically, she has the best attitude ever.

4. My favorite part of the video is right after she realizes this is not a joke, she is going to Disneyland. It’s when she is so happy she is crying and she just HAS to give her mom a hug. She realizes what a big deal this is and she doesn’t take it for granted. She is grateful and she loves her parents for this. This kid is made of awesome on so many levels. Congratulations, Lily’s parents—you are doing it right.

This may sound ridiculous, but this video makes me feel hopeful. There is a little girl out there who loves and appreciates her parents and her parents clearly only want to make their kid happy. That girl loves Disneyland and, like me, will love it just as much twenty years from now. The world isn’t such a bad place after all.

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HELLO DEAR READERS! Bet you never expected to see a post from me again. I myself wondered if I would ever want to write one again. This year has been….different. It’s been good and exciting and monotonous and busy and boring and full of soul searching and trying to understand my heart. And we’ve still got three and a half months left in 2011! I wonder what it shall bring.

When I got back from my trip to London and meeting Kate (which is where we left off months and months ago) life got very busy and then mine got complicated and I honestly didn’t feel like talking to anyone, much less writing blog posts. I didn’t even think about starting to write ye old A Rambling Fancy blog again until the end of July. I went back and forth in my mind—to write, or not to write. Do I even have time to write? I don’t really know. But the truth is I’ve missed the blogging world and my bloggy friends (even if I do see you on Twitter, which is totally my BFF now—if you aren’t on Twitter WHY EVER NOT?! IT IS THE BEST!) and if I had never started this blog I would have never met Kate and that thought makes me sad. So yes, I am back. I have no idea what I’m doing and what this blog will turn into—but who cares. I’ll figure it out.

So, if you’re still reading this, tell me—what have you been up to since…March? Hahahaha, I’ll make us a large pot of coffee (or tea or hot water or whatever strikes your fancy) and we’ll catch up, okay? Okay.

I missed the hell out of you, my darlings.


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I’m still here!

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone—I think this was my 10th year work in the flower shop for V-day, how crazy is that?! I’m still recovering and hope to get back to blogging soon—but I had to pop in today to tell you two very important things.


1. For my darling blog & twitter readers, use the coupon code “VDAYSUCKS2011” to get free shipping (everywhere and anywhere) on any item in my etsy shop. Good through tomorrow night at midnight (or thereabouts).

2. Those guys above are Oh No Oh My. That boy on the far left is my brother, Daniel. He wrote and sings about half the songs on their new album, People Problems. Today’s NPR Song of the Day is “Brains”, from People Problems. I am really, really proud of my brother and the band right now.

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Carpe Diem

Trip Planning~2011

Once upon a time, a few months after starting my blog, I—like all new bloggers—began to wonder if anyone was reading my ramblings. Then one day I opened up my email to find approximately 100 comments* from someone called Domestikate. Domestikate turned out to be Kate from Edinburgh and we liked a lot of the same things: Harry Potter, polka dots, Jane Austen, cupcakes and Harry Potter (HP is serious business, y’all). If Humphrey Bogart had been around, he would have called it the beginning of a beautiful online friendship.

Two years and two weeks after that first comment (I just checked and can hardly believe it’s been that long), I bought a plane ticket from Texas to London. Tonight I bought my train ticket from London to Edinburgh. And in exactly 5 weeks, Kate and I will actually meet each other—live and in person.

I’m sorry, that doesn’t properly express my excitement.


This trip idea all started when I realized the band would be playing a show in Glasgow. I thought it would be super cool if Kate got to go see them play and meet my brother. But the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of my punk of a baby brother meeting my best blogging buddy before I did.

I spent well over a month looking at plane tickets, waffling back and forth, trying to decide if I could really and truly afford the trip (This is The Year of Making Do, after all). But you know what? Life is short; we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! And so shouting “carpe diem!” I bought my plane ticket.

I’ll be spending three days in London before heading up to meet Kate and gallivant around Scotland. It’s my first trip over the pond, though hopefully not my last, so I’m focusing on my “must sees” whilst in London. You know, the Charles Dickens Museum, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Library and of course I am making a very special trip to Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton (because who needs to see the Tower of London, right? I kid, I kid). If anyone has any helpful tips or tricks, please leave a comment! My eyes are starting to go cross-eyed from all the online research I’ve been doing.

Five weeks…I’m so excited I can hardly sleep!

P.S. One of my top five, all-time favorite bloggers featured my Pride & Prejudice garlands with a small Q&A with yours truly over on her blog, Pink of Perfection. Kate actually found my blog through her site, so this is really all Sarah’s doing. Thanks for everything, Sarah, you’re the best!

*This number may be slightly exaggerated.

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