…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy! If you are looking for Kaylia's official Website please visit KayliaMetcalfeWriter


We have spent way too much time in the car lately.

On Thursday we had around 7 hours. On Friday, 4, on Saturday around 3 and a half.

I love our car. I am thankful for our car. But I am tired of our car.

However… a few highlights from or travels….

Sharing this video with my entire family. Grandma wasn’t all that impressed, but my sisters started chanting “Salsa Cookies” a sure sign of approval.

I got to play with / learn more about Matthew’s fancy camera. I hope to get my own fancy camera someday and this is good practice. Examples of my attempts to be artistic coming soon to a facebook album near you!

We got to meet Noellia. Our newest niece. She was born on thanksgiving and is a teeny tiny 6 pounds.

I know she is an infant and it probably means absolutly nothing, but she totally stopped crying when it was my turn to hold her... and then she fell asleep! In my arms! It was... well, it was pretty freakin' sweet that's what it was.

This kid is sooo getting spolied by Aunty Kay!

And then of course we got to see Scott and Salome get married.  It was a lovely ceremony and I sincerely wish all the best for this adorable couple.

So yeah, totally worth the sore legs and numb rear ends, but I have a feeling it will be a few days before I get back in the car.

Laughing With Thanks

Thanksgiving was lovely… I hope you had something nice to be thankful for.

In my case, I am extremely thankful for my family.

Yeah, I know. Everyone is thankful for their family. Yeah I know, it sounds trite. Yeah I know… But still.

I haven’t always been close to my family. We have had our periods of separation, of distance, of inability to spend more than a few minutes together without hurt feelings.

Not anymore.

At dinner this year we laughed, big genuine laughs the kind you have with your girl friends at 2 am, the kind of laughs that start to hurt your face and almost make you cry, the kind of laughs that a few years ago I would never have thought it possible to share with my family.

I have to wait until someone sends me a photo since the battery in the camera died early in the day, but let me assure you, there were a lot of happy people at my folks’ house on Thursday.

A lot of thankful people.

A word on bookstores

Ok, where were we? Oh yes, bookstores in Fresno.

I grew up in San Jose. As a kid I remember going to a bookstore over in the old El Passeo shopping center. (Not to be confused with the new modern El Passeo shopping center with its restaurants and huge sprawling shop after shop in an acre after acre of parking. The old shopping center was small, one story, had a tiny movie theater and walkways with fountains and interesting stonework.) Anyway, after going to the movies we would often eat ice cream and then go brows at the book shop.  I have no idea what this bookstore was called, it wasn’t a big box store at all. It was small, cramped, crowded with books and people, and it was a lot of fun to spend time in.

I remember when Barnes and Noble came to town. It was a BIG DEAL. We took a family trip to the store, and we gazed in wonder at the selection, at the wide aisles, . I decided right then and there that I wanted to work in a bookstore (I think the concept of staff discount had just been explained to me).

Now, that small independent bookstore of the old El Passeo shopping center is long since gone and as a preteen and teenager I was only too happy to do my book buying at Barnes and Noble, at Waldenbooks, at Crown. I never gave it much of a thought. Sure we would occasionally go to the small bookshops in Mountain View or Los Gatos, but mostly our book buying was at the main chains. 

Then I moved to Santa Cruz.

Very quickly I fell in love with Bookshop Santa Cruz and with Capitola Book Café. Both had great locations for me personally and both had a sense of “not corporate” that I liked even when I didn’t realize that was what I was feeling.  I would go out of my way to shop at these stores, eschewing the mighty Borders up the street. Unless of course I needed music or DVDs, then Borders was a perfect choice.  I got used to the independent bookstores, to their events, to their quirky staff who would remember me, to their book club wall, to the regulars who treated the bookshop as a social meeting place.

Plus Capitola Book Café was nice enough to stock my little independently published book. (Also available on, but not, alas, not at Borders).

So.. we moved to Fresno and one of the first things I did was do a search for “books”

And that is when I discovered the lack, the severe lack, of any independent bookstores.

Let me explain. There is a Borders, a Barnes and Noble, a small collection of used bookstores, a bazillion religious stores (many of which are chains themselves), and one pretend bookstore. Yes, pretend. It is called a bookstore. It comes up in the google map as a bookstore. But, no.  It is a collectables store, a knick knack smelly candles store with a few book cases featuring a plethora of right wing titles and a whole section devoted to the awesomeness of Bill O’Reilly. /shudder/

Apparently, this is a wide known lack.  At a social event we attended, I was able to commiserate this lack of independent bookstores with a handful of other people.  “Ahh yes,” we all nodded sagely over our wine, “It really is a shame that there isn’t an independent bookstore here in Fresno…”

But that got me thinking… is it?

I got along fine without independent bookstores in San Jose and Sacramento. Yes, I liked the quirky ones in Santa Cruz… but will my book buying experience really be that bad without them? Don’t big chain bookstores have better selections? Better prices? Better ordering ability should they not have what you want? In store coffee shops?

I asked The Maifan-San why he liked independent bookstores better:

“The chain stores sell the big stuff, most of what they carry is the hot thing. It is guaranteed that you will find the latest Dan Brown book or whatever. But they might not have the other stuff. At independent stores you can find really oddball things, I like not knowing what I am going to find."

Ok, I get that. I do. Browsing and finding weird titles is fun and one of the best parts about book buying. (Browsing and random chance is also why I don’t shop for books online, I love you but you just can’t compete with a table under a sign of “New Fiction” for me to thumb through.)

So yes, I understand how for that reason independent book stores are better.  But. I like reading what’s popular, or at least being able to chose not to read it with a dismissive sniff and an arched eyebrow. And even at the Borders and Barnes and Nobles you can find odd titles.  Heck, it was a Borders in the mall that I found The Mighty Book of Spam Facts (including this gem: “Your heart is made of spam. Go ahead, rip your chest open and prove us wrong!”). It was at a Barnes and Noble that I found the Book of Pressed Fairies (like pressed flowers, they are squished and not nearly as pretty as you would hope.)

The lesson is that you can find all sorts of things in all sorts of places, and while I will miss the Capitola Book Café, I think it is more about missing what the place symbolized for me; community, book lovers, laid back events, my own book on a shelf, than really about who owns it and how many versions of it there are out there in the world.

And who knows, maybe my next book will be published by a big time publisher and will actually have a marketing budget.  Maybe I will someday see my titles at a Borders.

And if not, I could always open my own bookstore. Apparently there is a market.

Settling In

As you can imagine, getting used to a new city has had its moments of ups and downs. More ups to be sure…. But there have been a few random downs.

In the up category we have the flatness of the streets/sidewalks. Yes, hills are interesting to look at. Flatness, though, is much better on my knees for the walking. Also, the streets are actually laid out in a semi grid like fashion. This is very helpful as we learn what street goes where etc. Also, so far, there haven’t been those streets with identify crisis… you know the kind… changing their names willy nilly, sometimes 3 times in the span of a mile…. I don’t miss that San Jose!

Another good thing; the sheer amount of space we have in this apartment. I mean.. wow. We have areas where there is actual SPACE! No more cramped bookcase after bookcase, things stacked against each other like some sort of hoarders wet dream. Nope! The cat has room to run laps, and it actually takes her a while to do a whole circuit of the apartment.

View from the futon in my office looking toward the hall and bedroom.

And with the addition of the new book cases we got in Santa Cruz but never had the time to properly arrange… we have enough room for ALL the BOOKS!!

Some of the bad?

This apartment is really great. Really. But there are, like anywhere, a few quirks. Such as, the toilet paper dispenser in the 2nd bathroom (Olive’s Bathroom) which is located behind and to the left of the sitting female. Not just to the left (annoying on its own) but also behind, freakishly behind, as if someone went to the effort of pulling the toilet forward juuuust a smidge to make getting a piece of the paper that much more difficult.

Also, in the master bathroom the shower door basically blocks you from being able to reach the towl rack once opened. Had the door been put on the other way, opening to the left instead of to the right, you could happily stand in the shower and reach the towel rack… but no. Instead you either have to store your towels on the floor for easy reaching or get out of the shower and then close the door and then get a towel. This second option is cold and messy. And could be so easily avoided with just the door being put on the other way.

See those towels hiding behind the door....

Le sigh

As for the town, errr city, itself. My main complaint is that there isn’t an independent bookstore. However, the lack of this has led to my brain spinning onto other matters… so I shall save that rant and philosophical question for tomorrow’s blog.

Suffice it to say, I am really enjoying Fresno. I might change my tune once I start actively looking for work. I am really hopeful that my lack of bilingual-ness won’t keep me unemployed, but this si a concern. I might change my tune once the summer heat arrives.

But for now, I am really having fun getting used to this new city.

Fish Out of Water = Horse In A Car

Hello blog! Hello faithful blog readers! (We will get to the title in just a sec......)

Haven’t written in a while, a misstep I am hoping to remedy in the coming weeks. It’s just… well, you know how it is. So much has happened that the “would be” posts get longer and longer and thus more intimidating.

Where to start?

We moved to Fresno! I am writing this at my old desk in my new office. I keep calling it my office. I figure that eventually the Maifan-San will get the hint and it will become MY office.

So far so good.

The move was… well it was a big ass move from one place to another place 3 hours away. So, it was stressful. There were 107 boxes (mostly full of books), 16 containers, 22 black garbage bags filled with clothes and shoes, 15 bookcases of various sizes, a queen sized bed, a futon, a loveseat, a couch, a mammoth coffee table, two tvs, (one a fragile flat, the other a deadweight of early 90s consumerism), my desk, (my!),two dressers, a very large wooden dinning room table (with leaf),….

And a cat.

The furniture arrived relatively unscathed. (Thanks to the brilliant help of our friendly in town loaders.) The cat was an annoying ball of hardly contained nerves, claws, and big scary eyes for the 3 hours it took to get here, but in less than 10 minutes had reverted back to her normal playful happy laid back little self.

The Maifan San and I, on the other hand, have been having our own ups and downs. We left Paradise, often called Santa Cruz, a place that other people flock to, a place of beaches and mountain,s and temperate weather, a place of friends and bookstores and coffee shops, a place of weirdos and eclectic crowds, a place of home…. A place we had both chosen to live in.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Fresno was a good choice for us. I think his new job will be better for both him and our relationship in the long run. I am confident in my ability to get work here and I am going to really enjoy the next month of finishing the book I am writing. We are both happy to be living closer to the Modesto Family. The fun of exploring a new area is both exciting and also good relationship building material. So, on the whole it is a good choice.

But it was still hard.

It is still hard. There have already been moments where I have felt very out of place here.

So, there you have it.

And I promise, more blogs, more frequent blogs.

In the meantime... here's a little something to make you laugh. If I feel a bit "fish out of water" because I am a liberal skeptical agnostic pagan living in Fresno.... just imagine what this horse must feel like!