Author Archives: christinerose

About christinerose

Writer. Artist. Professor. Award-winning author of the Rowan of the Wood YA fantasy series. Needs copious amounts of dark chocolate, frothy mochas, and silent solitude.

Stepping Out of Hell


Yesterday was an important day. February 12th. That date has haunted me for the past four years. I’d see it everywhere, and I’d remember. Even if I hadn’t thought of it for quite some time, I’d remember when I’d look at my watch at 2:12. When my coworker from extension 212 would forward a call, or I to her. When I’d be given the hotel room 212.

Even the word “February” was difficult to see for the past four years. Last year, when I thought I was doing so well, February came and things went south. Turns out, it’s not uncommon for rape survivors to have a more difficult time on and around the anniversary of the assault.

As if my dear nephew’s birthday on February 12th wasn’t enough dichotomy, imagine my resigned horror when my coworker DM’d me that he was visiting Amsterdam and planning on meeting our CEO for dinner … on February 12th. Of course it was that date. Of course. That DM was the seed that transformed into a company fun day.  Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 13, 2016 in Personal, Travel & Tourism


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The Loneliest Christmas


This morning I made myself a cup of coffee and warmed a powder sugar-topped pastry after I had fed the cat I’m sitting. The two of us enjoyed our Christmas breakfast in silence, other than the crackling fire (complete with holiday tunes) playing from my iPad Mini 2, compliments of Netflix.

Once we finished our breakfast. Nox (the cat) munched on some treats that his parents had left for him in his stocking. I sat before my host’s tree, decorated with ornaments of their first Christmas together and images of their wedding, and felt very thankful for my solitary wrapped present. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 25, 2015 in Personal, Travel & Tourism


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Do You Believe in Ghosts?


If I had any doubt before going on this City of Edinburgh Underground Vault tour, I don’t anymore. This was the first paranormal experience of my life!

We missed the last tour by 15 minutes, but the guy at the City of Edinburgh Tour stand on The Royal Mile said we could try to catch up. He walked us all around The Royal Mile trying to find the group, but we couldn’t find them. We asked if he could take us to the vaults, and he said we could wait for the rest of the tour there.

We follow this guy down a few streets, and he takes us to this very bizarre door that’s full of graffiti. He had to unlock it.

That’s when we started getting nervous. My friend (Gill) looked at me with wide eyes, and I’m sure I looked at her as well. Still, like two fools in a horror film, we followed this short man in a powdered wig inside.

On the other side of the graffiti door, there is a stone hallway with another door and the stone steps spiraling down. He had to unlock that door, too. Still, we followed him down the spiral stone steps, and he leads us through a third door into the vaults.

It’s very dark down there, very few lights for mood only. He pointed to a bench in the adjacent room and told us to sit and wait. The tour would be around 10 minutes or so. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 3, 2015 in Travel & Tourism


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Stay Left, Hug Right: Driving in the UK


If you want to venture outside of the cities and towns, you might need to rent a car. There are coach tours that take you around, which are a great way to see the country’s main attractions, but if you crave more independence and solitude, you can hire a car. 

The first time I drove in the UK was 1990. I was 20 years old without a fear in the world. I remember the novelty of driving on the left, and the biggest problem I had was when I turned a corner. My instinct and training wanted to bear right, so I had to keep repeating “stay left” to myself as I turned. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Travel & Tourism


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Top 10 Suggestions for a Unique London Experience


London is a magnificent city drenched in history and mythology. As a first time tourist, you will undoubtedly want to see the main attractions, and so you should. See Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. Go into Madame Tussauds, if that’s your thing. Ride the London eye. Cross the Millennium Bridge. Climb to the dolma of St. Paul’s Cathedral and look across the Thames at the picturesque Bankside, including Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.

Apart from the common tourist things, there are so many other things to see and do in London. After frequenting that remarkable city several times over the last couple of decades, here are my top recommendations: Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 9, 2015 in Travel & Tourism


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Major Changes in the Autumn of Life

Hyde Park in Autumn

Hyde Park in Autumn, October 2015

The past five years have been the most difficult of my life. The person I was in 2010 is dead, but it was a slow, agonizing death brought about by deceptions, betrayals, and even sexual assault. Just when I thought I couldn’t lose anymore, after having lost my community, my faith, my job, my home, and my very identity, my husband of 15 years moved out.

The one thing I thought was strong enough to survive anything, wasn’t. The one person I thought I could trust to be honest and genuine wasn’t. In his own words, he’s been pretending to be someone else for the bulk of our marriage.

I don’t even know how to process that.

He’s made it clear he doesn’t want me around, and I had nothing left in the States except a handful of dear friends scattered around the country, an unfulfilling job, and an empty apartment.  Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Healthy Living, Personal


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London Travel Tips & Helpful Apps

London Sunset

London is expensive. I mean, really expensive. The prices exceed that of New York City and San Francisco for living arrangements. The exchange rate makes it even more pricey for Americans. Even the competitively priced AirBnB (app) has rates at £120/night, which equals close to $200 in Zone 1. Plus, space is extremely limited in Europe, especially the cities like London and Paris. That $200/night will get you a studio about the size of a large American walk-in closet, a kitchenette, and a bathroom in which you can barely turn around. I kid you not. Space is definitely a shock when traveling to Europe from America for the first time. Still, they are better priced than most hotels in the heart of London’s Zone 1. Zone 2 is still considered central, and it’s usually only a few tube stops away from the greatest attractions.

I remember flying to London in the late 80s and early 90s. I paid $500 for a ticket then. These days when I travel, I use point from an American Airlines reward card, so I get a “free” ticket. This “free” ticket costs $700 in taxes, more than I used to pay outright. Of course, it’s still a great savings since a round trip ticket in the summer from PDX to LHR is about $1200 before taxes.

Fortunately for me, when I travel to London each August, I look after pets for my friends, so I get accommodations for free. They get peace of mind and free pet sitting. It’s a great arrangement if you can find it.

Despite these ways I save enough money to make the annual trip possible, it’s still expensive. Over the years, I’ve found ways to make the most of my money and time while in this remarkable city, and I’d like to share those with you. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Travel & Tourism


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