Articles

Springy Spring

Daytime view of the yard – can’t wait until it grows in!

The front yard landscaping is done! Huzzah! We’ll spend the next several years paying for it, but it looks great, and is very low maintenance, which was the main goal. The neighbors have had favorable comments so far. But we haven’t put our pink metal flamingos out yet. Who doesn’t love pink flamingos, right?

Yes, we are going to be “those” neighbors – the ones with the beautiful landscaping broken up by all manner of kitschy lawn art. Pretty *and* fun, all in one spot.

Nighttime view – skeleton tree!

I need gnomes now. Ones that scream when you pick them up. There has to be a way, right?

Needless to say, with the front yard done (or as done as it can be until the last frost date, which here is May 15th), we’ve turned our attention to the back yard. We have much to do and very little time to do it in – our spring motivation wears off very quickly once temperatures are above 80 or so for any length of time. We’ve started refinishing the old patio swing with a new coat of paint (we ran out – need to get more soon), and I have new cushions/covers for it that I bought two years ago just hanging in the basement waiting to be put on.

We have a new gazebo in boxes in our driveway to be assembled on the patio, which will give us some much-needed shade back there when the sun is frying everything for hours on end. Before we can put that up, we need to disassemble and remove a shed we have sitting on the patio at the moment.

I started a project to raise the two rose beds just off the patio a couple years ago. I need to finish that project, replace some roses, and spread out the plants with better spacing.

We ordered some new veggie bed kits with compost towers in the center to help with feeding. They’re also sitting in the driveway, and we need to assemble them and get those filled (before May, hopefully!).

And we need to rake and overseed the backyard again, to continue our weed abatement/grass revitalization project. Eventually we’ll probably have all that just ripped out and redone, but for now, we’ll just take care of it as well as possible. And maybe this year I’ll finally get the hang of using the hose-based liquid fertilizer spreader for using the organic fertilizer I get from the company that picks up our compose each week. It doesn’t seem like rocket science, but apparently it kind of is.

By mid-June (at the latest), I’ll be sick of yardwork and outdoor projects (I’m not really a “play outside” kinda girl). So it’s important to get as much done early as possible.

Crate training…with treats!

Inside, we’ve been rearranging furniture to accommodate a couple of wire dog crates for our little four-legged hoodlums. Because sometimes it’s just too hard to be good. Especially for younger pups who are still very impulse-driven and eat everything. Including things that might harm them. And things that cost a fair chunk of change to replace. *sigh* I’m not sure if we’ll be able to crate them while we’re gone or not yet – they’re still getting the hang of the whole “sit quietly in the crate” thing. But we’ll see. It’s good training, no matter what happens.

Last but not least, I’ve instituted a writing goal for myself, to hopefully get that habit ingrained again. One hundred words a day for one hundred days. That’s the goal. Ironically, I had five days down, and then missed Sunday so I could get this blog done and posted. So, I’m starting over (again) at zero. I’ve ordered some word count stickers and black certificate covers to post them in, so that each day I’ll have a record of whether I hit 100, or went higher. It’ll be fun, as long as I don’t start over too often. There’s really no reason to – 100 words takes very little time (five minutes or less when I’m on a roll).

So, busy busy around here. At least until it gets hot, and staying inside to write is the only thing I actually *want* to do. 😉


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Flirting with Danger

You know how it feels to walk headlong into a gust of wind so strong you really have to lean into it in order to walk?

That’s kind of how I feel trying to keep Apollo from playing or doing anything that might pull on the stitches from his neuter last Thursday. The vet said 7-10 days of seriously reduced activity. We’re counting down, I tell you what. It’s like giving both these dogs a new toy (each other – they love to wrestle and play tag), and then telling them both they can’t play with it. But it’ll be over soon enough, and they can get back to the business of burning energy like they bought it at Costco.

It’s just as well I had all this extra vacation time to burn, since there would have been no way to keep them “quieter” if someone wasn’t home with them. I’ll be home another two days, and then hubby will work from home Weds, the last day before Apollo will be able to resume his normal activities.

That gives them only two days home alone this week too, which is a good thing as well. We switched our lunch break to an hour later so they’ll only be alone for 4 hours at a time, instead of 3 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. Until Apollo matures out of puppy stage, that might help him to not be so destructive. We’ll see.

As far as the landscaping goes, our plants are in, and our lights are ordered, so things are moving along! It’s muddy out there today, due to rain this past weekend, but I’m sure our landscaper will get going as soon as things dry out a bit more.

So what am I doing with my vacation days while the dogs sleep? Puppy proofing is a main thing – clearing all flat surfaces of papers and things that would be fun for a nearly-year-old pup and a high-energy boxer girl to grab and spread all over the place. I started on the dining room table yesterday, and will finish that and move to the kitchen counter today.

Tomorrow I’d like to get started on our taxes. Super-fun. Not. But they have to be done.

And yes, I did break the rules and take the dogs for a short walk yesterday. After breaking up play sessions and trying to stop zoomies around the yard more than twice, it was either that, or they would have insisted on some potentially more damaging “energy-release” mechanism. There’s only so much I can do to keep all that energy in check…and walking is the least damaging of the activities they really want to engage in.

We’ll go again tonight for another short jaunt. I’m keeping a close eye on his stitches/incision to make sure everything looks okay and keeps healing like it should.

But pent-up energy is a dangerous weapon.


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Spring, Renewal, & Moving On

Let the digging commence!

The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful (at least for now), there’s a bobcat in our front yard because the landscapers we hired last fall are finally starting work today, and…there’s a puppy in the house.

Meet Apollo!

No, not a tiny puppy, thank goodness. But a ten-month old whirlwind now named Apollo who has more energy than hubby, Athena and myself put together. Athena loves him, he loves Athena, and that is what matters most. Also, he’s adorable, which is going to come in very handy for him while he’s learning things like “stay out of the roses” and “don’t eat that”.

Not to mention “Off” – which he’s learning quickly as my internal organs try to heal from where he punched them in his jumpy eagerness his first few days here (he’s much better about not jumping now, and will be much more polite about that posthaste).

We can’t both look at the camera at the same time…

It’s been a long time since we had a puppy in the house, and that wasn’t originally what I was looking for. But, he needed a new home, Athena needed a new bestie, and it all just sort of worked out.

Apollo is an American Staffordshire Terrier, a breed that is part of the unofficial “pitbull” group of dog breeds. He’s a bit bigger than Murphy, who was an American Pit Bull Terrier – same group, wider size-range, slightly different features, very similar personalities. His previous owner did a bang-up job of raising him, and took fabulous care of him, so Apollo doesn’t have any of the baggage a lot of rescues tend to bring with them, which is nice for us. He’s a nearly blank slate, and a very quick learner who is going to just be a stellar companion all around. We’re incredibly lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to have him join our family.

Though I will be glad when he’s old enough to let me sleep in on the weekends again. I miss that already.

It’s unfortunate that he’s only been with us a week, and I can’t really take any time off right now to make sure he’s okay with all the workers and equipment that will be in the front yard for the next month. We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best. He’s pretty resilient and smart, so hopefully he’ll roll with it fairly easily. The week after, I have some time off to finish my back tattoo, and he’ll be getting neutered on the day I get that done, so we can spend the next few days after healing up together.

The hubby and I have also started cleaning up the backyard, getting ready to put a gazebo cover on the patio, and spiff things up a bit out there so it’s potentially usable in the summer heat. Since the new front yard should take care of itself, we can take more care with the backyard, and make that a great space to hang out and play with the dogs. Maybe I’ll even be able to grill out there, with the covered space to keep it cooler. We’ll see!

The maple tree out back is budding out, and the roses will be doing the same by the end of the month. Things are coming back to life, and I’m optimistic that it’s gonna be a good summer.


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On Loss, Remembrance, and Renewal

Last Wednesday, we said goodbye to the Murphy-dog. I’m still not one-hundred percent sure what happened, because he was doing better, and then just sort of crashed, but due to several other health issues he’s been dealing with, we opted not to treat this time, and instead had him euthanized. Thanks to our amazing veterinary team, it was quick, peaceful, and I was able to be with the Murph right up to the end, even with pandemic precautions still in place.

Murphy was one of the best dogs we’ve ever had, bar none. Sweet, kind, independent, stubborn, smart, lazy, loud and seriously goofy. There will never be another quite like him, and I’m so glad we got to have him in our lives for the last five or six years.

As we all do, I deal with the grief and letting go in my own way. The day of is the hardest, and the next few days after a mixture of loss and guilt and second-guessing. Distractions are welcome from that point on, so things can be dealt with in small bites rather than big gulps. As I move through the next few weeks, I’ll remember the small moments as I move through my days, a sort of ongoing tribute as time passes. And much like Murphy’s head prints in the snowbank outside my back door (he loved to go out and rub his face in the snow, which always made me laugh), the pain will gradually fade and the memories will make me smile when some small, everyday thing brings them to mind.

After awhile, when you’ve lived and loved enough, this sort of ongoing random tribute happens a lot. I’ve said goodbye to seven dogs now, and I still remember each of them often, for specific things they liked and did and disliked. They are each always with me in spirit. I love that.

For now, it’s just Athena here with us, and she’s dealing with the loss in her own way. The happy howling is on hold (I miss that!), and she’s quiet, unsure. But like the rest of us, she’ll get through this, and soon enough, she’ll have a new friend to bond to and play with. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right fit, but we’ll start looking this week.

Life will go on, as it always does. Happiness will prevail, as it always should.

We will make sure it does.

Rest well, my big, gentle goof.

Doggie Vertigo, Routines, & Other Stuff

You know how when you set up a bunch of new routines that are almost guaranteed to be successful just because you’ve done the research and testing and everything is finally ready to fall into place and then…it’s like the universe knows you’re on the cusp of something really, really good, and takes it as a challenge, and suddenly in the space of a few hours everything falls apart due to one completely random event that has to take precedence over everything?

That’s how my week started last week.

Monday was a horrible day, from the minute I crawled out of bed, and just kept getting worse, culminating in a trip to the emergency vet after work so the Murph could get diagnosed with “old dog vestibular disease”, which is basically the worse case of vertigo you can possibly imagine.

That led to two days at home making sure he was on the mend and safe to leave with Athena the Cyclone. Thankfully he was able to walk again within around 16 hours or so, but it was shaky (literally) for a good while there (and still is occasionally).

Even so, my new routines have been proving themselves mostly worthy, though I’m not getting as much writing done during my late writing time as I’d like (despite moving it up by half an hour). I’m just not awake/alert enough at that time, and I need to figure out how to wake myself up enough to get a good hour’s worth of writing in, while not keeping myself up much longer than that. But otherwise, things are working. Which is a nice change.

I didn’t meet my publishing deadline for this month, but considering I didn’t set the deadlines until mid-Jan, I’m going to cut myself some slack on that, and focus on meeting February’s deadline. I have a plan, I have motivation, and I’m pretty confident that everything should work the way I’ve set it up. I just need to show up at the keyboard and do the work.

In non-writing related news, I’m definitely getting better at dying my longer hair, and it’s getting to a place where I’m going to need to get it cut soon. Which means picking out a new hair stylist. I was hoping to hold out until we were closer to the end of the pandemic, just because it seems like a bad idea to have someone who can’t see the bottom half of my face figure out how to cut/style my hair, but…well, we’ll see.

I also figured out my hip issue and have almost completely rehabbed it. Huzzah! Now to just keep getting my body into better shape, and strengthen the muscles in that area to protect against it happening again. That’s the key, really. No being lazy, no skipping workout sessions. It’s important.

The only other thing really bothering me at the moment is my eye, and that is going to require a very up close and personal exam, new glasses, and probably a referral to a cornea specialist. I’m still trying to wait that one out, but it’s probably contributing more to my productivity problems than I realize, and it might be better to take the risk and make the appointment sooner rather than later. We’ll see.

It’s a new month, and despite everything, I feel optimistic about what the next few weeks have in store. Here’s hoping.


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Variety Pages – March 9, 2020

Weird ‘n Wacky

Pants on the Ground

It had been a particularly windy day when I came across these pants while walking to my car after work. I often pass discarded articles of clothing, but they’re normally gloves, hats, scarves, or the occasional shoe or coat. It’s not often I pass a pair of pants, and my immediate thought, of course, was, “Wow! You know the wind is blowing hard when someone loses their pants!”

And then of course I wondered what *really* happened…if they fell out of someone’s bag, or if there had been a “de-pantsing” incident there, or if they’d simply blown off of one of the balconies from the nearby apartment building. Assuming the latter was the most fun, and provided me story fodder for the ride home.

Where does your mind take you when you see a rogue pair of pants like this?

Puppy Pic of the Week

Athena & Murphy, practicing patience.

Off the Shelf

I’ve been making reading more of a priority this year, and at the moment, I have two books and several comic series in progress. In print, I am still working on Origin by Dan Brown. “Still” because I started it before Christmas last year, and then let it sit for far too long while I worked late instead of getting to bed early enough to have reading time. Now I spend about 15-20 minutes with it a night, and it’s moving quickly, both story-wise and page-wise! I’m enjoying it, and very curious as to what the ultimate reveal will be.

Digitally, I’m reading Blame it on the Frosting by Samantha Hunter. It’s cute, sweet, and funny, as you might expect. Also, I find the thought of pheromone-laced cookies a little disconcerting.

And my current comic series in play are Harly Quinn, The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, Deadpool, and I just finished Pearl. I’m a little behind (catching up quickly), but I’m exceedingly glad that the “Hunted” story line in Spider-man is over. It was getting a bit tedious, in my opinion. Definitely looking forward to what’s coming next.

I was also a bit bummed to come to the end of Pearl’s story…at least for now. I’m not normally interested in things with a gang subject, but I was drawn to this one by the tattooing and art style, and definitely got hooked on the Yakuza-centered story line. Fascinating.

Excerpt of the Week

How It Begins

“So this is how it ends.”

Nori locked gazes with the dull green eyes peering through a black mask at her over the barrel of a gun. She didn’t know what kind of gun it was, and didn’t care. She didn’t bother struggling against the zip-ties that bound her wrists, didn’t bother begging. She couldn’t see his face, but she knew him well enough.

“It won’t give you peace, you know.”

His nod was almost imperceptible. “I know. But I can’t let you leave.”


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Barriers, Sore Muscles, & Reflections at 45

This past weekend, the hubby and I installed a wire barrier in the Subaru between the back seat and the hatchback. Normally people do this to keep their dogs in the hatch, but my dogs ride in the backseat (I mean, that’s where the windows are, right?).

The thing is, just before Christmas, Athena-dog decided to eat a chocolate cookie while we were out grocery shopping. She climbed over the back seat and into the hatch to get to it while we were inside our last grocery store of the day.

Then the next week, I put most everything into a zip-top cooler, but left my bags from the bread store out (because it’s bread…not much of an enticing smell, or so you’d think). she ate an entire package of english muffins that day.

The week after that, I put everything into a sturdy zipper thermo-bag, and when I came out of the last store, I found a burly, tattooed guy in a big red truck towing a compressor sitting there in the parking lot, laughing at Athena as she ate her way through the top third of a beef liver container (it was half-frozen, thank goodness). He had a great time, she had a great time, and the dogs had slightly less liver in the batch of food I made that week.

So, we installed a barrier to keep the groceries safe from my little perpetually-hungry boxer. And it works great! The groceries are safe, Athena-dog only pouted a little bit, and I don’t have to worry about catching a dog before she can run as I open the hatch to put more groceries in. Win-win for me!

However. I am so, so very out of shape – something I didn’t realize until the day after kneeling/squatting in the back of the car for 30 minutes to install that wonderful piece of equipment. I tell you what – my butt, the backs of my thighs and my inner thighs were all in *so much pain*, they were just burning up. Walking hurt, sitting hurt, standing hurt…I haven’t been in that much pain in a long, long time. Even my back and knees got in on the “let’s remind Jamie she’s not getting any younger” bandwagon.

Ouch.

Yesterday was only slightly better. I did yoga, but it was the slowest I’ve ever done, and it hurt like hell stretching those poor, sore mustles out enough so I could make it back up the stairs. I tried not to sit for too long of time periods at work, but my inner thighs (abductors? Adductors? I can’t remember) are still painfully sore and hurt whenever I sit down or stand up. Or walk, to an extent.

My back, ankles and knees still aren’t happy either. Part of the back/shoulder/neck issues is all the crocheting I’ve been doing to get that shawl done…but I should be able to do that without hurting. And I would be, if I were staying in shape in the first place. *sigh*

I used to recover from such things far more quickly, but alas, I think I still have a day or two to go until I can comfortably sit down/stand up. It was a stark reminder of how out-of-shape I’ve allowed myself to get, and also how much longer it takes to recover now that I’m right at my mid-forties.

Yes, I turn 45 on Friday, and I know people in their 60’s who are in better shape than I am. So…I really need to do something about that, especially since we’re headed back to Universal Studios and Disney World in Orlando this coming fall. I see new, more intense workouts in my immediate future. You know. After it doesn’t hurt to move again.

I’ve been thinking a lot as I approach what is probably close to the midpoint of my life, about the life I’ve lived so far, and the choices I’ve made. I don’t regret anything, really – I’ve found regrets are pointless for the most part. I do wish I could believe in reincarnation or some such philosphy of infinite do-overs. Not because I think I *should* have done things differently, but I so wish life could be like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure novels. I think it would be fun to be able to go through life, making the choices you make, and then at the end, be able to start over again from the beginning and make just a few different choices, to see what that life is like, and then do it over again to see what *that* reality is like…don’t you think that would be fascinating, especially if you could remember it all?

I like the life I’ve built, but I’m also constantly wondering “what if?”, and I think it would be fun to be able to explore all of those possibilities. Alas, it’s not to be, but perhaps that’s why I’m a writer, eh? To explore all sorts of different lives without getting into too much trouble, hurting too many people, or getting thrown into prison (*ahem*).

What’s one choice you made a long time ago that you’d like to know how it would have turned out if you’d chosen differently? Or do you already know how it would have turned out, and would just like to go back and…do that, for the experience? Inquiring minds…


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Introducing Athena & A New Keyboard

Wow. I’ve been trying to get a post written for nearly a month now, and things have just been so busy that every time I start working on it, it’s late and I’m tired and I just don’t have the energy to finish, much less post. Which really just goes to show you how routine-driven I am, and what happens when those routines are disrupted for an extended period of time, as they have been this summer. July and August have been busy months, and I’m just now (as in, for one whole week) getting back into my regular routines without random sidetracks and distractions throwing me off.

Although there’s another disruption coming, as we have to replace our shower surround this weekend. Hopefully it will only take one day though, and we can still have a “normal” weekend with Labor Day tacked onto the end.

The biggest news since my last post is that we adopted a boxer puppy (2-3 yrs old) named Athena. She’s adorable and spunky and was obviously mistreated at some point in her young life, but she’s brave and curious and has made herself right at home with us. She’s also white, and shedding like crazy at the moment – getting rid of an old, malnourished coat and growing in a much thicker, healthier one. So, we have little white hairs all over everything, including ourselves. I ordered lint rollers last night, along with a shedding glove, and am going to get some conditioning shampoo for dear Athena this weekend. I just can’t make myself buy lighter clothing. LOL

In any case, Athena is young and full of energy, and she’s already getting the Murph off the couch more often (I don’t think he necessarily appreciates that, but it’s good for him) and he’s walking a tad bit farther with her at his side. Of course she needs a much longer hike than he does, which means we go with him, take him home, and then Athena and I go for part two, which is a good half-mile to a mile at the moment, and we’ll work up to a couple miles most nights in moderate weather. So I’m getting more exercise too, which is perfect (and much needed). It’s always easier to walk with a buddy, IMO.

Writing has been hit or miss, a lot more “miss” unfortunately, but as the routines get back to normal and I don’t have to think so much about every little thing I do during the day, I have more energy and headspace available for creative endeavors. I have gotten a little lazy about using the Neo though – mostly because uploading to the laptop requires plugging the Neo in by cable and then transferring the keystrokes into my writing program (yWriter). I tried working directly on my laptop again, but between hating the keyboard and having distractions so readily available (I forgot to order this! I need to post that! Was that an important email that just came in?) it just doesn’t work for my flighty brain.

So last week, I ordered a bluetooth keyboard (full-sized, with scissor switches) to pair with my cell, and I can use that to write directly into yWriter from my lap. The size of the phone screen really doesn’t lend itself to switching apps often (so less distractions) and my yWriter files live in my Dropbox account, so I can get to them from both my phone and my laptop – no transfer needed.

I think it’ll be a good solution…we’ll find out at the end of this week. The keyboard I really wanted with Cherry MX switches and a really nice “typewriter” look was two hundred bucks, the one I got was thirty. Maybe I’ll splurge on the nicer one if the solution works well enough to finish a novel by Christmas.

So, moving along. Getting back on track. Putting the things I can back on auto-pilot, so I can focus more on things like writing. It feels good. I hope things will stabilize for awhile now. My brain could use the rest.

Next week…a resolution check-in.


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Stress, Death, & Sleep

Good to rest after a nice walk in the rain…

It’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it? If I remember correctly, two weeks ago I was busy wallowing in writerly self-pity over not making/taking/finding the time to do all I want to do on the writing side. So then instead of writing a blog post, I tried to work on my fiction, and ended up coming up with a plan to work in some sort fiction, which failed miserably in the first week (keep reading).

Then last week, there was a problem at work that required quite a bit of extra troubleshooting hours, which pretty much tanked both the ultra-fun weekend I had planned and bled over into the week. Such is life, sometimes, and at those particular times, life sucks.

But not nearly as much as when you have to say goodbye to a furry friend, as I did last Wednesday afternoon. I had our vet come to the house and put my quirky Mica-dog to sleep after watching him decline rather quickly over the week or so before that. He was older, around 10 or 12 (hard to say for sure with a rescue), and had many tumors and some other health problems that finally made it so he couldn’t leave the property (not that he’d get in a car…he’d refused to do that for the past few years, but he loved to go for walks), and while I wrestled hard with the decision for three days after scheduling the appointment, I knew it was ultimately the right choice when I looked into his eyes that day.

Mica-dog…on guard!

I sat on the floor of our living room with the vet and the nurse, and held his head as he closed his eyes for the last time. It never gets easier (and it shouldn’t), but unlike a few of the other five times I’ve done this, I don’t think I’ll have any lasting guilt or agonizing over whether I made the choice either too soon or too late. This is one of the few times I’ve been at peace with the timing after the fact (it’s never going to be a peaceful process to get to that decision, and again, it shouldn’t be). So there’s that, I guess. I still miss him – he was loud and demanding and persnickety and sometimes really annoying, but he was also the best couch-cuddle-buddy and one of those dogs who just wanted to be with his people and keep his “pack” in eyesight.

*sigh*

So. Throughout all the pity-party and work stress and losing-a-best-buddy stress, one thing was very, very noticeable to me. I wasn’t sleeping much, and not only did that not help, it created even more problems, from digestive issues to being hungry all the time (and subsequently making poor food choices), and then also not performing as well as I sometimes can, and also not communicating as well as usual. Stress is a killer, and certainly no fun to deal with, but when you haven’t gotten a decent 6 hours of sleep in nearly two weeks…yeah. Things start to slip. The body starts expressing displeasure. And while sleep can’t fix everything, it sure can go a long way toward helping you deal with whatever’s stressing you out. Especially when it comes to making good food choices (what and how much to eat, specifically).

I’d always read that sleep was that important, but it was never so evident to me as during these last few weeks, mostly because I’ve just been hungry *all the damn time*. I was doing so well at maintaining a lower weight and even moving down on the scale here and there…and I’m on the cusp of being seriously derailed all because I didn’t go to bed (and this past Sunday night, just because I couldn’t sleep for some reason – nothing on my mind, even, just…no sleep).

In any case, I have one more night with less-than-optimal sleep to go (gotta be at work an hour earlier on Tuesdays), but after that, the only thing stopping me from a solid 6 hours is…me, choosing not to go to bed on time. So often I don’t make the right choice there, because I don’t want to lose any of my precious alone-time at the end of the night, but…sleep is important. Rest and mental rejuvenation is important. I need to make better choices when it comes to getting enough sleep.

Rest well if you can, dear readers. And for my Mica-dog…rest in peace, buddy.


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The Excess Vacation Hours Vacation

As of tomorrow, I’m on vacation until next Wednesday to burn the excess vacation hours that I’m not allowed to carry over into the new year. Why Weds to Weds, you might ask? Psychology, my dear Watson.

It seems like every time I take a traditional week off (Monday- Friday), I spend the better part of at least one day troubleshooting something for work via email or phone. When I only take a few days off in one week, I rarely get called on to help fix something (or if I do, it’s quick). So, I’m trying something new, and taking Weds – Fri off this week, and Mon – Tues off next week. That still gives me a full week off, but no full “work” weeks, so we’ll see if I end up troubleshooting or not (there is network maintenance going on this weekend, so the potential is there, but…). Call it an experiment.

What’s the plan for this vacation? Catch-up, mostly. I need to make dog food for the week, since I spent this past Sunday not feeling well (my own fault – too many days in a row last week of poor dietary choices…though I’ll admit, I enjoyed every last “choice” at the time). I need to take the Subaru in for some recall work if I can get it scheduled – wiper motors and airbag replacement. Murphy-dog is due for his rabies shot, which normally I wouldn’t redo in a dog his age (he’s around 9-10 now, best guess), but he’s a pitbull, and people are people, so…better law-abiding in his case (I can’t re-license him unless he gets the shot, even though they’ve been proven to be effective far past 3 yrs). Hopefully he won’t suffer any averse affects (I’ve seen more issues of the tumor-causing kind with vaccines in older dogs, unfortunately).

Aside from those things, I hope to do a lot of writing-related tasks I never seem to get to. Formatting, cover art, editing…and some new words too. My horror alter-ego has a short story in progress to add to the “Death by Veggies” line, and I’d like to get that finished, and I’d really like to make some good headway on a couple of other novels I have going. So, definitely writing, after I get the dogs walked so they’ll sleep and let me be.

The only other thing I really want to do (aside from some gaming, hopefully) is “spring cleaning”. I suck at cleaning. I find it incredibly boring, so I do the absolute minimum. Most adult women and a fair amount of adult men would run the other way at the state I keep my house in. I can’t tell you the last time my blinds have been dusted. Definitely not this year. Probably not last year either. Maybe not even the year before that…

That said, I do occasionally get the desire to “clean all the things”. It passes quickly, but I did buy a dust-mop for the kitchen floor (it’s laminate, and I hate it, and have ruined more of the finish every time I try to clean it), a new scrub brush for the bathroom, and I have plenty of microfiber cloths and rags on hand. The plan is to do one major thing in each room every day of my vacation…like cleaning all wide wooden blinds in the living/dining room. Or washing down all the kitchen cabinets/walls. And wiping down the bathroom walls/ceiling (don’t ask). And then I want to add hard floor cleaning to a monthly maintenance schedule.

Yes, I know people clean their floors more often. I vacuum once a week, even the hard floors. Baby steps. We don’t eat off my floors. Obviously.

So…that’s the plan for my “vacation”. Be all adult-like and do the stuff I keep putting off because I just don’t wanna (or in the case of writing, just want some focused time for). Seems like as good a use for the time as any, especially since they’re vacation hours I didn’t plan on using until later.

Next year, a trip, but for now…spring cleaning. Errands. Maybe a little Pokemon. Good times!


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