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Priorities & Forced Balance

Last week wasn’t nearly as bad as the week before in general, which is kind of odd since work was decidedly difficult. The difference is, I dealt with it much better, and while I didn’t stay caught up all the time, I did prioritize a lot better. It’s amazing how much just setting solid priorities can alleviate so much stress – and allow us to get more done than we might otherwise.

The poetry challenge was especially “challenging” this past week, but I managed to end Saturday caught up for the week (I’m behind a poem again as of right now, but I’ll catch up tonight). Poetry is all about “flow” and ironically, fitting it into my schedule has been exactly that. Looking for the proper flow, so I can slot it into each day at some point.

I think I mentioned that I was trying to use some of my nightly knitting/crochet/TV time to catch some of the overflow, and my body told me very quickly that it was just not going to happen. My eyes went downhill again, my brain refused to work, and pretty much every night sitting there with the computer on my lap, I eventually just gave up and shut it while I finished my hour-long TV show.

Incidentally, we’ve been watching Iron Fist and Wynonna Earp on Netflix. Iron Fist is entertaining, but I highly, highly recommend Wynonna Earp. So, so good!

In any case, that hour is very necessary down-time, and my body & brain were quick to correct me when I tried to use it for work. So…it would appear that time is just as sacrosanct as my writing time. This week, I’ll get the knitting back out while watching TV.

My neck is healing, but very slowly, and I’m kind of to the point where it feels like it just needs gentle stretching and then to build up the muscle around that nerve to protect it from being pinched again. I have to be careful, as it still won’t really “work” at several angles, but I’ve started doing light weight training in my shoulders/arms again. We’ll see how that goes, but hopefully it will be helpful. Stupid neck.

In any case, my writing output increased again last week, and no matter how much this poetry thing stresses me out, I am *loving* what it’s doing as far as just getting me back in the daily writing habit. That right there was worth the cost of the workshop (though I’m obviously learning so much more…).

And for those who have been following along weekly – yes, my taxes are done and will be in the mail on April 18th. I’m not efiling because I owe the feds money, and they can just wait for my check to get there, thank you very much. This coming Friday night, I’m adding some dedicated bookkeeping time to my weekly business hours.

I’ve been thinking lately of pulling a couple of shelved drafts out and reworking them for publication. The basic plot is sound enough, but they need revision/additions to work. I do believe that might be something to work on after poetry month is over. I’m excited at the prospect, and I hate revising with a passion. So there’s gotta be something there, right? We’ll see.

Serial story chapter coming Friday, and another week’s worth of poems Saturday. Stay tuned!

Mental Flotsam

Lots of things going on in my head lately – I’m still dealing with the mental “fallout” of that whole midlife crisis thing I’ve recently
crawled out of. I’m still not ready to do a full-blown blog on that, but I will say that it’s been a real roller coaster, and as enlightening and…liberating, I guess, as it’s been, I hope I don’t have to go through another one anytime soon. I go through self-assessment periods every decade or so, where I’m just not happy with…”whatever” in my life and need to make some adjustments, but this…this was different. This was more of a total re-examination of all the major life decisions I’ve ever made (and some of the minor ones too), which causes some major cognitive dissonance that has to be worked through before one can move forward. It’s unsettling and uncomfortable and now that I’m on the tail-end looking back, I can totally see how some people end up hitting the “reset” button completely during this time in life (which a rather large percentage of us go through whether we want to or not). Weird, wild, and wacky stuff.

In any case, there are other things on my mind these days too, including:

  • Archery – I *loved* my first time on the range last week, and will have to post more about it later. Suffice it to say, I liked it well enough that I’m going back to the shooting range this week, and hopefully once a week after that as well. I’m planning on buying a bow kit and arrows, and taking a few lessons. It’s been awhile since I’ve been that drawn to something out of the house!
  • Love Triangles – I was surfing TV channels Sunday night, and got sucked into an episode of “Victoria” on PBS Masterpiece Theater. Ended up watching two episodes, and the relationships therein really got me to thinking about love triangles in fiction and real life, and how there always is one, whether we’re aware or not. It’s fascinating and uncomfortable, and I’d like to explore that phenomenon more.
  • My neck – which is kinked up again. Stupid thing. Or stupid drivers who rear-ended me twice in as many years. I never had problems with my neck before those…
  • BSB Advertising/marketing, and how effective it is/isn’t. Also, getting the documents together for that to do my taxes. Ugh.
  • The ring in my rook piercing, which I want changed out for a bar that will be so much less of a pain to deal with, because it won’t stick out at all like the ring does.
  • The drones in Warhawk, the James Rollins book I’m reading. Yikes!
  • New crochet/knitting patterns I want to try out, now that I’ve finished the dog sweater I was working on.

Never a dull moment, eh?

What’s on your mind lately? Care to share?

Goals Report & Vacation Days

The frustrating thing about goals is not being able to just jump in and get the changes done all at once.

That being said, I’ve taken some pretty big strides in working towards my resolutions in the past couple of weeks, and considering pretty much everything takes more time to organize the first time than it does to keep up, I think I’m doing pretty well.

Of course I’m behind on my normal stuff (*ahemthisblogandthedogblog*), but once I get the initial set-up done and the new routines in place, everything should go a lot more smoothly. I’m pretty confident in saying it will, actually. I’ve thought it through and broken it down so that I know exactly what steps I need to take for success, so the only thing standing in my way would be…me. As usual.

Sometimes this overclocked brain does come in handy. When it’s not driving me nuts, anyways.

In any case, I went nuclear on the Brazen Snake Books site a couple of weeks ago, and I just finished rebuilding all the book pages and getting the newsletter sign-up back online. With any luck, there will be a new blog post up over there later today as well, and I need to make some new graphics next for marketing. It’s not difficult, just time-consuming, and I’m organizing a couple of book launches for authors working with BSB as well, so there’s a lot to be done. But I’m happy to report that my Friday late-night office hours are really paying off, and I think it will be completely sustainable for the long run, which is a relief. There’s a lot of business-y stuff I’m behind on, so it will take awhile to catch up, but those dedicated hours every week are going to be a godsend. And they save me some free time on the weekends too, so I don’t have to stress over what BSB stuff I should be doing when I *need* to clean the house and have some down time. The BSB site will be easy enough to maintain after all this clean-up/reorganization, as long as I keep up with it. Which I’ll be able to with the Friday night scheduled hours. I wish I’d thought of that years ago.

As far as my other goals go, I plugged several new tasks into my weekend routines, and it’s going well. My feet have been pedicured twice now (and are in much, much better shape already), my makeup brushes are clean and soft for the first time in…well, longer than I care to admit, the inch-thick layer of makeup/dust has been removed from my makeup vanity, my kitchen sink is clean on one side, and my tea center is cleaner/more organized as well (and getting better maintenance). I’ve also started doing push-ups, sit-ups and squats just after my nightly cleaning time and before I sit down to write. This is a twofer, really, because I’m building muscle mass, and also waking my brain up just a bit, which makes it easier to write that late at night. Major win there!

I’m taking this week off from work – today is a federal holiday anyways, and tomorrow is my birthday (which I always take off, because why not?). And since I’ve already discovered that unstructured staycations do not work well for me, I’m planning my days out to get the rest of my “prep work” done for my resolutions so I can just move forward with the new routines from then on out. I’m also planning some extra writing sessions to jump-start the drafts I have in progress and get back into the daily writing “zone”. It’s gonna be a good week, and so far, it’s off to a great, relaxing start.

And yes, I have some hobby-stuff I plan to work on this week as well. Like finally finishing the Haunted Dollhouse miniature mystery I started before Christmas and never quite got back to. That will be my main project on Tuesday, and I can’t wait! Then there’s my TBR comic book pile, and the US Postal Service has a new cataloging app for stamps that I intend to download and start putting my US stamp inventory into. About time they came out with an app for that!

I got some new Smurfs for my birthday, so I need to do some organizing in the blue realm as well to find spots for them. We’ll see if I get to that or not.

I’m planning writing sessions in the afternoons as well as my normal late-night sessions in hopes of making great strides on my current fiction draft, which is pretty exciting too, and should also help me get that daily writing habit well established again.

So, lots to do, but all stuff I *want* to do, and rarely have time for. Onward!

Catchin’ Up

Well then. I kinda got behind on this whole blogging thing, didn’t I? I’m sure the few of you reading along out there were probably busy enough with your own Halloween celebrations (or hidey-hole stocking, for those who don’t participate) that you didn’t even notice I was gone. I should probably do something about that…you know, something to make my posts so charming, so poignant, so completely engrossing that people wait with bated breath until the next missive comes out, but…that just sounds like work.

Save it for fiction, I say. Not that my fiction is especially stunning just yet, but I like to think it’s improving.

On the costumes, hubby and I went to the party as Bob Ross and a Happy Little Tree. It went over very well, thank you very much. The party was a blast…really fun seeing what everyone else came up with. Can’t wait to go again next year!

bobntree

The yard haunt went really well too, though I haven’t had a chance to transfer the pics from my cell yet. But they’re all over Instagram & Facebook, if you’re so inclined to follow/friend me on either of those. Not many trick-or-treaters, but lots of friends dropped by to chat, which is always fun.

In any case, Halloween is over, the bodies are back in the basement (well, most of ’em), and we spent most of this weekend taking the yard haunt down and just cleaning house in general. I may have even had a brief dalliance with a dust rag…but I don’t think that particular relationship is going anywhere long-term.

My neighbors seem to be a little confused as to the season – most of ’em took down their Halloween stuff and put out Christmas wreaths and flowers and things. I put out a nice autumn leafy-wreath on the door, some faux leaves and squashes in the door basket-decor-thingy by the steps, and another leafy wreath and some fall-leaf garland in the front window. Because as far as I know, Thanksgiving still comes before Christmas, right? And it’s still fall, not winter…

This weekend was also “fall back” to Standard Time, and I love that. I wish we could just stay in standard time year-round, but I like the dark, and I have no problem at all with it getting dark early in the evening. Judging from my facebook feed, I’m in the minority on that one, but at least people are whining about something other than politics for a change.skullcameoroseandlace

I got the second part of my right forearm (outside) tattooed last week too – a bit of lace and a big rose that ties directly in with my skeleton cameo (inside forearm). It turned out just amazing. Once it heals, I’ll try to get a quick video of the full forearm piece. That’s the last tattoo for this year – I need to pay some bills and do some budgeting work, and I also need a break from the itchy-healing process. It’s a really nice one to end the year with though. And the last one that’s really visible on a daily basis, at least until I get a few smaller bees/moths on my other arm to sort of fill in little open spaces.

I have a couple of goals I need to meet before I can get my next tattoo…I’ve decided tattoos are an excellent incentive/reward for completing goals. For the next one, I need to pay off one line of credit (completely) and lose (and keep off) the 5lbs I’ve put on over the last month or so due to bad eating habits and blowing off yoga in the mornings (ironically, part of that was due to healing tattoos, but still…).

I think I can accomplish both of those by next February, so hopefully I’ll be getting my next tattoo then. We shall see…

In the meantime, my husband decided to do NaNoWriMo this year (National Novel Writing Month), and I couldn’t very well let him do it by himself, so I decided to jump in again too. I’m woefully behind on word count already, but I have three days off this next week (Tues and Fri are holidays, Weds I’m taking a vacation day), so hopefully I can make up some wordage during that time.

As to the story I’m writing – I got the idea from my skeleton cameo tattoo. About three days after I got her done, she started talking to me, telling me a story involving a woman on the run, a voodoo priestess, a guardian talisman and a mystery waiting to be solved. Incidentally, her name is Misty. So I’m writing the Mystery of Misty for NaNo this month, as well as trying to get The Time Stone (Book One of The Stone Scavengers – a young/middle-grade story) edited and formatted for release in December. Busy busy!

So then…I think we’re all caught up now. Next time, remind me to tell you about a very cool stamp app the USPS just released this summer. Hopefully by next week I’ll be caught up with my postcard exchange as well, which has been on hold (along with everything else) due to Halloween madness.


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On Notes, Ink, Postcards, & Peace Camp

Funny how the first three title subjects have something to do with writing, and yet for the purposes of this post, it’s the most tenuous of threads…

The Note(s)
My Note 7 showed up on Wednesday to brighten up a rather gray week, and it is everything I hoped it would be and more. I love it, and though I still have a few things to get working correctly (like photos saving to Dropbox, etc), it’s functioning mostly like the Note 3 did. I factory-reset the Note 3 for my husband, who is actually using it to make lists and such, which is impressive. So we’ll see if he gets as much utility out of such a handy device as I do or not.

Note7

The screen is especially beautiful and clear, and the camera is pretty awesome too. Great low-light photos…they weren’t kidding!

It took the better part of an evening to get everything transferred over, and then part of another to get all my passwords put in (and I’m still not sure I have them all yet). Then there’s tweaking the settings for things, and turning notifications on and off, and figuring out the blue-light filter (which is awesome, because it makes the screen so much easier on my eyes). I can, indeed read on this screen with the filter on, which is awesome.

Fun, fun, but time consuming. Between that and work, the rest of the week flew right by.

The Ink
Saturday I got one of the two tattoos planned…there wasn’t time for two, but Andrew did a really amazing job on my barn spider in just an hour and a half. Meet Earl…Charlie’s new “arm-mate”:

Earl

Isn’t he cool? He’s still a bit swollen (takes 3-4 days for the swelling to go down), but I can’t wait to see how he turns out once he’s all healed. I’ll go back in two weeks to get my grasshopper/ladybug on the upper side of my wrist, and then I’ll let this arm heal for several months before doing anything else with it.

One more tattoo on the inside of my other forearm, and that will be it for this year. Fun stuff!

The Postcards
Then Sunday, I finally sat down and got several postcards ready to mail out. One for my own postcard exchange, and seven for Postcrossing exchanges. Apparently there are a lot of postcard collectors/swappers in Russia, because every one of the names I drew this time are from there. Hopefully next time I can draw a better mix? Not that it matters too much, I suppose…I sent them all a small bit of Montana.

8_29_2016

Peace Camp
So when I sat down last night to write this post, I had the TV on for noise (the dogs are used to it being on in the evenings, so they settle better when things are “normal”). I turned the channel to PBS World, figuring it’s normally politics and world news, so there wouldn’t be too much to grab my attention. Alas, I should have left it on a stupid sit-com or something, because it ended up being a documentary on this Peace Camp that brought together a group of girls from different parts of the middle east and basically worked with them on learning how to communicate, and how to respect other people’s beliefs even when you know you won’t agree, and how to be okay with that in a non-violent way.

It was fascinating, and it followed the lives of these girls for quite a few years after and how some of them struggled to keep in touch, and never gave up trying to communicate and come together. I couldn’t help but think that we all could use more of that – face-to-face time in small groups of people who believe differently, moderated so no one group can gang up on the other, with exercises that make us admit to/acknowledge the “human-ness” of the people on the other side of the wall, so to speak.

Kids need this. All kids, in my opinion. These were teens when they started, and I think that’s the perfect time to really instill that respect for other humans, especially those who disagree with our personal beliefs/philosophies.

I have more to say on the matter, but will wait until I can distill it into a less chaotic set of thoughts in my own head and give it a separate post. The documentary really made me think though, and gave me hope for future generations even in the midst of such unrest. I’m glad I got distracted by it, even if it did make this post late.

The Plan
Sneaking in one more section here – I’ve been seriously slacking lately. Too much unproductive time, which just leads to more unproductive time and less productive thinking. It’s a bad downward spiral that I really want to spin the other way. So I’m working on not just being more productive this week, but also giving certain projects less time. Which sounds counter-productive, but the less time I have to work on something, the more focused I am while I’m working on it and in a lot of cases, I get more done because of that.

So the hope is to get more done on the projects I need to get done during the week, leaving more time on the weekends for stuff I do just for enjoyment (without the guilt). Call it an experiment. Hopefully a productive one…


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“Pretty-Shinys” and Crow-Like Behavior

Luckily for me, crows are also very smart birds, so comparing myself to one isn’t completely derogatory. But my love of bright, shiny things is a serious issue sometimes. I have such a hard time resisting the pull…

I’ve been lusting after the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 ever since pictures started to leak months ago. For those who don’t know, I’ve been using a Galaxy Note 3 as a data-only device since shortly after my beloved Palm Pilots went obsolete (I had a brief dalliance with a small tablet, but the pocket-sized format is just so much more portable). In order to “hack” the cell system and get data-only, I got a Verizon Jetpack Hotspot from Amazon with a data plan, and once it was activated, I put the sim card into my Note 3. Voila! Data only cell connection. Works great!

Why data only? Because I’m not all that fond of phone conversations, and I don’t want people calling me when I’m out and about and expecting me to…you know…answer. It’s odd, but when you have a landline and don’t answer, people just assume that you’re out or busy. If you have a cell and don’t answer, they tend to take it more personally. Stupid, but true.

I do respond to texts and Facebook messages pretty quickly for the most part. So it’s not like I’m a total miscreant when it comes to being accessible.

In any case, Samsung’s devices are not cheap, and while I bought my Note 3 outright (an unlocked version used off Swappa), I didn’t really want to spend nearly $1k up front for a new Note 7. Since I have no plans to leave Verizon anytime soon (very reliable around here, though expensive), I figured I’d just buy the Note 7 from them on a monthly plan, and add it to my current data-only plan.

Alas, Verizon is too smart for that, and they would not let me buy the phone without “upgrading” to a new smartphone plan. Dang it. But the pull of the shiny was too strong to resist, and after talking myself through the logic that I could just turn off the call ringtone and not answer actual phone calls (unless I really, really need to for some reason), I went ahead and capitulated like the gadget-loving-crow I am. *sigh*

I figured I could at least keep the data-only plan for my old Note 3, and give that to my husband so he’ll have data and texting too. But Verizon was not playing around, and they went ahead and just upgraded my current sim card to a secondary smartphone line (probably because it was in my Note 3 – I should have put it back in the JetPack before starting this process). So now I have (or I will, when my Note 7 gets here next week) two smartphones with unlimited talk (which will be severely underused, given how little my husband and I actually use the phone) and text (which I’ll use, but I doubt my husband will much, if at all), and 4 GB of shared data for about double what I was paying before with data-only.

And all I really wanted was two smartphones with data-only (texting with Google works just fine for free). I don’t understand why that’s so difficult. No different than a wifi hotspot. Though now both phones do work for that too, which will be handy when Charter goes out here at the house (handier than having to take the sim card out of the cell and put it back in the hotspot, I mean).

I suppose I could call my hair stylist again to set up appointments if I want. Her cell number is her only phone, and it’s long distance, which I don’t carry on our landline (because we never need it). But texting her works well enough, so I’ll probably continue doing that.

I wonder if I can set up specific ringtones just for a few numbers, and then have all the rest silent? Anyone who uses a cell phone know? Immediate family and a couple people at work are really the only people who might ever need to get a hold of me while I’m out and about. I could set ringtones for them (those would be rare calls anyways), silence everyone else, and have the best of both worlds.

In any case, I will soon have a lovely new Blue Coral Galaxy Note 7, and it will be useful in all the ways my Note 3 is now for organization, email and internet “stuff”, and it will have an even better camera, and improved note/stylus functions, and those are the most important things to me. Exciting, I tell ya. So shiny it almost hurts. 🙂

It’s too bad I’m not fond of reading on a backlit screen, because the Note 7 curved edges would provide a nice frame for e-reading. Maybe I’ll try it again. I have a kindle backlog like you wouldn’t believe, because I’ve been reading predominantly print lately.

Is there really anything more fun than new gadgetry?

Tattoos may be a close second…and I have an appointment for two more smallish ones coming up this Saturday. So that will be fun too. Pictures next week…


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Mood Management & Skin-Tight Capris

I’m pretty sure Keith Richards’ lost love was at MontanaFair this weekend.

Let me back up a bit, and I’ll explain.

I was in a pretty serious funk on Sunday…later I figured out it was probably because hubby and I went out for dinner Saturday night, tried to go see the comedian who was here for the fair, got there too late to find parking and went back home, completely forgetting to take the supplements we normally take with dinner. Yes, I realize supplements are controversial, and it was quite some time before I even talked myself into taking a multi-vitamin. But after experimenting a lot on myself, and helping my husband experiment as well, it’s pretty unmistakable that the ones we take do have a very positive effect on our daily lives, and our moods as well.

It’s actually kind of disconcerting, but without my Super B complex and fish oil, I’m an anxiety-ridden mess who can’t focus to save her life. Scary, but true. Skip one day, and I’m merely a grump. I know this because I’ve run out before, and had to go without for various periods of time. Disconcerting, as I said – in an apocalypse situation, I’d be a much less pleasant person to be around in just a week due to the lack of supplements readily available.

So, there I am on Sunday afternoon, limping through the day on less supplementation and less sleep than I should, walking the fairgrounds with my hubby before the concert starts, thankful the crowds weren’t that bad.

That’s when we saw her.

A character so perfect that if I wrote her, no one would find her even remotely believable. And yet, there she was, in the pasty-white wrinkled flesh.

She had to be at least 70 (I’m guessing older), all skin and tiny bones with long, wavy white hair and a thickly-lined expression that said she didn’t care, and she never had cared what anyone thought of her or her choices. Two long, bony fingers held a smoking cigarette that hung down at her side, but it was her choice of clothing that really said more than anything else.

At an age when most people would give up on zippers and anything remotely snug, this lady was wearing skin-tight shiny black capris with white rock-n-roll style crosses on the front of each thigh. And up top, a black tank with more rock-n-roll motifs. I didn’t notice any tattoos, but they certainly wouldn’t have been out of place. And if it hadn’t been rude, I’d have looked closer and snapped a pic, because she is everything I want to be, as far as attitude goes.

Seeing her made my whole day and snapped me right out of my funk – because *that* is how we should all approach life. She was rocking those rock-n-roll groupie clothes, and she clearly didn’t care what anyone else thought about it either. She didn’t let age hold her back, and she is who she is, even after all these years.

And if she’s single, and Keith Richards is looking, I doubt he’ll find a better match…though I dare say she’s probably not always that easy to handle.

In any case, we got some fair food, got confused as to what happened to the main exhibits we normally see (some of which we never even saw), and enjoyed the Theory of a Deadman/3 Doors Down concert even though the sound sucked where we were sitting. Murphy did fine in his cone for the extra time we needed him too (poor thing), and I got home in time to finish the laundry and get this post written/posted before bed.

All in all, not a bad weekend, if it was a little chaotic. I tell you what though – seeing that lady at the fair made everything that led up to us being at that exact spot on that exact day and time was totally and completely worth it. It was one of those pivotal moments in life that sticks with you forever…in the best possible way.


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Back to “Normal”

What did I learn on my summer vacation? A few things:

1. Just don’t. I’m really not a “summer vacation” kinda girl. I don’t like traveling in the summer due to the crowds of people, and there’s too much stuff to do outside that makes me feel guilty for not getting it done. A day or two here and there for a single project? Sure. A whole unplanned week to be home by myself? Nope. Bad idea. Works way better in the winter for me.

2. I do best with planned vacations if I’m staying home and just taking a break from work. Vacation to write? Sure. Vacation to clean out my closet or read non-stop for several days in a row? Nice. Vacation with no plans and a conscious effort not to plan anything at all? Major fail. I mostly just stress about not doing anything – not even the fun stuff I want to do. “Aimless” is not a good thing for me…I need a plan, even if it’s just to relax (in a structured way). Just my personality.

That said, I did get a few things done, including starting a new blog for the dogs at LeashCandy.dog. It needs a lot of work yet, and that will probably have to wait until the weather gets colder, but it’s up, and that’s where you’ll find the Friday posts from Mica and Murphy now. I still need to move the subscriptions over there for those who are only subscribed to those posts, and put a subscription form on that site for those who want to keep following their posts, but I’ll have all that done by the end of this week.

I also reworked my morning routine to give me some time to write before work four days a week. It’s not a huge amount of time, but even if it’s just a paragraph or two, it gets the story I’m working on for the day sort of “primed” in my head, so my subconscious can work on it while I’m doing other things throughout the day. I’m hoping this will translate to an easier writing time late at night when I have time to get back at it before bed. We shall see.

I spent some time watching workshop videos by Dean Wesley Smith, and I really need to make time for a few of these a week. I’m going to work it into my schedule – possibly on the weekends, and I think it’s going to help immensely not just with the writing itself, but with my confidence and motivation as well. It already is, truthfully, and I feel more motivated than I have in a long time to get some books finished and out there. Hooray for *that*!

All in all, it wasn’t a bad week. I did a lot of reflecting, and a lot of thinking, and a lot of learning, and it may not have been the most pleasant week in the world, but it was mentally very productive. Now I’m going back to work with a clearer head and better focus, which is going to be very important with some big changes happening there over the next few months (starting this coming week).

So…back to “normal” I go. A very comforting thought after a very non-routine week.

Vacation Report

This whole “not planning” thing is crazy hard for me. Even now, I have my planner beside me on the arm of my couch like a security blanket, just in case I decide I can’t stand it anymore and must make priorities, a list and a schedule for the day before I can possibly go on. I have to wonder if I’m doing myself any favors by fighting it so hard, or if it might be better to just give in and schedule my afternoon so I can stop worrying about *not* having a schedule/getting things done…

It may happen yet. I’m not really relaxing if I’m stressed over trying not to be stressed. How ironic is *that*, anyways?

So far, I’ve done a pretty good job of taking it easy though. I visited with the guy who does my tattoos on Friday, and set up an appointment for Aug. 6th to get another couple of pieces done on my left forearm. The first forearm tattoo was a pretty big step – kind of a commitment to having visible tattoos – to being a “tattooed person”, rather than a person who has a few small tattoos in easily hidable places. I mean, I can still keep my arm covered, of course, but I tend to push sleeves up constantly – I’m not fond of fabric pulling around my wrists for any length of time – so the forearm tattoo was a pretty big step for me. I love it, and every time I look at it, I feel like it’s *supposed* to be there. Like that’s who I really am, and what I want my skin to look like.

The rattlesnake on my forearm.

        The rattlesnake on my forearm.

I realize that sounds crazy to a non-tattooed person, but that’s okay. I would never, ever try to convince anyone to get a tattoo…and no tattooed person I know would ever do that either. It’s very much a “make a wise decision for yourself” sort of community, because it is a permanent body modification, and no one should do that unless they’re absolutely certain it’s what they want. For me, tattoos are definitely part of who I am, and there are many more in my future.

I also finished a knitting project yesterday – a pair of fingerless gloves I’ve been working on for several weeks. I’ve been struggling with thumb gussets because though I’m right-handed, I knit left-handed (it just was more comfortable for me to learn that way – flexibility is a good thing), so I had problems translating that part of the pattern from right to left-handed techniques. And I can’t even tell you how proud of myself I am for having figured that out on the second glove. The gusset looks and fits much better, and it seriously took me a lot of youtube video help and reworking make 1 stitches to finally get it right. The harder something is to master, the more pleasure we get when we manage, right? It’s certainly true in this case, and while it was incredibly frustrating, I’m glad I stuck with it.

Just gotta clean up the ends on the last one!

                                  Just gotta clean up the ends on the last one!

I also started reading a new light mystery series this weekend themed around a tattoo shop. Tattoos on the brain, I tell ya. They’re quite addictive, and when you’re ready for that next “hit”, they’re on the mind a lot. I’m not sure whether I’ll finish this series or not (it’s four books), because it’s written in first-person, and I typically have trouble getting into stories from that perspective. But I’m working on writing a short story that’s first-person at the moment too, so who knows? Maybe that particular preference is changing for me. It would certainly expand both my reading and writing potential if it did…

The short story I’m working on is for a celebration of Frankenstein’s 200th birthday – a bicentennial “dare”. Kind of a fun little project that I need to finish by the end of the week, if I want to enter the contest. It’ll be under my alter-ego Alex’s name – this sort of thing is right up her alley.

I also registered a new domain name this weekend – spent an absurd amount of money for it, but it will be the home of my dog’s new blog & site, once I get it built. That’s on my mental list of things to do before Friday, and a fun project, methinks. More on that at the end of the week…

Now, I really need to get off my butt for awhile – I’ve been sitting too long already today. I need a yoga session, and then some housecleaning, methinks, before I sit down at the computer again.

Maybe I’ll just make a quick little list of priorities for the afternoon first…

Gone to the Dogs: Two-Wheeled Sneaky-People

Sun-tannin' on a lunch break...

                             Sun-tannin’ on a lunch break…

Murphy sez: There sure are a lot of sneaky people riding those two-wheeled contraptions around lately, don’t you think, Mica? Seems like they come out of nowhere on our walks, and mostly from behind us. What’s up with that? Are they trying to scare us? ‘Cause it’s working. You’ve been pretty skittish lately when we’re out…

Mica sez: I just wish I could hear them coming, ya know? It’s kind of freaky to be walkin’ along, minding my own business, and then boom! Out of nowhere, there’s someone right beside me! On wheels! They’re like ghosts, I tell ya. It’s not natural. It really shouldn’t be allowed.

Murphy sez: I don’t think they mean us any harm. I mean, most of them seem nice. They smile, and sometimes they say hi. But it is a bit unsettling. I prefer those to the noisy kind though. Especially those little tiny ones with super-loud high-pitched engines. Too much like a dirt-bike to me. I was ready to chase that one dude down the other night. He really got on my nerves. If I hadn’t been on a leash…

Mica sez: Yeah, I noticed. J had to stop us twice so you’d quit pulling so hard on your prong collar. Lucky for her you had that on too, or she might have ended up face-first on the pavement. You get excited about the strangest things, Murph. That guy didn’t seem any creepier than anyone else to me. Just noisy.

Murphy sez: He could have been a perfectly nice guy, for all I know. But I hate his bike, and want it to die. Which is different from the kid we see on the other street sometimes. I don’t care if he’s on a skateboard or a normal ol’ bicycle – I hate that guy. If I ever get a hold of him, it’s not gonna be pretty.

Mica sez: Aw, you shouldn’t hate people, Murph. What did he do to you, anyway?

Murphy sez: Some things are best left unsaid, Mica. That dude had just better stay on his side of the street, is all.

Say, speaking of people being out of place, do you think that old golden retriever got home okay?

Mica sez: If J remembered the right yard to tell the nice lady who picked him up, I bet he did. Didn’t see him there tonight, but hopefully she got him home. She seemed nice – that lady who had him in her car. Paw-bumps to her for helping the old guy get out of traffic and un-lost!

Murphy sez: If he’d been wearing a collar and ID, it would have been lots easier. She wouldn’t have even had to ask J if she knew where the dog lived. But so many dogs around here don’t even have collars. Why don’t people keep ID on their dogs, Mica?

Pretty tag collar!

                                    Pretty tag collar!

Mica sez: I guess some people just like a challenge, Murph. Even with a microchip, it’s a heck of a lot easier to just make a phone call or knock on a door than it is to find a microchip reader and get scanned. Maybe we can think of something to do to raise awareness of how important it is for us four-leggers (and tripods!) to have ID on us at all times. Wanna do a contest this fall, Murph?

Murphy sez: That’s a great idea! We’ll have to talk to J about it and see what she says. Maybe she’ll buy us some swag to give away. Collars and ID tags would be cool, right? Like…a collar and leash wardrobe?

Mica sez: Yep – and I know just the thing for ID, actually. But I think we should try it out first, right? It’s the responsible thing to do. We’d better go find J and tell her our plan. There’s some stuff we need her to order. Hey, do you think we should ask for our own web site?

Murphy sez: Yeah! That would be totally cool.Maybe we could be famous! And it’s probably time for some treats too, right? I mean, it’s always treat-time somewhere…

BoneTired