Vacation! Older! Motivated (sort of)! Tattoo!

For the one or two of you wondering, no, I did not get 6 hours of sleep this past Saturday night. Or most nights last week, actually. It was just one of those weeks where not much went right, the world was chaos, and I just kind of hung on and made it through. Some weeks are like that. No avoiding it, unfortunately.

I made a mistake with the nail gel polish application last week, and that’s why Saturday night I was up way later than I should have been trying to get that polish back *off* my nails. Learning curve, nightmare, chaos, yadda yadda yadda. Lesson(s) learned and noted, next week should go much faster. Hopefully.

As you might have noticed when you tried to go to the bank or mail something, today is a federal holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day). Which is why I’m hanging with the dogs and having lunch with my parents/grandma instead of toiling away at the office. Because I have extra vacation hours to use or lose this year, and because Wednesday is my birthday (always take my birthday off), I went ahead and just took the whole rest of the week off too. Which fits in nicely with one of my non-resolution goals this year, which is to get my butt in gear and publish some more books.

I have at least two drafts that just need some editing, formatting and cover art before they’re ready to go up for sale. They’ve been in that state for a long time now, and I just haven’t had the…well, chutzpah, I guess, to get them out there. Issues with confidence, directional issues, mid-life-crisis sort of issues…it’s been a crazy few years. But it’s time to get back in the game. I’m writing regularly again (thank God), and it’s far past time to start putting stuff out there too.

So this week is all about editing. I have a 500 new-word minimum to meet every day, but after that, it’s all about getting those two drafts cleaned up and in publishable shape. I’ve set release dates for both of them, mostly just to give myself a deadline (I work best on deadline and I haven’t been setting many of those for myself lately), and meeting those release dates means absolutely finishing the edits on the first draft this week, and the second has to be finished by mid-February (but the sooner the better). I’m going to spend a fair amount of time (several hours) on each of them in the afternoons this week, and see how much I can get done.

I’d also really like to get that antique sewing machine I bought last fall up and running. I have a new belt for it, a bottle of oil, and some new bobbins…and I can’t remember if I bought a new needle for it or not yet. It needs to be cleaned and oiled, and then the new belt put on, and that should be enough to get it running. I want to make Murphy-dog some new leggings, which will be a super-easy first project for someone who hasn’t sewn in ages (just tubes with casings on each end for elastic). I don’t have any fabric or thread at the moment (details, details), but payday is next Monday, so once the machine works, I’ll head out to the craft store.

The sewing machine will be a “break project” – I can’t sit on my butt all day, every day (well, I could, but it would hurt and not be all that healthy). If I work on it for an hour or so a day, I should have it in good shape by Saturday, I’d think. The scrubbing decades worth of grime off will probably take the longest amount of time.

Wednesday afternoon, I’m treating myself to a new “Smurfy” tattoo on my left ankle. I doubt he’ll have time to do the whole thing (it will wrap around), but I have an appointment at 1pm to get it started.

It was three years ago on the 16th that I started getting tattooed again, after a very long haitus. Allowing myself to indulge in something I enjoy despite the negative opinions of others is kind of like the middle-aged guy who buys a sports car in/after a mid-life crisis. It’s helped me to feel more like “me” again, instead of someone I made myself appear to be for the comfort of everyone else. There are consequences, of course (there always are, for being openly yourself), but I’m more equipped to handle them now than I ever was as a younger person…probably much like that guy takes better care of the sports car as an adult than he would have as a teen. Being married to someone who supports that need in spite of personal objections is a rare and amazing thing, indeed.

So, writing, editing, sewing maching restoration, birthday, tattoo. It’s gonna be a good week, methinks. I hope yours goes well too!

Nailin’ It…Slowly.

So far, its been pretty easy to eat an egg once per day (see this year’s resolution post if you have no idea what I’m talking about). Getting six continuous hours of sleep a night? Not so easy. Especially on Saturday nights, which is when you’d think it would be the easiest, since I can generally sleep in on Sundays. Alas, no matter how late I can sleep, I still have to be up by 7:30am or so to feed the dogs, so my 6 hours has to happen before then (anything that happens after is just a bonus, and one I often take advantage of).

This is because Saturday nights are “nail nights”, or more properly, manicure nights. So I wait until the dogs and husband are settled for the night around 11:30pm-12am, and then I get out my nail “stuff”, pull up whatever show(s) I’m currently watching, and start the process of removing my old nail polish, filing, shaping, buffing, and re-polishing. I also soak my feet and do a simple pedicure at the same time…re-polishing my toenails every 4-5 weeks or so. I generally get done around 3:30-4am, but then I have to wait for the new polish to dry before I can go to bed, which is another hour or so. Even then, I often end up with sheet prints in my polish or scrunched up tips just because the polish wasn’t *truly* dry.

In any case, I decided to try a new method of doing my nails this week, to see if I could speed up the process a bit, and even with a somewhat steep learning curve, I shaved an hour off my normal time. I still need practice, but considering I spent an hour or more just reading instructions, watching videos and being extra-careful, I think I can cut at least another hour, hour and a half off next time. And there are other things I can do to speed things up, like setting up my “space” and picking out colors, etc…earlier in the day, so it doesn’t take that extra half hour in the evening before I can even start.

Could I just skip all this and go to the salon for a couple of hours? Sure. But I really don’t like having someone else do my nails. I did once, because I got a gift certificate for a manicure, and I didn’t like anything about the way she filed, shaped or polished my nails. I didn’t like the touch from a stranger on my hands. And doing that every two weeks holds no appeal to me whatsoever, much less every week.

More importantly though, nail night is “me time”. Not “me and a stranger’s time” or even “me and a friendly acquaintence’s time”, but time for me to be alone, recharging my introverted little batteries, watching shows my husband has no interest in, and just generally enjoying having a few hours to myself. I still fully intend to take 3 hours every Saturday night to relax, do my nails and watch my shows. I’m just cutting that time down from 5 hours to take better care of my brain (such as it is) by sleeping more.

I think by mid-February, I should have it all down to a science of sorts, and I’ll be in bed by 1:30am on Sunday mornings. I dare say that will make Sundays more productive as well. Which would be really nice. We’ll see.

Now, back to the grind. But only for a week – I’ve got next week off work, and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest. Five more days…

Resolutions 2018: What Kind of Person Do I Want to Be?

This year, it’s not about what I do, but who I am. Am I the kind of person who puts things off and lets them go just because the time isn’t optimal, or due to rigid social/societal structures? Or am I the kind of person who treats life and time as fluid and finds creative solutions in order to meet her goals and stay mentally balanced and healthy? I’m sure you can guess which kind of person I’d rather be…but I’ve been slipping on that a bit lately. Or a lot. I’ve let a lot of good habits go by the wayside just because I can’t do them on the schedule I want to or because I’m tired and not making good use of my alone-time to recharge, and I’ve let some stumbling blocks in my daily life completely derail me from things I really want to do.

I’m a creative thinker. The things that have been derailing me just…shouldn’t, because I’m perfectly capable of figuring out different ways of getting things done. I’m also perfectly capable of finding a compromise point when necessary, and that’s where the flexibility comes in. Often to get things done or change a schedule, the only person I need to compromise with is myself and my own rigid thoughts and routines.

When it comes to resolutions, I’m changing my thought patterns a little this year. I normally have a fairly long list, with several resolutions and then a detailed plan for how I’ll accomplish each one. A “resolution” for me is just a very strong goal…something that I really want to focus on and work at making happen. The thing is, I don’t remember those long lists, so I end up only accomplishing one or two things instead of a good chunk of the list. And I’m not good at remembering to check the lists every so often and remind myself what I’m supposed to be doing, which is something I need to work on.

So, this year I’m doing something different. I still have my longer list with the detailed plans, and I’m going to put monthly reminders on my calendar to look back, take stock and see what kind of progress I can make on that list. That’s the yearly “Goal List”, and those items are important, but they take a back seat to the “Resolutions List”.

The Resolution list is the highest priority, has three items on it, and only a few ideas on how I could possibly implement these “major goals”, rather than a detailed plan that may or may not work. This is to leave my mind room to work on creative solutions so I can find the one that will work best with what I’m trying to do through trial and error, rather than locking myself into something that may prove untenable in the long run.

The resolutions are deceptively simple, but will require a ripple of changes to multiple routines, schedules and mindsets to meet them on a regular, daily basis. They’re seemingly small things that will have profound impacts on my life…hopefully for the better.

So, my resolutions for this year are:

– Get at least 6 continuous hours of sleep 6 nights per week
– Eat at least one egg per day, 6 days per week
– Read through my goals list once per week, and note any progress or lack thereof. Adjust as necessary.

And that’s it. Those are my three hard and fast priorities for the year – the things I want to do no matter what else happens. Why these three in particular?

Sleep is something I hate wasting time on, but it’s incredibly important for a lot of things, not the least of which is overall long-term brain health. I read a study last fall (and mentioned it here, so apologies for the repeat) on how if you get less than 6 continuous hours of sleep per night, your brain can’t properly perform basic “cleaning functions” it needs to keep the pathways clear of amyloid deposits (among other things). These deposits have been linked to causing dementia and Alzheimer, and the more often you go without that minimum amount of sleep, the more your brain actually loses the ability to perform those important “scrubbing” tasks no matter how much sleep you get.

So why make it a resolution? Because for me, sleeping for 6 continuous hours means completely redoing both my night and morning routines, and becoming more efficient at what I need to get done before and after work just so I can have 6 hours free to do…brain maintenance. This resolution affects a very large swath of my life, and while I’ve been working on it for a couple of months now, I tend to “fudge” the schedule here and there, and I’m still working to find a good way to handle my manicure nights on Saturdays (when I’m often up until 4-5am doing my nails).

Focusing on getting 6 hours of sleep will force me to adjust and change (improve?) a plethora of other things in my life, which makes it a good resolution, methinks.

As for the eggs – I’m working on getting healthier (a constant thing). Losing weight, getting strong, eating healthy. Lots of recent studies have de-villified the egg as a cholesterol issue, and they contain a lot of really great vitamins and minerals that support healthy thyroid and metabolic function. Plus, good protein! And very versatile/easy to incorporate into daily meals.

Focusing on eating one specific food every day will force me to think about my meals in advance, and also keep me in the mindset of eating foods that support my overall goals of getting healthier and getting back to a healthier weight.

Lastly, the checking in on my major goal list once a week will help keep those fresh in my mind, and give me a weekly opportunity to think about what I could do to make progress on them, or go over what isn’t working and adjust the goal accordingly. This also will require that I adjust my weekend routines to make time for this weekly check-in. I’ll probably need an hour, at least.

So, that’s the resolution list and plan for this year. I’ve already started moving things around in my routines to get to bed on time, and planning out how to fit a daily egg into my diet (this week, cupcake-sized egg muffins for breakfast…made this morning and cooling for the freezer). Just need to figure out when I’ll do my first goals check-in next weekend, and I’ll be off to a good start.

Here’s to a year of focus, flexibility and forward progress!

2017 in Review

Well now. That was kind of a bumpy year, wasn’t it? Mercifully, it seems like it flew right by, but man. I had such high hopes and…well…I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I’d hoped to.

I basically have three sections to my resolutions every year: Personal, Writing/Publishing, and Work. Out of all the items I had for those three sections, I accomplished exactly 1 item on each list. Like many others, I got caught up in watching politics, work was busy, writing was…moving forward, but it took most of the year to find a daily (nightly) “flow” again, and I ended up not publishing anything and slightly behind on my bookkeeping, though not as bad as in years past.

The three things I “accomplished” were really only partial accomplishments, but it’s something. In my personal resolutions list, one goal was to give myself a pedicure every week along with my manicure. This goal stems from the fact that my toenails grow insanely fast, and the bottom of my right foot is crazy dry, cracked, peeling, etc (so not nice). And I’m really not good at foot-care, which doesn’t help.

I don’t do a full pedicure every week because it takes forever, but I do soak, file and moisturize my feet every Saturday night now, which means I notice when the nails are too long and cut them before they can start causing problems. I’ve also started moisturizing them more often on other days, which means that while my right foot is still pretty messed up, it’s far better than it was. At least when I don’t pull strips out of the callus like I did last week (ouch).

The point being, I am taking better care of my feet, and the fact that this “better care” hasn’t solved the problem completely has led me to look at other potential issues, which will play into next year’s resolutions. Healing from the inside out, so to speak. But I’m also taking better care of myself in other ways, and much of that has stemmed from just focusing on better foot care.

As far as writing/publishing go, the one thing I actually sort-of accomplished was setting aside time for business-work: bookkeeping, promotion, site updates, etc. I haven’t been good about keeping up all year, but I did a heck of a lot better than in years past, and that will make doing my taxes next year less of a chore. I still need to work on refining this over the next year…a lot of things have changed with my schedule and what I want to accomplish in that area, so it’s a work in progress. But I feel like I did pretty well, considering the business work is my least-favorite part of writing/publishing.

I don’t post about work goals online, for obvious reasons, but I did accomplish one of two goals for last year, and I feel pretty good about that.

The other thing I did wasn’t even a goal, but it was the simplest and also hardest thing to accomplish, and it took me all year. I finally got back into the daily writing habit, and have been writing just about every weekday for the last several weeks. It took me *so long* to find habits and routines that would support that after losing the habit a couple years ago. But I’m back on track now, and it feels really good. Mentally stabilizing as well.

So, definite progress forward this year, and I’m actually quite looking forward to 2018. It’s gonna be a good year, methinks.

Monday, I’ll post my resolutions for the new year, and my plans for making them happen. Now it’s time to take down Christmas, restore my house to its normal state, and shovel about a ton of snow…

Vacation Report, Entertainment & Free Books

Back to “normal” life today, after a nice week of alternate reality. I didn’t completely stick to the schedule I’d hoped to, but considering I had a couple of wrenches thrown in the works, as it were, I think I did pretty well. No writing toward the end of the week, but I got a fair amount done the first couple of days. Had a nice visit with my grandma (and a nice drive out and back), finished a crochet project for a friend and started a gift project (it’s half-done), and fixed our leaking bathtub faucet. I visited the tattoo shop and made an appointment for my birthday next month, and I attended my husband’s annual work holiday get-together.

I should have gotten a few more Christmasy things done, like…say…cards. But, it’s all good. I’ll mail a few out this week and maybe do better next year. I can’t believe Christmas is one week away! How the heck did that happen?

The rest of this week is going to be busy catching up at work, and busy frantically finishing last-minute gifts and shopping (I get paid Friday, so…yeah). So I guess calling it “normal” is kind of an overstatement. But I’m looking forward to the whole Christmas family thing being over (because…way too social for my tastes, thanks), and I always look forward to a new year beginning.

So really, two more weeks before things really get back to normal, I guess. Hopefully they go by fast.

I watched a lot of cheesy Christmas romance movies last week, and while it really is all the same basic plot, it’s nuts how acting and writing can make all the difference in the world. I’ve seen *so very many* really bad movies lately where either the acting or scripting or both were just completely horrible…and only a couple that I really enjoyed. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the quality of Netflix’s original movies this year. Amazon’s…not so much. And God save me from yet another Ion (new broadcast TV channel to us) romantic tragedy. Wow.

We did go see Justice League (hubby’s work Christmas thing), which was better than I thought it would be. I like Christopher Nolan films though. I also like Jason Momoa and Henry Cavill without shirts. So there’s that. I still don’t like Ben Affleck as Batman, because…seriously? No. Just no. He doesn’t do the suit justice, so to speak. Can we have Christian Bale back, please?

We’ve also been watching Godless on Netflix, which is really quite good (intense), and have not had time to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2 yet. Dang it.

And we did not get to go watch a late night showing of Die Hard at the Art House Cinema downtown this weekend, which I really wanted to do. *sigh* Next year, hopefully.

If you’re looking for a little reading respite for your holiday interlude, three of my holiday-themed short stories are free for the next couple of weeks over on the BSB site. One romance, one horror, and one erotica, so you can either download whichever alter-ego you’re most interested in, or the whole collection if you’re feeling a bit adventurous. Good for those short “disappearances” that are necessary to survive family functions.

No post next week, for obvious reasons, but resolutions posts will go up on Friday the 29th and Monday the 1st. I hope you’ll join me!

Happy Holidays!

Vacation Time – Installing Updates

About that missing post last week…yeah. My weekend got away from me and then before I knew it was happening, so did the rest of the week. It happens.

But this week…this week, I’m on vacation from the day job. And as I determined through a largely unscientific trial and error period, I do better with purposeful, scheduled vacations rather than the “anything goes” type. So I have a plan, and I’m excited to get started on it tomorrow. It’s gonna be a good week, methinks.

I really need to do some basic house upkeep, and I want to take a good chunk of time for writing, some for reading, and this time I even built in a short little afternoon out-of-town trip. Here’s the basic outline:

Monday: Write 1500 words and clean off the long counter in the kitchen (so I can find/use my crockpots again, and to make nightly maintenance/cleaning easier at the tea station). In the evening, crochet boot cuffs for a friend.

Tuesday: Write 1500 words and bake some goodies for Wednesday.  Watch some youtube videos on replacing bathtub faucet washers. Think I might watch Smurfs: The Lost Village too (been wanting to do that, and it’s on Netflix). And in the evening, crochet a small Christmas gift.

Wednesday: Write 1500 words and go visit my grandma for tea and goodies in the afternoon (Just shy of 100 miles away – road trip! Back in time for dinner.).

Thursday: Write 1500 words, clean out the basement bathroom (don’t ask) and replace the toilet innards so it’s usable again. For evening, start a small knitted gift.

Friday: Write 1500 words and take apart the upstairs tub faucet to replace washers or whatever I need to do to stop the damn thing from dripping night and day, day and night (I can hear it in my office and every time I pass that room. It’s been driving me *insane* for months now, literally – it *has* to stop!). Finish knitted gift in the evening.

So, if everything goes well, I should end the week with 7500 new words written, a reorganized and more usable/easily maintainable kitchen counter, a nice visit with my grandma, and two bathrooms that function as they should again (and cost way less in water and personal sanity). Not to mention several crochet projects done and ready to pass along or wrap up for gifts, some comics caught up on and at least one movie I want to see, watched.

It’s going to be very, very cool. And all very doable in the time allotted (should be time to spare with most of it, though plumbing issues often take longer than they should, unfortunately), leaving me bits and pieces of time for reading comics & watching movies.

I’ve also been working on revamping my morning and nightly routines a little, and I’ll keep working on that (I’ll keep to my normal sleep/wake routines pretty much all week, with the exception of *not* getting up early on Tuesday). And we’ve been tweaking our eating habits a bit too – refining portion sizes and ratios, so we’ll keep working on that as well. But I’d be doing those anyways, so they don’t really count as “vacation” projects, aside from being able to tweak my routines without repercussions if they set me back a little timewise while I’m figuring things out.

I know this doesn’t sound very “vacation-y”, but it’s all things I really, really want to do and can’t ever seem to find the time for. So this is stress relief for me – fixing little everyday things that drive me nutty on a daily or almost-daily basis. Plus visiting my grandma in her small, quiet town, where I can pretty much guarantee at least one rousing game of Scrabble will take place along with our tea, cookies & scones. I might even load up some podcasts to listen to on the way and back, if I can figure out how without too much trouble.

Oh…and Thursday or Friday I’m gonna go talk to my tattoo artist about my next tattoo (to be scheduled around my birthday in January). I have two ideas to give him, so we’ll see which one he finds more appealing to work on first, and go from there. Something a bit less serious and more comic-ish this time. A fun birthday gift to myself.

So. Anyone else doing anything fun, exciting, or just plain productive this week?

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Trails, Happy Writing


Happy Thanksgiving

Last week was an odd one around here, even for a holiday week. We broke with tradition for the first time ever, and ordered our Thanksgiving meal from Lucky’s Market to share with my in-laws. And you know what? It was really, really good. The turkey was so moist and flavorful that I don’t see any reason at all to slave over one of my own all day ever again. An hour and a half to reheat, and we had one of those perfectly roasted turkeys that everyone wants to make, and almost no one ever achieves. The sides we got with it were good but not spectacular, so that might be something to just assign out next year, but the turkey? Yeah. I’m all about ordering one up and calling it good. The pies were fabulous too. We got pumpkin (for me and my father-in-law), and pecan (for hubby and his mom). I don’t remember which my brother-in-law had…but we were all duly impressed (and way too full).

We went to my brother-in-law’s house, started watching a movie while dinner heated up, ate, finished the movie, and I worked on a pair of slippers for my husband while we sat and digested (and then ate yet another slice of pumpkin pie…because…do I even need a reason for that?!).

Even my mother-in-law proclaimed it a really great day, which she seldom does with any holiday. So mission accomplished, and I have leftover turkey for pot pie and maybe a turkey curry, and the carcass in the freezer for stock and soup when I have time to boil it down (next weekend while I’m decorating for Christmas, methinks). Mmm…leftovers.

Happy Trails

Friday, we worked. Saturday, we drove the hundred miles or so to attend my grandpa’s funeral. My grandpa was the quintessential country man – he trapped and hunted and kept bees and worked leather and loved dogs and all that was after he was a sheep rancher in North Dakota. He played pinochle with my parents and gin rummy with us kids, and went to bed at 8pm so he could be up at 4:30am making silver dollar pancakes and being far, far too chipper for my night-owl self while I stayed with them for a week or two each summer and over Christmas breaks too when I was young.

I never hunted with him (I’m too lazy for hunting), but I helped him and my dad cut up many a deer and antelope carcass. I had warm honey and beeswax from his hives sitting in the truck when we went to check the bees in the summer, learned simple basics of leather working as I watched him and played with his tools, read all the western novels on his bookshelves, and yes, I snapped the suspenders he always wore over his plaid shirts at least once every time I saw him until I was approximately 20-something. I hated how he chucked me under the chin, so the ‘spender snapping was my retaliation. It was our thing.

The service was nice – not too long, and simple, as he’d have wanted it. Lunch after was kind of an impromptu family reunion, as all seven of his kids and some of their spouses were there, all but three of us grandkids (I’m the oldest) made it, and several great-grandchildren were there as well, including the youngest who is just a few months old. Cycle of life, right there in the Forsyth Baptist Church on a sunny Saturday morning.

Happy trails, Gramps. And thanks for the life lessons and memories.

Happy Writing

I’m throwing in the towel on NaNoWriMo this year…calling it a “loss”. There’s no way I’ll reach 50k words by the end of the month, so in that sense, it is. But I’ve gotten a good start on a book I’ve been wanting to write for a year now, and I think it’s really coming along well. I’m excited to keep working on it, but I’m also kind of excited to “give up” on the challenge, so I can work on two other drafts I have going as well again. I like how they’re shaping up too, and I want to work on them. I want to finish them. Making the decision not to spend the next week frantically writing as much as possible on the NaNo draft frees me up to work on all three drafts in tandem (one each night, rotating). I’m always happiest when working on more than one draft at a time, so it’s a good thing.

I’m also giving up on trying to find more time to write and pushing to get more words in. There are other things I need to prioritize right now – things like health and sleep and the extra care my current dogs need. I have a little time each night, and I can reasonably write around 500 words in that time, which is plenty to be able to complete manuscripts and keep publishing here and there. Life has a way of changing things up every now and then, and there will be times when I can write more, which I’ll happily do, but this isn’t one of them, and that’s okay.

Giving up is often a bad thing. But sometimes, it’s exactly the freedom we need to move forward.

This week, it’s back to the normal routines and enjoying the last week of November before I let the “Holiday Season” encroach. Peaceful, contemplative, and for the most part, happy.

Feathers, Fur, & Other Things

Last week I watched a flock of blue jays flutter through our yard on their way to who knows where. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a blue jay, much less several of them. They reminded me of our finches, always moving, always bobbing, always looking around and flitting somewhere else. Very busy little birds, and oh-so-pretty. I think they know it, too.

I also watched squirrels playing in the neighbor’s trees (mostly making sure Murphy didn’t get too energetic and decide to jump the fence while they taunted him from above). They’re so cute, scurrying around the branches, stopping for a quick wrestling match, chasing each other around and then practically flying to the next tree. Cheeky little things love to sit up in the trees or on the power lines and chatter at the dogs, lecturing them for barking and holding their ground (so to speak) against the big, apparently not-so-scary monsters below.

Another bushy-tailed dude was hiding wares in the front yard, digging holes and covering them back up, most likely to forget what he put where over the winter. And a large, well-insulated bunny was mocking the tiny yapper-dogs in one of the neighbor’s yards, sitting there under the lilac bushes not 10 feet away from pups that are smaller than he is. I can’t imagine he was enjoying the noise he created (I know I sure wasn’t), but he did seem kind of proud of the ruckus, and completely unwilling to give up his cozy spot.

I haven’t seen our wild turkeys around lately, but that probably makes sense given the season. Not that you could legally shoot one in the city limits (I don’t think, anyways), but still…probably best to stay hidden this time of year.

All this was an entertaining and, contradictory as it seems, almost relaxing backdrop for a busy and very “people-filled” work week. It was also the week in which my grandpa was hospitalized and died after a two year (or so) decline in both physical and mental capabilities. He lived a long life (he was in his late eighties) – a good, simple, rural life, and while it’s never fun to say goodbye to someone like that, I’m glad the end was relatively quick and that he didn’t suffer. The funeral is next Saturday, and after that, I’ll share a little more about his life and how it affected mine. I’m certainly a better person for having had him in my life, especially during my younger, more formative years.

Coincidentally, the day my mom called to tell me Gramps was in the hospital on end-of-life care was the day I sent the first cookbook I ever had home with a co-worker for his daughter. She wants to learn how to cook, and neither of her parents like cooking all that much, but they are always very supportive of their girls. That cookbook was a Christmas present to me in 1983 (I was 8yrs old) from my grandparents, so underneath their signature to me, I added my own wishes and the date for my co-worker’s daughter. Hopefully someday she’ll pass it along as well, either to her own kids or some other youngster who wants to learn to cook.

This week will be another busy, disjointed one, with work Mon – Weds, and Thanksgiving with my in-laws on Thursday, and then one more undoubtedly very calm day at work before the funeral on Saturday. I’ve always liked working the Friday after Thanksgiving. I’m not a shopper, and I like being in the office when things are quiet, most everyone else is gone and I can just focus and work at my own pace without being interrupted every half hour or less. In my younger years, it was also a good excuse to escape the family for awhile – my introverted self needed the time alone to recharge between the large family gatherings that holidays tend to require (some years multiple families on the same day – we’ve since put a stop to that, for the most part). That will be the case this year too, it would seem.

Whether you’re celebrating here in the states or just heading into another normal week everywhere else – here’s to thankful hearts, good memories, lasting legacies, and peaceful endings.

NaNo Update, Slippers, Weight & Nail Grinding

You may have already guessed, but last week was not the week I got everything together and caught up on NaNo. I did write nearly 5000 words on Friday when I was off, but that was about it, other than the odd hundred words or so during the week. I’m honestly pretty sure I’m not going to make the 50k by Nov. 30th, but that’s okay. I’ve been wanting to write this particular story for ages, so whatever word count I get done on it is good progress.

One of the other things I’ve been working on is a pair of slippers. I thought I’d make my husband a pair first, and then if they went well, I’d make a couple pairs for gifts. The first slipper I made exactly to the pattern, but it’s really not…tall/wide enough for his foot. So I need to tweak the pattern a bit, and use the same length, but the width for the next size up, and see if that makes them a bit more cozy. It’s a fun stitch (Tunisian Knit Stitch), and works up quickly, so I’ll start the new one tonight.

I’ve been working on them in the evenings while we’re watching TV, which is generally better than staring at the computer screen all night. Better for my hands/wrists/fingers too. they’ve been getting kind of wimpy lately, and I need to build those muscles back up. Strong hands/wrists are really handy!

I’ve also been trying desperately to figure out when I might be able to hop on the treadmill for 20 minutes, and still can’t seem to find the time. It’s frustrating, but my weight is creeping up again (badly), and I really need to get a handle on it. Like…yesterday. So that’s a major goal for this week.

And, I really should find some time to fix my nails before the week gets too far. I was late getting started with my manicure Saturday night (due to dying my hair, of course), and by the time I had them cleaned, filed, buffed and ready to paint, I was *so tired* I couldn’t even really pay attention and did a pretty bad polish job. But the worst of it is, I went to bed too quickly, and smudged several fingers, and then when I was grinding down the dogs’ nails, I managed to grind holes in two of the poorly done, smudged polish on my own. *sigh*

Talented, I am. But the dogs’ nails are in much better shape. So there’s that.

This week is a normal, mundane 5-day work week. Let’s hope that means I can get my writing schedule back on track, if nothing else…and maybe a treadmill schedule as well?

Housework, NaNo Update & Other Stuff

*yawn*

It’s Sunday night as I write this, and I am *tired*. I planned to put away Halloween yesterday, and just…didn’t. I mostly sat around and thought about doing stuff, with the exception of going grocery shopping and then out to dinner and a movie with my husband (Thor: Ragnorok – very fun, can’t wait for the next one!).

In any case, that meant today was the day to do “all the things”, including all my housework (which I was already behind on from last weekend) and putting as much Halloween away as I could, given the snow outside. But with the extra hour (I do love fall-back-to-standard-time), I got up earlier and subsequently finished earlier, which is nice because I’ll be able to get to bed on time (which almost never happens on Sunday nights).

Yes, I should have been writing. All weekend. My NaNo word count so far is a measly 1700 words…which is about what I should have for one entire day. But my house was a wreck from all the festivities last week, and there was no way I could focus without doing something about that.

Why is my word count so low, you ask? Well, I got a decent start on Wednesday, but not fast enough. Thursday I thought I was doing well, but I ended up starting my writing session late, and I’m just not willing to give up sleep this time around. So I went to bed. And Friday was a horrible Tuesday-clone all the way around, so I honestly just didn’t feel much like writing. Or anything else, for that matter.

I want to write this story…badly. And when I am working on it, it’s flowing really well – better than any other story I’ve written so far. I think it’s due to the fact that I know so much of the backstory. It really makes everything, including the character motivations, more clear in my head. I think this coming week the word count will go better, or I hope it will, anyways.

But this time, I’m not willing to give up sleep, or health, or my normal priorities just to make a specific daily/monthly word count happen. I’ve done it before, and while I could do that again, it’s just not worth it to me. I do have this coming Friday off work though (in observance of Veteran’s Day), which means I’ll be able to work on the story on and off all day (bliss!). And since I got most of the Halloween stuff put away today, I should be able to grab a few longer writing sessions next Saturday and Sunday as well.

So, way too early to give up on NaNo. Plenty of time and opportunities to raise the word count without compromising my health-related priorites.

Of course, there are some other things I’d like to do this month, like cleaning up that old sewing machine and getting it running, and starting some knit and crocheted Christmas gifts. Maybe this week will be the week I get my schedule together and figure out how to work on those at the same time I’m working on the NaNo novel. Wouldn’t that be cool?!

I live in hope.

Now, since I have everything all wrapped up early for once, and I have an hour until bedtime…maybe I can make that word count a little more respectable before I sleep. To everyone else out there “writing the good write”…many words to you!