winter

winter

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Slogging away at it all.

Well, I have reached the point where I no longer feel like a walking plague victim. I have gotten a bunch of writing done today. I planted some tulip bulbs and cleaned up some of my container gardening efforts. It was a weird feeling to have to dig down through a layer of ice hardened soil to plant the bulbs. I'm hopeful that it is not too late into the season and that I put my bulbs down deep enough into the soil so that they will last until spring.

I have some other stuff that I was going to plant beside the building but now I'm not so sure about that idea. I know that the boys are going to want to play outside when they get home from school. I may gird my proverbial loins and brave pulling some weeds out of the flowerbed I attempted to make this year. Maybe I can get down to actual soil. If I can accomplish that, I will put a few more tulip bulbs out there.

My kitchen is a disaster area right now. I am not upset over that, however. This is a marked difference from what I usually feel when it gets like this. (I am more then a little bit certain that the adjustment in medication is helping on that front.) Dinner tonight is going to be a terribly straight forward affair. I am making pasta bake tonight with lots of pepperoni in it. I am also going to get stuff together to start some sourdough.

I have decided that with the cooler weather, I really should be baking more. As such, I really like the idea of homemade sourdough bread. The thought of the whole place smelling like fresh baked bread as I am enjoying myself writing, it has such romaticism to it that my little heart goes pitter-patter. I am currently deciding just what exactly I am going to make when I do cookies this year. I figure since I have gotten 95% of my yule list done, I can take the time to get some planning for the cookies.

I'm not going to make a huge assortment of cookies this year. I think I'm just going to do a few. I know that a lot of people will want to do tons of stuff because they feel obligated. I am going to buck that trend. I will be making cookies for a select few. Not because I don't like making cookies but because not everybody in the world needs to have some of my chocolate chip cookies. And, honestly, after baking the fifth batch, it gets boring.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Crochet project list.

So, I've decided that it's that time of year to make hats. I found an awesome site with vintage hat patterns that I am going to use. I want to make a few snoods, a fascinator or two, and something fancy.

Snoods:

Fish Net Snood

Petal Snood

Fascinators:

Number One

Number Two

Possible Fancy hat

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm sick.

Some kind of stomach bug is going around and it seems that I have caught it. I feel miserable and can barely string together a few thoughts at a time. I hate it when I feel so utterly exhausted.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Random fiction.

She had drilled them mercilessly. Some had given up on the service they had volunteered for. Hilde let them leave with out any shame attached to their name, stating that some were simply not meant to engage in warfare. For each person who had left, however, two came forward to try themselves in her service. Where others would have balked at putting live weapons in the hands of untried recruits, the Virdis Sargent had no such compunctions.

They were taught how to handle more then their hunting rifles and shot guns. Pistols, hand weapons, and hunting bows were added to their repertoire. Along with this, they were taught the basics of field medicine. Hilde and Gunther had made themselves the subjects upon which the farmers turned warriors were taught how to set broken bones and handle severe injuries. The Avalonians bore their wounds patiently, at times making themselves the target for the exercises that resulted in said injuries.

It was at this bloody work that Hilde's Boys found themselves bonding in a grim camaraderie with the soldiers who had come back from the wars abroad with no where to turn but the generous Avalonians. Hilde's pronouncement upon taking on the veterans was simple: everybody works, everybody eats.  Soon, Hilde and Gunther's hall was filled with people of every background. They were united by two things. The first was that they had all come searching for a second chance and that they had found it.

The loyalty of what some had referred to as Hilde's 'foundlings' was unshakeable. Where they had insecurity and lived on the margins of society before, these 'foundlings' found themselves embraced and steadied by the community that Hilde had created on her expansive farm. Some left once they had gotten their feet under themselves and established enough ground to go and build their lives away from the rookery that had launched them into flight. It was from those who stayed that Hilde's Boys had drawn their ranks.

Some were of the opinion that Avalon should take a hands-off approach to the people of the world, only intervening where needed. Others were of the opinion that Avalon should directly intervene as Hilde had done. While Hilde's Boys were divided as to if they would pledge loyalty to Avalon, there was no division if they were to pledge loyalty to Hilde and Gunther.

They had made for themselves a pennant. The stylized horse that had been part of the logo for Hilde's farm was set upon a green field. Unintentionally, Hilde's Boys had recreated the banner that Hilde had crafted and then abandoned for the Wild Hunt.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Government shut down thoughts.

So, I have been following the matters of the government shut down here in the USA with some interest. There has been several crazy memes flying around on Facebook. I won't dignify them with reposting but I can summarize them pretty quickly.
  1. It is a vast plot to overthrow the government.
  2. It is because of some sort of conspiracy to defraud the people.
  3. It is because President Obama is ... [fill in racial/politically oriented slur]
Now, some people, like the local media big shot Bob Lonsberry have been very 'hey the government shut down is a good thing!' and they treat the whole affair like it is some kind of joke. I think his position on it all can be summarized really well with one statement he made about this business. "All people M-16 qualified are essential [government] personnel." Some people are deeply troubled by it all and have expressed their distress over the fact that important programs are not getting funding.

I think it's reckless of people like Mr. Lonsberry to make this thing out to be a joke. After the first day or two, it stopped being funny. We're at the beginning of the third week. I thought that somebody was going to blink last week. I was wrong. I'm now hoping that my Anam Cara was not prophetic about this not being resolved by the 17th.

I know that this mess is getting taken seriously when I see people on food stamps doing what they can to stock up for possibly going without food for a period of time. When I was in Wegmans today, I was in line behind two men who were pooling their resources (I had heard them discussing how to divide their respective purchases between themselves) to buy big packages of meat. At first, I didn't think much of it. Then I happened to overhear the discussion as to if they had enough funds left on their EBT cards to pick up vegetables.

One man had a minor panic over the cost of the package of meat he was getting until the cashier explained to him the effect of his Wegmans' card on the purchase. Some people may just scoff at these two men. Some people may say that they're some how bottom feeders and that they deserve to have their funds cut off. (I'm looking at you, Mr. Lonsberry.) It's hard for me to believe that attitude. These men looked like people who worked hard everyday. I could tell that they do some sort of manual labor. I think they were probably farmhands judging by the fact that one of them was wearing a John Deere hat and neither of them seemed to have roofing tar on them.

You see, programs like food stamps don't go strictly to the 'welfare queens' that people like Mr. Lonsberry like to crow about and insist are a blight against society. They also help out people like poor working folks who are having a hard time making enough money to feed themselves. They help out people who are disabled and can't work due to the severity of their disability. This government shut down is going to hurt a lot of people if it goes on much longer.

It's not just the 'superfluous' government workers that are losing money here. I would also go so far as to argue that these jobs are not 'superfluous'. If they were, then they wouldn't exist. Somebody needs to cut the grass at the national parks. Somebody needs to clean the bathrooms at the Smithsonian. Somebody needs to make sure that tax fraud is getting handled. Somebody needs to run the printing presses at the mint.

And each of these people who are not working right now, they're not able to put money into the economy. People want to crow about how much money is getting 'saved' by these 'non-essential' government workers not being at work. What about how much money is not going into the economy on this basis? The government shut down is not a good thing.

I don't know if this is the beginning of an ugly chapter in the history of the US. I just know that my gut is telling me that the winds are shifting and not in a good way. So, I do what I can to prepare for possible problems and hope that this doesn't turn into a disaster.

Hrm..

So, in the course of my grocery shopping this week, I picked up a bottle of Nature's Nectar Sparkling Spiced Pumpkin Cider. At $2.00 a bottle, it wasn't a budget killing purchase. I had been drinking a great deal of cider over the last few days (purchasing a gallon last week was a tasty decision) and the idea of something that was a little bit different but still cider sounded good to me. After putting most of the groceries away, I worked up a powerful thirst and I decided to crack this stuff open and give it a try.

I was expecting something like mulled cider with a suggestion of pumpkin. What I got was like ginger ale with a pumpkin-apple pie after taste. Honestly, I was of a mixed mind about the stuff. I don't think it was terrible but I feel that it was a dirty trick to play on cider lovers. I am not adverse to getting another bottle of the stuff (as there was not very much in that bottle).

Last week, I did my grocery shopping at Walmart. My total bill came in a whopping $250 dollars. The week before that, I did my shopping at Wegmans. My bill was about $200 dollars, though I bought a bit less stuff. This week, I purchased most of my groceries at Aldi's (getting the veggies, milk, and pull ups for Snugglebug at Wegmans) and my bill was $100. The total of the other stuff at Wegmans was $50. By going to two stores, I saved $100 off my grocery bill.

I think  the end result of this little experiment is that I'm going to continue my shopping at Aldi's. I have been busy restocking my pantry for possible disaster. As we are coming up on the beginning of the season of hard weather, I wanted to put by enough food where if we are unable to get out to the store I have provisions for at least a week. So far, I have the makings of several different kinds of bean soups and a fair amount of pasta put up.

I picked up a couple of canned hams and when I get groceries next week, I think I'm going to pick up some more canned meat. I figure any housewife with my upbringing that is worth their salt should be able to take canned meat and turn it into something reasonably palatable. Worst case scenario, I have cookbooks of three generations to reference here. There has to be something in there to make Spam into something worth eating.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

So done with today.

It has been a really long day. I got a lot of stuff done, even though I feel like you can't really tell. I'm completely worn out but I made it through the day with out succumbing to the temptation of taking a nap. Perhaps I can manage this tomorrow as well. Worst case scenario, I'll power up on coffee. After all, caffeine is my friend, right?

Monday, October 07, 2013

Random thoughts.

This blog post a day thing just isn't working out right now. It makes me dread next month a bit. I suppose I have some good reasons for not posting everyday. Things like a wedding and not having the time to post this weekend are logical reasons. I am working to be forgiving of myself, though it feels counter intuitive.

I had some odd dreams this morning when I took my nap. I dreamed that I was back at college. All of the anxieties of living in a strange place, surrounded by unfamiliar people, and of being truly on my own for the first time came roaring back in that dream. I think I owe Njord's Darling something of an apology. Intellectually, I recalled this difficulty but the reality of it was blurred by the past. I think I painted too easy of a picture of how one makes friends in a new environment, I fear.

And then there is the awkward feeling/push to mend fences with A. I look at it all and I honestly feel a mixed sense of mortification, frustration, and something that I can't exactly define. I'm realizing that my friendship with A. was a casualty of the depressive episode that I was in this summer. I am also realizing that it was a measure of cowardice that I didn't say something to A. about what was troubling me.

I'm inwardly flailing over how to approach the whole thing. A part of me says I should hold my silence because it just was a terrible thing that I did and that there is no good reason to expect that she would be willing to deal with me again. On the whole, I haven't any idea how to proceed. I'm stuck in this place where I am wavering between doing something and not. It's awful.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Another day...

I have decided that I need to start work on getting ready for NaNoWriMo. I was on the fence as to what project I should work on. Then one of my friends nudged me in the direction of writing the second book in the fantasy series. On paper, I'm a third of the way through the outline of the first part of the story. I may have to revise my count of how many books this is going to make. >.<

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

News!

It is with great joy that I announce that my first novel is available for purchase. This has been over a decade in the making. This is the first book in a series. If you are curious about the series, a bit of the back story is up in my other blog. I will be adding new material to that a touch later this week.

The story about the novel is kind of interesting. When I was a young girl, I told my great grandmother that I was going to write her a book. I then became a touch obsessed with everything relating to being a writer. Time passed and my great grandmother did as well. Where this would have crushed some people's motivation, I just dug my heels in and became yet more determined.

I was a quiet child. I found the greatest comfort in the works of fantasy and I dreamed about being a princess. Unlike other girls, however, the princess in my dreams was not waiting for some hero to come rescue her. No, my princess was a hero in her own right. I read the myths of my ancestors and the works of some of the most brilliant minds that ever wrote fiction. Even as I dreamed, I studied my craft.

I had some aptitude for writing when I was in school. After reading the Lord of the Rings and the Simarillion in seventh grade, I decided that I had to write down the story that was living within me. My very first attempt was a four page long story. Even then, I called it my book. I will never forget the day I finished my very first draft. I brought it to my Grandmother, the daughter of the great grandmother (who was an author, like her mother) and nearly burst with pride as she read it.

She then looked at me over the tops of her glasses and said, "But where's the rest of the story?"

Over the course of time between seventh grade and when I graduated high school, I worked relentlessly on that story. By the time I had something novel length, I had decided that this was my profession. I went off to college and even as I found myself pulled in different directions, my writing continued to be my pole star. It was somewhere after the first semester of my freshman year that tragedy happened.

The manuscript that I held as my life line through high school was lost. The file it was on was corrupted and I had one paragraph left. So, I did what I felt that any other author worth their salt would do. I picked up my pen and I set to work. Over the course of the next year, I wrote my second version of the manuscript. I decided that I was going to edit it and attempt the arduous process of publication.

I was half way through editing it when I lost the second version. Life got in the way of writing for a while. I poured my story out into journal entries and random short pieces where I could find the time to write. Little did I realize that I was building a world. Six years later, I wrote the third version of the story. I was smart and I made a hard copy. While the failures of technology consumed the digital copy, I had my book in hand.

I laboriously worked on editing that manuscript. As I worked, I found that my little story wasn't as simple as those first four pages. So, rather then trying to force it all into one text, I built an outline of the story. That was when I realized with more then a little bit of shock that my little four page story was actually a series of twelve books. Then I sat down and I wrote the outline for the story that came before and after my little four page story. To say the least, I have a great deal of work ahead of me.

I stumbled into National Novel Writing Month about seven years ago. My beloved late friend Liz, who had read my earlier versions of what I had called 'the novel' pointed me in that direction. I wrote the fourth version of the manuscript that year. I put it into a proverbial drawer and forgot about it as my life became focused on the challenges of motherhood. In 2009, I blew the dust off of the manuscript and sat down with it again.

I wrote the fifth version of my manuscript over the course of the month of November. When I finished it, Liz was one of the first people to read it. She declared that I needed to stop sitting on the story and get it published. It wasn't long after then that Liz died. I was crushed and for a time gave up on my dream. Trouble came to visit my family and I found myself desperate for solace.

Rather then re-write my manuscript for a sixth time, I wrote something entirely different. (That book is in the midst of editing right now.) When I found myself with a regained sense of equilibrium, I returned to 'the novel' and went through it with great care. Last year, my Grandfather was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. It became apparent to me that time was drawing short for me to do what I had decided.

I worked with a measure of frantic effort and more then a little escapism. Having my alter ego battling forces of evil, where triumph was assured, was easier for me then dealing with the fact that my Grandfather was dying. And when I had asked him what I could do to be of any help, he explicitly told me to continue with my writing. So, I threw myself into it with abandon.

In April of this year, I published my first work. It is a little prayer book that I dedicated to my grandparents. While I wasn't able to put a copy of the book into his hands, my Grandfather knew before he died that I was a published author. In September, I published my second work, a horror novella that was my solace in the last months of my Grandfather's illness. He died before it was finished. I dedicated it to him. And now, I have this work to share. When the holidays come, I'll be giving my Grandmother a copy of each of these books.

It doesn't matter to me that I did this through a 'vanity press'. All that matters is that I have done what I said I was going to do. Now, if after reading this story of mine you would like to purchase any of my books, please do so. If you would like a signed copy, you will have to wait a few months.

The Dragon's Daughter (e-book, paperback, and hard cover) is my fantasy novel, or as I have called it 'the novel.' The Red Chair (e-book and paperback) is the horror novella. Rose Petals (e-book and paperback) is the prayer book and the first book I ever published.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Oct. NaBloPoMo #1

Just a short entry today. The way I see it, if I manage to even get a sentence done, it counts as a post. I have a lot to be thankful for right now. I am striving to focus on that rather then the fears that I am not good enough and such. I am also working on not letting my social phobia control me.

As such, I am pushing past my comfort zone and making a point of going out and being social today. I am also making a point of being 'available' to do readings. Last month, my illnesses ran the show a lot. It had the unfortunate side effect of my 'missing time' and several bills getting paid late. My goal for this month is to avoid this happening again.

In other news, I have a few works published as of last month. This week, I'll be putting out my first novel via Lulu. I am as jumpy as a cat in a rocking chair factory, but I am doing my best to quell my nerves and make this happen anyways. I have over a decade worth of work into this stuff. It's long past time I got serious and published any of it.

Here's the links to the stuff I do have published right now.

The Red Chair - paperback $7.00  e-book $1.50

Rose Petals - paperback $9.00   e-book $2.99