Working Wednesday, September 5, 2018

How can it be September already?  And how can it be September and still be this hot?  I’m confused.  Still September is September so this week I am embracing fall cleaning and  once more diving into the mess that is my home plus the mess that is my book.  After a splendid Monday writing–3500 words by the time I went to bed–Tuesday was nada because I suddenly had Qualms about the whole story.  I find that Qualms are not conducive to getting any kind of real work done, so my goal for today is to become Qualm Free.  And also clean house and write.  

What are you doing?

77 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, September 5, 2018

  1. Coincidentally, I’ve just been rewatching Bill Bailey’s Qualmpeddler stand up comedy show.

    I’ve been trying to cross things off the To Do – Urgent list, like finally finishing the upholstery on the chair that’s been sitting, stripped bare, in the corner of our loungeroom for a couple of years now. And getting the blood tests done that I’ve been putting off for far too long.

  2. Before school this morning (because occasionally I’m amazing) I got out my sewing box and mended like I lived a generation or three ago. I stitched up the frayed cuff on my daughter’s school uniform cardigan, and the rip in the seam by the pocket of her dress. And I actually darned her school tights – honestly, she’s only had them a week, how the hell does she have a hole in them already – and then she left the house looking like someone cares for her. I reckon it lasted til morning tea, that girl is not afraid of a little dirt in the pursuit of fun. But the virtuous glow of accomplishment has stayed with me all day. (full disclosure, I usually feel that getting the kids to school with breakfast, their bags packed, lunches made, and minimal drama is a win).

  3. I too crossed things off my to-do list (not to say they were urgent though). I made myself go around the block to the part of our property that fronts the public street and is on the other side of a privacy fence, and worked on taming the wildly growing myrtles over there. I can feel a sense of accomplishment now that the limbs from these bushes are not up in the trees any more. Unfortunately, I had just done this back in the spring, so now they’re on a twice a year pruning schedule. Yuck. I did this when there was just enough light to see, as the heat is pretty unbearable when combined with the humidity later on in the day. Probably the hardest thing was hauling my barrel of debris back around to the house side, so it could get picked up by the city.

    I also finished off the other shawl and – wonder of wonders – blocked both of them. It really made a difference in how the lace and picots lie. The trick there was finding a place big enough to spread it out and pin it down without having it subjected to the scourges of pin and needle stealing cats! I did not want to make another trip to the emergency vet!

    So with those chores done, I gave myself permission to work on the quilt that I cut out last weekend. It’s in eight big chunks right now, but it shouldn’t take long to put those together and then work on the border pieces.
    Seeing it laid out (on my design floor, since I don’t have a design wall), is just the right encouragement to keep on going. Too bad I have to go to work in an hour!

    1. Please post pictures of the blocking of the shawls! Also, a photo of the second shawl! I intend on making one of these now that I know it is crochet and have seen the end result. I’ve never used a chart before, so that ought to be interesting. I have also never blocked anything before, even though I should do so with a few walling hanging quilts.

      I’m also super excited because the closest store that sells the yarn for the shawls is over in Wisconsin, but I’ll be near it on the 15th when visiting family, so I can buy a skein or 3. Did you buy the extra bit of yarn as she suggested or just the main skein?

      1. The first one I did was the green one.

        I did the extra extension, so it is a big.

        The second is just the basic pattern, no extension. I didn’t need any extra yarn for this.

        The suggested yarn – a Whirl – is a 1,000 meters of yarn, so it’s a big thing. The joins between colors are fairly subtle. The Facebook group guided me through what to do with “fuzz buzzes” – which is wet them down, twist them tight, and keep crocheting. With the reasonable gauge, you should be able to make one without the extension with one whirl. I did get an extra whirlette in a solid color to go with each. I used about half of it in the green shawl. It remains untouched for the caramel shawl.

        1. My first comment with the links is in moderation, but will appear soon enough. This is the continuation —

          Because the Whirl is big, be prepared for the cost. I got mine through Amazon for around $25 per whirl. The whirlettes were considerably less.

          I didn’t use the chart – I followed the written directions. From what I can tell, people who used the chart didn’t have any problems at all.

          Have fun, and pick a great color combo! I look forward to seeing it in future Wednesday posts!

    2. What is it with cats eating pins? My kittens keep stealing pins — especially the longer ones for basting quilt layers — from my pin cushion.

      1. Mine was stealing needles from the pin cushion. I just don’t see the appeal – but I knew the heads of pins sticking up from the floor would be irresistible to her.

  4. I identify with qualms. Today is the day after the Massachusetts primary elections, and I have the down feeling after the excitement of voting. Yes, I really get into voting. That said, I mostly voted for people who should have won, yet I am pleased with how close they came.

    I’ve had qualms from the start about my writing project. The idea came to me back in 2010 and I’ve played with it for years and last year I began to take it (me) seriously. The thing is, I have nothing riding on it. That puts me in a different place from writers on this list. The other thing is that I know the biggest reason to give up: I don’t “know” the protagonist. But I anticipated that problem.

    In contrast to qualms, I really enjoy researching and finding out more and more about the times in which my guy lived. I’ve been narrowing down what situations he could have been in. At some point I’ll have the confidence to jump from historical facts to the individual. Overall, I love thinking, reflecting, researching.

    And now that the primaries are over, I know who I’ll be rooting for in the midterm elections.

    1. I never know my people until I’ve written about them for awhile. I think that’s why I choose placeholders, faces that look like the kind of personalities that I think the characters are. Then after I’ve written thousands of words about them, the placeholders fall away and they’re just the characters.

  5. It’s my day off, I spend my working time on my feet, so I’m beat after 8 hours, and I get up slowly on my days off. I went out into the yard to putter around, pulled the dried up lily stems, gathered the hose out of the way of the mower. Since the dog died, we have resident groundhogs and a big porcupine comes through. We caught him in a have-a-heart trap, and moved him a bit, but he’s back. I was picking up the sour green apple drops my dog used to eat all fall and winter, when I realized that probably Mr. or Mrs. Quill had been eating them up. So I left them, in a tidier state to avoid any human twisting an ankle.
    The I will do the paperwork for a passport!

  6. This week I posted a picture of Aubrey to #workingwednesdaypix so everyone could see him when he was totally healthy. It only took me three tries this time to post. With all that mane of fur though, even sick he looks beautiful. This week has been starting him on his new medication which is a job to keep track of (let’s see. It’s every other day then right ear, then left ear and which ear did I do day before yesterday or was it yesterday? I have a chart now).

  7. I’m dealing with fatigue and physical pain. So I went into the garden and got the “bathing leaves”. It’s some sort of herb that grows into a semi-woody shrub. I don’t know it’s name. But I know it works.

    Please send a few healing vibes, puppy training vibes, and academic support vibes to get the studies deferred. The mopes knocked me off course this year so my study course suffered. Have finally asked for me to continue next year. Here’s hoping it’s allowed.

    I’m under pressure at work to get our grading in and it’s all a bit too much. But I’m working at that part.

    1. Hope you feel better and the herb works! My go-to is extra magnesium to help with pain, like bathing in epsom salts.

  8. I fixed my computer. Again. It got a new battery yesterday, and rebooted as nice as pie, but this morning was ded again. So I pretended to replace the battery, and it has rebooted again…. If it stays working, I’ve won. If it stops working again, then it has become a portable desktop, because it doesn’t get to eat $65 batteries daily, or require me to replace, or *replace* them daily either. Oddly, because of interior wiring quirks, it works fine with no battery at all. So.

    Also I have to finish my mailbox diorama for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids It was supposed to ship Sept 1, but I have an extension and I have to get something ready to go by tomorrow.

    Any Arghers in Grand Rapids up for coffee between Oct 2 and 6? I’ve been getting enormous pleasure from putting faces to my online friends.

    1. I may be able to meet you in Grand Rapids on the 6th. I’m about an hour from it. Super cool that you’ll have an entry in ArtPrize! Good luck!

  9. I’ve viewed two houses in the past couple of days, and got no on both. Was taken aback by today’s no, especially, since the house was just round the corner from the one I offered for last month. And then, after all that angst, the agent rang to say they’d already accepted another offer. I’m a bit worn out by the hope and disappointment.

    Slogging through a rather tedious, under-edited set of proofs. This weeks’s success is the two batches of damson jam I made on Monday, with fruit stolen from an abandoned orchard. They jelled perfectly – unlike last year’s, which I had to rename compote. Now I’m struggling to find plums, since I’ve got enough jam jars for one last batch. Went to the WI market this morning, plus the health-food shop and the market. This afternoon I walked down the old railway line to the community orchard, but could only find apples and pears there. I started by emailing local contacts last week, looking for someone with an excess harvest: the fact that I’m willing to pay for the plums shows how keen I am.

    I think I’ve missed the boat: I suspect the main plum harvest happened while I was trying to buy that house.

    1. Hi Jane – sorry about the houses! I’m curious, what’s WI for you? In my area, it refers to the state Wisconsin, just across Lake Michigan.

    2. Hang in there Jane! I hear you re the home-finding difficulties – but if you persevere you’ll get there…

      May also work with plums, not sure. 🙂

      Kelly S. – the WI here is the Women’s Institute – a bastion of homemaking and grow-your-own produce goodies and expertise

    3. If you’ve no luck on the plums you could go with apple jelly (I made a lovely caramel apple jam a couple of years ago, it used brown sugar) or something tricky with pears (I do acknowledge the extreme difficulty in setting pears though).

      Good luck with the continuing hunt, clearly the universe found flaws with the previous houses and deemed them unsuitable for you. The perfect one isn’t for sale yet.

      1. Thanks, Corin. I’m planning to make myself an apple pie with the windfalls I scrumped, and stew any leftovers (stewed apple and raisins is a favourite winter pudding.) I’ve got a few eaters, too. I’m thinking I should go back next week – it seems a shame to let the slugs and birds have them all. (I can see they’re storing those they pick from the trees.)

      1. I’m thinking about house hunting. I don’t want to move, because I live near the beach and it’s beautiful and I love my house. But it’s also very low, which means we’re at major risk of inundation, plus the dunes are getting swept away and this whole peninsula is really just sand (takes me back to that song from Sunday School – “The wise man built his house upon the rock, house upon the rock, house upon the rock …”). So every now and again I start to look at houses that are much further above sea level, and built on rock. I can feel another bout coming on.

      2. I’ve been looking (hard) now for two years, four months. It’s extremely crazy. (Of course, for six months of that I was actually buying a house.)

  10. I have been cleaning, and prepping and making lists as we are hosting my husband’s family this Saturday to celebrate his grandfather’s 80th birthday.

  11. I should have kept my mouth shut. Yesterday was my doctor’s appointment relating to the labs from last week. You know how everything you think is concentrating on you, well I’m no different. When she first came into the exam room and starting talking about my BP (this is when I opened my mouth) I said what about the labs I had last week. I saw a light bulb go off in her brain while she reached for the mouse to click on the screen to look at the labs. Of course I was waiting for a little praise in what I had accomplished but she had to bring up those pesky statistics like the older you get the more risk is involved and I’m that much closer to having a heart attack. So guilt won out and I’m now on a cholesterol pill. I just fight so much having to take a pill. That was ARGH – one.

    ARGH – two came after I left her office to go to AAA to renew the registration for my car. AAA works with the DMV for simple things like license and registration renewal instead of waiting in line at the registry. Normally your in and out in ten minutes but not yesterday. Of course everyone showed up the day after Labor Day to the tune of an hour and a half wait. I went home and did it online which I should have done to begin with. But it was in the area.

    ARGH – three came when I went for a haircut and the less said the better. (It’s going to be two months before I get another)

    When I got home my son called and said you’ll never guess what happened. Well he was robbed again. His delivery truck was locked but the passenger window was open a crack so that the thief was able to break in and grab his GPS. He was able to bring up GPS on his cell phone. Well that’s less stuff he’ll carry around. I think I’ll call that ARGH – four. Never ending drama.

    1. Mary, the fault is in your doctor’s attitude, not yours. Your earlier post about the excitement of getting bloodwork after doing everything right was great. You did everything right. Pat yourself on the back!

      Cholesterol problems go a lot deeper than correct lifestyle. I admire folks who can change their diets and add exercise. When they also drop cholesterol levels as part of getting healthier, that’s fantastic. But the right food and exercise doesn’t work for everyone; many folks on statins (and other cholesterol meds) have always been in great shape. So, don’t beat yourself up.

      And, while cholesterol meds have certain risks, your doctor should be scheduling regular blood tests to make sure that everything is going all right.

      You might even mention to your doctor that you respond better to encouragement than negativity.

    2. Yeah, what Elizabeth said. A lot of cholesterol is genetics, and you can of course help with diet and exercise, but at some point there’s just nothing more you can do. Except go on a statin. So don’t beat yourself up about it when you’ve done as much as lifestyle changes can accomplish.

    3. Mary, my good friend is 6’2″, weighed 180 lbs and had cholesterol of 200. He still had at 60 a heart attack then a by-pass and is now on statins.

      Some doctors suggest if you are border line high cholesterol and over 60, statins are a good idea any way because there is some statistical evidence that people on statins are less likely to develop dementia.

      I am on a very low dosage of statins (10 mg./4x week), because more than that and my joints ache. It works out fine for me. The best thing is I no longer have an adversarial relationship with eating. I try to eat reasonably but I eat what I want and I like proteins and meats more than I like sugar and carbs so statins work for me.

      1. Thank you all so much for your encouragement. I hadn’t given dementia a thought but it has been at the back of my mind as it runs in my family from my grandmother and two uncles.

  12. I let go of my Qualms book last month and it’s left me in a very strange mental space. I spent four years working on it and now… it’s like I’ve been dragging a giant rock uphill and reached the top of the hill and can’t remember why I was trying to get here. Time to start new projects but so far most of my writing has been flailing around trying to figure out what I’m writing if not That Book.

    So today I changed the sheets, did laundry, washed windows, posted some gorgeous pictures to my blog, (, filled my water tank and jugs… and now I’m procrastinating on writing real words. I guess I could wash some dishes instead. That would be useful!

    1. Sarah, those photos are gorgeous. I camped in PEI briefly (it was black fly season) back in 1978. Would love to return (not in black fly season).

      1. There are a lot of bugs, that’s for sure! And those black flies hurt. But there are fewer every day and the weather is lovely, so September is a pretty good time, I think!

  13. Today is my three-year anniversary so not doing a lot of work. We are actually getting dressed up and going out to dinner to celebrate which should be good. Hopefully my asthma behaves during dinner so I don’t terrorize the restaurant!

  14. It is September, and it is Autumn chilly here. I’ll try to send some of that briskness your way.
    It’s the first day of school, and we’re right back to trying to get out the door without whining about how it’s too cold to get out of bed and I’m too tired to get out of bed and shut the lights off so I can see it’s too bright and I’m not eating that!
    Maybe tomorrow that will happen.
    I spent the weekend getting ready to get the kids out the door by clearing off the hall table (lunch kit & backpack staging area) which led to underneath the stairs which led to the laundry room which led to under the deck. . .
    Now I’m at work to relax!

  15. Since nothing at Argh is off-topic, and it’s actually sort of related to both qualms and working every day, not just Wednesday — I was talking with a writer friend (who’s published but not agented) today, and she’s in the same place I was until I got agented, which is that she’s got ideas for future books, but she’s feeling the qualms and needs some guidance on which story is more marketable, or what could be done to make them more marketable.

    That’s the sort of info an agent can provide, helping an author to focus when she’s got qualms about ALL of the possibilities or is considering abandoning one for another. And without that assistance, it’s easy to get bogged down, skipping from project to project without finishing any of them, or — something I did — writing 2 full novels and parts of 2 more for a series that, as best I can tell, is completely unmarketable. But I remember thinking a while back that I had dozens of beginnings on my computer, and I was overwhelmed trying to figure out which one I should concentrate on, so it was easy to get stuck and then see another project as shiny and new, so I didn’t finish things. Or even if I focused on one thing, the qualms got to me. And that was a large part of my motivation to get an agent. But I could have used the help even before then, and it might have shortened the time to connecting with an agent.

    So, can anyone think of how to get that sort of assistance, short of having an agent? Because it’s kinda’ circular — not knowing what to work on without some advice, so you work on something and it turns out to be the wrong something, so you can’t get the agent who would help get you on the right track. Not chasing trends, but just some help with “yes, I can see this premise generating some interest, while the other premise is going to face some resistance among editors/readers.” It’s still the author’s decision, but if she can go either way, it would be nice to know which is the more marketable premise.

    I’ve seen writing coaches offering their services, but that seems more to be a matter of discipline and productivity, rather than actual writing-career planning. And a critique group is more likely to be craft-focused than to really have their fingers on the pulse of publishing.

    So, what I’m wondering — is there some service/person/role that could fill that niche?

    1. Talk to other authors. Many of us have agents who tell us what is selling (or these days, more likely what isn’t, which is almost everything), and we’re happy to share what we know, for whatever it is worth.

      If she writes romance or anything with romance in it, I strongly suggest she join RWA, if she hasn’t already.

    2. My theory is that if you really need to write it, you’ll write it. And if you don’t, you shouldn’t. Which explains why I haven’t published for eight years: I wrote a lot but nothing I felt compelled to finished. Having somebody tell me what’s more marketable would probably finish me. Having Nita converse in my brain (she’s talking to her mother right now) means I have to write it down. But then I’ve never had my fingers on the pulse of publishing. My theory has always been that I’ll write it and the publisher can figure out how to sell it. I’d rather lead than follow. That sounds good, but it’s mostly because I suck at following. If I were good at following, I’d be all over it.

      1. I’m 100% behind you, Jenny. I get so fed up with all the unnecessary, niche-filling books that are published (many of which I end up working on). I think there’s a drive, too, to push more and more marketing on to authors: publishers tend to spend their marketing budgets on big-name authors whose enormous advances they need to earn back. But, of course, marketing is really what you want a publisher for.

        1. Especially when you’re starting out. But I understand nowadays you really have to start by self-publishing, in fiction. Plus they’ll hope you’ve got a following on social media.

    3. A friend who’s an agented writer said she’s seeing a new trend: agents asking writers to include increasingly specific marketplace info in their series proposals.

      This confuses me.

      1. Marketplace info?
        I can see asking authors to write blurbs, but marketing is a real skill, not something you guess at. That’s weird.
        The only thing I can think of is “This book is about nurses, sell it in hospitals.” Argh.

      2. Having had to market various shows before they were finished being created (the number of dance performances that didn’t have a title until right before the playbill went to print, or that changed titles after we’d already marketed it as something else, was Very Stressful), I have a certain amount of sympathy with marketing teams trying to get as much information in advance as possible. We just found out today at work that there will be (limited, story-relevant) nudity in a play that we had originally told teachers and parents was ok for 13 year olds to see. But there’s a difference between asking an author to give you the information you need to come up with a good marketing plan, and asking them to come up with the marketing plan for you.

  16. We had shearing (1200 sheep). I’ve previously been a big help with food (10-14 for lunch everyday) but this year I was more of a moral support person as the rest of my commitments prevented me being reliable. Poor Mum is wrecked! We’re incredibly lucky, Mum’s cousin and partner come each year and are a huge help with food and in the shed. It’s so lovely to spend time with them both and this year they brought reinforcements. It’s also lovely to make new friends. Grandad would be aghast to see the cast of thousands we now have at shearing time but many hands and all that!!

      1. Some of our dams have dried up, some I’ve never seen dry before. There’s not much feed but Mum got in early and bought hay before it was stupidly scarce, at least we can feed a bit longer. She’s started reducing stock numbers as the long range forecast shows no relief. We are fortunate to be where we are, yes it’s drought, but it’s not the horrific pictures you see from up north and out west.

  17. I haven’t done ANYTHING yet today. And I must. But as I submitted 25000 words of a 200,000-word novel yesterday maybe I should give myself a break. Do you think?

    There is so much good about being home to write full time, I just have to not freak myself out about money.

    I submitted a proposal to an agent last week too. I might actually be writing some of my own stuff. It’s an eight-book series starting with Glimmer Girls. Some of you have read bits of that. How long do you suppose I’ll have to wait to hear back?

  18. All the best thoughts coming your way. Don’t forget that it’s OK to ask for help when and where you can (which is possibly more often and in more places than you readily perceive).

  19. Qualms. I so understand about the qualms. I spent last two months working on the newest novel and it wasn’t going well. I really struggled, got less than half my usual amount done, and when I was finished with the first 13,000 words, finally sent them to my agent. I fully expected her to say, “This is crap. Toss out 90% of it and start over.” I’d even figured out what I needed to do to fix it, maybe.

    Then today she wrote back and said she LOVED it. (Her caps.) Loved my voice, loved the banter. (Yes, Jenny, I was tempted to write back and say, “Banter is not story. But I didn’t.) So apparently I wasted a good week having qualms for nothing. Whew, I think?

  20. Finished three huge work projects! Back on track with my own version of the Pomodoro method.

    Plus, one of the projects was thinking up names for a new product – fun, even if it’s for industrial processing equipment.

  21. I’m working on
    a)getting better from an mysterious illness
    b) not freaking out about politics and the news
    c) staying postive
    d) little odds and ends

  22. I recently found a 2/3rds finished screenplay I wrote like two years ago, and I actually like it, so now I have to finish it so I can read how it ends. Which is why I now know that when I’m scared to write a new scene, I’ve found it’s helpful to start a new document, instead of writing it in my master doc. Who knows why.

  23. I made yoghurt, made sauerkraut, drafted an email to my choir mistress about why I think Land of Hope and Glory is a really inappropriate song to sing at an Australian Armistice Day concert and NEARLY finished my new book. My kids’ books are longish – about 60,000 words – and for a while now I’ve been wanting to have something for children who love fantasy and adventure but won’t tackle something that long. So this one is coming in at about 20,000 words. It’s a really nice change to write something so short.


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