Working Wednesday, June 7, 2021

I’ve been reading a lot of BookBub romances, trying to figure out how romance has changed in the last ten years. If you think that’s not work, you haven’t read a lot of romance lately. (Oh, wait, look who I’m talking to. Of course you’ve read a lot of romance lately.). I’ve found some really good authors, but I’ve also found some (that shall not be named) who use words they don’t know the meaning of (like smart. Or depict) which is just sloppy as all hell. It’s like a carpenter who keeps trying to hammer in screws. Learn the tools of your trade. And then there are all the green eyes. Blue eyes must be so twentieth century. What is it with eye color anyway? I’ve known Krissie for thirty years and I’m not sure what color her eyes are. Blue? I think my daughter’s are hazel. The only person whose eye color I ever noticed was Paul Newman, but I think his glowed in the dark. Where was I? Right, I’ve been researching twenty-first century romance novels.

What did you do this week?

141 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, June 7, 2021

  1. I’m still working on getting enough sleep. In the past ten days, ONE day I’ve gotten more than six hours thanks to my neighborhood’s addiction to fireworks. So I’m too tired to work on anything but getting to work on time and staying awake while I’m there.

  2. I’ve just finished six days straight at work and now have three glorious days off to actually get my tiny apartment in order. So I am about to be working on cleaning and cooking more freezer meals. Realistically I will spend most of it reading and not scrubbing my bathroom.

  3. I’ve gone out a couple of mornings early to do some needed yard maintenance. Of course, I found much more that needs to be done so I’m hoping to enlist my energetic neighbor to tackle the boundary between our yards. On the other side of the house, my other neighbor has a thing for vines. His ivy has already crossed the backyard and the other day I found a grape vine taking the aerial approach. I found the grapevine on a bush that has thorns about two inches long, challenging enough to prune, let alone have to wrestle the pruned bits away from the grape vine. After filling up one trashcan with debris I figured I’d done enough for the day and retired back inside. I’m sure it will be still there waiting for me when I next go out.

    I did get a lot more work done on the baby blanket – so that’s done. It ended up being about 32″ x 36″.

    For the holiday weekend, we took a small celebration to my MIL – burgers, hotdogs, etc. We decided to forego heading downtown for the fireworks, but saw plenty on our drive back home. And we too had neighbors who insisted on firing off their own.

    On our Monday holiday, I spent the time putting borders on a fabric panel to make a quilt top. No pictures, because I’m intending to send it to my sister, and she watches my Instagram feed.

    Now its off to work-work. I’m glad it is a four day week!

    1. Grapevines will take over the universe if you let them. I have wild ones growing all around my yard and I swear they grow two feet overnight…and up in trees, where I can’t reach them.

        1. I used to try to cut the grape vines on both sides of the Creek (Booze Creek, named because bootleggers used it as their dump when raised) that runs for a block in front of our house. I haven’t had the time or energy to do it for the last two summers. It may become the tunnel of grapes this year…

    2. I started using mine to make wreaths. Strip the leaves and wrap it around itself, adding more until it’s as thick as needed. Let them dry in the sun (heat’s got to be good for something!)

  4. I got my mother’s tax return done two days before the due date. I was very pleased with myself. Just don’t ask about my own tax return … or the state of the house or garden.

    The day job’s been difficult and sapped most of my energy and creativity. But I managed a good long walk and a little swimming in the last week, and I’m still playing with abstract landscapes, which is fun and exciting.

  5. It looks like the new job is calming down a little. I rested up at the weekend, and am feeling less frazzled. We’ve agreed I won’t be working Fridays, and I’m not pushing myself as hard, since there aren’t urgent deadlines for me. Which is all great. I’m hoping to have more gardening time, and I need to sort the old Mac for my friend, and then get going on the mountain of admin/filing/accounts that’s accumulated.

  6. I launched a blog about my rare disorder, from the patient perspective, something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while since no one else is doing it, and I finally got around to setting it up. I used to blog anonymously on behalf of a patient group, but I’m not affiliated with them any longer, and I really missed blogging, especially since there’s so much going on with research into my disorder (including gene therapy possibilities). It’s at my website,, if anyone’s curious, but it’s a really niche topic, so I don’t expect a big audience.

    I’ve also been working on getting covers and formatting for a series of books I started years ago and couldn’t find a publisher for, at least in part because they’re a wee bit outside the cozy mystery box — set in the future, after an apocalypse — so I decided to self-pub them this fall. They have the elements of a cozy — murder, amateur sleuth, cats, small town — just set in the future, and I had fun writing them — the Crazy Cat Lady Chronicles.

    So, all my work is fun stuff now! Well, okay, I still have to clean the house and that’s not fun, but I also haven’t been doing it much because of the rolling heat waves.

      1. Thank you! I’ve gotten some good feedback from other patients, so maybe it is more than a just-for-me project!

        1. I can’t tell you how much I would have loved a blog from the patient’s view when dealing with some ongoing medical conditions in the past. Even if you can’t scare up more attention in the medical community, you and your fellow participants can compare note and feel heard. And you might give each other ideas for coping skills.

          1. Same here! Graves Disease isn’t even rare but I was still four years and four doctors in before anybody explained to me that it was a disorder of the immune system, not just a malfunctioning thyroid gland that was expected to spontaneously get better on its own once I was healthy enough! Spoiler alert: it didn’t, and I resisted the radiotherapy for almost FIVE YEARS of hell because I didn’t understand that it was incurable. Doctors are not always good at their jobs.

          2. All of which is to say that you are doing a wonderful thing and other patients will find your work a lifeline.

        2. I read the posts you have up now. It is too rare a disease for me to follow forever, but you write So Well that I’m tempted to try to find the time.

          1. Oh, thank you so much. It really is niche, and a lot of what I’ll be posting will be even more obscure than what I’ve done so far as sort of general advocacy posts with examples from my own disorder. I want to get into the basics of gene/cell therapy soon, and that will be sort of general too, but a lot will be more about events and disorder-specific journal articles, so I don’t expect a broad audience.

      1. Thank you! Series got so many rejections from big pubs, it’s good to hear that readers are interested!

      1. Thank you! Just got draft cover art, and it’s beyond adorable. If that can’t get the book some reader attention, nothing will!

  7. No short week for me. I run a shop, so we were open on Monday (we would have been closed on the actual 4th, but since it fell on a Sunday, it made no difference). All sorts of minor crises and frustrations both at work and personally…nothing major, but just enough to make me twitchy and anxious. You know, so, Wednesday.

    On the bright side, I finished up the fairly minor copy edits on the third cozy and sent it back to my editor, so I can get back to work on the next Llewellyn book and some articles I need to write. The peas in the garden had a sudden boom, so I was out last night right before a thunderstorm, picking as many as I could so I could beat the chipmunks to them. I’m going to post some pictures of my garden haul on Instagram and I’ll try and remember to come back here and add a link. It has been too hot to do much out there, but we’re at least starting to get rain, which we needed badly.

      1. YOU HAVE STRAWBERRIES AND RASPBERRIES!!! (Sorry ’bout the shouting, but there’s nothing better that warm, fresh berries.) I’m drooling.

        1. The dotter, on a walk with Her Boyfriend, this week discovered that blackberries and blueberries grow wild all over Virginia. Those are her favorites.

        2. It’s the end of strawberry season and the height of raspberry season. Not a great year for the first but oh, boy, the raspberries are going wild.

      2. Yum! Instagram let me see them instead of insisting I create an account and log in, as it has been for a while.

  8. I’ve been fanfic writing, watching Black Widow, and listening to a lot of the BBC Live Lounge on YouTube. And trying to clean out my sons’ rooms in preparation for moving later this year.

  9. I’ve been gardening, getting ready for karate camp, and working on my blurb for my September release. Can I test it out here and see what you all think? I struggle with blurb writing so any help would be appreciated. I’m not sure I like the first sentence hook. It doesn’t feel “hook-y” enough. lol. It’s for a small town contemporary romance called Wilde Temptation.

    Can an apple make you happy?

    Plant geneticist Sam Wilde thinks so. He spent his life savings genetically engineering a unique variety and now needs an investor for his “happy apples” before his orchard’s imminent foreclosure.

    But when fortuneteller Faith Shields mixes Sam’s brand new apples into her old world chutney recipe, the result is more than happiness – it’s horniness!

    As Candlewood Falls hungers for chutney, Sam and Faith experiment with their arousal hypothesis and soon discover their test subjects aren’t the only ones tempted by desire. Is the impassioned pair’s attraction a byproduct of the aphrodisiac or do they have true chemistry? Add into the equation Faith’s jealous ex-boyfriend—the only investor interested in the forbidden fruit—and Wilde Orchards is about to live up to its name.

      1. You do? Great! I agree with not loving the word horniness. I originally wrote it “…it does more than make people happy, it makes them horny.” Not sure if that’s better (I liked horny better than horniness – lol) but I changed it to cut words.

      2. I agree. May be just me, but I’d go with some version of “aphrodisia” rather than horny, especially in a romance — something like: the combination is more than just a mood lifter, it’s an aphrodisiac.

        1. Thank you! You might be right. Perhaps horny isn’t the best word for a romance. Maybe I can work “love potion” some place in there rather than using “aphrodisiac” twice. Hmm…

    1. This sounds fun. I’d work to get the happy/horny idea in the very first lines, because a)that’s your hook, and b)people skim skim skim.

    2. Maybe start with some version of:

      Sam Wilde bred his apples to make people happy. But when fortuneteller Faith Shields adds them to her chutney, it makes people hot.

      And now I must return to writing about building management technology.

      1. Ooh! I like this. Thank you for giving me another way to think about working the blurb and for taking the time from your building management tech writing to help. 🙂

        1. My pleasure – believe me! Although now I’m thinking about revising a description of HVAC systems to use the term “aphrodisiac.”

    3. Being a fellow karateka (albeit on hiatus…), may I ask what style you’re practicing? Karate camp sounds like so, so much fun…

      1. Hello, fellow karateka! 🙂 I study Isshinryu Karate and Ryukonkai Kobudo. Both are Okinawan styles. My husband and I own a dojo in NJ. Karate camp really is a lot of fun – 4 days of training, 3 times per day, plus other camp fun (swimming pool, bon fires, talent night). What style do you study?

        1. Thanks for your lovely reply! So is this karate camp something you and your husband arrange, or is it something you do for your own pleasure and development? It really sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe I should move to America after all! 😉
          I’ve been studying Shotokan, mostly because that was the only style available in the city where I lived. I stopped many years ago because of both injuries and because I moved abroad (from Sweden to The Netherlands), and haven’t yet kicked myself hard enough in the butt to get back to it. I decided to take up judo as a way to prepare my body (stamina, muscles, everything) to go back to karate, but then COVID came and ruined it. Hopefully, if things go well, I can go back to training in September. The dojo where I study judo also offer Shotokan training, as well as other martial arts, so I’m hopefully at the right place in terms of picking up both old and new skills. I’ve missed it so much all these years, I so, so want to get back to studying karate!
          (Their website also states they offer kobudo lessons, but no name is specified, unfortunately, only that it’s Okinawa kobudo. I doubt they’ll let me do that though 😉 Convincing karate senseis a blind girl can do their thing is hard enough, I doubt they’d let me handle weapons…)

          1. My husband and I rent a retreat facility where they provide all the lodging, meals, pool, lake, zip lines, and bon fires. We do all the rest – plan the itinerary and run all the classes for the day. Everyone loves ducking out of the world for a few days to dedicate to their training. We have a lot of families in the dojo so it’s a nice bonding time for them, too. Our campers range in age from 8 to late 50s.

            I hope you get back to your karate studies soon. Sounds like you really miss it. If you do convince the Sensei let you train weapons, I’d be interesting in hearing how it goes. Maybe ask to start with tekko (they are sort of like brass knuckles but different). It’s such a small weapon, it’s practically like empty hand. Seems to me like it would be a good transition weapon.

    4. Try “lust.” If you want alliteration, rephrase so “happiness” is “laughing”?

  10. I moved my last child out of the house this weekend and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m overwhelmed with the mess that’s left behind. Some mine, some his.

    (Oh I still have a child in college, so I assume she’ll come home at some point, but she has her own apartment in Burlington and is working this summer so she’s not home.)

    I’m in a funk and need to get the kayak out on the water but we’ve been having thunderstorms every day after work so it’s been out of the question. I’m also feeling guilty about not finishing Glimmer Girls, but it’s so not fun to go there anymore – which is a shame because I like the town and the people in it. I just don’t know what the story is about anymore. Sigh.

    Maybe I should do something different like Gin did. Just write something fun with dogs and a strong woman with definite ideas about the world. Fun would be good.

    See, I told you I was in a funk…

  11. I survived the holiday, and almost miss lockdown for it’s cancellation of family obligation on holidays. Moved my dad back to his house after 6 months and painted for the first time in the same time period.

    He got a dumpster. He is a hoarder, with a lot of emotional attachment to a lot of random things, but it’s progress, so huzzah! Filling it will be another struggle.

    I will try to get back to painting and other projects by the weekend.

  12. I have been working hard at decluterring the garage this week in preparation for our house move. We are nearly done. Things have been donated, others sold and others taken to the recycling centre. Nearly there with that. A good feeling!

  13. Still trying not to kill people. It’s getting more and more difficult to remember why killing is a bad thing.

    1. Remember … just stick to putting it on paper, Sue Grafton got some decent best sellers out of the experience.

      1. LOL. Me, too. At first I think… all alone in a cell, I can read… and then I realize there’s no privacy and I’d be shanking people left and right. So yeah, that’s about the only thing helping right now to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  14. I’m back at the old job and back to my regularly scheduled life. I’m not sure why I thought the other job would be a good fit. I don’t mind an employer renting my hours, it’s renting my minutes I don’t think I can cope with.

    We hired some different teenagers to put down the blocks for the fire pit patio area and they finished in one evening. It’s not perfect but it’s done and that’s the important part. Also, teenagers not a professional landscaping crew. I’ll put pics on Instagram after we get the fire pit put together and the flower pots on.

  15. So I can’t get to the dashboard to post this, but I had the day from hell yesterday that ending up with
    (A) No internet, followed by
    (B) Hearing a leak that I couldn’t find in my kitchen, during which search
    (C) The power went off (big storm) and then
    (D) Emily jumped on the bed meaning to dig her nails into the comforter and got my foot instead.

    Yeah, I know (D) has no relevance to posting here, but I’m whining. Anyway if there’s no post tomorrow . . . They’re predicting power back by 3 this afternoon, or by 11 tonight, or within 72 hours. Once the power is back, I can try getting my internet connection back. Except we’re getting another storm so . . .

    1. Was the leak a hiss or a gurgle? Either one can lead to a big problem if ignored, but a hissing leak can really be dangerous if you have natural gas lines. I’ve dealt with a gurgle leak that morphed into a gusher, but thankfully no gas problems. Hope your day gets better and that the electricity and internet return.

      1. No natural gas. We’re lucky to have electricity out here.
        It’s a drip, a fast one. I’ve managed to stop it, but I don’t know how. I’m just glad it’s not doing that any more.

  16. This week I purchased two new shrubs, one dwarf butterfly bush and one oak leaf hydrangea. The butterfly bush is in the ground now, but the other will have to wait until I can rearrange some stuff in that area. Which is not happening today because the heat index is 102. Everything got watered and I was out early enough to do some general cleaning up, but anything that didn’t happen by 9am wasn’t happening today.

    I tell ya though, I am loving my new insulated windows. New Windows are so worth the investment.

    As for romances, I’m not sure if they changed or if I changed. Maybe a little of both? I think I’m less patient with any book that is only so-so; but I also think many romances out there now are missing whatever that ingredient is that made them work in the first place.

    1. Oh, insulated windows. I love it that this little cottage has so many, but they’re going to be a fortune to replace. Big window envy here.

  17. I had to log into instagram to see the links (which never happened before) AND it made me go to my yahoo email and get the security code, because apparently my login looked suspicious (really???). Anyway, it was all worth it to see the beautiful baby blanket, and the lovely strawberries, which came up with a text before the picture loaded, saying “may be a image of strawberries”, which I found hilarious!

    Working with my beloved sister most this week while boss is out of town, so it hardly feels like work.

    1. The “May be an image of strawberries”-text you got to see was the Insta-generated alt-text of the picture. So, if I would go to that post, and the poster has not added an alt-text themself, that’s what my screenreader would tell me the pictures was all about.
      They get small points for effort, I suppose, but sometimes their auto-generated descriptions are very wrong. Like last week when an author I really like posted a picture of a fox, and it was “may be a picture of sheep on a lush green grassland”. Yep okay. I was glad he’d written a caption, too.

  18. Please tell me that it is July 7th and not June 7th as the title says. Otherwise, I’ve got some serious shit to sort out. 🙂

    1. Ha! I usually notice that sort of typo and missed it this time, perhaps because I seem to be in some sort of alternate time dimension when dates just don’t matter.

    2. Are you implying that I don’t know what day it is?
      Yeah, it’s July. Sorry.

  19. My big achievement was getting the last box of textbooks ready to ship back after the school year, packing material in place, shipping labels, etc. Next step is to haul them to the UPS store, but at least they’re ready to go! They give you 6 months to return, which is good. This was part of turning the dining room back into a dining room post school, moving furniture and a printer back to my upstairs office, which turned out to not have enough internet for zoom classes. I also caught up the weeding that got out of hand during the heatwave. So there, I restored the dining room and I weeded. Plus we had the 4th of July and 2 birthdays, I’m amazed I achieved anything.

  20. I was grieving and decided to be proactive & spend time with friends who fill in the empty spaces left by family. Interestingly, as much as this helped, discovering your blog and reading Arresting Anna actually made me feel more normal than anything else I’ve done. I love your writing and have craved something new for a very long time, so involuntarily laughing at Arresting Anna was wonderful. Thank you

  21. Wut I Done on My Summer Vacation
    by Gary J

    Admittedly, a five day weekend barely qualifies as a vacation, but it’s what I have, so it counts.. What did I do? I installed a 6,000 BTU air conditioning unit in my only window, using materials at hand to make up for shortfalls of design. In other words, I red-necked it. I even bought a new roll of duct tape to properly seal the unit against bugs and weather. So much duct tape! And Styrofoam. So much Styrofoam! Red-neck! So red-neck!

    While open, the window attracted flies and skeeters, and one enormous wasp. I tolerated Mr. Stingy until I could escort him out the open door. There were too many intense minutes, which I wasted holding a fly swatter. I do not like wasps. I recall the premise of a book about why the Terran Federation wants James Mowry to volunteer to be a wasp. That’s the title of the book, too.

    The other thing I did was to log on with my Windows laptop, which I have operated strictly in airplane mode since I bought it, months and months ago. I am as afraid of ransomware terrorists as I am of wasps. Once logged on, I added it as a Kindle device and re-read The Book of Firsts by having Alexa read it to me. There may be an audiobook, but I like Alexa’s voice – she doesn’t sound mechanical at all. I haven’t fired her up yet, but the laptop is also inflicted with Cortana.

    My next project isn’t simply to move my desk, since I managed to install the AC without doing so, but to move the desk after complete disassembly and reassembly in mirror image. Given the geometry of my garage apartment, that will put the working surface of the desk directly before my bookshelves, where now I must get up and walk as many as three steps. Not that there are any books – mostly DVDs. (Frown. Now the TV/DVD player will be three steps away, instead. Some things must be endured, if we are ever to be free.)

    1. Gary, there are lots of good antivirus programs you can put on your laptop. Some of them are even free. If you back things up regularly (I use an autobackup to Carbonite daily, plus other forms of backup), the ransomware people can only make your life inconvenient, not disastrous.

      1. I second Deborah’s suggestion. I use DropBox and OneDrive to continuously backup my files.
        As for antivirus programs, at least (please) turn on Windows Defender. TrendMicro has a relatively inexpensive annual subscription for a fairly robust antivirus. I wouldn’t use the free versions of any antivirus because of bloatware. Some of my colleagues use Norton antivirus.
        I’ve been reading the blog for years, but this is my first time to comment. I’m being brave. 🙂

        1. I thank you Cari and Deborah. You are both right and wise, and with excellent suggestions. I will still minimize the WinComp’s exposure, because so far, the terrorists haven’t targeted ChromeOS. I’d even consider an Apple, if they weren’t so darned expensive. (And if I didn’t have over a grand invested in Windows programs. Maybe with WinE…)

      2. I have had six (6) ransomeware attacks in six years. I have loaded my machines, laptops and desktops and towers, with antivirus software and firewalls and so on, and they got through.

        The Windows computer hosts my Great Library. I logged on today (for the first time) to get updates, download books, and get my MSOffice stuff. The Chromebook has an apt that lets me work with Excel files, but Office has the real deal. I love looking at the graph of my diet. It won’t be official until tomorrow, but I’ve reached 265, a number I only ever want to see from below, ever again.

        Anyway, I’m back on the Chromebook. No reason to run Windows again until I check for updates.

  22. I’ll never forget the time I let the English teacher at my kids’ high school know that presentation’s title had a typo. College instead of collage. Turned out she didn’t care. She said everyone would know what was meant, so the spelling didn’t matter.

  23. I’m thinking about the close (female) friend of a heroine while I think about why I dislike so many romances I’ve read recently. The friend character needs to show aspects of the heroine which aren’t otherwise apparent, but the friend has to also do much more. An example of this load is in Bet Me: both Liza and Bonnie are essential for the tripartite form of the story. In Cinderella Deal, Julia is vital for showing that a good gal can try, but trying doesn’t create the right guy. In contrast, stories that have disappointed me have lackluster friends who are merely different from the heroine (they are likely to be conformist in comparison to her).

  24. A small portion of this morning was given over to talking to the IRS on the phone – go ahead and laugh get it out of your system. I gave them all the information I could (it was their snafu) until Mr. ID number (no name) asked if we wanted to mail in the form or finish by phone. I said phone where he said he would have to transfer the call to another line. Big mistake on my part. The call was sent to a message that replied that the line was full and I would have to call back tomorrow. Accompanied by busy signals. Argh!

  25. Romances-I think a lot of them have gone ‘corporate’. I sometimes think there’s a series of templates with boxes to check before they can be accepted for publication. Check all the boxes and the book will be published. (Hero’s title, not earl but duke.) On the other hand, there does seem to be more diversity in characters.

    Like Kate, I was in a funk (a Covid funk?). Anyway, I seem to be coming out of it. I purchased pictures, two just pre-Covid, and I’m finally getting them the walls where I can see and enjoy them. Six new ones and two that have to be relocated. I’m halfway there.

    And there are a couple of little projects that have been sitting. I need to replace the plugs on a couple of extention cords and make sure my drill’s rechareable batteries are still good. I may actually get them done in the next week or so, inside, where it’s cool.

  26. I got my first COVID-stab last Saturday, and di not get sick, which was a relief. Sven got high fever from his, so we were expecting I’d be sick too since we’ve both probably had COVID and that might (according to a friend of ours) be the reason why he got sick from it. Fortunately for me, I got through unscathed.
    Then Monday everything became too much and I had a smaller breakdown episode. 🙁 I managed not to throw things, scream (okay not much) or kill anybody except some chopsticks, but all in all it was awful and I am SO DONE with feeling this bad. I just have to find the switch to turn it around again. I just don’t really know how.

    Ooon a happier note! … Sven said we should hold off on telling everyone because we have no absolute certainty yet, but Arghers are not “everyone”, so I’ll tell you anyway: We bid on another place yesterday AND today we got a call from the agent that our bid has been accepted! ✌️ Yes, the bank still have to do their thing and all that, but if all goes well (which we expect) we’ll be moving in September. This place has a paved backyard/patio (the Dutchies call it a garden…) big enough for at least us and a cat, and today I’ve been catching myself trying to figure out if I can put some smaller shrubs or something in there. Sven is a bit scared of buzzing bugs, but I think I’d like to have something green in there. Preferrably things that smell good so we can “see them” with our noses. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear!
    It also has a small balcony outside the kitchen, which I’m planning to fill with herbs. Lemon balm and mint are gonna be there for sure, the rest I’ll think about.
    And my mum said maybe she’ll come down from Sweden and help us paint or paper it and get furniture and generally help us make it a home. I haven’t seen her for 2 years, so that’d be wonderful. Maybe she’ll bring my little sister (almost 18yrs) too. I’d love that.

    I’ve also been thinking about starting to make snowmen for in the Christmas tree again… I know it’s summer, but it’s fun and relaxing to make those little snowmen and give them hats and accessories and personalities. I need to buy more clay though, and it’s out of stock where I usually get it, so will have to turn to Google to find it.
    Here are the ones I made last year:
    And now I’ve babbled enough. Have a great week, everyone!

    1. Ooh that’s exciting! Here’s to trouble-free banking and ultimate relocation to a place with an herb balcony. 🙂

      1. Thank you! I’ve set my mind on having a herb balcony now, so a herb balcony there shall be!

    2. Shass, You may not have a switch, but you were able to reach the other side of Monday’s episode and identify it as a smaller one. And you’re developing a sense of perspective; I think that’s huge in learning to control the episodes.

      Crossing fingers that your house comes through! Scented geraniums might be nice in a garden. Of course, you know all about tulips.

      Your snowmen are adorable.

      1. Thank you so much for your words. At times, it feels a bit lighter since Monday. Sometimes it doesn’t, but the brief moments it does I feel a sliver of hope.
        Geraniums. Thanks for the suggestion!
        The snowmen and I are very happy that you like them!

    3. Here’s hoping everything goes smoothly in getting your new home. It sounds lovely.

      And I think your snowmen are so wonderful. You have given them personality and charm. Your creativity made me smile.

      1. Thank you! We have a very good guy at the bank helping us out, so we have high hopes of success.
        I’m so happy that you like them! I think it’s terribly scary to post what I make, so it’s always a relief when people like what they see.

    4. Can you go to a garden store and find the scents you like the best ? And maybe pick ones that have the longest season. Scents are so personal that I hesitate to recommend anything but personally I like rosemary. And mint would be a lovely smell but keep it in pots or it will take over your garden. If you Google scent garden you should find a bunch of useful sites.
      If you get things that don’t flower then you don’t have to worry about buzzy things.

      1. Very good suggestion, thank you! There are a couple of garden stores/centers here. I guess living in a reasonably big city has its perks sometimes. 😉

        1. if cat maybe catnip or cat mint? checking first whether _you_ like the scent. I found mine flowered much less when I grew it in heavy shade. In fact, it was the only thing I could grow in an alley between house and fence. The cats didn’t pay much attention unless I crushed it for them.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions! Roses, love those, but not all of them are scented, are they?
        If I remember correctly, there are rose bushes on one side of the patio already. It was raining cats and dogs and a couple of small sheep too I think when we were there, so I didn’t check out every corner of it. Unless they’ll uproot them and take them away when they move out, we should have those at least.

        1. Definitely check roses for scent – I love Old Rose perfume, but a lot of roses smell of other things, such as fruit or spices. It you like the traditional rose perfume like me, I highly recommend a rose called ‘De Rescht’, or sometimes ‘Rose de Rescht’. It’s really healthy and makes a dense shrub that flowers for a really long time, especially if you snap off the dead flowers as they die. I’ve grown it successfully in a big pot.

    5. Blue or purple petunias. For some reason they smell sweeter than other petunias. And if you fertilize them regularly (about once a month) they become large and lush. They are like blousy bar maids – a little coarse but pretty and good natured. They are annuals but cheap so if it turns out gardening does not agree with you, you haven’t lost a lot. Bright ceramic planters add color without needing to have flowers. It can be expensive to get big ones that can stay outside in the winter so put them on your housewarming gift list suggestions.

      1. I love your description of the flowers! Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll put them all on my list! Looking forward to have bar maids on my patio. 🙂

    6. You can’t flip a switch and be done with it. But you can notice that the breaks are shorter or farther apart. Celebrate every tiny improvement in either of those departments and use the resulting momentum to face the next week.
      We are witnesses to each of these victories and celebrate with you. And you can be grateful that that episode is over. My sister had to disinvite her daughter from the daughter’s son’s birthday dinner because the daughter couldn’t recognize that emailing five times an hour trying to dictate terms of the party was manic. You saw that you were not acting as you wished to and stopped. That is a giant step back to health.

      Congratulations on having your offer accepted! May you have an easy closing and move!

      1. Thank you for the encouragement. It’s hard to see it as positive or a step forward, but I suppose it is in some ways. I’m not the screaming or throwing-things type at all, so feeling like this feels… a bit scary. I know it doesn’t solve anything, so I’m always relieved when I find I can hold myself back, but just feeling like doing it is awful. I’m very happy and grateful to have all the Arghers cheering for me. It’s a big comfort, and all the kind words here make me feel safe and at home. That’s not a feeling I often have in big groups, so thank you all for being such wonderful people!
        Yes, let’s hope moving over to the other place will go smoothly and without bumps. I’m looking forward to be able to be outside a bit more. And maybe I’ll feel more comfortable singing there than in this castle of paper walls.

        1. Mijn lieve buurvrouw heeft last van zware depressies. Zij heeft me in de loop van de jaren laten zien dat na zo’n periode, boosheid het eerste gevoel is dat terugkomt.
          Dat soort buien van buitenproportionele boosheid zijn moeilijk voor haarzelf en haar partner, maar wel een goed teken dat de depressie het keerpunt voorbij is.

          De volgende emotie die zij weer voelt is verdriet. De positieve emoties beginnen pas weken daarna weer terug te komen.

          Als je een manier kan vinden om de boosheid te kanaliseren zonder deze op je partner af te reageren, ben je echt al een heel eind op de goede weg.

          Als je geen angst hebt om naar buiten te gaan kun je misschien afspreken dat je een rondje om gaat lopen, en dat je partner je dan even niets vraagt, als dat jou helpt?
          Mijn buurvrouw durft in zo’n periode slecht naar buiten maar speelt goed piano, dus die trekt zich terug op haar kamer en gaat op haar keyboard met de koptelefoon op lekker luid boze Bach spelen, of één van de ruigere Russische componisten.

          De volgende stap, voor mijn buurvrouw, was om haar man te leren om straks bij de huilbuien je met kalmte te steunen zonder dat hij steeds met concrete oplossingen hoeft te komen.
          Als je de bui maar gewoon over je heen kan laten spoelen, dan trekt die ook weer over, en uiteindelijk zullen de opklaringen ook volgen – al is het moeilijk om daarin te geloven als je nog in de ‘regentijd’ van de herstelperiode zit.

          Proberen om voldoende slaap te krijgen is belangrijk; als je te moe bent zijn niet alleen de remmen op de emoties losser waardoor die buiten proportie reageren op kleine tegenslagen, maar is ook de natuurlijke tijdsbegrenzing van zo’n negatieve bui weg, waardoor die veel langer blijft hangen.
          Dat komt doordat slaapgebrek de productie van een stofje in het emotie-regelcentrum in de hersenen beïnvloed, maar de naam ben ik vergeten.
          Zelf vond ik het fijn, toen ik dat las, dat ik me niet meer zo stom hoefde te voelen vanwege mijn overdreven gevoelens als ik moe ben: het is geen karakterfout van mij, maar een logisch effect van standaard brein-scheikunde. Ik ben niet verantwoordelijk voor die gevoelens, maar alleen voor dat ik ze niet afreageer op de onschuldige omstanders.
          Maar goed slapen is makkelijker gezegd dan gedaan, en waarschijnlijk wist je dat allemaal allang.

          Sterkte met je geleidelijke herstel, ik ben blij dat je op de goede weg bent!

    7. My fingers are crossed for you, Shass.

      I can’t think of a magic answer that’ll please both you and Sven, since plants have scented flowers in order to attract pollinating insects, which generally include bees. Perhaps look for scented leaves? If rosemary’s hardy, that could work; it flowers early, so Sven would be OK most of the year. I’m going blank on other options; will come back if I think of anything.

      It’s such fun to dream of making a little garden for yourself.

      1. Perhaps go for a winter-flowering shrub, like some of the Daphnes or a Sarcococca? Probably won’t be many bees around then.

        1. Thanks for your suggestions! I’m noting it all down. We should put him into intensive buzzing-bugs-ain’t-no-dangerous-treatment so he can relax a bit more. It is a challenge to have buzzing bugs around you when you cant see what it is, so I do understand him, but having grown up on farms makes me less afraid of them. He’s a real city boy, this one.

    8. Be kind to yourself, Shass. Buying a new abode is one of the most stressful things you can do. It’s no wonder that you lost it briefly.

      We Arghers are all here for you.

      1. The being-kind-to-self-part is a really hard one, but I’m practicing. Having all Arghers feels very comforting. Arghers are the best people I know.

    9. If you want to start small, you could plant up some deepish pots with a few layers of spring bulbs that smell nice.
      Say, a layer of hyacinths on top of a layer of sweet-smelling daffodils (or is it jonquils?) – Narcissi Actaea or Poëtaz smell really nice, a bit less strongly than the cultivated hyacinths which I often find a bit overwhelming indoors; but Paperwhites smell like scorched bakelite and Tête-à-tête have no scent to speak of. For earlier spring colour you can add a layer of crocus or scilla or snowdrops on top, but those don’t have much scent.

      You could also put some scented summer plants in pots, though you’ld have to keep watering them unless it rains. Lavender and rosemary might be nice, but could attract bees. Thyme might be cajoled to grow in cracks between the paving, but has the same drawback, as does oregano or marjoram.
      As one of the others said, maybe scented leaves would be a better choice if you don’t want bees. Lemon thyme, lemongrass, chocolate cosmos, there are so many lovely scented plants out there, and scent is such a personal preference.
      If you’ve been vaccinated you could visit a garden center and see which scents you like.

      An Eucalyptus bush is said to ward off mosquitoes, and wouldn’t attract bees, but could quickly grow too large for a pot.

      If you can lift a few slabs along the fence, you could plant a few bushes or climbing plants to add life, colour and scent without impeding movement around your patio/yard or requiring much maintenance.

      For winter scent and flowers without summer insects, Viburnum Bodnantese Dawn can flower from November to February on the bare branches, before leafing out. Viburnum Tinus Snowball stays green in winter and flowers in early spring, after Dawn is done; both bushes’ flowers have lovely scent.

      For late spring you could get a scented lilac bush/small tree, though by then you might get some bees to visit it.

      For summer and well into autumn, I have found scented (climbing) roses to be best at giving a long-lasting and lovely-smelling succession of flowers. If you’re in the Netherlands (as your sentence about Dutchies calling it a garden hints) I can really recommend the rosegrowers De Wilde; their Rosa Compassion (a peach-pink climbing tearose with large flowers which can flower from July to October, though less profusely than less-scented ones) has the most heavenly scent in my garden.
      Here’s the link to their listing of scented climbing roses – it’s in Dutch, but Google translate should be able to deal with that:
      They can send your order over the mail, but they also have show gardens that you can visit to see and smell the roses before you choose.

      One more fence-climber with a lovely scent for summer: a honeysuckle will give off a lovely scent of honey in the evenings and after rain, but that also means they are likely to attract bees. Lonicera japonica or Lonicera Periclimenum are the best ones for scent; they make a bit of a messy tangle climbing the lattice on my house wall but from June until August-September I really enjoy their scent wafting in through my window after a rainshower (and the windows have insect screens, so no worries about bees).

      1. So many excellent suggestions here, thank you! And thanks for the website! I speak (read, write) Dutch fluently, so the language shouldn’t be an issue. I will save it and take a goooood look at it. I’m so much looking forward to make this place a nice one. And lilac! Why didn’t I think of that? I love lilac. They smell wonderful and they are pretty, too. We had some lilac bushes in the garden when I was little, and it always made me happy when they sprang out in bloom and spread their scent everywhere.
        I will have to cure Sven of his fear of buzzzzzzz.
        Dare I hazard a guess that you live in NL too? Your name only made me want to ask, and now with the website I just had to!

        1. Ja, ik ben Nederlandse, en woon in Noord-Holland.
          Als je toevallig ook in de buurt van Alkmaar komt te wonen, dan heeft Kwekerij Meijer in Heiloo, aan de rand van het bos, een beperkte selectie De Wilde rozen.
          Maar rechtstreeks bij De Wilde zelf heb je veel meer keus.

          1. Dankjewel voor de suggesties! Wij blijven in Den Haag, aangezien we hier voorzieningen hebben (o.a. via de WMO) die we niet zeker weten of we kunnen krijgen als we ergens anders gaan wonen. Ik zat even te lezen op de website die je stuurde gisteren en werd een beetje verliefd op de klimrozen. Zodra we toegang hebben tot het huis en tuin ga ik kijken of ik een goede plek kan vinden voor ze om te groeien en klimmen.

        2. Lilacs have a wonderful scent but are in bloom for a brief period. Then to keep them looking civilized, they should be deadheaded. They also spread by underground runners, usually into areas where you don’t want them. They are best in areas where you can let them grow. I have a large yard but I removed mine because I was tired of dealing with them. My neighbor then planted one next to our shared fence and they have taken to sending runners under the fence into my yard. Arrghhhhhh.

    10. My first thought for good-smelling plants was lavender, which smells good whether it’s blooming or not (and for Sven, is said to repel mosquitoes, and seems to do that beside my deck), but that would also be appropriate on the herb balcony. The smell of lavender has now taken over my brain and I can’t think of any more.

      1. (Also have never seen bees around my lavender, but wasps are very buzzy and not attracted by scent as far as I know. I can say that sight does not help a bit with the shock of things flying into your face.)

        1. Lavender, excellent suggestion! Everything repelling mosquitoes is, of course, a plus. 🙂
          I’ll have the best-smelling patio (and/or herb balcony) in the West of The Netherlands if I plant everything that has been suggested thus far. So happy!

    11. You’ve been living under enormous stress, and at some point everybody snaps for a minute. You recognised what was happening and pulled yourself back, and that’s huge. Be kind to yourself, lovely.

      For scented plants, I keep a lemon verbena on my balcony. It will stay small in its tiny pot, but the one I planted in my Mum’s garden has grown into a huge shrub, so you can sort of pick a size for it. The leaves are the scented part and the flowers are small, but it does still attract some bees. It’s edible, if that’s a selling point. Good for adding extra oomph to lemon flavoured things. Maybe night blooming jasmine for evening scent while the pollinators are asleep? Not sure if it will grow that far north.

      1. I’m trying! I’m also practicing taking “active breaks”, i.e. telling myself “It’s okay to sit here and read for 15 minutes and not do anything else. All the musts and has-tos can be taken care of after these 15 minutes”, and then do that. It’s surprisingly hard, but I’ll get there someday.
        I bet lemon verbena would go well with the lemon balm seen to smell, wouldn’t it?
        I love bees, bees are amazing. My paternal grandpa was a beekeeper before the stroke took most of his mobility from him, and we lived with our grandparents 2 weekends every month until I was 15 and I never even once was stung by a bee. Leave them to do their thing and they’re letting you do yours. 🙂 Someday I’ll make Sven understand that too.

    12. I’ve freaked out over every house I’ve ever bought (five at last count and I’m not moving again), so I feel your pain.
      But moving into a new house is wonderful, so fingers crossed.

      1. I have to admit that it’s not so much the housing market and moving and all that that made me break down there for a while, but… me.
        Hopefully moving away from this paper castle will help. 🙂

        1. It is such a demonstrably new start that it should provide a natural break from the behavior that scares you. And while a change of scene won’t remove all triggers, at least they will be new challenges, which helps keep you (me) from beating oneself up for not resisting the old traps.

  27. So I basically have been on the road traveling to see my children and grandchildren, about two weeks. Can I just say – it was sheer joy to see them and the feeling was mutual. pajama parties non stop and lots of ice cream. I got to finally meet my newest grand – and all I had to do was open my arms and he fell right into them with smiles and hugs and a serious charm offense. I had to give in. Anyway, it was wonderful. Then I headed home, reluctantly, but I did stop at various garden places on the way. When I got home I only had time to do laundry then I headed up to the mountains with my sisters and their grands for a long holiday weekend. The fireworks on the mountain were really good. The place they own has no internet so I managed to get through a pile of magazines and a book and probably lowered my BP significantly. So now I’m home and all those plants (mostly annuals) I managed to plant, despite a blistering heat. I don’t know about you, but when I get a big job done (all my container plants planted) I reward myself, mostly by doing nothing. My next job is cleaning up two weeks of weeds!!! that quickly invaded since I was away. Sigh. I like to exist like a kid on summer vacation, with all my days running together. I plan to continue to enjoy my summer this way, although I do have some obligations I must take care of here and there. Basically, I’m eat, gardening sporadically due to heat, exercising, swimming, going bra-less and sipping prosecco.

  28. Work the past week was WORK plus finishing new novella plus minor housekeeping. Nothing noteworthy. 🙂 Hope the mysterious leak is resolved without too much argh and that thunderstorms stop messing with internet.

  29. This week I did something I’ve been threatening to do for weeks. I invited my Milwaukee friend to spend a day with me while we explore what has changed there since I moved away. She has a day off from work during a Jewish holiday that I don’t observe so it is perfect for goofing off. She wasn’t sure what she could show me,but once I mentioned that to my niece in Milwaukee, she emailed me a list of things that she thought we might like to try. If my niece has finished moving by that time, I just might ask if I can crash on her couch for a night so I don’t have to worry about running to catch the last train back to Chicago. If nothing else, it will be a good way to practice being on vacation before the big trip in September.

  30. Not much to report; we now have someone who will do the interior of The Book, and things are progressing nicely on that front. I discovered that Windows 10 will run some astonishingly old programs, and have tried out my much-loved Wrebbit Puzz3D puzzles, which Sort Of work, but only so far at a much lower resolution than my screen, so they’re hard to see and consequently, putting together Notre Dame is a visual challenge. I’m hunting for the Secret to this, which is probably somewhere online. These CD-based puzzles originally ran under Windows 95 . . . .

  31. June 7th! It’s my birthday again!
    Still getting around the new job, all the new programs, all the passwords, all the people, but none of the people near me. I admit I might trade to a job where I could go to an aid-conditioned office.
    Finished up my 16-month Song of the Day project, where I sent out some kind of music to a list of friends, just about every day. Since we’re able to go out and about and attend and give concerts, I figured it had served its purpose. I’m trying to organize it into a blog. No, I did not make it a blog while I was doing it. Who knew it would go on so long? But now, I want a record of it, I had quite the time choosing music for the circumstance of this crazy crazy year.

  32. I mowed my lawn and called my brother. I knew it was close to the year anniversary of his wife’s death. It was today. He needed someone to talk to and today it was me. I couldn’t make it good but I made it a little better.

  33. Today is the three month anniversary of my husband’s sudden death. Sitting here reading these comments was enjoyable and fun. Such diverse answers. And you can feel the love; that was something special. I began to recognize each person’s personality from other posts I read this morning. All in all, it’s a good start to this day. And by the way, to me most romances spend more time on the multiple sex scenes rather than the story itself. I am no longer purchasing books that I spend more time skimming through than enjoying the story.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Nan. Being able to find little pieces of joy after such a sudden life change is a beautiful thing. Indeed, there is so much love and warmth here among the Arghers.

    2. I just read this, Nan. Three months is such a short time; I’m glad the Arghers can give you some pleasure.

      1. The Arghers are a wonderful group! I love the atmosphere here. I love the support everyone has for each other. And at the base is the fact we all have mega love for your books!

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