Working Wednesday, March 30, 2022

While my mind was exploding from thinking about Nita, I switched over to Liz, which was worse. At some point, I e-mailed Bob and said, “Help” and sent him over 60,000 words of of first person single point of view garbage. Okay, not garbage, I actually liked a lot of it, but still it was a mess. I knew he was still recovering from trying to save You Again, but I was desperate. So this week has been a lot of e-mail swapping on plot and character and arguing who’s the murderer and who’s the victim and “Why would she do that?” and “Why would he do that?” something we haven’t done in many years. We started writing together eighteen years ago and have often threatened to kill each other since then, but when it comes to fiction, he’s the guy you want in your corner. So at this point, I’m fairly cheerful about Liz. I think Bob’s fairly annoyed, but he’s being great about it. He even said he likes my protagonist. So this week is a lot of house and yard work and Liz. Fingers crossed.

What did you do this week?

72 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, March 30, 2022

  1. A bit of overwhelm paralysis on Fri and Mon, but yesterday I made a list of the very next steps and started working through it. Today is all about getting ready for a conference next month (first work travel since Covid!) Over the weekend I put spring sheets and pillowcases on my bed. The living room is next – spring couch pillows and curtains and throw rug…we also haven’t had a house cleaner since Covid, and I’m lusting after one. The house isn’t exactly dirty, but it’s not exactly clean, either.

  2. Finished the quilt and then decided it needed a border. Have stripes running up each side now, but not enough time or fabric to finish the top and bottom. I’m not happy, but Mary and Paul won’t know the difference so…

    I must learn to live with imperfection.

    1. The Navajo always left a deliberate mistake in their woven wool blankets because only the Creator is perfect. I can’t say my mistakes are deliberate, but this thought gives me comfort.

  3. I was feeling the need to sew, after a month of doing other things. I had this project prepped previously – I had bought a pack of 2.5 inch squares, downloaded the pattern on the label, gotten the background fabric and cut it out. I was all ready to sew it at my retreat last September when I realized the pattern called for two packs of those 2.5 inch squares.

    So, after getting the second pack, and letting it languish while I did other things, I pulled it out. I was glad to do it at home, since at the retreat we’re out on a porch and the breeze would have played havoc with my sorting of colors. It’s now put together. The edges need trimming, but I don’t think there will be borders in its future as it is whopping big as it is.

    Don’t know when I’ll trim and quilt it.

    Meanwhile I’m working while my cat chitters at the bird outside.

    1. It’s lovely. Part of me shudders at how much quilting will be required for those large expanses of white.

        1. I did wonder about that. It’s going to be beautiful, but that’s a lot of quilting.
          I love white on white quilting though. One square at a time. Are you going to do it in colored thread or white?

          1. White on white will be easier to hide any missteps. But a variegated thread would be beautiful too. My friend just did a quilt with a lot of white on white quilting, and one big beautiful quilted motif in the center in bright pink (to match the rest of the quilt). It is a stunning combination.

  4. I find it helpful to pivot (temporarily) to another project when I need more time to cogitate on a WIP. I hope switching over to Liz for a bit helps you get unstuck with Nita (and then two books will be on the way to us–yay!!)

    My current project is a short story for an anthology. At this rate, it might take me as long to finish it as it will to finish the book it’s related to. And switching projects to cogitate is not an option because of deadlines, so this is what I will be working on until it’s completed. Argh.

  5. I finished digging out the weeds and installing a landscape-fabric base for the rest of the main paths on the allotment. Need to buy chipped bark to top them with. Then the edit came back from the author, so I dropped everything to turn that around. Returned it yesterday morning, only to get an out-of-office auto-reply. Given the author had ignored most of my queries, the experience confirmed I’m making the right choice in retiring from editing. I’ve truly had enough.

    I’ll keep doing some proof-reading – but that should be less demanding, and I won’t have to deal with authors any longer, thank goodness. I’ve lost my patience with them (present company excepted). And am getting pretty tired of being blamed for all the ills of the world, as a baby boomer.

    Forty-two years of midwiving other people’s creations is enough.

    I cleaned out the allotment shed once I’d finished the edit yesterday. Mice had been having an orgy, and feasting on hundreds of cherries – the back corner was thick with cherry stones. I’ve been angsting about the cost of a new shed. Not that it’ll be mouse-proof, but the one I’ve got is falling down. I do not want to do my back in, so I’m going to have to pay to get the slabs levelled, and probably to have the new shed erected.

    I’m feeling tired and rather down, but I think this is about retirement and money worries – plus it’s turned cold, grey and rainy today. I’ve got the allotment to plan, veg to get going, and to prepare for friends coming to stay in a week. Oh, and the garden shed to sort out, once the dry weather’s back – a much bigger job, but sans mice.

    1. I do think you’ve put in your time with authors! Allow yourself to revel in the open space, Jane, and don’t let money worries bog you down. I had a friend in grad school who would say, “It’s only money. It’s not like something you love.” I understand, as a freelancer, too, but let yourself joy in the spring and a friend coming to visit.

      1. The problem with money is that you need it to eat and keep a roof over your head. It’s not something I love but it is something I need to keep the dogs and cat out of the rain and in kibble.

    2. Yeah, I hit bottom in February and couldn’t get up again. Spring coming in is helping a lot even if it’s slow on the uptake.
      Your allotment must be the envy of the whole place.

      1. Oh, really not. There are plenty of old boys with rotovators and straight lines. But the great thing about allotments is there’s scope for everyone’s dreams – and lots of bodging.

        1. I had to look up bodging. NEW WORD!!! Evidently it’s closely relating to “botch”? Is that a word in England? And “bodge” is originally Australian?
          God, I love words.

          1. Yes, to botch something is to muck it up, and I have definitely heard things here described as being a bit bodgy on occasion.

  6. I have spent my week preparing for three major sales presentations and one to a hospital Board defending our organization design (doctors not happy). I want to pull my hair out and eat it. If it would help.

    1. A propos eating hair… and not exactly about work… but:
      I had my hair cut yesterday and another woman had her’s done at the same time. She had a lovely black lab as companion who came over to me and let me pet her. Then she discovered that apparently my hair clippings tasted very fine.

      My lovely hairdresser, being a dog lover herself, ran to get some doggie treats, but it took quite a number of treats (labrador!!) to divert the doggie’s interest away from eating hair.

      I hope whatever she swallowed didn’t make her sick afterwards but having a lovely lady insist on being petted was the cherry on the cake yesterday 🙂

  7. It was a lovely afternoon, unseasonably warm, so I went out with my “Yard waste” bin and clippers and cleared all the dead six foot stems of Sweet Black-eyed Susans and Wild Bergamot from my front yard. That required a lot of bending, and I’m feeling it today. There are still a lot of Switch Grass clumps along the back fence to cut down low, and the Blue Sage to cut. I wrote some more of a book I started a few days ago, based on a real-life acquaintance with a very strange-looking person, an other-worldly looking person. This happened almost 30 years ago, and still sticks in my mind.

  8. I went looking on my Mac for some writing I’d begun earlier, but had no idea it had been marinating for 11 years! Or that I had so much of what might be another book. Massive guilt attack to work through, and am now making a plan to see if it’s any good when so much has changed in my life since I left it.

  9. Puppy watching. Puppy feeding. Puppy putting out to the bathroom. Big dog encouraging (Fred hates the puppy and hates us for bringing her home. He thought the meet and greet was just going to someone’s house and playing for a few minutes, not totally disrupting his life). Puppy redirecting (no, Hannah, you can’t eat the cat food no matter how good you think it smells). All dog petting and ear scritching.

    I’m not as in love with her as Paul is, my heart is still too broken, but she’s a good girl and a good addition to the family.

  10. This week I learnt not to put impossible things on my To Do list. I will not “Learn German” in a day, but I can start a new habit of doing two Duolingo lessons a day. The real achievement of the week is I managed to put two doors on an IKEA cupboard. It took two days and I need a new screwdriver now but IT IS DONE.

      1. Amen. I decided to dismantle that dead toaster oven, and at one point I needed a star driver. I don’t own a ton of tools, but it turned out I owned one of those. 🙂

        1. It is absolutely amazing what can turn up in the toolbox, especially a mature, well-composted tool box!

          1. THAT is an excellent description of my tool box!

            I am a typical guy when it comes to hardware stores. You go in, you find the single item you need, and at the register they have all these impulse items, like a small box of screwdriver bits for your drill or an all-in-1 ratchet driver. Or that reversible flat/Philips screwdriver with a pocket clip like a ball point pen. I have a bunch of this… compost. 🙂

          2. When my Dad helped clean out his BIL’s garage, he told his sister “there’s good news and bad news. The bad news, he owned 57 individual wrenches that all did the same thing. The good news – he didn’t spend much money on any of them.”

  11. I’m overloaded at work and miserable. It’s yet another Hell Week and we’re short staffed again and I’m the only one left on my team again and two more people leave within the next 2 weeks and I’m so sick of this.

    Urinetown closed, so I’m now down to two plays to be working on outside of work. Memorizing lines for one and being quite bored at Evita for the other. Literally we are rehearsing STANDING AROUND this week. Kinda stumped as to why this is such a big deal?

    1. I’m sorry Jennifer, my work’s a bit like that at the moment too and it just sucks.

  12. I have a To-Do list:

    Get as much of the recycling to the curb as possible. We have those 88-gallon wheeled containers with green lids. Ours is overfull, and I have many boxen to go out.

    Replace the dead microwave. The replacement arrives today. Yes, I ordered a black Mainstay 700 watt from Walmart, rather than driving there. It will need to be installed in the cabinet below the Mainstay toaster oven.

    Harvest the overgrown Romaine lettuce and make a salad. It’s begun to shade the other lettuce in the iDOO bucket. I might grab the red sails lettuce while I’m at it. Add some fried onions and jalapeños, mix up a dressing with chili oil and red wine vinegar base.

    Reorganize my bookshelves. Chotchkes to the top. Working shelves lower down. Clutter to storage. How hard can it be? What could go wrong?

    Cook all the unfrozen meat. Today. Ground beef and ground pork to become chili. Stew beef to become… stew. Pork chops to become dinner.

    Clean the refrigerator. Something smells, but I’ve thrown out the old fish, so a good cleaning may fix that, and there’s a box of baking soda in there to help.

    When everything else is done (I didn’t mention vacuuming or laundry), move a rock Cornish game hen from freezer to fridge to thaw, so I can have something fowl to eat this week.

    That doesn’t even touch on mail/filing. I’m a bit behind. Retired, y’know.

      1. I made the chili, and the stew is in the crockpot on low. I put off the fowl thaw until I run out of leftovers. I harvested and ate the Romaine, but left the Red Sails lettuce for another salad. I only ate one pork chop, with a fried egg.

        I stuffed the recycling bin, but box population is still out of control. It even grew from the empty microwave box and the box it shipped in, plus boxes of Atkins Treats and Snacks. More boxes will arrive tomorrow.

        Oh, the new black microwave has taken the dead white one’s place. The adventure is always running the electric cords behind the cabinets. The first thing I nuked was water for coffee, before I retired the drip coffee maker again.

        Everything else moved to tomorrow’s To-Do List. I even sniled at the paperwork. (That’s a cross between a sneer and a smile.)

        On the other paw, my email is completely caught up and the trash and spam folders have been emptied. My insurance company even got me to update my car insurance, so they know I no longer commute and am retired from everywhere. I hope to see a small reduction in my rates.

  13. I’m still recovering from the day job, but starting to get moving on the whole “full time author” thing. Three days in a row of Zoom meetings (illustrator for the witch’s familiar oracle deck, so we could pin down which 40 animals we are going to use/new author assistant, so we could get our ducks in a row for the promotional stuff for cozy #3/agent, to decide “what now” since Berkley won’t be continuing the cozy series). Tiring, but I feel like I’m starting to make some tiny bits of progress.

    I looked at some of my old writing ideas that we’d never sent out. Reread some of it and was amazed at how much I liked my own writing. Alas, the agent will probably want something new, since she’d nixed all of these long ago, and the market it only tighter. It was not a happy moment when she asked me if I had any new ideas and I had to say, “Not a one.” But if we can figure out which genre, at least, hopefully that will help. I envy my author friends who say they have so many ideas, they never know what to work on next. This has never been my issue.

  14. Big achievement; tax paperwork shipped off to the accountants, HUZZAH!

    Hooray for progress on writing, would love to have another JC book to read this year, or any time really. : )

  15. I’ve started the Great Quilted Coat Experiment (making it for a friend, and I haven’t made clothing in probably thirty years), and will be documenting it on Instagram for the friend, since she lives far away. Yeah, on top of not having sewn anything except quilts and totes (all straight lines, no fitting involved) for thirty years, I’m doing this without having the coat-wearer nearby for fitting. So far, all I’ve done is cut out chunks of old, defective fabric the size of the pattern pieces, layered them with scraps of batting, and basted them for quilting. Then I’ll wash them to shrink the batting and then cut the pieces of the “muslin” version of the coat (the sample to check for fit).

    I was also getting ready to TNR (trap neuter return) a new feline visitor to my yard, but I realized yesterday that her ear is tipped, meaning she’s already been TNR’d (unless it’s an injury that just happens to be in the spot that’s a universal sign for TNR, but she’s healthy and wound-free otherwise, so it would be an insanely unlikely coincidence that her one injury looks like ear-tipping). So that’s one To-Do off my list without having to do anything.

    1. You’re inspiring me to look at jacket patterns. I’ll follow your progress closely!

      1. Thanks. I’m actually thinking about making one for myself, in a different design, since she’s petite and willowy, and I am … not. Well, I’m short, but more in the “sturdy peasant stock” category than willowy. But I was thinking it would give me a chance to practice certain aspects of coat construction. Hers is knee-length, while mine will be hip-length or shorter, and mine will probably be jewel tones (probably teals/turquoises), while hers will be more muted. Just saying, you may have two inspirations to follow in one account.

        1. Gin – I tend towards overly sturdy. My friends and I have been looking at these kind of things, trying to find one that would look good on someone who isn’t a model, or otherwise wafer thin, since none of us fit that category. I figured the first step was to find a relatively easy jacket pattern and then go from there.

        2. I found a blazer pattern with simple lines (no darts or princess seams) and it has a no-lapel option. It’s Simplicity, but don’t recall the number. I’ll find it and put it my next coat post at Instagram.

          1. I had a favourite quilted jacket years ago – it was Chinese style, with a mandarin collar and front edges that met, I think, rather than overlapping. Big flower print on a black background. Mind you, I was slim as well as tall then. But the style worked well.

  16. This weekend I acted like Lydia Bennett and enjoyed myself excessively. I went to concerts and ate out with friends. I only wish there had been some officers for me to flirt with.
    So, this week it’s been pretty much about catch up. This week’s cold snap is useful for that, since we have beautiful sunny day, but it’s too cold to be out rooting around in the yard. I can concentrate on the day job and final rehearsals for our choral concerts this weekend.

  17. Finally got tax paper work off to the accountants. My excuse for not finishing most of it up earlier was that I was waiting for a schedule K-1 for a trust that I share with my siblings. It finally arrived Sunday, and HOORAY, all the money boxes were empty. (I hate paying tax on money that I did not see nor spend myself…and to a third state, yet!)

    Also played hostess to an Anglican Bishop from Kenya on his way out of the country. We had hosted him for 4 or 5 days on his way in at the beginning of the month. We will be seeing him again in less than two months when we make our first trip to Tanzania and Kenya since COVID began, which leads to my third thing:

    Starting to mentally gather all that must be packed for over three weeks in some of the more rural parts of Africa and planing a crochet project that is pack-able (squares instead of one big blanket) to work on during down-time during the trip…..

  18. After 2 years of teaching on-line, I am back to delivering workshops in person. This week is Copenhagen. I always like it here, but travelling seems harder than I remember. I am worried about covid. Maybe I’m getting too old for this.

    1. I’m married to a Dane (came to the US when he was 9) with most of his relatives still in the country. I am jealously thinking about fresh weinerbrod at this moment!

  19. Successfully reserved a room and in the throes of arranging for lunch for ladies group meeting at the end of April! Thought it would be more difficult, because a bunch of us were trying to reach the chapter president who wasn’t responding to either phone or email — turns out she was painkiller’d up to the gills and hopeful that a MRI on Monday would identify her problem. I’m the treasurer, so I’d have to write the checks in any case, and I told her I’d take care of the arrangements. Someone else has offered to give a program, so I didn’t even have to think of anything (though March 2022 is the 500th anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s first recorded appearance at Henry VIII’s court, so there’s that).

    Took my brother to the DMV this morning for his Real ID, and it only took him 90 minutes, while I read peacefully in the car. Now all he has to do is wait for them to mail his license, complete with new picture in a striking Hawaiian floral shirt — ah, retirement!

  20. I’m having the week from hell. I messed something up really badly at work on Monday and had to be taken away and drug tested, and now there’s going to be an investigation. Not specifically into me, but into the various system failures that let things go so very wrong. On the plus side everyone is being very supportive because it was an easy mistake to make (especially given the time pressure I was under, with no staff available to assist), but it wasn’t a small one and the whole thing has been quite traumatic.

    On top of that one of the cats has been constipated, poor baby, and today was the day it all came out, all over the bedroom floor. Clean up took a while. But at least the vet said she doesn’t have kidney disease.

    I’m also still sick, huffing steroids like there’s no tomorrow while I wait for the results of my chest x-ray and blood tests. So I probably shouldn’t have been at work in the first place but we’re so short staffed I keep getting asked to do overtime and I’ve already used almost a month of sick leave this year. Sigh.

    One bright spot is that my refinance got approved yesterday so I will be spending any free time over the next two days pulling together the final documents for funds to be disbursed. Surely this is a sign that the year’s going to get better, right? Right?

    1. Jenny is Liz still a 4 book series?
      I bought a laptop. It arrived so now I get to set it up. YAY(sarcasm).
      Am continuing working on my novel. Still enjoying it.
      Today my brother and crew did some work for me. The rotten floor in the shed is gone. It looks so much better. And that allowed me to buy a washer. YAY not sarcastic.
      They did some other minor things also. It’s all good.
      Productive week all together.

    2. I hope the year is getting better. I thought, even numbered year, year of the tiger, covid is finally getting better, ok I can do this.

      And then the shit hit the fan in so many ways. But we won’t give up hope yet. It’s warmer out finally, so that’s something.

    3. Hi Georgia, I am really sorry you are going through such a difficult work situation. We are often so hard on ourselves when we make a mistake but alas & thankfully we are human. From what you say you were unwell, others unavailable to assist you & you went to work because you knew there were staff shortages. It may be considered a well intended error but it won’t define you or your career. It is good the organisation is investigating where the processes failed but nonetheless it creates further stress for you. Take care & look after yourself. This COVID era continues to send us lots of challenges.

  21. I’m just over halfway done with a yarn stash busting crochet project and realized that I’ve busted my stash. I ordered more skeins of yarn and have been occupied today with winding them.

  22. Finished the first draft of my four hour meeting. I need to check it against the audio. Our county meetings are getting crazier and crazier. A certain group of people seem t believe that if they loudly exclaim their opinion over and over again, they are going to get their way. Sigh.

    1. As research for my wip I just youtubed a lot of the townhall meetings from Gilmore Girls. They were so good. Too bad your county meetings can’t be more like that.

  23. It was another big gardening weekend, 6+ hours over the two days, part of which went to acting on the long-deferred decision to kill two ficus trees I’ve had in containers for decades. They were miserable, they looked awful, the birds didn’t use them, they have no ecological virtue: out they must go. Their tops went into the green bin this week and their trunks will follow. This prompted some cogitation about how else to use the space they’ve been in.

    Aside from gardening, it’s been Day Job, sending out review requests, organizing some advertising, and a lot more Thinking About Things. Changing the POV characters for a WIP meant thinking about what scenes are important to *their* story vs the people whose story it originally was.

    1. I have made significant progress on the stack of unread New Yorkers—DH’s trip is about 3/4 over and I’ve read at least half, maybe more. Since I’m now at the ones from 2018, the political commentary is not as relevant and it should go faster. Unfortunately in my enthusiasm I recycled some of the ones that came since DH left so he will miss those cartoons.

      I have made no progress at all on the Funny Times.

      I have made a lot of work process, so that’s something. And planted a rose. This weekend I plan to do the annual re-coating of the kitchen countertop which requires it to dry for three days. It’s a task I keep for when it’s just me in the house, and I had to do it with DH at home during the pandemic which was a challenge.

      I have sent the accountant our tax files, got my son and daughter to send in theirs, got the bank to fix the task forms for my moms trust, and am hoping that my foster daughter got her papers to the accountant before she left to visit my daughter in London.

      Getting her ready for the trip was also a major accomplishment. I think we successfully got her flights switched when she had to go later due to daughters Covid, got her an affordable international phone service, helped make her packing list, and I forget what else. She’s 30, but not used to international travel and has ADD.

      Oh and I found DS a birthday present he actually wants. That was major

  24. DH found a copy of Getting Rid of Bradley on a shelf in our VRBO and let me know he spotted a JC.

  25. Today’s Big Wonderful: The Great Blue Heron has arrived at its nest along the road nearby.

    Today’s runner up for Big Wonderful: I got my second covid booster.

  26. I have been waiting a long time for a new book by you. Are you writing one? It seemed unclear to me- but it’s 3 AM in Boston! I hope you are. Your books are funny but on common serious stuff , and I find them refreshing.

    1. Thank you, Bill! I currently have ten books started. Yes, that’s a problem. Working on it, thank you for asking. And welcome to Argh!

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