Working Wednesday, November 30, 2022

You know how when you start writing a book, you panic because you don’t know what’s going to happen in it, and you can’t remember how to write a book, and you probably suck at this, and you might just as well eat eat worms and die? Yeah, that’s where I was this week. Except fortunately I’m not in this story alone, so Bob took the book back and did some work, and then I got it back and was not happy. So I wrote this long explanation of why I wasn’t happy and braced myself for the fight to come. Except he said I was right and then laid out ideas that made the book much better, and suddenly my synapses were firing again, and I told him he was a genius, and now I have a better grasp on the book. Not a good grasp, it’s too early in the process, but much much better.

So that’s how work went for me this week. How did it go for you?

91 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, November 30, 2022

  1. I am in the final countdown until my holiday market deadline. Thanksgiving went well, so I threw all my leftover focus on making easy gifts: stocking stuffer stuff like stud earrings and painted neckties.

    I’m not quite where I want to be, and have done a trial run of setting up my display yet, but that is what Friday is for: everything that I didn’t get to during the week.

    And today I go pick my paintings from the local show I did, and find out if I sold anything. Fingers crossed.

    Glad the book is progressing and that Bob is feeling good enough to fight or not fight!

      1. Update! I sold $206. 80 worth! Most of them were small, 4 inch squares at $20, so that seems pretty good to me. I am happy.

  2. Heh. I’m all confidence when I start to write a story. It’s a ways down the road before I wonder what the hell I was thinking. (Like right now.)

    In other work, I caught up with the office stuff after five weeks on the road. Well, almost caught up. But at least I can see parts of the surface of my desk again.

    I’m glad your book is progressing! You and Bob are an awesome team.

  3. I’m still laid up with a very badly sprained ankle. The doctor said it would take at least 12 weeks to heal and it turns out he was correct. It’s healing, but taking its time.

    I’m bored, frustrated, and working on not getting too melancholy. I’m lucky it wasn’t worse. I’m lucky it’s something that will heal.

    1. Hope you can get some PT for the ankle. I didn’t realize for a long time that my klutziness was because I lost a lot of proprioception due to chronic ankle problems. Take care of yourself.

  4. I was in the process of working multiple projects this week when I got the news that dad was in the hospital, with a positive test for staph. My sister said I should come sooner rather than later. Twelve hours later I was on a flight. It turns out that test was a false positive, but I was able to be there for him.

    I’m glad I was able to come. I’ve spent a lot of time with him these past few days. I’m heading home today.

  5. Just found out we won the project I travelled to Allentown. So yea for that! We won’t starve during the impending recession.

    1. Aren’t you the one who picked up a microphone to grateful applause? That was probably what turned the karma your way! 🙂

  6. I received an email this morning for this post!!! Yay!!! Thank you! I’m so glad you and Bob are cooking on all burners, again.

  7. I am getting ready for a small (I mean tiny, it’s just 4 tables at a local arts studio) evening craft market tomorrow night. My husband and I are sharing a table (he does woodworking) and I’ll have my paperbacks. It’s the first time either of us have done anything like this so we’ll see how it goes!

    1. My best craft show hack is to bring a craft that is easy to put down, hand sewing, paper cutting, etc. Because it is a lot of sitting and waiting, but you don’t want to be so engaged in a book, a phone, or your booth partner that customers don’t feel like they can approach you.

    2. Good luck! I’m interested in how this turns out for you. Planning on doing a little bookselling at a craft fair in the spring as an experiment. I know an author who’s had a good time with it.

  8. This week, I got the stuff my son recommended for fixing my dishwasher, which was making a screeching/groaning noise several times in the cycle. I ran it twice with the CLR, which is supposed to clear the calcium deposits from hard water. Then I ran a rinse cycle. It was still protesting, but maybe less. I hope it works. I hate washing dishes. That was my job from age 11, on.

    I am working crosswords in the evenings, now, and learning so much useless information! LOL I did learn from “the post that was almost forgotten” here, that The Drifters sing the song that runs during the opening credits of Mixed Nuts, one of my favorite Christmas movies. It’s about a melange of broken people who somehow become a family by the end of the movie. I also watched The Holiday, also about broken people who find love and connection. Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers are amazing directors for those films.

    I raked three full barrels of leaves, and it’s hardly noticeable. There are a lot more to come, and none of them from my trees. I had another run-in with the neighbor about the ball situation. The kid was playing with a friend in his front yard, and his ball ended up in my yard twice within about 5 minutes. The second time, I took it, and the neglectful mother yelled at me. I said I would give it back to her if she asked nicely for it. This was my attempt at rapprochement. She did, and I gave it back. Then she asked for all the balls, and I refused, so she called me names. I am an Evil Woman. Isn’t there a song by that name? She is not a nice person. And she sought to wound me by questioning my former occupation as a minister, calling me a minister of the devil, a satan worshipper, and a pedophile ???? (She’s Catholic, so she knows about religion and pedophiles.) There was stuff about god in there, too, but her god of judgment, anger, and hate is of no concern to me. It’s my fault that I don’t enjoy being her kid’s ball boy, and retrieving his errant toys. He’s ten, which is old enough to know better, and he does. I think he kicks and throws the balls into my yard to get attention, which he does not get at home.

    1. I’m a recovering Catholic. Logically I know that they aren’t all awful people, but my experience has been mostly otherwise. It is a very unforgiving religion.

      1. Catholicism has improved a bit, over the years and with more caring popes, but to my mind, it has so many problems, and hurts women so much, and has hurt so many innocent children irreparably, that it’s hard to understand why anyone stays in the church. Anyone who has managed to free themselves from it has my admiration and best wishes.

  9. It has been another week of reading and cooking and gardening. Also listening, since some of my reading was via Audible. And I set up an Amazon Echo, so I could say, “Alexa, Play Enola Holmes and the Boy in Buttons on Audible” and “she” did. And, “Alexa, why did the alligator cross the road?” and have that voice reply “Because she wanted to be bayou.”

    I’m finally out of chili. Now I have stew that I added too much habanero powder to, a hot dish with kielbasa and ham, baked chicken thighs, and salad fixin’s for several salads.

    My projects include making a character list for the Variation on a Theme serial. The list for book 1 is almost done. This necessarily requires a re-read, which will be on tomorrow’s list. 🙂 Another is preparing the December Farm Report for tomorrow’s blog. There may be pictures.


  10. I’m working on planning my Asia trip, and I’ve hammered out that in Vietnam, I’ll probably go to Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, and Cat Ba Island/Lan Ha Bay. I think the planning for Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos should be pretty straightforward since I won’t be going as many places (probably just Bali, Angkor, and Luang Prabang, respectively), so that just leaves Taiwan in terms of not knowing anything about that leg of the journey yet. I’m still feeling anxious about getting everything I need to get done done in time, but knowing where I stand and what’s ahead helps a bit!

    As an aside, I’m going to a wedding and was wondering if anyone had any ideas for wedding gifts they’ve given or received that have been especially popular?

    1. Good question. Recent weddings I’ve attended have come with gift registries, so, other than finding one item (or several) to fit the amount I want to spend, I figure I’m buying something the couple wants.

      As a result, I’ve been buying things that I personally would never have considered. A dog bed? Really?

      1. Lol. My hubby wanted to make a registry and fill it with requests for socks, underwear and lego kits. We didn’t, in fact have a registry or expect gifts at all.

    2. I give art, my own or someone else’s depending on my budget and what I know of the couple’s tastes. I feel pretty strongly that we could all use more art in our lives.

      I usually give watercolors of two trees sort of intertwined. Sometimes I put their initials on a tree trunk, and if they are a younger couple, I put a heart around it. I try to incorporate wedding colors into it. Once I gave a painting of sunflowers with the wedding date on a ribbon written in roman numerals.

      1. My great uncle always gave one of his watercolors as a wedding gift. I grew up looking at the calla lilies he painted for my parents and now we have a landscape. He’s gone now but lives on in his paintings.

      2. That sounds some lovely and thoughtful. I wish I had that talent. Also a little embarrassed by giving a weedwhip.

    3. For my niece who got married last summer, I collected vintage English china trios (tea cup, saucer and dessert plate) from antiques shops, charity shops and ebay, all from different tea sets but with complimentary colours and designs
      I had a lot of fun hunting them and I think she liked it because I have been told she has been using them.
      I suggested to her she could use them for serving desserts not just tea and I think she has been doing that.
      But now her sister is getting married this summer and I haven’t got a clue what to get her!

    4. Your trip sounds amazing. Taipei and Luang Prabang are probably my two favorite cities in Asia (that I know).

      Not sure if normal people would think this is a good wedding present (I do): portable jump starters. They can jump start your dead car battery or run electronics in an emergency.

      On the other hand, it seems like a lot of people just want you to buy stuff off their registry. Boring but easy!

    5. A concrete garden gnome made by a local Etsy vendor was well-received.
      DD’s friends requested a Jetboil camp stove.
      And DH and I still use the wok given to us…40 years ago.

    6. Gift certificate to really good sex shop/website. I used Good Vibrations, based in San Francisco. Gotta know your crowd though. I got a really nice thank you note…

      The other best was, as part of a group, -trip down the Nile River. A trip we knew they both were interested in doing but hadn’t.

  11. I’m trying to finish draft 1 of what was supposed to be a novella prequel to my novel (coming out in March, so I wanted to get this done as a sort of “appetizer.” But of course it’s turning into a second entree instead.) When I sit down to write, I reread to get into it…and then I end up revising. It’s difficult to move forward, even with an outline. Ugh. But I will persevere.

    Glad to hear Jenny and Bob are rolling onward. It inspires me to continue.

  12. Between last Wednesday and today I was mostly out of town and offline, so a) no housekeeping b) no yardkeeping and c) no writing. I did however get a whole load of fresh covers from my artist / sister, so on Sunday I got the updates into KDP. Still plenty to do, but the backlist is beginning to look the way I want it.

    Forecast says we may have a wet weekend; if so, I’ll be off the hook for yard work.

    1. That’s gorgeous! I guess he’ll get there in the end and he looks like he’s having a great time.

  13. I have a chart for tracking the brief meditations I’m writing. This works only if I keep it updated, which I didn’t. So spent some time yesterday trying to figure out who’s on first. Watched a saved webinar that has given me ideas for a poetry collection. Once I have a framework, I’m in much better shape, or at least feel better.

  14. I finished both proof-reading jobs, the second one just this afternoon. I also planted the blueberry and grapevine I bought, as well as planting up four big containers, mostly with tulips. Made a batch of damson compote, which is useful as a condiment or sauce with roast veg or meat, a dessert with Greek yoghurt or ice cream, and of course as jam. It’s also in demand as a Christmas present, if I can devise a way to send it through the post.

    And I’ve walked or gardened nearly every day; but was still surprised that I’d lost another couple of pounds this month.

    1. Are you concerned about the rapid weight loss? It’s one of those things that can be symptomatic of problems. I never know how to interpret remarks about weight from people I don’t know because either loss or gain can matter a whole lot.

      1. I don’t consider a couple of pounds a month rapid – not when I’m intending to lose weight, anyway. So it’s good news for me, though I appreciate your concern. And I’m certainly not trying to become slim: I lost four stone over two years a while back, when my weight had been creeping up for a long while; and then I put two stone back on. So now I’d like to lose at least half of what I put back, and keep it off. Just because I feel better (and it’s less stressful for my body) when I’m not carrying as much weight.

    2. Do you have a recipe for the damson compote? And would you mind sharing? My grandmother used to make that and I loved it. The only problem was that as she got older, she would occasionally forget to remove all the stones so it was an adventure in eating.

      1. I’m afraid I don’t remove the stones. It’s just jam, but made with half the normal amount of sugar: 1.5 kg damsons, 500g jam sugar + 250g demerara, juice of 1.5 limes or lemons, a little water. Wash jam jars, dry, and put in oven @ 150C to sterilize. Small plate in fridge. Put fruit, water & lime juice in preserving pan (I use a stainless steel casserole with a thick base), and mash the fruit well with a potato masher (easiest with pan on the floor). Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook for 15 mins until skins soften. Take off the heat, add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Return to heat and bring to the boil. Once it’s truly boiling (even when stirred), time for 10 minutes. Take off heat to test set by putting a teaspoonful on the cooled plate, letting it cool for a couple of minutes, and pushing to see if it crinkles (if not, boil for another couple of minutes). Leave to cool for 5 minutes before putting into jars, with waxed paper discs on top and an airtight lid.

        This compote/fridge jam will keep for a year in a cupboard; once a jar has been opened, store in the fridge & eat within three weeks (the lower amount of sugar means it doesn’t keep like jam does). I use the same recipe for plums, but cut them in half and remove the stones first.

        1. NB this time, of course, I was using fruit I’d frozen and defrosted – I think this actually makes the process easier; it had a lovely pureed texture as I cooked it.

  15. I’m not doing much since I don’t have any rehearsals and won’t for a long time 🙁 I signed up for a daily advent calendar delivery thing AND paid for a making-an-advent-calendar thing to occupy my time.

  16. Meant to put up my tree on Sunday, but we both forgot; maybe tonight.

    We are seeing customers by appointment for the next week an a half, so have to have my game face on, but it is funner than regular admin stuff, so all good.

  17. I am working on regaining my mobility before I go to Milwaukee for the weekend. I went to get my second shot of filler in my knee on Monday, but it was not the pain free experience the first one was.The first shot was given by the doctor and had some numbing mixed in with the filler and I actually felt better until later that evening. The second shot was given by a physician’s assistant with only surface lidocaine and I could barely make it home. I felt so rotten that I almost cancelled plans for the weekend, but I went ahead and bought my train ticket yesterday. I called the doctor’s office yesterday and told them that I would only get the third shot next week if it was administered by the doctor and tonight I will call Linda and warn her that our plans for Friday night will probably be limited to sitting at a restaurant and not any walking around. I didn’t do my PT exercises last night, but I will make sure I fit them in today.

    I’m also working on getting back to healthy eating after Thanksgiving and my scale was showing some progress this morning. Fortunately, I have finished the last of my leftover cookies so the temptation level is more manageable at my house.

  18. I will probably come back to this blog several times today because it is the last day of nanowrimo. Which means I’m trying to write. Which means I will procrastinate a lot with distractions.
    I did not reach my 50,000 word count that means I won – but – I wrote all but 6 days this month and that is major for me!
    In other news – there isn’t any. Going back to writing. You’ll probably see me soon.

  19. That is so awesome. I’m glad Bob saved you. And that you are in this together. And that he didn’t die. At this point, I wish I had a partner. I’ve been trying to finish my novel during NaNoWriMo and this is the last day. I have got to fix that final chapter. Today. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just Hass to be there so I can correct it. Happy December starting tomorrow.

  20. I’m in that exact spot with my current novel–where do I start, can I do this again, what’s the book about, who are these people?!? The fear is real…

  21. I am behind schedule on everything, but also my professors are on strike so I have little motivation to catch up. Today’s win was getting a couple 1,000 words in for a ghostwriting project, and then tonight I’ll go meet up with some classmates for a drink. Today was a “just keep swimming” kind of day. Hopefully the waters will be smoother down stream.

  22. I closed out NaNoWriMo today at about 36.5K words, of which I wrote about 30K in the first two weeks and then life happened and the words came much more slowly. Also, I’m the opposite of Jenny and go like crazy for the first half of the book, but then the next quarter (which I’ve just finished today) bogs me down, perhaps because I didn’t figure things out at the beginning like Jenny does. The good news is that writing the last quarter of the book picks up speed again. That’s just my process though, and I know it, so I don’t stress too much (like I used to do) when the words slow down at the midpoint.

    In any event, I’m pleased with what I got accomplished. My first drafts tend to be 40-45K, so I should have the whole first draft done by the end of this week, which is half the time I usually spend on a first draft. Plus, this is a book that won’t be coming out until mid-2024, and it’s not even due, I think, until the end of 2023, so I’ve got plenty of time left! (Please, don’t let me have jinxed myself with all sorts of crises between now and the deadline!)

    Oh, and I helped my tenant adopt a bonded pair of kittens (mostly just by sending the rescue a letter saying they’re allowed in the apartment, and that I consider the tenant a responsible pet owner — she’s had cats before but lost the last one to cancer recently). I have to say, helping her be able to adopt the kittens is the very niftiest thing I’ve ever done as a landlord! Most landlording stuff is stressful or boring.

    1. Gin, I’m finally reading my way through the Helen Binney novels I won from you at auction some time ago, and really enjoying them. Reading A Darling of Death at the moment. Actually using them as research, since my next novel is going to feature a disabled protagonist (in my case fibromyalgia, rather than lupus) and I wanted to see how to make her sympathetic without being pathetic or whiny. Thanks for being my masterclass!

  23. My working Wednesday is more of a “watching other people work” Wednesday. I’ve had contractors here Monday and Tuesday, starting on the base of what will eventually be a four-season porch coming off the living room and dining room. Since they’re prepping the ground and ripping off an old giant concrete step prior to pouring the new cement slab, this involved a backhoe and a jackhammer. Needless to say, I didn’t get much done except watching them and twitching a lot. Today was appointments and errands and coming home to find a huge mound of gravel (for underneath the cement) and a lot of mud and no workmen, since we had pouring rain, 50 MPH winds, and and 50 degree temps. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and still windy, with a cold front bringing in temps in the low 30’s as a high, so who knows. Did I mention the twitching?

    Otherwise, I’m still working on the new Witch’s Familiar Oracle deck for Llewellyn (the book, not the illustrations, because dear goddess, nobody wants that) and trying to sort through books to reduce my personal library to something more manageable. I brought three large bags to the local indie used bookstore today, many of them hardcovers I’d read once. I told the guy I didn’t even want store credit for them, just for them to be read by someone who would enjoy them.

    1. Sometimes twitching is all you can do. I’m back to reading the news, which incites twitching. Your trauma is much more gruesome and direct. I hope it is over, soon, and you have a nice new porch.

  24. Well, the county finally certified the election. We enjoyed the first meeting (2 yes, 2 no, 1 abstention) so much we decided to do it again (3 yes, 2 no). Anyway that’s done. Now just interminable minutes to be produced.

  25. Working on filling the first quarter 2023 schedule and other admin stuff for Con-Tinual, the multi-genre convention ( It took longer than usual, so I’m behind on the article that’s do this weekend. It’s one of the more unusual assignments in my writing life. The tentative title is “The Story with a Thousand Faces: Star Wars in Afghanistan” for a combination small press magazine/photographic exhibit catalogue. The photographers spent a month in Afghanistan earlier this year. They tracked me down after reading an essay I did for a book on Star Wars and military strategy (Strategy Strikes Back) I wrote a few years ago. The irony about both assignments is I always preferred Star Trek to Star Wars. The whole “Hero’s Journey” BS drives me insane–the curse of knowing too much about the mythology Campbell willfully ignored.

  26. I decided to try labelling half an hour each day as do-stuff time. It’s only been a few days but it’s been remarkably effective. I start with stuff that has a deadline, followed by stuff that’s stressing me out. I’ve caught up on my share of organization for the festival that starts in less than a month (eek, that was stressing me out a lot), tied up the grape vines, weeded a bit of garden, planned some more of a book, read some articles from my to-read list and sorted some files on my laptop. I’m pleased.

  27. I went to a staff meeting at the store yesterday. Oh vey. My grown-ass adult manager had to be told to turn the music down in the store and my grown-ass adult manager and co-workers had to be told to come to the front of the store and greet/wait on customers.

    My manger is nice but she’s not super professional; she’s really big on the “work family” idea but not so great on following through on things like my messed-up onboarding. More than one person has expressed surprise that I like working there. It’s 12 hours a month, I can deal.

    Now I’m getting ready for going away this weekend, it’s a much bigger process than it has to be when it’s in the -30s C with the wind chill but Saturday is only going to be -6. It’s regular winter coat, big winter coat, regular mitts, big mitts, ditto gloves, toques, and scarves, plus boots. Extra socks and I’m taking a Thermos of hot tea for the drive.

  28. Wednesday was stuck in internetless flat, waiting for arrival and then the work of, handyman to fix front door lock. It was his second visit to fix lock. Last visit helped for a week.

    Today I decide on a cat shipping company for the last step in moving countries. We didn’t want to move them until we had a permanent base to reduce their stress. House transfer is in a week. Could also finalize wills, which I very strongly want done before house transfer.

    And then to my first concert in Edinburgh.

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