91 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, December 14, 2022

  1. This past weekend was taken up with music, both rehearsing and presenting a carol fest at my church. It went really well. My recorder part was early in the program, so I didn’t have too much time to worry about it. Meanwhile, I sang with the altos, with an occasional soprano descant.

    I got my shades of red quilt back from the longarmer, so I put a binding on it. (The colors fade from the top left to the bottom right – it isn’t just the lighting in the picture.) I’m intending to gift it to my co-worker when he retires in two weeks.


    I also got a handle on those fabric baskets I’ve been talking about. They are woven from 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric that have been slightly stiffened and folded. The blue one is for me. The others will be gifts.

    And I got started on getting my Christmas cards in the mail. But my assistant Wendy had other thoughts on what to do with my list!

    1. I love the finished llama quilt, it’s adorable, and the woven blue fabric basket is looking good too.
      I’m in awe of how much sewing you get done, in such good taste and to such a high standard!
      Here I am, taking three years to finish one quilt, and it won’t lie flat and taut…

      1. Reb – I used a medium weight fusible interfacing. I cut it 1/2″ wide and put two strips along the edges of approximately a 22″ x 2 1/2″ strip. I then folded the two sides toward the center and then folded again. The pattern calls for a fusible to be used to seal the two sides together, but for most of these, I just sewed a smidge (technical term) from the edge. These are ten strips woven to ten strips. The directions call for you to weave them flat, and then weave a bit of yarn around so you know where your base is. Then start at the middle of one side and weave the sides together. Circle around and do the same thing on each side. Then weave the corners together. It helps to have lightweight clips to hold things down. I did a lot of tugging / pulling / adjusting once I got the basic shape done. I then let it rest overnight before doing more tugging / adjusting and finally gluing down the top bits.

      2. I should add that they are very flexible. I turned them inside out for gluing (to make it easier to weave in the bits) and then back right side out when I was certain they were dried.

  2. This is a weird week. I am training at my day job. My trainee is really great, but the rhythm is weird and I don’t know quite what to do with myself all the time.

    At home, I have entered the beginning of my slow period of the year. Today is the last day to ship something and be guaranteed to have it by Christmas. I will leave the Etsy shops open, but people mostly police themselves and orders will drop off significantly until after the holidays. I also take a break from photographing and listing new items, thrifting, or making more stock. It’s a nice change. I am reading more, cleaning, doing my holiday projects. The pace is fairly restful.

    Otherwise, bracing for the first winter storm coming tomorrow.

    1. We’re getting that storm too. I love winter storms if I’m planning to stay home, which I am! Happy bracing.

    1. I didn’t get half way through before boredom set in. But I want to know why 103? It seems a number unrelated to anything.

    2. Well they were chosen by their favourite book cover designers as opposed to people who would buy the book

    3. It’s kind of pointless to judge covers without considering the intended market, as if they were art hung on walls. That’s just not their purpose. While I thought most of them were ugly or off-putting, that may well mean that they were in fact doing their job, which is to appeal to their specific market, which is emphatically not me. My impression is that they were all lit-fic or non-fic (or in between, memoir), and if so, the covers did their job of signaling the genre and whether the books would appeal to me.

      But really, it’s silly to say that covers, in the abstract, are the best, as if it were an art competition, rather than asking “did they do their job?” There’s one author in the cozy genre whose covers I absolutely loathe (not a reflection on the author or the writing, just on the cover art that’s overly fussy/complicated for my taste), but the thing is, they work, because I can spot one of her books from across the bookstore (or across the room if I’m scrolling through digital listings). And she has huge numbers of readers who can probably do the same thing, so whether they think it’s pretty/intersting/whatever, all that matters is that their first thought is “ooh, a new book by my favorite author.” So they’re “good” covers, even if they’re artistically a mess.

    4. I think that it is interesting that the covers they chose are almost entirely lit fic. It makes me wonder about unconscious bias towards genre.

      It also makes me realize that I don’t care much about covers. They tell me something about what kind of book may be inside, but I don’t care if I have an ugly Lord of the rings cover verses a pretty one.

      And I would pass all of these books by without a second glance. They look snobby and pseudo intellectual to me.

    5. I quit scrolling about 20% of the way through; the only thing that didn’t make me go ‘eh’ or ‘ew’ was the Selma Blair memoir. 🙂

  3. I did my big Christmas clean & tidy, in time for a friend to stay for the weekend. Then spent more than a day packing up my Christmas presents, since I had the mad idea of giving pots of home-made jam. Never again. I’ve just posted them (the post office was unexpectedly closed yesterday, due to industrial action, although the official strikes are today & tomorrow).

    I’ve also made my Christmas cards, so the next job is writing and posting them – using up the stamps that will no longer be valid after the end of January. (Life’s complicated at the moment.)

    Agreed yesterday to do another proof-reading job, but it’s not coming until next week. I’m happy that my new printer’s doing a good job – at least with Christmas cards & gift tags – without needing much tweaking.

    I need to try and sort the greenhouse I bought in October. I’ve been told the sellers want to reneg on our deal – give me my money back, because they don’t want to have to move it. I’m hoping they’ll either change their minds, or agree to pay someone for the work. It’s frustrating. Their delays mean, too, that it’s not a good time to do the work, what with the short days and the cold. And the Christmas/New Year holidays.

    1. You’ve been very busy. I hope you still get the greenhouse. I am in awe of you, and the others on this blog, who make your own Christmas cards. I don’t even mail cards, anymore. But I only celebrate Christmas because my family and grandchildren still do.

    1. Yes: that was the deal – the greenhouse, its timber base, and them moving it to my plot. I offered to help, but they were confident about doing it themselves, once they’d finished the polytunnel they were putting up on their new plot.

      I’m happy to help, but it’s not a one-woman job, and beyond my extremely basic DIY skills.

      1. Oh man. Such a bummer! I feel very bad for you and want to go tell those people a thing or two. 🙁

        1. Well, they’re also having to close their business down: the local independent cinema. So they’ve got a lot on their plate – though I’d no idea that was in the wind when we did the deal.

  4. I’m working on something to read at a Solstice gathering next week. I’m really stuck, not able to write anything. This party has been held over many years, so the top 100 solstice poems have been read over and over again.

    The only thing I’ve found in my poems folder is a piece which describes me very well (my husband is a railroad nut). If any of you know who wrote it, please let me know.

    Incompetent Sonnet

    Incompetent, I fail the ones I love.
    The cat prefers your lap, the dog your feet.
    Although I serve you all, see how I strove
    All wrong. The cat I pushed aside is sweet,
    Though hogging space. The dog I did not walk
    Now hugs your side. They, both content, trust you.
    You most I fail when of your trains you talk
    While I am tugged ‘tween washing clothes and food.
    How can I claim that I do all for love?
    No northstar guides the garbage bag that leaks,
    No Beauty shines from me as from above,
    In fact, my belly sags, my stiff knees creak.
    Yet know always I love you best I can,
    Limited, you know, by who I am.

  5. I finally came to grips with the fact that the dentist I really like is not going to be “In network” on my new Medicare Advantage insurance plan. I could stay with her, but I would have to pay a lot more for her services. I hate breaking in a new anything, and whatever dentist I choose, it will be done blind. I found a bunch of female dentists in the network who all work in the same “factory”, and I read the reviews of that “factory”, which were very good. So I guess this will be my choice. I will randomly pick one and hope for the best.

    All the Solstice gifts have arrived, or are on their way, so the wrapping will begin, soon. There was a pie chart on FB of the wrapping process recently, showing that the majority of the time is spent removing the cat from the process. I have TWO cats! LOL

    The dishwasher was still making a “noise”, so I took apart the drain and cover, and found a small piece of string in the drain, and lots of linty stuff on the filter. I cleaned that out and am using the CLR one more time, to see if that gets rid of the pesky noise. Fingers crossed. How did that string get in there? 😳

    1. I’m debating changing dental offices for similar reasons. I was willing to pay the full amount w/o insurance for a specific dentist, and did for years, but she died suddenly (well, not really suddenly, but I didn’t know she was ill, and she was only 54, so it was shocking to show up for a dental cleaning visit and hear she was gone), and I wasn’t terribly impressed by the guy who was filling in for her (not sure if he’s temporary or permanent; the office was still in transition). I hate having to break in a new health care professional.

  6. Jan, Have you talked with your dentist and with your Medicare Advantage provider to find out exactly how much you would pay out of pocket to stay with your dentist? Also, look at how much your insurance has been covering of your dentist’s bills.

    The reason I suggest that you talk directly with both dentist and insurance provider is because generalities are always different from specific cases. My husband’s doctor didn’t take Medicare, but we were reimbursed by Medicare for his bills. Before insurance covered our dental bills, the dentist’s office charged less than it does now. Also, we have the history for paying full freight for dental and eye care, so now that they’re covered we can look at what we’re saving. It’s not the same amount as advertized for everyone.

  7. I have a bunch of things I’m trying to come to grips with and still working on, including a sick cat (allergies, probably, but not responding to any of the things we’ve tried), funding for the already in-progress new 4-season porch (which was supposed to be all set, and turns out it isn’t), and of course, the writing. Hahahahahaha

    Sorry. It’s been a week already, and it is only Wednesday. Nothing but good times ahead.

  8. Speaking of coming to grips…I realized one of my weightlifting gloves, which I put away in the same cupboard I always do only yesterday, has gone missing. I am giving my dogs side eye…surely my sweet innocent darlings would not have…? Shall inspect…things…carefully in the next few days.

      1. That’s the dog I’ll send with your alcohol around its neck. So if you see anything suspicious, let me know.

  9. I am working on clawing out from underneath my depression. I haven’t dressed or showered in 3 days and I have been tearing through all my “hidden” stashes of chocolate. I traditionally bake cookies twice a week and deliver them to my friends in retail between Thanksgiving and New Years, but I haven’t been able to do that this year, despite the fact that I have baking supplies in the house. I hope that tomorrow’s Zoom with my therapist helps.

      1. I am spending the day with one of the past recipients on Sunday. I am hoping that will inspire me.

    1. I’m getting mad on your behalf. Can you yell at something or someone? I find that breaks up a sad mood quite quickly.

      1. There is a definite limit to how you can use that technique. Before I went into the loony bin, I yelled at everyone. I once, very briefly, saw a psychiatrist who told me that some people said that depression was frustrated anger. That was a very good description of my state at that time.

  10. DH wrangled a temporary solution to a government bureaucracy tangle; I found a way to hide the three-foot dead section of our front yard Christmas lights (stuffing it deep into the bushes); and the dog poop washed right off my shoe.

    Nothing but good times ahead!

  11. I’ve been adulting, and it’s making me cranky. Finally turned on the furnace, except it didn’t turn on, and of course it was on a Friday night, and we suddenly went from sixty degree weather to not getting above freezing. Sigh. Fortunately, I don’t mind the cold too much, no pipes froze, space heaters got the two rooms I absolutely needed heat in to a reasonable temperature, and the cats were good at cuddling for additional body heat. And it turned out to be something minor, not the huge overhaul I was expecting.

    Despite everything, I finished the NaNoWriMo first draft (just two weeks late), and started the second draft of a new proposal (that I still like, which is encouraging!). And I even made some much-delayed phone calls. (I should be an honorary member of Gen Z, based on my loathing of phone calls, and it’s only getting stronger as I get older.)

    Now I need to finish the proposal by Christmas Eve, so I can reward myself by taking the week from Christmas to New Year’s off to play with fabric. I have two baby quilts to make, but that’s play, not work, except for qualifying for sharing pictures on Working Wednesday.

    1. A couple of Novembers ago, right before it was going to get really cold, Paul and I were going away *the next day* and the furnace stopped putting out heat and was making a weird noise. I spent the morning calling plumbing and heating places, trying to find one that would come here (remember that we are 90-150 kms from any of these places) on such short notice and finally found a guy who took pity on me. $300 later, most of which was for travel, he found the problem. A 4″ piece of rubber had fallen off something not important into something important and stuck there, stopping the fan and blocking something else. He was here less than 20 minutes but when he left, we had heat. I feel your furnace pain.

  12. First of all, thanks Reb and Allannah, I will be peppering you with random NZ questions allll of next year. We are planning on an October 2024 trip so you could be very sick of me by then!

    We are getting ready for a weekend away and planning to meet with a travel agent to book an Alaskan cruise for our 20th anniversary next year. We’ve never done a cruise so we are excited but need guidance.

    I’ve upped my vitamin D intake since we’ve had a lot of overcast days in a row and I was really feeling it.

    Other than that, it’s business as usual. Paul is working a few extra days over the holidays so I’m going to give the basement a good cleaning. It’s kind of a pit down here. We were going to take the time to just hang out and veg but it should be easy work and will help pay for the cruise without hitting the vacation fund too hard.

    1. I’m in awe of planning travel nearly two years in advance . I think the most I ever did was 3-4 months.

      I’m working on health insurance. My former job coverage ends at the end of December and we need no gap. Even with the health exchange and a health insurance broker I find this daunting or maybe it is tbe amazing cost. Fortunately we will get Medicare in 2 years (me) and 3 (dh). Unfortunately that means right now it’s really pricy. I am grateful we can afford it. But still …. Wow!
      Also DS who has been on our insurance and I thought also on the grad school insurance told me he wasn’t . Fortunately he was wrong (except about dental). But that was a scary half hour.

      1. It makes more sense if you remember that it will take that long to save up for the airline tickets. It is always peak season between the US and NZ.

  13. Yay, I finished an article on our conference, submitted, received acceptance along with complimentary words. I count this as an achievement since no speaker was good at introducing him/herself, the convener certainly wasn’t, and I had to hound for a list of said speakers, which I am not sure as received is complete. My general attitude? Oh, well.

    Also completed last-eyes-on proofing of our Jan/Feb garden magazine.

    I was in the midst of enjoying a laze-about when my husband reminded me I had a list of people to call whom I had put off in favor of writing all the words. All those to be phoned are Talkers, and not particularly disposed to listen to me. My general attitude? Oh, well.

    1. That is a VERY philosophical attitude to have. And all-purpose, too! But I sympathize with you on knowing a bunch of Talker Not Listeners. I am in the same sad boat.

  14. I did a three-hour yardkeeping marathon last Saturday. Did text revisions for two backlist titles that are awaiting updated cover art. Finished some very necessary distribution of hard-copy documents at the Day Job office yesterday. And today, finally got back to the new novelette-in-progress and wrote chapter 5.

  15. Easy Board of Elections meeting tonight. Apparently the I-see-fraud-and-laziness-everywhere crowd exhausted themselves at last night’s council meeting. There was high drama. And tears. Glad that one can attend by zoom since I couldn’t keep a straight face.

    And I’m coming to grips with winter. I scheduled a recall fix on the car and there’s going to be snow!sleet!rain!etc. I’m keeping the appointment because I think it’s going to be a bust here in the valley.

    Otherwise, just plugging along.

  16. One day closer to Closing on the new house.

    I don’t know if I mentioned that I am conceding everything above the basement to the dotter. She has issues. Her EX is all, “MY house, do what I say!” and she doesn’t want that from me. So “OUR house,” and I’d like to get her name on the mortgage. Half of the basement will be the Owner’s Sweet (because I am) but I’ll spell it Suite.

    1. Highly recommend checking with an estate lawyer or financial planner before deciding how to title the property. There are some significant tax and liability issues, especially with an ex in the wings. Might be worth doing a trust, but that’s got pros and cons too.

        1. I have mixed feelings about trusts, mostly in that they’re offered as a one-size-fits-all panacea, when they’re not. And too often, the lawyers create all the fancy trusts that are way more complicated than needed for the purpose being addressed, and then send the clients out in the world to actually put things into the trusts, and the clients don’t follow through for various reasons, and then they die, and they’ve got these reams of papers that only apply to maybe five percent of their assets, and the problem the trusts were intended to fix apply to the other ninety-five percent, so it’s a total waste of money, and you still have the added costs/hassles of distributing the trusts. (The paper is worthless if it doesn’t actually own anything!) So they can give a false sense of security — “Oh, I took care of that, created a trust and everything.” Except then they find out it’s hassle to fund it, or they forget about some assets, and it just becomes a mess. But when trusts are done right AND the follow-up work is done, they can be very useful in some circumstances. Just drives me crazy to see the advice that EVERYONE needs them. No, they don’t.

          1. Gin I’m so with you on this. Every few years I realize my mom set up several new bank accounts under her personal name and we have to retitle Everything.
            It’s not how much money she has—it’s her idea of how to protect what she does have .
            But it’s worth doing because as her lawyer child I am her executor and this let’s me skip probate. And since I live several hundred miles away I want to minimize the logistics when the time comes .
            Fortunately she does sort of get it and doesn’t get upset when we talk about it.

  17. I’m keeping on with my efforts to do something off my to-do list every day. So far, mostly so good. I’m still stressed out of my tree but I haven’t spiralled down into reading all the things instead of doing the work. That’s quite a win. And the work is getting done. That’s a bigger win!

    I sympathize with the people who hate making phone calls. I always have to brace myself to call anyone. And what is it with the people who say yep, they’ll organize that and call you back and then… don’t call back? Then I have to call them again, argh.

    On the creative and much more fun front, my mountain painting is progressing nicely. It’s got to the point where I like it. I’ll post a photo later.

  18. Organised broadband for new house. Took and hour and ten minutes on the phone just to sign up. Still to come, the five hour window for the technician the day before we leave for Christmas in the Netherlands. That is, assuming it all works, just in time for us to leave the country for a week.

    Ooh and Monday we finalised new house.

    By the way, if ever it comes up? Transfering money from bank to bank is in the few minutes range unless it’s over 200,000 pounds and then it takes a full day. So our test run was useless, and none of the financial people we dealt with (who surely have seen this before) thought to mention the obvious (unless you’ve never done it before) delay. Our sellers were unfailingly polite about it even though it meant they couldn’t pay their sellers and so couldn’t unload their moving truck. That part was horrible.

    But new house!
    I can put nails in the walls, rip up ugly carpet, build a vertical wall garden, paint anything. Install a cat door!

  19. Finished the holiday cookies (all 444 of them: sparkly molasses cookies, rosemary shortbread, grated shortbreads with jam, and snowballs) and started distributing them. The Big Bake is a PITA until I see the recipients eyes light up. And they always do. So win! 😀

    1. I find that bringing cookies makes me welcome everywhere. I got hooked on the feeling when one of my retail friends told me,”You rule!” when I delivered a batch.

  20. The anthology with 6 pages of my poetry is out! Now I need to buy a big bottle of white-out for when someone mentions it to my mom and she wants a copy.
    Meanwhile I sent out more poetry to more places.
    I am anxious to get back to prose. I am looking forward to writing one more poem, though. Defenestrationism.net has a lengthy poetry contest. I normally hate writing / reading those but it’s for people who name their publication after the “fine are of throwing people out of windows” so how can it not be fun? And I have the perfect subject that lends itself to that structure.
    In other fronts, I am about to finish a round of steroids and I am afraid the rash on my ankle is going to flare back up and itch like hell.
    Reading instead of rereading for once so maybe I will have something useful to contribute tomorrow.

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