Working Wednesday, February 7, 2024

I’m taking a break–I was making myself crazy–and spending some time on getting this house (cottage?) into some kind of livable space. I dumped so much stuff in here while I was unloading the Pods and then went right back to work writing books that I’ve been tripping over things for a couple of months. It did give me an idea of where things should go, so I’m shifting furniture and figuring out storage and putting holes in the walls to hang things. Very happy to be getting some of this done.

What did you work on this week?

95 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, February 7, 2024

  1. Getting my living space in order is one of my great joys, but I’ve been doing that in reverse from you, Jenny.

    I’ve been working on packing up things that won’t be moving with us and deciding what we’ll keep. I’m glad I started at the beginning of January (not a new year resolve, just the right timing) and I think I’ll have enough time to get it all done before August.

  2. I always found that a house became a home when I hung up my pictures. I’m glad you’re in that process.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been quilting away. I finished up the quilting on one quilt, did all the quilting (and bound) the mini quilt and started working on the last big one. I still don’t know if I’ll get it all done by the end of February, but it’s closer than it was. This past weekend, I was working on colored portions, putting feathers on those blocks.

    The rest of the quilt is black and white background. I’m still thinking about what I want to do there. The more quilting you put in, the stiffer and heavier the quilt becomes (you are restricting the movement of the fabric and adding thread weight), I want the end result to be soft enough to be a reasonable bed quilt. Also, the more quilting you do, the longer it takes. 🙂

    Other than that, work. Lots of projects there to keep me busy.

  3. I finished a proposal for a new tarot deck (working with my regular illustrator Elisabeth) and sent it in to the Llewellyn tarot editor on Monday. She sounded excited and the department is meeting sometime this week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Tarot decks take forever to complete (mostly because the artist has to paint 78 pictures plus the back), but Elisabeth and I have a great time working together, and people really loved our first deck, so we’re hoping this one is accepted.

    I’m still working on fixing my right shoulder (PT and exercises at home) and getting into better shape in general. It turns out that sitting on one’s butt and not moving is a bad thing. Go figure. (Yeah, I know–I wasn’t actually surprised either.)

    And revisions. Working on them. The less said the better.

  4. I am so excited. My Liz Danger audiobooks arrived today, all three of them, so I have been very busy all day listening to Liz and Vince’s adventures. Bliss.

  5. I will be doing T4s (tax forms) at work this week.
    At home I feel like all I’ve been doing is laundry and housework and food prep, but that’s not new; it just seems like more, somehow.
    I’m also trying to get the seed-starting spot cleaned off, which means finding homes for other stuff.

  6. Prepping the house for my 17 year old niece and her friend to come live with us for four months. Very excited!

  7. I’m trying to insert some mystery into a story that didn’t have any. I’ve never written mystery, but I think maybe it’s fun. I just read an essay by an 86 1/2-year-old woman–Eve France–who says she “decided to find a dazzle a day, even when it is not more than a tiny tulip peeking through the dirt…”

    So right now I’m being dazzled by the addition of new questions (no answers yet) in my own work. Feeling kind of lucky.

    1. I love writing mysteries. Started trying to write romance, but it’s just not my genre, and as soon as I switched to cozy mystery, everything seemed to fall in place. I’m playing with some fantasy stories, but at their core, they’re really mysteries too, just in an urban fantasy setting.

  8. I moved in mid-January and am still trying to get my old house ready to sell. I’ve been painting like a mad woman and bringing back a load of stuff every day. The result is that my new house is a mess of boxes and chaos that I have been trying to ignore. I’m very good at ignoring chaos, but I have reached my threshold and it is stressing me out.

    I’ve been trying to make my two cats into indoor cats and one is very bored. He dug into my hibiscus and threw dirt all over the living room, then pooped in it. As I was evaluating and trying to figure out how to clean up the dirt (vacuum isn’t working), my dog came and ate the cat poop.

    I was pretty defeated by all of it, but yesterday I bought river rocks and brought a different vacuum over from my old house. My daughter cleaned up the dirt while I fixed the hibiscus and put rocks around the top. It’s a small victory, but it makes me feel a little in control.

    Also, I bought myself a beautiful bunch of tulips and put them in my living room and they make me smile every time I walk in.

    1. Dr. Elsey kitty litter, while expensive is a great way to get a cat back to using its litter tray. Then you can gradually replace the Dr. Elsey’s with your preferred litter and everything is once again good. Also Feliway Calming Diffuser helps deal with the anxiety of a new home. I have found that once Feliway has done it’s magic, to gradually stop using it. It seems to lose its effectiveness if you use it all the time. Then I replace
      the cartridges when I next need them. Cats are like teenagers: new crosses appear periodically.

  9. I’m doing the medical stuff again. Nutri-drink chose a return-ticketback out Friday so Sven called the GP and got me an appointment for Monday afternoon. Eating is still the same and the stuff I get to help me get more calories in, I vomit back out and when I drink them it feels like someone’s kicked me in the stomach, so it’s going fabulous. GP said he’s talked to internist, whom says she’s already looked at all corners of me (not true but whatever) and points him to the gastro-whatsit-doc. He’s now waiting on reply from that department. In the meantime he’s had me do more bloodwork and stuff. We’re now waiting on results on that and for him to call about what gastro says. My last pair of sort-of-still-fittig pants now start to slip off so I REALLY need to buy something new to wear. And/or a belt. GP says the pain in my left side is likely muscles starting to scream for nutrients and withering away because of lack of said nutrients. Hurrah. 🙁
    I did write a book review for the first time in about 15 years, for Lavenders Blue! It was torture, but I’m happy I did it. Also been reading reading reading.
    Started another dragon-egg, then remembered I mightn’t have enough of the mosaics I picked so will have to figure out whether those are still purchasable or not before I continue. If I can’t finish it, there’s no point in going on with these.
    Choir yesterday was REALLY a lot of fun! Unfortunately that is an unfortunately – Our conductor was sick, so they’d got someone in from another organisation to help out. He was EXACTLY how I want a choir-conductor to be! Fun, energetic, skilled at both pointing out what doesn’t work as well as making sure we knew when it did, good at explaining the whys and the hows and just generally a very positive force to work with. He pointed out the things that have bothered me over the last weeks and made it all work instead, made the choir into one happy force instead of cliques of different parts making noise, even had us walk-dancing and singing at the end. I thanked him profusely afterwards for the fun experience, and think it’s a real pity he doesn’t have his own choir. The sad thing about it is that now that I’ve seen what it was that made me doubt whether to stay in this choir or not, the not-side of it is tipping the scales even more to not wanting to continue. MIL now understood what I meant as well. This was what I hoped for, what I look for in a choir, and what I didn’t really get or have got up until now, and this was only a one-time thing. I have signed up for whole February and it was…not cheap, so I will go for the coming weeks as well and hope to be proven wrong, but I’m afraid it’ll end up with me not going on with this. It’s too expensive to do if it doesn’t feel like fun but like a must every week. But, we will see, I guess. I’m also not even sure I can do it physically. It’s scary to write, but I felt really unwell in the car afterwards with pain in my whole body and headache and nauseous. So that is a factor that weighs in, too.
    I’m also working on getting the friend whom got me into reading Bet Me back in 2009 to join us all here. I told her this is the best place I know with the best kind of people and so, so, SO much love and support. I hope she’ll come say hi.

    1. I hope you can get the help you need and find your way to recovery. Sending positive energy.

    2. Oh Shass that’s scary. I’m glad at least your GP seems to realize that they need to move fast.

    3. If you are losing that much weight through vomiting why has nobody ordered an IV? When my sister was pregnant, she got so dehydrated that she had to be on an IV for 8 days until she was able to pee. Surely it makes more sense to order a visiting nurse and a periodic IV than letting you get to the point where you have to be an inpatient! I understand that they want to find out what is causing this so they can treat it more precisely, but they need to ameliorate the symptoms in the mean time so that you can avoid getting a feeding tube. When my Mom had to have one for a few weeks, she said it hurt a lot. And the longer they let you vomit, the higher the chances that your stomach gets so irritated that a feeding tube will be necessary until it heals. I realize that I am unaware of the other things your doctors have tried, but this really sounds like it has to be taken off the “wait X weeks to see if it works” timetable.

      1. Those are very good questions. I think they have not gone for an IV yet because even though limited, I can eat a little bit. Solid foods surprisingly have a bigger chance of staying where they should than the nutridrinks, even though they make me feel miserable. It’s clearly not enough, however. Feeding tube – would that not give the same result as normal food? I have (fortunately) never had to use it, but isn’t that just getting the food in by bypassing the mouth and throat kind of thing, but it’ll still end up in the belly? Because then I reckon the same thing would happen as now: We can put food in, but I’ll still feel terrible and get in pain and/or vomit it back up and be full after a minimum of input food. But, my experience on these matters equal 0, so I don’t know. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

        1. Feeding tubes put nutrients into your stomach. An iv can hydrate you directly into your veins. I don’t know how much they can give you nutrition into your veins but I agree with Aunt Snack that if you are getting dehydrated it’s worth asking about an IV to keep you hydrated while they figure this out.

      1. I thought it was pretty scary, too. You sing with your entire body, so if the GP is right and my muscles are starting to say “NOPE, we’re not doing this anymore!” it’s…logical that it happens? Especially after such a comparatively intense session as yesterday. But, also makes it scary. People have asked me for months if I feel energyless and tired and up until now, it’s been pretty normal actually, but this…wasn’t. And today I’ve been feeling shaky all day and have had to take breaks going up the stairs, because doing those 13 steps in one go was just too much. Not every time, but it happened a few times. When the GP calls next, I should probably tell him.
        Stupid body. 🙁

    4. I wish there were a real-life specialty like what Dr. House did on the tv show — where the clinician is an expert, not in any particular field, but at diagnosing stuff that other clinicians can’t diagnose. Someone who would consider EVERYTHING and perhaps have contacts in all the specialties for advice. Because I imagine it would be more about organization and methodical investigation than anything else. And even if this person charged big bucks to the system, it would be cost-saving in the long run, since the health care system wouldn’t waste money on clearly wrong diagnoses and unnecessary (and often repetitive) testing that’s nothing but a fishing expedition. I can’t help but think someone like that would catch a lot of rare disorder diagnoses much faster than the usual method which involves fobbing patients off to individual specialties. My own rare disorder is really easy to diagnosis with one simple blood test, except it’s not a standard test to order, so someone has to think to order it, and no one does initially.

      1. That sounds like a very practical person to have around, yes. I reckon that’s what they consider the Internist to be doing in the “real world” – not an expert in a specific field, but knowing a bit of this and a bit of that. So far, my experiences with those are less than satisfying, however. Doctor House is welcome to swing by!
        I remember you told us about your condition back when, but would you mind reminding me what the name was again? I’d like to read about it.

        1. The problem with internists is that they’ve been taught repeatedly in med school that when they hear hoofbeats, they should think horses (common health issues), not zebras (rare disorders). Which is a problem for zebras! (That’s the story behind the National Organization for Rare Disorders’ zebra mascot, a reminder that zebras do exist.)

    5. I do hope the doctors figure out what’s going on and that once it is identified, there is an easy fix.

      I’m glad you had at least 1 happy choir experience.

      1. Thanks! Yes, I hope so too.
        Yeah, somewhere I’m thinking I should stop now that I could go out with a BANG from the choir, but then again, it’s been 50 bucks for this month alone so I’d better go the rest of it as well. At least I now know what it was that I was looking for, and MIL too, so whenever I feel I have the energy, I can go look for another choir that might give me just that. Or maybe I’ll unexpectedly appreciate the upcoming sessions more. Miracles can happen.

    6. This is so scary. Have you checked into Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Mold? My doctors couldn’t find anything wrong until I found one who looked at this. Take care and keep trying other doctors until you find one that listens.

  10. I got all my taxes done! Local, state and then Federal and I will be getting a refund, so that’s one of those onerous shadows over my shoulder that I can dissipate. 😉

    1. Oooh. I did some initial work in January on mine and felt very righteous and disciplined and then wandered off. I will try to knock out another chunk this weekend.

  11. I’m feeling strung out from the technical challenges of this last week. First I had to swap my router for a new one my ISP sent as part of the process of diagnosing the intermittent fault on my landline since they switched me over to digital. Since when I’ve had to re-set my set-top box (suddenly couldn’t watch Netflix) and this morning – much more painfully – my wireless printer.

    Then on Sunday my iPhone froze, and hours on the phone to Apple ended with my having to update my Mac’s OS from v. 11 to the current v. 14. I’m still working my way through all my other software. Then I need to look at what’s changed, apart from things I stumble over and have to sort as I go – like how to turn off autocorrect in Notes.

    Old phone (a 5s) declared dead despite the Mac update, so I had to buy a replacement, which I set up this morning with only a couple of glitches. I’m taking to it (it’s an iPhone SE). But I’m ridiculously wound up, and hope a long walk this afternoon to the ruined garden with snowdrops will calm me down.

    Hoping to make a start on the big digital photo sort-out this week: things keep getting in the way, but at least the software updates I thought I needed to research are done with.

    1. Jane, I have an SE and it has been good. The updates sometimes throw a wrench in things, but once you know what caused something, it can be dealt with.

      1. Wow. I should plant some snowdrops, though not quite that many. This house came with a lot of bulbs but no snowdrops.

        1. They tend to spread themselves slowly, so you only need to plant one or two little pots of them, unless you’re impatient. They’re best planted ‘in the green’, as plants, rather than as dry bulbs, so now’s the best time to buy them.

    2. I bought an iPhone 13 mini last month, and ONLY because that is currently the smallest iphone available. Only reason I didn’t take a new SE was because the newe versions are larger than the SE 2016 I had, which was the same size as the 5/5s, and women’s pant-pockets are worthless for storing phones in already. Oh, and we thought the newest SE didn’t have a home-button either, much like the non-SE iphones. Turns out that wasn’t true.
      I miss my home-button. Sigh. Apple, what were you thinking?
      I hope you’ll get to leave the tech-trouble behind you soon and can go out and take beautiful pictures of nature instead.

      1. Yes: the home button was definitely a selling point. I was concerned about the size, but the SE is thinner, so feels good to hold, and still fits my jacket pocket (after a disaster when my first iPhone fell from a jeans pocket into the loo, I’m very selective about how I carry it).

        I too want to get out with my camera, but I really want to start weeding the photos I have, so there’s psychic space for more.

    3. Technical challenges are so frustrating – mainly I suspect because we have no idea how they work. I hope it’s all sorted out now Jane, and going smoothly.

      1. I keep telling the tech people that it’s all magic from my point of view. Especially nowadays when all devices/computers are so powerful. I was taken aback, for example, when they made me use my iPad as my landline phone for a few days as part of their diagnostics. Made me feel nostalgic for the red rotary dial phone I had as my first landline back in the eighties. (Red to remind me of the dangerous expense of making long calls.)

  12. I don’t know what I am doing this week. I am feeling a little floaty.

    The hubby and I have been doing yoga together and he is liking it more than expected. I don’t think he realized how much it can kick your butt if you use the right combos, but the benefits are immediate and lasting, which is great mental and physical feedback.

    And for me, having him do it with me means doubling up quality time with him, freeing up more reading/art time for me after our nightly sessions. And my back feels so much better. And he keeps me on track. I don’t try to weasel out and just collapse into bed.

    And I finished my submissions for a local gallery’s call for artists. I am happy with them and conquered the submission forms and requirements, which is always a battle.

  13. I’m prepping for a one-day card making workshop this weekend. We had several days of sunshine so I went out for long walks. Back to clouds today but it’s mild so will try and get out today and the rest of the week.

    Speed reading a very long book for my book club meeting tomorrow. It wouldn’t open in my Kobo app on my tablet and attempts to resolve it with Kobo chat were unsuccessful. Finally tried it on my phone last night and it worked. I think my tablet is on it’s last legs but that’s a problem for another day.

    1. Warning from someone who thought her phone had another six months in it: better to get a new device before the old one dies, at least if you depend on it.

  14. I have been able to get out and walk nearly every day, and I’m back to the full walk, including Challenge Hill. It feels good to be active and outside. The AeroGarden is providing much-needed leafy greens this winter, and I have to pick the lettuce every few days, it grows so fast. The cat fountain and the humidifier keep me busy, trying to keep them clean. Family and friends survived the rain in California and Arizona. Keeping my head down and plugging along. February. Sigh.

  15. We actually had sunshine for the past few days! The local meteorologists had fun with this, putting out a rare yellow alert day “a strange ball of light in the sky might cause unusual brightness…keep a pair of sunglasses handy”. One of them showed a photo of a yardstick in the sun and captioned it “ almost a foot of sunshine at my place. Probably not gonna make it to work. Ya’ll stay safe”.

    Thanks to the sunshine and slightly warmer temps, (think mid 30s F) I have gone out for a few not too strenuous hikes and took some photos. It felt good to be outside and not stuck walking the same few blocks around the village. The trails at the park I hiked a couple of days ago were snow free and only somewhat muddy.

    1. I love your meteorologists. We too have had a strange ball of light in the sky for the last few days after a month straight of gray, and it is amazing how much better my spirits have been.

  16. I’m working on getting over a bad cold, getting my voice back, and getting back into the day job after mostly ignoring it while I was with DD.
    I have a big list of family chores to do but I’m just ignoring them until I’m over this cold and the SDW situation is resolved. SDW hasn’t responded to mom’s e-mail, and didn’t come to walk the dog yesterday. Locks get changed Thursday. Unclear if SDW will show up Saturday afternoon as mom said to get the rest of her stuff. Or will say she can’t make it and try to come when mom has no one with her to keep her safe. Mom still struggling with idea that she is dangerous and wanted to invite her over sooner to get some food out of the fridge. We told mom don’t do it but mom might still do it.
    The whole situation should be much more clear Sunday.
    Meanwhile at least she is out of the house and I don’t wake up stressing for hours in the middle of the night so that’s progress.

    1. Yay for progress. I am so glad that you are able to sleep again. Hopefully this will resolve quietly. Fingers crossed.

    2. Having the locks changed sounds like a great idea. Hopefully things will calm down after this weekend. Keeping fingers crossed. Keep us updated!
      Sending a billion pocket-hugs!

  17. I’m on vacation, so no Day Job since last Friday. Did a strenuous yard job over the weekend. Since then, have had a long important conversation with DH (retirement timeline to-do list, since he is going on 65, which triggers a federal benefit here in the US), which I think qualifies as work. Also wrote two chapters of a new novella. DH is now Skyping a client in the other room and I’m going to settle in to read over the novel-in-progress. Depending on my mood, will either work on that this evening or play with the new novella. It’s the shiny new thing and thus appealing to my magpie brain and I am, after all, on vacation. 🙂

  18. I finished a chapter in the WIP yesterday during two car writing sessions and started PT for my heel that won’t heal (but it turns out it’s actually two ankle tendons that won’t heal). My weekly brunch buddy is going back to work *sob* so we had a semi-final brunch yesterday. We’ll still see each other every week, hopefully, but the lingering, two-hour gab sessions are probably going on hiatus for the foreseeable. I’m excited for her, though. She’s struggling through long covid and wasn’t at all sure she was ready to go back to work, but a sort of perfect opportunity fell in her lap. Kid 1 is having oral surgery this morning, so the rest of my week might involve lots of coming up with soft foods…

  19. I wish there were a real-life specialty like what Dr. House did on the tv show — where the clinician is an expert, not in any particular field, but at diagnosing stuff that other clinicians can’t diagnose. Someone who would consider EVERYTHING and perhaps have contacts in all the specialties for advice. Because I imagine it would be more about organization and methodical investigation than anything else. And even if this person charged big bucks to the system, it would be cost-saving in the long run, since the health care system wouldn’t waste money on clearly wrong diagnoses and unnecessary (and often repetitive) testing that’s nothing but a fishing expedition. I can’t help but think someone like that would catch a lot of rare disorder diagnoses much faster than the usual method which involves fobbing patients off to individual specialties. My own rare disorder is really easy to diagnosis with one simple blood test, except it’s not a standard test to order, so someone has to think to order it, and no one does initially.

  20. I finished the Helen Binney novella, A DOWRY OF DEATH, for release in April to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the series’ first book’s publication! It’s off to the editor as soon as I do a quick proofread, but it’s a relief to have it done. And now I can have fun at Boskone (hearing from guest of honor Ben Aaronovitch) this weekend, without fretting about needing to finish the novella in time for the copy editor’s slot I’d booked. Next week, I start work with the cover artist, which is always fun.

    So that’s one secret project done (the hard part at least) and no longer secret. I’ve also been writing like a maniac on the second secret project, which has bifurcated and is now two related secret projects! Now I have more secret projects in the works than announced projects, which is just weird, because I’d been thinking about slowing down my writing, and instead I’m ramping it up. Guess that’s what happens when the year’s motto is to let go of frustrations and just say, “Fuck it, I’m doing this for me.” Apparently the Girls in the Basement really like that approach.

    1. Please post about Aaronovich presentation, Gin. I can’t imagine ever having the opportunity to hear him speak, but I’d love to. I’m hungry to hear anything he might say any time.

  21. Job hunting: I have now applied for seventeen jobs with the state and I got my first interview for later today. I have low expectations on this, and am thinking of it as practice. Mostly I’m concerned that I’m terrible at math and it looks like possibly state jobs pay so low I can’t afford the rent, but I’m TERRIBLE at math and trying to figure that out.

    As for reassignment at my current employer, there’s one job I actually like BUT it’s for a department with a terrible reputation, so I’m Concerned as to whether or not to apply there. My caseworker’s sick at the moment but we will hopefully discuss circa Friday. I REALLY don’t qualify for much of anything so I’m concerned if I turn my nose up at this, I won’t have any other opportunities since all other jobs are financial. And also, that I can’t live without my org’s pay. So, I’m not sure there.

    Other than that, working on sleeves for sweaters and play rehearsal.

    1. Do you have a friend who is good at math? I’m a deacon at my church and have offered a few times to help people who are struggling to make ends meet to create a budget with them. They don’t necessarily go to my church but had requested assistance. Perhaps you can find someone who can help with the math?

      1. Not sure on that one, but some folks have passed me “calculate your withdrawal” links. I haven’t tried the second one yet, but the first one was a total mess. I’m begging my mom at this point 😛

        Interview went all right, they are interviewing about 12 people and I figure I was in the middle and a few answers weren’t great (like I do not fit the job from prior experience), but I gave thoughtful ones, so who knows. Lowered expectations anyway.

    2. There’s a budgeting software that I’ve heard highly recommended but haven’t tried myself, but it has a free trial, and that may be all you need, and then cancel it. YNAB (stands for You Need A Budget) is basically a digital version of an envelope system, where you assign very income dollar to a virtual envelope, so you can see how the cash flows (or doesn’t).

      1. That’s a great idea! I remember when I was first married, putting money in envelopes for the groceries, utilities, gas, eating out, clothing, etm. My ex was not good with money, either, so when the envelope was empty, he knew he had to stop spending.

  22. I slept from 4 AM to 2 PM and woke up grumpy. This is me, grumpy: GRUMP! GRUMP! Okay, enough of that. I’m over it. 😀

    * * *

    My approach to Working Wednesday this week involved subscriptions from Amazon and Walmart and pre-purchased books.

    * * *

    The subscriptions were routine repetitive purchases. Toilet paper, paper towels, Clorox Wipes, non-refrigerated dinners (Hormel and HMR meals for when I don’t feel like cooking), refrigerated stuff like eggs and cheese and creamer, and frozen stuff like hamburger patties and tater tots. Also canned and bottled soft drinks.

    The books started with the Liz Danger series of audiobooks to go with the ebooks. I’ve read them twice, now I can listen to them. Then there was the February Baen Book Bundle which includes:
    BEGGAR’S SKY by Wil McCarthy
    AN ANGEL CALLED PETERBILT Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett
    BEYOND ENEMIES by Marisa Wolf
    TOWER OF SILENCE by Larry Correia
    FIRE WITH FIRE, Third Edition by Charles E. Gannon
    CHICKS IN TANK TOPS edited by Jason Cordova
    THE SCARAB MISSION by James L. Cambias and
    MISSIONS OF SECURITY by Bjorn Hasseler

    All the books are TBR listed. I might discuss (some of) them tomorrow.

    * * *

    For actual work, I tended my gardens. I ate all the ripe tomatoes and lettuce. The peppers are between harvests. The very productive jalapeño plant is going senile, and the others are too young.

  23. I haven’t been doing much for work. I should be completing an Agile course and doing some documentation.

    I did get my car washed and took in the outdoor Christmas lights on Sunday when we had sunshine and I had motivation to be outside.

    Saturday I started a new quilt top and the past two days I joined blocks together. I now need to determine the borders.

    I also hope this weekend to get some longarmming done. It will be my first attempt since my shoulder surgery. Also, still doing PT for the shoulder but the hip is acting up too. grr.

    1. I vote for the dark brown edging. You live where there are still Christmas lights out?

      1. Make that two votes for the dark brown. With beige edging it’d look too much like a Walmart creation — kind of less appealing than it could have been with some subtle contrast.

      2. Some of the neighbors still have them out and on. Ours were out because it was too cold to go out and bring them in. I had left the front lights off since mid-January but kept the ones in the backyard still coming on each night. It is cold and dreary from November until May where I live, with a few exceptional days here and there. Michigan is a beautiful place to visit in the summer and fall, especially around the edges, but winter is rather bleak.

  24. If you’re at that stage, the recommended method is to put everything for a room in the middle and then put things away. Apparently that allows one to consider that some things aren’t needed, and also to put them in the best places so hunting for things is much easier. Can’t hurt.

  25. I just finished this pay periods budget and bank account balancing. I hate it but it must be done.
    Working on some laundry. Hopefully I can get it done and put away today so I start my work week without that chore hanging over my head.
    Wrote a blogpost I really like and it went over well in critique. Am working through a workbook that is supposed to help me go from good vibes to an actual plot.
    Walking more.
    There is talk at work of raises. Yes, please. And a new structure for deciding on bonuses that should work in my favor.
    Got a little bit of sunshine today for the first time in days.
    I am almost recovered from the tsunami of allergens that hit my sinuses during the last windstorm.

  26. Deliberately did not post this morning because I spent too long reading (note I did not say “wasted time”) and I pretty well had get out of the house to go grocery shopping today before rush hour(s) (or else bake my own bread and bagels, which I have done in the past but which was not planned for today). At least I have completed books to report for Thursday.

    Since last week I *have* gotten a lot of routine housekeeping done. Finished my book club book and started formulating remarks on it. Less progress on long-term projects. Used the vegetable chopper I mentioned earlier one more time and I seem to be getting the hang of it. Not a huge gain in efficiency over manual chopping, but I think there is some, at least in view of my degree of chopping dexterity.

    I awoke one morning to a dead heating system. Intimations of major hassles (even though the weather forecast was for mild weather for a while). Fortunately, once sufficiently awake and caffeinated, I made my way to the circuit breaker board and tried turning the relevant circuit off and back on. That worked!

    If I write anything longer than a search query too late in the evening, it keys me up and I have trouble sleeping. I’m not sure how common that is, but I’ve been suffering from it since the days of manual typewriters in grad school. I’m running up against that deadline, so I got this done just in time.

    1. I usually get that way too — have to stop writing at dinner time or I stay awake all night writing in my head. Weirdly, that changed recently, and I’ve been writing a non-deadline project late at night when I need to get it out of my head or burst, and I still need to unwind a bit afterward (minutes, not hours), but it’s been working quite well recently. I think it helps that it is a non-deadline project, so there’s no stress, and I can write or not write, depending on my inspiration instead of feeling I have to do it every night.

      Just validating that you’re not alone, while also noting that writing processes seem to change over time (at least mine have), and not in any sort of linear or predictable way!

      1. Gin, I don’t recall having this reaction until I was halfway through grad school and in my mid-twenties, but it’s been there since. For me it’s a sort of general rise in alertness level (if alertness is the right word) brought on by any sort of extended writing that takes a while to wear off.

    2. If I read part of an exciting book late in the day, I end up “writing” the rest of the story in my head instead of sleeping. It’s fun, but not good for my health. Argh!

  27. Oh, I must get started on my taxes. I can usually depend on a snow day in February to do them but I’m hoping that weather doesn’t happen.

    Enjoying walking Pixie in the sunlight. She doesn’t care what the weather is and only refuses a walk if it’s really bad outside.

    I’ve just been keeping up with the housecleaning and going to various political meetings. Things could be worse.

    1. I thunk I were done with taxes, but oh, no! The dotter says to me, she says, “Father! Thou musteth claim your grandchildren and collect beaucoup de tax credits and give them to me, lest I fall forthwith to the ravenous appetency of the incomeless!” Grandkinder, four, three under the age limit, check. All four and their mother my dependents, living with me the whole year, check. Using my credit cards for everything, nearly, check.

      And, okay, being basically lazy, I didn’t even use a calculation sheet but went with the standard deduction, even though I am a Gnu Home Moaner. And apparently, the dotter cannot file herself, lacking any income for 2023.

      Thus, I must log in to Turbo Tax and prepare an Demented Return. Or maybe mended? Yes. A Mended Return.

  28. I’ve been prepping school talks, book launches and workshops, and making myself laugh at the possibilities for fun and entertainment.

    However halfway through the afternoon my agent called to tell me that my publisher has knocked back my new kids’ book. Aaargh. My agent loves it, I love it, my publisher doesn’t. So that’s a blow. I think I’m still in shock – I’m used to them loving what I do, and usually have such a good relationship with them, both personally and professionally. However, as my agent pointed out, things are tougher in publishing at the moment than she has ever seen them.

    Not sure what I’m going to do with this book now. I think I just want to ignore it for a while, until my disappointment settles.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Lian. Remembering how commissioning meetings go, it might be something like a new sales director who doesn’t click with your book and/or wants to make their mark. Considering how well your books have been doing, this is a bizarre thing to happen.

      1. Thanks Jane. Unfortunately I can’t blame it on a new sales director – it’s the same person I’ve been dealing with for the last five books. However this book has a much sharper edge than the previous ones, and I suspect that might be what made the difference. She apparently likes the more gentle books with just a touch of snark.

    2. I’m sorry. That’s happening a lot in the cozy mystery world too. Misery loves company, and all that. I’m still sitting on a project that I absolutely love, my agent thought was spot-on for genre expectations, but we couldn’t get so much as a nibble from publishers. I’ve moved on, but I think about it from time to time, and can’t figure out what to do with it.

      1. I’m sorry to hear you’re having the same issue, Gin. It’s so disappointing when you love a book, isn’t it. I think the worst thing is that it makes me doubt my judgement, which then sends me into a sort of paralysed misery. I’ll get over it, as one does, but it’s not fun.

        1. I think it’s much more likely that you’re more tuned into the zeitgeist and your readers than your publisher – who’ll really be wanting exactly the same book as before, since they know that sold.

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