Happy Trails (Krissie)

The sun’s sinking in the west and this ol’ cowgirl’s heading for the last roundup.  Okay, enough of that fantasy – the only roundup I want to head for is one with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in Cowboys and Aliens.  Terrible movie, but two fine men.  I’ll take turns.

But I digress.  We’re closing down good old Refab – we’ve both got lots on our plates (a metaphor – we’re dieting) and we need to gather the wagons.

Why am I stuck in the old west?  I have no idea where that came from, but I seem firmly ensconced there.  I can’t think of any other cowboy I’d like to strip down and cuddle with , using his saddle for a pillow …  Aha, I’ve got it! Sam Elliott!  . I’d lay my bedroll next to his anytime. Oh, my!

And of course, David Carradine as Shane, be still my heart.

I never change, lusty old crone that I am. Anyway, Jenny and I are now so completely fabulous that there’s no room for improvement. Just kidding. She’ll be putting the Happiness posts and the Working Wednesday posts up on Argh, and I’ll continue my ramblings at http://anne-stuart.com/blog/ and Jenny and I will never speak to each other again because … God, can’t even come up with a believable joke. Just kidding, folks. BFF means Forever. We’ll do some chats on Argh (surprise, Jenny!) and anne-stuart.com/blog/ to keep you entertained. Hmmm, might even be fun doing a live one.

We’ll close down at the end of the week, and catch up with our guests and favorites and co-founder (Lani). Keep tuned for one last space of time and then, adios, amigos.

(where the fuck did the old west come from?)

Busy woman (Krissie)

. There’s an old song from the Shangri-la’s (a girl group from the ’60s who did Leader of the Pack) called “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” that starts out with someone saying in a heavy Long Island accent, “when I say I’m in love you’d best believe I’m in love.”
Which brings me to my little friend. (As in “say hello to my little friend.”). Gorgeous isn’t he? A company called Hot Toy makes some incredibly accurate head casts of cult characters – actually they make the whole toy and they cost about $300. I’m not going to throw that kind of money at my latest inspiration (hero of Wildfire, Heartless, and probably something else) but on ebay you can buy the heads separately for about $30 and a body for just a little bit more. So my darling, long-suffering husband attached Tom’s head for me, and I managed his feet (his hands were already attached). I stripped an old GI Joe and dressed Hiddles up like Jonathon Pine and now he sits in my window and I smile at him.
My darling husband has had to live with this all our long, married life (43rd anniversary next Thursday), and he just rolls his eyes and rolls with it. He’s not a man who’s easily threatened, God bless him, and I always put my passions into books. Starting with … oh, Jesus, starting with Troy Donahue when I was in fifth grade (I’m ooooold) through Jerry Orbach in 8th grade. I even wrote a beginning with John Lithgow as a Scottish hero (the Laird of LinLithgow), when I was a freshman in high school and he was a senior and president of the student council. Sigh.
Richie survived androgynous Japanese rock stars, Don Johnson (I’m sorry, I’m sorry but Long Hot Summer was hot!). I imagine I’ll be in my nineties, we’ll be sitting in rocking chairs and I’ll be cackling about how lustworthy Hiddleston’s son is (no, his son hasn’t been born, don’t panic). I’m irredeemable. My cousin Helen, who’s 8 years older than me, chastised me a couple of years ago (I was lusting after an Irish actor in our local theater group who would have been a perfect person to play one of my heroes but then he turned out to hate children and shag every available female in the troupe so alas, he got ditched) – anyway, Helen said I was too old for such shenanigans. Never! I cried.
Not even in my 90s.
Anyone want to admit their secret lusts? Mine tend to be elegant and British, ones who could easily play a vampire, but I have a weakness for Vin Diesel and Russell Crowe as well, two exceptionally manly men. There are just so many luscious creatures out there.
And I won’t bring you down by telling you what I really think of men in general. Just that Richie broke the mold, and the rest of them ….
No, Krissie! Behave yourself. I love people on a one to one basis. People in groups or strata, not so much. And I’ve always been a mouthy, uppity woman. It’s likely a very good thing that I wasn’t pretty – I would have destroyed the world.
If anyone’s interested in seeing Tom in action, Wildfire and the two preceding books, Consumed by Fire (fabulous) and Driven by Fire (not so much) are on sale through the end of the month, with the audio versions ridiculously cheap. At Amazon, of course, since they published them, as well as the House of Russell historicals with three sisters going undercover in service to discover their father’s killer.
Montlake thinks my heroes are too dark. I think they’re yummy.
Ok, that’s the end of the advertisement. Tell me who you think is hot. I’ve got Adam Driver for the MIP, but I have an unending need for hero fodder.

Monday Redux (Krissie)

Okay, why is this computer being weird?  I’m bouncing between three computers and none of them are working right, but what the hell.  I’m trying to add media (as in, put a picture or two up) and it’s not working.  Grrrrr.

I’ve been busy!  After being so worried about my lack of energy, I seem to be able to do more, the more I push.  First off, I’m making myself turn off everything before 11 and start trying to go to sleep then.  While I’ve generally been sleeping till about ten, Yesterday I got up at seven and today at quarter past six.  And I did so much yesterday.  I scrubbed the kitchen – every bit of countertop, tossing things right and left.

I think it was Hoarders that did it.  I’d watched it a couple of times in the past and felt great sympathy for the people who were trapped by their possessions, the clear mental health problems that affected them.

And then I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and took a look at my house.  It truly is appalling.  I don’t know how it got so bad, but it’s really horrifying, so bad that when I showed Tim what my bedroom looked like when we were Facetiming he was shocked, and he grew up with my haphazard ways.

So I cleaned the room.  It’s an ongoing process, but I removed incredible amounts (5 bags to Goodwill) and in the following two weeks I keep chipping away at the stubborn stuff left, not letting it slide back into chaos.

Everywhere I look it’s horrifying, truly.  So I’m feeling really good about what I’ve been doing so far.  Last week alone I did the following:

wrote every day, worked on revisions for older books, made a dress, pants and outfit for the Wellie Wisher doll I’m giving Ali (You can find what I’ve been making on Instagram – I followed Jenny’s plan for posting an art project every day, but in my case it’s just my creativity for the day.  
Son of a bitch, it’s upside down again. That was my doll sweater which, while not perfect, is still useable. I added white buttons.

Sigh. 3 computers and none of them working well. So, made bread pudding, fresh bread and seafood scampi for dinner, went to church, worked on cleaning out the hall, squared up Ali’s quilt, went off to the big city, the shrink, crochet class (I’m taking a beginner’s course to work on the basics). Lots and lots of other stuff this week as well, all without ending up flat on my back in exhaustion like I was (technically I know I should say “as” I was but what the hell).
And I think a lot of it is my worry & anger about feeling so gobsmacked the other time that I was determined not to give in.
Let me tell you about my sister. Taffy was a beauty when she was young, but all three of us children were damaged goods. For some reason I survived and they didn’t. My sister lost her 18 year old son, and then her adopted away 38 year old daughter, and it was too much. She’d wanted to be waited on her entire life (her toddlers would bring her her cokes) and she basically got in a chair and didn’t get out. She had Chronic Fatigue (probably) and unbearable grief, even though she still had Mini-me, and when something hurt she gave into it. By the time she died she’d gained more than a hundred pounds and could barely walk, and her death was from emphysema complicated by obesity. I still have things I need to process about all that.

But I was starting to feel like I couldn’t move, like I was too exhausted to even try. So I rested a couple of days, and then got up and got moving. And I keep pushing just a little more every day, and the more I push, the more I can do. It’s logical – we all learned this when we were young, but it’s easy to forget as pain and age start to take their toll on our bodies. I’ve got something called Chronic Pain Syndrome, with two destroyed knees, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, replaced shoulder that is very funky (weak and painful) blah blah blah.
My sister, and a lot of other people, focus on that pain. But since you can’t really get pain-free (and people run into trouble with opioids when they try) you have a choice to cave and whine or to keep fighting it. (Taffy didn’t whine, but she was understandably hopeless). I’m going to keep fighting, and I’m beyond happy with the very fast results.

I think it’s a part of aging – you keep expecting to have the energy and mobility you had thirty years ago, but there’s wear and tear on the joints, and damn, you just get tired. But you have to push beyond your comfort zone, or be the sort of person obsessed by her aches and her troubles.

(I bet you’re rolling on the floor because I probably seemed obsessed by my aches and troubles on here. I’m not, but when I talk to you guys I’m thinking about my life objectively, so I may whine a bit. Mea culpa).

So that’s Sister Yoda’s advice for the day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Sister Yoda is from Wales). Or, as my role model would say, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live!” It is a banquet, full of wondrous (and horrible) things. You can wait for your food to be delivered on a tray to your hospital bed and you can go out there and wrestle it to the ground.

I’m all for wrestling.

Working (Krissie)

. I’ve been creating. Well, I’ve been doing a million things, including attacking the episode of Hoarders that is my house. This is an outfit for Sweetie (that’s what I’m calling the doll) who’s a present for Ali. She’s a Wellie Wisher – a smaller, younger version of an American Girl doll, and I’m trying to get a wardrobe together for her among all the other things I’m trying to do.

The pattern is from a Craftsy class in making doll clothes, though I had to adjust the sizes for the small doll (feeling very smug about that).

At the same time I’m trying to up my crochet game. I’m taking a course for beginners and advanced beginners, I’ve got the basic Craftsy course and of course Crusie’s taught me a lot. So I made this for an American Girl doll and later added white buttons.

Next up – a new crochet project and sewing a knit dress for Sweetie. Stay tuned.





Here lies madness (Krissie)

. I somehow ended up with too many computers, or what’s known as an embarrassment of riches. For a while I was there without a working computer – this one, known as Lagoud II (Lagoud I already lived a full life) had crashed, and when I took it to the Apple repair place it was deemed “vintage” (six years old) and the authorized guys weren’t allowed to touch it. Since I’d already replaced the hard drive once I figured it was finally at the end of it’s sweet life (Lagoud I had lived about 6 years), but unfortunately the trackpad on Lagoud III had died and I was using an external mouse. Oh, the horror! And I couldn’t drop it off for repair since I had no backup computer (even though Richie has a PC and he and I both have iPads.). So when I went to pick up the battered hulk of Lagoud II I had bit the bullet and decided I needed a second Macboook Air. II is a MacBook Pro with a lovely 15 inch scree, III is a MacBook Air, so I dropped II off to have the trackpad fixed and bought the second air, or IV. And then found out II could probably be repaired. I should have immediately changed my mind on the new Air but I didn’t (bad Krissie). Turns out II just needed firmware, not a new hard drive. III has a fixed trackpad and it’s lovely, IV is lovely. Sigh. But I’ve been wanting to get Richie over to Mac’s, so I’m going to force him to use IV instead of always sitting with his back to me at the desktop computer. And I’m loving this nice big screen.

I should probably come up with different names. My second Mac was called Baby Jenny because it was small (a simple MacBook) and Mini-me told me I should buy it (twisted my arm, she did). The others are named after my baby brother, who loved computers and worked as a Mac technician during his sober times. He was utterly brilliant – he was Douglas after my father but we called him Dougal, and Dougal backwards is Lagoud. Or close, like Ohlrogge backwards is Eggroll. So I name my computers in his honor.

Actually this baby has been rechristened, so maybe I’ll call it by it’s computer password, Hiddleston. Or maybe just Hiddles. Yeah, that works better – you’re now looking at Hiddles. IV will be Richie’s computer, and III can be the official Lagoud, since that’s the one I travel with.

I’ve also been following Jenny’s lead and posting daily art/craft projects on Instagram. This weekend I made a quilt top, a crocheted top for an American Girl doll, and knit pants for a Wellie Wisher (the smaller, younger version of an AG girl, which is my present for Ali for her birthday this year.). I also watched crafting videos and listened to the most wonderful YA (late YA) book called Trust by Kylie Scott. I can’t recommend it highly enough – I was totally sucked in and absolutely adored it.

This week – writing, sewing, getting the computers set. I’m in full Auntie Mame mode – Life is a banquet and I’m gorging (not physically, thank goodness).

Tell me all the things you’ve been doing? I seriously want to know.

Monday (Krissie)

I was born in Philadelphia. And I don’t like like Trump-loving, football-deflating quarterbacks no matter how pretty they are. So hurray for the Super Bowl!

Richie and I watch it every year, mostly for the ads. We aren’t sports people (except for the Winter Olympics) though I have a fondness for basketball when the players have long hair (ah, Pistol Pete!), but we get sucked into the super bowl game every year, despite our determination to only watch the ads. I was expecting the Patriots to clobber the Eagles in the last minute. Ha ha ha.

But seventeen years ago my son ran headlong into a truck while riding too fast on a snowmobile. He was thirteen, and he flew twenty feet in the air, it knocked his helmet off, dislocated one hip and gave him a compound fracture of the other leg. He could have died so easily, and I’ll never forget sitting in the waiting area at the emergency room and numbly watching the Patriots win.

But after all that, and what felt worse in the intervening years, he’s good. He’s strong, he’s handling things. He made it. I don’t understand why some do and some don’t, and I expect I’m not supposed to understand it. But hurray for Tim and hurray for the Eagles and hurray to me who survived it all.

Anyone else hate football but watch the game anyway? I even looked up how to make potato skins (last year was the first time I did chicken wings).
Do you notice something missing from all this? Friends. We’re not that interested in drinking (though we have nothing against it) and sports don’t particularly matter, and we live in a very small town where we’ve always been out of the mainstream. So we have our little super bowl party alone and enjoy ourselves tremendously.

Friends are a difficult issue once you’re past fifty. Everyone’s already got their own circle, and changing isn’t easy. I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing – on the one hand, I enjoy people, I find them interesting. I love to talk with them, hear what’s going on, share things with them. But on the other, I need vast quantities of time alone. I was going to say I always did, even before I became a writer, but I kind of always was a writer. I need time to live in my head, with my stories.

I don’t worry about it any longer. I’m a little off-beat – a little colorful, a little different, a little over the top, and some people aren’t comfortable around me. (I do figure it’s a grave moral defect on their part but I forgive them – not enough people embrace their own fabulousness in this world and they’re uneasy around people who do).

So fuck ’em. I want you all to go out and embrace your fabulousness. The world needs it. We’ve had two impossibly shitty years – it’s time to make this year amazing, despite the evils in Washington. Do something fabulous! Wear something outrageous, put on bright red lipstick, a dashing scarf, and a smile and go out and greet the world. If the world won’t be fabulous we need to go out and make it so.

Live, my children!

Another Monday (Krissie)

. Ok, I’ve got some dread disease, but I’m not going to whine about it. It’s been coming on since the fall, and I don’t seem able to do a damned thing without falling into bed. First it was Christmas and the lead-up. This weekend I made two simple cakes on Saturday (and couldn’t sew or do anything else) and Sunday I went to church and helped set up coffee hour, which mean bringing the cakes, setting up the fruit juice, and a few other little things. Others did most of the carrying and cleaning. And I came home and went to bed. And this morning I’m still in a fog.
Argh! This drives me crazy! There are all these things I want to do, and yet I seem unable to do them. I’m also in tremendous pain, and I think going back to swimming would help, and yet I don’t know if I physically can. .
I’ll figure it out (I had blood tests and there’s nothing really off. I’ve added Vitamin D, etc. but it hasn’t helped.

Whine for the day, over. I assume you all saw Jenny’s post on Argh this weekend? I love the idea of an art project a day for February, and yes I do think cooking counts. I think we should all do it. I’m in (assuming I don’t make a doll dress and collapse face first into dinner). Sewing makes me happy. Of course, this might not work for me, since I’m not much of a visual artist, but everything in life can be art, done with creativity and joy. I’ll just have to figure out a way to take a photo of singing a new song or something.

Who’s up for it?