Monday, Monday (Krissie)

Blasted upgrade. Now I can’t figure out how to find my photos. I need to spend time with the new wretched upgrade but the days are just packed. For instance, today I drive 40 miles, go to Social Security (and wait and wait and wait), then 25 miles further to pick up the back-up to my poor dead computer and drop off my only working one (the trackpad isn’t working), and then another 15 miles to Fedex to ship out a heavy present, then back to Montpelier to go Christmas shopping (JoAnn’s for fabric I mis-cut, sewing machine store to drop off good scissors to be sharpened, TJ Maxx because, Wal-mart for a list of things, the grocery store, anything else I need to do, then take Route 12 over the mountain to Morrisville to pick up meds and then home. Tomorrow was going to be a trip to Morrisville and my therapist, but we’re supposed to get heavy snow so I’m guessing I won’t get there.

So – many of you lucky people have snow! I know it’s a pain, but it’s Christmas, and man, I am a Christmas junkie! Everyone’s doing well for a change – Daniel has a job that he likes, we gave Tim a ski pass for Christmas and instead of staying in his dark room and never seeing anyone he’s out on the mountain and happy. It seems absurd that someone on disability spends his winter snowboarding, but he’s unable to interact with other people. He starts out fine and then gets squirrelly and paranoid. So getting him out in the sunshine is the best thing for him.

Which means I can enjoy myself and not worry. Neither of them are coming home for Christmas, which will be the first time since Daniel was born that neither of our kids are home, but it’s okay, as long as they aren’t dissolving into crisis. And my OBFF (Old Best Friends Forever – Jenny is NBFF) is coming for Christmas with her family, and they’ll have enough crises to keep my busy.

So Monday, Montpelier, Tuesday, MOrrisville, Wednesday a get-together to meet the new minister and baking cookies I promised, Thursday Burlington for a writer’s lunch, Friday all day rehearsals and carols, etc. that night. (Take a deep breath, Krissie).

Funny – I am exhausted and in massive pain. Yesterday I almost threw up from exhaustion and pain (and all I did was go to church and come home and sew). I’ve got all this creative and mental energy and everything just sort of pancakes. Not sure if that’s aging. Oh, hell, yes I am. Because it’s a combination of my body being no longer able to keep going as long, and the physical effects of the arthritis and fibromyalgia dragging me down. Except I don’t say no. I bustle and play, etc., collapse in exhaustion and then do it all the next day. Because life is fun.

I watched Auntie Name again yesterday. It doesn’t hold up that well, I’m afraid (I watched it for the Macy’s scene because of my WIP) but her mantra still holds true. Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live!

Do I’m living, amplifier turned up to eleven, playing christmas carols on the stereo (almost the only time we use it), wearing Christmas clothes and having a marvelous time.

So, is anyone having fun with Christmas/the holidays? Or are you stressed and anxious? What are you doing to enjoy yourself?

If you’re blue watch a Christmas movie. It’s good for what ails you.

Never Update Your Computer (Krissie)

Well, I don’t really mean that, but think twice and make sure it’s a good time to do it. I use Macs, and my 6 year old laptop looked like it was about to bite the dust, so I took it in to see if it could be save (turned out it’s called “vintage” by Apple and they won’t fix them). But since it was so funky I couldn’t even copy or back up stuff, and at least they were able to copy it all.
But at the same time my working laptop, a MacBook Air, decided to upgrade to High Sierra and I foolishly said okay. Aiyeee!

First, it deleted my copy of Word 365 so I couldn’t write, it wiped out all my passwords, I can’t find the addresses of the people I text, and there was no way I could get into Refab. Getting to the site was easy, but I couldn’t get into the admin part of it, and I had to wait for Crusie to wake up so she could send me a link, and since she works late into the night I knew it would take a while.

But she came through and here I am. I love computers, but honestly …

So this week I want to know what you want for Christmas besides Work Peace and Donald Trump’s head on a platter while Mike Pence gives up politics, that the few “good republicans” figure out how to take back their vote for the tax bill (or writhe in shame in guilt) and Kim Jong-un falls in love and decides to make love, not war. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

I have a long long list at Amazon (which is surprising, I usually don’t care) and I expect I’m not going to get anything at all for Christmas, which is sort of sad. Richie will get me stuff, but money’s been so tight we are careful not to spend much (and he and I would be all Gift of the Magi and give up what we want for the other and we don’t really need the confirmation that love is better than all the presents in the world – we know that.

I guess that’s why I have such a long list – in the past, if I wanted something and it was reasonable I’d buy it. Now it has to be cheap and necessary. Ah, the circle of life!

So tell me, Mrs. Claus, what you want for Christmas. I’m not giving it to you, but I’ll pass the word on to Santa.

All About You … Fuck it, all about me (krissie0

Okay, I slept late. And I realized that All About You is really All About Me so I need to have All About You on another day. When I drag my sorry ass out of bed on Monday I’m focussed on the week ahead … but then I want to hear about your week ahead too. I view this as conversation (with me hijacking most of it), not so much blog entry.

But we’ll see. We had a very nice Thanksgiving – the turkey was overcooked, the potatoes were gluey (never use an immersion blender), the stuffing was soggy and there wasn’t enough gravy. It was just Richie and me, and my cooking, so none of that mattered – it was delicious anyway. I’d been cleaning for a couple of days, actually making progress, and I ended up in ghastly pain by the end, so we didn’t even sit at the table to eat – just had dinner in our laps. And it was lovely. I did ace the bread pudding, though. I was going to go for an oil-based pie crust with whole-wheat pastry flour but the pain had won out by then so I made an apple bread pudding with cranberry bread I had on hand, and it was ambrosial.

Spent a lot of the long weekend face timing with the grandkids and Tim – yesterday I played parallel Barbies with Ali (I had Richie go down to the basement and find Daniel’s old Barbies). I had unhappy conversations about and with two people and my relationship with them is going through similar problems, which makes me wonder if I’m the cause and not them. Nah, it’s them. Not sure what to do about it – I’m afraid I have to let it go.

NANO has been a qualified success – I won’t make 50k but I’ve written tons, and gotten back into writing again. Putting off the knee surgery was the smartest thing I could have done – if I’d gone through with it I would have ended up stalled out for another six months and who knows when I would have pulled it back together.

You know what’s damnable? All that cleaning, including stripped the kitchen back of all the shit that had come to live on the counters …. it’s all chaos again. That’s what I hate about cleaning.

We’ve been having Saturday morning write-ins at the library this month for NANO, and I’m going to see about continuing it. It’s great for me, and good for other people as well, and it would be great if we could build a community of writers (I live in a town of 700 people but it’s a writing town, especially in the summer).

So back to work. Tons of stuff to do before I sleep, but mainly keep writing.

So, come on, tell me about Thanksgiving. What was the worst thing you ate (or managed to avoid). What was the best? And we you thankful for anything in particular? Despite my two troubled relationships, I’m thankful for EVERYTHING! Life is a banquet.

Monday, Monday (Krissie)

It’s Monday, I’m still energetic (though in a shitload of pain, but hey, chest la vie. Or Det er liv, in Danish, but I imagine there’s an idiom. I have been studying Danish for 307 days straight (I’m doing Duolingo and it keeps track – it’s a free app and has tons of languages if anyone’s interested). I’ve also finally been watching the Craftsy courses I bought – I particularly like one on using precuts of Jenny the owner of Missouri Quilt Co. or whatever it’s called. there’s another on creative quilting with a walking foot, plus several others. I’ve been bouncing around, watching a lesson here and a lesson there.

Which brings us to the point that learning new things, or refining old things, is fun, rewarding, and really good for your brain. Yeah, it takes time, though for me it’s just part of my nighttime ritual. Instead of surfing or playing solitaire (well, I do a little of that) I do my dansk (the Danes don’t capitalize much) and Craftsy. The only drawback is that I do Pinterest and other craft ideas (look at patterns, etc) and it gets me energized at 11 at night, when I need to be falling asleep.

I might humbly suggest that you guys might consider taking a class. If I lived in civilization I’d love to take a hands on sewing class, but at this point my main options are on-line. (Though I’ve love to learn excel and they do sometimes have courses on that. I imagine I could also learn that on line).

I’m also relearning the guitar and learning new songs. I used to play a lot when I was young … I mean, really a lot. Guys would always get me to sing with their bands or just with them, I wrote songs, sang at weddings and benefits, etc. Richie and I first met over music. I’m slowly getting my fingers toughened up and can even play my Martin D-35 (which is a really stellar acoustic guitar). I stopped playing in my early thirties as writing became more demanding, and there have been so many wonderful songs since then that I never learned to play. Fortunately I have a decent ear for figuring out what the chords are for various songs, so it’s been fun and satisfying. I’m even learning “Elle a les yeux revolver” which inspired Black Ice and the ice series, arguably my most popular books.

So guys … any of you play the guitar when you were younger? Do you still have it around? Failing that, ukulele’s are easy and fun. In fact, back in 1963 I taught myself guitar on my father’s baritone uke – the four strings are the same as the top four on a guitar. I learned “Blowin in the Wind” and “We Shall Overcome” in the key of A. Ah, youth. Kennedy was still president and I was a sophomore in high school.

I digress. If you’re musical, drag out your guitar or buy a ukulele. Singing is really good for you physically and spiritually – the breathing, etc.

And learn something. I want you guys to do some research and find a course/class you want to take in the new year. Fuck losing weight – it never works and in the beginning the main reward is vanity. Check your local colleges and community centers, etc. Check on-line – Craftsy and tons more. If you’re not into it, tant pis (don’t know a Danish equivalent) but I don’t care. Choose something, and report back.

On a mixed note. Speaking of music, Mel Tillis just died. I used to sing “Mental Revenge” – one of his songs. And I’m sorry, but I saw that Charles Manson had died and I cheered. I don’t know if I believe in evil – I tend to think it’s sickness instead – but if evil existed there was a lot concentrated in that pathetic creature. I hope next time around he can expiate his sins. (No, I don’t want him roasting in hell if I believed such a thing existed).

Enough wickedness on my part.In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving. Richie and I will do it alone again (alas), but we’ll have fun. I’m going to try a canola oil piecrust – my aunt Ailie use to make fabulous pie crusts with cooking oil, so I’ll see how I far.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? I know, too many questions, but I’m curious.

All About You (Krissie)

Richie just brought me pumpkin spice oatmeal. Yum.
I slept late. Till ten-thirty, actually. So here I am, noshing on oatmeal, ready to get to work.
I’ve written 15,000 words on NANO which is too little, and I have one more day of revisions, and I spent yesterday quilting and then having to rip everything out because the tension was fucked. Ah, life. I’ve been pushing just a wee bit too hard, and my body started rebelling.
The thing is, I grew up without parental guidance or expectations. I came from an academic family where my parents had no interest in whether I went to college or not. (Odd – they sent my sister, they fussed about my brother, but they just sort of ignored it when it came to me – though I imagine part of that was the force of my personality. They would just assume I would see to things).
But anyway, I had to learn my own self-discipline, and unfortunately the way it works out is that I don’t feel good unless I write. I assumed I had put a heavy guilt trip on myself (writing=good, everything else=bad) but now I’m wondering if it’s not just who I am. I saw this meme (or is it a gif – I don’t know the difference) on Pinterest (my favorite playground). Except, crap, I can’t find it now. There it is. Or a different version of it.

I’ve sometimes thought about what it would feel like not to have the pressure to write, not to think about publication and proficiency (I’m against perfection. I do want to be glorious – not just proficient, but I want messy and magnificent on my tombstone).

So I need to climb back into the saddle. Once I get HEARTLESS off I’ll be able to concentrate on the novella and other things and not feel so self-pressured.
Is this just a writer thing? Because it takes so long to complete something (months, years) that we have an extra amount of stress we can’t escape? Or is it simply human nature? Are any of you similarly … I was going to say driven, but that sounds too ambitious. Are any of you similarly … er … constrained?

Ok, OK it’s my issues. Driven to do something is accurate. Is there anything you feel driven to do this week? Can you at least party down once you’re done? I’ve been known to turn up the stereo loud and dance around the house when I’ve finished a book.

Back to the grindstone. (Oh, Richie – where’s my coffee? I do have the best husband. He’s very tolerant about waiting on me while I’m writing – up to a point, that is).

What’s on your agenda?

All About … Aiyeee! (Krissie)

That’s me this morning, fighting off a hissy fit. I do not understand why bureaucracy is so incompetent. I’ll still take them over private enterprise, but my god, dealing with Social Security is maddening. I have to lose time I should spend on revisions going to the office and they’ll give me a run around and then someone will call me and they’ll tell me the opposite of the first person and …. aiyeeee!

However, apart from that life is relatively splendid. Had to walk out in the middle of church yesterday – someone remind me never to go on the first Sunday in November. Since it follows All Saints Day the various ministers always talk about death and I have way too many dead people in my life. I work very hard at not letting myself sink into grief and misery (though I do let myself cry if need be) and I didn’t want to sit there and sob (as I have other years, when they read the list of the dead, including my 18 year old nephew) and I didn’t want my day to be spent self-comforting. I wanted to sew and cook.

So I left, came home, made a new fall bag (picture coming), made dinner, remembered I had galleys or whatever to go through, etc. As they said in the olden days, I wasn’t about to let anyone harsh my mellow.

I started NANOWRIMO and really loving it. Almost done revisions. Making progress on the living room and the bedroom (the Augean stables have nothing on me). My kids are stable, Daniel seems to be getting better, and if I could just get this social security mess taken care of things should be … well, not golden but looking up. At this point our main stressor is money.

I WILL finish revisions in the next few days. I’ll keep working on the new piece for NANO. I will persevere on the living room and bedroom. I will start to quilt the two (and soon three) quilt tops I’ve basted. Nothing but good times ahead.

So, what’s tap for this week? Joy or despair? Challenges? What’s up this week. We’re 6 days into November and haven’t seen a snowflake yet – we often get brief snow storms at the end of August.

Your assignment – Go see Thor: Ragnarok. Kick-ass women, Tom Hiddleston, funny as hell. What more could you ask?

So what, apart from the movies, is on your agenda?

All About You and Me and All That Stuff (Krissie)

I grew up with that travel poster framed on our walls – my grandmother had them done for my mother and my aunt, and she had one in Danish, and I have great fondness for it. Though that’s not precisely the one – ours was from before Queen Margrethe (the latest one in the phenomenally ugly red dress) was crowned. It’s a great poster – I remember looking at Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth in fascination. Jesus, I’m old.
So how have you all been? I’ve been bustling around, but here’s what I’ve accomplished.
1. I finished the first draft of the Book that Would Not End
2. Finished my taxes (and found I overpaid!!! Yippee!)
3. Made what I thought was an autumn purse but instead it was an autumn tote-bag which wasn’t worth the effort since I have a million tote bags. Sigh.
4. Watched tv with Sally and Alex (the grandson). Sally’s in Michigan and we watched the final episode of a K-drama, Bride of the Water God, and Alex (in New Mexico) and I watched Phineas and Ferb which was surprisingly funny. They turn the iPad on the tv and then we talk while we watch – it’s actually a lot of fun.
5. I visited Crusie, came back with a lovely haul of yarn and goodies. We mostly just hung around the house and talked and talked and talked. Good times. Oh, and ticks do not drop out of trees onto people’s heads (my crazy-ass mother told me that)
6. I rescheduled my knee surgery for spring – I have too much writing work to accomplish and I can’t afford to waffle for the months it takes to get one’s brain back after a major surgery like that
7. I’ve had lovely, realistic dreams about Tom Hiddleston two nights in a row (no, not sexual, you naughty people! Sex is for my heroines – at least, sex with Hiddles is). Sigh.
8. Changed my sheets and am ready to attack the bedroom. I have horrifying photos for the before shots.
9. I’ve cleaned up my sewing room quite a bit because I have a million quilts I want to make
10. Tim got approved for SSI, thank God. Now we just have to wait until they decide whether I can be payee or not.

There are doubtless tons of other things. Here’s the stuff I now have to do:
1. Finish revisions on HEARTLESS
2. Write a Christmas novella
3. Get to work on OOOPS (working title)
4. Start swimming again
5. Clean the bedroom
6. Clean the living room
7. Bake bread more often
8. Cook more often
9. Sew more often
10. See what I can do about the crushing student loans (Daniel hasn’t been working – in fact has never paid anything on his loans and we, unfortunately, co-signed. Daniel also has mental health issues).
And a thousand more things to do, not necessarily in that order.

Ah, the golden years. But the utterly fabulous thing is the longer I’m off that creepy Neurontin the better I feel. Depression really had been closing back around me, and god damn the doctor who prescribed it without noticing that it’s contra-indicated for someone with a history of depression. But I’m feeling good and energetic and ready to slay dragons, which is the way I like to be.

Hmmm. Tomorrow I’ll get on the scale.

And tomorrow I start the great bedroom attack. I’ll post one before picture and then an after picture. It’ll keep me honest.

And we’re having lovely weather, which makes all the masses of outdoor projects you have to do in Vermont (get the firewood together, put away the outdoor furniture, cover things with tarps, cut back plants, put stakes up for the snow plows, etc. etc.) easier, plus cuts back on fuel use.

So I am woman, hear me roar.

What’s on your agenda? Anyone else filled with energy (I always tend to be in the fall, my favorite season)? Tell me what you’ve been doing.