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.

All About You (Krissie)

Yeah, that’s not me. I thought taking my picture this morning would be boring so I looked among pictures stashed on my desktop and thought, there’s never too much Hiddleston in this world, even on Pinterest.
Got a thousand things to do, coz I get to go down to see Crusie tomorrow! Gotta cancel the knee surgery (more later), order refills, deal with all sorts of ephemera. I finished the taxes (phew!) and now I can enjoy myself for a few days (though I’ll work in NJ too).
One hassle – I was going to bring beer down as a present for Mollie. Up the road is a world class brewery – people come from all over the world to get their special brews. I was going to bring down a couple of growlers, and Richie was going up to buy them when we discovered they’re closed on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (and last week they were closed on Saturday as well). With the brewery they don’t give a shit that it’s one of the biggest tourist weekends in VT (Columbus Day and Canada Thanksgiving) and they just closed. (No matter what time of year or time of day you have to be prepared to stand in line to get your beer – they’re that hot shit).
I’m really lucky in that I have two BFFs that I can have girl time with. With Crusie we talk writing, pop culture, crochet, and everything else. With Sally we talk family history, quilting, k-dramas and everything else.

So here’s the question. Do all of you have a BFF that you get to run away with/to every now and then? Or do you have to live through it vicariously? My sister actually used to be one of my BFF’s. We did masses of stuff together – travelled, shopped, took each other to the doctor, etc. I just realized that’s not usual. I also realized that I’m actually suffering from some PTSD from my mother’s rages. Interesting.

Anyway, do you get Girl Time with friends or sisters? The soul needs it, as well as a room of one’s own.

I promise reports and pictures from NJ.

All About You (Krissie)

Okay, good news. Tim qualifies for SSI, which will help – we spend more than 1500 a month to house and feed him, and between him and Daniel our now very small savings account goes down $2,000 a month. In less than 20 months we’ll have nothing. So this is a helpful sign. Now that the draft is finished I can look into refinancing the over $100k of college loans that I co-signed. Yes, we are in dire financial straits.
But what me worry? I’ve been flirting with depression – I probably mentioned that (or denied it). In fact, I wasn’t flirting, I was getting depressed, but I went to lunch with my indie writer friends and fortunately burst into tears when Lisa asked how I was. And it came out that I was on neurontin for my fibromyalgia. Turns out neurontin can cause depression – you have to be very careful when you give it to people with a history of depression, and they’d just had me raise my dosage. I stopped, and in a day or so the cloud began to lift. Phew! The very thought was making things worse (though I tried not to think about it). Dodged a bullet!
In the meantime I’m doing my 2016 taxes before time runs out (do we detect a theme of financial irresponsibility here?). My parents were appalling when it came to finances. Richie’s were extremely careful – too bad I’m the alpha.
So, this week. Get ok’d to be Tim’s payee for SSI, finish the taxes, begin revising. Sew, damn it (finished the backing for three quilts – now I have to go down and sandwich them so I can start quilting. Continue to build my calluses for playing the guitar (I try to play every night) and just try to get my shit together. It’s a lost cause, and I can but try.
What’s on your agenda, my darlings?

All About the Heat (Krissie0

Okay, I slept late. It’s miserably, blastingly hot. Well, not by a lot of people’s standards, but by mine. We don’t have much air conditioning up here, and it’s never a dry heat. You’ve heard me complain loud and long about the lack of a summer. Nature decided to give it to us in September, after the pool and the portable air conditioner were put away, after the killing frost, after enough cold weather to make the lake really chilly. It’ll probably reach 90 today, maybe higher. On the weather map Burlington is the hottest city, hotter than Orlando. It makes me grumpy.
But. I finished the book! Saturday was too hot to do much, so I sat on the desk and decided to write long-hand, since I seemed to have a mental block with this book and I couldn’t make myself finish it. I wrote for hours on the deck. When the sun reached me I moved to the side deck, and when the sun reached there I dragged the chaise and moved to the front lawn, which never gets sun. (We’re entirely private with 20 acres, btw. Back when we built 20 acres cost $15,000.)
I wrote so much the muscles isn my arm were cramping (not the hand, interestingly enough). I wrote until the happy ending, I even added a coda (maybe if I call it a coda Jenny won’t realize it’s an epilogue and yell at me. Just kidding – she never yells. She just looks at me sadly and shakes her head).
So, today. Business Monday, transcribing all those pages into the computer (my Dragon Dictate no longer works and the new one is $300 so transcribing R us.) And then the great unknown.
I got up in the middle of the sweltering night, came downstairs and dragged boxes and boxes away from the outside door in my office so I could get a cross-draft. And I do have a nice blue fan Crusie gave me, so I won’t melt.
Mind you, at 10 degrees I wear gloves. At 0 I button up my coat. Minus 10 and I might even wear a hat. Minus 20 I’ll wear silken long johns. I’m like the logger, if you remember that song.

Hmmm. I don’t think that works. Let me see.  Oh, looks like it does.

Anyway, enough about the weather.  It’s small potatoes (a great X-Files episode, BTW) compared to hurricanes and earthquakes, and I’ll stop bitching.  We’ll go do geriatric tubing – I climb on the floatie (maybe even the one that kept dunking me in the pool) and we’ll tie a rope to the kayak and Richie will paddle me in the lake.  It looks ridiculous and it’s wonderful.  I do have the best husband.

But now – work.  Work work work.  And perhaps one more song.


Anyone joining me?