Short and sweet this week. Again.
But not because I cooked pork chops.
As a matter of fact, after that disaster, I’ve done very little cooking. And we’ve been running to and fro from one doc appointment to the next as fast as we can to get poor dear hubs in line.
Turns out that the medical universe is as behind on scheduling procedures as I am on my writing goals.
I’m also quite disoriented (doesn’t take much) as to the calendar. The last time it was this bad was when my grandmother passed away, and I remember seeing holiday items on clearance but not recalling the holiday at all. Oh, and it was bad during that stretch last fall when COVID hit and time rolled off the calendar like water off a duck’s back and went I know not where.
Strange sensations, those.
Life rolls, some folks call them. Big emotional events when every ounce of brainpower goes to only the most necessary tasks at hand—and the muses and the kitty cuddles and the general fun and dreamy parts of living go by the wayside for the time being.
And where did June go? If it weren’t for this blog, I’d have gotten no words down at all this month.
At the time of this writing, I’ve got three days left in this summer month. Three days.
I’d planned on starting a great big writing challenge in June.
Now that we have a semi-shaky plan (as compared to no plan and nothing but sheer terror) for the hubs, and the Adult-ish Male Child has settled (as well as the dust kicked up in our home from his move-out) I can finally see itty bitty sparkles of hope.
Hope that hubs will feel better soon (come on docs, we’re on a roll… don’t fail us now).
Hope that I’ll be able to keep up with the laundry (or at least have time to get to Walmart to buy extra underwear and effectively push the laundry problem for another week).
Hope that the paint colors we picked will STAY ON THE WALL and not slide off in withered desperation while we sleep (I’ve been having vivid nightmares, can you tell?).
Since a few of those hope-ish sparkles are purple, I have hope that Little Miss Muse hasn’t packed her purse and plum stilettos to head for another author’s office. She’s still hanging in there with me. I swear, sometimes she’s got the patience of Job, and other times, well, she’s like a kitten on caffeine pills.
Those little purple shimmers of light have sparked some dreaming.
And, another bit of good news? Those red-eyed, drunkard cicadas have finally stopped SCREAMING! Ahhh. Once the stench of their rotting carcasses clears the yard, it could be a pleasant summer.
So, I’ve got three days left in June. (So do you if you’re catching this on Monday morning).
And the inklings of a plan. I know the dangers of outlining plans in public. I also know it tends to give me a bit of a jump start after mucking about in the doldrums. So, here goes.
June Goals (a whopping two goals—start simple, they say, right?)
1. One short story to clear the cobwebs and allow Little Miss to stretch her wings and shake out her tutu.
2. Make it to July.
July Goals: (This is scary. This month has all of its days left. So much can happen in so many days. Or so little, depending on how you look at it…)
1. Four shorts.
2. Three blogs and a free fiction for you guys.
3. Novel 2 reread to figure out where I left my characters and what they were wearing when I ditched them (hopefully I did their laundry and their wardrobes are stocked for a few more chapters). I also believe my last several chapters in the WIP (work in progress) actually belong in Book 3. We shall see. Sometimes Little Miss likes to work ahead. Waaaay ahead. Only she doesn’t tell me that’s what she’s up to until I’m massively confused by what we produce in our joint endeavors.
4. Make it to August.
August Goals: (August? What’s August? A month with five Mondays. FIVE. Mondays.)
1. Four shorts.
2. Four blogs and a free fiction (did I mention this month has FIVE Mondays?)
3. WIP novel done.
4. Start dreaming of fall.
There it is. A summertime plan. Whether goals or wishes or pie in the sky, I’ve no idea, as all of this must be worked around the current life roll and a dozen or so unknown factors.
Factors like laundry. And food poisoning. And temperamental thyroids.
And moody muses…
So, here’s to dreamin’.
Here’s to summer.
Happy Fourth to you all…
May your laundry be caught up, may your thyroid glands glisten with health, and may you avoid pork chop food poisoning at your Independence Day picnic!
The Case of the Gloating Swine
Short and sweet this week.
Because I cooked porkchops.
(That was my first mistake. Thinking I could cook.)
I made enough to feed us empty-nesters for several meals, as a matter of fact.
(That was my second mistake. Trying to plan ahead.)
Purchased those chops fresh, baked them thoroughly. Sides of steaming mashed potatoes and rolls. Fresh salad and…
The gloating swine took its revenge.
Ten bites in, and I’m doubled over in the bathroom.
A few hours later, poor hubs had the same general symptoms, the cats didn’t know why I was running up and down the hallway ALL NIGHT LONG, and Little Miss Muse had lost some of her sparkle. She even refused her latest shipment of grape soda.
Some things just don’t settle well with food poisoning, even for a muse.
It was bad.
And that “I swallowed a lead balloon” feeling has persisted for days, worse with movement, better when lying flat on my back.
So… while I recover and purge the fridge of all possible offending foods (I’m not a betting woman, but I’d gamble it all on the gloating swine), try to hold down my toast, and figure out if we can afford a live-in chef, here’s a quick update:
I’ve got several professional sales coming to publication this summer. Keep a watch here for those cool announcements.
Check out “Leftovers” in the Free Fiction section—that was my first “real” sale — and one of the most fun characters to write. It’ll be replaced with a new story on July 5, so you’ve got until then.
If you haven’t already, you can sign up for the newsletter and get a free short mystery, either through the NEWSLETTER tab here on the blog or through this link: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/fzzo0detsm If you’ve already signed up and think something is “broken” because you’ve not gotten a newsletter. Well, I’m the broken cog in that wheel. Hoping to get the newsletter updates going soon, but in the meantime, get your name on the list and enjoy “Dragonfly.”
Web Guy helped me rearrange the BOOKS section on the website. Each book now has updated links where you can find my work. Click the cover images for retailer options. Life Along the Way is only available on Amazon and is still free to read if you have a Kindle Unlimited plan.
So, as I down four more Alka-Seltzer berry chews, I wish you well. Happy reading, happy summer, and may all the meals you consume be free of the gloating swine.
Big-Name Border Battle
You know those jobs that you figure will take a couple of hours? Tops? Then you can get on with what you really want to do? Like take a walk, or fish, or binge-watch mermaids or spaceships.
Or, hey! I know!
Write some new words already!!!
One of those jobs where that still, small voice in the back of your head nags you and says it's probably not gonna time out the way you think…?
This is one of those times…
We moved into our current home about ten years ago. We're painting the main living spaces for the first time since moving in. We were happy with what the previous owners had picked, so much so that we purchased from them and left much of the décor they had hanging in our new-to-us "Game Room."
This room was at one point a garage, and those owners converted it into livable square footage and wired it for sound—quite literally. Half of the room held a pool table and later swapped that for a ping pong table. Both tables mostly housed clutter or some ongoing project. You know, like a treadmill often turns into a closet of sorts.
The other half of the Game Room boasted an enormous wall of built-in shelves holding archaic video and sound equipment left as a "housewarming" by the previous owners. Surround sound speakers hung high in all the corners, wired to the main system. We didn't use this equipment, and it mostly housed spiders.
We enjoyed most of the art left on the walls—old-time movie prints and artwork of movie reels and old-fashioned popcorn containers. We added our own Marvel and DC movie-themed items. The ceiling was even painted black to absorb extra light for those all-fun movie nights.
We weren't a fan of the wallpaper border, however. Bette Davis, James Cagney, and Rita Haworth depicted on old movie posters. Fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts also adorned this vintage-ish border. In fact, this border, I said, was the first thing we'd change when we moved in. It just wasn't to my taste.
Ten years later, Rita and her cleavage are still hanging all around that black ceiling.
And now it's time to paint since the Adult-ish Male Child moved out and since the hubs would like to change the name of this room from "Game Room" to "Man Cave."
Currently, the walls are dark hunter green and marred beyond reason.
Time for a refresh.
We (the hubs and the lady cats) spent the better part of one evening removing gallery-style wall art hung with screws, nails, sticky tack and who-knows-what-that-was and puttying the holes closed. The felines would stand on the desk or a shelf and stretch along the walls, picking at nails we missed. They were quite the help (insert huge eye roll here).
I removed all the outlet covers—gobs and gobs of outlets. Amara helped with this task. She'd stick her toe beans into the areas around the exposed wall sockets and scoop out loose drywall. I scatted her away with a broom lest she blow her tail off her fanny.
I unscrewed the brackets holding up the speakers. Took wire cutters, prayed these were truly sound system wires and not live electrical wires, held my breath, and snipped the speakers free. Exhaled, glad these were indeed dead speaker wires and not something fishy running to one of those outlets.
I didn't blow myself off the ladder. My cardiac output seems fine. My right eye is twitching, but I'm calling that one a stress reaction to general life circumstances and not electrocution by stupidity.
Time to remove the wallpaper.
Climb the ladder with the putty knife. Nick a corner free, aaannd… nothing. James Cagney gloats.
Try a little harder with the knife. Aaannd… dug a hole into the drywall. Bette Davis blinks those smokey eyes at me. I ignore her. No big deal. I'll putty it later.
Go to the store. Buy fabric softener and a spray bottle. This is supposed to dissolve the glue.
Now the Game Room smells good. Really good. Enough to give Fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts a new kind of high-step to their dance along the rim of the ceiling.
Wait 15 minutes. Climb the ladder with the putty knife. Nick another corner.
Aaannd… nothing. Yet another hole in the wall to putty closed later and a gleaming smirk from Ginger. Nothing can stop this woman.
I soak another dose and wait another 15 and up the ladder again. This time I applied more muscle, earning me an even larger spot to putty. Rita Hayworth has an iron-clad cleavage. She seems quite proud of herself.
Descend the ladder, leave the house covered in fabric softener, blue paint (from the touch-ups I did in the utility room), and teeny-weeny bits of wallpaper. And lots of sweat.
Sherwin-Williams will help me. And they won't judge me for my disheveled appearance.
I spent some money there on a new tool and a new bottle of wallpaper removal solution.
Drive back home. Back up the ladder. Score the wallpaper with my new tool so the new solution will soak through. Spray the border. Again. Wait 15. Again.
Back up the ladder. Again.
Yup. You guessed it.
To-be-puttied spot #3.
I could've fed a small army of toddlers some excellent Happy Meals for what I spent there. Set them loose in the Game Room and let their shrill shrieks peel the wallpaper off the wall. It would've been more effective.
I gave up. The border wins. I do believe this star-studded cast was adhered to that hunter-green wall with Gorilla Glue tainted by whatever they use to hold rocket ships together.
Congrats Rita and Ginger. Congrats Cagney. You too, Bette and Fred. Have the wall. Have the nooks and crannies around the black ceiling. Dance, sing, and act forevermore.
But, you'll be doing it under a layer of beige paint, Sherwin-Williams CC 19 Curio Gray SW0024 to be exact. Eggshell. Paint and primer even.
And for the final performance, you can walk the red carpet under the hub's new golf club or football field or otherwise Man-Cave-appropriate border.
Because it'd take me a hundred years to remove you guys in all your movie star glory.
Because I know when I've been beaten. (I wonder if the movies depicted on the border had anything to do with this — a kind of forewarning: Hard to Handle, Dark Victory… I'm sensing a gang-up-on-Beth theme, now that I think about it.)
At any rate, I certainly know when I'd be better off writing instead of trying to scrape Academy-Award-winning cleavage from my walls.