Saturday, June 19, 2010

Goofin' off

Well, not really. I haven't been working on my actual paying work lately--I did two articles last week, that's it--but I've been working on my other projects. I've almost got my new pattern finished and ready to post, I've been working on my book. I have to do more work on it next week, actually. We're not going to wait until we're done to start shopping it, we're going to start querying in the next couple of weeks. Exciting! I know, I know, the odds of being bought right out of the gate are slim, to say the least, but we're really doing this. We both avowed that we have to make this writing gig work because neither of us wants to go back to the cube farms, and this time I believe we both mean it, and we're really taking the project seriously. Again: Exciting!

The book, I have to say, is way more interesting to work on than the pay work articles. Which is why I am having trouble sitting to my pay work. Yes, that's a reason not an excuse. No, I don't really care.

I'm going to have to get working on the pay stuff this week upcoming, though. And get back onto my schedule. This week was so unsettled (I was sick yet again at the beginning of the week, so I had to cancel almost all my events for Sunday through Tuesday, then my Wednesday events got moved to Friday and Wednesday was empty when it shouldn't have been, Thursday got wiped clean and changed around, and I completely forgot my Friday night plans because I'd consoled myself on Thursday, ass over teakettle in a dentist's chair, that I had nothing to do on Friday at all and it got stuck in my head that way, besides which my Friday felt like my Wednesday....) and it just got me so frustrated. If I'm going to make a proper go of this writing thing, I must be more disciplined! I must be able to be productive despite the chaos, or this will never fly. I might even have to so lower myself as to get a *gasp!* personal organizer.

Who says that working for yourself is the easy option? Or that writing isn't hard work? I'd like to slap them around a bit.

Interesting side note: Despite the fact that no one is paying me to do this, I actually work more, now, on this project, than I did when I was actually pulling down a salary. And I want to work. That's weird enough, right there.

Meanwhile, a preview:

Look what I found! Looks a bit like Stonehenge, doesn't it? A purpose-built ruin made of architectural scraps. I had such fun finding this one. And I'm not even finished researching her yet! Fabulous!

Last week, my co-author and I spent a very, very over-warm morning discovering that yes, our town was, indeed, formerly a swamp. Still is, under the right conditions. And this is butted up against the swamp:
Old growth forest, right in the middle of our city. Well, ok, out on the side of it, smack in the middle of the 'burbs. Still. Unexpected!

And in completely unrelated news, we've had some very unsettled weather lately, thunderstorms and the like. It's been giving me migraines. I love thunderstorms, though, the howling wind and water flinging itself against the house and trees and flailing them around like an angry toddler with pots and pans. It's a nice energy. And there are some compensations:
Beautiful skies!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Checking off my To-Do List, one item at a time.

Today was the first day in a long time I felt relatively normal--probably because I actually went to bed last night at a decent, God-fearing hour and slept through (as through as I ever have) for 8 full hours. Amazing what a good night's will do for you!

In celebration, I actually created a mental to-do list and accomplished something for once! I did some work on my book this morning, then collaborated with my co-author (ok, so it was mostly gossip, but we did make plans, too) on the phone. Then I came to my cat sitting gig and actually made a dinner that did not invo
lve the microwave and included vegetable matter. It felt good to get nutrition for once, although the vitamins are crying as they enter my salt and sugar laden blood stream. So much work, so few vitamins to do it! I will have to make better choices.

Sidetrack aside, after that I actually got started on some pay writing today; did the research for two articles tonight and prepped the writing which is more than I've done for cash in what feels like months. I'm proud of myself. I did not get to my fiction writing practice, but the word of the day emails are laden with crappy words lately. I need inspiration, not 'bathos.' Hopefully, in the next few days I'll be getting around to it.

But on to the fun stuff! I attended my very first fiber festival this past weekend and bought some new toys. I even managed to come in under budget--woohooo! It was dizzying, though. The wool fumes addled me completely and I felt as overstimulated as a three year old on pixie stix set loose in a toy store. As an adult, I tried to maintain my cool in the face of such rampant fibery goodness, but, well.... Witness below the evidence of my mild yarn rampage.

I started off the day with a mild Robin Hood jonez. Couldn't get that darn song out of my head for two days. The first bunch of yarns I fell in love with had a definite forest vibe.

Carriage House Woolens, Charlotte yarn. No color named, but oooh, ain't it pretty? I love it. I was going to pass it by and see all the exhibits before buying, but there were only three skeins sitting there. If I'd passed it by, it would have been gone before I got back. I think it's a lace-weight or light fingering, so it will end up a shawl.

MacKintosh Yarns, Woodland sock in Sacred Grove colorway. It was on clearance, so I grabbed it. It's just so pretty! I couldn't justify two skeins, even at the clearance price, but there's almost enough to do a small shawlette.

Touch Yarns, lace. Sexy reds slurring through to a vivid fuchsia. I had a hard time choosing between these yarns, as everything they had on the pegs was hot gorgeous. So very difficult to choose, but I was feeling the red. I have their card and their website, so I can always go back for more when I make the money.

Amber Meadow Farm, handspun, hand dyed, color called Angel Wings (sappy, yeah, but beautiful.) It's only 45 yards, but I think it's a chunky, so I should be able to get at least a neckwarmer out of it. I wonder if I could do a braid of stockinette stitch strips, make a bit of a scarf out of it.... We'll see.

Today, I got an IM from an acquaintance on the wonderful Ravelry asking for help obtaining some yarn she cannot get in her country. Always glad to enable another's addiction, I went posthaste to get her yarn and a box and prep the whole thing for shipping. Unfortunately, this activity required me to enter a yarn store. Dangerous. Mother went with me and decided she needs a shawl. I will make her one because she does deserve it, but also because, well, I get to knit it. How can that be so awful?

Thankfully, there was yarn on clearance. Not all of this was clearance, but some.

Bernat Natural Alpaca Chunky, in Persimmon. Three skeins, all for me. Bwahahahahhhaaaaa!

More Bernat Chunky, for Mother's shawl. See how closely it matches Thing 2's coat? And how helpful he's being with the yarn?

Then I got a half a cart of kitchen cotton in lovely colors because I do enjoy a nice dishcloth to cut the tension now and again. They're fast and simple and I can get an ego boost from finishing it up, so I enjoy knitting them. No pictures because I left them at home, and took these pictures here. Oh, well. Trust me, they're pretty.

And just for balance, here is a picture of Thing 1. She's not that chunky, she's fluffy, and she's leering down at me from the upstairs landing. Awww, isn't she adorable?

Ceiling Cat not in, I can helpz yu?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer colds are the worst!

I have had the worst summer cold. It's nearly two weeks in and I'm only just now beginning to feel like a human being again. I still sound like I've got marbles up my nose (which is interesting, as I'm not actually stuffy, per se, nor do I have a headache, so where the stuffy sound is coming from is beyond me) and I'm a little tired, but not so badly I can't function. Despite the financial setback it is causing (well, $120 overall, which is at one and the same time both a lot and not really all that much) I've sat out on the writing these past two weeks. I think it was a good decision overall, as it gave me ample nap time and reduced my stress load ever so slightly.

I have, however, begun a new venture with my writing friend. We're going to be doing a travel guide to our home town highlighting some of the hidden tourist treasures in these parts. It's exciting! My next task is to start up our joint author's blog, get an email up and running and figure out what sort of business cards we should print up. The business cards will be very helpful: We can start conversations with people about the project, asking for suggestions. If they can't think of anywhere at that time, we can at least give them our contact info for later use. We figure it might not sell like hotcakes, make us household names or multi-millionaires (heck, we'd settle for multi-hundredaires), but it will get our names out to the publishers and serve as an example of what we can do. At this point in my game, it's all about what I can do and proving it, so this is a perfect idea.

Fortunately, I do enjoy travel, even the local kind, so it's right up my alley subject-wise. We're going to have a lot of fun doing the research, I can tell. And it's so much more exciting than my freelance writing duties (at the present; I'm sure I'll get over it.)

Another something I really need to be getting on with is getting my fiction writing back on. I've let it slide, what with one thing and another, which is really bad. I shouldn't let those skills wither! Well, what skills I have, that is. I was thinking of setting up a blog for that, too--a private one, probably, just somewhere I can go and put my stuff up and let my editor friend (not the one I'm writing with) read it and check out what I'm doing. She can give me a better gauge of whether or not I'm slacking. I hope. It's been so long since I sent something her way, I hope she hasn't forgotten how I write!

I should also like to note that, for the very firstiest time, I've actually sorta-kinda designed something! Well, I used a published stitch pattern as a basis, so it's not really a unique design, but I didn't like some of the particulars about the stitch so I charted it and changed it to suit. Silly, isn't it, how something so simple can leave one with a real sense of accomplishment?

Here's a pictorial preview:
I know it's hard to see, but a lot of that is lighting and the pre-blocked state of the scarf (for a scarf it is.) I'm tentatively calling it Rose Garden, although that is subject to change. As it gets blocked out (or maybe not; I can't tell how long it will be just of the yarn itself, it might not need lengthening) something else might come to me. I'm crap at naming things. Blog posts, stories, name it, I can't.

I must, as the Victorians say, take my rest--I have a ticket for tonight's symphony, and I've been looking forward to this one. My favorite piece is being played (Rachmaninoff's Vocalise), and I'm willing to put up with the rest of it as long as I get to hear that! But a nap will be needed if I'm to cope with the leftover of the cold and driving and the people smushed up against me in my seat.

I hate colds.