april showers revive the muse and the spirit

I’ve been making steady progress on the writing projects and the fitness efforts :). My current process is not as ambitious as it was, but it fits my lifestyle without making me panic at every turn. I wouldn’t call myself an A-type, but I definitely tend to self-reproach when given the chance. I’m presently plodding along at a chapter a week. I can get a solid 30 minutes to an hour of writing done on most week nights. It’s not much, but any progress is good progress. Weekends are catch-up, wrap-up, and plan days. At this rate, the draft should be done by June.

My new fitness routine is also helping. I fell into a slump sometime last fall, and it seriously took a toll on my energy. I won’t go into detail, but I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as a teen and there are days when it feels nearly impossible to do more than I’m already required to do to be a functioning member of society. Exercise helps, as does eating right. When I let go, my body lets go… and that’s really bad. One of my library friends is on a mission to heal me, but that’s a really long story. Exercise = energy. Energy = writing. Can’t have one without the other.

In other news, I finished my manuscript edits for the academic tome and submitted one of my pending reviews. Next project involves editing a co-authored chapter to be submitted to a library publication. Wish me luck!

the view from Sunday: reconnecting with my inner fitgeek

For years, I bemoaned the fact that some quack doctor told my mother that I shouldn’t rollerblade anymore after I sprained my ankle. Surely, this cannot be sound medical advice? Telling someone they shouldn’t perform an exercise after recovery, especially when the exercise in question had nothing to do with the injury… but I was a kid and gave up my skates for fear of permanent injury.

Now, I have achy, old lady knees and my favorite form of cardio (running) is mostly off-limits, as regular runs now lead to swollen knees and excruciating hip pain :( . I need something to pump my heart rate up and keep my lower half from going on strike… hello, rollerblading! I opened my wallet and bought myself a pair of pink-trimmed skates (the only ones available in my size) and took them out for a turn yesterday. I fell flat on my bum twice, but it was so much fun while I was gliding! The next challenge is finding a set of pads to keep my knees, elbows, and wrists safe… I have really strong legs; finding pads that can wrap around my knees is proving harder than I thought. In the meantime, the boy is willing to catch me when I go down (he’s been very sweet about it too). My goal is to practice at least 30 minutes every weekend until I feel secure enough to go it alone. The hardest part is maintaining my balance when skating past uneven terrain–and there’s a lot of it to roll over.

Today’s practice was a short one because I skipped breakfast in favor of brunch (big mistake), so I made up for it by taking a walk this afternoon. There were lots of pretty flowers and happy Easter folks (we have a high concentration of churches in the area, there were lots of happy Easter folks to be seen).

Behold! Plumeria in bloom!

All in all, it’s been a rather nice Sunday. The migraine that has been plaguing me is still around, but on the weak end of the scale. I may try to go over my notes for the next round of editing before the night is done.

what happened (and didn’t happen) in March…

March wasn’t a particularly good month for writing. My initial goal was to get through chapter 15, but I soon realized this wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I rewrote chapters 8-14, turning five chapters into three, rewriting some major plot points and leaving me with a much better storyline (IMHO). I’m two chapters behind, but I’m not complaining. I’m still on track to meet my self-imposed deadline, and the rest of the it should be a straight rewrite, rather than a major scrap session.

In the meantime, I’m taking a break until Sunday. I haven’t felt well for a few weeks; in part because of the amount of noise and dust I’ve had to deal with at work, and partly because I haven’t been as mindful in taking care of myself. I can’t write well if I don’t feel well and it’s starting to show. To remedy this, I’ve started cleaning up my diet and switching up my habits to get back to a healthier, happier state. I know my triggers, and I really do need to be more vigilant if I want to be my best self.

In other news, proofs for the academic manuscript are in, and I saw one of my professional reviews in the wild. Totally made up for a weird acceptance/rejection for an article I co-authored with two of my library pals. It came down to a “rewrite it and we’ll review it” decision, but there was a note about the need to have the paper edited by a native speaker that really rubbed me the wrong way. My name was listed as main author because my co-authors said I motivated them to write, but my actual contribution to the manuscript was the least significant in terms of content… the assumption that it was written by a non-native speaker could only be in reference to my last name, which really galls me. It’s the first time I’ve had something like this happen within an academic context, though I’m sure it’s a common occurrence.

the view from Sunday: a fine day to go to the Fair

The Fair is back! Though I no longer feel blissfully ignorant enough to ride any of the rides (when you’ve seen them being constructed, it kind of turns you off for life), it’s become a tradition between me and the boy (plus, there’s so much county drama surrounding where it will resettle in years to come, that I might as well enjoy it while it still looks like the place I remember).

There were lots of lovely fluffy creatures to pet and feed in the petting zoo. Nibbly baby alpacas are the sweetest, while little American bison have the most expressive eyes.

more food than I care to admit.

Some fine feathered friends strutting their stuff.

Bunnies!

And unicorns.

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in which the shit hits the fan (almost literally)

The day was good… until disaster struck. Now, there’s a hole in my bedroom wall and a (possibly) ill-fitting ac unit in my future. I suspected something was going to go wrong re:  AC unit replacement, I just didn’t think it would be this bad. Wish I’d shelled out the cash for it myself, but didn’t want to spend so much when it’s more of a rental owner thing. So it goes. Waiting to see whether or not I will have a hole in the wall for days to come. Fingers crossed.

On the bright side, I wrote a lot. Not quite where I wanted to be (disaster struck while the going was getting good), but not bad for a day’s work.

the view from Sunday: I’m melting

Friends, it’s hot. Summer in the city hot.

Spring has only just arrived and it already feels like the beginning of summer. No clouds, no breezes, no relief in sight… and the ac in my bedroom broke down about two weeks ago in a dramatic last hurrah. In other words, I may or may not be writing this while wearing minimal amounts of clothing.

In a desperate effort to cool down, I resorted to ice cream… not once, but three times this weekend. This is a sign of serious indulgence, as 1) I am somewhat lactose intolerant, 2) I’m a cheapskate and generally refuse to spend more for a cup than it costs to buy a pint, 3) it means the boy also indulged in three days worth of ice cream outings.

It is hot.

I leave you with guava ice cream in a cup, because I’m a no cone kind of girl.

2015 in books – a quarterly review of bookish adventures

I’ve read 15 books since January, so I’m well on my way to beating last year’s goal of 30. I’ve also been reviewing for a library-related publication, so my non-fiction reading has increased (and lead to some unlikely gems in the process). There’s a difference between the kind of reading I do for pleasure vs. reading to write a review, but here are some of the best I’ve read so far.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My first book of the new year and it was perfect. Thought-provoking, genre-bending, and a pleasure to read.

A Solemn Pleasure by Melissa Pritchard

Currently in prepub (out May 2015), this collection of essays on subjects as diverse as aging, writing, spirituality, death, dachshunds, and more was just what I needed to get over myself.

Sex Criminals, vol. 1 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

If you choose to check this graphic novel out from the library (as I did), you will get funny looks. They’re worth it.

 

Meanwhile, I’m reading Twee by Marc Spitz and the final installment in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, Waistcoats & Weaponry, both from the library (which means my effort to get through the TBR pile is just as poor as it was in 2014). Twee is my downtime at work book (for those moments when I need to refresh), while W&W is keeping me sane between writing sessions.

For a complete list, visit my LibraryThing.

the view from Sunday, sofas and self-doubt

It’s been one of my darker weeks. I don’t often talk about my less-than-chipper days, but I have them and they usually turn into day*s*. I try not to linger on the doubts, but there are times when I’m prone to melancholy (sounds so much more refined than depression); it makes me wonder why I bother doing any of the things I do. Why should I write? Why should I even bother? Wouldn’t I be happier, freer, more at ease if I just let go and enjoyed the moment without driving myself to sit at a computer, pounding away at keys, knowing there’s a very good chance it will amount to nothing in the end? I try not to feel this way, but some days I let it happen and let go. I haven’t written in days; I tell myself it’s because I’m stuck, that the scene is not right, that I need to step back and do some plotting, but I know it’s because I don’t have the energy to be bothered. I’m tired, physically and mentally. I’ve been disappointed, and have let that disappointment color my outlook. Some days, I just want to let my thoughts go and think about nothing. I know this feeling will pass, and I will come back to the page, ready to start over, but it’s hard to look beyond the next day, let alone the next week, and see something good come of it.

It’s Sunday, so I will share a few of the things that have made me smile this weekend, and hope that better days are on their way.

It’s been a rainy, overcast day. Just the sort of day for staying indoors and enjoying some alone time while rearranging the living room (because…).

After 2 years, I finally upgraded from side chairs to a sofa! I went with a grey Klippan; it’s comfy and just the right for two (+1 demanding kitty). My home once again smells like Ikea–wood and vanilla candles (it’s a scent I will always associate with moving in to this place).

I bought pink washi tape while couch shopping, so today I posted up some instagram prints that had been sitting in a box for over a year. It’s held up for a few hours, will see if the humidity doesn’t win out and make the tape lose its hold.

the view from Sunday, the second

I cleaned. I shopped. I bought a clock.

I accomplished more than I expected and indulged in more than was strictly necessary. Didymus did not approve of my vacuuming, but he did enjoy lounging on my bed. Target sucked me in with Clearance sales (I fell off the no-impulse-buying wagon, hard), but the clock is pretty awesome and has a barometer that really words.