19 articles tagged as life

Wwoot. Getting this in under the wire. I wrote it partly over lunch, which was basically shoving oatmeal in my mouth and hoping to have a few minutes to myself…the beginning of this semester has been a madhouse.

Tonight I went and worked on some illumination. Might get started on that again…I love the painting aspect, once you’ve gotten the design down it’s like a medieval coloring book.

Currently I am scribbling in a plastic covered notebook with pale pink and purple stripes on the back, and circles on the front. Not normally my pattern, but I like the heavy plastic front and back covers. They travel well, I was using a mini-legal pad but the top page always gets beaten up and torn.

Mostly I don’t write much of worth in note pads. They are for ideas, things I need to do…currently I am trying to straighten out the knots in The Chocolatier’s Ghost.

I have always loved the idea of note pads. I enjoy journaling, and I used to be so much better at it. Some of it is a feeling that I have nothing to contribute, nothing that people can look at and go, “OK, someone understands something I have felt, wonderful.” Some of it was that too many people knew me in real life…when I started with the SCA I picked up a ton of fellow Live Journal friends who I would see at events. Concerned comments from people you don’t actually see are fulfilling and easy to be handled, those from people who will meet your eyes…even though I never tried to be a drama queen, I often used my journal to speak of things and try and figure out things in my life and soul. So I felt GUILTY. Like I should keep myself together more.

Which, I am sure would make my LJ friends feel badly. I don’t mean to…they are wonderful people. I feel so lucky to have them in my life.

So, I have a harder time writing. Maybe it’s also that I managed to figure the stuff out that bothered me and I don’t need to think through my fingers so much. And that might mean that I am in a better place.

But, since I am going to try and keep up with a monthly journal for the whole rest of this year…maybe I’ll get into the habit and find some treasures that I can share and find my journal voice again.

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“…Cause you can’t live in a fantasy of ‘Somebody’s going to rescue me. Somebody’s going to take care of me.’ You really have to do it yourself and put one foot in front of the other and eventually it will pay off. It really will. It’s hard going through it when you have to get up at 8 o’clock in the morning and go to a 9 to 5 job for a while because you are temping and you really want to be doing something else. But if you keep doing what it is right in front of your nose and you give it time and you keep your focus, you’ll get there.”

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Ii am seriously made happy by a package I got in the mail the other day…if you are on FB or Twitter you already saw it, but what can I say?  I am easily made happy.  (Well, not too easily, packing and buying and shipping this was not, I am sure, easy.)

Cates chocolate

But, a reader/friend from Dorset sent me a box of chocolates, a lovely card, and sherbet lemons.  I have not had the chocolates yet…I am enchanted by the fact they look like something that William, from The Chocolatier’s Wife, would make, but I wanted to save them for a few days.

I did have the sherbet lemons…I thought they might be sour, but they aren’t, and I love them…I love lemon, so these are fantastic.  They do taste like sherbet, and I – you can call me a silly American, but I am especially tickled to be eating something out of a bag that has the pound sign on it.  I have always harbored a not so secret love of the UK, and this just feeds (ha, ha) into it.

Nothing else really going on…Autumn is here, and when the days are bright and crisp, I’m excited.  It smells lovely, you can take long walks, enjoy the rustle of leaves.  But then, it gets cold and cruddy and I grumble about the Great Inevitable and wonder if it is too soon to just start wearing my sweater collection to work.  Last Saturday I forwent going to a fencing event to put away things and do yard work, and heard that I missed out on intermittent snow.   This is not my sad face.

Some students entered me in for Cal U’s Presidential Merit Award — I am not eligible because I am staff, not faculty — but it was nice to see that I am appreciated.  I know that I am, but sometimes it is nice to get a reminder.  The letter focused on my work with the fencing and medieval clubs, so the pool of suspects is pretty small.  🙂



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(via Advice From the Creator of Calvin and Hobbes (Comic by Zen Pencils) | High Existence)

This is wonderful and very hopeful.

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Tthis week has been about learning about marketing.  A lot of my plan I already sort of knew…but some of it is sort of daunting.  The first thing that I like is “Don’t tell people to buy your book.”  I like that…I never liked the idea of bludgeoning people over the head with my book.  Unless they are trying to break into my house, then they deserve what they get.

The message is, to find out what I can do for you.  What can I offer you?  What does visiting my website, Pinterest, etc, do for you?  That’s the part where it gets daunting.  A lot of people fall back on writing advice.   While I have and will answer questions abut writing cheerfully and happily until the end of the world or the next blood-harvest moon, which ever comes first, I feel like, I dunno, like a billion people have that covered.  So, maybe I can offer you happiness.  Pretty things.  Funny stories.  Maybe?

So I sort of go back to the “Well, I’ll just make friends and enjoy myself and share pins and reblogs and be happy, and maybe, once in awhile, someone will go, “You know, Cindy is pretty nice, and her book does sound really nifty, maybe I’ll check it out.” school of thought.  You know, the one where if you like hanging out we can hang out, and I am fine if you don’t get my book, but somewhat (somewhat meaning here, extremely happy without being pathetic)  grateful if you do.  (Those swords won’t buy themselves, you know.)

I also cleaned out all the thousands…and I do mean thousands, like 30 thousand or so…unread emails from my gmail.  It was, sometimes, an interesting walk down memory lane.  One email was from a friend who had passed away, basically “so and so commented on your facebook post” sort of deal, and another was the same sort, from a friend who’d moved away and we’d lost touch.  It was pretty maudlin sometimes, but also I was able to cull some good stuff — websites I meant to check out for networking, etc, and that was good.  But boy was it wearying.  And eye opening.  People who hack my email will know me better than any lover.  THAT is scary.

Also, I think I am coming down with something.  I am not humaning well this week…every interaction has felt somewhat fake, like there is a thin plastic wall between me and the other humans in the room.

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I have been working on The Chocolatier’s Ghost. I am having a hard time settling down to actually write…struggling with being tired, with trying to find time for fencing and helping the practice I run…it is hard to balance everything. I also have troubles with…I read reviews, and see what people like and I am like, “OH! We must make sure that people who liked that get more of what they likes!” sort of thing. And then I get worried that it won’t be good enough, all that nonsense a writer is probably not supposed to confess to. Oops. But I will work hard and take my time and know that all will be perfectly fine in the end.

I think, also, the changing of the seasons is making me a little low. I used to love winter, but that was when I was a hermit/editor, and did not have to go out. All winter I wait for spring and the lovely flowers and the freedom of being able to drive without worry, summer and the sweetness of homegrown fruits and the richness of tomatoes and fresh vegetables. The fall then becomes bittersweet…I love the smell of the air, the impossible blue of the sky, the beautiful color of the leaves…but I know then that the time of easy driving and going out to parks and walking around and seeing things is almost at an end.
Ah, well. More time to read and drink tea and actually…I don’t know…actually get writing done?

And it is time for new telly! In one room I have NBC and its attendant ancient repeat station, Me-TV, in another, sometimes in another room I have ABC and that secondary repeat station. I also sometimes get PBS. But mostly, I end up waiting for the DVD’s and Netflixing. Right now I am watching last season of Bones and Sleepy Hollow…I kind of wish that streaming worked all year for me, streaming usually does not work well for me this time of the year, and by the time streaming is not a huge bunch of frustration the episodes are no longer stream able…legally.
Yeah, I would do pretty much anything for a better internet connection.

OK, enough of my randomness. I hope all is well with you.

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I keep trying to balance all these aspects of my life. I want to be a great secretary, an awesome fencer, a world traveler, a good daughter, healthier and slender, a well-loved author.

It’s a narrow platform, and I keep slipping off, scraping my knees, bruising my arms, and I shake myself off, and climb back on. And sometimes back on is only a few steps. And sometimes back on is a long drag back up. But I do it. And I try again, and try not to live in fear of the next slip, try not to flinch.

All these hopes, something is going to tear. But I keep going anyway. Things I really want to do slip aside…the scrolls I want to learn how to do, the Big Dress Project, the small doublet project, the beading and embroidery.

I actually broke down and bought a couple of eBooks on how to do stuff. How to build an author platform, how to use Goodreads to generate more readers and connections. It’s stuff I know I could sit and figure out, but why waste time trying to invent the wheel when the wheel is there and I can invent the wagon? I do admit I was a bit bored with the first part of the Goodreads one…I have an author account, I know how to navigate, etc, but I’m getting to the meat now.

OK. Gotta get back on the beam now.

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I am not doing well in the writing world right now. I have an ear infection, and my left ear aches, and I can’t hear things…I can’t hear my own foots steps, and you know, it’s the sound of our own footfalls that keep us connected to reality, to assure us that we are still, point of fact, alive. I’m also taking cold medicine to make things drain, so my connection to reality is tenuous, at best.

So, I start to write. And then my mind wanders to other points of the book (I wrote the end, last night, while trying to fall asleep, for example.) and I drift off. And then my left ear hurts particularly bad, and I go, “Oh! I am awake now! Ouch!”

I don’t trust myself to do blog interviews, either, so today is a wash. But then, so have the past several days. This infection is a beast.

I have been reading the Gail Carriger series, and enjoying it very much. I only have the first two, I’ll get the rest during the holidays. I like the idea that vampires and werewolves become what they are because they have too much soul, rather than none at all.

I went to the ear doctor yesterday, and had a singularly unsatisfying experience. Partly because I did not get what I wanted (antibiotics) but I could have put that aside as sulking if it wasn’t for the fact that he pulled my ears rather roughly, causing me much more pain than I felt that I deserved. I feel pressure on my inner ear…there’s a lot of liquid coming out…and part of me is worried that the ointment and drops he recommended is not really going to help much. Had a much worse experience at Wal Mart…waited an hour so I could get my prescription filled, was told that they don’t take my insurance. I gave up, thoroughly disheartened (I was in pain, tired, and light headed.) and so we have to see if the medicine he wants me to get helps at all tonight.

So, that’s my life right now. Reading. Heating pads. Still watching two episodes a night of NCIS. Sleeping. Being eager, inside, to do something else with my life, but having the body laugh bitterly at me. You know. The usual.

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So, I’ve been trying, very hard, to get healthier. I’ve been drinking water, running, walking, dancing, fencing…obsessively tracking what I eat by typing everything into websites that tell me how many calories I’ve eaten versus how many I can get away with, and even subtracts things when I’ve exercised. Since I have to mark “Sedentary” as my life style…can’t get away from the fact that’s secretaries and authors and pretty butt-sitty kinda people, I tend to type in everything. “Did the dishes for 15 minutes! Yay! That’s worth a few calories off!”

It makes moral balancing easy (Well, yes, I ate that chocolate cake, but the Daily plate says that if I fence for 5 hours straight I’ll be totally under my caloric goal!)

This summer it’s either been skeevy hot or storming heavily with a soupcon of thunder and lighting, which does not make it particularly easy to get one’s chubby self out to run. And, if you run too late at night, every truck that slows down so that it doesn’t kill you on the road is really a serial killer debating whether to pounce, yo. Them’s the joys of living in the middle of nowhere.

I would like to know, by the way, how there can be no traffic all day, then when I go out to run everyone and their mother (or imaginary serial rapist brother) wants to go out for a country drive? There are other roads, people. Really.

So, I’ve been thinking about getting an exercise bike. Or even this one bike I found on Amazon that isn’t just a bike, but an elliptical. I have these wonderful fantasies of setting it up in my bedroom, right where I can turn the TV, putting on the Netflix and peddling my fat away while watching Weeds or something with murderers in it. I just need to keep my mind busy.

Ah, I know what you are thinking. You’re a writer! Why can’t you just day dream about your next book?

Well, to be honest, when you’re walking, that’s OK. I actually think very well during walks. But I’m training to be a monster on the fencing field, so I need to be able to run. And walks don’t seem to help me get skinny, they just make me calm and (sometimes) sunburned. And, you know, I’m still not safe from red neck serial killers. Or Zombies. Or rabid wolverines. You know, the things that could be waiting along side the road, day dreaming of their own personal little red riding hood.

But, to get to the point, I can’t day dream while I am running. I am too busy thinking about holding my chest in such a way as it’s not obvious that I am trying to keep my…things…from bouncing. I am also too busy thinking about various parts of my body hurting, how much I hate life right now, and the fact that I am breathing like a steam train and that some water would be really nice right but I only felt like carrying one bottle of water and it has to last. This is not, really, a forum where great feats of imagination can be developed.

And music doesn’t occupy me because, well, in all seriousness it is a narrow (and dark, and lonely) road and I have to listen for cars coming up behind me. Even a perfectly normal non-serial whatever type might run me over if someone’s not paying attention.

So yes. I have determined that a piece of exercise equipment might just suit. I can even position a fan to keep me cool and to make me feel like I’m actually, you know, on a bike. A bike that magically has a TV set with an internet connection floating in front of it. I keep reading reviews and scheming how I can afford this majestic thing and how soon I can get it, because I am SO sure that THIS IS IT and by this time next year I will be skinny as a rail while eating anything I want.

But then we get to the age old debate. Will I actually use it, hoping to someday have a figure like Nancy Botwin, or will it become a stylish, high priced doublet drying device?

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This link fills me with joy and horror a the same time:

Speak With Conviction

It’s about how we never speak with conviction…how we end so many of our sentences with questions, as if we are uncertain, unwilling to take a stand about what we say. This seems sad to me, as if we devalue ourselves and our opinions. What are we afraid of?

I know I’ve done this. I tend to try not to be certain about what I say out of a combination of the desire to be polite (maybe they don’t agree) and not being sure about myself. I know I have a horrid memory…maybe I’m wrong.

But I’ve decided, after taking this gentleman’s point, to cut down on the question marks. I need to have confidence and believe in myself. Like Russel Crowe said about Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander, not always right, but always certain.


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