Thursday Thirteen

11 articles tagged as Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things about preparing for Pennsic


Pennsic is a two week long medieval encampment where people can take classes, fight in battles, just have all sorts of fun.  It’s hard to describe because there is so much to do that every Pennsic is different…you have the people who relax and read or nap all day and party all night, the people who get up early to spend the day shooting archery…everything.


And, since I fight rapier and chatelaine for a local group, I’ve been distracted from what I should be doing by what we call Pennsic Panic.


1.  Make a list of everything that you will need to sew (since, well, you have to wear “period” garb) early in the year.

2.  Lose list and make it up again, much larger, in May.

3.  Procrastinate by printing out a Pennsic themed day runner and writing down all the classes you would like to take but never will remember to.  Extra points for coordinating activities by color.

4.  Remember that you were going to make a silk banner, dig out stuff, realize you do not have the right size silk.  Order.

5.  In a flurry of productivity, wash fabric and cut out things you want to sew, and put each project in a different bag so you don’t lose the pieces.

6.  Several days later, you will make yourself a pair of pants and yes, you will have lost the leg cuffs.  Put back in bag and promise to re-cut them later, then run out of time, sew the pants, and decide that since your boots are really tall you can skip the cuffs until after Pennsic.  Know the cuffs will never get added.

7.  Clean living room thoroughly.  Then ruin your hard work by piling stuff you will need to take to Pennsic in it.

8.  Dump fabric out of the plastic tub(s) you use for garb, put in the living room so you can pack your garb in them as you finish (ha, ha) sewing them.  Also go through the closet and check your regular garb for repairs, and try on your yearly Pennsic-standards-only stuff to see if it still fits.

9.  Use Pennsic as an excuse to buy more books, since you will need things to read during your downtime.  Ignore the fact that even though you are an avid reader you will be lucky to get through one book, let alone five.

10.  Realize that Etsy is starting to look really good as an option for garb getting.  Wonder if you have time to get a new bodice for Pennsic.  Decide that there are about three things you absolutely have to have two weeks before Pennsic…and they are things you cannot make or buy locally.  Wonder how much the merchants will hate you if you order now.  Worry constantly until the items arrive.

11.  Go shopping several times.  Buy more food, Tiki fuel and propane than you will need, ever.  Remember when you get home that you had left over Tiki fuel from last year, but keep it all because “It will last and you may need it.”

12.  Print packing lists.  Compare and contrast.  Walk obsessively through your house and randomly add things to the packing stack…pack like the Zombie Apocalypse might hit while you are gone and you may never return home.

13.  Get to point where you realize that you didn’t have it last year, and you survived without it then.  Kick back and drink and ignore the mess you’ve made.

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Thirteen Things about things I’d like to stop doing
1. Cursing so much. I used to like the irony, sweet faced girl, curses like a sailor, and because I’m such a wordie, I tend to like to express myself viciously when I’m annoyed, in pain, going for laughs. I’ve been using Frak a lot (from the TV show Battlestar Gallactica) but I really need to cut back.

2.  Talking when I’m nervous/talking to form a mask.  We had guests here on campus at the beginning of the month, and I could just not shut up to save my life.  Part of it was stress…my father was in the hospital, I was obsessing over all these on campus events my department was doing…and part of it was just nervousness that I felt for no good reason.  In the SCA, I call myself Gabrielle, which I shorten to Gabby.  Has anyone ever been better self named?  It probably wasn’t as bad as I thought, but MAN!  I’d love to redo those days with some tape for my mouth.  The mask part is also because if you talk about things, no one will ask you the real questions.  They’ll think they know all they need to know about you.

3.  Stop rethinking the past.  (See number two.)  I keep thinking of things I said and did that were meant to just push words off.  I don’t take compliments well (will explain more in number 4.) or sometimes I meant to just be ironically funny.  I have a fairly dry sense of humor.  Most of the time, when you catch on, you know I’m just being silly or funny, and you will…hopefully…laugh.  I usually manage to stop worrying about it…but sometimes, like with one of my close friends who seems to be too busy to say hello, or a guy I kind of was a tiny bit attracted to, I play it all over in my head, wonder what stupid thing I did or didn’t do, and always find something that seems glaringly stupid.  Usually seeing them again will fix it, but there are other things in my past that I can’t fix, and I have regrets, and I embrace them, and if I cannot redress, ask God to do it for me, and try to forgive myself and forget

4.  My ability to not take compliments.  Like, I picked a coat off the floor for someone, and they said thank you, very sweetly, and because I didn’t want them to think anything of it, I said something like, “Oh, I’m just being motherly.”  Or when someone says something nice about me, I say, “You’re too kind.”  You know, there are instances where I don’t have to say anything.  I could just smile sweetly, right?  No one’s going to think I’m a huge ego monster if I smile and say thanks?  (That’s the weird thing, I always think people will see my smile and thanks as agreement.  “Wow, that Cindy has the ego of a horse…she totally agrees that she’s all that!”)

5.  Chewing the sides of my thumbnails.  For some reason, sometimes, I have this little bit of skin that comes up?  And I chew on it to get rid of it, and it makes an icky spot.  I have one on the side of my index finger, too, it looks like a little cut.  Ooh, attractive.

6.  Forgetting to water my plants.  Poor, poor little plant babies.  🙁  At least I’m improving on that one already.

7. Buying velvet.  A couple of weeks ago, I bought 11 yards of red velvet for 11 bucks.  But really, do I need another several yards of velvet?  I have several yards of:  red, purple, rose, purple-rose, dusk blue, green-with-sparklies and odds and ends of teal, dark blue, green and black.  It’s not a lot in the long run, but I would rather like to make dresses out of something else other than velvet.

8.  Allowing work life and stress at home to get in the way of working on my writing.  I act like that’s the core of what I am (I wonder if that’s just a mask, as well?) yet I’ve not invested the time in it this past month that I should have.  It’s not easy…but if I want this to happen, shouldn’t I make sacrifices?

9.  Borrowing trouble.  Let’s worry about things as they happen, Hmmm?  After all, a meteor could hit in the next hour.  Oh…wow…I better hurry, then, what happens if I don’t get this Thursday Thirteen done? 😉

10. Stepping on the scale so much.  I do NOT need to enter my weight on the daily plate as often as I do, I need to just accept myself, live as healthily as I can, and let the rest go.  People say to each other, “Don’t worry!  It’s personality that counts!”  OK.  I believe that…because I don’t really see people’s bodies?  I try to see their hearts?  But for myself, I think, “Oh, OK, yeah, but how are they going to learn about my personality if they aren’t interested enough to come over in the first place?”  Maybe “thinking that the general rules I believe in for everyone else don’t apply to me” should be on this list.

11.   Procrastinating in general.  Two of my work studies have said things that I think I should try and live by.  Lance said that he lives by, “If not now, when?”  Stacy once said, “Go big or go home.”  The last one is not as applicable to things, though the way she meant it, I think, is either go all the way, or don’t waste people’s (including your own) time.  Lance…those simple words make a lot of sense. 

12.  Using ellipses so danged much.  My second drafts of my books are filled with edits of me circling ellipses.

13.  Confessing my sins on blogs.  😉  That’s what the LJ is for!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Things about Websites I like
1. Live Journal. I have a friends-only journal there. (Not said to be all “Ha! I have secrets and you can’t know them…if you comment a bit and I get to know you, and you have an LJ, the chances that I’ll friend you are very high. OK, when I get to be (in)famous, maybe not so much, but since that day will come about the same time the moon really does turn blue, I don’t think we should worry.) I started a journal there because the comment and friending features are so convenient for me. It’s easier to talk honestly under a mask, truthfully, and the stuff I think won’t wreck the respect any general visitor coming to visit this site gets cross-posted between here and here.

2. Netflix. I don’t have, and am unlikely to ever get cable. My father has been ill, so I rent a lot of TV shows and such for him, to give him something to look forward to and keep his mind occupied. It’s neat because I’d have never rented Have Gun, Will Travel, and that’s a really cool show. Richard Boone is nifty. I visit a lot because I have things I want to see (I am so looking forward to Sweeny Todd!) but try to balance it out since I’m not huge on watching TV. I have a few things I watch, but as you may recall, I tend to buy movies cheap and forget to watch them for a year or so…so I go and make sure I’m actually in the mood to watch something, and keep things for me pushed down the list until I’m ready.

3. Sluggy Freelance ( I will admit, sometimes the humor isn’t exactly my style (I’m not thrilled with toilet humor. It just makes me feel vaguely embarrassed. Which a therapist could probably have a field day with, but there you go.) but I care about the characters, and it makes me laugh more often than not. It’s goofy, it’s fun, and it doesn’t take itself seriously…there’s a joy in reading something that you know is done just for the pleasure of it.

4. Girl Genius: ( charming, funny, exciting. It is a story about “Adventure, Romance AND Mad Science” done in a steam-punk realm. The characters are wonderful, and I am always eager to know what is going to happen next…

5. And my final web comic: The Phoenix Requiem. ( I started with her Inverloch…I really love her art, and I love her characters. (Can you tell character is important to me?) I love web comics because, if you’re working really hard on getting book orders or straightening out some purchasing fiasco, sometimes you need to change gears, just for a second. So, I go over to a webcomic, read it, smile, and in under a minute I’m back to work. What do you know? Slacking off at work can be healthy for one’s outlook. 😉

6. International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Convention: ( This is just a common site right now. I’m planning a field trip to this convention, with about 6 students. I seem to be on this page all the time, planning how much things will cost, discussing the options, explaining to people why this convention is somewhere students really need to go. But, I’m really excited. And I’m making headway!

7. Ebay: This is where I stalk fabric, trims, etc. You can’t always find exciting fabric or just the right lace locally. And buttons are a nightmare to find. It’s not easy to shop eBay, either, because I only have a base amount I’ll spend on fabric, and sometimes the yardages aren’t quite right, but still, it’s where I manage to get most of my costuming shopping done.

8. Library Thing/Shelfari/Good Reads: I have accounts with all of them, and part of it goes down to the author outreach…I want people to feel like they would enjoy talking to me. Most of it’s because I am insanely crazy about books and adore them and want to neb at other people’s bookshelves.

9. Zen Warrior Army: ( I have a list of things I need to buy for fencing…a hood, a sword so I can return the one I’ve been borrowing, a bag. I have been obsessing over what kind of sword to get. I want a cup hilt rapier like the one my friend lent me, but Popinjay’s doesn’t seem to be making them anymore, and so on. I don’t really like the quillions that the basic Zen Warrior sword carries (too plain!) so I’m sort of wibbling. For me it’s always the question between affordability (or, really, “Should I really spend that much money on my hobby when I really, really need to save up and side the house?), practicality, and if it would really improve my life. Since fencing is making me active and getting me out of the house more often, then I am leaning towards providing myself with the needs of my hobby. But, being me, I still feel guilty. Aren’t you glad you don’t really live in my head?

10. A Dress a Day. ( You should totally read her “Secret Lives of Dresses.” Beautiful. And I stop in and see what nifty vintage pattern she’s found.

11. The Costumer’s Guide. ( This place is pictures galore…so much to look at, study, and get inspiration from. Yes, I do know that many of these are from movies, and movie costumers are sometimes a bit improbably, but still. Lovely.

12. Breck’s. ( I am obsessing over what to plant this year. My retirement plan includes covering every inch of the cliff I live on so I won’t have to mow when I’m a little old lady. And I love, love, love bulbs…I’m thinking about buying a bunch of daffodils and some early snow glories. And some Astrilibe. And maybe some more irises, because so far they seem to be doing well…

13. Friend’s blogs. I visit as many as I can every day, because I love learning about people. A long time ago, a friend of mine, Dave, and I were sitting in a newspaper office and talking, and he said, “You are such a people person.” And I asked him to take that back…back then, I thought being a people person meant that you were weak, that you were exposing yourself to the world. I think the latter is still true…but not the former. So, Dr. E., I owe you an apology. Not that we will ever see each other again for me to give it…but yep. People person. That’s me.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Things about 13 reasons why I love fencing…
To get myself back into the Thursday Thirteen mood, I decided to discuss my newest passion…sword fighting.1. I have always loved the sharp ‘n pointies. I asked my mother if she could ever remember when I didn’t want to have a sword in my hand…I think the last time was when I was a toddler. (And that was about the same time I had a large, stuffed shark whose head I would sleep in. See? Photographic evidence. So I always liked to live dangerously.) I remember running around the house with a sword my father made me, based a bit off of She-Ra’s. It was painted silver, and had flat marbles glued at the base of the blade. It is also iron…I have always kept it under my bed. My father always wanted to forge me a “real” sword, but we never got the chance.
2. It’s dashing and romantic. I love sword fighting scenes in movies, and I’ve always been a fan of books by Dumas and Sabatini. There’s something about a man with a sword…well, if he knows how to use it…that seems so ideal. It hearkens back to older times, of strength and honor. Yes, I know I’m looking through my pastel glasses when I think that way, but while I know the realism of the times, I like to enjoy the beauty, too.
3. It’s great exercise. My knees still bother me a little…good old arthritis, I do not doubt…but less. I was always a strong woman, and I can feel my thighs and arms getting stronger…in fencing, you stand with your knees slightly bent, as if sitting on a chair that’s just a little too high for your backside. And the lunges…after awhile, you really start to feel them.
4. You’re always learning. My interest is in classical fencing, which means that you’re learning a lot from old books and manuscripts about how to fence in the different styles. Once you master a certain level, you’re always moving on, gaining more knowledge, different parries.
5. Interesting people. The fencers I’ve met so far have been just lovely. Good, intelligent people with interesting stories to tell.
6. If you fence with the SCA, you get to wear cool clothes. If I ever get finished with my regency gown, I’m making a doublet and trunk hose, all black, and a white lawn shirt. I can’t wait….though perhaps the pirate coat needs to be done first…hmmm.
7. An excuse to get swords. I own a few, already, though only some of the foils are suitable for actually fighting with. I’m looking forward to getting myself an epee with a cup hilt. I already have a swept-hilt rapier, but I’m not sure if the blade is safe. But boy is it PRETTY.
8. It’s actually fairly safe. You wear a full mask, heavy jacket, gloves, all that. The people I’ve worked with so far are really conscious of no one getting hurt. Accidents will happen…I just hope they don’t leave an ugly mark. (If I’m allowed to curse viciously, I’m pretty good with pain. I’m no wimp. I think. I hope. Ask me later, I’ll be hiding behind yonder couch.)
9. It’s good for the brain in another way, too – it makes you think critically, just like chess does. You’re trying to out-think the person in front of you.
10. It’s sort of a team sport…but you are still an individual, fighting the other person, trying to keep from getting hit. So, you have comrades, people you can talk with and practice with, but you are also independent.
11. Fencing is filled with cool stories. It’s such a rich history…filled with female fencers who their lovers out of convents, men who learn one shot to keep themselves from getting killed by a jealous king’s champion, revenge, justice, and the need for a good street brawl.
12. It gets my backside out of the house on a weekly basis. I’m not lazy, but if you have family things to take care of, a full time job, a secondary job of trying to become a writer who is read, sometimes it seems like you don’t have the time to do anything else. Or you just feel tired. I usually feel better after I fence.
13. And best of all…since I’m one of the advisors of the campus fencing club, I’m getting to hang out with a group of really fantastic students, people I’d not normally get to know. And I’m getting to help them find a way to do things that make them happy…we’re all working together to get funding for a conference this summer.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Reasons to be Single…and happyA few of my friends have been talking about being single of late, sort of complaining, sort of mystified that they still are. I don’t understand it, they are beautiful, amazing, clever women. Looking at them through my harshest lens, I can see absolutely nothing “wrong” with them, I just think…it’s the way of the world. I’m single, as well, and have decided to just…enjoy it. It doesn’t really matter if you’re single or not, just as long as you are content.I have decided to write this Thursday’s Thirteen about reasons why it’s great to be single, because we all need reminding, in this world that seems to demand that you pair up as quick as possible. 1. No arguments about what to eat. How many times have you spent tons of time, trying to decide where to go and eat? If you’re single, you only have to ask yourself.2. When you move in or marry someone, you have to adjust your life to theirs. They were raised differently from you, they have different ways of doing things. Sometimes the very ways that keep you sane seem to be impossible for the other to understand. No doing that, single.3. You can leave your half cut out sewing in the living room until you darn well get to it.4. No one will ever complain if you pause a DVD to admire the cut of a gown, or to see if you can study out the fencing moves. Or if you fast forward through it just to watch the good bits with your favorite actor.5. Tea and popcorn at 3:00 am? Now doable.6. You can flirt with the pretty people at Ren faires. No one will glare if you blush when the back of your hand is kissed by a knight, and you can sit on a pirate wench’s knee without anyone getting embarrassed.

7. I’ve found that I prefer going places by myself…I don’t have to feel guilty over the million petty things one usually gets to feel guilty about. I can go at my own pace, choose my own path. It’s freeing.

8. You’re responsible for yourself – you know how much has to be put aside for the rent, the electricity, and you know exactly how much is in the bank account. So, you don’t have to feel guilty over buying books. No one will judge your purchases.

9. You can completely be yourself at home. W all say that if you’ve met the right one, you can be yourself…but how many times have you just wanted to dance in the living room, sing David Bowie songs off tune, whatever, yet still you got looks?

10. You can have as many covers on the bed as you want. You can also read in bed until 2:00 am and not feel badly.

11. If you exercise, if you diet, dye your hair, it’s not to try and maintain someone. It’s for your self. (Or it should be…I know people who let themselves go when they have someone, and firm up when they don’t, which is really sad.)

12. Full control over evenings and weekends.

13. You can pour care into friends who need it without worrying that your so will feel slighted.

 Feel free to add to my list!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Things about Favorite Quotes
Thirteen of my favorite quotes…1. Full little knowest thou that hast not tride,
What hell it is in suing long to bide:
To loose good dayes, that might be better spent;
To wast long nights in pensive discontent;
To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow;
To feed on hope, to pine with feare and sorrow.~ Edmond SpenserOne of my oldest favorites, it’s about, to me, the idea of allowing your emotions to overwhelm you when things don’t go as well as you hoped. It’s especially true in writing…you don’t hear anything for ages, or all you get are rejection letters, so you let yourself get all grumpy, and your muse stops working. You waste time, then, rather than working to go forward…you stop trying.

2. “It is bitter-bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

~ Stephen Crane

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a bitter hearted woman.

3. Forget about the likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.
~ George Bernard Shaw

The secretaries quote. 😉

4. Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
~ Sylvia Plath

I don’t know why I like it, but sometimes I look myself in the mirror and I say it. It’s not true, of course. The words denote sexual power, the ability to be a bit of a femme fatale. That is not something you could ever have applied to me.

5. As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.

~ Anne Sexton

One of my favorite poems of hers is “For my Lover Returning to His Wife,” a touching benediction, in some ways, a wry understanding of human nature in others. This line, for me, says so much about my own self worth.

6. Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.

~ William Hazlitt

Isn’t that just so?

7. No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.

~ Henry Adams

I find this true. When I’m with people I am not overly sure about, or in situations where I want to speak, but do not want to commit myself or misuse my words, I remember this quote. I can almost feel the words slipping away, scattering, the way oil in water would were I reaching in to capture it.

8. For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause for breath,
And love itself have rest.

~ Lord Byron

My darling Lord Byron. You have the ability to twist my heart with just a few words.

9. cuz when I look around
I think this, this is good enough
and I try to laugh
at whatever life brings
cuz when I look down
I just miss all the good stuff
when I look up
I just trip over things

~ Ani Defranco

I do try to live with whatever life brings…but this lyric also warns you not to go to the extremes. Don’t always look up, looking for the joy, don’t always look down, staring at your feet, hiding.

10. You come from far away
With pictures in your eyes
Of coffee shops and morning streets
In the blue and silent sunrise
But night is the cathedral
Where we recognized the sign
We strangers know each other now
As part of the whole design

~ Suzanne Vega

I always found this incredibly romantic…

11. I saw a movie
I saw the saddest film
Where everyone got killed
And the crowd went wild
I didn’t understand the end I couldn’t spot the good guy
All your heroes are whores

~ Tanya Donelley

Sometimes, just sometimes, I worry that people in all mediums…film, telly, novels…forget the story, in their drive to be hip, interesting, different. You need to be original – and interesting! But you also need to remember that you shouldn’t just use a device or change twist the outcome upside down just to jerk a response out of the audience, or to look like you’re original. Stay true to your story, your characters, your plot arch. Always.

12. All right, that’s it! No more Mr. Nice Gaius!

~ Gaius Baltar, Battlestar Galactica

Ok, so maybe you don’t get it, because you’d have to have watched the show…but it makes me laugh every time.

13. I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound – if I can remember any of the damn things.

~ Dorothy Parker

Dot Parker is my hero. Seriously. At least one of them. And what better quote to cap things off with?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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I’ve been a secretary for three years, now. I think I think I am loved mostly because I’m darned lucky, but many, just maybe, some of these things have helped me, and maybe they’ll help you.

I like being a secretary, oddly enough. I like trying to be effective and organized – like some 1950’s stereotype.

Thirteen Things about being a successful secretary
1. Smile when you pick up the phone. No one sees it, but the smile carries and adds warmth to your voice.2. You will always need: A sewing kit, spray cleaner, aspirin and ibuprofen, band aids, Neosporin, hydrocortisone cream, little pudding packs (for the aspirin), tissues, and tea. These are things that help you run your department smoothly, and impress people with your efficiency. If you can show that you want to take care of the people around you, they will feel like this place is a home. We actually have a first aid kit that we bought from Office Max, too, and I always try to keep a couple of non frozen food items that will give the people who forgot their lunch something to eat.

3. Apologize right away, even if the mistake wasn’t yours. People will think what they will think anyway, and if you apologize, then they stop looking for ways to cover their own backsides and you can move on to finding a solution to the problem.

4. Meet people in the eyes when they talk. Try, even when you’re stressed, to mile and make sure that they know you are looking forward to doing the task. Of course it’s a lie. But it’s so much better if you look confident and willing. When people call you, smile when you enter their office. In everything you do, you want to deliver a message that you are happy to do things for them.

5. Have a drawer where you can throw your stuff every night. This is one of those “if you can” suggestions. In my workplace, I have a very deep drawer, a file drawer, really, and no pen drawers. I use it for pens, envelopes, etc, but at the end of the night everything goes into it until I have a neat and clean desk again. Leaving your workspace neat will make everyone think that you are together, and, as a bonus, will make you feel good when you sit down at your desk.

6. If your workplace allows it or can afford it, try to get color files. I love mine, and they make organization easier.

7. They key to everything is organization. Keep every email…you can file them in folders in most programs…keep every attachment. You never know when someone will ask you for something…and trust me, what they ask you for is always the thing you were sure they wouldn’t need. Keep good records.

8. Never, ever talk about the people you work with to other people you work with. Allegiances change. I know a couple of departmental secretaries who regret some of the things that they said. Also, when people realize that you keep your mouth closed, they will say things in your hearing. A good secretary likes knowledge.

9. Use lots of signs. Know that no one will ever read them. But at least they feel stupid when you smile sweetly and point it out – but, also, try to keep them neat and nice looking, use Publisher to make them extra nice. Keeping your work area looking clean and professional (even if it can’t always be neat) is important to morale.

10. Try to act deferential even when you don’t feel it. People try to take the arrogant down, but sometimes they raise the (mostly) meek up. It makes you seem easier to get along with, and then you can concentrate on your work in peace. I like to go for the invisible in the background thing…even though I’ve gotten away from it a bit.

11. Don’t assume you will remember it. A running to do list can save your life. I also leave everything in my email inbox until it’s finished, then file it.

12. Thank people whenever you get the chance. If someone in another department has done a lot for you, email them and say that you really appreciate what they’ve done. At the end of every email asking people to do something, thank them for their help. People need encouragement, it makes their burden lighter.

13. Every once in awhile, do something fun or silly. If your work environment permits it, get people to go in with you for pizza, and sit around and have a good talk with your office mates. Ask questions that have little to nothing to do with work, and listen.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Things about being a writerIn celebration of earning my ISBN, I’ve decided my Thursday Thirteen should be “13 reasons why I love being a writer.”

1. I get to tell stories. I honestly cannot remember a time when I wasn’t telling myself a story. I’d make up stories about my dolls being princess-spies, I’d make up adventures to get me to sleep…and I still do. Well….not the doll part. Unless the Sims count as dolls?

2. I get to make people happy. I can still remember how happy people were when they read the goofy stories I wrote when I was supposed to be taking notes in junior high. I’m from the life is very hard school of thought, and I love the idea that people can read my stories…anyone, not just my poor, beleaguered friends, and get something out of it.

3. I get to spend time with people I would like to know. I genuinely care about my characters, which sounds silly, but if I don’t craft people that I can care about, how can I possible expect you to want to spend time with them? One of the reasons why I enjoyed writing Blue Moon was that Zorovin and Alex were, in their own ways, men I could have serious crushes on. Sierra and Libby were both people going through things that I was going through, though of course, not in an obvious way. The book I last finished, The Chocolatier’s Wife, was partly inspired by what I thought would be the ultimate character for one of the British Actors I was crushing on.

4. LOC catalogued! I have worked as a librarian for several years, as a student and as an Interlibrary Loan lady. Knowing that I am an author in the Library of Congress system is a silly, but huge joy to me. There is just something about it that makes me feel like I really did accomplish something.

5. I get to explore worlds and do things I would never get to do. It’s true…I get these nifty ideas in my head of things that would be awesome to do, but not possible to actually get out there and accomplish. It’s fun to see how things would logically work. I loved trying to figure out interesting creatures, I enjoy trying to make it all logical and believable while keeping the wonder and fantastical nature of the story intact. For Blue Moon I had to split the world of magic from the world of technology, but as they come back together the magic things that slept during this time wake up again. I didn’t want to go with the common, twee things, so I made up things like vampiric butterflies to add color to the world. And in the book I’m working on now, I’m trying to logic out the mechanics of a completely underwater civilization. It’s the little things that make you stumble, like eating, drinking…but that’s the fun, too.

6. It’s really the only thing I feel I’m any good at. I mean, I can sew, and I’m a good secretary, but the fact is…it’s not really something I feel I can offer the world and make the world better for it. Ok, ok, fantasies and mysteries don’t really make the world that much better, but stories and books have incredible power, and as part of that, I think I can make a difference on individual levels.

7. Knowing that the story is working. There is no better feeling when you’re sitting there, writing, writing, every word comes out easy and clicks right into place. Everything is making sense and doing what it’s supposed to be. That is so much better than any drug.

8. Having an excuse to buy books. When I was writing Chocolatier’s Wife, I saw a chocolate grinding table that fit, technologically, in perfect with what William’s kitchen would be like. I also wanted to understand perfectly the preparation of chocolate, even though you see little of that research in the book. It gave me a reason to go an buy these beautiful books and read them…and, currently, since I’ve been re-writing fairy tales, this has given me an excuse to buy some Andrew Lang and world folk lore books…things I’ve always wanted, to read for research. My credit card hates it, but it gives me something to look forward to. Any excuse to buy a book is a good one, I think.

9. Because it makes me feel like my degree wasn’t a waste of time. I originally intended to become a librarian…I always meant to be a writer, but I have also always known that you couldn’t depend on it for an income. So, being a librarian would be perfect as a “real” job while I worked on becoming a (in)famous author. With that in mind, the best Bachelor’s to take was in English…I ended up taking so many creative writing courses that I had to change my concentration to Creative writing, and that’s the degree I graduated with: English: Creative Writing.

10. It gives me something to talk about. Good grief…if I didn’t have writing, my blog posts would be even worse, nothing but costuming and British Actors and typing memos. I wonder, though…I started blogging because I’m a writer – would I have bothered blogging without it?

11. Looking at the finished work. When I first opened the .pdf for my short story, “Every Word I Speak”, and saw my name on that beautiful cover, I was just so overwhelmed. It was so beautiful…and then I got to see “A Necklace of Rubies” right away. It was all of awe.

12. Meeting some really wonderful people. When I was a book reviewer, I became friends with some really wonderful people. My fellow authors at Zumaya and Drollerie are fantastic people. Some of the readers of my reviews have emailed me, and I had wonderful times talking to them. And…my editors deserve special thanks. I feel like I’ve made real friends, and I am so very grateful. I’m going to meet even more people as I go…how cool is that?

13. I was going to say “Because it makes the voices in my head go away” but I think I’ll say, instead, that there’s nothing like knowing who you are. People go through their lives wondering “Who am I? What’s my purpose in life? There has to be something more!” And if you really know me, you know that I am still striving to fulfill more than one purpose, that I am trying to make sure I live a full and decent life. But being a writer…and Author!…it gives me a sense of identity. I know who I am. I have a goal in life. That’s pretty wonderful, I think.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen things that I want to do before I solve the great mystery
1. Learn how to fence. I love swords, and it’s always been a desire to learn how to use them. I am much more interested in the historical aspects than the competitive…I think it’s far more interesting.
2. Finish the Grand Dress of Absolute Elizabethan Prettiness. Tears ago, I got a Simplicity pattern that was based off the Shakespeare in Love gown. It is a thing of glory…ruff and bodices and over skirts and underskirts and jewels and gold lace. Recently I managed to get a lot of emerald green with a slight blue tinge velvet, and despite the very fine glitter pattern, I’m tempted to death to use it, though I *should*probably make this dress using non-farb, accurate materials. Actually, I’d like to make a dress for almost every era of man up to the Victorian times.
3. Somehow feel that I’ve made an impact with my writing. I want to reach people and make them happy…so, I’d love to feel that I’d really done that.
4. Learn how to belly dance. Not the belly dance for strippers, either. Belly dancing has a long, rich history, and when done for more cultural purposes than for titillation can be extremely graceful and beautiful. And talk about good for the waist!
5. Learn to speak another language. I know – or knew – how to curse, vociferously, in 9 languages at one time. I can say hello and thanks in a few. I love peppering my words with words from another tongue, I think it’s not only colorful and interesting, but it’s fun. So, I think it would be nice to learn one or two to the point where I can speak them fairly well. I am not picky…pretty much any language would do. Spanish, French, German, Gaelic, Chinese, Italian…all of those would be wonderful.
6. Attend a Regency Dinner. Sometimes they have these Regency style house parties…wouldn’t that be awesome? I love old time dancing…in fact, if I ever (not likely) had a wedding again, I’d invite someone who could teach people medieval dance, and instead of doing the modern stuff, we could do these elegant, fun dances. I think people would enjoy that, if for nothing else it would be different. Anyway, I think an evening of Regency Elegance would be very cool.
7. See an opera. I recently went to my first symphony, and I loved watching the people playing their instruments and feeling the sound. Now add the pageantry of an opera. How cool would that be, with the acting and costumes? I love plays, so this should be interesting.
8. Travel, travel, travel. (See previous 13’s.)
9. Work at a Renaissance Faire. I’ve always loved the people at the faires…rennies are, generally, sweet, free spirited, good hearted, hard working, interesting, passionate, creative, intelligent people. I feel at home with Rennies, I always have. I would love to spend a summer with them, and it would let me tap into my silliness and joy of impromptu acting.
10. Sail on a ship. No more need be said.
11. Have a successful rose and herb garden. I love roses, and I love herbs…I don’t do badly with herbs, but the roses…eh. I just remembered…I have to plant tulips this weekend. I hope they, and the new iris, do alright.
12. Join a stable and get back to horseback riding. When I was young, we had an Appaloosa named Cinnamon. I loved her…I really miss her. She didn’t mind me stroking her ears, which a lot of horses do not much like. Horses are a pleasure…they smell good, (generally) and most are gentle and pleasant to be around. Mine had a bit of a snarky streak, though. She used to think she was a real comedian.
13. Get most of my stories that are floating around in my head finished. They are good stories, and they deserve to be told.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Thirteen Things about Places I want to Visit

1. The Highlands of Scotland. It’s part of my heritage, and I find everything about it so appealing…I’ve always been big on windswept crags. I would like to do a walking tour of sorts, you know, the kind where you just walk across fields for days? I think that would be lovely, and I think it would be wonderful to do it by myself, in some ways, so I can just walk and think and feel.
2. The Rhine. There’s this romantic tour of the Rhine that takes you down the river in a boat. I love the idea of floating along, looking up at all these robber baron castles. And anything with water is a huge plus for me.
3. Portsmouth, Plymouth and Bath, in England: These are places that I grouped together because for me, touring these places would be major age of sail squee, with a bit of Jane Austin thrown in. Sometimes people have Regency themed parties where you actually dress…wouldn’t that be lovely? I think the idea of living a few hours of Regency life in bath would probably be one of the most interesting experiences. But mostly? I want to see the ships.
4. Camlaud, Salisbury Plain, Glastonbury Tor… I am, and always will be, a confirmed Arthurianist. So, of course, I’ll want to take a peek at all the sites I can, especially any outlined in Geoffrey Ashe’s historical archeology of King Arthur books.
5. The Four Corners, Arizona. Ever since I read Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee mysteries, I loved how the place sounds. And I’ve always been fascinated by the rock formations and vistas. I think it would be beautiful.
6. China. I’m not actually certain where. I would like to see countryside as well as city, though. Something not too touristy…it just seems so beautiful.
7. Australia. When I was 15, 16, I had a tour all mapped out. I’d visit Queensland and Sydney and Alice Springs. I’d climb Ayers rock, I’d see the Opera house at sunset.
8. Germany. Outside of having friends there, I just think it looks really interesting. I want to…I am fascinated with old architecture, and what I know of the culture seems different from what I know, but not so much so. I’m not saying I’m trying to stay within a comfort zone of what I know, but I am interested in seeing the subtle differences. I think those will teach me a great deal about humanity.
9. Spain, but most especially Andorra and Valencia. From the outside, Spain seems to combine passion and tradition and history – a very interesting history at that. Also, I’ve always wanted to visit Biar castle, and perhaps some of the lovely buildings left from the time of Muslim rule.
10. New Zealand. I’ve been told by many people that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and one of the most fantastical (a friend told me in college, if Elves still existed, they live in New Zealand) and so I wanted to see it even before Lord of the Rings convinced me that everyone was right.
11. The Klondike, especially the Sentinel Island Lighthouse. Any tour of the world must include light houses, and I think the Klondike is wonderful…I also want to experience midnight sun…I think it would be interesting to see what it was like, to never have night for a few days.
12. Ireland. I’m not sure where, because I want to see it all, much like Scotland. I want to look for fairy rings, but mostly, I want to wander the coast and dream.
13. Canada: When I think of Canada, I think of natural beauty – I would like to do some serious walking in Canada.

Wow, I can think of a lot of other places I would like to visit. I better hurry up and become famous!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. So Lost
2. What Works for Us
3. Comedy Plus
4. Nifty Nicholson News
5. Rae’s World
6. Romance From the Heart

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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