Log in

Easily Distracted By Shiny Things
Meanderings from the City of the Red Castle
Recent Entries 
24th-May-2016 02:01 am(no subject)
I talked about this on facebook, but I have longer thoughts, too.

Joseph and I go for walks after school most days, and sometimes on other days (like Sunday). Well, as I joke, they are more like "runs"; he will run whenever there are cars moving on the street, as if he's trying to keep up with them -- and a bit extra for things like buses or motorcycles or oddities. I usually jog as much as I'm willing, so it goes in bursts of speed-up and slow-down as the waves of traffic pass.

I also let him pick the route *most* of the time, although I may put my foot down on going home once we've been at it a while. My focus has been on teaching him street crossing, reminding him to look for cars, and to wait for lights. I sometimes make him go my chosen way, or make a stop, partly to train him for when I really need him to go with me in a particular direction (like, again, Sunday). But mostly he has his little routes; they almost all start almost always up the alley the same way, down the first street the same way. It varies afterwards, but I can make some pretty good guesses where we're going, and it loops back on itself; we sometimes go right past home, and sometimes come pretty close. He tends to stick to major streets for much of it, because more cars.

He's been, I think, also using it to get a mental map of the area and how it all links up. Some of the repetition is autistic routine, or bits he particularly enjoys (We often make extra repeats of ramps), and some is testing his map, especially when he unexpectedly varies his path.

I kind of enjoy the routine, even if I often come out of one tired and footsore. It's also pretty good exercise, trying to cooperate with a 4 year old's energy level.

I feel even more glad he mostly chooses the routes, and that this means I know his most likely choices.

This is what I posted on Facebook:

Anyone who also has Colin on their news feed knows Joseph ran out of the house earlier today. He was found by a young woman who took his hand and tried to get him to lead her home. He led her instead on one of his walking routes (exactly the wrong way from home, though it would have looped back eventually.) Colin, at home, called the cops while one of the people I (out searching) asked flagged down a pair of paramedics on bicycles, who found her and then let m know she was bringing him my way (meanwhile the police Colin called also ended up intercepting her and brought her and Joseph to me and then me and Joseph safe home.)

We owe thanks to so many people; the woman who took his hand and looked for where he belonged and who, most of all, meant he was travelling safely and not running into traffic, the people who talked to me at River and Osborne who loaned me cell phones (my phone? Are you kidding? I left the house without putting on shoes. Granted, if such an awful thing happens again, I'm taking the phone if I can, but still screw the shoes.) and/or walked/biked the neighbourhood to search, the woman who flagged the paramedics while my panicked mind was still thinking, "but that's the wrong emergency services", the paramedics and police themselves. Even the one person I talked to who remembered a blond boy with a woman going by.

I'm still shaken, though.

It's so easy to second-guess everything.

This has happened now two and a half times for real, and a couple of other close calls. (The half is when he made his escape after leaving the car, not out of the house). The other two involved us being close behind, even in sight, so not quite the same as not being sure exactly how long, how far.

We have a latch on the door to the back hall but we know he figured out what to climb onto to reach it. Should we have moved that thing, so he at least needed to drag a chair over? We have a different fastener on the outside door we know he CAN get at, again with something to climb onto, but again slows him and causes trouble. We even have a windchime set so that opening the door will make it ring, and it's audible on both floors, though probably not in the bathroom with the fan or shower on.

I was upstairs in the shower. Well, except after I finished the shower I sat upstairs alone for a long time, just reading a book. And I mean half an hour or more. (Colin was downstairs, and could speak to his own reasons for not catching on; I will say that while they weren't any better than mine, they weren't worse, either.) I went downstairs, past Colin and into the kitchen, thinking we were overdue to deal with lunch; and saw the door. I don't remember what I said, but enough to get him up and moving, and then I was off, shoeless and purseless, down the alley as I was.

Colin was a bit more active than I make it sound; he made sure Alex was safe, checked Joseph's route the opposite way, and the playground, then sat down at home to call the police and mind Alex (and the phone). I found most of this out afterwards, when I borrowed the phones, or even after I got home.

Do we need to have a more orderly plan in place? More than just "Next time I bring my cell"? Colin did exactly the right thing. I was keeping it together in most ways until Joseph was safe (I had a really obvious increase in panic and stress symptoms once I was told he was found, and more once I had him, but I was aware even as I was managing to think out plans while I walked that I wasn't thinking entirely clearly.)

Had I come downstairs sooner, would I have seen Joseph while he was still in the house? He starts working on getting outside when he's bored with indoor stuff; I could have started an activity with him. We need to do more of that; more things that aren't default habits. Might I have at least arrived soon enough to nab him in the first block? Did I hear a chime and assume Colin was in control? I don't remember doing so, so probably not, but the other escape out of the house happened when I heard the chime but had thought Colin (who was working on renos) was doing work that involved going outside as well as into and out of the basement.

There's the things I have done lackadaisically, like teaching Joseph to say his name (Which he can do -- but the officer said he never got a peep out of him, and the only thing Joseph said to me in the police car on the way home was "octagon stop sign" when we reached an intersection.) I've talked about making him an "all about me" book to teach him rote answers to "what's your name?" and "where do you live?" but haven't made it.

I keep wondering if we should get him some jewellery that has his name and address, but teaching him to wear it, all the time, would be some doing; he doesn't like wristbands, and he's very good at figuring out fasteners (see again: everything we've done to our doors to slow him down)

I've also wondered about preemptively flyering the neighbourhood with his picture and home address and an explanation that he's a flight risk with poor verbal skills. The houses and apartments and condos, probably not; not only would it be a dauntingly huge undertaking, but it carries a lot of OTHER issues. But maybe the businesses, at least the ones that have a view out the window? I keep thinking this is a bad idea, but is it a worse idea than not doing it, if he vanishes again? And yet again, most of my samaritans were just people shopping or going about their day, although the woman who flagged the paramedics is one of the people who runs a street kiosk.

We're planning on building a fence around the yards this summer; that was part of the plan already.

The other bit I posted on facebook:
And for a super-fun follow-up: we were at a party at the house of one of Colin's old friends this afternoon, in their back yard. We'd figured out how to keep him from opening the gate right away. Then he followed the other kids inside once ... and inside, went instead to the front door, opened it and was off down the street. In Fort Richmond, which he doesn't know and where we would have no idea where to look after 5 minutes. One of the other parents caught on and chased him down, so he was brought back quickly (he leaves doors open behind him), but we had to spend half of the rest of the party minding all possible exits. It's that fast.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
7th-May-2016 09:39 pm - A No-Pressure Club : First meeting
So I had this idea a while back, partly from reading Felicia Day's memoir. There's a stretch of time when she's in a sort of support group for artistic endeavours, and everyone else seems to be taking active steps to assure their goals, while she... is playing World of Warcraft or making schedules. Well, until eventually she pretty much tortures herself into writing the first script for the Guild.

And I thought - I've been wanting to do an in person writing group for a while. BUt I don't know many fellow writers in Winnipeg, and of the ones I do know, many of them write slowly, piecemeal, or do NaNoWriMo (And maybe the Camp) but not much else. And I thought, I'd love to see some of these people more, but I'd hate for the seeing of them to become a source of stress and pressure. Where and when Felicia was in her life, she really had both no excuse and need for a really hard push. But I'm looking at new moms, divorcees, anxiety disorders, depression, huge workloads...

So I sent this e-mail to some people (And I am considering at least one more):

I've been toying with an idea for a bit, so I'm going to throw it out there at you all. FEEDBACK IS VERY WELCOME. Nothing is finalized or set in stone. At the very least, if you like the idea of a get together, let me know what times you might be available?

As far as I know, all of you do some SF/F writing, and enjoy doing it. Some are aiming to go pro (Or already have) and some are just in it for fun.

But ALL of us have one other thing in common; a life so busy and full of other projects and obligations that we really don't write as much as we want to, or used to, or you-name-it.

Which means that for most of us, a traditional writing group doesn't work, because they often expect a certain amount of progress daily, or weekly, and sometimes the message, intended or not, is that you aren't really into it if you don't hit some magic number.

Which can be discouraging instead of inspiring. Or, when it inspires you to force out words, can make you miserable instead of happy. Deadlines make some people stubborn instead of purposeful, and some people write or edit once or twice a year in big sprints, spending the rest of the time thinking, planning, and researching, which works very badly with most writing groups. Some people are only productive with a strict schedule, some find strict schedules break them.

However, it's also true that just hanging out with other writers in a group can often be itself a motivator to do stuff, or to ask questions about the things stalling you. it can also give opportunities to brainstorm, blather, and just generally squee, about your own writing, about books you love, about all the things.

So I am proposing a club that gets together about every two weeks to sit, talk about writing, plot problems, worldbuilding, research, tea (Or beverage-of-choice), books, and life. Each session would be in three phases; a semi-formal organized section where everyone in turn talks about storyish stuff they're thinking about, any progress they made if they wish, or asks questions for everyone to try and answer (45 minutes to an hour), a more general conversation and loosening up for a while (this would happen anyhow, why not make it officially allowed?), then one 45 minute writing session, which is optional participation, can be on your ongoing project if any or just an outpouring of words, or can be a set exercise (Multiple set exercises will be available, not just one) followed by a last burst of comments etc. about the writing session. So 3 hours or so total time.

And one of the things about it being a no-pressure club is that the same pressures of life that make writing hard also mean some people will NOT be able to make it every time, and that's okay, too, as long as they do show about once every 3 months or so. (That'd be one session in 6). We need a minimum of three people showing for a session to go forward, though the more the merrier.

Today was the first meeting. We had a total of four people (the couple hosting, me, and one more.) Because the last person arrived rather late (to be fair, even I arrived late; Alex nursed to sleep right when I was ready to leave). The thought that there were only the three of us, and the fact that these are people I don't see as much as I'd like, meant we started very informally, chatting before veering into writing related stuff, did a lot of meandering off topic. Ultimately we didn't do the writing sprint because there wasn't time (though one person, not me, was doing research and notes for an ongoing project while listening and talking). Most of us agreed a more structured approach the next time would be good, but this also allowed us to get some of that out of our system now. (I do kinda regret not doing the writing sprint, but I was half an hour late in leaving their place anyhow).

All in all I call it a success, though a minor one, and we'll have to see how the next one goes. If they all end up this informal, I'll be sad.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
2nd-May-2016 12:58 am - Argh! Indie?
(Interesting timing for this set of thoughts...)

I thought I would only consider selling any of my stories Indie if I exhausted all other options, or as reprints. But looking at the markets available out there for a 30k fantasy novella.

-The place that pays the best pro rates and actually gets their books in bookstores is firmly closed to unsolicited submissions for, as far as I can tell, ever.
- The only other place that pays pro rates decided to drop back to 20k as a top limit (even though the guidelines I was going by said 40k).
- The place that pays a half-decent rate and seems to be getting some attention and word of mouth (More important than the money) cut their guidelines back to 25k between my first research and the rejection from the pro place.
- Most of the other places I saw listed had poor rates, weird red flags in their guidelines (not necessarily that they are at all dishonest, just that they might have no idea how other publishers work or what's professional), or terrible cover art and design. Or some mix thereof.

Really, Eggplant Productions was a teeny tiny operation that was staffed by about three people and shut down because the woman running it was having personal difficulties, so not exactly top-line. And yet they had guidelines that made it plain they knew how publishing works as a whole and what writers want to know, a low but clear and honest pay rate (And actually, the second time around, it wasn't *that* low) and decent cover art/design.

So... Should I try and go it sorta-solo for the novellas? I still fully intend to submit novels to publishers.

If I do, should I get a more professional editor's eye on the thing first, just in case?

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
10th-Apr-2016 11:52 pm - The Shepherd's Crown
Well, it's only been since December.

I think I'll make this reopening post a review.

In my heart of hearts, I really kind of wanted Terry Pratchett's last book to be a real, true Swan Song*, a work of excellence to rival his prior bests. (Exactly which books are those bests is up for enough debate as it is, although Night Watch, one of my two picks, is frequently cited. Nation less so, but I'm not its sole advocate.)

I knew it wasn't likely, but he still had a pretty solid grasp on Tiffany Aching in I Shall Wear Midnight, and I knew his editors had been praised for making this one a fairly solid work.

I will say it was better than the books right before it, in many ways, but I also felt like I was getting that impossible chance to beta-read an early draft, not the final. There was so much that was here that was Pratchett through and through -- interspersed with all the bits that wobble and wibble and get written in as one is looking for the heart of a story - things that would be cut in later drafts, scenes that would be expanded upon.

Spoilers ahead.

The death of Granny Weatherwax, and the reactions of the living in dealing with it, were among the jewels, the pieces carved out at their best and most precise. I have little doubt that was among the parts, as mentioned in the afterword, Pratchett had written earlier and had the greatest chance to revise and polish. I also have no doubt it was a part he most cared to get right, alongside coping with his own mortality.

I was mostly amazed it happened so early on, as the catalyst of the plot rather than as part of its resolution, or as a key turning point in the centre. But it makes sense.

The thread about the farming family with the triplets, and young Tiffany, I thought was one of the pieces where Pratchett had the most to say that never got written. It felt like there would have been greater ties, greater thematic resonances, with the main story, if this had been written ten years ago. They might not have been any better parents or learned much more than they already did - Pratchett was never one to shy away from the folly side of humanity, or its failings - but it rang one note, and usually it would have made a chord.

I feel rather the same about Geoffrey and his goat - things seemed to open for him a bit too easily. On the one hand, the bedrock of the witches has fallen, and the world has been changing steadily a while, so one more change feels like barely a blink -- and the more so for Tiffany herself, who is already following a rather unusual path. HER reaction is spot on. On the other, there should be some pull back, even if it's not the explicit, solid wall 'you can't do that' kind. In fact, I'd have been disappointed if it was that. But something on the order of micro-aggression, condescension, the occasional soft nudge aside - let me do it dear, I've been at this for years, I know my stuff, you can just watch for now - would have been much harder for Geoffrey, used to hard walls, to break past. It should have felt more like a pleasing turn when at the end even Mrs. Earwig approved him. Especially since it might have seemed peaceful so his calming tricks wouldn't work. I liked him and loved Mephistopheles as characters, though. Distinct even at this brief an intro.

By contrast, there were far too many bits affirming Tiffany Aching as THE witch, too many times the possibility of big resistance was raised, only to be waved off. I feel certain Pratchett would have crystallized the number of times it was asserted, by the number of people, that Tiffany was indeed the right choice.

The battle with the elves, and indeed their incursions into Discworld, were more clumsily handled than they might have been -- Nightshade's transformation was too quick, and in some ways far too likely to have reversed again when she got her power back. Her awareness of the changes in the Disc started before she lost power, and probably would have stayed, but I could easily imagine her understanding of humans fading again if she was back on a throne over elvish courtiers, and more if the elves found a different, less iron-advanced, world to harass. Peaseblossom was far too one-note to be a solid villain, and the scenes with the King were disjointed and confusing, even as his motives, too, were one-note. Their themes "The world is changing and we are being left behind" AND "Let's make elves in Discworld Great Again" both got repeated too much, with too little of the depth Pratchett has previously given to the opposition, making their resemblance to certain real-world aspects weaker and less convincing, and making them less scary.

The climactic battle had a much more solid feel of pieces coming together as they ought -- which felt surreal when my impression of the rest of the book was that the pieces were less than fully realized (or overemphasized).

And the epilogue fit Tiffany well.

* I felt the same about Diana Wynne Jones, and I didn't get it then, either, not quite. Her last novel written entirely by herself was fabulous except for the very last two pages, which added an extra and unnecessary and rather squicky revelation. Her very last book, finished by her sister, had a promising DWJ start and a not-wholly unsatisfying ending that nonetheless was also rather clearly, to me, not written by her. I can't point to exactly where the transition happened, her sister is a better writer than that. I also can't say for sure it isn't the PLOT she intended, it could have been - only that the prose and the flow of it were no longer hers.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
15th-Dec-2015 09:50 pm(no subject)
We have a friend who paints a stained glass style nativity scene on her front window. (She also often does ones for Easter or Hallowe'en). Technically, it's often a group endeavour; she does the black outlines, and various people, including her, fill in with colour. (Then we redo the outlines)

This year, she's been sick, so while she had her painting party. it didn't get finished. I offered to come by the week after, and continue it. Which I did (I didn't finish it either, but I got it far enough to make it a much easier job; all the figures were done with the exception of some hat details.)

However, I badly misestimated how much of some colours of paint I'd need, and felt badly for it. These colours were finished in her place, there was literally nothing to do but dump them.

Or was there?

We have an alcove off our living room with one exceedingly annoying window. That is, in midafternoon, the sun glares through it right onto the couch. We'd even stuffed a cushion from a long-gone couch into it, but this was only a partial solution. In fact, much of the day, light coming in is good... If only it were muted.

I had been thinking for a while that her window-painting might be the answer. But I have acrylics, which are rather more permanent than her tempera/soap mix, and probably less translucent.

And now I had a bunch of colours that needed getting rid of. Specifically, purple, green, orange, red, russet, dark brown, and grey. No blue, which put paid to my initial impulses, which tended towards peacocks or mermaids.

So I went obvious. Well, obvious if you're me.

The first photo shows the sketched in stained glass outline and the first colour (and a demonstration why every line has to be redone at the end to actually look darker than the colour panes.)

Alas, I finished after dark, so the second picture is what it looks like when lit from inside the house.

Tomorrow I take pictures of it from inside, lit from without, and probably vice versa in the evening.

To give credit where it's due, here are my two sources.
artist listed on Deviantart as tempusnox


Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
24th-Nov-2015 12:36 am(no subject)
I'm failing this Demi Wri Mo Challenge, but succeeding at getting stuff written, so I can't quite say I'm failing as a whole. But it's not helping my mood. The last few days were, in order, 63 words, 1429 words, 156 words, and 993 words, to a total of 15389. I need all 1400 word days from here on to make it. I'm skeptical.

It also feels very me right now. Doing the right thing but not enough of it. Doing half-assed at everything. I'm not going to go into details, specifically so people can't say, "but look at this part you are doing right!" I know. There's still half a glass of water. Forgive me if right now I say don't try and send feel-good flag waving or reassurances. I'm processing.

My baby still does not sleep as he ought. He also has a cold (and gave it to his grandma) so this is not the week to push it. That really doesn't help, because if he don't sleep, neither do I. Starting to reread on sleep training, though.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
17th-Nov-2015 11:44 pm - Word count
I had three days of about 300 words each in a row, after one day with a zero count because exhausted. On the second, I was *this* close to calling it because I was already behind, and just getting further, and dammit, this was only HALF a NANO I should be able to do better...

It doesn't help that I'm not feeling this story yet. I'm getting a lot of "This feels dumber on the page than it ever did in my head, and I'm stuck in set-up, and none of the cool stuff is happening for a while."

Then I told myself 300 words a day is more than I have done on average for a long time. And 300 words a day is 109,500 in a year. Which is a short-for-me novel.

Then I did some math and found that my word count per day to finish by the 30th had gone from 833 words per day to 1,123 -- and I had a couple of days this November that were right around there.

So. No more slacking (and I dread tomorrow's count, with the whole family birthday party), but also not an impassable barrier. Not the 1,667 words of Nano, either.

Today's count was 1,133 words, ending just before a scene I think will help really get the ball rolling. Total to date: 10,417.

AS for not feeling the story? Well, I've only been thinking about some of the bits and pieces that have become this story since Joseph was an infant. And the point was to get 25,000 words into it so I would know if it was worth pursuing further, since it's always hard to tell when one is noodling with it in one's head.

I can DO this.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
13th-Nov-2015 12:12 am(no subject)
So I missed one day entirely and ended yesterday at 6,970. Tonight, I'm stopping at 8036 words - which is about 2,000 behind where I should be.

I can still catch that up witch a bit more discipline.

And I may have created a better opportunity for being that disciplined, in that I moved the active file to my google drive, so now I can type downstairs on the same keyboard I normally use (and which my husband recently replaced so it now has a working o, hurrah!) and don't have to continually switch to and from the Dana, which is a too-complicated multi-step process.

It does mean having my cruddy rough draft up on the big screen for all to see, but as long as that all is JoJo and Alex, that's okay. It would be awkward if/when Colin or his mother (or mine) are about, because I can be EXTREMELY prickly about people seeing my rough drafts. But if they're present, then chances are, I can switch to upstairs and some privacy, even if it's with Alex all over me napping. And the nigh continuous auto-save is a wonder. (I STILL remember losing words to the old style computers where if you closed a file without saving, it just closed and everything vanished. And that was junior high. The new computers in grade 9 with the ICONs and the question whether you Want to save were a beauty of a thing.)

And this has grown longish for what was meant to be a quick-post, though part of that is that just as I was starting, and intending to get to bed, Alex woke and started to fuss. So after a baby-free hour of typing, I'm doing this post one-handed whilst cuddling.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
10th-Nov-2015 12:00 am(no subject)
So yesterday's count stopped at exactly 5,000, which was a bit low but I was tired and t was past midnight.

Tonight's, stopped at 11:59, is 6,381 words and a scene end.

Someone cheer me on?

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
7th-Nov-2015 11:37 pm - Words!
4275 words. Which is 1347 words today. Which is above what I need per day for my intended goal, but maybe not enough to catch up. But sleep now.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
7th-Nov-2015 12:36 am - Words!
2928 words for Demi-Wri-Mo - despite forgetting when i blithely thought I could catch up tonight that tonight was our gaming night. Duh.. Not quite doubled, but definitely an improvement. Still behind, but if I do this pace a couple times more, I will be on track for 25,000.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
6th-Nov-2015 05:32 pm - Moar Tea!
So, I've now not only made an extended tea order online, I also indulged myself a bit at David's when I found their winter selection was out.

So these are the results:


Christmas Tea: It seems a bit more orange-peel flavoured than the Upton version, but definitely well within the "Yes, this is the Christmas tea I was missing" range. The orange tartness might mean I decide this is a 1/3 tsp honey tea again.

Decaf Canadian Breakfast: ON the one hand, this is basically black tea and maple, and I *have* black tea and maple syrup in the house. Also, it advertises itself as "a hint of maple', and you'd have to be one of the people I know whose sense of smell is pretty much defunct before you'd miss it. On the other, most cheap maple teas are a bit icky and unbalanced, and this is deliciously delicious. I might have to try a cup of black tea with maple syrup added on the spot and this together to see which is better. I have a feeling Canadian Breakfast might win.

Princess Blend: Rose and Raspberry. I expected the rose to cut the sweetness of the raspberry, and it doesn't, really. But it complements it beautifully. Since David's discontinued Fantasy Island before could compare the two, I can't say which is better, but this is definitely worth keeping.

Tribute Pu'erh: Better than what I had by a fair bit. And stronger. I haven't tested the assertion that most pu'erh's can stand multiple steepings and come out strong and reasonable tasting yet

Distinctly Tea

Decaf Apricot: Mmmmmm, yes. That's the stuff.

Winter Blend: Was advertised as apple and spices. Is Apple, spices and almond, giving it an amaretto-ish aftertaste. (Natural almond as far as I can tell, though, not the stuff used in maraschino cherries, which tastes the same to be but turns my mom and brothers' stomachs). Picked up as a possible "maybe related enough to Christmas tea to pass if I'm desperate". Fails on that. Good enough I'll finish what I have without it being a chore, but I probably won't buy again.


Snow Day: They didn't bring back white chocolate frost; they did this instead. So rather than white chocolate, peppermint and peppercorns, it's white and brown chocolate and peppermint. Still pretty satisfying a mix.

Cardamom French Toast: Cardamom, cinnamon, and other ingredients meant to emulate, well, as the title says. Smelled lovely, and reads like it should be up my alley. The first steep was a decided disappointment. It also steeped overlong, so I might try it again before I dismiss it.

Honeycrisp apple: Sweeter than I recalled, but really tastes more like an apple - not like apple juice, just apple - than like green tea. The tea is more background colour. A very nice drink indeed (Unless you're in the mood for green tea that tastes like green tea.)

Strawberry rhubarb parfait: Technically I haven't drunk a cup at home, but the whole reason I bought it is that I have had it, and it's a quite nice herbal.

(I also tried individual cups of the blueberry jam - too sweet and very meh - and the hot chocolate as a latte, which tasted more like hot chocolate than like tea, but since that was the point, I was satisfied. Didn't buy any for home, though.)

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
6th-Nov-2015 12:26 am(no subject)
So Demi-Wri-Mo or whatever this is called has started slow. But I kind of knew the first few days would be a bit sacrificial. Not this bad, though. At this rate I might make my word count in January or February. But Alex has been sick and I've been out of the house A LOT more than the usual. (I think I committed shopping therapy, though not over the word count... I have a lot of tea to review and some books to read.)

1543 words. At least I know the rest of the scene well. And I have good reason to think tomorrow will double that at minimum.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
2nd-Nov-2015 11:57 pm(no subject)
So my decision for November was to do a Demi-WriMo, or a half NaNoWriMo. So tracking my progress on NaNo's own site makes no sense, but I need a public placement for accountability.

Here we go, then.


Later posts, if I have time, I may discuss the project a bit.

ETA: Grrrr. I think in blithely skipping past a "restore from saved draft" button, I lost a half finished post of some length. Oh, well. If anyone knows if it's possible to retrieve such, let me know.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
26th-Sep-2015 02:36 pm - Tea. Because.
This is mostly of interest to me, AFAIK. I just wanted the list somewhere I could find it, and point people to it.

I drink tea pretty much daily. I try to also drink water most days, (although tea includes herbal and decaf), and sometimes I just have to have some form of absurd flavoured latte thing, but tea, strong black with milk and occasional honey, is the daily staple.

So of course people try and give me tea. And yet they miss as often or more as they hit - popular teas to gift seem to be greens, which I don't drink enough to warrant the amount in the house, and rooibus, which I've mostly decided isn't for me (though -- shock of shocks, if you look below -- I've had better luck with ones with peach or apricot flavour, and it's the only type of tea that blends well with vanilla as a major note.)

Read more...Collapse )

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
17th-Sep-2015 02:21 pm - August and Reno plans
August was a significant step up from July, though almost anything would be. And it started with one more small kick.

Context: We have (had) an RV, a rather small one. It was basically a converted van (Ford Econoline size or only slightly longer) with a raised roof so a second bed could be put in above the driver. We got this from Colin's parents for $1.00. It gave them a place to stay when in town that was on our property (sorta, see below) but not in the house, which was a good balance between making their visits easier and giving us a semblance of privacy. (the area with the spare bed in our house is separated from my private study by some shelving, not even a wall. This is Not Good for any of us.)

Thing is, our property is a lot of house and not much yard. We do have a two car driveway but even when we didn't have two cars, we used both spaces because there's not a lot of street parking.

Our neighbours' house is a rental property mostly used by seasonal workers. The main regular there, R, we get along with pretty well when we see him at all. And they have a pretty good sized parking area that's underused.

The house owners had trimmed their hedges back then left the pile of cut branches on their parking pad, a pile of wooden debris that, when our yard was a mess, other neighbours also blamed on us in their note asking us to clean up. (which we did, but often have to re-do...) So we made an agreement with R that if we cleaned those branches etc up for them, we could use that space for the RV. It's been there since the summer before Joseph was born (we turned on the engine a couple of times to make sure it would run, but that's it.)

So at the tail end of July and start of August, the property owner decided that was it and asked us to move it. Which is fair, no complaints, and he agreed to let it stay until mid-September (ie, yesterday) when the in-laws would be heading back to BC.

AND, it turns out, if we sell it, R wants to buy it, to use when he goes up north.

But that left the dilemma, where do they stay when in town?

They'd been considering renting, but priced it out and looked at the Winnipeg market and didn't like either. They considered also buying a condo, but for at most 3-4 months of the year in use (2 months most summers, and some extra weeks as needed, usually just for mom-in-law), went nope.

They then looked at our house, at the amount of money they were considering, and said, "if we give you this, you could do the next big stages of renos you were considering. Would that possibly work out?"


yes. yes it would.

So, we have plans. It starts with redoing the half-bath on the main floor (the only part of the main floor under current consideration), because there will be a lot of plumbing done anyhow, and it's the one most guests use, so it should be pretty.

Then it involves a nigh-complete rearrangement of the upstairs floor. (Joseph's, later to be Joseph and Alex's, room will remain unchanged).

-Colin's computer alcove and our closet will become a significantly smaller but completely separated study for me.
-Our master bedroom will be a guest bedroom/sewing room.
- The bathroom will be enlarged by about 6-8 inches to fit a better bath, and redone.
- The chunk of my study right up against the bathroom will become an ensuite bathroom with a shower stall.
- The hall alcove across from the bathroom, and a part of my study adjacent to that will be a laundry area.
- The last bit of my study and the entire back storage area will become Colin's and my master bedroom.
- My much-neglected pottery stuff, which is occupying a lot of that back room now that isn't sewing stuff, will go in the basement where the laundry was, where it's sufficiently separated from Colin's woodworking stuff that I think we can live in harmony - we could even have a door or curtain. (the reason I wanted to set it up upstairs anyhow, before the back room got turned into as much of a sleeping space as it is.)

I will need to reduce my books and even more, reduce the depth of my shelf space (most of my shelving units are 12" deep and that won't do in a smaller room) but I definitely do not mind a smaller room. And while it's tricky to do reno projects around a curious pre-schooler, Colin being home allows for doing more stuff himself to save on money. He's fully capable, as demonstrated last time, of drawing up the plans, and he has a fair chunk of those done. He's already started on taking out the remains of the chimney that does nothing but cut into the bathroom space, and the plumber was by for initial estimates and to arrange times to start each phase of his work. (plumbing is not a DIY part of renos like knocking down walls -- at least not parts that involve moving and adding stacks. Colin feels up to putting in the shower stall we bought, and that level of plumbing.)

Anyhow, so that will be the big project going forward. We're not likely to have it far enough along to matter for my mother-in-law's next visit, in a month and a half (IE,. she'll still be sleeping in the current spare room) but we should be through at least the lower bathroom and working on the others.

I've mostly been boxing up a few of my books and starting to unearth my desk from the crud and papers. My main job this time around is almost certainly going to be keeping two small boys.

Everything is crossposted to DW and LJ until further notice. Post comments here or there. (Comments at DW: comment count unavailable)
This page was loaded May 29th 2016, 5:09 pm GMT.