Looking Forward

We have passed the solstice and soon we’ll have longer days. The change of longer nights to shorter seems to be a good place to change outlooks on things, be more positive. Overall, I try to be positive. I tell people I’m an “optimistic realist” and “shit happens.”

With the end of the year looming closer, I’m hopeful that the stress that everyone’s been through eases up.

Last night, when I got home, Jamie had decided it would be the perfect time to have a Baking Night. He had bought a 60-count box of eggs and the extra flour and pumpkin needed to make pumpkin bread earlier in the day and then remembered that I had pumpkin cupcake mix somewhere in the pantry. He pulled out all the boxes of brownie mix and cupcake mix that I had squirreled away (along with my two boxes of cookie mix that we ended up nixing at the end of the night). At some point, he had either purchased or found a few little cans of condensed milk so we added fudge to the mix.

In the end, we made: 4 types of brownies (regular/fudge, turtle, peanut butter, and walnut), 4 types of cupcake (2 girl scout ones: somoa and thin mint, pumpkin, and apple cider), 2 types of fudge (classic chocolate and peppermint, so finally I got those peppermint chips out of the cabinet), preacher cookies (3 cookie sheets worth), and pumpkin bread–enough pumpkin bread to make 3 loaves, 1 regular bundt-pan shaped loaf, and 6 mini-bundt shaped loaves (because I have a mini bundt pan! it is awesome!)

So much pumpkin bread.

We have 1 sheet of eggs left (so 20 eggs left out of the box). We made enough stuff to load 2 of our grocery totes with various sized tupperware containers to shove off on Fred when he came down and enough to take with us to Rhonda’s. I also have enough left over to shove a bunch on mom when I see her and to snack on myself when it’s all said and done.

Somehow, though, Jamie and I managed to come home from Rhonda’s with more food than we left with. lol. Well, it works for me since it means we don’t have to cook tomorrow (and mac-n-cheese! woohoo!)

It’s a good way to continue the beginning stages of looking forward to the upcoming year and working on trying to let go of the stressors of this past year. Our fridge is now stuffed and since we picked up some meats before I went into work yesterday, our fridge-freezer is just as jam-packed as our chest freezer in the basement, so all we’ll have to do is buy produce and soda for a while.

Carrot did manage to squeeze himself in the hole in the basement wall to lay on top of the pipes that connect the water heater to the plumbing. Jamie thought we had lost him, but I got him out and we’re attempting to fix the hole since we’re giving the cats free reign of the basement while we work with the dogs (which immediately went downhill when Dunk realized there was a little orange thing he could chase. sigh. Carrot’s fine)

Yarn hoarder

Jamie and I are working on re-arranging and “cleaning” the craft room.

Part of re-arranging the craft room was to take out the cat food and cat litter totes out of the closet and put them in the pantry, which meant that while I was sweeping and moving stuff around, Jamie had to pull out the little wooden shelf-thing from the pantry. It works out because now I have the wooden shelf-thing in the craft room and it is…stuffed with notebooks.

Jamie bought this reinforced basket hangy thing to put in the closet and shoved about a tote’s worth of yarn into the sections, and then realized I have way more yarn than that. So I have 3 totes of yarn in the basement, 1 tote of yarn (and hooks, needles, etc) in the bedroom, and I found skeins of yarn shoved up in other places (whoops).

Hi, I’m Manders and I have a problem. I have a lot of yarn.

I also have a lot of notebooks.

I’m not done with the craft room just yet. I have a few more things to do, rearranging things and putting supplies where I want them, and probably annoying the cats by moving them around when they’re in my way. Beric has learned that where I’ve put one of the shelves is the best place to catch some sun.

The end goal is to take the craft room back from the cats for the short amount of time that I can take it from the cats before we bring in the grow-lights and shelves for the indoor-growing portion of gardening.

A fine way to procrastinate

I’m procrastinating. I have a warm, rumbly Uggs on my lap, and I will use it to my advantage…of procrastination. ha.

+ It’s been a few days since I did something to a back muscle and it still hurts. All I’ve found is: you can use a heating pad to help loosen it, if it’s tight (which it’s not), you can ice it (which I won’t), and don’t try to stretch it because you’ll only make it worse (awesome).

But, on the plus side, I can, with a few extra seconds, bring my arm up. I still can’t bring it out without being really uncomfortable, but at least I’m making progress.

+ With an injured shoulder/back, I am fairly useless at work. This hasn’t stopped anyone from fully expecting me to do all the heavy lifting for my department. I got…pseudo chewed out as my manager was leaving to help a woman with a brace on her arm. I’m fairly sure I told my manager I couldn’t do much and carrying things weird is usually a sign of injury, but I had to get one of my minions to help the customer because I am not going to be picking up anything heavier than a cup.

Why couldn’t it have been my left arm? This would’ve made things a tad easier.

+ The other night I had this weird dream after Jamie left for work.

I had woken up enough to roll over and notice that it was still dark outside. I thought I had noticed someone sitting in the computer chair, shoved up against the window, and realized that someone was talking to me. It was our neighbor, who had somehow gotten into the house, and she was talking to me about various things. I wasn’t paying attention, I was only partially awake. I grumbled, realized it was a dream, and attempted to ignore the crazy. I heard her get up and say “You really do should learn to lock your window” before leaving.

I woke up into another dream of still laying in bed, but having someone standing over me as I slept. My initial reaction was “fuck this” and pretending to sleep. I twitched and woke up to light coming in through the window behind the dresser and my first thought was:

My dreams/life is turning into part of an episode of NoSleep.

And the realization that, while our neighbor is partially weird and slightly unhinged, I highly doubt she’d attempt to break into our house through one of the windows (especially since everything’s got a working lock)

+ Yesterday, I heard the dogs barking, but didn’t think anything of it. Our newer neighbor walks his dog through the neighborhood multiple times a day, so I thought it was him walking his dog (Firefly always barks) or someone walking through the neighborhood. I didn’t think much of it.

Jamie texted me to say that he was almost home, so I went to the front door and looked out because sometimes when I get that text he’s coming down the street. No Jamie, but there was a box on the front porch. I brought it inside and realized it was a box of yarn.

I texted a friend of ours if she dropped it off, and as soon as I hit send her mom sent me a text saying that she dropped off the box of yarn. Ha! Surprise!Yarn for me! It was hilarious.

As I came back into the livingroom, the box was turned over and two of the cats were already attempting to claim the box. I flipped the box over, Carrot immediately jumped in, and I ended up having to toss the yarn in around him.

I sent a photo to our friend of Carrot covered in skeins of yarn, which cracked her up.

I used to be smart

I have spent the past hour looking up bits of history that I should already know.  I used to know all kinds of weird little tidbits about Bolsheviks, Leninism, Marxism, and the…sheer utter lunacy of Stalin’s reign of terror, including the name of the guy who portrayed him in all those fantastical films (Mikheil Gelovani).

I used to know these things. I used to get into arguments with history teachers over Leninism. I remember that part, but fuck if I can remember anything when I need to use my knowledge for writing things. Even going through to to make sure that what I remember is the correct bit of history, I find myself going through the rabbit hole of the internet looking up stuff as if I’d never been taught it (or even taught a bastardized version of it).

The reasoning I’m looking up bits of Russian history is for research for a story that I only intend to make references to. The whole thing is intended to be a paragraph or two, not the whole basis of the story itself.

I don’t even know if most of what I’m double checking and researching is going to be in the story itself.

It’s weird doing research for a story. I’ve got some bits and peices written down for this particular story, but my story teller references various historical aspects and I need to make sure I get my facts straight.

A little bit broken

The weather’s getting colder, some days the wind picks up, and now we’re in the time frame where we get rain fairly frequently. This means that everything hurts (yay arthritis) and joint excersies are definitely needed.

A coworker asked me how do you know you have arthritis. I’m not sure if he was genuinely curious or, I don’t know, dreading the answers I’d give. I gave him some basic information: joint pain, join stiffness, paaaaaiiiiin.

I realized that I should update the “Things I Listen To” page because I hadn’t posted The Blood Crow Stories nor Victoria’s Lift. So, I have added 8 more links (from The Deep Vault to Mabel) to the podcast list.

I had thought about going on Archive.org and Librivox and posting some links to things on there. Archive.org has One Among the Sleepless by Mike Bennett as well as numerous episodes of Superman (radio program) and The Shadow (squee). Librivox has numerous people working towards narrating public-domain works (Morgan Scorpion and Smokestack Jones do really great antiquarian narrations). MR James’ Ghosts of an Antiquary is on here and it’s really cool. There’s thousands of works you can find on Librivox.

I’ve been slowly making my way through The Future of Horror. Some of it’s sad, some of it’s creepy, and most of it is just at the point where I feel like I will never finish this book. Sure, it’s an anthology and I can always come back to it, but I’m also kind of tempted to just keep at it

Just Delicious

Short story, flash fiction (possibly, word count says it’s 246 words), and as usual a first draft. I wouldn’t consider it a second draft because all I did was type up what I wrote in my notebook.

I like it, it’s got a good oomph.


 

Just Delicious

“Dinner was a great idea.”

A fork scraped against the bottom of the bowl she held. Light music filtered through the room as she looked around the candle-lit kitchen.

She nodded, “Y’know, I think you were right. Salt makes it weird.”

She got up, bowl in hand, and walked to a cabinet by the sink. “Should I go for just regular pepper or the Old Bay seasoning?”

Looking over towards her companion, she realized his mouth was full and couldn’t answer her. She paused for a moment before grabbing the bright yellow tin of Old Bay seasoning, sprinkled a bit into her bowl, did a quick stir with her fork, and took a tentative bite.

She nodded, “Old Bay seems to be the best flavoring.”

Sitting back down, she set the tin beside her companion’s nearly empty bowl. “You should try it. Gives the dish a whole new zing.”

A wheezing grunt came from her dinner mate in a response as she grabbed for the serving spoon. She smiled warmly at him.

“You’re drooling a bit,” she grabbed a napkin to dab at the corner of his gagged mouth.

She re-positioned his fingers so they had a better hold of his chin.

“Now now, we don’t want dinner to spill onto the floor.”

His eyes blinked slowly, not really focusing on anything. She dabbed at a line of blood on his forehead before setting the napkin on the plate that held a chunk of his skull.


 

+ Word says “repositioned” is a correct word, however, wordpress says that it should be “re-positioned.” Strange.

+ I’m totally keeping the working title (“Just Delicious”) because it cracks me up and reminds me of the Alvin Schwartz retellings. But, instead of Just Delicious being about a butcher and his sausages, it’s just a fucked up little story about a woman and her dinner companion.

+ Old Bay seasoning is awesome on popcorn.