Monday, August 1, 2022

The Sweat Sock of the Summer

Well, July was one slimy, stinky sweat sock of a month around here. Any progress made - on the miles challenges, on writing, on you-name-it – is pretty much gone. 

 

Thankfully, it was – for us, anyway – mostly first world problems, everything from minor health issues to my beloved coffeemaker of 10 years brewing its last cup. It was more that the problems just happened to arrive all at once, like a gaggle of unexpected guests, flinging their luggage everywhere, taking up all the space, all the air.   

 

So, August has to be better, right? Right! At the very least, it will be caffeinated. 



WATCHING – 

TV – "The Old Man" on FX/Hulu – it's a little slow, but the acting is excellent!

 

MOVIES - We re-watch JAWS every July 4thand always love it. We also re-watched and enjoyed GOONIES and STAND BY ME. 

 

 

READING – 

THE PATIENT'S SECRET by Loreth Anne White – dark and twisty!


LISTEN TO ME (Rizzoli and Isles, #13) by Tess Gerritsen – I've missed this series!


A RIP THROUGH TIME (A Rip Through Time, #1) by Kelley Armstrong – the beginning of a time travel mystery series I look forward to continuing! 

 

*****

 

How was your July? What do you do for coffee? Do you have any recommendations for coffeemakers, that kind of thing? Read or watched anything good lately? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Melting

So far, my summer of getting stuff done is going . . . okay. The biggest issue for me is lack of oomph. I'm not sure if it's my meandering mind, my foggy focus or the Florida summer heat. I am convinced, though, that I'm not sweating but melting, like a giant scoop of gelato. (Hey, I'm half Italian!)

 


WRITING – 

I'm struggling with the novel/novella. It's starting to sprawl, and I'm having trouble remembering everything. Apparently, my brain forgot how to hold more than one idea inside it. It's been a long time since I wrote anything longer than flash fiction so maybe that muscle is as flabby as the rest of me. I'm determined to keep at it though. I believe in it! 

 

I revised and subbed one story. Of course, it wasn't the story or the market I was aiming for, but I'll take it.


 

READING - 

I recently enjoyed two YA mystery/thrillers: QUEEN OF THE TILES by Hanna Alkaf (Scrabble tournament! Set in Malaysia!) and THIS GOLDEN STATE by Marit Weisenberg (A family on the run! A home DNA test!)

 

And I loved Chris Bohjalian's historical fiction/thriller, THE LIONESS (1960s Hollywood and an African safari!) 


 

WALKING – 

Even though we're behind on the miles challenges, we're keeping at it. I, apparently, need some sort of goal to even get up off the couch so quitting is not an option.  

 

Stats as of 6/30/2022 = 

124.2/202.2 miles (walking only)

0/100 miles

0/100 miles

 


I think I'm just going to apply – and repeat! – the tortoises' favorite mantra to everything this summer - slow and steady, slow and steady….


 

*****

 

How's your summer going? If you were a frozen treat, what would you be? Have you read anything good lately? Do you have a mantra, for the summer or in general? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Summer of Getting Stuff Done

For a lot of people, summer is about having fun, relaxing and traveling. For me, this summer is about putting my head down and keeping it down. I really need to focus. Need to. Want to. Have to. My emotional, mental, physical health demands it. My writing demands it. My home and weird . . . uh, unique . . .  little family demands it. (Mrs. Larry does not care for the word "weird" in reference to her, thank you very much.

 

Some of what I plan to accomplish:

 

* Get at least one draft of my novella done.


* Write and submit at least two stories to markets.


* Finish the 202.2 miles challenge. Maybe start one of the 100 miles challenges.


* Do some cleaning up, de-cluttering and organizing inside and outside the house.

 

I will have some fun, including lots of reading, TV show binge-watching and movie marathon-ing.

 

In the recent free version of Austin Kleon's newsletter, he mentions some advice by poet Jane Kenyon that explains exactly what my hope is for the summer – 

 

"Be a good steward of your gifts. 

Protect your time. 

Feed your inner life. 

Avoid too much noise. 

Read good books, 

have good sentences in your ears. 

Be yourself as often as you can. 

Walk. 

Take the phone off the hook. 

Work regular hours."


*****

 

Do you have any fun summer plans? Any "productive" projects? Looking forward to any summer books, TV shows, movies?

Monday, May 2, 2022

What Silence Stirs

Last month, I mentioned trying to be more aware of when I spoke and of what I said, hoping to put less "noise" out into the world. 

 

It stirred up a memory from childhood when I was told my quiet, shy personality could possibly come across to other kids as me being "stuck-up." As an adult, I worry that those same personality traits – in addition to my now trying to not blather on for no reason - are making me seem aloof or uninterested. 

 

This whole experiment also reminded me of how much I crave quiet, both outside of myself in terms of sound and hoopla, and inside of myself in terms of drama and turmoil. It almost feels like within the quiet is the only way my brain, my body, my heart can breathe anymore.  


 

WRITING –

A novella/novel is slowly coming together. It's still in the notes stage but those notes are starting to form a big messy pile so, you know, progress. 

 


WATCHING – 

TV – We really enjoyed the first season of Abbott Elementary (cute and funny!). We just started The Queen's Gambit (intriguing!) and Better Call Saul (my husband laughed so hard at a line from the first episode he about fell off the couch.) 

 


READING - 

I've recently read a number of enjoyable mystery/suspense novels – my go-to genre! - but sometimes I like to switch it up. I just finished Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang, an historical/literary fiction novel that begins in the 1880s, in China, and takes the reader on a journey that won't soon be forgotten. 


 

TORTOISES – 

Whenever we take the tortoises out on the patio, Mrs. Larry enjoys sitting under the grill. There are other places to sit with better views, but Mrs. Larry is her own tortoise. 

 

The other day, the tortoises discovered the grill actually moves. So, under Mrs. Larry's direction, Larry "the muscle" slid the grill a little this way, a little that way, until Mrs. Larry was satisfied with the new location. And, as we all know around our house, if Mrs. Larry is happy then we're all happy.


 

*****


What's your impression when you meet someone who's quiet? What do you need to "breathe"? Watched any of those TV shows? Have a go-to genre for reading? Think we should let Mrs. Larry be in charge of all things decorating and design at our place? 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Wait, What?

This month, I'm trying something new: I'm paying more attention when I speak. There's already so much "noise" in the world, I don't want to contribute to it if I can help it. So I am applying an acronym I read about over on Austin Kleon's blog

 

WAIT = Why Am I Talking?   

 

I hope it'll help me be more thoughtful, not only with my words but also in general. (My husband and the tortoises hope it means it will be a lot quieter around our house.


 

WRITING – 

My flash fiction story made the finals of a contest, tied for second place, but ultimately did not make the top three. I was happy to see, though, the positive comments, the chunk of "likes" and votes it received. I think I achieved my big, overarching goal of entertaining readers. 



WATCHING – 

Movies – I really enjoyed the creepy and unsettling Superhost. (It just totally confirmed every travel-phobic issue I have, thank you very much.) The actress, Gracie Gillam, playing Rebecca was amazing! 

 

We also re-watched Sing, which was just as good the second time around. Then we watched Sing 2 and that was fun, too. 


 

READING – 

For the first time in a very long time, I'm ahead in my Goodreads challenge = 16/52 books. I'm enjoying the more relaxed pace I set for myself.


 

WALKING – 

My husband and I were out walking when I totally surprised myself – and my husband! – by suggesting we do one of the virtual 5Ks we signed up for. (This is so not like me, I'm surprised my husband didn't look around for his real wife.) But it was early in the day, the weather was great, and I was feeling good, so we went with it. We walked, not ran, another 3.2 miles for our 202.2 Miles Challenge!

 

*****


What do you think of WAIT? Read or watched anything recently that you enjoyed? Have you surprised yourself and/or others lately? 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Pasta or Progress?

I can't tell which has more holes in it – my attention span or the colander I use to drain pasta. Yum . . . pasta. Smothered in sauce, topped with cheese. Maybe some ravioli. No wait, baked ziti. And garlic bread. And . . . oh. 

 

See what I mean?

 

WRITING - 

I rearranged my office furniture in an effort to minimize distractions. So now a blank wall stares back at me every time I look over the top of my computer. This might actually be working because I wrote and subbed a flash fiction story for a contest, and I started making notes on a novella. 

 

WALKING – 

I mentioned back in January that my husband and I signed up for two virtual challenges, 100 miles each. Well, we also signed up for a third one – 202.2 miles. (Don't even ask me how this happened. I'm pretty sure my husband distracted me with cake.)


Stats so far = 

43/202.2 miles (walking only)

0/100 miles

0/100 miles

 

WATCHING – 

Movie – SCREAM (2022] aka SCREAM, "The Requel", was a fun romp down memory lane, and it made me want to re-watch the old SCREAM movies again, at least the first one.


READING - 

I'm in the middle of Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea – enjoying it so far!


*****

 

What creative project - writing or otherwise - are you working on? What do you do for exercise/fitness? Have you read or watched anything lately you enjoyed? 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Year is Young

Even though I have managed to stall out already, I am not giving up. The year is young – even if I am not – so I am revving up and getting going! 


WRITING 

I'm focusing more on writing-related work lately. Yes, some of that is pure procrastination, but it's also because I have a couple of ideas simmering on my brain's back burner that are not ready to be served yet. 


I'm cleaning up some around the blog. Since Blogger is less user-friendly than it used to be, I'm streamlining things a bit. I want to keep it easy for readers to navigate and for me to update. 

 

WATCHING – 

TV – Downton Abbey was a huge hit around here, and now we're watching Longmire. (Yes, I know we are waaaaay behind the times. Trendsetters we are not.) 

 

Movie – See for Me was better than I expected. A solid thriller with a couple of nice twists.

  

READING – 

I really enjoyed These Silent Woods by Kimi Grant Cunningham. It was a little slow going for me in the beginning, but I absolutely loved the last chunk of the story.

 

*****

 

How's your year going so far? Have you stalled a bit or are you revving right through? Are you happy with your blog/website and/or its host? Have you read or watched anything you'd recommend?