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Friday, February 25, 2011

What Is It About Home?

I have all these ideas at work. Plans, really, about those last few precious hours of the day and what productive ways I will use them. Sometimes I make lists. I have one tonight. Writing this post is on it.
I get home, and the ideas, plans and lists melt away.

I'm home. I'm wrapped in my fluffy bathrobe, with the space heater pulled close and a cat or two in my lap, and it's so easy to turn on the TV and zone out to stupidity.

What happened to me? I've never been a model of activity, but ten years ago, I would be gardening (either in the yard or planning for when I would be in the yard). Or painting walls and rearranging furniture. Or sculpting  miniatures. Six years ago, I wrote a book. Five years ago, I built a screen door by myself. Made a little working model and everything. Three years ago, I started Elementals, and it took almost two years to finish.

I haven't seriously worked in my garden in two years. Do I blame it all on the weird neighbors and clouds of mosquitoes? I don't know.

I can't seem to get any traction on Past Ties. Am I written out?

I don't rearrange furniture anymore. I've finally gotten a configuration that allows the cats to walk the length of the house without touching the floor or knocking anything over. It took a while, and I don't want to risk it.

Even Farmville doesn't hold my attention like it did last year. Not that I'm tired of it or giving it up. It's just become so...cumbersome. All those things to move around on my giant farm.

TT: On second thought, I love my farm. We'll pretend I didn't write anything about it. hehe!

Is this age? Are my cumulative years weighing me down? Heavens, I hope not! Based on family history, I'm not even middle-aged.

Perhaps it's an excess of material things. Last weekend showed me how desperately my home needs a good cleaning out. My trash men will be busy in March. If I do what's on my list.

Is it the TV? Time does funny things when the TV is on. It's off at the moment, by the way. With only three channels, you'd think I wouldn't find something to watch. You'd be wrong. The DVD player works fine.

Maybe it's just being home. Being the place I love the best, where I don't have to do anything or be anybody other than me. And me seems to be a lazy slob.


Good thing I'm funny.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Odd Month

When I started February, it looked like a normal month. Open calendar, no commitments, plenty of time to do the normal.

Boy howdy, was I wrong!

Meetings sprang up like weeds in July. Phone calls poured in with friends in crisis and friends not in crisis. Invitations flooded my inbox and of course I had to attend because I'm practicing my under-developed social networking skills.

Meaning, almost none of the things I planned for February are anywhere near completion. I'm wandering around lost in the month and I can't see the end.

Well, actually, the end is a few days away. Terrifying!

Is this how normal people live? How on earth do they do it? I don't have the energy to do all these things and go all these places and interact with all these people and be nice about it. I don't think anybody does. Yet, unless you're an idiot savant, you're expected to do it.

I don't multi-task. I barely "task." Interrupt me and we'll both pay (but I'll make sure you pay more).

So February has been one, long interruption. Often pleasant interruptions involving delicious food, but interruptions nonetheless.

The lesson I take from this is to plan better at the beginning and expect to "make up the time" should life get in my way. Like a hiker lost in the woods, keep my eyes on my destination, not the surrounding wilderness.

That, and I'm taking some vacation days next month. I don't care if they need me at work. They'll get more of me than they want if I don't take some alone time. I'm peopled out.

Not with you, dear readers.

Well, not much.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who Is Listening?

Now that this blog gets published on FB, I'll admit I'm a little gun-shy about what I post. All the same insecurities experienced when I joined The New Authors' Fellowship are back.

However, they seem smaller. Perhaps, like public speaking, public writing is something to practice until it becomes second nature.

I'll find out.

Forgive today's short post, but I woke up late and already posted two other places. Besides, I need breakfast and I'm craving something barbecue. Not quite sure what I'm going to do about that. KC Masterpiece on oatmeal? I think not.

Keep New Zealand in your prayers. Pain is rampant in the world today, and I don't mean just yours.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Join the Club

We're all stressed. Me, my Friends both FB and writer if you believe their posts, my cats...

I had a nightmare last night. I don't have them often, for which I am grateful.

I dreamed I opened a cupboard and found a pile of half-dead pets I'd forgotten I owned. Not hard, since I've never owned a pile of hamsters, guinea pigs and two parrots. Why parrots would allow themselves to be forgotten in a cupboard is beyond me, but this was a nightmare.

TT: They were half-dead because I am a practitioner of lucid dreaming. I do not allow nightmares to become more scary than I can handle. Yes, I am a control freak even in my dreams. Yet another reason I am single. 

The meaning is clear. I went to bed with responsibilities unfulfilled and my subconscious called me on it. My schedule got rearranged without my consent, my routine was interrupted and things I should have done remained undone.

Were they huge things? No. The litter boxes will always need to be cleaned. Dishes can be washed in the morning as easily as the evening. Devotions are useless when I'm tired, right?

The result of pushing aside all these tasks was a restless night, a morning headache and a serious case of the grumpies I hope to shake by eating nacho Doritos (it seems to be working).

Why is it highs are followed by lows? Why is defeat lurking around every victory? Why is it so easy to see the darkness even when light was right there?

Fallen world, I guess.

I wish I were on the other side of this day, but I'm not.

God, help me to end better than I began. It shouldn't be hard. Amen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One More Step

Last night, I added Ranunculus Turtle the Blog to Networked Blogs. With some careful selection, I even managed to get confirmed as the author overnight. Many thanks to Friends and family who helped with that.

Attempting to increase readership here is one of those scary but necessary steps to publication. Platform-building and such.

TT: I looked at my stats. Talk about scary! 

Once again, as I jump into the fray of increased exposure (though by no means as broad as The New Authors' Fellowship), I must consider do I want to be me as a blogger or do I want to be good as a blogger? I would hope I can be both, but I fear I will be the first more than the second. I am always me, no matter how hard I fight against it. Anyway, this is my blog. I can be me all I want.

I don't have much to say this morning, but I wanted mostly to say "thank you for your support."

Oh, and "There's no substitute for good manners except fast reflexes."

I'll try to be more profound tomorrow. Don't know if I can pull it off on a Friday, but Thursday's giving me nothing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Balance. Again.

You would think a turtle is naturally balanced. Four legs firmly planted on the ground, weighted with that heavy shell and a head mostly condemned to point forward.

It's the head that gets me. I do point in one direction at a time.

But I have more directions in my life than one. Yes, even me. I have church, Tea Party activism, Farmville (I'm not giving it up so don't go there), my writing journey both in platform building and publication-seeking. And writing. Don't forget writing Past Ties. Critique groups. Books to read as part of my 2011 resolutions. A house in desperate need of vacuuming.

And the pets. The pets are always there, yelling at me.

When I get over-whelmed, and I have felt over-whelmed this past few weeks, I retreat. This is not a good thing or a bad thing. It's just a thing. 

I haven't read my Blogs I Follow in the last week. I haven't actively promoted anybody, including myself. I haven't read anything and my blogging schedule is suffering. Even Farmville wasn't enough of a retreat, so I found a new obsession to blank my mind and lead me out of reality.

Fill Zone.

Why did I ever go to Mindjolt? Cube Crash was bad enough, but at least I could walk away from it. Fill Zone won't let me go.

That's okay, though. I made it through yesterday without playing it at all. That's good. I will take it one day at a time without Fill Zone, and instead "fill" my life with the other real things that need doing. The new Bible study. The attempts to critique in the Sandbox once a week. The resumption of blogging. The continual attempts to monetize my website no matter how many times I fail.

Okay, too many things. Feeling over-whelmed. I'm gonna finish breakfast and go vacuum. Can't get more real than vacuuming.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fringe Rediscovered

Last year, the nieces asked me to change my "visitation" night. Wednesdays were becoming too hectic. Thursday was the only other viable night. The problem?

Fringe airs on Thursday, and the nieces don't watch it.

Yes, I know. All the Normals who read this just freaked out. Of course my real live flesh-and-blood nieces are more important than a TV show.

To you, maybe. To me, this was a real dilemma. I mean, Fringe could get canceled any time. The world is just too uncertain for TV shows nowadays.

*evil grin*

But I took the high road and gave up Fringe to see the nieces whom I love (completely forgetting the other monthly meetings I have on Thursdays which are less important than Fringe but apparently more important than the nieces because I've attended those meetings and subsequently seen the girls less than ever. Sigh).

Fringe moved to Fridays. Yea! you think. Not so. I've missed half a season. I won't have a clue what's going on, so no point even bothering to tune in. 

Anyway, I completely forgot about Hulu. Until last Friday. I couldn't begin at the beginning, which was irksome, but I could watch the five most recent episodes, which is way better than just the most recent episode.

I've missed Fringe so much! Those five episodes were so wonderfully creepy, so emotionally intense, so nail-bitingly suspenseful I forgot to check out who the writers were. It's either JJ Abrams himself or he finally promoted some good lackeys.

It helps that the cast are relatively good actors, but a sound script can make even William Shatner sound good. I hold up Star Trek season one as my proof. And Boston Legal season one, before it got too serious about itself.

TT: I love William Shatner, by the way. Aside from the Pinis and C.L.Dyck, he's my favorite Canadian. Oh, and Bill Murray. Hey, number four ain't nothing to sneeze at.

I'm back on my Fringe fix and so happy about it.

If only I could convert the nieces.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


The cats banished themselves to the basement last night (perhaps with angelic help), so I feel somewhat rested this morning. Until I get that mouthpiece adjustment later this month, I'm sleeping with several stacks of pillows to give my neck a rest. Unfortunately, it's leading to back pain. Sigh. I can't win for losing.

Instead of working on Past Ties last night, I spent some time in the Sandbox.

One of this year's resolutions is to spend critique time on someone else's stuff at least once a month. I'm very green at critiquing others (shocking, isn't it, considering how critical I am) and I need to practice. "Honesty with grace" is my goal. I'll settle for "useful."

A Sandboxer asked for help with a character's emotional issues. Feeling somewhat qualified to comment on that (since I have so very many of my own), I did. I hope it helps.

The Sandbox is an odd, wonderful mix of folks. Frankly, I feel like an ant among giants. It's a bit like the bazaar on Deva. Some of them are unpublished, some are professional writers. Some are jacks-of-all-trades. We've got people experienced in metallurgy, binary programming, Renaissance sword smithing and sword-fighting, sharp-shooters... Actually, that may be the same person, as I think about it.

It's a bit over-whelming. Yes, it's a fount of potential knowledge, but it freaks me out, too. I have to approach as the most naked of newbies. That's never comfortable.

Fortunately, they're also nice. 

The sheer variety of stories is over-whelming, too. My reading preference is definitely fantasy, but I'm the minority in the Sandbox. That isn't too odd considering Sandboxers are also Anomaliens. I noticed this difference during the MLS contest. Even in the fringe group, I'm on the fringe.

TT: Actually, I think I'm the bonnet-and-buggy crowd of the spec-fic world. My tastes are just too normal. That's okay.

We've had lots of speculative historical fiction come up and I shy away from those. Don't know why. Most of them include sci-fi crossover, which I love. I can't possibly crit everything that comes up (which may be a social faux pas). That's part of the reason I haven't critted much at all. Some of the stories are too far out of my interest range. I'll have to find a way to deal with that.

So Tayra and Gavran's issues must percolate in my subconscious one more night. That's okay. I'm writing down scenes as they come to me at the moment, hoping to lay some stepping stones on my path to completion. I'm getting there.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


My schedule is messed up.

I need a mouthpiece adjustment, and until I get it, I'm not sleeping well. This means I don't pop out of bed as usual, so my morning gets rearranged. I'm tired and prone to cranky because of it. Add mask-cutting and short-crop Nacho Mastery into the mix, and I don't post.

Nachos are Mastered as of yesterday, and masks are cut as of this morning, so that's good. One less thing. 

I have been writing, though. Bits and pieces of Past Ties, mostly scene snippets to come. But that's okay. With each snippet, the story seems to coalesce.

So, my apologies for the sporadic posts. Once I get my adjustment, and some sleep, I should be back on track.

We'll just have to struggle through until then.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sean Connery

Two posts in one day? Yeah, well, I didn't get around to posting the NAF link yesterday, so today you get two posts. I'm not promising anything spectacular with this one. Just a random thought on a Friday.

I was thinking about Sean Connery. I do that sometimes.

What an odd career.

He's had successes. James Bond. Highlander. Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Yes, I count that as a success. The Presidio. Hunt for Red October. His cameo in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (undoubtedly the best part of the entire movie).

And then he's had his not-so-successes. Highlander 2 (don't get me started). Dragonheart (what a waste of a great idea). The Avengers. Yes, it was a quirky TV show, but, really? That's your script?

I'm going to put The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen into the neutral column. I loved the idea, but again the execution could have been better. Zardoz might fit here, too. I like it, but it's more of a cult classic than a great movie.

Then again, even his not-so-successes work because I'll go see a movie if he's in it. I love the man. I love to listen to him. "What do you want me to do? Kill him again?"

But he has had an odd career. In a special features interview -for The Avengers, I think- he admits he doesn't know what a good script is. He thinks most of them are stupid and trusts to his agent to steer him the right way.  I wonder how many agents he's fired.

TT: I get the impression he's a typical Welshman, that one. Don't know if I'd like him in real life, but at least I'd know where I stood.

I suppose the life lesson I take from him is to keep going. Sometimes you'll hit it, sometimes you'll miss, but hopefully your hits will outnumber your misses.

And to cultivate a great accent. That's a must. Hey, it's what makes Christopher Walken, right?


I couldn't make the time to get this up yesterday so here it is now.

The New Authors' Fellowship.

We all need a little therapy. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where Is My Head?

I was so focused on shoveling snow this morning, I completely forgot to post. I don't know whether that's happened to me before. I don't think it's a good thing.

I'm trying to find a pic of a psychiatrist's couch for my NAF post, and I can't. Are couches going the way of the dodo? Maybe if I looked up dodos, I'd find one on a couch. 

While talking on the phone last night (something I've been doing instead of writing lately), I think I figured out the ending for Dangling Participles.

Wait a minute, Turtle. You're not working on Dangling Participles.

That's true, but it is closely linked to Past Ties, and I hadn't decided on an ending for either, so this feels like a big step. Maybe even a dramatic step.

See, Dangling Participles is like one of those TV show moments where the cast splits up for an episode and part of them goes one way to do something amazing while the other part goes another way except the stuff they do takes too long to make just one episode, so it becomes its own episode and if you watch it out of order, you still enjoy it, but it doesn't make as much sense as when you watch it in sequence.

TT: That may be my longest sentence ever for this blog. Read it slowly. The meaning is there.

Therefore, knowing how Dangling Participles ends significantly impacts how Past Ties will end.

Yeah, I don't get it, either, but it felt big.

For the record, I was talking about writing on the phone, not ignoring the other person while I thought about writing so it's okay for me to have worked this out during the conversation.

Otherwise I'd be a big selfish loser.

This post is all over the place. I don't know where my head is today.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blizzards and Fur Coats

After last night, I am no longer the human of six cats. I am the human of one cat and five potential fur coats.

I haven't decided which cat gets to continue breathing.

They were all unbearable last night.

They took turns, of course. It started at 1:11 AM. Is there some cosmic significance to that number? I don't know. I don't care. I only care that some kind of cat-tag started and continued every hour on the hour until I finally stopped pretending to sleep about 4 AM.

Oh, I got up each time and tried to find the players, but they were too clever. They found places to hide in plain sight. Curled up in chairs and boxes, blinking at me with a "what are you doing up, mom?" even though at least two of them had to be involved. 

And the cats who weren't playing tag where either yelling at me or harassing the dog. For once, the dog got involved. My unflappable Sweetie got flapped by all the commotion and snarled and snapped on more than one occasion. She even jumped on the bed sometime between 3 and 4, I assume because at that point it felt more like a Sunday afternoon than a Tuesday early, early morning.

Should I have figured out what was happening and shut them in the basement immediately?

But my brain doesn't work in the dark. By the time I realized this was a chronic incident, it was too late - or too early - to make any difference. Plus, I couldn't catch the little bastages.

So here I am, bleary-eyed and seething, with a sleeping cat who refuses to leave my lap no matter how many times I stand up and/or move her, surrounded by other furballs who get to laze the day away while I must brave the coming blizzard to earn the money to feed the little creeps who keep me up all night.

It's no wonder I look exhausted in all my recent photos.

Since this particular brand of nocturnal craziness has not happened in recent memory, I choose to believe the coming storm set them off. God willing, once it passes, we'll all be back to normal, or what passes for normal in this house.

Until then, they will be in the basement. Otherwise, momma may snap and make herself a new fur coat.

Why not? I'll be up.