Fortifying Friday – Routine

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I’ve been struggling with routine for a while now and I think I’ve actually been fighting the routine that is ingrained in me from nearly two decades of traditional work. One would think I would be quicker at getting my writing projects done given the extra time I have during the day, but something in me says writing is to be done in the evening or on the weekend.

Most of my jobs have been the 9-5 variety, so I think I’m fighting to change my routine to one that is mostly writing during the normal-for-me workday hours. Some days I can write just fine and others it’s like all my other tasks are coming first. Maybe I need to have one day of the week where I get errands and such done while things are open. That should probably be neither Monday nor Friday as there are many holiday Mondays and people are less attentive on Friday. Maybe Wednesday should be the errand day.

The week that the time change happens in is always the most screwed up for me. My brain and body are off kilter. Hopefully, next week is better in terms of productivity.

I suppose it IS March break for many, so maybe I shouldn’t feel bad for taking some time to relax. Over the past few years I’ve taken vacation days, but they haven’t really been time off. They have been used for attending writing conferences, martial arts seminars, home improvements, or some other career related thing. I haven’t had a day where I just game all day or just read all day in a very long time. And I think we all need those days.

Especially those of us with anxiety whose minds are constantly running. We need to engage with something that forces our minds to shut up about all the things we CAN’T do anything about, so our subconscious can work on the things we CAN do something about.

Something I’m trying to figure out is how to finish my homemade soft guitar case. It’s the piece that involves the zipper that currently has me scared. I have the top and bottom complete. I basically laid my guitar out and made a pattern then transferred that six times to make the outer durable side and the inner soft liner, as well as, the quilty fluff part that is the sandwich meat. The side is mostly done except for the piece that goes near the bottom for the zipper. Also, I’ll need to make a strap. Maybe I should affix the strap before connecting the side to either the top or bottom.

Yes, I sew much like how I write. It’s *somewhat* planned but mostly pantsed…

Sewing will become a regular part of my routine soon. More on that another day.

Anyway, I have a story to edit and a whole lot of other things to do.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day for those who are celebrating. I’m Scottish so I prefer Robbie Burns Day 😉

Have a fantastic weekend!

Salut,
R~

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Merry Monday – Socially Spent

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?

For an introvert, the holidays are extra exhausting. I had three parties over a two-day period. I enjoyed myself, but I was happy to have a warm bath and curl up on the couch with a remote to begin recharging.

It might surprise some people that I’m an introvert. According to the Myers Briggs personality test, I’m INTP and 33% extroverted. That little bit of extroversion is how I survive the holidays, conferences, and seminars. 

Saturday was the annual dojo sushi dinner. Tasty sushi and sake met good conversation. 

Sunday started with another dojo event involving cutting mats with a katana. Next, it was off to a party with other writers where I met an older British woman and had a fabulous conversation about literature. She was also not a fan of Hemingway. We also talked about how you need to read some trashy stuff now and then. Something to read when you’re exhausted or as a palate cleanser. For her that means mystery novels. For me it means mainstreaming.

I was happy to get home when it was done. My Uber driver barely spoke, which was exactly what I needed in that moment. He was rated well.

Tonight, I have gotten a good chunk of my filing done. I’ve also begun making a guitar case out of materials I had on hand. I need edging and a zipper to finish it and perhaps a strap. Since my guitar is smaller, it’s hard to find a hard case anyway. Besides, I’m strapped for cash, so the less I have to spend, the better. Plus, it uses up some stuff that’s lying around my place and thus helps me clean up 🙂

I’ve enjoyed hermitting today. With my library writing group on hold and French off until mid January, I’ve had no reason to go out. Oh, I should be sure to register for level 3…

Anyway, I haven’t had supper yet, so I should probably do that.

Ciao,

R~

Funky Friday: Publishing, bullets, and more

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

Here’s what I found around the web this week.

  1. Nostalgic: What do you get when you combine Rainbow Brite and The X-Men? This. So adorable!
  2. Proud: I have published a short story on Amazon and Smashwords this week! Check my Shorts page for the details.
  3. Hopeful: Service animals are wonderful. Read about Luke and his dog Jedi. I love the Star Wars hat tip!
  4. Shocked: There was a big cocaine bust in Ontario this week. A man from Ottawa and his mother are among those charged. This is not the first time the woman is making headlines though. Apparently her daughter has been missing since 2012.
  5. Scared: There was a shooting near my home. It seems the year I bought my condo was quiet. Thankfully I wasn’t in the area at the time, but last year there were several stabbings. Apparently he was a criminal.
  6. Happy: I got some good news this week! My physiotherapist said there’s no reason to come regularly now and just to make an appointment as necessary. I’ve struggled with terrible posture for years. When I started roller derby several years ago, I often skated with my head down and back hunched over. It was awful. By the end of the only season I did roller derby, I was much more upright, but I had suffered a whiplash like injury from hitting someone much larger than I. I did a lot of chiropractic work at the start, then heavy active physio, and now I’m doing more passive things. Yoga is on the list to start doing regularly.
  7. Confused: Need to get a TIN from the IRS. If you think Canadian taxes are confusing…
  8. Excited: I bought my tickets for Ottawa Comiccon 2016! As always, there’s a whole lot of cool things happening 🙂
  9. Surprised: I’m surprised only because I thought of substance more broadly and thought sugar would be on the list of the most addictive substances. I’m also surprised that alcohol is higher than cocaine.
  10. Inspired: It was International Women’s Day on Tuesday. There were many inspirational posts and people talked about. Quite a few of the Harry Potter ladies are on the list. In the Ottawa area there were several Femmy Award winners. Here are some inspirational quotes by strong women.
  11. Enchanted: I watched My Neighbor Totoro this week. Cat Bus! I love Miyazaki’s stories. I’ve only seen three, but all three have featured a theme of protecting or connecting with nature. They also have this tenderness that I like. So far my favourite is Spirited Away. My second favourite is Princess Mononoke.
  12. Dread-filled: The “spring Ahead” time change. My annual nemesis returns this weekend. I’m happy that winter is ending, but sleep is precioussss…
  13. Accomplished: I finished sewing a fabric rug for my living room. It feels more comfy at home now.
  14. Blaze: Apparently Splenda is probably bad for you. Is anyone shocked by this revelation? I know I’m not.
  15. Delighted: Disturb’s rendition of “The Sound of Silence” is phenomenal.
  16. Tired: Been dragging my butt every morning this week. I have a theory it has to do with staying up to read the Illustrated Harry Potter…
  17. Intrigued: Apparently Alzheimer’s might be caused by STI bacteria. Something you might not want to think about in regards to certain relatives…
  18. Puzzled: WTF is going on in Cross Lake, Manitoba? What do so many want to end their lives???
  19. WTF: A crab shack has racist decor on the tables. How does stuff like this even happen? Does anyone do quality control these days? Have we learned nothing in the last 100 or so years???
  20. Meh: The first families of Canada and the US had dinner together. That’s nice.

Well I’m off to read more Harry Potter.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Cashflow

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

I’m a little short on cash this week, but I’m mostly cool with it. I paid more of my credit card debt off than perhaps I should have last pay. In the end, it’ll work out. I can eat and pay all my major bills with only hydro being late. It’s slightly uncomfortable, but I really only have to get through tomorrow before it’s pay day.

My ISBN account was activated on Friday, so I’ll be working on getting a short story up this week. It is a horror piece from that slightly dark and twisty place inside of me. Of course Amazon and the other places like Kobo will take their cut, so I don’t expect that to help my cashflow much.

It’s a year where I’m having to budget pretty finely to ensure I can pay for the writing conferences and iaido seminars that lay ahead. I’m a little upset at myself as I somehow got sidetracked. I won’t beat myself up about it though. We all do it and it could be a lot worse.

Somehow I have to figure out getting money together for a crown on a tooth I had a root canal on. I may not be able to get any tattoo work done this year. With my extra dry mouth it’s extra important to take care of it. I really want to start that Harry Potter tattoo, but it may have to wait.

Winning the lottery would really help, but as that’s unlikely to happen I’ll just reduce my spending.

Growing some of my own food this summer should reduce some costs if they are successful. I have lettuce, kale, strawberries, peas, scallions, basil, dill, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cayenne peppers to plant. I’m really looking forward to the mild temperatures ahead this week.

Weekend Recap

I didn’t make it through the full skating time on Friday, but I had a good time anyway. I’m hoping to learn some jam skating. Though it had been over a year since I last had my roller skates on, I didn’t fall even when I did some clumsy transitions.

Saturday was extremely busy.

At sewing class in the morning, I made a pocket that hangs off my iaido belt for holding a small water bottle. The teacher was very helpful. I think I need to alter the pattern to make the opening line up with the one on my fancy pants (hakama).

Next, I drove to the other dojo in town, hurriedly choked down some food, and did 3 hours of iaido, which is double the longest time we normally practice. A slight change to my foot position in Ippon-me Mae, our most important and foundational kata, has made a huge difference. I’m sure my sensei has been telling me the same thing, but having someone else say it differently and force me into a position, seems to have made it sink in. This kata is the most important one of all because there are many similar ones. I’ve heard in Japan it’s common to make you do this one and only this one until you get it right. It’s a horizontal cut to the opponent’s eyes or forehead followed by a cut down the centerline. We do at least 10 different flavours of it where the distance may be closer or maybe we missed one or both of the cuts and have to chase the opponent and/or block or we’re facing a different direction.This discovery has me wondering if that’s the secret to a whole other set of kata I struggle with.

Saturday iaido was followed by a café visit to talk about upcoming seminars. Next, a birthday party for a newer friend. She had banned presents, so I brought my illustrated Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone for her to peruse. I couldn’t stay long as I had to drive out to Rockland for the season opener of roller derby. It was a double header where two Ottawa leagues were going head to head. There’s been quite a lot of rivalry between the two over the years, so I knew I had to see it. The first derby bout was a slaughter by 300 points in favour of Rideau Valley. Rideau Valley also one the second, but the game was close much of the time and the win was only by 44 points. I much preferred the second game.

Sunday I waited a long time to get my monthly B12 shot before finally going to see Deadpool, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was vulgar & action-filled, had a love story & gratuitous sex, and it was hilarious from the opening credits throughout.

Off to read Harry Potter before catching some Zs.

Ciao,
R~

A Full Plate

Life got extra busy last week.

I procured a Post Office Box, so I can get ISBNs without providing my home address. I felt it best to ensure I never have people showing up on my doorstep uninvited and I doubt I will live there forever anyway.

I requested 10 ISBNs to get rolling on putting up short stories on Amazon and Smashwords. Waiting to hear on those.

I’m working on a short story for an anthology one of my writing groups is putting together. It’s a solar punk tale.

I’m making substantial changes to The Page & The Magician. At one point her powers came from her spirituality, now they will come from her connection to nature. Now I need to figure out what to have her do to find her animal form rather than a vision quest. Perhaps a nature hike of some sort. Perhaps in Gatineau Park? I really like the vision quest though… Maybe I can do something in between the two. I’m on chapter 7/24 for major editing.

I’ve suspended work on The Blood Waitress Club temporarily. I’m not in a rush for that one. It’ll probably have to be self-published as it features vampires and most publishers don’t want those stories today.

I’m taking a sewing class to learn how to make the fancy pants I wear for one of my martial arts. With the US exchange rate, I don’t see myself getting new ones soon otherwise. I want a practice set, so I can leave my grading ones for grading. My pattern hasn’t arrived yet, but we went over my current pair and took measurements. I also got the chance to fix my top as I had taken it in, but not done it completely properly, so had weird bunching by the underarms.

I’m also learning to draw. Perhaps someday I’ll do my own covers. Or perhaps I’ll be able to draw scenes as I see them and put out illustrated editions. Who knows? I’ve always wanted to be able to draw though.

Working on some boxes to hold my POP dolls, so I can put them up on the wall.

I’m also trying to figure out how to make a video with a picture in picture. I took video of a videogame as I was playing it. Now I want to record me talking about the game and combine them. I don’t want to spend a lot on software. I think what I want to do is pretty basic…

Working on improving my leg strength for martial arts. I was planning to start that soon anyway as I want to be in good shape for the annual spring seminar. Yesterday one of the senpai gave me tips on something concrete to try, so I’ll incorporate that into my training and outside of that I started one leg squats, two leg squats, and lunges. My quads and glute muscles should be in fine shape in a couple of months.

I’m feeling a little run down, but then I’m due for my B12 shot soon. I forgot my water in the car yesterday and didn’t have it during martial arts. That was awful. I hope I never do that again. Not sleeping super great either, which is making it difficult to write stories.

Perhaps a lunchtime nap is in my future.

Ciao,
R~

Learning to Relax

Well the year and I have gotten a bit of a slow start. I’ve been feeling awful lately. Dizzy, rage-filled, moody, and beyond tired. I just thought it was related to chronic inflammation and the whole having an autoimmune disease thing. Nope. Apparently my B12 has been low. I’ve been feeling like telling much of the world to go F**** themselves, which isn’t like me. During this time I avoided people more than I normally do. I’m an introvert type, so I love my me time, but I dreaded being around people. I also couldn’t get my butt out of bed at a decent time in the morning.

So I’m on monthly injections of B12 for 10 months. The first one made me feel ill. I went from no energy to ALL. THE. ENERGY! Then I felt tired. Then I got suddenly overheated. Next I was chilled. Then I was nauseous, shaky, and shortly after that I was ravenous and wondered if there was enough food in the house to satiate me! The next day I was a little sick feeling, but that passed and after a little bit of tiredness I now feel pretty good.

I haven’t got far with my goals this week given all of that, but I’ve been learning to relax. I’ve never been particularly good at it. As a child I always multitasked except when reading Nancy Drew; I used to devour those books. I did my homework or a puzzle while watching TV, or I played solitaire (the old-fashioned way with actual cards). I’m often knitting, hand-sewing, colouring, or writing while watching TV. I’m trying to reduce that. Knitting is reasonable, but I shouldn’t be always multitasking. Why? It leaves me in this always on mode and my muscles knot up.

Tonight I took a bath with Epsom salts and baby oil. I’m trying to take better care of my skin as it’s always too dry. I watched Supernatural by itself, though I felt like I had idle hands. I did briefly feel truly relaxed. It’s a start.

Tomorrow I return to  karate after nearly 3 years away. I’m really looking forward to it!

Writing wise I’m plugging away at The Blood Waitress Club and I’m going to tweak a short story to enter it into a contest soon. I’ll hopefully start that this weekend, though with the sudden extreme increase in energy it’s been hard to focus on one thing. I’ll be used to it soon I’m sure.

I have a sewing project I’m gearing up for as I finally finished a small Harry Potter blanket. I’ve decided to make my own fabric rug as rugs in stores are expensive and never go with my decor. I’ve had some fabric kicking around for years and finally have a project for it. After that I may start my costume for Comiccon because it’s always good to have extra time for it.

I think 2016 is going to be a great year!

Ciao,
R~

Hems galore

Today in sewing class we did some basic techniques and machine hems.

First we stitched on paper:

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My spiral went wonky, but the triangle was good. We also did a 5/8, a 3/8, and a 1/4 inch stitch.

The 1/4 inch stitch was easier on the paper than the fabric. My teacher adjusted the tension on my machine and rethreaded because I was putting my thread through a piece that is only needed for filling a bobbin, apparently. Things went better, but I had to start sewing further up the piece or it would catch the edges of my fabric in a funny way and try to eat the fabric instead of sew it.

We did French vertical seams on our “pant legs”, which were a 3/8 seam followed by pressing it open then sewing a 1/4 seam. The end result is like a seam that has been encapsulated.

Inside of pant leg (It’s the middle seam):

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Raised view of French seam:image

Next we did a double jean hem, which is 5/8 and you try to sew it as close to the edge as possible. Outside of pant leg:

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Inside of pant leg:image

Finally we did a blind double hem with a first fold of *I think 3/8* followed by a fold of 1 inch. They kind of suck on most machines and are better to be hand sewn, especially for dress clothes. Outside of pant leg:

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Inside of pant leg:image

I learned a lot in only 2 hours. We also went over the hand wheel.

I forgot to ask her some questions that are advanced, which are on my mind. I guess I’ll just email her on those things as I’m trying to make my bedroom curtains more sound absorbing and want to know if I can just buy the foam backing somewhere in town rather than buy new curtains.

Well, now I’m off to make cheese that is dairy-free and yeast-free as I plan to make a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, yeast-free lasagna with beef. I found an organic pasta sauce without citric acid, and apparently I can make the egg & cottage cheese like part with tofu. The cheese is made from almond milk, raw cashews, gelatin and pine nuts along with some spices. I hope it works out.

Ciao,
R~