Beg-A-Thon Week #1 Progress Report

Week #6 2008 — This is my Clarion West class with Chuck Palahniuk

I wrote 9,723 words this week. I should sit here and work until I hit 10,000 but I also tidied up my entire manuscript and I have shocked even myself with my capacity to sit here and work all day long on a weekend.

Time for a break. Tomorrow is another day and I want to beat that work count next week.

Here are my rock star classmates participating in the Write-A-Thon:

Maggie Croft

Christopher Reynaga

Carol Ryles

Kira Walsh

Rajan Khanna

Caren Gussoff

Me again

And our workshop administrators

Neile Graham

Les Howle

Here’s the status of the project of August:

I need to pay attention to my poor neglected husband.

Super huge thanks to everyone who has donated so far. I will send you a personal love note soon.

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It’s Beg-A-Thon Time!

I found this photo from the Squirrel circus of 2016. Action shot of squirrel number one fleeing the premises. (I typo’d that as “feeling the premises” and almost left it.)

I started writing at 7am this morning and I did take a number of breaks but I’ve been working almost all day.

The Chicago trip was fantastic but I got home Monday night and then Tuesday I had a soccer game (Yes, I know, poor me) so I didn’t get home until 10pm. I woke up Wednesday morning with the crud.

I’m not feeling terrible today but I still have major coughing fits and I had just put a cough drop in my mouth when my husband came in here and set a frosty glass filled with strawberry colored frozen beverage in front of me.

He just finished school yesterday and he is in “OMG, I have the whole summer to play” mode. I am still working and I have a first draft to finish by the end of the month. I’m not quite in the same head space.

So, back to the drink, I looked at and said: I just put a cough drop in my mouth.

But it was pretty and smelled good.

How much booze is in this? I asked.

He said: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, about a shot and a half.

I gave it back to him. If I spend the entire day writing that means I did not do anything else and I have chores to do before I can get fuzzy on a fruity drink.

I last did the Clarion West Write-A-Thon in 2011. I wrote an excellent introductory post about it then.

My stated goal is to write 1000 words a day although it’s not going to work exactly like that. I need to try to have a draft ready for beta readers at the beginning of August so I need to write about 17,500 a week for the next two weeks (That’s about 10 pages a day). Then I’ll have a first draft and for the last 4 weeks of the Write-A-Thon I will need to spin my first draft of poop into a readable draft of gold.

This would be much easier if I didn’t have a husband, a job, a soccer team, a vacation, cooking, cleaning and a never-ending pile of administrivia to contend with. But I’m going to try to make it happen anyway.

If you are rooting me on during this insanity – please consider throwing a few bucks to Clarion West. Small donations are very happily welcome. My donation page is here and there are tons of other writers to support if you don’t like me. There are other ways to donate here.

I hate making blanket dramatic statements like this, but the workshop really and truly changed my life and I am so grateful that I was able to attend.

Here is the progress on the project of August:

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Tifo from our rivalry game against Vancouver Whitecaps.

We won and I think this is the first match this season that I watched again on TV when I got home. We’re having a rough start.

I’m in Chicago this weekend for a wedding.

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Disappearing Mac Salad

This is Roscoe, the other next door cat and current ruler of the stoop. I can’t remember the last time I saw Toes out there. I saw Noah out there getting hissed at. I was out watering and for a second I didn’t want to disturb him until I remembered that he doesn’t live here. I do.

Now that I’m in the middle of a writing project, there is no spare creative energy of any kind.

Almost every meal is tacos or Trader Joes prepared foods or something I can stretch out for 2 or 3 meals. I have no ideas for gifts. I have no energy for house projects except for light organizing. I have no ideas for posts. I have no ideas.

We have just reached the point where we pick more berries than we can eat each day. Not complaining!

I found 3 extra brain cells and squandered them to make something other than tacos this weekend.

Since it was so hot I did a ton of food preparation on Friday. I made a mac salad and a couscous salad. I made a jello mold with fruit. Don’t laugh. It’s refreshing on a hot day.

On Friday I made Kenji smash burgers. Recipe here. Video and recipe here. I very very highly recommend. I kind of messed it up and it was still amazing. Plus it’s fast and easy. Use American cheese and make the special sauce. You won’t be sorry.

I have enough beef left for one regular and one mini smash burger tonight. The mac salad is already gone. There is a ton of couscous salad.

Project of August:

I’m actually behind on this. I got stuck. And then I panicked. And then I sat here staring at the screen going: OMG, think of something! Quick! Hurry! You’re falling behind! Think of something!

Turns out: That doesn’t work. I had to back up. Take a couple of days to unravel and regroup. I think I’m back on track now.

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Hey. This Thing Still Work?

My husband is hilarious. He’s going on an overnight trip and I bought him some food to take with him. (I’m hilarious too because the first thing I thought when he told me he would be gone overnight was: oh yay. I can clean the oven.)

He blustered through the door this afternoon to pick something up at the house before he ran out and did errands. He suddenly stopped and said: You bought me snacks.

He was thrilled. We had to stop and look at them. You know, fancy stuff like beef jerky and “nutritious” bars with almonds and dried cranberries.

I’m working another project of August. I’ve been outlining and planning and I finally am grinding out words. The timeframe is a little tight but I can do it. (er, I think.) Already I panic every time I see something added to the calendar.

So far, I’ve been invited to 5 things on June 11. Is that some sort of magical day? Keep in mind that in a big year, I’m invited to 5 things all year. One of the events is a wedding out of town and the bride asked me to save the date last summer so gratefully, I don’t have to dither around trying to pick.

Earlier this year I found a bowl of pumpkin seeds I saved from my pumpkins. I was replacing it with a new bowl and for some reason I threw the old bowl in the compost.

Right now my back garden has tons of potatoes, tons of tomatillos and surprise: tons of pumpkin volunteers.

There were so many I finally had to break down and yank some of the pumpkins which broke my heart. Let the pumpkins live! A couple hours later I realized, I could transplant them to the front. I usually sprout them on the window sill to put out front anyway. So I dug them out of the compost and planted in the front yard.

You can see how thrilled they are to be there. I’m going to sprout some seeds on the window sill, too. I pretty sure these are going to end up back in the compost.

And look how quick the slugs got at them. That was less than 24 hours and there were huge holes in the leaves. Slug bait has been slung.

Project of August which I hope will have a name soon:

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Cuddle Couch

Sturgeon hatchery in Bonners Ferry, Id. More info on the project here.

I went to see Captain America on Friday. I had planned to go with colleague but then colleague had to travel out of town. I looked at the calendar and figured if I didn’t see it Friday, I might not get to it for a couple of weeks so I went by myself.

There is a fancy movie theater at the mall where I have a gift card. But you couldn’t buy the tickets in advance with the gift card so I took something to read and went to the mall early to see what they had available.

I wanted to watch in the Movie Parlor which is a small theater with lounge chairs. All they had left was the front row cuddle couches. At first I wasn’t going to do it but then I didn’t want to hang out at the mall all morning waiting for another show so I bought a ticket.

When I bought it, I was the only person in the front row.

I remember when I was a teenager and there was a new mall built and that was the best thing you could imagine was getting to go to the mall. I wished my Mom would take me and my friends and leave us there all day.

Now the mall is completely depressing and there is hardly anything there you would ever buy. Thanks Internet. But there were a lot of people there.

The cuddle couch turned out to be like a love seat with a pile of pillows and a place to put your feet up so it’s as if you’re in bed with this giant screen at your feet. The seat itself gets an A++ and my highest recommendation.

Funny though, they sold out the theater so I got to sit like this in the dark next to a complete stranger for almost 3 hours. Luckily he was normal and chatted just enough to dispel the awkwardness but not so much that he seemed like he was making friends. He also smelled like he smoked a bowl for breakfast.

The front row was also less than wonderful. During the trailers Stonerboy shared my mocking response to the Independence Day sequel but after The Xmen he said, “I plan to get a better seat for that one.”

I could count all the character’s nose hairs and there was a long action sequence in the beginning where I was worried I should have taken a Dramamine. It wasn’t terrible. I would probably see a movie in that seat again, but with someone I know and not as a first choice.

The movie is super fun and worth it.

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Old Brown Shoe

Mom’s basket weaving materials soaking.

I’ve been having bad luck with shoes.

I’m not much of a shoe person to begin with. My favorite pair of brown shoes was falling apart and before I could take them in I noticed my other most worn black shoes had a tear in the leather.

I took them both in and the shoe guy said the brown ones were not fixable. They are really old and have already been repaired once. He kept the black ones to fix. That left me with two pairs of closed-toe work shoes. One I don’t like very much.

I had an old pair of back-up shoes in the back of the closet that I brought out and wore to work and they fell apart during the middle of the day. They have also been discarded.

I picked up the ones at repair and ordered replacements for the brown ones — and just in time because I should probably break out the open toed shoes about now.

My trip was great. We had a lot of rain but mostly at night and we had good weather, too. Everything was green and lovely and there were flowers. I got to visit with all of my favorite people.

The podcasts worked perfectly. I listened to all of Serial Season 2 and then about 4 other random ones. I should have realized I wouldn’t get through them all and prioritized by what I wanted to hear most. I ended up listening to 2 I didn’t care for much and I still have a few on there and who knows when I’ll get around to listening to them.

I got an email from someone offering to proofread my website. She found 2 errors from 2008 — both not actually words — and said it would be hard to get anyone to take me seriously with spelling errors.

Good to know. I find typos in every post I re-read. I’m always posting in a hurry when I’m tired like right now. Please take me seriously.

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Road Trip!

I must have written, more than once, about my struggles to use my phone and before that my ipod to listen to podcasts on long car rides by myself. I’ve had little success and usually end up having to pull over a lot or else switch to the CD player and listen to music.

Now that there is an Apple store near the office I can easily go ask the geniuses when I get stuck. (I really want the plural of genius to be genii.)

I don’t regularly listen to things so I don’t want to subscribe. I just wanted to look around and pick individual episodes from podcasts that sounded interesting like Should I Worry About This? that my friend, Eden, is on. Then I wanted them to play one after the other on a playlist.

Apparently this isn’t how the kids to it. They subscribe to things, listen to them when they’re on and then delete them and go on with their lives. I was handed off to 3 different geniuses how marveled at my request. I was thinking, I’m finally using a modern gadget and I’m not even doing it right. The third one said: huh, that’s interesting. Let’s see if we can figure out how to do that.

We did. I think. I’m ready with the entire Serial Season 2 queued up and a second station (because it isn’t a playlist in podcasting) with a variety of things. We’ll see how I do. I have a stack of CDs ready just in case.

I wished I would have remembered to show them how I listen to the iPhone in my car — via this olde timey cassette adapter.

Bob put some super fertilizer on the lawn. He just mowed it 4 days ago. Yikes.

I’m hitting the road to visit the Pamily. Bob will be here guarding things. Be good while I’m gone.

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It’s My 20 Year Blogiversary

Here I am at our first apartment, 1997-ish, Mac Powerbook 520 with my top of the line modem.

Twenty years ago today I first started my website. I was ahead of the curve, one of the first kids on my block to have a page and then later my own domain. I blogged steadily all through the mad gold rush days of blogging when people made money posting about their pets and sandwiches. (Not me, obvs.) Now that blogs are almost dead, I am still here with the same three loyal readers.

Thank you for sticking with me.

Twenty years ago it was called a personal page and it was courtesy of my ISP (Internet Service Provider. Anyone else remember the days before giant corporations were in charge of our internet connection?) and my web address looked like this:

In those days you had to learn how to do html and build the pages yourself. It wasn’t this app-crap where you take pictures of yourself and press a button so that it’s online and then you sit back and wait for other people to press buttons so you know they like you.

The earliest version the Wayback Machine has is August 1999.

I switched to Blogger February 2001 and it looks like I got my own domain in June 2001.

Here’s my post from my ten year blogiversary.

Me and my lime green iMac.

I think I had to switch to Turdpress in 2011 and I’m still not happy about it, but here we are.

I wanted to re-create one of my older posts that I have archived but unfortunately, I just don’t have time to recreate the whole thing with the background and layout from them. There are classic ancient archives still posted that you can find here. The oldest is from our first trip to Germany for our one year anniversary in 1997, posted in 1999.

Here’s an old story 1997 from that I just put into a WordPress post. I felt it was fitting after my week with the squirrels.

Yellow Jacket Fever.

My schedule is going to be insane until the end of the month. Posting more sporadic than usual.

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Squirrels: The Final Chapter. Hopefully.

You can’t imagine the thrill, the exciting rush of victory when you conquer an animal with a brain the size of a pea.

We reset the trap – this time I put a tiny dollop of peanut butter on the trigger so it’d have to really park there to eat it. The exterminator recommended peanut butter. Last night I rebuilt the tunnel and left the front door open. If this squirrel was ripping out insulation to get outside it must be smart enough to run out the front door. (ha ha)

Didn’t hear a peep. Couldn’t see it. This one was climbing up inside somehow. Closed up for the night.

When I got up this morning he was frolicking around the trap.

I opened the front door and fireplace and watch it hop around. I hate to say it but they are really cute. It perched exactly on the edge of the fireplace door and looked longingly out the front door but didn’t try to make a break for it.

I went into the other room and then I could hear it eating. I ran back in and it was eating the peanut butter and TRAP DID NOT SPRING.

What dark magic are these squirrels up to?

I tried to spring it but he hopped out. Bob decided to fiddle to make sure the spring was operating and when he reached in, the trap sprung, startling all of us.

Here I will note that squirrels make a wide variety of noises. They make sad squeaky noises, high pitched chirping noises and low-growly noises.

Squirrely growled.

Bob fixed the trap, re-peanutbuttered it and put it back in. We closed everything up.

It took about a half hour. We both heard the trap spring (Bob was downstairs) and squirrely’s outraged growly-squeaks.

Bob and I ran around high-fiving each other and cheering and doing variations of the victory dance before taking it outside. Of course it was too stupid to leave the trap by itself (it kept eating the peanut butter) so we had to dump it out. While it was squeaking another bigger squirrel came wandering over to see what was going on.

Total squirrels removed so far: 4
Recommended tools: trap with peanut butter – be patient, if desperate shop vac.

We have reset the trap and put it back in the fireplace, just in case.

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