It’s That Time Again

This is my healthy tomato plant, loaded with tomatoes. It’s so loaded I have it the tomato cage staked.

Another of the special features of the rental house next door is a walnut tree growing out of the side of the house. I don’t think this is a good idea but since the owners live in another country and nobody else cares what happens to that house, the tree remains and gets bigger all the time.

Right now it is full of walnuts and squirrels. That’s what I am listening to right now — squirrels romping around the tree and walnuts hitting the ground.

The house next door has been reasonable lately until this weekend when they woke me up at least three times on Friday night and once last night so I’m thinking unkind thoughts about them again.

Remember that time I found a shriveled red potato in the back of the potato drawer? I ran out into the rain with a trowel and shoved it in the dirt. This weekend I decided to dig up one of my many, many potato hills and all of these came out of one spot. That’s four pounds of potatoes. Potato salad coming to our supper table soon.

I canned applesauce yesterday with colleague but somehow in this world where we can have everything on all our devices — even things we don’t want — all the time and anywhere, I can’t pull up a photo of our 12 pints on this computer. It’s a beautiful pink color and very delicious. We each got 6 pints plus a giant bowl to eat this week.

Last weekend we went with Geena to the Clark County Fair which was super fun and I have photos but somehow I look like Great Aunt Eunice who never washes her hair and enjoys collecting bits of string so I’m not going to share those with you. We watched the dueling dogs that jump off this dock and race across a pool — the jumps are amazing. We looked at sheep and goats and bunnies and chickens. We listened to the fiddling championships. We ate fried Nutella, onion rings, fish tacos, peach milkshakes, and had a beer before we shook shook shook our booties with KC and the Sunshine band. An epic fun day.

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Clarionwest Beg-A-Thon Week #6 Wrap-Up

The workshop is finished. Everyone goes home today probably heartbroken, happy, and exhausted. I think I slept twelve hours the first two nights I got home. I’d already taken six weeks off work but they let me take Monday, too, because I needed it.

Check out Percy making some figs. Don’t think he has the juice to finish the job this summer but maybe we’ll get a few next summer.

In the interest of complete honesty: I failed at my meager write-a-thon goals. I’m still fiddling with my story idea and thinking I just need one more weekend to get it worked out which looking at history, there’s a good chance this story is doomed. But I can’t bring myself to trunk it yet. I never even looked at the kayak story which needs a little light tweaking and it’s ready to go out the door.

However, I also busted ass to get that last self-published book done in May so I could enjoy summer things and I am doing that. I’ve read almost 20 books since then and I’ve done lots of family things and made lots of pies. I’ve watched shows and a bunch of soccer matches and have a better garden than usual.

After this month I’m going to ramp back up.

A couple of pumpkins out front plus one blue hubbard squash.

If you forgot and think it’s too late. It’s not. You can donate anytime. All donations are welcome.

Donation Links:

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:
Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

Thanks to everyone who supported me and the workshop. We raised over $16K. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #4 Report

Bad Kissingen salt graduation tower

I did do writing and writing related activities but I failed at my goal to finish my first draft this week. I won’t even make excuses.

I am unlikely to finish a first draft next week either as I’ve got family coming into town.

This week my goal is to keep doing writing related stuff when I can and otherwise not worrying about it. There’s a whole big world out there.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week Week #3 Report

I didn’t make huge progress on my goal this week. I changed the characters around a little and there’s some rearranging and new bits that need to be done. I didn’t get far.

Meanwhile, a couple of new romance related tidbits have come up that have taken my attention. I’m not going to elaborate at the moment but there maybe be more information coming. I’m not writing another romance, but instead of being 99% certain, the meter has moved to 75% certain.

But I’m relaxing and enjoying summer still so I’m not making decisions right now.

Things I did more successfully this week:

Picked, prepared, and ate bush beans and peas. We have so, so, so many.

Watched soccer: Sunday we had the Women’s World Cup Final and the Timbers played NYCFC. The US Men played Mexico in the Gold Cup Final and normally I would have watched it but I ran out of steam by then.

I finished Stranger Things 3 last night. I love this series.

The only goal for this week is to finish a first draft of my story even if it’s a really ugly draft.

As of yesterday the write-a-thon had 165 participating writers and had raised over $10,000. Thanks to everyone!

There’s still lots of time to donate. All donations are welcome.

Donation Links:

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:
Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

Thanks for supporting nerd writers.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #2 Report

Our 4th of July was relatively quiet. We had a late lunch/early dinner at the inlaws. I made mac salad, lentil salad, and this glorious jello treat, plus an apple pie. Marilyn made watermelon salad, potato salad, and granny pea salad. Denise made a tri-tip and a platter of corn on the cob. This was for 7 people. No one went home hungry.

Lots of fireworks restrictions now so no mayhem outside our front door. We went to bed early with the windows and shades shut. I heard some racket around 11pm but otherwise it was uneventful.

Oakie, the Orleans cat, finds the most comfortable seat in the house.

Week two of the workshop has ended.

My main goal for the write-a-thon was to dust off a first draft NDN casino in space story and try to get it ready for submission. I was almost ready to give up last weekend but thought I figured it out and kept working on it.

Then Friday I almost gave up again and then I was sitting quietly trying to solve a completely different problem and I got another idea. I think I have successfully figured out what to do with this thing. I worked on it all morning, way longer than I intended, and I’m about 1/3 of the way through my revision.

This week’s goal is to finish the new draft.

Mom and Aunt Janet in the parade.

Donation Links:

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:
Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

Thanks for supporting nerd writers.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #1 Report

Remember when that raccoon attacked the walls of water on my freshly planted baby tomato sproutlet?

The tomato never really recovered. This is a terrible picture. I tried to figure out a clever way to emphasize the tomato but this I best I can do at the moment.

It’s got tomatoes forming but it’s so spindly it can barely stand up under the burden.

For contrast, here’s the other tomato I planted at the same time.

I tried to take a photo of the giant weed farm the next door neighbors are growing in their front yard, but couldn’t get a shot that best showed the waving yellow flowers that will soon turn into white fluff and blow into our yard. I read on nextdoor that you can report your neighbors for neglecting their yard and it’s tempting. The situation over there hasn’t changed much. The noise in the middle of the night is less terrible and tolerable as long as all the windows are shut and the shades drawn. I am still coming to terms with the idea that I will never have my windows open at night as long as they live there.

Look at Percy! Two years old in May.

Write-a-thon Update.

Here’s a post I wrote a few years ago about the workshop and what it meant to me.

The first week of the workshop is finished. This is my week #1 report.

My original goal was to dig up a first draft I wrote years ago and get it ready to submit.

Upon re-reading the draft, I was concerned that it was such a mess. The set-up is fine but the hard part is finding an ending and I fiddled with it on and off all week and the magical portal where story endings fall out did not open for me.

This afternoon while I ate lunch I tried to decide whether to give up or not. I already know I am the kind of person that will flog on an idea long after it’s clear that I can’t figure out what to do with it.

It’s all made up, right? So there has to be a way to make up something that makes the story work. I hate to give up because I always think I *should* be able to come up with something.

While I ate, I wondered what would happen if I swapped the characters around and chose a different character as the main character and that gave me an idea. So I am going to spend one more day fiddling with it and if I have a clear idea what I want to do, I’ll work on it another week.

Otherwise I’m going to quit it and change to the kayak story and finalize.

This is my donor page.
Here is my classmate and TIRELESS beta reader Maggie.
Here is one of our workshop leaders Neile.
Here’s the list of all the writers if you want to browse.

Here’s the address if you’d prefer to mail a donation:
Clarion West
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

I just got my donation report and I already have donations! Already the first week we’ve raised almost $6,000. (Not me personally, all the write-a-thoners together.)

Thanks for supporting nerd writers.

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Clarion West Write-a-Thon Begins NOW!

What’s in the hat box?

Hello friends. It’s that time again. The latest class of the Clarion West writing workshop moved into the house today.

A group of us will be writing at home while they are there and trying to raise money while we do it.

Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I wrote a post about my experience at the workshop last year and the year before. If I can think of anything fresh to say about it, I’ll write another one next week weekend.

My main goal for this write-a-thon was to re-work a short story about an NDN casino in space that I whipped up in a weekend in January 2017. I haven’t looked at the draft since.

I got it out this morning and the first 3/4ths are pretty good. It’s a fun idea with fun characters. The last 1/4th is a complete mess that makes no sense and doesn’t flow logically from the beginning. It’s like I passed out under a bridge and when I woke up I was forced to finish the story or face dire consequences so I wrote the ending of a different story.

It’s actually such a mess, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’ll poke around with it a little, at least a week or two, but I don’t want to waste a lot of time if I don’t see a way to fix it.

Then I need ideas for new goals:

1 – Finish the kayak story and submit. Completely doable.
2 – Figure out some system for all my bazillion ideas and scraps and research. If this was doable, I think it would be done by now but let’s put it out there.
3 – Do some idea storming and try to do the first draft of a completely new story. Not hot on this idea. I don’t know if I want to do a lot of short story writing at this point.
4 – Go through partial novel manuscript that I abandoned when I started writing romances and see if I can get a working outline. Possibly doable.
5 – TBD

I will report at the end of each week.

If you’re inclined to donate, my page is here.

I usually link to my classmates who are also write-a-thoning but as of this moment, none of them are. (FOR SHAME!) I’ve sent them a guilt trip so I may have some to add next week.

One of our workshop leaders is write-a-thoning and you can donate here: Neile.

Micro-donations are welcome. We love your support.

I included a photo of the elders, my mom and auntie – modeling their hats. They were grand marshals in the Orleans Old Timers Parade last weekend.

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I love Sharpies. I have them all over the house in different colors. I have a bunch at the office. I write most of my notes to myself in big giant Sharpie letters.

No one is sponsoring this post except for me, Sharpie lover.

My middle sized red Sharpie at work dried up and gave me sadness whenever I needed to write in red. I finally put in a supply order and I was doing it via keywords online and the Magnum is the Sharpie that arrived.

I practically need two hands to wield it. I tried it out and got high from the fumes. If the office ever gets held up, I’m going to use them as a weapon. (I got two.)

It is my favorite Sharpie ever.

I am going to be in CA this weekend for fun family stuff. Enjoy your weekend.

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The results of my endoscopy were hiatal hernia. According to my research, something like 60% of the population has HH and many never know unless they find it during an endoscopy. There’s a long list of lifestyle changes and again, according to my research, there is no one size fits all so I’m trying everything, even the woo-woo breathing exercise I found on one website.

One suggestion for heartburn is putting your bed on an incline so your head is higher than your feet. I found some bed risers online and purchased a set. We started with the 3 inch risers which already seemed pretty high. The first couple of nights I woke up further down the bed than the spot I started.

Today we went up another level to the 5 inch riser. It looks ridiculous. They suggest going to 8 inches — we were joking that it would be like training for mountain climbing. I’m going to put a pillow on the floor at the end of the bed. I expect to wake up there tomorrow.

Do I think it helps? I don’t know. Since I made about 20 lifestyle changes at the same time, it’s hard to tell. It could be the woo-woo breathing that’s helping and I could bring back the spicy salsa and French fries. For now, I’m going to keep doing it all.

The annual write-a-thon is almost upon us. Details coming soon. Here’s my donor page if you want to get a head start on your donating.

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Drooling is Permitted

This is the old PGE Park in 2009.

On Friday I had an endoscopy at the day surgery part of the clinic. Just before my turn, I waited by myself behind a privacy curtain and I overheard someone ask about going to the stadium. This person was going that night to get a wristband to get in first to the general admission section. I wanted to call out to find out who was a Timbers fan so we could share our fan-ness but it seemed rude to yell out across the room.

This is the park now from the same view. They just did a huge renovation and added 4000 seats. It is amazing. Too bad our first match there was doodoo.

Continuing my procedure. It’s strange being wheeled in a bed. It’s tempting to want to enjoy it but also it seems ridiculous when I can walk myself.

The prep nurse and also the doctor explained what was going to happen and gave me instructions — don’t try to help with the scope, might feel like you have to drool, go ahead, burping will happen, go for it. They had me lay on my side and next thing I know someone is putting apple juice into my hands. They gave me those bright orange square crackers that I would never pick for myself but I inhaled like it was food of the gods. I never got to drool. (well, consciously.)

My team just got a new player. He just got here a few weeks ago and Bob said on the way home I told him a long and rambling story about him. I did read a lengthy article about him but I don’t feel like I could tell you anything about it off the top of my head.

This is outside. I couldn’t find any older photos from this angle.

Everything went fine. Two and a half hours after I checked in, I was home in bed sleeping like the dead. It was amazing. If I could have taken a picture of that nap, I would share it with you now.

That night we had the windows open for fresh air. I woke around 2am and heard what sounded like high pitched cat sounds. I knew already it was probably raccoons. I went to the front window and it sounded like they were on the side of our house. After a bit, one came running out across the yard. Bob came to join me and after a minute, two more came running across the lawn. They were big fatties scampering down the street.

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