Summer News (June Edition)

Author’s Note: I wrote this as a draft at the end of June, but it’s taken me a bit to get up the courage/energy to post it here.

This summer’s going to be a bit of an odd one.

After nearly a year of doctor’s appointments and referrals, it became clear last week that the lump growing above my collarbone is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Ugh. It’s stage one*, and the outlook is very good, but I’m nervous about starting Chemotherapy at the end of July and disappointed to have to take the rest of the summer off as the receptionist at the Veterinary Hospital. I mean, what the heck, bod.

The focus this quarter is to maintain my health as best as I can and to have patience with myself while my body heals. I’ve got a wonderful family and amazing friends to help me through this,  and while I’m sure there will be ups and downs I’m optimistic about the future.

In brighter news, we’ve adopted a new kitten!

We brought her home last Saturday and named her Lydia. She’s a scoundrel and a dear and we adore her already—a weird looking tuxedo with the sweetest mew. She loves to be around people. Grade A kitten. Would recommend.

I’m taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo again this July. I’ll be working on Coral & Bone, my queer-romance novel about a saboteur mermaid and the emotionally distraught whaler who falls in love with her. It was fun to dip my toes into the story this past spring and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with the characters I’ve made. I’m not used to writing romances, but it’s been a fun challenge so far. Also there are kelp forests and whale magic and bar fights and a pet octopus. It’s great stuff.

The veggie garden is looking great after a bit of a slow start. It’s been a spring of extremes—either very hot and dry or quite wet and cold—and while the plants didn’t appreciate the swings they seem to have forgiven and moved on. This spring, John built us a pair of rather cleverly designed raised beds with chicken wire cages on hinges, and it’s been enough to keep the deer and raccoons at bay. Time will tell with regards to bears.

Now, off to work on a novel!

*Whoops, turns out it’s stage II, but the prognosis is still good and we’re still aiming for a cure, it’s just likely going to take 6 months of treatment instead of 4. Bummer.

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Please Stand By

These past two weeks have been filled with the smell of cardboard and the screech of a tape gun. 

The next seven days will be spent on the road, camping every night in a different place as we make the 4500 km journey to our new home.

It’s bittersweet, and exciting, and overwhelming, all at the same time.

More on the move (and the new place!) later, but for now please stand by.

Life Update: the First Day of Spring

It’s officially spring, and I couldn’t be happier about it. This past week was a doozy—a difficult end to a difficult winter.

The Thursday before last, the hot water heater in my rented home experienced a critical failure. I came downstairs at 3am to find a stream meandering it’s way through the laundry room. I won’t get too into the details here, but no hot water tank meant that we had no hot water or heat. The last blast of winter in these parts happened to coincide with our plumbing dilemma. It sucked.

The next 7 days were filled with as many visits from technicians as it became clear that not only was the hot water tank busted, but its exhaust system was dangerously inoperative. I’m buggy about using natural gas at the best of times, but finding out that the system in our home had been dumping exhaust into our walls for the past two years was brutal.

The system is now fixed and (aside from needing to mend the insulation and drywall in the garage) the excitement is pretty well over. Anyone who’s had a landlord during a home-related crisis knows that the road ahead is not a smooth one, but at least it’s a road with a reduced risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

I’m doing my best to quell my anxiety in the aftermath and perform self-care. Today, the weather is decent enough to have a window open. This weekend past, I built a worm bin for composting kitchen scraps. I got some soil on my hands and the smell of humus in my nose at a garden show. I deep-cleaned the parts of the house I do have control over. And I’ve been busy writing: new scenes for my novel ‘Steep’, letters to penpals, journal entries, and now here on this blog.

Sometimes staying busy is the next best thing to happiness—and it’s easier to stay busy in the spring—so here’s to the vernal equinox and the warmer days ahead.

Quarterly Goals: Fall 2016

Autumn is my favourite season: sweaters and socks are once again an option, the air smells like woodsmoke and leaf mould. I can turn off the AC and turn open the windows, and drink as many hot beverages as I like; things are good.

This fall is my first using the quarterly goals system and since fall is (usually) my most productive time of year I’m looking forward to seeing just how much I can tick off my to-do list over the next three months.

Here’s what I’m planning:

Complete Current Revision of Steep:

This one is going to be my biggest challenge. I’m currently about a tenth of the way through revising (and retyping) my last manuscript, and to get this done in time means that every day is going to feel like NaNoWriMo from now until December 31st. I’m making good progress and gaining speed, so I’m optimistic that I can have this thing ready for Beta readers at the start of 2017.

Four Short Stories Revised:

Revising my current novel, Steep, has really hamstrung my gumption to revise anything else, and first drafts of short stories continue to pile up. I’d like to take a look at a few of these this fall and get them closer to human consumption.

Four New Recipes Learned:

Pretty straightforward. I’ve been honing my skill at canning these past few weeks, and I’d like to continue that trend by learning a couple of new canning recipes, as well as a new dinner or two.

Twelve Books Read:

While I’m still about a month behind on my 2016 year-long challenge to read a book a week, I’m hoping to keep up my current momentum until the end of the year. Shouldn’t be too hard considering the quality of my current TBR pile.

Twelve Letters Written:

Postcards count, too. Between some new penpals, reconnecting with old penpals, and my usual correspondence with friends and family this should go off without a hitch. I’m planning on trying a few new tricks with formatting (like cross-writing), and excited to break out my Halloween-themed postage stamps.

Twelve Game Nights w/ John:

My husband and I are both avid gamers, but our daily work schedules are quite different. This can make it hard for us to sit down for an hour or so at the same time and move some pieces around a board, so I’ve added this to my quarterly goals with the hope of finding a rhythm that works for both of us. We’ve purchased some great new titles recently, including Mysterium and Concordia, and I’m looking forward to further exploring their mechanics.

Eight Dog Hikes:

I walk the dogs multiple times a day, but my favourite outings with them are the woodsy, dirt-trail hikes that we do on weekends. With the weather getting colder, and my dogs getting older, hiking every weekend this quarter might not be an option, but I’m sure we can get some good ones in before the snow flies. This past Saturday we hiked a new trail, got a little lost, and found a cool footbridge I’d like to visit again, so. . . *tick*.

Two Online Courses Completed:

I enjoyed taking some free courses through Coursera last quarter, and have my eyes on some paleobiology and history courses this fall.

 Six Finished Knitted Objects:

With the cooler weather comes more comfortable knitting. I’m aiming to have a few more pairs of socks and a couple of new sweaters completed by the end of the year, plus an item or two to give away at Christmas.

Practice ukulele for a half hour, twice a week:

Would love to learn a few new strumming patterns – and get better at playing an E chord!

Repair rust damage/scratches on Beetax:

Our car, Beetax, is 16 years old and needs some TLC before the road salt goes down. The garage got cleaned out as per last quarter’s goal, so they’ll be stabling indoors this winter.

Send out Christmas cards to family and friends:

Last year I did hand-drawn cards. We’ll see.

Organise creative supplies closet:

I have a closet full of papers, paints, supports, clay, fabric, you name it, and it needs a good revamp to make everything more accessible.

Print, frame, and hang photos for picture collage:

Pretty self-explanatory. Bought some frames a month ago and would like to get them on the wall.

Operation Stashbuster – all yarn must fit neatly in steamer trunk by year’s end:

I have an obscene amount of yarn. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem except that it’s all over the place and a lot of it needs winding/sorting into cakes or skeins. I’ve got a few good patterns for stash-busting in my arsenal and I’m using them this fall. If what’s left doesn’t fit into the huge steamer trunk that it calls home by the end of this quarter I’m kicking it to the curb come January 1st.

Phew! It’s going to be a busy quarter, but I’m confident that I can achieve my goals if I put my mind to it, and all the extra caffeine and sugar that the season brings can’t hurt. I’m debating whether it’s a good idea to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, considering I’m still waist-deep in revisions of last November’s project, but I’ve taken part every year of the past 8 (with 4 wins under my belt), so it’s  a tough decision. I guess I’ll need to do some soul-searching.

If you’ve set yourself some quarterly goals, be sure to comment below – I’d love to see what you’re working towards.

Happy autumn!

 

Featured Image: “Halloween Wishes” by Miwok is licensed under CC0 1.0