31 October 2019

It's that time of year again...NaNoWriMo. In about six hours from now (Pacific Time) the 30 day crunch to get 50,000 words of fiction virtually penned onto virtual paper begins for hundreds of thousands of writers across the world.

But you can't write a novel in a month! can. It won't be a good one, but if you stick to it, by the end of November you'll have the bones of what could be a good one. It won't be a long one; 50K is barely into novel range. A long novel isn't the point of NaNoWriMo.

The point is cultivating the habits that will help you become a productive writer, and along the way maybe you'll get good. Maybe you'll discover something in you that needs to get out, and though you might stumble at the start, by the end you'll find the footing that lets you finish strong. What might suck in the beginning will, by the end, be really good.

You'll never know if you don't play.

No one else ever needs to see what you've written, if you don't want. But if you've ever had an inkling that there's a writer in you itching to come out, now's the time.

Go to and sign up. You only need to crank out 1667 words a day to reach 50,000 in 30 days. It's not really all that much. I swear.

I use November to pump out whatever has been simmering in my head. This year, there are several Wick shorts that flow one into another, and I intend on working on those. I'm pet sitting this weekend, so I'll get a really good start as long as Lady and Monkey and Arya don't spend a lot of time jumping on my keyboard (Butters is a gentleman; he won't bother me when I'm working.)

And related to nothing about writing...this weekend is a good time to get my freaking diet back on track. With the Spouse Thingy's week off, the diet train pretty much derailed.

And dammit, now I want pizza. Even though I had pizza yesterday.


30 October 2019

A few months ago, knowing the patio cover that we said we were replacing 10 years ago but never got around to, we contracted to get it replaced. It's got mold, it was un-permitted to begin with, there's no top to it so we just have sun cloth thrown over it, and frankly, I'm surprised it survived the major wind storms of this week.

We put money down, waited, put more money down when the materials were ordered, waited, put more money down when the stuff shipped apparently being dragged across the country by an overworked dog sled team, and were told it was just a matter of freeing up a crew. That was a week ago.

We took this to mean, "Um, yeah, by the end of the year, for sure."

No, they meant that the first available crew, they would be here to knock down the old structure and build the new one. A couple of days ago we got the start date.

The weekend of the 3 Day walk.

The Spouse Thingy has to work. He just took time off for a wedding and can't get more time until January. If we push back the date, we'd be looking at 4 more months to wait plus paying storage fees for the materials, and frankly, the existing cover isn't going to last that long. We have a rather large window that overlooks the patio, and if it goes, there's a 50-50 chance it's going into that window.

That leaves me.

So...instead of walking, I'll be at home trying to keep cats calm while there are PEOPLE in the yard making a craptastic amount of noise, and dealing with the contractor's crew.

All is not in vein. In vain? In vain.

I had hoped to transfer the funds raised to my teammates, but there is no transferring of funds, so the 3 Day peoples are deferring me to next year.

All of you who donated--you're still getting Major Effort from me.

Once the dust is settled, the cover done, and the Spouse Thingy has two days to be my support crew, I'm going to ride the 60 miles. The difference is, I'll do it over 2 days instead of 3.

I feel like I owe the miles this year, even though I can walk them next year.

I'm not happy about this turn, especially since I got so freaking excited when my doc proclaimed me Not Stupid and waved her fairy Doc Wand and said I could go. I'm a little extra not happy because during the Spouse Thingy's week off, we did basically nothing to protect my back and to keep me from re-injuring it, and to keep me away from crowds and cooties, and had planned on that until the 3 Day.

If we'd known even a few days sooner, we could have risked a little more and had some fun.

On the up side, at least this time it isn't because I'm sick.

So...I will honor the miles, I will carry all of the names with me that I do every walk, and maybe next year I can muster up the energy for two walks...the 3 Day is already funded.

I'm sorry to have to do this, but... yeah, we're $10K into this patio cover and have already been waiting so long to get this crew here.

In other news, patio covers are not cheap.


28 October 2019

Okay, I still miss Ibuprofen, but my back is already starting to feel a lot better...which means tomorrow or the next day we're going to wrestle that monster TV into the back of the truck and take it to our storage unit.

It also meant that I felt like getting out and stretching my legs, mostly to see if my lower back would play nice. We headed for Old Sacramento (or the Waterfront, whatever the fork they're calling it's Old Sac to me) to take some things to the art gallery, and then walk around Downtown Commons. There are easy, predictable distances I can walk there, and if I start to hurt, it's never too far to get back to the car.

The only back pain I felt, aside from a few twinges, were mostly upper back, and that was from muscle fatigue. I've spent the last couple days doing pretty much nothing, and my back was letting me know it.

So tomorrow...we're heading back to the gym, where there's a pool, and hoping that the membership fees haven't jumped too much since the last time we were members.

Apropos to nothing, or maybe not quite nothing, we've already registered for and reserved a condo for next year's charity event. In 2020, instead of a Komen walk, we're heading for the other side of the country to walk in the Pledge for Pink. The registration fee is a lot higher, but there are no fundraising minimums, which means I won't be bothering people too much next year.

I'm also set for St. Baldrick's in March--year seven!--and I think those are the only two big events I'll schedule.


26 October 2019

This TV is fricking huge.

So of course, this week we moved it from one room to another, along with a bunch of furniture and exercise equipment, essentially swapping two rooms because this one has the fireplace and Max won't lay in front of it if I'm not in the room... so, yeah, we rearranged for the benefit of the cat.

Previously this room had a treadmill and rower, and another fricking big TV. We moved that one, too. It resided on top of a bookcase, the top of which was at my chin height. That require getting it off without dropping it, moving it to the next room, moving allllll the damned books and then the cases, after which we had to wrestle that TV back to the top.

And then realized we really didn't want it there. So down it came, and we took it to the garage, where we set it on the floor... which point my back said, "Bye, Felicia" and a wayward disk somewhere around L4 and L5 attempted to make as escape.

After that, after hobbling back into the house, I managed to stub my foot on the very metal base of the rower, and I'm about 50% sure I broke a toe.

So today yesterday I moved as little as possible, with a cat pinning me into my chair, because that's what he does when he has the chance.

I'm pretty sure he thinks he's helping, but when your back hurts and you need to get up to pee, 12.5 pounds of cat is kind of a nuisance.

But now it's 2 am, my back hurts like a mofo, I can't sleep, and the wind is blowing so damned hard it sounds like what I imagine camping in a wind tunnel would be like.

My point?

There is none. I just can't sleep so I'm whining about it.

Also, I miss Motrin.

20 October 2019

I sat in Starbucks today--I know, what a surprise--distracted from the work in front of me by two things.

1--people kept passing my table with Frappucinos in hand, and after the fifth one, I really wanted a Frappucino. I resisted the urge because they tend to give me screaming brain freeze and the calories aren't worth it. If I still want one this week, after a decent workout, then I'll cave. Chances are I won't want one by then, but I'm allowing for the possibility.

2--people near me were talking politics. It wasn't the content of their conversation that piqued my interest or even the political bent, it was the way they were discussing current events.


It only took the one word for me to know which side of the line they're on, and while I agreed with nearly every point they made, I bristled at the colloquialism.

Rethuglicans. Libtards. tRump. Drumf. Democraps.

Look, I get it. People on every side are frustrated and lashing out. But if you're using these terms, you're infantilizing the issues and detracting from the point. There is no rational discussion when slinging insults at the people with whom you're trying to reach. It doesn't matter if they're slinging it right back; if you want people to listen, to hear you, then speak like an adult and leave the invectives on the playground.

You won't change anyone's mind if they feel attacked.

I will nope right out of a conversation with people I agree with when the childish slings and arrows come out. I will nope right out if someone can't separate the party from the people; there's a vast difference between the Republican Party and registered Republicans. The same can be said for Democrats. I will nope right out of it if the implication is that anyone registered to the opposing party is an idiot.

That doesn't mean I understand them. I cannot fathom why anyone would still support the abject amorality, anti-intellectualism, and party-over-country individuals that have a chokehold on the U.S. I honestly don't think our government structure will survive if this continues. But that doesn't mean I'll grab onto the current social-media terminology when discussing the issues.

Don't get me wrong. As much as I try not to, when someone presents themselves as a Trump supporter, I judge them hard. But if I hear the word rethuglican fall from your mouth, yeah, I judge that, too.

We're heading into what could be the most important election ever; certainly in our lifetimes. Maybe we should stop, take a breath, and treat is as such instead of a playground pissing contest.


18 October 2019

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I own these as a pair of shorts. Until 2 days ago, I hadn't realized that they were available as pants.

By Monday night, they will be mine. I was not passing up the chance to order these and have them in time for the 3 Day. They're gold pants so they're lightweight and should be comfortable enough even if it gets a little warm in San Diego while we're walking, and I'll sure as heck appreciate having them in the morning when it's What-the-Fork chilly degrees outside.

Now, hot pink would pair well with these pants, but everyone is going to be in pink and I can't be like everyone. Last time I wore neon orange and it worked well; any time the Spouse Thingy and I got separated (like, at lunch or pit stops) it was super easy for him to find me. He won't be there this time, but Michelle will be in a sweep van and keeping an eye out for me, so something blinding would be good.

Not, like, to blind her, but to make it easier to pick me out of the masses at a distance.

So, why not screaming neon yellow?

I ordered a couple of these from Custom Ink last night, with a guarantee to get them way before the walk. Today I got a couple of emails from the company, one to confirm my order, another with a proof, and a third with a request.

Basically... "Yeah, hi, we noticed that the shirt you created and ordered seems to be for a charity event. Please reply with a link to your fundraising page so that we can make a donation."

I figured the offer was cool and didn't expect anything more than $5. But within an hour, they'd replied back that a donation had been made, and apologozed that it wasn't more.


Now, I get it. This is good PR and built into the prices they charge. But I would have ordered the shirts anyway because I want them for them walk, and this was totally unexpected.

Twenty bucks is twenty bucks, and now puts me at just under $300 to go.

I'm getting excited now, because that's totally within reach.


This popped up on Facebook memories a couple weeks ago, and I lamented (tongue in cheek) that I had actually traveled across the country wearing it.

I had a notion--before finding the rainbow pants--that I could at least wear the pants again. It would amuse me, if no one else.

So I went digging for them, because it's not the kind of thing I would throw out or donate. It took awhile, because I've store a bunch of stuff and things are not exactly orderly in my closet right now, but I found them at the bottom of a stack of event t-shirts.

And I tried them on.

There's a wee bit of room there now.

If I let go, they wind up around my ankles.

So they're not going with me, and I think I'm keeping them around just as a reminder of where I've been and where I don't want to go again.

This was good for my ego, I admit it. I've been in Plateau Hell, having not lost any weight since March and only 4 pounds since January, and it's been doing a mental number on me. I can't really cut my calories any further--I'm at 1200, 1300 tops every day--and I just don't have the time to burn more (15-20 miles a day 3-4 times a week is enough, though I'm adding swimming back to the mix next week.) It felt damn good to put them on and have them not fit so badly that even a belt isn't going to help.

I think I'll like the golf pants even more.

Just under 4 weeks to go.

There's still time to donate, and it's tax deductible!

11 October 2019

< hops on the soapbox >

I’m sitting in Starbucks, as I frequently do; I came here with the intent to work, to finish a short story and read through another for typos so that I can upload it to The Wick Chronicles soon. It’s not super busy here, but there are quite a few people around me, and people tend to sit here and talk, no matter how enmeshed in my work I happen to be.

Usually, tuning them out is not a problem. It’s when they start on something that captures my attention that my work generally suffers, because I’m unintentionally listening rather than writing.

Today’s word that pulled me from outer space back to earth: stupid.

“I don’t know why you do shit like that. It’s stupid.”

I mentally rewound the things I’d been hearing but not paying much attention to, and then listened to the rest. No, it’s not polite, I should endeavor to not eavesdrop, but my inner twelve-year-old wanted to know what this no-longer-excited young adult did that could be deemed as stupid.

He’d been excited. He was animated when he spoke, and basically shut down when informed that his interest, what he’d participated in, was “stupid.”

And now I’m ticked off.

His stupid shit? He’d waited in line to be one of the first to get the newest iPhone. He tried to explain why he did it, but it fell of dismissive ears. “You could have pre-ordered it and gotten it the day it came out. Or you could have waited a few days and not been out all night in a line with the other idiots.”

I really wanted to tell that poor kid that it wasn’t stupid. I’d almost made up my mind to speak up if his companion went to the restroom, and almost made up my mind to say something even if he didn’t, but I waited too long. They left right after that, and I’ve been stewing ever since.

Look. Your passions don’t have to make sense to other people. If it makes you happy to wait in line all night to get the newest phone, then wait all night. Revel in it. Just because I wouldn’t do it doesn’t mean I don’t get it. I do. It’s not about being the first to get the phone—of course you could have ordered it and gotten it on day one. It’s about the excitement of the people you’re with, the party atmosphere. It’s about meeting new people and connecting with old friends. For you, it’s fun, and that’s the only reason you need.

If you want to stand in a line all night for the newest book in your favorite series with a hundred other people who share your passion, do it. Dress up, play games, have a wicked good time.

If you want to stand in a line all night to be the first to see a new Star Wars movie, dressed like a Storm Trooper, do it.

Embrace your passions and don’t apologize for them.

And if you’re on the other side of the table, the person who thinks those things are stupid…don’t do them. It’s that simple. Don’t do them, and refrain from criticizing the people who do. If your friend is jazzed about spending a day or two in a line to get concert tickets to see someone he absolutely loves, don’t mock him. Be happy for him. Be thrilled. He’s going to have a great time with a bunch of other people, maybe make some new friends, and then he gets to see his favorite performer.

If your friend likes reading books in a genre you don’t but he can’t help but tell you about it, don’t tell him to shut up. Ask questions. Find out what it’s about and why it’s so important to him. No one is forcing the books on you, but your friend is attempting to share something with you. Something that matters to him.

If you have a friend who posts pictures of their lunch, their dinner, their car, their motorcycle, their kids, their finally-clean-after-a-depressive-bout house, don’t mock them. You have choices here: scroll past without saying anything, click “like” and move on, or come to an understanding that this excites them. Be happy that someone you care about enjoys his delicious food, his car, his bike, loves his kids, and broke through something that finally allowed them to create some order in their lives.

If you’re not religious—even rabidly anti-religion—and have a friend who posts a sincere thanks to God for his day, don’t shit all over it. Why not be happy that he has something in his life that brings him comfort? If you don’t like it, scroll past it. If they’re not proselytizing or rabidly shoving it in your face, just move on.

I admit, this is all something I struggle with online and IRL. I have rolled my eyes at the 1000th picture of a dog doing the same damned thing every time its picture gets taken, because frankly, that dog kind of creeps me out, but I move on. I’m sure people roll their eyes at all the photos of my cats. At my bikes. At my pink-things endeavors. I cannot fathom why someone takes a selfie every single day and posts it, or why someone takes selfies while on vacation yet never includes the thing they’re on vacation to see. Like, dude, it’s right behind you, let us see it. I don’t get a lot of it.

I don’t ask the right questions, if I even think to ask questions. Face it, I am socially dense a lot of the time; people ask me questions and I answer, but it doesn’t occur to me to keep it going and ask questions of my own. And that doesn’t matter who you are. I am not great at conversation anymore. It is what it is.

But what I hope I never do, what I will hate myself for if I do it, is to tell someone else that the thing that excites them is stupid.

You love movies? Fantastic. Tell me more about the one you just saw that really grabbed you.

You love trashy novels? Awesome. (I might ask why, but I won’t mean it sarcastically. I hope.)

You love cooking and want to share a picture of your latest culinary masterpiece? Spiffy. And fork you, now I’m hungry. Show me again.

You quilt and want me to follow your blog where you show your work? Hell yes. That’s amazing. I adore your talent.

You went on vacation to Far-Away-Place-I’ll-Never-Go? SHOW ME THE PICTURES. I will be genuinely interested.

There’s no requirement in life that says you have to understand the things that make other people happy. As long as they’re not harming anyone else, why not skip over the WTF factor and get right to the Well Why Not factor?

Just…stop shitting all over other peoples’ passions. Be happy that someone you care about has passions. That should be indulged, not condemned.

<  /off the soapbox  >


7 October 2019

All righty.

Fundraising resumed.

I am apparently intelligent enough to go to San Diego, walk, and determine when I should stop walking and jump on the sweep van. And since DKM will be in one of the sweep vans, even if it's full, I can probably strap myself to the roof and ride to the next pit stop.

So...I need to start walking a little bit more.

I need to sort out my hydration for the walk.

I need to get 319 tiny bottles of Fireball to take with me...for pain control.

I need to get some neon pink hair dye, because it's not a 3 Day if my hair isn't pink.

I need to raise $815 more.