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Accio Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

I’m not saying I’m lazy, but sometimes it’s a lot of trouble getting up off my couch.

For one thing, it’s an old couch—well, love seat, really—and it doesn’t look like a sinkhole, but like a lot of older things, it’s not as springy as it used to be. Especially when you’ve been smooshed into the corner for a few episodes of Agents of Shield on Netflix. And by “a few” I mean long enough to get the “Are you still watching?” message. (Don’t judge. We all have our days.)

tea earl grey Also, I’ve got an ottoman pushed up against the front of it. This isn’t for me–my legs are short enough that I can sit comfortably sideways. It’s for the dog, who insists on being next to me whether it’s convenient or not. Usually not. But because I don’t want her (or anything else, like my snacks) to fall into the crack between the ottoman and the couch, I put this very specific quilt over both, and my legs hold it in place. And then Penny insists on being covered up by another very specific blanket. And then I often have my laptop on my, well, lap.

Which is all to say that every time I have to get off the couch, even just to pour another cup of tea, I have to set aside my laptop where it won’t get stepped or sat on, kick off one afghan, swing my legs over the dog, over the ottoman, which pushes me further into the La Brea Cushion Pit so that I have to shove myself up and out, somehow managing not to scoot the sofa back, the ottoman forward, or dislodge the quilt-hammock and drop Penny into the couch chasm.

That’s assuming she doesn’t jump up and start bounding around the sofa trying to grab the afghan and pull it back over herself, or just generally make a nuisance of herself.

I tell you all this because it is not at all infrequent that I wish I had a house elf to bring me a cup of tea. Then I feel guilty for wishing I had a house elf. So I wish I had Mrs. Weasley’s domestic spell skill set so I could just accio a nice cuppa without it becoming a whole production. Because of course once the dog is disturbed, there’s no guarantee she’ll settle down again soon. (In fact, it’s almost a certainty that as soon as I’m ensconced once more, and have rearranged the ottoman/quilt/afghan/laptop to their original positions, she will ask to go outside.)

Anyway. This is what made me think about the conveniences of magic. (I mean, more than I usually think about how cool it would be to have magic.) Yeah, it would be something to be the Dark Lord and take over the world and all, but enough

Penny Undercover

Shhh. I’m undercover(s).

money will let you do the same thing. What intrigues me–and this is why I’m a writer, I guess–in any fantasy or high-tech science fiction world is the way it would affect daily life. The way you brush your teeth or make your bed or call for a taxi.

The fact that (other than the ability to apparate or the invention of a transporter, and even then maybe not) the spell I find myself wishing for most is the “accio” spell. You know, for those times when the remote control is…just…out…of…reach.

Not because I’m lazy, though.

Just because it would be cool.

 

Expectation vs. Reality (To Do List Edition)

Things I planned to do today:

  1. Get up early.
  2. Have coffee on my porch surrounded by the plants I planted this weekend.
  3. Write a blog post.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Buy a watering can.
  6. Pay the electric bill.
  7. Figure out what’s the deal with my porch light.
  8. Write a bazillion pages.
  9. Mind map ideas about my “Brand” and Social Media Strategy.
  10. Review two books.
  11. Zero my inbox.
  12. Eat a healthy lunch.

Things from this list I have done today:

  1. Had coffee.
  2. Ate lunch.

Oh, and I can check off #3. *high fives self*

(High fiving yourself looks pretty much like giving yourself applause, but slightly less embarrassing to admit.)

corgi in circles.gif

My Actual Day

In Which I Get Domesticated

My friends. I’ve wandered into a dark back alley of the Internet, and I can’t quite break my addiction. It was a slow slide. A random link, a pop-up add, an “I’ll just take a little peek” click of the trackpad.

As part of the Year of Getting My S*** together, I wanted some inspiration for getting organized. So I searched “organization tips.” Oh. My. God.

No, I’m not wasting time looking Pinterest. I am GETTING ORGANIZED. I can QUIT ANY TIME I WANT.

No. I can’t. Because I have been sucked into the seedy underbelly of the blogosphere. I had discovered the world of Organizing Bloggers.

Not like a blogger’s union or anything like that. Blogs about getting organized.

And decorating.

And sometimes cooking.

Dammit, I’m addicted to HOMEMAKING BLOGS okay. I have bookmarked freaking Better Homes & Gardens and Real Simple. Why don’t I just turn in my hipster card right now.

But look at this. LOOK! My stuff could look like this!!

staples-storage1-680x453

Just a Girl and Her Blog are adorable.

My desk could look like this!

25

From A Bowl Full of Lemons, one of my favorites.

 

THIS could be my pantry:
pantryafter

From I Heart Organizing (And right on the front page (when I wrote this) was a Free Printable. See what I mean?)

Okay, obviously not. My talent lies in translating my vision into words, a virtual world. Putting it into the three dimensions of the physical world is a different thing. I can tell you that my dream cottage looks like Laura Ashley and Anthropologie had a baby, but I will stand in front of the paint chips at Home Depot all day long unable to decide whether Ice Lilac or Violet Whisper will match the image I have in mind.

On the other hand, I can knit really beautiful things (if I say so myself) as long as I have a pattern and some practice. So when I look at what miracle someone has pulled off with an IKEA shelf, a drill, and some duct tape, I’m like… I have a drill, duct tape, and an IKEA catalogue.*

That’s the idea. The problem is, it’s much easier to pin pictures to show the home decorating fairy when she shows up.**

Here’s a few more recommendations, so you can know my full shame:

For crafty things I follow Mollie Makes and Interweave Knits on Pinterest.

For recipes that aren’t the same ol’ thing I love The Other Side of the Tortilla.

For getting things clean…or aspiring to get them this clean, there’s Clean Mama.

For design inspiration I love Apartment Therapy, and also IKEA has a bazillion ideas collected and easy to find on their Pinterest Board.

And finally THIS PINTEREST BOARD is the hub of wonderful organized things.

One minute I was roaming free, a lone wolf, and the next I’m reading about Ikea Hacks. How did I become a den mother…auntie?

I might as well give into it. At least I’ll get to cill in my newly redecorated bedroom. Ha ha, not really.

 


 

*I am Rosemary’s frustrated need for order in a world she can’t control.

** Inertia is a bitch. (And if any of you have struggled with depression, you know that change means not just inertia working against you, but also the gravity well of your couch and blankie.)

 

Some Psyches Are a Bit Passive-Aggressive. Just Saying.

addtext_com_MDAyMDIwNjI1MjU1A confession: Though it may appear that I only write on this blog every month or so, this is untrue. The truth is, I write a lot—I mean, a lot—that I end up not using. (Much like my manuscripts.)

Let me share the titles of some of the drafts in my folder:

Please Don’t Reset the Year Until I Get to a Save Point. — In which I feel really bad about David Bowie and Alan Rickman dying within a week of each other, but I accomplished a Major (and overdue) Thing and I really don’t want to have to do it again, because it was hard the first time.

My Word for 2016 is ‘Badass.’ — Pretty much what it says it is.

Death and Taxes — As in, the only two things in life that are certain. (This was kind of a downer.)

OMGSTARWARS! — Too many feels to contain. Too many spoilers to post.

All I Want to Do is Keep a Schedule, So Why Do I Need All These Stickers and Colored Pens? — In which I type the word “Planner” into the Pinterest search bar and get sucked into a Filofax-LifePlanner-Hobinachi-SmashJournal Wormhole. (I found out I really like just a Moleskine and a pen. Maybe I color code it a little. Okay, a lot.)

It’s Not You, WordPress, It’s Me. Is blogger’s block a thing? What if I’m only brilliant 140 characters at a time? I have a master’s degree in communication! Social Media shouldn’t be this hard! *sobs into couch cushions*

 

Yeah, I’m totally making this harder than it should be. Don’t try this at home.

No, really. Don’t. I have years and years of training.

Why would anyone write things and then throw them out?  Especially, you know, a professional writer. Well, I’ll tell you. Here’s a sample conversation in my head.

addtext_com_MjM1NzM2MjE1NTk1Me: La la la, I’m so happy to be writing a blog post today. I hope people enjoy reading it.

(Metaphorical) Devil on my shoulder: Oh honey, no. There was a school shooting today, so you’d better post something Important and Profound.

Me: Man, that makes me angry and sad. I’d much rather post about how much I love colored pens.

Devil: Hmmm. Better not post anything. Then we can go get a cherry lime slush from Sonic.

Me: Mmmm… Sonic.

The devil on my shoulder is kind of a passive-agressive asshole.

And then there’s this:

(Metaphorical) Angel on my shoulder: You know what Every Single Writing Article ever says: you’re not a Real Writer if you don’t write every day.

Me: But I didn’t write yesterday.

(Metaphorical) Devil on my shoulder: Then you must not be a Real Writer.

Me: Okay, then. I’m going to sit here and stare at this blank screen until I’ve writtten something.

*stare*

*stare*

Me: Maybe I’ll be inspired if I look at Pinterest for awhile.

Angel: DO NOT TOUCH THAT TRACKPAD, YOUNG LADY.

Me: *touches trackpad*

Devil: You know, if you were a real writer, you would have written 10 pages by now. Just look at all those Real Writers posting their word counts on The Twitter.

Angel: Do NOT even THINK about clicking over to— DAMMIT!

Me: Wow. Those are some Real Writers.

Devil: Yep. And you haven’t written anything in two days now.

Me: I must not be a Real Writer.

Devil: My work here is done. Let’s go to Sonic.

This isn’t just a writer thing.  I know I’m not the only one who thinks “Welp, I’ve blown my calorie count for the day, so I might as well have this ice cream sundae.”

(It occurs to me that I might be a little hungry as I’m writing this.)

ANYWAY…

I’m not any crazier than the next person (in this regard)–we all have an inner passive-agressive asshole. (It gets it’s script from all the outer passive-agressive assholes we’ve met in our lives). But we don’t have to listen.

(I just cut a lot of metaphor about volume dials and car radios on bumpy roads. You’re welcome.)

So, I’ve managed to post a blog before January is over. (*makes checkmark in turquoise for social media task*) And I even I managed to work it around to a takeaway point.

My work here is done. And Sonic is open for another 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Four Calling Birds

I’ll bet you thought Christmas was over. Psych! Today is the fourth of the twelve days of the liturgical season of Christmas, which means that as far as Christian Christmas is concerned, I am not actually late with my Christmas cards. Or presents. Whatever.

This is actually my favorite time of the season, because the blitzkrieg of Christmas Shopping commercials has ceased, I still have my little Christmas rosemary tree decorated, everyone is in a pretty good mood because the shopping pressure is over and they’re spending their holiday gift money and the mood is generally one of hope for good things in the new year. Plus, you don’t have to worry about offending anyone with “Happy New Year” because it applies to everyone. (Except for the Chinese, I suppose.)

And I don’t have to worry about Santa Claus breaking into my house  for another year. *shudder*

I guess this is why I’m able to create such a separation in my mind between American Secular “Christmas” and what I commemorate as a Christian. They don’t even really fall on the same days if you’re being pedantic technical about it.

But what I really want to say is that whatever you celebrate (even if it’s just the fact you won’t have to hear “Jingle Bells” for another nine months), I wish you joy of it. In the longest nights of midwinter, one thing we all share is faith that the dark will get lighter, and a new year brings the hope of peace on Earth to people of good will.

And lots and lots of poultry.

Calling Birds Stamp 1977

Stamp Issued in 1977

In which I tackle Serious Issues

Two CommandmentsIf this blog seems a little untimely, it’s because I’ve been working on it for a bit, trying to decide what I want to post. For the TL;DR, scroll to the bottom.

I don’t generally blog about Issues—not seriously, anyway. I really just want to talk about Chris Hemsworth in the movie about the Essex, or these cool new pens I got for my planner.  And yet all this Serious Issue $#*! keeps happening. It’s crazy and tragic and infuriating and frustrating and heartbreaking. And I have a lot of feels and some vehement opinions on these Serious Issues, but I have no solutions. (Well, I do, but most of them involve mind control, where I can just send out rays to the chips in everybody’s heads and say “Okay, nobody kill anybody else. Oh, and read more books.”)

I was watching Highlander the other day, and you know at the end, where he gets the prize, and the Silvercup sign blows up, and he’s all like “I see everything! I know what everybody’s thinking. And I’m going to use it to help people understand one another and bring about World Peace.” I was like, “Good luck with that unless the prize came with a mind control ray in the box.”

Sivercup-Studios

 

Sidebar: On my first trip to NYC, when the taxi was crossing the Queensboro Bridge, I was all like OMG THAT”S WHERE CONNOR MCLEOD FOUGHT THE KURGEN, and my friends were like, “We don’t know you.”

 

So, I spent a couple of hours, or three, writing a long rant manifesto essay on fear (and mind control) and believe it or not, this is the short version.

Our climate has become divisive and angry and filled with fear.

Some of it fear of change, like the pushback that has come in the form of #notallmen and #alllivesmatter. But some of it is artificially enhanced, the pot of our paranoia stirred by people and institutions that have a lot to gain from us being afraid of each other.

Fear closes minds to compromise, to acceptance, and to the love we’re supposed to have for one another.

Fear is it makes us selfish, and it isolates us. We think only of ourselves. We don’t cooperate, because we’re afraid the other person is going to pull one over on us, or somehow come out better in the deal.

Fear makes us easy to manipulate. That’s the true mind control.

It’s a scary world. Americans fear a terrorist act, and they’re frustrated because they don’t see leadership with a decisive strategy for dealing with it. (That’s what CNN says, not me, whose solutions all rely on science fiction. Or magic.) But the odds are far greater that you should worry about a firearms related incident. (About 33,000 people in American die from gun violence each year.*)

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” It’s so simple. It’s in the Old and New Testament, it’s in the Qur’aan, and it’s not even a matter of faith, just of decency and coexistence.

So, here’s my point. The world is full of far more decent individuals than horrible ones… until fear gets involved. We need to pay attention to who is trying to stir that fear into hate or injustice. When bigots and blowhards tell you that we need a wall to keep the Mexican rapists and criminals out, or that we need to ban all Muslims from coming into the U.S., or that Jews are responsible for the economic depression in post-war Germany, they are flat out fear-mongering, and its inflammatory and dangerous.

So, don’t let anyone tell you to fear your neighbor because she wears a headscarf or he has dark skin. Don’t let anyone say that if we give medical care to the poor they’re going to turn into lazy hoodlums.

And for God’s sake, don’t let anyone tell you that “Happy Holidays” is an attack on Christianity. (I feel like Christ is okay with not making a large percentage of the population feel like second class citizens in their own country.)

Don’t let anyone use fear to control you, or to drive a wedge between you and your fellow human being.

This is probably the most political you’ll ever hear me, unless something awful happens, like Lord Voldemort 2.0 getting the Republican nomination. Because honestly, my whole political platform boils down to this:

Be Excellent to Each Other

 

*According to the Center for Disease Control.

Edited 9am because I can’t number.

 

And Texas is slang for “crazy.”

So, in Norway, when something is completely nuts, it’s Texas. As in, “der var helt texas,” or, “that’s totally texas.” (Yes, lower case. Because it’s an adjective. Duh.)

I don't know what's in this picture, but apparently it's pretty awesomely out of control.

I don’t know what’s in this picture, but apparently it’s pretty awesomely out of control.

Now, mind you, a situation can be totally texas, but not a person. Which is an interesting (and oddly logical) distinction. Here’s the tumbler post that brought this to the attention of Texas Monthly:

texas-norway

Clearly someone in Norway has once been to a meeting of our state legislature.

I’ll just cite the Texas Monthly article that cites and example of a fisherman telling the local news about the rare sverdfisk he caught in Northern Norway. (Oh hey! THAT’S what that picture is about) “I heard a loud noise from the bay, but I did not know where it came from right away. Thirty seconds to a minute later it jumped out in the fjord. I got to see some of it before I took up the camera,” he says and continues: “It was totally texas!”

Maybe this isn’t as funny to people who aren’t from Texas. It’s just so random and yet so utterly perfect. The logic goes “Texas” (the state) = “the Wild West” = “totally bonkers.” Which about sums things up, from Austin hipsters to big trucks to Texas Longhorn football games, and yes, even blowhards. Everything is bigger (and nuttier) in Texas.

det var helt texas gothic