I should not be allowed unsupervised at Lowes

So. I went to Lowes a few weeks ago. I came home with four cinder blocks, two halves of an 8-foot board, a bird-feeder hook, and bamboo.

The thing was that I didn’t plan on buying anything when I wandered into the store. In fact, heading to Lowes wasn’t even on my agenda for the day when I left the apartment. It was just supposed to be a quick trip out of my apartment for a new clock to replace the one that’d fallen off my wall.

Ever since I was bitten by the DIY-bug, there’s an outdoor shelf that I’ve wanted to build for a while. It’s an easy project. No tools needed, just a bit of paint. And my brain decided that today was the day for that project to get done. I have no idea why. I long ago gave up trying to figure out how my mind works.

So I bought all the supplies I needed for the shelf, a bird-feeder hook to hang my wind-chimes, and a stalk of bamboo. The shelf has been assembled, and the bamboo has found its new home. I’ve named her Sophia, by the way.

What’s the moral of this story? I should not be allowed into Lowes on my own when there are DIY projects dancing around in my head.

The finished project and my windchimes

The finished project and my windchimes

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Being Thankful

The world doesn’t feel like the nicest place right now given the state of American politics. And that’s exactly why it’s important to reflect on the positives. To find the good amidst the darkness and uncertainty.

I’m thankful that I have a fulltime job and that said job pays my bills. I’m thankful that I’ll be heading to Massachusetts one week from tomorrow to see my parents, my dogs, and my friends. I’m thankful that there’s food in my freezer. I’m thankful that moving to North Carolina has worked out for me so far.  And I’m thankful that I don’t have to work on Black Friday.

I’ll be spending my Thanksgiving curled up under a blanket, eating Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast, and enjoying my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner: potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving and giving thanks for the good.

Life as it is… an update

Next week marks the end of my third month in Charlotte. It’s been quite a ride so far. I’m working full-time at an insurance company and sit in traffic far too long during my commute twice a day. I’ve been spending that time in the car listening to old episodes of DitchDiggers along with soundtracks for Broadway shows like The Addams FamilyYoung FrankensteinInto the Woods, and Legally Blonde. I often wonder what other drivers think of my singing. Not that they hear it. I hope.

My writing plugged along at a pretty steady pace before I got my current job. Part-time work is great for creativity (but not so much for the bank account) while full-time work leaves me drained at the end of my day. It’s just under eleven hours from the time I lock up my apartment in the morning until I get back in the evening. All I want to do then is binge on Netflix until bedtime. Not write. Not at all.

I’d like to carve myself a routine where I write on weekends and a couple nights a week. Maybe do a Monday-Wednesday-Saturday-Sunday kind of deal. It’d be nice to do NaNoWriMo next month, but I’m not confident I’d be able to achieve the word count every night. Or even come close.

I am happy with the writing I’ve done. There’s a short story I just finished that needs some serious work, but it’s got a solid enough skeleton that I feel could translate into multiple stories with the main character. Like the Sherlock Holmes stories, though she’s more of a nice-Jack Reacher at the moment. I’ve already got plenty of ideas to play with during the editing process.

What else? I’ve kept myself busy decorating my apartment with finds from antique and consignment shops. And Ikea, of course. Because what’s a home without Ikea furniture? Or Ikea decking. Speaking of decking, the patio is going to be a cozy little area when it’s finally done. I’ll be building a couple free-standing shelves over the next few weeks and putting plants and lawn ornaments on them. My neighbors are going to think I’m weird, but oh well.

That’s pretty much the big update on my life. I’m plugging along day by day as weeks slip through my fingers. But I like it.

How’s your fall going?

Thoughts from Tiredness

Image result for writing a letter gifThe other night, I was exhausted. Tired to the point where I consciously knew that I should go to bed but kept surfing through Pinterest anyway. I started at do-it-yourself crafts with license plates ended up on Halloween decorations for my back patio. Then I found myself on Amazon, typing things like creepy garden ornaments and lawn ornaments into the search bar. (I did find a particularly awesome T-REX-eating-lawn-gnomes statue.)

My brain obviously goes to weird places when I’m tired, and it jumps from one topic to the next, to the next, to the next. It typically doesn’t turn those thoughts into actions. I might decide one night to write a SPECTACULAR blog post and then sit down the next day to realize the idea was utter nonsense.

But one of the places my mind traveled to the other night doesn’t look all that weird in the harsh light of day.

The great actor Gene Wilder passed away on August 29th. I loved watching him in Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, and I thought about writing a blog post about how much I enjoyed his movies. That was until I read a sarcastic comment on Facebook. Typically I don’t put much stock in sarcastic or caustic Facebook comments, instead just scrolling past to pictures of cute animals or vacations. But this one made me pause. The gist of it was “why would you air your feelings about someone after they’re gone when you haven’t said anything about them when they’re alive?”

It’s a fantastic point. The argument could be made that airing those feelings after someone has passed away shares memories and love with the grieving community. But if you feel that strongly about someone and their work, why not tell them when they’re alive?

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll be writing fan letters over the next few weeks, to JK Rowling, to Stephen King, to William Shatner, and to others. Because it makes a whole lot more sense (to me) to tell these people how much I enjoy their work while I still have the chance.

My Little Garden

Whenever I was put in charge of watering plants, whether they hung off shepherd’s hooks on the deck or sat conspicuously on the back windowsill, they invariably turned crinkly and brown. Sure I’d water them for a few days, but then the habit would disappear off my mental to-do list.

So when buying three plant growing kits, I didn’t spend more than a dollar a piece. Killing them wouldn’t damage my wallet too much. I picked three different types of plants: daisies, poppies, and sunflowers.

Grace and Plants

Grace supervising the replanting

The sunflowers have thrived. Either the poppies or daisies (I don’t remember which) drowned from over-watering in their little tiny pots. Whichever one I didn’t kill is growing slowly but surely. That moderate success encouraged me to pick up a few more dollar growing kits along with potting soil to replant the sunflowers in bigger pots.

I’ve since replanted almost all of the plants in bigger pots, killed three more, and decided to try my hand at growing packaged seeds in a big planter. One of the sunflowers will probably bloom in the next week or so. And I haven’t forgotten to water them too much; that’s a win in my book.

Eventually spring will decide to show its face in Massachusetts, and my little garden will be moved outside to the front step. Remembering to water them there will be a bit more of a challenge. But until then, I’ll be enjoying my mostly green thumb.

IMG_3262

The garden inside.

Winter Storm Jonas

Winter Storm Jonas slammed into the eastern coast of the United States last weekend. While places like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia were buried underneath feet of snow, my hometown south of Boston got just under 7-inches. The eighteen hour storm might have dumped all that much snow on us (especially compared to the three weeks of blizzards last year), but it was gorgeous.

I have two favorite parts of snow storms: during and just afterwards. During a storm, the whole world turns blue-gray. Clouds close in on the ground and fill the space between trees. Snowflakes blast through the air, perfect for catching on my tongue.

Storm Collage

Then there’s just after a storm. Clouds hover above the trees for an hour or so before they all but disappear. The sky is a blue that Crayola could only dream of reproducing, and the sun brings out the pure whiteness of the snow. Branches still have their sleeves of snow.

I just missed Jonas’s “After” by a couple of hours. But that didn’t stop me from taking the dogs onto the deck before it was shoveled for a bit of playtime.

Snow dogs

If you’re on the East Coast and braved Jonas, I hope you stayed safe and enjoyed the snow!

 

My Resolutions for 2016

For the longest time, resolutions and I didn’t get along. The resolutions I’d make each year at the end of December and beginning of January always sounded great. But then they’d be forgotten about by mid-February. Now after a few successful years, I like making resolutions. I’ve made more than usual for 2016, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to accomplish all of them.

New Year’s Resolutions (2016 Edition)

  • Move to Charlotte, NC
  • Attend another Walker Stalker Con (either Charlotte or Atlanta, or both)
  • Revise and finish all of Bay View Outbreak
  • Read 30 books
  • One full revision of A. Romanus
  • Visit somewhere completely new

Have you made any resolutions for 2016 yet? Do you usually make resolutions?

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

Christmas Day typically involves cinnamon rolls, presents, and watching Disney’s Christmas Day Parade. (Fun fact, the parade isn’t actually filmed on Christmas Day.) There was more sleeping in than normal after working a closing-shift on Christmas Eve, but it was a perfect day with my family.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you all had a great day!

My Favorite Pictures of 2015

My iPhone and I called a truce for the moment. It has been saying that there’s not enough memory for my pictures, music, and apps while also demanding more space for software updates. I’ve argued that the 16 GB of space advertised by Apple should be just for my stuff. There should be other memory reserved updates. Needless to say, I’m fighting a losing battle.

So I recently went through the pictures on my phone to delete anything less than memorable, and I decided to compile my favorites from the last year. There’re far more pictures of my dogs than I remember taking (a lot of which are adorable). Plus I discovered a few non-dog ones as well.

Sam and Grace Collage 2

Sam Grace Collage 1

Setting collage

Someone famous once said that a picture’s worth a thousand words. I’m not sure how much these are worth, but I know what they do for me. It’s like I’m transported back into those moments: walking through a foggy and rainy Boston, playing fetch with Sampson in the snow, and taking Grace home from a day out on the town.

I plan on making a whole lot more memories in 2016 and taking just as many pictures.

Do you have a favorite picture (or pictures) from 2015? Share it or a link in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving with my family means watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, eating turkey later than originally planned, and devouring gravy-covered mashed potatoes. Today was no exception to those traditions.

I hope you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving!