I’m back! 

I hope. The power came back on for about an hour this morning, and just as I was starting to let my guard down—putting my phone on the charger, turning on the computer to write this post—it went out again. I still don’t entirely trust that it’s really back this time.

It’s been a dull couple of days, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. We lost a lot of branches in my immediate area, and I have to throw out nearly everything that was in the fridge, but if that’s the worst of it, I can deal. No one was hurt. Nothing was damaged.

I finished all four books I’d been reading, plus a comic collection I was saving. I took a few photos (but not as many as I expected). I baked the cookie dough I had in the freezer before the power went out (priorities!) and watched one of my across-the-lane neighbours parkour up to his second-floor apartment in the middle of the storm and go in through the balcony door, for some reason. I ventured down into the storage space in the basement to find the camp stove, even though the emergency lights had gone out at that point (but something was still beeping ominously?), and there was no better (worse) place for the zombies to attack. 

(Related: I’m 90% sure that parkour guy—or his roommate or partner or whatever—is the one I regularly hear belting out “Zombie” by the Cranberries, but I haven’t been able to confirm it.)

It’s still going to take me a couple of days to get completely back to normal, to catch up with Instagram and Twitter and this blog. And everything else. Bear with me.

Admin, Personal

Snapshot #135 | 10 Things for 8 September 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. having… one of those weeks when it feels like I own way too much stuff.
2. wishing… Parker made gel ink refills smaller than .7mm. I love the pen, and love the ink, but it takes up so much space on the page—I just want a finer line. (Yes. This is really bothering me.)
3. trying… to find a place where my pilea gets enough sunlight, but where the cat won’t destroy it.
4. writing… the synopsis for The Black Sun. I’ll still want to perfect it a bit, but… it’s good. Another step closer.
5. troubleshooting… a really annoying email issue. (If anyone’s trying to get in touch with me right now—or has tried recently and hasn’t gotten a response, since apparently this isn’t a new problem, I’m just discovering it now—I’m sorry. I’m trying to fix it. If it’s important, try the contact form.)
6. settling… into a good productivity system. I think. Still fine-tuning it.
7. thinking… about turning ‘likes’ off on the blog. It’s not that I’m against them, really, but too many spammers abuse the feature, and I don’t know that it’s worth it. Any thoughts?
8. hoping… they finish resurfacing my street soon.
9. making… bread for the first time in ages. I finally had a weekend when I could stand the thought of turning on the oven.
10. starting… the new draft of Violet Lane. This is going to be fun.

Ok, so: Hurricane Dorian is heading this way. The rain’s already started.

I’m fine. Everything’s secured, all batteries are charged, I’ve got food and books and a manual coffee grinder. I’ve printed off a copy of the Violet Lane outline, just in case. (What more do I need, really? And, yes, I have water.) I’m watching a couple of nearby trees warily, but really, the worst I’m expecting (personally) is to lose power. It might be for a couple of hours, it could be a few days, but this early in the season, with all the leaves still on the trees—power lines are coming down at some point. (When Hurricane Juan hit in 2003, I was without electricity for almost a week. But that was a lower-priority neighbourhood when it came to restoration, and my apartment building at the time was only about a block away from the high-water mark.)  

Rather than run down my batteries scrolling through Instagram and Twitter looking for updates, I’m going to keep my phone and iPad turned off as much as I can. I’ll update this post if something important comes up, and tomorrow’s regularly-scheduled post has been… scheduled… (I tried five different ways of phrasing that and hated them all), but I won’t be responding to email or comments, or getting any notifications until I’m sure everything’s stable again.

I’ll be back soon! 

Admin, Personal

Snapshot #134 | 10 Things for 25 August 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. starting… work on that dress I’ve been meaning to make forever.
2. trying… to kick my motivation back into gear. I’ve been in a bit of a funk the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why.
3. making… the year’s first batch of ice cream. At the end of August. It’s been a weird summer.
4. forgetting… what a nightmare some stores are right now, with back-to-school season coming up. I just wanted to look at pens.
5. spending… six and a half hours in the emergency room. I’m ok! Just had a bit of a scare and needed a bunch of tests. They all came back good. (And I’m incredibly grateful for the Canadian health care system right now.)
6. reevaluating… a few things.
7. finding… a reusable cup for iced coffee that fits in my bag! I’ve been looking for ages. (This is the one, if you’re facing the same dilemma. The silicone feels a little precarious when it’s full, but it works just fine so far.)
8. wishing… the cat would stop waking me up in the middle of the night.
9. exploring… a part of town that I haven’t visited in years. It’s changed a lot, and it’s kind of fantastic.
10. hoping… that next week is better than the last two have been.

Snapshot #133 | 10 Things for 11 August 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. trying… a new notebook setup.
2. making… an actual plan to try some of the (literal) hundreds of recipes I’ve got saved.
3. catching… another summer cold. I am having the worst luck with that this year.
4. worrying… that I’m about to become one of those insufferable Instagram ‘plant parents.’
5. going… back to the drawing board with Violet Lane.
6. missing… the merlins. They didn’t come back this year, which is sad—I loved watching them—but it does mean that the juncos have been hanging around more. They’re fun, too.
7. watching… some fantastically inspiring movies.
8. buying… a raincoat. I’ve needed a new one—or any water-resistant jacket with a hood, really—for years, but it’s taken me this long to find one I don’t hate.
9. seeing… a few connections I was missing before.
10. waiting… for a couple of very cool deliveries. (And they—mostly—arrived on time!)

Snapshot #132 | 10 Things for 28 July 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. fangirling… over all the Marvel Phase 4 announcements. (Jane Foster! Blade! An actual release date for Black Widow!)
2. falling… a bit behind on my 366 project. Twice. It happens, but I’m not happy about it. (I’ll be up-to-date again by the end of the day.)
3. getting… frustrated. More technical difficulties.
4. trying… not to melt. The humidity has been awful.
5. worrying… about one of the neighbourhood crows. It was obviously hurt or ill, but it wasn’t in a place where I could try to help. I’m still a bit stressed about the whole thing.
6. signing… up for another streaming service, just for Season 4 of Veronica Mars. And I’m kind of furious about it.
7. wondering… if I’m ever going to make ice cream this season. (I can’t find all the ingredients I need, because apparently grocery stores around here don’t bother to stock small cartons of whole milk anymore. I can’t bring myself to throw away more than half a litre, which is what will happen if I give in.)
8. moving… a few dresses back into the regular rotation. (Partly because of #4.)
9. taking… another big step on the big scary project that I’m still not ready to talk about. But it’s awesome.
10. realizing… that I’m complaining a lot this week. I’m sorry. I blame the heat.

Snapshot #131 | 10 Things for 14 July 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. eating… all the strawberries.
2. noticing… that I’ve broken a few bad habits, completely unintentionally. An unexpected benefit of that cold, apparently. (Don’t worry: I’ve still got plenty of bad habits. Glad to be rid of those ones, though.)
3. finishing… the office coffee station. I finally found a tray I like! (This is the kind of thing I get excited about.)
4. tackling… that chore that I’ve been putting off since… last summer. Really. But it’s done and I can move forward with the big photo project, and I’m thrilled! (The bus ride wasn’t quite as tedious as expected, but it was close.)
5. hoping… that the new sunscreen I picked up will solve all my (sunscreen-related) problems.
6. looking… for good baked doughnut recipes. I finally broke down and got a pan, and I can’t wait to try it. Just as soon as the humidity breaks and I’m willing to turn on an oven again.
7. troubleshooting… an annoying computer problem. Not sure if I’ve solved it yet. Fingers crossed.
8. taking… care of the balcony plants. Finally. If they die now, it’s because of the oak trees, not my neglect.
9. cleaning… up the files on the ancient MacBook Pro, in the hopes that maybe it can be repaired and used again for less than the cost of a new laptop. I’m not optimistic, but it’d be nice to have something in between the desktop and tablet. (And, yeah: a lot of computer stuff going on lately.)
10. trying… those ruby cocoa KitKat bars. The chocolate is really interesting—I’d love to see it show up in a form that I can experiment with (chips or plain bars, something). I feel like it’d make a really good ice cream.

Snapshot #130 | 10 Things for 30 June 2019

Personal

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a wash, and I’m genuinely struggling to think of things I’ve actually done. But let’s try anyway.

Currently…

1. craving… ice cream. I haven’t made a single batch yet this year.
2. wondering… if the new coffee beans I got for the office are really this bitter, or if it’s just the way I’m tasting things right now. (Stupid cold.)
3. worrying… about the balcony plants. The building-supply place around the corner closed last summer (they’re building a hideous corporate HQ in its place, which infuriates me for so many reasons), and buying plants has been difficult enough without a nearby garden centre, but now I have to try to get potting soil before the herbs die.
4. avoiding… the rain. Barely.
5. starting… to wean myself off Pinterest, or at least change the way I use it. (If anyone can recommend something that works better as a digital ‘swipe file,’ let me know. I use Evernote for a lot, but sometimes a grid view helps spark ideas better than a list.)
6. reorganizing… the archives.
7. recognizing… some missing skills in my writing life, and taking steps to build them.
8. finishing… the stack of books at my bedside. I’ve still got at least a dozen ebooks to read, but it’s something.
9. trying… not to let my anxiety get the better of me.
10. looking… forward to things getting back to normal.

Sketchbook #44

Personal, Photography, Writing

“Maybe I’ll have some answers by the end of June,” I said

Why do I set myself up like that? 

I’m being a little overdramatic. The first two weeks of the month were good. Really good. It took a few days to figure out what I was doing with Violet Lane, but I’m well into the second draft now, and it feels like the big changes (cutting down the number of point-of-view characters, eliminating one character entirely, et cetera) are the right ones. I’m still wavering a bit on the tone (I want to make it darker, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I might have to rework the main character again), but in general, I’m happy with it.

My progress with photography is… ok. I’m in a bit of a rut—so many flowers—and I’m trying to figure out how to push myself out of my comfort zone with that. Part of the problem, I think, is that I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to my routine in general—I do the same things and go to the same places, travelling the same routes, at roughly the same time every week—so I’m not seeing anything new. Nothing is feeling fresh or interesting. (I haven’t gone on as much as a day trip in over a year. The logistics for that kind of thing get tricky when you don’t drive.) Plenty of photographers have found inspiration in mundane environments, but I’m dealing with a general sense of frustration that’s just feeding on itself right now, and I need to figure out how to break myself out of it.

That said, the flower photos are ok—some of them have been quite good—they’re just boring.

Other than that things have been pretty much progressing as expected: I’m having fun with the website redesign, I’ve been making some real progress when it comes to figuring out my long-term plans (which… yeah, I kind of worked on that a few months ago, but I’ve been refining the ideas and framing them in a way that means I can work toward them rather than just dream about them), and I took a few small steps toward that big project that I’m still not announcing, even though I fully intended to do so this month. (More on that in a minute.)

… and then I came down with a cold. Nothing much has happened since last Wednesday. At all.

Snapshot #129 | 10 Things for 16 June 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. spending… a little too much money. I should be able to get back on track going forward, though.
2. being… indecisive. I said I’d been trying to choose between two very similar WordPress themes? I’m still second-guessing myself. If you have strong opinions for or against blog sidebars, feel free to chime in. That’s what it’s coming down to, and I keep changing my mind. (It seems like I do have strong opinions for and against sidebars.)
3. reading… Keep Going by Austin Kleon. It’s the followup to Steal Like an Artist and Share Your Work! and I really needed it right now.
4. looking… for a new podcast to listen to. (I knew this was going to happen.) If you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments. I’d especially like to find good ongoing podcasts about photography—audio only—and 20th century history. Also I tend not to listen to things that run more than 30 minutes an episode.
5. playing… with a kitten that made Lucy look chill and well-behaved.
6. making… the first batch of cold-brew coffee of the year.
7. thinking… about my long-term goals, and trying to turn them into plans.
8. starting… to see some improvement in the whole running thing. (According to the numbers, at least. When I’m actually out there doing it, it doesn’t feel like it’s getting better or easier at all.)
9. catching… up on all the TV I didn’t watch during the season. (Or starting to.)
10. wondering… why all the Marvel Funko Pops are bobbleheads. It annoys me that they don’t match the other ones I have. (Apparently I collect those things now? I don’t know.)