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.)

Snapshot #128 | 10 Things for 2 June 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. getting… back to work.
2. talking… myself out of dying my hair pink. Or teal. Or any colour other than blonde. I miss real colour desperately but I know I can’t be bothered to maintain it.
3. planning… the next draft of Violet Lane. I’m ready to start writing on Monday.
4. experimenting… with the whole bullet journal thing again. Turns out the setup I was using didn’t work as well as I thought.
5. trying… Beyond Meat burgers. I was pleasantly surprised—not the best burger I’ve ever had, but perfectly good for something store-bought, and far better than any other veggie burger I’ve had. I’ll have them again. (That said, I do want to finally try making my own veggie burgers this summer.)
6. catching… up on my podcast backlog! Completely! As of right now, there is no backlog. Which means I’m tempted to go looking for something new, to start the cycle all over again.
7. making… plans for the site redesign. Now I just need to pick a day to tear everything down and rebuild.
8. meeting… the new ravens! Over the past few years, I’ve managed to become friendly acquaintances with the local pair; this year I got to see their fledglings! (Which, yes, meant I was standing in the middle of a public path talking to four ravens like they understand English. But four ravens! 😍)
9. starting… to build my DVD/Blu-Ray collection again. I got out of the habit, but as streaming services multiply, it makes more sense to me to buy anything I want to see more than once. Now I need to figure out how to store these things.
10. refining… my goals and updating my inspiration board.

Snapshot #127 | 10 Things for 19 May 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. starting… to pick up supplies for the balcony garden. It’s always a challenge (between the light and the nearby oak trees that try to murder the competition, nothing seems to want to grow out there), but I live in hope.
2. moving… forward with my big scary photo project. Small steps, but in the right direction.
3. thinking… about my creative process, and the things I want to make—in both writing and photography. Exciting things are coming. (Eventually. These things take time.)
4. getting… ready to update my inspiration board.
5. deciding… that I hate the little rubber backs that come on enamel pins now. They’re too easy to lose. (At least I noticed before I lost the pin, too.)
6. accepting… that it’s time to make some updates to the site design around here. I’ve been dancing around the idea for a while, mostly wondering if I was just procrastinating on other things, but… yeah. It’s time. I’m still deciding if it’s a full revamp, or just a refresh.
7. chipping… away at the podcast backlog. Again. (Always.)
8. looking… for a good baby-name site, with historical and demographic data and a good recommendation engine. (For naming characters. Not babies.) I used Nymbler for years, but I kind of hate how it works since the redesign.
9. setting… deadlines.
10. making… a new running playlist. The old one just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Snapshot #126 | 10 Things for 5 May 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. nursing… a post-Endgame emotional hangover. (Didn’t cry in the theatre, but it was a near thing.)
2. thinking… about John Singleton. Everyone’s talking about Boyz N the Hood (and rightly so), but Higher Learning (trailer) had a huge impact on me when I was first falling in love with movies. This hurts.
3. making… a real plan for the new running season. I started later than I’d like (stupid rain), but it’s not too bad, and I’ve got plenty of time to reach my goal for the year.
4. baking… this cake. It might be my new favourite (small batch!) chocolate cake recipe: the cake is flavourful and delicate, the frosting is fantastic, and none of it is too complicated.
5. figuring… out a tricky worldbuilding detail in the mysterious next writing project.
6. planning… some changes.
7. starting… to daydream about cold brew season. Yes, two weeks ago I was complaining about how spring—let alone summer—would never get here. I got over it.
8. feeling… motivated. And also sleepy?
9. troubleshooting… the Scrivener export/compile process. I mean… it works, but it’s not exporting a file that looks the way I want it to when I import it into other applications. (I like to deliver the file to beta readers using Google Drive. It solves so many compatibility issues.)
10. looking… for ducklings and goslings every time I’m near the lake… no luck so far.

Snapshot #125 | 10 Things for 21 April 2019

Personal

Happy Easter–or Passover–if you celebrate! If you don’t celebrate either, Happy Cheap-Chocolate-Day Eve!

Currently…

1. finishing… the third(!!) draft of The Black Sun!
2. trying… the iOS version of Scrivener. So far, so good, though it does make it a little difficult to walk away from the story. (It gets weirdly tempting to edit scenes when the cat wakes me up at four o’clock in the morning. Not that she did that twice in the past two weeks or anything.)
3. getting… my tickets for Endgame. (And making sure I’ve got waterproof mascara on hand, because I have a feeling I’m gonna need it.)
4. figuring… out a way to organize Evernote that might actually work for me. Finally.
5. looking… forward to the Veronica Mars revival. Now I just need to figure out how I can watch it in Canada.
6. wondering… why all my library holds suddenly become available at the same time every time. It’s hard to keep up.
7. finding… everything I need for my first big sewing project of the year, and I’m so excited to get started.
8. buying… a new jacket. I wasn’t planning on it, and I’m not happy about the unexpected expense, but my old one finally gave up the ghost and it’s not warm enough for my denim jacket just yet. (At least it was on sale?)
9. making… hot cross buns. I’ve mostly got the recipe down–they taste amazing–but they’re still not very pretty. (Does anyone have advice for working with brioche-style dough? It seems to have a mind of its own, and I can’t convince it to stay in nice round buns.)
10. trying… to remember the difference between em-dashes and en-dashes. I never know which one to use.

Snapshot #124 | 10 Things for 7 April 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. hoping… that my merlin friends are going to be back this year. (Do they return to the same nest year after year? I don’t know.) I think I heard one yesterday. (Note: that second photo is very slightly graphic, in a nature documentary sort of way.)
2. tracking… down some Cadbury creme eggs. I had to go to the fancy British grocery to find them and they only carried five-packs, but it turns out the British ones are better than the ones they make for the Canadian market, so that’s something. Craving satisfied.
3. tidying… up my Evernote account.
4. deciding… what I’m going to make for Easter dessert.
5. planning… a new semi-regular thing around here. Only reason I haven’t launched yet is because I can’t figure out what to call it.
6. getting… used to the coffee grinder I got for the office. (There’s a bit of trial and error involved when it comes to quantities.)
7. trying… some new skincare stuff. Half-convinced it’s snake oil, but my skin does feel a bit better.
8. finding… my big-picture inspiration again.
9. looking… for a copy of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I’ve had an urge to watch it again for the first time in years… and yet. (I prefer physical copies for movies that I want to keep.)
10. wondering… when it’s going to start feeling like spring. They’re calling for a snowstorm tomorrow.

Snapshot #123 | 10 Things for 24 March 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. loving… everything about Captain Marvel. So much. Including the kid two seats down from me who fist-pumped and shouted ‘yes!’ at the end of the mid-credits scene. (He also air-drummed his way through ‘Celebrity Skin,’ which was kind of awesome. On that note: the soundtrack was pretty much just one of the mixtapes I made in junior high. Which made the whole thing even better.)
2. worrying… about Lucy. She wasn’t feeling well, and had to go to the vet. But she’s doing better now, and the vet says that she’s otherwise in very good health. I had a couple of very anxious days, though.
3. realizing… that I still haven’t changed the time on the office clock. (Which should give you an idea of how often I look at it.)
4. looking… for Cadbury Creme Eggs. I can’t seem to find them this year, which of course means I really want one.
5. trying… to wear dresses and skirts more often. I’m out of practice.
6. making… a major breakthrough in my revisions on The Black Sun. You guys. It’s gonna be so good.
7. realizing… that it’s going to be time start running again soon. I need to make some new playlists.
8. spending… a little too much money lately. Time to rein that in.
8. giving… up on the sourdough starter. Just for a little while. I’ll try again when I’m a bit less frustrated with it. (It keeps almost working, and then… not.)
10. feeling… uninspired. It’s just been one of those weeks.