Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mustard has congestive heart failure

So here it is, the end of June and for the year I was going to pay off my debts and finish the house improvements, I'm not doing to well on that score. In May, I had a termite swarm inside my house so now I have a three-year contract with Orkin. Mustard had his annual check up, lost weight since he had stopped eating. I thought it maybe due to needed a Senior formula food. He's 13 years old now, which according to the chart in the vet's office means he's the equivalent of 68. I started him in Iams Active Senior and he woofed it down.

By June, Rizzo the car has a suspicious rattle that sounds like I lost a another strut. Thanks to boneheaded financial decisions on my part, I have to push it getting repaired until July.

June 14th, I came home with steaks. Mustard has stopped being interested in his food again but is all over me to get some beef. Yell at Mustard for trying to trip me. Heard and felt sound in my teeth. Thought "Oh shit, I've chipped one" and ran to the bathroom. The bridge on my right side fell out. The back anchor tooth is broken off at the gum line. Most of what's left of my canine that is its front anchor point comes out of the crown. I've lost count how many of these bridges have destroyed my underlying teeth and fallen out. I knew they wouldn't be able to glue back on and I was completely leery of losing my virgin front tooth like I lost the one on the left and one of my back molars in just a few years (if that long). Thursday, the first words the dentist tells me after looking at the X-rays, "I think implants are the way to fix this."

What I would use a time machine for: Go back to when we started the bridges in my mouth and suggest just three implants for the missing teeth we wanted to hide. Give undergraduate college me the knowledge about Primal and Paleo eating and how mashed potatoes and white bread and sodas were what will pack on the pounds. Fly on an airplane before deregulation of the airline industry happened. Go to the future when everyone is aghast over how stupid Americans in the 2016 - 2017 election cycles and petition to live there.

So by July 21, I have everything worked out for the dental implants surgery-wise and financial-wise. My check-in with my endocrinologist could have been better, but that was my fault for not eating properly or exercising. We came up with some solutions and I'm incentivized to work on them because I'll heal faster if my blood sugar is under control.

July 23: came home to Mustard having labored breathing and alternating between hiding from me and just laying down in the room I was in and not moving. He refused to eat the canned cat food, which has never happened before. I mixed together dry and canned Thursday night and he ate that. Saturday morning, we're at the vet's office at 8am. Mustard can't be bothered my the usual fit he shows them.

So the diagnosis ended up being fluid in his lungs from congestive heart failure. He's home now with two prescriptions to take that don't cost a fortune and an appointment next week to see if the prescriptions need to be tweaked. He ate, peed, and drank water once I got him home and now he's hiding from me again. I have no idea what his life expectancy is at this point, so I have to remember to ask that with the follow up visit.

Right after that I'm scheduled for a well woman's check up and probably my first mammogram. Then the week after that, dental implants. Then I should be able to perform bill catch-up on the next payday.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Monday, January 09, 2017

2017 Resolutions

How best to sum up 2016?

image
It will be a while before this image gets old.

Since I fell off the keep people informed of what’s going on in my life goal, I’m going to go through 2016 in personal events for an overview to figure out my 2017 resolutions and plans.

Back Bedroom Remodel:
Started in December 2015 after my new roof was installed. I figured it would be finished in a few months. Now it’s January 2017 and I still don’t have a back bedroom or a living room. 2017 Plans: Finish this project.
March 2016 Flood:
This event has been overshadowed by the August flooding. Personally, I found my back porch still leaked with the new roof and raked out the ditch in front of my house to help the drainage, which was then attributed to the hard workers who maintain our parish roads. (Thanks, Mom.)
Mustard’s eye:
In May, Mustard’s eye got scratched and then infected. There was only a thin bit of membrane holding it together by the time I got him to the veterinary ophthalmologist, but he saved his eye. By the end of June, the cone was off and his eye is fine.
Front and Back Porches Refresh:
So this spring I discovered the carpenter bees drilling nests into my new back porch rafters. They had also drilled into my front porch ceiling and rafters. I got the back porch rafters painted by May 30th, but painting the front porch got delayed due to summer monsoons and smaller projects to make the spaces pretty and functional multiplied every weekend. In October, it finally dried enough for me to finish the major painting (front porch ceiling and the columns on both porches). Poisoned the carpenter bees and then spray foamed the holes. Finished trimming the spray foam snot and painted over that in November. Then I moved onto refinishing rocking chairs. 2017 Plans: Finish this project.
August 2016 Flood:
I watched the waters rise and finished insulating the back bedroom. Luckily, my family and I were not affected. However, my mother’s friend Irene was flooded and was then put on hospice. My parents took her in and we rallied to work on her house in spurts.
Irene’s House:
We cleaned everything in the house, but not before Irene died on November 19th. The clean-out officially ended December 4th when All Hands Volunteers showed up and gutted the house. 2017 Plans: I’ll be roped into dealing with the contents of the out buildings, but I don’t forsee having to take off work again.
Money Annoyances:
So Mustard’s eyes surgery and two unexpected car issues pretty much tapped out my savings and left me in debt to my father (buying building supplies didn’t help either). So this weekend found me very disconcerted about my finances. The money I earn means I shouldn’t be in a mad, penny-pinching scramble every payday. The next step will be to analyze my spending habits to see where I can cut back. 2017 Plans: Stick to my budget, pay off my debts, reward myself when goals are met.

Basically my 2017 plans are to finish the outstanding projects I have started. Of course once I wrap something, a new project will take its place. For example, when I move the back bedroom stuff into the finished back bedroom, I have a new TV to mount on my wall and must replace the entertainment center to do that. By the end of the month, we’ll see how much progress I’ve made on them.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

2016 My Year In Fic

2016 My Year in Fic

2016 Fiction Word Count

Progress Bar from Writertopia

This year was a dumpster fire. I had started and put aside a blog post titled "What the Hell Did We Do to You, 2016?" and just awful stuff kept happening after that point, so I never finished writing it--much less posting it. So the less said about it, the better.

So I did maintain a writing tracking calendar all year. That is a positive. It took me until March to realize that I needed to add what project the words were generated for. *Wince* I took the entire month of May off and have no idea why or how that happened. June started the Star Wars focus that has lasted all the way into 2017. I didn't finish anything on my business plan, but I improved my tracking. But I did discover an addition mistake back in January that threw off my total of words written for the year, so next year I need to check my spreadsheet on a monthly basis.

Stories I Finished:

I didn't finish ANYTHING! I didn't even post Part of the Night: The One Rule or Part of the Night: The Wayne Legacy at FanFiction.Net like I said I would. FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!

Stories I Didn't Finish:

I'm still stuck on that I wrote a novel's worth of words and didn't finish anything between four stories and their outlines.

Okay, I finished the outline beat sheets, but people can't read those. Strix: Forget the Sun's writing bit lasted from January through February. March and April were spent editing Zy's Universe only to be dropped along with everything writing related in May.

Why did all writing stop in May? Was it painting the porches? Mustard's eye surgery? Alas, I can't find any notes I left myself about it.

June saw my writing resume with handwritten pages of the Star Wars AU I had plotted out in January: a rewrite of the original trilogy I've given the series title Rescue the Farmboy. These rough draft pages were slow going because of rewatching movie scenes. Paying job cut off access to YouTube where I was watching the scenes and progress halted as soon as I got the Falcon to the Death Star.

September gave me a writing challenge from Tomi Adeyemi to write 600 words a day for two weeks. Instead of working on Strix: Forget the Sun or Rescue the Farmboy, I wrote the beat sheet for another Star Wars project, a rewrite of the Dark Empire storyline. By the time I finished it and beat the challenge, I was writing the narrative. I've been working on it and typing up Rescue the Farmboy into Scrivener. I had to rewrite Rescue the Farmboy beat sheet from Bespin through Endor, but I haven't touched that narrative since.

My favorite story this year: I'm torn between my Star Wars fanfics, but both of them have the same reason: Luke Skywalker is just as big a smart ass as Han Solo and it's been fun giving him dialogue that reflects that. The EU Legends got far too caught up in solemn Jedi Knight.

Story most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion: Strix: Forget the Sun because I keep forgetting to write it!

Most fun story: Rescue the Farmboy. Luke and Biggs go to the Imperial Academy, and Luke ends up with both Vader and the Emperor wanting him alive and dead respectively. They hitch a ride back to Tatooine with the Senator of Alderaan, but Vader ends up with Luke despite their best efforts. The Emperor's Hand also fails to kill Luke thanks to a pillow. I need to get back on this story.

Stories I wrote that I never thought I'd write: Star Wars fanfic. After an awful fix-it fic I wrote back in high school when Kevin J. Anderson ruined Yavin 4 and a missed chance to write for the Star Wars Adventure Journal, I figured I was content to just read, watch, and cosplay. Episode VII awakened more than just the Force.

And I reread that filed high school fix-it fic, it is awful. The only believable part is the petulant teenager because I was a petulant teenager writing it.

Hardest story to write: Strix: Forget the Sun because I keep setting it aside.

Biggest disappointment: That I forgot about Zy's Universe. Again.

Biggest surprise: Scrivener! I've heard raves about it for years, but always mentally filed it away as a program I couldn't afford to buy. Microsoft Word's custom dictionary broke on me and they wanted to sell a subscription for updated Office programs. Nope. Polaris works on my smartphone and desktop, but I have to spend money to add it to the laptop. Nope. Scrivener was cheaper and its license is good on multiple devices. So in September I began giving it an honest trial and now I'm hooked.

What's your favorite piece of dialogue you wrote this year? This was a hard choice. From Rescue the Farmboy's version of A New Hope (I haven't decided if I should keep the movie titles or not):

     "The Academy locked me up and then stormtroopers came after me." Luke snapped his mouth shut. His indignation over the treatment blazed in the Force.
     "And you turned to the Senator of Alderaan for assistance."
     "She wasn’t appointed by the Hutts."
I hope you're all quivering in anticipation for Vader's response to that declaration.

What's your favorite piece of description or narration you wrote this year? Easier choice. From Star Wars: My Home Is You:

     Luke smiled as he followed Tarask to the second door on the left. And the smile strangled on his face as soon as he entered the room. A floor-to-ceiling mural of Tatooine covered the wall shared with the office showing Beggar’s Canyon and the Stone Needle with a glimpse of the desert plains and Tatoo I and II shining in the bright blue sky. And underneath them positioned in the center of the wall was a baby bed with high-slated sides to keep the infant safe inside and a mobile of starfighters dangling over it.
     They were all wrong, all the theories were wrong. His father bought the building and closed off this apartment because it was HERS. It was his mother’s. The Force sang out the truth and it sounded like a sandstorm howling in his ears. This was their secret home and this room they had prepared for their baby.
One of the many tragedies of Revenge of the Sith is we never get to see Padmé making this nursery.

Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would, less, or about what you predicted? I reached about 74% of my goal which is better than what I managed in 2015. Too bad none of the words added up to one completed novel.

Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them? I participated in the writing challenge and learned I can fit 600 words a day into my schedule. Also I got better at carving writing time out of my free time at the paying job. However, I found myself less able to concentrate on writing at home. It's not a case of having used up all my willpower/creative juice at work, because it happens during the weekends and my vacation time.

Did you meet last year's goals?

That's a no, and boy, how is it a no.

  • Reach 130,000 words in the stories in Zy's Universe. -- I touched Zy's universe back in February, but I have no idea what I did and it wasn't enough to knock any of these to-do's off the list. I might as well say I never touched any of this.
  • Finish rough draft of Strix: Forget the Sun -- Still not finished.
  • Establish a dedicated writing hour -- I'm declaring this a win. While it's not a truly dedicated time frame, I'm spending 45 minute chunks on the laptop during the day twice a day and sometimes three times a day.
  • Post 12 updates on Facebook. -- Nope, I'm accepting the fact that I hate the damn thing and save the posts for the next time I have to tell people I survived the next natural disaster.
  • Post regularly to Intentionally Left Blank -- This fell to the wayside too. Will try to do better next year.
  • Redevelop FanFiction Garret -- Didn't work on at all.

Do you have any goals for the coming year? The goals from my 2017 one-page business plan are:

  • Reach 130,000 words in the stories in Zy's Universe.
    • Edit Stellar Gift of Death to a draft ready for beta reading
    • Edit "Words of Parting" according to the feedback I got
    • Edit "Blue Man on the Porch" to a draft ready for beta reading
    • Write a short story on Xeryl's background
    • Write the Ail 12 on vacation case that ended in a shootout (new take on the "Case of the Hideous Medallion")
    • Plot two sequels to Stellar Gift of Death
    • Begin writing the next novel in the series
    • Move story projects into Scrivener
    • Pay for more Dropbox storage
    • -- Already started doing this.
  • Finish rough draft of Strix: Forget the Sun
    • Move what is already done into Scrivener
    • Finish rough draft according to beat sheet
  • Finish rough drafts of Star Wars AUs
    • Write Star Wars: My Home Is You (Dark Empire AU)
    • Write Star Wars: Rescue the Farmboy (Original Trilogy AU)
  • Post regularly to Intentionally Left Blank
  • Redevelop FanFiction Garret -- This remains lowest on the list of priorities here.
  • Set up a professional website -- This is in the research stage.
  • BookWorm's Library maintenance
  • Add the Part of the Night series to FF.net
  • Add more fanfics to AO3
  • Work on home concentration. -- Namely I need one day of the weekend with a solid chunk of writing in it. I'm thinking of trying a day off a week to forestall my taking a whole month off instead around May.

My daily writing plans to help the above list of goals get done:

  • Write 600 daily words. Can be split among the projects.
  • Schedule a day off during the week; maybe why I fade out by May is because I don't.
  • Spend 45/15 after I get home editing Stellar by Ali Luke's Two-Year-Novel Plan.
  • Work in meditation time with Brain FM.
  • Do more chores in the morning so I have evening time for writing.
  • Reward myself when goals are reached.

Here's to 2017. We'll get through it together.

Read Free!
The BookWorm