Tired of ads? Upgrade to paid account and never see ads again!

Musing Aloud

Pam's thoughts on writing and life

Raised Garden beds
catfish
musingaloud
The hubby was getting tired of rototilling the garden plot each year, and besides, the rototiller broke last year.  So he built me two raised beds.  The plan was for three, but I think the two might be sufficient.  We'll see how it goes with these two.  Although, I meant to plant just a couple of things in the second one and save most of the space for winter veggies, but I seem to have filled it up already.  There's 4 tomato plants in the taller planter, plus a bell pepper and some cilatro.  In the shorter planter, there's a red bell pepper, jalapeno, thyme, parsley, and then we sowed some carrot and radish seeds.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
catfish
musingaloud
Watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  The highlight?  Green Day playing backup to Ringo Starr, singing Bop-shoo-wop chorus to "Boys" by the Shirelles!  Awesome.  And I must say, Ringo looks damn good.  He's aged well.

Do not let the day end as it started.
catfish
musingaloud
Had to be at the medical clinic today at 8 am for a CT scan.  Fasting.  Which meant no coffee. :-(((((  Also, had to be there before 8 so I could "check in" which really means so I could go and pay the $388 and change deductible.  Which just pisses me off.  We've been clients at this clinic for 20+ years and have never been late making our payments.  Insurance can be a bitch to deal with, especially in the deductible issue.  Last year when the hubby and I had all our medical procedures, we had to pay a $500 deductible to his doctor before his foot surgery.  Except, the hospital ended up sending in *their* claim first, so that's where we ended up having to pay the deductible, which resulted in a $500 credit at his doctor's office, which took us about 6 months to realize and then actually get a check back, and in the meantime they'd over-charged us about $50, but with the way medical offices run their computer bookkeeping programs with forcing balances between what they're forced to deduct per insurance and discounts, etc., it was impossible to trace back and actually prove they'd overcharged us (and indeed, I was even unsure of it, because their paper trails are negligible and impossible to trace).  And I'm a bookkeeper.

Anyway, I paid the money and only bitched a little bit.  I didn't have to wait long in the waiting room, but the CT called for contrast which involves an IV.  I have little veins that tend to roll so he had trouble getting the needle in and kept poking it in and trying to get it in without rolling or blowing the vein.  It took about 3 minutes of serious pain.  I think I'm pain sensitive in some areas, especially my veins, and I could feel each little poke and he just kept at it and kept at it.  Finally he gave up on that vein and tried another.  But it wasn't a pleasant way to start my morning.

So I went by Starbucks and got myself a coffee when I was done.  AT least that went well, there weren't hardly any cars in line for a change, and it was only 8:20 am by then, which is usually a busy busy time for them.  I meant to just come home, drink my coffee, and then get to the gym by 9 or 9:30, but here it is, 10 AM.  I'm going in just a few minutes, though.  And hopefully, the rest of the day goes much much smoother.

What makes a story work (or not work, as the case may be)?
catfish
musingaloud
I finished a YA book last night that disappointed me.  All the rights things were in place: plucky heroine, world-building, action aplenty, but I felt widely removed from it all, and I'm unsure why.  It's not that the author is a first-timer, but rather a successful one who apparently knows how to craft a good story (haven't read any of their other books, but I've heard good things).  I'm unsure what the problem was beyond that I didn't connect with the MC and the world-building stretched my believability factor too thin.  Other reviewers on Goodreads had the same problem (but not all).  Maybe, now that I look at my list of what the story did have, I see something missing: the MC's internal conflict.  She did have a goal, but it was an external one, she just seemed to waltz through the plot without muc involvement.  It's very puzzling.  I have a notion to re-read the story and see if I can identify exactly what wasn't working, but since I didn't feel engaged by the story, I'm not sure I want to do that.  I may try the opening chapters again and see if I can identify when I started to lose interest or if I never gained an interest in her adventure at all.

ALL The Cleaning
catfish
musingaloud
Yesterday I finally got my sorry butt in gear and cleaned the house.  Started with the bathrooms after I got out of the shower, and was going to stop there.  But by the time I cleaned the jets in the tub and the shower door, I was on a roll and decided to keep the momentum going by heading straight into the kitchen.  After that, I was afraid if I sat down to take a rest, I'd not get up again to finish. So I went ahead and vacuumed and mopped.  Four hours later, my house is clean and I'm pooped.  But oh I love looking at all the shiny surfaces.  Now if they'd only stay that way.  Someone needs to create some kind of countertop/flooring that absorbs all the dirt and stains and keeps itself shiny.

On today's agenda: Dr. appt, gym, lunch with friends, get ready to go to coast.  My son's family is supposed to be coming over to join us there this weekend, but the older grandson's baseball team got into the playoffs and they have a game Friday night.  If they win, they go on to the championship game, but I haven't heard when that one is.  Hopefully not the next day, because that would most likely interfere with them coming at all.  That boy (8 yrs old) pitched an excellent game last Friday--his best pitching ever.  It was so nice to see him succeed.  He tends to throw high (WAY high) and gets down on himself when he does.  But he's got a lot of natural talent and it's fun to watch him play and enjoy it.  It's his first year in Little League and he's really into it.

Regarding my radio silence
catfish
musingaloud
Forgive me, LJ, for not posting or commenting lately.  I've been in the really weird head space where I needed to withdraw into myself and reaching out has been damn near impossible.  My mom's dementia is Very Bad, she's in end stages now and it's just really hard to see.  I feel beaten down and worn out.  Seeing her in that pathetic state for Mother's Day was hard.  She doesn't move, just lies hunched up in her reclining wheelchair.  No reactions or communication.

But I'm dealing, and coming out on the other side now.  Hospice is back tending to her.  I switched companies, because while the other group was good and all, they were rather short on communication.  Since she's not in my home, I don't see them all that often and I wanted them to call with weekly updates, and they only called if there was a problem.  So far this new company has called with the updates and I find the nurse really easy to talk with.

EGM Shorts
catfish
musingaloud
I have a story up at the new EGM shorts (edited by Jennifer Brozek) at Evil Girlfriend Media.  It's a fluffy, fun story.  It originated at Liberty Hall with the prompt "The toaster was bad."  I don't often end up with a complete story during Liberty Hall flashes (90 minutes to write a story from a prompt), but this one pretty much wrote itself, one of those surprising gifts that don't appear too often.  EGM paid me right after acceptance, and the pay rate is semipro.  Highly recommend it to anyone looking for a flash market.

Bad Toaster

Now Reading --
catfish
musingaloud
According to my Kindle, I am about 70% through The Martian by Andy Weir.  It's gripping and suspenseful and I'm really enjoying it.  I think I'm going to push to finish it today because, for me, it's not really nighttime reading.  It's pushing all my buttons and I find it to be anxiety-inducing.  Definitely not one of those books that's relaxing bedtime reading.  I haven't been falling asleep very easily at night, and perhaps the book is the reason.  There's no way, were I in the protagonist's shoes, that I would have kept going.  Of course, I would never be in an astronaut's shoes, because the whole idea is just fear-producing for me.  Maybe that's why I don't read much straight SF.  I'm so worried over what's going to happen to him that I'm tempted to not finish the book, because if it's a tragedy, I don't know if I can handle it.  Apparently being left behind is a big fear of mine.  I can't decide if I want to search the internet for spoilers or not.  The book inspried a dream/nightmare last night, but instead of being abandoned on an empty planet with no atmosphere/living conditions beyond what they'd brought with them, I was abandoned with a bunch of misbehaving/unmanageable toddlers.  :-D  Funny how the mind works, isn't it.  Who knew that was my biggest fear???

ETA: I couldn't stand it.  I googled "The Martian" spoiler to find out the ending.  Now I won't spoil it for you.  Found out that it's going to be a movie starring Matt Damon later this year.

In other news, but perhaps even more awe-inspiring -- RAIN!!!  A good one, too, not just a slow drizzle.  Not roof-pounding, either, but steady, good drops of water falling from the sky.  Not enough to bring us up to speed, of course, but at this point, we take anything we can get.

(no subject)
catfish
musingaloud
Oh Words.  I'm in a very withdrawn place these days.  Still pulling out of an introspective place -- or trying to anyway.  Reaching out is very hard, if not impossible, for me right now.  I'm not sure exactly why.  I was pretty worn down from dealing with Mom and her disease/situation.  3-4 yeas of care-giving (even though I'm not physically caring for her, the mental aspect of worrying and fretting and having-to-do, keeping her constantly on my mind) takes its toll eventually.  I'm easily irritable and lackadaisacal to the point of struggling to get things done.  My house looks fairly neat on the surface, but it's a mess once really looks.  I should be cleaning the kitchen and mopping right now.

In writing news, I have submitted two stories this week.  One is a story that's about ready to be trunked.  I subbed it to a market last year and it came back with a very nice rejection stating that due to two coincidents with two other stories they'd already purchased, they couldn't take it, but would be interested to see it again this year when they opened again.  So they opened again and since I hadn't subbed/sold it elsewhere, I'm giving them another try.  The other story is on it's first-ever sub.  It was born in a Liberty Hall flash some time back and I always meant to expand it, and did, but then let it slip by the wayside.  So I dusted it off, did a fairly heavy revising of it, and now it stands at 3k.  Which rules out flash markets, and I suspect it's going to be a hard sell anywhere.  So, we'll see.  Also, in writing  news, I was pointed to a blog of a person's three favorite stories they'd read so far this year, and Heart of a Tree was one of them.  Super excited about that, little personal favorite reviews like that mean more to me than anything else.  And the other two authors are ones I'm honored to be on a "favorite" list with.

My walking buddy is gone on a months-long trip.  I'm going to have to be vigilant on keeping up with the exercise.  I HAVE to drop a few pounds that have crept on.  I couldn't make myself go to yoga at all last week.  Boy, did it show this week.  I went yesterday, and I HATED every minute of it.  I'm not usually like that with yoga--even if I'm reluctant to go, by halfway through the session, I'm really happy I did.  Not yesterday.  I should be out walking this morning, but I'm using having the grandboy as an excuse.  In fact, I have to start getting ready.  Am taking him to see Disney's Monkey Kingdom at noon.  And then we'll pick up the other grandboy after school, go to their house and get ready for his baseball game tonight, which means Taco Bell at 4, so he'll be fed and ready to play.  

Hugo Kerfluffle
catfish
musingaloud
No matter where you stand on the Hugo controversy this year, go read Annie Bellet's post.  Annie has decided to decline the nomination.  I hurt for her.  It's a damn shame that she was drawn into the whole thing, a damn shame that what should have been a joyous event has turned hurtful.  Her post is classy and well-thought out and I applaud her.

Hugo Story Withdrawn


For the record, I find the SP and RP actions to be reprehensible.  If they'd wanted to put forth recommendations, fine.  Everyone does do that.  But to maintain that gaming the system by plugging a slate is okay because the "other side" (who they refuse to name, besides the term SJW (what? where?  who?)) has been doing it in back alleys for years, and they just wanted to bring the process into the open?  Hey, the books and stories I like to read don't get that many nominations either.  So what?  Majority rules, ok?  The whole world doesn't have to like the type of fiction I like.  I don't have to like the type of fiction *you* like, either.  Let us all enjoy what we enjoy and let the majority wins have the award.  It's all ok.  Really.  We don't live in a dictatorship.

 

You are viewing musingaloud