Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May is Over and Onto June!

Here it is the last day of May.  Five months into the year.  And I'm feeling a bit down.  Like I haven't done all the things I wanted to have accomplished by this time of the year.  Part of the problem of having high expectations, I guess.  Part of me knows (and friends tell me all the time), I am getting things done.  But that Virgo part of me cries out 'MORE'.


Whining aside...

My May goals were as follows:

  • Harley Quinn costume done (hopefully by the end of the 1st week) - not completed.  not needed until July
  • Bee Hive swap block done and mailed - completed and in the mail on time - barely
  • HST/RSC16 blocks done - nope, month behind now
  • Attend Miscon writing workshops - many workshops and could have attended more
  • One item of clothing made - nope
  • Gardens planted - yep.  Actually, I still have one bed at the community garden which will be receiving beans, tomatoes and peppers this week
  • Use planner more - not only using it more, but a planner workshop on the books for September at the library
  • Write! - not really
  • Get my walking in daily - ha, ha, ha!
  • Finish reading the book and write up review for a book blog hop - I did it and was not a happy experience.

This is one of the beds at the house.  Lettuce and radishes (which I don't eat) are coming out for salads.  The broccoli I am really disappointed in.  They look great, but I think over fertilized.  They are all leaves.  So they might come out this week and then tomatoes go in the bed in their place.  All my tomatoes are tiny due to the 60 degree weather, but suppose to hit this 80's by this weekend.  Hopefully they will catch up and produce something.

For June, my goals are this:

  • Walk more.  Not getting my 10,000 steps in daily and my body can tell it
  • Write more.  Need to get that pencil to the paper.
  • Finish Harley Quinn costume
  • Sew one item of clothing
  • Get Bee Hive block out on time
  • Do May and June's RSC16 blocks and color wedges
  • Keep up with garden
  • Knit 4 more welts on my Knit and Swirl sweater
  • Go on two Helena Hiker hikes
  • Get out in the kayak (finally)

There are a couple of new additions in the house.  This is one.  Ink.  Rescue cat, saved by a friend of Texter's from a dog fight and dropped off at our house on their way to take their dog, who was injured in the fight, to the vet.  The other one is an orange and white tabby.


Gearing up for a great June and getting things done, so I can start off the second half of the year with a bang.

Monday, May 30, 2016

What's Better Than Two Kittens?


This weekend was my second MisCon, which is basically four days of nonstop panels with authors talking about writing.  In other words, paradise.

But there are drawbacks.  Like when you picked up a book because you have met the author at last year's MisCon.  And it is so good you want to hide in the closet and forget all the panels you want to attend and all the autographs you want to get and just read.

So instead, we came home a day early and I spent it in bed...

With Todd Lockwood...

And his debut novel.

I was aware of The Summer Dragon via Shawn Speakman and his posts about the book.  If Shawn and Terry Brooks endorse the book, it has to be at least ok.  And I will admit, Mr. Lockwood is not only a nice looking gentleman, he also has this great voice and a wonderful sense of humor.  I loved hearing him speak on the panels in 2015.  So I plunked down my money and trotted off to have him autograph the book.

I rarely get so caught up in a book I don't put it down and read a bit on something else and then come back to the book.  I could count on one hand the number of authors I will devour their books in one sitting. This was definitely a case of "Go away! I'm reading."

It seems the hope Maia has of getting her own baby dragon, or qit, out of the current broods her father has raised, is slipping away.  All the hatchlings are needed by the Emperor, especially after another aerie of dragons was recently destroyed by Horrors.  However, fate, or the appearance of the Summer Dragon, spins the wheel of fortune and Maia is thrown into the deep end.

It was a good thing I could read this book in bed.  I was exhausted by the time I got halfway through. And I thought about setting it down and getting an early night's sleep, but I had to know what happened next.  I couldn't sleep with things still up in the air.

Another good thing about this book is Todd Lockwood has illustrated not only the cover and the end plates, but also there are illustrations throughout the book.  So it's really a two-for-one deal -- fantastic story and equally fantastic artwork.

The only drawback?  I need the next book!

Oh, and the kitten reference...there were two new kittens in the house, which I completely ignored in favor of the book.

Note:  Lady K had her first carousel ride this weekend.  Did she pick the pretty pink horse?  Or the one with flowers?  Nope, she picked...

Dragon!  With books!

And the screaming and crying when the ride was over and she had to get off!  Well, the operator was laughing.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Musing Before Memorial Day Weekend

So the house is quiet right now and I have a few minutes before I have to get dressed, do a couple of errands on my way to work (ok, going to the bank, get gas and then Starbucks).  But today is the last day of work for me until next Wednesday and I have a ton of things swirling around in my little pea-brain this morning.

First, while I have a great Memorial Day Weekend planned, none of it is focused on the real reason I have the time off work, unfortunately.  So this is my shout-out and to say thanks for the men and women in the Armed Forces who have done their jobs so I can have this great weekend of fun.  I do appreciate it.  

Secondly, I have tons of ideas and things I want to do with my planner class in September.  I am going to do a mini-workshop with a couple of co-workers in the next month or so to get a feel for it and find out areas I might need to work on.

In the meantime, not only have I set up my bullet journal starting in June to use in the class as a demonstration of modified bullet journaling, but I have at least three more planners/notebooks coming as part of the class.  So exciting.

When I get back from Miscon 30, I have to get a box and start putting all my 'bits and pieces' of planners and notebooks in there so I can gauge exactly what I have to work with for the class.  I have a list of stickers and inserts, pens and markers, I NEED to get for the class.

One this weekend at Miscon I will be looking for, since there are leather workers there, is a faux Midori cover for traveler sized inserts.  I don't have one and would really love to get one.  Besides, what is better than sniffing leather?

But on a non-planner related 'issue', I have this burning desire to make another pair of these...

When I got the pattern, Pam of Pam's Knit and Stitch in Great Falls, told me this was her go-to pattern for socks.  They are knit out of worseted weight yarn, so they are thick and cushy.  Too thick to wear with shoes, but great for walking around the house in.  The pattern is simple and works up quickly.  So my Knit and Swirl may have to move to the side for another pair of socks.  I need a second pair to wear when the first pair are in the wash!

So have a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Remember those who helped us have this holiday weekend.  Be safe and have fun and I'll see you next Tuesday!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week In Review - May 15 - 21

After a week of gray, rainy days and another week forecast for the same, my neighbor's poppies are exceptionally lovely.  They are right out my window by my desk.  Unfortunately, the flowers are so big and with the rain, they are a bit droopy right now.  But still, you can't help but love the bright orange...even through the fence.

The past week had a few odds and ends being done...
  • Chopped up bell peppers and put in the freezer for future cooking use
  • Go through old magazines and pull images and then trash/recycle
  • Downloaded 2 huge books on tape and loaded onto phone for my walking listening pleasure
  • Culled books from book shelf and took them into Hastings for trade for 2 books I really wanted/needed for the coming weekend to be signed by authors
  • Received my 'official' Bullet Journal notebook
  • Cut out and sewed up part of my Bee Hive Swap blocks for May
  • Knitted on my Swirl sweater
  • Finished 6 books
  • Walked 51,509 steps or 74% of my goal
  • Wrote 6 posts

The coming week will be a bit hectic getting ready for Miscon.  Luckily, this year a friend has offered the use of his hotel room for us to crash in, so I won't have to drive back and forth.

  • Finish up Bee Hive blocks and get into the mail
  • Clean out the car (it's a rolling pig sty right now)
  • Get snacks/food for weekend and pack car
  • Read chapters from the other 3 people in my Miscon Writing group
  • Clean house in preparation for leaving for a long weekend

There would be some gardening, however, we are forecast for another week of rain.  My lettuce is loving this cool, rainy weather.  At least I can pick it and my radishes.

While I could probably post from Miscon next Sunday and Monday, it's not going to happen.  I'll be back to do a May wrap-up, a Miscon post and a June goals when we get back into town.

Off for more coffee!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My Official Bullet Journal!

This was in the mail box yesterday before I went to work.  I had been expecting it, but not this quickly.  I have a 'secret project' I am working on for later in the year.  

Actually, it's not really all that secret, but I have been spoiled reading all those quilting blogs where people are working on secret projects and I couldn't resist.

It's the official Bullet Journal created by Ryder Carroll.  It hadn't clicked with me, regardless of all the times I'm been to his website, the journal was also a Leuchtturm 1917.  So a 2-for-1 special!  I haven't used a Leuchtturm 1917 before, but have lusted after them based on seeing them online.  I have used Moleskine in the past, and enjoyed them, but never a Leuchtturm.  Mainly because it's not something I can pick up in a store here, while I can get Moleskine at several places (Barnes and Noble has a good selection most times.)

Isn't she lovely.  For some reason, despite the black cover, it's a 'she'.  And just in time to set up for June.  I will have to set my Markings journal aside for the time being.  I need to use this journal for the next few months to demonstrate the procedure for a workshop I will be teaching in September at the library.

Several things excite me about this journal right off the bat.  First, the pages are numbered for me.  I need to start learning to index not only my planner, but also my journal-journal.  Secondly, there are three bookmark ribbons, in three different colors.  So I can mark month, week, day with ease.  Or whatever section I want to be able to flip to without having to search for.

In addition to the index at the front, there is also a 'future' log to record upcoming events.  On the inside front cover there is a symbol chart which is used for Bullet Journaling, or you can make up your own.  In the back, there are pages with tips and how-to's.  Nothing very detailed, but enough, especially if you have watched the videos, to jog your memory.

Of course, I already know I am going to be doing a 'modified' bullet journal, just because I like a little more than the original outline calls for.  But that's ok.  That's the beauty of this system, it can be tailored to your needs.  (I have issued with the word 'tailor' these days.  CS has a daughter named Taylor and I want to misspell the word every time.)

So the next three months will be full of watching videos, compiling notes and resources on different planners, planner methods, productivity methods, checklists and downloads.  And more planners and organizers.  It should be so much fun.  

Now off to set up for June!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Incarnation by Laura Davis Hays

I follow WOW-Women On Writing and when Renee Roberson asked for volunteers to review a new metaphysical thriller for a blog hop, my hand immediately went up with a great 'pick me, pick me' out to the universe. Then I received the book and realized this was a case of you had better be careful what you wish for.

See the cover?  It's blue.  Just plain old blue.  Ok, there are waves which would give me a hint this is a water-based novel, but it's plain, boring blue.  Actually, if I saw the book on the shelf at the book store I would think it was either a self-help meditation book on past lives or just leave it alone.  Which is sad, because in the book it talks about crystals.  Glowing crystals.  Have the shadowy figure holding a green, glowing crystal at least.

Then I flipped the book over to the back.  

I recently read an article on what not to do when publishing your book and a back cover of blurbs was one of the top on the list.  Fortunately, one of the blurbs does give a synopsis of the book.  Keep that one and trash the rest.  Tell me what I can find inside.  Make me want to open the book!

Then the trouble started.  Page one.  All in italics.

There is a reason books aren't printed in all italics.  It's hard to read.  One or two words, ok.  A phrase.  A brief thought.  But several pages?  Halfway through the book (and halfway through a bottle of aspirin for the headaches), I began skimming and skipping over the italicized pages.  Problem is, that is half the story.  Then I started getting peeved because I felt it was a ploy for 'stupid' readers.  It was like I was being told I wasn't smart enough to know when Kelsey's story stopped and Iriel's started.  I just finished another book with a difference of 60 years in the story rather than centuries.  The chapters were labeled with the year, just to clarify the change.  Label the chapters with the character names if nothing else, but drop the italics.

Ok, I'll admit.  I think my unhappiness over the whole italics thing colored my perception of the book.  I found myself wanting more of the science behind what was going on in the lab.  I felt what was there was a little 'made up' for the story and not based on real science.  Then there were what I felt were conveniences in the story.  A physic therapist appears.  And, oh, all of a sudden there is an archeological dig on the same little known island the experiments are taking place on.  And the dolphins.  One minute they're there and the next, during a critical survival scene in the ocean, they aren't.  (Dolphins could have been added on the cover too.)  And then there were my issues with Kelsey.  When crazy boyfriends have a key to your house and you didn't give it to them, you change your locks if nothing else!

If some of the cosmetic issues were worked out on the book, I would probably say take it with you on vacation, not a great read, but an acceptable one.  As it stands right now, I can't.  Too much of a headache maker.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

31 Isn't Too Many!

North Carolina might have it's pine pollen.  That time of the year when everything turns yellow.  But Montana has 'fluff'.  Cottonwood, I am thinking.  But lots and lots of fluff.

Yesterday, after the monthly staff meeting, I came home and 'played' in the yard.  Which delighted Lady K as she could also play in the yard and 'help'.  But I had some serious goals in mind for the yard as I will be out of pocket Memorial Day weekend and need to get things to the point I can turn watering over to Savvy.

My big project for the day was this...

I refer to this as my 'round' bed.  This is where the weeping birch was standing which we had removed before we bought the house.  Actually, the soil is pretty good here.  I already have some pumpkins set out in it and needed to get it cleaned out and other 'stuff' planted there.

Pole beans were planted along the fence.  The bird box is from the Migratory Bird Day and Lady K built it.  Hopefully, not too late for someone to take up residence.  Onions transplanted on the far left. More pumpkins and squash on the far side with some cilantro and dill transplanted.  And then 19 of the dwarf tomatoes.  

So between this bed and the community garden spot, I currently have 31 tomato plants set out.  And I have a few more left to transplant into pots.

I redid the 'fencing' around the upper bed and this one in the corner.  Hopefully the dogs will stay out.  I have a sinking feeling some chicken wire is in my future.  But I planted cucumber seeds along the back fence here.

If you look at the upper right, you can see one of my potato pots is to the top now.  If I can find a bale of straw somewhere, I might pile straw on top.  But potatoes are coming along.  A few peas did finally come up here and some of my radishes are close to being able to pull.  Kale is to where I can clip a leaf or two.  The onions and garlic I planted are popping up.  Don't know if the strawberry transplants are going to make it or not.  

In the spaces in the peas, I dropped in some cucumber seeds.  By the time they are up and going the peas should be over with.

Lettuce thinning is in order!  Quickly!

Radishes are almost ready to pull and the carrots have poked their little heads up.  So the radishes will go and the carrots can then grow to their little hearts content. Broccoli is looking good, as is the zucchini and peas.  We have a few days of warmer, rainy weather coming, so things should really take off.

After I finished in the yard (there was lunch and nap time in there too!), I stopped by the community garden spot to check on it.

This is the middle bed with the peppers and tomatoes, a few squash, swiss chard, and brussel sprouts. As you can see, weeding will be a constant chore in this plot, which is one of the reasons I'm not having to pay for it this year.  There are a few peppers and sungold tomatoes which didn't really fare well with the recent cold snap.  But the Roma tomatoes held up like champs.

This is bed #1 in the plot.  I need straw!  But there are potatoes, leeks, squash, peas and corn in this bed.  I would be much happier if I could find a bale of straw (which goes for $10 a bale!).

Hopefully, this coming Tuesday I can hit the third bed in the community garden and put in some beans and some of the tomatoes and peppers I still have to plant.

This doesn't cover the 'flower' beds in front of the porch which are a combination of flowers, rose bushes, hollyhocks, strawberries and cilantro and dill.  And I have several small pots of flowers I grew out from seeds I need to find pots or spots for.

I still need to get some more potting soil so I can fill buckets for tomatoes, peppers and flowers.  And get more buckets.  And even more soil.  But that will have to wait until the 1st of June and Texter, Lady K and I are back from Missoula and Miscon 30.

Grow little plants, grow!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mandala Monday

I need some bright color on another grey day.  And after writing a book review which is less than complimentary.  Now for breakfast!

Note:  these are my new Inkjoy Gel Pens.  Which I love!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week In Review - May 8 -14

This bunch, which lasted about a week, were replaced yesterday by a large display of dark purple lilacs, courtesy of CS's yard.  Nothing like going over to a friends house and pillaging plants!  I also have a peony outside I need to get into the ground today.  But I know the spot, so it won't take long.

But this past week was a little strange.  Never could get into the 'groove', so to speak.  But I did get a bunch accomplished.
  • Steps - 44,115 or 63% (well, maybe not in this area)
  • Books - 5
  • Posts - 9 written (mainly book reviews)
  • Worked in community garden plot.  I need a bale of straw!
  • Texter's birthday!
  • Spring Art Walk on Friday
  • Found 'missing' book
  • Shot in my trigger finger to hopefully keep it from locking up
  • Signed up for the Home Swap with Chaotic Goddess
  • Two displays at the library (thanks CS for the help)
  • Batch of Strawberry/Basil jam (small batch processing - love it)
  • Trying out the new Inkjoy gel pens and loving them
  • Cleaned out fish tank (twice) from where Lady K fed the fish...the whole, new jar of fish food
  • Assisted in buying the new additional to the family - Rex the Dwarf Chinese Hamster
For the coming week...
  • Sew up my Bee Hive Swap block
  • Sew up my RSC16 Sampler blocks and my green scrap wedge
  • Clean out and update my files using the Get Things Done (GTD) method
  • Read some for Miscon writing workshop prep
  • Work in yard at home and put in a couple of items, like cucumbers 
  • Transplant seedlings to larger cups
  • Knit
In the meantime, I will work at my desk and smell the lilacs!