Weekly Update, 2/12/2018 to 2/18/2018

Brief Update

February can be a bleak month. It’s definitely been a roller coaster ride for me, emotionally.

I am reading some great books, though. In addition to the ones that have already come up in my Accomplishments, I’m working my way through Savage Beauty, Nancy Milford’s biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay. (Who happens to be one of my favorite poets. Yes, I’m the kind of person who has multiple favorite poets, not just one). I’m utterly fascinated by the similarities in the development of a writer — I identify strongly with some of her feelings and behavior.

I’m also reading (listening to) Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, which I have been posting about on Facebook. It’s so good. I’m a bit iffy on the seven narrators in the audiobook version, but it’s growing on me.

I’m re-reading Word Work, by Bruce Holland Rogers, a book about writing I bought and read many years ago — I have distinct memories of reading it while sitting in the spare bedroom of my Haverhill apartment. I remember precisely none of the actual content, however, so it’s been a great rediscovery. I especially have enjoyed his essays on dreams, which have inspired me to start keeping a dream journal.

In my habitat project, February is devoted to the living room and the downstairs bathroom. I haven’t had a lot of free weekends, but I’ve been tackling it when I can. I went shopping for some new living room furniture this past weekend, but didn’t end up selecting anything — it kind of turned into a decision paralysis situation.

Also, I’ve started logging habitat related stuff here, so get used to seeing boring entries like “washed the shower curtain.”

Finally, I managed to save the day at work this week — by catching an odd bug before it went into production, and ultimately fixing it — so that’s pretty neat.

Links

Minimalism Is Just Another Boring Product Wealthy People Can Buy. I used to be heavily invested in minimalism, but I soured on it after a while. This is part of why.

(Also, as I discovered, there’s a flaw in the “buy fewer high quality things that last longer” logic. That “last longer” part, while implied, is frequently not delivered. A personal example for me is clothing. It does me no good to buy an expensive capsule wardrobe or “essentials” when I know my unnaturally-pointy elbows will destroy all the shirts, I’ll spill pasta sauce on the pants, and/or I’ll be too fat/too thin to wear it all a year from now. Might as well just buy cheaply…)

Accomplishments

Writing
– 2h 40m work on Lioness
– Wrote a poem for my character in Bloody Slippers to perform
– Wrote blog post The Year of Habitat: the detailed plan

Reading
– Read Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
– Read “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™”, by Rebecca Roanhorse, in Apex #99

Other Media
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episodes #152 and 156
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “The Nine Dream Worlds of Frederik van Eeden”, “Conjoined Dreamers”, and “From the Vault: Dune Biology”
– Did Ulduar timewalking in WoW with Terbodhna

Health
– 17m on exercise bike/15min ZR supply run
– 2 x Did Hacker’s Diet introductory fitness ladder, rung 1
– Did Zombies Run 5K training, week 4 workout 1 (2.93mi in 51:24)
– ZR5K, week 4 workout 2 (2.75mi in 48:33)

Habitat
– Washed rags, towels, and shower curtain
– Cleaned out the downstairs bathroom cabinet under the sink
– Did a 45/15 on the living room
– Vacuumed upstairs
– Broke down cardboard for recycling
– Cleaned the shower
– Went shopping for new living room furniture

Picture of the Week


Some fabric samples for a sectional, on top of a coffee table we were considering.

Weekly Update, 1/22/2018 to 1/28/2018

This has been a week of ups and downs. I hit bottom on Wednesday, feeling overwhelmed with the stress of life, and in particular worries about writing. Thankfully I have amazing friends who helped to lift me out of that bad place, and by the end of the week I was back to work on Lioness, writing what is functionally a new beginning for the novel, to address some of the bigger structural and character concerns that were stymying me.

Also this week I visited Newport, RI with EB, which hit a sweet spot of gravestones and gilded age glory.

I have mostly closed out the month of January in my year of habitat, which was devoted to improving my master bedroom. I managed to finally put away Christmas decorations, clean out the loft, get rid of a lot of junk, hang curtains, and put down a rug. More remains to be done, but it is already way more comfortable and habitable than it was.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Brainstormed a “mini-mission” for a new beginning to Lioness
– Worked 1h 30m on this mini-mission

Other Media
– Listened to The Training Dummies, episode 183
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Meditation Lab: Empathy and Energy”

Habitat
– Bought a new rug for the bedroom

Social/Travel
– Had sushi with EB at Jasmine in Auburn
– Visited Newport, RI with EB, where I:

  • Had lunch at local chain Walt’s Roast Beef
  • Toured The Breakers, the famous Vanderbilt “cottage”
  • Visited the Irish lot, a private family graveyard with mysterious holes through the tombstones
  • Visited the Ragged Island Brewery and sampled their collection of beers
  • Looked in vain for the grave of Pookie, a dog that belonged to Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
  • Had dinner at Benjamin’s in downtown Newport

Health
– Free run/walk (1.63mi in 30m; thanks, ZR5K, for crashing repeatedly and making this necessary)
– 10 min on stationary bike
– Did Zombies Run 5K Training week 2 workout 1 (1.75mi in 34:47)
– Did ZR5K week 2 workout 2 (1.87mi in 33:47)

Picture of the Week


New rug. Cat not included in the price.

Weekly Update, 1/8/2018 to 1/21/2018

Brief Update

I’m grouping two weeks together here. While I was pretty productive on the habitat project in the first week (I’m currently working on my master bedroom), in the second week I wanted to nothing more than sleep and play vidya games.

Hey Lise; stop pushing yourself to exhaustion and then wondering why you feel sluggish for a week.

Last week too I was struggling with distraction, so I did what I should always do when terminally distracted: deleted social media apps from my phone. It seems to have helped a bit.

I am starting to get a quorum of responses back on Lioness, so I’m going to have to stop vamping and get back to editing that soon.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Entered some notes into my idea file about potential next novel projects
– Did a free write on one of my potential novel ideas
– Wrote blog post “My thoughts on the leveling changes in WoW 7.3.5”

Other Media
– Listened to Writing Excuses 12.40-12.41
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “From the Vault: The Forer Effect”, “Where’s my Eternal Youth?” parts 1 and 2
– Listened to By the Book, “The Miracle Morning”
– Listened to By the Book, “Why Good Things Happen to Good People”
– Played San-Ni-Ichi, Joking Hazard, and Channel A

Social
– Met EB for dinner and LARP work at Panera in Framingham
– Dinner with Nat and the Oberons at Bistro781 in Waltham
– Attended Mel’s birthday party

Habitat
– Cleaned out the bedroom loft
– Finally hung curtains in the master bedroom!
– Purged three big boxes full of stuff (mostly clothes and some stuffed animals)

Health
– Zombies Run 5K training week 1 workout 1
– Zombies Run 5K training week 1 workout 2
– Had a massage

Rejection Log

– 9-day form for “Granny Hubbard” from Factor Four

Picture of the Week


An almost empty loft!

Weekly Update, 1/1/2018 to 1/7/2018

Meta

I’ve decided to relabel these thingers as a “weekly update,” since they have expanded from just links and accomplishments to include my short story rejection log, sometimes a picture of the week, and sometimes a brief update. If nothing else it gives me an excuse to post something regularly, which I’m not always good about doing.

Also we’re doing these things Monday – Sunday now, since weekend-long larp events made the Sat/Sun divide tricky.

Brief Update

Mental health seems to be holding steady, despite the winter doldrums.

I have Lioness out to a few beta readers at the moment, and a few stories on submission. I need to figure out what writing project to work on next.

I’m still planning out my Year of Habitat. This weekend I spent a lot of time cleaning the bedroom, putting aside a bunch of stuff to get rid of.

I got so out of shape over the holidays — mostly just from being away from the office gym — that I decided to redo the Zombies Run 5k training program from the beginning. Of course then we got 8-10 inches of snow and my plans were foiled by being stuck indoors Thurs-Fri. So if your question is “Are you still running?” (hi, Dad), the answer is: yes, intermittently.

I highly recommend the book I just read (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee) if you have any interest in queer YA historical romance (with a bi protagonist!) I had some quibbles with the plot and pacing, but the emotional arc was heart-rending and lovely.

I’ve been playing with tarot as narrative therapy again, and I just ordered the least woo-woo book about tarot I could find on Amazon. Looking forward to reading it…

Links

“Why Am I So Lazy?”, on Ask Polly. This resonated SO MUCH with me, both in the letter writer’s description (“When I finally do get down to business, I consider myself to be fairly hardworking, if only for the shortest amount of time possible”), and Polly/Havrilesky’s response (“But I do want you to notice how deeply and profoundly you’ve made messiness and procrastination part of your identity”, or “You are a fearful, avoidant person because you’re a little bit anxious about the world and the other people in it”).

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote blog post, “2017 Retrospective/2018 Resolutions”
– Submitted “The Mirrors of Her Eyes” to Fantasy & Science Fiction
– Submitted “Mirrors” to Beneath Ceaseless Skies
– Submitted “Granny Hubbard vs. the Giant Slime” to Factor Four
– Made some notes on further edits I want to make to Lioness
– Edited “Pinions,” the last of my FSOTU stories. I’m still not sure it’s doing what I need it to do, but I’ll let it breathe for a while before deciding that.

Reading
– Read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee

Other Media
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Edward Gorey” and “SYMHC Classics: A Conspiracy Starring Aaron Burr”
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “The Winter People,” parts 1 and 2
– Watched Dark and Stormy Night, a spoof of Dark House-type movies from the creators of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

Health
– (Weds) ZR 5K training week 0
– (Weds) 10 x alternate heel touchers, 10 x dead bugs, 10 x jackknives

Rejection Log

– 1-day personal for “Mirrors” from F&SF

Accomplishments, 12/25/2017 to 12/31/2017

Writing
– Did oodles of hours of editing on Lioness, and finally completed structural edits!
– Sent Lioness to my beta readers

Reading
– Read “Fade to White,” by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “Astrophilia,” by Carrie Vaughn (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “If the Mountain Comes,” by An Owomoyela (Clarkesworld Year Six)

Other Media
– Got my druid Wodehouse to 110 in WoW! *confetti*
– Listened to The Training Dummies, episodes 174, 182, 189, and 190

Social
– Visited my mom in Plattsburgh, NY
– Attended the Mangios’ New Year’s Eve party

Accomplishments, 12/18/2017 to 12/24/2017

Writing
– Worked on Lioness edits ~30m

Reading
– Read Life in a Medieval Village, by Frances Gies
– Read “All the Things the Moon is Not,” by Alexander Lumans (Clarkesworld Year Six)

Other Media
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episodes 146-148
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery”

Health
– Did Zombies Run! S2E7 (2.12mi in 39:36)

Accomplishments, 12/11/2017 to 12/17/2017

I’m starting to do these Monday-Sunday, for convenience sake. (Because a lot of my weekend events fall over two logs).

Writing
– (Fri) Worked on Lioness edits ~1h
– (Sat) Worked on Lioness edits ~1.5h

Reading
– Read “In Which Faster-than-Light Travel Solves All Our Problems,” by Chris Stabback (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “The Womb Factory, by Peter M. Ferenczi (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “Draftyhouse,” by Erik Amundsen (Clarkesworld Year Six)

Other Media
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “This Present Moment: Philosophy & Neuroscience”
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Ophiocordyceps: Fungal Puppet Masters”
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin #145
– Listened to By the Book, “The Little Book of Hygge”

Social
– Visited with my mom when she visited Boston for a lung transplant info session

Health
– Did first Fit for Battle quest – 1.8m in 30min
– Fit for Battle free run – 1.3m in 20min
– Did freeform core exercises – 5 x crunches, 5 x jackknives, 10 x alternate heel touchers, 10 x dead bugs
– Did Zombies Run supply run (1.48mi in 24:33)
– Freeform core exercises – 6 x alternate heel touchers, 10 x crunches

Accomplishments, 11/5/2017 to 11/11/2017

Reading
– Read “The Secret Life of Bots,” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)
– Read “How the Maine Coon Cat Learned to Love the Sea,” by Seanan McGuire, (Uncanny #17). Highly recommended to anyone who likes SFF, Seanan McGuire, or Maine coon cats!
– Read “Shadow Man, Sack Man, Half Dark, Half Light,” by Malon Edwards (Podcastle #495)

Other Media
– Listened to Stuff Mom Never Told You, “Are Men Messier Than Women?”
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Optography: Image in a Dead Man’s Eye”
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin #138
– Listened to Uncanny Magazine podcast, episode #17A

Health
– (Mon) Did Zombies Run! S2E5 (2.53mi in 42:22)
– (Weds) Did Zombies Run supply run (1.10mi in 20:33)
– (Weds) Did some core exercises: 10 x each of alternate heel touchers, jackknives, and dead bugs
– (Thurs) Did ZR S2E6 (2.05mi in 32:53)
– (Thurs) Core exercises: 10 x alternate heel touchers

Accomplishments, 11/26/2017 to 12/2/2017

Reading
– Read “And the Hollow Space Inside,” Mari Ness (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “What Everyone Remembers,” Rahul Kanakia (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “The Bells of Subsidence,” Michael John Grist (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “The Switch,” Sarah Stanton (Clarkesworld Year Six)
– Read “Sunlight Society,” Margaret Ronald (Clarkesworld Year Six)

Other Media
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Ig Nobels 2017” episodes 1-3
– Played Magic Maze, Karuba, Pioneers, and 7 Wonders

Accomplishments 11/19/2017 to 11/25/2017

Reading
– Read The Tethered Mage, by Melissa Caruso

LARP
– Attended Kaleidoscopic Consequences in Christchurch, Dorset, UK
– Played in “Volcano’s Edge” at Consequences
– Played in “The Final Cut” at Consequences

Travel/Social – all in London
– Visited the Victoria & Albert Museum with Kim and Dave
– Visited the Natural History Museum
– Walked around Vauxhall, Lambeth, and Battersea
– Visited Battersea Park
– Took a hop-on hop-off bus tour of London
– Visited the Science Museum
– Visited the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park
– Had dinner at the Morpeth Arms (this “spy pub” on Atlas Obscura)
– Had dinner with Brian W, Kim and Dave near Victoria tube station