I can't predict when I have the time to post a new blog, but check occasionally. I'm going to try at least weekly.

Monday, September 18, 2017

On with life...

Song of the day: “Subeme la radio” by Enrique, of course.  Don’t know why I have this one in my head lately, but there you have it. Who can understand earworms anyway. Same goes for Imagine Dragon’s “Thunder” which was going through my head on and on and on for a couple of days this week. Hah.

But, let’s get down to business. Life has been busy again with a variety of causes…the lack of a blog proves as much, I guess. Grrr.
No matter. First thing up is that a couple of weeks ago our zit car gave the spirit. Poor thing never really recovered from the accident last spring, and finally just gave up while I was on my way home. *sob* Had to call triple A for that, and the mechanic declared the little thing dead due to a busted cylinder, which made oil burn directly in the engine. *double sob* The fella towed me home…special experience, that. So strange to drive a car where you basically don’t have any control over. Added to the fun was that his navigating device would have send him in the wrong direction, so half the ride I was hanging out the window gesturing which way to go.

Anyway, that little issue mean that we had to look for a new car, which was what we had to sacrifice a free day for soon thereafter. Spent about 10 hours on the road, going to people who had “affordable” cars for sale. Tried out a total of seven before settling on one that has a wealth of cosmetic issues, but which’s engine still sounded and felt good during the test drive. It was a tough job for sure. Exhausting, too. But seriously, you don’t want to see some of the carpy cars we got to look at. But regardless. We’re two weeks, or so, into the new car now, and it is still running and not guzzling an excess amount of fuel and oil, so…yay!
I mean, I hear you thinking, why on earth do them kids need two cars? But with my other job, and the possibility of another one in the near future, mobility is vital. Grrrr.

Visited my dad and the missus a couple of weeks ago. Got to admire the new place, of which the walls were fully up at that time. Nice big airy place that should be done sometime in November. Fun to see the materials they work with around these parts. Different building blocks. Different concrete for second floor landings. And so on. Made my hands itch to get back into that sort of thing once more. I miss building.
Regretfully that was a work day, without me having had the time for a siesta, meaning that I fading pretty fast when we arrived. Seriously, I was so tired that my skin was itching and my eyes hurting. Still, I could hardly say no to a walk from their rental to the building site…a good 20 minute walk. I should have. Seriously, after that I was just about ready to pass out. Of course I sucked it up and played out the remainder of the evening, until it was time to go home again (1.45 h drive) with big brother even more tired than me, because he had worked longer, even. *sigh* Can’t complain, though. Was a nice evening. Don’t get to spend all that much time with family, so it was worth it.

Did quite a bit of experimenting in the kitchen. Made a rather splendid chocolate cake for a colleague’s birthday, and an egg cake with crème fresh and blueberries for another.
Due to my changed diet with an increase in protein. I forgot for a while and immediately  noticed it in my dropping energy levels. Now that I’ve brought it back up, I’m doing much better again. Yay.
But anyway…I’ve been working with a lot of oven dishes. Lots of egg, garlic and green herbs, which are still by far my favourite. Gawd, tonight I had a most wonderful dish. Lightly boiled rice (in broth) with a variety of finely chopped veggies, some cheese, egg and loads of garlic. Seriously good stuff. Loved it.

The past couple of weeks were busy. Very busy. While the plan was for me to work three days a week, four at most, I ended up working 11 days of the past thirteen with one day spent of the car search, and another two on other obligations that made writing/editing practically impossible for those two friggin’ weeks! That I needed to do groceries (on my own, ‘cause big brother is doing a lot of extra time at work) for the next two weeks, didn’t help any either. No matter. It’s done now. Good for another two…oh wait, ten days now! Grrrrr.

Have been working on “A Taste of Life”, since we chose that one to try next for sending out to publishers. It is hard, though, considering we have to cut out a lot of good stuff to get the word count down, dumb down the writing a bit, considering the style I used was elaborate and mostly in dialect. *sigh* Very disappointing. I’m having a hard time with it, to say the least. Ah well, can’t be helped. The writing style this day and age is just different. Will miss the main protagonist’s wonderfully Irish voice, though.

In regards to the book. The editor finally gave the okay for the latest changes!!! Yayayayay! And Saving Nina is now on the desk of the editorial director so that she can put in her two cents, prior to the book continuing on to the copy editors. One step further, at long last!

Have a new couch…it is lovely, and perfect for napping after a long day of work. It cost only 55 bucks at the thrift store, and, miraculously, we managed to squeeze it in, and on top of the Volvo, rather than spend a whopping 25 bucks for delivery! Yipee! It’s light colored, not too heavy (which is ideal if we have to move again) and comfy, all three perfectly good things for a new couch, right?

Yesterday I visited my aunt, which had been more than 30 years ago (weird, I know, but there you have it). Big brother couldn’t go along, regretfully. Lots of stuff going on at the sauna, including the WM Aufguss, which takes a lot out of him. So I went on my own and spent a very nice evening with my aunt, talking about the past and present, talking about what I did and didn’t remember of her house and  the afternoons I used to spent at her place when I was a little girl, waiting for dad to come pick her up for the weekend. Hah. It was very nice. We laughed quite a bit, and got reacquainted, promising to see each other again, soon.

Had the house inspected from the company that provides me with this place. Was a bit worried, because I didn’t have a lot of time to do a lot of cleaning, but it went okay, except for a mention to battle the weeds outside. Yeah. Like that isn’t on my list already.  Have been keeping an eye out for a strimmer for several weeks now, but still haven’t found one, darn it. We’ll have to get to that.

Spent Saturday helping a friend move to a new place, which meant carrying a washing machine down on set of stair and up two, which certainly was an interesting experience. Added to that was this massive closet that we had to get down in two parts (carefully too, due to glass doors) and a massive couch that didn’t even fit through the door without also sticking out into the neighbor’s apartment. Managed to get it all done with the least amount of damage. But it did take several hours, and made me sore as heck when I had to get to work the next day…only to discover that I had mixed up my days and was supposed to have had a free one that particular morning. Aaaaargh!

Did manage to do most of my exercises. Both Qigong and weightlifting. But regretfully not as frequently as I would like on the most part. If I get more free time, definitely looking forward to doing more of that.

And that sums it up for today, I’m guessing. As usual, I am sure I am forgetting a detail of two, but who gives a bloody heck, in the end. It’s not as if I’m living life in the fast lane these days.  Hah.

Gotta go.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

So here we are again

Song of the day: “Ocean” by Mike Perry feat Shy Martin. Lovely song. Gives me such a good feeling. Definitely not a bad one to have stuck in your head as an earworm.

Oh my, doesn’t time fly? It’s a been a full year since I gave up on my job at the Wellness and Spa, and where am I? Right back there for two months now. How weird life can work out sometimes, right? If it weren’t for the publishing contract I’d be worried about going “back” so to speak, but since I am now a part time employee, things are vastly different, thank gawd. I mean, in the past couple of months I overdid it a little. We were short staffed, colleagues needed a day off, etc, so I ended up doing four days a week, and even a fiver, which is understandable, but not smart. Y’all remember the state I was in after that year doing an average of 6 days a week, more than 7 hours a day. I couldn’t hack it, because my writing suffered from it. *sigh*

Besides, I’ve also noticed that if I work, more days, I care waaaaay too much for what should be nothing more than a job. It’s not my career,  and doing the job I’m paid for, to the best of my ability, is all I a owe to my employer, right? Right. That doesn’t change that there are moments of frustration, mind you, but what the heck. Gotta learn to let that go.

So. I have not a clue what did and didn’t tell y’all about the last time. I’ll just have to guess. Won’t I. Well, in regards to working out, this part time gig is a lot better than full time. What it boils down to these days is me working 3-4 days a week. Which means top sport for as far as I’m concerned. Those 3 mornings amount to four hours or running at a 110 percent. Scrubbing walls, floors and whatnot, basically hitting all the necessary muscle groups. Yay! That covered, the remaining 3-4 days a week I do a 1- 1.5 hour work-out of my Qigong, weightlifting, kickboxing and the occasional bodyweight exercise. Yeah!!!

The work-outs are really doing me good. Looks like they are just what I needed for my plantars fasciitis. I am barely bothered by that now, even on days when I work and have to walk a lot. Remember, back in the day, when I would complain all the time about how painful my feet were, like I was walking on glass, and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t get better. Well, it is. Such a relief that. Looks like I finally found a way to cure that little affliction. Yay!

Also, finally, had my appointment at the hospital for my varicose vein. Got my leg and veins examined, prodded at, but it turns out that the one still there, is not a new problem, but really just something they missed during my last procedure. Yay. In fact, my veins looked rather good (also an effect of the qigong, I’m pretty sure, considering several of the exercises have to do with improving circulation, which is vital) which was a relief to hear. Regretfully, because the leftover vein is not a medical issue, it is also not part of the insurance. *sobs* But, since it has no rush, other than for vanity purposes, I can just wait, save up some money, and then go to a clinic to have the odious thing removed, myself. Just requires patience, is all.

Did some wonderful experimenting with food of late. Made a couple of awesome cakes. One a chocolate nutty cake for my father’s birthday. He came over for dinner, and to see the new place recently. Was a working day for me, and for some reason I forgot to set my alarm, or I slept through it, and ended up doing a too long siesta, meaning I had to rush dinner. Worked out okay, though. The cake was just about done when he and stepmother arrived. Had a nice afternoon together, a short walk to see more of the area, and all in all, caught up on the past couple of months because we had all been so very busy.

Another cake involved lots of nuts, which was yummy. Also had a great bakmi, which thankfully lasted two day. Had a friend over for barbeque, which was fun, because the previous occupants of the house obviously used the corner of the yard as a biowaste dump, meaning we had a whole batch of home-grown potatoes. Yummy. Also experimented with a cauliflower, involving egg, hazelnuts, herbs and cheese, which worked out really well, for me anyway. Big brother is not a big fan of oven dishes, so I ended up living of the leftovers for three days in a row, which was a bit much. Grrr.

The edit: Oh. My. Gawd. ANOTHER round of changes was requested and I got 4 days for it…did four days…around work. So it was a week. Can’t do magic, and money has to come in, seriously. It’s not like I can just sit down at the computer for four days, all random-like. Jeez. I need to plan such writing sprees, make sure that work doesn’t intervene. And that is just me. For big brother it is even harder. He does full friggin’ days, and what little time is left beyond that…well, that’s why it took a week instead.

We had some arguments throughout, of course, which is never good. But with the time pressure, the proposed changes, it wasn’t all that odd that there were explosive moments of debate about what we could and couldn’t do, that there was frustration and whatnot for the duration. But, we didn’t kill each other, and the manuscript is back in the editor’s court, so…keep yer fingers crossed.

So, before the latest edit request came, I’ve steadily been working on “A Taste of Life”. Been rearranging the chapters, checking out how to fit it into a plot beat sheet, and how to put together a proper synopsis, see if I can shuffle around scenes, get some stuff out, put some new stuff in. See if I can make it work for the publisher so that maybe within the next year we can have another book out. That sure would be nice.

Visited Tenant. She appears to be cooping at the senior home. I do find it sad to see her…degrade is the word, I guess. I remember how she used to practise staying mobile, and active, only to now see her wither away in that blasted chair. I spent a couple of hours with her. We talked, went for a little walk around her home, and then I had to leave again. We did agree that she would come to visit us, which she did. And she really liked it. Actually held out until five in the evening, which was nice for her. She doesn’t get out all that much. And she loved seeing the new place, even though she couldn’t go upstairs, of course.

Other than that…well, not a lot of stuff happened. I know, the glamorous life of an author: working the part time day job, working on the books.  Not a single party to boast about. Hah
No matter, though. I’ll party my own way.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book Review of Daedalus by Matt Verish

Sorry folks will write a new blog soon. For now you'll have to be satisfied with a nice book review.

5 stars in a 7 star system.

* * * * *

Daedalus (Interstellar Cargo Book 2) by Matt Verish

Plot: A space “pirate crew” of sorts, trying to get by in a hostile universe where enemies lurk everywhere.
An old theme but cleverly brought with believable characters. Clearly “Daedalus” by Matt Verish was a part two in a series, but it worked well enough as a stand alone not to frustrate the reader (me). There were enough mentions of previous events that were intriguing in such a way that curiosity is sparked to read what went on before. A definite plus in a series.
Pacing-wise, I would have liked to see a bit more speed at the beginning, and less haste at the end, though. I would have liked to read more about the alien planet described, and the ensuing race against time while the hero had to try to save the day, but it didn’t detract from the overall tale. I enjoyed it!

Protagonists: The fearless Captain Musgrave was funny and likeable, although he was hinted to being ruthless, which I didn’t really notice until I was a third into the story, and even then it was a single event. This seemed somewhat out of place to me, but this might be due to not knowing the previous story.
Camaraderie between the main character was there, and yet wasn’t. I was often left to wonder if they could co-exist...but again that might be due to the same problem of this being a sequel. There was definitely history there, which explained the friction. Regardless I rooted for them all, so apparently it didn’t matter as much as I would have thought.

Romance: There is some. Not as in ROMANTIC romance, but a love interest. Which was sweet, and added to the story, despite the “interest” being a bit too unreadable for her own good. I would have liked to discover more about her motivation and such, but that is the “romance reader” in me, I know, and perhaps not the thing for this kind of story.

Overall impression: A fun ride that kept my attention, entertained me, and made me want to turn the next page to see what would happen. All great ingredients for a good book, I would say. Definitely a “must-read” for space opera fans, but also an interesting diversion for the average reader.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A proper, picture update at last!!!

Song of the day? “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran, of course. Though not constantly, it has been an earworm from time to time this past week, along with “Symphony” by Clean Bandit. Both awesome songs and no punishment at all. Hah!

Soooooo. Yeah. I promised a proper update this time round, didn’t I? Yes I did, so thankfully I have been maintaining a list of stuff that happened, rather than rely on my somewhat spotty memory this time around. (Good Sammi!). There has been quite a lot going on since my last proper blog, so sit down, if you’re not doing so already.

First off, I promised to tell about the move, didn’t I. Well, we moved. It was a helluva job, I’ll tell, in particular since we preferred not to rent the van for two days in a row, but rather a solid 24 hours (as in 23 hours and 57 minutes) and save ourselves fifty bucks or so.

It all started on Key Day, on which I dropped big brother off at work before six in the morning, so I could continue on to the new place where I was supposed to get the hidden key and then spent a few hours cleaning before my district manager arrived to go over the contracts with me. Well, first issue was that I couldn’t find the key where I thought it was supposed to be….grrr. Didn’t discover until at the end of the day that the “electricity shack” was another than the one I’d understood from the description. Hah. Anyway. My appointment with the district manager wasn’t until  11 o’clock, and it was 6:30 AM. I was no pleased, I assure you. Tried the garage door: nothing. The  pantry door: No cigar! And then, after deciding to do a walk-around, finally found a back door that hadn’t been locked properly. Success! I was in!

Got the car into the wonderfully empty garage and started unloading the first batch of boxes that filled up the entirety of the car. Took about an hour, after which I took my trusty vacuum cleaner and went through the house with a fine toothed comb. Floors, walls, horizontal and vertical surfaces were sucked clean down stairs in the following hour.

Next came the kitchen, of which I had taken about 75 percent in this first trip, so there would be cutlery, china, cookery stuff and even some food on this first day. Was done just before eleven with the ground floor but the district manager was late, and didn’t arrive until friggin 2:37 PM! Seriously. The only plus was that I had time to vacuum and clean the second floor too. The “minus” was that I was late meeting a friend who was going to view the new house with me, after I had arranged for a van at 5:25 PM.

The plan was that we’d pick up the van at the latest possible moment, so that we could also return it at the last possible moment. The advantage to this was that we’d be home five hours before nightfall, meaning that we had that amount of time  load up the first batch of furniture, do a quick trip to drop them off at the new place (in the garage)  early in the morning, and then have the remainder of the day to load up the rest and bring that over in a second trip.

The trick to this was to only load big, cumbersome stuff, not pay much attention to stacking properly because that would take time with loading and unloading (big brother didn’t much like this part, because he was still under the illusion that maybe if we packed it well, we’d be able to do it in one trip. We couldn’t. I know my dimensions from years of calculating and planning with construction, moving stuff, loading stuff and whatnot, and I could tell up ahead that there was no way in heck that our stuff was going to fit in one truck!) and time wasn’t something we had. 24 hours, remember.  So until 10:30 PM we loaded our behinds off, after which I was so friggin’ tired and achy I just sat down on the floor with a glass of wine and cried a little. Hah. Jeeeeeezzzz. That was a friggin’ long day. Started at 6:30, unloaded, cleaned, drove about for hours, ran about to make arrangements (missed lunch and dinner) and then loaded up for another five hours. I’d just about had it, I tell ya.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’d arranged for the van and met with my friend, who loved nosing around a new place, just like me. So we spent a couple of hours together, after which we had to go pick up big brother and then quickly leave to get the van and bring her back home.

So then was the whole loading bit, after which we both crawled to our respective beds around midnight and passed out until six in the morning. There was just enough time to have breakfast and then we were on our way to the new place. Both in the van, this time, figuring we might as well use the Volvo in the second trip to get more stuff hauled.

Had an “OMG” moment while we were driving. There was this massive smoke plume in the sky, from somewhere near the new place, and stayed there as we gradually approached in the busy morning traffic. I mean seriously, wouldn’t that be just our luck. We’re moving to a new place, only to find out that it burned down during the night for some inexplicable reason. But it wasn’t that. We were about 2 miles from the house when it became clear that the smoke was coming from some place on the other side of the road. Yes the plume was massive, but the fire wasn’t visible, despite several fire trucks screaming past as we made for our new home.

While loading took some five hours, unloading was done in one. Yay! Of course this was because could basically throw everything out the back, right into the garage, rather than bother hauling it into the house and its proper spot.

Before you know it, we were on our way back, only making a quick pit stop at a supermarket before we arrived at the old place and started loading again. Luckily, around noon, our nice neighbour came to help out, which was a good thing, otherwise we might not have made it. She also supplied lunch (also good because we were rapidly on our way of skipping lunch again) so we were actually done loading after two (as planned) and big brother on his way while I said our goodbyes and got into the car, now loaded to full capacity with my small jungle of plants. So cute. A car full of plants.

Be that as it may, unloading took an hour and a half this time,  for the simple reason that this was all the loose stuff, bits and pieces, bikes, boxes and whatnot. Again, just stuffed everything in the garage (gawd I love that place) and still had about half an hour to unwind, eat a bit, have a bathroom break and then had to be on our way to return the van with rush our well underway. Made the deadline with only three minutes to spare. *phew*

The first night we spend on mattresses on the floor. (Got a mail from the editor with the edited manuscript, which almost had me awake throughout the night, had I not been so exhausted.) But the next day I had the bedrooms set up before big brother returned from work. This was partly because cousin Ed came to help out with the unpacking bit, which did help, because I was pretty much running on fumes still.

So, what followed were a couple of weeks with me sorting out the house. It’s a nice and comfortable place. Reminds me a lot of the house we grew up in before moving to Spain. Same type of architecture and materials. Not my favourite style, but comfort goes a long way.
Got five bedrooms upstairs, two downstairs one of which is an en-suite. We use this as an exercise room,  which is rather cool, since we cancelled our gym passes.
A half bath downstairs, and another bathroom upstairs, with at the top an empty big attic that we’ve decided not to use.

I’d set my sights on a cute little room on the west side of the house, but since this house supplies so much space, I folded and got myself a 2nd hand double bed…which didn’t fit in the cute little room. The cute little one is now a very cute little guestroom. Hah. Since big brother had already picked the room with walls that had actually been stripped and painted white, I took the master bedroom of which I still had to strip all the walls and paint them (some pieces several times just to have the paint cover dark spots). But the bed fits in there just fine, giving me plenty of space.
Big brother also folded (due to space available) and got himself a double bed too. Hah! Ah, the luxury. I love having room to move around.


Guest room

Fitness room

Living Room

Didn’t start on the edit/revision until five days after the actual move. Dreaded it, I tell ya. But I did get to it, and worked on it like a lunatic (big brother, too, in what little spare time he had) for the past few weeks. Didn’t have much time for anything, especially not since my job started in the first week of July.

Which reminds me. Had my interview about a month ago now. Had a nice chat with my new team leader, who’s a very nice woman, despite being seriously overworked at the moment. It is funny how the work is still the same as last year. Still not enough people, still people working their butts off to get everything done on time and still all the old frustrations. But, there’s nice folks there, so I guess it is a matter of getting used to them and the way they work. I do miss my old team a bit, but I suppose that will pass. At the moment, also because I need to invest time in writing, and everything around that, I’m working three days a week, with a possibility of four. With an average of six hours on those days. That is plenty, since this is not something as simple as sitting at a desk, but more something that equals a two-hour cross fit workout.

Had a doctor’s visit. Got a referral for the hospital next month for that stupid varicose vein they missed two years ago. Not looking forward to that, but the darn thing is bothering me every now and then, so it is better to do something about it, I guess.

Got a problem with my shoulder for a bit. Don’t ask me why. It’s embarrassing. But I strained it, meaning that a lot of movements, and some sleeping positions in bed are not at all comfortable. Stupid effing loose joints. Always giving me trouble. Like just this week, while helping out at work with moving furniture. Some joker young man suddenly decided to prop one side of the couch we were carrying together on the floor, meaning I had to tilt along or drop it. I did the first, and almost broke my effing thumb in the process. Seriously. It popped right out of the joint in order to turn along with the couch and it hurt like heck, until I popped it back in. So now I have a swollen thumb that is not liking much activities, such as work. Grrrr.  That is the last time I move furniture with some amateur.

There were groceries, naturally. Can’t do without those, much to my regret. But I do try to limit that to once every two weeks, with a weekly outing for fresh produce and dairy products. Doesn’t always work, but trying it counts for something. Hah

Had a friend’s dog stay with me one day, which was fun, even though he was young and peed in the hallway, and the exercise room. Hah. And also had a couple of dogs stay for a couple of weeks because their mistress went on vacation to Finland. It has been lovely to have dogs afoot again, even though on work days it has been a hassle to have walk them when I’m pretty much bushed when I get home. But, the pros by far outweigh the cons. Nothing quite as lovely as cuddling up to a  cuddly dog at night…well, some things are, but…well, you get my meaning.


We did spend  a few days at our father’s place more than a month ago. We’d promised to move a shed from the back yard to the front, which took a little longer than expected.  The shed had had some “improvements” over the years, meaning that we had to scramble a bit to make things right again after we took it partially apart and moved it to the new spot. Luckily it wasn’t too big, so we only had to take off the roof before we could carry the thing. Big brother and I would have managed, had we been on our own, but littlest brother was there, and stepmother, so we did it four, meaning it was a little less of a hassle. But anyway. It took four days instead of two. Four days of which the last two were all but comfortable for me, since I somehow ended up stepping on a bamboo shoot and had a hole in my foot of about half an inch. Seriously. That hurt. Ended up having to replace part of the roof and several pieces of wall due to water damage and bugs, but it’ll hold for a while now, I am pretty sure. A bigger task than expected, nut we managed, and got to spend some time with our father. Nothing like working on a project together to bond. It was nice.
In the end we went home content with the efforts made. Were right on time, too, considering construction of our father’s new place started a week or so later…which was why stepmother wanted the shed moved.

 Did my last few days at my previous job before the move. The boss was really sweet about the whole thing and told me that if I ever needed a job again, I could call him up. Which is a very nice compliment, I think.

Had a very short touristy kind of trip and went to visit the pyramid of Austerlitz. Cool place, and totally worthy of conspiracy theory book. Hah

Our temporary cat:

And our daily visitor…one of four that roam about here in the area, together with a badger.

For social activities the time past was interrupted only by a dinner party at the old place with the neighbors, a dinner party with friends last week, and that just about sums it up, I fear.
Did have a lovely cooking experiment with zucchini, which worked out well visually and taste-wise, so, yay!

As for the new place…had to hang a door in the upstairs bathroom. For some reason it had been removed. Found a spare in the shed, which we cut off and fitted into the doorway. At least it works. Nothing quite as annoying as a bathroom without a door when you’re sharing a place. Oh, and we have a toolshed now. Yay!

And this is a pic of the old barn that goes with the property. Hah

The edit…well, I missed the deadline by two days, which isn’t too big of a disaster regarding the massive changes and the length of the manuscript. But still, it annoys me that I didn’t make it in time. Guess life got in the way of things again, the way it usually does. In the end, you can only do your best, can’t you?

Well, that about sums it all up, doesn’t it. At least the highlights. Yep. I am going to leave it at this and take the dogs for one of their last walks. Tomorrow their mistress will come to pick ‘m up.