Deck the Halls

Wednesday Pay the Bills Day and also the last one before Christmas; the last one of the old year, in fact. I don’t get paid again until the new year, which is kind of final, isn’t it? The sands in the 2022 hourglass are running out even as I type these words; its chilly again this morning in the Lost Apartment and the week-long slide into the holiday weekend is almost completed. I just have to go into the office today and tomorrow and then a glorious four-day weekend follows, which will be quite marvelous and lovely. I am a bit more sluggish this morning than I have been recently when I arise, but who knows? It might be the weather–it’s below fifty again this morning–it could be any number of things. Hopefully the coffee will clear my head and help me get ready for the day.

One can hope, at any rate.

Well, I did pay the bills and have a surprising amount of cash left on hand; the way paychecks are falling this December/January means I get paid again the first week of January so all those early month bills will be due for that paycheck rather than this one. Obviously, I am going to hoard this surprising windfall (due to biweekly paychecks) to use against the next set of bills. I’m also expecting to get paid for some other work I’ve done between now and the next paycheck–and this is the end of a royalty period, so those will be just over the horizon as well, which is absolutely lovely. It’ll be nice going into 2023 not having financial concerns in the back of my mind. (I ordered myself some presents this morning after paying the bills, too.)

I did manage some work on the book last night, not nearly enough as per usual, but progress is being made. I remain hopeful that I can get so much done this four-day weekend that is looming that it should get me caught up on everything. I also have a short story that is due relatively soon, and another one I am supposed to be writing–I’ll have to look for the deadline in my saved emails–so I can get a better sense of where I am with everything I have to do. I also started writing another blatant self-promotional post for A Streetcar Named Murder, which I should be doing a lot more of, frankly. I did a load of laundry last night, put away a load of dishes, and soaked another sinkload overnight, so I can load the dishwasher when I get home tonight. I think there’s another load of laundry to do, if I am not mistaken. This cold weather certainly has been increasing the laundry–extra clothes being worn to help keep warm, I guess. Friday I’ll get up early, have a cappuccino as a treat, and then start working. I’ll pick up the mail that day and probably swing by Fresh Market to pick up incidentals, too; some other things I’ll need over the weekend. I think I will make pulled turkey on Christmas; I am planning on taking that day off from working and worrying about getting things done and/or cleaning, and I will probably go ahead and make shrimp Creole one other day of the weekend, probably Friday.

The great refrigerator shopping is going to go on hold until after the new year, methinks.

Sorry to be so brief today, but like I said, the coffee took a while to clear the muddle in my head and now it’s time to head into the spice mines already. Stay warm wherever you are, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again tomorrow morning.

Welcome to the Room

Saturday!!!

Well, Paul left yesterday and suddenly I find myself living alone in this enormous apartment. It’s weird how that works. I guess Paul just is a very large personality or something like that? It’s just weird to me how the apartment can seem so different while he’s gone. I do sometimes, as I am morbid by nature, sometimes think when he goes away like this and I get bored and/or lonely and/or feel like I’m rattling around in this big huge empty space, well, if you outlive him this will be your future and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that? I know I don’t like thinking in those terms, but as the years pass and more things happen and we have different things happening to us health-wise and so forth, you do start getting a stronger sense of your own mortality, whether you like it or not. I always thought I would die relatively young, so I always feel like I am already living on bonus time I wasn’t meant to have–and yet, I keep going on somehow. It’s a complete mystery to me.

Sometimes I feel like Ishmael.

LSU has the weekend off like they always do the week before the Alabama game, so there’s no reason for me to have the television on for much today. Oh, sure, I won’t be able to resist having Georgia-Florida (“The World’s Biggest Cocktail Party”) game on, as I am expecting Georgia to humiliate the Gators (sorry, UF fans, I very rarely–if ever–want your team to win, but I am sure you return the favor and want LSU to lose every game they play as well), and I am not really all that sure who else is playing today, to be honest–I know Mississippi is at Texas A&M, which is a tough one for me to chose a favorite in; although I think I am going to have to lean towards Mississippi a bit–but again, my plan is to work this morning, run my errands (including making groceries–not much, but some), and then come home to clean and organize the apartment. I’m also going to take my laptop upstairs as well as a flash drive so I can use Paul’s computer if I need to write (and don’t want to use the laptop), and spend the rest of the day cleaning upstairs and trying to get things under control somewhat more up there. One can hope, at any rate.

I like my new espresso maker! I tried it out yesterday morning and it worked wonderfully. I think I may go back to having one in the mornings before I head into the office; that bold shot of caffeine certainly did its trick yesterday morning. I am currently having a homemade cappuccino as I type this, and it’s quite delicious, if I do say so myself. Having one yesterday didn’t affect last night’s sleep, as I feared would turn out to be the case. I slept great last night, despite being alone in the bed–Scooter helped a lot, as a cuddly purr-kitty–and I feel very rested and well this morning. Which is good, because I have a very big day planned here around the Lost Apartment–cleaning and writing and organizing–and I also have those errands to get to.

I must confess that after my work-at-home duties were completed yesterday I was terribly lazy. I didn’t write a word, which is shameful–I was mentally fatigued, plus off-balance because it was my first Paul-free evening–and so I rewatched Nicholas Roeg’s film of Daphne du Maurier’s Don’t Look Now on HBO MAX. I highly recommend the movie and the story; it’s really one of my all-time favorites, and the film does an excellent job with the story–far more so than Hitchcock did with her story The Birds (if you like Hitchcock’s film, you really need to read the original story, which is vastly superior in my opinion). I also finished my annual reread of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, which as always was completely captivating. I cannot get over marveling at what an incredibly lyrical writer Jackson was, or how her prose just sings from the page while magnificently creating a morbid, melancholy tone that is, in and of itself, haunting. (I was thinking about watching the Netflix adaptation of Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, another one of my favorites; Merricat Blackwood is one of the great fictional characters of the twentieth century in my opinion) I may dive into some Paul Tremblay short stories this weekend since I don’t have the time to finish reading another Halloween Horror novel, but tonight I may rewatch the original, classic film of Halloween again. I think I do owe it to myself to watch some horror films leading up to Halloween, don’t you think? Don’t Look Now, while not quite horror, certainly does fit the bill somewhat for my mini-film festival…I wonder if Robert Wise’s The Haunting is free to stream anywhere? That is probably my favorite horror film of all time–it scared me shitless when I was a small child, and still does to this day; skip the execrable remake, but the Netflix series adaptation is quite good, actually; the episode called “The Bent-neck Lady” is one of the best episodes of television ever filmed, in my opinion. I also want to spend some time today revisiting what I’ve written so far for Mississippi River Mischief to get an outline done and a character list, which I really need to get done, and I also plan to revisit another project I’m working on and am quite far behind on now.

I do have some laundry to do, some clean dishes to put away, and of course the floors always need to be done. I am going to spend the rest of this morning cleaning the kitchen and making a list for my mini-grocery making today; there are a couple of things I need to pick up–nothing much, really–and of course I have to drop off yet another box of books to the library sale. I also need to put air in one of my tires, and ugh, I have so much to do before my trip home for Thanksgiving. Heavy heaving sigh–sometimes it doesn’t help to look ahead, does it?

And on that note, I am going to bring this to a close and head into the spice mines. Happy Saturday, Constant Reader, and may your day be as lovely as you are.

The Beach

Tuesday!

Yesterday was not nearly as productive as it could have been. Generally, on mornings when I have to get up at six, will invariably have a cappuccino at home while I wake up, and then make another to take with me, which I sip at all morning. This gets me through the day pretty well, and through into my evening when I go home and write or edit or read or do chores. So, Constant Reader, you can only imagine my horror when I got to the office and my travel mug was not in its side holder on my back pack. (It turned out to be in the in the car–it fell out of its pocket when I got my backpack out of the car yesterday morning when I arrived at the office…) So yes, I ran out of steam yesterday afternoon, and was very tired by the time I got home from work. In other words, last night all I managed to do was a load of dishes, and quite frankly, this morning I’m not even sure what I watched last night, other than the final episode of It’s a Sin with Paul; turned out he did want to finish watching. Oh yes, now I remember; I watched this week’s episodes of Allen v. Farrow and John Oliver’s show. Allen V. Farrow continues to be a harrowing watch; this week’s episode was about the custody battle–which ended with Allen getting a massive bitchslap by both the court and the judge; in other words, the judge believed Mia to be a fit mother and Dylan a credible witness, and Allen didn’t prove himself to be a fit parent–in fact, his visitation rights with the two other children he shared with Farrow were limited by the court and had to be supervised. If the goal was to punish Farrow, it failed massively–other than making her miserable for a period of time. Interestingly enough, one of the main takeaways from the show is being blown away by how beautiful Mia still is, today. I never understood the desire to have so many children–not, of course, that my understanding was ever needed or necessary or required; my mentality was always “I don’t get the need for so many kids, but if it makes her happy, more power to her and she is adopting kids, which is terrific.” I don’t think Farrow has worked much since the break-up with Allen; her career was mostly starring in his movies after they became a couple…the real shame is I’d like to watch some of those films now (I’ve never seen many Allen films, not being a fan) but I’m not sure if I should. It’s another one of those Roman Polanski things–ironically, one of my favorite Polanski films also stars Farrow, Rosemary’s Baby–I think, but some of those Allen/Farrow films are considered classics.

In other welcome news, I discovered yesterday that I now weigh 203 pounds; the lowest since around 2011/2012, and just three pounds away from my goal weight. I managed to get down to around 212 last year or the year before, as a process, from the 225 I had ballooned up to about a decade or so ago; I set 200 as my goal weight for the year, but I’d be stuck at 212 for so long I didn’t think I was ever going to break through. A few weeks ago I was delighted to see I’d managed to break through that plateau and had dropped to 208; someone gave me a compliment yesterday which drove me to the scale in the (unused) nurse’s office and to my delight, I discovered that I had somehow dropped another five pounds–whether it’s the working out, the change in diet (which was neither extreme nor dramatic), or the walking to the gym and back and always using the stairs at the office, I am not sure–but it has happened, and it is most pleasing to our eyes. I also made some progress on my emails yesterday, which was a very pleasant development.

This weekend is the virtual Saints and Sinners Festival; I taped a panel about mystery and romance with four amazing writers (Carrie Smith, Carsen Taite, J. M. Redmann, and Cheryl Head), which I think is scheduled to air on Sunday, March 14th, at 3 pm CDT; I am not really sure where, so I will have to find out and post it later. I know that after its original air date it will be available for viewing on the Tennessee Williams Festival’s Youtube channel. I was woefully unprepared, but I also had a group of very smart, savvy, and talented women to give me great answers to simple questions and it was a lovely experience for me–I’m not so sure it was for them, but I didn’t see any eye-rolling on screen to my inane questions so they are also incredibly professional as well.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here either, but I also have an essay in the upcoming book from Mystery Writers of America Presents, How to Write a Mystery, edited by Lee Child and Laurie R. King. I know, right? I still have to pinch myself whenever I think about it. I got an ARC recently, and the book looks simply beautiful. And how awesome to be in a collection with some of the top writers in the field? I can now cross “be in an MWA anthology” off my bucket list–but “get selected for an MWA anthology through the blind read process” remains on the list. My essay is called “Writing the Talk” and is about dialogue, and it owes a heavy debt to editor Laurie R. King, who whipped it (and me) into publishable shape after a couple of rewrites and revisions.

And yes, there will be more about that later. 🙂

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. May your Tuesday be bright and fun and wonderful.