Fancy Thrift, or Little Projects to Combat Cabin-Fever

Prior to being under house-arrest quarantined, I dropped off donations at a charity-run store. As usual, I went inside afterward, hunting items on my long-term shopping list.

It was a successful search.

First, I found cornucopias for my friend Sissy, who asked me to keep an eye open for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Nearby I found deer candleholders to match the motif of my winter linens, which checked off “post-Christmas candleholders.”

Then, I hit the jackpot: a folding screen.

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Quarantine: Day Two

Well, today was incredibly strange. I was prepared to stay inside for the week, but I was forced to go the post office. There was a problem with renewing a post office box, so a mask-to-plexiglass** meeting was required. Fortunately, there was no one in the office when I went in and the whole transaction (and collecting two packages) was finished in less than fifteen minutes.

(Note to a friend: Thank you again for the N95 surgical masks. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to leave the house!)

I was already getting stir-crazy this weekend, when I felt lousy and couldn’t focus on reading, let alone writing. Today, feeling a little better, I decided to take down the decorations except for the Nativity (aka nacimientos aka creche). It’s a pre-emptive strike against the blues I might feel on Christmas Eve. Except for a few years when my parents were in Florida or Texas, I have always gone home for Christmas Eve and Day.

My mother called an hour ago, said I sounded good, and suggested maybe I should come home for my quarantine. I said no; it’s better to wait it out. When I talked to my father, he told me, “You’re coming home before New Years.” My parents are the least demonstrative parents in my circle of friends, so it’s rather strange that they’re taking my absence this hard.

Then again, I could be a blubbering mess later this week. Time will tell!

**As opposed to face-to-face.

“The Year from Hell”

So says my mother, who doesn’t tend to talk so negatively. In fact, she’s been doing very well since the end of her radiation and chemotherapy. However, I put the final straw on her camel’s back for 2021.

I can’t go home for Christmas because I’m sick.

Is it Covid? my readers may wonder.

How should I know? Because of Covid precautions, my doctor video-called me and went through my symptoms. Then he decided to treat me for both Covid and a bacterial infection. Sure, I could go get a proper test by appointment at a drugstore a couple hours’ drive both ways. Or, I could quarantine and not inflict the creeping crud (complete with laryngitis) on innocent passersby.

Still, this is the lousiest Christmas I’ve ever had. 2022 had better be a heck of a lot better!

End of 12 Weeks

Well, that was fairly productive, but the draft still looks pretty rough as far as transitions go. The worst sections date from when I was listening to a “writing coach” and following the rules of The Hero’s Journey.

The boy-protagonist is itching to answer the Call to Adventure; he’s dead if he doesn’t. The girl-protagonist is refusing the (mandatory) Call to School, erm, Adventure and casting her as boy-protagonist’s “mentor” had her monologuing. (Or traveloguing.)

Living in a Panic

The Young Human Factory was closed yesterday for “mental health.” My dear readers, some of you may have heard about a teenager killing four schoolmates and gravely wounding others at Oxford High School in Michigan.

What you may not have heard was that throughout the region, schools have been inundated with threats. These hoaxes are done for various reasons. Social media is the typical source, but the “grapevine” of gossip works, too.

The Young Human Factory is no exception.

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12-Week Challenge: Oh, I give up!

This week, I wrote a paragraph. 150 words. I also removed 400 words from a chapter.

Then I realized that an altercation between girl-protagonist and the local bullies is probably too suggestive… of violence. While she’s wrestling with one bully, another begins prying up a cobblestone to smash her skull. This creates the tipping-point for boy-protagonist to intervene; he’d rather avoid fisticuffs with goblins.

Getting from there to the next plot-point…. well, it seems abrupt to me.

Garden Update

It’s snowing. Detroit Metro expected 2-3 inches by midnight. I’m glad it didn’t arrive until after Thanksgiving.

It’s the sort of snow that is compact and just wet enough to stick to blades of grass and outdoor furniture. Concrete and asphalt retain enough heat to stay clear.

Today was allotted for putting away the porch furniture, which I did.

Planting the crocus bulbs in front yard went well; the backyard, no. I thought the guy on the parallel street would stay indoors instead of burning yet more leaves.

He started a burn-pile next to the road and went back inside. Smoke all over my backyard; those crocuses went into the porch-pot with the mums. Here’s hoping it will be a pretty display in the spring.

With the layer of snow and wilted leaves, all the flaws of the garden become clear: Sinkholes, mole-mounds, and invasive plants that were hidden by invited guests. I’ve sure got a lot of work for 2022!

Late-doers and Regrets

An acquaintance made an enormous improvement in her life. Despite her achievement, she has feelings of regret about it taking her so long.

I commiserated. I was a late-bloomer as a child, and a late-doer in many respects as an adult.

I didn’t tell her that I’m working on stories I started in childhood. Or that I became a teacher Quality-Control Inspector at a young human factory after working for almost a decade in the field I thought I loved. I also didn’t tell her about my beloved grandfather who, many years after retiring from the mining industry, became a stained-glass artist.

I gave her this advice, which I’m posting to remind myself whenever Regret comes to call:

Look at the past you as a person who wasn’t taught how to [do this thing you’re doing]. You wouldn’t say, “It’s about time” to an adult who returned to school to earn a high school diploma. You wouldn’t berate a person with unhealthy habits who finally mastered the tools to live a healthy life. Congratulate yourself and be happy you don’t have to spend another minute in the past.

12-Week Challenge: 2021 Week Four

Week 4. Boy-protagonist got the wind knocked out of his sails. Girl-protagonist is going to leave home, which she dreaded, but not according to the plan of The Grown-ups. (It’s not capitalized in the book, but The Grown-ups are collectively her antagonist.)

In dialogue, Favius (aka boy-protagonist) revealed his ambition to Argenta (girl-protagonist). I tweaked Chapter 1 such that his goal is clearly stated without an “authorial voice” pronouncement.

An aside: During this do-it-myself 12-week course, self-pacing is a mixed bag. Nobody holds me accountable; therefore, a “deadline” is a moveable goal. On the other hand, I can jump ahead when I achieve my weekly goal.

Post-Halloween Comment

We had a good turn-out of trick-or-treaters. I got to visit with one of the neighbors. We both missed our former neighbors who used to pass out beer to the adults!

My favorite was the little boy who took off his monster mask so the neighbor lady and I wouldn’t be afraid of him. There was also a group of kids that brought their dog who barked when trick-or-treaters came to the door but was perfectly quiet around strangers on the street. Smart doggo!

Will post pics later in the week.