Working in the “Home Office”

This weekend I was apprehensive and, frankly, disgruntled by the mandatory closure of The Young Human Factory. Emails were trickling in from worried parents; piles of paperwork, books, and folders covered all horizontal surfaces in the livingroom; and my social engagements were canceled.*

But today I was anxiety-free as the wheels fell off.

First, I forgot to reprogram the furnace from its routine 14 Celsius/58 Fahrenheit setting. I slept an extra hour and felt refreshed… until I sat up bad flipped back the quilt and woolen blankets. I dashed to turn up the thermostat, then read in bed for an hour.

Then I tried using the scan function of my new-ish printer. It did not go well.  Luckily, the public library is keeping normal hours! The “library lady” gave me good advice. (And  checked out gardening books.)

Better luck tomorrow.


*The MET cancelled Der Fliegender Hollander, which meant no simulcast in a nearby theater. It would have been my first “real” opera, as operettas don’t count. However, I already had a disappointment when Bryn Terfel broke his ankle and was replaced by Evgeny Nikitin, a baritone with whom I’m unfamiliar.

Edits Galore

After a long slog to complete Chapter 9’s draft, I realized that my novel turned swampy somewhere in the previous chapters. Published authors tend to advise completing the draft before editing, but I’m a copy editor by training and a dabbler* by necessity.

The following list details the destruction I wrought editing I did to streamline and improve the readability of the story: Continue reading

Gardening Temptations

bloom blossom flora flower

NOT the garden of La Casa de Tontería aka The House Of Nonsense. Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Tracking expenses this month, I noticed that Winter has no dampening effect on the gardening bug. During the thaw before New Year’s, I visited Migardener garden store for inspiration (and vegetable seeds), used a Christmas gift card to purchase planting bags, and began reading the bonsai book a friend gave me. I’m waiting on this month’s orders: daikon radish seeds, a paper pot mold, rock-wool, and a sower.

I like to blame peer pressure. Continue reading

Looking Back on 2019, Ahead to 2020

New Year’s Resolutions are not my thing. In fact, I normally spend this time of year tidying and relaxing before The Young Human Factory starts up again.  If anything, I tend to melancholy and nostalgia. If only I had done…

But I can’t help being happily circumspect this year. It’s ending better than it began.
Continue reading

Five Planned Expenditures for 2020

In anticipation of my 2020 challenge A Year of Mindful Shopping, I put together a list of above-and-beyond expenses. I was going to estimate their cost, but I really can’t.

  • Four nights in hotels. A family reunion and a weekend trip are in the works.
  • Materials for sprucing up the powder room. Labor is free, thanks to BabyBro’s generous nature. (Honestly, I think my MacGuyvered flooring pulled at his heartstrings.)
  • Admission to at least three museums and five gardens.
  • A new water heater.
  • A new headboard for the guest room.

Year of (gulp!) No Shopping

It’s that time of year again. The season of Black Friday sales and the slow trickle of tax documents.

And a horrible urge* to try a Year Without Shopping (YWS). according to my field notes, it consists of the following “rules”:

  • No new additions to the wardrobe
  • No new _______ until current supply of _________ is used up
  • No entertainment purchases with the exception of experiences (This seems to be popular loophole; for example a learning experience or roadtrip.)

If anything breaks or wears beyond prepare, there is a process:

  1. Substitute.
  2. Borrow.
  3. Buy used

I have already incorporated some practices into daily life. However, I’m daunted by the idea of committing to no sales or no stocking up.  And there’s the haunting sense that once I commit to it, sinister stars will align to break various necessities…

But I’m going to do it anyway. This coming week, I will make a list of five (5!) planned expenditures.  Wish me luck.


*By “horrible urge,” I mean a horribly sweet Puerto Rican has been urging me to follow his footsteps, if not hus vagabond ways.

 

Odds and Ends of House Upkeep

Usually winter is my relaxing season because, despite an increase in paperwork and often-hectic holiday preparations, the pace of life slows. There is little yard maintenance, the local roads have less traffic, and there are no mosquitoes.

Early snowfall, however, created its own problems. I had to get the birdfeeders squirrel-feeders set up early, so I grabbed two bags of the very limited selection at a soon-to-close retailer. The wildlife do not like it. It has too much corn, judging by the slowly-growing pile of kernels beneath the feeder. At least the suet is a hit, as well as easy to stock up; a local grocer carries it in the seasonal aisle. Continue reading

Tech: A Necessary Evil?

My computer, a Lenovo Yoga, died abruptly. To be more precise, the latest Windows 10 update killed it. First came the announcement that Win10 would no longer be supported, but an update was available. Goody. After the usual shutdown and restart sequence, it stayed off.

Then I turned it on manually, at which point large white text on a dark screen (typical safety mode), declared, ” Removing the files which were uploaded.”

And then my computer died.

Virus? Bad luck? !?%&@!!?!! Incompetent company?

I don’t know. And I no longer care.

I still have the persnickety laptop that the dead one replaced, albeit without Internet access.  The old version of Office allows me to work on my novel, which was saved – hurrah!

To blog, I’m relying on a crack-screened, no-longer-updating iPad that connects to my WiFi and my wireless printer. I can’t update the blog design (sorry), but the writing and reader features work just fine.  Someone suggested I try blogging with a phone, but the laser-beams from my  eyes incinerated him. Or maybe it was just the fire I feel in my eyes after staring at a tiny screen too long.

I will see how well (and long) this cobbled-together system works.