A pair of joys:
Wednesday was the second annual 'Give Thanks for Food Day' in my department. This time the food theme was snacks. That was my excuse to stop by Kowalski's and get guacamole and good salsa to bring in. Part of the fun was getting to wear plaid and jeans, and then the day wrapped up with a game of Turkey Bingo.
During the 24 hours when I lost access to my email was of course when the really wonderful items showed up in my inbox. But that was actually turned out to be a blessing. I'm grateful to God I did pretty good at not uselessly stressing about it, or wasting time and energy trying to fix it when a phone call the next day sufficed. Because that meant I made good writing progress Tuesday night. Then I spent Wednesday on the bus heading home, and before and after church that evening, reviewing the wonderful feedback I got both from my editor in response to my questions, and my last beta reader's feedback for the first Triune novel. That was particularly lovely--there should be footprints on the ceiling over my cube at work from dancing there! Because when she told me it's good enough to get traditionally published, since she's served 12 years in manuscript acquisitions and editing for a major publisher, managed an independent bookstore, and worked as an English professor--well, it's easier to give credence to her words! Big joy, thank you God!
Weekend went far too fast for all I wanted to do, but:
The weather on Saturday was amazing for late November. Sunny for the first time in days, and nearly 50 out. So instead of camping out on the exercise bike for my weekend exercise, I got out for a 7 mile walk. I'd been wanting to check the bike/pedestrian bridge across part of the Minnesota River that opened recently, so that's what I did, along with loads of other people. So late in the season and in the middle of the afternoon, there wasn't much to be seen besides ducks and geese for wildlife, though it will be a fabulous place to see migrating wildfowl in spring and autumn. But I was blessed to spot a lady with a huge camera on a tripod who was taking photos of a bird. She said it was a snipe...and it was (for real). So I got photos and video of my first wild snipe, and was also vastly amused by the way it jittered around as if it desperately had to run to the bathroom. I'd read so much about the species thanks to a book by a naturalist I enjoyed in younger years, so it was neat to actually see one, even if I didn't get to hear its unique flight.
Pleased to make progress with both my calendar picture and my novella, which is thankfully getting a little less stubborn.
Sunday was special. Right after church, I headed over to my coworker Dawn's house. First I had dinner at IHOP with her and Mark, (eggnog pancakes, how could I resist?) and then she and I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the local Markus theater, which has a big screen and recliners. That was a lot of fun. Got to see some of the more recent stuff she's added to her vast collection, and her long-running project with her home dvds. It was a good time.
So nice to have a three day workweek!
Glad that the weather did not prevent me from getting to the Thanksgiving service at my church on Wednesday evening.
A real treat to sleep in all the way to 6 am on Thanksgiving morning! Haven't managed that in a while.
At the risk of jinxing myself, I'm quite pleased with how well my 2017 calendar picture is coming along. Made lots of progress Monday, Wednesday, and Thanksgiving morning. Sure helps that even huge test renders are still under 3 hours long.
A nice Thanksgiving. At the Towners again, and a treat to have their oldest son up from Florida, as well as Aaron surprising them with a visit by driving down late on Wednesday, since he had to be back in time for the 8:00 am Black Friday sale. Lots of fabulous food, as always!
And now for another weekend!
Treats on my three-day weekend:
It was so nice to have time to listen to music and do puzzles of my art (my happy place) and be grateful for the little playlists I've assembled. I'm up to 5 tracks that remind me of 'Delarun' and the stories that go with that novel, and 6 tracks for the Triune novels, along with 9 for the Geren books, not including the ones that I associate more with places or characters than with scenes. It was a joy to get to savor them.
One of the best ways to celebrate t'DoL's birthday is definitely to get out for a platelet donation. Did that Saturday morning, and glad that my iron was high enough!
I accidentally overwrote my Tuesday evening progress in the novella I'm writing, so I'm grateful that between my various backup locations I was able to get the scenes back. Whew! That meant I could make progress over the weekend and not have to lose time recreating parts I'd already written.
While I'd really hoped to have The Furthest Leap completed in time for t'DoL's birthday, it's been giving me so much trouble that I'll have to be satisfied with reaching the halfway point in terms of sections. Also pleased I could get a quick image made for my Portal Page, for whenever it DOES get posted!
On my day off Monday, I got a bunch of laundry done, made some nice writing progress, got to review my editor's feedback a little more, and then got out to the movie theater to see Arrival for my second time. Quite enjoyed it!
After going out on my deck at 4:30, 5:00, and 5:30 Monday morning to get a look at the big perigee full moon (closest full moon since 1948), I ended up being regaled with the best views while walking to the bus stop and then a few while on the bus. It was neat to see it down at the horizon changing from gold to rusty-amber. Beautiful and special--and so glad the weather was clear enough!
My wonderful editor was EARLY with getting her book 2 work back to me. I was expecting it near the end of the week, but instead it was Monday. I'm very grateful that my willpower was strong enough to refrain from looking at any of it until Wednesday, so that I could get in two more nights of progress on my troublesome novella. Also looking forward to having more time to process all her great feedback this weekend.
Thursday brought me to 23.75 years since I first 'met' t'DoL, which I've been anticipating with peculiar intensity. Work has been very crazy this week, so a relief that Thursday also brought the monthly publish, and thankfully getting what was needed done in time.
Very glad that the big messy storm expected today didn't get underway until after I reached work, so I didn't get drenched. And perhaps because a lot of people left early, the traffic heading home was not bad either--ground is still warm after weeks of a very warm November, so the snow isn't sticking much yet. But I am glad winter is finally making an appearance!
Hurrah for a three-day weekend! And not just any weekend--t'DoL's birthday weekend! Got the festivities underway by using a coupon for some Arby's mozzarella sticks Friday afternoon, nor can I forget my mom's wonderful pumpkin bread!
So wonderful to have my boss back at work after she was off for a week and a half. Better for stress levels too, and my poor teammate who got buried with too much to do.
A treat to have so many great sales at Cub when I did my food shopping Friday night.
Saturday morning I got out to the big craft/art fair at the racetrack that I've been to multiple times in the past. Although I got there at 9:15, and it opened at 9, the place was mobbed from the start! I'm happy though--I found a pair of great gifts for my boss and my coworker Dawn, and also got something for myself I couldn't resist, as it reminded me of t'DoL's wings. I'll probably post more on that later. =)
This was the weekend for movies. On Saturday I treated myself out to Doctor Strange in 3D on the huge IMAX screen, and I'm glad I did, as that's such a visually stunning movie that deserves to be seen in 3D. Quite a fun watch. But for all that, my outing Sunday to see the sci-fi Arrival was even more memorable. I haven't loved a movie so much since Interstellar, that's for sure! That one I really hope to get out and see again, if time permits.
So blessed to have a turnaround with the art project I've been working on. All sorts of things went wrong last weekend, and I spent a bit of time and thought trying to track down the issues over the course of the workweek. So after all that hair-pulling, what a treat to get rolling Sunday morning and make some fabulous progress!
Interesting days of late:
Daylight Savings ended last weekend, and once again, slowly shifting my schedule over the prior week paid off in spades. While I'm not enjoying the dark evenings, it is very nice to have a little predawn light around when I walk to the bus stop in the morning. Wednesday morning brought an amazing sunrise I enjoyed from the bus.
The novella I'm trying to write, like I mentioned in my monthly summary post, has been fighting me a lot. I'm very grateful that I managed three consecutive days of progress on it between Saturday and Monday, and finally got to the end of the first section. However, I may need to buy bigger boxing gloves... ;)
Tuesday morning, I woke up early after a startling dream in which Trump won the election. The more fool I, for I did not consider it a prophetic dream, never believing such a thing would happen. I certainly should have heeded the sense of transcendent peace that came with it. Regardless of my stupidity, heh, I am grateful for God's kindness, since Wednesday morning was quite a shock for a lot of people. I'm also grateful I didn't vote for either of them...whatever debacles lie ahead, my conscience is at peace.
Tuesday night I treated the Towners out to dinner at Doolittle's. It was the first time for all of us, and we knew we were in for a treat when we saw the big, crammed parking lot. Dinner reservations are a definite must! We all enjoyed our entrees, and Joe and I savored dessert as well. A very nice time.
Wednesday morning brought another heaven-sent gift. I'd been having some disturbing health symptoms the prior two days, and was wrestling with if/when to go to the doctor and how severe it would end up being. Wednesday morning, it was all gone. And not the kind of thing I'd expect to heal itself, either. So blessed and grateful!
The weather has been crazy warm for November, and quite sunny of late, so Saturday proved a wonderful morning for Cindy M and I to get out for a walk at Lebanon Hills regional park. We did a little over five miles and got to a few different lakes--it was her first time and she really enjoyed the park. Nice outing!
A treat as well to have an extra hour this weekend due to Daylight Savings ending. Saturday afternoon I got to see Hacksaw Ridge, which is by far the most gory movie I've ever seen, but I'm very glad I went. Amazing and inspiring. Can't forget--my points were high enough so I could get a free bag of popcorn and pay a dollar plus tax to upgrade to a bigger size. I quite enjoyed that during the pastoral sections of the movie.
My wonderful mother sent me a package with homemade apple bread, homemade pumpkin bread, and a bag of dates! So sweet! I will certainly be enjoying it over the next couple weeks.
I'm glad I found a company online that makes bedding in the color I want. I got a package in the mail with a fitted sheet, pillowcases, and best of all, a bedskirt in the length I need. Much nicer now, to have it hiding all the ugly moving boxes stacked under my daybed!
Hurrah for a Friday!
I'm so glad there are LED 3-way lights now. Fluorescent doesn't work, and I hate the heat and inefficiency of an incandescent bulb. Also got some LEDs for my entryway, since fluorescents don't do so well with being turned on for brief intervals. Delighted at how affordable LEDs are getting!
Glad for alternatives with the package delivery conundrum. Anything shipped to me via UPS can be automatically redirected to a store quite close to where I live, which has much better hours than the post office. And Amazon offers ship to locker for small items it sells--I can pick those up anytime! Got to use both options this week, and it went well.
Another gratitude--moving out of my old place means I don't have to buy water softener salt anymore. I really appreciate that, because nobody needs to know how many times I paid for a bag while food shopping, then took off without actually grabbing one. Sometimes I made it to my car, sometimes I made it home, sometimes I didn't realize I haven't grabbed what I paid for for a week! Cub's profit margin has gone down, now that I'm done doing that. ;)
Had a great all-day class at work Wednesday: The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity. Hopefully I'll be able to implement some of the concepts, particularly on the home front.
Glad my semi internet fast is over, and I can do stuff like read movie reviews, make restaurant reservations, and place orders online. But hopefully I can also use the benefit of seeing how much time is freed up to rein in the aimless side of surfing...
Of prayers answered and smaller joys:
On Tuesday afternoon, I got an email from Netflix which quite upset me, because it revealed that not only had my Netflix dvd been taken (again) but this time it had been returned without my even getting my hands on it. All because the mailboxes at my current place are too ridiculously small to even fit a dvd in them. (My mail gets wadded up pretty much every day.) Netflix dvds just get stuck in the brick by the mailboxes for anyone walking through to grab. I stomped out to the bus stop fearing I would have to give up my two-a-month Netflix account entirely, and prayed for an idea. Less than a minute later, I thought of my coworker Dawn. I don't want the dvds mailed to somebody where I'd have to drive to their house to retrieve them, but Dawn was perfect, as she could bring them to work. So on Wednesday I got to ask her, and she was delighted at a chance to help me out (I've been her 'tech support' a few times lately with her old Windows Vista pc). Hurrah! So glad for the idea, being able to keep my account and not rip off Netflix, AND nobody else is going to be watching my dvds either (except Dawn and Mark if they want to).
Thursday's answer to prayer was even bigger. I heard back from a beta reader whose resume was so impressive I was almost too chicken to even contact her! (12 years in manuscript acquisition/sales for one of the big 5 publishers, managed an independent bookstore, English professor, etc.) To my delight, she was willing to review DWoT after reading some samples, but her price tag was (much) higher than I had budgeted. (And quite fair, considering her credentials, because it's beta combined with content editing.) So I sent out a hasty prayer request email to my parents and the Towners, and it got conclusively answered by a big YES that same day! So grateful to the Holy Spirit and my parents for their support!!
Friday brought another bake sale on the last day of the United Way fundraiser week. Apple strudel, pumpkin bars, and a small loaf of pumpkin bread. Yum!
Saturday was special, as it was my first Saturday to just stay at home and not go ANYWHERE since April 9. I needed that! Got stuff done around home, made the first steps in my 2017 calendar project, and even managed a little writing progress with the novella that has been fighting me tooth and nail for weeks.
Got out for a 10 mile walk at Afton State Park Saturday morning. It was definitely past peak autumn color out there, but still a fantastic morning. Along with the photos of fall color, I was delighted to get some of deer in a field who didn't run away and I also got to see and get bad photos of a pileated woodpecker. The weather couldn't have been more wonderful!
As I mentioned in my photos post at my misc LJ, it's been wonderful to have at least one nice day on the weekend for the past three weekends. The rain has been sticking more in the middle of the workweeks, which I quite appreciate!
Also on Saturday, I got my second Geren book sent off to my wonderful editor and she started in on it Monday. Excited about that!
Monday was a change of plans for lunch. This time instead of Dawn bailing out, it was Bill. Regardless, Dawn and I had a great time at Italia Pasta Express, which I've been craving for a while.
This week got my first full-month electric bill, and my first water/sewage quarterly charge, and quite pleased over how low they both were. And the electric bill should get even a little lower, now that I'm done with air conditioning for a while.
The annual United Way fundraiser of Crocktoberfest was today, which meant that for lunch I got to enjoy some delicious harvest soup--hit the spot perfectly with the cold rainy weather!
Found out early in the week that my medical insurance costs for 2017 are only going up $4 per month, for which I am very relieved!
Since my entire team had our work service anniversaries in the past couple weeks, my boss brought in treats to share. Nice to enjoy mini coffee cakes and apple fritters...and very odd to realize that I've been employed there for 18 years now. A blessing indeed!
On Tuesday I drove in so I could do a platelet donation after work that evening. Thankfully my iron was just high enough (on the second poke) so I was able to give platelets and plasma, hurrah!
Happiness is a gift card in the mail that I earned with credit card points. I've been accumulating a few books on my Amazon wishlist, so I hope to get a few to enjoy in 2017.
Best of all, I finally finished my small changes to my first Triune novel, which means I'm ready to 'hire' another beta reader. Glad to be moving ahead!
I got to pick up my FedEx package Saturday and install the privacy window film in my bedroom that I've been wanting. It was not easy to do the measuring or get it hung up straight, but I really like it. Not only does it give privacy so I can walk around in there clothed however I want, but it filters the sunlight nicely so hopefully my African violet and other plants will handle it better. Beyond that, it's nicely made so that light coming through the patterns is either frosty-foggy or sometimes casting faint rainbows. Much prettier than the plain window film I used in the basement at my prior place. Very glad I bought it!
I had a whopping eight places to get to Saturday morning, but even though I'm not keen on doing lots of running around, it definitely brought some rewards. Since I had to stop at Home Depot for parts for a project, I went to the Goodwill across the street and was delighted to find a nice black iron dvd holder for just a few bucks. Not only did it help me empty one of my lingering moving boxes, but it fits very nicely on the side of one bookcase. The other treat was stopping by Bachmanns, drooling through their houseplant assortment, and happily bringing home a small Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus). I'd failed to find one in the other places I'd checked, and it's a species I really like.
What helped make Saturday's errand-running more fun was the fact that peak autumn color has come to my area. Even though Saturday was very cloudy and gloomy, it was still gorgeous everywhere I drove.
But Sunday was even better. I got out to the regional park right at dawn and took a nice 8 mile walk shooting tons of photos. The place was gorgeous, the weather magnificent, and what a blessing to get to savor it!
Enjoying some literal treats thanks to the United Way fundraiser bake sale I got to on Tuesday. Brownies and cookies, yum!
An interesting bit of fun on Thursday. Because of the Prince tribute concert that evening, the St Paul mayor called for a purple day, and my employer got in on it--anyone who wore purple also got to wear jeans! (And they lit up a couple places with purple lights too.) So that made for a fun day, with all the people who participated.
I've had more than enough frustration lately, so I'm glad also for the good things I really enjoy about my current lodging. Thanks to being on one level in a smaller space, vacuuming is a lot easier, as I don't have to be constantly unplugging it and hauling it up and down stairs. When I play a cd on my boom box, I can hear it in the kitchen and at my pc, and my cds are not a long many-stairs trip from the boom box either. For the first time in decades, I'm living in a place that does not have walls that are all stark hospital white. I really love that the room doors and closets are a nice white finish, after ages in places with beat-up ugly brown wood doors. The baseboards are white too, and since I hate the color brown, this delights me. And if the cold weather must cause an insect invasion, what a treat that they're all ladybugs!
It's amazing how an event in the past can be seen in a different light after gaining new knowledge. That was my experience last week, when I stumbled across an article about the results of a massive study tracking 1 million women and finding a strong correlation between the birth control pill (and other birth control methods) and depression. Checking my old journal revealed that my major depression started around 4 months after first getting on the pill (which I did to try to control the damage my period was doing to my health and body). While correlation obviously does not equal causation, I'd long blamed the emotional losses of latter 2006/early 2007 for triggering the most awful event of my life, and now I know there's more at play than that. What a huge blessing from heaven to learn this!
I had busy weekend taking advantage of some great autumn weather. On Saturday I drove down to Red Wing for their annual Art Fair, and also got in a short walk at Frontenac State Park and a visit to the Pepin Heights apple store. A nice day all around.
On Sunday I headed north to Wild River State Park, which I haven't been to in a while. The autumn color was much better up there than around Red Wing, but the highlight of my seven mile hike was definitely the ruffed grouse. I heard a few of them, but better yet got to see some, and even got a photo! Between pheasants, wild turkeys, and grouse, grouse are certainly the gamebird I encounter the least.
The drive back was beautiful, highlighted by spotting a pair of bald eagles sitting side by side in a big dead tree. Cute!
Also happy that I got my cover image project for the DWoT eBook completed, and I'm finally getting up to the final stages with the DWoT revisions as well.
Blessings amid frustrations:
Interesting day last Wednesday at work, because I spent most of the afternoon on a tour of the BCP site (the fallback site in event of a local disaster that prevents my employer from doing business at their main buildings). It was really interesting to see the place, talk through the disaster scenario presented, add to lists of needed supplies and try to imagine having to actually work there. A lot of labor put into a precaution that is hopefully never needed.
Lots of setbacks during the evenings last week, due to either the female curse or a coworker wanting my help over the phone. But despite that, glad to be making slow but tangible progress on both improvements to DWoT and on the eBook cover illustration I'm working on.
Related to that, I had a shocking surprise on the weekend. Vue had an upgrade patch it wanted installed, so I did that without paying much attention to the matter. Then to my amazement I discovered soon afterward that a lot of the glitchy issues that hindered my use of the software (and which I'd lost weeks trying to figure out and resolve last year) had suddenly disappeared. What a blessing! Since I hope to be spending a lot of time in Vue over the next few months, I really appreciate the boost in efficiency with the bugs gone! (Well, some of them.)
Around the middle of the month my air mattress started to tear apart on the inside and create a 'bulge' in the middle. It's been a race ever since, waiting for it to get cool enough to abandon sleeping on it while the bulge got longer and harder to sleep on every night. Very glad I made it! The bulge reached 100% of the mattress length by the 20th, but on the 22nd I could get away with sleeping on a regular mattress and not be too overheated. It was hard trying to balance on that thing in my sleep and not slide off!
The last week has brought even more crazy quantities of rain (and hail on Wednesday night), though thankfully my area didn't get the worst of it. So that reminds me, despite my disgruntlement over more evenings of splashing homeward huddled under an umbrella, that I should count my blessings. Nice thing about being in a second-floor apartment is that I don't have to worry about water in the basement, or leaking through the roof!
On Saturday morning I got together with Joe for a long-anticipated bike ride. (He's been wanting to do one with me since my bike has been living in their garage the last few months.) He took me around a whole lot of the local paths and down to the regional park, and we covered 22 miles total. My rear did not appreciate so much quality time with the bike seat, but I'm delighted I was hardly even sore the following day.
I had lunch with my boss's boss, Jodi, today. I don't think we've ever done that before, not just the two of us. I got to enjoy delicious sweet corn tamales, black beans, and rice from La Loma, and we had a great time catching up, as it has been a crazy summer for both of us, but hers was definitely crazier. I am so blessed to have her as my manager (and former boss).
Over the weekend I got the last items moved out of the larger storage unit. It feels good to have that wrapped up, but that 50% off for three months storage unit was a big blessing this summer.
Also got out on the weekend to see Sully and I'm glad I did. I appreciated how the movie was structured to reveal events in layers and maintain uncertainly. I was also amazed by the flight attendants.
Monday at work was a terrible horrible day, but Monday evening at home was wonderful because I kicked off writing the novella The Furthest Leap. Progress will probably be slow, but very glad I can finally get back to writing!
Also very glad, that with life settling down and pass 6 wrapped up, I can do some fiction reading for fun again. It has been FAR too long.
Last but not least, happy that I got the editing contract signed and the first half of the payment mailed out to my editor. Little more than a month until she starts!
What a week! Work from Tuesday through Friday morning was the most ghastly stretch I've had in a while. Worse, I had commitments three evenings in a row, so I couldn't stay late and also started getting really grouchy with no 'me' time. But with two big joys this week, all the nasty is greatly outweighed.
I had church lunch on Wednesday with my boss, her sister-in-law, and one of her 'renters.' My second time having ratatouille; I was a little apprehensive because when I had it at the fancy restaurant in Yosemite it was not tasty at all. But I'm glad I gave it another chance, because this variety was so good I wanted the recipe!
On Wednesday night I made myself go to an after-work networking type of event in downtown Minneapolis, celebrating the new office location for a consulting company my area sometimes works with. At least I could ride the bus and light rail to get in and out, and do lots of pass 6 work on book 2 during that time. But the real treat for me was getting to meet my boss's husband at last. We've both heard so much about each other, ha ha. And I could get the latest news on the Costco that is coming to Woodbury.
Speaking of Costco, when my mom took me and Cindy during her visit, I impulsively grabbed a 28 oz bag of organic Algerian Deglet Noor dried dates. It has been a real challenge to not devour the entire bag by the end of the week! (Fasting day on Thursday certainly helped, ha ha.) It's good I don't have a Costco membership and won't let myself get more until I EARN them!
I finally got pass 6 of the second Geren book finished on Thursday, and busted my bedtime Thursday night after church group by staying up to get the application and chapter samples submitted at the editing website. And to my immense delight, I heard back from my editor Friday morning. She's excited to get into the next Geren book, is charging at the same rate, and will be working on it from the end of October to mid-November. Yay!
Joys and answered prayers:
On Saturday I was delighted to discover that the new Hobby Lobby about 3 miles from where I live is already open. Even better, when I wandered around inside I found the perfect solution for securing three pictures and my makeshift over-the-sink light in my kitchen (the latter was being held in place with a jury-rigged solution involving garish orange clamps). Got some autumn napkins with a Bible verse that I really like as well.
Sunday afternoon I finally got to see Kubo and the Two Strings at the theater. Beautiful movie, but what really got me excited was the car commercial beforehand in which the actor/driver recited the entirety of William Blake's 'Tyger Tyger.' So cool!
Got a big prayer request a long time in the seeking answered this week. Figuring out funding to get more novels professionally edited has been on my prayer list all year, but with apartment shopping and the Canada trip I hadn't had much time of late to focus on it. No sooner did I get back to Minnesota and move (the day after, August 14) than there was an entire section of the sermon that felt aimed right at my question. I was shocked. Then came more praying and research and then delay with my mom's visit. That time brought me a number and a strategy, but this week was the wrap-up. I was so blessed on Tuesday (after checking out other options) to get a great loan from my bank with a very nice interest rate (they just *happened* to have a sale going this month) and no prepayment penalty. So now if I save up the rest, I can get three more novels edited, hopefully over this year and the next. Thank you God, for answered prayer and clear direction!
Also on Tuesday the wonderful Towners picked me up at work and with their help and their minivan, I was able to get my dwarf umbrella tree/schefflera whom I call "Schleffie" moved from the Johnsons to my new place, and just in time before the first really cool night. I've had him since he was a tiny little plant I bought in high school--probably close to 25 years. I had great evening with the Towners as well, and Schleffie now nicely occupies over half my new dining room. I just have to figure out additional lighting before he throws a big fit over coming inside!