Flippin’ the Script

With writing, I’m often stymied as I await the muses’ participation. These past two weeks, I’ve turned it around on them. Writing steadily, finding the path each morning, I keep the final destination in mind. Quiet and watchful, the muses gather around me. “Where you going with this?” they keep asking.

Chuckling, I tell them, “You’ll have to wait and see.”

It’s nice making them wait to see what happens next. I feel like the novel in progress in almost at an end (draft five). I edit and revise as I write, grinding down the story, molding and shaping it. Not to jinx anything, but I have a good rhythm formed for now, generally writing a bit, then going off, reading, doing housework or other things, then returning to write more, then editing. For now, I’m focused on finishing this draft. In the meanwhile, a solid grasp of what I’m going to do in the next editing stage has crystalized.

It’s been thirteen months since I began writing this one. Writing it required process changes driven by social distancing and coffee shop shutdowns. I used to leave the house, walk to get into the writing mode, then enter a coffee house, sit with my laptop, and do the deed. I’ve had to adjust. That was a surprising challenge. I’m pleased (but anxious) that I could adjust.

Pleased and anxious remains the watch words for writing this. I worry and fret, then tell myself not to worry and fret, just write, but yet, worry and fret, hunting through words, finding my way. It’s surprising to see that I’m at five hundred and ten Word pages, 145K words. I’ve already done some cutting but more is due once the ending is reached.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

March Monday Madness

  1. Thinking of the post’s title brings back memories and a smile. Pre-pandemic, I used to regularly visit a coffee shop. I usually ordered mochas there. So, it was Michael’s mocha. Going with the alliteration scheme, Michal’s Mocha sometimes became Michael’s March Madness Monday Mocha. It also took place in May. Just harmless fun, banter between me and the ‘ristas.
  2. The skunk under the house was active last night. Lots of squeaking under the master bath and then arose that smell. We admire this skunk for her persistence and tenacity. She’s like a writer, never giving up, you know?
  3. I shut down the skunk’s activity last nightwell, it was this morning, really, one twenty-five AM by all the standard references — with the iPad. Turning it on, I called up a video of David Frost interviews. Setting the iPad on the bathroom floor with the volume turned up, I plugged it in so it wouldn’t run out of juice, and closed the door. As soon as David Frost began speaking, the squeaking ceased.
  4. Just to make home life more interesting, we now have what seems to be a gopher hole in the back yard. Investigations are ongoing. More reports forthcoming. We’re a no-kill household, so I’ll probably be turning to sonic stakes to drive them away.
  5. I’m always fearful of calling down the muses’ wrath when I mention that writing is going well, that I’m enjoying the process and entertaining myself with what I write, so I won’t mention it.
  6. I really enjoyed the 60Minutes interview with Colson Whitehead that aired Sunday. First novel rejected twenty-five times and never published. He writes for himself but hopes that one person will identify with and like what he writes, and maybe one will become ten, etc. That’s me paraphrasing, based on what I heard, and perhaps what I wanted to take away from his outlook. He’s won two Pulitzer Prizes, which, great, congratulations to him. More importantly, those two books are in the house in my reading pile. My wife read both and recommend them to me. I seriously trust and respect her judgment in these matters. So, I’ll put those books higher on the pile.
  7. The reading pile is always growing, it seems. Books get recommended or passed on. Reviews are read and chords are struck. Friends publish new books and must be read. A new favorite author is discovered and other works are hunted down for reading. Then, there’s the non-fiction side. Reading is a constant requirement. I’m fortunate to have the time to indulge myself.
  8. I was reading in the living room yesterday afternoon. The book at hand was Countdown City by Ben Winters. It’s a quick, engaging noir adventure. Sunshine bubbled in over my shoulders through the blinds. Sitting, listening, in a pause from reading, I heard no electronics running. No lights were on. The furnace and refrigerator were silent. Radios and television were off, though clocks are running. The home weather station was running, and so was the net and laptops and the associated equipment. But none of these things made sounds. I enjoyed the sunny stillness.
  9. Thinking of clocks…four ‘clocks’ are in the house. Two are in the kitchen, in the microwave and range. Another is in the bedroom. The fourth is a battery operated clock in the snug. But then, we wear Fitbits, which offer us the time. So do the phones, the thermostat, and laptops, printer, and tablets. We track time everywhere.
  10. I’m fussy about synchronizing the clocks, too. I think, or at least, pretend, that it harkens back to my military career. Being synchronized to the second was important to us in that life.
  11. Also to keep life interesting — because these are such boring, tedious times — credit card fraud struck us. I was reviewing my credit card billing last week. It’s a weekly habit for me to go online and review all the finances, a time-killing activity to fill space when I’m putting off doing something else. It just takes a few minutes. Well, lo’, there was a small charge that I didn’t recognize. After verifying it didn’t belong to my wife, I challenged it with the company. They responded by cancelling that card and sending me a new one. However, they didn’t tell me that they were doing that. First I know of it was when the credit card was rejected. That spun me up fast. Suspecting it was related to the fraud that I reported, I checked into the account to look for notice that such is what happened. No notice. A chat with an agent was required to verify cause and effect. It would have been nice to be warned or notified that they’d done this, right? Irritating customer service policy, to say the least.
  12. We have only two credit card accounts. Each is used for certain activities, to help limit exposure. That meant, though, that we are down one credit card. Momentarily, yes, but it’s a domino effect. Emails arrive, hey, your card was rejected, what up? No idea when the new card will arrive so some activities are on stuck in a queue. Whereas I had reduced checking the mail to once a week in general, sometimes twice in one week, I’ll now be going to the mailbox daily.
  13. Also, I knew that credit card information. I could rattle off the number, expiration date, and security code without hesitation. Now I’m forced to learn a new number and particulars. Yeah, I like whining, don’t I?
  14. Got my coffee. Ready to write like crazy at least one more time.

Thursday Thoughts

  1. My cousin, Glenn Seidel, passed away, ending his cancer fight. A genuine nice, caring person, his death is one that makes you question life’s mechanics. I wish he’d never suffered cancer; he’d watched his mother and younger sister fall to cancer. It’s good that he’s no longer suffering, though. Watching the suffering, unable to do more than mouth platitudes, is the struggle for me when a friend, relative, or pet is suffering and dying. No, it’s not about me; the survivors always mourn. It’s about what he — what they all — went through before reaching the point of death. Here’s to Glenn.
  2. Weather is on my mind. We’re contemplating a move east. Why? Summer weather here in southern Oregon has become a litany of summer suffering: wildfires, or smoke from wildfires suspend or kill activities and travel. Drought requires water restrictions, which is enforced via capitalism: if you have the money, you can buy the water. Depressing, right? But our winter is comfortable, remarkably snow free and freezing free. Moving east to Ohio or PA would mean plunging into that stuff.
  3. Watching Texas suffer from lack of planning for cold weather brings deep sighs of frustration. Save some pennies, increase profits, but when the shit hits, you’re wickedly unprepared. It’s sadly now the GOP way. Yet that ‘save some pennies, increase profits’ mantra holds fast against critical thinking. It’s always the poorest classes who suffer most, of course.
  4. Since I’m on politics, will the righteous right-wing notice that President Biden, a Democrat, immediately reached out to help states, whether they’re ‘red’ or ‘blue’? Doubtful that they’ll notice; doubtful that they’ll remember. Yes, experiencing a strong cynical streak today.
  5. We worry about the animals along with people, you know? We hope the animals are warm and safe, too. The logical response is, this is life; suffering is inculcated as part of the formula. Death is a natural ending. Still, I hope for the best. Guess I’m an unrepentant optimist.
  6. Writing (knock on wood) continues going well, which continues to scare me. There’s a burst of jubilation as a major chapter is completed. After a pause of reflection, anxiety strikes as I face the ever-present, ever-daunting question, what next? That question always pulls me back into the puzzle that’s called writing a novel.
  7. I’m watching more foreign television shows that are in their native languages. I run in place and watch television to wind down at the day’s conclusion. Usually do two to three miles between 10:30 PM and midnight. Bad dubbing draws cringes and winces, which are disruptions to the entertainment. Don’t need it. Instead, I watch television in German, Icelandic, Norwegian, French, etc., eyes glued to the captions. We like how characters appear in television from other countries. Characters in the U.S. TV land are typically pretty people with pleasant lives and mild challenges to their principles and decisions. Typically, matters are quickly resolved, with little complications. There are exceptions. The characters in stories in other nations are less pretty, less glamorous, and more natural. Yes, they’re more like me. Fortunately, watching foreign television seems to be a growing streaming trend. A great selection is available.
  8. One exception in U.S. television that I continue to admire is “The Wire”. Watching it for the second time, finishing season four, the levels of excellence in production values, acting, character development, plots, and story arcs all still impress me. It’s been several years since I first watched it, yet so many of the people and story-lines remain memorable. It’s a gritty show, but you end up rooting and crying for so many.
  9. Finished reading/read six books last week. I’m mastering the jogging-in-place-while-reading process. Five of the books were fiction, the other was non-fiction. Reading does enhance/intensify my writing process. Hungry for more books now. One is on hold at the library, so I need to head that way, but also research more to add to my list. I’m reading mostly crime and speculative fiction while I’m writing my science fiction/speculative fiction novel.
  10. With running in place augmenting my walking and other exercise, my 28-day average remains over 12, coming in at 12.41 for this cycle, with a best day of 14 on February 7.
  11. It’s raining outside. My cats are in and asleep. One sleeps on my feet as I type, keeping me warm with his weight. Another is in the foyer, curled up on the bench, a paw over his eyes. The third is stretched out on the guest bed like a ginger throw. Their presence and the knowledge that they’re safe and comfortable reassures me against awareness of the world’s pain.
  12. Now, time to go eat lunch. Then it’s back to writing like crazy, at least one more time. Stay safe, please. Cheers

On Some Days

  1. On some days, I want to get away by myself to scream at the world. Yesterday was such a day. Stepped into the shower and screamed in silence. Was somewhat cathartic.
  2. I was driving along unlined streets in a residential neighborhood yesterday. Cars were parked along the side but there’s more than enough room for two cars to pass. Yet, so many drivers could not manage that. Driver age, sex, vehicle size…none of it seemed to explain it. People just couldn’t manage it. I thought it was because of the lack of lines. What tended to happen was that folks in one direction would stop so that folks proceeding in the other direction could drive straight down the middle. Young, old, male, female, all exhibited problems with it. “Just move over,” I’d tell them through the windshield. “Just use your side of the street. Honestly, it’s not that hard.” I should be more considerate of others but…on some days…it’s harder.
  3. Contemplating a favorite shirt’s fate. Like everything else, there is a season, turn, turn, etc. Bought this shirt back in 1999. Have photographic evidence of that, for there I am, wearing it in a dated photo. Nothing special, button down collar, long-sleeved, cotton, faded blue stripes on egg shell white. It’s been with me in two states, four houses, five companies, and ten cats (sigh.) (The cats were three to five at a time…) Probably paid about twenty-five dollars for the shirt. Can’t recall that, although I do recall that I bought it on sale at Macy’s. Good jeans shirt. Have gotten some compliments while wearing it, but mostly I like its style and comfort. It’s been gently descending the hill for years, evidenced mostly through armpit stains. I’ve washed those out with a lemon juice and baking soda process a couple times. Now, though…the collar is frayed. It looks like it’s time for the shirt to finally move on. I guess, properly, I’m moving on from the shirt.
  4. I feel like a prisoner sometimes. (Such an exaggeration, right?) I hate throwing things away, but it’s inculcated into my nature and our society. Besides the shirt, there’s now an electric kettle. Probably purchased ten years ago, the spring which helps the lid release and open no longer functions. Can it be fixed? Maybe…if I can find the right spring.
  5. I contemplate the conundrum. Savings are acquired by mass production. Costs are kept down by underpaying people and going to the margin on design and materials. Paying more can gain you more…maybe. You really can’t be sure. But after a few years, when the device or clothing fails, what do you do with it? Where does it goes? The recycling gig seems to be filling up and failing. That’s always been the fallback: recycle or repurpose. I have containers full of used shirts now relegated to being rags out in the garage.
  6. Dad was going to get a new stent this past week. His wife called. He’s eighty-eight. A COPD sufferer, he’d gone into the hospital on Monday to have his meds adjusted for his COPD. Suffering from edema resulting in a swollen left leg and foot, he was kept for observations and a stress test, and given diuretics. The stress test never happened; he was wheezing too much on that day, Wed. He was released on Thursday with plans to have the stress test done in the future. Meanwhile, he and his wife got the COVID-19 vaccination on Friday, which was paramount for them.
  7. I spent an hour on the phone chatting with Dad. He was in a talkative mood and opened up about his youth, something unusual for him. Mom and Dad divorced when I was about ten. He was in the military and oft stationed overseas, so I lived with him for about seven years total, including my final three years of high school. It was just him and me for two of those years. He worked, and I went to school, cleaned, and cooked. We didn’t see much of one another.
  8. Dad revealed that he met Mom in Sioux City, Iowa, when he was stationed there. (She’s from Turin, Iowa, and he’s from Pittsburgh, PA.) This was back in 1952. He was a radioman and she was a seventeen-year-old telephone switchboard operator. Too young to for her to marry in Iowa, they went to Luverne, Minnesota. There he discovered that while she was older enough (fifteen was the age for females there), he wasn’t old enough at twenty; he had to be twenty-one. Naturally, Dad managed to procure a letter with his father’s signature verifying that he was twenty-one. But no, wait. They told him that he had to have his mother’s signature. “Well, Mom is dead,” Dad replied. Then he called his father and said, “Can you tell these people that Mom passed?” That was done but he got grief for it from his parents for years.
  9. Joe Biden has been POTUS for a month and has yet to go golfing. By this point in his term, one month, Con Don had golfed six times. Donald Trump’s aides don’t want to admit the President is golfing – CNN Politics
  10. Enough whining and complaining for now. Got my coffee. Caspa, Uno Dos, and Billy await. They’re just meeting Spag and the recos for the first time. Time to go write like crazy, at least one more time.

The Progress of

The progress of the novel in progress: Arsehold is safely behind my heroes. The outlaw and the recos have an unspoken working truce in place. Selfie, Kitkat, and Cher has joined them on Ted. Today I write Zippers. So sorry Zippers is dead, but the muses called it. It was apparently about the Qiqz. I need to write it to find out.

Yeah, having fun, knock on wood. Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Friday’s Fumblings

  1. The more that I’m writing, the worst that I sleep. I dream more when I’m writing more, too. Yesterday produced a great writing session, a miserable night of sleep, and a flotilla of dreams.
  2. I think that I sleep worst when I’m writing more because more of my brain is engaged in the writing process. The writing is consuming more bandwidth; shutting it down at day’s end is problematic. I keep writing while I’m doing other things, including trying to sleep.
  3. The good news with the novel in progress is that the characters escaped Arsehold at last! How surprised me, but was totally in tone with the rest of the book. This is, of course, when writing is most fun and rewarding.
  4. I always worry about saying too much about writing these days. I don’t want to jinx it when it’s going well, you know? Don’t want to scare off or anger the muses. I never elaborate to others about what I’m writing any more. It’s a novel; it’s meant to be read. I don’t want to explain it; I want people to read it. Sometimes it’s hard to stay true to this as excitement about the story, characters, and concept bubble up and make me happy. I guess I’m an eternal optimist that these stories and novels will come to be in people’s hands someday. Really, though, I write for me and have a good time doing it.
  5. I’m subscribed to HBOMax and enjoying several shows. Nevertheless, I have a complaint about the service. Every time I select it, the first thing that comes up is, “Who is watching?” My name is right there on top. It’s the only name. Below it are options to add other profiles or to add a kid. Seriously? Why must I answer this every friggin’ time? Just accept, I am the one watching, and get on with it. If I want to add someone else, I can go into options or the account, you know. It shouldn’t, I suppose, but it irks me to no end.
  6. COVID-19 vaccinations are increasing among friends and family. I know ten people who have been vaccinated. Three different states – Oregon, Texas, and Pennsylvania – are involved. All who were vaccinated except one were seventy plus years old. The one exception is in her forties and is in the healthcare industry, although she’s in research. Both vaccines have been employed among this small sampling. None have reported significant adverse reactions beyond a desire to nap and mild fevers. Let me know how your vaccination goes, please.
  7. My wife and I are a year apart in age, which adds another spin to our vaxsit. I’m sixty-four and a half. I turn sixty-five in July. I’ll be eligible. But do we want to do it if we can’t do it at the same time? Part of our formula about whether and when is that I have hypertension and she has RA. I suspect that we’ll be included as part of a group that’s fifty years and older later this year, making our one year difference moot.
  8. I mentioned oatmeal in another post, and the huntress commented on oatmeal. Her mother made it very thin. Soupy thin. I think of that as gruel. Yeah, I know it’s not the same. While that’s how my wife eats it, I’m not a fan of it. I make my oat meal so thick, it’s almost a soft cookie.
  9. I grew up putting brown sugar in my oatmeal. Well, it started as white sugar but once I had it with brown sugar, the game was done. I then learned to add raisins and nuts. Now I put all manner of things in my oatmeal. I currently add cranberries and walnuts in my oatmeal, and granola as a topping. I like the contrasting crunchiness and flavor.
  10. When I was first served oatmeal at my wife’s house while in my teens, they surprised me by adding butter and bacon on top. I’d never heard of such a thing! That surprised them, because that’s how they always ate it. Adding bacon and butter to my oatmeal wasn’t something that I adopted. My wife doesn’t add it to her oatmeal, either.
  11. The world seems weirdly calmer with Joe Biden in office as President. Is this my imagination? Am I just reading less news? That doesn’t seem to be the case. Have news outlets shifted how they’ve reported? Perhaps. Or is it that there’s less bad news, or it’s being less reported, or not catching my eye… Maybe we’re just in an intermission in the bad news cycle.
  12. Or maybe it’s some sense of numbing of normalization to bad news. Locally — specifically, in Jackson County, Oregon — COVID-19 positive cases have been declining. We haven’t had triple digits in several days. We’re trending down, but we trended down in November. Then we had a Christmas spike. Meanwhile, people aged 20-29 are the most positive cases here, but those aged fifty and older dominate the hospital beds, inline with what’s been seen elsewhere, and what’s generally expected.
  13. Okay, got my coffee, actually my second cup. No mid-morning treat to go with it. No cookies, pastries, or doughnuts. Nevertheless, time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Stuck In Arsehold

I was stuck in Arsehold for the last two weeks. You may have experienced the same.

I’ve been writing a novel while locked away. That’s not so different from my normal life, where I’m always working on a novel. Many people think I’m working on one novel forever and a day, but I’ve finished many. I shrug them off; I enjoy novel writing.

I think under ordinary circumstances, this would have been finished a few months ago. These aren’t normal times, at least for me. I’m assuming a lot with those words. It’s sadly probably normal for quite a few people to stay locked up in one place, with limited contact for other people. I think of prisons. Nursing homes. Hospitals. Yeah, getting downright depressing, isn’t it?

Some say that such solitude is a gift. I’m not one. While I’m a solitary person, I like outside stimulation. (Sounds a bit naughty, doesn’t it?) Like to walk to clear my mind, shift into writing mode, and slip into the noisy solitude of a good cuppa coffee in a coffee shop, hunch over my laptop, and tap away.

All that normal-for-me isn’t available now. Coronavirus lockdown, you know. Although I have coffee and space, I also have wife and cats. They struggle with my writing boundaries. My wife tries respecting them, but news of the world sets her off. I also don’t try enforcing my isolation with her, as she’s in the same situation as me. She’s much more verbal, however, and craves other contact. While she’s dancing and exercising Monday through Friday via Zoom, and meets with her book club once a month with Zoom, and Zooms into a coffee klatch almost every week, she likes expressing her opinions and insights vigorously and out loud. There’s usually a lot of swearing involved, too. She’s quite passionate about social justice, equality, human rights, and women’s rights. She also hates Trump and has little respect for most other Republicans. So I try to indulge, but then I suffer. Either way, one of us must suffer in our situation. We get over it, but it’s not ideal.

The cats, however, don’t give a damn that I’m writing, reading, playing a game, sleeping, eating, showering, or sitting on the toilet. Three cats share ownership over me. They have their own secret agendas, which surprisingly, often involves me. Part of that is which cat owns the most of me, and whether that’s acceptable to the other cats.

Between wife, news of the world, the coming and going of the muses, and the cats, novel writing progress has been uneven.

But I persevere. Sometimes, the worse interruption is by me to myself. Self-doubt. Imposter syndrome. General malaise. It struck hardest in Arsehold.

Arsehold is a place in my novel, wholly made up. I came up with the name months ago, a whim that made me laugh. I stuck with it, creating the setting around the name, devising the history of how it came to be. Yet, my characters struggled to get through Arsehold. I naturally responded, per my proclivities, to overanalyze what was going on and why, attempting to seek the root of my issues. I thought it might be the general tone. Perhaps some of the introduced characters weren’t clear enough. Maybe, maybe my characters shouldn’t be in Arsehold. And what happens after Arsehold?

Writing helps me think by creating a funnel through which I must focus. With all this mental flaying, I did a lot of writing about the novel in progress, addressing the concept, characters, story, plot, locations and settings, etc. Eventually, I took all the assembled material of the novel in progress, one hundred twenty-five thousand words, and began reading, editing, and revising, putting the story into the order that I think it’ll be in published form.

That helped. By the time I’d reached Arsehold (almost sounds like a song lyric — I can hear CCR doing stuck in Arsehold instead of Lodi), I’d discovered that the errors that I thought I was seeing weren’t there. It always scares me to think or say, hey, this is pretty damn good, about what I’m writing, but that’s what I concluded. Of course, it’s my work; if I didn’t think it was good, maybe I should be working on something else, right?

Anyway, I think I might get through Arsehold this week (knock on wood, he said, tapping the side of his head). Got my coffee; time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Cutting Away

I didn’t write yesterday. Yes, it was hard. Habit, desire, and intentions all draw me back. Getting lost in a good book when reading is easy and entertaining. Its the same experience, but deeper, when writing one.

So, I didn’t sit down with pen and paper or at the laptop to write, but the writing continued in my brain. As the story resides in my mind and the novel is taking shape in the computer, many things are put into the tale. Yesterday, I made decisions to cut some adventures to keep the story tidier, reduce complications, and keep the pace up.

That’s the writing life. Until it’s done, you’re discovering and nurturing characters, story, concept, playing it first through mental processes, then spilling it across pages. In the case of novels with a sweep being driven by its setting or time – say, historic, science fiction or fantasy, or a different culture – added issues with focus are brought on by how much of that other place is to be included. It’s a personal decision for every tale. As the writer and creator, it’s a challenge to shape it all. When I do, I create a lot that I enjoy. Readers don’t require the entire world, so I need to strip some of my darlings from the tale.

The ones set aside never completely go away. On the computer, they’re put into other documents, annotated with their heritage, along with the reasons they were cut. They live on in my mind, too, perhaps resurfacing in other stories.

Got my coffee. Time to sit down again and write like crazy, at least one more time.

Sunday Sprinkles

  1. Had an unsettling dream last night. Not a nightmare, but a dream that I didn’t understand. After writing about it, I decided not to share it.
  2. I watch the NFL. The refs fascinate me. Some of them seem like they’re so disappointed when they announce penalties. “False start, offense, number forty-three.” You can almost see him sigh. “Five year penalty,” is delivered with regret. “Remains first down.” I wonder what they’re like in their non-football lives.
  3. I said, “Don’t fear the android.” I was making a joke while re-watching Dark Matters on Netflix. My wife said, “Oh, that’d be a good book title.” It has me thinking.
  4. Several of my wife’s friends encountered her this past week. Always masked and distanced. They emailed her later. One said that she started crying in her car afterward because it’d been so long since she’d enjoyed a friendly, spontaneous conversation with someone outside their pod. Another said that she teared up after dropping off holiday goods on the porch (and picking some up from us, which were awaiting her on the porch). Human contact is so random and remote.
  5. My cancer-inflicted friend is out of the hospital and back home. Friends are calling him to wish him well. I want to do so but I’m terrible with small talk. Not good with the phone. Terrible with socializing in general. He stays in my thoughts but I should call. I’m probably overthinking it.
  6. Likewise, the cancer-affected friend across country is out of the hospital and at home, going through treatment there. We exchange messages but I sense his energy is low. He was always such an upbeat, energetic person. He’s my age, too, which amplifies the impact, right?
  7. It is interesting, maddening, and shocking to witness what friends are doing in other parts of the country. Social distancing and masking isn’t part of their routines. Some have even gone in for elective surgery. One is dating. We respond, WTF? And we worry about them, but they remain blissfully ignorant. Come on, vaccine.
  8. Meanwhile, two other relatives have been diagnosed with COVID-19. One was intubated on Friday. She’d gone in for elective surgery on a toe earlier in the month.
  9. My broken left arm continues its recovery process. It sort of becomes entangled and stiff at night as I bend it under my body. But reach, movement, flexibility, and strength are all improving. One frustrating thing: scratching. I still can’t bend my left hand to scratch my back and several other (ahem) places.
  10. My wife didn’t make us a soup last Sunday, the first time in weeks. Holiday baking occupied her — and the kitchen. I did my part; my role is decorating. I was disappointed with the gels and frosting. It blobbed and sputtered. They were okay, but not great. That’s about half of the batch. They’re PB Rice Krispies bars dipped in white chocolate or chocolate bark, more like a candy bar than a cookie. (That’s them in the photo.) She also made peppermint cookies and my favorite, cranberry cupcakes with drizzled frosting. Today’s soup in progress is a smoky lentil with garbanzo beans. Chilly day, in the forties, diluted sunshine. Looking forward to it with some hot buttered ciabatta bread.
  11. I thought writing was going well. Then I read a paragraph last night which had me wincing, groaning, and gagging. Press on, finish the draft, then come back, right? Yeah. Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time. Oh, yeah, and the soup is ready.

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