Category Archives: Gin, Cheese & Other Necessities

The day is getting right away from me…

This weekend was so busy and my week isn’t looking any less so!

Thursday evening, I did my best to take myself out. (Part of that included literally taking myself out.) I cut my right pinky on a pair of tongs while making dinner for the Beer Guy. Later, I broke a wine glass, and in an attempt to pick up the pieces, stabbed my right thumb with the broken stem of said glass. Later, after being bored to pieces, I talked the Beer Guy into taking me to karaoke. This was not my best decision to date. And then I fell down and sprained the shit out of my ankle, because that’s how I roll.

The "Most Interesting Man in the World" says, "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's my ankle."

I went to the Rose City Romance Writer’s Spring Fling on Friday evening and most of the day Saturday. I’d headed over to meet up with some writers for a pre-conference happy hour, but I couldn’t find them (and didn’t look too hard, people are scary, yo!), but I did spend a very productive hour filling in my new planner, having a beer, and making plans.

A beer, a planner, and a week's worth of plans

The morning session on Saturday (on marketing) was fabulous, I met some great people, and handed out my new cards to just about everyone. I’ve gotten to the point where I can say I’m an author, talk about my book, and encourage people to look into it. I’ve really grown a lot in the last year! I also spent more money on books in two days than in the last few months. Autographed romance novels are a deductible expense, right?

Romance novels by Farrah Rochon and Cecilia Tan

Saturday evening, I had dinner with a friend in town for the weekend. I’d met her at the RT convention last spring, so it’s not surprising that our conversation was about 75% book and writing related.

gin and tonic

There was also a G&T. My first of…more than one…that evening

The Beer Guy had a friend in town this weekend, too, so we hit up karaoke Saturday night (and talked even MOAR books…turns out we have a mutual appreciation for a lot of the same paranormal books and authors).

karaoke screen

I swear the Beer Guy is in that photo behind the inconveniently placed pole

Yesterday was a lot more chill, but I still managed to get a lot done in terms of The Waning Moon (details Wednesday!).

Today is all about errands, little business things (finances, marketing plans, freelance business planning), and wasting spending a great deal of time on a PowerPoint (complete with charts!) that I will be presenting to the Beer Guy tonight. Ideally, all conversations would have an agenda, copious notes, line charts, and trend lines. I have been informed that it’s a little weird, but have decided that I can embrace being a little weird if it enables me to get my point across.

Powerpoint Slide that says "Death by Powerpoint" in blood with a zombie

I swear, it’s not as bad as all this!

I’ll have a book review up tomorrow, some writing updates Wednesday, and my “Letter to Alvie: Five Years” post on Friday. (Thursday will be a surprise for us both!)

 

40 Before 40 – Final Progress Report

I will be forty in 23 days. TWENTY-THREE. DAYS.

There are days that I feel old, but most of the time I have trouble reconciling the number forty with how I feel.

The last thirteen months have been some of the hardest of my life. Between separation, divorce, job loss, and no job found…it’s been stressful to say the least.

I didn’t get through my list of 40. Some of that is due to financial constraints (I shot my wad on the big one – going to Iceland) and some is due to the inability to do things because of depression and anxiety.

You know what, though? I don’t care. There were some stretch goals on there. I’m not going to rehash everything I didn’t do, but I’m going to show you what I did do.

  1. Attend a live concert
  2. Climb a tree
  3. Go to the local nude beach
  4. Go to the opera
  5. Sing a new song at karaoke
  6. Take a barre class
  7. Take a cooking class
  8. Funky hair color
  9. Try hot yoga
  10. Volunteer
  11. Do a fun thing with Bean every day of his summer vacation
  12. Rosé in the garden in July
  13. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday
  14. [Redacted]
  15. Become passable in Swedish (I’m still doing lessons!)
  16. Develop a habit of meditation
  17. Get back into my DIY habits –bread, stock, cheese, jam, etc.
  18. Perfect the homemade pie crust.
  19. Take a good photo
  20. Try 12 new cheeses
  21. Drink a bottle of expensive champagne
  22. Get a stamp in my passport
  23. Meet three ‘in the computer friends’ in real life. (Still waiting on my PSM)
  24. Publish my first book – this should happen this month or very soon after depending on how long it takes me to format stuff. (If anyone is interested in an ARC, let me know!)

So – twenty-four of forty things. That’s not a great success rate, but I’m really happy about how much I managed to do even when I was so anxious I could barely leave the house. I don’t plan on hitting any of the missing 16 items in the next 23 days. My primary goals for February are to get my book out and find a goddamn job. Oh – and to turn 40. Of course.

Don’t worry – I have a whole list of things I’m planning on accomplishing in the next year (although maybe not 41 things…). Stay tuned for all the ways I’m going to be awesome next year.

Colder than a witch’s tits in a brass brassiere

Greetings from the frigid mountain region located somewhere in the middle part of the country!

Yesterday, I spent much of the day trying to get here (here is Breckenridge, Colorado). It was quite the adventure! The beer guy and I got to the airport about  an hour before our scheduled flight time of 10:45. A couple of minutes before we arrived, I got a text that our flight was delayed by an hour. This meant that we would have <20 minutes to make our connection in Salt Lake City.

By the time we got into the airport, we couldn’t even check in at the kiosk because the flight was late enough that there was no way to make the connection and we needed to rebook. What made that extra exciting is that we were a party of five. (But not like the show. Probably. I’ve never seen it, but I know that at least two of us are not orphans.)

The ticket agent was so patient as we tried to figure out the flight changes plus rebooking the shuttle that was to take us from the airport to Breckenridge. Two of our party had already gotten tickets and gone through security before the flight changes happened.

But finally, we were rebooked! Our flight, originally scheduled for the aforementioned 10:45 was now leaving at 1 pm and going through Seattle. Soooo, with time to kill in the airport, we did what any group of people heading to a beer festival in Colorado would do. We had drinks.

I had a French 79th, because of course I did. In addition to the gin and bubbles, it also had St. Germaine and rhubarb bitters. Also – next project is homemade rhubarb bitters.

We did eventually make it to Denver about three hours after originally scheduled, but about 40 minutes earlier than anticipated with the change in plans. After some scrambling and then a mad dash up an escalator carrying our bags, we made the 7 pm shuttle. (How do people breathe here? Every time I go up a slight incline, I feel like I need a lie down to recover.)

There were a lot of people squished into the shuttle, and I ended up situated in the exact right spot that every time we hit a bump, a seatbelt connector got really, really fresh with me. After 2+ hours of that, praying that my phone wouldn’t die because there was no way I was going to be able to survive that drive if I wasn’t distracted by werewolves, we finally made it.

It was shortly after getting into our condo that it occurred to my stomach that it hadn’t had more than an airline cookie and a bag of chips since about 8 am that morning.

We headed out into the very, very cold and very, very thin night air to track down sustenance.

There were nachos. And burgers. And beer.

The way back to the condo was a gradual uphill for 1/3 of a mile. So that was fun. (We saw a fox, though!)

This morning, I woke up to this:

So, yeah. That’s a bit colder than this lowland Portlander is used to. (It’s up to 9* now, which according to my weather app is “too fucking cold to think.”)

We finally ventured out about 11 in search of coffee and food. I tried to convince the beer guy that as the male, it was his duty to go out and fetch his mate food to show he cared for her (see above werewolf novel). He said he subscribed to the lion model, so we were at an impasse and both left the warmth and safety of the den.

It might be cold, but it is really pretty here. I’m not grabbing any of the realty fliers I’ve seen, but I’m not regretting this is much as I was when I saw that -12* this morning.

 

I’m currently holed up and refusing to leave a coffee shop, because I am a delicate flower who might freeze (even with two pairs of socks, my winter running tights under my jeans, and a thank top, long-sleeved shirt, formal hoodie, and winter coat, not to mention my scarf, gloves, and viking hat).

It’s really kind of fun, though…I like looking at the snow and mountains through a coffee shop window, and I do enjoy traveling with the beer guy, even if he isn’t a proper werewolf.

Ahhh….Oz

My plan for the next couple of days is to relax, to read, to write, and of course, to drink some beer…this is not a bad way to start off my year of me redux.

Happy 2017!

2016 – The Wrap-Up

I’m just going to pretend that this year is over. I really can’t take any  more 2016. The next couple of days are interstitial days – they belong to no year and nothing that you do on those days matters. This is a new rule I just made up, but I’m keeping it.

Fuck you, 2016!

This year was tough. My marriage ended. I moved into my own place. I got officially divorced. My job ended. I have been – as yet – unable to find a new job. A lot of celebrities I especially liked died. A celebrity  I don’t particularly like not only lived, but was elected president. Money is tight and anxiety and depression are high. My kidlet is stressed out. I’ve had persistent shoulder issues that have prevented me from doing as much as I’d like.

Lots of shit.

Lots.

(Sometimes, literally.  Motherhood is rewarding AF.)

Seriously. Fuck you.

But you know what? It wasn’t all bad, was it?

I’m in a fantastic relationship. I have a great kidlet (even if he is not only a four-and-a-half-year-old, but also the source of that literal shit I have to deal with from time to time). I really got some quality time with a lot of wonderful friends – and made some new wonderful friends, to boot!

Being four is serious business

There was a lot of good travel this year – I was in Vegas in April for the RT conference where I got to meet IRL my friend Elizabeth Hunter as well as make new writerly friends! In May, I went to Bend for the weekend with the Beer Guy. I was in Seattle a couple of times (July and November). In August, I was able to take the Bean to South Dakota to meet my grandmother (his great) for the first time (and not incidentally got to sing karaoke with my three bestest besties from the good ol’ college days!).

Me & my marshmallow goo proving that being 39 is also very serious business.

AND – I was able to go to Iceland. ALL BY MYSELF. Sometimes I remind myself that if I could do that (which required a lot of overcoming of my anxiety issues), I can do almost anything.

I waited patiently in Bifrost for a divine visit, but unfortunately, the gods overlooked me this year.

I got to meet some other personal goals as well. I’ve really reconnected with my domestic badassery – my garden wasn’t much to talk about this year, but I made jam, and just canned festive simple syrups, and made some pies, and started baking bread again. Also – cheese. I made a cheese. Soon, we will know if that cheese is delicious. CROSS YOUR FINGERS!

Parmesan!!!

I finished writing two books and a novella, completed edits on one book that’s currently in the last look-through by my editor on its path to publication.

I found out that I really, really enjoy being a writer, and if someone would actually pay me, I’d be okay doing this for a living. (What I need is some freelance editing/proofreading work to supplement my as-yet non-existent writing income. Apparently there’s no six-figure advance for self-publishing.)

SAY MY NAME, BITCHES!

I’ve worked through a lot of things this year and I hope that I’m coming out on the other side stronger than I went in. I lived on my own. I single-mommed. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve stopped procrastinating and started achieving my dreams. I’ve traveled internationally alone.

All of the things I thought would be the hardest have been the easiest. The only thing that makes this year still shite is that pesky lack of funding issue. (I am open to paid companion positions, all eligible sugar daddies reading my blog…I’m sure there are a ton of you out there. Call me.)

(Seriously. Call me.)

The emotional stuff has been hard, but I feel like I’ve been tempered this year.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. When I wrote that, I had two very specific goals in mind. I wanted to end the year not married and not in the job in which I started the year. Both of those things have come to pass, albeit not exactly as I’d planned. (Maybe I should be a little more careful with what I put out in the universe.)

I don’t know everything that 2017 will bring. There are a few things of which I’m certain:

  1. I’ll (again) move houses, but this time into a more permanent situation (less than a month now!)
  2. I’ll start a new job
  3. I will publish two books
  4. I will turn 40 and there will be a unicorn piñata (the party is the day after my birthday – Saturday, 2/25 – you’re totally invited)
  5. I will do some travel, even if only a little bit
  6. My Bean will turn 5 (FIVE YEARS OLD!)
  7. I’ll have a great garden and do more canning (I’m out of salsa and it is a travesty)
  8. I’ll keep writing
  9. That crazy Bean will start kindergarten
  10. I’ll keep moving…yoga and walking are where it’s at right now, but I’d like to – just maybe – start running again
  11. I will drink delightful gin cocktails on the back patio in the summer with the people I love best
  12. I will laugh and love and live just a little bit more

 

40 Before 40 – Update the Eighth

Eighth is a weird word. It’s not autocorrecting, so I must be spelling it right. But weird, right?

ANYWAY – we’re reaching the home stretch. Due to  my current unemployment and my desire to not live in a box, some of the things are going to be postponed until I have more disposable income. But still – I have made a bit more progress.

Things that I did in the last month…

I went to the local nude beach. I did a volunteer cleanup there. I saw lots of naked people and too many snakes to make me want to be one of those naked people. BUT – because I love you, I bring you photographic evidence. Boobs and pussy.

img_0187

Heh. It’s a cat.

 

I made jam. Lots of jam. I’ve been cooking more, too (yay for the instant pot!). So, the DIY stuff is coming along nicely.

All the fig jam...

All the fig jam…

I also climbed a tree. A fig tree. To make fig jam. It was a little scary, but it’s done! (Sorry – no photos of this!)

That takes me to 17 of 40 things finished…but there are some things that will be done!

  1. [Redacted]
  2. Photo framing – just need to shell out the $$ to get that done
  3. Cheese trying – this is currently on hold (fortunately, I’d probably tried nearly 12 cheeses in the first 7 months, so I can probably declare this a win…).
  4. Publish my first book – I have the cover art mockup – just need to finalize fonts; and I should get first edits back from my editor at the end of this week.
  5. Perfect pie crust – I made pie earlier this week, and although it was good, it wasn’t perfect. Yet. I’ll try a new crust recipe for the second go.
  6. Meet three computer friends IRL. DAMMIT, Cat! Just come visit for the weekend. Mel – wanna go cheese shopping or something? I’d buy you a beer.
  7. Ice skating. I will go. I will fall down. People will laugh, but it will be done.
  8. Regular exercise.
  9. Self care (I’m mostly sleeping better and I’m starting to eat a little better now, too…)
Pecan pie. I served it with whiskey hard sauce. It was amazing.

Pecan pie. I served it with whiskey hard sauce. It was amazing.