Category Archives: Goals

Stuff Out

Been going through that 2nd box of paperbacks. Most of them were taken to the dump’s swap shop. Some of them are designated to go into flea market book boxes and a few, very few, are slated to go into the new booth, with the other high-end books.

The first booth actually made money the last period, partly because my landlady bought 6 book case boxes and 2 display cases from me. So that’s good, it will generate a check for the end of the year, always helpful. Otherwise, they’ve agreed to take the marble table as a consignment, so we don’t have to move it HURRAH!

So, I am keeping on. It has been bitterly cold and I’ve been wanting to do my best imitation of hibernation for the past few weeks, my usual response to winter. Hibernation is such a sensible response to winter; I wonder why humans didn’t adopt it?

My reading consists largely of nonfiction these days. Aside from books to assess, my desk has on it books on frugality, eco living, root cellaring, a history of the 60s, etc. Non-fiction nearly all of it, where I used to almost exclusively read fiction. Big change!

So that’s what’s new!

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Action Items

I’ve been whacking away at the various piles of boxes in the bedroom. I’ve created some clear floor space and stuffed our swap shop/recycling bins. Today is a dump day —

Hurrah!

Another thing we’ve been doing for some time is replacing and upgrading what we can, as we can. This is prepatory to either selling this place or retiring here. We probably won’t have money to replace the roof, upgrade windows, etc. when DH retires, and so the updates need to be done beforehand. We’ve been doing a big item every few years, and little stuff between. We pay off one big item, then do the next. We started this years ago.

We found some LED lighting on sale just before Christmas, and DH has been busy installing them. Our favorite type of upgrade: it replaces the badly done, dead cheap, marginal stuff which came in the house with something we can 1) afford 2) is cheaper to operate 3) will function more productively and 4) looks better than what we’ve lived with for years.

What we got when we bought this place were shop lights, hidden with cheap plastic grids. They looked awful, didn’t light the room well, and the plastic grids disintegrated all over the counters — just what you want in your food: bits of oxidizing plastic!

(We took down those grids right after we moved in.)

Shop lights are not my idea of attractive kitchen lighting. Picky, I know.

Especially when they’re on the ceiling of a post/beam room. The available lights were in a hole, the light was blocked by the beams, right? So the fixtures looked awful, didn’t function well and have been on our “Replace This” list nearly since the day we moved in!

The new lights are suspended from the beams, no blocked light! Also, light where it’s needed. What a pleasure!

 

No More!

For seven years, well, more than that, I’ve been writing about culling things, getting rid of things, and learning to cope with the panic attacks, PTSD and other related dramas.

I’m totally sick of this! So, I have a NEW life goal, well sort of. It’s to get past all the stuff and see what else there is to do?

To that end, I have:

  • Told the antique store I’ll be leaving mid-February.
  • Talked to another antique shop about buying a few pieces.
  • Decided that whatever I keep for the spring flea market I will price before I box it up, so all I have to do in March or April is load it into a car and take it to the market.
  • Decided what things here need to be wholesaled?
  • Decided to have a sale at the antique store, running from 1/1 – 2/15. Half off the big pieces and heavily discounted “get organized” pieces: bins, baskets, etc.

Hopefully, by the end of April I’m done, or if I’m not done, that the pieces still here are designated to go to that consignment shop, this auction, or whatever.

No more!

house with bookcase.jpeg

(via images.google.com . I picked this because of the bookcase. The images with 2 items on a shelf are NOT realistic for us, both collectors and readers!)

Benchmarks along the way:

  1. Completing the move into the smaller storage unit.
  2. Closing that unit.
  3. Removing the bedroom boxes. (in process 12/27/18)
  4. Removing the kitchen boxes.
  5. Clearing enough from the attic that the bays can be built.
  6. Clearing enough from the porch so that we can walk from the corner to the door the long way instead of the way it is now, along the drip edge of the roof.
  7. The shed is culled.
  8. The wood shed is culled.
  9. There’s no misc. stuff stored in the crawlspace.
  10. Nothing queued in the living room to go out.

That’s a lot to do in four months, but like I said, I’ve had it! Two things will limit this:

  • If the PTSD/panic starts up so badly I can’t cope.
  • If physically I am causing myself pain from the work.

 

In Limbo

I’ve been avoiding this place, because I’m ready to and have indeed done much of the work to split the two main topics into two blogs, well three.

Frankly, I’m waiting on  the publisher and I’ve been working on the house in my usual semi-organized way.

But none of the “next steps” can be done until one of three things happen:

  1. I decide to take the mask off I have here just because.
  2. I decide to do #1 because I have a publisher for the memoir and news about that.
  3. I get the house clean and the book finished about it, and have THAT book to promote.

I haven’t forgotten about this place. Have thought 100 times I should write a blog about a topic — but I’m not ready.

image from workitdaily.com via google images

(image from workitdaily.com via images.google.com)

After 10 years of work, from rough stories because I thought I might need an online memorial (had an operation in 2008) to more refined to yet more refined, to finally being far enough away from the stories that I could use my professional skills and pull a book together?

After 3 editors, 3-5 computers, 3 word processors, a file which was so corrupt it had to be retyped, etc. I am done.

And done in I think too, or maybe exhausted is just a better word?

Having the memoir done and knowing it’s pretty good has changed me in some weird fundamental way. I don’t really have anything else to say right now.

I’m done.

 

 

(But Happy holidays!)

Fallout

I am surprised. I’ve had relatively little fallout/backlash from sending the memoir out to the publisher. Sending it to my writing group was worse. Every time I talk to someone about it or make changes someone sees, yes, it’s a little nutty. But… no screaming awake. No crying jags. No being pissed off and not knowing wtf is wrong.

There’s various pieces of consensus: there are still a few typos. There are some stylistic things I did which every single editor has pointed out. The last half isn’t as well written as the first.

That last didn’t surprise me at all. The first half is what took 10 years to write; it’s the map to my particular Hell. The last half was difficult because I just couldn’t see how to write it so it wasn’t a total bore. There’s a reason “They lived happily ever after.” is one sentence. But I needed to show the unraveling of the PTSD and healing that allowed that to happen. I needed to show that it wasn’t a straight line. I needed to illustrate that the process is not done and never will be.

That all took some doing. I only sort of really knew what book I was writing, what the arc of it really was when I sat down last month and decided to pull it together as I did. For one reason only. It had to be the best, most concise piece I could write and present to my publisher. I finally could look at it with my professional eyes, rather than through the lens of the wounded kid with PTSD.

I have no idea what happened that made that possible, but it was.

J

What’s NOT in the memoir

I left a lot of things out of the memoir; it’s only 26,000 words, short.

I left out (deliberately) sex, drugs, money, power, and many traumas. I left out various of my favorite stories. I retitled it.

I left out my parents’ names, the name of my home town, most of the schools I went to.

I left out the anger rage, the feelings of victimization, almost any of the feelings except as trying to explain, in first person, in an semi-analytical voice, what happened to me.

I left out the more elaborate design, including footnotes in the first 2 major pieces and end notes in the last. (Changed it to footnotes throughout.) Part of the reason was that I was told early on that memoirs don’t have footnotes. Most may not; mine does.

I left out much of the trauma work detail. There’s a line “this sounds fast and easy. It wasn’t, it took me 10 years.” or something very close to that.

I left out long sentences.

I left out the years of failed relationships,  with friends and lovers in any detail because the way I learned how to have successful relationships were the massive blunders I made, the failures I had, and the places I hugely f’d up.

I left out any literary or academic pretensions, I hope. The language thing is important to me.

Years ago,when I started Tech. Writing, I decided I wanted to write instructions to the standard of what I considered outstanding fiction writing. To me, a piece is wonderfully written when the words on paper disappear because I’m so caught up in what they communicate.

It isn’t that I can’t write with more complexity.


I could say:

This has continually gotten me in trouble with people who equate multi-syllabic words, many independent clauses with conjunctive adverbial clauses, and jargon as educated.

I don’t understand why it is MORE acceptable than:

This has gotten me in trouble with people who see elaborate sentences, structure, and lingo as educated.


What I wanted to do with the memoir was to create something easy to read so that people would focus on what I’m saying, rather than how I’m saying it.

If I did it well, the simple language will be MORE effective. Two people have said it works, one said I wrote a book for youngsters, so it obviously didn’t.

My planned audience is high school senior/college freshman.

We’ll see what the publisher says. Hopefully, he won’t want it rewritten.

The Primal Shift

Yesterday was pepper day! I made salsa, put peppers on a ristra, made stuffed peppers for dinner and the freezer, and roasted red peppers for future batches of my version of “tomato” soup.


This morning I’ve been dealing with dried herbs. The farm has PYO herbs and they bunch them occasionally. I use a LOT of parsley, thyme, mixed basils, and rosemary. I make a winter tea from spearmint/lemon balm. Today I went through all the herbs/spices:

  • I have enough/too much thyme. I’ll offer some to friends.
  • I need more parsley.
  • I need more lemon balm/spearmint for tea.

The rest of it I left alone.

If I don’t do this at this time of year, what happens is that around Feb.  I run out of parsley and tea. I object to paying retail for parsley, (Remember this?) so….


This reminded me that I also need a “cube” of pine shavings for the root cellar crates. I’ve tried sand (too heavy) and newspaper (too messy) so this year I’ll try wood shavings. I need to sterilize the crates. They’ve been empty all summer, but weren’t sterilized, as I knew it’d be months before they were put back to use.


There’s also the annual replacing older foods to make room. The last 3C or so of my 2017 winter tea mix is in the compost bucket, for example. The current bottle of thyme will join it soon.

Part of this is having enough parsley, winter tea, thyme, tarragon, etc. Where previously I would have kept all of anything, whether it was likely I’d ever use it, or not? These days I send a email to friends & neighbors asking if they want the extras. If I get no takers, the compost heap gets another donation.

pantry storage

It’s also time to beef up the canned goods. I’m pleased to say that we used all the canned and dried meats I had set aside and the canned veggie shelf has 2 cans of butter beans (used for bean soup), a can of garbonzos (hummus) and 3 cans of chopped chilis. That’s it! Getting to where the flow of pantry items made sense was one goal I had a couple of years ago. We had things we’d stored for years and hadn’t used. We had stuff neither of us liked, because it had been cheap. After three years of work, I’m pleased to say that my pantry at the end of summer has very little in it! More pasta than anything else, and not a huge amount of that. Previously, I had so much food that it was in the attic, under the sink, etc. and wasted mostly!

Still, there is something about the process of getting ready for winter I love. Much of it I hate because I loathe the idea of winter itself. But when I know I have a little food set aside to use midwinter it’s pleasing. It appeals to the frugalista in me, but it also hits a much deeper level.