Sunday, January 23, 2011

Books of Retail

I'm going to shorthand a few things here:

Whining about technical difficulties (primary--can't upload pics from camera yet)
Whining about soreness from gardening.  Garden is looking better w/o blackberries

I've been writing on a book of financial guidelines and wisdom as seen from the point of view of a retail clerk.  I've seen people do this stuff.  Yeah, that's you I'm talking about ...

So far I've got a chapter about how people really don't know or don't seem to care about what they're buying, and a chapter about how I'd love to be on some people's Christmas lists because dang ... I'm not talking so much about overspending but an increasing trend where it's all about the recipient's happiness and the unintended consequences of that belief.

I'll most likely epublish this book, but I may send it around to some publishers after it's done because I think people will learn and enjoy at the same time.  I'm still groping for a title. Tales of Retail Shame and Redemption: A consumer's guide?  I just kicked that out there.  I haven't given it very much thought.

BTW, if you like fun retail stories, one of my favorites is The Acts of Gord.  Even my DH who has never worked retail enjoyed the Acts of Gord.  It's not about financial advice.  More along the lines of things some retail employees wish they could do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Looking Forward to a Great Week

I started a new book a couple of days ago.  This one will be a WIP between bouts of finishing a couple of others.  

Working on multiple projects again is a breakthrough for me.  I feel like I'm making progress, though toward what, I don't know yet.  It's certainly not technique-based advancement.  But I do know that when I was at my most prolific, I was working on multiple projects at a time.  I had to let that go for a while.  Coming back to it feels like coming home, but to a bigger house so that all my stuff doesn't feel like clutter.  If that makes sense.

Anyway, I feel like I've found my groove.  

In gardening news, I pulled up a bunch of blackberries.  I have a lot more to pull up, and mulching to do.  While cleaning up, I found a lot of daffodils nosing through the ground.  Too soon, my darlings, too soon!  I made sure they got covered up again with mulch, not so much so that they don't freeze, at least not in a direct sense, but to make sure they remain dormant.  

One of the kewl things about living in the Pac NW is the long growing season ... and one of the disadvantages is the long growing season.  We're very prone to early warm-ups followed by late frosts.  We often have a warm stretch in February, and snow as late as April.  Fruit trees?  Sorry, they have to take their chances.  But the bulbs I can do something about without a huge investment or time-consuming intervention.  It's just what I did ... mulch.  

Cleaning up the last of the leaves mid-winter, especially in January, doesn't just dislodge pests camped close to their spring food source.  It can retard or halt fungal disease and/or rot.  And if you manage to do it on a very cold day (preferably windless so that you're not too uncomfortable) you can seal in cold around those bulbs.  That means they'll stay colder longer, meaning they'll stay dormant longer ... and hopefully they'll stay dormant during that weird 50 degree F weather in February and come up at just the right time, instead of getting frost damage or dying altogether in early March when the temperature drops hard and the earth freezes up and all moisture is sapped until your skin cracks.  

I would have been gardening today in the beautiful sunshine, but I had to work.  We've got snow and possible freezing rain forecast in our area.  Being one of those weird people who won't kill themselves trying to get to work, I may very well end up working in the garden unexpectedly, cutting back weeds, pruning roses, and mulching like crazy during the freeze.  And, of course, when darkness falls, I've got projects to write on.

Sounds like a great week ahead.  If I get a chance, I'll post a pic of our giant, fierce snowbunny and the boy's twisted snowman.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Lots of new stuff this year. New car, bought with cash--first new car bought with cash. Highly recommended, btw, because there's no interest to pay. New cat (the Poop, aka Veronica.) New chicken coop. New (sort of) job, but with the added newness of being my first full time job since, oh ... let's see ... the early nineties. New friends, too. And our house has new paint on it. Speaking of which, we'd better get that new porch finished soon.

Lots of old stuff this year. Old clothes sewn back together. Old vehicles carefully maintained to continue running for years to come (we hope.) An old blanket with a new shell, now a favorite blanket that everyone wants to snuggle in. An old dog who survived serious surgery and is even now snoozing under the dining table. Good times with old friends, and visiting old haunts. Cleaning out old, dusty corners and rediscovering new living and storage space.

Mostly, though, 2010 was a lot about survival, and returning to a wilder, more insecure lifestyle. It's a lot scarier to rely upon self-employment when you have a mortgage and kids to take care of than the last time we did this way back in our college years. I have the easy part of the deal: I trust and believe in my DH to continue to succeed, and I believe we'll thrive with him at the helm. I'm the backup plan, the supplemental income person, the fill-in-the-gaps gal. I have a lot less pressure on me, but I think that my DH is happier with the very different kind of pressure that he's under, as opposed to the daily slog kind of pressure he had before where the future looks pretty much the same as the past. We're bailing like crazy, but our boat is afloat and we don't appear to be sinking. I don't think our goal is some distant shore. I think it's to put our boat into order and keep sailing on.

For now we're all healthy, including the animals. I'm grateful that we have even more than health. We have shelter, food, clothing, clean water, beautiful skies, and good earth. I'm even grateful for the stupid blackberries.

Here's to health, and life, and most of all, to hope. It's the beginning: time to dream, to plan, and to strive.