Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Letter!

I have a long to-do list.  I've had my Thanksgiving fun and now it's back to work.  I got one item ticked off the list tonight and that is the Holiday Letter.  Most of our friends and family will be getting this letter in the mail with a Christmas/Yule card.  But I was kind of proud and thought I would share it here as well.  If you read it here first and then get it in the mail... still act surprised!

Holiday Letter 2014

Dear family and friends, I hope you’re all right,
My thoughts are of you as I sit down to write:
Twelve months is a lot to cram in a letter,
Just like my boobs barely fit in a sweater.
So where to begin? Let me line up my ducks, 
Please poets forgive me, my iambic sucks.
Another year’s over and what is the news? 
I’ll tell you the tale and await your reviews.

This April, Miss Hannah joined SNHU,
To finish her bachelors and broaden her view.
Through workshops and classes she’s written a bunch!
But ‘applied finite math,’ she’d just like to punch.
Along with her school, she’s got crafts and crochet,
She’s pumping out afghans, at least one a day!
Often she’s homesick for the Wichita crew,
And so she extends an, “I love and miss you!” 

Now me, I still work at L’eggs Hanes and Bali,
And hope for the day we might live in the Valley
Of Spokane, if you please, or even downtown,
Closer to culture, we’d like to settle down.
My Masters in writing, I’ve almost attained,
My sources are cited, my fingers are trained!
Graduation’s in July and if all goes well
I’ll have a dystopian story to sell.

Six months ago we had a hard time for sure,
We lost our sweet Yoda, our baby of fur.
He’s a kitty we’ll never ever forget,
But to help heal our hearts, we sought a new pet.
So, a black scraggly beast, Narcisa, she’s called,
Now leaves fresh destruction wherever she’s crawled.
Galen and Ellie and Narcisa make three,
And Yoda makes four alive in memory.

This year has been busy from schoolwork alone,
We barely had time to explore the unknown.
We hunted for ghosts and read lots of tarot,
Camped in the summer, the cold chilled our marrow.
And then in the autumn, a party we threw,
To say, "out with the old and in with the new."
As you finish this letter, how ‘bout a dare? 
Close both your eyes and for a second we’re there.

Snow Queen Yule Winter Solstice Goddess

Monday, November 24, 2014

Computer, Spirituality, and the Little Things

In about a week I will have my new computer.  I purchased a Lenovo off of Amazon.  I got to see this model, touch it, play around with it at Best Buy and was pretty impressed.  I liked the keys and the mouse which were two of my biggest issues with the Vizio (the biggest issue of course being that it liked to shut off for no fucking reason).  I'm already tentatively calling it Lenny but we'll see what kind of personality shows up when it arrives.  It's a 15.6" screen which is pretty much run of the mill and it was under $400.  I almost purchased a really neat Acer at the Spokane Valley Walmart the other night but it was the display and I just didn't reel right about it.  So instead I went with this other route.  I really hope that this Lenovo and I can get along and be friends for a really long time. 

In other news, I attended the IEPG's Wiccan Spirituality Circle on Saturday night and enjoyed it immensely.  We talked about history and about the Wiccan Creed.  It had a nice energy and also coffee and apple cider.  It was awesome.  Our homework for the Lunar Cycle is to develop personal creeds for ourselves that feature our belief systems/feelings about how we operate within the world.  For me personally, I'm a bit eclectic when it comes to spirituality.  I lean toward Buddhist Philosophy, Heathenry, and Witchery.  I view spells as prayers to the universe and I think that people do better emotionally, physically, and spiritually when we connect to the earth and respect it as a living entity.  These are some of the things I'm going to work out in my Creed.  I might share it here.  I'm thinking it will be in poem form, or light prose.  We read the Desiderata at the Circle and it spoke to all of us very strongly.  

In other, other news I accomplished two things today: I helped my father program his new universal remote and I changed the bulb in my headlight.  It's not much, but small accomplishments are all I have right now.  Both cars have fuel, all the kitties are alive and well, I renewed my library books for more time, I faxed off my resume to another apartment job, and I have shaving cream.  Tonight I'm going to finish up some stuff for my Mentor, shave my legs, keep warm, and possibly drink some alcohol.  I'm really having a hard time with the season change.  The cold and the early dark add to my depression ten-fold.  I have to celebrate the little things to keep going.  So here's to a working headlight, a computer on the way, and a creed in the making.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Time for a new shiny!

Vizio finally delivered.  It's funny who they can supposedly send out a 'new computer' and a month later it still doesn't arrive, but they can say 'you get a refund in two weeks' and it shows up in four days.  Interesting.  I think they are just completely done with me and, you know what, that's fine because I'm also very done with them.  It's unfortunate because there were things I liked about the computer and there are many things I liked about Vizio products in general and now I'm so damn soured that I will never own Vizio again.  

The good news here is that I got the full amount returned.  Since I'm probably going to be getting an Acer, I won't even have to use the full refund to buy a new computer.  Which means it's kind of like a bonus!  The bonus is going to go to bills probably but it's still kind of neat.  I'm going to see what Best Buy, Walmart, and Office Depot has in the way of decent prices today and hopefully come home with a new baby.  Goodbye, Vignette, you were a pain in the ass but I'll never forget you.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Key, Refund, Chronology

A couple of quick updates.  First of all, on the work front, I've applied for a few positions but I don't think I'm qualified enough to even get interviews.  However, at the bra store, I am now a key carrier.  This is only a temporary position.  It would have been a permanent promotion if the current Third Key had been allowed to take the assistant manager spot, but she was denied.  So she will go on being Third Key and I will help as a temp key carrier until such time as my boss hires a full-time assistant manager.  Long story short, I get a bit of a raise and some great experience to put down on my resume.  It's pretty much win-win, too, because now when I leave I won't feel like I'm leaving them high and dry without a third key since they will still have one.

As far as the computer goes, I am pretty much at the end of my rope and I think that the people at Vizio have realized this.  After being promised a computer at the beginning of this month and still finding myself without, I told them today I just want a refund.  I would rather go and buy an Acer honestly.  Or anything other than another product from this company.  I don't want anything to do with Vizio, which is sad, because there was a time I really loved their products.  But this experience with customer service has soured me so thoroughly that I'm just done.  If they do actually send me my full refund I will march my happy ass out to Best Buy or Walmart or Office Depot or one of those and get me a decent computer for typing.  That is all I want.  I don't even care about Windows 8 anymore since 8.1 is much more user friendly in my book.  So maybe I'll be lucky and snag a great Black Friday deal for a new lappy.  But that all depends, of course, on whether or not I ever actually see my refund.  And I'm not counting any chicks before their hatched at this point.

Last update is that I have four things to finish up as soon as possible for my mentor: a contact (done), a page about the world including my premise (mostly done), a summary (done as soon as I figure out how the hell this thing is going to end), and a fully fleshed out chapter-by-chapter treatment/outline of the entire novel (started).  I have been meditating on this novel pretty much nonstop.  I'm not worried about the actual writing.  I know that I have wonderful friends who will help me iron out any rough spots that develop along the way.  My biggest problem right now is ending it.  I have a solid concept for the first part.  But the second is a different beast altogether.  What I would like to do is structure it this way: present stuff - past stuff - present stuff.  Which is one narrative structure that I do enjoy.  Another way I suppose is to employ switchback time with each of the protagonists - but that gets tricky and starts to look like a bunch of gratuitous flashbacks.  I don't know.  I really don't know.  My mentor wants it all laid out chronologically and that's fine... but I don't know if this is a chronological story.  Moving on, I've also decided that I want to try and write a query letter for the novel once I figure out the summary.  Hannah had to do this recently for a class and I thought she did a really terrific job!  I was inspired, thus, I now want to write one and see what my mentor thinks of it.

Nano update - I have 0 words according to the site.  I have several words according to what I've been doing but until I get some feedback on the full novel, I am not writing any scenes.  I want to have a path before I set up camp and live in it.  I have plenty of time now and I want this to be a good story.  My problem right now, I think, is that I'm over thinking it.  I'm making it increasingly more complicated with every step but even as I sit here writing this I think I have an idea for how to wrap it all up.  We'll see.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Extended Semester, Deep Breath, and Job Hunt

Around midnight last night I had a panic attack and realized that I am not going to graduate.  A few days before Samhain/Halloween, the director of the program had indicated that I might consider an extended semester and last night I agreed.  There are so many reasons - the number one reason is that I really lost focus this past semester.  Sometimes it felt the world was against me.  Debt swallowed me up, I ran out of medication for a long time and felt some serious effects, I've been fighting for a replacement computer from Vizio for the past three months, and I've also undergone a very intense reinvisioning of my creative thesis.  But the good news is the last part - the novel is actually on track now and I know more about the characters than I ever thought I would.  

So I'm going to graduate in July.  I will take a crap ton of allergy medicine with me so that I can keep my voice long enough to do my reading and my class (summertime in Chestnut Hill is hell on my vocal chords).  And leading up to that time I have a caring and compassionate mentor behind me who believes in my story idea and wants, most of all, to see me succeed.  Instead of being her problem child I want to be a little feather in cap of students she's mentored.  We'll see how much of a feather I turn out to be, but I do believe this was the right decision for me at this time.  I've already cancelled the plane tickets and the hotels.  I'm sad enough to bawl at the thought of not getting to see my Solstice family but as one of my darling Solstice Sisters reminded me earlier, we're family and distance and time will not change that.

Sorrow for a God's End
Moving onward and upward, I'm going to make a schedule for writing, work, and exercise and do everything in my power to keep it.  What I would like to have happen is to wake up earlier and try to get more done in a day.  It's so hard though!  When I finally get my computer back I'm going to get settled into it and take it with me everywhere so I can write at any time.  Through all of this I also need to keep looking for a new job.  On my to-do list for tomorrow and Wednesday is to call Barnes and Nobles and let them know I'm more available now and see if they are still interested in further interviews with me (they said they would contact me in November).  In the mean time I'm going to have a serious talk with my boss about the third key position and ask her if she is considering me and what kind of pay and hours I could expect.  The thing is - I still need writing time, but I also know that if I had my own place that I would get a lot more done writing wise.  Damn these double-edged swords.  

Since I'm going to keep on working on my novel for now, I've decided to participate in National Novel Writer's Month.  I'll do some updates as November trucks along but I'm hoping for at least 25,000 words that I can polish up and put into the manuscript.  This novel is going to be one long mother fucker and keeping all my facts and scenes straight is another reason it's been hard to pump it out.  I have a better system now and if I work calmly and steadily (my mentor's words) then I think I will graduate in July with an amazing novel all ready to go!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Glorious Halloween/Samhain!

This entire October has been one large celebration it seems.  The only downside to this has been the added stress to my writing time and concentration but that aside, last month was amazing.  To touch on a few highlights, I'll start with the Samhain ritual with the IEPG in Spokane.  It was wonderful and so poetic.  We ventured to the underworld via ferry (we used our imaginations a bit) and remembered our past loved ones as we celebrated the Pagan New Year.  The food was wonderful, the beverages were tasty, and I teared up a little thinking of those who have gone before me and how their spirit leaves a mark on me and even if they aren't related by blood (even if they are loved pets) they become my ancestors.  

After that we spent some time with the twins - finally got A to watch 'The Shrine' which was a big deal since she pretty much boycotts all horror movies.  It was nice to chit chat and I got to see B a little tipsy which is always fun!  We spent the night there on Wednesday night of Halloween week.  The next night was also spent away from home.  We went to Spokane to R and S's house to set up for the big party.  They offered us their house as a venue and it was perfect.  So we spent the night - I worked a bit on my writing upstairs while they started decorating.  The next day we finished putting up decorations (the house looked fucking amazing!) and did some running around for last minute food and drinks stuffs.  Hannah and I provided nachos for the party as well as the logistical things like plastic forks, plates, napkins, etc.  Hannah also baked a red velvet coffin cake for the occasion.  S made hot wings that were pretty much the bomb, and R made little weenies.  There were other treats and food items but those were the main things.  

We started drinking at six and the party picked up at about seven.  Through the course of the night we had about eighteen people in and out (some came early and left while others arrived a bit later and stayed to party all night long).  The best moments: 
  • when Hannah stood before a mirror and said with innocent confidence, "I look like a Princess" 
  • three-way slow dancing with S and R 
  • discovering that drunk Hannah was using fake vampire teeth as a hair tie 
  • wearing a rainbow wig and looking like a fucking rock star
  • punch made of lemonade and hibiscus pomegranate vodka
  • being drunk enough to really relax and let my pervy side shine without being obnoxious
C, R, F, Hannah, and I stayed up past three in the morning, talking about things that are going on in R's life right now.  She's such a wonderful woman and I think we definitely need to have a girl's night with her at some point.  Eventually we all crawled off to our respective beds.  I had a little bit of heartburn but other than that I slept like a woman who'd danced and partied and drank all evening.  The next morning was tear down and it went considerably quicker than the putting up.  From beginning to end, it was a great party.  I'm still a little high on the energy from the evening but the second I lay down I have a feeling I will crash like the Titanic.  That may be sooner rather than later because tomorrow is going to be an early and intense day.  I have to revise and edit about 100 pages of my creative thesis tomorrow (portions throughout).  I'm down to the wire now - I have to present a polished manuscript (or as polished as possible) to a second reader by the tenth of this month.  If they give the 'okay' then I will be able to graduate.  Everyone wish me luck!