Another Impromptu Day Off

Howdy, howdy! I know I’ve written some short posts, but I haven’t actually skipped a blog day since August 2020. So, since I feel blah and can’t think of anything to write about, I’m just going to skip this week. I’ll be back with a book review next Wednesday. Hopefully May will be better for blogging. Here’s something pretty for the hell of it.

By: Yuumei

Introducing Mardi!

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Welcome to April! Yesterday, we had a new addition to the family. So, this is just a quick post to introduce her. This little girl came into the Mesquite Animal Shelter last week and a friend of ours reached out to see if we would be interested in adopting her in the event her owners didn’t show up. She’s well groomed and has a nifty little dye job, so we figured the owners would be looking. Apparently not. This is Mardi (because of the Mardi Gras dye job) and she now has her furever home. She’s a little nervous, but super friendly and sweet. I think she’ll settle in comfortably and end up just as spoiled as the rest of our pups were. Thank you again to Mary (our friend who gave us the heads up).

Abyss for Sale

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Things here are quiet and lazy. The past couple of days have been gloomy. Just generally blah. The severe weather stayed away from us, so that’s always good. But I have no idea what to ramble about. I have a tendency to mention wandering off into an abyss on Facebook when I have nothing else to do, so last week, a friend said one of my blog posts should be about my abyss, but written like one of those descriptions on Zillow (a real estate thingie). So, this’ll be a shorter post (Zillow descriptions are only 250 words? Ugh), but challenge accepted.

But first, did I show you my new glasses? Okay, now back to the description.

Here we go:

Luxurious, low maintenance abyss available for anyone seeking a secluded getaway from the hustle and bustle of life. The open floor plan allows for easy access to each feature even in the complete darkness of the void. Includes wide open space to flail around on the hardwood floors while reliving every cringe moment you’ve ever had. The standard box of doom has recently been renovated into a walk in closet of doom, perfect for plotting or simply screaming into the dark. The single bedroom offers room for a king sized bed and small sitting area, so you can decide where to lounge while staring vacantly into nothingness. An en suite offers both a jacuzzi tub and a walk in shower, so you can soak your troubles away while dwelling on that time the waiter said “enjoy your food” and you answered “you too” or stand under the scorching water to contemplate similarly important things in life. No need for a sauna as the abyss’s proximity to Hades means it easily maintains a toasty and oddly humid 106 degrees. The lack of a kitchen isn’t for everyone, but who are you kidding? You’re just going to order something in anyway. No yard means no need to spend time outside doing things like yardwork or talking to the neighbors. All of this could be yours for the low, low price of… if you have to ask, you can’t afford it! Call to schedule a private tour today.

It’s an abyss. What did you expect?

And I came in at 245 words. But seriously. This is my abyss and you can’t have it. Back to our regularly scheduled book review next week!

Fashion

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Are you recovering from the time change? I’m not. I’m still tired and keep thinking it’s earlier than it really is. I wish they’d just pick a thing and stick with it. Ugh. But anyway, I have nothing to ramble about, so I thought I’d share some pretty clothes that have caught my eye recently. Don’t worry. I won’t be ditching my jeans and henleys/tees for this stuff. None of it would actually look good on me and some of it would probably stab me in the face if I even tried it (you’ll see what I mean). I just like looking.

1. Going back to 1992 with Dior’s Palladium Dress. It was the basis for Princess Serenity’s dress in Sailor moon. Who doesn’t want to be a princess? But it is pretty and simple and I could probably actually wear something like this. I would. But I also probably wouldn’t because I’m weird and feel stupid and self conscious in dresses.

2. Let’s go back even further to 1897 with this tea gown from House of Worth. Because apparently tea was a super fancy occasion? I don’t know. But the blue on the green is absolutely gorgeous. It was made for a Countess Greffulhe. Supposedly, she was partial to green because it contrasted so nicely with her auburn hair. She sounds kind of extra and I’m okay with that.

3. How about some pirate stuff? This one is from Silver Leaf Costumes. It’s my favorite combination of colors! I know this type of thing can get super elaborate and I love it when it does, but if I ever got into it, I’d probably stick to the simpler side. I haven’t worn a corset in years, though. But I sure do like seeing other people wear them. Gah, I miss renfests and conventions. Covid ruins everything. One day, I’ll be able to people watch again.

4. Dark couture? Kind of steampunk? Love the dark steampunk vibes Lucardis Feist created here. I told my friend we should get this pair and have a date night. She could wear the dress and I’d wear the suit. I am aware that it’s part of the wedding collection, but I don’t think her husband would approve of a wedding, so just a fancy date night! She’s into it, but unfortunately we’re poor and live too far away from each other to make it a reality. But yes. I would rock a suit.

5. These gorgeous designs by Firefly Path were inspired by the Unseelie and Seelie faerie courts. I definitely gravitate toward the Unseelie design, but you see what I mean by face stabby. Even if my head were straight, I’d probably still stab myself in the face multiple times with the branches. But they’re both fabulous and I love them even if I couldn’t actually wear them.

I could go on forever with my weird fashion tastes, but I won’t. Wouldn’t want to bore you. What kind of clothing do you like? Do you wear it or are you more into looking? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

Escaping Reality

Hello, hello! How’s everything going? Hard to believe we’re already this far into March. It actually feels like a super busy month and I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because it’s the Jailbird’s (my oldest sister) birthday, so I had to do a couple of extra things for her instead of forgetting she exists like I usually do (yes, I’m a horrible sister, but I’m okay with that). Going to pick up new glasses today. But otherwise, it’s just my usual schedule. I don’t know why I feel overwhelmed. All I want to do is escape into a fantasy world. So, since I have nothing else to ramble about, let’s talk about methods of escape!

This! This is why everything is overwhelming right now.

1. Music. I went from barely listening during the day for months to blasting it just about every time I’m in the house alone. I’ve been on a Beatles, Kansas, Queen, and Buck-Tick kick lately. It’s weird because I only like two Kansas songs and a handful of Queen songs (gasp! Blasphemy, I know. Sorry Freddie). Oh, and like everyone else my age and younger, I’ve been obsessive about the Encanto soundtrack. It helps that I usually play mindless games while listening to music as loud as it will go. I can just listen and sing along and not think about anything in particular. It’s nice.

2. Reading. I actually found another series to be obsessed with already (but Simon and Baz are still my current favorite boys). The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black. I’ve had book one (The Cruel Prince) sitting in my TBR pile for like two years now, so I decided to give it a try. I figured I’d read it and move on to something else I owned, but no. I had to buy the next two books in the series and binge them. I’m currently halfway through book two (The Wicked King) and not regretting my choice to spend money at all, which is weird. And apparently there are at least two other books that are connected to the series that I will eventually talk myself into buying. Reading is an expensive habit.

3. Beta reading. It’s technically reading, but I get to be useful (I hope). What’s beta reading? It’s when you read a friend’s (or however you’re related) manuscript and offer feedback. So, not only do I get to read an awesome story, I get to offer encouragement and advice on how to make the story stronger. It’s a really helpful thing for me because 1) I get to feel like I’m actually useful to someone (you know who you are) and 2) it gets me into a revision mindset, so it’s easier to come at my own work with the editor scissors. But mostly, I get to escape into a cool story.

4. Staring into space. I basically just tell myself stories when this happens. Or I relive stupid moments that I’d rather not think about. My brain is an asshole sometimes. This usually happens while I’m trying to fall asleep or if I’m watching TV and can’t get into the show. I find it happening more often lately, but I try to shake it off. Meh.

Definitely the fourth one.

Anyhoo, how’s it going by you? How are you coping with the state of the world? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or questions or whatever here or on my social media pages!

R.I.P. Ed Baker

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Welcome to March. Are you ready for this month? I’m not, but that’s okay. Today, I just wanted to take some time to say a quick goodbye.

When I was little, I was a beggar for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Okay, that’s not what they called us, but that was our job. They had a bunch of “ambassadors” (me and other kids) whose job it was to look cute and get people to donate money to MDA for research and equipment and stuff to help people with disabilities. It was a great program when I was kid. Now, it’s more research oriented, but back then it was all about the families and helping people in need. It helped me and my parents a lot with equipment that we couldn’t afford at a time when insurance wasn’t an option for us. But I digress. MDA also introduced us to some really interesting people.

Dad, me, and Ed at Texas de Brazil in 2017.

One of those people was Ed Baker. He passed away due to Covid a few days ago. We weren’t super close, but he was one of those people who just felt like a friend no matter how often or sparingly we talked to him. He always had kind words for us and amusing stories. Whether from his days with the Jerry Lewis telethon or whatever travels he had been on, he always seemed to have a never ending number of anecdotes and memories to share. And share he did. Aside from being an amazing human being, he was also a photographer. He gifted me a picture of a torii (Japanese gate) outside a shrine from a trip he took to Japan. It’s hanging on my wall and is one of my favorite things. With the pandemic, we weren’t able to meet up with him for dinner or anything. And we didn’t reach out nearly as much as we should’ve. But Dad and I will miss Ed.

I suppose we’ll just have to get that Indian food we’ve been promising each other for years now in the next life. Rest easy, Ed.

On All-Nighters

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? It’s currently 6:30 in the morning on Tuesday and I’ve been up all night. Why? So I can answer the phone in a couple of hours and talk to the Social Security Administration about that thing we’ve been trying to work out since July. Why not just get up at 8:30 like a normal person? Because cripples don’t have that luxury. At least I don’t. Both the getting into and out of bed processes take like two hours each (and Dad has to go to bed after he gets me in bed/get up before me), so it’s just easier to stay up when it’s just an anomaly (we never schedule morning appointments, but the government doesn’t listen when you request afternoon ones). Anyway, I used to LOVE staying up all night, especially when I could sleep all day. But now I’m old and this shit is boring.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, staying up all night was basically a sanctuary. It was the easiest way to spend as little time with my mom as possible. She’d sleep until three or four in the morning, get up and put me in bed, do whatever she did during the morning, then get me up around two or three. It didn’t keep us from fighting all the time, but it helped a little. It also caused some arguments with Dad because he didn’t like me staying up all night (sorry). But those quiet hours between about midnight and three were the absolute best. I miss them a lot sometimes.

But that was back in the days of Yahoo chats and when fansubs (both anime and manga) were spewed all over the Interwebz. Entertaining myself was easy. Finding people to hang out with and be weird with was simple. And being productive (doing school stuff) came naturally during those hours. It was peaceful and wonderful and I’m probably forgetting how boring it actually was, but I’m allowed to romanticize things once in a while.

Now, it’s generally unnecessary (I have no one to avoid anymore) and boring as hell. Tonight, I finished the third Simon and Baz book, read four chapters in this month’s review book, wrote this post because if I waited until this afternoon the entire post would be ZZZ…, and spent far too much time prepping for this upcoming appointment that should really be quite easy (but it’s the government, so I’ve just learned to prepare for hassles). Productivity achieved. But I no longer have friends in distant time zones to be weird with at ungodly hours. I did pester my friend who’s in Germany, but only for a few minutes. Otherwise, I scrolled through Facebook, checked my email like fifty times, and ordered a shirt I really don’t need. It’s just not worth the sleep deprivation anymore.

That’s enough rambling. I’m going to go play some mindless games until closer to the appointment time, then I’ll switch to obsessively checking my phone which is right in front of me with a decent charge and good reception. But I’ll still be in panic mode until the call is over. Enough about me, what about you? Are you a fan of all-nighters? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Obsessive Reading

Hello, hello! We’ve survived the first month of 2022. Good job! How’s everyone doing? Things are okay here. I finished the first draft of a story, but I haven’t started revisions yet. I need to read through it and decide whether it wants to be a novella or a short story because it’s currently that weird length that no one wants. Too long for most short venues, but not long enough for novella venues. Probably just needs a hefty trim. I’ll figure it out. But I keep getting distracted by reading, which is what I want to ramble about today. Obsessive reading. When books take over everything. You know what I mean.

When I was younger, pretty much everything I read pulled me in. Except the stuff I was forced to read. But Harry Potter, anything Stephen King, Neil Gaiman. Stuff like that. I’d get obsessive over it. The books were all I thought about. If I wasn’t reading, I wanted to be reading. And eventually, I burned myself out. I even went a few years without reading anything except the books I was assigned in school. It was hard to start reading for fun again. Even in grad school, I read every day, but I wasn’t particularly into it. It was weird.

Honestly, it’s still weird. I’ve been out of grad school far too long and reading is still mostly a chore. I’m usually reading two books at any given time, one to review and one for fun. If I finish either of them ahead of schedule, I have another book ready to go. But it is a schedule. For the review books, I literally count the days and figure out how many pages I have to read to finish with enough time to write the review. And it’s rare for me to deviate from that plan unless the book is super good. My for fun books usually get my attention for half an hour before bed. And I’m okay with this. Usually.

But occasionally, I run into a book or series that demands my undivided attention, like the series I’m reading now (the Simon Snow trilogy by Rainbow Rowell). I’m seriously obsessed. You have no idea how much effort it took to pull myself away to write this post. I’m a little ashamed of it, to be honest. But this feeling makes me so very weirdly happy. It’s an escape. And it’s so rare lately that I forget what it feels like until it happens again. I can only remember two other series (the trilogy with Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor) and a stand-alone (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) making me feel this way in the past fifteen years or so. I have to enjoy it while it lasts.

And now, I’m going to force myself to read the two chapters I need to read in my review book, then slip back into Simon and Baz’s world until dinner. What books or series have you obsessed over lately? Are you the type to obsess? If not, what drives you to read? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or questions here or on my social media pages!

Birthday Bragging

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this week? I can’t believe we’re already in the down swing of January. Next week is my end of the month book review. Time just isn’t going to slow down anymore. But I’ve been writing. Still only a quarter of what I used to write, but it’s been steady and it’s getting easier to start each time, so hopefully I can work my way back up soon. Aside from that, I have nothing writerly to talk about. So, I thought I’d share my birthday swag with you.

Food and sharp things, you perverts.

For my birthday meal, Dad made a pastrami and smoked mac-n-cheese! Yum… And when I say he made a pastrami, it started out as a brisket. He corned the beef, then did the magic that makes it into a pastrami. I don’t know the technical details. It’s magic! And it includes smoking it for around 20 hours. With his new smoker, he should’ve been able to set it and mostly forget it, but the fan/billows thing decided it didn’t want to work properly, so he didn’t get much sleep that night since he had to check on it periodically. I don’t have any pictures, but there are five more bags worth of meat in the freezer (a couple of meals each). The mac-n-cheese had four different cheeses, totaling about two pounds. A panko breadcrumb topping. Some beer. Such cheesy. Much yum. You can be jealous. It’s okay.

Then, a couple of days ago, I got a box from Enza in the mail. It was the New Years in Kamakura box from Sakuraco! There’s a lovely set of chopsticks and a bunch of snacks and some tea. It’s from Japan, so of course all the labels are in Japanese. I know a little of the language, but not that much. I didn’t keep up with my studies (ごめんなさい, 先生). Luckily, a booklet is included that tells you what everything is, tells you a bit about the region everything comes from, and is very specific about how to make the tea. As of the time I’m writing this, I haven’t had a chance to try anything, but I’m looking forward to it!

Borrowed from the website.

Yesterday, a package arrived from the Ukraine. Dad got me my first axe! See, at least one person reads my posts. He started looking after he read this one. It’s beautiful and heavy and sharp. He bought it from ValhallaWorld on Etsy. Don’t be fooled by the cheaper versions. If you look closely at those shops, you’ll see the telltale signs of imposters. All of the descriptions are the same and slightly wonky. It’s weird. But my new axe is excellent. Now, I just have to figure out where I want Dad to hang it!

So, I had a lovely birthday week. Thank you again to Dad and Enza and everyone who sent me birthday love! I’m old. I know. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

A to Z of Me

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this week? Things here are good. I’ve been writing and all of that fun stuff. Fingers crossed that I can keep it up! But, I’m not really here to talk about that right now. It’s my birthday tomorrow (actually today when this goes live), so I thought I’d do another “getting to know me” type post. Instead of 36 random facts about me, I decided to look for one of those A to Z questionnaire things. They’re shorter and I don’t have to think as much. I randomly found this one during a Google search, so here we go.

A… If you were an ANIMAL, what would you be?

Probably some kind of fish. One of those ugly deep sea fish with the little light lure thing on its head. An anglerfish, I think. That might be cool.

B… BOOKS: What’s on your reading list?

Right now, just the book for January’s review post and one I ended up with to review in mid-February. Otherwise, my list is mostly the same as the last time I posted about it, but I’m slowly chipping away at it and randomly adding new stuff. I’m sure I’ll run out of stuff to talk about and share a list soon enough.

C… COMPULSIVE about anything?

Far too many things. I have a few weird rituals that I do repeatedly throughout the week, mostly when I’m in my lift for an extended period of time. It’s stupid and does nothing, but it makes me feel slightly better.

D… DREAMS: Do you… dream in color? remember your dreams? keep a dream journal?

I don’t journal at all. And it’s rare for me to remember my dreams. They’re either super mundane or straight up nightmares, nothing in between. Almost always from my own perspective and in color.

E… EATING: What’s your usual snack?

I don’t really eat snacks unless Dad and I are having a lazy day. I guess chocolate mostly. I’ll have a piece before bed if that counts as snacking. Chips if we have them. Once in a while, popcorn. Or whatever leftovers are in the fridge.

F… A Few of your FAVOURITE Things?

Food. Animals. Books. I could go on, but you just asked for a few.

G… GIGGLES! What (or who) makes you laugh? Do you have a good sense of humor?

I basically have the sense of humor of a 12-years-old boy. It’s not hard to make me laugh. Dad jokes, puns, innuendo. I’m not picky with my humor. It ranges from actually funny to completely inappropriate.

H… Major HOT Button:

I don’t really have any. I know I should probably care about stuff more, but the truth is that people are going to think what they want regardless of what I say. The only reason I ever debate anything with people is because I’m bored, but then I just get annoyed, so I don’t see the point in it.

I… I am:

A cripple. A writer. My father’s daughter. And much more.

J… JOBS: What do you do? What have you done? What would you like to do?

I’m a writer. That’s about it.

K… Also KNOWN As: Aliases? Screen names? A non de plume perhaps?

Cyn, because my old screen name was cynicalcripple and my friends were too lazy to type it out. Sak or Sakura for basically the same reason. I also have a pen name, but I haven’t published anything using it yet. When I do, you’ll know.

L… I LOVE:

Dad. Jen. Danielle. Heather. And some other people.

M… How do you feel about MEETING people? Do it all the time? Rarely? Parties or 1-on-1?

Please don’t make me. I’m not good with people. If I have to, I prefer email or text.

N… What’s the story of your NAME? Were you named after anyone? Do you go by a nickname? Any aliases?

I was named after Sean Connery and Nichelle Nichols.

O… OBSERVANT: What’s around you right now? What do you see?

My desk and armoires and sticky notes and tins of peppermint bark. Darkness outside my window. I have the front camera on, so I see the vans and trailer and truck. The heat is currently on. I can’t really smell anything because allergies suck. My ventilator is whooshing. I’m too lazy to keep listing things.

Old picture, but similar set up.

P… Who are the special PEOPLE in your life?

Just Dad, really.

Q… Any Little QUIRKs About Yourself?

I have a lot of quirks, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. What quirks do I have?

R… What do you like to do for RECREATION?

I read books or manga. I watch anime. And I play mindless games while blasting music as loud as it will go. I’m not an exciting person.

S… Do You SING in the Shower? In the car? For your friends?

I try to only sing when I’m alone or the music drowns me out. Sometimes I slip up. Ah well.

T… What’s at the Top of your TO DO list?

Writing. Need to get back into a rhythm.

U… Any UNUSUAL Experiences?

Far too many to talk about here. Maybe in a different post. But I did have a woman sing a full on gospel version of happy birthday to me in a dance club bathroom, then she told me I was beautiful and if anyone told me different she would slit their throat. I stopped letting my sister drag me into public bathrooms after that.

V… VEGAS, Vienna, Venice, Vladivostok: How far have you travelled? What’s your favourite City?

None of those places. I do remember stopping in or near Verona, New York. Pretty sure that was the place with the awesome La Quinta. I’ve been all over the eastern side of the U.S. and up into Canada. I’m partial to the northeast.

W… WINTER, Spring, Summer, Fall: What’s your favorite season? What makes it special?

I live in Texas. We get summer and a couple of weeks of winter. Summer is better.

X… EXes: They are ex for a very good reason.

I wouldn’t know. Don’t have any.

Y… Any secret/deep YEARNINGS?

Unless you count milkshakes as secret desires, no. Not really. I’m good.

Z… ZERO to ZENITH: Where are you in your life? Still growing? On an upward (or downward) curve? Just skating along?

Pretty much just skating along right now. I think that’s what most people are trying to do thanks to COVID. Hopefully things will eventually get better.