Brain Mush

My brain is a bit mushy today. I think it is from running in a hundred directions the last few weeks. Maybe it is getting to do more people stuff again. Either way, this post will ramble a bit so I can give you some updates across many of those hundred directions. 

Cats!

The vet recommended I look into a shot to manage Big Cat’s arthritis. Based on how he acts, I am holding off for now and keeping that on the back burner for later pain management. However, the research I did made me think of getting him a bed for the winter months. With it getting colder, I wanted him to have something warm to sleep on at night. They warn against using heated blankets and such for people, so I went for a heated cat bed.

I got the large one in case Little Cat tried to join him so she would not push him out. 

He loves it. Not more than my lap (thankfully), but he often ignores the metaphorical dinner bell now to stay curled up in it until he is hungry and gets up to pester me for food. He is super adorable in it, and I’m glad he took to it right away. 

Health

A couple of weeks ago, I got my updated COVID booster, and yesterday I got my flu shot. I have mentioned before that I continue to work through a needle phobia. Both vaccinations went off without a fainting problem, so I count those as two wins. The one from yesterday might be contributing to my brain fog today, but the side effects are relatively mild this time (another win). 

I’m doing what I can and crossing my fingers that I can avoid any additional illnesses as we head into the colder seasons. 

Grandma

Something I have been spending more time on lately is helping my grandmother look for a new independent living facility. My mom’s side of the family used to split between us in the Auburn/Federal Way areas and the other half in the Puyallup area. Before my grandfather passed, they also lived in Puyallup, so it made sense that when she decided to go into independent living that they would look for something there as well. 

Time moved on, and the Puyallup half has now moved to Florida, and she wants to be closer to those of us still living in Washington. I have been researching places closer to us, and we toured some a couple of weeks ago. We did some thinking and negotiation, and she signed onto a new place this week. We will be helping her move into it at the end of November, and everyone is excited that she will be closer to us for visits and events. 

Miscellaneous

We started up our Halloween parties again. I called this one Zombie Halloween because we were essentially trying to resurrect the events of old. It turned out to be a great time. I brought back one of my old costumes. My sister and I made it together about twelve years ago, and it mostly still fits with some strategic cape placement. For the event, I also made some spooky deviled eggs. I am a Miracle Whip person, while my husband prefers mayo, so I did half of each kind. The MW ones looked like mummies, while the mayo looked like pumpkins. 

This is the She-Ra (OG 80’s cartoon) costume my sister and I made. I bought the skirt, boots, and sword.

Another fun thing I tried out this week was making butter (main photo)! I first saw an old butter churn on TikTok, then I saw that you can do it with a mixer in about fifteen minutes. The latter seemed easier, so I went in that direction. It was cool seeing it firm up and the buttermilk getting washed out. This morning, I chopped some garlic and homegrown basil and mixed that in for some homemade garlic-basil butter. I’m freezing it for later use, and I might make some more butter and other varieties to give out for Christmas. 

Thanks!

That is all of my brain mush for the moment except to say that two more ratings came in recently on Amazon, so that puts me at thirty-three total between the two books. Seven more, and I will add that deleted chapter to the website! Thanks for all of your support, and I hope you keep reading. 

Cat Check-Up

It is that time of year again, time for their annual check-up. Big Cat again had some additional tests to see how his kidneys and other old organs fare. He has had some issues recently: kidney, stomach, and joint.

Big Cat

Big Cat has been doing much better since he started the medicine for his arthritis. He had been struggling to eat and keep food down, losing a lot of weight. I was worried for a while that he would not recover. The medicine helped, though, and he has regained a good portion of the lost weight.

Big Cat posing during cuddles. This is his happy face.

He has more energy and runs around like a crazy cat again. He may not have as much energy as in his prime, but he looks pretty spry and active for a cat pushing eighteen. If only arthritis did not make it difficult for him to squat when peeing, things would be perfect.

Alas, the potty problems persist. I even switched to the biggest litter box available; one in which his whole lanky body fits. Even if he fails to squat, he usually hits the inside wall. It is not as easy as the automated box, but I can handle the extra work.

As far as the tests went, one of his kidney numbers spiked. While it does not appear to be affecting the rest of the things kidney problems can cause, the vet has recommended I bring him in for a BP test. She also suggested I look into Solensia. The medicine is a monthly shot to treat joint pain, and his back legs are definitely tender constantly. None of this is a surprise for a cat his age.

Little Cat

Not much change for Little Cat, which is good since she is only two. She is still a cute ball of fluff with adorable ear tufts. Her favorite pastime is staring out the back door at the squirrels foraging outside. I have started their diet with nuts from our pantry so they come around more often.
She stares out back and chitters at them and the birds. I have been leaving the windows open so she can sniff the fresh air through the screens (during the day). When the weather finally turns—over 70 in October?—she will be so disappointed that I have to keep the windows closed.

Sleepy paws and bedhead. Little Cat is out for her afternoon nap.

Medically, she is all caught up on her vaccinations and free of any concerns. The vet says we should watch her food intake so she does not gain more weight, but she is good. We will keep Little Cat healthy so she can keep pestering and running around with Big Cat. Someone needs to keep him young.

Summer’s End

We are rapidly approaching what has been—for me—a whirlwind summer. Over the last month and a half, I have DMed at GenCon, gotten sick, sold at the Renaissance Fair, and hosted my brother’s family for their visit. While all this was happening, I have also been working on a significant career change.

After more than seventeen years in the corporate world, I want to explore being my own boss. While I would love for this to mean becoming a full-time author, I have nowhere near the backlist needed to make that a reality. Though, I’m working on it.

There are several options I’m exploring and putting effort into. I’m not sure where I will land, but I worked carefully for years to put myself in a secure enough position to make a change like this. It will work out. One way or another, I will do what it takes to move forward.

I also got a new “end of summer” haircut! Back to my bright red and trying out an undercut.

Reflection

If you had asked me a year ago where I would be today, my answer would have been incorrect. I was heading toward the publication date for my first book, hoping it would eventually reach and entertain fifty strangers. All the research and effort were coming together for that final deadline.

Not even a year later, I have already far surpassed my conservative goal of fifty readers. I met some amazing people at live events who are eager to read my work and excited to meet me. My goals for 2022 felt daring at the start of the year, and now I believe I will surpass them despite all my lingering doubts and imposter syndrome.

If there is one thing I would add to the list, it would be doing more short-length videos (Tik Tok, Reels, etc.). A kind marketing expert who stopped to chat with me at the Ren Faire suggested I just get in front of a camera and talk through some questions. The exercise would give me some video material with which to work. I might give it a try before the month is out.

Here’s to another beautiful summer!

Family Visit

My brother is in town this weekend with his family. Since they live in Florida, we don’t see them often. The time and cost of travel between the opposite corners of the contiguous USA are a bit prohibitive. Last summer, we went down in August to the heat and humidity. We fed a giraffe at the zoo, among other fun activities. This year, they are up here with us.

We went blackberry picking yesterday and will see if we can bake a pie with our haul tomorrow before the heat hits. My nephew ate his obligatory serving of berries along the way. While the pickings were not the best this year, I have seen them much worse. I estimate we have about two pies worth of filling in the refrigerator.

Today, my sister-in-law is casually running a half marathon. She was up early Friday morning to get in an eight-mile jaunt as a final preparation. I’m pretty sure I could walk a half marathon distance in one day. My legs would hurt the next day, but I could do it. I can’t imagine running that distance, though. Running the mile was unpleasant for me back in school, so I’m in awe of the drive it takes to complete these races.

She might have gone for the full marathon, but we have plans to attend the Sounders game tonight. We need to pick up a new Sounders shirt for my nephew, as he has grown out of his first one. Maybe I will get them to try some local brews along with the food trucks at tonight’s match. Unfortunately, the best beer place is all the way across the stadium from the food trucks, but maybe the new bar will be open and have some good selections.

Tomorrow we are having a BBQ with friends and family. My brother still plays online games regularly with a handful of the guys from our group. Most of them will be coming to do some catching up over burgers and brats. My parents are also bringing my grandmother, so she will get to spend some time with her other great-grandson on our side of the family. I hope they take some great memories with them when they leave.

Renaissance Faire Pt. 1

Despite precautions, I took ill after my trip last week. To ensure this did not pass beyond me, I remained home for rest and recovery this weekend. This post is a tribute to the massive efforts put forth by my husband and sister. When I could not attend, they stepped up on my behalf. 

Going into the Renaissance Faire, I had no idea what to expect for sales. At my first event, which was much smaller in scale, I sold seven copies. Hour-for-hour, that would put my book needs around seventy. General advice received would put the need closer to five hundred of each book, though I would need to do the math again on that. 

Either way, we all went into this with tempered expectations. Sanitized and wrapped in PPE, I pre-signed fifty-eight copies of book one and forty copies of book 2. It was not enough. 

The faire initially sold out, so they opened more capacity for Saturday. Roads were clogged, and people waited for hours to get in. Everyone crowded into the grounds excited for their next fantastical adventure. As they passed by, my husband called out to lovers of fantasy books. Then, he and my sister would introduce them to my stories. 

Family and friends stopped by to help out through the day, but it was the two of them who set up, tore down, and stood for nine hours two days in a row selling my works. They sold out both days and continued selling even after supplies ran out until the fair closed each day.

Take the kids for a day? Sure, Sis. You want to stay late to play D&D with other vendors next weekend? Of course, my darling husband. I know you both did all of this for family, partnership, and love and not for any exchange. My immense gratitude is yours.

New Readers

For all my new readers, welcome to my fantasy world! I hope you have as much fun with these characters as I do and look forward to the next installment. Rest assured, Hidden Promise is already with my wonderful alpha readers, and I’m about thirty thousand words into the final book rewrite!

See you at the faire on the 20th!