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. 

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.

Heatwave

Western Washington had a late start to summer after a horribly long, cold, wet, and gray spring. But! As of this week, we officially crossed the 90-degree (Fahrenheit) threshold, joining the rest of the northern hemisphere in this epic heatwave.

I’m cold—think ice-cube toes and frigid ankles—about 80% of the year, so I generally avoid complaining about hot weather. Even before I had AC in my home, I did not start grumbling until day five. I love soaking in the heat and letting it relax my bones until I’m no longer a scrunched-up, shivering mass.

Summer is my favorite season. The sun. The growing vegetables. The grilling. Only one thing could improve summer, if—sorry twelve-year-old me—children were still in school! To be fair, I would give them two-week vacations periodically throughout the year in exchange. We could even stagger the school breaks between states, so no one has an overcrowded vacation spot.

All kidding aside, I would love to keep my summer heat without the global record high temperatures. Locally, several parks are turning on their sprinklers and setting up cooling stations for people to stop by. We have a low percentage of households in Western Washington with AC. I believe it is less than half, with a good portion of the rest only having a window AC. I know, from personal experience, that nights can get rough after a few days when even overnight temps and open windows will not cool down the house.

My pre-AC strategy: light clothes, hang out in cooler rooms, close off rooms getting the most sun, stay hydrated, use damp wash clothes, and take cold showers. It is also fortunate a main hobby of mine is reading because I can veg out with a book, unmoving, during the hottest parts of the day.

Whatever you do to stay cool, try to take some time to enjoy the great things about the summer season. Happy grilling!

OL Reign – 3 Reasons to Go

The OL Reign moved to Seattle again this season, which removed the final barrier for me grabbing up a couple of season tickets. I brought my niece and nephew to a few games and we all love the experiences. It is a shame that, as big as soccer is in Seattle, even more people are not yet taking advantage of great players in their own backyard. So, here are a few reasons to buy tickets to a National Women’s Soccer League game today! 

(Disclaimer: I am no expert, just a fan. Take all of this with that grain of salt.)

1. Great Soccer 

On every team and in every game, you will see multiple national team players and probably at least two world cup champions. I find it difficult to pick a favorite player on the team, but I usually return to Jess Fishlock. Check out these moves from the pride match: 

My niece liked Tziarra King and Alana Cook in the games she attended, and my nephew got excited watching Phallon Tullis-Joyce make saves. I could go on to list the entire team, but you can look them up here or, even better, comment with your favorites. Right now, the OL Reign are undefeated at home this season (yes, I knocked on wood), and they look to continue the run.

2. Value Entertainment

I call it ‘value,’ but you get more than you pay for with these games. All the great soccer and amazing players are available for your viewing pleasure at a reasonable price. My seats are only four rows back, nearly at midfield, and they are less than half the cost of my Sounders seats further back. You can purchase tickets for as low as $17 each, and they are all in the 100- and 200-level sections right now.

In addition to the game, you get performances by Reign City Riot, the OL Reign band. The band also marches out to the main concourse steps after the game, with the drum line playing the entire time. Then, for special events, they often have additional small performances from local artists or groups.

Another plus about soccer games is that you can easily plan your day around them. They are about two hours, start to finish, every time other than playoff/championship games. I usually grab a bite in Seattle before the game, but you can easily plan something afterward.

3. Support & Inclusivity

To be fair, I have zero scientific evidence to support this part, only my own experiences. Looking around at the games, at all the people attending with friends, partners, and families, you feel at ease and welcome. I only tick one diversity box, but I sincerely hope others feel the same as I do. 

Another piece I will mention here is related to the phrase ‘representation matters.’ I hear it all the time, and I support the concept wholeheartedly. Course correction requires a concerted effort beyond simply turning the wheel straight. I felt the lack of women leaders and role models highlighted when I was young, but the monumental weight of representation did not hit me until I witnessed the impact on my niece and nephew of seeing the OL Reign play. 

They have an awareness, acceptance, and expectation of greater equality than I ever did. We are not where we need to be, but we are clawing in that direction one generation at a time. I hope these and similar experiences help them stand a little taller and reach across barriers a little further than I ever thought possible. Take the kids in your life, and share the strengths and accomplishments of these players with them. 

Call to Action

So, with all these reasons and more, go to the website and make plans to attend a game (or two, or more!) this season. Get out there, watch some soccer, and have some fun. If you don’t know the game, I’m sure there are some new friends around your seats to help you out! 

To Sounders season ticket holders, the team is offering a discount in their latest Full-90 email for tickets to the 7/10/22 rivalry match.