In Memoriam

My little nephew Ange was a pandemic baby born last summer to my brother and his wife. His path was fraught with more challenges than many of us face in our lifetimes, and he fought every step of the way.

Ange’s parents received troubling news during the pregnancy, and they were worried they might lose him before he had a chance at life. He pushed through and entered our lives. There were additional complications, but we shared some video calls with him. His parents gave him a blanket with his name blazoned upon it next to cute animals, and they gave my parents Christmas presents with his image. My brother and his wife were able to hold his hands, to hold him.

The doctors fought and explored options. Ange fought along with them, but his time came. It was too soon, but early this year he left us with a staggering hole in our hearts. Due to the pandemic, we could not all say goodbye to him in person. We are saying farewell and celebrating his life this summer. It would have been his first birthday.

He leaves behind his parents and brother as well as numerous extended family. Goodbye, little fighter, and may you find peace.

Busy Week

I started the new job this last week. With all of the training, access requests, and new names and acronyms, it kept my brain busy enough that I stayed off of the computer most evenings rather than working on the book edits. Trying to push past a certain threshold for computer usage means sloppy or slow work for me, so I listen to my brain fatigue. 

I did complete one more chapter on Friday, and that only leaves two or three more before the book goes off to beta readers again. I plan on reaching out to copy editors at that same time to coordinate the schedule on that. I think I have a fair idea of how long the final revisions would take me. 

Saturday was a fun day with my D&D group playing Mad Mage. I was not pulling my punches, someone even took the bane of an elder rune – that is 20 six-sided dice worth of damage – to the face, and no one even dropped unconscious. This obviously means I need to up my game or they will start to think the dungeon is no challenge at all! 

With the one cursed sword picked up in the last game, they were a little more careful of additional magic item finds this time…well, some of them were more cautious. I’m pretty sure the rogue swore off caution for the day. He now has a ticking clock in his chest due to a beating heart in a box that is bound to something still in the dungeon. I hope they discover what that something is in time. Mwahaha!

That is for another week. Right now I’m getting ready to watch the Sounders play this evening. I hope they can have another amazing showing as they did on Thursday when half the starting lineup was about half my age. Kids these days are so impressive!

Go Sounders!

Mid-Year Changes

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I hope you are all able to have some fun today. We hosted my family for grilling burgers and dogs. S’mores fixings were brought, so we also dusted off the propane fire pit to toast some marshmallows. The weather turned out a perfect mild, sunny day after that heatwave we had last week.

The long weekend is a great way to start the second half of 2021 and head into some changes. I will be starting a new job in the middle of this month. A big driver for me looking so soon after a job change last year is the commute factor. You may have heard some horror stories about Seattle traffic. After working from home for nearly eighteen months, I did not think I could personally handle a ninety-minute commute in each direction when we go back to the office, so I decided to look around.

It worked out for me and happened faster than I ever thought it would. The new job is at a company that sounds like it has a great culture that I will enjoy, it is part-time remote even after we go back to the office, and the office is only about a ten to fifteen-minute drive away. Maybe this one will take me to my career as an author!

That is the other change as we head into the second half of the year. My goal of publishing before year-end means several key steps pick up over the coming months. I recently shifted this site over to my domain. In July and August, I’m looking into working on some of the business requirements for publication, finishing the book description and frontmatter/backmatter, and looking into the ISBN purchases. September will be looking into the Amazon account and publication requirements and process.

As for editing, I worked through another chapter and a half after work this week. I am targeting another chapter or two tomorrow. If I can keep up the pace, I’m looking at sending it out to beta readers in August, the final edit in September, the copy editor in October, and a final check in November for uploading. That is my rough schedule, and I hope to run a bit ahead of it for all of the stumbles I’m sure to run into along the way. For now, back to editing!

Lazy Weekend

This past week was relatively relaxed, and that carried into the weekend. My nephew’s baseball game had a time change that was not well communicated among the opposing team’s parents, so only two players were on time. Instead of a game, they ended up playing against those two along with a handful of parents in a game/batting practice.

My husband and I did not hang around for that. Don’t judge us. It was colder than expected, and we are just the aunt and uncle. He did wave to us, so he saw us there supporting him. We do want him to have the support he can take with him as he grows up.

Sunday, we scheduled a homemade pizza lunch with my sister and the kids. I had purchased some pre-made crusts earlier in the month. We cooked up some topping and shredded a variety of cheese. Of course, my niece only wanted cheese. My nephew was daring enough to add some chicken to his half. I thought they turned out pretty good for a fun and relatively easy meal.

Mine has ALL the toppings!

Beyond that, I have been at my computer most of the weekend. I am editing book two while waiting for this round of readers to finish up book one for me to run through it again. Book two will pass to my alpha readers once I finish this revision.

Between chapters, I also put in some Dungeon Master time. I am running Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, and we are rebooting the campaign in June now that everyone in the group is vaccinated. I am reading through the book again and updating Realm Works with some additional notes. My DM style is to have a lot of prep and helper files to try to make the world real for my players. It helps me with improv in-session by having potential options at hand when the players do something crazy.

I am excited to get started again. The reboot session in June will not be new material. We want a refresh of the first session a year ago. I have planned some mock encounters to get everyone back in the RPG habits. There will be so much side chatter getting to visit again that introducing new material would only frustrate me. Instead, it will be prep, practice, recap, and hanging out. I will be sure to share some of the mock encounter antics after the session!

Big Cat, Little Cat, and I all hope you had a great weekend. Until next time!

Fully Vaccinated

I just received my second dose of the COVID vaccine, so I am protected against Covid as of two weeks from now. These shots are an enormous milestone for me for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is because of my needle phobia. It is not a fear where looking away while it happens is enough. I have suffered panic attacks, fainting spells, dangerously low blood pressure, and persistent nausea when exposed to needles.

My workplace did the bloodwork screening for free onsite. That one where a nurse pricks your finger for a toothpick amount of blood to check your basic numbers. I tried to go two years in a row when it was mandatory for insurance reasons. Both times I ended up waking up on the cafeteria floor.

It is a frightening experience in that moment of waking. I cannot remember where I am or how I got there. Strangers surround and hover over me, speaking to each other and asking me questions. Others linger in the background to catch a peek at the excitement. It only takes a moment for my memory to return. In that time, I freeze and wrack my brain for how to react before it starts coming back.

I found it was not even exposure to actual needles that could trigger such a reaction. In a pre-op consultation, my doctor sat with me to explain the procedure and the IV I would have during the operation. I felt feverish. My vision narrowed, whiting out from the perimeter toward the center. I passed out in the chair, hitting my face on the counter next to me on the way down.

I have worked with a counselor to steadily take steps to bring this from a phobia down to a reasonable fear. It has taken me many years to arrive at this stage. Last fall, I got the flu shot and barely managed to avoid unconsciousness. This year I have had two Covid vaccinations and made it out of both only feeling a little woozy (thank you Husband for being my driver!).

Showing off my band aid and sticker.

The second reason this is an important milestone for me is that I have a handful of people in my life, very close to me, who are at higher risk of dying from Covid. Some of them are young, some are old, but each has a factor placing them at risk. I could not have predicted a need to vaccinate against a pandemic all those years ago when I sought help to address my phobia. Today, I am immensely grateful I took action then so that I could take action now to protect the people I love.

Stay safe everyone!