Buckets for Words

When it rains, it pours… blog posts edition.

You’ll have to bear with me as I flood my website with blog posts. I have a lot of stories to share. After all, before this week, it had been a year since my previous post.

For example, there was that time that I accidentally bought single-ply toilet paper for the house and the bathroom experience was the most depressing thing for nearly an entire week, before I could no longer stand it. So now we have a whole bag full of single-ply toilet paper just sitting in the cabinet. Of course, I have since picked up the hobby of papermaking. The thought of using the single-ply to make paper, and then binding said paper into a guest book for the bathroom, had crossed my mind. But then we saw a bathroom guest book at Cost Plus World Market, and it was much prettier than anything I could have made. So here we are. With a bathroom full of single ply paper and a guest book for you to record your pooping experience in.

Then there was the time that I hired Fabio to work our dry bar and now he just spends all his time there. It’s like we can’t get rid of him. Not that we want to; he’s part of our family now.

Also, Cornelius Bones.

Yes, our family has grown quite a bit since I stopped posting regularly. But this post isn’t about any of those things. Those stories are for a different time.

Anyway.

The other night I was pondering my existence (as one does) and I was suddenly reminded of my bucket list. I hadn’t thought about that list in so long. Since then my goals and dreams have changed. So I started a new list from scratch. It has the typical “skydiving” entries but also:

  • Host a monthly poker night with friends
  • Cross country train trip with Husbando
  • Midnight picnic to look for UFOs
  • An entire section devoted to 30 Day challenges
  • Get my private investigator license

…just to name a few.

However, the portion I want to talk about today is the writing section. I have accomplished some of the things on the list already. I’ve done the spoken word poetry thing. I’ve published short stories in magazines. I’ve written and published an audio drama. There’s so much more I’d love to accomplish, though:

  • Compile and publish a book of short fiction
  • Publish novels in the weird fiction genre
  • Write a mystery
  • Write a book of personal essays
  • Write a book about creativity or writing (in hopes that it will inspire someone)
  • Write an over-the-top satirical trashy romance novel
  • Get published in The New Yorker

And that’s only a third of what’s on the list. I know I just have to work at it, one story at a time. There is one thing on the list. It’s far-fetched. Quite the pipe dream. But why not have a pipe dream?

  • Have a writing career which will pay for our lifestyle, so Husbando no longer has to work, and I can spend my time writing novels.

It’s been done before. Not by amateurs, but by people who know what they’re doing. People who hone their skills. People who live and breathe the written word. I want to be one of those. One of the chosen.

What about you? What are your writing goals? What sorts of things are on your bucket list? Would you like to purchase a basket full of single-ply toilet paper?

Hugs,

J.

I bought a blazer.

On a scale of “pajama pants at noon” to “owning a blazer,” how adult are you?

I’m at a solid five since I am currently wearing pajama pants at noon but I also just got a blazer in the mail. My very first blazer. Like a freakin’ grown up. Now all I need is a pair of (non-pajama) plaid pants and I’ll be set. Yes, this comes with a story.

The other day, I was talking with a few writery friends about what an author’s uniform would look like. We looked up a number of “author lookbooks” and I noticed that the one thing they had in common was… plaid pants. Is that the equivalent of a badge? Maybe the pattern or color depicts what type of writer you are. Does the red/black plaid mean you write horror? And the beige/black say you’re a literary writer? But then I thought, What kind would I wear?

Why… these, of course:

But then, What type of writer would I be?

The comfortable type.

So what color/pattern of plaid would you wear? Do you have a blazer? Where are you on the pajama-blazer scale?

Time Machine

This video is sponsored by Squarespace.

Except that this isn’t a video.

Also a WordPress website so…

I was thinking about my various creative outlets and remembered that I had a blog once. One that had been filled with words, purged, then filled again. Over and over. This never-ending cycle of wordvomit and embarrassment. Then I thought, Is blogging still a thing? No. I don’t believe it is.

So here I am! While the world is enamored with TikTok, I chose to jump in my time machine and start blogging instead. Maybe I’ll bring it back. Maybe I’m a hipster at heart and I love all things old and quirky. Maybe it’s just me that’s old and quirky.

Anyway.

The other day I was thinking about my writing goals and realized that most of my goals have been long since forgotten, having been replaced by the complacency of having a regular job. I’m still working freelance but as far as freelancing gigs are concerned, my current contracts are ones I’ve held steady for two to three years. This is as “regular” of a job that I’ve had in a long time since I normally opt for short contracts so I can test waters and experiment with writing styles.

But these steady gigs have also made me realize, since I have regular paychecks coming in, I should have a regular routine. One which is filled with the type of creativity I crave. Right?

…yes?

I am fortunate enough to be able to write every day. I have the time to read every day. If I so choose (and if I can stay off YouTube–my social media poison of choice these days), I can spend valuable time honing my craft. So why hasn’t that happened?

I’ll tell you why… It’s because I’ve become complacent. Oh wait, I said that already, didn’t I? Well, I guess we all knew the answer then.

It’s around January 1st when I aim to dedicate valuable time to this website. I’ll post weekly blogs, I say. I’ll steadily post on social media, I say. I’ll write like the wind and I’ll finally get the guts to query and submit. Then, after failing to meet one of those goals, I’ll just give up on the lot.

This isn’t a vow.

I can’t tell you that I’m going to do those things now. I can say that I will try. I’ve been working hard at trying to maintain a steady schedule for work, writing, and for vlogging. It’s been six weeks of vlogging each week. A fellow creative and I have been practicing and trying to strengthen our vlogging muscles with videos (kept private, while we experiment with technique, content, and style). This week has been my favorite video by far. If it turns out right, I might even make that video public.

So look forward to random updates, an occasional vlog, maybe a short story or two, and me.

Hugs,

J.

Oh Hai There

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. While I’m not super consistent about posting on this blog, know that there is always a lot going on around me.

Just to help this go by faster, let’s do another lightening round update!

  1. Our house may be haunted by a ghost. In reality, it’s probably just a hallucination from lack of sleep because I just did a 20-hour writing challenge. To clarify, it was actually supposed to be a 24-hour writing challenge but I am lame and crashed at around 4:30AM and took a four hour nap before finishing off the challenge. Seriously though… The Director of HR and I both saw the ghost in the hallway. Just a big mass of white moving from one end of the hallway to another.
  2. The air plants have upgraded to an office with two floors. I’m debating on whether or not I should add a third floor before I start building cubicles for them.
  3. Remodeled my office including: smart bulbs, smart outlets, cleaning off my desk, adding snazzy glass monitor risers, getting a stand for my fountain pen collection, and adding a wiretap (an AI assistant) for my desk. I think I mentioned last time that I also got a new desktop and speakers. And if I didn’t mention that…. I got those things.
  4. I’m continuing to write short stories with a couple of friends. We’re having a ton of fun with the whole prompt-swap-critique thing and I am slowly amassing a collection of short stories which (hopefully) I can compile into two or three actual collections for sale. YAY!
  5. I FINALLY came up with a novel idea that I love.
  6. The podcast is officially in the works. I’ll be posting a trailer or two here this week. Episodes will be available here, on Podbean, and on YouTube as well. Episodes will go up on Tuesdays. I’ll put up two teaser trailers this week and next week, I’ll put up my first official episode. Yay! I’m so scared.
  7. The Great Husbando, The Director of HR, Husbando’s parents, and I went out for a hike a few weekends ago and saw some beautiful waterfalls. It was so nice to go out in nature once again.
  8. I’ve started using the HB90 planner system and I’m loving it. I’m still trying to find my groove with some of the set-up but so far my productivity has increased and I’ve been feeling a lot better about my goals and direction.

As far as posting here on the blog, it’ll probably be a little sparse but I’ll also be replacing written content with weekly or bi-weekly audio content. I really need to come up with a posting schedule and a plan for what I want to do. I’ve been watching a lot of Authortube vlogs because I like the feel of a vlog versus other types of writer-y content. My hope is to emulate that enthusiastic, personable, friendly writer energy in my podcast.

Hugs!

Joy

“July” 30-Day Challenge

The other day, I gave The Great Husbando a big hug and while in this warm embrace he said, “Your heartbeat is really fast.” Now while I could have just dropped an “It’s because I’m near you,” I didn’t because I knew the reason why: heart disease, hypertension, and all of those other worrisome cardiovascular illnesses and diseases that in both sides of my family. Also, I’ve been struggling with anemia.

The past few days, my average resting heart rate has been in the high 90’s. While it is in the normal range, it’s on the higher end. Happy 35th birthday indeed.

At the start of July, my 30-day challenge was to win Camp NaNo. But, something a little more important seems to have come up. While numerous artists have been recognized posthumously, I haven’t finished and published anything yet so I should probably extend my life a little. Otherwise, there will be nothing to recognize after my death.

With that in mind, I’m changing my 30-day challenge from “Win Camp NaNo” to “My Heart Will Go On” otherwise known as the Mediterranean Diet. I’m going to go strict-Mediterranean for the first 30 days. Then ease up just a little, incorporating a few cheat meals here and there afterward.

Vegetables! Tomatoes! Fish! Chicken! Olive oil!

*sigh*

I’m not a big chicken fan. So I’m on the hunt for a few chicken recipes that I don’t mind having on a regular basis.

The Great Husbando has been incredibly supportive and even says that he’ll join me in my healthy eating quest. I’ll have to rehome my newly acquired jar of Red Vines (The Great Husbando’s dad is a Red Vine fan luckily), and I’ll have to start looking around for the best places for bulk veggies and–Oh, wait! I have a Costco card like a real grown-up now.

Besides, I bought a book on the basics of private investigations and have been trying to find a good system to start memorizing RCWs. Private investigators shouldn’t have heart disease. It tends to interfere with all of the investigating and fence-hopping and adultery-proving and saving cats from trees.

*overly fast heartbeat hugs*

Joy

Storytime! feat. Whidbey Island and birthdays

Chapter One: Whidbey Island

A few weekends ago, The Great Husbando, the Director of HR, and I ventured out into the wilds, otherwise known as… the outdoors. Just for two days. My family wanted to go to Whidbey Island to spend some time together and go on a short adventure. So, we all donned our masks, kept our hand sanitizer handy, and packed our car for a 48-hour excursion.

Whidbey Island is as beautiful and peaceful as it is… boring. Don’t get me wrong, I have my favorite stops: The Purple Moon, Whidbey Coffee, and The Book Nook. But once you’ve seen the local parks and have visited your favorite shops, what else is there to do? Have a surprise hike, up a mountain, in denim jeans, with absolutely no water, in the hot sun, wearing a face mask, and with your 70-year old parents.

When the DeVore trio arrived back at the hotel, we spent the rest of the night looking for dinner but since businesses were still on a limited schedule, all of the restaurants were closed. What an end to a weird and painful day.

The Director of HR had never looked so tired before. He was sprawled on the bed and didn’t move for quite a while. I would occasionally poke at him. He acknowledged my presence with a grumble and an eye-roll. I’m sure I did the same to The Great Husbando.

When we arrived home, I realized that I had my fill of “peopleing” that weekend. I think I’ve finally recouped after two weeks of holing up in our house. I’ve realized that since quarantine started, it takes a lot more energy to be social, even though I miss it. The idea of going out and seeing my friends is still exciting to me but I know it will take a lot out of me. I wonder if anyone else has felt their introvert-tendencies grow in this time, or if it is my experience alone.

Until things go back to normal (I have a feeling this is the new normal, though), I am content to work on personal projects and surround myself with plants. Plants which I have not yet accidentally murdered. Gold star for me!

Also, I made them a conference table out of craft wood so now they can properly plan out how to take over the world.

Chapter Two: Birthdays

My birthday is on July 12th and my mom’s is on July 14, so we usually spend an afternoon with the family, doing some sort of barbecue-picnic-family reunion thing. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. This year was no exception. Mom made lumpia. We all arrived at her house with gifts and food in hand. The Director of HR was excited to not have a tie on.  We got to watch my niece pester one of her younger brothers (as is her right as the older sibling).

One of the most notable presents I received this year was a Costco membership from my brother and sister-in-law. Yesterday afternoon, I donned my mask and headed down to get our first Costco membership. Now we’re like real grown-ups. And (of course), my first purchase was a pack of moleskin notebooks and a 5 1/2 lb jar of Red Vines. You know. Like grown-ups do. In my defense, I wanted my first Costco purchase to be something that screamed “writer” and “private investigator” so I figured Red Vines would serve as a nice substitute for cigarettes.

Oh. Did I not mention that I want to get a private investigator’s license? Yeah, that’s also a thing.

*hugs*

Joy

Teleseryes… Podcasts… Pride… Mules…

I wouldn’t say that I’m in a creative rut. On the contrary, I’m buzzing with excitement and creativity. The problem is I don’t know where to focus it. I

Hardwood floors made of Popsicle sticks, creepy Victorian wallpaper, and one of my characters appearing in a dumbwaiter.
STORY: “The Traveler”

have a non-writing creative outlet (I’ve been working on a few dioramas of scenes from some old short stories). However, when it comes to writing, I… don’t know where to focus my energy.

 

Unnamed Filipino Teleseryes Project

I’ve slowly (too slow, I might argue) been creating a Filipino soap opera -style novel, or novella. I’ve only been working on it for about a week but it’s been really fun and I love the twists and turns that I’ve come up with. I’m even debating on turning it into a serial to publish here on the site. Just a thought.

 

Short Story Collection

I have short stories and flash fiction pieces. I have a lot of them. I’ve been meaning to compile them into a collection for publication. The only problem is that… Well, what I really have are three different short story collections (if I categorize them by themes):

  1. Epistolary stories
  2. Lovecraftian stories
  3. Misc.

Yeah, okay, the last one isn’t really a theme. But I do have a handful of stories that don’t fit in either of the other formats. So there’s that.

 

Podcasts

I’ve been flip-flopping between creating a:

  1. Writing podcast called “Just Add Ninjas”. I even have the cover art ready. This would mostly a write-with-me style podcast where I would be working on a 70,000-word novel (or a collection of short stories). As I went through the process, I would do writing challenges and would encourage the listeners to write along with me.
  2. Introvert podcast. Or a Friend-cast? Or a …okay, the idea is that The Great Husbando, a rotating group of friends, and I would chat “with” the listeners (basically talking to the listeners like we’re friends) and do “friend-style” activities “with them”. Note all the quotation marks. It’s a rough idea to explain aloud but it works well in my head. I would record movie commentary (that could be played alongside a movie), we’d have book club episodes with children’s books, and we would otherwise chat and do other fun activities you normally do with IRL friends.

While I had already created the cover art for the writing podcast, I have created a trailer for the second option. I’ve also bought a couple of lav mics to use with our phones for either write-with-me episodes for “Just Add Ninjas” or for the movie commentary for the introvert podcast. I just don’t know which I’m more passionate about and which would help/entertain listeners more.

 

Pride Parade

I was happy to hear that (while a festival isn’t an option this year) pride events aren’t *fully* canceled here in our county. The local pride organization has set up a “vehicle” parade for the 18th. I’m super excited! I bought one of the “Pride Boxes” filled with memorabilia to proudly show our support for the community! A friend offered to pick me up but The Great Husbando said he wants to show his support too so we’ll happily meet our friends there. I want to create a couple banners or posters as well, to show my support for the LGBTQ+ POC community. In these crazy times, sharing our love for one another and spreading happiness is so important. We’re all human and we all deserve love and support. It shouldn’t matter what shade of beautiful your skin is or who you love. What matters is what’s in your heart and soul.

 

A Drink Recipe from the Two-Headed Calf:

Backstory: The Two-Headed Calf is the dry bar we inherited from The Great Husbando’s grandparents. While it’s not healthy to romanticize the “drunk writer” lifestyle of yore, it’s still fun to do. Not be a drunk. That’s not fun. But romanticizing your passion or career can be fun if no one is getting hurt. Besides, a little libation can (sometimes) get the words flowing when I find myself feeling hindered. Please drink responsibly.

 

The Moscow Mule Two-Headed Calf

 

The Great Husbando and I have been enjoying the heck out of good ol’ fashioned Moscow Mules lately. Of course, we don’t have those snazzy copper mugs to serve them in. Something to add to my birthday wishlist for next week, I guess.

 

What you’re going to need:

  • A shot and a half of vodka
  • A half of a lime
  • A cup of ice cubes
  • A half of a cup of ginger beer

What you’re going to do with those things:

  • Fill a chilled glass or a copper mug about halfway with ice
  • Pour in the vodka
  • Squeeze lime over the vodka and get as much of the juice out as you possibly can
  • Top with ginger beer (I recommend around three ounces of ginger beer)
  • You can optionally garnish with the lime wedge, some mint, or a ginger candy

Whoops. Time for the Lightening Round Update.

Hey, so it’s been a hot second. Instead of my normal, super-long blog post, I’m just going to update you lightening-round-style. Ready? OKAY! Let’s do this!

  1. I had to let my snails go back into the wild. But I was glad to have one of my best friends go out snail hunting with me. She was such a trooper, going out in the drizzle/rain and poking under pots at our local nursery. I’m glad to have been able to spend some time with her, even if I was unable to keep my little snail buddies.
  2. My plants have taken over the Molluskatonic University brownstone facade I made for my snails. So at least nothing is going to waste.
  3. STAR MOTHER bloomed! SHE WILL CONSUME THE WORLD!
  4. I.T. Friend and I are doing a, sort of, short story challenge where we send each other prompts each week and then send each other the completed short stories (12 pages max) each week.
  5. I’m still bad at roller skating cause I haven’t been practicing (due to a health issue). But I feel much better now so no excuses now.
  6. I will be starting a new podcast. It’s either going to be “The Introvert Friend Party” Podcast or “Just Add Ninjas” a writing podcast. That content will replace my long weekly blogs. Instead, I’ll just be posting the audio for the podcast. I often just drop projects but this time around, I’ve already bought some extra lav mics so… Money is now involved. Speaking of which…
  7. I was doing great with my “Not going to spend any extra money” in June until I bought the lav mics. In my defense, that has to do with a project and isn’t just, like, something I won’t use. Does that count? *sigh* I think I failed my June challenge.
  8. I think I have adult-onset ADHD which is one of the reasons why…
  9. I started a bujo again. YAY!
  10. I deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps off my phone and… It. Feels. Amazing.
  11. My July challenge is to successfully complete Camp NaNoWriMo and I am STOKED. It’s been a while since I was this excited about a NaNo event. Maybe it was because I was so drained last November. Maybe it’s because I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders since I stepped down as ML.
  12. I got another succulent. Meet Lizzy.
  13. I got a promotion with one of my clients. That means I can focus on that I don’t have to look for supplementary contracts to pad my paydays. That also means I can really focus my spare time on my own personal writing/podcasting projects. WOOO!
  14. I’ve been spending a lot of time watching and attending AuthorTube Livestream write-ins lately and it’s really boosted my enthusiasm for writing.
  15. Finishing a short story for my critique group has also helped boost my enthusiasm.
  16. I got in a tiff with a local author on my FB about one of my FB posts. Oops.
  17. I’m really excited about my CAMP NANO PROJECT.

So much has happened in the two weeks between posts. With the new audio format for “blogging”, things are going to get shaken up here on the website.

 

In the meantime, be kind to each other and read up.

 

Hugs,

Joy

Words… Wheels… Mail… Whiskey

The Bloggy Part:

So my new story has a bit of a backstory. We’re going to hop into the Wayback machine for just a quick jaunt. Poplar Cove: The Podcast was written after a good friend suggested that we write stories that mash-up two opposing genres. I chose Lovecraftian and Soap Opera. I loved how much I could toy with the different elements of each genre. I toyed with the stereotypes and got to see how they worked together.

For this story, I wanted to try something similar so I’ve mixed up workplace drama with Lovecraftian-slasher-horror. Yes, those are probably three separate genres but… eh.

In other news, the world is an absolute dumpster fire. Seattle is a violent mess. People in Forks are being discriminated against by chainsaw-wielding, gun-toting racists (I’m not even being facetious right now). I’ve been trying to do what I can at home. I’m not going to bore you with what I’ve been doing (cause I don’t want this to be about me patting myself on the back) but I do want to share one tiny aspect: I’ve started actively looking for awesome African American artists, writers, and skaters to follow.

What I have realized, when looking at my various social media feeds, is that (other than my friends and family), most of the people I follow were just Caucasian. In addition to the wonderful people I already follow and admire, I’ve been looking for amazing POC creatives. Mostly African American and Filipinas. Hopefully, next week I can compile a list of all the wonderful new people I’m following and supporting!

 

Something I’m OBSESSED About:

I love my skates so much. Yes, I still wobble like Bambi on ice but I’m getting better.

After I’ve been upright for a few minutes, I get out of my head (or lazier, thus less tense) and I start to get the hang of it. It is a careful balance of “my feet don’t know what’s going on” and “my feet are too tired to care.”

Some ankle support and pads, just in case.

My pretty blue helmet and inline skates

I put a white toe-cap on my white quad-skates and changed the light blue laces (which matched the wheels) to the pretty purple-teal ones I had bought from Derby Laces.

30-Day Challenge Update:

I’ve been writing every day, which is great, except that it’s only been a week so… nothing too exciting. But it is nice to get back into the swing of things.

I’ve also been in skates every day so far, despite the fact that I can only really skate 20 feet at a time on the Pergo. Baby steps… Er, baby gliding-across-slick-floors.

I have also not spent any money, which has been difficult since there are beautiful wheels, laces, and other accessories I would love to buy for both my inline skates and my quad skates. There is also… Well, that story is for a different day. Specifically, next week’s edition of “Things I’m OBSESSED With”. What I will say is that this project has been a bit more difficult now that I can’t buy anything. However, I binge-bought a number of things at the end of May so items have slowly been trickling in.

 

A Drink Recipe from the Two-Headed Calf:

Backstory: The Two-Headed Calf is the dry bar we inherited from The Great Husbando’s grandparents. While it’s not healthy to romanticize the “drunk writer” lifestyle of yore, it’s still fun to do. Not be a drunk. That’s not fun. But romanticizing your passion or career can be fun if no one is getting hurt. Besides, a little libation can (sometimes) get the words flowing when I find myself feeling hindered. Please drink responsibly.

 

“Whiskey in the Darkness”

Let’s be honest. This is just a Jack and Coke with a Lovecraftian name, but who doesn’t love a classic drink with a surprise ending that may or may not have metal cylinders in the dark that may or may not contain [CENSORED FOR SPOILERS] in them. Have a “Whiskey in the Darkness” and listen to “Whisperer in the Darkness” as read by HorrorDrabble.

 

What you’re going to need:

  • Two shots of Jack Daniels (or your favorite whiskey)
  • Ten ounces of Coca Cola (or your favorite dark soda — I also like whiskey with Dr Pepper)

What you’re going to do with those things:

  • Fill a collins glass, halfway with ice
  • Pour in the soda and the whiskey
  • Stir
  • Enjoy responsibly
  • Don’t mess with aliens.

Cubicle… Crate… New… Yellow…

*I’m not affiliated or working with this company or any other company in this post.

The Bloggy Part: 

The DeVore Business and Industrial Park has been thriving in these last few weeks. The Great Husbando has been working as a trainer for a new set of cubicle drones. I’m not using this phrase in a malicious manner. Actually, I often romanticize certain things because I watch too much TV. “Cubicles” are one of these things. Since I don’t work a 9-to-5, the idea of working in one intrigues me.

You have your own space while also working with others? Fantastic!

You can put hilarious passive-aggressive notes on your cubicle wall when you don’t want to see others? Sarcasm at its finest!

You can decorate your space to show off your personality? How creative!

When you get lonely, you can poke your head into other cubicles, then run to your own when you don’t want to see people? That’s the right amount of “social” for me!

Of course, this is coming from someone who doesn’t have to deal with the fishy-smelling microwave, burnt popcorn smell from the hallway, mandatory-yet-pointless meetings, and the actual 9-to-5 work. My enthusiasm is probably misdirected.

 

Something I’m OBSESSED With:

Storytime! Okay, so I’m going to try my best not to spoil the riddles of the parcel I received from The Mysterious Package Company.* Instead, I will omit the contents of the package, while still telling you the sweet, sweet story behind it.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned it was my five-year anniversary with The Great Husbando. Our actual anniversary was a roller coaster of emotions. Sadness (when we found out our friend had passed away), happiness (at being together for over a decade and married for five), and fear. A surprising amount of fear.

Both of us had to work that Friday but I finished my workday early. I was nearly snoozing on the couch when we heard someone on the front porch. The creaky steps. The thud of a package. The knock on the door. Then more creaky steps as the person walked away.

I pondered over what embarrassing 3AM Amazon purchase had suddenly arrived on my doorstep.

The Great Husbando wondered also. He opened the door and brought in a heavy cardboard box with my name on it. I looked up at him with wide eyes.

“Nope,” he said. “I didn’t get it for you.”

He placed the box in front of me. Other than my name and address, it was unmarked. So I opened it, only to see a [REDACTED] sitting on top of a wooden crate. The [REDACTED] looked [REDACTED] and it read [REDACTED]. Mysterious, no?

Excited, I tried to open the crate but found it nailed shut. It was actually nailed shut.

With actual nails.

We tore through the garage to look for a crowbar. When we finally got it open, There were a number of things inside including a [REDACTED], a [REDACTED], and a [REDACTED] holding a [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]. My hands were shaking.

I read the [REDACTED] out loud. Halfway through the [REDACTED], The Great Husbando actually got up and waved his hands around while chiding me. “WHY ARE YOU READING IT OUT LOUD? YOU’VE SEEN HORROR MOVIES? WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”

But, I mean, I had already started so…

I finished reading the [REDACTED] out loud and continued to paw through the [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]. Then, underneath it… Would it be cliche to say that the [REDACTED] was indescribable? Maybe that’s why Lovecraft “described” his gods and monsters as such–because he had received crates from the Mysterious Package Company and didn’t want to spoil the surprise for his readers.

Seriously, the amount of detail in the experience and the actual items in the package are amazing. If your family or friends aren’t much for horror, they have other themes as well. Highly recommend. 10/10 would scare again.

So now the [REDACTED] sits on my desk alongside the wooden crate, which I love because it fits the aesthetic of my office. I even have my Miskatonic University class ring sitting on it, as well as my Cthulhu pendant. Before I die, I want to bury everything in a metal tin (or something) so archeologists in the future can dig it all up and my ghost can laugh and laugh as I watch them try to figure out the puzzle.

I digress. Honestly, I think part of the fun was seeing The Great Husbando’s reaction to the whole thing. I’m sure my reaction was interesting too but the look on his face… Hahaha!

I was convinced he bought it for me but he adamantly denied it. “I wish I could take credit for this.”

I messaged a number of friends to figure out who had done this wonderful deed. I even gave some of my friends on Discord a live unboxing (snapping pictures as I went along since I had no idea what was going on).

It turns out that it was sent to us by the voice actor behind the voice of Elizabeth Cushing-Birch on Poplar Cove. She messaged me later in the day, asking me if I had “checked the mail lately.” She had ordered the packages weeks in advance and it was just a coincidence that it arrived on our actual anniversary. Coincidence? Fate? Conspiracy? A message from the gods? Tomato, tom-Ahhhhhh!-to.

 

30-Day Challenge Update:

It’s June which means that I have a new 30-day challenge for this month. This time around, I have two things I want to focus on. Both of these things require that I set up some healthy habits:

  • a writing habit (write every day)
  • a physical activity habit (where I do something active every day)

That doesn’t sound so bad, right?

For my writing goal, I want to work on a new story. I really wanted to do my Lovecraftian cozy mystery but that story is tied to some negative emotions. Every time I sat down to write last week I froze. Maybe I’m not ready to pick it up yet? So… What am I ready for?

I guess it’s time for a new project, eh?

More about that next week. This post is long enough as it is.

Secondly, I received my skates in the mail (along with neoprene ankle supports and a pack of cushions/pads/arch support socks, just in case) so my physical activity habit is mainly going to focus around skating. Skate each day (quad or inline), at least a half an hour each day. That might mean that I just roll around on the carpet or Pergo. Or maybe I can be brave and unabashed and go… out… side… Heh. Crazy talk. (Even though our county is technically in Phase 2 now, so I might be about to go out with a friend.)

Oh, and I want to also tack on: No spending money frivolously in June. That’ll be a good habit to reintroduce my wallet to.

 

A Drink Recipe from The Two-Headed Calf:

Backstory: The Two-Headed Calf is the dry bar we inherited from The Great Husbando’s grandparents. While it’s not healthy to romanticize the “drunk writer” lifestyle of yore, it’s still fun to do. Not be a drunk. That’s not fun. But romanticizing your passion or career can be fun if no one is getting hurt. Besides, a little libation can (sometimes) get the words flowing when I find myself feeling hindered. Please drink responsibly.

 

“The Kamakaze in Yellow”

In celebration of the mysterious package I received in the mail, today’s drink is called, “The Kamakaze in Yellow.” So you can probably tell that the theme for my particular package was “The King in Yellow”. While they no longer have this particular package for sale, they do have some other ones available.

What you’re going to need:

  • 3/4 of a shot of lime juice
  • 3/4 of a shot of triple sec
  • A shot and a half of vodka
  • Some ice
  • A lime wedge

What you’re going to do with those things:

  • In a shaker, combine all of the liquid ingredients. 
  • Add ice.
  • Shake.
  • Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with the lime wedge.
  • Enjoy while reading The King in Yellow by R. W. Chambers. (optional)
  • Slowly go insane. (optional)
  • [REDACTED] (optional)