Hardcopy… Moneys… Yoga Mats… Gin…

The Bloggy Part:

I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut lately. That is, until I was chatting with Dark Overlord the other day. During the course of the conversation, two great flash fiction prompts presented itself like peacocks at the peak of mating season.

Feathers out, strutting their stuff.

“Look at me!”

“Tell me I’m pretty!”

Yes, they were pretty. No, I didn’t write them.

They’re still sitting in front of me, written on a couple of sticky notes. I don’t know if I’m still scared to write or if all of my emotions are still busy scrubbing me clean of any motivation but… There they sit. Waiting.

At the end of March/beginning of April, I went through a difficult time. I had a bad experience with someone concerning things not said (specifically “things not done”). It took me a while, but I think I’m over both the pain and have moved on. Looking back on the experience now, I suppose I should have learned a lesson or two from it:

  • (Cynical Lesson) Don’t trust people. Only dogs. Dogs are the only living things worth my trust (in addition to The Great Husbando).
  • (Real Lesson) I wasn’t yet ready and my lack of determination and professionalism about the experience led me to get hurt. Instead, I need to rely on people who are more serious about the matter and who take writing seriously.
  • (Something Else) I reach out for writing buddies regularly when I feel lonely and need motivation but what I really need to do is focus on writing.

With those lessons in mind, I’ve once again joined the #5AMWritersClub on Twitter. Yes, I originally joined to just meet other writers. I’ve joined again for a different reason. In the course of my early morning writing sessions, I’ve learned I am more creative in the morning.

Getting up at 5AM made me realize schedules are what keep me functioning when I’m awake. Schedules and coffee. During these last few weeks, there were a few things which may have added to my creative rut:

  • I wasn’t keeping to any sort of routine or schedule.
  • I wasn’t talking to anyone other than Husbando, especially about writing topics.
  • I rely too much on “hoping my writing friends will ask me about my writing” instead of motivating myself and just writing already.
  • I no longer turn in work to my Saturday morning critique group since we’re not meeting during the lockdown.
  • Not writing has made me miserable.

At the height of my productivity (when I pumped out short stories every week) I meticulously micromanaged my routine. That’s one of the reasons why I loved keeping a Passion Planner. I made sure every hour between 5AM and 11PM were accounted for. It feels a bit over-the-top to think about it now, but it helped me see how I spent my time.

My current hardcopy calendar won’t allow for that. Don’t get me wrong. I love my “Get it Together” planner from Sarah’s Scribbles. I might just use a different system next year.

 

Something I’m OBSESSED With:

The Great Husbando and I have recently found the joys of grocery delivery. I know we’re a little late to hop on this train but we’re here none-the-less, huffing and puffing at the back of the train cause we had to chase it down.

In one day, we ordered from Safeway and Total Wine (because we were surprised to see it as an option). Three hours later, lo and behold, there was a knock on our door. Fresh vegetables! What was this madness? Then, another hour later, a cardboard box filled with booze showed up. Why? So we could:

  1. Test out the InstaCart app’s Total Wine delivery.
  2. Make sure our bar is totally packed for the end of lockdown and we can (once again) have people over.

So The Two-Headed Calf is now stocked with vanilla vodka, Midori, and a couple more bottles of specialty booze we won’t drink often. Other than the judgemental look from the delivery guy when he dropped off the booze, it was a pretty pleasant experience!

In the midst of all the chaos and COVID madness, a Sprouts opened up nearby. I’d never been to one and I figured I could give it a go. After a couple tappy-tap-taps on my phone, a stranger came to our door. She dropped off bags that had things which said “Organic,” and “Gluten Free,” and “Coffee,” and “Kale” on them. It was glorious.

Anyway. I now had kale chips without having to make the entire house smell like a broccoli’s butthole. I had healthy snacks… which were actually healthy. This must be the height of luxury.

Honestly, though, I’ve been doing a lot of retail therapy for the past couple weeks and I should stop. I know it’s not sustainable, nor is it a healthy form of stress-relief. I am trying to at least keep my purchases to:

  • Things which will benefit the household (kitchen supplies, plants which clean the air),
  • Things which will save us money in the long run (I bought reusable boba straws so I can start making boba at home instead of going out and buying some each week),
  • Things which are good for my health (inline skates, quad skates, skating accessories, and bandages/ankle wraps–just in case)

The only exception to this rule are the doggy neckties I bought for the Director of HR. Necessity.

 

30-Day Challenge Update:

I’ve been listening to audiobooks while I do core exercises. I would like to develop a core muscle. Just one. That would be great. Hopefully, this will help me stay upright when I finally get to go out and practice skating on concrete.

Did you know I have a yoga mat? No? Me too. It was sitting in my closet, patiently waiting for me like Jim, patiently waiting for Pam until he didn’t want to wait any longer. Then my yoga mat will follow me to a gas station in the rain where it will ask me to marry it. I will say no because my yoga mat is not Jim. Also because I’m already married.

 

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.

 

“The Gin on the Doorstep”

Yes, this is another gin drink. I’m sorry if you don’t like gin.

A couple of weeks ago, I messed with/butchered/altered a few cocktail recipes and Lovecraftian-ized them for Husbando and my five year wedding anniversary. Because of lockdown, we weren’t able to go out and travel like we normally do. Instead, my goal was to bring exotic locations to us.

Then tragedy struck. We lost one of our dear friends. We’re still reeling from it.

While the original plan was to “spend one day” in Japan, one in the Philippines, and one in R’lyeh, my energy level was depleted from all of my crying. So, I just put the effort into one place: R’lyeh.

I decorated with paper lanterns and set up marine animals everywhere.

Of course, there were ingredients for drinks at the bar, including these “cultist sacrifices.”

I inflated the air mattress and set our picnic blanket on it for comfy movie-watching. It was approved by the director of HR.

I made a YouTube playlist with some ocean and marine life ambiance.

I also set up Elder Sign: Omen from the Deep at the kitchen table, and wrote up specialized drinks for The Two-Headed Calf (temporarily renamed The Cth-hula Tiki Bar and Lounge). The Gin on the Doorstep was one of those but wasn’t Husbando’s favorite. I thought it was pretty okay. Try it if you’re adventurous.

What you’ll need:

  • Two shots of gin
  • One shot of lemon juice
  • Four shots of root beer
  • A teaspoon of simple syrup
  • A jar of maraschino cherries 

What you’re going to do with those things:

  • Shake everything (except the root beer) until chilled
  • Half-fill a collins glass with ice
  • Strain over the ice. 
  • Top with the root beer
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry or fifty. Because cherries.

 

Shopping… Wheels… Audiobooks… Gin…

The Bloggy Part:

This morning I found myself thinking, “When I look back on 2020 and the pandemic, what sorts of things will I remember about this experience?”

  1. I’ve found comfort in plants and online shopping carts.
  2. We now get our groceries delivered to us like we are pharaohs. (Now to find someone to feed me grapes.)
  3. I never know what day it is. Or what time.
  4. Every day is an emotional rollercoaster, dipping down into loneliness and then back up to bursts of creative inspiration.
  5. SGN is my favorite news source.
  6. I snack too much and now I need to discover the joys of healthy snacks.
  7. We have stocked the bar and have rediscovered Elder Sign and can’t wait to hang out with friends agai–OH WAIT.
  8. Sarcasm and tone-of-voice are hard to read when you’re texting someone who doesn’t normally text you.
  9. Actively avoiding watching too much TV is much more difficult when you add another TV to a small townhouse.
  10. I like lists with nice round numbers.

 

Something I’m OBSESSED With:

One of my good friends started sending me snaps of ADORABLE rollerskates because she was thinking of buying herself a pair. Since then, she’s asked me about going out and skating together after the quarantine is over. My sense of balance is horrible and I’ve never successfully roller-anything-ed, which means I answered her with a resounding, “YES THIS IS A WONDERFUL IDEA!” Thus, we both ordered adorable death-wheels online. She got the idea off of cute Tik-Toks and (I think) wants to make her own as well. Meanwhile, all I can think about is going to see a roller derby match. Also, buying cute band-aids for my knees. ‘Cause I will need them.

My skates should look similar to these.

Being the impatient person I am, I ordered a pair of skates online but soon found out they are on backorder and I wouldn’t get them until late May. This would not do. Especially because The Great Husbando wanted to get some rollerblades as well. I did the responsible, adult thing, and shopped for rollerblades with him. Now I have a pair of blades now and have quad-skates coming in… later? They’re not in stock yet so who knows.

These have a surprising new use as well. A couple days ago, I found myself at a place where I was having trouble focusing on work. Instead of sitting in my office chair like a responsible adult, I found myself running around the house trying to finish some (albeit much needed) housework. So, I sat in my chair, strapped myself into my blades, and was trapped in them. This was under the guise I wouldn’t be able to get up and go downstairs without falling over. And it worked! Kind of.

Since then, I’ve been rolling my way around the (carpeted) upstairs of our home with ease. The Pergo laminate flooring downstairs is a different story. Much like Mario Bros, the smooth, slick underground level is much more difficult than it is here in the carpeted topside world. You see, down in the depths of the first floor, there are plenty of sharp corners and I have yet to get elbow, knee, or wrist guards. What can I say? I’m a fragile, delicate human with the stability and muscle strength of cooked pasta.

 

30-Day Challenge Update:

I am reading and listening my way through my TBR list but I still need to curb my TV-watching habits. It’s a work in progress.

 

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.

 

“Gin and Tonic”

I didn’t think I used to be a fan of gin until one of our friends mixed up my first gin and tonic. Since then, this has become one of my go-to drinks when it’s warm out or if I want something refreshing and cool. He had the heart and the cooking prowess of an Asian mom, however, and concocted the recipe “by taste.” With no actual recipe, I’ve had to fiddle with a few of the generic recipes a bit. As far as I can tell, this is as close as I can get to what he served us.

Things you’ll need: 

  • A couple of fresh mint leaves
  • A couple of lime slices
  • A couple of medium-sized ice cubes or one large ice cube
  • One ounce of gin
  • Four ounces of tonic water

What to do with those things:

  • Muddle the mint leaves and one of the lime slices in a collins glass.
  • Add the ice cubes and the gin. 
  • Add the tonic water.
  • Stir.
  • Squeeze the last lime slice into the glass.
  • Swipe the fruit around the rim of the glass and then drop it in as a garnish.
  • You can also garnish with more mint leaves. If you squeeze or pinch the mint leaves, you’ll be able to get a whiff of the mint essential oils while you drink.
  • Enjoy responsibly with a couple of cocktail straws. Unless you have a penchant for chewing on small mint fragments.