Tag Archives: Siri Paulson

Gardening and Gaiman

Just a few quick notes today.

First, I’m part of a monthly book club on Twitter. This month we’re reading Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which has just come out in paperback. (In previous months we’ve read Patricia C. Wrede’s Thirteenth Child and Diana Wynne Jones’ Fire and Hemlock.) We start the read-along and discussion on June 20, and you’re invited — just use the hashtag #20reads!

Second, I’m over at Turtleduck Press talking about my latest “ooh, shiny” obsession. Last year, you may remember, it was vegetable gardening. Well, that’s still there, but now I’ve added…drumroll please…flowers. A snippet:

I have to admit I didn’t anticipate this when the subject of buying a house first came up between my life partner and me. At the time we were living in a generic high-rise apartment building. I envisioned purchasing a lovely old house with history and personality, with enough space for us each to claim a separate office room. Location was important. Public transit was important.

A garden didn’t really enter into our priorities, or even our thoughts, beyond “oh yeah, we’ll have to mow our lawn.”

We ended up with all those things, PLUS a large urban yard with nothing in it. 1250 square feet of fertile soil*, almost twice the size of the one-bedroom apartment we’d lived in for years. Blank slate, wheeeeeee!

Read the rest at Turtleduck Press.

Editorial note: And then it became a giant field of weeds until two weeks ago when we finally caved and put down sod over most of it, but never mind that. We still have more garden than we know what to do with….

Your turn! What’s up with you?

 

Back in the Saddle

Hi all! I’m back from my vacation / Internet hiatus (more about that soon…) and eager to get back into regular writing, blogging, and other ROW80 goals.

Here’s what’s been going on…

Writing

In my last post, I talked about blowing a deadline and being badly stalled. Home renos and trip planning didn’t help. I’m pulling out of that slump now, but I don’t have momentum yet. Here’s hoping the renewed creativity continues!

To be more specific: I spent 6 hours writing last week while on a working holiday, and wrote most of a 5000-word short story. Finally! That’s the first thing I’ve finished since, oh, January. (To be fair, since then I’ve done part of a novel edit and made several attempts at a different short story.)

This past week I went back to work, so my writing time logged has dropped again. I hit just over 3 hours, finished the story and started the second draft.

Exercise

Vacation for me often means exercise is sporadic. I went swimming a couple of times, but that’s about it.

In the week since I’ve been back, though, I’ve done 30 minutes of yoga, some gardening, a whole afternoon and evening of contra dancing, and more gardening. Back on track!

Renovations

The deck/shed combo is finished! It looks great. Now to fill it with patio furniture and hanging plants and and and… That’s it for renovations this year, thank goodness.

My attention is now turning to the front and back yards. We have new sod, a vegetable patch, and several new plots — where we’ll be growing flowers for the first time ever (we’ve only been homeowners for two years). This past week we filled up 4/5 of the vegetable plot. We’ll be doing the rest in the coming week, and then it’s on to the flowers!

How was your May? What are your goals for June?

Tapped Out and Outta Here

Updates from last week, ROW80 and otherwise…

In good news, my loved one who was in hospital is fine now. Huge relief.

In other good news, I’ve sort of fallen into co-creating a book club on Twitter. This month we’re doing Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s a Tam Lin retelling. Sound like your kind of thing? Use the hashtag #20reads to join in! (And by the way, I’m @Siri_Paulson over there.)

In bad news, I’ve blown an anthology deadline. Not just any anthology, either — I’m the chief editor as well as one of the submitters — and my story was due 12 days ago. I started the story in good time, but to say it’s not cooperating is an understatement. In retrospect, I should have listened to Ripley. You know,

Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Yeah. I’ve tried every possible angle. There might still be a good story in there, but if there is, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t fit the anthology theme, and I can’t shoehorn it in no matter what I try. I think I’m gonna have to write something entirely different…and fast. (And yes, I should have made that decision weeks ago.)

That’s bad. But the worse part?

This is the second short story this year that I’ve run into the ground. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened. And my novel edit-in-progress has just…stalled.

Maybe I’m too busy. I know I have trouble when there are too many projects on the go, and this year has been full of non-writing projects (notwithstanding my declaring it the Year of Making Space…) that have taken up a lot of extra brain cells and a certain amount of creativity.

On the bright side: my house now has some awesome upgrades and will shortly have an awesome backyard. It’s kinda nice to pay attention to the place I’m living in for a change. Reminds me that I own it, you know? (Well, the bank does, but I hold the deed, so there.)

On the not-so-bright side: I never meant my house to become awesome at the expense of my writing.

I badly need to make space for real.

But that will have to wait until I’m back from my hiatus. When June hits, watch out….

ROW80

Quick updates:

Writing: I spent 4.5 hours last week trying to make that damn story work. It’s not stalled for lack of time.

Exercise: Started walking again now that the weather is finally nice, went folk dancing on Saturday night, and celebrated the season’s first weeding session on Sunday. Yay?

Renovations: The deck is proceeding apace. It’s going to have two small sheds with a roofed-over space in between. Currently trying to figure out the best way to add shade to the rest of the deck — I like deep shade, don’t like extendable awnings, want something that will sort of tie in with the roofed section, am not sure if I want lattice with climbing plants (because hey, we’ve never done this before)…yeah, problems. Oh, and the backyard will shortly have sod instead of weeds!

 

Two-week blog hiatus commences as of now. In the meantime, tell me…

Your turn! What do you do when the writing is just not coming?

 

Hospitals and Housekeeping

So…when I wrote last week that life was eating me?

Turns out that was nothing. Here’s what happened next…

Hospitals

So I spent two days this week with a loved one in hospital in Montreal, Quebec. That was scary for a while, but the scary part is over now (knock wood) and I’m slowly coming down from all that stress.

What I’m starting to remember now are the little things that happened while I was focused on my own loved one’s story.

The way the first-responder firefighters switched into French to debrief the paramedics.

The way the gurney’s legs retracted as the bed platform slid into the ambulance.

The first intake guy at the hospital, who also talked with the paramedics in fluent French (while I, despite being non-fluent, tried to eavesdrop and read the medical notes he was making on the computer — in French)…and then came over to us and said, in a clearly non-francophone accent, “How you doin’, mate?” So completely unexpected that it almost made me laugh.

(Read the rest here.)

So that was my Friday through Monday. Oy vey.

ROW80

In other news, here’s a ROW80 check-in:

Writing

The good news is I spent more than 3 hours last week working on my short story WIP. The bad news is that I’m overdue for a deadline at the indie press I belong to (Turtleduck Press) and the edit is going sloooowly. So, pressing on…

Exercise

Umm…Unless you count doing a ton of dishes for the loved one mentioned above…nada. Oh, except I climbed 19 flights of stairs today. Onward!

Renovations

Indoors renos are done, at least for this year! We’ve moved on to getting some basic cosmetic improvements for the yards, front and back. They’re all aimed at making our property look less, um, ghetto. So far:

  • removed chain-link fencing in front yard and some in backyard
  • took out rosebushes that only bloomed three weeks a year and were tied to rusty metal frames (okay, that happened a few weeks ago)
  • removed chicken wire (?!) on top of back fence
  • got rid of decrepit old shed
  • started building a deck

I have to admit that we’re not exactly DIYers and are not doing any of this ourselves. But we will be doing most (all?) of the planting and all of the gardening.

Housekeeping

Finally, a housekeeping note. I know posting has been sporadic around here, and it’s about to get more sporadic — temporarily, I hope. Starting at the middle of next week, I’ll be offline for two weeks. Don’t expect any new blogging until the very end of May. Then I’ll be back with more posts on travel, adventures in homeownership, women in SF and fantasy, books, movies, and all the other good stuff that (I hope) you’ve come to expect.

In the meantime, feel free to hang out, chat, browse the archives, and party!

 

Still Alive

Just a quick note today. Life is eating me, and will continue eating me for a while. Nothing horrible, just busy.

Don’t go away — I miss blogging, and I’ll be back!

In the meantime, how is life treating you?

 

ROW80 Week 3 Check-In

Super-quick update tonight because it somehow got to be past midnight…

In writing news, I’ve hit my 1.5 hour goal for the week. But I’m trying to make a May 1 short story deadline and I’ve got a lot of writing and editing to do before then. Onwards!

In renovation news:

  • the AC system is ready to use — though I don’t expect we’ll need it for another month at least
  • the kitchen is in steady weekend use, even though it’s still missing some things
  • next step is more landscaping, and we just met with our contractor to talk about plans for the backyard (we’re keeping it fairly basic for now, but anything better than “field of weeds” is an improvement!)

In exercise news, I’ve:

  • downloaded an app and enlisted a friend to “compete” with
  • climbed 14 flights of stairs, twice
  • walked 3 km on Monday and 6.5 km (!) on Sunday
  • done an hour-long yoga class
  • done half an hour of random workouts (mix of cardio and stretching/yoga, mostly)
  • spent around 2 hours dancing (I’m guessing…the whole event is 3 hours long, but dancing isn’t constant during that time)

You can see where my focus has been last week. This week I really need to get that story finished, hopefully without dropping the ball entirely on exercise….

That’s it for now!

 

Your Turn: Books for Earth Day

Tiger lilies in the front garden last year

Tiger lilies in the front garden last year

I’ve been on a long-weekend holiday with family, so just a quick blog post today. (ROW80 update at the bottom.)

Tomorrow is Earth Day, an event dating to the 1970s whose purpose is to draw attention to environmental concerns (like the more recent Earth Hour). I’ve written before about books for Earth Day, so this time I’d like to turn it over to you.

What books would be on your recommended reading list for Earth Day?

They can be cautionary tales from science fiction. They can be stories (fiction or otherwise) about living close to the land. They can be how-to books about urban farming. Or whatever…you decide. I’d love to hear from you!

ROW80 Updates

In writing news, I squeaked past my weekly goal of 1.5 hours. Back on track!

In renovation news:

  • the AC installation is finished — awaiting one final visit to turn on and “tune” the system
  • the drywall “bulkheads” are all painted — most to blend in, one to stand out (purple feature wall in the dining room!)
  • the kitchen has been used for cooking — it’s still missing some key pieces, like a dishrack and a garbage bin, but it’s getting there
  • the landscaping is continuing — the chain-link fence in the front and some “weed” trees have come down, and the beds in the front are all cleared of junk (and tulips are coming up!)

In exercise news, I’ve done:

  • lots of stair-climbing while cleaning up for family visit over Easter
  • lots of walking with family — 3 km Friday, 4 km Saturday, 2.2 km Sunday (and 3 km today, but that counts for the coming week)

I’m trying to gear up for a family hiking trip at the end of July, but this weekend’s walking has shown me I have a looong way to go!