The Tax Journal will be ready for Can-Con!

I finished the tax journal for authorpreneurs today!

I had promised people that it would be ready for Can-Con, and it will be. Barring printer problems, idiots at customs and so forth, of course.

I don’t have a table at Can-Con, so I’ll have a few in my bag and a box in my room, just stop me and ask. Unless you have a table and are willing to share a corner. ¬†ūüôā

I don’t have my final printing costs yet, so I don’t know what I’ll be charging. But I can spare a buck or two to a vendor who saves¬†me¬†the effort.

Now, this is a journal specific to Canadian taxes. Is there interest in a general writer’s bullet journal? It would be prettier but have much the same¬†functionality. Fewer tax points, but more space for general journaling and story ideas.

Orlando shootings, another voice

It’s been ages since I posted, I’ve been crazy busy, and the world has just gone crazy.

After my mom’s wedding a little less than a month ago, I worked a book fair, dealt with pain levels that would make a grown man sob hysterically, attended two milestone birthday parties, started a garden, had three doctor appointments, wrote a 7 page outline, adopted a stray cat, had friends over for dinner….

For most of you, that might not sound crazy busy. But I do most of it hunched over from pain, barely able to walk. I am on morphine from the pain, and some days it doesn’t even make a dent.

I got to feeling sorry for myself. I cleared 4 garden beds (well, I cleared one, my niece cleared three) and could barely move for two days. I worked at the kitchen table because it was so much closer to the coffee machine.

Then the mass shooting in Orlando put things into perspective. I live my life in pain. Some live their lives in fear. Fear of things like that slimy little turd in Orlando.

And their fear is as real as my pain, but a lot harder to fix. Morphine wouldn’t touch it on its best day.

Most of you don’t know this, but I had a foster child in the late 80’s, early 90’s. He was high school age, failing, depressed, suicidal, and GAY. Also a gorgeous person of colour.

He was being bullied so badly at school that he’d been moved from foster home to foster home because of his anger and depression. (Way to really help these kids, Asshats!)

So I got him. I adored him at first sight. By the time he aged out of the system, he was happy, creative, and had a scholarship to university. What did I do that was so incredibly different?

I accepted him.¬† After all, who he loves is none of my concern as long as I show him it’s safe to love. Where he puts his dick is none of my business EVER.¬† (Unless his partner is abusive, in which case I try to help him get the strength to leave, but that story is none of your business.)

He’s now a strong, loving, beautiful man. He supports himself, owns his own home, has a wonderful partner, acts and sings on stage, and probably still lives in fear.

It breaks my heart. And terrifies me.¬† My son used to go to bars all the time when he was in his 20’s. He rocked that dance floor! And any of those fun-loving people out for a few drinks could have been him.

None of them were a threat to to anybody, none of them were doing anything but enjoying a night out. I look at their eager, happy photos and cry for the loss of so many lights. So many shining ones snuffed out, into darkness.

I’ve seen a couple of people celebrating their deaths. Do that anywhere I can see you and blocked will be the nicest thing to happen to you. Excuse me while I go write an execution or something, pretending it’s one of those small-minded, foul-mouthed cretins.

unsorted photos 021

My beautiful, happy boy.

My Mom’s wedding!

So, it’s been long two weeks.¬† Maybe a long month, I’ve lost track.

I went to New Brunswick on May 8th to help my mom with the last preparations for her wedding, meeting her groom for the first time. Eh, he’s OK, better treat her right, I know what he looks like now.

Goldie and George 14-5-2016.jpg

 

This is the first kiss!

He seems to be a little selfish, but then again he was single for at least 10 years, he may not be used to thinking of other people. My sweetie showed him how a confident man treats women: with respect and spoiling them at the same time.  The size of your manhood is not determined by whether you ask others if they want something when you go out for coffee. Nor is it diminished by doing what she asks you to, especially if you are gluten intolerant and have IBS and she wants you to stop with the fracking donuts!

We fixed up the house, made endless cakes and bought tons of snacks and paper plates. The reception was at Mom’s house. I got to see all her brothers and sisters, some I haven’t seen in over 5 years. It was great.¬† So was spending time with friends in person instead of just FB messenger.

The long and short of it is that I was exhausted and out of spoons by the time we started home on the 18th. Thank Gods we got to overnight at a friend’s, the 6 hour drive that day was more than enough.

So, that was last week, the weekend included two friends birthday parties. This week was a train wreck.And it’s not over yet.

I had an appointment for an mri on tuesday, arrived at 7am to find that it was booked for 730PM! Unfortunately, all the walking to and from my non-existent appointment made me too sore to hang around for 12 hours or the real appt. Rebooked for June 20th. And time CONFIRMED.

Doctor appointment on Wednesday to followup on a problem. Calendar says 130pm, went on time. WRONG. It had been rescheduled for 9am and I was too tired to check my phone messages on Tuesday. Rebooked for next week.

Went to see dear friends for dinner, started a migraine. Frack!

Home today and my house looks like we were attacked by mad bombers while we were away. But the TV is still here, so it’s our mess. I put African chicken in the 4l crock, and hambones and water into the 15l one. Then started trying to clean up.

Ever had one of those days where you can’t do A until B is done, can’t finish B until C is done and can’t do C until A is done? Yeah, that. I want chocolate and a nap.

And the house is still a disaster.¬† I’m supposed to go to my writers assoc meeting tonight and pay my dues.¬† Sigh….

I won! IwonIwonIwon!

I entered a short story contest put on by Radish a few weeks ago. Radish is an online story sharing app, kind of a pro-level Wattpad. Except that it just goes to Mac Apple products for now. (They are working on an Android app)

I entered a short story based in my world for Nets to Catch the Wind. It stars Thalia, one of the supporting characters. The contest rules were that it must involve flashbacks triggered by a shot in a bar. So I wrote some backstory to my backstory.

And it won best fantasy!

Great news to come back from Ad Astra to, eh?  Which was great on its own, btw.

So, I’m not sure how much I can say about my biggest bestest thing that happened, I’ll have to wait for permission, but it was awesome!

I also got to chat with amazing authors, buy tons of new books, and see a couple great panels. I got to party with a writer whose work I love. And… I seem to have been promised a panel or seminar on taxes and the authorpreneur at Can-Con 2016!

They want to call it “What to do with those fracking receipts!”¬† LOL, I can work with that.

 

My life so far….

Well, so far today.

Major pain from being in town yesterday. I had a Dr appt, where she doubled my morphine dose (that’s always a good sign, right?), told me the xrays of my back revealed “significant erosion” from L5 to L3, and there wasn’t enough healthy bone left to try to operate to fix the degenerating discs.

The good news was that the anti-osteoporosis meds I’ve been on for 4 years have started adding bone mass to my hips, just not the frigging spine! And she admires my upbeatness and my hopeful cheerfulness. Well, let’s be honest, dear readers. My back is Fracked!¬† I can moan and groan and be miserable, or I can love my family & friends with all my heart, throw myself into healthy cooking, my writing etc and be as happy as I can because after 36 years of this shit with my back, I’m still here. I’m still having fun.

This is where studying Stoicism comes in. I can only change what is within my power. Is a degenerating spine something in my power to change? No. But my attitude, my behaviour, and my character all are. So I choose to be happy. I choose to be strong. I do NOT choose to let the pain define me.

I love my life. I love my hubby, I love gardening (with the help of my minion Willow) and I love writing. And my back is what it is. Nothing will change it.

In other news of things to appreciate, my Yeti , who is still claiming to be a giant cat, is scary smart. His water dish was empty. He went to the sink to yowl for more. When that didn’t work, he came to my office, yowled for me to pet him, but backed out of reach. Every time I reached for him, he ran to the office door and looked at me.¬† When I followed him to the kitchen, yes he ran straight to the kitchen, he actually stood up to paw at the counter in front of the sink. It took long enough to sink in that he wanted me to follow him that I wonder which of us is smarter…

 

It’s pretty clear who he thinks is smarter.

Late again, but I have an excuse!

8000 steps yesterday, and every one hurt.

I’m supposed to do 1500-2000 steps a day. I did 4-5 X that much. Owie!

But I’m back, almost in one piece, and eager to get editing my fantasy epic.¬† April is Camp Nano, and I’ve chosen to edit my book so that it makes sense, tighten it by about 30k words, and get it ready for a couple of alpha readers.

Strange as it sounds, I’m very excited by this. I’ve taken the last 2 weeks away from working on it to clear my head and prep for my mom’s wedding next month. It didn’t totally clear, I kept getting flashes of ideas and writing myself notes.

I figure, that I’m starting April 5th, that I need to do 25-30 pages of the original manuscript per day, regardless of what it ends up in the edited version.¬† Today I did 25 pages. Go, me!

And I still can’t find my frigging dress that I bought for the wedding and put somewhere safe. You really would think I’d know better. So at least one day this week is to be spent tearing my bedroom apart.¬† Good chance to rotate the seasonal wardrobe, I tell myself. As opposed to “you idiot, where did you put the fricking dress? It matches the purse you just bought. The one that matches NOTHING else in my wardrobe.”

But, life will go on, my wardrobe will be there eventually. And my box of cool shit foe my om will go to NB with me.

Let’s be different today!

Today I am starting to organize myself for the Beltaine Craft fair on April 23rd.¬† Yes, that’s a long ways away, and yes, I do need to start this early.

Part of it is my chronic pain making the necessary bending and lifting almost impossible, and part of it is my #mybrainisajerk syndrome.¬† It works like this, I realize I need a specific item.¬† My brain says “Right, I got that sorted!”, and I promptly forget to do it. Every time I think of that item again, my brain says “We handled it, remember?”

I get to the craft show, and you know it, the item is missing.  So now I need to do it regardless of what my brain says, because it lies.

I’m also searching desperately for the dress I bought for my Mom’s wedding in May.¬† Because I put it where I can’t possibly lose it, and you guessed it…. #mybrainisajerk.¬† I have no idea where it is and it’s not in the usual places like the closet, or the top of the dresser with the purse it matches.

So, with all this going on in my head, I decided to cop out on blogging and share a recipe from my Fresh and Home-made Indian cookbook.

Coconut Chicken Curry!  I originally created this recipe for my Mom, who hates harsh or spicy curries. (But her fave Asian dish is Singapore Noodles, go figure! * Singapore Noodles are curried, FYI) She loves this recipe, even had 2 bowls the last time I made it!

This curry is sweet and creamy, though adding hot peppers, hot sauce or more curry powder will increase the heat if you like it hot.  I usually make this in the crockpot, just save the cashews and peas to the end, and toss everything else in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.  Add the peas about 15 minutes before serving, and top with cashews.  Serve with rice or quinoa.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Serves four.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup whole unsalted cashews

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt to taste

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced  (or 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste)

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup frozen peas

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

 

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the cashews in a pie plate and bake for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Lightly season the chicken with salt. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil until smoking.

Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and reduce the heat to moderate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat until smoking. Add curry powder, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion, ginger and garlic, and cook until the onion softens, about 10 minutes; if the mixture seems dry, add up to 1/4 cup of water to prevent sticking.

Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer until cooked, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the peas, pineapple and red pepper  and cook for 1 minute.

Transfer the coconut chicken curry to a bowl, sprinkle with the cashews and serve over rice.

12722017_10153215051681568_1421391997_n  Available on Amazon, Kobo, and ibooks

 

 

 

Easter family time VS Oestre observance

Easter dinner at the in-laws, nowhere near as bad as it sounds.

Rare roast lamb, Caesar salad to die for, asparagus… and plenty of wine. It may not be thanksgiving, but I have much to be thankful for.

Including the opportunity… nay, the duty…. to tease my niece about dating the son of one of our dearest friends.¬† Could we be related in a couple years?

I’d have no objection, my friends own a winery!¬† That’s the kind of family you need.

As most of you know (dear readers), I am not Christian, but much of my family and in-laws are.¬† If this is a deal-breaker for you, go on your merry way with my blessings.¬† But for those who don’t care, it may be interesting to understand how very very many types of non-Christians there are. I am a Pagan, a Celtic reconstructionist with strong Norse leanings.¬† This follows my ancestry from northern Scotland and Vinland in the pre-Christian era. Yes, I have Viking ancestors who met the local tavern wenches and settled down.

Most who identify as Pagan are some variant of Wicca, a magic influenced religion created (recreated?) in the 60’s. Ostara (or Oestre) is one of their holy days. A celebration of Spring on or around the Spring Equinox. It was originally a feast day, not necessarily holy, to celebrate the birth of the lambs and the rebirth of the natural world after winter. When I first set foot on my spiritual path, Wicca was the only open group I could find. So for many years, I followed their schedule of holy days.

But I made a semi-conscious decision a few years ago to stop.¬† I am not Wiccan, I am not a witch; I’m a druid. The holy days are different, the beliefs are very different. So too, are the morals, though ethics remain unchanged. (the difference between morals and ethics should be the subject of a future blog, it can be complicated)

I do celebrate the Equinoxes and Solstices, but no longer do anything for the add-ons: Feb 2nd, May 1st, Aug 2nd… But lets get real.¬† I still do Halloween.

I mean… Halloween, the day of the dead, the veil to the underworld grows thin and I try to commune with my father, my grandparents, the boy I wanted to date who died right after high school. I can respect a holy day like that. It speaks to me, deep in my soul. Death is not the end, it is only a new beginning.

Which circles around, back to Easter. The beginning of Spring and a new gardening season. I no longer feel silly dreaming over seed catalogues.

However you celebrate Spring, and whatever you call it; I hope that your weekend was special, filled with love and chocolate.  Mine was.

Sideways snow and other Spring moments

As I sit here, arthritis and migraine in full swing, I think‚Ķ ‚ÄúAt least it‚Äôs Spring‚ÄĚ.¬† Because it has to be damp and changing air pressure to hurt this bad, right?

But the window proves me wrong. Or proves that old adage ‚ÄúIn like a lion out like a lamb‚ÄĚ wrong‚Ķ BECAUSE‚Ķ it is snowing sideways.¬† I sit here, watching the pine and birch trees sway, and the snow going straight across the window. Side to side, no downwards momentum. And I can’t see anything past the tree line but white.¬† No neighbouring farms, no flashing lights at the town’s one and only crossroad. Nothing but white, blowing snow.snow 080308-3¬† My Winnebago, 10 feet from the porch.

This calls for coffee!  And no driving anywhere!  I declare this a PJ day.  I write from home, I can do that.

And crockpot chicken, just toss it all in there and ignore it.  My kinda cooking today.  I think I’ll make….

Lime Sriracha chicken? (page 39 of my Fresh and Homemade Asian cookbook) or Coconut Chicken Curry (page 30 on my Indian cookbook)?  Both can easily be tossed in the crockpot and ignored. At least, as well as you can ignore them with how awesome they smell.

Or I could just whimper until the love of my life makes food….

He is also home because the weather channel keeps changing when and how bad this storm will be.  All we need is the world to end in ice and snow, and him 60km away.

Prose in the Park; and busyness

This weekend the registration for authors writing in English opened up. Within 48 hours (taking time off from processing for food, family and Gotham) there was only one table left. One half-table.
Wowsers!

It was a great test of the process we worked out, and it worked! It was even pretty painless, with 2 minor screw-ups of table numbers. Which were quickly noticed and fixed in a polite, professional manner!

I am now totally psyched for the PiP festival to arrive, but must bide my time until June 4th.

Good thing I have Camp Nano coming up, editing 140k words down to less than 110k, and reworking the beginning TOTALLY should keep me busy. I and a couple friends have signed up to Camp Nanowrimo in April to set a goal/ deadline for ourselves to get our books edited. I refuse to still be editing this at next November’s Nano.

Also it’s Spring! It’s Spring! It’s Spring!¬† We shall just ignore that little blizzard scheduled for Wednesday, thank you.¬† I’ve ordered seedlings, and sweet potato sprouts, and am deciding what to direct sow, like snow peas? Yes ma’am.¬† Zucchini, patty pan and winter squashes? Hell yeah!

We’re still clearing the loft for a friend to move into. Good thing we’ve got a couple months, where did we get so much crap? Why is it being stored instead of tossed?

What are you doing to deal with spring restlessness?