My Brain is Full

My supervisor at work says this after a long training session, and I think it’s particularly appropriate this week for a lot of people. So many extra things to do and things to think about with the holidays approaching is enough in itself, but add to that the other various things in life people are dealing with, it’s sometimes hard to be creative.

In some cases, it’s a lack of time, but for me, it’s mental bandwidth. We got some major news on the business that owns the property across the street, which necessitated a neighborhood meeting, a lot of back-and-forth, and took up some mental space. Ultimately, it’s good news, probably among the best we could have hoped for: the business managers have finally come to the realization that this location isn’t suitable for something on the scale they’re planning, which has changed and grown throughout the year. We’re still skeptical, and suspect it’s as much because they haven’t been able to attain the investment they need, but we don’t really care how they spin it as it’s a positive outcome. They tell us the land will still be developed, but in accordance with the existing zoning, so we’re fine with that. It will be interesting to see what form that takes.

What I’ve Been Reading

I finally started back into some fiction this week, after finishing another non-fiction book: The Chaos Cure, by Marla Cilley, aka FlyLady. I Flylady’s plan for getting rid of clutter and keeping my house clean back in the early 2000s when I was laid off, and it helped. While a few of the habits stuck (mostly, making my bed and cleaning out the sink every day), most didn’t, though I did go through a big declutter in 2016 after we decided we were really going to move. I do still think her plan is helpful, and have slowly gotten back into it, in a modified fashion–after all, she encourages us to make her system our own. So I was interested to see what her latest book was all about.

It’s not about her plan–that’s covered in her first book, Sink Reflections. The Chaos Cure is more of a series of tips and “hacks,” many of which I was already doing. It was a quick, easy read, and written in her casual, fun style so it was worth a look. I don’t have the brain to think of them right now, but I picked up a few new things to try as well.

What I’ve Been Writing

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This has been another week where I keep telling myself “any progress is good.” While I didn’t quite make my goal of writing five days and a total of 1,250 words, I did manage to get in three days for almost 1,000 words. The story is getting more and more convoluted, so that’s not helping either. But that’s part of the deal when you write time travel.

This week, I’m going to keep trying for that 250 words, five days. Luckily, I’m mostly ready for the holidays, with only stocking stuffers left to shop for and everything else due to come in this week (I do as much as possible online). It also helps that we kept the holidays simple this year, but who knows what else will come up!

How about you–do you know that “brain is full” feeling? Are you ready for the holidays, if you celebrate? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Any Progress is Good

The pups are ready for Christmas!

This didn’t feel like an eventful week, yet when I think about it, I got a lot accomplished. We finished decorating for the holidays, and took photos for the Christmas cards, which I ordered yesterday. I would have liked to have had this done way before now, but that just didn’t happen. They’ll still come in in time for people to get them before Christmas, so that’s what matters. 

What I’ve Been Reading

Fiction reading has been slow, as I’ve been glomming on a blog lately: A Slob Comes Clean, by Dana K. White aka Nony the Slob. I discovered her books first, which I blogged about a couple weeks ago. When I learned she started with blogging, I had to check it out. Not only am I always looking for easier ways to manage my home, her writing is pretty darn funny.

She’s been blogging for ten years, and I went back and read from the beginning. I do this with blogs every once in a while when I find one that really draws me in, and I realized it’s reading about someone’s journey that I really enjoy. If you struggle with keeping up with your house, or just want some entertaining reading that’s also informative, I highly recommend A Slob Comes Clean!

What I’ve Been Writing

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My goal this past week was to write at least five days, 250 words/day. Well, I ended up getting slightly stuck again, and I did get unstuck (thank you, Twenty Answers!) but didn’t quite hit that goal. I did write for four days, for a total of just over 1000 words. It may not be my goal, but any progress is good, so I’m happy with that. I still have some holiday-related stuff to do (mainly shopping), so I’m going to stick with the same goal for this week (and hope I stay un-stuck!).

What about you–are you ready for the holidays, if you celebrate? How are you doing with whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Do you like to read blogs (other than writing blogs, for you writers!)? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

New Traditions

Our first Thanksgiving in the new house was, as one would expect, quite different from before. For starters, it was our smallest Thanksgiving ever. Our daughter and her partner joined us, but my parents and brother weren’t able to. While it was a wonderful Thanksgiving, it didn’t seem right without them. Maybe next year!

We also had a baked turkey for the first time in close to two decades, ever since my husband discovered deep-fried turkey. In the past, he always fried turkeys for several friends in addition to ours, starting as early as 8 AM. But this year, it didn’t make much sense to buy all that oil just for ours. Our daughter is somewhat of a foodie. She baked a turkey for friends last year and wanted to do ours this year, so that’s what we did. And it was no ordinary baked turkey–hers had butter and herbs under the skin, and it turned out beyond fantastic! She says the number one trick to get a turkey that’s done on time and not dry is to not mess with it. No opening the oven door to check on it, no basting, no doing anything with it once it’s in. I’ll take her word for it!

Her partner had to work early in the morning and they didn’t get here until after three. Normally we eat by then! But this year was a late dinner, around eight. Not a problem since we often eat dinner late anyway. But by the time we were done with dinner, we were all too full (and too tired!) for the pumpkin pie I’d made.

We ate it for breakfast the next morning, and it was delicious, if I say so myself.

On Friday, we stayed around the house–that part didn’t change. My husband and our daughter’s partner got some work done on the property. I did a little cleaning, but mostly, our daughter and I took it easy.

On Saturday, we went to a Christmas tree farm and bought a real tree. My husband’s brother was allergic to them, so growing up, he never had a real tree. And the living room in our old house was too small for anything but a super-skinny fake one. We picked out a nice eight-foot tree, as high as the ceiling in our old house, then decorated. For the first time, my husband was actually excited about decorating. He didn’t have a great childhood, so has never enjoyed Christmas. But being in the new house, with the high ceiling and beams to decorate brought out his holiday spirit, and made the day really special.

Christmas decorations at the new house

What I’ve Been Reading

I read every night, but haven’t finished anything, so I’ll catch up on this next week.

What I’ve Been Writing

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My easy goal for the week served me well. I got the writing in Sunday through Wednesday, then on Thursday, I made a point to do it while waiting for the kids to get here, making for five days. Win! Making a plan that took the holiday and having guests into consideration totally worked! This week, I’ll try going up to 250 words/day, for five days.

How was your Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it? Otherwise, how was your week? Did you do anything different or unusual? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have, writing or otherwise? Please share–I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Figuring it Out

This was another week where it felt like I didn’t accomplish much, though I actually did. Not any significant work on the house on my part, though DH did some work on the grounds, mostly bush hogging to clear out the meadows where the deer hang out. I did do a cooking day yesterday though, so we should be good for meals pretty much through Christmas. Win!

Last week I mentioned that I needed to do the “write everything you know about your story” exercise. I did that, three times. As in, it took me three sessions to write everything I knew (and there’s still more). It helped, but didn’t, in and of itself, reveal what to write for the next scene.

So I pulled out another old trick I’d almost forgotten: Twenty Answers. In this one, you ask a question (usually, “what happens next?” or “what will this character do?”) then write twenty possibly answers, no matter how obvious, stupid, implausible, or mundane. Yep, including things like “everyone decides to just go home” or “aliens arrive and kidnap everyone.” The first few answers will usually be the obvious/mundane ones. You may be forced to write something ridiculous just to come up with those last few answers, but in between are usually a few gems. I didn’t even get to twenty yet and already see a few possibilities for the next scene. While I don’t know what will happen beyond that, I can get going again.

What I’ve Been Reading

The Fates Trilogy by Kristine Grayson. I read this earlier this summer, and what a fun read! I would consider these contemporary fantasy with some romance. In these books, the three Fates are real, and they’ve been fired from their jobs, and replaced by Zeus’ teenage daughters who have no clue what they’re doing. They must figure out how to make things right and help humans who also have special power also find love, while helping them. Highly recommended!

What I’ve Been Writing

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See above. This week’s going to be busy with the holiday and houseguests, and I’m also not 100% unstuck, so I’m going to drop back to 100 words a day, for five days. I also want to finish the online workshop I started back before we moved.

What have you been up to lately? Read any good books recently? How are you doing with whatever goals you’re working on, whether writing related or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you! And if you’re in the US, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Two Steps Back – Splash

No, I didn’t walk backwards into a pond (that would be cold now!). But that’s what’s been going on this week. My husband tiled our kitchen backsplash wall this week, one of many little tasks we didn’t want to pay the builder to do. I helped a little. It’s glass tile, so will be easy to clean. I’m very happy with how it turned out!

We got our first snowfall of the winter earlier this week, very early for this area! We’re not complaining, because it was still a good ten degrees warmer than Ohio (and any little bit is good), and the roads were clear. Even better, enough people stayed in that it was a very good day for me to go to the DMV to get my Tennessee driver license. Normally there is at least a two-hour wait; I got right in.

I don’t mind snow when it’s this pretty… and only stays for a couple of days.

We also had our first power failure last night. Luckily, my husband had just made a fire, so we were warm. The power was only out for about an hour and a half. One of the neighbors walked out to the street and found that there had been a wreck–someone took out a telephone pole, and the electric cables were in the street. Luckily there were no major injuries and the power company had everything fixed quickly. The fire kept the house warm enough that the heat didn’t even come on with the lights.

What I’ve Been Reading

How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White. I saw this book on another blog right before we moved. With my new house, I’d love to keep on top of keeping it reasonably clean, so this book caught my attention. It was as entertaining as it was informative, and introduced me to the concept of “slob-o-vision:” the inability to see a mess until it’s really, really, out of control (my husband totally has this LOL). If you’re looking for ideas in this area, I highly recommend this, even if you’re not really a slob. (By her definition, I’m “normal”. LOL!)

I liked that book so much, I got her other one, which I really need: Decluttering at the Speed of Life. Moving made it oh-so-obvious that we have Too Much Stuff. This book was also entertaining, and gives a bit of a different take on decluttering that I found helpful even though I have nowhere near the clutter problems she had. Also entertaining and highly recommended, especially if your challenges with keeping your home are mostly clutter-related.

Her blog, where it all started, is also entertaining and helpful.

What I’ve Been Writing

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This is where the two-steps-back comes in: I’ve been kinda stuck this week, and wound up only writing one or two days. I don’t even know how many words, but it wasn’t much. The current scene has now had two false starts; it’s time to just spend a few minutes with an old technique that used to help me tons but I’d forgotten about: spend ten minutes and write everything you know about your story. I’ll try this tonight, then see how I do the rest of the week. So my goal for the week? Get unstuck and going again!

What’s new in your corner of the world this week? Did you get snow, and how was that for you? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, writing or otherwise? I’d love to hear from you–please share in the comments!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Progress

I’m happy to report that the title refers to both the house and my writing, albeit slow in both cases.

I went back to Ohio for a few days last week, mostly for work, but I also wanted to see my parents. I also had a couple of nice surprises in that I had lunch with one of my best friends from high school, who works across the street from my client’s office, and also got to see my daughter and her partner. Work was boring, but it was stuff that needed to be done and overall a successful trip. Also the first time I drove all the way there and back by myself! The only other time I drove all the way myself was when we moved, and I had a back seat full of critters (my turtle, goldfish, and two tanks of gerbils). At least I didn’t have to worry about the 4″ of water sloshing out of the fish tank if I had to brake quickly this time.

As good of a trip as it was, I was glad to be home. For one thing, I picked a wonderfully (not) cold week to go to Ohio, and also, we typically didn’t see things like this there, though that may be more because we were in the suburbs, rather than on a ridge top:

View from our deck one evening in October

  

While I was gone, my husband was busy too. He did a bunch of work outside, and after it got cold (though not as cold as Ohio), he installed all of the drawer pulls and cabinet knobs in our laundry/mudroom and in my office. They’re a little detail, but I never appreciated how nice it is to have handles on cabinet doors and drawers until we didn’t for a month.

He also made these hooks out of antlers from a deer he got while hunting last year (also, the deer was delicious). He put these up in our bedroom, and they look great.

  

What I’ve Been Reading

As I mentioned last week, I still managed to read during all the craziness of fixing up the old house, packing, moving, unpacking, and projects here. So far this year, I’ve read 31 books, plus a short story and two nonfiction books that just weren’t doing anything for me so I didn’t finish them. I will just touch on a couple of the novels I read, both of which I really enjoyed.

On Hallowed Ground by Jansen Schmidt This romantic suspense features a Native American heroine and a hero in law enforcement. Rich, cultural details and a lot of research on the author’s part make this one of those stories that pulls you right in to the story world. Definitely enjoyable, and highly recommended for those who enjoy romantic suspense!

Biting the Curse by Stacy McKitrick was another book I enjoyed this summer. This latest installment of the Bitten by Love vampire romance series features a heroine whose every love interest meets an untimely death, until she unknowingly hooks up with Sam, whose vampire powers should protect him, but even that becomes questionable. Another enjoyable read, with plenty of suspense!

 

What I’ve Been Writing

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I met my goal this week of writing 100 words per night. Not that that’s very much, but I’ll take it! I even managed to get the writing in while I was in Ohio. That’s an accomplishment, as I usually find it hard to get to the writing while traveling. It probably helped that I went alone, rather than with my husband.

This week, I’m going to try ramping that up by just a little, to 250 words/day, for five days this week.

What about you–have you read any good books lately? What other projects have you been working on? If you’re a writer, do you find it hard to write while traveling? If not, please share your tips in the comments, as I do need to make regular trips and can use all the help I can get!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Overdue Update

Anyone who’s read this blog recently (this past year) can probably guess why I’ve been absent for the past several weeks. Yes! My brain has been stuck on house-house-house-apartments-house-house-apartments-house-house…

We’ve been to Tennessee twice since I last blogged, and there’s been a lot of progress on the house. All three people who read this are probably looking for pictures, so who am I to disappoint them?

The exterior painting is mostly done, with the exception of the porch posts and deck railings, and a few spots of trim. Also, the builder finally got rid of the big dumpster in front so I can finally get a decent photo:

    

They’ve mostly been working inside this past month. They have stained the beams, installed the tongue-and-groove ceiling in the great room, master bedroom, and my office, and have put up most of the window and door trim. Ahhh, the smell of Minwax in the evening…

When we were there in early May, our daughter and her partner joined us. It was the first time they’d been to the property, and they loved it! We went for a hike around the land. There is an old, fallen-down farmhouse on the other side of the ridge from where we’re building, and our daughter found the outhouse that went with it. She also found wild roses along our driveway, and there were wild strawberries growing on the other side of the ridge. Fun discoveries!

A lot more had been done when DH and I returned last week. Kitchen cabinets were in, and so were the built-ins for my office!

     

And in case you’re wondering, no, our entire house is not being painted mauve. That’s the primer (which was weird to me, as I’ve always seen white primer).

In addition to the house stuff, there’s also been some big changes in our real estate investments (aka my retirement). We sold the 16-unit building we owned here in Ohio, which leaves us owning only our house here. We then bought two small complexes in Tennessee, one with 10 units, the other with 13. There is a lot of paperwork involved in both selling and buying, and I’m the one who handles that, so… apartments have been very much on my mind. It helps that the new buildings came with property management in place, and they look like they really  have their act together, so once I get online banking and a few bill payments set up, our work with these should be minimal.

We’ve also started working on our current house, getting it ready to sell. My husband’s been patching walls and painting, and we’ve started to pack away personal items and get rid of clutter. We’ve already taken a load of outdoor stuff to Tennessee, and will take more once the house is under lock and key.

What I’ve Been Reading: Of course I’ve still been reading! I can’t go to sleep at night without reading first, kind of like how Beavis and Butthead can’t sleep without TV (thumbs up if you get that one!). I’m too lazy to link them all or find covers, so I’ll just list them. There were a couple of additional non fiction books I started but did not finish, that are not listed here. I highly recommend all of the books below!

  1. Soldier’s Duty by Patty Jansen. Third in her Return of the Arghyrians science fiction series, which I really enjoyed.
  2. Writing with Chronic Illness by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I found this one really helpful in seeing how someone else has dealt with this and still manages to produce a lot.
  3. Heir’s Revenge by Patty Jansen. Fourth and final book in the Return of the Arghyrians series.
  4. “Savannah’s Destiny” by Stacy McKitrick. A fun, entertaining short story that meshes her Bitten by Love vampire romances, and her Ghostly Encounters paranormal contemporary romances.
  5. Growing as a Professional Artist by Leah Cutter. Came as part of a writers bundle I bought. Some good tips on dealing with being a introvert and having needs that are different than most people (creating art).
  6. Atomic Habits by James Clear. Details why and how we form habits, and how we can control which new ones we form (and get rid of bad ones).

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What I’ve Been Writing: Uhhhhhh… not much. I started about a month ago with a greatly-reduced goal of 100 words/day, five days/week. I hit that for a couple of weeks, then hit a snag in the WIP. It was too easy to just set it aside, especially when the latest Tennessee trip came up and apartments took over my brain. I have still been thinking about my WIP though, and I think I see a way through the hangup, so I’m going to try getting back to the WIP. Since the new house, and all the stuff to do at the old one is still taking up a lot of my brainspace, I’m going to start back in with my easy goal of 100 words/day, for five days.

What’s been going on with you, or in your life? Do you sometimes feel that your brain is too full to be creative? How are you doing with whatever goals you might have? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Getting to It, Again

Things have been crazy since I last posted, three weeks ago.

In that time, we’ve sold an apartment building, realized our house was waaaay over budget (and figured out some ways we can mitigate that), and contracted to buy another apartment building. Oh, and there was a holiday in there too, for which I had to do extra cooking and cleaning (fortunately, I had help).

So yeah, no time or more importantly, brain, for writing or blogging.

The apartments are kind of a big deal, because that’s most of our retirement. We manage them ourselves, and that has made them more profitable than they otherwise would have been. We can’t exactly do that once we move, so we decided to sell them, and buy something in Tennessee. This has all involved me collecting a lot of paperwork, executing contracts, researching potential purchases, and more–enough that I’ve had no brain for writing. Fortunately, the new apartments we’re under contract to buy make good money–enough that it will help with the house’s budget overages. So it’s all good.

My husband took a few more house pictures when he went there last week to look at the apartments. The exterior is finally getting paint. The fireplace on the back porch is done, and drywall is also done. I picked out interior paint colors and emailed the builder, so that comes next.

          

What I’ve Been Reading: In the past three weeks, I’ve completed two nonfiction books, plus a short story anthology.

The Fiction River was enjoyable as they always are, and yes, there were two or three stories I skipped because they were in first person present tense. Despite the title, only a couple of the stories were romance; the others dealt with love for one’s children, family, friends, or even a place.

The Due Diligence Handbook was all about things to look for and check into when under contract to buy commercial property, which includes apartment buildings larger than four units. We are under contract to buy 23 units, so this seemed worthwhile. It really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, though, and a lot of it was not applicable to apartments, but more focused on retail, office, or other types of commercial property.

Work Optional was a good book about preparing for retirement, and was written by the author of the Our Next Life blog. Like the blog, the book goes over the financial aspects of preparing for retirement, but focuses mostly on the emotional side of it and planning what you’ll do with your time–material that isn’t well-covered in many other retirement resources. Recommended, whether you think you’ll be able to retire early or are just hoping for a traditional retirement starting in your mid-60s.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Uhhhh….. (see above). The apartment and house stuff pretty much took over my brainspace for the past few weeks. There just wasn’t anything left for writing. It was compounded by the fact that I’m in a stuck spot right now. So this week, I’m going to try to ease back into it with a very modest goal–100 words a day, for five days. We’ll see how that goes.

What about you–do you sometimes feel  like there just isn’t any brain left for writing (or something else)? Have you read any good books lately? What’s been going on in your life? And how are you doing with your goals, whatever they might be (I hope better than me!)? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Late Start, Round Two

ROW80 Round Two began last week. Or if you prefer, second quarter of the year.

And I totally missed it.

I do have an excuse reason: we were in Tennessee, a few days later than originally planned. We’d originally planned to go Thursday through Sunday, but DH was sick so we waited a few days and left on Sunday instead, after he was feeling better. I guess some people can get out their laptops and write while in the car… I’m not one of them. And by the time we got in the writing and blog just weren’t happening.

Monday was a whirlwind, though much better than the last day that busy. We started out grabbing some paint chips for the house, then looked at flooring, and that took a good while longer than I expected. But I’m very happy with what we picked out! We wanted something with the look of hardwood, but that wouldn’t be practical with two big dogs, so we went with vinyl plank. Good vinyl is very convincing, and it’s also less expensive than hardwood, so win! Did I mention we’re over budget? So double-win!

After that, we drove by an apartment building our commercial Realtor sent us info on. And while all this was going on, our Realtor in Ohio was calling us. The apartment we’re selling here is under contract, but there have been some odd things about it all, so we’ve been expecting the deal to fall through. It was supposed to close on April 15th… but the buyer decided he wanted to close last Tuesday! So DH was scrambling making phone calls to the title agency and various other players to see if that could happen. The title agency later informed us that they couldn’t pull everything together that quickly, so the buyer would have to wait. We’re supposed to close this week. We’ll see what happens!

Island countertop chosen by my husband

After checking out the TN apartment, and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we went to the kitchen cabinet vendor to confirm our cabinet choices made over email, and to pick out countertops. DH surprised me when he actually made a suggestion on the latter, and it was a bold, dramatic pattern I would have never expected from him. This countertop will be on the island, which will have black cabinets. The rest of the kitchen will have the grey stained cabinets, with black galaxy granite. We have the latter in our house now and love it (the copper fleck is great for hiding crumbs!).

Then we went to meet the builder at the house. We’d already stopped by the night before, but had some questions for him. Workers were there installing insulation. We used our paint chips to decide on the specific exterior colors (as in, other than “brown”). Since my last update, the stone has been added, deck railings mostly finished, and more of the shake siding on the center section that hadn’t been completed yet. The metal roof over the breezeway and part of the porches is done. They also put the hot tub on the porch, since it will be much more difficult to move it there once drywall goes in (soon!). Fireplace inserts were also in, and more work on the plumbing and electrical.

For the colors, most of the house will be the darker brown shown here. It’s about the same color as the decking. Trim will be the medium brown, and the shake siding will be the lighter color.

 

      

     

In other news, the unwelcome business proposed for across the street has postponed their zoning hearing for a third time. Another commercial zoning request in our area was just denied on all the reasons our opposition group is asking for this one to be denied. I hope the landowner and his employees are figuring out that the re-zoning policy does not favor them, and just give up and go elsewhere. But until they do, the neighbors and I are continuing to keep a close watch on the situation.

What I’ve Been Reading: Why yes, I still managed to do some reading. Last week, I finished Trader’s Honour, by Patty Jansen. This is a YA science fiction, and while its predecessor didn’t feel very YA, this one did, mainly because amidst saving the world (or at least her part of it), the main character was worried about college (or their equivalent), and a guy she liked. I really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to Book 3 in the series.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Despite my lack of a check-in last week, that’s been moving along, too. My goal last week, thinking we were going to TN on Thursday, was to write 2000 words, and this past week’s goal was to have been 2500. I ended up with about 2200 words last week, and 2600 this week, so happy with that. There’s bound to be some extra craziness this week with the apartment closing and paperwork collection for that, so I’m going to stick with a goal of writing five days, for 2500 words again.

What about you–how have your last couple of weeks been? Any surprises (good ones, I hope!)? How are you doing with whatever goals you may be working toward, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Family First

This week, I lowered my writing goals a bit, because I knew I’d be spending more time with my family–and family comes first in my priorities, definitely above writing. Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a good blog post about this a few weeks ago, and it’s worth the read on the importance of setting these priorities, especially when we have limited time and energy.

When regifting is cool: the bell to the left of our wedding cake topper was a gift from my mom – she received it for her 25th anniversary!

This week, we celebrated my being married to my own personal hero for 25 years. That’s a long time! And it’s been great. We’re looking forward to 25 more years, starting with an adventure moving to a new house in a new state. DH and I went out to our favorite special-occasion restaurant on Tuesday, the day of our anniversary. We’d planned to have my parents and our daughter and her partner over for a celebration at our home yesterday. My mom wound up hurting her back, so we went to see her on Friday instead, and enjoyed spending time with the kids over the weekend. My mom was feeling a bit better, and we had a nice visit (with my dad, too). And having the kids over is always fun.

So not much focus on the writing, but that’s OK.

Nothing to report on in Tennessee, but I hope to have some more house pictures soon. Oh, and this is why my husband and I didn’t buy each other any gifts–we’re buying each other a new house, LOL!

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m not going to name this week’s book, because while I enjoyed it, it really ticked me off.

I knew when I bought it that it was short, no problem. I knew it was the start of a series, so I expected that there would be some plot points not tied up at the end.

Except what it actually was, was the start of a serial.

Meaning nothing was tied up. It left off in the middle of the action, and nothing was complete.

I’ve read serials before, and it’s fine when I know that’s what I’m getting into. I’ll typically wait on them until the whole series is out, so I can grab the next book right away. In this case, there’s one more book out, but I have zero expectation that it’s finished, so I’ll pass on that. Fool me once, you know?

I also got a nonfiction book from the library that just wasn’t doing anything for me, so I let the loan expire. No big deal.

So not a good week for reading. I’ve started another novel by an author I know will deliver, and I bought an omnibus of the series, so no worries about being left hanging. I already read the first book, and it was appropriately tied up (with a few things left loose) so I have no worries about this one.

What I’ve Been Writing: With all the celebrations, I lowered my weekly goal to four days writing, of 500 words each. I hit that goal with 2200 words. Normally, I’d raise the words/day for this week, but it could be a busy one too, so I’m leaving it at 500. I’m also still getting a feel for the story, so more is pushing it.

What about you–any celebrations in your life lately? They don’t need to be a milestone like mine! How’s your reading been? Do you like serials, or stick to fully-finished books? How have you been doing on whatever goals you’re working on, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.