Tag Archives: weekend

Procrastinating and falling forward

It wasn't quite the weekend I intended, and then it was. That's kind of cryptic, but here's how it happened.

I needed to keep the Lisa Burton Radio line moving. I'm in the habit of telling folks two weeks out when to expect their radio interview. At one week out, I send a final proof to that week's guest, assemble, and schedule the post. That was my primary goal, because folks are counting on me to get it done. Mission accomplished.

I needed to write my last micro-fiction for October, but put it off all day Saturday. I've learned, when procrastinating on these, that something isn't quite ready yet. That was the case with the last story.

The novella, called The Hat, tried to seduce me all day. I promised myself I wouldn't start it until next weekend, and staved off the craving by writing a blog piece about the Research Sirens. This was only partially fiction. Conversia, one of the sirens, wanted me to interview some folks to get the details right. I have reached out to a medical person and a musical person, and they are willing to help me. In the comments, I also got another offer of musical assistance. It's so cool to know folks who will help out. I'm willing to consult on anything I might know about too if anyone needs it.

I spent a big part of today on email, and Sharknado Five. Yeah- yeah, these films suck, but how bad they suck is part of the appeal.

Old What's Her Face, said she needed a pedicure and asked if I could watch the dogs while she was out.

“Well, of course, Honey. Whatever you want.”

While she was gone, the stars lined up for my last micro-fiction. I wanted some confusion, and I want readers to see it right away in this story. I'm doing it on purpose, and don't want readers to think I'm just an idiot when things happen out of order. Today, I was ready to put it all on paper, and did. This one made me emotional when I wrote it, and I hope that comes across.

These micros will post, one per week, during an October event I call Macabre Macaroni. Tuesday is usually a non-blogging day for me, and works perfectly for this event. This year there are five Tuesdays, so I needed five stories. I have them now.

I've adopted the philosophy that if I'm going to fall – fall forward. That's kind of how it worked, and I'm pretty pleased with my weekend effort.

I have to make a road trip to Moscow, Idaho on Wednesday. I will drive back on Thursday. I'll check in when I can, so make sure to treat Lisa's radio guest well during my drive home. I'll weigh in on the comments as soon as possible.

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Camping, mushrooms, bulldogs

We just rolled in from our first 2017 camping trip. We left mid-day friday, because setting up in the dark sucks. Here’s Otto enjoying the sunset while dad enjoys a toddy.

I should probably crop this one down and save it somewhere. He almost glows in that afternoon sun. I didn’t get good pictures of the girls. They move around a lot, and brindle colors are like camouflage in the forest.

The next morning, the weather changed. It rained almost all day Saturday. Otto decided to rest his big, heavy, head on the table while I had coffee.

The plan was to hunt morels, my favorite mushroom. I really had no idea when to go after the goofy winter we had. We went a week later last year, and were almost too late.

Campgrounds have to be booked well in advance, and we reserved our site in January. I told Old What’s Her Face, we were going come Hell or high water. Turns out high water wasn’t too far off. The Payette river is always a violent white river, but the waves were as high as the pavement as we drove by this time.

My wife was cold all day, and decided to stay at camp. It turned out later that she must have gotten some kind of bug. She was thrilled to get some down time for reading though, so that’s a win for her.

I headed out on my own, and went directly to my best spot. I admit, I was starting to have some doubts about my chances about halfway there.

Landmark summit was white with snow. My spot is down the other side, so I went there anyway. I got lucky, because it was well below the snow line.

This isn’t to say the hunting was any good. I managed very few, but in true form; find one and there is always more than one. I gathered six big ones at one point.

When you hunt morels, you walk very slowly and look down. They aren’t colorful like Easter eggs, and I’ve even found them between my feet before. This method of hunting is why I nearly stepped on an elk calf hiding in the deadfall.

Let me tell you, when you’re all alone, in bear country, and something the size of a small pony jumps up under your feet, it wakes you right up.

False, or snow morels were out in abundance. These look almost brainlike, and vary from tennis ball to softball in size. You don’t eat this kind. There are at least three in this photo, and even they are hard to spot.

I’ve had times when I could fill coolers with good morels, but it’s been a few years. This year, I managed about half of one net bag. I have enough for a couple of nice steak toppings, or a couple of outstanding omelettes, but that’s it.

I heard they were finding them by the truckload out of Idaho City. That’s where the big fires were last summer. I just like the area we went. I like camping there, I like the mountains. I can always find a few this time of year, but I may have to make a day trip to Idaho City to keep my supply up.

Mushrooms are really a mycelium that lives underground. Remember these are a fungus, and not a vegetable. The mycelium looks like a giant cobweb. To keep things simple, I’m going to call them roots.

The edible part of any mushroom is it’s reproduction attempt. It’s not a lot different than an apple in that regard. Morels have one strange habit that a hunter can take advantage of. They invest a lot of time growing in a particular piece of ground. When that ground is damaged somehow, they panic and send up more mushrooms in an attempt to reproduce as their last act on earth. I think they’re drama queens, because the underground system can be huge, and there is one honey mushroom in Oregon that’s documented as covering several counties. Still, their strange habit is a bonus for a hunter.

Fire is the big one that everyone knows about. Deadfall trees do the same thing, and that’s where I look. I’ve found them down in the root balls before, but they’re usually ten plus feet from there. Remember this root system is pretty big. Someone blades a dirt road, I look there too. A woodcutter gets stuck, or leaves deep tire ruts in the woods, same thing. I spotted this little beauty at a deadfall.

This one appears to be a yellow morel. I also found black ones, and few of the little grey fire morels. They’re all good eating, and I wasn’t picky. I mentioned my stretchy net bag a few paragraphs ago. This is me attempting to be a good steward of the resource. Mushrooms don’t have seeds, they have spores, and distributing them is the goal of the fruit. I carry a net bag in hopes that if they are dropping spores, I will leave those spores on the forest floor.

Otto and I went on a couple of big walks through the campground when I got home. He did his “bulldog ambassador to the world” routine, and met quite a few people and dogs. He absolutely loves everyone. It was fun meeting another bulldog in camp. She was white, and had on a cute little raincoat. It was raining, so I didn’t get a picture of them.

I don’t want the girls to get left out, but I didn’t get a good photo. Here is some kind of bulldog version of tug-o-war using a stick. They might call it push-o-war, since they’re backwards.

I hope all of you had a great weekend.

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Baby Steps Today

If anyone is wondering where I've been, I've had company this weekend. My parents wanted to see the puppies while they are still puppies. It's kind of hard to argue with that. I love puppies myself. We spent most of our time visiting, and went for a nice dinner last night. My oldest son and his entire family decided to join us, my daughter, and her pseudo-boyfriend, so we had a big group. It's nice when we can all get together. It's kind of strange when you start hearing the term Great Grandma, or Great Grandpa.

Today, I dragged my generators to the garage door and started them up. I aimed the exhaust out into the driveway. My intention was to run them out of gas, but they're still going about six hours later. I put them away two years ago and haven't run them since. Old gas is the enemy of engines, and I expected more problems. We are taking the camper out next weekend, and this time we'll need the generators.

I swept out the garage, and intend to finish if the little buggers ever run out of fuel. Right now my dust pile is next to them, waiting for them to finish. Garage is looking pretty good though.

While waiting, I took my turn at puppy patrol. They're both pretty good, but Nyx sometimes doesn't remember to go to the door for a potty break. So far, so good today.

I also worked through my critiques. We met Tuesday, and I stashed them until my parents went home. Yak Guy is still a hit with the group. I need to figure out how to get all the non-fun parts finished.

I tried to talk my wife into stealing away this afternoon to see Pirates, but she wouldn't have it. I feel like I accomplished some reasonable things today.

Tomorrow is my flex day, so there is a small chance to work on the beta reads I received for The Enhanced League. It all depends on luck, but maybe I can move that project closer to completion.

What did you guys do this weekend? Hope you had a good one.

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Handicapping the coming weekend

It's been a long week at the paycheck job. I had two standup presentations this week, each with original material that I had to prepare, then rounded out my week by conducting job interviews. It's cool, because it makes the week go by, but it's tiring too.

My daughter and Old What's Her Face* are in Minneapolis tonight. My daughter is using her flight benefit for the first time, and they are spending a couple of days together at the Mall of America.

This leaves Otto and I to our own devices. He's in my lap as I type this, enjoying what we call poodle time. (He's actually a bulldog who acts like a poodle.) To make a complete confession, I think I'm coming down with something too.

In this corner is Craig, with a looming cold, a bulldog puppy that deserves a bit of attention, and a serious concern about his credit limit. The challenger is a tag team of unfinished manuscripts. One novel called The Yak Guy Project, and a collection of short stories called The Enhanced League.

The starting bell is tomorrow about dawn. Can Craig finish one of these manuscripts and still keep Otto entertained? Will Craig's wife and daughter spend more money than they should? Will some sort of illness get the better of Craig, causing him to use tissues and watch old Twilight Zone episodes when he should be writing? Is whiskey really “Good for what ails you?” Will Craig shower first, or just dive right into his writing? Will Craig succumb to the call of blog posts he needs to be writing in advance? Does typing on a moving keyboard during poodle time cause carpal tunnel?

Tune in tomorrow night to find out the answer to these questions and more.

*Entertaining Stories, protecting my wife's personal data since 2013.

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I’ve been kind of quiet around here

All my company went home Saturday. I always like to have them come, but I like them to leave too. This let us have a decent date night last night.

We went to a small, upscale Italian place downtown. The food was wonderful, and the budino dessert is one of our favorites. It was windy and cold, so we didn't take time to walk around much. Boise downtown is kind of a nice place, but not in that icy wind.

My wife has been glued to The Hallmark Channel for the last two days. Makes it really hard to read and write. I surfed Facebook and changed out my pinned tweet. There were a few emails to exchange here and there. I read a few blogs.

She bought tickets to a kids movie and took the grandkids this afternoon. With a few quiet hours, I decided to write a bit. It came out at around 2000 words on The Yak Guy Project, not awesome, but better than nothing. This time there was blood involved.

I started reading a book, but since I made good progress on it, writing seemed like the way to go tonight. I'm off tomorrow, so there is more quality time in my future. I need to do a bit of research before tomorrow, and will use the next hour to get it done. Then it's time for more Evil Dead, followed by The Walking Dead.

Sorry I didn't post more, but a bunch of company doesn't lead to interesting posts. Hope all of you had good weekends, and those who write got more done than I did.

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All Quiet on the Home Front

My company just left. We had a pretty good time, and wound up getting my dad an iPad mini for his birthday. His old Nook has it's limitations, and it appears I got him addicted to YouTube videos already.

We did a bunch of shopping that my mother had on her list, and since we went to the mall, I made a stop at Old Chicago for beer. Shopping is a lot more tolerable with a bar under the same roof. All stores should have one. My wife likes it too, because I'm more agreeable to letting her spend money. All merchants should pay attention to that one.

As far as productivity goes, it was a total disaster. Zero new words of fiction, and I didn't even manage to update this blog on Saturday. I don't think I've ever missed a Saturday in all the years I've been at this.

It's always fun having my folks come, and some things have to get rescheduled. I'll get back into the swing of things, but I've put myself into a corner for the time being. I have some reading commitments, and I need to move those to the top of my list. Since reading and writing require the same kind of solitude, I may not be writing until the reading is finished.

My plan for now is to turn reading into a kind of death march until I get it all finished. Everything else can wait. I've made commitments, and intend to make my deadlines.

The main point is that I had a good time. I feel bad for not working 100% of the time, but life is more than words on paper.

The kids are out and about, my wife went for a coffee, and the house is quiet. I'd better get started on that reading.

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Home again, home again…

I have a list of things to accomplish this weekend. I intended to jump right in and get with it, but my wife intervened. At least she chose Old Chigago for entertainment. I get to blog and have beer. I'm sure she has ulterior motives, being at the mall and all that.

I made contact with a promotion service while at the convention. I may not hire them, but there is no harm in finding out how they would brand me as an author. Part of the weekend is to follow up via email with them.

I'll probably set up another Amazon campaign too. This was moderately successful the first time, and October might make a difference in this promotion.

I need to work up my critiques, but that won't take a long time. There is a novel to finish reading too.

The new television season is starting in force. My wife managed to record some season premiers for me, but we missed one. I really like Sleepy Hollow, and didn't know it premiered this week. Now I have to look into online ways of seeing what's going on. I'm open to suggestions here.

The good news is that I'm off Monday. I can actually pay attention to my wife, and still get a few things accomplished. Therefore, tonight is all about pizza and beer, probably some covert shopping too.

I may catch up with S.H.I.E.L.D. later tonight, or may not. Depends on how the evening plays out. I'm pretty sure Agent May misses me though.

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Camping Achieved!

We wound up having a great time this weekend. The mission was to test drive everything the camper is supposed to do.

Our first night was kind of a mess. We arrived well after dark, because the actual campgrounds were full. Camp was out in the bush about 40 miles from the main highway. There is a paved road that took us most of the way in, but we took a considerable amount of dirt road before we found a spot. This camp has no WiFi, no cell service, and even the radio and television stations won't reach. (Perfect.)

Our first mission was gasoline. I managed a fast upload when the gas station happened to have WiFi.

Back at camp, we needed to test drive everything. I managed to pigtail the generators together, and make the air conditioner work. Thank God, it was in the low nineties. We tested the microwave too. These two items will not run without two generators in tandem, but it all works.

We bought a new gas can just for generator gas. Apparently it's been a while since I bought a gas can. The stupid nozzle has a safety on it – a safety that doesn't work – at all. I fiddled with it for about an hour, and without a nozzle you can pour gas, but it goes everywhere except where you want it. I looked in my tool kit, but nothing caught my eye. I thought about using my pocketknife.

I managed to pull the nozzle apart with my hands, gutted the internal parts, and got enough of it back together to fill the generators. It's pretty hard to screw up a hollow tube to use as a spout, but a team of engineers managed to invent something new. We'll be looking for a new nozzle.

We sat up our outdoor grill and built a pretty respectable kitchen under the awning. Both of us kicked back and read for a spell. I really enjoyed this part. The temperature dropped, a breeze came up, and the awning provided shade. My wife tested out the sound system. This is another thing I didn't necessarily want in a camper, but if it exists it must be tested.

Outdoor speakers

My wife doesn't mess around either. No mellow notes for her. ACDC provided the soundtrack to our afternoon.

To me, camping is all about getting away from things. I never wanted a microwave or a television, but in modern campers it isn't even an option not to have them. My wife bought a movie, and the plan was for dinner and a movie.

We spent about an hour and a half trying to make the DVD player talk to the television. (It exists, so we must test it out.) It went kind of like this…

“What the hell did you touch now?”

“Nothing! What did you touch?”

We wound up making it work, and watched a pretty fun movie called The Kingsmen. It had a graphic novel feel to it, but we both had a good time. Some of the stylized violence made me laugh out loud. (What can I say, it 's the truth.)

We fixed our dinner and dug in to watch our movie. Food out camping is never health food. In my family it's all about working on your first heart attack.

Homemade baked beans, steak, and campfire potatoes filled out the menu. We loaded our DVD, but you know what always happens. One of the nosy neighbors stops by.

Right out the camper window

Blogging is international in scope. For those elsewhere, this is a doe mule deer, so named for the ears. We have both whitetail deer and mule deer in this area. She stuck around for hours, and didn't really care if we were around or not. She nibbled the weeds and even looked in the door at one point.

This particular deer is pretty young and probably weighs all of ninety pounds. A big buck will go over two hundred pounds.

I got up early and checked for otters, but no more showed up. I was ready with my trusty cell phone too. I kept my phone nearby at all times. We camped in a meadow area instead of the deep timber. My questing bird didn't show up or I would have captured a sound bite.

On the way home we passed this pretty waterfall. We stopped to check it out. I told my wife to give me her best pinup pose. I was allowed to take this picture. She used to be a lot more fun.

It was 108 degrees when we parked the camper at the storage slot. We camped. Everything works, to a degree. We made a list of a few items we still need, but will be going out again.

I didn't outline a darned thing, didn't write a short story, and really don't regret a thing. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too.

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Another weekend update

I assume everyone is tired of hearing about my fiction by now. The promotion is over, and I got my first review of The Cock of the South. How was your weekend?

I changed out my background for some Christmas aliens. I like it.

We did a bit of shopping. I needed some more Parmesan crisps from Whole Foods. I also grabbed some smoked salmon. There is a smoked salmon Ceasar salad in our future.

We stopped for lunch at Old Chicago pizza. I made a dent in my Christmas beer tour. I really enjoyed a ginger beer from Sam Adams. Then we grabbed our Christmas tree and headed home. I stayed up late and watched the last half of the Boise State game. They ought to give that Bulldog quarterback a medal, he was awesome in the second half.

Today was all about setting up our tree. We lugged it inside and put on the base. I went up in the attic and brought down all the baubles. Here is the end result:

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I may have finished up my top secret project with Iris the fairy. I delivered the project, and will update all of you as soon as I’m allowed.

 

How many of you spent time in a musty old attic this weekend? Maybe a crawl space or a garage? You know some of you did. Was there beer and football involved? Let me hear about it.

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Guess what we did today

image

Had some weird salt & pepper shakers

My wife and I decided to make Jack o’lanterns. This is the one I made using these Halloween salt & pepper shakers for eyes. This is the first time I’ve ever peeled the skin off the pumpkin as part of this project. The potato peeler was no help, because a pumpkin has too many hills and valleys. I resorted to a paring knife and survived with all of my fingers in place.

Bills are paid, guests are travelling home, pumpkins are carved. I’m going to finish my Halloween beer tour, then I have to pack for my work seminar. No writing this weekend, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Maybe I can do some writing and publishing next weekend.

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