Monthly Goals Check-In: January 2018

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Trying to blog right now could be interesting as I’ve been locked in a tiny bathroom with only an exhaust fan and no openable window breathing primer fumes for the last three hours.

Let’s see how it goes, shall we?

In addition to all the scraping and sanding and painting, this month for Boho Barbie’s Dream Bathroom, I’ve also accomplished:

  • All of my scheduled blog posts.
  • Prepped 6 audio books
  • Updated a client’s website
  • Read 3 books
  • Started a short story submission that I’m really happy with
  • Updated my blog
  • Did some market research
  • Sorted through all my clothes and donated three kitchen garbage bags full
  • Mailed out all the packages that needed sending
  • Finished setting up my bullet journal for all of 2018
  • Made this Eliza Schuyler Hamilton dress for my niece

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So, for next month, my goals are:

  • Complete all scheduled blog posts
  • Complete all scheduled audio preps
  • Complete all scheduled edits
  • Finish short story
  • Sort bedding
  • Bring donations to the donation place
  • Finish Boho Barbie’s Dream Bathroom
  • Get house cleaned before Jess comes

What do you want to accomplish in February? Be sure to check out the other bloggers and see what’s up with them!

Jess  *  Gwen

 

Flash Fiction #74 – Dog Days Are Over

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Don’t panic…you’re in the right place. I just did some remodeling over the weekend. What do you think? Anyway, on to the post.

This month’s song fic was inspired by “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine. You can read the lyrics or watch the video and listen to the song. Or both. Or neither. Totally your call. But anyway, here’s the story it inspired.

Lizzie’s phone lay on the couch between her and Cilla, vibrating almost constantly with missed calls and ignored texts.

“What do you mean you told him no?” Cilla stared at her best friend in amazement. “Literally all you’ve been talking about this past year is how you couldn’t wait for Grant to propose. You were going to be so upset if he didn’t. I can’t believe you turned him down.”

Except that she kind of could. She’d had a feeling this would be how it would go if Grant ever asked Lizzie to marry him.

Lizzie  wiped her her eyes and nose. “I don’t know. One minute we were having dinner at that little pub down on on Cherry, and the next, he gets up and starts singing, and a bunch of diners got up and started dancing–”

“Wait,” Cilla said. “He proposed with a flashmob?”

She sniffled and nodded miserably.

“But you love flashmobs. You…you have a whole Pinterest board devoted to them.”

“I know.” She sniffled again.

“What happened then?”

“He did the whole getting down on one knee thing.”

Cilla covered her face and peered at Lizzie through her fingers. “I’m afraid to ask,” she said, her voice a bit muffled. “but then what happened?”

Lizzie grabbed a throw pillow off the couch and wrapped her arms around it, doubling over as she leaned forward. “It’s awful. I don’t even want to tell you.”

“Too late now,” Cilla muttered.

She buried her face in the cushion. “Mraphaffal nramd.”

“What was that?”

Lifting her head partway, she repeated, “I hugged him, and then I ran.”

Cilla’s mouth fell open. “Oh, honey…”

She felt bad for Lizzie, but goddamn, right now, she felt worse for Grant. Normally, Cilla would be going down with the ship of sisterhood, But it wasn’t like Grant had just proposed out of the blue. Lizzie had been dropping hints for months. Showing him flashmob proposals and talking about how Art Nouveau was the most gorgeous era for jewelry.

“Did he also happen to propose with a nineteenth century style ring?”

“Actual antique from the looks of it,” she murmmured, staring at the floor. She look up at Cilla, eyes swollen and red from crying. “Why do I do this? Why can’t I just be happy? That was everything I ever wanted.”

Cilla scrubbed her hand over her face, dread and frustration tightening the muscles in her shoulders. “How long have we known each other,  Lizzie?”

“What?”

“How long have we known each other?” she asked again.

“Since freshman year of college, so…what–nine…ten years?”

Cilla nodded. “Okay, I need to know…do you want comfort? Or do you want the truth?”

“I want a big cup of do-over.”

Cilla frowned at her. “But would you really change anything if you could do it over?”

“I don’t know–yes, I do. I would have canceled lunch today.”

“That’s not making a choice–that’s avoiding one.”

Lizzie scowled at her. “Fine. Since you seem to know all about what’s in my head, give me the truth.”

Wondering if their friendship would survive this, Cilla took a deep breath. It was too late to stop now, anyway. “You don’t want to be happy.”

Lizzie opened her mouth, but Cilla cut her off.

“Before you say you do, I want you to think for a minute about every relationship you torpedoed. It’s like once you start feeling comfortable with a guy, you start picking fights with them until they break up with you. Except Grant didn’t go anywhere–so you had to.”

Lizzie didn’t say anything. She just stared.

“I love you, Boo, but it’s like you’re afraid to be happy. You want it, but you hide from it. And if that doesn’t work, you kill it however you can.”

Lizzie sat there for the longest time–not speaking, not crying, not moving. Finally, as if she were a living marionette and someone else was pulling the strings, she grabbed her phone and stood then walked toward the door. Cilla watched her go, wondering if her calls and texts would get answered or if they’d just vibrate into nothingness on someone else’s couch.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories.

Jess  *  Kris  *  Siobhan  *  Deelylah  *  Gwen

Wordless Wednesday

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This week’s project.
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Gift from my daughter.
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Another gift from my daughter.
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Morrighan and Willow – two little loafs.
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Pretty berries out by the garage.
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Oh look. More snow.
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More berries and snow.
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My daughter wanted quiche for supper, so she got a crash course in pie crust, and sharp white cheddar, gruyere, bacon, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot quiche.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts and see what they’re up to.

Jess  *  Kris  *  Siobhan  *  Gwen  *  Jessica  *  Torrance

Flash Fiction #73 – Winter Road

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Rural winter snowy landscape

Welp, it’s the first flash fiction of the new year, and I’m staring at this picture that looks entirely too much like it looks outside and trying to come up with story that’s not me whining about how cold I am and how much I hate to drive in the snow. Both of these things are true, but me whining doesn’t make for good fiction.

*  *  *  *  *

The snow blushed pink under the glow of the early morning sunrise as Ruby walked in the tire ruts of the rarely used road that led to the farthest edge of her family’s contested property. Her boot prints from last night were still clear in the tracks, heading in the opposite direction. She supposed she could have spent the night there at the farmhouse and saved herself the trouble and strain of walking the five miles back and forth from the motel. After all, she had a key to the house.

But the estate had been tied up in probate court since her grandma had died four years earlier, and the gas and electricity had been shut off while the lawyers tried to sort out who got what and when. It was far too cold to stay there in the winter. Besides, it was a little too haunted for her tastes.

Ruby climbed the wide, but rickety, front steps and unlocked the front door. The house smelled like it always did. Old grease, stale cigarette smoke, and underneath it all, old mothballs and decay. The decor hadn’t been updated since the forties, and the whole house looked like a time capsule. Whichever relative ended up with the house could probably make a killing on antiques in this place.

Swallowing thickly, she pulled her supplies from her bag. Just like she’d done every New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, she sprinkled holy water and salt around the perimeter of each room, taking care to lay extra at the threshold of basement stairs. Making sure the dead stayed buried.

It wasn’t just that her grandfather had died down there, it was all the people he’d killed down there. Farm hands. Migrant workers. People from the halfway house looking for work. And she was doing her part to follow her grandma’s wishes–making sure the dead stayed buried.

But this was it–this was the last time she’d do it. The case would finally get a hearing sometime in the spring, and the house and its dead would be someone else’s problem. She’d be on a beach in Mexico, living off the money she’d found hidden in the back of the cupboard last night when she was looking for a can of anything edible and non-expired.

If the ghosts followed, at least she’d be warm while they haunted her.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. 

Siobhan  *  Kayleigh  *  Gwen  *  Kris  *  Jess

Flash Fiction #72 – Chances

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The last song fic of the year was inspired by Chances by Five for Fighting. Here are the lyrics and video if you want to take a peek.

Heads up: this story is probably going to be the shortest of the short. Unless you’re super new here, you know the drill, I’m averaging three – five hours of sleep a night as I frantically try to finish sewing and knitting Christmas presents. To be honest, I can’t even promise it’ll make sense since I’m pretty sure I can see through time and space at this point.

I scooped Jordan’s clothes out of the dresser drawers and tossed them into garbage bags.His games and movies were already boxed and ready to go. He was coming to get his stuff today. And if he didn’t show, I was donating all of it.

It wasn’t that I wanted to break up with Jordan–not really. What I really wanted was for him to just magically disappear from my life as if he’d never been there. I just wanted to have a do-over on the last nine months or so. It wasn’t that those months were horrible. They just could have been better.

Jordan wasn’t a terrible human being, but as it turned out, he wasn’t my favorite, either . About three months ago, he had a really bad cold, so he’d bailed on going out with the the rest of our friends. I think he was pissed that I didn’t stay home and fawn over him. But if I had, I’d probably be in jail for homicide with one of those little plastic medicine cups that comes with the jumbo bottle of Nyquil. I don’t know how I would have killed him with it, but I would have found a way, because nothing is more annoying than Jordan with a cold.

Once I was out with my friends, I realized that I was having fun for the first time in months. The rest of the time, it was like he just kind of sucked the joy out of everything. Even sledding. How the fuck can someone make sledding awful? Jordan could. And did.

I thought about all of the other times he’d cast a pall over my life. It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even enjoy having gotten into grad school (he didn’t have the money to go) or a raise at work (his boss doesn’t like him) or running her first 5K (he gets blisters when he runs.) He hadn’t started out that bad, but he’d gotten there quickly.

I finally had the last garbage bag filled with his stuff, and I dragged it out to the porch. I dropped it next to the box that had his toiletries and a bottle filled with sand and shells that he’d collected on the beach during our one and only vacation.

He’d already arrived and was loading everything into his brother’s pickup truck. He returned to the porch and looked up at me. “Do you think someday you might consider giving me another chance?”

I shook my head. “I think it’s better if we both move on.”

His brother picked up the box with the toiletries, and Jordan grabbed the bottle with the sand and shells, pulled the cork, and began dumping the contents on the ground.

“What…are you doing?” I asked.

“You can’t expect me to keep this reminder of us if you won’t give me another chance.”

I stared open-mouthed at my ex, and his brother muttered, “Jesus fucking Christ, dude. Dial back the melodrama, already.” He turned and started back toward the truck, but I heard him mutter, “And you wonder why you can’t keep a relationship.”

Okay, so that’s it for me, today. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. 

Jess  *  Siobhan  *  Kris  *  Gwen

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Holidays at My House

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The holidays at my house look a lot like this…calm, serene…quiet. But if you look closer…

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Loki’s a little intense.
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Willow’s trying to get a good view of god knows what since there’s a curtain over that window.
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Kitsune’s just confused.
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Morrighan would like everyone to leave her the hell alone so she can take a nap in her happy place.

And me? I’d just like the tree to stay upright.

Be sure to check the other bloggers’ posts to see what the holidays look like at their house.

Jess  *  Paige  *  Gwen

Top 10: Gifts for Writers

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As usual, these are in no particular order, because why change now? Also, as a gift recipient, I think you’ll find I’m pretty easy to please.

10.) Books! Booooooooooooooooooooooooks!

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9.) Cool journals.

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8.) A new iPad with a keyboard case.

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7.) Washi tape! For important bullet journal needs.

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6.) A personal chef. Because I hate cooking. And it would leave me more time to watch Poldark write.

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5.) A self-cleaning house.

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4.) A head and neck massage. I really, really need one of these.

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3.) This bracelet from Etsy. I covet it. A lot.

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2.) Time. Glorious uninterrupted time.

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1.) Aidan Turner. I promise I’d take really good care of him. I’d feed him and make sure he got lots of exercise.

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Be sure to check the other bloggers’ posts to see what’s on their gift idea list.

Jess  *  Paige  *  Kris  * Gwen