Ten on Tuesday ~ Fire!

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The Ten on Tuesday prompt for 10/21 is 10 Things You Would Save If Your House Was On Fire. For the purpose of this exercise we are assuming that all of your family and pets are safe, we are just focusing on the stuff.

Huh, that’s an interesting one. First of all, it’s something we should all have in the back of our minds to begin with. It’s good to know what we’d need to grab, and where it is. But I am glad that the note was added about family and pets being safe, because they are the obvious first things to save.

So, here’s my list, in an approximate priority order (but not exact, and since they’re not all on the first floor, in the event of a REAL fire/emergency, these are not necessarily the order in which I would ACTUALLY save them).

  1. My purse. It has most of my critical items in it. If I could only save one thing, this would be it. It’s hard to get food or temporary shelter without the items in my purse. And most of the other critical documents in my life are in a fire safe. While this wouldn’t protect them against all fires, it would give them a better shot at survival than my purse has.
  2. Fire safe with important documents. This is a no-brainer. I’ve already planned for minor emergencies by putting all my important docs in here, so it’s a quick-grab item for emergencies.
  3. Box of spare keys. Partly because the key to the above safe is in here.
  4. Photo albums. Mementos like these are one of the things you hear about people missing the most once they lose their worldly goods in emergencies or disasters of one kind or another.
  5. Important jewelry. Not all of it matters, one way or the other (aka value or sentiment). But some of my jewelry has as much importance and as many memories as my photo albums, so this is high up on the list.
  6. Grandma’s paintings. My mom’s mom used to paint, and I have several of her pieces framed and on the walls. These are very important to me, and the only reason they’re not higher up the list is because they are big and realistically they wouldn’t be the first things I grabbed because of their size. Though, they probably should be at #3, right up there after the safe.
  7. My handknits. I could re-make these if it came to it, but I’d try to save them if I could. They’re special to me, since I made them.
  8. Warm clothing. I have a few favorites, and I’d try to grab those, but you never know. However, I do know that I’d need something, whether because it was truly cold or just because I was a bit shocky or in need of comfort.
  9. My laptop & its charging cord. I keep my phone on me and my iPad (along with spare mobile charging devices) in my purse, so I’d already have those, but if I had the time, I’d also grab my laptop. However, it’s not at the top of the list because I could use my phone & tablet for most everything, if it came down to that. And I have many of my most important things that are stored on my laptop backed up to the cloud somewhere, so I hopefully wouldn’t lose too much.
  10. Knitting. This may seem silly, but in a tough situation like “house on fire”, I would need the routine and comfort and activity that knitting provides.

All that said, though, let’s do the “prepare so it doesn’t happen” thing. I don’t want my house to catch on fire, thanks.

52 Books 2014: Week 42

The Girl with the Windup Heart (The Steampunk Chronicles #4)
by Kady Cross

In some respects, this latest installment of The Steampunk Chronicles feels the most like a romance novel. Not because the tone of the books has changed any, or because this one is suddenly more explicit than the rest. It seems that way rather because the title character (Mila) is very clear on what she wants (Jack) and while the “Mila becoming human” storyline is arguably the point of this whole novel (with the Finley/Griffon parts being the secondary novel plot, even as they are part of the main series arc) it seems that the way we are shown her becoming human is through Jack’s reluctance to acknowledge it.

Perhaps that’s an unfair judgment, but I don’t really feel that it is. Nor do I feel that it’s necessarily a bad thing. There is no denying that all of these books have had a romantic undertone. And as in romance novels, generally once you have met both the heroine and the hero, you know who will be pairing up with whom. This has been the case since book 1. I think the main difference here is that the conflict keeping Jack and Mila apart for most of the novel is that he refuses to see her as a possible romantic interest for himself. It’s not someone being abducted (Girl With The Iron Touch) or an internal conflict (Girl With The Steel Corset) or the threat of death if the couple doesn’t do what the antagonist wants (Girl With The Clockwork Collar). If anything, this book is more up front about being a romance-focused novel than the rest, though it is still very YA-oriented and hints at things instead of explicitly showing them.

As to the series plot (otherwise known as the Finley/Griffin plot): several things need to be said here. First, it is both nice and super annoying to know who the series villain is and to have the heroes keep confronting him. You know what (and who) to expect, which is both nice and not at the same time. One can only hope that this will eventually end, and the good guys will have finally dealt with the bad guy permanently. Second, it is nice to see minor characters from earlier in the storylines show back up. I do enjoy a good recurring minor character. Third, the best part about the recurring villain thing in this series is that the circumstances are never the same twice. The players may repeat, but the scene does not. That’s very refreshing.

Also, I have to say that I am thrilled with the way that the series arc doesn’t overshadow the novel’s arc, and they can intertwine without either being sacrificed. These two plots blend very nicely in a way that many series novels I’ve read recently don’t, and it’s a point is Ms. Cross’s favor that she’s able to do that successfully. I look forward to seeing what else this series might have in store for us, because I’ve been enjoying it so much. It seems the series is currently planned for 5 novels, which means one more. I’m glad that there’s at least that planned, because I do so enjoy this world.

WIP Weds Check-In and Shiny Things

Okay, time for another WIP Weds. But THIS TIME there is progress for the Round of Words! I promise!

MONTHLY GOALS:
  1. OCT: Prepare SF (novel project codename) characters & plot for NaNoWriMo. Working on it. I’ve even started an outline and Scrivener project.
  2. NOV: Write 50k words or more in SF.
  3. DEC: Finish the first draft of SF. When done, set aside. (No revision allowed until 1 month after completion date.)
WEEKLY GOALS:
  1. Work on writing projects a minimum of 5 days / week. 2 days so far. That’s Monday and Tuesday. Not bad progress. Not bad at all. Now if I can only continue to write during my work breaks instead of knit or read or play cell phone games, we’ll be all set.
  2. Visit and comment on a minimum of 7 other ROW blogs / week. So far I’m making progress. I’ve visited (& commented on) three ROW blogs to date.
  3. Write a minimum of 3 blog posts / week. At least one of these should be a ROW update. With this post, I’ll have made my three for the week and we’re only on Wednesday! And two of the three were ROW. Hopefully I’ll still get at least one more for the week (a book review on Friday or Saturday) but we’ll still have to see about that one.

Not bad for a Wednesday ROW check-in. And there’s still the knitting progress to show off!

Well, what I can show you, anyway. There’s one project that isn’t getting shown at all until after it gets gifted. But, there is progress. (Not on the Sweetheart Sweater, either. I’m still thinking about my options for that one, and thinking that black dye will be needed. And so I am waiting until I can be patient with the project again, instead of annoyed at it, so that I have the best chance at success with it.)

BUT, there is a new project.

This was a “cast on so you don’t explode” situation, as my S’n’B calls it. This is a pair of mostly plain vanilla socks. But I’m using Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel and star toe pattern from the Seeds in the Heart on Winter pattern. And I’ve gotten much farther than the picture shows: I’ve turned the heel on the first sock already. But I haven’t taken more than the one picture yet, so that’s all you get.

For the sock. You also get these shiny things:

I’ve been doing some more beading, too, mostly because Jen of Epbot posted about her latest experiments with resin jewelry and I HAD TO TRY IT. Looked so much fun. And you know what? It is. Here’s my go at it:

I got the metal bezels to use as forms instead of buying molds, because I figured they’d be easier and more forgiving. Now that I’ve used them – as long as the pendants turn out (they haven’t finished setting yet, and I may have overfilled a couple of them) – I will be buying some molds and making more things. Can you say Christmas presents? I can. This also has the potential for a fun project to do with my niece and my sister for a girls’ day in. Anyway, it’s been a good week so far. Hope yours has as well!

Ten on Tuesday ~ My Weekend

Happy Tuesday! How was your weekend? Here’s some stuff about mine, because…

The Ten on Tuesday topic for 10/14/14 is 10 Things You Did This Weekend.

It was a good weekend. Lots of relaxing happened. I didn’t even bother to write a to-do list, which is incredibly rare for me. (I am a list-maker.) But anyway, here are some highlights, in the approximate order in which I did them:

  1. Went to a Jamberry Nail Wraps party. This was more fun than I’d expected. A co-worker held the party, and I didn’t know anyone there besides her, but it was still fun to socialize over yummy desserts and fun nail designs. I’m not sure that I’m sold on Jamberry as my new favorite nail option, but I do like them for a change and for the nail art kind of things that I can’t do with polish. I think they will most likely end up as a good accent to my usual polish.
  2. Cooked breakfast. I’ve been cat-sitting for the neighbors lately (over now, though) so I haven’t had the time to take care of the neighbor kitties and make my own breakfast. It was nice to have the extra time in the mornings over the weekend to be able to cook rather than grabbing something to go (either a wrap from Starbucks or an energy bar from the pantry).
  3. Got my hair cut. Now that I no longer need to be able to pull all my hair up off my neck for the hot summer weather, I got it cut short (for me) to shoulder-length. I was ready for a change, and Mr. Wyrm likes my hair this length, so it’s a win-win.
  4. Had a quick visit with my dad. He was on his way through town, and we were free, so we had a bit of a visit. Short & sweet.
  5. Watched Cube. Twice. In a row. As in, we watched it, then watched the whole thing over again with commentary. Trippy movie. Very much a psychological thriller.
  6. Slept in. And it was lovely.
  7. Called about my MINI. It seems someone at MINI corporate made a mistake on the EPA paperwork, so my MINI (and the rest of the 2015’s) was delayed. Which means I have to wait another week before I might be able to get it. But I keep reminding myself that my current car is paid off, so that’s another week I don’t have to pay a car loan. It’s a poor substitute for having my new car, but it’s something.
  8. Watched Twilight with the RiffTrax commentary added in. So. Much. Fun. The RiffTrax guys are better known from their MST3K days, but they’re still doing the same fun riffs as they did then. We’ve been enjoying both their live riffs from the cinema, and their ones available for download online.
  9. Had really yummy pizza for dinner. I love pizza but am very picky about it. The crust has to be yummy. (And for me, that means thick and soft and tasty.)
  10. Watched a couple episodes of Bleach. My current anime of choice. We’re still in the 20’s episode-wise. I know this is a long series, but I’m enjoying it so far. We’ll see if I make it to the end or give up part-way through, but I’m all in for now.

Monday Summary & ROW Check-In

It’s time for the first Sunday Monday Summary of ROW80 2014 Round 4! Yay! And I’m behind schedule already. No real surprise there. I haven’t gotten my schedule back in swing yet.

MONTHLY GOALS:
  1. OCT: Prepare SF (novel project codename) characters & plot for NaNoWriMo. Working on it. Mostly in my head, but still. I’m working on it.
  2. NOV: Write 50k words or more in SF.
  3. DEC: Finish the first draft of SF. When done, set aside. (No revision allowed until 1 month after completion date.)
WEEKLY GOALS:
  1. Work on writing projects a minimum of 5 days / week. Um. Nope. I did a few days’ worth in my head, but not five. And I spent even less time writing down what I was thinking of. So, progress, but not nearly as much as I want.
  2. Visit and comment on a minimum of 7 other ROW blogs / week. Nope. I’ve been visiting blogs, sure, but not ROW blogs. And I’ve been very bad about commenting this last week.
  3. Write a minimum of 3 blog posts / week. At least one of these should be a ROW update. This one I did. Hooray! One out of three ain’t bad…

So for this week coming up, I am going to need to really get my head in the game. I need to focus. October is nearly half-way through, and I haven’t come close to plotting out SF yet. I’ll get there, though. I have a really good image of what I want the book to be in my head, and it’s exciting. Part of the reason it’s so exciting is because it’s so different than my usual. This one, if I do it right, will be a thriller. I’ve never written a thriller before. And the fantasy/supernatural element will be barely there. This is so not my usual genre, but it’s the story that’s begging to be written right now.

And that means I need to listen. Let’s do this thing!

52 Books 2014: Week 41

Shattered (Iron Druid Chronicles, book 7)
by Kevin Hearne
narrated by Luke Daniels
(contemporary fantasy)

(Warning: there will be spoilers in this review. I’ll keep them mild, but they will be there.)

To start: I do still enjoy this series. I’m starting to tire of the main series adversary (Loki) though, so I hope that the series arc ends soon. Either because the series ends or because the arc does. I have no problem with a new series arc beginning. That’s fine. Or the series can end and either be completed or a new series with the same world and characters can start. I’m fine with that, too. But I do want this particular series plot to end soon, because I’m ready for something new.

I had thought, initially, that this was going to be something new. I had thought that this book was going to be focused on Indian gods and demons. And about 1/3 of the book (a little less, maybe) was. And I loved getting some of the Indian lore. I’d love more time spent exploring that area. But then Loki showed up again, and the India part seemed almost an afterthought as a result. The good thing is that Loki seems to be arming up pretty heavily, so a big showdown should be coming up soon.

Now, the book plot: most of it is series-related. There are very few parts that are not tied in to the larger plot. I can’t even really separate what was the book plot vs. what was the series plot. (And to me, that means this one wasn’t plotted as well as most of the series. Since this wasn’t the series ender, it needed more of its own separate plot than it got.) There were two main conflicts, and one was precipitated by Loki while the other had been set up in prior novels. And I can’t point easily to a real resolution of either conflict. This was probably the biggest disappointment for me with this book.

And skipping ahead to the part I liked the most: Luke Daniels. As always, he does a great job of narration. I especially like the way each of the different POV characters (because that’s the biggest difference between this book and prior installments: the book is not mostly from Atticus’s POV with little bits of other voices. This one is split pretty evenly between THREE POV characters) has a different sound and feel. (To be fair, it is also written very well.) I also felt that the change in narration style was acceptable for this particular story. The book plot required our heroes to be split up quite a bit, so in order to get a first-hand account of what was going on, it made the most sense.

But this is a reinforcement for me of why it’s time to finish the series arc and move on with a new arc (or a new series). In order to continue with this new narration style, if Hearne decides to, it’s time to start a new arc / series. This is the “Iron Druid Chronicles”. Not “The Chronicles of the Iron Druid and his friends”.

(Random thought: if I had to guess, I would guess that there will be 9 books in this series, because of a mention in this book that 9 is a magical number among the Tuatha de Dannan. But of course, it’s just a guess.)

WIP Weds ~ Progress? What progress?

Good afternoon everyone, and happy Wednesday! That means it’s time for a WIP update. Today (unlike last week) we’re going to start with the writing. I mentioned my ROW80 Round 4 goals last week, but I’m going to include them again here now that the Round has officially started:

MONTHLY GOALS:

1. OCT: Prepare SF (novel project codename) characters & plot for NaNoWriMo.

2. NOV: Write 50k words or more in SF.

3. DEC: Finish the first draft of SF. When done, set aside. (No revision allowed until 1 month after completion date.)

WEEKLY GOALS:

1. Work on writing projects a minimum of 5 days / week.

2. Visit and comment on a minimum of 7 other ROW blogs / week.

3. Write a minimum of 3 blog posts / week. At least one of these should be a ROW update.

I’m sad to say that I haven’t actually done anything toward these goals yet. Since the Round started on a Monday (10/6), I’m hoping to use Sundays as an “Update Day” and report on my progress for the past week. But since this is a Wednesday, and I have no progress to report, this is mostly just a reminder to myself that I have these goals I want to accomplish. And now the knitting. I don’t even want to think about the Sweetheart Sweater. I could (but don’t want to) write you pages about yarn amounts and possibly ripping out swatches; and more proof that swatches lie about how much yardage you will need; and about the search for more yarn, any yarn that might work, and the possibility of overdying. I could go on and on about how I want this project to be finished and wearable, but I’m starting to think that it’s just not meant to be. I could drive myself crazy over a little bit of mohair. Instead, I’m just going to leave you with this photo, which has nothing to do with said sweater: IMG_7514.JPG Have a great hump day!