Archive for the ‘brian’ Category

Weekly news roundup – The Remicade week in review

This week was a bit of this and that, but this seems to be a good headline for this post for the nonce.

 

My week got thrown for a bit of a loop because I needed to do some hard things this week, but I did them, and I’m very proud of myself for it. Let’s look at last week’s goals.

 

Last Week’s Goals:

 

Morning pages: Going for all seven days (Sunday to Saturday). I made it 5 days again – missed Friday with a migraine and Saturday to just bleahs. Grey days seem to be hard.

Writing goals: Writing will happen on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. I need to re-juggle a bit of the Advent calendar, but that shouldn’t take long. I want 2 days written, and some work on a Sapph or Spike short. Writing did not happen on either Wednesday or Saturday. It will happen today, so yay? Although this goes on this week’s goals technically. And I did the book review for Perils of Prague, which you should check out.

Non-writing Goals:  I need to write up Brian’s page for the EK 50 memorial wall. No more delays. Also, now that the caftan’s design has been agreed upon, I need to get the waste canvas on it and decide how I’m going to do this. I might try doing embroidery on the waste canvas and see how that works. Not sure yet. More progress here! I got Brian’s page done on Saturday, which really hit me harder than I thought it would. But it’s done, and he’ll be in the Memorial Garden at EK 50 if you are going. I also figured out how to do the embroidery for the caftan, and started most of a crochet bag. And I finished the embroidery for the first favor. I also figured out taxes for my father’s companion, and finally called about my car accident.

 

So yeah, in retrospect, I think this was a successful week, even without the writing I wanted to do. So, on to this week’s goals!

 

This Week’s Goals

Morning pages: Sunday to Saturday again. I’m building a good habit, even if I don’t hit the full week yet.

 

Writing goals: I need to restructure Molly for this year, since I’m not trying to do 2 Advents this year. That’s the goal for this week. Today (Sunday), I’m going to do some writing on Sapph, I think. Also, Wednesday, I am putting the two first Molly books into Archivos, so I can start working forward. Before I do any more writing on the Carter’s Cove series, I need to get the bible going.

 

Non-Writing goals: This week, I need to finish my market bag that I am crocheting for myself, and do the test pattern for Brewcie’s caftan. Then I need to measure the pattern, and measure out how much I need to make the actual trim.

 

These are all good goals, and doable. Keeping this weekly post going has really helped keep me on track, and I’m finding that I’m getting stuff done. So thank you, all, for putting up with me while I do this!

Don’t forget, Winter Storms is currently out! Catch up with the second adventure of Molly and Schrodinger!

As always, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-Fi!

 

 

Weekly news roundup – the Father’s Day edition

Okay, so it’s a day late, but hey, I spent Father’s Day with the best of dads, mine. We went and saw Solo, which was super fun and I highly recommend (as one of my friends said, Oscar-worthy it wasn’t, but it was a good Star Wars movie). So I didn’t get to post this yesterday, but hey, I’m at least admitting it! (and totally, go see Solo)

 

I’ve made the decision to not kill myself and try to write two Advent stories this year. I’m going to count last year as a lost year, and publish the story I’m working on in December as usual. I’m sorry, guys, but between work, TAPS, and writing, something has got to give. I just don’t have the time or the energy to do two of them – not and write anything else.

 

Which leads us to goals!

Last Week’s Goals:

Morning pages: Going for all seven days (Sunday to Saturday). I made it 6 out of 7 – I missed Sunday due to Father’s Day. But that’s it!

Writing goals: I have today and Wednesday to write, and I’m going to have 2 days ready to go. The newsletter will wait until I understand MailChimp a bit better. Also, I WILL finish Perils! – I did finish Perils, and I owe you guys a review of it. Here’s my mini review – it’s good. Read it. Go buy it. I also finished Day 0 for Advent (yep, another November 30 start) and started Day 1.

Non-writing Goals: 1 favor embroidered, and I need to write up Brian’s page for the EK 50 memorial wall. Also, as I now have the art, I will send in the submission I have been sitting on. – I almost finished the favor (I finished it today, actually), I got the caftan I need to start working on for a friend, and I got the submission mostly done. Brian’s page is still unwritten, because I keep crying. But I’m going to have to buckle down and do it.

 

This Week’s Goals:

Morning pages: Going for all seven days (Sunday to Saturday).

Writing goals: Writing will happen on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. I need to re-juggle a bit of the Advent calendar, but that shouldn’t take long. I want 2 days written, and some work on a Sapph or Spike short.

Non-writing Goals:  I need to write up Brian’s page for the EK 50 memorial wall. No more delays. Also, now that the caftan’s design has been agreed upon, I need to get the waste canvas on it and decide how I’m going to do this. I might try doing embroidery on the waste canvas and see how that works. Not sure yet.

 

As always, you can buy me a cup of Ko-Fi if you want!

Weekly news roundup

You know, I think one of the things I miss most about Diane Rehm retiring is that now my Fridays do not consist of two hours of the Weekly News Roundup. She used to do an hour of domestic news, and then an hour of international news, and it rounded out my week nicely. NPR, get on that, please. (Granted, I now listen to BBC Worldwide every day, so I get my news fix, but still. I miss the Weekly News Roundup.)

 

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for my personal weekly round-up. Let’s see how I did with those goals!

 

Last Week’s Goals:

Morning pages: I made it 5 of the last 7 days (Sunday to Saturday). Not bad, considering the week. I’ll take it!

Writing Goals: I wanted to have 2 days of Advent 2017 written, finish reading Perils of Prague, and set up the email newsletter. I got part of the first day written, but that’s it. I’ve set up the email list, but haven’t written the first newsletter. And I still haven’t finished Perils. (I didn’t read much this week).

Non-writing Goals: I finished the cardigan! Sadly, it’s a little small for me, but I know what I did wrong, and I’ll make sure it has a new home. I wanted to have 1 queen’s favor finished, but I got a project at work to do instead of embroidering, so I’m still working on that first one.

This Week’s Goals:

Morning pages: Going for all seven days (Sunday to Saturday).

Writing goals: I have today and Wednesday to write, and I’m going to have 2 days ready to go. The newsletter will wait until I understand MailChimp a bit better. Also, I WILL finish Perils!

Non-writing Goals: 1 favor embroidered, and I need to write up Brian’s page for the EK 50 memorial wall. Also, as I now have the art, I will send in the submission I have been sitting on.

 

As always, you can buy me a cup of Ko-Fi if you want! I’m contemplating another Patreon page, but I’m still working out the details.

 

Have a great week, folks!

 

(writing/personal) The cycle of grief isn’t linear

There are a lot of books about how grief works, and they all talk about there are different stages and you progress through them. And maybe some people do actually progress through them. I don’t.

 

In two weeks, it will be one year since we found Brian in the bathroom. I’ve gone through all sorts of feelings, and to be honest, right now, I’m approaching the anniversary kind of dispassionately. I suspect it’s numbness, rather than acceptance, and according to many of the “experts,” I should be past this stage. It may be overload. The last two years have been so jarring, so out of what I expected from my life, that I don’t know if the wound is actually healing or if it’s just settled into a quiet phase, husbanding its pain for just the right time to burst forth with another explosion of acid and tears. I suspect the latter, because I can still feel a heaviness within me.

 

I suspect I always will.

 

But I can’t live within the past, yearning after what might have been. I can’t. I watch others I love do that, and it hurts just as much as the loss of Brian and Mom does. Time is a river, and no moment lasts forever, and if you try to make it stop, it resists. And it breaks. And your world breaks, in horrible ways. Photographs are an illusion that you can stop time, freeze it forever, but you really can’t, and all the photographs do is drag you back into memories. And that can be good, but it’s not healthy to live there forever. Time was meant to move, a sinuous, winding path that we walk down until our steps falter, and then….

 

I don’t know. Maybe we drop to another path, and start again. Perhaps we get a time of rest first, or perhaps it just all ends. I really don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does either. I guess we’ll all find out in the end.

 

So what am I doing? I’m still on Whole30 (day 11 today, despite everything), and I’m sewing – my first cross-stitch project in over a year, if I remember correctly. I’m working on crocheting for Birka largesse as well. I’m writing. I’m starting my proofreading again.

 

I’m trying to live.

 

And that, in the end, is all any of us can do. Grief isn’t a straight-forward process: it’s a path of its own, and it doubles back, veers to side to side, heads off in directions that only seem possible once you start moving. It brings you to places you thought you’d lost, places you wish you had lost, and sometimes, it seems to be standing still, even though you know you have to keep moving. It’s a fog that surrounds you, lifting sometimes just enough to remind you that somewhere, there’s a sun that could warm you, but you have pull your cloak tightly around you, re-light the lantern that the wind blew out, and push forward through the clammy dankness. There’s nothing else to do.

(personal/writing/advent) 2018 – my first full year alone

I swear this year is going to be better. I won’t let it be the same way it was last year. I won’t.

 

But things are going to have to change. I’m realizing how hard it is to do things on my own – not just in terms of emotionally (because it IS hard, even if you are okay with being alone, which I am), but in financial terms. My hat is off to all you folks who have been doing this all along. I thought it was hard with two incomes. It’s so much worse with one. And it doesn’t seem like the bills get any less.

 

There are a few silver linings for the year coming up: I can work from home when I need to, which means no more real days missed due to weather or illness. My Crohns’ disease is under control, and I’m getting healthier every day.

 

I start my Whole30 food program today, so there will be random posts about that. I’m still trying to figure out how to post automatically to Facebook from here, but I’ll just have to do it manually until I can get into the guts of my website. Which I will have to do anyways, because I’m going to redesign the entire site.

 

In writerly news, I did cancel my Patreon. I’m contemplating several things, including maybe putting a tip jar out here on the site for right now. I don’t feel that I give enough right now to make a Patreon practical for me or fair to my readers. I might also get a Ko-Fe page, but I don’t know right now.

 

I’m working on the new Advent story – I will finish it by the end of January for you all. I promise. Then there are the proofs of Winter’s Storms to go through, the cover to finalize, and that will be out by April 20, which is RavenCon! And I’ll be there that weekend, with calendars and copies of both books, and Schrodinger, of course. He might even get a new hat or vest for the occasion.

 

I’m also now accepting new clients for proofreading only. My rates are:

-Up to 10k is $25

-Every additional 5K is $10

I do fiction, non-fiction, whatever. Poetry might be weird, but I’ll give it a shot. Here’s what I do for proof-reading:
I go through and pick out any misspelled words, missing words and/or phrases, and make sure your heroine’s hair hasn’t gone from blonde to brunette without a dye job in the middle of the story. I also tend to correct punctuation, mostly commas and things like that.

 

If you’re interested in that, please drop me a line at vgford@gmail.com and we’ll talk. Turnaround is based on how big your project is.

 

I guess that’s it. Happy New Year folks.

Thinking about changes

Most people think about changes this time of year. It’s the turning of the seasons, I guess: as the world settles down to renew itself during the cold winter months of the Northern Hemisphere, thoughts turn to what we could do better. I’m helping Dad adjust to the new hip (he’s a terrible patient, but he’s trying), and thinking about my own life.

 

I recently interviewed for a new position at my day job, and one of the questions that the interviewer asked me that struck a nerve was “Where do you see yourself in 6 months?”

 

My honest answer was “I don’t know.” A year ago, I could have told you guys exactly where I was going. I was going to continue writing, working at my day job, and saving for retirement. Brian and I were going to spend a year following the Red Sox after we both retired, and then we were going to buy a used bookstore and open a combination bookstore/gaming store to run in our twilight years.

 

And then Brian died. Now I have no idea what my plans are. I’m kind of adrift in a sea of possibilities, and not all of them are pleasant. While I’m lucky that I have an amazing roommate who is perfectly willing to fulfill the Red Sox/bookstore plan (and let’s be honest, I probably will run a bookstore, and I’ll probably call it CrossWinds Books), I’m not sure I’ll be wanting to do it the same way. A lot of those plans were tied up with doing it with Brian, and it hurts to think about them now.

 

I am working on the Advent story for this year, which will start going up on December 1. This year is a special treat as well, since my lovely friend Kiaya is working on something for you guys to enjoy. I’m not going to say more (yeah, I know, tease, tease), but I promise you, it’s going to be awesome.

 

And Winter’s Storm is in process, so yes, the second book should be out in time for Christmas! I’m working on the final stuff with that, and to celebrate, I’ll be doing a giveaway. A very special one.

 

More later. I’m still processing things.

Learning to live in a new normal

It’s been a difficult year. I feel like every time I sit down to write something on this blog, it’s a variation on that theme. I used to not understand how people who had lost someone could keep living in the past. Now, I’m finding it hard not to stop myself from saying things like “Oh, Brian would have…” or “I wonder what Brian would have thought of…” It’s like it’s not even consciously done. He’s a part of me, more than he’s ever been.

 

At the same time, I’m finding it hard to deal with my father doing the same thing. I’m not sure why, except that some of the things he’s sharing are things I don’t need to hear. My father’s filters are pretty much zero, and he doesn’t seem to understand that I really don’t want to discuss his and my mother’s sexual escapades. And before you guys say anything, I’ve told him this. He forgets on a regular basis.

 

So I found a caregivers support website this week, and I’m going to be exploring that over the next few weeks. I’ve also decided to go out on a limb and try for a new position at work. I’ve had the interview, and now we’ll see where it goes. It’s a change for me. I realized that I’ve been trying to figure out my new path for a while when the interviewer asked me what I thought I’d be doing in six months, and I said, “I don’t know anymore.” I’m not sure what I want to do. I know what I thought I would be doing this year. I know what I had planned on doing in the future. Now it’s all kind of up in the air.

 

Two things I do know I’ll be doing: I’m going to be a guest at both RavenCon and BaltiCon next year. I have at least one book coming out soon. And there’s a new Carter’s Cove story coming in December.

 

But after that? Your guess is as good as mine.

Dear Brian

Dear Brian,

 

It’s July now. The air is hot, and the beach is calling to me, the way it called to us. I haven’t been yet, mostly because I haven’t had time. And because I’m sure it won’t be the same without you.

 

Facebook has been showing me pictures of us. They hurt, but not as much as they did before. Sometimes, I’m even happy to see them, if only for a few moments. The pain that comes after is almost sharper for the happiness. Odd how that happens.

 

We held a “No shit, there I was with Argus” memorial Friday night at Palio, and the stories were so much fun. You would have loved to see all the people there. Bill and Maggie and April all came up, and even Murphy (Gwen’s dog) had a story. It wouldn’t have been a memorial without at least one story about a dog. You loved them so much.

 

The burial was beautiful too – and then we went to your favorite restaurant. Shawn and Kathy came up this past weekend and we went again. I haven’t been back to your grave yet, but I’m planning on going soon. I need my first visit to be alone, for reasons. Not that I don’t appreciate everything KJ and Dad have done for me, but this is something I need to do on my own.

 

It’s such a pretty graveyard, especially in the summer. Dad says there’s all sorts of wildlife that come through, and it’s peaceful. After the hectic life we led, I’m thinking you’re enjoying the peace. One day, I’ll be there with you, and we can sit and picnic and watch the years go by.

 

I miss you, my love. I miss you more and more every day, as I see things I want to share with you. I almost sent you a picture of a yellow VW Bug yesterday, before I remembered that you wouldn’t text me back, accusing me of cheating because you weren’t there to see it. I can’t pass a McDonald’s without hearing your voice teasing me.

 

And now I need to go, or I’ll dissolve into tears here at the hospital, and I don’t want to do that. So I’ll wipe my cheeks, swallow my sorrow, and go write something else. But my heart will still hurt.

 

Love, me

Dear Brian,

 Dear Brian,

 

I kind of lost it this morning. I found the garb you wore to the last event we went to, and it still smelled like you, and I just stood there in the middle of our dining room and cried, because I miss you.

 

It sneaks up on me at all kinds of weird hours. But do you know what’s worse? When I’m happy. Because I am, sometimes, and then I remember that I don’t have you to share the joke or the song or the picture with, and I feel guilty for being happy (which is stupid, I know, I know) and then I feel sad because I can’t call you or text you or even go upstairs and interrupt your damn Tanks game to share. The house is too quiet, because you aren’t here. And I’m trying to go on, but every so often, I lose my way.

 

There’s so much I want to share with you. Dumb things, like the Power Rangers movie, and the Thor: Ragnarok trailer, and the new Pokemon I caught over the weekend. Little things, like a funny meme on Facebook. And although I know people say that you’re always with me – it’s not the same. I can’t bury my face in your shoulder to cry for my mom, or for Sebastian. Please hug them both for me.

 

Your nieces and nephews are growing up so fast, I almost don’t recognize them sometimes. KJ and I are going to Billy’s wedding in May – I know you would have wanted to be there. Dad, Debbie, and I went to Kaylee’s play – she’s following in your footsteps and is a total ham. She’ll do you proud.

 

There’s so much more to say, but it’s hard to type right now. I’m going to make a cup of tea and curl up with Bear for a bit, so I can get myself back together. He misses you too.

 

We all miss you.

 

Love, Val

(writing/personal) Updates of all kinds

 Today is a writing day, and that’s a good thing. I need to get back to a routine before I go back to work in a month, and I need to get this book done. I’ve also done a few housekeeping things that I wanted to let people know about.

 

I’m deleting my LiveJournal account as soon as I finish importing everything over to DreamWidth. I won’t agree to a TOS that is in a language I don’t read, especially when they specifically say the English translation is NOT binding. Um, no. No thank you. I’m vg_ford on DW if you want to follow me. I’ll be posting some different things there, I think. I really loved LJ because I could do almost a stream-of-consciousness thing, and I think I’m going to use that to kind of mind dump before I write. And all my old stuff will be there, once the import finishes.

 

I’m also getting ready to update my Patreon page again. While I’m writing my next project, I’m also going to be working on the next Sapph book, starting with some journal entries from her diary. I need to make a wiki for that world as well, so I’m updating it as I go and not six books in (cough*Advent*cough). My paying Patrons will be able to see that as it develops.

 

I’m settling into life without my husband. It’s weird, and it’s hard sometimes, and sometimes I can actually forget for a little while, enough to pull my phone out to text him or call him, and then I remember and I hurt all over again. I’m trying to get through it. I hear it gets better.

 

Today is hopefully finishing Winter Storms. I need to get this book out to my editor so I can start the next one. I won’t be posting a lot about it yet, as I can’t, but I will be giving you guys updates as I can. Suffice to say, this book will be amazing.