Muse-inks: Improvements all around

Reader, I bought Torvi a Thunder Shirt. All I have to say is a-MA-zing! I put it on her the day Phil brought it home (last Sunday) and the beast just went into the bedroom, hopped up on the bed, and curled up.

I thought, perhaps, it was an anomaly, but I started putting it on her every afternoon when we got home from work. And she was noticeably calmer.

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Here she is modelling the TS.

Then, on Tuesday, I went to my vet for Torvi’s flea and tic medication and asked about motion sickness meds. I went home with some to try.

On Thursday, Mom also came with me to obedience. Between the TS, the meds, and Mom, Torvi survived class number two without vomiting, or behaving like a twit.

Mellie haz a happy.

I’ve slowly been increasing my writing production, and I revised my goals (again). I’m pleased with my progress. I’m writing most days. Thursdays, of course, are still a write off.

Things have improved for Phil at work. The promised assistance is slow in coming, but the powers that be have eased up on his deadlines and the other demands on his time and expertise. Though not perfect, the situation should return to pre-crisis levels of stress soonish.

There’s a bit of a shake up coming at my employer, though. My manager is moving on to another assignment and my team will once again be headed by actors. We have about 35 people on the team, so we have two managers. The other permanent manager has been off on maternity leave since last fall.

I know my new manager. We’ve actually been colleagues in the past. It should be a good thing. As ever, we’ll have to wait and see.

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One bloom … two blooms … three blooms … four! Four blooms! Ahahahahaha! (My imitation of The Count from Sesame Street.)

The only negative is that, after weeks of melting, we’re getting a dumping of ten centimetres of snow today. I’ll take it. March did come in rather lamb-like. It’s going out lionish. It’s to be expected in northeastern Ontario.

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 18-24, 2018

Once again, it’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Mona Eltahawy looks at Black Panther and the anti-black racism of Egyptians. The Washington Post

Here’s a bit of amazing research: Ojibwe plants and medicinal uses. Click through to download the paper. Dibaajimowin

Garden Therapy introduces us to some crazy plant ladies.

Katie Reilly: schools can’t keep up with the record number of students seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. Time

“Holy shite! What am I seeing out here?” Hilary Brueck interviews seven astronauts about what it’s really like to live in space. Business Insider

Phil Plait: the moon shows us what it means to be human. SyFy

SciShow Psych asks, should you stop using filler words?

 

Inverse: your brain on puppies!

 

Tomorrow is Friday and I hope you have a good one (lol—it’s Good Friday, doh!).

And be well until the weekend, when I hope you’ll be spending some quality time with the people you love.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 18-24, 2018

I give you … your informal writerly learnings for the week. What else?

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to take risks with your writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft asks, how deep the darkness? Writer Unboxed

Dave King is playing on trust. Writer Unboxed

Margaret Dilloway wonders, should your main character be likeable? Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb considers serendipity, zeitgeist, and the interconnectedness of all things (in writing). Writer Unboxed

Angela Ackerman shares three ways to help quieter protagonists steal the scene. Writers Helping Writers

Jennie Nash: characters in cars, thinking, or, how to deal with the passage of time. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford offers his take on how to edit your novel.

Gabriela Pereira guest posts on Writer’s Digest: four basic steps to start building your author blog.

Sara Letourneau provides a case study on isolation as a literary theme. DIY MFA

I plumb the depths of the Baba Yaga fairy tale. DIY MFA

Tamar Sloan lists five powerful strategies to build writer’s grit. DIY MFA

Margie Lawson helps you capture “cliché play” power. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold explains how to create positive themes despite bittersweet endings. Later in the week, she answers the question, what is line editing and what should line editors do?

Nathan Bransford explains how writing changes the world.

Nina Munteanu: the gestalt nature of passion and success.

Oren Ashkenazi lists five common pitfalls of stories with deep ideas. Mythcreants

Farrah Penn tells the tale of Amy Daws, the first writer-in-residence of Tires, Tires, Tires. Buzzfeed

Emily Asher-Perrin looks at Trish Walker’s evolution in the second season of Jessica Jones: I don’t want to be with him; I want to be him. Tor.com

Michael Moreci: Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is smarter and more insightful than you’ve been told. Tor.com

And that was Tipsday. Be well until Thursday!

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Muse-inks: Obedience begins (disastrously) and baby steps

The news of the week is that Torvi and I started beginner obedience classes with Tammy St. Louis of Skiplyn Kennels.

The church where the classes take place is a 30-minute drive away. Of course, despite Mom taking up her food earlier in the day, Torvi vomited on the way there. She didn’t on the return journey, but the entire back seat was wet with drool. And she howls, she’s so miserable in the car. I felt horrible for her.

So, I’m going to see if I can find her a Thunder Shirt. If that doesn’t work, I’ll move on to the meds our vet said they could dispense.

Once at the class, I remembered that I’d forgotten to buy a 6-foot leash, her collar was too loose, her Halti was too big, and she was declared “chubby.”

We managed to get through the class without a major incident, though. Torvi was absolutely exhausted. She just perked up today.

I’ve showed Mom and Phil the exercises I learned, and we are all working diligently with Torvi. She’s already showing some signs of improvement, though we’re not sure how much of that is from the stress and exhaustion and how much is from the practice. Shrug.

All of the pets we’ve raised have been neurotic, one way or another. I don’t think Torvi will be any different.

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Here she is. That’s actually the beginning of a yawn 🙂

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And here’s a pic of the orchids’ progress. It’s kind of like Pilgrim’s Progress, but with flowers 😀

I didn’t write or work on my curation Thursday night and caught up on my curation on Friday.

Tonight, I attended a friend’s 40th birthday party, stayed for the opening of the gifts and cake, and then came home to finish this post.

I’m also working on my first critique for my group.

I’ll head out on the writing trail again tomorrow. And I’m good with that.

Progress is being made, but in baby steps. Baby steps are still steps. It’s all good.

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 11-17, 2018

It’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Kelli Foster shares 24 essential recipes for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. So what is St. Patrick’s Day has passed? Enjoy these Irish treats any time of the year. The Kitchn

Patti Neighmond: the heart gets younger with exercise, even if you’re middle aged. NPR

Yes, the headline is click-bait-y (and the writers did have some fun with it, I’m sure), but NASA is, in fact, planning robotic missions to Uranus and Neptune: NASA wants to probe deeper into Uranus than ever before. The Space Academy

I woke up on March 14th, Pi day, the Ides of March, and the first news that greeted me was the passing of Stephen Hawking. Another heartstring broken. Here is Cambridge University’s tribute to Stephen Hawking.

Yonette Joseph shares Stephen Hawking, in his own words. The New York Times

Benjamin Shingler reports on the troubling pattern emerging from the MMIWG in Quebec. CBC

Indigenous students learn to build tiny houses, from start to finish. Jules Knox for Global News.

Caris Cruz writes about Yggdrasil, the Norse world tree. Tales by Trees

And now, a feel-good story: a dream workshop with the New York City Ballet. Upworthy

 

I hope something in this small selection inspired you to create.

Be well until the weekend.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 11-17, 2018

Just a little informal writerly learning this week.

K.M. Weiland helps you spot and avoid self-indulgent writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Writing partners Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes explain how to write the good fight. Writers in the Storm

Angel Ackerman says, if you want to push your protagonist over the edge, use emotional amplifiers. Writers in the Storm

Anna Elliott shares three tips to hook your readers’ emotions. Writer Unboxed

David Corbett is yearning to be evil. Writer Unboxed

Juliet Marillier answers the question, what is fantasy, exactly? Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan stops by DIY MFA to share five ways to build your success team.

Jami Gold: if you want to deepen your story, you gotta theme it like you mean it! Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb breaks down the real odds of author success.

Eli Landes stops by Jane Friedman’s blog: there are only two types of stories—and why that matters.

Chris Winkle explains when to narrate a villain’s point of view. Mythcreants

Kelly Robson: The future we imagine is the future we get. Tor.com

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Muse-inks: Gittin’ ‘er done

I’m writing again, slowly building back up. I probably won’t write today because the weekend has gotten away from me and the Sudbury Writers’ Guild Newsletter is due. But it feels good to be getting words on the page.

At work, we’re almost at the end of the fiscal year and so somethings have settled down. Our problematic pay system is still problematic, but our employer has agreed to hold off on the collection of overpayments until all underpayments have first been issued. The union fought hard for the concession and I’m grateful, not so much for myself, though I have been affected, but for all the employees less fortunate than me facing huge overpayments or underpayments.

It’s a serious situation. On one hand, some employees haven’t been able to pay their mortgages and loans. Some haven’t been able to pay rent or for day care. On the other hand, employees are delaying retirement, or turning down promotions because they fear that their pay will be stopped, as has happened to other employees.

Progress is being made, but it’s slow, and for some, it’s already too late.

Phil’s work situation hasn’t improved. The promise of help isn’t materializing and he’s still facing a number of deadlines that he can’t meet on his own. It’s just not possible, and though consequences are continually threatened, no one is willing to explain exactly what those consequences are.

We aren’t really in the financial situation to allow Phil to retire, and he’s not willing to take a stress leave, though things are bad enough that he has considered it.

It’s incredibly frustrating and Phil can’t help but bring it all home. Our crazy bout of cold/flu (we’re heading into week three and it’s not just cough and congestion—aches, weakness, and nausea have joined the party) hasn’t helped.

Several my colleagues at work have been stricken. It’s not fun.

Torvi was spayed, chipped, and got her final vaccines this past week. With those procedures done, she’s officially transferred from the rescue’s ownership to ours. She was sent home with three days of Metacam and Trazodone (that’s an anti-anxiety med) to keep her calm. That course of treatment is now complete, and the Torvi-beast is back to her old, pugilistic self.

Dr. Andrews did a fabulous job. The stitches are internal and dissolving. I wasn’t able to get a decent picture of that, but here’s her intravenous site, fully healed. Trust me, her incision looks just as good. And, I took another picture of her in a rare, calm moment.

I’ve signed us up for beginner obedience starting this coming Thursday for ten weeks.

I hope that our Torvi stresses (relatively minor as they are) will soon be at an end.

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The orchids continue to cheer me with their bloomage.

And that’s been a week in this writer’s life.

I hope y’all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day and that the spring equinox brings some light back into your lives.

And now, it’s on to the newsletter!

Until Tuesday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 4-10, 2018

It’s a very small Thoughty Thursday this week. I blame the travel and the illen. I hope to have a little more brain in coming weeks.

John Pavlovitz: acknowledging our grief anniversaries.

Nikhil Sonnad explains how the “forgetting curve” makes learning difficult. Quartz

Manisha Krishnan: dear white people, please stop pretending reverse racism is real. Vice

Lisa Odjig, hoop dancer. Elle Magazine, the movement.

 

An awesome resource: native-land.ca Ever wanted to know what indigenous land you’re on? Now you can figure it out. Includes North America and Australia.

I hope that something in this curation got your mental corn popping.

Be well until the weekend!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 4-10, 2018

Your informal writerly learnings for the week, gentle reader 🙂

Marisa de los Santos is writing through the rough parts. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass expounds on high drama and heroism. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft: proving your protagonist has what it takes. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky discusses the ups and downs of the supporters in a writer’s life: a well-deserved expression of gratitude. Writer Unboxed

The island of misfit characters. Where intriguing characters go when they’re … not quite right. Kathryn Magendie on Writer Unboxed.

James Scott Bell: garlic breath for writers (AKA bad first pages). Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman explains how to raise the stakes by making is personal. Writers Helping Writers

A.K. Perry begins a new series on signpost scenes with the disturbance. DIY MFA

Elisabeth Kauffman answers a question about character motive in her new series, ask the editor. DIY MFA

Sierra Delarosa lists five grammar mistakes writers should avoid. DIY MFA

Peter Selgin guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: how your story’s opening foreshadows (intentionally or not) what’s to come.

L.L. Barkat, who bid farewell to blogging years ago on Jane Friedman’s blog, returns to explain why blogging may no longer be such a bad thing anymore.

Chuck Wendig responds to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tweet defining art and entertainment. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb: how story forges, defines, and refines character.

Julie Glover asks, are you sick and tired of editing your novel? Writers in the Storm

Oren Ashkenazi explains why the term “Mary Sue” should be retired. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu says, write about what you know.

Sudbury Writers’ Guild member and vice-president Vera Constantineau is interviewed on Morning North about her new fiction collection, Daisy Chained. CBC

Nnedi Okorafor: science fiction that imagines a future Africa. TED Talks

Leah Schnelbach wonders, how could I forget the liberating weirdness of Madeleine L’Engle? Tor.com

Katy Waldman rereads A Wrinkle in Time after a childhood spent enthralled by Madeleine L’Engle. The New Yorker

Alison Flood reports that Shakespeare may have annotated his own source for Hamlet. The Guardian

Be well until Thursday, my friends!

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