STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)


Also, don't forget to visit Kaylia's Official Website where you can get information about Kaylia's upcoming events, and learn more about her free lance writing and other publications.

Today's To Do

Pay Rent
Pay COBRA
Not pass out
Balance Checkbook
Water plants
Take photos of weird green things growing in flower beds and ask friends if they are weeds and thus must be killed or my actual flowers in which case they must be protected and loved.
Laundry: 3 loads, this includes folding the clean stuff
Finish reading the Kaiju draft
Write next chapter in Meyla story
Maybe write the next chapter after that
Start reading Q&A for next month's book club
Scrub the bottom of the soup pot again (from the gross burnt icky soup that I made for last month's book club)
Send apology notes to people who were nice enough to suffer through eating some of gross brunt soup.
Clean the cat's bathroom
Think about cleaning my own bathroom
Do something to get a bit of exercise
Write To Do List

Wow, Just Wow


Wow.

Just…. Wow.

The San Francisco Writers Conference I just attended changed my life. Seriously. I learned so much, I networked, I was inspired, I was motivated, I was given vital information I didn’t even know I was missing…. 

And I was carded by agents (meaning they gave me their cards and asked me to sent them my stuff.)

Again, wow.

The thing is, I know that they liked my ideas, liked 'em enough to ask to read the whole thing at least. This doesn't mean they will like my writing. I mean, a written idea is very different than a talk about idea. So, let's not get too crazy. There is a very real and very likely chance that after they get and read my written execution of the idea, they won't like it. If they do, then there are multiple steps in regards to editing before it can be shopped to a publishing house, and even then there is no promise that anyone will want to buy it and put it out there on the market. 

So this is a big deal, but it isn't an end point.

I wasn't even going to pitch; my stuff isn’t done. But, I wanted the practice so I went in planning to wing it and chalk the whole thing up to experience/practice for next year. And I got multiple positive results. Which means I am now home and obsessing over word count, word choice, plot points, and diction.

In other words, I am going a bit MIA for a bit.

To finish this novel. To take the next step.... just one of many many many to come.

Because for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can.

Wow.

Soul Roots

It turns out gardening is good for my writing and for my soul.

I turn my itunes up, Rolling Stones, ABBA, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and move dirt around. In my head I am thinking, creating, imagining people, places, things. I am purposely NOT thinking about other thins, real life things, hopes and dreams, and possible regret type things.

Plus,  sometimes it is hard to think while actually writing. Sometimes it is hard to write with Facebook and an email account always there.

But why gardening? Why this sudden fascination with plants? I don’t have a green thumb, I have whatever the opposite is. And yet…

Actually I know exactly why I am suddenly looking up the difference between perennials and annuals on Wikipedia, walking to the hardware store to buy a shovel, snapping photos of plants and flowers in other people’s yards.

My mother.

Okay, let me explain.

First, there was a sunny day. I am not working right now, and the apartment, though big, can sometimes feel a bit stifling. But where to go? I don’t have much money, I don’t really like wandering the city alone (especially since I don’t know anyone local quite yet and the Maifan-San is out of town). Plus, the weather has been cold.

And then there was the sunny day and I found myself on the back patio sitting in the sunshine and thinking “Nifty!”

The patio is good sized but ringed in dirt. A bit uninspiring, to say the least. I thought, “I wonder how much work it would take to make it pretty back here.”

Like many thoughts, this one came… and then went.

The next day, another rather nice sunny day, I called my folks. In passing my mother mentioned that they are looking to relocate (something I vaguely sort of knew)… relocate within the next few years (okay… that is a bit faster than I had thought..) … relocate in the next few years to a place far far away, somewhere like Idaho potentially.

Whoa!

Again, I know my folks want to move away from where they are currently living. With my youngest sister in her sophomore year of college it isn’t surprising that they are now thinking “next few years” instead of “at some point down the line.”

And… yeah, Idaho has been on the table before. As has Colorado. So, again not shocking.

But for some reason it hit me. 

Life is moving on, things are changing. People are getting older. I have a dear friend who recently los her father. The Maifan-San’s grandmother died last month. Several friends are getting married. Many more are having babies. And now, now my folks are planning their retirement.

It makes a sort of sense then that I am literally suddenly very passionate about putting down roots even if they are the short flower type that will need to be replaced in a few years. 

Right?

Yeah, I thought so.

Back to the Backyard



I have spent some time talking gardens with some educated friends. I also spent some time clearing out weds and trash, swept the bricks,  set up the brick borders that had fallen down (I think I need to dig, place the little wall and then fortify?), and gathered up a whole bunch of dead leaves. I will need to make a few more passes…. There is just so much going on back there!

A few photos and preliminary plans.

Preliminary  because they are all subject to change once I get to the store and ask a local garden person what they recommend… and also see prices.

 




Area 1: Kitchen Wall (Full Shade) 100 inches long by 19 inches wide
          Window sill: shade loving potted herbs like thyme and rocket
Ground level: Ajuga reptans, the Bugleweed Plant or Brass Buttons












Area 2: Driveway Wall (Full Shade) 11 feet by 15 inches / 4 feet by 17 inches
          Slightly bigger border area, low traffic. I am thinking Creeping Lilly Tuft or English Ivy







Area 3: Fence Wall (Afternoon sun) 13 ft long, 14 inches wide / 6.5 ft long, 20wide
          Main area, thinking Rosemary, Lavender, Poppies



     
 


Area 4: Neighbor Wall (Full shade but right next to sun areas) 10 ft long by 1 ft wide
          Will be near the BBQ, sweet woodruff or English Ivy













Area 5: Bedroom Wall (Morning Sun) 7 ft long and 17 inches wide
          Window Sill: morning glories
          Ground level: sage







I am actually suprised at how much I am enjoying this.

The next project....


I have this big empty backyard area that I really want to fix up. Call it the continueing nesting phenomenon, but I imagine being able to hang out and ejoy my backyard as opposed to vagly pointing at it and noting its existence.

I have a love/hate relationship with gardens and growing things. I love the idea of it… but all my experience has been the yearly clearing, weeding, drudgery of my parent’s back yard every summer and the long suffering and eventual deaths of every potted plant I have ever looked at.

A green thumb I have not.

I do, however, have time and energy and a vision of enjoying our space. Here is what it looks like now.


Before I can even think about planting anything, I need to clean the whole place up. In the laundry cupboard, I hoisted the fake Christmas tree box up and heaved it onto the shelf giving myself a gigantic splinter.

Oy backyard… you have drawn first blood! But I will not be deterred!

Wish me luck.

Job Yo Yo



I am currently unemployed and looking for a job in the 17% unemployment rated city of Fresno. My skills are mostly in Admin work with a sprinkle of marketing, outreach, finance, etc.

First off… there are a LOT of spams out there preying on the unemployed. Which is annoying.
Also… did you know they advertise for foster parents on Craig’s List? How… icky is that? I mean, I know Craig’s List isn’t as sleazy as it used to be, but still!

 Okay, anyway. I am registered with a temp agency. They seem nice, willing to hep, optimistic about my chances, etc.

Tuesday (afternoon) they call to tell me that there is a possible job across town. (Commute about an hour and a half each way). Am I interested in interviewing on Wednesday?  Sure! I ask about compensation. $10 an hour. Whoa!

(tire screeching noises here)

I talk it over with Matthew. This would be a full time job, a full time admin job at a non profit…. But… across town and for only $10 an hour. Despite my misgivings, I accept the interview. I figure that if the fit is good, the money might not matter as much. I go with an open mind. I even get my nails done (for me this is how I show I am taking it seriously, by presenting my very best polished self).

The area of town that this office is in is not the best part of town. Also, not the safest for pedestrians. Part of my walk from the bus is through parking lots, part is on streets with no bike lanes, no sidewalks, and no streetlights. Also, no crosswalks. I have to jaywalk three times to get to the office. Red flags, but still… open mind, need a job, etc.

The interview goes well, I am pretty sure I have it in the bag. I ask about compensation… will it go up after the temp period? Nope. Well okay, but what about benefits? Surely there are benefits, right? Nope… no medical insurance or sick leave or anything.

Hmmm. Matthew and I look over our finances again. We decide… yeah, we could take a $10 an hour job if it had benefits… if the job has no benefits, then I need at least $12 in order to offset the cost of buying my own insurance.

First thing Thursday morning, I talk to the temp agency staff. Yes, the job is mine if I want it. I tell her my concerns and my need for either more money or medical benefits. So, I will have to pass the job up in its current state. The counter offer: $12 an hour. I take deep breaths and think about the long commute, the safety concerns. I agree to extend the counter offer.

(Part of me thinks that after the temp period of 30 days I can revaluate, maybe it isn’t as unsafe as I remember, maybe I won’t care because the job will be so good!)

They accept my counter offer! They want me to come in today and start right away! Hooray! I am employed! I make plans to set up direct deposit! I start laying out clothes on the bed and checking the bus schedule…

But Wait! (more screeching tire sounds)

Apparently, the choice to accept my counter offer was made premature. So… they take back their acceptance and counter again. Back to $10 an hour with the idea that after 60 days going up to $12.

I politely refuse.

In the next 60 days I hope to find a job that has both a higher wage and medical benefits. A job that doesn’t come with strings like unsafe walking conditions.

I hope I made the right decision. Honestly my nerves are a bit frayed and I am wishing I had cookies within reach.

Let the job search yo yo magic continue!

The Not So Helpful Pharmacist

Warning… this blog post Is going to contain icky personal details.

I have an infection. Yeah, I know, part of being human but still, it sucks. Lucky for me, the normal treatment of this very common infection is an over the counter very common medicine.


Unlucky for me though, the last time I had this very common infection and used the very common remedy, I had a HORRIBLE allergic reaction. Severe pain where there should not be pain.

So… I am a bit wary.

I also am having issues with my insurance and thus can’t go to a doctor.

I go to the pharmacy. I have picked up both the brand of the very common cure and also the store brand. I wait for a consultation.

I wait. And wait. And wait.

Finally….

“Yes, can I help you?” She is a middle aged pharmacist who looks just as harried and stressed as you don’t want your pharmacist to be.

I explain the issue, the past allergic reaction, then pointing to the two boxes on the counter,” The main ingredient of the one tht I am apparently allergic to isn’t the same main ingredient as this other brand’s. But they both only list one active ingredient. So, are these ingrediants different enough? Is it safe to take the other brand?

She doesn’t even look at the boxes (she is still a good foot and a half away from the counter) and she starts to move back toward the shelves.

“The only way to know if you are allergic is to try, yes? If you have a reaction, then you have an allergy.”
And with those words of wisdom, she is gone.

Leaving me… unedified to say the least.

All hail the mighty not helpful pharmacist. She of too little time and not nearly enough compassion.

And… wish me luck with this off brand.