The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: holiday greetings

A Gift for You

Merry Christmas! I come bearing gifts. The Gift, actually, which is my short, Christmas-themed Restless Spirits prequel, and which is now available perma-free on Amazon, Kobo and various other retailers. Click here to find all the links and download it in the format of your choice!

Okay, that’s just one gift, singular. I’m sorry. But to make it up to you, you can click here to enter to win a Kindle Fire 7 (or a $50 gift card, if that’s your preference) from My Book Cave — no purchases, follows or subscriptions necessary to enter (full disclosure — I’ll get 10 bonus entries for each person who enters using my link).

In other news, I’m going to give myself the gift of a Christmas break. I think today is going to be my last work day this week and I’m going to take a rest from all writing until the Monday after Christmas. I’m a little apprehensive about this throwing off the momentum I’ve got going on my current WIP, but I’m reasonably confident I’ll be able to get my groove back come next Monday. And I hope to be back here next week with an end-of-year wrapup, as is customary.

In the meantime, I’m going to hang with my husband and furbabies, get cozy with some hot beverages, try not to overdo the chocolate, watch some Christmas movies, and also spend a lot of time in reflection, prayer, and thinking about plans for the coming year.

I hope you and yours have a peaceful Christmas and a blessed new year.

I guess they don’t call it “Labor Day” for nothin’.

Happy Labor Day!

It’s my usual Labor Day tradition to spend the weekend getting some cleaning done. Usually this means cleaning my house, but we’ve actually been doing a pretty decent job lately of keeping the “public” areas presentable.

However, there is one room that I have put off tackling for far too long, because just thinking about having to clean it makes me feel so anxious and overwhelmed that I literally become nauseous. That is the room formerly known as my office/craft room, but in the past year and a half or so has come to be known as “the cat room.”

I think the devolution of this room really started when our kitty, Sasha, became sick last year. We already used that room to shut the cats up at night, and I’d been able to stay on top of their messes, but dealing with a loved one’s cancer, even when said loved one is a pet, takes a lot out of you, and I didn’t have the energy to keep battling our other two cats’ destructiveness. That only got worse after Sasha passed away — both their acting out and my inability to care what they were destroying — and shortly afterward I moved my desk into my husband’s office and pretty much gave that room over entirely to the remaining cats.

To know what we’re dealing with here, you should know that our oldest cat, Nibblet, is psychotic, and compulsively destructive. She has pica and eats or chews everything, and when she’s angry — which is pretty much her constant state — she deliberately knocks things off of shelves and breaks things. Our other cat, Boudica, isn’t so intentionally malevolent so much as just really clumsy, although she does have some chewing tendencies of her own.

So other than cleaning up their frequent bodily emissions, scooping their litter and occasionally vacuuming the small amount of carpet not taken up by stuff we’ve dumped in there because at some point we also started using that room as a big junk closet, we haven’t cleaned in there in well over a year, and it has become kind of a scary place.

So yesterday I decided to gird up my loins and finally start the long process of taking back my craft room from the cats.

Once I got started, it actually wasn’t quite as bad as I’d anticipated. One of the things that kept putting me off from tackling that room is that we’ve got a pretty bad brown recluse spider problem, and there are plenty of places in there for those things to hide. Generally, I have no problem with spiders, but as a rule I do have a huge problem with anything that can cause your flesh to rot. The good news is, while I did run into a few spiders, only one of them was a dreaded brown recluse.

The bad news, however, is that I discovered that one of the cats (or maybe both, but I suspect it was probably just Nibblet) peed all over both my yarn stash and my sewing fabric. So that’s going to be fun, detangling and re-winding all of that yarn after I’m forced to wash it.

At any rate, after a couple of hours in there yesterday, I got all of my knitting supplies safely cat-proofed inside my old TV cabinet turned craft cabinet, restored order to one of my book cases, removed a lot of things to the garage that can either be sold or given to charity, and threw away a lot of trash. And that was just one corner of the room. Still, it already looks a lot better in there. Y’know, if you stand at a certain angle and only look at that one corner.

My weekend wasn’t entirely about spiders and cat pee, thankfully. I did manage to make a little progress on my new novel outline, albeit not as much as I would have liked. I figured out the main character arc progressions for both of my protagonists, which is a good thing, but I’m still having a hard time envisioning more than a handful of scenes and figuring out the main story beats. I may just have to start writing and do an exploratory draft, but I need to focus on getting my short story collection ready for release before I start writing the new book in earnest.

Today, as predicted, I still have to write those short pieces for Fiverr. After those are done I’ll probably spend some more time working on the cat room until Matt’s ready to cook up some brats and break out the holiday beer.

So how are you guys spending the unofficial end of summer?

Easter Sunday

Well, this last week kind of went off the rails after we took Sasha to the vet on Wednesday, where we were told that it would take nothing short of a miracle to save her and that she’s probably only got about two months left. That’ll definitely put a damper on your day, to put it lightly. So the focus now is on trying to help her feel better and keep her quality of life up for as long as possible. Of course, we’re still praying for that miracle, because you never know.

At any rate, for the last few days I’ve only been as productive as I had to be, and Matt and I have both been spending most of our free time pampering and loving on our kitty. We’ve been taking her outside to enjoy the lovely weather, which I suppose to an indoor kitty is tantamount to going to Disney Land.

Yesterday was actually a great day, in spite of everything — I jotted down some scene prompts on note cards in preparation for Camp Nano, then after a Walmart run (the only unpleasant part of the day) we swung by the deli at Harp’s and picked up some fried chicken and catfish and had an impromptu early Easter dinner. On the way out of Harp’s, we met a lovely gentleman who had injured his leg in Viet Nam and wanted to share some prosthesis advice with Matt, which turned into an interesting conversation in the middle of the parking lot, as these things do.

After stuffing ourselves full of chicken and catfish (and fried potato wedges and coleslaw and dinner rolls), we spent the afternoon hanging out in the back yard with Sasha, Pete, and Matilda the turtle (Niblet and Boudica were both content to stay inside and snooze), soaking up the warm weather and semi-fresh air. After we came back in, I made a pair of earrings for a friend’s birthday, and then we got in bed and watched a couple episodes of Justified while I finished up this belt that I’ve been working on for about a month.

Today, we’ve had church, and some Easter candy, and I’m waiting for some boiled eggs to cool so I can devil them and we can have protein munchies along with more Easter candy, to balance out all that sugar. And then I will make some more jewelry, since all my tools are already out, while I catch up on my shows. We might take Sasha outside again at some point, and later on we will surely watch Doctor Who and more Justified (we were planning to watch The Ten Commandments, but apparently this is the year that they finally decided to stop showing it every Easter, for some reason). We could have gone to my mom’s today for a big family Easter to do, but I’m at a place right now (and I believe Matt is, too) where it’s just too hard to be the odd childless couple out on kid-centered holidays. It’s all just too much of an in-your-face reminder of what we’re lacking. But we’ve been enjoying our low-key, child-free holidays surrounded by our fur-babies and the freedom to act like big kids ourselves.

Tomorrow: Camp Nanowrimo kick-off, client stuff, and Sasha goes back to the vet.

Happy Easter, everyone.

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