Just Another Blog

my random ramblings about crafts, writing, books and kids

Happy Halloween to My Fellow Dust Warriors from Eloise

Eloise the Literary Raptor is getting in the holiday spirit.


Here she is in her spiffy necklace I found in the bark chips at the playground while Pokemon hunting. It really sets off the color of her… body.

Eloise took a trip to the backyard pumpkin patch while it was sunny and picked out some pumpkins to decorate.



She’s not the greatest artist. I mean, she’s a Literary Raptor, not a Sketching Raptor, but she got the job done.



She really loves her pumpkins, but Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a costume. Eloise decided to be a witch this year. Isn’t her wee hat just adorable?



Eloise is all ready for Halloween with her pumpkin bucket full of candy corn–a Literary Raptor’s favorite treat (of course she hasn’t tried my Christmas kolackies yet).


And for those of you joining me from 4thewords, here’s a photo just for you. Read more…

Permission to Suck

I had a bit of a revelation today. An epiphany of sorts. Or maybe life just slapped me in the face and told me to quit being stupid.

See, back in February or March, I had some bloodwork done that showed I had several severe vitamin deficiencies–iron being the worst. In fact, my iron is so low, my doctor was shocked I was even moving around. It’s the kind of anemia where you do blood transfusions instead of taking a pill once a day.

Suddenly all of these symptoms–the fatigue, the cold hands, headaches, depression, etc–all made sense. I finally had a diagnosis to latch on to. An explanation for why all of my mood stabilizers and antidepressants stopped working. A reason for the bone-shattering, life-destroying exhaustion I feel from the moment I wake up until I crawl back into bed.

But then I ran into a problem. I can’t take iron pills. They make me violently ill after a few days, and at the amount of iron I need, I just can’t do it. My doctor said I’d probably need infusions which would be done at the hospital, but before we could even set that up, we lost our insurance.

So here I am, hanging in limbo, barely able to function. My brain feels foggy on good days and like it’s slowly dissolving into goo on bad days. Getting out of bed is sometimes so exhausting that by the time I go to the bathroom, I’m ready to just climb back in and sleep the rest of the day. I rarely make it through a day without a nap because I physically can’t stay awake. I can’t take care of my family. I can barely take care of myself.

But I keep trying. I get up every day with plans to do the stuff I always did before. Clean the kitchen, make some coffee, get some writing in, laundry and going for a walk. And nine times out of ten, I end up disappointed in myself because I can’t do it. I end up sitting in front of the computer and nothing gets done because I can’t clear the fog in my head or I end up with a massive headache.

That’s what this last week has been like. It started well last week–I walked two days in a row and got a bunch of writing done–and then BAM! all that energy was gone. But I still had these lists of things to do–blog posts, prepping for NaNo, editing Heaven, adding to Uncalled For, writing stories for Girl Genius week–but I didn’t do any of them. The more I didn’t do the things on the list, the more stressed I got. Then the anxiety set in (which I think is causing an ulcer) and the guilt.

The breaking point was earlier today. I needed some black embroidery floss for a project. I have like every color under the rainbow (literally, I bought one of each color twenty years ago) but no black. I decided to run to Walmart, but I barely trust myself to drive in town, let alone the twelve or so miles to Walmart, so my husband offered to drive me.

We picked up a few groceries, and lucky me, there was exactly one black embroidery floss left. Score! On the way home, I’m telling him about the exhaustion and all the trouble I’m having getting stuff done for the week and being overwhelmed so he lets me order pizza so I don’t have to make lunch. Then we’re unpacking the bags and no embroidery floss. It’s not listed on the receipt either which means the cashier missed it when she checked us out.

I just lost it. I was so fatigued at that point, I was having trouble walking straight or thinking clearly. And I used what little energy I’d had that day to go to Walmart for one thing, and I didn’t get that thing. It was too much. I broke down into tears.

Later, after I had my pizza and was trying to calm my racing thoughts so I could actually nap, it hit me. Why am I even doing all of this? Why am I stressing myself out over stories and blog posts and projects? It’s not like I have to do these things for a job. I mean, I guess people that read my fanfic will be disappointed if I don’t update, but all of the pressure is internal.

It’s me making lists and plans like I did before I got sick and expecting to finish my goals like I’m well. What the fuck is up with that? It’s insane.

I’ll say it again… I’m sick. Like mega sick. Anemia isn’t something to scoff at. My doctor was literally amazed I could walk and cook dinner and do anything because my numbers were so low. I should be dead. But here I am, stressing about finishing goals I set when I was feeling better.

So, I’ve given myself permission to suck. I’ve used that phrase before when writing rough drafts. It took many years to learn the lesson (first drafts don’t have to be perfect, you know), and now, I need to transfer that to my life. It’s okay to suck. So, I haven’t updated Heaven in nearly year. So, I’m behind on Uncalled For. So, I couldn’t keep up with my prompt-a-day I wanted to do this month. And NaNo is most likely going to be a flop. In the grand scheme of my life, does any of that matter? Not really. Those things are important to me, but my health should be more important.

So, until we get our insurance back (hopefully in a few months after my husband has his surgery and finally gets back to work), and I can get treatment for the anemia, I have permission to be as sucky as I need. If all I have the energy for is watching Red vs Blue then that’s what I’ll do. If I have enough to go Pokemon hunting, I’ll do that and not feel guilty because I also didn’t do the dishes. I’ll attempt NaNo like I do every year, but I’m not going to be disappointed when I only manage a few thousand words because that’s a lot when I’m this sick.

Why is self-care always the hardest?

Girl Genius fic: Picking Up the Pieces

Tarvek and Gil try to figure out what to do about the situation. Follows Confusion.
364 words | [PG]

“We’re just going to have to rebuild the entire thing,” Gil said, wiping his hands on his trousers after righting the table von Zinzer had hidden behind.

“That’s going to be a little difficult when we don’t even know what Agatha was working on.” Tarvek picked up a piece of broken equipment, turned it over in his hands then discarded it on the table. “This will be the most difficult puzzle in the history of the world.”

Gil retrieved two more pieces from the ground then assembled it with the one Tarvek had put down into something that looked like a heavily modified microscope. Or a blender. Who knew. The thing immediately fell apart, and Gil let out a defeated breath.

“Maybe Agatha’s memories will come back once she rests. It might not be permanent.”

“Good point. We should get her back to her room; get her something to eat and-” Tarvek spun on his heel, peering in every corner of the lab. “Uh, where is Agatha?” Read more…

Girl Genius fic: Confusion

Agatha has no idea where she is or who she is and that’s a serious problem. Follows Aftermath.
362 words | [PG]

Agatha backed away from the two strange men as they argued over whatever happened in this lab. Her lab apparently. Because she was a woman named Agatha and was a scientist of some sort and these people were her friends. Except that other man said she used him as bait. What kind of person could she be using another human as bait.? Bait for what?

The thought chilled her. If she needed a human for bait, how big was the thing she was trying to catch? She needed to get out of here before whatever it was came looking for a snack. While her “friends” continued their heated disagreement, she easily slipped out the demolished door into an empty hallway.

“Mistress,” called a voice. Read more…

Girl Genius fic: Aftermath

What did Agatha even do? And poor Moloch. Follows Unexpected Consequences.
364 words | [PG]

Gil watched, stomach in a knot, as Tarvek guided Agatha to a lopsided chair and helped her sit. She twisted her hands together over and over while biting her lip. This just couldn’t be happening. It couldn’t. Every time he got close to something resembling happiness, it all fell apart. It wasn’t fair. Maybe he was cursed?

“Wulfenbach, are you listening to me?”

Gil blinked at Tarvek. “What?”

Tarvek’s eyes narrowed. “I said go check and see if anyone else is in the lab. Agatha doesn’t remember-” He trailed off, worry creasing his brow. “We need to figure out what she was working on and what happened.”

“Right. Got it.” Gil waded through the settling smoke and debris. Parts of the walls and ceiling had collapsed and most of the equipment was in pieces. He picked up a tin which instantly dissolved at his touch. Dusting his hands on his trousers, he kicked away half a chair that skittered into an overturned workbench.

“EEK!” Read more…

Six Sentence Sampler

more from Heaven Can’t Wait:

A Grounder boy who looks twelve of thirteen stands off to the side looking uncomfortable and very out of place.

“Can I help you?” Bellamy asks, startling him out of his thoughts.

He drops a piece of equipment then scrambles to pick it up.

“What are you doing here?”

“Wait,” someone calls from across the room, “he’s with me.” Monty hurries over with an armful of circuit boards and wire.

Girl Genius fic: Unexpected Consequences

Tarvek and Gil go to help Agatha in her lab but something goes horribly wrong. Follows The Ring.
442 words | [PG]

Tarvek stomped through the halls of Castle Heterodyne, Gil slouching along next to him, hands deep in his pockets. How dare he? How dare that layabout attempt to circumvent their mutual agreement to give Agatha time to get to know each of them equally and then make her decision? And just when Tarvek had thought their relationship somewhat settled. They were getting along amicably and even had fun at times. Then he had to go and do this.

He seethed with rage but managed to mash it deep down in the place where he kept those useless emotions as they approached Agatha’s main lab. Inside, a whistle blew, increasing in volume by the second. Gil slowed, head cocked at the door which seconds later exploded outward, nearly cutting him in half if he hadn’t the ridiculous reflexes of a cat.

“Agatha?” Tarvek called, peeking inside the smoldering room. Read more…

More Adventures With Eloise

I had to run to the library today to pick up a book and decided to do a little Pokemon hunting while in town. There are only like two stops within walking distance of my house and one gym that is a two-mile round trip walk (coming home is all uphill and exhausting), but downtown, has like a dozen stops and at least 5 gyms within a half-mile span.

Anyway, I grabbed my notebooks just in case I got some time to write and Eloise came, too.

We ended up sitting in the plaza to do some writing while waiting to see if my daughter would come walk with us (she lives a few blocks from there).


Eloise looked over my new book I’ll be using to help prep for NaNoWriMo.


When my daughter never showed up (probably napping–she’s a new mom), we decided to go on our own walk. Took down some gyms, caught a lot of Pokemon and discovered a tiny little park tucked up against the highway just a couple blocks from downtown.

Here, Eloise made a huge discovery…


Could it be a long lost relative? We’ll probably never know.

We walked for a little bit after that. My daughter finally texted me back (she was napping) but couldn’t come walking because the baby was still sleeping so Eloise and I went home.

Stay tuned for more of Eloise’s adventures.

Six Sentence Sampler

from Heaven Can’t Wait

“And you give the other one to this lug before he wastes away. I bet he’s barely eaten anything in days.” Murphy sets the apricot in front of Bellamy–an obvious challenge–then pops his own into his mouth with a smirk.

Heaven eyes both of them.

You aren’t going to win this one. Bellamy sighs.

Girl Genius fic: The Ring

Gil is working on a surprise, but Tarvek nearly ruins all of his plans.
387 words | [PG]

Gil bent over his workbench, back aching as he painstakingly assembled the last bit of his project. He twisted the pieces together with a satisfying click and let out a soft sigh.

“What are you doing?” Tarvek asked, his voice absurdly loud in the small room.

Gil jumped, sending the small object soaring into the air. He scrambled out of his chair, lurching after it as Tarvek sauntered into the room, easily catching it from the air in front of Gil’s face.

“Give it back,” Gil demanded which only put a devious smile on Tarvek’s face.

“What’s this then?” he asked, holding it up to his face as it fell to a frown. “Is this a… ring?”

Gil swallowed hard. “No, it’s- I mean, yes, sort of. It’s-”

“What’s this say?” Tarvek squinted at the ring. “Is that a Wulfenbach sigil engraved on it? Wait, this looks more like a connector from a hydraulics system. What is this?”

Gil snatched the ring away. “It’s nothing; forget it.”

“Well, now I know it’s nothing.”

Stuffing the ring in his pocket, Gil quickly cleaned up to hide his flaming face. “What do you even want?”

“Is that for Agatha?”

A growl built. “It is Agatha’s. I gave it to her a long time ago, and now… Now I’m giving it back to her. That’s all it is. Just drop it, okay?”

When he finally glanced up, the look on Tarvek’s face nearly broke him. He looked hurt. But just as quickly, Tarvek schooled his features back to his normal stoic facade.

“Agatha wants us in the lab,” Tarvek said curtly, turning on his heel and not waiting to see if Gil followed.

Gil let out a long breath, taking the ring from his pocket to examine. It was still in perfect condition—polished to a glossy shine. Agatha had thought it silly and presumptuous when he’s placed it on her finger all those years ago. Of course, in his eager foolishness, it had been both, but she’d kept it. At least for a little while. He thought maybe she’d like it back, but Tarvek hated it. Of course he did—he hated everything Wulfenbach.

“You coming or what?” Tarvek yelled from the hall.

With another sigh, Gil shoved the ring back in his pocket and hurried after his friend.

NEXT: Unexpected Consequences

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