Caffeine Connoisseur

I’m not a coffee snob. Just because I know good coffee doesn’t mean I turn my nose up at bad coffee. Unless I have a choice. I mean, I’m not going to take the bad coffee if the good coffee is right there.

I guess I’m a bit of a coffee snob. I can’t help it. Good coffee is just so good.

I’ve always preferred good coffee to bad, but lately I’ve gotten more picky about it. A few months ago I acquired a French press. I don’t remember why, I think I thought it was pretty and it would be just as easy as using my little one-cup drip brew since we have a water cooler that heats the water. And it was just as easy, and more of an experience. I even got an hourglass to time my brewing.

The thing with a French press, though, is you have to get the grind right. Coffee ground for drip coffeemakers is finer than what you’re supposed to put in a French press. And while it is possible to find coffee specifically ground for the French press, it’s not easy. Not in grocery stores, anyway.

So I decided to try grounding my own. I had a little handheld blade grinder for when I was feeling fancy. Surely that would work!

Good lork, those things are loud! And I had to really pay attention, or the grind would still be too fine, and I’d be drinking solid coffee at the bottom …

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So how’s the job search going?

…Yeah.

It kind of isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong. I am applying for as many jobs as I can. But I don’t drive due to medical reasons (basically? Screwed up eye muscles) and I have to take the bus, which only serves my hometown. (This is a special program, doorstep to doorstep, that costs a dollar a ride. And the drivers are so cool). So that brings down the list of possible places considerably. Then there’s the fact that I literally learned nothing new at my former job — as far as technology goes, anyway — so I’m finding job postings with stuff like, “Must be an expert in Excel” or “Must be a Mac user” or “Must be able to do PowerPoint presentations.” All of this except for the Mac I can do theoretically. But I don’t feel very confident about it, so I tend to skip those postings.

So I’m left with stuff that isn’t even remotely in my field. I have no problem with that, if I can’t find anything else. But I would really like to stay within my field.

Then there’s the freelance stuff, which is going okay. It’s still not steady enough, but I have every confidence that I can make it happen. And if not…well, I tried. I can continue to try even if I do get a day job. It might be hairy, and busy, but it’s not like I haven’t done that before.

It’s scary. I mean, we’re used to a certain amount of …

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It Gets Everywhere

The stars have aligned, friends, and I am finally taking a beginning drawing class at my local rec center. (I’ve tried to take this class a few times before, and it either gets cancelled, or it’s at an impossible time, or…)

It’s two hours every Monday for the duration of October, and apparently each month the teacher picks a technique for everyone to practice. This month we’re doing straight pencil drawings (which is good, because that’s what I wanted, and if it were charcoals or pastels or something I would be disappointed) and working on reproduction using a grid. Basically, you draw a grid on whatever you want to copy, and a grid on your paper, and then you painstakingly copy everything, square by square, to help you get everything in the right place.

We’re doing M. C. Escher’s Drawing Hands (just one hand, so as to not go insane). I mean, we are anyway, but it’s the thought that counts.

On one hand, I’m not wild about copying another picture, even one by Escher. It’s a good technique to know, I suppose, but I’d really like to learn more about how to draw in general.

On the other hand, I get two hours to myself to do nothing else but draw, which is relaxing and wonderful, and it really helps clear everything out of my brain.

So, you know, it evens out. Though I do really just want to learn how to draw, and shade. Specifically shade. I am …

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The Summer of Not Gardening

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that my spouse and I have been doing a vegetable garden since we bought a house in 2012. In this climate, that means working the soil and sowing seeds in late April or early May, a mad scramble to buy and plant seedlings at the end of May or into June depending on the tenderness of the plant, and weeding and watering and harvesting up to the end of September or early October.

Turns out that’s a lot of work.

I was excited to finally have a house where I could garden, and I dragged my spouse into being excited too. But…problems abounded. We had too big a garden for our time and energy levels; there were hungry squirrels in the area who like to take one bite out of each ripe tomato; and the killer–an infestation of weeds that spread by underground roots and could never be completely eradicated.

So this summer, we covered over the vegetable bed with landscape fabric and mulch, and let it lie fallow for a year while (we hope) suppressing the weeds to some extent.

We thought we would buy some potted vegetables. We bought rosemary, which got used a little, and one cherry tomato plant, which was sickly all summer and produced very few tomatoes–just enough to keep the squirrels fed. One day I was out on our back deck, writing, and a squirrel picked the only ripe tomato and sat there …

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Sneak Peek at In the Forests of the Night, Book II of the Seize the Fire Trilogy

Hello! I’d love to write a cheery introduction, but I am dying of a cold right now. (DYING, I tell you.)

Please enjoy this sneak peek at In the Forests of the Night, releasing November 15th! Here’s Book I, Burning Bright, if you need a refresher.

 

In the once-fair city of Olencia, high in one of the unbroken towers of the Kisaran, the Lady Inizre slipped through a door and shut it softly behind her. A girl sitting by the bed stared in the dimness of one candle, then started out of her chair.

“My lady! Your veil startled me. I thought—” She took a deep breath. “I did not sleep. I have been pinching myself—” she held out her arm as proof.

“Peace, child.” Inizre waved her off. “Has he been restless?”

“No, Lady Inizre.” The girl shook her head. “Not a sound while I’ve watched.” She smiled, as they taught healers early to do. Smile, and project confidence to the frightened family. “He sleeps, my lady. He will heal.”

Either she had no healing talent, or she lied extremely well. Inizre did not care to learn which. “I cannot sleep,” she said, “so I will watch him. Go to your bed, child.”

“As you will.” The girl dropped a curtsy and slipped out. When the door had closed behind her, Inizre approached the bed.

“Eshan,” she breathed. “My son. Ten long years I yearned to see your face, now it hurts to look on you.”

But …

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