I Have Plans For The New Year

I Have Plans For The New Year!

 

 

I have plans for the new year

I don’t have resolutions, but I definitely have plans, and maybe a few goals too. Resolutions are for people who don’t really want to expend too much effort, because they know that resolutions made for new year are not normally expected to be kept beyond February, March latest. Nobody will hold it against you if you give up 3 months in to the year! My plans are for the whole year, and even beyond if they work out the way I am hoping they will!

I have set my mind on the Octopus method of contributing to my awesome family: multiple streams of varying levels of income, which adds up to something viable and useful. Yes, it will be hard work – all of it will. Everything I am choosing to shove my finger into will require a great deal of time and effort, but in the end, it will be worth it. Pieces of the pie will add up to deliciousness.

A lot of my ventures will depend on some small steps and things to occur before I can continue, but they aren’t deal breakers, just conveniences.

In no particular order, my plans for the new year include:

  1. Writing for a science fiction anthology that I was invited to pitch a story for.
  2. Setting up my vintage inspired apparel shop again and getting to work on some clothes for clients!
  3. Keep on trucking with my jewelry line via my online boutique – even if it’s a small passive income, that’s absolutely fine with me!
  4. Keep adding my photography to stock image sites and Twenty20 (via Instagram) and work on my social media marketing (for my jewelry and vintage clothing as well)
  5. Begin a dog walking service on the post! Once we get our fencing up, I will be able to take my dogs for a set 3 walks a day, instead of 6 or 7, as they won’t require bathroom breaks to be included as we will have a little back yard for them for that! Once my dogs are set in a good routine (I would never neglect them for anything, especially money, or other dogs!) I will offer my services to the neighbourhood. I’ve already been approached by a few people, asking if all three were mine and if I walked for other people, so I know there’s a market for my skills. I will also brush up on my first aid skills, and get my CPR/BLS certificate for dogs (I have the course ready to roll, just need to make the time to complete it) so that I can set people’s minds at ease about that. I will have a few stipulations of course, for the dogs I will walk, but I really think it will work. Even if it’s just a few dogs a day, Monday to Friday. Will have to rethink things when summer rolls around, as the humidity is killer here in Georgia.
  6. Work on my website – on my own and also with my awesome friend Vanessa of VMCA.

There’s so much to do, I’m pretty excited! I will be busy, and tired, but I will finally make some sort of contribution to our family and feel good about myself and my worth. I feel good though, knowing that I definitely have plans for the new year!

Snippet 16

“You don’t need to know everything, do you?” she asked coyly, crossing her legs and sitting back in the big soft armchair.

That smirk of hers was well known now. She was on the cover of every tabloid magazine and a lot of men’s magazines as well – those that wanted the publicity.

Jacqui tried not to sneer at her. She despised this type of woman. Famous for being famous, or famous for being infamous, in this case.
Famous for being disgusting, is what Jacqui thought, but she was not an independent journalist, she worked for someone. She had a boss, and her boss told her to interview this idiot, expecting sales to be made from it.
Jacqui said she would do it, but it was not likely the boss would be too happy with the interview. She wasn’t going to be “nice” to this IQ-challenged, money-grubbing bitch. Why be like all the rest of the magazines and blogs? All cooing and fawning over her like she was some kind of important person who made a difference in the world. She wasn’t. She was a piece of trash, in the worst way, and came by her “fame” through the most low means.
Jacqui was not going to hold any punches in this one. She was tired of this shit. Tired of people who did nothing, helped no one except themselves and thought this made them better than everyone else. Oh no, bitch, not this reporter. You’re in my sights, she thought to herself and tried not to grin evilly.

The pause that Jacqui took to arrange her recorder, and fold her notebook to a clean page and click her pen, made LaDonna (“Like Madonna, but with a La!” insert stupid giggle here.) very uncomfortable. She shifted in the chair and uncrossed and recrossed her legs. Her smirk was gone, replaced with thin lips pressed together.
Jacqui took a moment more to stare at her, to really look at her. She was actually very plain under all the makeup, even a little left of plain. Her hair was clearly not naturally blonde and she had a slightly droopy left eyelid which would catch up with her in a few years. Unless, of course, she found some wealthy man to pay for her corrective surgery. It wouldn’t surprise Jacqui in the least if she got married in the next few months to some aging starlet or wall street fat cat. That’s how this type worked. Strike while the iron is hot, while the fame is high, while the media loves you – because it’s gone in a flash. Well, this one will be gone in a flash, if Jacqui had any say in it.

“So, LaDonna, tell me about your childhood. Nobody seems to know where you came from, or who your people are.” Jacqui began.
“I prefer not to talk about my childhood, because it’s not important.” said LaDonna, her confidence returning as she got her set answers ready and knew where she stood.
“I believe you signed a document when you agreed to this interview, that stated you would answer all questions put to you. Or no deal. Let’s begin, shall we?” Jacqui said with a slight smile and a cock of her head.
“I don’t remember signing anything!” LaDonna giggled, “I was probably high on something at the time!” she added, in what she thought was a suitably conspiratorial tone but was really just a stage whisper so that her “crew” of hangers-on would hear, most likely. Jacqui heard a few snickers from her loyal entourage. Loyal for not much longer, she thought.
“Whether you remember or not, LaDonna, you signed it. I have a copy if you need to be reminded.” she said.
LaDonna’s face twisted and Jacqui watched something churn there that she hadn’t noticed before in other interviews. Rage. A temper. Wonderful!
“I don’t like being talked to like a child!” flashed LaDonna, and made as if to get up and leave.
“Does it bring back bad memories?” Jacqui asked quickly, jabbing it at her like a knife.
LaDonna gaped in anger and Jacqui could see how bad her teeth really were. Yeah, she needed to get those done too, when she found her rich man. Her face flushed and she stood and crossed her arms like a toddler about to throw a tantrum.
“Sit.” said Jacqui. The voice worked on her dogs at home, so it should work on this woman, who was far less intelligent. She definitely heard a titter from behind her, in the dark corner of the room, from one of the cronies.
LaDonna looked toward the corner, but couldn’t see who it was. She kept her arms crossed, but she sat in a great huff. She made a great show of adjusting her far too short dress, and checking her far too tall stilettos, and then crossed her arms again and stared belligerently at Jacqui.
“Where were we? Oh yes. Your childhood, LaDonna. Tell me about it.” she began again.

Dame Mix-a-Lot

Nothing to do with big butts, promise. Mine is being carefully kept in check by energetic walking and playing with my dogs, 3 times a day, and a run every second day. I’m also going to get back into my yoga… might have to do it in a separate room, of course, because according to Berners: if you are on the ground, you are on their turf and they pile on top of you in a big happy furry love flop. Not so nice when you’re trying to go from Downward Dog into Plank etc.

Our Dog Food Adventure unfortunately came to a painful end, after Gina developed a horribly inflamed stomach and colon and was pooping blood and had almost permanent diarrhoea for 2 days. She was so stoic and polite about it, that I don’t really know when the problem started, and only saw that something was wrong when it got that bad. I felt terrible for my poor, gentle girl. But she’s all fixed up now, after 2 weeks of various medications to soothe her stomach and colon lining, to put back the good bacteria in her tummy and some antibiotics to kill any nasties that decided to take root while she was under the weather. I switched her to “sensitive stomach” prescription diet and she is doing impressively well on it. Stomach is settled, good poops, she seems more energetic and full of vim and vigour – but that’s also because the weather is finally turning to Berner weather: icy cold, lots of rain, lots of puddles, mounds of fallen leaves under every tree! Azzie also had tummy issues with the diet I had them on – but nothing as severe. She had ups and downs and it was highly unpredictable which way her tummy would go each day. She also developed an itchy problem. So I switched her over to “sensitive skin” prescription diet and she is doing remarkably well too 🙂 Besides the occasional “dietary indiscretion” which causes some tummy woes, she is in excellent health. The itching subsides during the day, but I think there is something else she is allergic too (besides GRASS, which she LOVES to roll around in when it’s wet!) in the other food or treats that they get, so I’m in the process of elimination now to see when the itching stops – until then, she gets a Loratadine 10mg tablet every evening to help her relax enough to sleep. (Vet approved, don’t worry, and the absolute mildest dose I can give)

So unfortunately, the Dog Food Adventure is over – some dogs do very well on raw diets, some do very well on “human food” diets, but my girls just need to stick to something tried and tested. They are now very healthy, and very happy, and this makes me a happy furry mommy.

What else…. hmmm *thinks*

I’ve put all my items up in my shop again, but haven’t had any clients ordering vintage clothing so far…

I am strangely both happy and sad about that. The perfectionist in me grimaces at the idea that I will get an order and I would not get it PERFECT first time, in time, so I don’t WANT any orders! But the vintage lover and creative side of me says PLEASE! Bring it!

I tried making stuff for myself (I have a fabric stash… *hangs head*) but I just seem to lack the inclination. I did finish a nice wiggle skirt, done in black micro suede, but as usual, I did it “my way” and it came out nothing like the way it was meant to. It’s like when I make for myself, my perfectionist self wanders off to a back room and ignores me until it’s “all over” and she can come out and say “told you so!”

I do want to make some casual tops and some yoga pants, just for fun. I have some GREAT patterns. Some are not “vintage” inspired – they just looked simple and useful.

 

I was pondering trying NaNoWriMo this year. I just wish my brain could stick to one idea. I have so many “snippets” but I just can’t seem to “see” further than the scene that I initially write.

My husband is away, again. I miss him terribly. Very little contact, so it’s very quiet in the evenings for me and the girls.

I read. I watch my tv series. I watch movies.

He might be going away again, quite soon after he gets back from this one.

Not sure how I feel about that yet.

I just take it day by day. Try and fill the hours after sundown.

 

I’ve also, after much thought, decided to go back to being vegetarian. (lacto-ovo, for now, in case anyone cares about the technical stuff) after many years “break” from it.

I initially decided I wanted to be vegetarian at the age of 16. It lasted 10 years, and then due to various things, my diet was NOT up to par, and I became anaemic and under weight and very weak and had terribly low blood pressure (even more so than I normally do) and I finally saw the doctor and she said I _have_ to either fix up my vegetarian diet (which I did not see happening, due to the circumstances at the time, which I won’t go in to now) or start eating meat. I chose meat. Now I will admit that I like the taste of meat – I am a meat eater, no doubt – and that’s not why I chose to go veg last time, nor this time. I simply couldn’t handle the inner mental/emotional battle that I seem to have with myself about eating animals whenever I think about it too much.

I’m not going to evangelise to my husband and force him to come over to the “Veg Side” – we have tofu – this is not an activist thing, or a soap box thing. It’s a personal thing and has nothing to do with him. I will continue making him DELICIOUS food, with meat, and I will also make myself delicious food, without meat. Simple as that. More work, but that’s totally OK. I’ve been eating meat-less for about a week or so now, and I must admit, I feel great. I’ve lost 2 or 3 pounds (the bathroom scale is set to pounds, to help me learn the silly American way 🙂 and the stove is set to Fahrenheit) and I feel lighter. Of course it could be my imagination, the weather, and the exercise 🙂 I’ll take whatever I get, really!

 

I’ve also tried to start incorporating meditation in my day. Just 10 or 15 minutes to start. Some days I forget, or I just don’t “feel like it” – but the days I do make a plan, I feel calmer and more patient (especially with the dogs, and annoying people)

It will take time to reach a proper meditation level to feel any REAL benefits (like yoga) but I know it works, as I used to do it a lot when I was on my own. It would take the form of a silent ride, sometimes, or a walk with the dogs in the rain, with not another soul around, or a longer than usual run with music in my ears and the wind blowing me forward.

I have rediscovered Debussy (not just Claire de Lune) and the dogs and I spent an afternoon relaxing (they were snoring, happily) while we enjoyed his music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

snippet 15

Like a knife being slid slowly down her throat, right down her chest. Straight into her heart.
That was the grief she felt.
Like slivers of razors running through her veins. Throbbing with her pulse.

His blue eyes. So pale they looked like clouded sky. No glow now. No sparkle.

His hands, covered in blood and bits of flesh, growing cold in hers.

“Why did you leave my side? Why did you not hold the line?” she rasped. The icy rain began to pummel her helmetless head relentlessly.
“I couldn’t get there in time…”

The bucketing rain began to wash the mess of gore from his hands and body. His sword hand was twisted and broken. The fingers bent at angles and the bones sticking through the skin. These were the minor injuries. The killing blow was evident in his crushed side.
The troll that had caused the damage lay dead behind her, her great axe stuck fast in its skull.

Astur stood panting an arms length from her. His beautiful white face scraped and bloodied, his armour torn from him. His black mane matted with gore. He bled from many wounds, but would not leave her side. A true warhorse. A true friend.

But even that brave horse could not get her to his side fast enough. And here he lay, his head on her knees, his hands in hers.

“Oh my darling, my darling…” she sobbed. Some of her warriors stood and watched in sympathy. These two were the stuff of legend. There would be songs. But songs could not bring him back to her. Songs would not heal the hurt.

There were no words to speak to her, so none were spoken. They waited silently for her command. Their horses regaining their breath. Their wounded being cared for by Halas, as he made his way amongst them. His red robes glistened with rivulets of blood. His blind eyes glowed.

There they all stood. On this battlefield, victorious, but at such a cost it could not be fathomed until the dead had been counted. And there were so many.

“This war was not ours, my beloved, like many other wars. Our luck ran out.” she said softly. She took a shuddering breath and gently laid his arms across his body. She softly closed his eyes with her fingertips. His sword she took, and then she stood, looking down at him one last time.

Astur stepped closer to her and put his nose against her chest. His sister, Melur, had been the mount that carried her beloved into battle. She too was lost.

snippet 14

PFC Jacqui Winston was by no means a _smart_ woman. She followed orders, to the letter, because she trusted that her CO knew what he was talking about. Her loyalty and unquestioning obedience was already legend. Her squad knew it, the platoon knew it. You told “Jumping Jac” to get something done, she did it exactly as she was told to. No questions asked.

What was also quietly becoming legend, was her uncanny ability to smell trouble and her nearly supernatural skill for getting her squad out of it.

Sometimes she reacted so fast her buddies would swear that she could slow time. A common thing heard when asked about a mission would be “one minute she was there next to me, the next she was up the stairs and she’d be giving the all clear…” or “…I swear I was running into the building, but I found myself running back to the humvee and then the whole building went up like the 4th of july!”

PFC Winston talked slow, like a southern girl should, and walked (even in her battle-rattle) like a southern girl should. She was blonde and blue-eyed and tanned and toned. She once had a nickname “The Cheerleader”, but it was smacked out of the mouth of anyone who said it, by her squad. It didn’t last long, and she never found out about it. Nobody made fun of “Jumping Jac”. She’d saved too many of their asses, too many times.

She was oblivious to the awed looks and under-the-breath comments of turtle-heads and lifers alike, around base. She never left base, unless she was deployed. She didn’t seem to have any friends who came to visit. She never made any phonecalls off base. She wore jeans and tshirts when at home and her gear at all other times. Even her squad didn’t know much about her except that she was from a tiny village, not even on the map, in southern Alabama.

snippet 13

She awoke with a jerk of all her muscles. The back of her head banged against metal and her right leg cramped so hard she groaned in pain.

“What the hell?” she whispered. It was so dark that she felt her face to see if she had a blindfold on, because she knew her eyes were definitely open. As she lay on her back in the pitch blackness, she became aware of sounds and smells. The first thing she noticed was the tang of fish in the air, and the cold metal underneath her body. This led to another realisation: She was naked. Her buttocks were numb from the icy metal and her back ached. She could feel little studs in the floor in a line heading off into the distance.
A low thrum could be heard and felt under her hands.
A ship then. Some sort of fishing ship? By the aching cold biting into her body, it was most probably a deep sea vessel.

“Right. So here I am. On a ship. A fishing ship. Buck naked in the dark. Way to go, Libby.” The sound of her voice calmed her slightly, even though the sound was swallowed up by the huge dark room she was in.

snippet 12

It occurred to her suddenly, out of the blue, that she really was in deep trouble.
She hadn’t really worried before. Now, she was feeling something she had been avoiding since she was a youngster.
Fear.
Panic.
Oh, and rage of course. But she knew rage very well, as it was a pretty constant emotion when dealing with smugglers.

Kicking at the red sand with her foot, she swore quietly in ‘garsh.
She looked around. Smiling wryly at the desolate desert stretching off in all directions, she swore again loudly. Repeatedly.
She felt better.
A sigh escaped her and she turned to look at the little PlasBeam shack that stood, slightly tilted, in a small flattened area.

One day, she would find Greel and kill him. Then she would get a Voodun to bring him back, so she could kill him again.
She could still taste the drug in her mouth and her eyes were itchy and red. Her body felt like she’d been flung from a hanger – and she probably had been, knowing Greel and his cronies! She shook her head and growled softly.

But first, before thoughts of torture and revenge, she must sort out this shelter and see what she could use to communicate with any Habitats in the area. She at least knew what planet she was on. Knowing Greel, however, she was most certainly in the centre of the largest desert homeland. With any luck, she could find a way of attracting some of the nomadic tribes, and hitch a ride to a village or town or Habitat that was passing by.

With one more look at the suns setting over the far dunes and the red and gold sandstorm heading her way, she shook her head again and went inside.

snippet 11

Her pain sits there on her shoulders. Like a putrescent, bloated thing. Weighing her down, making it difficult to lift her head. I can see it. Her work area is sparse and uncluttered and neat. Her work is frantic and chaotic but it works. It always works.
I can see the top of her brunette head from over here in my cubicle. She is so still. You wouldn’t know that anything was going on in her soul, just by looking at her. Her mind a whirlwind of screaming and despair and thoughts like razors.

How do I know this? She is my twin. But she does not look like me. At all. She is tall and thin and pale and delicate. I am small and muscled and tanned and blonde. She never smiles. I am known for my sunny disposition. Are we related? No. Our ancestors are not even from the same continent. She is my twin because she has the other half of my soul, and I have half of hers. Silly, yes. But I can think of no other explanation. I know her so well, as if I was inside her head. I can hear her thinking sometimes. If she lifted her eyes up at any point in a conversation with me, she would know me as well. But she never does. She looks at your shoulder, your hands, the floor in front of her feet, or, if she is feeling daring, your lips.

Long ago, when she was young, she did something very bad. This guilt covers her like ash. Makes her grey inside. Later she did something so good for someone else, that she is now always in pain. But she doesn’t think that this pain makes up for the bad thing she did. I keep trying to speak to her, to get her to look into my eyes. I want her to know that she’s not a bad person, she is just human. Show me one person who has nothing to regret in their life? Their entire life? Can you be sure?

Sometimes when it’s raining outside, we sit here in our cubicles at lunch time. Sometimes she works. Mostly, she just sits there at her desk, staring at something so far away I can’t even imagine what it is.

Today, she is staring. It is dark and wet and wild outside. A real winters day.
Today I am going to speak with her. The rain makes me brave.
My heart is thumping as I stand up, coffee cup in my hand, and try to stroll over nonchalantly. I get to the opening of her cubicle and pause, pretending to look in my coffeecup at something. Her head lifts slightly and she turns it a little to look at my shoes. She is very pale today.
“Join me for a cuppa, Bailey?” I squeak. Clear my throat.
She winces when I say her name. I can see she is about to shake her head. But today, something is different. She seems to be holding her breath as she nods slowly. Her hand shaking, she grabs her big yellow mug with the rediculous smiley face on it. She pushes back her chair and stands slowly. Like a piece of origami unfolding. She stands straight and towers over me.
I can see Green and Beatman out of the corner of my eye. Their mouths are agape.
Bailey slowly raises her eyes and looks at my lips.
“Shall we?” I ask and turn towards the staff kitchen. She doesn’t look me in the eyes, but that’s alright, because I can see something else.
Bailey is smiling.

snippet 10

“This is Georgina. She will be be joining you on the tactical training today. Make her welcome.”

Sarge stood next to a young woman in civvies. He had an unreadable expression on his face. All business today. He left the room.

Stepman of course leapt up from his chair and shoved his hand out at the woman. She looked at his hand for a beat and then took it and shook it.
She didn’t smile, but you could see the tension go out of her shoulders.

“What you here for, Georgina?” asked Stepman, settling himself on the corner of one of the briefing room desks.
The rest of the squad were watching now, and the woman took a deep breath.

“I am, apparently, your new tactical advantage.” she said quietly. She had a wry smile on her face as she said it, and you could just see she was repeating something she’d been told all too often.

There was a bit of laughter, and Chase was about to ask for clarification (because that’s what he always did) but the door swung open and Sarge stepped in again, this time with two bigshots. One in a suit, the other in DGUs.

“Gentleman,” said the suit, trying to look important,”Georgina is very special and must be treated as such. She will rely on you for protection as she is not a trained soldier. You will rely on her for information. Very special information. You will discover her incredible talents during this next training mission. Your squad was selected, after careful research, because you seem to be an open-minded and intelligent lot. Your sarge is vouching for you here, so don’t let him down.”

Sarge winced a little at the last comment, but didn’t meet any eyes. He was a stoic, steady man who only said what was needed, but he always had your back.
The suit and the uniform left and Sarge stood at the blackboard. You could see him gathering his thoughts before he spoke.
Georgina stood to one side of the room, clearly still very anxious.

“Boys and girls.” said Sarge,”I’ve been briefed on Georgina’s capabilities. I consider myself pretty open-minded and well-read, but even so, it took me a little while to  accept things. You are free to say what you feel, but only _after_ this training exercise. Clear?”
We all yessir’d.
“If even half of these things are true, we’re a lucky squad. If this works out.”

We were pondering this when Beacon raised his hand.
“Sir”

“A question, Beacon?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Continue.”

“What exactly can she do, Sir?” he asked.

“Basically, boys, Georgina can see ’round corners.” said Sarge.