Vacation Adventure Part One: The Button Saga

Aka how vacation became an adventure.

So vacations are a bit stressful, and on the day of departure, we were already behind, as things that needed to be done were not done before departure. Also… the computer fixing mandatory before leaving had a few snags… as I did something very unfortunate when I was opening up my computer to get it repaired and caused damage to it.

That all led to us being a bit behind from the word go in the morning. In this case, the word go was a grumbled ugh that I muttered as I checked my phone to see I’d woken before my alarm and finally forced myself up from bed to get started on my list of to-dos.

After my shower, I cleaned and loaded the car, readied all the coolers, and then finished packing the rest of the car. That done, we got in the car and headed off, with one minor errand to run before we left.

We were on a quest for… buttons.

You see, we were mid-fabric project at the time of this departure. Mom’s epic work this year is a coat to match her skirt (which sort of matches my dress that is like Mackenna’s.) However, we were short a few buttons of the ones Mom had chosen for the project. They had mysteriously vanished from the preparation area. It is likely we can blame this all on my cat, as he is a very fine… helper.

At any rate, the store had promised to get some buttons sent to them that matched. We stopped to see if they had arrived only to learn that no, no buttons had been asked for, but perhaps the store nearby in another town had them. We debated, and after the wrong bottle mix up that lead to an over-priced envelope and a return to the house for the correct essential oil to mail, we were off.

Well… We went in to look for the buttons. None of them were in the button section, and then we couldn’t find the clearance buttons. We went through all the racks in the store, looked around, and while there were lots of interesting things on clearance, the buttons weren’t there. They told Mom where the buttons were, but she couldn’t find them. We checked all the other racks in the store and a couple other areas, did not find them. Found me a hat, I have such a weakness for them, and so we ended up with things we didn’t plan on buying. No buttons.

Then as we were getting in the car, Mom discovers that our store has found that the store in yet another city has the buttons and will hold them for us. Mom just wants to get on the road at this point, since we’re running late and the store was a little unhelpful, plus no buttons. We could just do the buttons after the fact, have them shipped to our store.

I thought about it, and I said, “We’re going right by that city on our way to our usual route, so why don’t we just get the buttons and be sure we have them so that we don’t have to worry about them or try and stop later?”

So we go. We need to find the buttons, and Mom goes to the fabric table to wait. I went to the front to ask, and they had them at the fabric table. So, I go back and tell Mom, and then I wander off to browse more clearance.

What can I say? I am an addict.

I didn’t see Mom on the return, so I walked up front to meet her, and we got our buttons.

We then reentered the car, and it was already time to eat. We had not yet really left, and we certainly were still in the same state. Mom decided that meant this was an adventure, not just a vacation.

I was a bit dubious, as we were way behind and what part of button shopping frustration was an adventure?

Still… we had buttons. Victory?

So, Apparently, This Is How I Pack

We are leaving for vacation at the end of next week. It’s an annual thing, and we do it to see family but also to participate in the New London, New Brighton antique car run. This has led to fic before, but it’s also just nice to see the cars.

I also drive one of said cars when Grandpa lets me, and I dress up in costume and so forth.

Today I started readying my suitcase. First, I wandered around aimlessly, fussing and making no progress. I sat down and made a list of things I needed to bring, freaking out when I couldn’t find my boot socks. (These are a thing, they’re important, they belong to the boots as a nice accent and adds to the costuming/effect.)

To stop the fretting, I went about finding all the tank tops I wanted to bring, set them aside. Found some shorts and the sweaters for over the tank tops when it’s colder, made a pile. I’d say I had roughly half of what I needed set aside when I once again lost focus due to the lack of boot socks.

Frantic, I searched under the bed, on the top bunk, and through all the drawers. Victory came near the end. I found my boot socks, and relief overtook me. I put them in the suitcase right then, zipped it up and smiled.

Then I decided to figure out what jeans I wanted as non-work jeans (I pack one work pair, since I get under car and grease stuff prior to the car run and one for other purposes) and I found a pair with butterflies on them that I couldn’t remember if they fit. So I tried them on.

They were a little tight, but Little Daylight was playing in the background, so I did some dancing to see if the jeans would loosen up.

Yeah, so since then, I’ve accomplished nothing but dancing in the jeans. I guess I’ll resume packing tomorrow after my day job.

Writing Is Grieving

Writing has long been my preferred coping mechanism. People who wonder at my output shouldn’t necessarily do so. I have a long standing habit of using writing to cope with life or escape it, and while I’m told it’s not really normal to write when one is grieving, that it should be impossible, I’m not that way.

I’ve been writing. I need to try and write again. I won’t speak to the quality of it, and I’m not sure I’d share it, yet I find myself needing to do something to that effect. That is… I’ve lost my way again, and I don’t know how to keep the writing going.

Arthur is gone. That hurts so much I swear I would just shut down and cease to function myself (he was my symbiote, my other half, I am NOT okay with him gone) and the only way I know of coping with this sort of emotional duress is writing.

I may need help with that, though. My ideal thing would be to send fic bits to someone and have them tell me what they thought, but even just having some direction would be okay. Prompts, suggestions, stories someone wants to see more of, anything. Make me finish a challenge or do a bingo card. Something. Maybe I can do it for someone else because doing it just for myself isn’t working.

Arthur would be here, now, snuggling next to me and trying to block my keyboard, trying to make me feel better. He’s not here. I need something else, something that helps fill the gaping hole where he was… or just something to make me forget it’s there for a few minutes.

About Arthur

Right now, I’m not capable of much more than saying what happened.

Eventually, I’ll get a proper tribute together, something worthy of the unique and wonderful cat that Arthur was. As it is, I can barely cope with the knowledge that he is gone.

He made it several months past the dire diagnosis of kidney disease, but in the end, not even his strong will and determination to be there for me could overcome the physical toll of age and sickness.

We said goodbye to Arthur yesterday.

Nothing feels right and nothing is the same, but it shouldn’t be. He was too great a cat not to make this much difference in my life.

State of the Kabobble

I wouldn’t normally do this. It does seem rather wrong to do, given that Arthur is such a dignified cat, and he would not like his medical status to be public knowledge, but I fear it is necessary to do so.

Yesterday morning, I was able to take him to the vet after a few days (and a very long weekend) of worrying, and she confirmed a bit of my fears regarding his lack of appetite.

According to his blood work, Arthur is in the early stage of kidney disease. He is not so sick that he is dying immediately, and the vet did say that he was active and that the lack of phosphorus was a good sign. She thought we could buy him more time, perhaps a year.

Right now, he is getting fluids, anti-nausea medication, antibiotics for a couple infections, and has special food. All of this cost me a lot more than I’d hoped, and it puts back resolving the legal issues I am dealing with again, but Arthur is too important to me to lose, and I honestly don’t know what will happen if I can’t buy him that year.

He is the namesake of this publishing company, my closest companion, my symbiote, and I love him. I don’t know how I will do without him, and I don’t want to know. I am hoping this buys more than just a year, but in case it doesn’t, I thought I’d say something, do something, as much as I can, before anything does happen to him.

I am going to try and take a video of him if he is up to walking outside again. He was adorable when we did it the other day, and while he’s skinny and a bit sickly and it’s not him in all his dignified glory, it’ll be something to show of him.

Blue

I had a hard time writing anything for this song. I love it, but it hits too close to home.

You sit and stare out at the rain
Or bury yourself in your books
Don’t look at no strangers
No, don’t give them any looks

I’ve always had a problem with eye contact and dealing with other people. So I wouldn’t want to look at strangers and used to hide in books all the time.

Why you ask yourself, why you’re so afraid
Why you hesitate when someone asks your name
They’ll come too close if you tell them the truth

I have had and shed many pen names over the years and I have also found myself thinking that my name didn’t fit me. I never liked my middle name, but more recently I was signing things at work and found myself tripping over the name I was using because it wasn’t me. I didn’t know how to explain that to anyone, though. I tried, I considered renaming myself, but I didn’t find anything I liked or that felt like it fit (well, I did get a new pen name, but that I will discuss later.)

And the only man you ever loved
You thought was gonna marry you
Died in a car accident when he was only 22
Then you just decided, love wasn’t for you
And every year since then
Has proved it to be true

No, there was no car accident and no man I loved that died, but I have mostly come to accept that I will be single for the rest of my life. I don’t enjoy doing the things it takes to meet people (not even sure I like people when I’m honest about it) and I don’t consider myself a good prospect. Plus, my idea of an ideal marriage mate seems impossible when I think about it.

Now you’re just a shell of
Your former you
That stranger in the mirror
Oh, that’s you
Why’d you look so blue?

I can answer the last one easily enough: I have depression. I know this. And a lot of times, especially around a certain arbitrary date each year, I look back at my life and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing and all the things I thought I’d have and where I’d be by now never happened and seem impossible.


Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Alternate Universes, Nano, and the Loss of a Cat

Yesterday we lost a cat we’d had in the family for twelve years. He was fifteen. He was very sick, but that doesn’t make it easier. He was a sweetheart and a favorite and I used to spoil him almost as much as I do the namesake of Kabobbles. (I’ve been telling that cat he’s not allowed to die and better not even be thinking of it. He glares at me, but he’s gotten very skinny in his old age and he worries me.)

I flailed desperately for some kind of distraction. I was having a hard enough time before we came home from my sister’s, but when we were home, everything reminded me of Leo and it was worse.

Incidentally, crying with a chest cold is very painful.

So while we watched a movie, an old standby favorite that is one of our cheer up or “feel good” movies, it wasn’t enough. I didn’t have the ability to play computer games or read, couldn’t focus.

I wanted desperately to write. I started considering every possible angle I could after I failed to find any prompts online that I could use and annoyed a few friends asking for them. I thought of trying to create an alternate universe for some of my characters, only the ones that need it the most were ones I couldn’t bring myself to write for, much as I like them.

I would have done things with the original Effie Lincoln and Nick Tennant because their story is tragic and they should have a world where they have a happy ending, but I couldn’t get myself to do anything on it.

I almost went back to this project I had… a project I shouldn’t have started, in retrospect because I did it for all the wrong reasons (albeit subconsciously, my conscious mind didn’t think of them until much after the fact.) I’d just ended it the night before because I figured stopping myself was better, and I was only going to take away from it the basic satisfaction that if it had been my Nano project I’d have gotten 50,000 words on it. I don’t think I would have counted them, but I did have that. Only thing is… I did so much wrong with it that I couldn’t go back in even with the loose threads and the possible domestic cuteness it offered.

So then I went back to a few older pieces, not thinking I would do much of anything, but my brain actually came up with an explanation for the world in Even Better than Dreams that I liked and could run with. I talked it over some this morning, and I think I will try to resume my edits there. I really like Tolan, and I am looking forward to doing more with him, though it’s dangerous because he could end up taking over the story.

I owe Leo, I guess, because even in the darkness of that moment when I was missing him so much and needing a distraction… a bit of light came, and when I feel up to it, I’m putting him in a story to honor him. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do that as thinking of him still makes me cry, but I will.

Nonfiction? No Thanks

I have to admit that I am terrible with nonfiction.

It has never been as compelling to me as fiction is.

I told myself and everyone that I was going to start posting in the other sections of the website, that I’d be updating a section every day. I had a whole plan for each of them. I had a start to the schedule, and Mondays were supposed to be “Mondays and Me,” the one day a week I was going to fill in something in the Kabobbles on Kabobbles section of the site.

That’s just the thing, though. I am a rather boring person outside of my writing. I had thoughts of sharing the parts of my vacation this year since it tied into Inheritance a little, and I also have a few pieces I meant do for the from a character’s closet/my closet articles, but I just couldn’t summon the enthusiasm to type it up.

This is not a new thing to me. I hated papers all through school, and this probably sums things up for me personally:

“My life doesn’t have a very good plot
Guess I’ll have to lie a lot.”

~ Janis Ian, “My Autobiography”

I remember in sixth grade we had two major writing assignments. One was fiction. Mine got read aloud to the class. My nonfiction? I didn’t turn it in.

I had decided to talk about an event in my life, but it lacked drama, so I added it in.

Then I felt guilty because it was a lie.

And I hated the story.

So I didn’t want to turn it in, and no one understood why I would fail the class, since I was almost a straight A student. I was honest enough not to want the lie to go through, which is admirable, I suppose, but I should never have written it in the first place.

There’s a reason I write fiction. I don’t know that it’s a good reason, but I’d rather not get trapped in another lie.

Then again… That’s what some people would say all fiction is.

Antique Car Cufflinks

So I’ve got another “Character’s Closet” post.

Well, it’s mostly just so that I can show off the cufflinks, but they’re awesome, so that’s okay.

After last year’s run, we stopped at antiques shops looking for hat pins (I will have to show off those someday, too) but I found these at the store and had to get them.

I did ask Grandpa what he thought they were, and he said Fords. He didn’t want them.

I bought them anyway. Maybe someday I’ll know someone who I can give them to like Mackenna does Carson in today’s section of the story.

cufflinks

One of Mackenna’s Steampunk Costumes

So, in the latest part of Inheritance, Carson gets a good look at Mackenna’s “cheating” costume for the antique car run. That lead me to want to talk about my own undertaking to make said costume.

I have more than enough outfits to wear a different one every day and change several times a day when I’m doing the car runs, but I couldn’t resist making this one. It was way too awesome.

We’re bargain hunters in my family, so we picked up the pattern during one of JoAnn’s five for five sales on Simplicity patterns.

Before I show off the pattern, a quick look at my display and work table, which is very cool in of itself. A retro style table with chairs and Coca-cola on it, it is made of win, even if I don’t drink much pop after a kidney infection and my family’s attempts to eat more natural. It’s still win.

coca cola ftw

Okay, now for the pattern and the fabric:

pattern

I picked up the fabric a few weeks back, also through a sale, but I wasn’t organized enough to start on the project until more recently. Since the picture is not great (I live in the basement, and getting me out of it is not easy, so it’s a bit dark) I’ll link to the pattern on their site as well. It’s Simplicity 2172.

So when you open up the pattern, for those of you who have never seen these sorts of things before and perhaps to annoy those that have, you get instructions and pattern pieces. Like this:

pattern pieces and instructions

After you take them out, the fun of cutting apart the pattern pieces begins. I mean fun in a mostly mocking sense. It can be a pain to cut close without getting too close, and I did end up tearing three pieces (minor tears, but still) as I did it. That paper is very, very thin, and easy to rip, sadly.

When the cutting is done, you get a couple messes.

Scraps on the floor:

scraps 2

And the pattern:

pattern mess

Let me tell you what we learned in previous projects: the plastic bag is your friend. A quart size bag will fit the pattern nicely. Don’t believe me? I’ve got proof.

Front:

plastic bag friend

Back:

plastic bag back

Here is where I had to take a temporary break. Yeah, I know, not much of any kind of progress, you’re thinking, but not only was I doing this after a full work day, but I’ve got carpal tunnel. Cutting that much out made my hands hurt so much that I had to stop.

Next post I will talk about the joy that is pinning and cutting the fabric, show off some of that kind of work, and possibly about the actual sewing. We shall see. This is my first attempt to share a project like this, so I’m not sure how much to put at once, plus it’s still a work in progress.

I will share more when I have it, though.