15 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I actually have two ideas for blog post today. I have to be up in a minute, but I thought I’d break ground on at least one of them. I’m posting this right now, and will probably schedule the other for November 1. It won’t count towards my NaNoWriMo word count, but it’ll get it out of the way of my NaNoWriMo countdown.

First, I’m going to work on the idea that got me out of bed in the first place. I was reading Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened*, and she mentions having a “blog sticker.”

And I’m, like, do I need a blog sticker? I mean, it’d be a cool way to advertise, and I do want to grow my audience.

What would it look like? Should I use my header image? Part of my header image? Just write “To Hither and Yon” in a fancy font?

If I use my header image, are the crenelations on top of the San Antonio Museum of Art in the public domain by now? Is architecture one of the types of art that goes into the public domain at some point? How long will it take me to figure this out when all of my initial Google results for “Architecture” and “Public Domain” involve architectural drawings?

And, perhaps most importantly, whatever happened to the disk of Paint Shop Pro 4 that Thomas and I had? If I’m going to do this,** I’d really like to have the tool I used to use for things like this. I also have a mauve dress that I don’t like the color of, so I want to play around with various shades of blue and red to see if I can overdye it a color that I like better. I used to be able to pick and adjust colors really well in PSP4.

And if I ever learn to market this blog in a way that makes it an actual profit center, can I find a way to apply these principles to advance my career in my actual day job? I remember a bunch of the things that Thomas always said about marketing and I bet I can sort of build on that blog-wise. And maybe job-wise, too?

*Non-Gratuitous Amazon Link!

**”This,” right now, is to make a line drawing of just the border and openings of the west tower of the Brewery Bridge (that’s the right-hand side of the header photo) and then, I don’t know. I’ll play with it and see what happens.

16 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I don’t think I’ve ever made a big deal out of Christmas. I always imagined Christmas being the family singing Christmas carols around a piano and, you know, stringing popcorn and cranberries and such.

When I was eight, my mom had cancer. She discovered the lump on Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve, she was told that it was Stage II and that they’d have to pull out all of the lymph nodes on that side.

We did presents and visited with my dad’s sister’s family and things, but it was never really . . . festive. She was too traumatized by her cancer.

I’ve always wanted to be more festive at that time of year, but never could get my act together to do so. In past years, I’ve dragged Alex out ice skating, but that’s about all.

I think that I want to be more festive this year and maybe one of my fallback topics during NaNoWriMo will be my efforts in that direction.

This will, of course, be fun because I’ll be posting my posts every other day during November, so if I write about it on, say, November 15 and I manage to average two posts per day, it’ll run on or around January 15, 2022.

Well, let’s see how it goes.

Tonight’s Gratuitous Amazon Link is the third Monster High book by Lisi Harrison, Where There’s a Wolf, There’s a Way. This book focuses on Clawdeen Wolf. I have the book that focuses on Draculaura, Back and Deader Than Ever, somewhere in this house and when I find it, it’ll take its place in line in my Goodreads account.

17 Days Until NaNoWriMo

Wow. Um.


I’ve been cleaning up my bookcases lately. I was going to recycle my old calendars when I remembered that there are only, like, 14 ways a calendar can be arranged — January 1 Monday through January 1 Sunday, with and without a leap year. I think. It makes sense.

I found five or six old calendars on those shelves (and I’m sure there are more somewhere else), so that’s a start on my perpetual calendar collection.

Maybe I will end up recycling them, if I can’t find a good way to store them. But maybe I’ll find a good storage system and then I’ll always have a calendar.

18 Days Until NaNoWriMo

I was going to skip today because I’m working the early shift at work tomorrow, but then I thought that it wouldn’t be a good precedent to set to decide to write any little thing every day just to keep writing and then miss the third day.

I was actually going to write about the weather this week. They predicted rain all week, then they predicted rain Tuesday night and all day Wednesday and Thursday.

It rained a bit this morning, but then turned hot and sunny. I really had thought that the chance of rain had disappeared. In fact, Google seemed to say that there was basically no chance of rain.

About two hours ago, a storm started. It’s not a major storm — I don’t think that people’s trees are going to be damaged or anything — but there’s thunder and lightning.

It’s now probably going to rain all night and then it’ll likely blow over and we won’t get any rain tomorrow. Maybe.

Tonight’s Gratuitous Amazon Link is for the second book in the Monster High SeriesThe Ghoul Next Door, by Lisi Harrison. This time, it’s Cleo deNile, the daughter of The Mummy’s time in the spotlight.

19 Days to NaNoWriMo

I really need to do this writing earlier in the day than this. I’m training myself to write, all right, but I’m training myself to write late at night.

Wow. That all rhymed. That was *not* intentional.

So today I’m going to write about singing.

When I was, oh, nine or ten, my friend Leonora and I went Christmas caroling. Partly we did this to spread cheer, but mostly it was the profit motive. We had both seen our parents giving money to carolers, so why not?

Once we started singing, I realized that I really enjoyed it and I sounded pretty good to myself. I began to think of myself as a pretty good singer.

In junior high, we had a chorus. The choir director (what was her name? It was German and started with an H. That doesn’t limit it much, does it?) was very approachable and said nice things about my singing and she held after-school mini-voice lessons and after those, I always thought that my singing was slightly better than it had been before.

My freshman year of high school, I joined my church’s choir. That was a lot of fun and so I wanted to join the choir at my school, too. My folks refused to let me join the choir. They wanted me to play in the band so that I could do both of my musical things.

I auditioned for the spring musical, My Fair Lady. I totally didn’t get in, but the next day at school, the choir director took me aside and said that he hadn’t realized I could sing. He said that the sophomore choir was the chorus for the spring musical and so if I joined the choir my sophomore year, I would be guaranteed to be able to be on stage.

Of course, my folks refused. I mean, we ended up not having a spring musical my sophomore year anyhow, but still.

By the way, remembering that teacher telling me that he was surprised I could sing has carried me through a lot of subsequent setbacks.

My junior year, my folks finally relented and let me join the choir. Only, starting in junior year, you have to audition. And I was so effing nervous that I totally blew the audition. I also totally can’t type “audition.”

So, at this point, remembering how much more confident I was after those mini-lessons, I started campaigning for voice lessons. I told my mom that I wanted them because I didn’t have confidence in my ability to sing. You know what she said? “Voice lessons won’t help you sing on-key. Your grandmother took voice lessons and she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

Now, I ask you. Why would you say that to a child who just said that she lacked confidence in her ability to sing?

Eventually I prevailed upon my mom to at least let me try them and then we had trouble finding a voice teacher who had space for new students.

I gave up for then, but my mom implying that I couldn’t carry a tune still rankled.

Thomas joined the major choir at his college and said disparaging things about the choir that the women who failed to get into the concert choir ended up in because I knew that’s where I would have ended up because I was too nervous when singing to do as well as I should have. Thomas also assured me that far from being more confident, voice lessons would make me feel less confident. My confidence in my singing was so bad that I couldn’t imagine how voice lessons could possibly hurt.

So. When I was in college, I finally took the plunge. I contacted someone in the music department at my school and made an appointment to meet with one of the voice teachers. I successfully auditioned and was told that while I didn’t need voice lessons, I certainly had enough to work with and we sat down with our calendars and realized that we didn’t have any openings in our schedules that would work out.

But I did it. I auditioned and would actually have had voice lessons if my course schedule had permitted it.

Two epilogues here. I think I’m going to go in reverse chronological order.

First, when I did the 23 and Me, one of their reports is ability to match musical pitch and I’ve got a 50/50 chance of being able to match a pitch. And I know for a fact I can do that. I also can hit a pitch that I only hear in my head. Nine times out of ten.

Second, after I did the audition, the next time I went home, I said to my mom, “I know you don’t think I can sing, but I auditioned for voice lessons and she thinks I can sing.” She was surprised that I ever thought that she thought that I couldn’t sing, because she knew I could. She thought I sang really well. When I asked her, she had no idea why she’d tell me that voice lessons wouldn’t make me sing on-key because she’d never noticed me singing off-key.

I’m not really facepalming, more sort of resting my face on my hand with my fingers resting on my sinuses.

I’ve decided that I’m going to look further into Google ads. I really want to make this go professional and hopefully after this ramp-up to NaNoWriMo, I’ll be writing enough during NaNoWriMo to have a few months’ worth of posts already created.

I’m not going to stop the Gratuitous Amazon Links, though. But when I’m not feeling it, or I’m on a creating-new-posts binge and don’t want to ruin my groove, I’ll be able to skip it.

I’m not going to skip it for today, though, because working out the AdSense will be more involved than I can cope with tonight. This is going to be kind of frustrating, because the fourth and final book in this series is . . . somewhere and I can’t find it.

Today I’m starting on the Monster High series by Lisi Harrison. This was a sort of/kinda tie-in novel for the Monster High toy series, but it is set in a different reality closer to our own. In this reality, the monsters lived freely among the “normies” until the beginning of the era of the Universal Studios monster movies. Suddenly their friends, coworkers, and neighbors began to hate and fear them. The leaders in their community decided that Salem would be a good place to hide out, since the witches would be sympathetic, only due to a clerical error, they ended up in Salem, Oregon, rather than Salem, Massachusetts.

The first book in the series, focusing on Frankie Stein, the daughter of Frankenstein’s monster and a new character named Melody Carver (I am very upset that we never got a Melody Carver doll), is here: Monster High, by Lisi Harrison.

20 Days to NaNoWriMo

I know I’m going to focus on blog posts again for NaNoWriMo. I’m going to get ahead on this someday. I hope.

So I’m going to just post something every day until November 1 so that sitting down and writing will be just a thing that I do by then.

So, Hi.

What’ve you been up to lately?

I’ve been working, mostly. I went for a walk on the Riverwalk on Saturday. It’s nice that things are cooling down a bit, so that I have more energy for exploring.

I’m going walking with Ray on Wednesday. That’ll be nice. We haven’t seen each other in months.

I’ve been waiting for Nowhere Bookshop to open, which it has, and I’ve been there three times so far. I certainly plan to go there again in the future.

Wow. I had to take a potty break and now I can’t remember what I was going to write next.

Oh! I was at the gym and a song came on and my brain briefly felt like it felt back when I was writing fiction. I didn’t have any actual, like, plot or characters or anything, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. So that’s encouraging.

And I really, really am thinking about putting AdSense ads on these pages. I’m not 100% sold on it yet.

So, until then (and likely afterwards, as well), we have our Gratuitous Amazon Link. Today we have The Glass Sentence, by S.E. Grove. I’m sitting here trying to figure out where to start. The world has been fragmented across an unbelievable number of eras and no one can figure out what year it was when it happened. From our heroine’s point of view, it happened in 1799. In the eastern half of the United States, it is the 19th century. The people who were in Southern Canada, however, are gone, and the land is as it was during the ice age. It’s all very intriguing and took me a while to figure out. Definitely worth reading, though, or I wouldn’t’ve posted it here.

Take Pictures of Things

Okay, so I was getting ready to go to sleep yesterday. I’d done my reading, I had my nightlight, the bunion in my right foot is bothering me, so I had my toe separator in, I lay down, I started to count . . . .

And then I suddenly bolted upright.

Did Wurzbach used to end at Lockhill-Selma? I was nearly certain it had. I even had a memory of a T-junction with lot of trees and brush and things. But was I remembering correctly?

Was that the Voelcker farm?

I mean, when we first moved here, I turned the wrong way onto Northwest Military and drove almost all the way to Huebner. Did Northwest Military Drive go *through* the Voelcker farm?

And there were my memories of when they started the Wurzbach Parkway part of Wurzbach. Had that been a brand-new street? Or a continuation and broadening of something that had already been there?

Later, by the way, I remembered that I had begun to wonder if I’d turned the correct direction onto Northwest Military when all I saw on either side of me were trees, and I certainly wasn’t going to try to make a U-Turn in an entirely new state like that. Although, at that point Wurzbach wouldn’t’ve done me any good even if it had gone through to Northwest Military. I mean, I couldn’t’ve gotten anywhere I recognized on it. I was really, really new to the city and this was before Google Maps.

This was before Google, even.

Back to 2021. I bolted out of bed and went into my closet. I figured that the map we had when we first moved here must be around somewhere, and I had a boatload of maps in my closet. I had three Texas maps with inset maps of San Antonio in my closet, but they were all too new.

So I finally went back to my desktop and found oldmapsonline.com and with entirely too much hit-or-miss clicking (I’m not sure what’s up with the navigation on that site), I finally got the map for my area in 1993 and, in fact, Wurzbach did end at Lockhill Selma back then. So my memory of the street ending in trees and brush is probably accurate.

I also often wish I’d taken pictures of the park down the street from where I grew up, so that I could, for example, find a picture of the Japanese artillery piece that stood in the park. I didn’t have access to a camera until 1974, so I suspect that the elephant slide we used to dig away the sand under and hide underneath was gone by then. I could’ve gotten some pictures of the people-sized hamster wheel that used to be in the park in the next town over, though.

This is all in aid of saying, take pictures of the area around you. Things change, which is part of the fun, but it’s also fun to be able to see how things were and how they compare to now.

Now I’m going to start planning how to take pictures of, like, everything everywhere, so I can track the changes over time.

I’m going to try to spoiler-tag my Gratuitous Amazon Link. There’s an area with dark gray text. Highlight it if you want to see whom Zuko brings back to the Fire Nation Capital with him.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time! We’re on to Smoke and Shadow now. Recently, someone on Reddit opined that it’s unrealistic to show that Zuko took the position of Fire Lord and they all lived happily ever after. Welp, here we have an adventure from the Fire Nation. Zuko is coming home with his mother, stepfather, and half-sister in tow, and someone, seemingly a spirit of some sort, begins to kidnap Fire Nation children. Is it a spirit? Will Aang be able to help? Or is this something that Zuko has to handle on his own?