Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Happy Place

I can't believe I'm posting this. It's still so surreal to me.




I'm moving! It has been my dream for years now to live in the mountains. Lucky for me this has been a shared dream; Clint has always wanted this too. We've done things in these last few years to make our lives in the desert more tolerable, like upgrading the interior of our home, putting in the pool, and so on, but in the end it all feels like putting lipstick on a pig. No matter how pretty we make this place, we still live in the desert, with scorching temperatures and blowing dust and people who simply don't take pride in their community. 

Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets over the work we've put into our house. The pool especially, because it has given us a reprieve from the oppressive desert heat for three summers now, and it's going to be a huge selling feature for our house. Likewise everything else we've added will increase our home's value. And honestly, we've had happy lives here. I grew up in the desert and it will always feel like home to me. But, for lack of a less corny way of saying it, my heart is happiest in the forest. I can't even describe the level of calm I feel when I'm nestled into trees. It's weird, right?...the different settings that bring serenity to different people? Your happy place might be the beach, the calming waves of the ocean. Or maybe it's open pastures...a rambling farm house with wide green spaces reaching for the horizon. In the same way, mine is the mountains, and no matter how much work I put into my current home, I just can't shake the desire for towering trees and fresh piney fragrances. So Clint and I decided to finally get serious about looking for a property up there (other factors played into this decision, but I'll just leave it at this for now). We ended up spending the first half of summer looking at land--even putting an offer on one parcel--thinking we'd build a home. But it turns out that the cost to build a home in the mountains is so astronomical that we'd be upside-down on our mortgage before we even moved into our new home. I always thought building a house was cheaper than buying, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

So after spending a month haggling and dreaming, we decided we just couldn't do it. This brought us to option #2, purchasing an already existing home. The tricky part of this plan is that mountain homes are...well, downright weird. Most are three stories with very compartmentalized rooms and bizarre floor plans. For example, one house we walked into had a front door that went straight into the kitchen. There was one other front door entrance on the lower level that went through the master bedroom. So for guests, I'd have a choice: Do I want them to see my dirty dishes or my dirty underwear? (Not that mine are dirty, of course, because anything coming out of me is pure sugar and sunshine). Hmmm. *scratches head*. Another house was loaded with mysterious stairs going into dark places with lots of crevices and crannies...it was like the Winchester House spawned an evil little lovechild. Some of the more "normal" floor plans in the mountains feature split levels, where you walk into a little platform and have to immediately decide whether you're going upstairs or down. I can't even entertain houses like this. It's like getting ready to enter an elevator and being greeted with, well, half the elevator. (I am the analogy queen!). 

No one is at fault for these bizarre floor plans, it's just that you're dealing with homes that are either built into the mountain or hanging off a cliff, so home-builders are forced to get super creative with their floor plans and utilize every bit of space they have available. And honestly, it turns out that looking at quirky mountain homes is a ton of fun. House hunting in the desert is pretty boring. "Here's another ranch...yep, another track home...oh look at that, another ranch...). But in the mountains, you never know what to expect when you walk through the front door. The exclamations from my kids ranged anywhere from "There's for sure a dead body buried over here" to "I call dibs on that dark basement room from the pits of hell!" (May have tweaked their wording a little). Needless to say, I made my peace with the fact that there was no way we were going to get a "normal" home. So our goal was simply to find as close to normal as possible. 

Enter: This house. It was love at first sight.


Front patio

Side-view of house

Street-view - One driveway goes to the carport, the other to the garage

Street view #2

Carport

Side-view of garage and studio apartment

My future writing lair and art studio! Or as Clint calls it, my she-shed.

Two car garage (rare in the mountains) with studio apartment above.
Apartment has one bedroom, a kitchenette, and a bathroom.
So there you have it. I'm sure I'll be posting more in the coming weeks, if I have time to breathe. Everything is happening so fast. Clint and I will be scrambling this month to get our current house cleaned out, repairs made, etc., so we can put it on the market. I guess I'm supposed to be packing too, but I just can't. While I have no problem imagining moving into the new house, I can't picture myself moving out of this house. So I need to wait a little longer for all of this to sink in before I can get my butt packing.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Freshly Mowed Grass Diet


I watched a few clips from a documentary last week called Forks over Knives. Even though I saw only a smidgen of the film, I decided I can never eat meat again.

Then I watched a documentary called What the Health. Afterwards I determined I can never eat eggs or dairy again.

Then I watched a documentary called That Sugar Film, and determined that I can never eat refined sugars again.

So this leaves...grass. I am now on the Freshly Mowed Grass Diet. Maybe I can throw some wood chips in there too when I need some extra bulk.

When it comes to all of the existing research out there regarding food, I can't possibly listen to it all. I'll either A) Starve, or B) Eat what I want but feel like I'm slowly killing myself. So I have to determine which pieces of information regarding food speak to me the most. And for me, it's the inhumane treatment and unethical processing of animals. It's like something from a dystopian horror flick. I won't get on that soap box right now, I'll just sum up by saying I can no longer support the American meat industry. 

I've decided to give up all meat. Six days ago I switched over from a meat-based diet to a plant-based (whole foods) diet, opting to get my proteins from things that grow from the ground rather than animal flesh. For health reasons I'm also drastically cutting down on dairy, and switching from eggs to egg whites.

So I guess I'm vegetarian with a sprinkle of vegan?



Yep, this is me now.

But other than one craving for pepperoni that hit me last Friday night and massive dairy withdrawals, it's going well so far! I haven't cheated even once. *knocks on wood*. Clint's embracing all of this too and preparing a lot of our meals, which makes it easier to stick with.

I'm sharing this decision here because it helps keep me grounded, but otherwise I plan to keep it on the down-low as much as possible. Mainly because I've been perpetually annoyed by vegetarians and vegans in the past who are really 'loud' about their lifestyle choice and constantly expect special accommodations made for them. There's no way I will do that. I've already been out to eat with family several times and it was painfully easy to find meat-free options on the menu without creating a hoopla over it. 

But my other motive for being quiet about the whole thing is I come from an extended family of hearty meat-eaters that really have no use for vegetarians, so there's sort of a stigma attached to that word. Shoot, I myself own a hunting dog (well technically George is Clint's dog, but you get my point). I'm not the kind of person you would associate with vegetarianism. Eventually the people in my world will find out--it's not my intention to keep it a secret--I simply have no desire to advertise it.

Okay, I'm off to make some steamed veggies and roasted sadness for dinner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Shorter Posts?


And mine is one of them. I need to write in this thing. This used to be my little online journal. I loved writing here. I'm trying to remember when that feeling went away, when the impulse to record things fled. 

Maybe I'll try shorter entries, just to get back into the habit again. I need to figure this out, because my URL is up for renewal and I can't justify repurchasing it when I'm leaving this poor blog out in the cold and rain. 


So in the spirit of this idea, I'm going to end this blog post now.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cover Reveal - No Rest for the Wicked


I know I haven't been on my blog in a bazillion years (other than to complain about my blog virus woes), but this occasion warrants me to rain a little sunshine on my post-drought. I'm thrilled to be amongst the few who gets to reveal the gorgeous new book cover for No Rest for the Wicked, the debut novel from the amazing and talented author Krystal Jane Ruin!
Without further ado, check out this beauty...

Back of the Book Blurb

Since her release from the psychiatric facility and into the smothering guardianship of her aunt, twenty-one-year-old psychic Tatum Torabi has been sneaking away to sell curses and plagues in the underground, a black market known for illegal and supernatural wares. 

Tatum’s unique abilities catch the attention of a hella-creepy trash peddler who offers her a job tracking down people who owe his boss “a favor.” She couldn’t be less interested, but when she refuses, the company forces her compliance by threatening the lives of the only family she has left. 

Because tracking barely scratches the surface of what they really want from her. There’s a reason Tatum is so good at making curses, and they want her to use those skills for a much darker purpose.

May 10


Click here to pre-order from Amazon

Click here to add to Goodreads


About the Author

Krystal Jane Ruin is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction living in the Tennessee Valley. She can often be found knee deep in Sudoku and other puzzles, in a Youtube hole, or blogging about books, writing, and random things. For updates from Krystal, visit here:


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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Nasty Little Widget

My blog virus is gone! It only took...well...a year to get rid of it. The virus was hidden in the html code of my Twitter fanbox widget. Sneaky, sneaky. So that thing is gone now and my blog is all fat and healthy.

I'm not writing a real post right now. I just wanted to get on here and say that my blog is alive again. Hopefully I'm not bringing it to life only to force it to suffer a longer death due to post-starvation. But you know me. That's probably exactly what I'm doing.

Alive!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Blog Virus

Some time ago this blog was inflicted with a redirect virus. In my case, this means that every link that you click on (including older posts) redirects you to a twitter fanbox page. I'm finally frustrated enough by this issue that I'm going to attempt to fix it. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Last 200 Words - October

Okay, I'm totally cheating. As you know, I quit doing the WIP Marathon reports because of all the reasons I explained in this post. But I'll admit it, I'm still itching to post a tiny bit of progress, especially when...well...I'm actually making progress (now's a good time to mention that my idea of "progress" is moving up by a mere K or two a month, and that pitiful word counts are my modus operandi). So while I can't commit to writing full-fledged WIP Marathon reports once a month, I've decided that when all of the WIP Marathoners post their reports, I'm going to simply post my last 200 words. I'll also mention how many words I've added this month. Unless it's pathetic. Then I'll conveniently forget and leave that part off.

Word Count for October: Around 10K of Black Lilies. No, I didn't do that all in one month. This is my TOTAL word count since I started the novel LAST WINTER. I'm in bad shape here.

Last 200 Words:

“Don’t patronize me. I’m not a child. And I’ll tell you my name as soon as you tell me what’s going on.” I crossed my arms and stepped back in a show of defiance, accidentally dropping the assignment that was crumpled in my hand. Moving quickly, I reached down to pick it up.
“What’s that?” he asked, leaning forward to look at the paper.
“It’s my ‘lesson’, as you like to call it,” I bit out. “It’s what I’m supposed to be working on right now, but now I will get a zero because of your little impromptu performance of the Star Spangled Banner.”
He squinted his eyes, examining it closer. “Let me see that.”
Why would he want my paper? There was barely anything written on it. I shrugged. “Here.”
I tried to hand it to him, but he didn’t move to take it. Instead, he tilted his head, as if trying to get a better view. His already pale-face turned white, and his bright eyes grew wide. “I know this writing.”
He jerked back, his fists clenched at his side.
“Tell me your name, clever girl.” 
I stood silent. 
“It’s you, isn’t it? You’re Aviva.” 
My mouth fell open, and he disappeared.