March comes in more like a cranky bear.

Welcome to March, friends. It’s been a year since my Wife and I started quarantining, and I’m kind of over it. Switzerland has been slow rolling out vaccines, and while I’m happy for everyone I know gettings vaccines in the States (especially my mom and dad!), I’m a little bit jealous, too. I’d rather hear that people are getting vaccines, though. The more people who are vaccinated, the better things will get.

Folks who know me know I have depression and anxiety, and the last month has been rough for me. Between the anniversary of the pandemic, a former housemate passing away, and my own brain and body chemistry, the depression and anxiety decided that it wanted to do it’s metaphorical gut punch. What sucks about when it decides to show up is that writing takes a hit. I’ve managed by powering through a few days of writing, especially since writing makes me feel better. But right now, the biggest thing that helps is that when I write a chapter and I feel kinda meh about it, I read it to The Wife, and then she tells it’s awesome. Having someone to do that for you when you’re doing this kind of long art work is so awesome and helpful. 

I’ll get through. I know how my depression and anxiety brain works. I have medicine, and people, and writing. I tried to flip my body clock to days again, but ended up flipping back to being nocturnal. I’m kind of hoping when the days get longer I’ll flip back. But I’m still getting writing done, so I’m not knocking it. (To be honest, it’s only irritating when I have to do things like bring up packages or go to the drug store, etc.)

The other thing I’m trying to do for my mental health is really curating my social media. I keep trying to branch out a little with who I follow, but then I run into the bad side of Twitter (ie: the crap I left Facebook for). So, I stick to people I know and other authors, and that seems to be a sweet spot. Same with Tumblr, too. What really gets me, about all social media platforms is how it can show so many people who don’t give a shit about others on one hand, and show a lot of caring for others on the other hand. Interestingly enough, it seems that there’s a lot of people who show a lack of compassion regardless of their political affiliation. Or spiritual affiliation, for that matter. It’s hard to read that on a regular basis, hence the curating. Even in conversations I could take part in, there’s a whole bunch of thinking about whether it’s really worth getting into it. If you don’t hear from me for a few days on social media, it probably means I’m taking a break.

I will say, though, a lot of what I don’t say on social media is story fodder, so I suppose it all works out in the end?

On a happier note, yesterday I got a new fountain pen! It’s a Pelikan M205 Classic with a dark blue iridescent pen body. It’s my first Pelikan pen, and it’s really quite lovely! Filled it with fancy Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai ink which is a lovely bright royal blue that matches the barrel! Fine tip and a piston fill. So lovely to write with!

Pilot M205 Fountain Pen
Pretty Fountain Pen!!

Zurich is experiencing typical weird March weather. I always seem to forget that I have four seasons here, and that March is always a weird weather month. Last week, we had temps around 18 C. Right now? It’s around 0 C and snowing. 

Hope you’re all staying safe and wearing masks. I wish more people would.

Released

The Four Keys – Download or get a paperback version from Amazon: US Link German Link

I write fanfiction, too (all PG/PG-13): AO3 Fanfiction

In Progress

Survey: In the far future, on a globally sponsored science station, a woman discovers the key to making a functional AGI work in the midst of political unrest. (First Draft Complete –  142K words – with first readers)

Unity: A military chaplain and her bodyguard get embroiled in a major conspiracy that threatens the humans colonies of Unity and the AIs Nation of Survey. (First Draft Complete – 128K words – with first readers)

Colony: After the events of Unity, Jenny returns to her home colony where she meets someone she didn’t expect. (Writing – 16975 words)

Consortium: After the events of Unity, Jack and Marsha get assigned by Survey to help an AI who had been exiled and has asked for help. (Writing – 112260 words)

Character Playlists

I’ve made some character playlists on Spotify to write to. Here’s the lists if you’re interested in getting a feel for the characters I’ve been writing. Some of the lists overlap with artists, but that usually means they’re going through similar stuff.

Survey:

Unity

Consortium:

Yes, I know. It’s been awhile.

To be honest, it’s been a good, but hard (writing-wise) couple of months. August was hot, and I was trying to get some writing in, (I did manage some writing), but not the same momentum I had before my depression crash in May. I did get a lot of doctor appointments done, though, and it appears I’m in good physical health (although the usual fatphobic medicine stuff made it rough going, even with the overall great Swiss medical care).

In September we did a lot of travelling, which was great fun! The Wife bought a Porsche 911 Turbo, which is quite the sexy car (very fitting for her!) and we went road trippin’. We took our first spin up to the Schilthorn, which is where, if you didn’t know, the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was filmed. Of course, we had to go to the James Bond Brunch at the 360 Restaurant! The weather wasn’t cooperating with the view from the top, but that didn’t stop the trip from being amazing!

The Wife made a little video of the trip:

Yes, that was our view out of our hotel room. It was glorious! We’re definitely going to go back again for another weekend!

UN Building in Geneva

The week after the Schilthorn, we took a massive road trip to show off the car to my Father-In-Law in Mallorca, Spain. We first went to Geneva, where I finally got to see the UN Building there. I’ve now been to all three major sites for the UN (NYC, San Francisco, and Geneva). I know, a strange kind of goal, but I’m a history nerd, what can I say?

After a couple of days in Geneva, we drove to Perpignan, France. The drive was really nice, and the French countryside, even from the highway, was really beautiful! The only not-so-great place was a rest area restaurant where there was cafeteria style food that was completely unattended and looked extremely unappetizing. Weird for France, I know! We left there pretty quickly, and just decided to go to our hotel, where, even though it was a really basic hotel, the little restaurant made up for the nasty rest area!

The Tabby that Figured Out Who the Witches Were

We also had a couple of kitties come and join us for dinner. They were super cute, and pretty smart. The waitresses tried to shoo them away, but there were many of us diners who snuck them some chicken or sausage. This tabby seemed pretty fond of us, even before we got our food. Probably figured us for the witches we are!

The funniest thing to see was all of the men have their brains explode a little when they saw us get out of the Porsche. When we pulled into the hotel parking lot at Perpignan, there were a lot of construction contract workers in the parking lot. They all turned their heads to check out the car (of course, right?), but you should have seen their jaws drop when we got out. This happened a lot during the trip, and I can’t lie, I got a certain bit of satisfaction watching it happen. 😉

The Ferry to Mallorca

The next day, we drove to Barcelona. Finding where we were supposed to be was rough going, but after several roundabout circuits, we finally managed to figure out where the ticket office was. There was even a part where The Wife had to play “dumb tourists” to a cop because we were so turned around. (No worries. I think he basically said the equivalent of “friggin’ tourists!” in Spanish and let us go on our way.) We finally made it to the parking area to wait to get on the ferry, and eventually onto the ship itself. I’d never been on a ferry like that before, and while it was a good experience, we both decided that we’ll stick to flying for future trips.

Porsche 911 baby! It’s so pretty!

We had a lovely time in Mallorca, very chill, with lots of good food. We even saw some hot air balloons on our way back to Palma for the trip back to Barcelona!

Hot Air Balloons in Mallorca

After surviving Barcelona traffic and a night at a hotel after the return ferry, we went back through France. This time we stopped in Grenoble. The hotel was just outside the city, but it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. We had a great dinner and breakfast, and I also whipped out the camera to take pictures of the beautiful scenery just outside our window!

An Old Abbey we could see from our hotel room in Grenoble, France

After that we made it back to Zuerich, and we were quite happy to do so. It was an awesome trip, but it’s always good to come home again. We’re planning many more road trips for the future.

This month, so far, I’ve been planning for Samhain, taking our friend Kat up to the Schilthorn, and recovering from the road trip. I’ll post pictures from the Schilthorn trip in another post, as I need to brag about my new camera!

But right this second, I’m trying to clear the decks in preparation for NaNoWriMo. I hope to either completely finish my novel, or at least get this next part of the novel done. If you’re also doing NaNo, come friend me over there!

Writing:

  • Unity Space Corps: This is a military hard sci-fi novel set in a future where humans have colonized several other planets. The main character is a Religious Program Specialist and Senior Communications officer who has PTSD and works with the station’s Chaplain to figure out why the colonization survey they’re supporting isn’t going according to plan.
    • Finished Draft Part 1 (Chapters 1-17!)
    • Started Chapter 3 of Part 2
    • Word count as of today: 63077
  • The Four Keys: A spiritual prose journey to the underworld and back.
    • Needs final edit pass and cover for e-book version.
    • Graphic novel version on hold for the time being.
  • The Little Tarot E-book: This is a book started for my tarot class here in Zuerich
    • Still in draft. Need to finish Major Arcana and more spreads.
    • Edits will happen after NaNo

Travel:

  • Next Introvert Trip: Maybe back up to the mountains, or Lugano? Maybe in November.
  • Florida Trip: Going to Florida from January 7-21, 2020 to visit my parents.
  • Possible Road Trips to Various European Places: Still deciding
  • Rome/Vatican: Will definitely be going, but still need to plan.

Fiber Arts:

Now that Fall is settling in and it’s getting closer to Winter, I’m starting to pick up my fiber stuff again. I decided to sell my tapestry loom, since, while I like it, I don’t love it like I do rigid heddle weaving or the inkle loom. I’ve sold it to a nice person in Iowa, and I hope they get a lot of great use out of it!

I’ve also decided to get an electric wheel. I love my Louet Victoria, don’t get me wrong, but the way we have things arranged in our apartment, it’s not as practical for me to spin with the Victoria while watching TV anymore. An electric spinner is going to solve that problem quite nicely. I’m going to get the Ashford E-spinner 3, which comes with the spinner, foot pedal, 3 bobbins, Lazy Kate, and a bag to carry it all in. There’s a local Swiss fiber place where I can order it, too! (Yay! No VAT!)

I’ve also started crocheting again, and at the moment have picked back up the Bacon Scarf I’ve been making for Sarah. (I am actually using a bacon colored yarn, and it sort of looks like bacon. Pics coming later!) I also have a project that is months overdue on the loom, but I think I’ll get back on that horse, too. Winter is a really good time for it!

Photography:

I’ve been really getting into photography in the last few months. I’d been borrowing Sarah’s Nikon Df for awhile, and I love the camera, but we both realized it was time for me to get my own camera and lenses. After much discussion, I decided on a Fuji X-A3 and three lenses. I’ll write more nerdy details about it in another post, but I’m really enjoying it so far. Still learning the tech stuff, but it’s been really fun!

Lent Poetry: Unfamiliar

3 weeks from now
I will be in a different town
with snow
a lake
and people

In a new house
that will smell the way
only new places have
like bleach and
Pledge
and paint

The cats will hate us
and then explore
the new house
claiming their territories
as we claim
bedrooms and desks

I will look out
of a new window
and wonder about
possibilites
ministries
and magick

I will order groceries
unpack boxes
and decide where
the toothbrush will go

Then I will explore
and find a cafe
with wifi
fancy homemade tea
and a table that
feels comfortable

I will write a poem
there
and I will tell myself
this is home now
but I won’t believe it

then I will return
to our new house
I will cook dinner
in a unfamiliar kitchen

but my wife will be there
and I will hold her
in our new house
which will be
home