Grocery Stores

Whenever I go walking and don’t have anything in particular on my mind, I tend to find myself thinking about similar walking occasions. If I walk in the woods, I think about other woods I have known. Beaches, same. Today I walked to the grocery store, and got to counting up the grocery stores I have walked to in my days.

There was the one in our college town (hardly any of us had access to a car). That was a hike down and more importantly back up the hill. That was where I first started learning how to cook, after a couple of summers on frozen foods and Tuna Helper. It was a small town, and a basic store, but it did the job.

After we moved to Boston there was a Bread and Circus down the street from our apartment. It was a poky little place–this was before the era of warehouse-sized supermarkets in the city. They wrapped your meat in butcher paper, which they still do at Whole Foods, although now they put the chicken in plastic bags first, which seems to defeat the point. When we moved to Somerville, I would sometimes walk to the store in Porter Square if the weather was mild, although I more often took the bus and later, when we had one, the car.

In Worcester there was a store right down the street. One winter I was heavily pregnant, it was snowing, and as I plodded home with my bags festooned around me, someone pulled over to offer me a ride. It was very kind of them, but I had to truthfully point out that it was only a couple of blocks.

And now there’s this place, where we have a choice of two major supermarket chains less than a mile away. I sometimes walk if I only need a few things and feel like I have the time, and always tell myself I should make the time more often. It doesn’t take that much longer, factoring in waiting at lights and so forth.

As I stump along with my bag of vegetables and jug of milk, I think about all of those past grocery stores, and future stores, and future walks in which I am one of those old ladies with a rolling cart, doggedly battling it homeward over the humps in the sidewalk. I wonder what I’m buying? Less milk than I do these days, probably.


1% Done

Many things about life get easier with practice, and so I assume that eventually, starting a new book will seem less daunting. I am two days and 1,200 words into the project–so far, so good! As an experiment, I am using Scrivener for this draft. I know any number of people who swear by it.

The new novel itself is, well, very “me” in that it is another of those kitchen-sink mashups I always seem to come up with and then despair of selling. The skeleton of the story was my 2014 NaNoWriMo project (one of the years I didn’t finish for some reason). Since then I’ve noodled a bit on it, but up to now have not gone back to make a proper draft. I think it’s a fun idea, and I’m looking forward to fleshing it out.

Speaking of NaNo, I do have an idea for a whole other project to do for that. Depending on how progress goes this month, I may switch over to that one in November or shelve the idea for next year. My long-term goal as currently written is to finish three more books by 2023, and I have more ideas than that in my backlog right now. There’s no real need to sketch out yet another one unless my working pace increases dramatically.

Not much else going on with us right now. I love my new job. My goal tracking system seems to be working. I’ve been fitting in more reading these past few weeks–revisited American Gods after a damn long time, and also re-read The Game of Kings. Started Queen’s Play but seem to have stalled out during one of the long set pieces in that book, so I may need to change gears for a while.

Also, we’re getting some fish! All set up and waiting for new inhabitants in a few more days.

By then I might be up to 5% done.



After what has felt like an immense proportion of my life to date spent working on this story, I’m delighted to say that The Hasty Visitor’s Guide to American Fairy Hills is finally done, or at least done to the point where I’m composing query letters and a synopsis and all of that stuff. It’s immeasurably satisfying to bring a project to that stage after so long. I’m actually looking forward to sending out queries.

Finishing the book means that the overwhelming list of projects I had underway back in July has largely been cleared. I have one class still in progress; that ends next week. Once that’s done, my obligation list consists solely of a few volunteering gigs, none of which take up much time in the course of a month. (And work and family stuff, obviously.)

Which means, of course, that it’s time to start planning again. This time, I’m going to be a little more intentional about how I fill up my calendar. I have my list of long-term goals; I have my high-level milestones for the next few years. Time to spend more time with those, see if anything needs adjustment, and map out the next few months in a bit more detail. Now that I’ve started the new job (which is amazing) and the kids have started school, I hope it will be possible to come up with a routine to get us through the fall–without feeling like just making it through the day is the best we can hope for.

Heck, maybe I’ll make a dent in my to-read pile….


Testing Some New Systems

This is not a post about the WordPress block editor, which I loathe, but about the new strategy I am testing out for tracking projects.

A little background first. As I may have mentioned, I have been looking for a new job for quite some time. A little while back, I found one. I have spent much of the summer since I gave notice finishing off projects that I had accumulated in order to distract myself from my job woes. Then we went on vacation. After a week of unwinding, I sat myself down to figure out a few long-term plans. What did I actually want out of this job? Beyond the job, where–who–did I want to be in a few more years?

Continue reading “Testing Some New Systems”