Saturday, November 20, 2010

Writers Retreat

Stinson Beach path
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
So this is what it takes for me to compose a blog post these days: holing up on a dramatically stormy Saturday in a cabin at Stinson Beach with four other writer gals. What I sacrifice! It does make me a little regretful that I didn't do NaNoWriMo after all this year. They're all working on real novels. Sigh. But when November actually got underway, I knew I couldn't do it this year. Well, there's always next year. Or even all of the months in between, right?

Part of my lack of posting has definitely been my stress level these past few weeks. It's been up there. But now the conference that was partly to blame for that anxiety wrapped up last Wednesday. It was just two and a half days long and in the City, and I had some good Thai food and excellent coffee and good company so it was relatively pleasant. It was held at The Palace Hotel, which is lovely and historic and apparently haunted, which is what I blame the bad dreams I had while I was there on. They were just this side of nightmarish. One in particular is still with me: M and I were living in what seemed to be a tiny cinderblock room, graffiti'd, filled with trash, part of the roof open to the rain, filled with insects including one that perfectly matched the ratty grass green bedspread--it crept across the mattress in a, well, creepy fashion. In the dream, I couldn't figure out why we were living there--hadn't we just spent all that time and money redoing our house? Bad dreams about Home worry me a bit. But then, it is just a dream. And while I remain unsatisfied with the home we really have, it goes to show--things could be a lot worse.

One thing I did to relieve a little stress but did take a bit of toll on my writing time was to take a weekend to work on my succulent collection. I've neglected them for years and the grouping was looking dejected and haphazard. So I repotted all but my two largest pots that were still doing OK, including the carnivorous plants since the barrel they were in was rotting and filled with a virulent clover. I tried to balance using things we had on hand--terracotta pots, concrete bricks, and a leftover length of kitchen counter granite--with getting a few replacement pots it help with the match-iness. I was a little ruthless, tossing and "gifting" a few pots worth of greenery that I just didn't want anymore. While the plants still looks a little thrown-together, it looks much more coordinated, and the succulents in particular have room to fill in, so I expect they'll look even nicer in the next year or so. I also decided to fill a couple of pots with spring flowering bulbs, so I hope to have a good colorful show of tulips, freesia, crocus, ranunculus, hyacinth, and narcissus this year. I do need to figure out a pot for herbs. While I was shopping for pots, I did come across a number of fountains that I liked very much, but M is still very persuasive in his argument against them (mostly that they require maintenance, an aspect that we don't really devote much time to).

We're not going anywhere for the holiday break, so if we have the energy we'll finally put the water troughs that I bought ages ago to use as planters. That's a real project, however. I would love to have tomatoes again this summer, though, and it would be a nice new look for back deck area. We'll probably have to call on the neighbor to help us. And plant the peach tree and rosa banksia we finally decided on for camouflaging the back fence. Good thing we have almost two weeks off! We also need to scatter the wildflower seeds we bought in Texas soon too. Maybe we can do that tomorrow.

Roxy update: Another stress factor recently has been Roxy, though on a much different level than getting ready for a show. We had a trainer come in for a few hours to give us some advice. While I wished she had actually interacted with the dogs more so I could have observed her behavior with them, she did recommend some things for us to do that are making a difference. We have to be as gods to them, making all of the decisions for them so they look to us to work stuff out, not leaving anything for them to work out between them. We pet them and feed them when we want to, not when they ask for it. She loves being underfoot in the kitchen, and I have to be more consistent about ordering her out while I'm cooking.

I do feel more attached to Roxy every day. When I came home from the conference after three days away she was so sweet, meeting me at the door and planting her head against my knees then crumpling into a furry heap at my feet while doing her little doggy whine/purr. She and Rex seem to be doing better. She still tries to keep him away from us humans and challenges his paths around the house. But he doesn't seem as scared of her as he was in the days after the biting incident. We're getting into a little routine, which helps. The newest bummer--she's a digger, with much more dramatic results than Rex's attempts to de-gopher the yard. But things are going in the right direction.

I have a lot to look forward to. Tomorrow is a potluck chez Honeys, and Liz and Katch will be there with families. Nick's dad is visiting from England, and it will be good to see him. And it's just three days in the office next week before Thanksgiving. Hardly anyone will be in next week, so I'm hoping to be very productive.


At 10:36 PM, November 20, 2010, Blogger Rebecca Patrascu said...

So glad you could come out and be part of the write-fest. Blogging absolutely counts, and has the added bonus of catching everyone up. Good luck with all the yard projects!


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