The Long Way Around

So much time has gone by, and so much has happened. I lost both my dogs, cried and cried, and then decided life was too short and too small and too predictable. So I sold my house, bought a boat, and moved aboard with The Other Lamm, my weirdo bird, and our cat. (Yes, the cat belongs to all of us. The bird is part owner of the cat. I just decided this.) So, without further ado…

Here’s S/V CHAOS in St. Croix, where we fought for her, won her, and took her back home.

 

And here she is in her new home, the PNW, all cozy in the snow.

 

I’m guessing most of you already know about all this through Twitter, or just… my general chatter. But I wanted to share it anyway. Grief sucks a whole lot out of you, more than you even realize at the time. I guess I just needed to take a year or so and completely overhaul my life. I miss my dogs. I meant to write a piece on each of them and share photos, but every time I looked through them, I just started to cry again. It’s stupid, I know. But for now, I give you boat pictures! And maybe after I get a real camera, some real sailing videos. The goal is to eventually go back to St. Croix, the long way around.

Still Alive

It recently hit me that my last blog entry is about a year old. At the very least, I thought I’d offer an update. I’m still alive, still writing, albeit at a much slower pace. 2014 and the beginning of 2015 handed my little family some big changes. We went from a house on a desert mountain, to an RV in the forest, to a little house in the city. My job changed in some great ways, and I’ve been enjoying the challenge.

But there’s a downside to change, too.

My family lost two members, and we very nearly lost a third. The first loss was a gentle, old Amazon parrot we adopted knowing we were in for a hospice situation. After a long stretch of apparent improvement, one morning, the little guy just stopped breathing. The second loss was our wonderful Shepherd, who had been with my husband and I since before we were married. Cancer took him on Valentines Day, within weeks of his diagnosis. And the almost-loss was our Cocker Spaniel, our accidental second dog. She, an abandoned puppy-mill mom, fell sick for months, lost a third of her body weight, and spent way too many nights in the hospital. She is finally beginning to pull through, and while I can still see far too many of her ribs, she’s actually wagging her tail again.

I know to many people these are just animals, but I don’t draw much of a line between species. To me, family is family, and mine feels decimated. So that’s part of the reason I’ve been a bit silent online. I always hesitate to share personal bad news for fear of bringing people down, when I imagine it’s the last thing anyone needs. But the truth is I’ve had little energy due to a patch of depression steered very much by the losses and illnesses of some creatures I love.

I thought about sharing some of their stories and photos with you, because these (mostly) speechless sweethearts amaze and inspire me every day. But first, I think it’s important to get caught up on projects. Plus I still get a little teary when I think about the ones I lost.

Anyway, don’t give up on me just yet. And thank you for being out there!

Operation “Get Your Ass Back to the Coast” Was a Smoldering Success

Smoldering because it went down in flames. Successfully. We made it, but not in one piece. We lost a lot of money, a transmission, six tires, and one beloved pet. This is the primary reason I’ve been taking my time about getting back online. I think we’ve just about pulled ourselves back together, and I’m so glad to be close to the ocean again. The ocean feels like home to me. It’s funny. No matter where I go in the world, the ocean is home.

It’s good to be home again.

So I’ve made goals, at last! Here’s what you can expect to see from me in the coming months:

1) Chemistry will be coming out in paperback.

2) Titan Magic: Body and Soul will be published in both ebook and paperback.

And here’s what you can expect to not see, but will be done anyway:

3) Titan Magic: Chaotic World will be outlined! YAY!

4) The Watcher, the Thief, and the Sacrifice will enter revisions. I’m really excited to share this story with you. It’s a stand alone frame story, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it when it’s ready.

That should keep me properly busy for a while. Thank you all so much for your patience while I recovered from the catastrophe that was my escape from the desert.

Happy Day of Sloth!

You probably won’t believe me (okay, maybe you will), but I’ve been looking for an excuse to publish a post about the best lil’ beast in the world: the sloth. Maybe you’ve never heard of these creatures. Maybe you think they’re a deadly sin (for shame!) or a unproductive way of life. Not so! Sloths are so efficient, your boss wishes her whole company was a sloth. You wish your house’s heating or cooling system was a sloth. Hell, you wish your KIDS were sloths. It’s true. They use practically no energy to go about their day-to-day lives. And what do they produce? Must you even ask? They produce ADORABLE!

You may wonder, do they never speak? Of course they do! They speak the language of LOVE ME.

So I nominate tomorrow as the official Day of Sloth. Because yesterday was Gluttony (Thanksgiving), and today is Greed (Black Friday). Really, there ought to be Seven Deadly Sins to come before the Twelve Days of Christmas. And they should all be adorable—the sins I mean. We’ll use bonobos for Lust and kittens for Wrath.

And just in case you needed one more reason to respect the sloth…

It SWIMS! Good Lord, it swims like a champion. And while it’s casually outperforming your best Labrador Retriever, it turns to you and says, “Hey, just in case you didn’t know, slothfulness is not laziness; slothfulness is being awesome without effort.”

In Defense of Unlovable Creatures

I have this memory I keep in the secret pocket of my childhood coat. I recall sitting in front of a rock wall, watching an egg sac hatch. They were spiders—little zebra-striped jumping spiders, I think. Even as a child, I saw that they were young and fragile, and I saw how they wobbled around on brand new legs and fearlessly explored their brand new world. They were, in a word, adorable.

When I got older, I learned to be afraid of spiders, but it was never an innate fear. It was taught. So, after I became an adult, I decided to overcome it. The best way to overcome any fear is through education, so I started learning all I could about the different kinds of spiders, until I could identify the ones I found around my own home. Then I started giving them names (Amelia, Copernicus, and Incitatus) and treating them like visitors. They were the cats of the arachnid world—perfect, agile hunters—and they earned their keep the same way cats do: by preventing a potential infestation of other, invasive insects.

Some people wonder how I can love an unlovable creature. But honestly, they’re only unlovable because we’ve been programed to hate them. We’ve seen Arachnophobia and learned that spiders are viscous, horrible creatures that will suck the life out of you until you are a mere husk of a person as soon as look at you. But that’s just not true. The vast majority of them are completely harmless, even beneficial creatures.

This is what most of them are:

Start with the jumpers, if you really want to learn to love spiders. They’re curious and super cute. You won’t regret befriending them, as long as you show them the proper respect. Even now, there is a spider living near the window just over my desk, and it’s taken down every bothersome fly that’s gotten into the house so far. Plus it’s interesting to watch.

And if you liked the above video you should check out the creator’s youtube channel. It’s surprisingly chill and fun with a myriad of jumpers to see. Also, have a look at the What’s That Bug website and learn a little more about which creatures are harmful and which are actually beneficial. You may be surprised at what you find. I know I was.