About this colouring book trend . . .

One of my colleagues has been advocating the use of colouring (books) as a de-stressing / focusing activity for many years now, and it seems as though she predicted a wave of interest that has been breaking in recent weeks. 

I haven’t been big on colouring for years. I get frustrated by any movement of my medium over the line. The smallest swath of unnecessary colour left by my pencil, marker, or crayon, and I want to abandon ship. There is no erasing colour, people. Once it’s on the paper, that’s it. You might be able to divert attention or obscure the error with a darker shade, but when you look closely, it’s still there. Mocking. Marring an otherwise pretty picture. Maybe that’s why I prefer cross-stitch and knitting and embroidery and appliqué in my visual arts. Fabric and strands are far more forgiving than paper and its ilk. 

That being said, I adore the quills and inks I received from my darling hubby for Christmas. Calligraphy rules!

However, since I splurged on the Outlander colouring book in November and received the Unicorns are Jerks colouring book for Christmas (also from Hubby, mwah!), I decided to give it another go. 

I haven’t attempted the first book yet — in all honesty, I’m a little afraid to wreck the perfection of those pages, so I’m starting with the easier stuff in the second book. Getting back into the habit, as it were. Here is what I have learned so far from my return to colouring:

It’s about patience. That’s what makes it relaxing. You can’t rush because that’s where you go over the flipping lines and get mad. Breathing while colouring helps. 


It’s about thinking creatively. Visualizing and making the image appear as you want it. I do that with the textiles, as well, but colouring is faster. Even when I’m trying to take my time.


Filling in an empty space with a layer of shade is immensely satisfying, and doing so on a flat page is much, much easier than, say, taking all the pictures down, moving the furniture, washing the wall and having at it with a roller or a brush.

My children have of course noticed me colouring, and my daughter was kind enough to sketch me a picture of her own design to colour after she went to bed. Wonder what she will make of my choices?



Oh, it’s a fickle thing, isn’t it? Can’t take it off the page once it’s done. But if you take your time and do it well, it’s worth the effort, I think. 

Blogging Report Card time!

I just put a whole pile of thoughts and comments together on that statistical report, and OF COURSE I didn’t save the damned draft. Rookie mistake.

So, in summary, I will just say that I didn’t realize that I was actually  ahead of my posting goal at this point. In fact, at the time the report was generated (today?), I was already at 367 blog posts. Not bad, eh?

Also found it interesting that the most popular posts had to do with overthinking pop culture, buying stuff, and being funny or satirical about mundane activities. Makes sense. I know I need to write fewer reflective pieces and more fun/escape compositions. I simply don’t have the energy for the latter day after day. Plus, I think including visuals whenever I can is important, which again takes time and effort. 

Gratuitous visual: progress on the first block for my son’s blanket! Past the halfway point, now . . .

So in 2016, I will aim for at least one blog post a week, keeping in mind those statistics. After all, there is a fine balance between writing purely for one’s self, and entertaining / conversing with others. I’d like to do at least one vlog every three months, too, just for variety and fun. Might help to get a new MacBook Pro (rubs chin reflectively).

Three days remaining. Kind of relieved. But also gobsmacked that this is something I didn’t give up on — that I made it to the end. (Or did I just jinx myself?)

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Stress dreams resuming

And yes, I know I’ve skipped a blog post this past week, on the 25th. I keep meaning to make it up. I keep meaning to do a lot of things.

Bits and pieces of progress today — some laundry done and folded, (and had Bridget put hers away) another double-sided knitting block halfway through. No writing. Didn’t even go outside.

I am tired. 

Been trying to think of what I have learned by doing this blogging project. I’ve tried not to be repetitive, tried to be aware of it happening and stop patterns from reoccurring. Tried to be creative until I had no more energy to be creative. I’ve learned it’s definitely draining to try to be all things at once, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting that. 

In five days, this project will be over. No shortage of ideas for the next online endeavour, of course. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. I just like writing, whether it’s fiction or non. And if you’ve been reading along all year (as I know a few of you have, eh, Tar? Eh?), I cannot express my appreciation enough. I do wish what I had written had been more useful, generally speaking. But on the other hand, I’ve sent into the void a part of my own experience and story. And nobody’s story is ever insignificant. At least, so says the Doctor.

The Caffeine molecule is done!

Sending out a big THANK YOU to Megan-Anne at her blog, Lattes and Llamas, for the pattern! A donation to The Child’s Play Charity is coming. I feel pretty good now about being able to do double-knitting.
There are a ton of patterns to choose from among the Geek-A-Long charts for 2014 and 2015. I think I’m going to do a square for my son next, then one for me, and so on, alternating until there are enough for blankets for both of us. Bridget says she doesn’t want one, so I’m going to be trying a mermaid tail lap blanket pattern eventually. 

Plus writing.

And promos.

And cleaning / supervising cleaning.

And reading.

And my day job. 


She still believes!

At least, that’s the ten-year-old’s story and she’s sticking to it. Perfectly understandable, it was, that Santa would provide her with a new doll stroller while mum and dad would give her the two dollies to go with it, and that her parents would have conversations with the man in the red suit. All is well.

After a lovely day at home, we braved the crowds at the mall this afternoon, just looking around for this or that (I bought three books, as well), and then saw Star Wars again. I was struck once more by the beauty of the cinematography, and especially the aesthetics of Kylo Ren’s ship — it reminds me of a dragon coming in to land, descending onto firey nests or rising from the battlefields with its prize. The new movie connects even more to fairy tales, now.

I’m nearly done this blanket patch, after having to go back and fix random errors again and again. 

Once this patch is done, I think I will start one for a blanket for my son, and when that’s done, start a mermaid blanket for Bridget. And I want to get off my ass to take control of the house before school resumes. Not enough snow to ski yet, anyway.

But most of all, I need to make myself get back to work on my next novel project. I’m almost done the 365 days of blogging, and even though a fair portion of it has been non-fiction, reflective pieces, it’s still been writing every day. If I put the same effort into the creepy dollhouse or another project, I might have a new manuscript done in a few months! And I really do want to produce more stories and novels. I walked around the book store today, wondering what it would be like to see my novels on their shelves. To get people reading, I need to revisit promotions beyond this blog, stepping up my approaches to reviewers, ferrying books in my car to local bookstores in an hour-and-a-half radius, really get back to the game. That in itself is a full-time job, but it’s completely true that if you don’t tell people about the work you do, who will want to try reading it?

Ready . . . Set . . . Sleep . . .

Had dinner with the folks after a semi-hectic day: Hubby got us up early and took myself and the kids out for breakfast before we hit the stores (sans enfants) for last-minute items. We were done before 11:30, thankfully, so we missed the worst of the crowds. Then the kids went swimming in the afternoon (grateful again that they no longer need adult accompaniment!), which gave me time to finish the wrapping before we went to Mom and Dad’s for supper. 

And it was a tasty, lovely turkey dinner. A relaxing visit, good time spent with the grandparents. 

The kids slept in the car on the way down and back. Home by 9:30, finish watching a Christmas movie, they opened one present each and then it was off to bed. 

I did a quick clean, just the living area, plus a bit of the dining area and a bit of the bathroom and a quick sweep. I think it helps me to have a real motivation to tidy things up! Hubby set the presents out in their stockings, and the cookies and milk for Santa.

Now, here’s an interesting situation to ponder as we nestle ourselves for the long winter’s nap:

Bridget is fully expecting the big bearded guy in the red suit to bring her two specific dolls. Tonight, the early gift she picked was one of those dolls, from her dad. She now thinks that after Santa comes, she will have three, little knowing or anticipating that the second doll is still under the tree and St. Nick is supplying neither of them.

Will this be the last time she truly believes in Santa? Will she finally “get” it? Part of me hopes so, the part that is tired of the facade and ready to move on. I feel bad about that. I don’t want her to lose that magic (although I still get a little shock myself that we are the ones filling the stockings!), that beautiful moment of childhood. I don’t want her to be disappointed. But all things end. It’s getting close to time.

And in a matter of hours, we will know.

Tick tock, tick tock

Not the most decorated we’ve had this place, nor the tidiest, but there is a satisfactory collection of tributes and tokens to each other under the tree, and few remain still needing to be wrapped, thanks to my hubby’s efforts to reduce my stress this year.

It would be nice to have more greenery around, more candles lit and clouds and sparkles. But this is also okay. It’s good. I want it to be good.

And the wind is blowing outside, moaning over what remains of our unseasonably shallow snowpack, bringing rain in its wake. Tomorrow morning I am hoping to hit the stores for a few remaining purchases first thing in the morning, before they get crazy busy. Supper with the folks tomorrow night. The kids still have gingerbread houses to make, and there still much cleaning to be done.

I want it to be good.

The Return of Furniture Tetris

Started to reclaim the hallway by the front door, and it only took me an hour! Took out two old and half-broken coathooks from the doorway facing the living room so I could move an old bookshelf in there for storage. Left behind some tools and things that hubby needs to put away where he will remember them. 

I refuse to be the walking inventory of things in this house! 

Tomorrow, I think, I will pick up more coathooks to replace the broken ones in different places around the hallway, to make sure there are lots of spots to hang coats, bags, scarves, and hats. 

Baby steps, right? 


A handful of days

The last few expected packages are trickling in this week. The wheel has turned again and Solstice arrived, ushering in the official start of Winter, and all the inherent celebrations. I am managing a small dent in cleaning every day, a few tasks completed here and there — now that it’s been three days since my virus was beaten (hooray!), I don’t want to relapse. Haven’t celebrated Yule in the manner I wanted, but that’s par for the course. 

I did manage to walk with my dog this afternoon, though. It was lovely. The air was cold but mild, the snow responding by getting sticky, and I worked up a sweat. It would be nice if I could actually stick to a commitment of daily long walks with her.

It’s tough staying out of the pit this week. I could make a list of the things my brain wants to berate me about, the stuff that threatens to overwhelm me and bring me down. As it is, I’m managing to hover. That’s why I’m trying to focus on the little victories rather than massive strides in progress — those massive strides I wish for are just too much right now, too ambitious, and not achieving them will be more damaging than anything else. Sometimes it’s better to step back, regroup, and start again.

And yes, in that spirit, I unraveled my double-sided knitting square to start again. I think it’s going to go much more smoothly this time around. 

I figured out that every time I had taken out rows and gone back, putting the needle through the loops had resulted in some unappealing twists, making the rows and columns uneven and chaotic. This time is much better. Unfortunately, I had to cut the yarn when it knotted during the unraveling and winding process, but I think I will be able to just tuck those new knots away. 

Wish I could put this energy into working on the next novel.