SO APPARENTLY I HAVE ASTHMA which seems to be mostly weight-induced and probably explains being unable to breathe well for the past 18 months.

I’ve had these kinds of asthmatic problems in the past when I weighed this much, but never really actually thought I was asthmatic. But my night time breathing has been so bad I finally went in to the pharmacist next door and she said (to paraphrase) “jesus i can hear you wheezing now, get yourself to a doctor before that asthma turns into a chest infection”, so, uh, I did. And the nice doctor lady listened to my descripton of the symptoms (worst at far at night, who knew that was an asthma thing?, somewhat exercise-induced, etc) and then my breathing, and said “yeah, almost certainly asthma, have a prescription and call back around in a couple weeks.”

She also had me blow into a breath-measurer thing, which I topped out easily because ironically, of course, yesterday I was having a perfectly fine breathing day, and she was obviously very pleased that I was able to do that and pretty sure I didn’t need an exciting steroidal inhaler, just a regular one. Use it 4-5 times a day as needed, she said, although she also said if I needed it that much I needed a higher level one anyway.

I am actually feeling weirdly positive about this, because I’ve gone to the doctor and gotten a prescription for an inhaler, and if I can BREATHE I’ll be able to SLEEP BETTER, and if I sleep better I’ll be more able to EXERCISE (and you know, not get winded/wheezy/light-headed (oh shit that’s probably what the weird moments of light-headedness have been!) WHEN i exercise) and if I exercise I find it easier to EAT WELL which will help me knock off all this weight I’ve piled on and then THE ASTHMA WILL GO AWAY AGAIN.

So I tried the thing last night and IT WORKED. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS THING CALLED BREATHING, GUYS, IT’S AMAZING YOU SHOULD TRY IT! I slept well and then when I had to pee in the small hours of the morning I had a faint wheeze and I thought “eh well that’s not so bad” and then I thought “BUT WHY SHOULD I SUFFER” and had another dose, AND BREATHING IS GREAT, GUYS!

So I woke up to winning the House, losing the Senate, taking several gubenatorial seats, record-high turnout, 1.4m people with their right to vote restored in Florida, and a WHOLE lot more women in political power than there were yesterday.

Guys, this is a good day.

It’s not a perfect day. The Senate seat losses are crushing and the disenfranchisment that allowed them (and have Stacey Abrams on tenterhooks instead of solidly winning, and and and) is enraging.

But today I have hope again. I’m angry and inspired instead of despairing.

There are races we’ve lost that are heartbreaking, and it’s fucking awful, but in most of them we knew the odds were against us. Beto winning against Cruz was a long shot, but he did _incredibly fucking well_.

In Alaska, Alyse Galvin has taken nearly 46% of the vote in a race against a man who has literally been in office my entire life. That’s huge and it sets her up AMAZINGLY for 2020, when Don freaking Young will be 87. (I’m incredibly dismayed by Begich’s loss, but I’m gonna put that aside right now.)

I want all us to sign up to @make5calls. Those of us stuck w/GOP reps: give them hell. Those w/Democratic reps, tell them to hold the fucking line. Don’t give those bastards an inch. Don’t reach across the aisle. Obstruct the living fuck out of Trump’s agenda. NOT. ONE. INCH.

We already know the GOP is going to cheat in 2020. The truth is we know SO MUCH of what we need to #BeReady for.

Electronic voting machines not working because they forgot the power cords? BRING POWER CORDS.

Machines just not working? Push, push, *push* for paper backups.

ID? Let’s get everybody a fucking passport if we have to.

Gerrymandered districts? We’ve just won back 8 gubenatorial seats. #BeReady to push to fix that shit in every state we can.

Voter intimidation? WHITE PEOPLE, SHOW THE FUCK UP. Just #BeReady to be there, being white and politely unrelenting.

There is a *lot* we can #BeReady for. Let’s *do* that.

We did a big thing yesterday. Today, hold on to that.

Today, be proud of yourselves & of those who have stood up against cheats and liars & gerrymandered districts & who have won, or nearly won, or, shit, *just shown up* when they were told it was impossible and not to bother.

Take today. Take tomorrow. Take a week or a month.

Be glad. Be sad. Be angry. Be joyful.

We’ve made a powerful statement today. We’ve got two more years to hone it, and in 2020 we’re going to take it and gut these motherfuckers.

Be ready.

I revamped my maple apple butter recipe entirely this year and it is Good. A big part of the difference is I was using eating apples, because that’s what I had this time instead of super sour cooking apples, and it takes much less maple and sugar to overcome the sourness with sweet apples. I did use about five tart apples in this, too, and would recommend that, my own self. So:

Miz Kit’s Maple & Brown Sugar Apple Butter

15-20 prepared (peeled, cored, sliced) apples
1.5 c apple juice
8 oz maple syrup
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Put apples and apple juice into a large pot, cover, and boil until the apples are soft (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Puree the mix in a blender/food processor/whatever until smooth. Turn into a deep, flat enamal-lined pan & put into a pre-heated oven at 325°F (150°C, 130°C fan assisted) and roast, stirring very occasionally, for 1-2 hours, until the puree has reduced by half.

Remove from oven. Stir in syrup, sugar and salt. Return to oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring slightly more frequently. Add cinnamon just before jarring; mix well, and jar as you usually would.

This is, frankly, a much better recipe than the old one. You can, of course, still use very sour apples, but taste the mix as it reduces to see if it’s sweet enough, and if not, add more brown sugar.

The STONEMASTER Kickstarter has reached goal! Now it’s time to start laying out the stretch goals!

Now, here’s the thing. Obviously the, er, obvious, stretch goal is book 3, SKYMASTER, which is already written, too. HOWEVAH:

Another book is exponentially more costly on my end, mostly due to postage matters: it’s not possible to get SKYMASTER ready at the same time as STONEMASTER, which means I’d be shipping it separately, later, and as most people know, shipping costs are pretty appalling. So I’m willing to put that up there as a pie-in-the-sky goal, but I want to put some more *possible* ones down between here and there. In descending order of interest (absent book 3), people have said they’d like to see these stretch goals:

1. short stories about secondary characters

2. a world map

3. cover art posters

Discussion of these ideas, in reverse order:

3. For me, the problem with posters is proving to be that I can’t find anybody who will print posters on folded paper (or fold the posters after they’ve been printed, you know what I mean :p ), which means rolled posters, which means a separate shipping cost from mailing books or other things that can be flat-packed, which means…posters would cost a lot more than their probable value. So it’s just as well that’s #3, probably. :)

2. I’m talking to someone about a world map. I’d like a world map. I keep inventing places, and it’d be nice to have a map to put them on. :) Now, realistically, because I’m aiming for a short turn-around on this project, a world map might not be READY to go in book 2. It could go in book 3, and I could send PFDs and postcard-sized print maps to people who order print editions. But I admit I think a map would be really cool, and I’m gonna put it up there as a stretch goal!

1. The ONLY PROBLEM with writing short stories (aside from time) is that SO MANY of these characters will want to run away with the short part and make them…books… :) I’m going to put 3 short story goals in:

€3250, Story #1: Isidri, Guildmaster and venerable Ilyaran elder who is *suspected*, half seriously, by the youth of the Seamasters’ Guild to be THREE HUNDRED YEARS OLD.

She’s not.

(probably.)

€4000, Story #2: Asindo, Seamaster, captain of the Ilyaran flagship Waifia. The sort of man who does not start a fight, but definitely finishes one. He is absolutely not 300 years old.

€4750, Story #3: Kisia and Desimi, our hero Rasim’s age-mates, will get an adventure that…I don’t know yet if it’ll be pre, during, or post-series. Well. It won’t be post, because SPOILERS, SWEETIE! :)

€5500: a WORLD MAP is unlocked!

€6750: at this point backers will have all read SEAMASTER, book 1, which I will be sending out shortly to backers. Backers will have opinions on who should get a short-story-bordering-on-novella. I will seek those opinions, and attempt to fulfil them. :)

€8000: BOOK THREE, SKYMASTER is unlocked!

Let’s see how far we can go!

(…okay, somebody cue Moana, now…)

-Catie

One might imagine, from six weeks of radio silence, that I have been busy.

One would be correct.

But there have been some Very Exciting Developments in that time!

First off, I’ve gotten a studio to work in! It’s part of an artist’s collective, extremely convenient to my son’s school, and, as my husband said, “Bohemian enough to suit your sensibilities.” (I pointed out that I’m really not very bohemian, and he said, “No, but you want to be,” which is perfectly true. :)

The collective has a Studio Cat. Her name is Ophelia (or Elektra, or Lady Tara, depending on who you ask), and she is extremely pretty. She also decided I’d brought my cute Itty Bitty Wonder Woman and Supergirl in for her, a topic upon which she was mistaken, and now I have to put them in a Safety Cup when I leave in the evening (well, afternoon) so she doesn’t make off with them. :)

A friend, looking at the studio pictures, said, “I get the impression you’re expecting it to be cold a lot,” and the truth is I probably don’t have enough blankets, fingerless gloves, and shawls on hand yet. I’ve lived in 8 houses in Ireland, and none of them have kept heat worth a damn, but they were all at least nominally sealed. The studio is in a 150 year old textile factory with 22 foot ceilings and “windows” at either end that are merely wooden shutters with no glass behind them. So, yes, in fact, I expect it to be cold a lot. I have ambitions to get a rug for my space, and I need slippers, and probably other things to stay warm. On the positive side, I’m right below a heater (which is a giant space heater style thing), and have no compunctions against using it. :)

The next Very Exciting Development is that when I got the studio, one of my friends began a “Business Shower” fund as a surprise so I could get things for the new space, and it just happened that I found a spare keyboard like my own on eBay just as they were planning to send it.

Now, my keyboard (as evidenced in the pictures) is a fully split, chair-mounted keyboard, and I’ve had it for something like 17 years. Last summer I had a bad run where it had been messed up and I thought it was a goner, although it turned out the keys had just gotten remapped and someone who is a keyboard enthusiast happened to hear about it and could tell me how to fix it. But that was a very bad moment, because although there’s no reason to believe my keyboard will go kaput, I live in terror of the day that happens. I’ve looked for replacements idly on and off for at least a decade, possibly longer, Just In Case, but I’d literally never seen one on eBay before, and it showed up there just as my astonishingly good-hearted friends put exactly enough money in the paypal account for me to get it.

Readers, I bought it.

Honestly, I actually feel a little guilty about buying it, because, I mean, someone else might need and not HAVE one at all. I feel like I should lend it to somebody, or something, until the day comes that I do need it. Except that could lead to it ending up non-functional, too, of course, which would defeat the purpose of buying it in the first place…

ANYWAY VERY EXCITED TO HAVE A BACKUP KEYBOARD and also there may have been some crying when i found out about the gift fund because just omg. what wonderful people i know.

And the final Very Exciting Development is (not to bury the lede) I’ve just turned in my first COZY MYSTERY, which will be out in January 2020 and I am so looking forward to sharing with you all! Eeeeeee!

Tell me about YOUR summertime adventures?