I got this quite splendid little 2 story grow house from Ikea for Christmas, mostly because I have a handful of cute tiny little orange trees I started growing at the end of last summer and they were getting too cold and very sad and miserable and I wanted somewhere bright and cosy for them.

Of course, part of the reason they were becoming sad is that they needed repotting, so this morning I very bravely repotted them. I’m not good at repotting things, so I’m very proud of myself. :)

Anyway, while I was preparing to do that kind of thing, and thinking about gardening this summer, and how I want to do raised beds because the soil in our little plots is terrible and I, frankly, am not *that* enthusiastic of a gardener. And along the “not that enthusiastic” lines, it suddenly occurred to me that probably there are people out there who provide kits for raised beds, and that that would be a much better use of my time and energy than trying to make them myself.

So I looked, and lo! There are people out there who provide kits for raised beds! In all sorts of sizes! And they deliver directly to one’s home! So I measured our plots and it turns out they’re not so little, actually, they’re 6×10 each, which if I was to fill it properly would be A LOT of gardening space! I could, in theory, get 4 6×4′ beds and have a couple feet between them to kneel/walk between.

I could also just get two, which might be more reality based with regards to how much gardening I’m actually interested in doing, but…well, I don’t have to make the decision right away. :) And since I’ve now got this cute little growhouse, I can also start things in it over the next few weeks and see how enthusiastic I am about THAT, before making the raised beds decision. :)

(We also have what is effectively a greenhouse for our back entryway. It’s not warm at this time of year, but there’s probably something I could use to heat it a bit if I got wildly enthusiastic and needed more starter growing space. :))

All that lies before us, though. I need to get a couple of trays for the growhouse to start with, and work from there.

(I have dreams of a large semi-submerged greenhouse that are born from having this house with a long-defunct pool beside it. If It Was My House (and if I had all the money) I would have the whole pool mechanism removed and cleaned up and I would sink a greenhouse into the hole and build it 6-8 feet up above the surface, so there’d be like a 15 foot roof peak, and I’d grow a couple citrus trees and year-round veg and stuff. If I was that dedicated a gardener. Which I have dreams of being, although I don’t know that I’ll ever *be* that dedicated. Still, it’s good to have dreams, right? Right.)

We’re up to day 8 of our #100DaysOfWriting. So far I’ve had a couple days where I’ve really ONLY done 100 words, but I haven’t missed one yet! I suspect I feel a sense of obligation due to having ended up sort of spearheading the 100 Days effort here, but that’s really good for me. It’s made me get things done on days I wouldn’t have otherwise (including today…).

I’m also working–well. Sort of working toward. Several other 100 Days projects. 100 days of DuoLingo, just because I’m most of the way there already, frankly, although I’ve really not made any forward progress since mid-December. I’m just holding my place. I need to spend more time doing it, but hey, as long as I keep it fresh it’s more than I had before.

There’s also a kind of 100 Days of Fitness thing going on in my head, although it’s clearly not 100 Days Of Going To The Gym. I might edge toward that, but right now I’m working on 3-5 days a week, which would be a lot more than I’ve been doing. 30 minutes, which is about how much time I have, isn’t really satisfactory for me, for a workout window. 40 is better. 45 is good. I did get my bike stuff sorted out, so I could in theory cycle to the gym instead of relying on the extremely unreliable bus, which would not only give me more control over my workout window but would also provide a half hour of cycling daily. That’d be good, wouldn’t it? We’ll see. :)

And there’s 100 Days of No Sugar, which was going well for about 3 days and then I found the mint thins I got for Christmas. Well, I’m almost done with them now. O.O (Also Ted’s birthday is next weekend, and there will be German chocolate cake, so, y’know. But post-cake I might get quite serious about 100 days of no sugar. Yes I might. I MIGHT. IT COULD HAPPEN.

I’ve even done tin whistle practice with Young Indiana the past couple days. Not very much, but gosh. I bet if I did 100 days of that in a row (well, okay, more than 2 minutes of it :)) I’d get passing dacent. :)

A friend of mine discovered a to-do/timekeeping app that…is as close to the thing I’ve been looking for as I’ve ever seen. It’s called SkedPal and it’s kind of expensive, but I’ve been using it a few days and I’m getting my schedule on it more filled out and it’s…well, right now I’m Getting Things Done. I don’t know if it’ll last. I wish it had a 30 day trial instead of a 2 week one, but…so far I’m getting things done, and I feel like it’s helping me to.

Anyway, part of the reason I mention it is because one of its features is a “streak” feature, which does not mean running naked through the app but instead means it shows you how many days in a row you’ve Done The Thing, which is…potentially a useful tool for 100 Days type projects!

Captain America: The First Avenger vingage-style movie poster by Paolo Rivera

Someone on The Internets pointed out, late last year, that if a person was to watch a Marvel movie every week in the new year, they would wrap up just in time for Avengers: Infinity War, which is out (here, at least) on April 28th. Ted and I thought that was a great idea and set out to do so, with the thought in mind that we would watch them all chronologically, starting, clearly, with Captain America: The First Avenger.

(Here’s a full chronological list of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the TV shows.)

But then my dad saw the Black Panther trailer this weekend and was STUNNED and EXCITED (“I’ve never seen anything like it!”) and, since he’s only seen Iron Man and Thor: Ragnarok, we decided our *real* priority had to be getting him up to speed on everything leading into that movie, so we’re doing:

Captain America
Iron Man 2 (to get Black Widow introduced)
Thor (maybe; Dad’s seen Ragnarok so he knows the characters, but OTOH, it’s Loki’s introduction too and he LOVED Loki & Loki’s obviously a very large part of Avengers, so…)
Avengers Assemble
Winter Soldier
Age of Ultron
Civil War

With Thor added in there we’ll have to do a double-header some week, but if we skip it, that puts Civil War on the 12th (we’re watching ’em on Monday nights) and that’s perfect.

Ted and I are a bit tempted to throw Agent Carter into the mix for our own selves, since we have the DVDs, but it would constitute a proper binge to get it all watched this week and apparently binge-tv is something I dream of doing rather than actually doing. (I can’t. I have too much other work to do.) So we might add it in IN BETWEEN THE REST OF OUR SUPERHERO TV (the gifted, runaways, arrow, legends of tomorrow, the flash, supergirl, BLACK LIGHTNING OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG, seriously, SO MUCH SUPERHERO. VERY COSTUMES. I LOVE IT) and also s4 of Brooklyn-99 which I haven’t even started yet, and Star Trek: Discovery and The Good Place and Grace and Frankie and…shit, man, I really wish I was the kind of person who could convince herself it was okay to blow off work a couple days and binge a show. :p

(I just said that to Ted, who said, “HAH!” derisively. :( Then I said, “I don’t know how people actually allow themselves to TAKE a couple days off work and do th…I guess it’s because they’re not self-employed,” which he agreed with. :))

(This has been a very long introduction to what is nominally a picoreview…)

ANYWAY, so Captain America stands up to a rewatch. Which I knew, because I’ve rewatched it before, but I still find it a really satisfying movie. I noticed CGI seams a bit more this time than I remember doing previously, but since I tend to notice those quite a lot I probably noticed them before and forgot about them. Other than that, though, it’s…just a swell movie. It’s well written and so *damn* well cast. Chris Evans apparently turned the role down repeatedly because he was terrified of screwing it up, but he’s so perfect for it. Stalwart and true, as I said to Dad, who was looking for the words to describe him after the movie, and Dad said, “Yes!”

I particularly enjoyed Tommy Lee Jones this time around. I always do, of course, but I’d forgotten how funny he is in this movie. And honestly, I knew Hayley Atwell was wonderful, of course, but I’d forgotten just how much of a badass Agent Carter was even in that first film. And it’s lovely watching her fall for Little Steve, because she does. She really likes him, not because he’s Captain America, but because he’s Steve Rogers. I also feel like I’d never *really* appreciated the absolute rage in her expression when she shoots the shield the first time. *laughs* Poor Steve. :)

Furthermore, Sebastian Stan is…I think he’s more heartbreaking as Bucky every time I see the movie. I didn’t notice, when I saw it on the big screen, all the anguish and complex emotion that’s going on in his face and voice when he calls, “Let’s hear it for Captain America!”, but gif sets pointed it out to me and honestly I still don’t even know what all is happening with him emotionally in that scene, but holy crap he’s a mess. Also, I don’t think I ever fully grasped the link between the Red’s Skull’s experiments ON BUCKY and the eventual creation of the Winter Soldier, but this time I was like “OH HEY WAIT!” about that. So that was cool.

And it was great fun to watch it with Dad, who enjoyed it a great deal. Every once in a while I’d peek over to see what he thought, but he never caught my eye because he was too busy watching the film. :) He laughed for about five minutes at the bit where somebody (is it Jim Morita?) rolls under a Nazi truck, attaches a bomb as it drives over him, and blows it up, just because it’s such outrageous heroics. :) So we’re looking forward to watching the whole shebang, up to and including Black Panther and Infinity War. :)

Late last year, near the end of Nanowrimo, a friend said she thought maybe she would do a 100 days of writing challenge instead of NNWM, because she thought that would work better for her.

“Oh!” I said immediately, “I’ll do that with you!”

“AUGH,” she said, “but, but, you’ll actually DO it!”

We started yesterday. :)

As a matter of fact, about…30 of us started, I’d say, between Facebook and Twitter. The minimum goal is 100 words of writing every day for 100 days. People can do more than that, of course, and nobody’s going to throw a book at them or anything if they do less, but it’s our goal. Someone had said they’d initially thought 100 words was too small a goal, but then thought it was SO small it was practically impossible to convince themselves they COULDN’T DO IT, and once they got started, of course, they wanted go keep going. (This is the “handles on cups” principle and I’m delighted it’s working!)

The truth is I don’t know if I *will* actually do it, because I’m pretty sure I’ve never written 100 days in a row in my life. I have a list of projects to get through in the next 100 days, though, and I’m off to a good start (the synopsis I’m working on currently features the all-important question HOW CAN I BRING THIS BACK AROUND TO THEM ALMOST BANGING?), so this will be an interesting project and I’ll try to post about it regularly.

People are, of course, totally allowed to join us on our merry journey. I’ll be posting a daily #100DaysOfWriting thread on Twitter (not everybody on the hashtag is part of our loosely affiliated group, but several of them are), and we’ll just all see how it goes!

lazy lion at dublin zoo

2017 wasn’t as personally awful as 2016, but it was still a trash fire. I’m ending it on a high note, though, after a Herculean effort that saw me write 25K in 3 days, 13.2 of that in *one* day (a personal best), to get a project in on time. I succeeded. I’m very tired, but I succeeded.

I wrote two books, neither of which were planned, and a novella (which was planned) this year, and some short stories. I published three books in 2018 (SEAMASTER (a middle grade epic fantasy), BEWITCHING BENEDICT (a romantic Regency comedy of errors) and ROSES IN AMBER (a retelling of Beauty and the Beast)) and I’m proud of them all.

I got the e-book, at least, of REDEEMER out to my Kickstarter supporters, and am working on the print editions.

My goals for 2018 involve acquiring some friggin’ balance, though. I did about 65K this month, with over a third of that in three days. In theory I could do the same much more easily by writing about 3K a day JUST ON WORK DAYS, NOT INCLUDING WEEKENDS, which is a pretty achievable number for me. I want to spend fewer hours doing binge writing and more time doing art and reading a bit. I want to spend more than five minutes at the end of the day doing my stupid DuoLingo studies. I want to spend less time saying, “Sorry, honey, I can’t, Mommy is working right now,” to my son. I want to get to bed earlier and to the gym much, much more often.

That would be like balance.

That would be good.