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Welcome to Jinxed

Hello, visitor. I’m Catherine, an author, artist, publisher, reader, photographer, mom, and cat herder with way too many hobbies. This is my personal blog and website where you can find more information about my work as well as posts about writing, books, or whatever else I feel like talking about. Keep reading for my latest posts or check the archive or category listing for specific dates/topics.

November update: Er, September?

First, I’d like to wish happy writing to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m still working on my own challenge so I won’t be taking part officially.

Speaking of which, what happened to September’s update on writing the final part of my Sisters of Chaos trilogy? I kept considering, even drafting, something, but ultimately, I’m not as skilled at some people at talking about nothing. That’s right, I followed up my best month of the year with my worst, and failed to add a single word to the draft. Apparently the disappointment of actually reaching my writing goal in August only to get no relief from my continued expectations was enough to discourage me from writing all month.

October ended up a bit better.

Granted, that first graph doesn’t look that impressive, but with that one exceedingly good day* and my increased word count goal of 1,000 words/day following it, I was actually on track to meet my goal in October as well. Halloween festivities ended up leaving me little time and energy to write at the end of the month, but I don’t regret it. I’m still pleased with my progress.

More importantly, and likely the main reason I was so successful this month, was that I determined how the rest of the year’s going to look for me. Upon realizing toward the end of September that there were only three months left of 2020, I decided that I would spend a month (or so) writing the climax up to the end of the book, and then the remainder of the year going back and filling in missing scenes or fleshing out those that were written mainly in exposition. Not editing, yet; I’m saving that for 2021.

I was close to the climax by the end of August, though it did end up taking me about the first third of this month to actually get to its true beginning. Interestingly, while I always felt I enjoyed the process of writing the middle of a story—the setup, the character development, putting pieces into place—I found myself energized by working on the climax. Admittedly, I’ve done a lot more of the former than the latter. (That, and I’ve had at least parts of this climax swimming through my head for many years now.) I’m looking forward to continuing to write the finale of this trilogy.

And with Halloween done and an extra hour of a day with few other obligations to me? I’m ready to get this done.

* Two notes about this particular day: first, it was actually not inspired by the idea of catching up, but simply a desire/joy to keep writing and finish the scene I was working on, which ended up taking longer than I initially surmised. As a result, that day ended up being my best writing day of the year.

This… is… Halloween!

It’s been non-stop celebration today!

Breakfast: Pumpkin monster bagels and apple monsters

Lunch: Deviled eggs, pumpkin pastries, and spider bread

Dinner: Yummy mummy empanadas, pumpkin risotto and roasted vegetables

Drinks: (semi) Glow-in-the-dark orange punch

Dessert: EVERYTHING!

The final socks

Happy Halloween!

Halloween countdown: Day five

Since the pandemic has put the kibosh on trick-or-treating and parties this year, I wanted to do what I can to make Halloween special. I may be going a little overboard.

Today’s dinner: Spaghetti and eyeballs

Dessert: Skeleton cupcakes

2020 edition jack-o’-lanterns: This is all your fault

Today’s craft: Paper decorations

Today’s socks

Confessions of a former botanophobe: the aftermath

I know the growing season isn’t entirely over yet, but here in southern Ontario, the nights are getting cool and we’re preparing for the onset of winter. So I thought I would give an update on how my gardening efforts, the first time I seriously attempted growing anything, progressed from the beginning of the season.

The stars of my garden were the seeds I harvested from grocery store vegetables—tomatoes and bell peppers. The latter had a slower start, but has borne a lot of very healthy-looking fruit in the past month. The jalapeño seeds took even longer to grow much, but finally yielded its first pepper in the past couple weeks, and since we brought it inside, it has bloomed another couple flowers.

Mostly, the vegetables haven’t been ready to harvest yet. However, I did eat my first tomato yesterday, which was very tasty.

I had an exaggerated sense of how temperature-tolerant the plants were, which may have stunted the ripening process for many of the tomatoes. With a frost warning tonight, I decided to go ahead and harvest the rest and let them ripen indoors (hopefully, or else I’ll see how fried green tomatoes actually taste).

Perhaps not a particularly bountiful harvest, but not bad for my first try.

I’m quite interested to try a home grown bell pepper, though the only colour they have exhibited so far aside from green is some purple striping when it got a bit chilly for them overnight earlier this week. They have been living inside since and the peppers have gone back to green, and continued growing, if slowly.

The lettuce was a big surprise. After a couple of false starts trying to start the seeds indoors, I gave up and planted the rest of the seeds in their final home, and they proliferated so much that I was able to harvest a few salads’ worth, until the squirrels dug them up so much that they stopped growing back.

“I’ll just throw the rest of the seeds in here.” Two weeks later: “Oh.”

Having never grown or known much about growing anything that did not produce food as some sort of separate fruit, however, I was blown away by the idea that I could just rip the leaves off and they would just keep growing.

Alas, after their initial burst, my pumpkins didn’t do so well, and I finally gave up on them a week or two ago. I don’t know what it was I did wrong. I thought, after seeing a family member’s progress on a similar squash that had required a lot more water than I had been giving my pumpkins, that they were just thirsty, but either that wasn’t the solution or it was already too late by then.

Now that we’re at the end of the growing season, we’re looking ahead to next year. After reading that in warm enough conditions, bell peppers plants will continue growing and producing for a few years, we’ve decided to keep tending to them now that they’re inside. Same with the jalapeños. Both have now attained a semi-permanent home in a south-facing room upstairs with a full-spectrum light on a timer set nearby.

I enjoyed raising my garden enough this year that I’ve decided I want to create a proper one next year, though I need to start preparing a plot for that now to be ready for it. More tomatoes are a given, and I want to try pumpkins again. I will definitely be planting more lettuce next year. Other options I’m considering include green onions, celery, green beans, and zucchini.

In all, I’d call this experiment a success.