Fins and Whales…wait. That’s not right.

I don’t believe there will be any ocean-dwellers in this post, but there could be! What I meant to say is Wins and Fails, but I don’t like the word Fail. It pisses me off. So there.

*makes note to have a blog post about sea life sometime in the new year*

What happened this  year?

For me? Well here’s the good and the bad all in one random list. I know…randomness is a bit annoying.  But I couldn’t figure out how to sort them, and even if I could didn’t know which order they should be in. So…randomness wins.

  • I never figured out the bait caster.  I’ll have to try that again in the spring. I want to be good at fishing, but I don’t want my impatient husband to teach me…so each spring I torment myself with learning new fishing skills.
  • I tried to get my 7 year old to teach me all the Presidents of the US. I never learned that in school. He tried. I totally whaled at….eerrrr…failed at retaining them.
  • But I can still recite all the States in alphabetical order. (FIN!)
  • Most of my kitchen “creations” turned out well this year! (My children might disagree – but who asked ’em?)
  • Total writing breakthrough #1! Taking Lessons From Ernest is in the hands of a couple of Agents.
  • QueryHell – I’m revising the query because it’s just not a very high request rate. I’m so not good at Queries. *drinks tequila* *pours tequila in the whale’s blow hole* Take that!
  • Total writing breakthrough #2! Yet It Will Come is on track to start subbing in the early spring. It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever written and the edits, thanks to awesome beta (Hi Pete!), are taking the book to a new level. It’s a big story, and for a while it was bigger than my ability. I’ve grown as a writer for having tackled it.
  • I still can’t whistle.  My children can. They whistle often.  They tell me to try. They tell me what I’m doing wrong. Mostly I think they love that I can’t whistle and they can. That’s why they like to see me not-whistle.
  • I’ve never been good at riding a bike and I won’t even attempt it as an adult. This is something that will never be mentioned again on Experimental Stew – it is something I will not attempt. My clumsy ass plus balance, speed and gravity equal injury. We just don’t mix, K? I pulled enough Hooey’s this year. (possibly more than Hooey!Ssshhh…)
  • However, I went rollerskating this year and didn’t bust my ass or sprain an ankle. Go figure!
  • Fin! – My chapter titles make me Smile every time I see them. 🙂 *smiles more* *plays Jimmy Buffet song*
  • Big photo shoot success for the year – it was a pane, but somebody had to do it!
  • Project Whale: my garden! UGH! You’ve never seen such a disaster. If I’d been blogging at the time I would have taken pictures of it, just so you could laugh at me. Fer’real Fail. It was pathetic. I’m ashamed of myself for that.
  • I joined Twitter and I started a blog! WTF? 😮  Fin or Whale? I don’t know.
  • I traveled a lot this year! I hope I get to do that again in the new year. *waves to my favorite far away travel buddies*
  • I turned 40! Hey, it might not sound like an accomplishment, but considering that speed and gravity issue I have, I’d say that’s one hell of an accomplishment.
  • I still haven’t gotten the wet nap! ggrrr… (everything good ends in a wet nap!)
  • I watched friends get published this year and I did my best to pimp them! 🙂 (Yay! FINS! for published friends!!)
  • Whale – I didn’t join their ranks. Let’s just say we’ve saved that for next year, yeah? (What? where would we be without wishful thinking? – *nods to Jeff Tweedy*)
  • not so good: My TBR (to be read) pile is growing and I’m not getting anywhere near the bottom of it!
  • flip side: it’s never bad to have too many books but I think I may need to put myself on book-buying probation in January. Just sayin’.

And on that note, I suppose I should end this year’s Blogging with one of these!

It’s been a good year and everything good ends in a wet-nap! 🙂

How was your year? Did you earn a wet nap?

Happy Holidays! 🙂


The Final

So it’s done! I decided to go horizontal, and put 4 8x10s from the photo shoot a couple weeks ago in it. I love it! 🙂


Experiment: Complete!


and it goes in the WIN column I think.

What a Pane

So here’s a photo of my next project.

When my dad came to visit last time he brought this beauty with him. It was my sister’s.  She lives in an old house. This window was part of that house. It has been sitting in her basement for at least a decade that I know of.  She always thought she’d do something with it and never did. (It has a lovely little latch and handle on the other side.) It was hung above the door, horizontally. I prefer it vertical.

So here’s the plan: strip off the paint, reseal each pane of stained glass, paint and/or stain the frame. The natural wood is very dark and aged. If I’m right that it was original to the house it’s about 150 years old. I can’t wait to see what it looks like cleaned up.

In my house we have a set of stairs from the kitchen that has a very tall wall at the landing. So my thinking is that right at the top of those stairs is the perfect place for it to hang when it’s finished. But instead of leaving its middle pane empty, I thought a nice picture would be good.

So Stage 1 of Project Pane happened this weekend. I had  little photo shoot. I need something that I can blow up to the size of the middle pane.

My photo shoots are odd. Usually outdoor pics. You’d think it’d be easy to take a lovely lakeside picture for the pane, but the right angle, the right zoom, the right light. I took about 50 pictures and decided 16 were good enough to keep. I took 6 pictures of the same walnut tree, for starters. I wanted the sunburst between the branches. I wanted enough light for the yellow/green of the walnuts to show through.

Here’s the one of the six I chose:

I decided to skip the sunburst and went for the color.

I also took several pictures (perhaps a dozen) like this one. I chose this because I like that this one is right in front and going the opposite direction of the rest.

From the perspective across the lake a tree had a gorgeous reflection on the water. Five tries for this beauty.

(it’ll need to be cropped, but I thought it was lovely).

The blackberry vine.  After much weed stomping and standing way too near the bank to  leaning for the right shot. Only two shots for it, because honestly if I’d kept trying for perfection I would have had to slip out of my shoes and get into the water for it.

I lay on the ground for this one! Two shots later…I think it might be the winner!

Now I have to choose which will look best in the window.

Jack and Skippy helped with the photo shoot. Here’s Jack’s contribution:

Here’s Skip’s. (Chasing the boy is a very important job for a little dog. He did it well. In this shot he got distracted by something at the bank, which is also a very important job for a little dog.)

I’ll be sure to post progress and final product pics.  See if we can put the photo shoot and the art project in the “Winz” column.

Here are a few of the failed pics just for fun:

First, I took about 8 shots. I was going for that taut fishing line, glistening in the sunlight with just enough water to make it sparkle a bit. Yeah. Not so much. Here’s that disaster:

I just never could get the right angle on it, and the water looks nasty. pfft.

It’s very difficult to do when your helpers are busy doing other things.  Holding a fishing pole and snapping the shot. Big fail. See here:

There were a couple shots that ended up with a vehicle or building in the frame. So not what I was aiming for.

And then there’s this. It’s the picture you take thinking it might have appeal you didn’t recognize. It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Sometimes you have to see the image later to know what you got. This though, just bad. You look at it and think, “Why did you take a picture of that log?” At least that’s what I think.

Of course, not long ago I took a picture of muddy boots that turned out so fabulous I hung it on my bathroom wall. People compliment the photo all the time. So who’s to say randomness doesn’t work sometimes. Here ’tis. (just so I can end on a good note.)

Other People’s Junk

I can’t help it. And my husband encourages it. He brings things home he knows I’ll make a project of. When I dragged the rusty white cart from behind the barn where he’d put it he said, “the wheel’s broken”.
“That’s okay. I’m not planning on wheeling it around all over the yard.”
Now, freshly painted, it’s decorating one side of our patio, in a little area with rocks and plants.

This is a win.