Long hiatus, I didn’t mean to leave this blog dormant for three whole years.

24 Nov

Busy with work, and stuff. And I have been trying to get some novels done. The plan has been to get several ready, and then start to publish again so I can keep some sort of schedule going. But it has been damn slow going, and there are only a few done now, and they still need a lot of edits before they are even close to publishable.

I can do this… (whimpers).

On a more serious note:

One thing which did stop me almost completely for nearly two years now was an experience nobody thinks they will get because it is so damn unlikely.

I was an eyewitness to a terrorist event in my country. A Moroccan man who had got here pretending to be an asylum seeker from Near East decided to go for an amok run. For ISIS, it seems, at least according to what he said in his trial. He used knives, and started stabbing random people on the local market square, then running towards an other square in the city, while attacking people on the way.

He killed two, wounded eight before the police got there. I saw one of the stabbings, of one of the victims who lived, and the useless resuscitation efforts of one who died.

These things happen now. And they scare us. But most of us still think that it will be something you read about in the papers, not something you see with your own eyes. After that one somebody made a calculation online that you had a somewhat higher probability to win a lottery than to have been there – much less end up as one of the victims.

But somebody always wins the lottery too. Why else would we play?

This is not a political blog so I am not going to write any more of this. Just this: if something is unlikely it does not mean it will never happen to you. So be prepared. Even for the highly unlikely. Think what you would do if it DID happen to you. Set aside some time to think up a few plans. It has been said that the ones who survive in the unlikely accidents or anything – ship sinking, your house burning, something like this, anything – are the ones who did. Don’t scare yourself to death, but make up a plan. Be at least some sort of prepared.

One of the victims who died was an older woman who was said to have just stood there, looking, when he went for her and hit her with his knives (he had two, one in both hands. Common kitchen knives, bought from Ikea if I remember the news stories correctly). Maybe she did just stand and wait because she just couldn’t process what was happening. Who knows, but I assume it’s likely.

So have a plan. Even for the most unlikely thing happening. So if it does you have at least some idea what to do, and don’t just stand or sit there or flail around in a panic.

I just stood there too, and he ran right past me. So I got lucky.

And I don’t much like the idea that I am maybe alive just because of random luck.

And of course I’m lots of late…

23 Aug

California coast

California coast

California coast

California coast

California coast

So guess what I did on my summer vacation.  🙂 There are over a thousand photos, but of course I will not put them all here. Next days, lots of generic landscapes, most of them from desert areas. I was mostly taking photos while thinking in terms of “reference photos for painting” so most of them are something that might go for the background of something. But perhaps somebody can use them for something else too. Feel free (since I would not be able to stop you anyway I figured I might as well give permission, but that permission is only for non-commercial uses – maybe I can’t do much if you start selling them, but I will definitely try if I find out. And as to the non-commercial uses I would of course very much appreciate a mention of whose photos they are. Maybe even a link or something…). Some are decent, some more or less out of focus, it was a new camera for me and automatic settings or not I managed to get some of those like that bad shot of Golden Gate. Not a good photo, somewhat usable as a reference one, I like the clouds and the colors.

Still here

29 Apr

Okay, I’m still alive. Just pretty busy with all kinds of things. I will start posting on the blog in the beginning of July. Paintings, drawings, photos (new camera!), snippets of stories and occasional other stuff. Promise. 🙂

Testing remedies for itching part 1

4 Sep

Yes, still itching. My arms and some other parts of my anatomy look as if I had goose bumps on them, and the itching is still bad enough that it wakes me occasionally.


So, antihistamines help, some. But not for long, you need to keep taking them and I don’t think that’s particularly healthy, not if it’s at a rate of a pill every second or third hour. I take them before going to bed, now.


Topical stuff: aloe vera is in some ways best of the things I have tried so far. It stops the itching only for a rather short while, but that is true with the rest of them too, and it dries fast and doesn’t stain or smell. I have tried some essential oils, and peppermint also works pretty well, but then you will smell rather strongly for a while. I have used jojoba, grapeseed and linseed oils for base oils, and linseed oil is supposed to offer some relief from itching too although I noticed no big differences when using it compared to the other two. Next I intend to try coconut oil, by itself and mixed with some essential oils.


Oh yes, linseed oil smells a bit funny too all by itself. Mixed with some essential oil it of course doesn’t matter much as all of them have strong enough smells to mask the smell of the base oil, but if tried by itself, well, I don’t think I’d recommend it to anybody who works in an office or some similar place.


OK, I’ll continue with this after a day or two, I have done some shopping and will be trying several new things in the coming days. 🙂


28 Aug

It’s not over yet. My arms and legs started itching again, and while there is not much red in evidence there are these small bumps all over the skin, you kind of need to look from the side in that kind of lighting where they can cast bit of a shadow, but when you do, yep, they are there.


I went to a doctor and according to him it’s the same hand, foot and mouth disease still. In fact, it’s quite possible this will take several weeks more, maybe even up to half a year, before all the symptoms will be permanently gone. Most likely there is no risk of it becoming any kind of severe again, but the itching may continue (at least it’s much less severe now) for a while yet, and there may be occasional episodes later.


And I may still lose some nails.


Nice.  😦

Status report :)

20 Aug

Itching has mostly stopped, and the rash/hives are mostly gone. A couple of fingernails feel kind of funny, but hopefully that’s just hypochondria (I rather hope I hadn’t been told about that losing your nails stuff…). I got a couple of fresh blisters inside my mouth during the last weekend, but nothing after that.


Okay, maybe it’s almost over, and I get to keep my fingernails.


There have been some promising developments in my private life too, so maybe I can finally get fully back into writing and other stuff – I’m no good when it comes to dealing with stress, I lose the ability to concentrate, or I can do that only sporadically so when there are extra stress factors in my life – and the ones during the last months have been pretty big, lots of old, decades old baggage has surfaced now – I can become rather useless for several other things. I’ll dither, start things, stop doing them, start again, lose focus again, dither around some more… Managing my day job (well, I work nights but anyway) has been about the only thing I have been able to do well enough for nearly four months now.


But as said, things are looking better now. Finally.


So as long as my fingernails stay where they are supposed to… 🙂

and the doctor –

14 Aug

– also thinks it’s hand, foot and mouth disease.


Itches like crazy. Seems this doesn’t cause the rash and hives for everybody, nor does it itch for everybody, but the itching, even severe itching, more often happens to adults. Plus it can be over in a week, or it can last several weeks, although a week is more common. And sometimes people lose at least some of their nails, which at some point just fall off… great. Just great.


There are several somewhat different viruses which cause this, and different people react differently, so no saying beforehand how it will go for you. Most times it’s a very mild disease, but occasionally it can become severe enough to require hospitalization, and it can come in kind of waves – you are sick for a few days, then it seems you are recovering, only to become even more sick after a few better days. And like several other kid diseases more often the worst cases happen when adults get it, kids usually can handle it better.


Okay, I think I will go back to lathering something on my arms. And maybe it’s time to take another antihistamine pill, those seem to help some too.


I could use an old fashioned big blackboard right now. If I was writing ‘I will not scratch my arms’ one thousand times I would not have the time to scratch them. 🙂

I probably got a virus or something

12 Aug

No, not the computer kind, just good old fashioned biological version. Red spots, itching, mild flu like symptoms and slight fever. Most likely hand, foot and mouth disease.


Yep, kid disease. No idea where I may have gotten the infection, I don’t have children and have not been in contact with children during the last couple of weeks. Except of course there are always things like public transportation which I have been using.


Anyway, the photos will have to wait a few more days. I’m going to be staying home and trying not to scratch, not out taking photos. Goddamn hands and feet are itching like crazy. Hate this. I am not a good patient. 😦

Still feeling a bit under the weather

3 Aug

But I have been writing at least, even if right now it’s very slow going.

And since I can’t think of anything else to post (intend to go and take some photos in the near future) here a bit of something new. Got a bit stuck with one of the sequels, and got the urge to write urban fantasy or something like it. And this is my first try with first person POV, generally I prefer different versions of third person.


Day 1

The moon was setting.
Full moon, round and shiny against the very dark blue of the sky, looking huge next to the treetops it was fast approaching. Its light made the dusty dirt road look silver compared to the dark ditch and forest on one side, and the new growth of the field to the other.
All kinds of moon related songs came to my mind. Blue Moon, Harvest Moon, Bad Moon On The Rise…
Right then I found the idea of the moon setting a lot more ominous than any bad moon rising. I didn’t have a torch. Once the moon was down getting home was going to become even more of a trial than it had been so far.
The car had died nearly half an hour earlier. No obvious reasons why. It was only a few years old, recently serviced, full tank of gas, and it had been working perfectly until the moment it just died. Everything. And I mean everything, not just the motor but also the lights and radio and… well, everything. For a moment I had been scared I would not be able to get out since I thought that I had heard a sound which had kind of reminded me of the locks engaging right at the moment when the motor and everything else died, but when I had tried the door it had opened. But it hadn’t locked. Which meant right now my car was sitting abandoned and unlocked a few miles behind me, on a road which – unlike the one I was walking on now – did have traffic.
Although not so much in the middle of the night. If I got home and managed to call a towing service before sunrise maybe I could save it from vandals and thieves. It was the middle of the week, there should be no late party animals out joyriding in this part of the world this night, the biggest risk would be the early birds going to work. Not all of them were honest, not in this part of the world. Plenty enough who would have no qualms playing a bit with a new Mercedes – both to rip off anything of value, and to destroy what they couldn’t or didn’t care to take, just out of spite – when they found one, and if they had the time.
But I still had enough time to prevent that.
I hoped.
I hadn’t called for help from the car because my cell had turned out to be as dead as the car. Maybe I had, once again, forgotten to charge it. I thought I had done that the previous day, but maybe I was wrong.
All in all, a shitty way to end a shitty day.
I started to step a bit faster in hopes of getting as close to home as possible before I lost the moonlight. The hard backed dirt road felt soft beneath my bare feet, the hard surface covered mostly just by dust, and I hoped it would stay clear of anything sharp or unpleasant. My shoes were in my bag. Ten inch heels are not good for forced four mile hikes so I had taken the risk of going barefoot. I could walk a lot faster that way, for one thing. And maybe even get home while still being able to walk.
Shitty day.
I heard something move in the forest, some distance away, pushing its way through the dead leaves and dry grass covering the ground between the trees.
There were no bears here, nor any other big predators. Or should not be. So probably a deer, or even more likely, something like a skunk. They didn’t much care what noise they made.
Shitty day.
It had started just fine. I had a showing in one of the more prestigious galleries in the city, and since I had been free for the day had decided to visit. And then to surprise my boyfriend by meeting him right after work, maybe have dinner with him in some nice restaurant, maybe spend the night – so it was middle of the week, but his job had very predictable hours, office drone as he was. Very well paid one, on a good career trajectory, mostly likely on his way to CEO in the near future, but he didn’t work overtime often. Had always claimed it was because he was just so good.
Except in reality it was probably because he was sleeping with the lady who owned most of the whole damn company. Older heiress, recently divorced for the umpteenth time.
And my new boyfriend was his boy toy on the side.
Completely surprising your lover can have unpredictable consequences.
The only consolation was that it hadn’t been going on very long – my affair with him, no idea about his other squeeze – and I hadn’t gotten anywhere close to serious about him.
Okay, lying there a bit. I had had hopes. He had seemed so good. I guess I had been projecting like a crazy.

Cinderella complex or something. Now perhaps I didn’t need a prince to save me from poverty anymore, I had been doing quite nice for a couple of years now, thank you, but I had been rather poor at one time and a rich, powerful and influential (I had assumed, anyway), and as an extra plus, quite good looking man getting interested in me had been balm for my still floundering self-esteem. Besides it would have been nice insurance, I was doing well enough for now, and I had a good nest egg, but art is not a secure profession until and unless you manage to get to Picasso level. Here today, forgotten tomorrow. I had sold some designs for fabrics which had become a hit, I had been able to sell several paintings during every showing last couple of years, but they were still not collectors items. I seemed to be on a good trajectory. But things can change fast in my business.
And the nest egg was from a successful lawsuit for a copyright theft. One of those fabric designs.
The noise from the forest came again, this time it sounded closer.
I stopped walking and for a moment stood still to listen, but the sounds had again stopped.
It had sounded bigger than a skunk.
Or maybe I was just imagining things.
Still, right now I had some regrets over having bought the old farm (right now about half mine and half the bank’s). This area might become more valuable in the future, it seemed the city was likely to start spreading this way during the next decade, and if it did the value of land would start to rise soon enough.
But right now this was still very much the back of beyond, in spite of being less than half an hour’s drive from the city. When you had a car.
Walking the distance – or even less than about one third of it – and it didn’t feel close at all. I might as well have been somewhere where the gap toothed natives play banjos.
Hell. For all I knew they did. And resented the city folks who had lately started to move in.
I started walking again and picked up my speed as much as I could.
Shitty end to a shitty day.
The affair with the future CEO was kaput, that was certain. If I lost the Mercedes, or had to pay for extensive repairs for it – well, I could afford it, but it would still be bit of a strain. I hadn’t even paid more than maybe one third of the car yet, but I had been driving it just long enough that the warranty had expired.
Only one painting had sold so far.
I was maybe being stalked by something or somebody.
There had been some rumors of mountain lions. Officially they didn’t exist in this part of the country, but some pets had been disappearing lately, including a few rather large dogs, and a horse had gotten a bit mangled just recently. The official explanation, at least in the local paper, had been feral dogs, but the owner had insisted that it hadn’t looked like something done by a dog.
Except come to think of that, I was fairly sure I would not care to be stalked by a feral dog or dogs either. Completely wild animals might be more likely to be wary of humans. A feral former pet – or a pack of them – might not.
And then the moon finally dropped fully behind the tree line.



Remembered to take the camera

24 May

to work this morning. So, some photos from my paper route:


Untitled 1Untitled 2Untitled 5Untitled 7Untitled 9tie1

















BTW, now that I have taken a better look at these, either there are a lot of ghosts on that lakefront, or a lot of dust. 🙂


(To those who do not know what I’m talking about – those orbs you sometimes see in photographs, the balls of faint light, are sometimes assumed to be ghosts, or some other kind of spirits, by the people who are interested of paranormal and study such phenomena. I think the assumption is that you see more of them in places which are supposed to have lots of spirit activity. The alternative explanation is that they are dust or insects caught by the camera – like that lake picture, I had the camera on automatic and it used the flash, and while there are not many insects around yet there is a lot of pollen now. And yes, I’m interested and have read a lot about ghosts, spirits, near death experiences etc, and I actually think there probably is something real behind at least some of that, and I have personally had a few experiences which would be hard to explain from a purely materialistic perspective. However if something can be explained that way I presume the most likely explanation, most times, is the mundane one)