Summer homeschooling plans!


Yeah, basically that’s what’s happened to my summer homeschooling plans. After struggling mightily for the first couple of weeks, I just gave up and decided that I had bigger fish to fry. They’re not going to actually have their brains rot from watching too many television shows, at least not for a two month period. This isn’t “A Clockwork Orange.” So I’m focusing on other things for now.

Like my vague plans to go minimalist. I went into the kitchen tonight and looked at all the pots and pans and said, out loud, “I hate you. I loathe you. What the hell are you doing in my kitchen?”

The pots and pans, being inanimate objects, had no reply to this.

But I am convinced that people would wash the pots and pans more often if there were fewer pots and pans. And, really, what the heck is with that entire drawer filled with tupperware lids that fit nothing? And all my organization went to heck. And forget the baking dishes, they’re such a disaster that I’ve given up even trying to make zucchini bread, which is usually a summer staple around here. There’s just way too much clutter falling out of the cabinets whenever I open them.

So, not this week, but the week after that, I plan on going on a major decluttering of the kitchen. Some of the gear can go back into our travel trailer to use while camping. Some of it can go to the Salvation Army or Caritas. And the rest can go rot in a dump heap for all I care. Can opener, I am looking at you.

I am pretty sure that there will be objections to this plan, and I personally have NO intention of throwing away my cute cake pans, because those are mine and they make me happy. But, really, a huge steamer pan to make bad tamales once a year? I can buy better tamales from somebody’s grandma and save the shelf space at the same time. Lids to pans we don’t even own? What the what?

I am excited about this plan. Not so excited about washing out the insides of the cabinets, but it’s a necessary evil. But not today. Sufficient unto the day are the evils thereof, or something, and I’m hip deep in alligators as it is, to mix a few metaphors.

Man, it is hot outside and miserable.

Hey, buy my book about monks riding war dragons and have a nice summer read, eh? and leave a nice review on Amazon or Goodreads! I will love you for it.

Summertime Fun in Texas


Summertime in Texas is, quite honestly, too nasty and hot to do much of anything outdoors.

Oh, we’ve tried. Horseback riding, swimming, going to the park, going to the zoo, taking trips down to the Gulf Coast, even a memorably hot trip to San Antonio in August, where we did a whirlwind tour of the beautiful historic missions, as well as trolling through the Riverwalk and the Witte Museum of Natural History (which is a great museum, by the way, and free on Tuesdays.)

But, man, it’s just impossible. Especially this week, where a high pressure system has decided to sit right on the central United States, turning even the early morning hours into intense misery.

That hasn’t stopped me from trying to do things– I got a new garden bed dug, installed the bricks, and filled it with plants, transplanted all the new seedlings for the late summer garden, and planted more flowers out front. But I basically came back into the house on the verge of heat exhaustion every time.

The kids, of course, are overdosing on media of all sorts– one of them is addicted to “Breath of the Wild,” one of them is hooked on YouTube how-to tutorials about weird things like making cotton candy, the baby has a series of bizarre demands for Netflix shows that no one can quite decipher (“the one with the baby bus who talks and not the one with songs and not the one with trains” is an example,) and the other one is in an “Overwatch” coma. And then Miss Autism steals the WiiU as often as she can to play Super Mario 64. She’s old school.

Me, I’m keeping myself as busy as possible. Sewing projects are eating up a huge portion of my time, and writing projects are devouring the rest. It keeps me from obsessing over the sales reports on my book, anyway (which is not making me a millionaire, let’s just say.) I am currently fighting a pitched battle against the combined forces of Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, both of whom want to take a simple scan-to-text conversion and make it as improbable as possible.

But, I have Big Plans for the next couple of weeks. I like having big plans. I just don’t necessarily like having to drop big money on said big plans. But this is very big money for one of my Summer Obsessions, and the other people in the house are trembling with fear and anticipation. What will I make them do next? What extremes of physical toil will I expect from them? And, most importantly, is this going to cut into their internet time?

Ah well. I should sleep. Not that I’m looking forward to it– last night, I had a dream that a snake had bitten deeply into my ring finger, only to wake up with my finger in excruciating pain. Half-asleep, I yanked my wedding ring off and just left it under my pillow. Thankfully, no one ate it, dropped it in the trash, or washed it down a drain, because I didn’t remember the dream (and realize my ring was missing) until around 3pm in the afternoon. Oops. Yeah, I need more sleep.

Score at the bookstore

I just KNEW that they couldn’t possibly be out of copies of “Catch-22” at our local used book store. And, being that the novel was originally printed in 1955, and the author is dead, I didn’t feel compelled to pay for a brand-new copy of it, either.

But, after a grueling search for the Heller section, I finally found it . . . stuffed in with the general fiction, which put him somewhere between “Never Let Me Go” and anything by Nicholas Sparks. Which was odd, but whatever. I’d have figured it for the “classics” section, myself.

I also scored on a bunch of guilty pleasure books from the 5 cent table. Sometimes, you just can’t face the next classic piece of literature and have to escape the quest to discover the Great American Novel (hint: it doesn’t exist). So I have a Barbara Hambly novel that I somehow missed, one of the Superintendent Dalziel books, and, yes, a Betty Neels romance novel, just because.

Oh, yes, and I also bought the Theban plays by Sophocles, “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun, one of St John of the Cross’s books, and a bunch of books about boys and horses for the homeschooling shelves.

It socked me for a bunch of my store credit, but I am content. I’m running out of those Top 100 novels fast, so I will be forced to finish the two remaining James Joyce novels before long. I will need every simple piece of storytelling that I can find just to keep my grip on sanity. Or, at least, on my temper. I may have developed a fondness for Henry James that I would never have suspected I’d have, but Joyce? Nah, I am never going to love his work.

Oh, and another hint about literature: when a reviewer uses the term “pyrotechnics” to describe someone’s writing style, they are 100% full of nonsense. Beware!! 🙂

My Novel is now available for Pre-Order!

My first novel, Dragon Venom, is now available for pre-order on the Amazon website! If you’ve got a taste for adventurous fantasy novels, and a Kindle app, pre-order it today! 🙂



Dragon Venom is a fantasy novel, filled with seafaring battles, steamy dragon-haunted jungles, and warrior monks fighting for their faith and for their lives. It’s the story of Raban, a young craftsman monk, who is forced to become something more on a quest to reclaim the lost treasures of a vanished empire. Under the leadership of their Knight Vigilant, Alarin, Raban and the rest of his order will test the bonds of brotherhood, faith, and humanity in their search for Paisadal, and their dangerous hunt for the forbidden lore of dragons.


Pre-order it now on Amazon!