“Writers are fortunate people.”
Susan Cooper

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

we pause for health and wellness (also sleep)
Sat 2017-04-15 01:26:47 (single post)

So the Friday Fictionette for April 14 will be out on April 15 instead, which is practically on time considering the last few months. And yes, I know what I said about how promising a due date means I'll miss that due date, but this time it's a sure thing. I've got the text finalized and the audiobook recorded; all I need to do is the production stuff. Create the cover art, export to pdf and ebook, that stuff. Easy stuff. Heck, I'd have it done tonight (this morning) except it's past 1:00 AM and I still have a bunch of other things I have to get done. Like, basic wellness and self-care. Brushing my teeth and doing push-ups and taking my blood pressure and spending my daily 20 minutes on the Posture Right. Like you do.

The other reason I'm pretty confident in a delay of less than 24 hours is, unlike last weekend, which was Bout Weekend, this weekend features an almost entirely unscheduled Saturday. I say "almost" because tonight I discovered that the reason I couldn't get the Volt to charge was there's a bent pin in the port, and so I'll need to take the car back to Green Eyed Motors for service. I do not expect this to be a terrible chore; the folks there are great, and they share a building with a very pleasant coffee shop. I expect I'll get some work done on both the fictionette and the weekend YPP blockade round-up while I'm there.

Speaking of bout weekend, everything went well! I wound up skating in both bout with energy to spare, so I guess I've finally gotten my endurance back up to pre-injury levels. As far as I know, no one got hurt, just the usual sore muscles and bruises that you expect from a derby engagement. (Very pretty bruises!)The visiting team were all just fantastic people, both on and off the track. A bunch of them came out to the afterparty despite some of them having an early plane to catch. I spent most the evening chatting with one of their MVP jammers. And BCB won both bouts (A team game, B teams game)! Which was not a sure thing at all, so we're all very proud of ourselves.

Next games on our schedule: Our Bombshells go to Colorado Springs on April 22 to play against the Pikes Peak Derby Dames, and our All Stars go to Eugene, Oregon the first weekend in May to participate in The Big O. Rosters have not yet been set for any of those four games. Will let y'all know whether/when I'm skating.

ARGH it's late. 'Til tomorrow.

Two mirlitons which I have set aside to sprout, because of course I want to grow them. Will probably have to pot them indoors as not enough summer will remain by the time they are ready.
brief interlude with mirlitons
Wed 2017-04-12 23:40:58 (single post)
  • 1,083 wds. long

Hi! I have a recipe for you today. Or, rather, I have a food experience which you may, if you wish, convert into a recipe of your very own. Basically, it starts with mirlitons.

I have gone mirliton-crazy as only a homesick New Orleanian can go. My grandmother used to bring a shrimp-and-mirliton casserole to family holiday gatherings; unil this year, that was the only mirliton I'd ever consumed. Recently I'd noticed that Asian Food Market has a produce slot that, despite containing bags of snow peas, was labeled "chayote" (that's what they call mirlitons round here). I started keeping my eyes on that slot. Never having handled an actual mirliton before, I wasn't 100% sure what I was looking for. Pictures on the internet helped, but I still wound up having exchanges like this one with the proprietor:

"Chayote?"
"No, bitter melon."
"Oh.

Earlier this year, hallelujah! there they were. I grabbed an armful and brought them to check-out.

"You going to make soup?"
"No, casserole."
"It's very good in soup with chicken. You should try it."

One day I will. So far, I have mostly just casseroled it up. I have made shrimp-mirliton casserole, vegan mirliton casserole, and vegan-and-gluten-free mirliton casserole (using gluten-free panko instead of breadcrumbs or saltines). I have briefly looked at a recipe for mirliton pickles and decided I wasn't quite ready to process 18 mirlitons in a single afternoon.

Today I had mirliton cheeseburger mac.

  1. Brown 1 lb. ground beef with a chopped-up half onion. Ground beef courtesy Boulder Beef, who are not only local but part of my roller derby family. I also bought a beef tongue from them a few weeks ago--another cooking first for me--and made this fantastic tomato stew with it. This was good timing, because the very next day I was mildly sick, and the beef tongue stew turned out to be the platonic ideal of sick day comfort food.

  2. Add two small chopped-up mirlitons. Before the chopping-up there are other preliminaries. Boil for about an hour in crab boil seasonings, let cool, cut in half lengthwise, scrape out the seed, peel the halves. Then chop. Try not to chop off the tip of your thumb, by the way. Pro-tip. Which I am stating for no reason whatsoever. Don't look at my thumbnail. Move along.

  3. Add parsley. Everything is better with parsley. I had some in the fridge doing nothing with its life. I chopped it up and stirred it in. If you are the opposite of me, you probably hate parsley and think everything is better with cilantro. In that case, add cilantro. You do you, is what I'm saying.

  4. Rethink everything. I had some idea this would be a casserole, because mirliton = casserole. But chopped-up mirliton doesn't just turn into mushy casserole matrix by itself. It needs a food processor (which I don't have) or at least a manual ricer (which I do). I'd already tossed it into the beef and onion mixture, so the ricer wasn't happening. The mirliton was chunks. Small chunks, but solid. I could eat the mixture with a spoon, but that seemed lacking in ambition.

  5. Decide: Am not up to dealing with pie crust. Which is a shame, because this would make an excellent shepherd's pie. Only there's no potato in the house either.

  6. Put it in mac & cheese. Basically, do like that "Pasta with Sausage" recipe that Debra Doyle described as "what Hamburger Helper wants to be after it grows up and goes to a good college." Start with Annie's Mac & Cheese (I used the shells and Wisconsin cheddar variety). Pour about a half cup heavy cream over about two cups of the beef-onion-mirliton mixture. Stir in Annie's cheese powder. Shred in some maple smoked cheddar that happened to be in the fridge. Add spices: Black pepper, garlic salt, Cajun Land table seasoning, alder smoked salt, fresh grated nutmeg. Definitely do the cognac thing. Simmer to thicken a bit. Stir in cooked pasta shells. Crumble up and stir in the last of that homemade chevre-style cheese we made after going to the Art of Cheese workshop.

  7. Eat too much. Leave no leftovers. Take no prisoners. Fight off food coma.

I've still got another cup and a half of the beef-onion-mirliton mixture. WANNA DO IT AGAIN. Maybe Friday. This is not a meal for eating before roller derby practice, at least not until I can find the self-restraint necessary to eat a reasonable rather than gluttonous portion.

PS. The remaining bits of April 7 Friday Fictionette are up now: audiobook and excerpts (here and at Patreon and at Wattpad). The [ebooks] have been reuploaded because I couldn't refrain from making a couple more edits during the audiobook reading. So there you go.

Cover art incorporates public domain photography sourced from Pixabay.com.
this fictionette is running late and is missing its keys
Wed 2017-04-12 01:13:46 (single post)

OK. OK! The Friday Fictionette for April 7 is out; it's "The Only Winning Move...," and you can probably finish that quote. Right? Maybe not. War Games was almost 35 years ago. Anyway, that link goes straight to the ebook edition, which is for Patrons at the $1/month tier. The audiobook for the $3/month tier, and the excerpt here and at Patreon and at Wattpad for everybody, that'll go up tomorrow because I suck. Hopefully tomorrow morning, but see again that bit about "I suck." Apparently all I have to do to ensure I won't meet a deadline is tell everyone that I will.

Until tomorrow, anyway.

did i say monday?
Mon 2017-04-10 22:09:06 (single post)

So today turned into unexpected Bout Weekend Recovery Day. See you tomorrow.

still behind the eight-ball but getting closer
Fri 2017-04-07 22:26:16 (single post)

Delays continue. Also, this is happening tomorrow. Sunday isn't looking too good either. Service will resume when conditions improve.

Look, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Monday. Monday! I can Monday! Monday is a verb describing an action I am theoretically capable of. In addition to being a day. I will see you on that day.

(It would be cool to see you Saturday, too. Just sayin'.)

YPP Weekend Blockades, April 1-2: Gnomebody knows the punnage i've seen
Sat 2017-04-01 13:04:00 (single post)

Good morning and happy Saturday! Have a blockade schedule. It is moderately active with start times to suit most time zones and schedules.

It is, of course, April 1, or as it is commonly known, April Fools Day. Your chronicler tends to celebrate that festive day by hiding away from the rest of humanity, firstly because she doesn't care for pranks, and secondly because the internet is full of entertainment. You may have to hurry to appreciate it, though--most April 1 demonstrations tend to go away on April 2.

So today's intertubes features things like the Google Gnome (the smart yard you've always wanted!) and the ability to play Ms. Pac-Man on the Google Maps app. Puzzle Pirates specifically is getting into the spirit of things with a S3kr1t Oceanmaster Forum that someone "slipped up" and left accessible to all. Plenty there to keep you entertained while waiting for your jobbing shippie to enter the blockade battle board. Also there's pet rocks. Don't you want a pet rock?

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, April 1 ***

12:00 p.m. - Havoc Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Leviathan's Wrath
Attacker: Depths Unknown

2:55 p.m. - Albatross Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Caught In Crossfire
Attacker: Cluster Service

8:58 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Rubber Duckies of Doom
Attacker: Going Down

*** Sunday, April 2 ***

12:00 p.m. - Basset Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Keeping The Peace
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (3)

12:00 p.m. - Nightshade Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Smoke and Mirrors
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (4)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, April 1 ***

11:55 p.m. - Ansel Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Super Awesomeness
Attacker: The Wanton

11:55 p.m. - Carmine Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Super Awesomeness
Attacker: The Wanton

*** Sunday, April 2 ***

11:49 a.m. - Angelfish Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Crimson Tide
Attacker: Undertow

12:00 p.m. - Cranberry Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Raising Hull
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (3)

Click through for excerpt and cover art credits.
this fictionette spoke too soon
Fri 2017-03-31 22:59:39 (single post)

I need to stop writing optimistic things in my blog. Right after saying things like, "I hope to have a good report tomorrow!" or "I think I'm getting back on track!" I always crash and burn. Wednesday through today were not highly productive days. They were "so exhausted I can't think straight" days.

And, OK, maybe Tuesday I was able to push myself to do "just a little bit" after derby, cool. But Wednesday I was so tired after practice that I couldn't even bear to think about the stuff I needed to do, not even "just a little bit." And this is why I go back and forth on the writing-post-derby question.

In any case, I have finally published the fourth Friday Fictionette for March, "A Most Competitive Compensation Plan" (ebook, audiobook), on March's fifth Friday. But with that out and the Fictionette Freebie for March also released ("Containment Breach," ebook, audiobook, html), that means I'm all caught up. I mean, barring all the Artifacts for 2017 so far, of course, but I'll be working on those over the next few days with the intent to mail them out, one by one, as I get 'em done. So, cool. Fresh start for April.

I continue to rack my brains against the fiendish puzzle of energy management as regards roller derby and a full-time writing career. Look, I didn't even skate tonight. I couldn't. I was so damn sore after having pratice three nights in a row that I barely slept at all last night didn't get moving today until well past noon. It's just as well I was mistaken about there being a supplemental practice for my line-up tonight. I had nothing left, not even to skate socially. Or leave the house at all. Besides, with not getting to work until the afternoon, I couldn't spare the hours anyway.

The puzzle will be an even tougher one next week, what with extra practice throughout and the two bouts looming over it all. But I don't have to try to solve that puzzle until... next week. Meanwhile, I have tomorrow to rest and recharge. John and I have some fun plans involving home-cooked food and movie-going and together-time and stuff. I expect after that, next week will look a look a lot more possible.

some epiphanies bear repeating
Wed 2017-03-29 00:46:09 (single post)

I never know what to say about days like today. It makes for boring blogging, and it's embarrassing too. I mean, "I went to physical therapy, came home, ate an early lunch/late breakfast, and then keeled over for several hours because I was inexplicably exhausted. That left me only enough time to do the household accounting and pay household bills before it was time to leave for roller derby practice." Who wants to read blog posts like that?

But, y'know, I did manage to do my morning pages before my PT appointment. And after derby, I did manage to spend a few minutes each on daily freewriting and fictionette prep work. I didn't do enough, I only did a little, but I did a little of everything; that's worth something, right?

Right. It is worth something.

Not only does it make me feel less down on myself that I did at least do a little bit (and earned the right to check off "daily writing" in Habitica, yay!), but it also brings me that much closer to publishing the overdue March 24 Friday Fictionette. I suspect that today I succumbed once again to the pathological avoidance tendency that arises out of bringing too much pressure to bear on myself. "I have to get it all done today!" I told myself, so of course I shut down mentally, emotionally, and physically. But since I convinced myself to at least work on it a little tonight--with the result that I finished drafting the story, wrote the last sentence and everything--that makes "ok, then, get it all done tomorrow!" less scary. The remaining "it all" is much reduced.

I go back and forth on whether to force myself to do writing after derby. On the one hand, I'm tired. I'm mentally and physically exhausted. So it's often counterproductive to pressure myself to Finish All The Things after practice. Having no resilience left makes those Things that much more scary and daunting and impossible. On the other hand, if I coax myself into "Just fifteen minutes of freewriting? Heck, even five minutes. You can manage five minutes," then after I do it I feel just a little more pleased with myself, just a tad more accomplished, just a bit more like I can actually trust myself with responsibility and promises and all. It's a self-esteem prop, is what it is. I need those sometimes. Without 'em, it's harder to get up and get to work the next day.

Plus, like I said, whatever I manage to do now, I don't have to do tomorrow, 'cause I did it. Win-win.

In other news, this morning's PT appointment was my last. My injury risk is once more no greater than that of any other able-bodied athlete in a contact sport. Granted, my knee was achy and sore from this weekend's exertions, but it will get achy and sore and tired more quickly than the other for some time to come. It'll take some time and work to get it back up to pre-injury strength levels. Until it gets there, I'll keep wearing a knee brace when I play roller derby, and giving it a little extra stretching and attention. But my physical therapist was ready to set me free if I was ready to fly, and I was more than ready to fly.

So I have my Tuesday mornings free again! Free to force myself to get up on time and get to work without the threat of a missed PT appointment hanging over me! Egad. Well. We'll see how that goes. Wish me luck.

Here's hoping I have good things to report tomorrow. In addition to the usual Wednesday obstacles, I got derby again in the evening. I pretty much got derby five days a week until our double header on the 8th because the 8th is frickin' soon and we have a whole bunch of preparation to do. But I expect that, even if I can't do it all, I can at least do a little. #MyNewMantra

more but less
Mon 2017-03-27 22:52:47 (single post)

Not today. Was very productive today, got lots done, but now I'm tired. More tomorrow, promise.

YPP Weekend Blockades, March 25-26: Now with bonus roller derby content
Sat 2017-03-25 12:53:40 (single post)

It's Saturday and we're taking a break from life. To support the shooting of pixelated cannonballs and the earning of fake money, I present the weekly blockade schedule. It's full of brigand kings and therefore PoE!

That's kinda it, really. I mean, for the YPP portion of this entirely frivolous and non-writing blog post. On the subject of non-pixelated entertainment, if you're in the Denver area and you want to see some roller derby, I could tell you about tonight's double header in Lakewood. I'm skating in the 6 PM bout. It'll be fun!

And that is all.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, March 25 ***

12:00 p.m. - Polaris Point, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Velt's Boiyz
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (3)

12:16 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (6)
Attacker: Black Flag
Attacker: Rubber Duckies of Doom

12:58 p.m. - Garden Cradle, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Leviathan's Wrath
Attacker: Icy Sun

4:00 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Ice Wyrm's Brood (3)
Attacker: Keep the Peace
Attacker: Caught In Crossfire
Attacker: Kanata

6:00 p.m. - Marlowe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Caught In Crossfire
Attacker: Delirium

*** Sunday, March 26 ***

10:00 a.m. - Pukru Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: The Enlightened (4)

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