The Year of Eviltry

It’s been 2013 for almost a month now. There have been resolutions made and already broken (not necessarily by me, but you know who you are), some kept, some still going strong. I have dubbed 2013 the Year of Eviltry for various reasons, not the least of which is that it has “13” in it.

There’s a lot of year left ahead of us and while randomly talking with the man who enables my crazy (AKA “my husband”) about all the random things we have to celebrate this year (and the representative costs thereof), we decided to combine them all into one big celebration extravaganza at the end of the year.

We were over in the United Kingdom visiting family in 2007. We’ve long planned to go back, but it seems like every year something or other comes up and we just can’t manage it. This year, though, we’re starting the planning early and hitting it hard, so we can spend the holidays in Scotland this year. With all that’s going on (and has gone on!) this year, we’re both deserving of a little something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. We haven’t had a real vacation together in years and this just seemed like the thing to do, so we put our heads and determination together and decided we’re going to make it happen this year.


There. I said it. In big bold letters. And I’m posting it on the internet, which is FOREVER.

Now, there are a few caveats to this goal.

Travel is expensive no matter when or where you go, and flying first class is one of the more expensive ways to do that. (What? I SAID we deserve a treat, and if we’re going to do this, we want to do it in style. Go big or stay home, I say!) This is going to take some major savings, because the James household in no way shape or form has that kind of money, now or ever. But there’s hope. I’ve worked out a shoestring budget that will allow us to meet this goal over the course of the year if we’re very, very conscientious about sticking to it.

“Conscientious” is a…loose term. “Sacrificial” is closer to the word I’m looking for here. I was talking on Twitter about the yarn embargo I’ve enacted.

You read that right.

I have agreed to not buy yarn for THE ENTIRE REST OF THE YEAR in order to save money for this trip to Scotland.

I know. I KNOW, ALL RIGHT? But! I made a list of the knitting projects I have planned and have made sure I have all the yarn I need for them. I have enough yarn for the year. I have enough projects for the year and beyond. On the off-chance that I don’t (I hear you laughing over there), I comfort myself with the knowledge that THEY HAVE YARN IN SCOTLAND. Good yarn. Nice yarn. Yarn I will buy when I’m over there. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. I will not buy yarn. I will not buy yarn. (Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t be gifted yarn or gift cards to yarn stores like Webs if some wonderful lovely people take it upon themselves to bestow them upon me. *cough*plznoRedHeart/LionBrand*cough* Just sayin’. Yarn Embargo only applies to me spending money on yarn.) NOTE: I’m just kidding about this, by the way! DON’T DO THIS. I SEE YOU PLOTTING YOUR EVIL OVER THERE, AND I AM JUST KIDDING. MOSTLY. NO, REALLY, I AM.

Now don’t think this is unfair. Husband is also giving up spending money on things he loves in order to make this trip possible. We’re both very committed to the new budget we’ve worked out (WE SPEND HOW MUCH ON PET CARE?!) and that budget requires sacrifice from each of us. There are a few things that are non-negotiable (like both human and animal medications), but a few things are.

Like, you know…my yarn. I don’t need yarn. Okay, I do, but not like that. I don’t need to buy any more. I have everything I need and then some, and plenty to keep me busy with projects throughout 2013 and beyond. When I looked at how much I spend on yarn, I was…um…yeah. That money is going into savings this year.

This budget thing is also going to require a few things be put on hold until next year. I had planned a few home improvement projects this year, but if we’re going to make this trip, they’ll have to wait. The bedroom doesn’t really need to be painted. We sat down and really looked at what we want to do versus what we needed to do and found we could save a lot more money if we cut some things like painting the bedroom out. I can deal with the horrendous wallpaper in there another year. For Scotland.

A few things, though, need to be done, and they’re budgeted for. Like the downstairs/library floor. That just has to be done this year. HAS TO. That horrid carpet down there isn’t going to last another year with all the crap it’s been through, so that just has to be included in the budget. More on that as it develops.

Another thing this budget entails is a lot less going out to eat/ordering take-out and a lot more making food at home. I admit we’re pretty bad about eating at home because it’s just the two of us and our schedules are often out of synch, so it’s easy just to order a pizza or grab a sandwich while out and bring it home instead of making something. But all that adds up.

It’s not just food, either. We can save quite a bit of money doing a lot of things ourselves we normally pay others to do. We just both need to stop being lazy and actually commit to doing things ourselves.

Is there a chance of failure? Huge. Vast. We may find that we’re just not able to make our new budget work for our household. Disaster may strike and wipe out our savings (this has happened on more than on occasion, so let’s be realistic here). You never know. But, that’s why it’s a goal.

You have to work to achieve goals, and this one is ours. It’s going to be interesting trying to reach it. But with a little luck and a lot of effort, we’ll make it.

I mean, I’m giving up buying yarn for this. I’m going to be COOKING for this. I’m SACRIFICING.

It’s going to totally be worth it though, to buy Highland wool in THE HIGHLANDS. (I have a thing for Highlanders. Shut up.)

But I’m totally not sacrificing my tea. There’s a limit.

Now, if you hear me whining on Twitter about the #yarnembargo, you’ll know why. And you can remind me I’m doing it #ForScotland.

General Updatey Thingy

I know it’s been awhile since I blogged, and even longer since I’ve vlogged, and for that I’m truly sorry. I’m exceedingly busy with a lot of offline stuff, as well as deadlines and so on. (I hear you over there! “Well, Dina, you have time to knit!” SHUT UP! I need my sanity time! I also play World of Warcraft…what of it? Better I do those things than other things that would earn me jail time!)

Anyway, here’s an updatey post. I was going to do Five Things Make A Post, but I don’t think I have five things, so we’ll just carry on, shall we? Continue reading

Clash of the Eviltry

Okay, okay. You all know I’ve blogged about #dietgame before. I have attempted being good (I know, I know. I’m evil, and nothing is going to change that!), motivation, la la la, you name it.

#dietgame always fizzles out somewhere around the third or fourth week. Usually it’s down to me and one other person, and the last round was won by default. The round before that was won by someone who was an honorary participant.

You get the idea.

Now, though.

Now, it’s personal. Continue reading

Dina Leaves The Lair. In Broad Daylight. On Purpose.

I know, I know. I’m shocked too. Don’t faint. I know it’s a rare occasion. I usually hide between the spring and autumn equinoxes, not only from the daylight, but from tourists and kids out of school for the summer. I emerge sometime after Labor Day and celebrate the return to normalcy.

But! I don’t pick the times or dates for certain things, and if there’s something I want to go to scheduled in the middle of summer, well…I have to leave the lair. One of those things is a writing seminar scheduled for this weekend (June 3-5) that I’ll be attending. It’s James Scott Bell’s Selling Your Novel and Screenplay Intensive Seminar in Sherman Oaks, CA.

While this doesn’t technically count as “an appearance” as I’m there for the seminar and not to sign books*, I plan to have a drink or two at the hotel bar in the evenings if you want to come say hi! I’ll warn you all now – I have dinner plans both Friday and Saturday evening, so I’m not sure when I’ll be at the bar. Watch my Twitter for when I’ll be there. I’m a night person, and so it will probably be late. Like toward closing time. Unless I stay out late at dinner partying or something. Hey, I’m a writer. Things could happen.

I’m not taking my laptop, so I won’t be checking email or Facebook or anything. Please hold all catastrophes and end of the world events until Monday, June 6. I don’t have one of those fancy phones or an i-Thingy that lets me do all that stuff, either. I have a cell that sends text messages to Twitter, but I can’t read Twitter on it. So there you have it. I will be…*gasp*…out of touch!

So there you have it. I’ll be gone this weekend. Plan accordingly and have the mess cleaned up by the time I get home. I’m outtie. I solemnly swear I am up to no good. There will be witnesses. Hopefully there will not be news coverage or jail time.

(*Though I won’t be offended if you bring books you want me to sign when I’m not “in class.”)

Con Artist -or- Surly Writer’s Con

It’s amazing what random things inspire a writer. This morning it was a hashtag on Twitter about yet another convention I’ve never heard about, and it made me scowl. I mean… Continue reading

Guilt By Association

Unless you’re a fan of one of the authors involved in what I’m about to address and read their blogs or follow them on Twitter, you may not know about this particular debacle.

Then again, you may have heard about several authors withdrawing their stories from a particular anthology.

Here’s the original post that brought the main issue to light. It’s important to read that link so you’ll understand the rest of this post.

Go on, I’ll wait. Continue reading

The Great Office Cleanup of 2011

Catchy title, huh?

Yeah, it’s not as great as it sounds. For those who aren’t following me on Twitter, here’s a partial recap of the event. I was going to live tweet the progress, but I was cleaning my desk for the most part, and the lappy had to be moved. So I did a recap, and now this blog post about it. Continue reading

Cultage and Eviltry

DISCLAIMER: This post is possibly inflammatory and most definitely sexist. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. It’s all for fun and games/for entertainment purposes only. And because I’ve always wanted to start a cult. Continue reading