All posts by eclecticalli

I am finding my way on the meandering, twisting path of life, constantly surprised by what’s around the next bend. Working to embrace and face the challenges inherent with following your dreams, and writing the journey. A writer and dreamer, historian and theologian, academic and fantasy-world-creator, genealogist and gluten-free baker, crafter and reader, poet and life-long learner, constantly questioning and occasionally irreverent. Eclectic Alli is my personal blog, with reflections on writing, life, theology, history, or whatever may catch my thoughts. Disparate Threads is a fantasy-fiction serial-blog, I am trying to break out of the traditional book-format mold of storytelling, taking advantage of the blog format to build a world. Everything on Disparate Threads is considered "Draft," and I WANT reader responses and input! Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram round out my online presence, and I try to do little bits different with each of them.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Another Sicky weekend…

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngWeekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from February 16th at 7am (Pacific Time) until Monday February 19th at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

So, you know how I had those plans about what I was going to get done last weekend?
Yeah, they all got thrown out the window. I ended up pretty much sleeping straight through not only Saturday and Sunday, but Monday and Tuesday as well. Some sort of virus had been working its way into my system, and it finally took hold. On top of just being tired and out of it, I was also VERY dizzy starting on Sunday. On Tuesday the doctor gave me some meds to help with the dizziness and accompanying nausea so I could get back to work on Wednesday.

And that… that was pretty much my weekend. The week before it consisted of “getting through.” I was tired, knew I was getting sick, but kept pushing to just get through the work week.

So, I do want to take a second to apologize for not making any rounds to other blogs this weekend. Or even responding to comments. Each week I’m trying to make it to at least a few blogs of other Coffee Share participants (and I hope you all are doing the same!), but this weekend I had trouble even reading… or watching TV… so reading and responding with any coherence was not happening!

I’m still not fully recovered. Been taking the medication the doctor gave me, and hydrating and caffeinating. I haven’t quite been able to shake this tired feeling, but I’ll keep pushing through – because I don’t have a whole lot of choice. I really can’t afford to take more sick days right now, and honestly I don’t think MORE sleep is going to help me feel more rested. This thing just has to run its course.

This weekend isn’t going to be so restful. I’ve been looking forward to it for months, though, so I know I’ll have a good time, even if I am a bit sleepy.

Friday night I’m going to go see A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder with three friends. I’ve enjoyed the music from this show for a while, and was happy when it was on the list of shows coming through this season. We’ll be meeting up after myself and another friend get off of work, going out to dinner together, and then on to the show.

Then, Saturday morning, I’m up early to catch a train to visit my sister’s family. I haven’t gotten to see my niece since around Thanksgiving, and the pictures and videos tell me that she’s grown quite a bit since then — they do that when they’re so little! It’ll be fun to play with her, and of course to visit with my sister and brother-in-law.

I took Monday off, so I’ll be with them Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday, and Monday morning. Then it’s the train back home so I can get back to work on Tuesday.

My hope is that I’ll be able to recoup enough that I can spend my couple-hour train-trip on either side of this visit to do some much-needed editing work. NOTHING I had planned to do last weekend got done, and I need to get moving on things if I’m going to keep up my minimum of one chapter a month.
So, that’s me. How are you doing this week? What does your weekend hold?



#WeekendCoffeeShare: Lots of Lotsness

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngWeekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from February 9h at 7am (Pacific Time) until Monday February 12th at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

If we were having coffee I would invite you to join me in our living room – there are nice comfy couches there, and I really just feel like putting up my feet (and one of the comfy chairs is perfect for that).

It’s been one heck of a week – by Wednesday I was convinced it must actually be Friday. There is just so much going on that I feel like I’ve been running nonstop.

Last weekend, while busy, was pretty nice. Saturday I took Midnight Monster to the vet. This was a bit of a challenge…. He’s never been fond of his crate – and last year when he ran away, and subsequently had to be caught in a humane trap, then taken to the emergency vet, then his regular vet, and then I attempted to take him for the teeth cleaning that we’d had to reschedule when he ran away… well, that all made him even less fond of this crate-thing. So I’d been trying to get him more comfortable with it, putting his food in there and letting him eat it. But he’s a cat that apparently likes wide-open spaces (he’s not even fond of sitting in regular boxes), so he is just NOT A FAN of the crate.

Instead of fighting him and trying to get him into the crate in our main room I relocated it, and him, to a small hallway that has no places to hide. Basically I cornered the poor guy (while he was pitifully meowing at the doorway) and wrapped him up in one of our blankets and dropped him in his crate. I think he was so in shock that I’d actually gotten him in that he was silent for the entire car ride to the vet (not a very long ride) and didn’t utter a sound until we got home.

The adorable Midnight Monster trying to “help” me with my crochet project.

He’s fine though, check-up went well, even if they did say he should lose some weight (he’s a big, muscular, cat and he does probably have an extra little bit, but he’s not food motivated at all – often has food left over in his bowl even though I’m giving the suggested amount for the size he’s supposed to be, and he certainly gets plenty of run-and-play-and-jump-and-pounce play in. So I’m not concerned). And now I will hopefully not have to struggle with him and the crate for another year.



After that fun morning I went to my Dad’s for lunch. Recently the Interactive Museum of Gaming and Puzzlery moved near him.

I’d been to visit them a few times in their old location and really enjoyed it, so wanted to check out their new space. It’s a nice little space – though I missed the experience of walking through their big open storage space and looking at all the old games that were stacked on the shelves. We just looked around a little, looked at some of the games that they have available to play, and then walked back to his place where my stepmom had pizza and hard-cider waiting.

Our Ticket To Ride game, along with my crochet project — I’ve been carrying that things around with me EVERYWHERE.

It had been a while since we’d played a game together so we dug out Ticket To Ride and played a round. Dad got what was possibly his highest score EVER in the game, I got a very sad little score, and Katrina came in nicely in the middle. The cool thing was that we all managed to complete our routes – only positive points for this group, no one got anything subtracted!


Sunday morning I was doing some nursery-care coverage at a church, but then I went over to one of my best friend’s houses, where I mostly just hung out. You know, those friends that are kind of just like family so there is no pressure on anyone to have to do anything? I was pretty tired by the time I got there, so I mostly sat at the kitchen table chatting and playing games with little miss 5, visiting with the 9 year old (who did my hair, as anticipated, but she wasn’t feeling up to doing a braid-crown so we just played around with some other braid arrangements). My friend and I hit up the yarn store to get a present for a friend (and I bought myself a fun little something too!), and it was just a nice change of pace and fun time hanging out.

Then we were on to a Harry Potter Birthday Party for another friend! She went all out with decorations, activities, and it was a really fun time. Many of us had already been sorted, but there were sorting-cupcakes for us to enjoy, and we all got to pick a wand. Beer-pong inspired Quiddich, and it all occurred behind Platform 9 ¾ As it rightfully should.

Beer-Pong inspired Quiddich

But, boy, was it a busy weekend. I woke up Monday morning feeling like it must be the end of the week – and then because of doctors appointments and illness we were down a few staff members Monday afternoon and Tuesday, which made my days a bit busier than originally anticipated. Tuesday was also full of social-funness, as I met up with a group of friends for sushi during lunch-break (it’s becoming a birthday tradition for us!).

Yummy burger is yummy!

Then met up with another friend after work for dinner (McMennamin’s is celebrating burger month with different burger options throughout the month, and the burger that day was: the Take Me To The Moon Burger (white cheddar, Red Eye bacon jam, Terminator mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles). They also have Gluten-Free buns, so I was able to enjoy the burger in all its awesomeness, which made me really happy.

But it was a LOT of lotsness for those days, so by Wednesday I was exhausted. I was supposed to meet up with my stitch-and-bitch group to work on the third clue of the Mystery Crochet, but I went home and to sleep instead. But I am excited about the latest clue – just because I’m getting closer to being done. And I’ve been managing to follow the pattern pretty well (it’s the first time I’ve really attempted to follow a pattern)… even to the point that I can join in when some of my fellow crocheters are complaining about how needlessly wordy some of the steps are (because it is a LOT of words that aren’t needed). I’m enjoying what the result is though – it’s pretty!

This weekend is going to be much more low-key (as is needed). I’ve got my Sunday night game-group, and Saturday I’m going to skype with my bestie, and meet up with my writing buddy for coffee. So this weekend has some very specific goals.

I’m going to sleep. I’m going to clean a little. I’m going to FINISH EDITING CHAPTER 4, because that’s been sitting on my to-do-list for far too long. I’m going to finish the audio-book I’ve been listening to, finish the graphic novel I’ve been reading, and catch up on the Les Miserables read-along that I’ve been woefully neglectful of. Then I’m going to write up my reviews for the books I’ve finished so I can get together a post for my reading updates.

I’m also playing around with a couple of ideas for things I’d like to write for the blog (or host on the blog) so I’m going to see about getting started on some of those.
Hopefully there will be time for all of that to happen! Fingers crossed!!

How was your week? What do you have coming up this weekend?


#IWSG – February Check-In

wp-1462383471325.jpgThis is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.

There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

Monthly Optional Prompt: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?


Time for the monthly writing check-in. I’ve been working on my editing, and it’s coming along. I have a few people reading the chapters as I complete my first revisions on them, and the feedback they’re providing is really helping. It was scary at first, letting other people read this thing I’ve been working on for so long, but I’m glad that they are. The feedback is helping inform the edits I made as I continue along, and will help my next rewrite immensely. Now I just have to keep going – get myself to spend the time working on the edits rather than other things.

This story is fantasy, as most of the stories I write are (to answer the IWSG question of the month). I think what really draws me in about writing fantasy is the freedom it gives me. I can draw from historical elements, but also come up with my own way for things to run. I can create creatures that fit the needs of what I require. And I can make statements, analyse things that are happening in our world, or explore some universal themes without getting bogged down in questions of historical or modern-day reality. Because I tend to be over-critical of my own work I know I would spend a lot of my time looking at realistic stories I’ve written and picking apart if it is “real enough.”  By throwing that expectation out the window I have the freedom to focus instead on creating my characters, the world they’re in, and the story they have to tell.

Which doesn’t mean I can’t still get things wrong. I’ve already proven to myself that just because it’s a world of my creation doesn’t mean I can’t worry that I’ve done it WRONG.

What? Me? Anxiety? Nah…..

But I am trying to push through that. When I feel like I’ve done something WRONG, I step back and figure out why I think that. What can I do to fix that – is it a matter of continuity in the world? Does something just not make sense? Why?  What can I do to change that? Because when I’m writing fantasy I have the power to change the world so that I can say what I’m trying to say, and write the story the way it’s meant to be told.

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Sick Week :(

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngWeekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from February 2 at 7 am (Pacific Time) until Monday February 5th at 7 pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

Ack! Sorry guys – this week ran away from me. I was sick for the start of it, and completely lost track of the days. Kind of forgot it was Friday today until I was sitting on the bus on my way into work today and realized that I didn’t have a Coffee Share Post written yet!  So, here I am, trying to grab a quick cup of coffee with you all before my work-day starts.

Other than being sick this week there wasn’t a whole lot going on. A most-of-the-day training at work on Thursday, and trying to get some crocheting done on the Mystery Crochet I’ve been working on. I kind of messed up a lot on the first part, but have made it work and am cruising along on the second part now.  I’d share a picture of my progress, but I forgot it at home –so pictures will have to wait for Instagram.  I promise I’ll share a picture here next weekend – when I’ll hopefully have made some progress on the third clue!

This weekend is going to be fun. I’m taking the Midnight Monster to the vet (not a fun part of the weekend, though I think I might be able to trick him into his crate with minimal injury to myself), then I’m getting together with my Dad and Step-Mom for the afternoon. Not sure what we’ll be up to, but it’s always nice to get together with them when they’re in town.

Sunday I have some work in the morning, but then I am going to a friends where (if she’s interested and up for it) I’ll get a fabulous hair-style done by my favorite 9-year-old. If she’s not up for it then I’ll just get to have a fun time playing with the family and having a good time until my friend and I head out to another friends Birthday Celebration. Harry Potter Themed – there is promise of Butter-Beer (soda), wands, Quiddich, and sorting-cupcakes. It should be a lot of fun.

I hear tell that there’s this big old sports-ball game happening on Sunday (and having lived in Patriot’s Country for about a decade, I see a LOT of mention of it online from friends), but I am very much not a fan. Not even into the commercials (though I did enjoy them when I was a kid). So spending the day away from media will be pretty nice. I hope everyone who is celebrating the game does so responsibly though.

Okay, time to start gearing up to get to work here.  How was your week?  What’s your weekend looking like?  Do you participate in the Sunday madness?

#WeekendCoffeeShare: “Empty” weekend!

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngWeekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from January 26h at 7am (Pacific Time) until Monday January 29th at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

If we were having coffee this weekend I’d tell you that I am going to enjoy a weekend of relaxation. I do have a few errands to run on Saturday, but otherwise will be relaxing in my room, doing some cleaning, lots of reading and a fair amount of writing and editing. And crocheting.

The first clue for the Mystery Crochet for the Rose City Yarn Crawl came out this week, and the second will come out next week so I have to get these sections done before we get to that! I don’t want to fall behind. Each Wednesday, after the clues drop, I meet up with my “Stitch-and-Bitch” group to work on the project (though some are working on other projects). We have crocheters and knitters in the group, and it’s a fun time.

I LOVE the way these colors are working.  I’ve already messed it up a bit – so have to alter things a little to get back on track (because I was NOT about to undo all those rows) so it’s got a little personality added in!


I’m sure by now you’ve heard that Ursula LeGuin passed away this past week. I have to confess that I haven’t actually read the books she’s best known for – they’ve been on my “to read” list for quite a long while. I hope to fix that this year.

I have, however, read her book on writing, Steering the Craft, a number of times. I received a copy of it as a present from my supervisor when I had an internship at Borders Books in the late 90’s. A signed copy.

Because I got to meet Ursula LeGuin when I was working there – she was coming to the store to meet with some group or another and it was part of our job to greet her and escort her to the group. She and I chatted a little bit. I don’t remember much of what was said, but I do remember that we talked a little about writing. The thing that most stands out though was her energy, how lively and real she was, and the story she told about how she desperately needed to do laundry.

She was funny. And inspiring. She raised her family here in Portland, and I always considered her to be part of the creative fabric of this area. There are a number or writers, musicians, and artists of all sorts who have called this area their home for some chunk of their lives, and I like to sometimes think about how the culture of Portland – and the amazing scenery – has influenced their works. (This all led me to check in on some of the “local” authors who I suddenly found myself wondering “are they still alive?” Cool discovery of the day – Beverly Cleary is still alive, and will turn 102 in April!)

Time for me to get back to it. This chapter I want to knock out this weekend isn’t going to edit itself… sadly.

How was your week?  How does your weekend look?  Thanks for joining me for coffee – I really enjoy the time we get to check in with one another – even if I’m not able to make it to everyone’s place every week!

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.
–From LeGuin’s National Book Awards Acceptance Speech.
November 2014.

Writing and Reading Goals – January Update!

Didn’t I say I’d be doing some goals check-ins?  Yup… here we go.


Okay, so I guess this wasn’t actually an explicit goal.  But… I implied that I was going to do that. Of course, before I even put up the post in which I stated such things I went ahead and added a reading challenge or two.

Well, this week I went to the main branch of my town library and picked up a Reading Passport to participate in another reading challenge. Because I can.

Also because I really want to support my local library more.

This particular library has been my most consistent book-supplier since I was old enough to enjoy the pictures in the books. Our family would take regular trips to the library – I believe I was pretty young when I got my first library card (also, pretty young when I got my first late-fees, which I believe I had to do extra chores for my parents to work off). I remember their old location – the site of an old grocery store – and the excitement when they opened their new place in a beautiful building next to some parks and closer to downtown.

I adore that they’ve been running programs to help adults re-engage with reading. The summer reading programs when I was a kid were one of my favorite things, and this adult year-long reading program is a great way to challenge myself to read a bit (and get entered for prizes!). I’m adding the additional challenge to this list that I need to read these books either from the books I already own or books I get from the library!
Oh, bonus – they’ve got a fun instagram account 

The Beaverton Library Reading Challenge:

  • January: Book featured on a “Best Books of 2017” list
  • February: Book with a MC that doesn’t look like you or live like you.
  • March: Book set in the decade in which you were born
  • April: Story that invoked the immigrant experience (fiction or non-fiction).
  • May: Book by an Oregon writer.
  • June: Book set in a place to which you’ve always wanted to travel
  • July: Watch a movie based on a book.
  • August: Read a book you choose based on the cover.
  • September: Read a book that has been challenged or banned in any country
  • October: Read a biography/memoir of someone you admire
  • November: Read a book that will teach you a brand-new skill or enhance a skill you already have.
  • December: Read something you’ve always wanted to read but never got around to.

Goal # 2:  Work on my writing.

So, I’m doing this! I’ve picked up some extra writing projects – but I feel they contribute to this idea of working on my writing because it’s challenging me to do different kinds of writing. It also helps me keep on track with the novel and blog in a strange kind of way. For instance, this past weekend I knew that I had a lot of these other writing projects to finish up – but also knew it wasn’t something I wanted to try and do in bits and pieces during my lunch-breaks, so instead I spent my lunch-break time working on chapter revisions. Now I have the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS (which may turn into four chapters) out to a few pre-readers for feedback – with some super-helpful feedback already coming in.  And since I’ve made a promise to these readers that I would keep the chapters coming I am even more motivated to put in the time on them!


Goal 3:  Writing about what I’m reading

I talked last week a bit about how I am scared of writing reviews.  But I’m aiming to change that by, well, writing them. It may just be little two sentence blurbs, but it will be something. And my goal is write a little blurb/review for every book I read this year.  So far I’ve read two books, and written two reviews so… on track!  

Goal 4: Reading

I kind of have to read in order to write about what I’m reading. Though I’ve only completed two books so far, I am working on this reading thing. I’ve been mostly keeping up with the Les Miserables chapter-a-day, and have about five other books I’ve started and kind of put aside. I seem to be in a pattern of reading a little bit of a whole lot of things until one of them really catches me. Then I’ll read only that until I’m done, then go back to a bit of this and that until I get caught by something else. Right now I’m about 30% of the way through a book I’m really enjoying, so I have a feeling I’ll end up zooming through that within the next week.


How are you doing on some of your goals this year?


#WeekendCoffeeShare – Sushi, Cheese, and being Brave.

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngWeekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from January 19th at 7am (Pacific Time) until Monday January 22nd at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

This weekend I’m going to relax. My birthday weekend was a lot of fun, but now I’m pretty worn out from all that and need some time to just recoup. Aside from a trip out to pick up some Gluten-Free baked goods (Blue Moon Bakery makes these awesome doughnuts), I’m planning on spending the bulk of the weekend relaxing. Maybe doing a little crochet, some writing, and some reading. Nice and boring. Honestly, kind of how I like it.

Homemade, Gluten-Free Cheesecake!

My Birthday Weekend celebrations were excellent. The Cheese and Board Games night was SO MUCH FUN – we played a number of games that I hadn’t played before and all stayed up well past our bedtimes while enjoying all sorts of cheese-products. Plus, my hair was done by the 9-year old daughter of one of my friends, and she did this awesome braided crown, then wove in construction paper and candy-wrapper flowers! It was one of the most elaborate hairstyles I’ve ever had, and I was very pleased that I managed to keep it together to wear to brunch the next morning!

ALL the sushi! Love conveyor belt sushi places 😀

The rest of the weekend was pretty full, going out to eat with different friends and family, and chatting with still others online. On my Birthday itself I had work – but my coworkers got me some great presents (represented were writing, office-supplies, Hamilton, and sparkles – so they kind of hit it on the nose!) and I got to enjoy a sushi lunch with friends, plus my favorite Mac-And-Cheese for dinner (yay for Mom’s who are happy to make you your favorites for dinner)!

The BIG-SCARY that I’m dealing with right now is that I’ve posted the first two chapters of my Work-In-Progress revisions for a handful of readers. They’re people who I trust to give me honest, but gentle, feedback and support.

I didn’t officially pick a “word of the year” this year, but I feel like it might be “Brave.” Because my anxiety is acting up pretty strongly this year (sometimes over things it really shouldn’t be acting up around, like getting together with friends), and at the same time I’m trying to push myself to do some of those things that scare me (like putting my writing out to the world). It makes for some tough going. Pushing through anxiety takes energy, and energy is something I kind of have to ration carefully.  So… that’s kind of where I am at this point, using what energy I can to force myself to reach for those things I ultimately want.

What are you up to this week? Are there things you’re striving for this year? I’d love to hear from you!