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  • Looking Ahead to 2013

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on December 24th, 2012 (All posts by )

    I’m still fighting the remnants of the Cold From Hell (possibly complicated by an allergy to blowing cedar pollen which hits a lot of people around here) but at least I am starting to feel a little more in the Christmas spirit. Not much more, but at least I can enjoy the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Cambridge on the radio, and a week ago I was inspired to go ahead and sort out the last of the Christmas presents that I wanted to give to some people I am fond of. So, all that is sorted. Our Christmas dinner is sorted also. Blondie will be out doing deliveries for Edible Arrangements until the last minute, so practically everything to do with Christmas was done over the weekend.

    Which leaves me looking out at next year, and considering what I will do, and what I can do, as the fiscal cliff approaches; no matter how you slice it, 2013 is going to be a bumpy ride. So, in no particular order of importance, I am resolved to –

    Change my bank account from Bank of America to a local Texas institution – Frost Bank. Blondie has an account there, Watercress Press’s business accounts are there, and Frost has a sterling reputation. I have always put off doing this because of the sheer hassle of changing my automatic deposit from DFAS and the automatic payment to the mortgage company. Apparently this will not be so much of a hassle as I had feared. Frost has a whole team available who will accomplish this.

    Finish and publish my next book, The Quivera Trail on schedule and well before a prospective launch date in November, 2013. Get cracking on the research for the book after that – the Gold Rush era picaresque novel, tentatively entitled The Golden Road which will star young Fredi Steinmetz and a cast of at least a couple of dozen characters, some historical and some made up.

    Redouble my efforts to have a back-yard truck garden. No, really – I’d like to be able to eat more of our own vegetables on a regular basis, and this requires turning just about every spare sun-shine splattered inch of the back yard into raised beds and planting them with vegetables. Blondie is wondering how hard it would to keep a beehive. I wonder about how much of an expense and hassle it is to keep chickens for eggs. In any case, keeping a mini-cow for milk is quite out of the question.

    I resolve to keep better track of the readers and fans of my books, to do more focused marketing, to post more regularly on the various blogs, to carry on adding materiel to the various Facebook pages. I need to answer emails more, send out my author newsletter more often.

    I will also have to pick up more of the management and recruitment of business at Watercress Press. It was my idea to open a POD imprint, so of course I am shouldering a lot of the design and formatting work necessary. I need to get better, though; I really should become more expert with Photoshop and with Adobe Acrobat software programs. I should also do an intensive study of book design and layout; the more that I can do in-house to a higher standard professionally, the less that we need to pay someone else to do. I need to put Watercress in front of other local writers as a viable option for publishing. We need to segue from depending on my business partner’s old contacts and referrals to developing a circle of new referrals. We’re local; we can meet with people, and do more hand-holding than a distant publisher with a jazzy website.

    Given the odds that prices for food items will likely start rising, we should make an effort to stockpile even more staple foods; rice, beans, canned tomatoes, sugar, flour, pasta … and not forgetting dog and cat food, too. Antibiotics and medical supplies ought to be on that list as well. I also ought to see about doing more home-canning, and stashing away more pickles, and preserved fruits.

    Pay off the last few institutions and people whom I still owe money to. Look into some kind of generator which will allow us to keep power in an outage. Work harder at selling the California real estate.

    And finally, from here on out, I vow to avoid supporting authors, musicians, public intellectuals, television programs, movies, institutions and businesses who have insulted my own values, standards and ethical/political beliefs. Sorry – if you have spent the last couple of years demonizing and slandering Tea Partiers, libertarian/conservatives and Texans – just to name a few, then you can do without me … and my money, such as it is.

    Doable? We’ll just have to see, won’t we?

     

    10 Responses to “Looking Ahead to 2013”

    1. Sejo Says:

      Sgt. Mom, ma’am, if you need any advice on book layouts or else in news/editorial design, just ask. I’ve been designing newspapers, magazines and books for the last 18 years and it would be a pleasure to give some help if needed. You can mail chef at lagrille dot net.

      Passate, tu e tua figlia, buone feste.

    2. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Thanks, Sejo! I’m good enough to copy appealing and fairly simple layouts from books that I like the look of, but I’m not experienced enough to come up with something myself. If that makes sense.

    3. Bill Brandt Says:

      Some admirable goals Sgt and with Michael’s post I think it is going to be a very bumpy road. Still can’t understand why Boener would agree to :”secret” negotiations.

      Merry Christmas – and a Hammy Hanukkah – to all the Chicago Boyz 9and girlz)

    4. Bill Brandt Says:

      Hammy – geez – gotta check the typos – sorry about that – no pun intended ;-)

    5. Robert Schwartz Says:

      A Happy and healthy new year to all.

    6. James Augustine Says:

      Just stood in the rain in Cambridge for 5 hours to get in to 9 Lessons and Carols – let me just say, Kings College Chapel is the most awesome non-catedral church I think I’ve been inside.. those guys really knew how to build a minster..! Merry Christmas Sgt. Mom!

    7. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Lucky you, James! Well, not with the rain at all, but to be there in person! And you are right – the College Chapel is really, really magnificent!

    8. Frankly Says:

      Sarge,

      Nuke the cedars. Neti pot or saline flush. If you use the neti pot don’t use tap water from the water heater.

    9. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Redouble my efforts to have a back-yard truck garden. No, really – I’d like to be able to eat more of our own vegetables on a regular basis, and this requires turning just about every spare sun-shine splattered inch of the back yard into raised beds and planting them with vegetables.

      As someone who has used raised beds for years, I would note two limiting factors if you go that intensive. The first is the availability of water. Preferably having a source just in case that city water is either unavailable or becomes too expensive. The second thing is a source of bovine end product. Raised beds used regularly are pretty hard on fertility and it needs to be replenished. In that kind of an environment, you may not be able to leave a bed fallow with a green nitrogen crop for a year.

      Blondie is wondering how hard it would to keep a beehive.

      Not hard at all. Used to have a dozen hives years ago, and if time permits would like to get back into it before the organic waste meets the rotating airfoil. Check at farmers markets for local honey producers and talk to them about starting a hobby hive or two. You will find them friendly and helpful.

      Hint, DO NOT BUY USED foundation, frames, etc. If you buy an active hive, have it inspected by either your local Dept. of Agriculture or at very least a knowledgable third party. Bees have a bunch of diseases and parasites that can wipe out a hive if they get out of control.

      There is an initial cost, but if you have the right placement, bees are pretty good at taking care of themselves. In Texas, access to water is vital. If things go TANGO UNIFORM, honey and wax are real handy trade goods. And hives boost the productivity or gardens.

      Given the odds that prices for food items will likely start rising, we should make an effort to stockpile even more staple foods; rice, beans, canned tomatoes, sugar, flour, pasta … and not forgetting dog and cat food, too. Antibiotics and medical supplies ought to be on that list as well. I also ought to see about doing more home-canning, and stashing away more pickles, and preserved fruits.

      As part of that, I commend to your attention the Latter Day Saints’ Home Storage Centers. In every state there is at least one, attached to a Bishop’s Storehouse. There you can buy bulk staples at a real good price, but the important thing is that they will let you dry can with oxygen removers in #10 cans. The price of canned is not far off from normal retail prices and they are good for 30 years. And they have field expedients using 2 liter bottles and oxygen removers that are good for 10 years. You do not have to be Mormon at all to use them.

      A key thing also is to have a skill that makes you part of a functioning community. My rule of thumb is if you can make gunpowder, alcohol, field expedient medicine, metalwork, or pottery over and above food production; you can trade for other needs and will be protected by your community.

      Our local TEA Party sponsors monthly Preparedness Breakfasts where like minded people explore options for hard times. If your TEA Party doesn’t, maybe it should.

      Hope this helps.

      Subotai Bahadur

    10. Sgt. Mom Says:

      It does, SB – especially about the bees. We ran into a bee expert at a book event, Blondie got his cards.
      We got a portable greenhouse from a neighbor – and things seem to be doing very well in it, over the winter.
      It looks like milk will be going up in cost – so, on with the cheesemaking, too.
      (We can make alcohol. I can sew, Blondie can knit and crochet… but getting ahead of the food-growing will really help.)