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Posts Tagged ‘Ask Maggie’

Every year on this day, the traditional beginning of the Yuletide season in the US, I remind my readers that the real spirit of the season involves giving to others rather than literally fighting to get more for yourself.  Children and whores are St. Nick’s two favorite groups of people; you can help the latter by donating to a sex worker charity such as SWOP Behind Bars, or you can help BOTH by booking a session with a sex worker you know has kids.  If you don’t know any, you can help by participating in my annual Toys for Tots special.  This year, I’m doing it differently because so many people are doing the social distancing thing.  From now until Friday, December 11th, everyone who donates $100 for me to buy toys with (you can send it via PayPal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or via Cash app to $MaggieMcNeill) will get any TWO of my books (your choice), autographed!  If you want a copy of The War on Whores as one of your selections, that’s fine as well!  And if you’re one of my regular gents, we can still do the usual deal (30 minutes extra per $100) if you prefer.  If you’re not hurting economically yourself, please consider donating (either to my drive or to one near you); the pandemic has taken a huge bite out of many people’s income, and some have lost their jobs or businesses entirely, so there will be less money for toys this year.  And while we adults can understand that, it can be heartbreaking for very young children to think Santa Claus has forgotten them or bypassed them because they were naughty.  Please help if you can, so together we can bring joy to needy children who might otherwise have nothing on Christmas morning.

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Diary #541

It’s been lovely to get back to all the cooking I used to do in Oklahoma. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been making all manner of old favorites and trying new recipes, and last week I did another of my traditional canning tasks: cooking down my Halloween pumpkin.  It went well, and I got ten and a half pints in all; I’ve already used two, one for pumpkin pie and another for cream of pumpkin soup.  This week, I’ll probably do pumpkin bread, but I’ll likely wait for the weekend because I’m heading back to Seattle tomorrow and returning Friday (with all the birthday presents that arrived while I was gone).  Scheduling my appointments together is working out well; I’m able to spend most of my time out at Sunset, and that makes me happy.  I’ve kinda slacked off on finishing Ask Maggie, Volume II, but don’t worry; it’s on the way and should be available before Christmas.

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In the Store

It used to be that when I ordered a box of my own books, it arrived just as quickly as anything else I purchased from Amazon.  But the pandemic seems to have dramatically slowed the process; it now takes weeks after ordering for the books to show up.  I ordered a box of Ask Maggie, Volume I almost a week before I announced the book was available, and it was finally delivered on Saturday!  Since I didn’t want to have to sit on a number of orders until the books arrived, I didn’t start offering autographed copies until that date was at least closer.  But now I believe and hope it’s close enough; if you’d like an autographed copy of it or any of my other books, please visit my store by clicking on the picture at the top of the right-hand column.  I’d also like to ask a favor; once you buy and read the book (whether from me or directly from Amazon), would you please take the time to review it?  Since I now have a number of products available there (five books, two short stories and a documentary), I only lack a sufficient number of reviews to trigger Amazon’s algorthms to start suggesting it to browsers in the greater Amazon ecosystem.  And given how economically difficult this year has been, that would be a great help to me.

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Despite delays and obstructions, Ask Maggie, Volume I is here!  It contains 80 of my answers to reader questions, and volume II (currently planned for October) will feature another 80.  I’m really pleased to have been able to keep up the pace I set for myself by publishing one book every three months this year; I’m hoping I can maintain that for the three books I want to publish next year, starting in January.  As usual, you can buy the book at Amazon (and here’s the Kindle edition); if you prefer an autographed copy, they’ll be available in my bookstore as soon as the box of my own copies arrives (last time they took much longer than expected).  Thank you for reading, and please consider helping me out by reviewing it on Amazon!

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Diary #529

As regular readers have noticed, I’m not spending a lot of time in Seattle lately, so I try to schedule my dates with clients in close proximity to beauty or doctor appointments.  Accordingly, I arrived in Seattle on Thursday, got my hair done and had a meeting on Friday, then over the weekend I started editing Ask Maggie, Volume II (Volume I hit a few formatting snags, but should be available this week).  Today I’m spending the afternoon with a dear friend I haven’t seen in a few months, then tomorrow I’ll be getting my nails done before returning to Sunset for the rest of the month.  It may seem strange to some of y’all that I can maintain my nails while doing construction work, but as some of you know from personal contact my hands are very soft; accordingly, since I was in my 20s I have scrupulously worn gloves to do any kind of physical labor.  And this month is full of such labor; if you’ve been following the progress on my bathhouse annex you already know I’ll be working on the foundation for the second guest cottage this week, and next week we’ll be assembling the actual cottage.  I’m starting to look forward to doing the roof (not because I like doing rooves, but because it will pave the way for getting rid of a couple of eyesores), and I’m beginning to have hope that I’ll actually get to spend some time with one of my favorite gentlemen soon after several attempts have fallen through in the past several months.  Even with everything going on in the world, the Dog Days have been less stressful for me than usual this year; let’s hope that signals a trend.

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Seven years ago I published “Catching Up“, in which I gave a new reader advice of how to get started reading my blog.  At the time, I compared the strategy of starting at the beginning and trying to read every post with “hacking your way across the Amazon Basin with a machete,” and since there are now roughly 3.5 times as many posts as there were then, that is barely even hyperbole any more.  Some of the advice is still good, such as the following:

…subscribe to the blog and read the new columns as they come out; most of them contain links to older columns, which you could then read as they come up…[twice a week] I publish a news column…made up of…short subsections; each item has its own title, and the vast majority of those titles refer back to older posts (each containing a link to the referenced post).  This will lead you to a lot of older columns every week, assuming you have the time!  Also, every Sunday I publish a “Links” column, and the bottom section, “From the Archives”, contains links to the posts from that same week for the past two years; you could click on and read any that sound interesting.  You can also follow me on Twitter, where I share lots of interesting links…and also remind readers of my columns from that same day one, two and…three years in the past…

But now that I’ve been publishing for over a decade, the best way to start is to simply buy my “best of” collections, The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume I and Volume II; they’re available in both paperback and Kindle editions, and each contains 52 hand-picked, revised and edited essays from the first six years of the blog.  Then watch this space for future “best of” collections, including Ask Maggie, Volume I (a collection of 80 answers to reader questions, which should be available later this week) and Volume II (same, should be available in October).  In addition to presenting what I think are my most important essays in a more accessible and easier-to-browse format, these volumes give you the chance to support my work in a tangible way, which is especially important in these difficult times; it’s a perfect example of a win-win situation!

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Diary #525

A year or two ago, Jae bought me this rose bush as a thank-you gift for taking her on a bunch of errands; at the time it was a wee thing planted in a demitasse cup.  But I transferred it to this pot, and since then it has lived on the windowsill of my incall.  But as you can see it has grown too large for the pot, and since I’m spending most of my time at Sunset now, I brought it out here when I returned from Seattle early last week.  In a few days I’ll pick a good place for it and transfer it to the ground.  But it’s not the only thing that has moved out here due to my increased presence; on my previous trip back to town I moved the old desktop computer I use for my emails and book publishing, so that I could finish Ask Maggie, Volume I (uploaded to the publishing site yesterday).  I’ve transferred my default mailing address for several things to the farm, and yesterday was also my first appointment with my new doctor; Grace recommended her, and I was pretty tired of being blown off and overcharged by the doctor I was previously seeing at one of those big corporate clinics in Seattle.  So I guess you might say the rose bush isn’t the only thing being transplanted from Seattle out to the coast, and may we both thrive out here.

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Diary #524

On Thursday, the second cottage was delivered; it takes up quite a bit of space on the floor, but I have a really big garage.  This time the pieces were less well-arranged than last time, so it was very difficult to do the inventory.  But we eventually got it all sorted and staged, so it’ll be ready to assemble when we are.  That will probably be sometime in August; we still need to put in the posts that will be under this cottage’s footprint, dig a new French drain, prepare the area with gravel, level the hot tub (which we’re probably doing this week), run the new electrical line (the cable has been shipped but hasn’t yet arrived), move the paddock gate and Jae’s yurt, and build the deck up to the edge of the second cottage.  And I have to run to Seattle at least two or three times in the next month or so.  Now do you see why I’ve been posting the bathhouse construction updates on a two-week delay?  It’s not that things aren’t going according to plan, because we’re about where I expected to be (if not a little ahead); it’s that a lot of the work for the rest of this month won’t really show in pictures.  And that’s not even counting the press to get Ask Maggie, Volume I out on time for my self-imposed deadline of July 31st.

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I have no plans to stop fighting this war until there is no breath left in me.  And truth be told, I’m not even sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  –  “Ninth Anniversary

Ten years is a long time for one human to do anything without a break, much less publish a blog post without missing a single day.  But then, I’ve never been one for taking breaks; I’ve always considered them little more than a delay in whatever it is that I’m doing.  And when that “whatever” is fighting a war for self-ownership and human rights…well, as the epigram says, I’m not sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  Certainly, I’ve slowed down; when I first started this blog a decade ago, I used to publish an all-new essay every day, and the essays were much longer on average.  But as I exorcised at least a little of the righteous fury which fuels my activism, and my other activities expanded to take up more of my time, I was forced to fill an increasing number of daily slots with shorter, easier-to-write posts.  Only two days in the average week now see original essays, and I feature a lot more of what most would consider typical blog posts than in the past.  On the other hand, I’ve written lots of non-blog articles for magazines, books, etc, and I’m about to publish my fifth book; I’ve also got a documentary called The War on Whores and I give dozens of interviews for articles, radio, video, and TV every year, plus more public appearances than I can count.  So even though my blog isn’t growing as quickly as it once did (and, thanks to Google’s censorship, is seen by fewer new readers than in times past), my public presence is still growing.  And given that all of that public presence is dedicated toward fighting for my cause, I would consider that a win.

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Diary #523

At long last, my chickens have started laying again!  As we were working on the bathhouse deck last Wednesday, I heard one of them erupt in an almighty clucking, so I suspected there might be an egg, and I was right!  We’ve averaged one a day since, which is pretty good for pullets; by the end of the month it’ll be more like half a dozen a day.  And just in time, because I was mightily tired of paying grocery store prices for not-very-fresh eggs.  We’ve used the last of the store-bought ones already, so we’re going to try to avoid buying any more now.  In other news, I’m proofreading Ask Maggie, Volume I, and hope to release it by the end of the month; given all the work I’m doing on the house, I’m honestly surprised I’m only a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.  I’d say “knock wood”, but I think I’m doing quite enough of that in the construction process:  sometimes intentionally with a deadblow hammer to persuade a board to go someplace it’s reluctant to go, and sometimes unintentionally with my head.

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