Saturday, January 26, 2008

outlining can be fun

I've been working on the outline every day and the story is taking shape - sometimes slowly and sometimes in a rush of images and ideas. I've been feeling very creative lately, and that's a good thing. I have committed to writing every day, whether it is adding more to the detailed outline or working on a different writing project, and I've been doing really well with that commitment, even when I don't feel particularly creative. I've found it's possible to work through the "uncreative" times, but it's a whole lot easier to write when those creative juices are flowing!

Healthy Lifestyle
I've been slacking on the healthy lifestyle commitment. No worries - it's just time for a new commitment to it. I have some recipes I want to try, mostly chicken dishes that are low in calories and fat, and I'm going to start the "couch to 5k" program again at the beginning of February. I'll need to download the podcast again, but that's no big deal.

I'm working on the basketweave scarf to match my previously posted hat. After seeing the reactions to the hat, I've decided to make hats for each of my sister's kids. I found the perfect yarn for each of them, and it'll be enough for a matching scarf. I just need to find a good pattern for each of them. I'm thinking different patterns to reflect their individual personalities. They are so different and each deserve something that shows their uniqueness. (Is uniqueness a word? It looks funny.) Still working on the Branching Out scarf, and I bought some sock yarn the other day. I'm still sort of afraid of socks, but I thought I'd try them eventually and the sock yarn was 50% off and sooo pretty. I went to Michael's today and wished I hadn't because they were having a really good yarn sale. I wanted to buy everything! I actually left the store without buying anything at all, but it was tough! The new Creative Knitting magazine is out so I went online and ordered a subscription. I was going to do it earlier, but you get a free issue with your subscription and I had already purchased the January one, so I was waiting for the new one to come out because I didn't want two of the same issue. Now I'll get the February one free and it has a great purse pattern in it! It's a color block felted bag and I love it. It will be my first project from that magazine. Now I just have to decide on the colors!

Last week was interesting. My replacement had a family emergency so her first day is now Monday. This means I only have two days with her, but that's really all I need. I can do a crash course in that amount of time and give her the resources she needs to figure out the rest. Hopefully she will catch on quickly, because I'm leaving at noon on Wednesday. I have Thursday off and then I start my new job on Friday! It's a little odd to start a new job on a Friday, but that's when their pay cycle starts, so it's easier for them if I start then. It's no big deal, it just means I spend the first day getting acquainted with things and doing paperwork and then I get a weekend to rest and then jump right into everything on Monday. Something happened that made me feel really great this past week. A few of our board members made sure to tell me how much they were going to miss me and my contributions to the organization. It was nice to hear.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

my first hat!

This is the Brother in law basketweave hat! I finished it tonight. I love the pattern so much and had so much yarn left over that I immediately started a basketweave scarf to go with it. There are a couple of problem areas in the hat, but for my first hat and my first double pointed needle project, I'd say it looks pretty good! The yarn made some interesting patterns. I was hoping the colors would spiral around and up, but that didn't happen. Oh well! I still like it!

Monday, January 21, 2008

time off

I took Friday off and the organization is closed today, so I got a four day weekend. Trust me when I say I've enjoyed it!

I worked on a new project - my first hat! I also worked on my first sweater. I'm updating the progress bar on the sweater according to skeins used rather than parts of the sweater done. I know it'll take 16 of them to complete the sweater, so I update the progress bar when I've finished one. So far: 1 down, 15 to go! Pictures to come for both projects. I haven't taken one of the sweater yet, and I got some more work done on the hat since the last shot, so I'm going to wait until I'm finished with today's work to take a shot of it. It's part of a KAL for the Brothers and Sisters group on Ravelry, so I'm really supposed to be knitting only during the show, but I can't stop! I'll finish it this week sometime and it'll be my first non-square/rectangle finished project!

It's a busy time for the theatre right now! We have a production coming up and auditions for the next one. I'm working on press releases and other publicity material for these, as well as the program and poster. The director got a graphic designer he knows to do the poster, which is great because I wasn't sure what to do with it! For the next play, I have a great idea for the poster. I hope the director likes it!

Noah drew a picture of my "big bad" for Draha. It was incredible! Now he's going to draw all the characters, according to my physical descriptions of them. This might actually be a hook, a book for children/young adults actually illustrated by an 11 year old boy. I wonder if publishers would go for that... The outline is still coming right along. I stopped the actual writing in favor of finishing the extremely detailed outline of all five books. I knew it would take forever, but I'm committed to ironing out the basic structure of the overall story before going further. I don't want to write myself into a corner without knowing where to go from there. I've had that happen before and had to rewrite a lot of the story. I don't want that to happen with this story.

I start training my replacement tomorrow. It should be interesting. Some of my coworkers are unhappy that I'm leaving and I'm afraid they won't be friendly to the "new me." I plan to invite her to lunch with us and urge her to come along. It'll be extremely important for her to connect with them early on, so that they will see that she's a nice person who will fit into the group. I have gotten to know these people in the last three years and I love them very much. I want them to be happy with my replacement.

I'm going to get my oil changed in a few minutes. It's way overdue. Hopefully it won't take too long!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The search is over!

I got a new job! I'm not going into details because I'm not sure if it's okay to do that, but it is a great organization that everyone knows and I've never seen bad publicity about them. They do wonderful work for people in need and they have a mission that I can really get behind. The position is a step forward, as is the salary. It's exactly what I wanted!

I will still be looking into taking a class or two in the fall toward my graduate degree and am still seeking some grant funding for the children's theatre that I want to start.. and of course, I'm still writing!

Oh, on that note, I picked up a grant client this week. I'm doing primary research for them right now, to write a few grants for different projects they have planned. It looks like it could be a very good opportunity to get some funding for a great organization, and perhaps to pick up a few additional clients along the way!

Things are looking up!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stepping Out

I'm working on a new project. I have to stop doing this - I see a pattern that I love and I immediately start on it without finishing the one I was trying to finish! I guess it's a good way to keep from getting bored, but it's also a way to ensure I'll never finish the ones I'm trying to finish! It's a good thing I don't approach work projects this way! Anyway, here's what I'm working on right now. It's the Branching Out scarf, and I have crazy love for the pattern. Can you spot the place where I got off the line I was supposed to be reading in the pattern? It looks a little wrong in one place, but I still think it's pretty!

Finally got the new Internet connection to work correctly. It was on my end, the cable from the main connection to the modem was too long and the Internet kept dropping out at random intervals and not coming back until it felt like it. It was frustrating, but now that the problem has been solved, I should be able to post regularly again. Thank goodness, because I was really getting annoyed with the spotty connection.

I posted some ads on Craigslist for my grant writing services yesterday. Speaking of grant writing, I also taught a class on it Thursday as part of my job and at the end I gave my information and told the people if they needed someone to write for them to contact me for a meeting. Several people came to talk to me after the class, letting me know that they would be in touch. I've been working on a couple of short stories and some other smaller projects. I tried poetry again, but it just didn't work out. I was inspired to write a poem while walking on a nature trail on New Year's Day with my parents. My dad went ahead to take pictures of birds and my mother and I walked together along the trail. We came to a fork in the trail and I started quoting "The Road Not Taken," then moved on to some Walt Whitman selections that I thought were appropriate. My mother said she wanted to start reading poetry more, that she always enjoyed it but didn't have a book of poetry or anything, so I brought her my Anthology of American Verse the next day. I haven't asked if she's been reading it, but I'm sure she has. But anyway, since that day, I've wanted to write a poem, but I just can't make it happen.

I have five more weeks in my current position, which means five weeks to find something new. I've sent my resume to an average of one job per day for the last couple of weeks, so there are some prospects out there. There are a couple of opportunities that I prefer over the others, but I'll be happy with any of them.

I've come to the conclusion that no matter what happens, I've remained true to my ethics and faith, and that's what counts in the end. I've been listening to the Old Testament while driving to and from work for the last several weeks. I've discovered something that I never thought about before, even though I've heard the stories all my life. There is always a moment in the lives of God's children when he asks them to step out in faith. When the incident happened at work and I went back to my desk to think about what I was going to do, the words "step out in faith" came into my mind. I'm usually so responsible... always want to have my ducks in a row before stepping out to do anything. This time, I didn't. I felt it was important to step and see what happened next. I find myself praying a lot lately about the future and what is going to happen in the next five weeks. Although it is less about the money and more about me being happy, I do need to make a certain amount to continue paying my bills. I keep having these moments of panic, thinking I won't find a job within the time allotted and will have to figure something out. It is in these moments that I have to stop and pray. It's always worked for me before, so I can't - no, I won't - stop believing in it now. And if something doesn't come up within the next five weeks, I have to believe there is a reason for it.

Monday, January 07, 2008

strange days ahead

I think I'm in for some strange days, but I intend to enjoy the experience and get everything from it that I can. This is an unprecidented event in my life, this recent development, and I'm taking it like a writer. I've always done this when I go through new and different things in life. It's just more material to write about and emotions to use while writing. I like looking at things this way, it means that no experience is bad because all experiences are productive. Does that make sense?

I spent a large portion of the weekend and this evening looking for job openings. There are a few out there, so I'm not giving up. In fact, I set up an interview for Friday.

I have a lot to think about in that area. If I have to choose between staying or moving just to have the career I want, I have a feeling I would end up regretting the decision to leave more than the decision to stay. I can't imagine something happening to a member of my family and me not being there to help. I think moving across the country to get a good job is out of the question. I like it here. I like the beach and the weather and the people, but most of all, I like being near my family, because I can help out when needed. They are all I have. Of course, the two things I want to do most - 1. be a writer and 2. start a children's theatre, are both things I can do without leaving, but those things are not immediate solutions to my current problem, they are longterm plans. That's not to say I'm not doing something about these plans... I'm doing a lot!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Big changes

I resigned from my job yesterday. My last day is February 15. I won't go into details, but something happened that told me it was time to go. So, I have six weeks to find another job, or to build a freelance career (just kidding, I know it takes longer than that!) The great thing is, I have a wonderful support system. My parents have already said they would help if needed. In fact, they both said they were proud of me for standing up for what's right. I think that's why they are willing to help if I can't find something before my last day.

I pitched two jobs this evening! One is local, a company looking for someone to write press releases, and the other is for several articles. I'm also going to approach some local publications to see if they need someone to do some freelance work, and will be pitching any other jobs I can find. I figure I can at least start building a career and the extra money will come in very handy if I don't find a job in the next six weeks!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

-Reach ideal weight by exercising and eating right

-Practice yoga at least three times a week

-Join the choral society
-Join a book club
-Join a singles group

-Find a church I like
-Read the entire Bible

-Spend more time on spiritual matters

-Send Summer to 10 agents/publishers
-Complete first Draha book and start the second one - continue planning the rest of the series

-Write a short story every month
-Join a writer’s group

-Find my ideal daily writing pace

-Complete first sweater
-Make something with cables
-Make a winter set for niece (hat, scarf, gloves)
-Attempt colorwork (maybe in the above set)
-Make a blanket
-Make a shawl
-Make a pair of socks
-Make a purse