Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Another awesome sunset

I managed to make it to the water just in time to snap this picture today. I'm so glad I did! I think this will be the one I enlarge and frame for our silent auction in 2007. Now I just have to find a suitable frame.

Too busy?

Okay, so Marcus looked at this blog and said he thought the 3 column design made it too busy. Is that everyone's opinion? I can certainly change it back to a 2 column design if having a sidebar on both sides makes it hard to read the actual content in the center. Feedback is appreciated!

New Template!

Okay, so I wanted to play with all the new Blogger Beta features, so I found a great 3 column template and played with it until I liked what I had. It's my first time trying to make anything like this, so hopefully it looks okay. Feedback is appreciated!

There are still a few things I need to put back on the blog, but most of it is there. I'll probably change some things with the background, but for now I think it's good. It wasn't too difficult either, so I'm happy about that.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The kickoff party

About 6 people attended our regional kickoff party, including the two MLs. So if you don't count us, only 4 people were there. I was hoping more people whould show, but oh well. Maybe next year will be better. Regardless, we are on our way to Nov. 1, and I am absolutely dying to start!

In other news, I decided to go ahead and switch to Blogger Beta tonight, mostly because of all the problems Blogger had today. It has been a great experience so far. Hopefully it won't become a nightmare later. My only problem right now is with the labels. I want to put a list of labels on my sidebar so that if you want to see all posts that are tagged with one particular label, you just click on the label you want. This is a great feature that the Blogger templates allow, but if you use a custom template (like the one I'm using) you can't do it. I'm going to spend some time on the Web to see if someone has figured out the code. Maybe I can swipe it from somewhere. If anyone reading this knows how to do the labels list, let me know!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Blogging Anniversary

Or perhaps, Blogiversary? I just looked at my archives and realized I made my first post in October of 2004! So this month is an anniversary of sorts. Of course, I didn't write again until April of 2005, but still, the first post was in October. So Happy Blogiversary, Snapshots! Here's to a long, happy relationship, and many years to come!

Kickoff party is today

In a few hours, I'll be going to the kickoff party for my area. The goody bags are ready, the nametags have been purchased, everything is ready. I hope we have a good turnout!

Friday, October 27, 2006

NaNo Progress so far

Okay, I know there can be no progress before November, but here's how the planning is going.


Anne Victoria Davenport (Tori)
30 years old, main female character. Tori is an unpublished writer who grew up in Michigan with her mother, Margaret Davenport. Her mother died two years ago, her father died before she was born. She works as a manager in a clothing store to support herself and spends evenings writing novels and short stories. One day, she receives a letter informing her that her grandmother, Sue-Ellen Davenport, has died. These are relatives she never knew existed, but since she is the only living heir to the Davenport estate, she decides to claim her inheritance. She moves to the Davenport home in a small Alabama town, and is happy with her newfound wealth, until her exploration of the home and grounds reveals family secrets. A friendship with the young lawyer who handled the estate proves complicated when she discovers their pasts intertwine in a way she never could have expected.

Robert Grant
35 years old, main male character, a lawyer with deep southern roots. Robert grew up in Alabama, just a few miles from the Davenport estate. His family was always a little cold toward the Davenport family, but because they lived in a small town and because the Davenports were the most powerful family, there was never an open rivalry. The Grants were not as wealthy nor as influential as the Davenports. They did have money once, but the untimely death of his great-great grandfather ended their fortune. The money dwindled away and was completely gone by the time Robert was born. He worked hard in school and became the first of his family to go to college. After college, he decided to go to law school and then move back to his hometown to represent the farmers and other working-class people. Sue-Ellen Davenport hired him to create and maintain her will, which is why he became a part of Tori's life after her arrival in town. They become friends, and together they will attempt to recreate Tori's family history, but they discover something that may destroy their budding relationship.

Holly Jensen
50 years old, a maid in the Davenport home. Holly has been working for the Davenports her entire life. Her mother was their maid and her father took care of the grounds. Holly became the maid after her mother died. She took care of Sue-Ellen Davenport when she was ill and was there when she passed away. She witnessed Mrs. Davenport's last words.

So this is how far I've gotten at this point. Well, there is more, but this is all I'm able to share at this point. Some things are still fuzzy, unformed, but at least there are some ideas floating around.

Tomorrow is our kickoff party, so I'm excited about that. Hopefully we will have a great turnout.

First geocaching adventure

I finally got my replacement GPS in, and last weekend we went on our first geocaching trip. It was just in time too, because I spent 2 days in bed with a horrible stomach virus, so I was ready for something fun.

We piled into the car, GPS in hand, and started our adventure. The players included my mother, my 10 year old nephew, and my 2 year old nephew. Of course, I was there too. There were several caches located in Fairhope, so we hit those first. They were pretty easy finds, which was very encouraging for our first time out. After finding 3 out of 4, we headed down to the Bay. My GPS told me we could find a couple of caches in the public park. After we hit those, we went to the other bluff and found two more. Now here's something interesting. While walking toward the two caches on the bluff, we came across a butterfly sanctuary. I've lived in this town my entire life and have never noticed this. The sign said it was established several years ago. My mother and I had a lovely time watching the butterflies, and I made a mental note that I should bring a camera on future caching trips. The next cache led us to a Civil War cemetary that is tucked away behind a neighborhood and an old church. After finding the cache, we spent a few minutes looking at the grave markers. I even managed to find a great Southern last name for one of the characters in my NaNo book, so the visit to the cemetary served two purposes.

So anyway, we ended the day with a lot of success, and I can't wait until we go again!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Quick lunchtime post about NaNoWriMo

The countdown continues. Luckily, last night I got a lot of prep work done for my novel! I now have two fairly complex characters and several supporting characters with names and hints of personalities. I have a list of the conflicts that must happen during the course of the novel and how some will be resolved. Tonight I plan to list the chapters and will try to summarize each one so I will have a general idea of what will happen at what point in the story. This is the way I did it last year, and it was extremely helpful, especially during the second week when everyone sort of freaks out.

So planning is finally moving along at a nice pace. I'm so excited about our kickoff party this weekend. I hope a lot of our people decide to come!

I've been meaning to post a story about my weekend adventure, but haven't had time with all the NaNoWriMo stuff. I'll try to do it tonight, because it's really great and I want to share it. So stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NaNoWriMo countdown!

The Beginning is one week away. Our kickoff party is Saturday. The excitement begins to grow...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Because I have nothing to say..

This is a "Friday Five" meme that I found online. I thought it was cool, and since I have nothing else to say, I thought I would answer the questions.

1. What job do you have, and why do you like/hate it?
Public relations and development professional for a nonprofit hunger relief organization in Alabama. I love my job! I enjoy doing public relations and event planning, especially when I'm in charge of the events! Development is fun too, although I'm still learning about it. Grant writing is especially interesting to me (and I appear to be good at it, so that's a plus!)

2. As a kid, what did you want to be when you "grew up?"
I wanted to be an actress. Specifically on Broadway. Specifically the roles of Eponine in Les Miserables and Christine in Phantom of the Opera. But really, I just wanted any possible role, as long as I could sing and act on stage.

3. Is the job you have now anything like what you imagined as a kid?
Not really. Well, in a way I'm always on stage while at work, especially when dealing with the media.

4. Do you have a five-year career plan?
Yes. In five years, I would like to be director of marketing and/or public relations and/or development for a nonprofit. In ten years, I want to be the executive director of a nonprofit. Of course, throughout all this, I will continue my writing and will hopefully have some books published by then.

5. In order to get the job of your dreams, is there anything you wouldn't do? Why?
There are lots of things I wouldn't do. I have certain morals and standards that I will not go against. No job is worth compromising my principles.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

sometimes you have to give up

There's a situation that has been really bothering me lately. I've been beating myself up over it, wondering what I can do to fix it. I've been trying so hard to figure out what's really going on, trying to figure out how to make it right. But you know what? It's not my fault. It's never my fault, but I always blame myself anyway. But I'm not going to do it anymore.

I give up. It doesn't matter anymore. Years of torturing myself, and for what? Nothing!

So I'm finished. I give up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Just another day

I just had to post another picture from yesterday's trip to the beach. I really must do that again soon. It was so good for me to just be outside, and to concentrate on nature for an hour or so.

Today was okay. In fact, something good happened. I've been trying to get some media coverage for an event that's going on this week, and today one of the local news stations called and asked if they could come out and get some film. Of course I said yes! They shot the segment and it's supposed to be on the late news tonight. I'll be taping it just in case. We always like to have records of our media coverage. I wasn't on camera this time, but our executive director always does a great job, so it turned out great. You know, I just remembered that I never saw the segment that I did a couple of months ago. It was my first time on camera and I still haven't seen it. I really need to get a copy of that tape...

But onto another subject. NaNoWriMo looms on the horizon and I'm nowhere near ready. I was so prepared at this point last year, but things keep getting in the way. I'm going to start getting myself back into the habit of writing every day. I was doing so well post-NaNo last year, but somehow it all fell apart. This year, I'm going to try to continue the NaNo pace (or maybe a little less so I don't kill myself) even after the month is over. I really want to challenge myself to write every day in 2007.

I'm also trying to find the time to make some changes to this blog, especially the NaNoBlogs section, but I just haven't been motivated to do it yet. Maybe tomorrow...

For now, I'm going to watch Jericho, Lost, and The Nine. Then I'll probably go to bed. How sad...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This is where I find peace. I went down to the bay today after work because I needed to clear my head a little. And since I haven't taken any pictures in awhile, I decided to do that too. Here they are!

I love taking pictures of water. This is one reason I could never live far away from a large body of water. I just can't be without the calm that comes from sitting near the water, listening to the waves.

It's spiritual in a way that I can't quite describe. You just sit there, feeling like you are one with everything around you. I really love it, and can't imagine going more than a week or so without it.

The second picture is just something I had to do. We had a storm last night and today, so the beach was almost completely untouched.

Until I walked across it, of course! When I looked back at my footprints in the sand, I knew I had to take this picture. So I walked a wide circle back to where my prints began and took this picture. I'm very happy about how it turned out, actually. I might try to find a contest or something to enter it into. Not that I think it's that good, but it really represents what I love about the beach. You can go to the beach alone and not feel lonely. Even if there is only one set of footprints in the sand, it's still beautiful. Yes, the beach is romantic when two people go there, but it's just as wonderful to go alone.

Quick lunchtime post about blog templates

I'm going to make some changes on my blog tonight. One thing in particular that I want to do is add to my NaNoBlogs list, which currently only has the wonderful "ink in my coffee" blog that I read daily. I have found several great blogs on the NaNo site, and have already asked for permission to post them, I just need to spend some time putting them on my blog.

I think I'm getting a little tired of my layout, but I don't really want to change it because it's so appropriate! I guess I'll keep it this way. After all, it's been this way for a long time and I don't know if I really want to change it now. It's kind of a trademark now, and I really like that I've never seen anyone else with the same one. But maybe I can think of a way to make it a little different without changing everything. I'll have to play around with it a little and see what happens.

Still outlining for NaNo. November 1 keeps getting closer and closer, and I feel like I'm not getting very far with the story. I mean, I have all these ideas and some of them are really great, but I'm still not sure what is going to happen in the end. If there's one thing I've learned about NaNo, it's really important to know (or at least have a general idea) where your story is going to end. Hopefully that will come to me soon.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I love the beach

Today I went to the Gulf Shores Annual Shrimp Festival with some friends. It was great. I don't eat seafood, but it was still fun to go to the festival and walk around on the beach. It's always fun to just spend a day relaxing. I really needed a nice day at the beach.

Tomorrow, I'm going go to church, work hard on my outline for NaNo, create a signature banner for a fellow WriMo who asked for my help, attend a baby shower for my cousin, and watch Desperate Housewives. So the whole day is planned for me. But that's okay, it should be a good day. Next week is going to be fairly challenging at work, I think. We'll see what happens.

I've been feeling an intense need to take pictures lately. I need to schedule a day for photography. Maybe I can do that next weekend. And of course, I'll post the pictures here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I want ice cream

There is nothing else to say. I want ice cream. It's been that kind of day. Unfortunately, there is no ice cream in my freezer and even if there was, I wouldn't be able to eat it because of my (stupid) diet. So I'm going to bed early. Hopefully I will actually be able to go to sleep tonight.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Long day

So I just got home from work. At 8:30 p.m. It was a looooong day. I know, I know, some of you have much longer days than that. But it's a very long day for me and I'm just not used to it. I have to be at work early tomorrow too, but I already asked if I could leave early and have been told I can. Actually, the timing for that couldn't be better because season 4 of Scrubs is out on DVD today, so I can pick it up on the way home from work tomorrow afternoon and just lie on the couch watching episodes of Scrubs until I can't laugh anymore.

Speaking of laughing until you can't, I bought "Thank You for Smoking" the other day. I hadn't seen it, but I loved the book and the cast was great, plus it was on sale at Best Buy, so I picked it up. It was a good risk, because I loved it. So funny! I really identified in some parts because the main character is a lobbyist and spokesperson, which is basically what I do (part of what I do anyway) and even though our organizations are very, very different (he worked for big tobacco and I work for a hunger relief organization) there were still moments when I chuckled because I knew how he felt.

So let's see... I know I missed a few days, so let's catch up a bit. This weekend was a total blur. Friday I was exhausted after work so I just went home. Saturday I woke up with a massive migraine and didn't really want to do anything at all. I was supposed to go to Bayfest, which is Mobile's music festival. I had arranged to meet three different groups of friends (gosh, I sound popular, lol) there at different times during the day and I hated to disappoint them, but there was no way I was going to go to a music festival with a migraine. Luckily, they all understood. Sunday I was feeling better, which is lucky because my sister had a party for my nephew's 3rd birthday. (she wouldn't have understood if I missed it because of a migraine!) The kids really had a great time, and it was such a simple, nice party. They had it in a neighborhood park and the kids just played with each other on the playground equipment and the adults sat around and talked. Of course, I played with the kids... grown up talk is so boring! My sister usually invites several single men to her parties because she's always trying to fix me up with someone. This time was no exception. I don't really have the same taste as she does, so it's hard to be (as she calls it) "socially single" around the guys she picks for me. I mean seriously, it takes more than a nice car and a few slurred compliments to make me want to get to know a guy better. A lot more, thank you very much! So anyway, that was my weekend. I know, it's very exciting.

Monday was a fairly normal day at work and today, of course, was a late day. We had some visitors. A couple of people from our parent organization and someone from an company that funds projects for us came into town for a visit. We've been planning very carefully and it couldn't have gone any better. It was great. They were the nicest people, and really seemed interested in hearing what we have been doing and what our plans were for the future of our organization. It was one of those moments when I sort of stepped back and looked at myself and thought, "wow, I'm really a professional now." I love those moments. I guess I'll be having more of those next year if they decide to send me to DC to lobby for the farm bill. (I really want to do that!) Anyway, I love those moments because they are also the moments when I realize I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing with my life right now. I mean, writing is my passion and my dream, and I hope that one day I can write full time and I think I'm working up to that now, but this job is also extremely important to me and I think it's vital to my development as a person and as a professional. Plus, it's nice to be doing what I went to school to do. Not everyone can say that. So anyway, today was great.

My story is shaping up in my head, and I plan to use this coming weekend to work through some of the Snowflake Method so I can get some ideas down on paper. One thing I had planned is not going to work, so I'm going back to the drawing board with it. I think my alternate plan will work better in the end, it's just that now I have to rearrange some things I was thinking of doing. But I think it'll be okay. I'm also trying to decide if I want to post short bits of the novel here on my blog as I'm writing it. I've never done that before and I'm afraid it might affect publication if I do that, so I'll have to check on it first. I will do what I did last year, though, and have a daily wordcount update as well as a short description of how the day went in terms of writing. I remember commenting on odd things that popped into the story without warning and interesting adventures in writing (or at least I thought they were interesting at the time, lol) so I'll probably do that again.

I'm already spending way too much time on the NaNoWriMo forums. That's a bad sign...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


My GPS came in and it doesn't work! I'm so frustrated I could scream. I mean, you expect quality and you get crap. I paid for quality. I'm sending it back, but unfortunately I won't get all my money back. The company I ordered the unit from charges a 5% restocking fee when an item is returned. ARGH! So frustrating! So I'm not having a great evening.

On the bright side of things, I did talk to Chris this afternoon. I always spend the entire conversation with a big smile on my face when I talk to Chris. (hi Chris!)

So anyway, with the exception of the GPS problem, it was a pretty uneventful day. Tonight I'm going to do a little outlining before I go to bed.

Oh, and I made a nifty signature banner for my NaNo this year. Here it is!

Will people ever learn?

Warning: Rant to follow.

This is making me crazy. A mom in Georgia is trying to get the Harry Potter books banned from her child's school. Read the article here or check out other news stories about the banning of Harry Potter books here. Banning books is not the answer. In fact, it's the problem. It's ironic that this news comes only a short time after Banned Books Week. Remember that the American Library Association is available to help you if someone is challenging a book in your community. Go here for more info. So to do my part in speaking out against censorship, I offer these two images, from the American Library Association. I may eventually put them on my sidebar with all the other things I think are important, because fighting censorship is an extremely important battle.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NaNoWriMo and life

If you look under the photo on my blog, you will see a new addition to the sidebar. It's a fabulous participant icon that is supposed to update my NaNoWriMo wordcount as I update it on the NaNoWriMo site. I hope it works, because that means updating one place rather than two. And in November, you save time wherever you can!

I finally decided which story to write and it isn't one of the two. An idea I had a few months ago sounds very appealing to me for this year's NaNo. It's called "Under the Magnolia Tree" and the tagline is "Southern families have secrets too" Basically the plot I have so far involves a young woman inheriting a Southern homestead from relatives she didn't know she had. Within the walls of the house and the grounds, she discovers secrets her family kept for hundreds of years. These secrets cause her life to intertwine with many residents of the town, including a mysterious man who seems to know more about her family than she does.

That's pretty much all I have at the moment, but I do know some of the ways I will reveal some of the secrets, and I know that something will be buried underneath the magnolia tree that stands in the front yard of the stately home. I'm not sure what it will be yet, but I'm sure the story will tell me when it's time. (at least I hope it does!)

So anyway, planning the novel will take the rest of this month. While working on that, I'm also researching some new markets for Summer's Blossom. There are several publishers out there looking for inspirational romances, especially those that have series potential, so I will be sending query letters to them. After the Storm is on the shelf for now. I just can't do it right now. Writing the story was actually starting to depress me, and that's not good for anyone!

On another front, I started the Couch to 5K running program today. I found a podcast that takes you through the entire 12-week program, so I've downloaded it and am using it to help me get in shape for the 5K that Col, Katie, Sonny, Sheila and I are going to run in March. Well, I know for a fact that Col is going to do it and she said the other girls are in. I hope they all do it, because everything is more fun with a group. The diet is still going well. I didn't actually lose any weight last week, but I did lose a couple of inches, so I'm not going to complain.

Tomorrow I'm going to call some out of town friends. I feel an intense need to connect with people I've known for a long time. Chris, if you're reading this, I will probably call you on my way home from work tomorrow! Speaking of tomorrow, my GPS is scheduled for delivery sometime tomorrow, which means I'll have it when I get home. That's exciting! I'll plan my first geocaching trip for Saturday morning. That afternoon and evening, I'll be at Bayfest (Mobile's music festival) but I don't currently have plans for that morning. Maybe I'll hunt for some simple caches with Noah. I really hope he likes it, because I want to use this activity to help get him out of the house some. He spends too much time in front of his computer (of course, so do I!) So anyway, it looks like another busy weekend for me!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Weekend fun

First of all, I thought this was interesting. My horoscope pops up on my homepage and I always look at it, even though most of the time it has nothing really relevant to say about my life. But today it said this:

Try to make sure you get some quality time to yourself today, dear Scorpio. Your Scorpio nature is one that thrives on intensity of thought, creativity, sexuality, and emotion. Without adequate time alone in a space that is comfortable for you, you may begin to feel worn out. Such things as irritability or withdrawal can be strong indicators that it's high time you got some time to be alone with yourself. Make some plans for this today.

Regardless of how you feel about horoscopes, if you know me at all, you know this is so very true. In fact, if you know me, you know that the description of Scorpios actually applies to me quite a lot. Anyway, this is good advice for anyone with my personality type (which happens to be ENFJ) because even though we are very social people who enjoy being around people, we absolutely must have time alone too. The time alone is valuable, especially for creative reasons. Even before reading the above advice, I was planning to spend some time alone, and it was really good for me. I spent a lot of time playing around on my computer. I haven't had time to look at the podcasts on iTunes and have been wanting to see what they had to offer, so today I spent some time doing that. I was rewarded for that effort, because I found a podcast for a training program I have been planning to start called "couch to 5K." Some friends and I are going to run a 5K next March, so I'm going to start training now for it. So anyway, this podcast has music tailored for the program, which is interval training (walking for a certain number of minutes and then running for a certain number of minutes, etc.) I found several more that I'm downloading as well... it's taking a long time but I think it'll be great. (I decided to stay away from the news ones for now... I get enough of that on TV and the Internet, lol) So that was today...

But flash back to Thursday. The event was... interesting. Actually, it was kind of a bust. They scheduled the party for a night when one of the state's major college football teams had a game, so a lot of people stayed home to watch the game rather than coming to the party. There were about 200 people in and out of the party last year, but this year there couldn't have been more than 50 people there. We did collect a little money, so that's good. I taped Gray's Anatomy while I was at the event, so when I got home I watched it. It looks like this season is going to be much, much better than last season!

So Friday was actually really good. Work was nice. Everyone was very relaxed and it was a completely pressure-free day. I love days like that! My job can sometimes be stressful, so the occasional calm day helps. So anyway, it was nice. That evening, as I was getting ready to go home, Col asked me if I wanted to come to her house for dinner, so I did. Dinner with the girls was fun. Katie cooked and it was awesome! After dinner we hung out for awhile and then went to Soul Kitchen to see The Molly Ringwalds play. If you've never seen their show, you absolutely should! It was great. They played all the great 80's songs that you know and love, and their show is so much fun. It was hilarious because I was reminded of middle school dances, except the crowd was considerably older and danced a lot closer than we did in 7th grade!

Saturday was a special day for the kids. It was fair day! Every year, I take them to the little local county fair and we always have a great time. This year was no exception, although I think I might be too old for some of those rides! I swear I got whiplash on a few of them. But it was an absolute blast and I would do it all over again just to see that look of pure joy on Noah's face during the rides. He's just the most awesome kid in the world, and to see him smile just makes my day. He wanted to high-five after every ride. I'm so sore today, but it doesn't matter. It was totally worth it.

So I was supposed to decide which novel to write for NaNoWriMo by today so I could start outlining. I'm still working on that decision. If I haven't come up with anything by the time I go to bed this evening, I'm thinking about flipping a coin. I really need October to outline, so I have to make a decision very soon. Tomorrow is Monday, and I'm hoping it will be another fairly calm week at work. I need some time to organize my desk.

The NaNoWriMo site should be back up sometime tonight. I've been checking it every couple of hours, but it hasn't changed yet. I'm going to go check it again now....