Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Wrap Up and Looking Ahead to 2008

1. Take a few minutes to reflect on the previous year. What are you happy with?
There are actually a lot of things I'm happy about when I look back on 2007. I'm happy that I've become involved with the theatre, for both social and professional reasons. I'm happy that I've found something relaxing to do in the evenings after work and after writing. The knitting is more an obsession than a hobby, but regardless of what it is, I'm really having fun with it and it helps me relax so much! I'm extremely happy that I've done a lot more writing than I have before and that I've finally gotten to a place where I feel comfortable pitching for jobs. I'm extremely happy that I was able to finish Under the Magnolia Tree and that I started on the fantasy series. Becoming involved in the fantasy story has been an interesting and fun process, and I am extremely excited to see where the story will go in the long run!

2. What are you unhappy with?
I'm unhappy that I wasn't able to finish one of my incomplete manuscripts that I planned to finish (Deadly Council) but it just goes on the list for this year! I'm extremely unhappy that I've lost a friend. I'm not even sure how it happened, but we haven't had any contact for about 8 months now, so I'm calling it. I tried to contact her many times throughout the year, a few times just to check in on her because I was worried and a couple of times because I really needed a friend to talk to and wanted to talk to her. She never returned the calls and never answered any of the emails. I suppose it takes a long time for these kinds of things to sink in with me, but I'm giving up now. I can't spend any more energy on this relationship and I don't think she even cares whether I do or not, so it's over. I'm unhappy with the work situation, but am taking steps to change it. I'm unhappy that I wasn't able to get something accepted for publication, but I will carry on until it happens.

3. What unexpected joys did you discover during the year?
My unexpected joys mostly stem from the theatre. I have met some wonderful people and have been involved in some amazing projects since becoming involved with this group! It's only getting better too, because this year we're doing a musical! I've enjoyed being a part of every production I've worked on, and have loved being a member of the board. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it's great for professional development and material for my portfolio. Two birds with one stone... how's that for efficient?!

4. What were some of the unexpected obstacles that came up, and how did you deal with them?
Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
The rejection letters were quite an obstacle. I was depressed about them at first, but decided to just keep trying. I don't know if I would have done anything differently, except maybe I wouldn't have let myself get so depressed about it.

5. What expectations did you find you needed to let go of?
I guess I always thought I'd get published when I tried, especially with this particular publisher because I thought my book was at least as good as the ones they've published before. I guess I had to let go of my ego a bit!

6. Looking ahead, how do you want to structure next year to support your writing?
I want to establish a daily writing pace and commit to it every day.

7. How does the rest of your life support your writing?
I'd say my life supports my writing pretty well right now. The only thing that gets in my way is me... usually because I want to sleep late instead of getting up early to write!

8. How can you change/compromise on the non-supportive elements?
I need to create a better schedule for myself, especially on week days, so that I can get up early enough to get some writing done in the mornings before work. I think this would be the best option, especially when I have evening rehearsals.

9. What new aspect of the writing life do you want to try next year?
I want to start pitching articles. I think it will be an interesting venture and may even pay off in the end.

10. Where do you need to be more disciplined?
I need to look at writing as a second job, rather than a hobby. I've been working on that and I did much better in 2007 than in 2006, but I still have quite a journey ahead. I also need discipline in the area of my health. I really need to take better care of myself.

11. Where do you need to ease up on yourself?
In general, I need to stop being critical of myself. I have so much confidence in my abilities, especially in my job, but I can't seem to shake the physical insecurities I've had for as long as I can remember. 2008 is going to be the year of self-esteem for me. I want to be just as confident in how I look as I am in how I perform.

I'm skipping the last few questions because I'm listing my resolutions in a different post.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


This is my first attempt at cables, so don't be too hard on me, okay? It's just a swatch, done in cheap acrylic, but I wanted to see if I could do it so here you go.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Quick check-in

I will have some photos of knitting progress and a post about what's been happening with writing and other activities soon, but this is just a quick check in. My internet service has been down for several days, and the provider is being impossible. I've come to the conclusion that they don't want my business, so I am switching today. DSL is great, but I hear that cable is faster and people I know who have cable internet in my area are not disappointed with their service. I am severely disappointed in my service and in the customer service representatives who are supposed to help me but are completely useless.

Hopefully, I can fully update this weekend, especially with pictures of my first attempt at knitting cables! I've decided cables are fun! Anyway, I'll be back when this is resolved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Have you ever...

I saw this meme and thought it looked interesting. I've done one of these before, but the list is different, so I wanted to do this one too! My code is listed below:

Bold and Blue - the ones I've done and am glad I did
Light Blue - the ones I've done and am not proud of
Shaded to Gray - the ones I haven't done and don't want to do
Bold and Red - the ones I haven't done and want to do

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said 'I love you' and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly could
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing (do the rock climbing walls count?)
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them (does it count if it was in an airport?)
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Gone white water rafting
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone out there is having a great Christmas! The kids were here last night and they opened their gifts. It's always chaos, but fun. They seemed to like what I got them, which is always good. We had a big dinner, which was good - as always. So all in all, it was a wonderful Christmas. Oh, and my parents liked the gifts I got them too, which made me happy, and they surprised me with some great things! My sister gave me a pair of PJs, which I wore last night to sleep in and they were so comfortable. She also gave me a puzzle that says "Let's put the fun back in dysfunctional," which makes me wonder if she thinks I'm dysfunctional! I was glad to get a puzzle because the one I bought to fulfill my "put together an entire puzzle" entry in my 101 in 1001 list is missing some pieces because the kids decided to throw them around the room. Now I have a new one and I promise I will complete it! My favorite gift was from my parents - a "boombox" for my iPod. I've wanted one for awhile, for occasions when I want to listen to something from the iPod but can't use the headphones, like in the pool or the bathtub. I've wanted one forever and just haven't been able to buy one. Thanks, mom and dad!

Anyway, Christmas was good here, and today I'm just relaxing and enjoying the day off. It's raining, so I'm happy snuggling under the covers, watching Gilmore girls and drinking hot chocolate. What a lovely day!

Friday, December 21, 2007

knitting milestone: starting first sweater

Yes, I'm starting my first sweater. I picked a relatively easy pattern from the January 2008 issue of Creative Knitting. It's called the Ever-Cross Sweater. The pattern calls for a novelty yarn that I didn't like, but I was browsing through my local Hobby Lobby and found this Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist yarn that really caught my eye. Lo and behold, it was on sale for 99 cents a skein, so I bought enough for the sweater and am casting on tonight! Here's a picture of the pattern and the yarn. There will be progress photos as I go through the process, so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

and the fundraiser begins again...

Planning for the new fundraiser is kicking into high gear now since the new year is almost upon us. I updated the packets the way we usually do and was getting ready to send them out when my boss said she thought it should have a little more "flavor." I asked her if I could change everything, including the logo, and she said yes! So I spent some time yesterday creating a new logo and a new packet. It was actually a lot of fun. I do think the event is going to be better in 2008 than it has ever been in the past. We're moving to a new venue, we've changed the name so that we can include restaurants that are not specifically "gourmet" places, and we're changing the atmosphere from "sit down dinner" to "great big party," including two cash bars (one inside and one outside) and a dance floor. Anyway, work is pretty good right now and I'm happy about that.

I was going to finish my Christmas shopping tonight but it was raining like crazy when I got off work and another cold front started moving in, so I decided I didn't want to get wet and cold. I'm meeting my mother for a shopping trip after work tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun. People look at me like I'm crazy when I say I enjoy spending time with my mother, but I don't care. We are more like friends now than mother and daughter, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

The short story is still not working out. I haven't written a short story in forever, so I think it's a matter of getting used to the format again. I've been doing some more research on publishers and agents for various projects, and I've been checking some freelance job boards. I have yet to pitch anything, but I'm lurking the boards trying to summon the courage to actually pitch. I obviously have a long way to go before I can do this for a living!

I'm working on the felted bag I mentioned before. I don't really have a pattern for it. I'm just sort of knitting until it's the length I want it to be and hoping it will work out okay! I had some wool left over from my felted box project, so I'm using that right now. It looks like I'll need a little more of it, but I'm going to get it in another color for two reasons: #1 I want the bag to have more than one color and #2 I lost the labels that came on the yarn so I have no idea what the dye lot number is so I can't buy the same one. I'm thinking I want the front and back to be one color and then the bottom, sides, and handles to be the other. It could look cool. We'll see! I'll post pictures when I have more progress. There's really nothing to see at this point.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Last washcloth photos

The final two washcloths. As I said before, the aunts already have them, but I wanted to post the last two. I'm particularly proud of the green, white and red one. I think it turned out very nice indeed! Now I'm considering a felted bag, but am not sure which pattern I want to use. More on that when I decide!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Holiday stuff
I was a bad blogger last week. Tis the season, I guess. I spent most of my week nights finishing up my Christmas shopping. I use the word "finishing" rather loosely because I still have several gifts to buy. I did take care of my sister and her husband and they are always the most difficult, so I feel great about that. We also had several rehearsals for the Christmas musical at church, which took up a lot of time.

I finally finished the washcloth gifts for my aunts. I gave them out on Saturday at our extended family Christmas celebration, and they were quite a hit! The aunts loved them. I'll post some pictures a little later. I did take some, but I can't get to them right now. One aunt even gave me a bunch of yarn she had left over from various projects when she found out I had learned to knit. She had a lot of Christmas yarn left over from a blanket she crocheted, not enough for another blanket, but plenty for new Christmas stockings for each of the kids, for my sister, and my parents! There may be enough for me to make one for myself as well, but they come first. I have no idea how to make stockings, but I'm sure I can find a pattern on Ravelry!

I did do some writing during the week but I haven't checked the wordcount, so I can't update the meter. I'll try to do that tonight after the writing session. Now that the gifts are wrapped and the washcloths are finished, I can do some serious work on Draha.

I have an interview this afternoon. This one is very important to me. It's the job I've wanted since I started school. Actually, this job is the reason I decided to study public relations in the first place. Cross your fingers for me!

Monday, December 10, 2007

stripey washcloth

Another Christmas gift finished! Only two more to go! I'm pretty happy about the way these are turning out, and how quickly I have been able to complete the last two or three. My knitting is getting faster, no doubt about it. I'm loving the diagonal pattern. It's so easy and is great practice for increasing and decreasing. I should finish the one I started tonight fairly quickly tomorrow and will cast on the last one as soon as I'm finished with it. The last one is going to be fun, a combination of colors that I have left in a mitered square-type pattern.

Tried writing a short story tonight, but didn't finish. I got to a certain point and then just stopped, mostly because I had no idea where to go from there. I'm going back to it tomorrow to see what I can do with it. I also did some more work on Draha in Freemind, working on a few key points that I really need to work out before going much further in the story. I really want to avoid writing myself into a corner! More work on this tomorrow too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

migraines suck

The migraine started Friday afternoon and didn't end until this morning. I've never had one that long before. It was pretty awful. I took the migraine medicine yesterday and it helped alittle, but didn't get rid of it completely. So needless to say, no knitting or writing done yesterday. I slept a lot of the time and when I wasn't sleeping, I was lying in a dark room. Luckily, it's over today and I can go about business as usual. That means laundry, which is hardly exciting, but something I must do!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Interesting times

I'm trying a new thing. If you read this blog regularly, let me know what you think about this format I'm thinking of adopting. To help readers locate subjects they most want to read about, I'm going to use subtitles in the posts.


First of all, I want to talk about how cool Ravelry is! If you're not a member and you knit, crochet, spin, or just like to play with yarn, you should absolutely join the waiting list NOW! Beware, though... you will spend a lot of time on Ravelry if you're not careful. Trust me on that! I joined in October and I'm so glad I did. I've learned so much about knitting and have tried things I never would have tried without the pattern database and the amazing people on the site who are more than willing to answer any questions. In fact, here's a little taste of a project I'm designing... yes, I said designing! Other knitting updates include my next two Christmas washcloths. Only three more to go! I bought some cute little bottles of bath and shower gel. I want to wrap the washcloths around the bottles and tie them with a ribbon. I think it'll make a cute gift.


We're having a Christmas party at work tomorrow. The party is always really nice, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm taking a staff photo.. it's going to be a lot like herding cats trying to get everyone together and smiling at the same time. It'll be interesting anyway. Things have calmed down somewhat at work lately. I finished the first draft on a new grant today and worked on some things related to a promotion we are having with a local restaurant and our major fundraiser, which is coming up in May. I start work on the new newsletter next week, which is great because I'm redesigning it... again! In other, work-related news (sort of) I came home to a message on my answering machine. I think it's an interview. I sent my resume to this place last week, so that's pretty fast. This is a promising prospect, and something I'd really love to do, so hopefully it'll work out!


I worked on Draha a bit tonight. I didn't add anything to the words, but I did go back and clean some things up a little and I added some items to my Freemind outline. I'm thinking about working on some short stories, maybe one a month starting in January. I want to make an effort not just to write the big pieces, but to also work on some smaller pieces while working on the others. I tend to stay sharp when I have a lot of irons in the fire.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Knitting with Emerson

I've had a couple of questions about my "I knit with Pushing Daisies" button and wanted to be sure I said one thing. Anyone is welcome to save this button and use it on their blog! I made the button after being inspired by another Pushing Daisies button on Ravelry, and I'm thrilled that people might want to use it on their blogs too! So please, feel free to save this button and use it on your own blogs, and please, let me know if you did so I can visit you! On that note, if you have a knitblog and you happen to visit here, let me know because I want to visit more knitblogs.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Nothing much to say, other than the fact that it's getting cold... finally! Today it was in the fifties and they say tonight we should go below freezing. I don't have much hope for some of my flowers, but it's winter and they are supposed to die at some point during the winter, so I guess it's okay! I did bring some of them in. I have several cuttings from a Christmas cactus that my grandmother had on her screened porch (which she really used more like a greenhouse than a porch) that mean a lot to me, so they are inside tonight.

I got some news today that a neighbor's house was robbed this past weekend. That freaks me out A LOT. I'm so used to living in an area where you really don't have to lock your doors (even though I actually do keep my doors locked at all time) and to know that someone actually broke into a house in my quiet little neighborhood really upsets me. I have to wonder where someone's head is when the break into someone else's home and steal things. I wouldn't dream of taking something that belongs to another person, so what makes them think they can? It's just horrible. Okay, climbing down off my soapbox now. Sorry about that!

Writing news... I wrote some more on Draha today. I still have to finish the story before I go back and add lots and lots of detail to it. Oh, and dialogue. I didn't really put much of that into the story either, because I knew I would be going back. I wanted to know the story and the characters before I put a lot of dialogue into it. I've never done it that way before, so we'll see what happens.

Knitting news... I'm almost finished with dishcloth #3 out of 6. I'll be honest, I'm loving the dishcloths, they are a lot of fun, but I'll be glad when they are finished so I can get back to Noah's blanket! Also, I'm designing a blanket based on a fairly common stitch pattern I found. I think it's going to be very cool. I told myself I couldn't start on it until after I finish the Christmas gifts, though!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas knitting

Here are some pics of the gifts I'm making for some of the women in my family. They are all such crafty ladies, so this year I'm giving them something I made! I thought starting small would be best, so I'm doing washcloths and am going to wrap them up with decorative soap. I thought it would be cute and useful. So here are some pics of the first two I've finished. Two down, four to go!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

job stuff

Still haven't heard from the university job. I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will. I applied for another position today with another company. It's something I'd really like to do, so now I'm hoping either one will work out. They would both be great for me in different ways. The one I applied for today is more local. It would cut my commute down from 1 hour to 5 minutes. Nothing wrong with that, especially considering gas prices!

Some more Misery

Well, I got the call yesterday and I didn't get the part in Misery. The director was very nice about it, saying he was impressed with my audition, but that he wanted more diversity in the cast, so he decided to go in a different direction. I'm so curious to see who he did choose. Anyway, I'm doing lights and helping to collect props and painting sets and pretty much everything they ask me to do ;) in addition to the publicity duties. I just found out I'm responsible for creating the program and the publicity posters too, which will be fun. I already have a cool idea for the poster, but I'm going to have a long conversation with the director about his ideas first, just in case he has his own vision. So anyway, I'll be pretty busy, which is just how I like it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

NaNoWriMo: Finished!

Yay! I'm finished with NaNo this year! So happy! But actually, the story isn't complete, not by any means. It's really going well, though. I'm taking a day or so to rest and then getting right back into it. I have some Christmas gifts to make, so I might concentrate on those quite a bit for the next week or so, but I won't lose the momentum of the writing. I'm still going to try to write every day... just not quite so much every day!

One thing I've decided to do in 2008 is to determine a comfortable daily pace. I wrote much more this year than I ever have, but I want to really find out what my pace is and what it should be to challenge myself just a little. I want to finish this first Draha book and have it ready to send out before next year's NaNo.

On another note, I've been a little lax on my 101 in 1001 list. I'm going to take a look at it tonight and decide what I can start working on from it. Some of the items (such as the overseas travel) may have to go to the next list because of finances and time, but I want to do as many items on the list as possible before the deadline. It's such a great way to experience new things!

Friday, November 23, 2007

NaNo Days 20-23

Current Wordcount: 41,325

Haven't posted in a few days, but that doesn't mean I haven't been writing! I'm actually writing more than I thought I would right now, and I feel very good about the progress. Notice I didn't say I feel very good about the writing itself. Yeah, it's going to need a lot of work. But that's what a first draft is, right? It's a skeleton, a place to start. I do think it's a good start, though. That's something anyway. At least it's not the useless story I started at the beginning of NaNoWriMo. That wasn't going to go anywhere. At least this work I'm doing in November is moving me toward something I really want; the completion of the series that has been living in my brain since I was a child. That's the goal. It's bigger than NaNo. It's bigger than me. I have to stay focused on that. And that's what I'm doing. It's not about NaNo anymore. It's about creating the world and telling the story. It's going to take a long time, but I will finish it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Writer's Block Square #2

My first lace project! Check out the pretty holes. I'm so happy about this square, although I did have to frog it a couple of times to get it right. The first block was a "beginner" block and this one was an "intermediate" block. I'm thinking of going for an "advanced" block next, just to see if I can do it! I can't do cables yet, simply because I haven't bought a cable needle, but that will be the next knitty purchase I make! Well, and some double pointed needles, probably a set like the bamboo straights and circulars I got from eBay. I love them!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Misery auditions

They were tonight, remember? Actually, I had planned to go to the theatre tonight and be publicity gal, greeting the people who came to audition and encouraging them to work backstage if they were not called for a part, but a friend came in to audition and I read with him. We've been talking about this play for months. He was in Hamlet and as he had some considerable downtime during the show, he would chat with me in the light booth about how much he loved Stephen King and how excited he was about possibly being in a play based on his work. Anyway, our reading went well. It was a cold reading and the director was very cool, asking us to read the piece one way and then another. He said my transitions were good, so that's positive. This role would be so challenging for me. I really hope I get it! I'm going to the theatre tomorrow night to do the publicity thing, but it'll be so much nicer now that I have the auditions behind me. Hopefully more people with show tomorrow night. We had a slim group tonight and I'd like the director to have choices. I want the part, but I want him to pick me because he thinks I would be best, not because I was one of the very few who showed. We'll see what happens tomorrow!

NaNoWriMo Day 19

Current wordcount: 31,039
Two day wordcount: 4,758
Time spent writing: 2 hours
Time spent knitting a writer's block: none, but I'm planning to do a few rows before going to bed
Current mood: Awesome!

Got some more writing done. I'm trying to catch up right now, and it looks like I'm getting close! If you are following the NaNo plan, you should have 31,673 words on day 19. I'm only a little over 600 words shy of that, so I can deal. If I have another 4,000 word day tomorrow I'll be doing great! I'm going to try to do that, but who knows if I can pull it off. I left a LOT of notes for myself again today. There's so much I'll need to go back and puzzle out later. This is a complex world and even though I did a lot of prep work for it, there are a few details I didn't think about until I actually started writing. It's great to get this jump start on the project, though. I can't wait to see how it comes out in the end.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NaNoWriMo Days 17 and 18

Current wordcount: 26,281
Two day wordcount: 10,206
Time spent writing: I have no idea
Time spent knitting a writer's block: 1 hour
Current mood: Pretty good, although I'm feeling a little OLD today!

It's my birthday. This would normally be a happy statement, but I feel so old today! (I'm 31) I won't go into the whole "I feel like I haven't accomplished anything" speech because it's useless and I don't want to repeat myself. Anyway, it was a good birthday. I spent the day with the kids, which is always nice. Yesterday and today I worked hard on the story. I think I may add dragons to the mix. Things are always more fun with dragons! I'll have to go back and incorporate the dragons into the earlier parts of the story, but I'm sure it can be done. It'll be fun. Anyway, that's it for now. I'm off to have dinner with the family.

Friday, November 16, 2007

NaNoWriMo Days 15 and 16

Current wordcount: 16,075
11/15-16 wordcount: 6,264
Current mood: Can't stop me now!

I can't believe I got this much done in these two days! Especially yesterday, the day of the Big Event. But when I got home from work I just wanted to leave everything and escape to the world I'm creating. Some of what I wrote last night and tonight contains some notes to myself for the next draft, or for coming back to fix later. Some of it was almost brainstorming, trying to figure out what things are and what they do. I had a lot of fun figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of the Big Bad and his gang of followers. There was a stroke of inspiration about them and I think it's going to work very well indeed. In fact, I ran it by Noah (my 11 year old nephew who is right at the beginning of the target market for the series) and he said it sounded "very cool." High praise. He wants to draw them for me, which I think is completely adorable. He drew a cover for the first book I ever finished. It was actually really good and the picture was very close to what I imagined the cover should look like. He's extremely talented in art and I'm encouraging it in every way possible.

Anyway, the event yesterday went well and the smaller one today also went well. I feel so much better about everything now that these events are over. Next week is going to be a breeze. I have some contracts and applications to finish, and a grant to look at, as well as some preparation for our fundraiser in May, but other than that, nothing really stressful. I'm glad, because I can use a few stress-free days right about now.

I started a new "writer's block" yesterday in the car on the way to the second event. It's a simple lace pattern and it's so much fun to knit! It really makes me want to tackle a shawl at some point. I marked a few patterns as favorites on Ravelry (which you should check out if you knit or crochet) and I really want to start on one sometime soon. I think a shawl would be a nice gift for my mother. Maybe I could have one finished by Mother's Day next year! I'm so slow, I should probably shoot for next Christmas! I found some great yarn on eBay that I might buy for the project. It's 100% wool, lace weight, and there is enough of it to do several shawls. It's white, so I'm thinking about making several shawls or two shawls and some lacy scarves and then dye them whatever color I want. I'd like to try my hand at dyeing and possibly handpainting, just to see if I can do it. Who would have thought I would enjoy all of this so much? It's just so relaxing. Anyway, time to work a little on the lace block. I'll post a picture when it's finished.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 14

Current wordcount: 9,811
Today's wordcount: 2,385
Time spent writing: 2 hours
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 5 minutes
Time spent knitting a writer's block: none
Today's soundtrack: Firefly Soundtrack
Today's mood: determined

Didn't quite get the 2500 for the day, but it was a solid writing session and I feel good about it. I had the kids this evening, so I'm actually pretty happy I got the number of words I did in between chasing them around the house and then calming them down after Kohl threw a cell phone at Hannah's head. He hit her in the eye and when I fussed at him about it, he got so upset that he threw up in his bed. Now this may be an overshare, but I have a bad gag reflex. When I see vomit, it makes me feel sick. I had to put him back in the shower (he had just finished his bath) to clean him up and then change the sheets on the bed, while also getting some ice for Hannah's eye. She's going to have a bruise for a few days. For only being four years old, Kohl exhibits a lot of anger and aggression. I'm afraid of what this will mean for his future. I've talked to my sister about it, but she seems to think it's just a phase. Hopefully that's what it is, but I'm watching him just in case it isn't.

Oh, my sister's surgery went well and she's back at home. The kids are staying with me for another week or so because she has to stay in bed and very still, and you can't do that with these kids running around. I'm so relieved it went well. This illness of hers has been one reason I've been so stressed lately. If they had come back with a cancer diagnosis again, I'm not sure how I would have handled it. We're not as close as I want us to be. I'm going to put in a little more effort there so that we can become closer.

The Big Event is tomorrow, so I will be meeting our Very Important Guest in the morning. I hope everything goes well. I've planned this thing so carefully, there is not a single detail that I haven't thought of and taken care of, most of them personally. I will be so glad when it's over. Technically, my part of the day is over at about 10:30 a.m. and then I will ride over to Florida and take pictures and video of the ground breaking ceremony (which was planned by someone else so if it goes wrong it's not my fault!) and then I'll help with the cleanup, ride back to my office, coordinate the cleanup there and get things set for the next day (another event) and then go home. The Friday event is stress-free, though, so I'm okay with it. So that's the way the rest of my week is going to go!

I think I'll bring some knitting for the car ride over to Florida. I'm not driving, so I think I'll sit in the back and work on a Writer's Block, or possibly Noah's blanket. I started a scarf while I was in bed this weekend but didn't get very far on it because of the pain, which is pretty much gone now, thank goodness. Perhaps I'll take the scarf and see how much I can do in the car. It's a simple garter stitch scarf in a dusty blue chenille. It's very soft and extremely mobile since I don't have to bring a pattern along. Maybe I'll do that. I'll see which one strikes me in the morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 13

Current wordcount: 7,426
Today's wordcount: 3,823
Time spent writing: 2 hours
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 10 minutes
Time spent knitting a writer's block: 5 minutes (finished one!)
Today's soundtrack: Serenity Soundtrack
Today's mood: determined

Well, I sat down and worked really hard today, and I'm feeling better about the novel. I actually got some writing done! If my spreadsheet is right I just have to write 2500 words per day to hit 50,000 by the end of the month. I think I can do it. I'm not going to give up because I believe in the story and I want to write it. Even if I don't hit 50,000 by the end of November, I'm going to keep writing. I have a long road ahead of me with this story, and I'm not giving up until all five books are written. And published.

How's that for commitment? :)

Oh, and here's the Writer's Block, just in case anyone wants to see. It's a simple horizontal ridge square, perfect for mindless knitting while plotting. The book is 200 Knitted Blocks, and it's wonderful!

I'll pick the next block tomorrow, but I don't anticipate doing a lot of work on it this week. I'm not spending any time knitting until I finish my 2500 words for the day for the rest of the month! When November is finished, though, I plan to make dishcloths for all my aunts. They are all very "crafty" people, so I know they would appreciate a handmade dishcloth. I found some pretty Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in Christmas colors and a great pattern with a Christmas tree on it. I think those will be fun to knit!

Monday, November 12, 2007

setback after setback

I planned to write all weekend and try to catch up, but I didn't. I actually spent the entire long weekend in bed with what I can only assume was a pulled muscle or a pinched nerve in my back. I'm not sure if it was the result of the car accident or the work I did on Friday (carrying around very large picture frames, crawling under desks to clean, and picking up extremely heavy things, including trash bags full of paper - which can actually get very heavy) but something really hit me hard. Maybe the combination of the two. Anyway, I could barely sit up, and when I did it was only for a few minutes.

I know it sounds like I'm making excuses, but that's not what it is. I really wanted to write this weekend. The story was going so well, and I was really in a groove, but I've never felt this kind of pain in my back before. It was really awful. It's feeling better now, still a dull ache but not the sharp pain I was feeling Saturday, Sunday, and most of the day today.

I did do some writing on Friday, but it wasn't for NaNo. I had to rewrite the script for my church's Christmas play to make it a little easier for the actors to memorize. After that, I wrote two press releases for the theatre and made some flyers for the upcoming auditions. This publicity gig is like a second job! I love it, though! It's so much fun and I really feel like I'm a part of the theatre, even if I'm not in the cast of whatever the current play happens to be.

So anyway, that's why my big weekend didn't happen. I feel pretty awful about it, but I can't do anything about it now. I'm going to write tonight, though. I'll write as much as I can. As for NaNo, I'm not sure I can catch up at this point, but any amount of writing I am able to do will help me get closer to my goal of finishing the first book of the Draha series, so that's all that matters to me.

Friday, November 09, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 9

Current wordcount: 3,603
Today's wordcount: 2,851
Time spent writing: 30 minutes
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 10 minutes
Time spent knitting a writer's block: 5 minutes
Today's soundtrack: Lord of the Rings soundtracks
Today's mood: really great!!!

The only thing I can say about the story is that it really clicked tonight! I'm really feeling it now! I think the Lord of the Rings soundtracks are helping a lot, and I read an ebook about NaNo by the wonderful Devon and that really helped kick me in the butt too, so I'm on my way to being on track again. In fact, I actually joined a Veteran's Weekend challenge and set my own goal of being at or near 25,000 words by Monday night. I'm not sure I can actually reach that, but I'm going to try my hardest to get there. If I can do that, I'll be all caught up! Actually, I'll be a little ahead!

I'm loving the story, by the way. All the planning and world building prepared me for the complexity and wonder of the thing, but it didn't prepare me for the complete immersion I'm feeling right now. I truly feel like everytime I start to write, I am pulled into the world right along with Cindy and Justin. I'm really happy with the names, too. I wanted to weave in a lot of symbolic meaning, especially with these two characters, and I think these names are great for that. The whole story is full of symbols and meanings other than what is on the surface, which is really very interesting to me because I love stories that do that, but I've never actually written one before. These characters and the world have come into my mind almost fully formed, or at least as fully formed ideas that required some research to get things right. I love tying in the elements and working from the map I drew of the islands. I even figured out what I think is a fairly clever reason why there is no magic in my fantasy story. There was once, but for a particular reason, it doesn't work right now. I wondered how I would get away with this, but a quick google search and I found a good reason!

I think I've been having trouble with this year's NaNo because I'm so unfocused right now. Things in my life are going in so many directions that I'm not sure what's going on! At work, our Very Special Guest is arriving on Wednesday, and we spent all day today cleaning and hanging new posters and photos on the walls, and just getting everything in order. Our Big Boss wants to make a good impression. I had my third interview for the university job this Thursday and I think it went well. I hope it went well. I would really love this job, I just know it. My sister's surgery is still set for the 13th, but because of our Very Special Guest, I can't take the morning off to be at the hospital with my family. I'm a little unhappy about that, as you can imagine, but I know how important this is to my organization, so I'm going to do it without complaining. Sometimes you have to do that. On top of all that, my car went into the shop on Thursday, so I had to borrow my mother's car today, but I'm getting a rental tomorrow, thanks to my wonderful insurance company! But tonight I was able to just sit down and turn everything off but the story. Again, I think the music helped. It created just the right mood. I have a hard time turning everything off and focusing on the one thing that needs attention. It's something I'm trying to work on right now and NaNo is a great place to start.

Oh, and I just found out that Misery auditions are November 19-20! Cross your fingers for me!

Regional Word War!

Here's the regional wordcount war so far. My region is a little behind, but hopefully we will all catch up this weekend...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

a different kind of crash

First I want to say that I'm okay. Everyone keeps asking and the answer is the same. Yes, I'm fine. I promise! I'm a little sore, but it wasn't really that bad, so don't worry about me! My beautiful little Gonzo, however, is not okay at all...

Someone stopped suddenly in front of me and I couldn't stop quickly enough. There was no real damage to her car at all, but look at what happened to mine! I'm so upset about this. I've never been in an accident that actually caused damage to the vehicle before. So tomorrow I get to deal with the insurance company and the body shop. Hopefully they can make Gonzo look as good as new in a short time, because I really need my car back.

So yeah, it wasn't the best day ever. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Current wordcount: 752
Today's wordcount: 752
Time spent writing: 30 minutes
Time spent on NaNo Boards: none
Today's soundtrack: none
Today's mood: pretty awful, actually

Due to the car accident described above and the fact that my head is throbbing and my neck hurts and I feel like someone has an evil plan to destroy my life by taking away everything I love (first the computer crashed and now the car) I didn't get a lot of writing done today. I did start the new story and it is going to be much better. The other one was just not working. I'm going to commit some serious time to catching up this weekend and I have Monday off so I can really work on it then. Right now, I want to take a Tylenol PM, crawl under my covers and forget this day ever happened. So that's what I'm going to do.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Fly your peace globe today, November 7! I'm flying mine in honor of Blogblast for Peace and this is my post about how I feel about peace. My globe includes a quote from Elenor Roosevelt that I find particularly inspiring. It applies to peace in the world as well as peace in our own lives. It also applies to any positive change that we may be trying to create in the world or in our lives. It isn't enough just to talk about something, you have to believe in it. But you can't just believe in it, you have to work at it. How is that true for peace? I believe we can apply it in the same way that we apply another famous quote that I love, "Be the change you want to see in the world." We can't just talk about peace, we have to believe in it. I personally believe that if you believe strongly enough in something, you will work at it, simply because of your strong belief that it is right. What can we, as individuals, do to create world peace? We can start in our own lives by doing something kind to someone else. This may not be very profound, but I have discovered that it is pretty difficult to be angry or violent with someone when you have a "warm fuzzy feeling" because someone else just did something kind for you. Even if the person who was kind is not the one you may be angry or upset with. There's a certain symmetry to the world, where if you pay something forward, it will eventually come back to you. I think this can apply to peace. What is peace? It is a state of nonviolence, a lack of hostility. It's hard to be hostile when someone just baked you a batch of chocolate chip cookies! While that batch of cookies may not change the world, the kind thing your recipient does for someone else and the kind thing they do for someone else may eventually create a ripple effect that can be heard around the world. The smallest whisper can be turned into the mightiest roar with the right amplification. Send a whisper out into the world today. Show someone love and respect, and see what happens when they do the same for someone else and so on. It's amazing to know you're making a difference. Perhaps one day, the ripple will become a wave that will wash away all the war and hatred in the world. Perhaps one day, we will truly see world peace.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

a rough few days

Things have been a little rough lately. My sister went to the doctor for some problems she has been having and found out she has to have an emergency hysterectomy for a uterine mass. They don't know if it's malignant or benign yet, and I have to work the day she has her surgery. I have to work that day because we have some events coming up that are very important to the organization and I'm planning them. In a way, I'm glad I can't be at the hospital because I really hate the waiting and wondering and sitting there completely helpless. On the other hand, if it turns out to be something scary or bad, I really want to be there. I hate being torn like this.

To make up for not being at the hospital, I'm making a package of entertainment for her recovery time. I'm putting in some books and movies I know she will like and some snacks that won't require any effort (no getting up to cook!) and I'll be taking care of her kids while she's in the hospital. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks!

I got the call for a third interview for a job I really want. I could learn so much about development at this job and it would allow me to go to grad school without adding to my student loan debt, which would be great! Actually, I could take any (evening) classes I want, which means I can finally sign up for a creative writing class! I really want to do that. I'll report back as soon as I know something.

Starting over

I started writing on November 1, just like everyone else. I wrote and wrote and wrote. And then I stopped. The story isn't working. I hate everything about it and I can't believe I thought I could do it. I started over today with the story I should have been writing all along. Check out the new graphic! This world is already so richly formed in my mind that it's flowing so much better. The other story was depressing me and I just couldn't continue. This one is so much better for escape. I think everything is going to be okay now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NaNoWriMo Eve!

It begins at midnight, but I'm not staying up that late! I'm going to get a mass email out to everyone in my region and then go to bed so I can be productive tomorrow. I have to really be on my game to get everything done. Luckily, I shouldn't have too many interruptions, so I can really focus on the newsletter and a grant application.

So good luck, NaNoWriMo participants! We will be going on this journey together. It should be an interesting one.

Vampirate - the proof

Okay, some people asked for proof that I actually dressed up as a vampirate for the party at the theatre, so here you go! The party was a blast. I'm posting the pictures somewhere else on the web so that the other board members can access them, but I haven't quite decided where yet. I'll post the link here when I do.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Noah's blanket

Here are a couple of pictures of Noah's blanket so far. I'm using the Moderne Log Cabin pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting (a wonderful book!)

One great thing about this pattern is that it's totally garter stitch, which is great for mindless knitting in front of the TV, which is usually what I do. I'm trying to get a lot done on it now before November starts and I spend every waking moment in front of the computer, working on Downward Spiral. Here's a close up of the stitches:

It's going to be done in shades of green, yellow, and blue. Those are his favorite colors, so I had to use them! If this works out well, I'll do one for Hannah and one for Kohl. Well, I have a different idea for Hannah's, but I'll have to see if I can figure out how to do it before I commit to it. But at least I have a fallback! This is so much fun to knit!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I know I haven't posted in almost a week, but there is a good reason for that. My computer crashed! It was horrible. I lost everything that was on my computer, including my notes for NaNo. Luckily, all my novels and works in progress are backed up on a portable hard drive and on disk, but I didn't back up my notes. Stupid, I know. I'm also happy to report that I didn't lose any of my photos or music because they were backed up on the portable drive too. I did have to spend hours putting programs back on the computer last night and I reconstructed a lot of the outline that I had finished.

The worst thing was losing my internet favorites. All the freelance job boards, the writing forums, the knitting sites (with free patterns!) are gone now. I also spent some time last night trying to save favorites again. It really makes me want to save all my favorites online somewhere in case this happens again. I'm pretty sure there's a way to do that. I think Google offers that service.

Another thing I did last night was to put my ideas about Draha into FreeMind to get a clear picture of the series. I spent about an hour putting in the different aspects of the story and getting used to the program. I really love this program! I think I might even use it to organize projects at work if I can figure out exactly how to use it for that purpose. It's so helpful to be able to see all aspects of a project and how they relate to each other just mapped out on the screen. I've always been a fan of brainstorming on paper (or screen). It really helps me organize my thoughts.

So anyway, that's why I haven't posted. I'll do an update on my week later, but for now, know that I'm back!

Friday, October 19, 2007


I finally figured out my Halloween costume. I'm going to be a vampirate! There's probably some backstory required here. My theatre is having a Halloween party and the board members are required to dress according to a theme. The theme is vampire or dracula personalities. One of the girls is going to be a glampire, for example. I was at work today and it hit me: vampirate! I bought a costume today, some material for a pirate headband, vampire teeth with a small makeup kit, and a skull necklace. I have the perfect black boots for a pirate and huge silver earrings. It's going to be great!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

a day like any other

I had an interview yesterday. I think it went well, but I'm not sure what will come of it. It was with the HR dept, so the department will still have to call me in if they want me, so it's not over. We'll see what happens. There's another opportunity on the horizon, but I haven't heard any specifics on it. I like the idea of it, but the position isn't open yet, so I'll have to wait and see what happens with it.

Today was okay. I did a ton of editing at work. Everything that goes out has to go through me, so the entire staff emails letters and other communication materials to me all the time to approve before they send them. Today was a big day for that. I was going to start a grant, but it didn't happen because of all the editing! Tomorrow I'm going to do the grant, finish the articles for the newsletter, and do a little more work on the website. I also have to get invitations out for our ribbon cutting ceremony. All in a day's work...

The outlining for Downward Spiral is still going well. I'm really looking forward to starting it. I'm already spending way too much time on the NaNo forums, especially in the Singles Lounge. The people there are always so great! It's one thing I love about NaNo. You really get to connect with other writers and for one month you are all feeling the same emotions and experiencing the same journey. It's magical.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

so sweet

Today I had a brief reminder of why I used to love my job so much. I went to a retirement community to speak to the residents and pick up food they had collected in a food drive. The residents were so sweet. They collected almost 300 pounds of food, which is really good for a food drive. I love speaking in front of people, especially when the audience is so great. I've had tough audiences before, and those present their own challenges, but I find that I'm always able to find a way to connect. It feels great to make that connection. I think in this crazy, hectic world, people don't connect with other people the way they used to. It's sad.

Anyway, it was nice. Then I got back to work and was pulled back into my current reality. But for a moment, I enjoyed myself.

We had a fundraiser meeting tonight, so I got home late. I did manage to add a few points to my outline for NaNo and browse the forums a little. Now I'm going to do a little knitting and go to bed. Oh, such an exciting life!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I worked on a special project tonight (for my dad for Christmas) and it was great, but also frustrating. There is some computer work involved and it was going very slowly. How annoying. Anyway, I spent a few hours on that and then gave up for the night. I'll go back to it again tomorrow. Luckily, there is plenty of time.

My ML package came in the mail today and I love the new stickers! I wasn't fond of the NaNo tattoos from last year, so I'm really glad they didn't appear again! I'm planning to order a t-shirt but just haven't gotten around to it. I'll donate again this year too, but that will also have to wait.

I did some more outlining tonight and I think I finally decided how I want to approach the story, which is good. I like this story already. I think it's going to be good. I couldn't sleep last night so I kept going over and over what will be the opening line. I have several options, but since I can't write anything down before November 1, I just have to remember them!

I'm going to knit for awhile before going to sleep. I'm working on Noah's blanket now. I need to research patterns a little more before starting on Kohl's again. I want to choose a different one for him now that I know what the previous pattern actually looks like (a little too frilly for a little boy, in my opinion!) I had a thought about Hannah's blanket that would be really cute if I can pull it off. It would be a modification of a pattern in one of my books. I just have to do the math and figure out if I can do it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

weekends are too short

It was such a nice weekend that I hate to see it end. I remember when I loved Mondays. I loved my job and my coworkers then too. One day, I'll feel that way again. One day... when I find a better job.

I spent some time today working on my NaNo plotting. Someone on the NaNo site talked about FreeMind, a mind-mapping program that they said helped them brainstorm their novel. I decided to download it and see what it was all about, and I have to say, it has been very helpful! The story seems to be taking shape. I'm feeling that familiar itch in my fingers that means I'm totally ready to start writing!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Geocaching adventures

My parents and I took the kids geocaching today. We had a great time, and found two out of the three we attempted. That's pretty good for us! I took my new camera and snapped a few good shots. Here's one:

It was such a beautiful day! The one cache we didn't find was near the Pitcher Plant Bog, which is a preserved area with the most interesting flowers and plants. Anyway, we thought it was along the main boardwalk, but it turns out the hiding place is a little more hidden. We found the "secret" path and went through the woods but still didn't find the treasure. The kids were real troopers, using sticks to move vines and small tree branches out of the way so that the trail would be easier to navigate. Noah even cleared the path of spider webs because Hannah doesn't like spiders. To tell you the truth, I don't like spiders either! Anyway, it turns out we stopped just short of the cache and our search was not successful. The GPS was a little wonky because of all the trees, I guess. Hannah started getting a blister on her foot, so we decided to turn back, but we decided to come back another day and find it. It was so much fun just to get outside and walk. The weather was amazing, not too hot but not too cool. We brought water with us and just had a great time walking through the woods and along the nature trails.

The blanket I started knitting for Kohl (the pretty one in shades of blue) didn't work out very well. The holes in the pattern didn't line up and it started looking very odd, so I ripped the entire thing and am going to start over. It was actually too small anyway, so it's okay. I'm going to start over, using a larger pattern. I'm afraid all three blankets will not be finished by Christmas, but that's okay. I'm not going to stress about it. That's my new philosophy... I'm not going to stress about anything anymore.

Friday, October 12, 2007

back to the basics

I've decided I need to change some things in my life. I need to get back to the basics. Things get so hectic, so stressful sometimes, and when that happens, it's easy to let it sweep you along with it until you're drowning in a sea of obligations that are doing nothing but stressing you out more and more until you break.

I think this is happening to someone I know and it's painful to watch. I'm doing what I can, but it's not really helping because when someone is in that situation, you can't force them to think about what's happening, you can only encourage them to take some time for themselves. Luckily, this person did that today so hopefully things will be at least a little better by Monday. Anyway, because I recognized it in this person, I am determined not to let it happen to me. Thus, the "getting back to basics" thought. I'm going to return to things I love and do them because I love them.

I spent some time knitting last night, not on a project, but just knitting little swatches to see how the yarn looked with different stitch patterns and needle sizes. I've never had so much fun knitting! It really helped to put down the big projects and just play with the needles and yarn.

I also spent some time with my camera, just taking pictures of silly, unimportant things. It's a new camera and I'm still getting used to its various settings, so it was good to just take it out and play with it a little. I'm going to do more of that tomorrow. I have 30 days to test it out and make sure it's what I want, so I plan to really test it!

Spiritually, I really need to get back to the basics. I'm determined to spend some time in prayer and meditation every single day, something I've always done but have neglected in the last few months. Seeking peace and wisdom is never, ever a waste of time. Never. Our world is so hectic, so noisy, and so demanding. It takes a toll on everyone, and I'm feeling very worn out because of it. When job stress starts to bleed over into life and ruin the precious few moments I have to myself, I know I need to make a change. A daily spiritual renewal is as important as a daily multivitamin for me. (which reminds me, I haven't been doing that either!)

I'm so excited about NaNoWriMo this year. One thing I love about NaNo is that because the exercise is more about quantity than quality, I am allowed to turn off my inner editor and just write. Writing is the activity in my life that brings me the most joy. Unfortunately, sometimes when I'm writing, my inner editor thrashes me because of a bad word choice or a difficult sentence. But for NaNo, I literally visualize my inner editor locked in a cell for a month. This allows me to really experience the pure joy that writing can give. Writing during NaNo is like being on a swing when you're a kid. You go just as high as you possibly can because you have no fear, and if you feel like jumping off the swing and landing in the sand of the beach below, you do it, because it feels great to be that free. For a moment, you are able to fly. When the inner editor is locked up, writing is like that. For a moment, your story soars to heights you didn't know were possible. There's a lot of rewriting to be done after November, but for me, it's worth it.

You know, I've always viewed writing (and reading, of course) as a way to escape my current circumstance and live in a different world for awhile. It started when I was a kid. We didn't have a lot of money, so I didn't have all the toys and video games that other kids had. But, rather than feeling sorry for myself because I didn't have every Barbie doll ever made, I would sit in my room, or out in my "writing tree" (a wonderful old pecan tree with huge branches just low enough for me to climb and positioned perfectly so that I could sit in them and write in my notebook) and make up stories. I would travel to many different places and meet different people and creatures. It was better than any Barbie doll, trust me! I was an awkward teenager, always tripping over things and falling down. I had friends, but I wasn't in the "popular crowd." I wrote stories then because my imagination was a lot more interesting than reality. It was also then that I discovered that writing about something was helpful to me in a very specific way. If something was happening that I didn't understand, I would write about it and as I wrote, I began to understand a little better. I've used this technique a lot, even as an adult. But my favorite writing is still (and will most likely always be) the kind that can sweep me away from the worries of my life and put me into a different world for awhile. There's nothing more basic than that, in my opinion.

Also as a part of the "back to the basics" campaign I'm starting, I'm going to really commit to being more healthy. Fruits and veggies, exercise, yoga... I'm going back to these things because I know they work on many different levels. I saw some pictures of myself the other day and I couldn't believe it. I knew I had gained some weight, but I really looked bad in those photos. If I don't do something about this now, serious health problems will follow.

There are some other things I'm planning to do, but I'm honestly just too tired to type anymore. More on this tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


So much to do. Not enough time to do it. I love being busy, but I don't love impossible expectations. Most of the time, I set goals for myself that are too high, so I don't need someone else thinking they can push me to do even more. I will do it, of course. I will exceed expectations even if it means I don't sleep. Unfortunately, it looks like that's where I'm headed.

I'm going to knit a little tonight. It always relaxes me. I need a little relaxation tonight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

not feeling well

Well, I had to call in yesterday because I was sick, and today, although I am at work, I'm not feeling too much better than I was yesterday. (that was a truly horrible sentence!) I spent most of the day yesterday in bed and I sincerely wish I could have spent today the same way. Sinus infections are not fun at all. I feel totally drained and have had a headache for the last two weeks.

On a happier note, my parents gave me an early birthday present. It's a really nice digital camera! It's much better than the one I already had, and I love it! I tested it out a little on Sunday, but didn't really get a chance to try all the features. Hopefully when I feel better I can spend a Saturday just taking pictures and playing with all the different settings.

On another happy note, I finally figured out the perfect Christmas gift for my dad. I can usually get my mom a great gift and my sister is fairly easy. The kids are a snap, because they are happy with anything that is advertised during their favorite cartoons, but my dad has always been the tough one to figure out. I won't say what it is, just in case he stumbles upon this site, but I will say that it is perfect!

If you don't count yesterday (the day spent in bed) I've spent time every day in October working on my outline for Downward Spiral. I think this is going to be a great experience for me. In fact, it might even be helpful in the future, when I start working on Draha. I've only really written in one genre, so branching out into another one will be helpful, and I can take the lessons learned from that experience into my process for when I start the other genre. I think it will help me to understand voice and tone and why it's important to be different for different genres. I've been reading a book about voice recently and I feel like it has helped.

Friday, October 05, 2007

outlining like crazy

I spent most of the evening outlining Downward Spiral, and then I made another banner for it in photoshop. I think I'm going to keep the spiral one I already have because it's appropriate and I think it looks cool, but just for fun, here's the one I did tonight.

Yes, those are my eyes. I thought it would be funny. Anyway, as cool as it turned out, it doesn't really convey the message I want to convey. Neither does the other one, but I think it's a little more appropriate. Does anyone our there have any thoughts? One of my favorite things about NaNo (besides the speed writing and the amazing community) is making a banner that represents my book. Unfortunately, with all the things I've put in my signature line on the NaNo site, I can't actually use an image this time. I have links to the blogroll and to the thread where you can sign up for the blogroll, and that pretty much takes up all my allotted characters. I wish I could use a few more characters. Oh well. Maybe when it gets closer to NaNo, I can get rid of one of my other links and put in one of these banners.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

One of my favorite places

I realized I haven't posted a photo in awhile, so I wanted to post this one. This is, as the title suggests, one of my favorite places. I love to come here and just enjoy being outside, being around nature and breathing the fresh air. I love watching people here, writing here, and reading a good book here. This is one reason my heart will always be tied to this place.

odd evening

There's something strange happening outside my window. I live out in the country, so nothing ever happens here. I'm sitting in my bedroom with the TV on, and until a few minutes ago I was working on my outline for Downward Spiral. It was going really well, I'm making lots of progress! But a few minutes ago, a car stopped right in front of my house. They pulled off the road and are now just sort of hanging out in my front yard. Someone just walked out of the shadows toward the car and now someone is getting out of the car. They are standing in the rather dim beams from the car, one figure showing the other something taken from a front pocket. I can't see what it is. It looks electronic, maybe a cell phone. I can see a faint blue light coming from it, similar to the light from my own phone. Hmm... now they are both getting into the car. They're turning around in the neighbor's driveway. They are driving away.

Interesting... I think I might have just witnessed some kid sneaking out of the house and getting picked up. Not really sure what to do about that. The neighbors don't have any kids, so it's not theirs. I assume they live further down the street, but I don't know the people who live in that area. I'm going to worry about this all night. Well, they are gone now, so I should get back to my outline.

Oh, I heard some interesting news today that has some potential. I'm not sure what will happen, but I'm hopeful that it will be something good.

Downward Spiral

Okay, I decided not to mull it over for a few days after all. I'm going for the new idea. I'm still trying to decide exactly how I'm going to do it. I'm thinking a diary-type style, something with dates, so that I can show the year and a half time period that I'm covering. Well, it's approximately a year and a half. I called it mainstream fiction on the NaNo site, but I'm not sure that's what it is. I'm not sure what it is, to be honest, and I'm not sure I'll know until it's finished. It's a story I have to tell, I think. It's something I have to get out of my head and onto the page. I'm working on the specifics now, but last night I did a quick outline and it sounds pretty interesting so far. I'm sure many, many other authors have explored a descent into depression that eventually turns into a severe form of agoraphobia, but I like to think my story will be different in some way. Perhaps I can offer a unique voice or perspective? I have seen a similar descent in someone who used to be close to me, so I think I can convey it effectively. Of course, this will be purely fictional, so I won't be using any actual circumstances in the book, but I think basing a character on the struggles I've seen is not unheard of in the world of fiction. In fact, it happens all the time. This will be challenging and emotional for me, but I think it's exactly the novel I'm meant to write at this moment in my life. We'll see what happens! And if you want to watch my own descent into madness while I write this novel, the graphic above all my posts is a link leading directly to my posts about NaNoWriMo, so you can follow it daily if you want. Check back often, because in November, I post every single day. (I actually try to post every day throughout the year, but sometimes that doesn't happen!)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

another story?

I had a thought. Well, not quite a thought yet, more like a feeling. It might become the story I write during NaNo this year. I have to figure out some things first, especially what POV I want to use. I think the story would be more touching in first person, but I'm not sure I can pull it off. Well, we'll see, won't we?

I think I want to do it. I think I'd like to really challenge myself. And this story would be a big challenge. I think I'll mull it over for a few days and see what I decide.

Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival

I was off Friday, so I started driving toward Montgomery to meet Chris at about 10 a.m. I arrived at about 1:30 or so, and we took off toward Birmingham. The weather was gorgeous, a perfect driving day, and we had wonderful conversations along the way. He played tour guide as he drove us through some areas that were unfamiliar to me. It was nice to have something interesting to look at while driving. We got to Birmingham at about 4 p.m. and checked into the historic Redmont Hotel. It's the oldest hotel in the city, and it was really quite nice. The Redmont was a host hotel for the film festival, so it was right in the middle of all the action. We got settled, changed clothes, and met up with James, who shared a dorm with Chris in college. He lives in Birmingham, in the coolest loft I've ever seen. We had dinner at this little Mexican place that is actually in a converted fast food restaurant. I think it was a McDonalds. The food was great and the margaritas were cheap, so it was a good time! The opening night film was The Ten. This movie was very funny and strange. We laughed pretty much nonstop, although that might have had more to do with the margaritas than the movie, but I'm pretty sure the movie had something to do with it. After the movie, we went out with James and some of his friends. It was fun getting to know new people and enjoying the "city life." When you live in a small town, sometimes you forget how cool it is to live in a city where everything is at your fingertips. We walked back to the hotel and went to sleep on the smallest bed known to man (but still extremely comfortable!)

Saturday was our big film day. We went to the end of one block of short films and saw a very funny one called The Caress of the Creature. Very funny. After that, we went to a feature called Great World of Sound, which I really enjoyed. It was a look at the record industry and all the scams that are in place to rip people off by promising them their dreams (for a small percentage of the cost, of course) Having been approached by a "literary agent" who was trying to do the same thing, this film really rang true to me. Of course, in my case I knew enough to check on the "agent" before replying to her (unsolicited) email and found her name on Writer Beware, but some people out there are not as skeptical as I am. So this film, although it was a feature rather than a documentary, still talked about a real issue that is very serious. After that, we saw another feature called Hannah Takes the Stairs. It was... interesting. Actually, I found the process they used to make the film a lot more interesting than the film itself, if that makes any sense. After that, we went to see another block of short films, but these were made by Alabama filmmakers. I always want to catch at least one block of Alabama shorts, simply because I think it's important to support artists from my state. Some of these shorts were really good! I especially enjoyed these: "Lunch," "Cutting Teeth," and "Mr. Extion." I love short films because it takes some talent to make a point or tell a story in such a short time. It's like flash fiction, which is something I've dabbled in but am nowhere near good at yet. Maybe one day... But anway, after seeing the block of shorts, we went to a sandwich/coffee shop and had something to eat before the final feature of the day. And it was the best movie we saw all day, in my opinion. In fact, I believe it was my favorite film of the entire festival. Blood Car is a funny, crazy ride from beginning to end. It's the kind of movie you watch with one hand over your wide-open mouth because you are so shocked at what you're seeing on the screen, but you can't stop laughing. Even when you want to look away, you can't because you know.. you just KNOW something even more insane is about to happen. You wouldn't think a horror/comedy would pack a political punch, but this movie does. One of the great things about this film is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. It pushes (and crosses) every possible boundry, but it does it in such a way that the audiences is too busy laughing to be offended. Of course, I'm sure there are people who would be offended by the content, especially a scene near the end, so I'd say this film is not really for people who are overly sensitive. But seriously, I haven't laughed that long in a very long time. The acting is also wonderful. The man who played Archie, the main character, really played the part with charisma and commitment. He starts out so gentle and good and descended into total madness by the end of the movie. This descent is amazing to watch and really, really hilarious. Kudos to the filmmakers. You were the best of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in my opinion. I won't go into details about the plot, just in case anyone wants to watch the film, but this is the synopsis from their website:

In the near future gas prices have reached astronomical highs nearing $40 a gallon. One man, Archie Andrews, an environmentalist elementary school teacher, is trying to discover an alternate fuel source. While experimenting with wheat grass, Archie accidentally stumbles upon a solution. That solution turns out to be blood. HUMAN BLOOD!

Yeah. See why you need to watch it? After the feature, we went to a festival party and then out dancing after the party ended. It was great! We ended up back at the hotel at about 4:30 the next morning, but it was totally worth it!

Only two movies on Sunday, but that was okay because my backside was beginning to become numb from all the sitting! Sunday was more of a day of reflection for us, as we watched two films that, while funny and heartwarming in their own way, were also very touching by showing an intimate portrait of people who face discrimination. For the Bible Tells Me So is a documentary following several Christian families and how they dealt with having a homosexual child. The unconditional love these parents have for their children is inspiring and beautiful. Many religious leaders weighed in on the issue, and the families talked about their own journeys to acceptance of the children they love. Most of the parents even became activists against religious people's treatment of homosexuals. It was very moving. Our final film of the weekend was American Fork. This film is sweet, sad, funny, and touching. It is a look into the life of a lonely overweight man that pulls the audience in and makes every single person watching want desperately to see him happy. It was the perfect movie to end our festival experience with, because we wanted to end it on a high note, but also in a way that would make us think, that would make the feeling linger for awhile even after we got home and went back to our lives. It worked, because I'm still thinking about it.

And so this ends another post about the wonderful Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. We are already making plans to attend next year.