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.