"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Friday, December 31, 2010

What a Decade it Has Been...And a Glimpse of What's Ahead

First..the glimpse (if you haven't already noticed LOL)--I've remodeled my blog!  Since the apartment got remodeled this year, I felt I could do no less for my blog.  For the moment, the changes are mainly cosmetic, but my post tomorrow will outline some plans and ideas I have to improve Multicoloured Imagery...as they say on more traditional media, "stay tuned"...

Now, a look back--a bit of reflection on where I've been...

Ten years ago, I was in a loving, committed relationship and working for a major metropolitan city.  We were anxiously awaiting whether or not the entire computer world would come crashing down on our shoulders due to Y2K.  It didn't.  We survived.  Then came 9/11/2001.  I'm a native Dallasite who was in fourth-grade music class when JFK was assassinated; I was a housewife shopping for groceries when Challenger crashed.  Neither prepared me for the tragedy of 9/11, but neither brought up from the core of my being a love of the United States of America that the aftermath of 9/11 stirred from my unconscious self.  That intense patriotism lives to this day.

On a personal level in the first half of the decade, I realized commitment from one party in a partnership is not enough to sustain the relationship.  I left (he was grateful).  I changed jobs after hitting the glass ceiling repeatedly (I was happy).  Looking back, there was a year or two when the outside world may have thought I was floundering a bit.  I certainly realize now that while I was reinventing myself as a single woman in my late forties, I was also suffering from depression.  I tried a geographic cure, thinking that a complete change of scenery would do me good--and it did.  New Orleans gave me strength and a sense of self I had never experienced.  I fell in love with the people and the character of the city--it was quirky enough that I could allow myself to simply be me.  Sure, I didn't like much of the social inequity I saw, but I also understood its roots and was accepted into the lifestyle and community in a way I had never before experienced.

Then came August 29, 2005 and a hurricane named Katrina.  Once more, I faced a crossroad.  Rebuilding my life from scratch back in Dallas just seemed logical at the time simply because I still had friends and family here.

Fast forward five years--I'm single and loving it.  I have a great job that supplies all my needs and many of my wants.  I live in a fantastic apartment in a decent section of town.  My friends and family ebb and flow in and out of my life as we grow as individuals--some stay for a season, some for a reason, and a few for a lifetime.  All is as it should be.  I salute the challenges and accomplishments of the last decade and I give thanks to the Creator who made all this living of life possible.

And I look forward into a future filled with hopes, dream and possibilities...Welcome to the world, 2011!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas--some folks celebrate the day as a religious one and others celebrate home, hearth and family while still more observe the commercialism of the season.

Whatever you do on the 25th of December, I hope you enjoy it with all the wide-eyed wonder of a child...and if you have health, hearth, food, family and friends, consider expressing gratitude for all the Blessings that are manifest in your life...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Why it is Good to Write"

A quick addendum before bed--one of the cozy mystery authors I follow posted this on her blog today and the Universe in all its wonder decided I needed to have some of my thoughts validated...how cool is that?  If a published author can make it through horrendously bad first drafts and still come out the other side, why can't I?

Go check out Elizabeth Spann Craig--she's cool ;-)

Lessons Learned from Losing

I "lost" NaNoWriMo 2010 by the rules of the whole thing--I wrote only 19,000 words during the thirty days from November 1-30.  The goal is 50,000 and I personally know it is doable as I did it last year.

But did I really lose?  I prefer to think not--I am using this NaNo "non-win" to learn some lessons as to how I personally can become a better writer.  These lessons may mean nothing to my readers, but simply putting them into a public forum will help me be more prepared for the task next November 1st.

#1:  I am a planner, not a "pantster"--I write much better when I have my historical facts already researched and a simple outline of my plot and characters.  Since I am currently writing historical fiction with a time-travel twist, stopping to look up facts in the middle of a sub-plot slows me down considerably.  Because of my apartment remodel this year, I had not planned anything as far as plot, minor characters, settings, etc. and it showed from the very beginning.  Much of the time I would have spent in the actual writing process was spent in figuring out who was who, why they were where they were, and what difference it really made anyway ;-)

#2:  NaNo is about getting the words down on paper and shushing your inner editor as to grammar, spelling, etc.  I gratefully use spell-check at the end of each session, but I have learned that editing the story's flow and punctuation can definitely wait until later.

#3:  I am NOT a linear thinker.  That may sound strange from someone who just said she has to plan out a plot, but when researching history, I usually find myself jumping from settings to personages to food to transportation to economics to... (well, you get the idea).  As any and all of this minutia may come in handy, I hesitate to stop researching in this fashion.  I simply need to do it during the other eleven months of the year LOL.

#4:  If work can get in the way, it will LOL.  And I am not just talking the "9-5" job I have that pays the bills; I even took some vacation days during November in the hopes that I could dedicate those days to nothing but writing.  Some writing got done those days, but I also had housework, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, granddaughter's birthday party--again, you get the picture.  Since I have neither a personal assistant nor a spouse/roommate, if these "general living" tasks are to be done, I must do them.  And since I cannot think well surrounded by cluttered chaos, I defeat the whole shebang trying to work with a mess around me.

#5:  I don't create well when fueled only by caffeine and chocolate.  Perhaps because both of these (especially caffeine) are a part of my daily life, they are not efficient pick-me-ups when my body is weary and my word count is flagging.  Actually, I am now reducing my chocolate intake on a regular basis since I have discovered that protein actually boosts me into extra energy.  I'll never totally abandon my dark chocolate, but I no longer consume it in quantity at a sitting.  It gets savored only as a treat and for energy I turn to dried fruit, protein, nuts, and healthy low-glycemic carbs.  Coffee, on the other hand, is still very much a daily staple LOL.

So, I lost the battle of NaNoWriMo 2010, but I won the war.  I learned more about my writing and research style and I learned how to fuel my older body to respond more proactively to stress.  Onwards and upwards toward NaNo 2011 and I'll see everyone at the finish line--I'm off to write another chapter...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bits and Bobs while I attempt NaNoWriMo 2010

Little nifty pieces of information have come to my attention lately through all sorts of odd mailings and e-mail links. I would normally try to make each a separate post, but with NaNo 2010 having taken over my November and much general living haven gotten in the way all month as well, I've decided to settle for a simple list format. Check out these links for some uber-cool stuff!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patriot's Day 2011

Since I live half my life in 1862 these days as I progress with my novel, I thought I'd share a quote from the Civil War era that is just as apropos today as it was when it was written:

"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it"  ~~~~~  (Robert E. Lee, at Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1862)

In memory of those lost during the attacks on 9/11/2001, and those brave soldiers lost since then as they defend our right to live free in the United States.  May the Creator of the Universe Bless this country and its leadership.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Single Life

I love being single--I can eat breakfast at dinner time (Chocolate Cheerios, anyone?) or dinner at breakfast (Domino's pizza is even better cold out of the refrigerator LOL).  And I need not tout the advantage of having only one person's laundry to do, right?

Yet, there are times when a second strong back (or even a second set of hands) would come in handy.  Take yesterday, for instance.  I was running coaxial cable from one room to the other through a hole punched in the wall.  Had a person been in the other room, all the coax would not have mysteriously vanished into the wall cavity and somehow tangled itself around the already present Ethernet cable.  Hence, I now have a much larger hole in the wall and a smashed up finger to boot.

Then let's talk furniture assembly.  I've been Blessed.  I am now in the position to replace the bargain-basement and dumpster-dived furniture from the early post-Katrina days with real wood pieces (albeit the RTA type).  My cherry-finish TV stand for the bedroom was time consuming to assemble but looks fabulous.  The oak bookcases for the bedroom (yes, I know--two different finishes, but the oak finish has a decided reddish tint and they coordinate well; when you are needing free shipping to your second-floor apartment, you sometimes make those compromises)--well, let's just say, they aren't particle board LOL.  I had to open the box in the living room and carry the individual pieces into the bedroom.  And, due to the fact the edges are finished the way they are, you need tons of assembly room--the pieces slide into one another (think tongue and groove assembly).  I still need to nail the backing this morning, then I get the honor of trying to pick up and position a 100-pound bookcase against the wall so I can attach it to a stud (there is not a single wall in my bedroom that is level). 

It's times like these that a man could prove useful LOL.  I have several male friends--most of whom are single.  One of my girlfriends suggested I cultivate at least one of those males and for the price of a home-cooked meal (or two) a month, I would have a personal handyman.  The thought rolled around in my head for a while last night, and again this morning as I nurse my various muscle aches and pains.  Would it work?  Possibly.  Is it worth it?  Probably not.  I don't do well with the whole "damsel-in-distress needs knight in shining armor" thing, primarily because I am lousy at asking for help.  And I really don't want the care and feeding of another human being (see first paragraph above LOL).  Besides, once I do manage all the assembly work and the revamping/redecorating of the apartment, I will have the great sense of personal satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

Yeppers, it's the single life for me...now, where did I put that blasted screwdriver?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gearing Up for Fall

How I wish fall was in the air--it's still 100 degrees outside and it is after 7 PM.  But I find myself gearing up for autumn--usually happens this way when the school supplies go on sale.  See, I'm an office supply junkie.  Nothing excites me quite like new #2 pencils, pristine notebook paper and a brand new box of Crayola crayons.

The office end of my new studio is pretty well finished--I've hung the curtains and put "bright light" bulbs in the lamps.  I've set up my bill-paying/household hub area and set up a filing system for current papers.  I finally purchased my autographed copy of "No Plot? No Problem!" by Chris Baty, the genius behind National Novel Writing Month (AKA NaNoWriMo, which is actually international in scope now).  My copy came yesterday, and I can hardly wait to hunker down and read it this week ;-)

The lamps over my sewing table and my crafting table both have daylight bulbs, so even without an overhead fixture, I have task lighting where needed.  My crafting supplies have been severely decluttered, especially any non-Stampin' Up! products, to the delight of my granddaughter, some crafty friends, and the Salvation Army.  I realized that I am a collector of "stuff"--five years from Katrina and my house was crammed to the rafters in crafting supplies and books, all of which I fully intended to get around to "someday". 

Well, there are only so many hours in the day for anyone, especially a working writer, so I am being ruthless this time in only keeping what I truly love and will use consistently.  In crafting, that's Stampin' Up!  In reading, I happen to have a wondrous library less than a mile up the street, so only my research materials and those books I re-read periodically need to grace my shelves on a permanent basis. 

My books are being sorted into piles--Paperback Swap, Friends of the Library/Salvation Army, and keep.  I've already lowered my TBR mountain by over 200 volumes and want to pare the remaining 500+ by another third or so before Labor Day.  I had to put my Paperback Swap account on hold because of the number of hoarded books other members are wishing for--I need to replenish my postage account there in a big way before I can accept requests LOL!

So, just a bit more to do before the big reveal here, and I hope to be finished by September--then even if it stays 100 degrees plus here, my house will be decluttered, clean, and ready for fall ;-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Blessings of Being "One"

This month is a reflection month for me since experiencing Hurricane Katrina five years ago (I have other reflection months for other reasons--November for instance because of my birthday).  When I returned to Dallas on the waves of Katrina, I knew the city well--it is, after all, my native locale.  But, I was raw inside:  vulnerable, in need of emotional shelter, wanting comfort, wanting someone else to be the strong one, wanting to follow rather than lead...

I had tried various forms of communal living from 2002-2005.  I had tried living with my daughter's family (that turned into a multi-generational mess).  I had been a live-in nanny for a dear friend (TMI on way too many levels and a great way to lose a best friend).  I had a roommate to share expenses (a necessity for living decently in New Orleans without being rich).  When Katrina struck, friends and family really pitched in to get me to Dallas and help me get back on my feet.  The independent, stubborn, Scorpio side of me wanted to ensure I was employed and housed and fed without charity as soon as possible.  That was the easy part--I had an apartment by September, a job in October, and life moved on.  The emotional, needy Scorpio side of me ran into an old acquaintance who on the surface was everything I always knew he could be and I chose to give him another chance.  Thankfully, I lost only possessions, time, and the respect of others who knew I had made a poor choice of partner.  The scars which could so easily have been physical were only emotional, and they have taught me many lessons. 

That's all background.  The here and now is a Blessed Singleness.  I cherish my friends and even most of my acquaintances.  I cherish more my ability to live life alone--picking and choosing my companion of the day based on the event; knowing that many times my most loving companion is myself.  My circle of friends narrows as I age simply because I choose to have only positive thinkers surround me.  We need not agree on politics or religion or any other topic, but we need to respect one another and support each other in our goals in this second third of our lives.

It's Sunday morning.  I'm not finished rearranging my apartment.  There are dishes and laundry to do, meals to cook, bills to pay.  I could get overwhelmed with general living yet I sit here basking in the knowledge that

Man can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as... from a lack of bread.  ~Richard Wright, Native Son, 1940

I found this video this morning on 52-Card Pickup, a card challenge blog I follow faithfully for her wonderful challenges to be more self aware.   I want to instill enough self-discipline to start participating in her challenge, but for now, I need to just publicly thank her for her inspiration on a weekly basis.  Thank you, Sue.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Office Relocation

Here's what I did this past weekend (with tons of help from a BFF who brought her hubby and son along to manhandle furniture)...you can see the before pictures on a prior post. 

Here's my new office desk.  The small table to the right shows where the studio part of the room begins--it holds my die-cut machine on top with various accessories and my current Stampin' Up! wood mount stamps are in that cart as well.  The desk itself is from Staples and the husband/son combo mentioned above were my knights in shining armor to put it--and its twin--together.  I love my balance ball chair!  The ergonomics are superb and I can also use the ball separately for quick stretching sessions on my breaks ;-)  The small cart to the left is under the window and holds my paper shredder, my "to be filed" papers, and my boom box (gotta have classic rock while I work LOL).

Then, here's my "personal" side of the room, where I handle household business.  It is set up in such a way that I can easily do research for my novel and also work my SU! business.  Since the room is bigger, the claustrophobia is gone and I no longer want to run from the room when my work shift is over LOL.  It is also amazing what having matching furniture in this room is doing for my self-confidence.  I already feel more professional about both my writing and Stampin' Up! as a part-time job.  And I have to mention the printer--it duplexes!  I've posted before that I am an old-fashioned researcher who highlights research materials and rough drafts.  Well, being able to print in draft mode and auto-duplex is a great way to save paper and ink! 

In case you are wondering, the network cabling went off without a hitch--I still need to hide it under the carpet as it runs through my bedroom and the living room, but the distance from the modem to the router was no problem after all, which was such a Blessing!

The part of the room to the left of my personal desk will eventually hold my sewing table (I hope to get that part of the room organized next weekend).  Then comes a shelf unit with various crafting supplies.  The closet is a walk-in and is currently transitioning from my clothes to general storage so may be photographed later but certainly not yet ;-)  Between the closet and the bathroom door (this room was designed to be the master bedroom), I have placed a shelving unit and my fan.  I'll add those pictures to my next post so I can show off the studio side of the room...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deathly Hallows Part One (four months away LOL)

Okay, I am having trouble waiting... thanks to the recent Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family and the little sneak peeks of the final two Harry Potter movies, I'm really looking forward to seeing how they have translated the final tome of the series onto film.

Of course, the timing of the film's opening creates challenges for me.  Yes, it opens the day before my 55th birthday--a great birthday present!-- but having attempted an opening day viewing of OOTP (Order of the Phoenix for the Muggles reading this), I find I enjoy any movie more when the theatre is less crowded. Usually, the second weekend would suffice--in this case, probably not so much as that will be Thanksgiving weekend.

Of course, November is NaNoWriMo, so I will be totally committed to writing 50,000 words in thirty days that month and will also be working full-time at my day job.

So, when can I finally see Part One?  Rest assured, it will definitely be prior to Christmas--after all, Voyage of the Dawn Treader comes out at Christmas LOL...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Definitely Decorative! Great New Stampin' Up! Catalogs!

I'm loving the new 2010-2011 Stampin' Up! catalog items, especially the Definitely Decorative chalkboards that are mountable onto any clean, flat surface.  Even an apartment dweller can use these--they simply peel off when you move (no holes in the wall to be filled LOL).  How about one on the pantry door for a grocery list, or the mudroom door for family reminders?

And what can I say about the new Color Collections in the 2010-2011 Idea Book & Catalog?  They are absolutely gorgeous!  Fresh, exciting, new colors for all occasions.  And the new Getting Started Collection is ideal if you are just entering the realm of hand-crafted paper projects--cards, scrapbooks, art journals, home decor items (dare I say that Christmas is just 25 weeks away from today?  And handcrafted gifts mean so much to the recipient who can feel the love that went into the production...)

I hope you find time to wander through the wonders of the new items (and certainly, feel free to place an order). Playing with inks and paper and glue and scissors and glitter is something we need never outgrow...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Office Relocation, Phase One

You all know I work from home.  I'm in the same room of my house from 6:30 AM to at least 4 PM and if I am using my personal desktop, it is even longer. 

So, these are two corners of my universe:

and then of course, my crafting studio is in this room as well, so if I should be trying to make cards, sew, quilt, etc., I am in the room even more.  There is a small window with a bakers rack full of junk between the two desks, but since it looks directly into the patio and living room of the apartment across the way, I don't always have the blinds open.

As this is the smallest room in the apartment and the one most full of "stuff", it is hot, cramped and crowded...and I am miserable.

Especially after I was having A/C problems the first time (last month), I began looking for solutions.  I hate the mismatched desks.  I hate the fact they are 1) both corner desks, 2) they are neither one actually set into a corner, 3) the style of the desks preclude storing items the way I like to store them...in short, they may have been cheap solutions at the time, but they aren't working appropriately for my lifestyle.

So, as I started looking for better desks, I asked the advice of some friends.  They know me--they know I collect office supplies and craft supplies and have a large research library.  They also know I keep my A/C set on 80 to control my electric bill.  Their solution?  Switch my office with my bedroom.  What a concept LOL.

See, my bedroom is much larger.  I cannot put a ceiling fan in my current office because it would blow stuff around on my crafting table, but if that room was my bedroom, a ceiling fan would be an option.  The closet in that room has double sliding doors and would be more than sufficient for my small wardrobe, while the walk-in closet in the current bedroom would allow for storage that would NOT have to be out in the open.

When I first moved in, I did not consider this a viable option as I was having to run Ethernet cable along the baseboard and punch holes in the wall simply to hook up my work PC.   I was fearful of the distance and what it would do to my signal strength.  Now, however, with a state-of-the-art modem and wireless router, moving my work equipment another 15 or 20 feet should pose no problem. 

I'll post more pictures soon--especially the wonderful new matching desks I found!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pollyanna Positive versus Nellie Negative

I have truly come to believe I live in a land far away from reality.  This land is a land where something good happens every day--a land of job and housework and bills and laundry and a never-ending "to-do" list.  A land where having to do dishes means there was food to cook.  A land where even if a punk from the neighborhood comes through and turns off the A/C unit outside as a prank, I still have fans and electricity to run them while waiting for maintenance to find and solve the problem.  Yes, I live in a dream world--a world where it is easier to count Blessings than complain about challenges...

I stopped watching newscasts several years ago--journalism has taken a giant leap away from Who, What, When, Where and How and stands mainly in the ever-enlarging camp of Why.  "Straight" newscasts--without opinion and slanted commentary--are so few and far between, they are almost non-existent.  Doomsayers and gloom-casters dominate the media.  The relative ease of commenting semi-anonymously on stories broadcast on the Web seems to encourage what my parents used to call "open mouth, insert foot".  If negativity isn't broadcast on the news or on You Tube, it is Tweeted, blogged or Facebooked.  Is it simply because these things are not being said directly to someone's face, or have we as a culture lost the ability to be cordial and mannerly to each other, even if we disagree?

I have always felt I had a fairly balanced view of life.  Now, I watch the world spinning past and read of bullying in schools causing teen suicides or peruse the comments on news articles where total strangers call each other names unfit for print.  If that is balanced, I want no part of it.  I was raised in the era of "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  That did not encourage lying, but it did carry the expectation that I would always try to find a silver lining in any person or situation.

Since I still choose that way of viewing the world, I welcome the title some friends have bestowed upon me--the nickname of Pollyanna Positive.  I'd much rather see the world through rose-colored glasses and look for the good in everyone. Positive thinking is not a new concept by any means, but it does seem to have fallen out of favor.

I pledge to do what I can to bring positive thinking back to the world--does anybody care to join me?  Anybody at all?

Keep On The Sunny Side of Life

Written by Ada Blenkhorn in 1899.
Music by J. Howard Entwisle.

There's a dark and a troubled side of life
There's a bright and a sunny side, too
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

Tho' the storm in its fury broke today,
Crushing hopes that we cherished so dear;
Storm and cloud will in time pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear.

Let us greet with a song of hope each day
Tho' the moments be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Saviour alway
Who keepeth everyone in His care

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Plans are Made to be Changed, Right?

When I posted early in the year I had joined the 100-Book Reading Challenge, I stated that only "fun" reading would count--nonfiction research on writing styles or historical research for my novel would not count.

Well, here I am, halfway through the year, and I have read a measly two books for fun (my challenge list is at the very bottom of my blog).  So, I am invoking the right of a woman to change her mind.  I have had so much true fun reading about the Civil War era that I cannot help but want to list the books I am devouring.

(Yes, I believe in reincarnation and I know I was a librarian in at least one past life.  I loved researching reports in school, find genealogy fascinating, and my ideal job would be as a research assistant for a historian or archaeologist). 

So, I am adding to the list all the titles I have enjoyed thus far in my travel back to the South of the 1860s.  I am also going to add the wondrous writing aids I have found and whose pages may have started out pristine but have been highlighted, underlined, and otherwise annotated.  Some have become trusted companions on this novel-writing journey.  I may even write mini-reviews of my favorites at some point in case they may be of help to others.

One thing I have not done as yet--even if the links to the book titles should point to the Amazon description (something I try to avoid--I always make every attempt to link to the author's website), that Amazon description is not a monetized link.  Any opinions on any book or product featured on this blog is a non-compensated opinion.  I have paid for the products I review.  Should that situation ever change, I will prominently announce the fact.

Scroll down and take a look at where my reading has taken me.  Since I'm not the HTML girl, I can't seem to color-code the list as I would like ("fun" fiction vs. history vs. writing guides), so I'll try a series of asterisks:

*      will mean historical research
**    will denote a writer's guide

no asterisk is "fun" (fiction, escapism)

If you are an author and know of other books I should read on the art of writing good fiction, please share the titles.  And if you are a Civil War buff and have insight on source material that would enrich my setting, I'd love to hear about it.  Thanks in advance for sharing!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Book Blog

My buddy who made the wonderful card I posted a while back is not only a talented papercrafter, but a voracious reader (as is her octogenarian mother).  She has started a book blog and is posting reviews of her books on the way to her 100-book challenge goal.

I had so much fun these past couple of months revisiting the Outlander world of Jamie and Claire Fraser as written so expertly by Diana Gabaldon.  No, I didn't re-read them myself--Beverly borrowed them, and I got the pleasure of experiencing a world I love through another person's impressions.  These books are not for the faint of heart--dropping a hardcover copy of any of them on your foot might easily break a toe LOL, but they are exquisite drama.

Enough, though, about Ms. Gabaldon's world.  I am enjoying Beverly's Book Pile because of her honest reviews and because her tastes run the gamut from YA fiction to historical fiction to mysteries and even to fantasy sci-fi (a woman of varied tastes, much like myself).

Her blog is fairly new, but go take a peek and you might find something new to read ;-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stampin Up! and My Digital Studio

I just got this and am experimenting as I can with all the great features--take a look at how wonderful it is!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Good Life

I'm back--Most of my network problems are fixed here at the house.  The early heat wave caught my A/C by surprise, but it is now working (it looks to be a long, hot Texas summer).  My laptop's replacement battery should be here any day now.  My day job is back to "normal" after software changes and upgrades.  In other words, general living is giving me a short break LOL.

When the network was down, I managed to study the art of writing historical fiction. I also managed to do quite a bit of research the old-fashioned way, and I am now back to crafting scenes.  I do so love being productive ;-)

Several home projects are also in the works.  I've decided that the room I spend the majority of my time inside should be the largest and coolest room in the house, so I am in the process of switching my office/studio and my bedroom.  It is giving me an opportunity to cull non-Stampin' Up! crafting items (my granddaughter is a budding artist and always loves supplies) and to replace my mismatched desks with coordinating pieces.  Of course, this will take several months--and a couple of vacation days while I do the final switch as new Ethernet needs to be run--but I hope to have it all in order by Labor Day.

Speaking of Stampin' Up!  I just got My Digital Studio and I am so excited!  I'll be posting a video later this week about this great software.  We've just posted our Last Chance List for the 2009-2010 catalog year, and I have already placed my first order for 2010-2011 Idea Books and Catalogs (they go "live" July 1st).  Feel free to check out all the goodies (including info on our new Color Collections); they are on my recently updated website.

And, I must admit--I played a bit (not something I do often).  I went to see Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood.   Both are excellent in their own way; my tip of the hat goes to Robin Hood for the most realistic portrayal of the original folk tales (and this comes from a person who has loved the Errol Flynn version since girlhood).  These will definitely be added to my DVD library as soon as possible, to be watched and enjoyed again and again.  Robin Hood actually ranks up there with Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones (and my friends all know how often I watch those LOL).

It's good to be back in the blogging world.  I hope to post more regularly now that the PC issues seem to be under control.  Thanks for not leaving while I was M-I-A.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nagging Network Nastiness

Hey, I'm online--sort of.  This PC has Internet access (at least for now).  I'm not the brightest when it comes to "geek-speak", but I can usually hold my own and am not too afraid of trial and error when dealing with electronics.

I may have to rethink that position.  My home network has now lost the ability for any of the components to speak to one another (reminds me of a family feud, actually, the more I examine the problem).  Last year, I updated my wired-g router to a wireless-g to add a laptop running Vista to the home PC (running XP) and the work PC (also running XP).  When I then upgraded my printer to a wireless model, I had no problem hooking it into the same network.

Now, my granddaughter has inherited the old e-Machines desktop (the one that ran XP), and my new HP desktop running Windows 7 was--I thought--added to the original network.  Boy, was I wrong.  To add insult to injury, in trying to make everything talk to one another last week (updating various drivers to be Windows 7-compliant, etc.), I managed to lock the laptop and the printer out of the original network somehow, and as it was password-encrypted on multiple levels, that network is out in cyberspace but I can no longer connect to it.  I could not even get any of the PCs to connect reliably to the Internet via the ethernet connection with the router.  (I'm sure some of you can hear my screams of pain and frustration; even though I am old enough to remember manual typewriters and rotary dial phones, I choose not to return to those days LOL).

Obviously, I have to work my day job, so I finally just unplugged the whole mess.  My work PC and VOIP phone are hooked directly into the router and the network connections restored to my job.  The home desktop has the printer connected temporarily via a USB connection (what a waste of resources and memory that is), and my laptop has a temporary wireless connection to the wireless router.

Hence, this post after many days of being unable to connect.  My writing has been scarce and sparce, but some has occurred because of course I still had Word; and my research has become dependent once more on the printed page.  Actually, that has been the silver lining to the cloud--I hope to post soon on some wonderful writing references I have been privileged to read this past month.

So, with a wondrous Sunday afternoon ahead of me, I will end this.  I have read the networking tutorials online for my router and will be unplugging everything and resetting in an effort to rebuild a working network from scratch.  New wireless-n routers are calling my name and one would probably be the easiest way to go, yet my pocketbook is screaming in protest.

The challenge begins--can I actually set up a new network that works with the equipment I have and give my purse the victory?  Or will my geeky, electronics-junkie alternate personality (that I try desperately to keep under control) win out and have me buy a new router?  Stay tuned for the results...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Clean my Clothes with Fruit?

I can't describe how absolutely cool this whole idea is!  Hop over to one of my favorite green blogs, Easy Eco-To-Go and check out her results when she tried Soap Nuts for washing clothes.  I don't like static but I hate the cost of fabric softener, so I have been using white vinegar.  It's fairly effective (usually) and no, my clothes don't smell like vinegar, but the softness factor lessens a bit with each wash.  My other laundry issue is ensuring I purchase detergent when I have a ride because small, easy-to-carry bottles/boxes are even more expensive per ounce, and large containers are heavy and/or bulky.  So, when I saw this, I immediately went over to the Laundry Tree site and started reading.  Doggone it, I had just yesterday purchased (more expensively!) a bottle of lavender essential oil and a bottle of tea tree oil, or they would be added to my starter kit order.  As it is, I am trying the energy blend essential oil and will be back at a later date with my results.  I am not asking the company for samples and I am not telling them I will be posting my review on my blog.  This will simply be a blind test based on my never-ending search for organic, non-petroleum-based, "green" products for my life.  If you decide to check out Julia's blog post about Laundry Tree, will you please tell her I sent you?  Thanks!

Marvelous Mail on Monday

Look what wonders I got in the mail today!

My friend Beverly over at GottHeartArt mailed me this great card (she does awesome work--she's been published in both the April 2010 edition of Scrap and Stamp Arts and the Spring 2010 issue of Just Cards!)...it is wonderful to receive any mail at all that does not pertain to business, but to open the mailbox and find a handcrafted card made especially to lift your spirits?  Man, that is a Marvelous Mail Day!  (If you want to know the particulars about the stamp, papers, etc., her challenge post about this card is here).
I have been having a bit of a time with certain scenes in "Don't Trust the Rain", but this gem of a card and the sentiment behind it is the encouragement I needed to move past this rough spot and continue the tale.  Once more, I have been reminded to put the words on the paper now and edit the dross away later--just keep seeking the end of the story  ;-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Isn't Just for St. Patrick's Day

I just finished watching No Impact Man (I hope to find a used copy of the book soon) and yes, I watched thru a non-green source as I have a subscription to Netflix (I choose renting over borrowing but haven't given up on media yet LOL).  As green as I try to live, some of their experiences will not be copied by me.  For one, I cannot give up electricity as I work from home.  But I can give up electricity for an hour--and will do so quite willingly on March 27 at 8:30.  After getting my electric bill today and seeing what heating this apartment did these past two winter months, I am seriously looking for ways to cut energy use yet further.

Having my water heater drained and cleaned out by the apartment complex is on the list.  Making sure that it can work efficiently is important (here is a great PDF of how to drain your own water heater).  Actually, I missed how they handled the hot water issue in the documentary (maybe I need to watch again), but I enjoyed seeing them do laundry in the bathtub by stomping it (think Lucy Ricardo stomping grapes in the vintage "I Love Lucy" episode).  Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it enough to do all my laundry that way LOL.

I already use public transportation or walk and as my friends can attest, there is no elevator to my second floor apartment ;-)  I have thought about a three-wheel bike, but there is no place to park it here and frankly, Texas drivers aren't as friendly to bike riders as they could be...

My composting experiment has proven--at least to me--that an apartment dweller in Texas can compost on their back porch slowly but surely.  All food scraps (excluding meat and dairy) for two years have composted into a single 18-gallon plastic tub.  No flies (even in Texas!) but I never could find a local source for red wigglers so this was done without vermicomposting.  For "brown" material to mix into the compost, I simply used the contents of my shredder each time it filled.  Not a bit of this was scientific, but it has worked.

We've already discussed my toilet paper experiment (BTW, I still have half a case of the Marcal and twelve rolls of the Office Depot paper) and for 2010, I just may keep toilet paper around for my guests only.

All in all, as I write this and watch the History International "Irish In America" special, my form of "wearin' of the green" this year has taken the form of "livin' more green".

This has not been a particularly articulate post--I'm knee-deep in TGAN research (Louisiana Native American culture is this week's focus), and I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day per se ever since we buried my mom on March 17, 1988, but I felt the need to post something here today.

Come join those of us who will work or play by candlelight for an hour on March 27 at 8:30 PM local time...and I promise a better post next time ;-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plots that Simply Plod Along

"Don't Trust the Rain" did not start out to be a historical mystery--it began as historical fiction with a time-travel twist.  My characters are now in New Orleans in 1862 and they have survived the time warp that sent them there. They are scattered and need to be reunited.

On the surface, it sounds like I have made lots of progress--and I did with one group of characters.  The second group are being stubborn.  They simply want to plod along aimlessly and aimlessness is boring!  (And if you think it is boring to read, try writing it LOL).

So, I need to prod these folks into some action and add some excitement and period color into their journey.  That is sending me back into the realms of research.  I love researching history, and as an old geezer who learned to use printed encyclopedias and card catalogs, I'm loving the ability to research on the Internet in my pajamas at home ;-)

Speaking of research, I cannot write enough praise for Kathy Lynn Emerson's How To Write Killer Historical Mysteries.  She writes some of my favorite mystery series, and this book is an outstanding guide for all historical fiction writers (just skip the genre-specific parts).

So, when counting my 250 daily words for the next week or so, they may easily be hand-written words noting clothing and building structure and timelines and foodstuffs and communication and transportation--well, you get the drift.  Lots of notes with lots of diagrams linking those notes into some semblance of colourful plot.

Do I need to add a murder to excite my characters?  Or perhaps a theft?  I have no problem writing violent acts if necessary and some planned scenes exist in outline form between Confederates and Unionists (it is early in the Civil War after all), but I am not a reader who enjoys violence for the sake of violence or sexual assaults simply to advance the action in the book.  If I don't like to read it, I certainly refuse to write it.  Other means must be found to make my reader want to turn the page ;-)

Writing is fun.  Researching is even more fun.  Forcing characters into action can be work...

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Ray of Sunshine ends a Cloudy Week

This has not been one of my best weeks of 2010.  I am trying quite hard to get well after being exposed to several sick people last weekend (one had strep throat) and so have muddled through in spite of the aches, upset stomach and sinus headaches.  No cards made; minimal writing done on TGAN; bare bones cleaning and cooking; no laundry...the best part (until now) of my week has been that I continued my perfect attendance streak at work by not calling in even though my body said "stay in bed".  The weather hasn't helped as it has been dreary, cold and wet much of the week.

Then, I open up my blog to post a review of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol and what do I find?

I got this really cool award from my friend Beverly over at GottHeartArt!  I feel a bit like I won the lottery!  She and I met shortly after Hurricane Katrina sent me back home to D/FW from New Orleans.  The stamping group we met through is now defunct, but we clicked from almost the first day we met--and I feel Blessed to call her a friend.  Thanks for my first blog award, Beverly!

If I understand how this works (and if I get it wrong, blame the headache LOL), I am to list ten of my favorite things and then pass the award to five people who inspire me...

1)    Chocolate--tied for #1 with coffee (there's a reason my avatar has a coffee cup LOL)
2)    Reading--my TBR mountain has over 500 very eclectic titles
3)    Writing--even if it sometimes slogs along at a snail's pace, I can no longer imagine life without writing
4)    Cardmaking and stamping--and crafting in general, especially eco-crafting
5)    Mexican food--I love food in general, but Tex-Mex has my heart ;-)
6)    Research--sounds crazy, but I must have been a librarian in at least one former life
7)    "Green" living--not as green as I want to be, but hope springs eternal; it is a passion
8)    The History Channel/History International--that's what reality TV means to me
9)    Star Wars--tied with Lord of the Rings; I have probably 75% of the movies' dialogue memorized
10)  Vintage 40's (before me, but not by much LOL) and 50's decor (see #7 above); ADORE thrift stores

And now to my Awardees (in alphabetical order)...these ladies' blogs are awesomely inspiring to me as a writer, as a reader, as a crafter, as a "greenie"--I wish I could award more ;-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Uber-Cool Site, Uber-Cool Scrubbies, Uber-Cool Bags

"Uber" is the term I use when I am super excited about something, and I am super excited about my new scrubbies sent by Christi because I sent her my stash of mesh produce bags.  These are great!  One is of the mesh produce bags, but one is made of plastic grocery bags (plarn), and I already love it for my non-stick cookware--no scratching and it is really quite sturdy.

I love recycling when I can, and I crochet when I can, so I had been saving my mesh produce bags to see what could be done with them.  My BFF Beverly over at GottHeartArt crochets the most wonderful scrubbies out of nylon net, but why buy net if something can be recycled?  So, I had been saving these bags. 

Well, crocheting is so far down my "want-to-do" list that it has almost fallen off the end.  TGAN is taking up much of my free time, and I still want to participate in card challenges when possible.  I'd love to read more (100 book challenge, anyone?).  If you read my recent post about a "To-Don't" list, you may understand why I decided to simply mail all the produce bags to Christi.  They are getting utilized and I get the storage space--what a win-win situation!

I haven't yet ordered any of her fat bottom bags, but one may be purchased soon as my new Spring/Summer purse.  Hop on over to Christi's site and look around (her blog is great, too)!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writing Prompt Wednesdays

Michelle over at Southern City Mysteries has started this great Wednesday Writing Prompt.  Her prompt for today is "How the tides came crashing..." and here is what came to mind from that:

The ground was still soggy as Epps tried to gather fallen limbs.  The fast tide in this small creek made it obvious even to his young eyes they'd lived through no ordinary storm.  "Well," he thought,  "Mom and that Charles fella are saying we've gone back in time.  That sure means we were lucky not to have drowned.  How they expect to make a fire out of this wet stuff I don't know, but I better not go any further upstream.  If this really is around Bayou St. John, I could walk into swamp and be a goner for sure."

Well, it's a rough idea of one of my character's thoughts at the moment.  I promise it will read better in the finished novel ;-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Standing in the Shadow of Greatness

I know few writers personally but need to surround myself with intelligent, supportive, creative people who constantly strive to make positive changes in their personal life and who also attempt to positively affect others.  Some of my friends scrap, some know and understand gems, virtually all are voracious readers, and some make cards (as I do whenever I have "spare" time).

I was Blessed to meet one such person almost two years ago, and she is a crafter extraordinaire.  That has now been proven as she was just notified one of her cards is being published in the April 2010 issue of Scrap & Stamp Arts.

Go over to GottHeartArt and see some wonderous eye candy!   Beverly has been a talented crafter her entire life and her card designs run the gamut from cute and cuddly to clean and simple and into the lavish and elegant depending on her mood.  She's also been a featured/guest designer on several card making blogs, and is the current guest designer of the month at Creative Inspirations.

During NaNoWriMo last November, when I honestly wondered how I could ever accomplish 50K in 30 days, she was the best cheerleader a friend could ever desire.  Even now, when I worry about the direction my novel is taking or the time it is taking to finish, no matter how busy (or how sick) she is, she makes sure I know I have someone in my creative corner cheering me to the finish line.

In an age when so many seem to interpret the Golden Rule as "Let me get them before they get me", it is very refreshing to have honest, supportive friends, and it is wondrous to see those friends be recognized for the quality of their work...

Congratulations, Beverly--here's to greater success in the future for you and your cards!

Monday, February 8, 2010

250 A Day Progress Report

I'm determined to do this; and I was equally determined that it would only count if I wrote the words toward my novel.

I have a character who is not cooperating.  I have a job that required a LOT of writing to customers both Friday and today (well over 250 words each day).  I want to comment on blogs I follow.  I had to write e-mails regarding fraudulent bank transactions this weekend. 

The word count exists--the words toward the novel do not.  In my past, because I did not do this perfectly, I would give up and beat myself up for doing so.  Today, I acknowledge the last four days did not go as planned, but I will not give up. 

Everything that I wrote from Friday thru today had to be well-thought-out and highly edited.  Responses to customers must be concise, truthful, polite and grammatically correct.  Certainly the e-mails required to handle financial situations need to be business-like, firm, honest, and to the point.  I want my blog comments to be readable and contributory and as encouraging to the artist/writer as possible--a critique if you will, rather than a rant or criticism. 

My fiction has a tendency to "flow" and comes to me in brief scenes.  The editing comes after the plot.  I will head to bed now knowing I have written well for these four days.  Tomorrow, after a good night's sleep, perhaps Diana will either behave and let me write what I want about her, or she will have told me in a dream what her next move will be ;-)

At any rate, tomorrow's words will be some part of TGAN...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A "To Don't" List--Is this the answer?

I love Whatever...Whenever and visit this blog as often as I can...check out her links as well--she's artistic and funny and this post on over-achieving could have been part of my yet-to-be written autobiography LOL.

I have 24 hours in my day--established fact, right? And the job that pays for everything takes nine of those hours, including computer boot time and the 30-minute lunch that allows for nothing but eating.

Of the remaining fifteen hours, my body requires a bare minimum of six being spent in sleep, with 6 1/2 to seven being even better. Occasionally, I can get by with five, but the older I get, the less flexible my body is when it lacks proper rest. So, use six as the touchpoint, and we now have nine hours a day for everything else that "general living" requires.

Let's define general living as cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills/handling mail, personal hygiene (shower, anyone? LOL), etc. Granted, in a one-person household, a few of these things are not daily tasks--laundry is once weekly. Walking to/from the grocery store takes time. Carrying groceries by hand means more trips because there are limits as to how much I can carry. So, the days I go to the store are usually weekend days. Other errands requiring bus travel (I call it "destination shopping") are either vacation days or weekends because the bus trip alone can exceed an hour each way.

So, at nine hours a day times seven days a week, I have 63 hours to work with. If cooking for one takes a total of an hour daily, followed by an hour of general housecleaning and a half-hour of mail/business, the free time is reduced to 45.5 hours. With walking/bus times for the household shopping, let's reduce that by a minimum of 9.5 hours weekly.

I am a writer of historical/speculative fiction. I need time to research. I need time to write. I need time to network with other writers. I need time to study the craft of writing.  With the idea of my most recent challenge in mind, let's devote a minimum of one hour daily to writing, and perhaps another daily hour to research.  There go fourteen more hours, leaving 22 left to "schedule".

I am a paper crafter who sells Stampin' Up! as a sideline, primarily to receive the discount (although all new customers are quite welcome to my website LOL), and I enjoy my crafting.  In an ideal world, I would play with paper (or at least be puttering in my studio) for an hour a day.  22-7=15.

Who doesn't like to connect with friends?  I talk on the phone often with my friends; I follow various blogs (and have people who follow mine--wonder of wonders).  Welcome to my new followers--I am so happy to meet you!  Reading and responding to e-mail takes time.  Commenting on blogs takes time.  This socialization is important to someone who works from home.

Look at what I am doing to myself!  I have already posted that over-organizing and my pursuit of perfection denies me the opportunity to simply enjoy life!  I need to learn to say "no".  I need to learn to "hit a lick at a snake" and know that BALANCE is key.  "All work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull person", and who wants to be dull?  I don't.

Who wants to join me and make a "To Don't" list? 

Monday, February 1, 2010

250 Words A Day Challenge

A lot of "general living" has occurred already in 2010, but I am determined to continue writing.  I am also determined to make writing a daily event.  As I cruise the various writer's blogs I have found, this great challenge badge appeared several places.

This is doable, even for someone who types as slowly as I do.  When a scene is percolating in my mind, I can write a mostly unedited 250-word section in 30-45 minutes.  If I learned nothing else from NaNoWriMo, I learned to put the words on a page.  Then if I walk away from it for a day or so, I read it thru the eyes of my audience and my editing is tighter.

So, even though my 10 for 10 in 2010 is already off track (I read nothing for pleasure in January, so I still have 100 books to read before December 31, and let's not even mention "exercise"), I am posting another public challenge to myself.  Now, if I could just fine some free widget somewhere that would keep a running counter of the number of days I succeed in writing at least 250 words...

(P/S:  this challenge is lenient, and I could count the words of this post as part of the 250.  I am setting the bar higher for myself, and the only words I will count will be those written for TGAN, aka "Don't Trust the Rain".  With that in mind, I wrote 369 in advance of posting this LOL)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lessons Learned (Or, Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks!)

My last post was my entry into the world of card challenges.  I received wonderful comments from new visitors here, and was even featured on 52-Card Pickup and was just totally tickled at that!

So, I was determined to enter into the card challenge world on a weekly basis.  I started searching challenge blogs and making lists (even set up an Excel spreadsheet) to keep track of the blog, the challenge post date, the challenge itself, the due date--well, you get the picture.

Once more, I allowed my over-organizing self to impede my having fun.  I had even made a card for Bah! Humbug's second weekly challenge, but got so caught up in the idea of posting one card for multiple challenges that I flat over-organized myself out of getting the card posted at all!  (I know.  I hear my friends laughing.  You all know I try so hard to be perfect at things that most of my great intentions fall by the wayside because of my incessant over-planning.)

So, I posted nothing.  I'm following a few more cool blogs, though, and I vow once more to participate more and plan less.  To remember that it is progress, not perfection.  To settle for "enough" (if I have a card done, by golly, I'll post it even if only for one challenge).

Most of all, I want to remember that for me, card making is 1) FUN and 2) THERAPY after a day dealing with the public.  Although they are called "challenges", there is no losing.  If I am featured--hey that's uber-cool.  If not, I had fun trying.  After all, my ambition is to become a published writer.  That is where the greatest amount of my "free" time is being spent.  Cardmaking is just another hobby to keep my creativity flowing when words won't come.

In the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."  Perhaps there will be a challenge entered then.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let's Celebrate!

And what are we celebrating?  I am entering my first Challenges!  One of my BFFs over at GottHeartArt has said for ages that I make challenge-worthy items, so here goes.  Of course, speaking of challenges, photography is a huge challenge for me.  Trust me, this little pouch looks much better in person; it seems anywhere I am in my home that has blank wall space ends up with a green or yellow tint to the background.  If I am going to post more challenges, I need to do two things--1) learn how to use all the features on my camera and 2) set up a spot with a decent easel to take post-worthy photos.

Anyway, here it is.  A small gift pouch based on a great You Tube video from Monica's Passions (I love her accent too).  I made my pouch bigger by using a 8 1/2" square of paper.  The SU! Sending Love Specialty Paper (from the Occasions catalog) is glittered on one side, so instead of simply folding the pouch, I also used some SNAIL to keep it all folded neatly.  The Chocolate Chip edge was glued to each edge of the back side of the front flap and the brad holding the bow goes thru the front flap and the two folded sides, but not all the way thru the pouch front which keeps the inside of the pouch neat. 

I put a slight curl to the back edge (my idea) and crunched the bottom as Monica suggested.  Since I am bow-challenged, Monica's idea for affixing bows using brads absolutely ROCKS!

Other products used (all SU!) are the wonderful Pretty in Pink Sending Love Epoxy Brads, both Pretty in Pink and Chocolate Chip Classic Inks, Chocolate Chip Taffeta Ribbon, and one of my all-time favorite punches, the Curly Label

And although I have always liked the wood-mounted stamps from Stampin" Up! they are truly rocking it with the new clear-mount, red rubber stamps, like this "With All My Heart" set.  That's where the punched label's background came from, while the saying belongs to the "On Your Birthday" wood-mounted set.

So, in for a penny, in for a pound.  Now, if I have figured out the Mr. Linky thing (another challenge for me--I sometimes get totally baffled by some of the simplest PC tasks), this seems to fit three Challenges:

1)     Stampin' Royalty -- Birthday Theme Challenge (Their first challenge)

2)     2 Red Bananas -- Banana Split Sunday Challenge "Think Round"

3)     52-Card Pickup --  Make It Count

52-Card Pickup is a totally new blog, and I had originally thought to enter this in their first challenge but they have already posted #2.  I still think it fits the post theme of aims and goals and choices, don't you?

Stampin' Royalty is new, too.  Somehow, new challenge blogs don't seem to be quite as intimidating to a challenge newbie LOL. 

I'm hoping the round edge to the stamp on the tag and the curved bottom help qualify this as "Think Round" for 2 Red Bananas--if not, well, there is always the brad and I will have lived and learned.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Inspiration for 2010 (and a New Challenge Blog)

My cardmaking buddy over at GottHeartArt is one of the most encouraging people I know (and one of the most talented cardmakers I have ever seen).  She pointed me to this brand-new blog and I immediately started following; the post about "choice" resonated in my very soul.

My fifties have been leading me in the direction of appropriate choice slowly but surely.  Each time I set more appropriate boundaries between myself and others; each time I choose to "Finally Love Myself"; each time I exercise for even 5 or 10 or 15 minutes; each time I cook rather than order in; each time I spend even 15 minutes daily doing something creative; each time I write another scene in TGAN--each appropriate choice made allows me to be true to the inner Linda and true to the God/dess of my understanding. And with every appropriate choice, my soul grows and develops into what I should be.

Life is a journey, not a destination.  The "experts" are suggesting that we all plan to live well into our eighties and based on many of my friends, this is not an exaggeration.  That gives me a minimum of 25+ years.  When I was 25, I couldn't see living to 50.  Now, I can't NOT see living to at least 80 and I would prefer 100+, especially if I can still see and taste and move and feel and read and write and...

So I will follow 52-Card Pickup and GottHeartArt and Scandalous Women and Killer Hobbies and all the other wonderful crafting and writing (and reading) blogs listed on my sidebar (and many of the ones listed on their sidebars).  I will emulate these ladies.  I will lurk if I must and participate when I can.  I will learn from them. 

I will continue the journey...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year (and new Decade)--AKA 10 for 10 in 2010

I subscribe to the philosophy that years ending in "0" start the decade (similar to the fact that a person is not one year old until they have been on the earth for 365 days).  So, this is not only a new year, but a distinctively new decade for me.

My "bucket list" is far too long to post here, and many of the items listed will rely on certain other accomplishments occurring first, so let's simply concentrate on ten things I want to achieve this year.  I figure ten achievements for each year of the next decade, and by 2020, I will have crossed off 100 "bucket list" items, and that is certainly not too shabby, especially since 2020 also brings my 65th birthday LOL!

So here are my "10 for 10 in 2010" goals (in no particular order):

  1. Obtain a passport.  Travel to Canada is no longer possible without one, and I'd love to make a trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  2. Complete the manuscript of "Don't Trust the Rain" in time to start the rough draft of "Lightning Strikes Home" during NaNoWriMo 2010 in November.
  3. Participate in NaNoBloMo at least one month this year, so don't be shocked at some point to find a post a day here (not until after shift bid in February at work, though).
  4. Stampin' Up! has 48 exclusive colors in four color families.  I want a Classic Ink Pad in each color, and only have ten so far, so by December 31, 2010, I want to own the other 38 colors.  Bonus goal would be to also have the markers and refills.
  5. Replace my glass-top dining table with a table made of real wood (and wood chairs to match LOL).  Here's the one I really want, as it will also serve as a great writing desk in my uber-tiny dining room.
  6. Pay off one of my student loans, and then put that monthly amount into savings.
  7. Post at least one card or other creative project on this blog each month, using exclusively SU! products.
  8. Complete the annual 100-Book Reading Challenge.  I'll be posting my list of completed books here.  Just scroll to the bottom and the list will be under the HGTV Green Tips widget. 
  9. Join (and attend) a local writer's group.  The challenge in this is finding a group that is available by public transportation.
  10. Exercise a minimum of fifteen minutes a day at least four times a week.  I have the equipment.  I just need to establish the habit ;-)
Of course, I have minor goals as well, like figuring out how to link to other sections of my blog (the 2010 reading list for instance).  And, if these are complete prior to year's end, I can certainly add more to the list LOL.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions for Writers 2010

Oh my Heavens! Friends of mine read J.A. Konrath's Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels mystery series so I know they must be good (they are currently buried in my TBR mountain or out on loan to other friends), but I found this blog thru yet another blog I follow and is this ever the kick in the pants I need to print and post over my writing desk!

All aspiring writers need to follow this blog, no matter the genre. This is straightforward, no-nonsense advice from someone who is where I want to be and who doesn't sugarcoat the pathway.

Wow! I think I'm gonna go write!