"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

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.