Saturday, December 30, 2006

knitting obsession continues

I've officially lost my mind. This knitting thing is becoming an obsession. I went to a craft store today and found the prettiest yarn for what will eventually be a log cabin blanket (if I can manage to do it.) I got the idea from several places, but my major inspiration is from this site: January One. The picture doesn't do the yarn justice, I'm afraid. The blue, purple, and teal look the same here, but they really are quite different.




I also got this yarn for my mom's scarf. I now have yarn for Hannah, my sister, and my mom. I haven't decided if I'm keeping the one I'm working on or if I'm going to give it away. I know Rhea likes the colors, so it might be hers. I'm really excited about doing Hannah's. She's such a girly little girl, and she loves scarves. The pink, purple, and blue eyelash yarn will be perfect for her. I can just see her strutting around, wearing her new scarf. It's a cute picture.

Anyway, this is a growing obsession. I'm looking at knitting blogs too, it's amazing how many of those are out there. They are extremely valuable in terms of getting advice and new ideas. So if you have a knitting blog, please comment with your link so I can look at it!







Photo Hunters Theme: New


I've decided to do this thing called Photo Hunters, where they post a theme every week and you post a picture that goes with that theme. For details, go here: Photo Hunters.

Every Saturday, I'll be posting a photo to go along with the theme. These posts will be marked with two things, a label called Photo Hunters, and the icon at the top of this post.

I chose this photo to signify the theme "New" because it captures the moment when my nephew held his new sister for the first time.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Faith

I've been thinking alot about faith lately. I've never been satisfied with my level of commitment, or with my relationship with God. This is something I plan to work on a lot in the coming months. I think it's vital to have a spiritual life, a connection with something bigger than ourselves. Whether that is God or something else really depends on the person and their individual beliefs, but for me, it's God. And for me, it's more about the relationship than the religion. Here is a verse that spoke to me today. It's the perfect way to start this journey, as it tells about the results of being more spiritual.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

good times... good times...

I went out with some friends last night and we really had a great time. First, we went to Indulgence to sit and talk, and ended up playing cards. After I beat everyone at Rummy, Rhea and Chris attempted to teach me how to play poker. Learning to play poker is one of the things on my 101 in 1001 list, but I think I need a few more lessons. How do you remember all the hands? Of course, I've been told that I will be a horrible poker player because I can't bluff. Now, it's true that in real life, my face pretty much reveals what I'm thinking, but I can probably employ some of my acting skills (if you can call them that, lol) while playing poker.

Anyway, we had a really good time last night. We met up with Jeff, a friend from high school (and the first guy I ever slow-danced with.. lol) and that was fun too, since I hadn't seen him in 12 years.

I paid for the fun, though, because I only got 3 hours of sleep and had to get up for work this morning. We did inventory today, which means lots of numbers. I'm not good with numbers. But we got through it and we got to leave early too! So I'm planning to go to bed early tonight so that I can meet up with some other friends (and some of the ones that were there last night) at Soul Kitchen tomorrow night to see The Molly Ringwalds (again!) on Saturday night. As for New Year's, I don't have any concrete plans yet, but I've decided I will be happy with going out with friends and celebrating with them and a bunch of strangers, or sitting at home watching the ball drop on TV. Either way will be fine with me at this point.

finally learned the purl stitch!

A friend on a message board gave me a link to an online video and it did the trick! (Thanks, Jenn!) So now I can do all the basic things you need to be able to do to knit! Here are some pictures of the stockinette swatch I just made this evening. Yay! I think I can call myself a knitter now! Here's the link, in case anyone out there is having the same problem! Knitting Help


















Guest Post Update

Apparently, Brandon got hooked on guest-posting after my blog and is now doing other guest-posts. I think I feel like the local schoolyard pot dealer now after discovering that my childhood friend who I badgered into trying his first joint is now hooked on heroin. I feel really guilty about it. But then again, I'm Catholic, so if this hadn't happened, I would probably find something else to

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cleaning house

I think it's time to clean house, literally and figuratively. I always feel this way this time of year. For example, my bedroom is a complete and total mess. I'm usually a very neat person, but for some reason, there are clothes and books everywhere. The rest of the house looks great, but my bedroom is where I spend most of my time, so it's the real problem. There is clutter all over the place and I can't seem to figure out where to put all of it. A few months ago I organized my closet, but never really got to the rest of the room. Now, as I look at the clutter, I want to make it all go away.

My brain feels the same way right now, full of clutter with nowhere to put everything. How do you clean your brain? I've tried yoga, cardio, writing things down, and nothing seems to help right now. Usually the above mentioned methods do actually work, but for some reason they're not working now. Maybe the knitting will help. I'll try that later, after I'm finished cleaning this room a little.

I had a great day at work today. I finished the grant I've been working on, which is good. This program is even more important than ever now that the president's budget has a proposed cut in government help for seniors who don't have enough money for food. I'm going to be doing some advocacy in that area in the coming months, so I'm learning as much as I can about it. I hope we get this grant, because it could mean a lot of help for seniors in our area.

In other news, I'm still plotting out Deadly Council. I've got most of the preliminary stuff written, but it's time to start leaving clues to who the killer is, but I don't have that information yet. There has to be a killer for there to be a murder, lol. The YA series continues to play around in my brain. I'm going to start making notes about it. I think it could be good, but I've never written fantasy before, so it'll be interesting to try.

I started the "A Picture A Day" project yesterday. I'm really going to try to keep it up. I think it'll be cool to look back over the pictures. At least, it'll be cool when I have more than 2 pictures on there, lol. I think that's all I have to say. I'm off to get rid of the clutter...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Addicted to knitting

Okay, so we all know I'm the kind of person who becomes obsessed with new things. I love having projects to work on, and I'm always trying to find new projects to start. I started the knitting project because I thought it would be a good thing to learn, and my goal was to knit a scarf. I'm still working on that first scarf, but I've found out just how relaxing knitting can be, and I'm really getting into it more and more. I thought it would be fun to knit scarves for some of my family members, so I went to a craft store today to look at yarn. I found the most beautiful eyelash yarn in a solid color for my sister and multicolored for Hannah. I also bought two new sets of knitting needles. Eventually I'll probably have one of every size! So anyway, here's the yarn. I just thought I would share.

Yet another project...

I was looking around on 43 Things and found the coolest goal. Someone said they wanted to take a photo a day to document their lives. Since I just got the cutest little digital camera that fits in my purse, I decided to make this goal mine. So, of course, I started a new blog with only one purpose, to post my "picture a day." It's on the sidebar titled "My Sites."

Deadly Council

I decided to start working on Deadly Council again, so you will see a new progress meter in one of the sidebars.

I've also added my flickr badge so that I can share all my photos.

Monday, December 25, 2006

My Charlie Brown Christmas

This is my Christmas card to everyone, something I found while mindlessly surfing for something interesting to put on my blog. If you have 10 minutes, and you love the show Scrubs, watch this video. I read a thing that said the cast of Scrubs made this for a cast Christmas party a few years ago, but it's now on YouTube, so that everyone can enjoy it. It's too funny! I especially loved seeing which characters were done by which voices.. especially the fact that Dr. Cox is Linus. And Carla as Lucy... perfection! Merry Christmas!

Knitting update #2

Check out my 101 in 1001 blog for an update on the knitting project, as well as a picture of my work in progress. I'm still not getting the purl stitch, so this particular scarf is extremely basic, but I figured out how to bind off and I'm getting really good at the knit stitch. I'm still not very fast, but I figure that will come in time. Anyway, there's an update for you on that!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone out there had a great Christmas Eve and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Day! It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Xmas Guest Post By One Child Left Behind

Since my annual torture ritual at the hands of those who share my genetic material is not yet half over, I am bringing you a guest post by Brandon, formerly of the blog known as "one child left behind". I once described reading his blog as being like having a religious experience that doesn't involve being molested by a priest. Although Brandon has given up blogging, he kindly agreed to do this

Friday, December 22, 2006

Baking can be fun

Let's start off with a confession. I don't cook. I've never really had the patience for it, but this year I wanted to give baking a shot. So I hung out with my mom last night and we did some baking for the people I work with and we really had a great time! I forgot to take pictures of the lemon bars, brownies, and cookies we made, so I can't post them here, but I must admit they turned out pretty good. I might try this baking thing again sometime. I've also volunteered to do some of the cooking for Christmas dinner, so watch out family!

The YA series I've been thinking about is heavy on my mind. I keep thinking I need to start working on it. I've never really tried working on more than one project at once, so I think I might need to think about doing that, since I really want to finish the first Deadlines book and work on the second FaithGirls book. Then there's the little matter of finishing my 2006 NaNo. I guess I have a lot of projects to juggle!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Break From Blogging.

Okay, I haven’t made much progress lately on my to do list around the fortress, but I’m hoping to kick it into high gear after the new year. I installed most of the baseboard molding upstairs, before I left. Not because I was motivated, but because I got sick of seeing it in my living room and having to step around it. Plus when people come to visit and see it sitting in the same place for

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A day of writing

I spent the day writing today, but it wasn't fiction. Our quarterly newsletter deadline is approaching, and I am the editor, which actually means I write almost everything, lay it out, and then edit the entire newsletter. After that, I pass it on to my boss, who makes changes, and then we print it and send it to 6,000 people. Today I did a lot of the initial layout and some of the writing. I'll be finishing up by the end of the week, which is a little early, so that's good. I love the publications part of my job. It's such a fun way to communicate with people, and I can be creative, which is always good. So anyway, it was a good day. I'm getting back to the grant tomorrow, but will still be working on the newsletter. Multi-tasking is fun, isn't it?

Really, work can't get any better than it is right now. I really feel comfortable with my job, and I know I'm doing well, but there are still challenges to overcome and new things to learn. That's the way a job should be, I think.

I'm doing some planning for next year's writing. I want to start the year with several outlines and/or ideas so that I can just jump in and get to work. I think 2007 is going to be a great year for work and writing. I just hope it's a great year for my personal life too...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Knitting is hard

I have to go buy a better knitting book. I've finally figured out how to do the knit stitch, but I can't figure out how to bind off. The pictures just don't explain the process very well and I'm getting totally confused. It's so frustrating because I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but I can't manage to do this thing that millions of people learn how to do when they are kids! Of course, I'm sure I'll feel the same way when I start learning how to sew. I guess I'm in for an interesting 1001 days!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fake Christmas

We had fake Christmas over the weekend. At least, that's what I decided to call it. My sister and her husband are taking their kids to New York to visit his family for Christmas this year, which means we won't get to do our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and opening of the presents. So we did it this past Saturday. Now it feels like Christmas is over and I'm kind of sad. But actually, we had a really great time. The kids loved their gifts. Noah especially loved his mp3 player and the "wired for sound" hoodie that I got him. He had the headphones in his ears pretty much all weekend after unwrapping it.

On Sunday, I took Noah to see Eragon, which was actually a really good movie. I haven't read the book, but I might now. Of course, this is the same thing that happened with Harry Potter. I saw one of the movies (the second, actually) and immediately decided to read the books. Now I, like so many others, cannot wait for the seventh book. I guess it's about time for a new obsession... lol.

Today was a fairly quiet day at work, which was good. I have a grant due next week, so tomorrow I'm going to start writing that. I'm doing some research because we want to start up a program to give out food to senior adults. We don't have a specific program to address the nutritional needs of low income seniors yet, so I think it would be a great addition to our current services. This is part of what I love about my job. When I got to create a sort of template for a nutrition education program and then the grant proposal was accepted, it really felt great! Now we are implementing the program and it's even more exciting. It's awesome to create something out of nothing and then see it in action. I think next year is going to be very interesting at work.

I have been thinking about my goals for 2007. I know I want to do more next year than I did this year, especially with my writing. I'll have to really think hard about what I want to accomplish so I can post it here at the end of this year.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Diesel Me

Well, I just went through a barrage of tests for a health screening and I found out that my body fat is 10.7%. Even though I haven't worked out in over 2 months and I put on about 10 pounds recently, I am still at 10.7% body fat. This doesn't surprise me. Doing construction work makes me storng like, well, like a construction worker. And as many of you know, I studied Northern Eagle Claw Kung Fu

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Decisions... decisions...

So here it is, the decision I need to make. I want to go to grad school. I want to do it soon, before I get too old and tired to go to class (lol) The only problem is, I'm not sure what I want to study. I have several choices that would help with the things I want to accomplish in my life, and they all sound great, but I'm just having a hard time figuring out which one to do. So here are the options, in no particular order.

Fine Arts/Creative Writing - This would help me hone my writing and could possibly teach me something I need to know in order to become a published writer. The only problem is, I don't have to have this degree to have this career, so I'm not sure it's the best option, although it would be the option that is most fun. I know I would really enjoy the classes and would learn a lot, but I'm not sure a Master's degree in creative writing would really further my plans. But I'm not sure...

Communication - This would enable me to teach, which is something I really would like to do. I'd love to teach oral communication and public relations classes, as well as journalism classes. I could see myself being the faculty advisor for a student newspaper or a public relations society. I have all these ideas about how to teach students what it's really like to work in the public relations field.

Public Administration - This would be great for advocacy and policy, two things that I really enjoy that I never thought I would. With this degree, I would be more prepared to eventually become an executive director for a nonprofit one day, which is something I've recently decided I would like to do. I was talking to someone the other day and she said it's a very good degree to have. I need to research it further to see what it would do for me and then figure out if it would be better than the next option.

MBA - This option scares me to death, actually. It's not something I ever considered, but my boss said it is the best option to make me the most marketable. She said if I ever decide to leave the nonprofit sector, it would be easier to find a job if I have this degree. The big problem with it is, I'm not sure I can do the work. I've heard MBA programs are tough, and I'm just not sure I can do it.

So anyway, this is the big decision and I'm not sure what to do. I know I want to get some kind of Master's degree, I'm just not sure which one. If anyone out there has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

Ouch! Stock Thoughts.

Someone asked me recently why I matched the contributions in the charity raffle at the DC Blogger Happy Hour. There were two reasons. 1) Catholic Guilt; and 2) Ninja Stock Picks (tm) have been doing remarkably well over the past 6 months. I was actually up about 22% in the past 6 months on my Ninja investment strategy. So I donated a bunch of money to other charities and I figured the Karma

Monday, December 11, 2006

weekend: busy, but good

I'm still trying to recover from a busy weekend. In fact, it's been awhile since I've done so much in one weekend! It felt good to be so active, though. Throughout November I found myself withdrawing from any kind of social interaction because of the writing. I have to be very careful when I get that involved with a project. I can turn off everything and just focus on the project, and that's good because it lets me get it done, but it's also bad because I tend to ignore what I need. I need to find a balance between being so intensely focused on one thing that I forget about everything else and dealing with everything else to the point that I forget about the writing. I'm sure this is going to be a struggle until I figure out exactly how to handle it. The funny thing is, I'm a great multi-tasker at work, I just can't manage to do it in my personal life. I read somewhere that you should approach your personal life just like you approach your work life, and that's kind of what I envisioned when I made my 101 in 1001 list. I'm hoping it will help.

Speaking of that list, I've done 3 out of the 101 things on the list, and have started some of the others. For more details on the progress of the list or the list itself, go to the blog I created just for the project.

But back to the weekend. As I said, it was a lot of fun. I really needed some fun after the horrible week I had at work. I swear, if I had known it was going to be so awful coming back from being off for a week I wouldn't have gone on vacation at all! Of course, when I offered to cancel my week off and come to work to finish the big project we were working on I was told no, so it wasn't my decision at that point, lol.

Anyway, Friday was very relaxing and enjoyable, even at work. We had a Christmas party, and that's always nice. We had awesome food for lunch, met some of our board members, and all sat around talking and laughing for awhile. It was good. I think every company should do that every now and then. It's important to let off steam with coworkers, to just sit down to a good meal and enjoy each other's company. After the party, some of us went out for drinks. That was fun too. You really see a different side of someone when you spend time with them outside of the office.

Saturday started out kind of dull but ended up very interesting indeed. I spent the morning cleaning up and doing some laundry (really needed to do more of this!) and then went to lunch at my aunt's house. My mother's side of the family does Christmas early so that everyone can spend Christmas with their immediate families. We had a great lunch and spent several hours just sitting around talking. On our way back home, we went by Wal-Mart so that I could pick up the pictures we had made of the kids. They are absolutely adorable! While we were there, Rhea called and wanted to hang out that evening, so I asked her if she wanted to go to the party I was planning to attend. The JV girls were having a Christmas party that sounded great, so we both ended up going and hanging out there for quite a long time. It was a blast! After that, we went to Rhea's house and watched a movie, then we went to bed. I had to be up fairly early the next day, but we still managed to stay up until about 3:30. (I might be too old to do that anymore, lol)

Sunday I went to a coworker's church and sang two solos in his Christmas program. He had asked me to do it some time ago and I was happy to do it. It was fun, actually. I know this is going to sound awful, but I love singing in front of people I don't really know, because it means after it's over I get to hear good things about the performance. (see, I told you it sounded awful!) But my voice has always been one of the things I could be proud of, and it's nice to hear good things about something that you're proud of, right?

After the program I went shopping for Christmas gifts, but didn't really find anything I wanted to buy. I'm having trouble with a few people on my list this year. I'm also having a lot of trouble holding back on gifts for the kids. I always go overboard and I promised myself (and my sister) that I wouldn't go crazy this year. So I got each of them a big gift and a few small ones. Now I just have to get a few things for their stockings (the ones at my house) and I'll be finished with them. The people giving me trouble: mom, sister, brother in law, and a couple of friends. Not really sure what I'm going to do for all of those. My dad is taken care of, though, so that's a good thing. He's usually the most difficult, but he was very clear this year about what he wanted and it was easy to find and not outrageously expensive (like the things he usually wants.)

So I'll be doing some Christmas shopping this week. We're having Christmas with the kids next Saturday since they will be out of town for the actual holiday. I have to put a few more CDs on Noah's mp3 player before I wrap it. I really hope he's not disappointed that it's not an iPod. I thought this one would be better, though, because it has a radio too. Of course, it's his first mp3 player, so I think it's a good idea to start out with something smaller (and less expensive) and then work up to something bigger and more expensive like an iPod. But it's interesting how many of my CDs the kid likes. I gained some "cool points" by playing Green Day and Panic at the Disco in my car the other day. And now he likes Fall Out Boy and Jack's Mannequin because I played them for him. I'm constantly amazed at how mature he is for his age. He's only 10 but he seems like a teenager.

Okay, this is getting long so I'm going to stop here. Maybe I'll write more later. I'm going to do some research on writer's Web sites and maybe do some new things with mine. I finally figured out how to point the domain name to the actual site, so now www.anitahavel.com actually takes you to the new site rather than a "we've moved" page. That makes me happy!

In other news, I'm going to be making an extremely important decision about my future in the next few weeks. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Blogger Happy Hour

Well, the Blogger Happy Hour was good. I don’t think as many people showed up as usual because it was freezing out, but all in all it turned out okay. It turns out that I suck at raffles, but the fundraising went okay. The 50/50 raffle was won by some non-bloggers at a table who bought some tickets. In a way, it’s good that a non-blogger won, because if the winner had been a blogger with nice

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Too tired to think

This will be a short one. Work has been hard this week. I was actually at work until 1 this morning and then had to be right back there at 8. And while I didn't actually make it there until about 8:30, it was still tough. I feel like I could sleep for two weeks, but of course I can't. At least this weekend should be fairly restful. Anyway, just wanted to check in. Hopefully I'll be able to think tomorrow and I can write more.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Proof that I'm not a Jerk (as far as you know).

Ninjas have a long tradition of charity. In olden times, if a ninja was going to kill you on your birthday, they would ask you if you had a last request before you die. Many people asked to be spared, some asked for a threesome with double-jointed large-breasted twins, and some asked for flan. After you told them what your last request was, they would tell you to close your eyes and it would

Sunday, December 3, 2006

a need for some poetry

I was going through some old papers today and found a folder that contained some of my assignments from high school. Tucked away in one of the side pockets, I found several poems I wrote during that time of my life. None of them were particularly good, in fact, they were pretty much the angsty, over dramatic poetry you would expect from a teenaged girl, but it got me thinking. I actually haven't written a poem since high school. I don't know why. I think I might try to do that sometime soon. I also haven't done a short story in awhile. Maybe I'll do that soon too.

I started "The Artist's Way" this morning. It seems really good. I think it'll be very interesting to go through the course and see what happens.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

TGIO party

We had our NaNoWriMo TGIO party today and it was a hit! I'm so happy that so many people showed up and seemed to have a good time. We talked about our month of novel writing, and gave out awards to the people in the group who had the highest wordcounts. There was a girl in our group who had a wordcount over 200,000! Can you even believe that? It kind of makes my 50,043 words look small. But no, I won't let her accomplishment diminish mine. Well, one more day until I go back to work. I really am looking forward to getting back to the routine.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Lazy Day

Today was a lazy day and I loved it! I did nothing but watch Scrubs on DVD and play The Sims 2. The only problem with having a lazy day is that it doesn't provide much inspiration for the blog, so I decided to do a meme. I found a great holiday one, and since it's the first day of December, I decided to do it. So here it is, The Holiday Meme!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate with massive marshmallows!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps them, of course!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? It depends on if I’m doing a theme. A few years ago I did a beautiful blue, silver and white theme on the tree and it was really nice. But most of the time I just do colored lights and the crazy ornaments that I’ve collected throughout the years.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Of course!

5. When do you put your decorations up? Depends on what’s going on in my life. This year, I put them up a few days after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My family has this stuffing recipe that is to die for! And no holiday is complete without green bean casserole.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Being Mary in the church Christmas play when I was 14. Also, the year my dad got hurt a month before Christmas and couldn’t work. My entire church got together and bought food and gifts for us and delivered all of it on Christmas Eve. That Christmas morning, we woke up to a feast and presents that we were not expecting.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was 9 and I saw my dad making footprints going from the fireplace to the tree.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My family gets together on Christmas Eve and opens all the gifts that evening so that my sister’s family can do their holiday thing on Christmas morning.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? The usual.. lights and ornaments.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? It never snows here. I wish it would, especially on Christmas.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, although I haven’t done it in a few years.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? A Cabbage Patch doll when I was 10.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Sugar cookies!

16. What is your favorite Holiday Tradition? Going caroling with my church choir.

17. What tops your tree? I alternate between an angel and a star. This year it’s the star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?? I love candy canes, for eating and decorating!

World Aids Day

Support World AIDS Day


Today is World AIDS Day. Take a moment today and think of all the people affected by AIDS, and consider making a donation or doing something for your local AIDS group.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Vacation almost over

Is it odd that I actually miss work? I caught myself thinking about it today, wondering what everyone was doing at the office. I guess I'll find out on Monday. I'm looking forward to getting back to it and diving back into everything. I'd say that's a sign that I love my job. I really, really needed a break, but now I'm ready to go back. The break was good, it did exactly what I needed it to do, and now I feel like I can really go back and do things with energy and passion again.

I went Christmas shopping again today and now the three kids are finished. I can't describe how relieved I feel knowing that I'm done with their gifts. Now I just have to figure out what to get my parents. They are always difficult, especially my dad. We will be having Christmas early this year because my sister is taking the kids to New York to be with her husband's family. I hope they have a nice time, but I can't help being sad that we won't be seeing them on Christmas Eve like we have since they were born. Ten Christmas Eves in a row with Noah... that's significant. I'm not sure what the day will even be like without having the kids around.

Anyway, I think I'm just going to take it easy tomorrow. Maybe I'll read something. At any rate, it's going to be a relaxing day.

Proof that I'm Not as Pathetic As You Thought

After reading the story about when I got my ass kicked by a swan when I was a kid, some of you may think that I have the fighting prowess of Clay Aiken. But…here is a video of a swan kicking an adult’s ass. All things considering, I think I did pretty good in that fight.*Swan Attack - video powered by Metacafe*If you define pretty good as cowering in a corner and crying while a bird beats me

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Since I don't know anyone who does these I have to search them out. But there's this cool thing about technorati, you can type in any word and find blogs with that word as a tag. I typed in meme and this was one of the first that popped up and I loved it! So here it is.

Greatest Hits for the Year I Turned 18

The Rules
1. Go to popculturemadness.com and find the greatest hits for the year you turned 18.
2. Note that this is totally US-centric and play along only if you're okay with that.
3. Select the first 50.
4. Bold the ones you like.
5. Turn the ones you hate a lighter color.
6. Italicize the ones you are familiar with but neither like nor hate.
7. Leave the ones you don't know as is.

So here are the greatest hits of 1994, the year I turned 18.

1. All I Wanna Do - Sheryl Crow
2. I'll Make Love To You - Boys II Men
3. Turn The Beat Around - Gloria Estefan
4. On Bended Knee - Boys II Men
5. I Like To Move It - Reel 2 Real
6. Crazy - Aerosmith
7. I Swear - John Michael Montgomery (or All-4-One)
8. The Sign - Ace of Base
9. Bootie Call - BLACKstreet
10. Can You Feel The Love Tonight - Elton John
11. Beautiful In My Eyes - Joshua Kadison
12. 100% Pure Love - Crystal Waters
13. At Your Best (You Are Love) - Aaliyah
14. Fantasic Voyage - Coolio
15. Mr Vain - Culture Beat
16. Mr Jones - Counting Crows
17. Power Of Love - Celene Dion
18. Another Night - Real McCoy
19. Whatta Man - Salt N Pepa
20. Endless Love - Mariah Carey & Luthor Vandross
21. What's Up - DJ Miko
22. Here Comes The Hotstepper - Ini Kamoze
23. All For Love - Bryan Adams, Sting, Rod Stewart
24. All Apolgies - Nirvana
25. Action - Terror fabulous
26. Return To Innocence - Enigma
27. Always - Bon Jovi
28. Back and Forth - Aaliyah
29. Prayer For The Dying - Seal
30. Moving On Up - M People
31. I'll take You There - General Public
32. What's My Name - Snoop Doggy Dogg
33. Amazing - Aerosmith
34. Laid - James
35. All I Want Is You - U2
36. Without You - Mariah Carey
37. Wild Night - John Melloncamp & Me'Shell NdegeOcello
38. Regulate - Warren G & Nate Dogg
39. Don't Turn Around - Ace of Base
40. Love Is All Around - Wet Wet Wet
41. Having A Party - Rod Stewart & Ronnie Wood
42. Basket Case - Green Day
43. Anytime You Need A Friend - Mariah Carey
44. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World - Prince
45. Bump 'N Grind - R. Kelly
46. Come To My Window - Melissa Ethridge
47. Loser - Beck
48. Mary Jane's Last Dance - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
49. Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through - Meatloaf
50. Self Esteem - The Offspring

Dinner With David Lynch and a Bush Appointee

My coolest celebrity story is the one where I peed next to Jack Nicholson. (This was in a restroom urinal, otherwise the story would be even cooler). This weekend I added another celebrity story to my catalog. Although this one wasn’t nearly as cool as the other ones (like when Mario Cuomo tried to have me arrested, or when Chris Rock pretended to laugh at one of my jokes). I had a (DC) Celebrity

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 28

Current wordcount: 50,043
Today's wordcount: 2,043

Time spent writing: 2 hours
Time spent on NaNo Boards: about 10 minutes

Today's soundtrack: selections from the nineties
Today's mood: Awesome!

I'm finished! Yay! Well, okay, I'm not actually finished. In fact, the novel has quite a long way to go. However, I have finished the first 50,000 words and that's something. Even though it is not the first time I've won this challenge, it is still significant to me. So to celebrate, I am going to go have some chocolate! And tomorrow? I'm going to rest. But the next day? I'm going to write some more. I estimate that this book will probably be about 80,000 words by the time I'm finished.
But for now, I'm just going to be happy that I crossed the finish line.

Blogger Beta label cloud

Did you see my label cloud? Scroll down a little and you'll find it. I never would have been able to do it without the help of this awesome person here. Seriously, step by step instructions on how to create a label cloud and how to customize it so that it works with your color scheme and everything! I'm going to do some more customizing of my blog when NaNoWriMo is finished, but I was just too anxious to get this one working. Isn't it cool?

SUV Attacks Increase

In case you thought I was exaggerating about the need to fortify the defenses on the Ninja Fortress to protect it from attacks by drunken yuppies in SUVs, check out THIS!This SUV plowed into a school that is within striking distance of the fortress. Luckily, those kids were probably cutting class, doing drugs, or engaging in unprotected pre-marital sex and were therefore no where near the school

Monday, November 27, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 27

Current wordcount: 48,000
Today's wordcount: 1,684

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: less than 5 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Toad the Wet Sprocket (thanks, Chris!)
Today's mood: Okay

Well, I didn't write as much as I wanted today, but that's because I squashed my finger in a door and am having a lot of trouble typing. I did make over the usual NaNo daily goal, so that's good. Now I have only 2,000 words left to reach 50,000 and I will do that tomorrow. Hopefully my finger will feel better by then. In times like these, I really wish I had voice recognition software. I could write so much faster and injuries like this wouldn't slow me down. This kind of thing is so typical of me. I'm always hurting myself one way or another. Oh well, that's just the way I am. So here's to tomorrow, the day I will finish (and verify) this year's NaNoWriMo!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 26

Current wordcount: 46,316
Today's wordcount: 2,105

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: less than 5 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Dave Matthews
Today's mood: Great!

So somehow voodoo has been introduced into my story. Well, at least one of the characters says it's voodoo. Having absolutely no experience with or prior knowledge of the practice of voodoo, I can't say that it is or it isn't. If I decide to leave this part in my story, December will be full of research! Of course, since I really enjoy research, it'll be fun. Hopefully after the research I can still use it, because it makes something that I was planning even more interesting. Actually, it makes the whole story more interesting, and since the voodoo story happens in the past instead of the present, I can use it without serious complications for my main character. It just makes her family's past more interesting.

Is there a Dave Matthews song about voodoo? Maybe that's why it appeared in my story today. But either way, I hope it works because if it does, it will take the whole story in a much more interesting direction.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 25

Current wordcount: 44,211
Today's wordcount: 2,000

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: About 10 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Death Cab for Cutie
Today's mood: Pretty good

I finally completed the scene I went back to do a couple of days ago, and then I added a couple of paragraphs before it to make it make more sense in context. Yes, I'm aware that the point of NaNoWriMo is not to go back and make things make sense, but I couldn't help it in this case. I needed to go back so I could go forward. Since I got that finished, I have been moving forward at a steady pace, and the story seems to have more direction. I think it might actually be a good direction, which makes me happy! I was feeling a little unfocused about this story and wasn't really sure where I was going with things, but now I think I'm on a path. We'll see what happens...

Friday, November 24, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 24

Current wordcount: 42,211
Today's wordcount: 6,211

Time spent writing: 3 hours
Time spent on NaNo Boards: About 30 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Robbie Williams (especially the swing album, which is awesome!)
Today's mood: Great!

Wow... my fingers hurt. I was trying to write 10,000 words today, but I didn't get there, but I did write over 6,000 words, so I'm happy with that. Also, I'm caught up, which is great. Here's what I'm going to try to do:

11/25 Saturday: 2,000 - bringing me to over 44,000
11/26 Sunday: 2,000 - bringing me to over 46,000
11/27 Monday: 2,000 - bringing me to over 48,000
11/28 Tuesday: 2,000 - taking me over the top with a couple of days to spare!

I may go over the goal a few days, but I will at least hit 2,000 each day. I think it's a pretty good plan.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 23

Current wordcount: 36,000
Today's wordcount: 2,000

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 15 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Miss Saigon soundtrack
Today's mood: Pretty good

Well, this morning I was able to write a good 2,000 words before going off to a relative's house for Thanksgiving dinner. I went back and added an extra scene that I think really explains what's happening with my two main characters. I need to go back and add another one, I think. Their emotional connection is too strong for the time they have known each other, so I'm going to go back and write a few more scenes where they are getting to know each other. I think that will help the flow of the story. I think I'll work on that a little tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 22

No writing today. Work was crazy and I didn't get home until late. Everyone else left at 1, but I had to stick around for some things, so I didn't get to leave. Oh well, at least I'm off all week next week! And luckily I will be able to write a lot this weekend. I want to get caught up by Friday so that I can take a fairly easy pace for the next few days and still finish with a couple of days to spare.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 21

No writing today, but I knew that would be the case. I'm going to work on the story Wednesday night, as usual, and then I have plenty of time to work on it Thursday morning and then again on Thursday afternoon. It's not my year to host Thanksgiving, so all I have to do is prepare a side dish and go to a relative's house. I'm so looking forward to my week off. It'll be great to be able to spend my days writing instead of having to go to work and write in the evenings.

I'd really like to finish with a few days to spare, simply because I enjoy that feeling of knowing I've passed my NaNo goal and I love going onto the forums and encouraging others to finish. So the plan is to finish sometime early next week. We'll see what happens.

The Grass Isn't the Only Thing That's Greener

I think I've seen it all now.. Check out this Article: multi millionaires are envious of billionaires. WTF?Now I know why greed is one of the seven deadly sins. Greed is probably the worst of the seven deadly sins--except for gluttony, because it makes you a big fatass. No, I take that back, because with gluttony, you get to enjoy some delicious deep friend food. Maybe some flan, or a peanut

Monday, November 20, 2006

Write a 5 year career plan - Complete

Today I finished the second goal on my 101 in 1001 list. I wrote a 5 year career plan. More details can be found here. It's nice to cross things off a list!

NaNoWriMo Day 20

Current wordcount: 35,556
Today's wordcount: 1,700

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: None

Today's soundtrack: The Clash
Today's mood: Pretty good

Well, Tori is still in the attic, discovering her family history. I think I might just keep her there for awhile, because it's so much fun there! But I guess eventually she's going to have to go downstairs for one reason or another! Writing went well today. I didn't go overboard with it because I wanted to do some other things tonight, but I made my word goal for the day and that's great. I won't be able to do any writing tomorrow, so Wednesday I'll catch up and then Thursday I'll have plenty of time between the two Thanksgiving meals, and Friday I have plenty of time because I wouldn't dare go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving! Work was stressful today. I'm trying to get too much done in too little time, preparing for my week off. It's hard to take time off, but I know I have to do it. I really, really need a break.

Harry Potter 5 teaser trailer!

I just found out that you can view the new Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix trailer online! You can find it here! Now I have something very cool to look forward to in July of 2007. (yes, I'm aware that I'm a geek!)

Harry Potter 5 teaser trailer!

You can view it here and let me just tell you, it's fabulous!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 19

Current wordcount: 33,856
Today's wordcount: 2,107

Time spent writing: 2 hours
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 30 minutes

Today's soundtrack: actually, complete silence
Today's mood: Okay

There's really not a lot to say about today's writing. It was good, but not spectacular. After a few days of not writing, and after being sick, it was hard to get back into the story. But I did, and it's really about to get good... well, I hope it will get good. It's at the point where it will be good if it's ever going to be good, if that makes any sense. It probably doesn't, lol.

On another front, I completed the first thing on my 101 in 1001 list. I wanted to make something decorative for my home, and since I've always wanted to try mosaics, I bought a kit and learned how to do it. Here is the link to the entry on the list: Mosaic Votive

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NaNoWriMo Days 17 and 18

Still sick. Ugh. I'll be so glad when this virus or whatever is over. Horrible headaches and stomach issues for what, four days now? It's just not pleasant at all. Tomorrow I'm going to sit down and write, no matter how awful I feel. It sucks to be sick on your birthday. The only thing I did all day was go to out to eat with my parents. It was nice and I enjoyed it, but only because by the evening I was starting to feel better. Now I'm sort of feeling sick again, so I'm going to get some rest and hopefully things will look better tomorrow. I'm so glad I got so far ahead, because now I'm only a little behind. And I have that whole last week off, so I can finish then if I haven't already. I know I can write tomorrow, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday (in the morning, before we go to Thanksgiving) Then I have every single day until the end of November, so I'm sure I'll be able to do it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My 101 Things in 1001 Days

So here's the skinny on a new project I've decided to start. I made a blog for it just to stay organized, but I know I'll be posting updates on the project here too. I came across this concept while randomly surfing the other day and decided it would be interesting to try. Here is some information on the project: (Full details as well as a list of people participating can be found here)

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as new year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips:

1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.

2. Stay Focussed. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.

3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.

4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.

5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 16

No writing today. There are two reasons for this.

One is that I've been very sick since last night. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, I feel completely horrible and I hate it! I mean, who gets sick on their birthday? I'm so unhappy about being sick now. I mean, of all the times to be sick, I have to get sick on the one weekend that I have big plans.

The other reason I didn't write today is that I just got home from a work event. Well, I got home at about 9:30. Ugh. I hate being sick and I hate working late. I guess today is the day for me to hate things, but I don't feel bad about feeling this way. I'm always the one who is positive, happy and bright. Well today I'm just not any of those things. After standing in the freezing cold for 2 hours tonight for work, I don't feel positive at all. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 15

Current wordcount: 31,749
Today's wordcount: 1,749

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 45 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Lord of the Rings soundtrack
Today's mood: Just okay

Lots of paperwork today at work, so by the time I got home my eyes were blurry. I wrote some words, but not really the 2-3k that I really wanted to do. Tomorrow night I have a work event and then when I get home I have to do some laundry and pack for the weekend. Friday is going to be an extremely hectic day, but when it's over, everything will be great! I am so looking forward to my birthday weekend out of town. I'm also really looking forward to my week off. I'm going to sleep late and write all day. It'll be great!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Secuirty Precautions and The Fortress

Hmmmm....I've been thinking that I should park the Ninja Light-Armoured Assault Vehicle (NLAAV) in front of my house, instead of in my rear parking spot. You see, I thought that the bars on the gates and windows made the Ninja Fortress impenetrable. BUT, recent hostile mouse incursions (all intruders were repelled with serious firepower) and THIS news article make me realize that further

NaNoWriMo Day 14

I chose to take a little break today, and I'm very glad I did. So I'm still at 30,000 words, which is still ahead, so I'm not going to stress about it. Sometimes you just have to take a little break, you know?

Monday, November 13, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 13

Current wordcount: 30,000
Today's wordcount: 3,367

Time spent writing: 2 hours
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 1 hour

Today's soundtrack: Snow Patrol and Fall Out Boy
Today's mood: Great!

A great day at work and a great day of writing. The story is going well. I stopped right at 30,000 words, right in the middle of a sentence, just because I wanted to have an even wordcount for once. Now I'm ahead by several days, which is great, considering that I won't be able to write all weekend. Since I've finished for the day and I have a little time before I have to go to bed, I'm going to play The Sims 2 without feeling guilty. Yes, I could write more, but I deserve a break! My NaNo report card says I'll be finished on November 22 at this pace, but it doesn't take the weekend into account, so I'll probably be finished around November 25 or so, much like last year. Some people treat NaNo like a race. I don't like to do that. Slow and steady wins the race, right? NaNo is good for me because it forces me to write every day, even when I don't feel like it. They always say the best way to get into the habit of doing something is to do it for a month, so this year I'm using NaNo to get into the habit of writing every day. Maybe this time it'll stick...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 12

Current wordcount: 26,633
Today's wordcount: 3,533

Time spent writing: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Time spent on NaNo Boards: about 30 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Coldplay and Dave Matthews
Today's mood: Pretty good

Whew! I finished the 11,000 word challenge for the weekend, which really helped up my total count. Now if I just do 2500 to 3000 words each day this week, I'll stay ahead even missing a few days next weekend. I'm so glad to be finished with the 11,000 words, and extremely glad to have passed the halfway mark! Yay!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 11

Current wordcount: 23,100
Today's wordcount: 3,091

Time spent writing: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 20 minutes or so

Today's soundtrack: Madonna (a mix of old and new)
Today's mood: Pretty good

Didn't really carve out a special time to write like I wanted to, but managed to get quite a few words down late in the evening. I had planned to do what I did yesterday, just sit and write until my fingers felt like they were going to fall off, but a call from my sister begging me to watch the kids kind of cancelled those plans. Not that I minded, I always love spending the day with the kids. We went on another nature hike, this time without the GPS. There were no caches in the nature preserve we went to today, so we just took ourselves and a camera, and really had a nice time. I'll probably post one or two pictures later. I think it's very important to teach kids that nature is supposed to be enjoyed and respected, not abused and neglected. They are the future, after all, and this planet is bad enough without them adding to the problem. They love being outdoors, and they always have a blast counting the wildlife we see when we go on our little nature walks. This time we saw several different types of birds, many squirrels, some bees and other flying insects, and two very large spiders. Noah spotted one spider as he was wrapping a fly that had been caught in his web. We watched him prepare and then eat his dinner with morbid curiosity. We were all properly grossed out by it, but I think it was a very educational experience for them. Noah couldn't stop talking about how cool it was. Later, after my sister picked them up, I went shopping for their Christmas outfits. Every year, I take them to have Christmas portraits taken and then I give the prints to my family as gifts. They always really love having these Christmas pictures, so I'm going to keep doing it. I got a red dress for Hannah, a nice shirt and tie for Noah, and a cute little sweater with a snowflake on it for Kohl. They are going to look so beautiful in their new outfits! If I ever have children, they will be the most spoiled kids on the planet, I just know it... lol.

Anyway, so the writing was a late evening thing, but it still worked out well. I managed to get in a little over 3,000 words, bringing my weekend total to 7,467 words. I need to write 3,533 words tomorrow to win the 11,000 word Veteran's Day Weekend Challenge. Tori and Holly are going to go shopping for clothes tomorrow, and they will run into Robert in a coffee shop. Tori is also going to find out what being a part of "Southern Society" really means...

Friday, November 10, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 10

Current wordcount: 20,009
Today's wordcount: 4,376

Time spent writing: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 1 hour

Today's soundtrack: The Fray and Gavin DeGraw
Today's mood: Really good. Very productive!

Off today and it was wonderful. I slept until 11, wrote for two and a half hours (mostly using word wars on the NaNo boards) and the story really progressed. They are finally finished with their tour of the grounds and Tori just signed the papers claiming her inheritance. Odd things keep showing up in the story that I hadn't planned. There's this whole family history that I didn't invent that just sort of happened. I love when the story takes over!

Anyway, I'm trying to write 11,000 words this Veteran's Day Weekend, and I think the first day of that attempt was pretty good. Only 6,624 words to go...

Thursday, November 9, 2006

My first Nanoism

I just had to post this. Don't look at the horrible sentence structure as much as the missing letter that changes the entire scene.
Quote:
Elegant scones hung on the walls and came to life when Robert flipped the switch.

Okay, so when did we start hanging pastry on the walls, and how exactly do they come to life when you flip a switch? Sconces for breakfast, anyone?

I just had to share this Nanoism with everyone. That's what happens when you do word wars all night, I guess!

NaNoWriMo Day 9

Current wordcount: 15,633
Today's wordcount: 3,233

Time spent writing: 2 hours and 30 minutes (approximately)
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 1 hour (word wars, mostly... one NaNoism)

Today's soundtrack: the Scrubs soundtrack, volumes 1 and 2
Today's mood: Great!

Wow! I think 3,233 is a personal best for one day! Well, at least it is for this year. Last year I had a couple of 3,000 days and one amazing 6,000 day, with a few 5,000 and 4,000 days mixed in. My target for today was 15,300 words, and I passed it by 333 words, which is great! I just posted a commitment to write 11,000 words during Veteran's Day Weekend, so tomorrow I really need to sit down and write! Good thing I'm off work, huh? I really need to get ahead, because I've just found out for sure that I'm going out of town for my birthday weekend, so I won't be doing much writing while I'm not at home, so I'm going to try to be at 30,000 by next Thursday. Luckily, I have the last week of November off from work, so I can finish during those days, but I'd rather not be rushing to finish. Last year was so nice, because I finished a few days early and just hung out on the forums and rested my fingers. I'm hoping I can do that again this year. Of course, the story is going to be much, much longer than 50,000 words, so I'll probably just keep writing even when I hit 50.

The story is still going well. Tori and Robert are, at this moment, having a picnic under the magnolia tree. They have no idea what is buried just a few feet under them. They will find out soon enough, though, and it won't be pleasant. I can't wait until she finds the trunk in the attic and starts reading the letters and diaries. That's when the story will really start to heat up (I hope!) I'll post my progress on the 11,000 word weekend here as well as on the forums.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 8

Current wordcount: 12,400
Today's wordcount: 1,636

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 15 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Wicked
Today's mood: Exhausted

Well, the headache never did go away, I had it all day today. It wasn't a migraine, thankfully, so I was able to function. All day I felt like I was in a fog or something. I couldn't concentrate on anything, and wanted to just curl up under my desk and sleep. I guess I never fully woke up this morning, and it just got worse from there. The story is still going well. I stopped tonight before I was done with my wordcount, but it was the end of the chapter, so I decided to finish for the night. I hope I sleep better tonight. I need to be more focused tomorrow.

New visitors!

I noticed that I've been getting some new visitors lately. Welcome to my blog! I love knowing that there are some people out there in Blogland who actually look at my humble contribution to the Blogosphere. If you're here and you've never said hello, please do! I love getting comments!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Current wordcount: 10,764
Today's wordcount: 1,529

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 30 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Veronica Mars Soundtrack
Today's mood: Bad, bad, bad!

Headachy again. I think it's work. I spent the entire day doing applications and contracts and grant proposals (oh my!) So basically I was in front of my computer screen all day. Of course, when I came home I sat down to write and made it to just over 1500 before my screen started to swim before my eyes. I decided to stop there. At least I have a three day weekend to really get caught up. In fact, I'm going to try really hard to get as far ahead as possible this coming weekend, because I'm going out of town for my birthday and don't want to lose any ground.

The story is actually still going well. I described the house tonight, which was so much fun! I'd love a house like it, although I couldn't live in it alone. I'd have to turn it into a cute little B&B or something, because it would just be too big for just me. Or I guess I could just let every single member of my family live in it, lol! Anyway, it was nice to see Tori finally experience her first look at the house. Now we have to go inside... (that will be tomorrow's writing session, I'm sure!)

So due to the headache, I think I'm going to stop here. Oh! I voted today after work, and oddly enough, there was a nice turnout when I went. They had been saying it would be a low turnout this year, but it seems to be better than expected. Some of the people I voted for are currently winning, some are not. It looks like my favorite Congressman is returning, which is awesome. He is a genuinely nice man who really cares about our state and our country. I think we need more politicians like him. Anyway, so I was happy to be a part of the process today and was extremely happy to see so many people voicing their opinions at the polls. My dad used to say you can't complain about the government if you can't be bothered to vote, so I've always made it a priority to get out there and cast my ballot. I hope everyone out there did the same.

Now I'm off to take a Tylenol PM and go to sleep. Here's hoping tomorrow will be better...

Monday, November 6, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 6

Current wordcount: 9,235
Today's wordcount: 2,435

Time spent writing: 1 hour 30 minutes
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 30 minutes

Today's soundtrack: my "Current Favorites" playlist, which includes Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Jack's Mannequin, Travis, The Fray, Frou Frou, Ivy, and Madonna, among others
Today's mood: Quite good!

I'm working on getting caught up. I figure if I do about the same tomorrow night I'll almost be caught up. If I do a little more than I did tonight, I'll be completely caught up, and then I can use Friday to get ahead. I'll do some during lunch tomorrow and then when I get home from work. I'd try to do it in the morning before work, but everytime I've attempted that, it has gone very badly. But it works out very well to do it in the evenings, so that's how I will continue.

The story is going well. Tori is moving into the house right now. She will be happily exploring soon, and will be finding the interesting stuff in the attic very soon...

NaNoWriMo Day 5

The migraine did come, and unfortunately caused me to have my first non-writing day of this year's NaNo. It's very upsetting, because I really wanted to have a big writing weekend, but just didn't manage to do it. But this week should be good. The migraine is gone, thanks to medicine and sleep, and my schedule is fairly free this week except for a work event on Thursday night. We're closed on Friday, so I'll have a whole day to catch up or get ahead. I'll need to get ahead if I want to go out of town for my birthday, which is what I'm considering right now. So anyway, yesterday was a lost day, but I feel certain I can catch up in the next few days.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

yesterday's geocaching trip

































Yesterday I took the kids geocaching again. It was Hannah's first time, she was shopping with her mom when I took Noah and Kohl out for the first time so she missed it. She was a little afraid at first, because she thought we might see raccoons, and she doesn't like their black eyes. She really is the most afraid child I've ever known. But she got over it once she realized we wouldn't let her get hurt, and then she started counting the different types of wildlife we saw. It was cute. We drove all over the place looking for caches. We only actually found 3 yesterday, but we saw some great places that we had never been, so it was totally worth it. The pictures above are all from a park and nature trail in Daphne. It was so pretty down there, and it was such a beautiful day to be outside. We were not able to get to the cache in this location because the city had some construction vehicles and a crew down there, still cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina, but we made a note to go back when the construction is finished. There were a few we couldn't find, but we'll go back and check those later too. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I think these trips will become a regular thing, which is good because I do enjoy spending time with the kids.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

The Gremlins on Halloween Night


I actually meant to do this sooner, but it slipped my mind. But better late than never, right? Here are the gremlins on Halloween night. This was after they had done all their trick or treating. My house was the last stop on their list. Aren't they cute?

NaNoWriMo Day 4

Current wordcount: 6,800
Today's wordcount: 1,277

Time spent writing: 1 hour
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 10 minutes

Today's soundtrack: 80's
Today's mood: Uninspired

Totally uninspired today. But I wrote through it. I wanted to at least hit the number I am supposed to have by today, and 6,800 was the magic number. I literally stopped mid-sentence when I saw that I had the correct number of words.

I think my problem is the massive headache I have. I think it might be turning into a full-blown migraine, so I'm going to go bed shortly.

I took the kids geocaching today. It was a blast! We found three caches.. even Hannah found one! We also found some great little places tucked away off roads we travel every day. That's the thing I love about geocaching. You find spots in your own hometown that you never knew existed. I'll post some pictures of our caching trip tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, barring the development of a migraine, I plan to have a very productive day tomorrow. I want to make it to 10,000 words by the end of the day. I think I can do it, because I'll be getting into a more dialogue-heavy portion of the story coming up, and that's really good for word count. And of course, I get to describe the estate when Tori finally sees it, so that's going to rack up some words! I can't wait to get to that part. Robert will be there with her when she sees the estate for the first time. It should be very interesting.

So I think tomorrow will be good. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 3, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 3

Current wordcount: 5,523
Today's wordcount: 500

Time spent writing: 30 minutes
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 5 minutes

Today's soundtrack: Lord of the Rings
Today's mood: Frazzled!

Not too many words today due to the extreme schedule! And due to the fact that there were gremlins (my sister's kids) at my house. I had to baybsit all night, but still managed to get a few words in. This is why I like to write ahead! I'm going to try to get a lot done Saturday evening, to keep ahead a little. According to my progress chart, I should have made it to 5,100 by day 3, so I'm still ahead of schedule. And I want to stay that way! I'm aiming to have at least 10,000 words by the end of Sunday night. The official NaNo goal for Sunday is 8,500, so I would still be ahead.

Random Thoughts about my House/Mortgage.

Why did my bank just send me a Mortgage Life Insurance Application? My thoughts: A veiled threat on my life? If so, they should know I studied Northern Shaolin Kung Fu for a year and a half from this guy when I was 15, so don’t even try it! why would I possibly care if my mortgage gets paid off or not when I die? If the bank is so worried about their money, let them buy it. in the application,

Thursday, November 2, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 2

Current wordcount: 5,023
Today's wordcount: 2,698

Time spent writing: 2 hours
Time spent on NaNo Boards: 3 hours

Today's soundtrack: Better than Ezra
Today's mood: exhausted

Today, I discovered that I can hook my iPod up to my computer speakers for killer sound, so I had a great time writing to wonderful music. Since my book is about southern families and their secrets, I thought a southern band would be perfect, and I was right. Better than Ezra was great for writing the scenes I had to write today. My character is seeing Mobile for the first time, and it is not what she thought it would be at all! I love, love, love the Better than Ezra song "A Southern Thing" It's perfect for my novel!

But back to the writing, I'm concerned that my chapters are too short. I guess I can fix that when I start fleshing out the story more, but I still worry that I'm not putting enough into each chapter. Of course, that's the kind of thing you fix during editing. And editing is a NaNo writer's best friend! (after November, obviously!)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Current wordcount: 2,325

Work was fairly calm today, so I had plenty of energy left when I got home and sat down to write. I've been thinking about this for weeks. I've plotted, sketched characters, and created outlines. I've even formulated a first sentence... several hundred times! Of course, all the planning went straight out the window when I actually sat down to write. My beautiful, literary, flowery first sentence turned into this:

“Beep, beep, beep,” the register kept a steady rhythm as Tori slid item after item over the scanner, looking straight at the products on the conveyor belt, but not really seeing them.

Hmm... not the best start ever, that's for sure. I just kept typing "beep" until I could think of something else to type. Then, of course, when I noticed I had typed "beep" about ten times, I deleted all but three of them and started actually writing. But still, it falls short of what I like to consider my usual quality. Then again, I may just be delusional. After all, I am doing NaNo, so we know I'm a little delusional, right?

Anyway, that's how NaNo started for me this year. The words actually flowed pretty well, after the first sentence anyway, so I kept writing even after I reached my personal goal of 2,000 words per day. The story I'm writing is actually set in my area, so it was fun describing everything from a visitor's point of view, in a sense trying to see my home through the eyes of a tourist. Tomorrow I start getting into the real meat of the story. The first major decision my MC has to make comes tomorrow, a life-altering decision that will change not only her surroundings, but possibly her inner self. In theory....

I hope everyone else out in NaNoLand had a great first day, and here's to a wonderful second day. It starts in only a few hours...

Gilmore Girls

I've been catching up on Gilmore Girls, having recently gotten a wonderful deal on the box sets from half.com. I now own seasons 2-5 and season 1 is supposed to be on its way to my house. Though I wasn't able to start with season one, and will probably start over when season one comes to my house, but I couldn't wait to start catching up on a show I only discovered last year.

First of all, let me say I came in right as Luke and Lorelai were heating up, and then, of course, there was the breakup, so I've actually never seen her with anyone else. Going back through the seasons is interesting, because I now see that she's had a few boyfriends that I've actually liked, but that the one she always calls on when she needs someone, the one she keeps coming back to, is not Luke, it's Christopher. This kind of ruins the Luke thing for me because when I came to the series, it felt like they were supposed to be together, but I'm thinking now that I must have been wrong. And may I just say that I think Lorelai is a beautiful name and it's going on my list of possible girl names if I ever have a child (a girl, of course)

Anyway, I find myself more interested in her relationships than Rory's, which is a little odd, I think. But here are my thoughts about the series so far. Catching up gives it more depth. I knew the mother/daughter relationship was different, closer than most mothers and daughters, and I knew that Lorelai had a strained relationship with the Gilmores, but I didn't really know the full story on why, and am just beginning to figure it out. This gives the series so much more depth and makes it even more enjoyable.

I thoroughly enjoy the Gilmorisms and the speech patterns of both mother and daughter. This is probably the thing I like most about the series. The dialogue is unique and very, very funny. I'll post more thoughts as I watch the rest of the seasons, but for now I have to say that it is a series worth watching, and even worth buying if you're an avid TV on DVD collector like I am!

Ninja News Update: Weekend Movie Edition

In case some of you are looking for something ninja-esque to do this weekend, I figured I would give you a quick heads up. If you'll remember waaaaaay back in one of the first Ninja News segments (that I am too lazy to look up right now) I told you about an independent film maker that made a film about dating, and one fo the stories in it was a ninja that goes on a blind date. Well, it's showing

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Another awesome sunset

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

Too busy?

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

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Template!

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

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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The kickoff party

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

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

A Blogging Anniversary

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

Kickoff party is today

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

Friday, October 27, 2006

NaNo Progress so far

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

Characters

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

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

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

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

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

First geocaching adventure

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

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

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

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Quick lunchtime post about NaNoWriMo

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

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

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

The Lost Episodes: Swan Attack

Well, I'm still not sure I'll continue blogging. But this is a post I had sitting in my draft box so I thought you should have it, my internets. It's like one of those lost episodes of The Honeymooners, except that there's no fat protaganist and the post isn't in black and white. _______________________________________________________________________Do you serve swan? Whenever I go to one of

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NaNoWriMo countdown!

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

Friday, October 20, 2006

Because I have nothing to say..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 19, 2006

sometimes you have to give up

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

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

So I'm finished. I give up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Just another day


























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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Peace

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

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

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

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

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