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Note to self…

Every year I tell myself that I am going to be better about keeping track of things.  So, every year I buy myself a cute spiral engagement calendar.

And every year, I use it for about three weeks and then it just sits on my desk.  The  last two years I have taken plain composition books to keep track of stuff I need to do.  I usually decorate the front.  2010 had a Mickey Mouse theme and 2011 had a butterfly theme.  They worked pretty well, on the right hand page I would make my To do list and on the left hand side I would make notes and mark times for tasks and appointments.  The composition notebooks have worked really well except I was hauling them all over the place and I still had to consult a calendar and other things to add my information.
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                    Kim's Notebook 2011
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Last May, I got an iPad as a gift from my mother in law.  She knew that she was going to need my help with some things.  I said no, that’s ok she didn’t need to buy me anything for me to help and she said she really wanted to do this for me.  I finally said ok, and now I have an iPad, which I adore.
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This past New Year’s Day I was looking to make some notes and realized I didn’t have a calendar or a composition notebook.  I started thinking about what I wanted to use this year and I ended up with the conclusion that it would be easier if I kept everything in one place, my iPad.  I looked at different apps for the iPad that would make it easier for me to keep
 track of the everyday things that need to be done.
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I tried Cozi last year and loved how it looked.  The home page has a family picture in the upper left, a calendar at the top and the schedule for the week .  I used Cozi for about a month and then I couldn’t stand it anymore.  At the top in the middle where the calendar would be Cozi kept posting their own little paragraphs at the top of the page.  The upper right was already dedicated to actual ads that help fund the upkeep of Cozi and I understand that.  The Cozi paragraphs in the middle of my Family page drove me nuts.   It would have been nice if there was a way to read the blurb and then hit an X to delete it or minimize it.  The way it was you saw the same blurb for two or three weeks.  Often the blurb didn’t even pertain to anything I was doing.  I got tired of it and deleted it.  When I got my iPad and discovered the app for Cozi, I tried it again.  I couldn’t get back into it because of the blurb and deleted my account again..

I decided to give OneNote a try.  There are apps for both my iPad and iPhone plus the program on my laptop.  We already had OneNote on my laptop so it wasn’t an extra expense to give it a shot.  I spent a day looking at OneNote and I really like it.  I added new notebooks, changed tabs, redid all of the colors and realized that I really like it.  I can add pictures and any
thing else to a page so I think it will be easy and fun to use.  I also like the fact that I can save some paper.  
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Boo at the zoo…

The sleepover was a hit and our plan for the child handover was to meet at the zoo.  It’s a beautiful day but also a holiday.  I prayed for a rainy day but it just didn’t happen.

I was excited to see the zoo, I hadn’t been there since I was pregnant with Boo.  We went there that last week before she was born.  Sully was trying to help distract me, I had been having contractions on and off for a week.  I was nervous and tired and ready to be done with the waiting.  I had spent most of my pregnancy in a panic and I just wanted my healthy baby.  Sully was a rock, he was stable and funny, and we had a great time.

My excitement died down to general happiness as we began to walk.  Our local zoo has an amazing amount of hills to climb up and down on your way between exhibits.  About three quarters of our way through the zoo my calves and shins started screaming.    By the time we got to the car, I was really happy to just sit down.  I was pretty happy… until we got home and I had to get out of  the car.  Ouch!

I was exhausted and sore but it was good.  Boo had a lot of fun and Kayla had a great time.  I will take that success any day.

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Friends and daughters…

Boo is having her first sleepover tonight.  It’s been a crazy week of Boo counting down and asking a million questions.  I finally told her yesterday, or maybe the day before to stop with all the crazy.  All craziness aside, she was very helpful in getting the house straightened up and also helping me get the sleeping bags out.

My close friend from college, I will call her Val, short for Valkyrie, you don’t want to mess with her, she will cut you down verbally in a second.   Val is funny and smart and understands my weird sense of humor.  We have been in and out of touch since our classes together.  She got married and then we got connected when I got married and now over Facebook she has again become one of my best friends.  She has a daughter, ‘Kayla’, who is about a year younger than Boo.  We got them together last fall and they became fast friends.  It was pretty crazy to watch.  Over Fall break we met up and took the girls to Build A Bear.  Nothing like driving along and suddenly hearing them singing an obscure song from Spongebob Squarepants.

As I hear, Kayla and Boo in the other room giggling during the Disney movie and choosing colors for the friendship bracelets they are making, I can’t help but think of us in college.  Ok, so we were so not the girls that planned out our weddings or talked about our future offspring playing, dating or anything else.  We studied, we watched hockey and football and laughed a lot.

We still have a lot in common, she is a teacher and I homeschool and we are both writers.  She jumped into National Novel Writing Month last year, and this year, doing a great job with both projects.  If only we could finish, edit and rewrite…  Oh, I know, it will happen, I am just hoping it’s before we are old and gray.

Ok, time to go make popcorn for the sleepover.

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Procrastination or Fear…

I am supposed to be writing.  This is not new, I have been procrastinating about my writing since college.  I used to write for fun and then somewhere along the way I got concerned about whether what I was writing was any good.  That was not a good thing to have happen.  Once I started worrying about the quality of my writing then I was stuck.  Writing was stressful, and not fun.  I really wanted to write, but my inner critic was telling me to forget it.

My stories called to me, different scenarios filed through my head during the day and  I would have vivid dreams about people and places I didn’t know at night.  I would start stories and never finish them.  I mean what was the point?  I had already told myself they were crap so why continue?

My parents were very supportive and encouraged my writing but when you are in your twenties you are so damn sure that you know everything.  I thought I knew better and pushed it aside.  So, I would doodle here and jot something down there but nothing more than a few written pages.  After I survived a horrid relationship, followed by a self imposed sentence of solitary confinement of about seven years, I got laid off and finally ended up working in a bookstore.  There, I met my future husband and remembered why I loved writing.  Sully and I were married in 2000, and had Boo at the end of 2001.

Fast forward a few years, I’ve been working up to writing.  I’ve been talking about it,  a lot.  I bought books about writing and I even read some of them.  I have a drawerful of notebooks, journals and legal pads.  So, clearly, I’ve been thinking about it, my follow through was lacking though.  I guess I was waiting for some motivating factor…

November 1st, 2009, Jennifer Crusie posts on Facebook about National Novel Writing Month.  I read about it and think, yes, yes, yes.  Within minutes I was signed up and I am committed to writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  At the end of November I had  my 50K words and I was so excited.  I was writing again…and then I stopped, it was Christmas and I thought for sure I would start again in January.  This is where someone coughs *bullshit* in the background.  Honestly, though I thought I would keep on writing but it just didn’t happen. Somewhere around June 1st I realized that my book was only half done and I needed to finish it to get my free proof copy.  So, I spent another month hunched over my computer slogging through the last half of this not very thought out story.    With a day or so to spare, I finish writing.  I turn to Sully and promptly burst into tears.  I’d never finished anything beyond a few short stories, most of which had been assignments for classes.

I then spent several hours formatting (and swearing) and finally submitting it for printing at CreateSpace.  I check the mail everyday and grumble through July 4th and the lack of mail delivery.   When my proof copy finally came, it was so amazing to see it, well worth the wait, and the work.

Since then I have started three more stories, two of which I have finished (mostly) and one that kind of fell flat in the middle.  Not my fault, it was the middle of the Arizona summer and I honestly think my brain got fried, too many days over 110 degrees.  Blah!  The point is, though, I haven’t gone back to do editing and rewrites, that’s where I will have to face up to the truth.  Mind you, this is where I can see what works and doesn’t work over the whole course of the story not just one scene or chapter.  I think I am better prepared now after writing the other stories but it’s still a bit scary.

In November, I shut my inner critic into a closet so I could write, now I’ve got to let her back out.  I really hope she isn’t a total bitch about the whole closet thing…

 

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Balance…

Life can be crazy with all of the things that we have to do everyday; keeping the house in decent shape, cooking, feeding and taking care of pets, school, craft projects, work, kids, dance classes and sports, the list goes on.  Don’t forget exercise and eating right.  It’s hard enough to carve out some free time just to watch TV but it’s a whole other story when you have a hobby or other project that you are trying to work on at the same time.

For me, it’s my writing, I am supposed to write everyday.  I would love to write 2,000 words a day.  Some days the 2,000 word count is easy to achieve and other days I find myself hovering at 600 words.  

I have days that I spend 99% of the day doing all of those things on my to do list and 1% on writing.  There are other days that I write most of the day and everything falls to the way side.  The worst is when things get all crazy and most of the day is spent doing something you weren’t even planning on doing.  So, then the next day you have to play catch up.  I am tired of pushing my writing to the side, but at the same time letting the house and other things slide doesn’t work either.   Sometimes it seems a bit impossible.

I was reminded that it’s all about balance.  It’s something you would have thought I would remember seeing as I am a Libra.  The sign that is represented by the scales, symbolizing the principle of symmetry and balance.   
The search for peace and harmony in my life is definitely important.  Just like eating right, it’s all about moderation, a little of this and a little of that.   You have to spend time doing stuff you’d rather not be doing so that you can also spend time doing what you love.
This year I am going to work on the balance of my life.  I can work on a little housecleaning in the morning, projects in the afternoon with free time and writing at night.  
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Going back to the beginning…sort of…

One of the many things that I plan on doing this year is rewriting one of my NaNo projects.  I have done NaNo three times along with Camp NaNo this past summer.  I have gotten my 50K words every time and twice I have gone back and finished the book enough to get the proof copy.

This year, I want to go back to the first book (which is actually the second book I wrote) and do my editing and rewrites.  During NaNo you just write to get your word count which can sometimes leave ginormous holes all over the place.  I want to take that next step and fill in those holes, I want to fix the story.  I was happy to have an ending to the story after my first NaNo but now I need to fix it.

My original plan was for me to start my rewriting on January 1st and just plow through it.  Of course, I am in the midst of transferring my story from one writing program to another.  I am also trying to flesh out a bit more of the plotlines in my notes.  I really want to see some character development as the story progresses.  

The new plan entails me writing or working on my writing every day.  So far, I have done pretty well.  I’ve gotten most of my plotline notes done.  I am hoping that next week I will actually work on the rewriting part.

 

 

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Progress, not perfection…

Yesterday, I started using the Lose It! website to track my food and exercise.  I am restricted to 1300 calories a day, which really wasn’t that hard to stick with yesterday but not so much today.  When I was discussing it with Faith she said, “Remember it’s about progress, not perfection.”  She is right, even going over I am sure that my calories are way lower than they’ve been in months.  I am proud of my progress, hopefully it will show up on the scale sometime soon.

So, here’s the progress…

Keeping up Appearances – Day 8: I’ve been doing pretty well with this, I am doing something with my hair every morning.  The earring situation isn’t easy because I don’t have a lot of earrings and the ones I do have make my ears itch if I wear them too long.  I am working on getting more earring for sensitive ears.

Water – Day 6:  I am doing really well.  This is my third day with my new water glass and second day drinking 3 glasses a day (72 ounces).  I feel a bit waterlogged at times and even my heartburn is acting up but I am seeing good benefits too.  When I drink that much water I find that I don’t want to snack as much.  Of course, with all of the extra trips to the restroom who has time to snack.  

Stretching – Day 6: This is the one that I have problems with I start stretching and I get sidetracked and never get a full body stretch session completed.  This is why I need a video or something.