Saturday, February 28, 2009

Multnomah Falls, Oregon


Four Pictures of Multnomah Falls, Oregon taken by my Dad.

I spent over six hours working on the picture scanning project today. I'm posting these pics of Multnomah Falls tonight as they go with the theme of last night's post about scanning my family's five decades worth of road trip photos to serve as inspiration and reference for the settings of my fiction. Before I got the idea of doing that I was passing over the pics that didn't have family members posing in them.

Forgive me for not cropping these four shots and tweaking their color, contrast etc. My eyes are fried and my mind swirls with images and memories. Like the one I'm preparing to post for tomorrow's Sunday Serenity as soon as I click publish on this one.

For more info about the falls, click the link in the photo caption.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Forays In Fiction: Setting/Landscape

Buried A-Frame at Kid Valley, Washington. Mid 1980s


Big Foot Statue at Kid Valley, Washington. Mid 1980s

While working on the family photo scanning project this week, it occurred to me that many of the landscape photos taken on the road trips over the decades since the mid 50s, which I'd been mostly passing over until now, could be useful for my FOS (Fruits of the Spirit) story world as inspiration and reference. Much the same way the dozens of pictures I took of our trailer park before and during NaNoWriMo last November helped me with the setting issues for my NaNo novel, Mobile Hopes. So I've started scanning them too. And thus, I don't have to write this past week off as a total bust for my fiction projects.

Many of the photos I'm finding have no notations on them of year or place. When I found the two I've posted above, I did not recognize them as anywhere I'd ever been. I noted that my Mom (on the left between Big Foot's feet) was not carrying her white cane. Which meant the time frame was delimited by after I left home in 1978 and before she began using a cane in the mid 80s (mental note: ask Mom when, precisely that was) and if the Big Foot picture and the Buried A-Frame picture were taken on the same road trip it must have been, at minimum, a year or two after Mt. St. Helens eruption in May 1980. I wasn't sure where either tourist attraction was either. I had a faint memory of hearing about that buried A-Frame in association with the St. Helens erruption.

So I Googled, 'Buried A-Frame'. Was going to Goodle 'Big Foot statue' next but ended up finding this article containing reference to both. They are both part of The Survivor's Gift Shop in Kid Valley, Washington. The article mentions that the first statue they put up in the mid 80's was made of combustible material and was destroyed in the mid 90s. Their current one is taller and made of cement. So I guess that means my folks made that trip with my Dad's brother and his wife shortly after the first Big Foot statue was errected. Something about discovering that the Big Foot statue in the picture I found no longer existed tickled my fancy, made it harder to tear my gaze off it or my mind away once I was forced to move on to more pressing tasks. I recognize that feeling as the taking root of imagination. When ever I get that 'haunted' feeling it means I'm onto something.

So I definitely don't have to call this week a bust for my fiction projects.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Blooming February


The crocus are blooming in my Mom's yard. The first of them poked their heads out nearly a week ago. This morning we received a dusting of snow and I wish I could have got pictures of the flowers framed by snow but by the time I woke it had all melted.

The leaves of another flower are up too. Either tulips or daffodils I presume. I'm not good at recognizing plants by their leaves. I got pictures of the mystery leaves and of some yellow crocus too but I'm too rushed to prepare more pictures for posting as I'm pushing to finish Toni Morrison's latest novel, a mercy, which I have checked out on my sister's library card. It is due tomorrow and is a high demand book that won't renew and carries a dollar a day overdue fine.

How I wish I could write like Toni Morrison. Sigh.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who Mugged My Head?

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals


I'm having one of those days when even intravenous caffeine couldn't have lifted my brain out of the mud. Every thought seemed to come free with a little slurpy 'plop' sensation like the one your feet make when you walk in the sand on the edge of the surf. I was wakened from a bizarre dream after more than an eight hour sleep and the disorientation stayed with me for more than the next eight hours with the images and emotions of the dream impinging on the waking world that took on the contours of a dreamworld. My fingers fumbled everything they touched and my tongue fumbled every word it formed.

Such days follow sleeps longer than six or seven hours often enough that memories of them instill a stubborn reisistance to surrendering to sleep once I get my brain awake again. That usually takes more than twelve hours which is still more than an hour off and so here I sit minutes after my sister and her son went downstairs to bed, listening to the quiet snores of my Mom, looking around my workstation at laptop, books, notebooks, todo lists and thinking of the hours of silence and solitude stretching ahead--those hours I crave with a glutuous greed--and find myself more inclined to join in a duet with my Mom than to open a file on my computer or a book. Even though I know that if I choose more sleep now, it'll be 24 hours before this opportunity for more than five minutes of uninterrupted thought comes round again.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Giveaway: Sway

I've been authorized to give away up to five copies. Be sure to read the rules below carefully as only valid entries will be included in the drawing.

Sway
by Zachary Lazar


Three dramatic and emblematic stories intertwine in Zachary Lazar's extraordinary new novel, SWAY--the early days of the Rolling Stones, including the romantic triangle of Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers.

Lazar illuminates an hour in American history when rapture found its roots in idolatrous figures and led to unprovoked and inexplicable violence. Connecting all the stories in this novel is Bobby Beausoleil, a beautiful California boy who appeared in an Anger film and eventually joined the Manson "family."

With great artistry, Lazar weaves scenes from these real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human, giving demons reality, and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.


"One hypnotic tone poem.... It is not the now-historic acts of violence that make Sway so riveting, but its vivid character portraits and decadent, muzzy atmosphere, all rendered with the heightened sensory awareness associated with drugs and paranoia.

The near miniaturist precision with which he describes Keith Richards's attempts to master his guitar, Brian Jones's acid trips and Anger's obsessive desire for Beausoleil bring this large-scale tableau into stunning relief."
--Liz Brown, Time Out New York

Reading Group Guide available




Rules:

  • Leave a comment in this post expressing your interest in entering the drawing.
  • Provide an @ by which I can contact you in case of a win. Either in your comment or in an email to me at joystory AT gmail DOT com If you email your @ be sure to connect it to your entry. If I do not receive an @ your entry will be disqualified.
  • If, in the case of a win, you would like a link to your blog in the winners announcement post, provide your URL in your comment or via email. This is not a requirement for entering nor do you have to have a blog yourself in order to enter.
  • If you blog about this giveaway, send me a link to the post and your name will be entered a second time.
  • Deadline for entering is NOON PST Saturday March 14, 2008. I will select the winners with a random number generator using www.random.org
  • Winners must provide a US or Canadian mailing address. No PO Boxes.

Read more...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Frozen Assets

Oh. Did you think this was about cold, hard cash?

Sorry to disappoint you. But this is about a cook book and the adventures of two kitchen-challenged sisters.

The cookbook?

Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month
by Deborah Taylor-Hough
(c) 1998
Published by Champion Press Ltd
209 p.

I took ten photos of the front of the book but none of them turned out--too much glare from the flash. So I resorted to using the scanner I've been using for the family photo scan project. Took a scan of the back too as I'm short on time for explaining this tonight. My brother's family are coming up from Portland to take us all out to brunch. We are to leave about the time my alarm usually goes off.

And it's been a long day. So this is primarily a photo essay.

For more detail about the book and the concept you can explore Deborah's web site.


The idea is to stock up their freezer with meals that need only to be thawed and heated so the first month or two after I go back to Phoenix OR will be easier on them. If Mom's recovery continues apace I'll probably be back home by the end of March.

My sister did a massive grocery shop over the weekend. We are going to do what Deborah calls 'mini-sessions' instead of making all of the recipes in a single day we are going to do a separate session for each of: pork, tuna, chicken, beef & vegetarian.

Today was the pork session. We made up five recipes each of which was big enough for two meals for the three of them. Though one was frozen down as one by accident--the Sweet Sour Pork--so we'll probably go ahead and use it while I'm still here. Yay.


Here's my sister's workstation when things were in full swing. She was the vegetable preparer. Also the meat preparer. And also the one who put pieces of the separate meals together and prepared them for the freezer.

See the crock pot? Had nothing to do with the project. That was tonight's dinner--a pork roast. My sister was especially proud of thinking of putting the meal for today in the crock pot before we got started on the big project.

I just had to take a close-up of that platter. Isn't it pretty?


This was my workstation for most of the time. I was the stirrer. My first task was to prepare two boxed rice dishes that were later combined with the pork in some fashion.

This was the cubed-pork for the Sweet Sour Pork waiting for the skillet to heat. I stirred it until it was browned and heated through and then emptied it onto a plate so my sister could dump the vegetables and sauce ingredients into the skillet for me to stir until the sauce thickened.



Up close picture of the Sweet Sour Pork sauce just before we took it off the heat. I'm not one bit sorry my sister goofed and put the whole thing in a single freezer bag. It was all I could do not to drool in it while I stirred.

This was another of my roles. Clean up. Or at least loading the dishwasher. I didn't take this picture today though. I took it a few days after I banged my shin into its lowered door on New Year's Eve. Kept meaning to post it with one of the posts about that incident or the resulting ER visit six days later but never seemed to think about it. It's hard to think about updating posts when it is so hard just to get each day's post up.

I wore my shin pads all day. Kept meaning to get a picture of them but it was never a good time. They are actually my sister's gardening knee pads. They attach with a velcro strap and I wear them just above my ankles instead of on my knees. It's definitely not a fashion statement.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Serenity #115


Remembering the joys of care-free play.

I'm about five or six here and holding my favorite baby doll, Roger, sitting on our swing-set teeter-totter. The building in the background is the Mark Morris High School which I would attend about ten years after this picture was taken.

I so loved that doll. It was more than a doll. He was my baby. Many years before this picture was taken Roger wore a dress (and a girl's name) and was my Mom's prized possession. When Mom presented the doll to me, I named him Roger after the ten-month old cousin I'd just met, so Mom made him red coureroy overalls and a red plaid flannel shirt.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Family Photo Scanning Project


Screenshot of the folder full of scanned pictures.

The last time I came to visit my Mom, in December 2007, I began the project of scanning the family photos into my laptop which was to be the first step in creating a digital album that could be distributed among the family.

I didn't get far on the project then and had planned to come back in February or March to recommence with it. But that didn't happen. So I was planning to work on it on the pre-Xmas visit I had been planning before Mom broke her hip just before Thanksgiving.

The Family Photo Scanning Project has been on my mind ever since I got here just after Christmas but there has been too many impediments to getting started on it. Other than the exigencies of my mother's care, the running of the household and my the fallout of my run-in with the dishwasher, the biggest impediment was that the boxes of pictures had been stowed in a closet and a mattress was setting on its side in front of it. Then the table in the office I had used last time was no longer in there so there was nowhere for me to set up my laptop close enough to the scanner/printer or work with the pictures to sort and prepare them for scanning. Besides which, working in the office in the day time would interfere with my nephew's school work with my sister's sleep at night as she sleeps under the creaky floor.

It's been a couple weeks since I posted about setting up that printer in my Mom's room where my workstation has been since my second day here. But that mattress still blocked that closet in the office until today.

There is one last impediment but we have a plan to rectify it. That is the bright light from the window in here on sunny days between 9AM and 2PM that makes it hard for me to see anything but the window. The very hours when my Mom is not sleeping and my services are not needed elsewhere. The window is right above the printer and right behind my laptop's screen. We have attempted to block the light with various items that have only done a partial job of it. But my sister is going to put a black sheet over the entire window.

Scanning the pictures into the computer is just the first step. As shown below, I position as many pictures as will fit onto a cardboard that mostly fills the scanner bed. Later I have to prepare individual pictures by cropping, rotating, resizing, etc. Then naming and saving by who, when, where etc. But those things can be done after I return to Phoenix, OR. The focus while I'm here is to scan them in as fast as I can.


There is nearly a century between the earliest and latest photos on this board. In the top right corner is my Dad with his Granddaughter about six weeks before his death in 2005. The bottom left is his mother before her marriage and the bottom left is both of his parents early in their marriage before there were children. So, well over a decade before he was born.


I have no clue who the three ladies in vintage hats are above. The baby on the pony is my Dad. And the line of stair-step boys is my Dad (youngest) and his brothers. The same boys, all grown with grown kids of their own are pictured on the bottom left of the board below. Top left is the whole family. Top right is Dad and his parents just before he joined the Navy in 1950 something. Bottom right is Dad's Dad's Mom holding me.



Above are four picture of me and my brother and sister spread over most of a decade. Below you see four pictures of me age 12, 14, 16 and nearly 17.


All of these pictures were scanned in December 07. I'm eager to recommence the project.

Read more...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Forays In Fiction: Reading & Research


Last Thursday and again this Tuesday, I got to visit the Longview library and among the materials I checked out were things to support several of my fiction WIP. For Mobile Hopes, my NaNo novel this past November, I checked out three short story collections. Remember, Mobile Hopes was envisioned as a novel woven of dozens of short stories, each featuring a different character living in the same mobile home park. It is also an exercise in learning the art of the short story so reading short stories is part of the process.

For Spring Fever, my NaNo novel from 2007, I checked out several books on time, seasons, calendars.

For my story (Novella?) Home Is Where the Horror Is, aka Crystal's story, I checked out several books about fundamentalism and cults. Which is also central to my FOS story world to which both Crystal and Faye et al from Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dolar Maybes belong.

Other than the time I spent searching them out on the shelves and packing them home (to Mom's) and rearranging my writing station here to make room for them all, I haven't spent much time with them other than gazing at them and thinking about what I hope to do with them.

It seems that every time I find a free moment or two to sit with a book, my eyes and/or mind just blur out on me. I know this is not going to get better unless I first find time to catch up on some sleep. I'm hoping to address that issue tonight. It means giving up the majority of my late night session--the only time free of noise, chaos and risk of interruption. But the sleep deprivation has accumulated to the point I am getting little return on investment for the use I've been putting those hours for over a week now.

Read more...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Incremental Improvements


Oh, did you think this was going to be a continuation of yesterday's round-up of Mom's post-surgery progress?

Nah. I need to throw up a quick post tonight. Not much thought is going into this. Not much story. It could even look a bit like bragging. Maybe it is.

The theme of improvement is on my mind after preparing yesterday's post. And that led me to think of the improvements I've made in my typing speed and accuracy since the last time I posted my results with this site's fun test sometime last spring or summer. I've been practicing.

When I first discovered the site, I was appalled at how badly my skills had deteriorated. I was getting wpm speeds in the 5os with three to six incorrect. I wouldn't even use the embed code the site provides for bragging I was so chagrined. Not until I reached the high 60s error free. I'm too time pressed. (or lazy; unmotivated) to hunt down that post and link it here.

Well I have been working toward 80 wpm error free. I'm not there yet but I'm closing in and this week got a score I don't mind sharing:


308 points, so you achieved position 183894 of 2338262 on the ranking list


You type 390 characters per minute
You have 78 correct words and
you have 0 wrong words


78 words

Speed test

Read more...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Small Steps


All pictures in this post were taken in mid January. This one and the one at the end, on the occasion of Mom's first outdoor stroll after my arrival here just before New Year's Day. It had only been the weather keeping her indoors though. This was the first day there hadn't been snow, ice, rain, or frost on the slope of the driveway. Walks like this are becoming more frequent as the weather permits and do not fatigue her nearly as much nor cause as much pain.

Today Mom's evaluation therapist came. He thinks she is ready to start practicing with a cane--only with an escort at her back or elbow though. Having her free of the walker and steady on her feet is one of the bare minimum requirements that must be met before I can consider going back to Phoenix, leaving my sister in charge alone. Not that she isn't in charge now. Though she is my baby sister by seven years, she is the one running this household right now. I am at her service.

The therapist also remarked upon the improvement in Mom's speech. She was answering his questions with many fewer stumbles over lost words and needed very little help from my sister to complete or clarify her responses.

Her energy and vitality are improving daily too. She has come a long way since the fall that broke her left hip and the mild stroke that followed the surgery and left her with much of her noun vocabulary locked away from access. We're coming up on three months this week.

The cutting board between the stove and oven where I mixed the salmon loaf

Last Friday she helped me prepare dinner while my sister and her son attended a home schooler function. She washed and trimmed and wrapped four potatoes in foil while I mixed the salmon loaf off the recipe she had written down from memory for my sister the first week I was here. She gave me more than a bit of a scare when she opened the oven door beside my right elbow--the pre-heated to 400 degrees oven. I had my hands in the goopy salmon and egg mixture. She had been working at the sink behind me. I did not expect her to try to put the potatoes in the oven!! She not only tried, she succeded. She had turned around inside her walker and taken a step and a half away from it to reach the oven door handle. Then while I watched and feebly protested, she made a half turn back to lift the baking sheet holding the four wrapped potatoes and lay it on the open oven door--about our elbow level--and then took another step and a half before lifting the baking sheet up and sliding it onto the rack. All of this with no oven mitt!

The sink where Mom prepared the potatoes for the oven

I didn't know whether to see this as evidence of the poor judgment that may be related to the stroke and thus proof that she was far from ready to be left unattended; or as evidence that most of her skills were intact and she was raring to get back into action. I've mentioned before that she was a home ec teacher before she met my Dad and right through the spring she learned I was on my way. The kitchen, the garden, the sewing machine and a variety of arts and crafts were her bailiwick. My sister and I together are struggling to keep three square meals on her lap each day.

And for years, Mom has enjoyed a nearly daily walk in spite of her visual impairment. I think the only thing keeping her from it now is the weather. There have been a few more occasions since that one in January. But only a few.

So my sister and I have much to feel encouraged about. The small steps Mom has taken are adding up to huge strides towards a time Mom will be ruling at least one of her bailiwicks again--the kitchen. If she continues improving at this pace, my services could become less crucial by the time the daffodils are standing tall.

Hope that I might be home with Ed and Merlin before Easter is a bittersweet bloom in my heart for I would just be exchanging one homesickness for another.


My sister escorting Mom on that mid January stroll.

Read more...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Loitering at the Library


Standing on the mezzanine where the fiction is, overlooking the second-floor reading room.

I got another chance to go hang out for couple hours at the Library. I came very close to tapping out my sister's library card, adding nineteen items to the nineteen already on it. Thought that latter might have included the three DVD I returned. Last week I was just browsing and gazing. This time I went looking for specific things related to WIP, including research related to my stories and unfinished book reviews.

I am understandably eager to spend some of this precious late evening quiet time looking at my haul. So I'm posting some of the pictures I took last Thursday with brief comments. Remember this is the library of my childhood and has not been my library for over nine years. But of course in a sense it will always be my library. I love this library. Throughout my childhood and well into my twenties this library was a landscape in my dreams. As a young child I fantasized of living here.


Here I was standing under the mezzanine and aiming towards the reading room though I caught the edge of the media shelves--CD, DVD, audio books etc. The section of shelve directly to my right are the last of the 900s in the Non-fiction


Here I just turned a few degrees right and aimed down the center aisle. That is the same 900s shelf to the left. The 100s begin behind me and to the right. The elevator is to my left.


The children's picture book area on the first floor. There are at least two more of those carpet-lined bathtubs scattered about the J area. There is a separate room for the YA or 11 years and up which I didn't go into.


This is the story hour area. The far wall is part of the chapter book fiction for 2nd to 5th graders. There is a separate room for their NF and Reference books which I didn't take pictures of because there were kids studying in there.



The story hour area from the other side, showing the carpeted 'bleachers'. This was put in around the time I entered Jr High and thus graduated to the upstairs collection. Back then you had to be 13 to check out items upstairs without a note from your parent. Back then the YA shelves were just beginning to be kept separate and were a fairly small section of shelves at the end of the upstairs reading room. Now they have a room of their own.


This is the other end of the chapter book fiction. The backside of the story hour amphetheater is ten feet or so to my right and the picture book area directly behind me.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Drumming Dreams


Blue Man Group at the Grammys

The other day I was trying to describe The Blue Man Group and their unique music-making to my sister. I didn't have the words and found my own memories confused anyway. So that night, after she had gone to bed, I went to YouTube to look for videos to refresh my memory. And I got lost there for hours. And hours.

My memory had included their blue faces, their mime act, and intricate instruments made out of PVC pipes some of which stood solid on the stage and others wrapped around their bodies. I remembered all of that but I had forgotten that they were drummers!

No wonder I remembered them fondly though. Drumming is something that has always called to me.

I collected dozens of links to the videos I encountered. After the first half-dozen I realized that I had more than plenty for a demonstration for my sister--more than she would be willing to sit still for--but I couldn't stop.

Later the drumming, the pipes, the paint hijacked my dreams.

I was looking for a topic for tonight's post and remembered that night of Blue Man Group Dreaming. I thought I could put together a quick post from memory. Maybe I could have but I couldn't resist watching one first. And one led to another. And another. And next thing I knew three hours were gone.

I had also hoped to choose just one video for this post. Ha.

During that three hours, I realized that I could chock all these hours and the dozens of links up to research for the Maia character in my Spring Fever WIP--my NaNo novel from 2007. I don't know if I would necessarily make any mention of the Blue Man Group in the story. It is enough that watching these videos gives me a better sense of what goes into stage producing a sensational act. That is one of Maia's passions.

After hours of watching these guys, I have an incredible itch to pick up a pair of drumsticks and start drumming on every surface in sight.





Blue Man Group on Jay Leno



Blue Man Group wearing their PVC instruments on stage with Tiesto.



Blue Man Group demonstrating the workings of the eye.



Blue Man Group clowning

You might be most familiar with Blue Man Group from the Intel commercials:

The Keys
The Treadmill
The Paint

Read more...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Serenity #114



You have to see and hear this to believe it. The music is soothing and intriguing. The music making machine making the music is like something out of a Dr Seuss story. Just knowing such things exist in this world gives me joy.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winner's Circle

funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Update: Winners are now posted below.

Thanks to all the entrants to my three book giveaways! Due to the number and current circumstances that limit my computer activities I may not get all the winners announced and notified today. But this is the post where you will find the fifteen winners listed. Five for each of:


Sundays at Tiffany's

Sue A.
techyone
bridget
photoquest
Stephanie

The Italian Lover

Gwendolyn B.
tetewa
The Giveaway Diva
Tarasview
techyone

The Terror

infiniteshelf
Jodi
Lady Roxi
Wendy
waitmantwillie


I will do my best to get the notification emails sent and the winners posted here by the wee hours of Monday morning.

Meanwhile enjoy some more Valentine fun from LOL cats. Did you know you can send them as ecards now?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


BTW I captioned all the LOLs you see here. If you like any of them enough to go vote for it, that would be cool. Just click on the picture here and when on its page click on one of the cheeseburgers. The option to send it as an ecard is right below the cheeseburger rating. The options to send in email, embed in blog, digg it, leave a comment and/or recaption it yourself are below the picture on each page.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Forays In Fiction: File Fiddling



This week I continued the project I talked about in detail in last week's Friday Forays In Fiction post. I took the basic topic outline that I developed with Mobile Hopes WhizFolder during NaNo and placed it into all of my fiction WIP WhizFolders. There are thirteen of them. The first four times I recreated these topics one by one from scratch:

VITAL INFO
>Log
>Tasks
>Reference
>>Links
>>Biblio
>>Quotes
NOTES TO SELF
>INTENT
>On Topic From Archives
>Ramblings and Musings
RANDOM INSIRATION
STORYWORK
>PLOT
>TIMELINE
>THEME
>METAPHOR
>EVENTS
>IMAGES
>CHARACTERS
SCENES

Then I discovered that I could copy the entire list of topics and paste them into the next WhizFolder, preserving their nest heirarchy. So the next ten or so went very quick. Once this basic outline existed in a WIP WhizFolder, I could then use the drag and drop function to place each of the previously existing topics in this nest where they fit the best.

Most of this list seems self-explanitory to me but then I've been working with it for months. The story itself goes under the SCENE section. I work in scenes not chapters or I might have called that section CHAPTERS. In some of the files I changed SCENES to something more specific to the title of the work. In every one, though, any existing scenes were moved inside as child topics.

Everything above the topic SCENES is for storing notes, research, resources, and character sketches. "On Topic From Archives" is where I can copy/paste material I wrote about the WIP in my journal, an email or my blog. Under VITAL INFO the topics "Log" and "Tasks" are where I record and timestamp any encounters with the file that result in a significant change (Log) and keep a todo list (Tasks). During NaNo Mobile Hopes had another topic here for keeping track of Wordcount.

This kind of work on my files can be fitted into the odd moments I find in my current chaotic schedule (now there is an oxymoron if I've ever hear one!). It serves to keep my mind engaged in the story worlds. It also is making my fingers and mind itch to start writing actual scenes--narrative, dialog, description. Maybe eventually I will find a way to fit scene work into the odd moment. If not I will at least have kept the stories' life blood flowing in my heart.

Read more...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My First Library



This the Longview Public Library and was my first library. My memories go back to the early sixties when I was three or four years old.

I took this picture in December of 2007 on my previous visit to my Mom's. I'm posting it today because I got to go to visit it today. I took pictures but they are still on my camera and I'm too wiped out to fuss with them. Besides I didn't get any of the front today and it was a cloudy, cold day so the outdoor pics I took would not look this pretty.

I brought home a huge bag of books. I didn't go with much of a plan as to what to check out. I purposely kept it vague. I wanted to browse the shelves and let books call themselves to my attention. It has been a long time since I've been able to browse the shelves of a significantly large collection. I suppose someone from a big city library wouldn't see Longview's library that way but in comparison to the dinky Phoenix branch of our Southern Oregon Library system it is quite large.

Since 2001 I've mostly ordered the items I want from the library system's online catalog and have them delivered to the Phoenix branch for pick up. That has a very different feel to it than walking along the shelves and absorbing all the sensory detail--the colors and fonts and size; texture, smell and heft. All of that combined contributes to the sense of a book's personality.

Speaking of texture and heft--my hands are itching to grab up one of those books right this second. I haven't really got to handle them since I got home. It was time to start dinner prep the instant I got back home and then I hung out with my family until eleven--my sister, Mom and nephew and I watched the two hour Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice crossover event tonight as we had watched the first two hours of it last week. I was the one who introduced my sister to it when I was here in the fall of 2005. But by the followig spring I'd weaned myself off it. I so do not want to get hooked on it again. But the storyline of this crossover event combining the casts of the two shows was continued again tonight. And of course the idea is to get Grey's Anatomy fans hooked into its spinoff Private Practice. Argh!! Must resist. But probably not until after next week anyway.

Read more...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

V-Day Fast Approaching

Wanted to remind everyone that my three book giveaways are closing at NOON PST this Saturday. If you have entered one or more of the drawings be watching for the announcement of the winners sometime on Sunday. If you haven't entered yet, here are the links:

Sundays at Tiffany's
The Italian Lover
The Terror

The first two are love stories which is why I designated Valentine's Day as the close of the contest.



Here's an extra V-Day goodie:

Did you know that the LOLcats site now has a way you can send LOLs as e-cards? You can send ones already captioned, recaption to suit your needs, select an uncaptioned pic from their existing picture database to caption or upload your own picture to caption. Here are three with potential for Valentine's Day:

funny pictures
moar funny pictures


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!!!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hanging In There


This is a picture of the very first counted cross stitch project I ever did. I made it for my Mom for Mother's Day 1995. And I had so much trouble with it, having had to take out nearly as many stitches as I put in, some sections three and four times before I got the count right, I swore it would be my last counted cross stitch.

Well it is the last completed one. So far. I've got two large ones in progress since 2000. One of a mother dolphin swimming under water with her baby. The other of an Orca breaching in moonlight. Both are larger than a manuscript page. Both have more stitches to the inch than the Raccoon. Both are from Christian Riese Lassen paintings. I was (and am) so enamored of Lassen's art that I just had to have them and the fading memory of my struggles with this small project could not compete with that.

I'm trying to take the message on this one to heart today: Hang in there. Along with the lesson learned by all the needlework projects I have worked on: Every project big or small is accomplished one stitch at a time.

The last couple of days I've been stiff and sore from neck to hip from having banged my right shoulder into the driver's side mirror on an SUV in the mall parking lot on Sunday. The jarring while in mid stride whip lashed my neck and acted upon the muscles of my ribcage, abdomen and lower back like a taffy pulling machine. It was my first outing from this house since the ER visit January 6th.

Remind me again why I am staying here at my Mom's?

Oh, yeah. To help in her post surgery and post stroke aftercare.

Do you hear that 'evil laughter' soundtrack playing in the back ground?

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