Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ch- ch- ch- changes. Gets Thee Behind Me.



funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!


I'm always discombobulated by change. No amount of reasoning as to how it is inevitable serves to make me comfortable with it. Today I woke to discover my blog had been hacked and was redirecting visitors to a spam page offering the domain name for sale. While I was dealing with that Blogger via a popup asked if I was ready to switch over to the new platform.  I don't know why I clicked yes.  I was not in the mood for learning a new way to prepare my post.  But then when would I ever be?  I think I may have been feeling a minor surge of courage after figuring out how to fix the hack on my blog without running to Ed to rescue me.

Well there are several things I like about the new posting platform : 
  • more buttons for coding--strike, undo, redo, jump break.
  • more space in the editing fiels tho I could still wish for more.
  • ability to change the size and position of photos after they are in place without going into the code
  • ability to add labels by scrolling through a list of available ones and clicking on them.
And there are a few things I don't like so much:
  • the font in the editing field used to be large enough for me to see without zooming and now it isn't.  A difference between size 14 and size 10
  • which wouldn't be so bad if I could then use zoom but when I implemented zoom the right side of the editing field went behind the panel of commands in the right hand column and no horizontal scroll showed up..  I would prefer anyway if the whole page, editing field and command panel remained in same ratio and the horizontal scroll appeared for the whole page.  I'm used to that as I take advantage of zoom on many pages because of my vision impairment and am used to using horizontal scroll
I'm sure there are more I would put in both lists but I've had enough for tonight.  I need to take my change in small doses.

I've been talking here only of the editing platform itself.  I haven't even begun to explore the other new stuff on offer: the stats and analytics, settings and layout.  But that's gotta wait for another day.  Like I said.  Small doses.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lifehack

Breaking News - File Drawers Now Fitted with Built-in Shreader


This past week has had the theme of 'Getting Back in the Game' for me. As I've said here before I've been working at breaking obsessions and habits by replacing them with preferred ones. I've also been fiddling around with the Master Task List I created while reading David Allen's Getting Things Done. It was and still is a seedling compared to the ancient banyan tree I imagine it will become once I've followed Allen's advice to get EVERYTHING into the list. I've only got maybe 10% of my planned projects represented on it as yet.

I realized after only a day or two of working with it that I could not wait until it was complete to start using it and that creating it on the go might even help me make it more efficient as I integrated its use into my routines. But because it is still so incomplete--with only some projects represented--my use of it has been hit or miss. Most of both July and August saw it lying fallow as I stopped using for the three weeks I was at my Mom's and did not pick it back up until several days ago after stumbling onto this website that got me all motivated again.

Lifehack is a group blog on the themes of productivity, communication skills, lifestyle tips, management of time and money, and uses of technology to aid all of this. I've been browsing on it for a week now and have 'liked' it on fb to have updates in my face constantly.

The heat finally lifted in southern Oregon today. And what did I do with the sudden surge of energy and ambition the milder temps afforded me? I spent the morning and afternoon--seven hours all told--purging and rearranging files on my netbook.

I rid my hard drive of over 20G of fluff. Podcasts long ago either watched or forfeit, duplicates, old drafts... I spent the bulk of that time in the itunes library and my Ebooks library. I have barely scratched the surface of even those two area and they are as postage stamps to posters in ratio to the rest of the files awaiting similar treatment.

Altho the still unwatched podcasts might trump in gigabytes the rest of the files put together, the rest of the files are many and small and nested and rife with redundancy cloaked by different file names that can't be discovered without opening both files and comparing them side by side. The image files are especially prone to this disorder.

It is because of this chaos in my files that I have been so negligent about backing them up regularly. One of the things I am aiming to do is identify files that are probably never going to be altered again and back them up to thumbs or CD-RW or the external drive which was once my laptops hard drive. Those I still require easy access to I will keep on the netbook but in folders that I will treat as read only. That way I will be able to ignore them when it's time to back up active files.

Speaking of which, I've still not gotten all the files I want off of that laptop drive and that prevents me from wiping it and claiming all 30+ gigs on it for backup and storage so that is yet another aspect of this file management project.

My netbook drive had 220 gigs available when it was new 20 months ago. It now has 87G free. It was seeing the 65G free this morning that nudged me toward doing something about it. But even all of the file fiddling I did today duplicated every day for a week isn't going to keep that number above 50 for long if I son't start either watching or forfeiting the news pod videos I've been downloading 25% faster than I've been watching them since January. They are 200 MB a pop.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Reading Overdue Library Book



I've more than a hundred pages left in the novel Haunting Bombay that was due today and need to be finished by 8am when Ed leaves for work.

It's a ghost story and a very good first novel by Bombay born author Shilpa Agarwal who now lives and teaches at university in Los Angeles.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Serenity #244



Something enchanting about watching this. Even if it is a commercial.

And its only a little bit about how cool I begin to feel as consciousness of the heat we're having here in Southern Oregon this week recedes for a blessed few minutes.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Beat It Then.

ai wurn u wut wud happnz if u sed scat!


The heat has had me beat for two week or more. I'm losing track of time. What day is it now?

But maybe I'm getting acclimated because this evening after dinner I started a project in our room that took me two hours of non-stop physical effort. Of course it helped that within minutes of starting I had too big of a mess on the bed to get back on. The most I could do was sit on the edge of the mattress to catch my breath, get a drink and wipe sweat out of my eyes.

I started out by sorting the laundry that had piled up on the floor beside the bed since I got back from Longview on the 7th. That space between the bed and my craft chest has become our hamper and the pile my hassock. The pile is back in place now but it is sorted by loads so I can easily go put a load on when the time is right. It was too late to start one by the time I got the mess cleaned up in here.

The laundry wasn't the extent of the mess I'd placed on the bed. I'd had to move the craft chest and craft bags as well because the pile of stuff in the closet behind it had shifted forward pushing the chest towards the bed making that space narrower so I couldn't get the drawers open far enough to get things out.

There were a number of other issues that same project accomplished. Little inconveniences that made many of the projects on my agenda either difficult or impossible to accomplish so every time I did have a moment when ambition and energy coincided I opted not to start those projects.

Earlier this week as I approached the end of season 6 of Desperate Housewives, the last of those streaming on NetFlix, I decided that after the last of those episodes it would be a good time to start changing my video watching habits. And because changing habits is best accomplished by replacing them with other habits, I decided was that I needed to earn the minutes of watching with minutes of productive tasks.

It used to be that most of my video watching was accompanied by crocheting which helped me to justify how much I was watching. But when I hurt my left arm over a week ago I had to stop crocheting for a few days and by the time I was able to again I'd broken the obsession with it and the craving to have the hook in my hand. I thought at the time I would be replacing the crocheting with writing and reading and various other activities and projects. But I ended up vegging in front of the video screens.

The heat played a big role in how that worked out. But it was time to shift the balance away from videos in spite of the heat and there were many things being left undone that took as little physical output as watching videos. Most of those take more mental engagement though and it is hard for me to switch mental channels. But the experience with stopping the crochet obsession coupled with the experience of participating in WFMD (Writing for Fifteen Minutes a Day) reminded me that interrupting whatever my current mania is can be done. Especially WFMD.

Every time I did my WFMD 15 minutes it was like pulling two strong magnets off metal but several times those fifteen minute writing sessions turned into more. So I know the key is to just start something and give a good faith fifteen minutes and chances are the magnet will switch targets.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Desperate for More



I just watched the last available streaming episode of Desperate Housewives on NetFlix--the finale of season 6--and now must wait until season 7 begins streaming or start putting them in my disc queue bumping down the 20 odd now at the top.

I've been binging on Desperate Housewives since early July seldom going a full day without at least one episode and often watching 3 to 6 in one day. I started at the beginning and watched straight through. I'd seen all of season's 1 and 2 and a few episodes of 3 when they originally aired but then I quit having decided that being a slave to the TV schedule was not working for me any more and decided to wait for the opportunity to see them on my own terms via streaming or DVD.

This is one of those stories and its story world that make me want to take it apart like my brother once did ball point pens, transistor radios and gas engines to see what makes it click, sing and go. And since, still after all these years of studying the craft of story telling I'm still not sure exactly what I'm looking at and what it all means when I have cracked open the shell and watched the innards at work and then one by one pulled the parts out to examine them from all sides, I rely mostly on my old standby--osmosis via immersion.

The last TV series I did this with was Ugly Betty and the one before that The Gilmore Girls. Soon I would like to do it for Lost. Others on my list for similar treatment would be Twin Peaks (and while I'm at it all of David Lynch's movies as well), Northern Exposure, and Babylon 5 and all of David Kelly's creations (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, The Practice)

It seems at a glance that there couldn't be more dissimilar stories and thus no way to explain why I'm enthralled by all of them. But they do all have one thing in common that, once you see it, you want to bonk your forehead with your fist. The common trait? They are all ensemble casts of unique eccentric characters that act in unexpected ways when unexpected events are thrust upon them. All but three--Lost, Babylon 5 and The Practice--are what I would call dramedy with a fairly even blend of comedy and drama. All but two--The Gilmore Girls and The Practice--have a strong streak of surrealism in them. And every one of them is a running commentary on the power of story to shape our lives, to heal our hidden wounds and to create community out of a chaos of seemingly incompatible characters.

Oh and every single one of them I am desperate to emulate, tho in the form of a novel. Desperate and quivering with insecurity.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scat

wut?           u sed scat iz scattng

I wish the heat would scat or I could scat away from it. Temps in the high 90s again today. I'm not much in the mood to keep my hands hovering over the heating pad that is this keyboard. Bleh.

I'm such a wimp. I know. Back in the day yadayadayada.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arm Yourselves



Library 1969
by Jacob Lawrence
print for sale at art.com


“You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room's the greatest arsenal we could have - arm yourselves!”—Doctor Who


H/T I Love Libraries for reminding me of that quote. One of the reasons I love Dr Who!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let Me Just Look at You



Temps here in mid 90s today. Don't make me speak. I just want to gaze in longing.



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Monday, August 22, 2011

Can't Argue With That

doan gif mi dat luk iz hot ur jus jelus u doan fit

Kitty's got my number. I would so climb in the fridge if I could. Sorry but it's going to be well after midnight before I can string two thoughts together. Bleh.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Serenity #243


Sometimes words just get in the way.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bud Wise


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Ana├»s Nin

H/T to Laurie Halse Anderson for posting this quote. It reminded me once again what I've known for some time. I once posted one of my own poems that expressed a similar thought--especially if I were to make one word substitute:

Bud Wise
by Joy Renee

A bloom in the womb is a poem life curled
Tight around the pistil of its power.
Does a lily take thought of
The process of its being?
Does a rose not repose in that
Ball of its becoming?
Then let your story incubate
Enfolded in its dreaming,
Until the moment of its glory when
Unfurling reveals its flower.
..._________________...


Whether you're thinking of your life or a poem or a story or any other creative endeavor there is that moment when it's right to transition from the bud and manifest the full glory of its flower and neither fretting with impatience at the slowness of its incubation nor resisting the metamorphosis our of fear of the unknown is helpful or healthy.

I am always doing both. Why can't I hang onto this hard won knowing long enough to see something through to its moment of glory?

Trusting the process is the hardest lesson an artist must learn but it is the most necessary as without it the work is stunted, withered, contrived, stale and lifeless.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Forays in Fiction: Befriending Anger




Laurie Halse Anderson, YA author and creator of the WFMD challenge, posted something early this morning that got me wound up. Then later today she posted the WFMD writing prompt for the day that asks what makes us angry and challenges us to use the anger generated by the things we witness, read about or suffer to give our characters motivation and infuse our fiction with life and passion.

The first was about a situation in Republic MO, the same district that recently tried to ban Anderson's YA book Speak whose teenage protagonist was raped. Her post wasn't about the book banning though but about a recent lawsuit filed against that school district alleging that a special needs middle school student had been harassed sexually and raped repeatedly by another student on campus, had gone to the school officials who interviewed her without her mother present and forced her to retract her accusation, write a letter of apology to her rapist and deliver it to him in person and then reported her to juvenile authorities for false accusations and suspended her for the duration of the school year. Then when it happened again the following year and her mother took her to a clinic for a rape exam and the semen collected was a DNA match for the boy she'd accused the school then suspended HER for 'disrespectful conduct' and 'public displays of affection'. And now they are calling the suit frivolous!

Way to shush a victim's cries eh?

In America.

In 2011.

I was not only angry as I read about this but because some of the incidents of assault on this girl happened in the school library I was catapulted in memory to in incident in my high school library in which I was the victim of sexual harassment and assault while left in charge as student aide while the librarian attended an after school teachers meeting. I was not raped but I was in terror that I was about to be.

This was in 1976 and I did not go to the school authorities as I was confused and not quite sure what had happened to me. I was also afraid it was my own fault because I'd been reading a Harlequin Romance novel and the boy had used that as a conversation starter. My parents didn't approve of those novels even though at that time they had nothing more sexually explicit than chaste kisses so I read them secretly while at school or in the middle of the night.

I was so sheltered because of my family's religious convictions I didn't have the words or even the concepts to speak of or even think about these things. Even two years later nearing age twenty and already engaged I didn't know what a hickey was and got in trouble when my 12 year old sister acquired one from the neighbor boy while in my care.

I could have used books like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak back then. That was the decade when YA authors had just begun to write stories for teens that addressed raw reality subjects like sexual issues, domestic violence, bigotry, bullying etc. I remember some of the controversy about Judy Blume books from about that time.

I was right to suspect that I'd be blamed because when I told my mother that evening (leaving out the romance novel) she asked me if I thought maybe the fact that I'd recently took the hem of the dress I wore that day up two inches might have had anything to do with encouraging this boy. And then the next day told me that Daddy said 'Next time tell him to go take a cold shower.'

Next time?

Next time!!?

The school library had always been my safe haven but it never was again.

Laurie asked in today's prompt what makes us THAT angry and she didn't mean those daily irritants like rudeness, lateness, messes made by others but:



The one time in my life that I got THAT angry was in 1994 when I saw an infant disciplined by his father for crying by the holding of the hand over the mouth during the exhale to 'deprive him of the reward of hearing his own voice'. And every other adult and child in the room sat there as though nothing was wrong. Including me.

That very hour in my heart and soul though silently for several months I repudiated the fundamentalist sect I'd been raised in as it became clear to me that it's teachings were the root and leaf of this child rearing style that made seem normal what should have been anathema.

For me it is the taking of the voice of the victim, dissident, and socially powerless.

There are many more subtle ways of taking the voice from those whose words disturb the societal norm than a hand over the mouth or the cutting out of the tongue or burning of books. One is the deliberate and systematic sabotage of an education that gives one the vocabulary, the concepts, the historical frame of reference to be able to think about and thus talk about injustice and other wrong perpetrated by the strong against the weak, the rich against the poor, the insider against the outsider, the majority against the minorities.

Which is exactly why books like Speak get banned. And sex education, evolution, ethnic studies among other subjects are removed from curriculum and students are tested only on memorizable facts not the ability to think about them and talk radio hosts talk about open season on liberals defined as anyone who disagrees with them out loud and governments act in secret to keep us uninformed and corporations spend billions on a politician's campaign prevent regular people from competing for their loyalty and votes are suppressed and unions are broken and activists are assassinated and 'free speech zones' are created for protesters in locations they are least likely to be noticed by their intended audience and terrorists bomb civilians and the people are told a war is about bringing civil rights to oppressed people when its really about profit and in the name of that war civil rights are taken from the very people sending their sons and daughters to fight and corporations sue those who dare to question the quality of their product and oil companies discourage pictures of distressed dolphins and duck in the midst of an oil spill and children are punished for crying or speaking uncomfortable truths to adults and mothers shame daughters for being unladylike when they raise their voice and preachers excoriate parishioners for asking uncomfortable questions and religions and other social constructs prize obedience over all other virtues including integrity.

So many ways. And every one of them makes my tongue into a hissing flame. My fifteen minute exercise this evening will be a seething rant because I've deliberately damped the burbling cauldron of my rage over voice suppression for the purpose of this post. I tell myself its because I need to remain coherent here or that some of it is TMI for the intended audience but I'm sure that it is at least partly that I'm still voluntarily suppressing my own voice out of habit or fear. And that is incredibly angering.

But I always have preferred to channel strong emotions through my fictional characters. But on the other hand I still carry much anxiety around the feeling of anger. In my family all evidence of strong emotion was seen as disrespect which they supported with Bible verses equating anger to hate to murder and laughter as reserved for glee over the calamity of the evil ones.

Despite having broken away from those teachings nearly twenty years ago I continue to carry the habits of thinking and feeling instilled in me fifty years ago. And I wonder how much that has to do with the fact I struggle so to finish my stories and to submit the completed poems and stories for publication. If so, I myself am the voice suppressor.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Mess or Amazing

sorreez! i spilz ur skittlz  n da jakuzee

Perspective is everything and I'm trying very hard not to loose or skew mine as I begin to browse in my fiction files for the first time in months. I've barely touched them since the end of NaNo last November. And here it is already time to start preparing for this year's NaNo. Less than ten weeks!

The fact that I've let my fiction files and my story making skills lie fallow for so long makes me feel like a fraud. And if I don't start applying my time, energy, action and passion to them again soon I might as well paste a sticker saying as much to my forehead.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Stranger in My Bedchamber

doan  wurreez i no lets doz menz  starez at u

I was wakened from a sound sleep shortly after noon after less than four hours of sleep to the sound of mens' voices. My husband's and a stranger's. My husband had escorted the Dish TV tech into the room to see our TV setup.

Now I had been forewarned that the guy was coming sometime between 8am and noon but I didn't think that meant he would be escorted directly into the room without a head's up from Ed first. I went to sleep just before 8 knowing I would be wakened for this but I expected to have a minute or two to open my eyes, sit up, arrange my clothing and the bedding a bit and if not have a chance to put on my face to at least put on my glasses and see the face of the stranger invited into my bedchamber.

This kind of thing pushes all my anxiety buttons. The idea of being observed whether I'm aware of it or not but especially without my knowledge. It has been one of the biggest stressers of the last ten years living in my in-laws single-wide trailer home that I have very little privacy. Even when closed up in this tiny room I'm still constantly aware that any sound--TV, boombox, hangers knocking on the closet wall, snoring, cooing or scolding Merlin, conversations with Ed, phone conversation--made in here signals to the whole house what I'm up to. I don't like that feeling at all.

I thought Ed knew this about me so it never occurred to me I needed to spell out to him that I expected him to come in alone to tell me the guy was here and give me a minute or so to become conscious and somewhat arranged physically.

Tell me, was I expecting too much? Is it terribly last century of me to be discombobulated by the sudden entrance of a strange man into my bedroom while I'm asleep? Does our coming a long way as women mean we need to accept such a thing as par for the course?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

OCD: Obligatory Conscientious Dedication?

OCD: Obligatory Conscientious Dedication

I finally beat the Spider Solitaire game I've been playing since Thursday--on the very day I began my attempt to break the compulsions to crochet (while watching videos), aimless surfing and lurking on blogs, checking news, email, fb and other social networks (like cheezeburger.com) I go and start one of those games that I know can own me for days.

I never know tho as I begin the game if I will win it in fifteen to fifty minutes or be stuck for days. When I started playing I needed something relaxing that I could do with my right hand only as the pain in my left arm was significant through Saturday. I should have picked Minesweeper or Freecell.

But I managed to include a lot of contemplation as I played. I made it a point to observe myself and what I was doing, feeling, thinking. I realized it wasn't completely ridiculous to have chosen another compulsion to replace the ones I was trying to interrupt and at least there was an endpoint as eventually I'd win the silly game. So I mused and planned what would come next.

As I moved the cards around I observed my need to solve the puzzle and the persistence with which I applied my mind, time and energy to that goal. There seems to be no reason why such traits cannot be applied to one of my other, more productive goals. Why is it that I so seldom do?

Because one of the things I was reminded about myself is that it doesn't matter what the activity once I'm engrossed I resist with all I'm worth setting it aside until its either finished or I'm mentally or physically finished. I forget to eat until I'm faint with hunger, to sleep until I'm beginning to hallucinate, to attend to other self care tasks until even my cat flares his nostrils when near me.

In the last couple of years the activity most often taking over like that has been the crocheting. But there have been occasions when the same thing has happened with my writing though sadly not with the same ease or regularity as with puzzle games and fiber arts, reading, video watching, and online browsing and lurking.

I asked myself why is that? But I already knew at least part of the answer. The payoffs on those things I've been more likely to persist at are more sure, more short term and more measurable. Anybody can see the advance of the rows on the afghan, the hundreds of neatly stacked crocheted bookmarks, the win screen of the game, the bookmarks advancing. And gratification is instant when I click on a link or browser bookmark.

I'm the only one who sees the words accumulate on paper or screen and the only one who judges them worthy (or not) though I'm likely the least able to be objective about it. The completion of a short story can take weeks and the completion of a novel can take years supposing of course I can even identify the finish line.

I wish I'd discovered Laurie Halse Anderson's Write Fifteen Minutes a Day Challenge for the month of August before the month was half gone as I've noticed often that applying myself to a new activity for only fifteen minutes is often all it takes to become engrossed in it thus switching my obsession from one thing to another. And it is rare that I actually stop after the fifteen minutes are up.

I've been following along in Anderson's blog and on fb the progress of the challenge but hadn't been participating. I don't know why as there is no accountability to anyone but myself. I suppose it is that other obsession of mine: perfection or completeness or something like New Year's resolutions you forget to start on January 1 so you wait until next year. Completely irrational, yes?

Yes. So I'm going to take on the WFMD challenge for the duration of the month. Blogging doesn't count as I've been maintaining a perfect streak of daily posts since April 2006 and often have wondered where my fiction, poetry and personal essays might be today if I'd devoted as much time and persistence to them as to these daily posts.

What counts: (according to me not LHA) character sketches or a character's first person meanderings, morning pages, random musing, word lists, personal (private) journaling, poems, story world descriptive passages, memories, dialog, rants or one of Laurie's prompts.

Because they are natural breaks from other activity I might be involved in the three most likely times of the day to begin the fifteen minutes are: immediately upon waking (well after making coffee maybe); immediately after dinner/dishes; immediately after Ed gets up which naturally puts an end to my video streaming :) or if I'm laying down before he's awake then immediately before that but in both cases I should take care not to become so engrossed I'm still at it at noon.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

That's Gotta Smart

missed it by that much


Ed and I watched Get Smart the movie staring Ben Stiller as agent Maxwell Smart. We both loved the 60s TV series so this was a treat.

Am still working at limiting activities that had become obsessive and adding back those I've been neglecting. I haven't crocheted since Thursday which was when I strained my left arm. Today was the first day that the pain was lessened enough I thought I might be able to hold and control the thread but I still let it lie.

I have been going for hours without checking email and fb. Often four or more hours.

Meanwhile I've added back reading fiction having read for 30 to 60 minutes one to three times per day for a whole week now.

I must admit tho that I've not beaten all obsessions and overdone activities. I've continued to watch a lot of DVD and stream. And I've been stuck on the same Spider Solitaire game since Thursday.

So two steps forward, three back.

I've been home a week now and have begun to aclimate to the heat so maybe I'll locate my ambition and energy again soon and shift that to three steps forward and two back.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Serenity #242

i b ur mornign amewsmint u no need dat mintchoklit latte nfewsmint


Serving up some cute for Sunday serenity.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Believe and You Will See

dey sey find rite purrspektiv it all mayks cents right then.  i keep lukign


The events of this week have broken me out of the rut I've been in for months. First the incident with the netbook power cord failing then the injury to my left shoulder. Or maybe it goes back to the return home on Sunday after three weeks away.

At any rate my routines of thought and action have been thoroughly disrupted. My obsessive checking of news, email and fb was interrupted by the power cord failure Wednesday and I've yet to resume it. My obsessive crocheting was interrupted first by the packing and travel and unpacking last weekend but I was on the verge of resuming when the pain in my shoulder prevented it.

Because of these disruptions I've been contemplating the effect those obsessive behaviors have on me and my dreams and goals. How those things I say I want I've been doing little to nothing about for nearly a year now.

So I'm taking this lesson to heart and giving serious thought to how things need to be different--thoughts, activities, time use--and how I can take advantage of the recent disruptions of habit to establish new and healthier and more productive ones aimed at reaching the goals I say I want to reach. Or alternatively admitting that the goals have changed.

There is this dark cynical aspect of me muttering Yeah right! I'll believe it when I see it! in the shadows of my mind right now.

But I am reminded that that is backwards thinking. For it is what we believe that controls what we see and what we think and what we do.

So I answer back to the shadows We'll see it when we believe it! How about we stop sabotaging our self by believing in failure?

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Raise Your Hand if You Can

u type dis capshun i cant reech teh keybord frm heer


I'm having significant range of motion issues with my left arm today. It's hurting at the shoulder where ligaments meet bone. It hurts to lift my arm, to reach behind me or across my chest. Which makes crocheting and keyboarding difficult. So I spent the day watching DVD on the TV and reading.

I'm pretty sure the cause of this is my reaching into the closet over the top of my craft chest to lift the bundle of hangers with clothing on them still wrapped in the trash bag that protected them for travel on Sunday. The drawstring of the bag was still hung over the hangers so I had to lift the whole bundle and support it with one hand (left) while I lifted off the drawstring with the other (right) and extracted the outfit i was wearing to the doctor appointment. That must have been when the damage was done but it didn't cause any pain or range of motion issues until after I woke up this afternoon. And it isn't stiffness that is alleviated by use as it has gotten progressively worse the more I try to use my arm.

I took 3 Naproxin an hour before starting to work on this and it is barely touching the pain. Once I have my left hand positioned on the keyboard and rested on the edge of the netbook I can type without pain as long as I don't lift my hand.

Here's hoping this resolves itself in a matter of days and not weeks.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Complacency--the Faith of Fools

So don't get too excited...or complacent


My netbook is powered again. For the moment.

This morning after I had to turn Ed's laptop back over to him I spent another hour fiddling with the cord trying to reenact the accident that made it work before. Then I decided to get out the universal adapter cord we got for my laptop after its power cord had failed. I remembered the day I got the netbook having tried the connector piece for that cord that looked the most like the one accompanying the netbook and that it hadn't worked.

I wanted to get it out in order to refresh my memory of the product's name so maybe I could search online or in stores for a connector piece that would marry it to my netbook. As soon as I pulled it out of the box it was stored in and saw the connector my heart skipped a beat because it looked so very much like the one I'd been eyeballing since the previous afternoon.

I pulled the one out of the netbook and held them side by side and could see no difference in the size or shape of the hole. Possibly the tube wall surrounding the hole was thicker on the universal which might be why it hadn't worked. I tried plugging it into the netbook and though it was a snug fit it seemed to go in and sit flush.

So I unplugged the defunct cord and plugged in the universal cord which was a several step procedure requiring plugging the two cords into the adapter box and then one end into the power strip and the other into the netbook.

No joy.

At first.

No light on the rim of the netbook indicating it was receiving power. I pulled the cord out of the netbook and pushed it back in and thought I saw a flicker so I jiggled it and there was a solid light. But the moment I set the netbook down so I could go tell Ed, the light went out again. I gave it another push, tug, jiggle and the light was back. After that I was afraid to touch it or move the netbook. I figured if nothing else I could charge the battery back up to 3+ hours which might give me the opportunity to get more files off.

So I decided not to touch it until the red light turned green indicating a full charge. I picked up a book to read while I waited. It took an hour and by then I was exhausted from the emotional roller coaster I'd been on since 4:30 Wednesday afternoon and I had a Doctor appointment to prepare for this afternoon. I'd planned to stay up for it and sleep after but suddenly I couldn't keep my eyes open. So I told Ed I was going to take a nap.

I didn't get to power up the netbook and get back onto my desktop until after returning from our excursions to the doctor in Ashland and the library in Phoenix. This was my first library visit since returning from Longview and many of the items I'd got in queue for in the last month, setting activation for August 8, had come in. 9 of them were waiting for me and then I pulled six more off the shelves.

So I am for the moment back on my netbook with all my files and aps and favorites and preferences intact.

Funny thing is that after getting home this afternoon and finding the green light still glowing I wasn't as eager as I thought I would be to open up the netbook and get back into the routines of checking email and fb and fiddling with Whiz notes and...and..and...

Partly it was anxiety about the stability of the power connection. Would handling the netbook cause the connection to go in and out?. So at first I didn't pick it up. I powered up, reached my desktop, opened Chrome and checked first gmail then fb. All without picking up the netbook. Then I closed the lid. I had over a dozen books to browse in and find homes for in the room. Also I had the novel I'd started this morning while waiting for the battery to charge: A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernieres--author of Captain Correlli's Mandolin.

It was going to be time for dinner soon anyway.

After dinner I was once again exhausted from the whole ordeal of the power cord, the sleep deprivation, the doctor visit and the library visit. All that and the heat took me out. I napped again from 7 to 9 waking only because Ed came to bed and I'd left a bunch of stuff on his side.

I wonder now if this has given me enough of a kick in the unowut to finally get my files in order and backed up!!!! Or will I get complacent again until the next time I'm about to loose them all.

I wonder too if having just about lost the tool with which I can write at will 24/7, will I start applying my will to using if for writing beyond these blog entries?

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unplugged

I Dis Got No Happys Too Day

My netbook power cord died. It may be a month or more before we can replace it. Am using Ed's laptop. Can count on only six to eight hours of use each day and I just spent four hours getting my desktop set up, getting signed into gmail, blogger, icanhascheezeburger, fb, live messenger and more and setting preferences on them and the browser.

I managed to backup my document files including Whizfolder files where nearly every note and draft I've made in the last four years is. In order to open Whiz files on Ed's computer though I had to download a 30 day trial of WhizFoldersPro. But I was using WhizFoldersDeluxe so some features I'm used to won't be available.

I couldn't back up my ebook and audiobook libraries nor my graphic files as there wasn't room on the external drive I was using. I have some thumb drives but now have only 40 minutes of battery left on the netbook and don't think that is enough time.

So many pieces of so many projects still trapped on the netbook.... am not happy. No.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Movie Marathon


Just minutes after I posted last night that I would reward myself for the ten hour unpacking job by watching the first disc of Gormenghast, Ed informed me he had to work the next morning (today) and would be heading to bed shortly. So I waited until this afternoon and watched all four episodes of the miniseries back to back followed by the extra features. A good five hours or more that took.



Then, after dinner I watched All the King's Men--the 2008 version starring Sean Penn. I'd watched the 1949 version starring Broderick Crawford in June. Both Gormenghast and All the King's Men are movies based on books. I read the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervin Peake in the early 80s. I have the audio books checked out of the library and hope to listen to them soon.

I've never read Robert Pen Warren's Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the King's Men but I think I want to now. The one I watched this evening seemed to be quoting the novel directly in the narration. At least it gave me that impression and makes me want to read the book because I liked the sound of the narrator's voice. The plot was also much more complex then the 1949 movie which also speaks favorably for the book.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

A Headache and a Pain in the Neck

O dats gotta hurt!1!


Packing and Unpacking!! I've had enough to last me for a very long time.

Today's ten hour unpacking chore was a headache and a pain in the neck. Literally!

This afternoon when Ed brought an armful of stuff in from the car and handed me my collapsible desk its leg slipped from my grip and slapped me across the bridge of my nose whipping my neck back. So now my head hurts and my neck is stiff and sore.

I've also got a fingernail with a crease halfway between the tip and the quick after catching it on the edge of a box and bending it back. That prompted me to get out the clippers and trim all my nails which were each a similar accident in waiting.

I'm going to celebrate by watching a movie. Gormenghast I think. At least the first disc.

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sunday Serenity #241



Apparently It's Recharging

I'm back in Phoenix OR this evening. Am exhausted. Have bushels of stuff in the car to put away and when we first arrived I imagined I'd do it before sleeping. Ha. We're not even unpacking the car tonight. I'm hot and so tired I can't think.

Someone plug me in please!

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Buttons, Beads, Bags and Bookmarks


These are a few of the bookmarks I was dressing this past week. All but one of these are from the set I made my sister Carri for her birthday. The one in the bottom left coroner is a fob for a thumb drive which I gave to my nephew. There is another set I am making for my sister Jamie most of which are still unfinished and the ones I did finish I gave to her Thursday without taking pics first. (sis you'll have to take pics and send them to me)




On Thursday Jamie sent home with me the first bookmark I gave her in 2009 in order to fix it. It was the third one I ever made. But I'd misjudged the length of black ribbing I needed in order to attach the planed beads to the bottom. I'd cut it so short the beads would have been tripped inside even a paperback so I left them off. But that left nothing to stop the big bead at the top from pulling the bookmark out of the book when the least bit of extra gravity was in play.

I think I may have overdone the length this time. :)



So this evening I replaced the black ribbing and sewed on two black beads with tiny red buttons as stoppers to hold the thread. I like this concept so well I can't wait to try it again.



The bulk of my crafts and clothes are packed and in the car. I'm leaving Longview in the morning and will be in Phoenix OR by dinnertime.

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Family and Friends



The last two days have been full to the brim with family and friends. Thursday I spent at my sister Jamie's apartment in Vancouver with two of her friends, chatting, crocheting, cooking (I watched) eating, and laughing. Got a bit tipsy on wine for the first time in years. Had so much fun!


Today, back inLongview, I had lunch at Stuffy's with my sister Carri, our cousin and her daughter-in-law and grandson and granddaughter. Three hours of laughter, eats and visiting. I managed to crochet a whole row on my Noro shawl while there.

After that my sister took me to the dollar store and then to Electric Bean, the coffee shop she hangs out on her weekends off when our mom is at our brother's home in Portland. The pic above is of a mural she painted on their wall. We hung out there for a couple hours visiting over coffee and listening to the musicians. Friday is open mic night. When the music was playing it was too loud to visit so I crocheted some more on my shawl.

We headed home at dusk as Carri was expecting the arrival of a respit child and I needed to start packing. Tonight I'm focusing on the craft stuff. Tomorrow will be everything else. Carri will be driving me south on Sunday. We'll say our good-byes at Rice Hill OR after transferring my stuff from her car to Ed's car and two hours later I'll be home in Phoenix OR. This three weeks just flew.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Childhood on the Vine



Mom made these dolls from the hollyhock blooms today and when I saw them I was thrown back decades in time and miles to the north to the back yard of my Great Aunt whose fence was covered in hollyhock and who showed me how to make them. At the time it seemed to be magical this taking of one thing and transforming it into something else entirely.


Well I've been awake since noon Wednesday. Had a big day today. Would like to give a play by play but if I don't get to sleep soon I'll sleep through Mom's departure for my brother's in Portland at noon and will have to say my goodbyes by phone before I leave town Sunday.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Oh Button It

Oh button it!


My first picture upload at cheezeburger.com. These are two of the buttons I found in my Mom's button collection. I found the yellow one three weeks ago when doing the big once over sort and purge of the collection before I schlepped it back to Mom's. I found the black one yesterday as I did the second and third over sort by color, size and composition.

Except for this one box in which I collected every button from the size of a nickle on down that interested me or which I could instantly see it's use on a bookmark. I mixed color and composition because I love the sensation of running my fingers through them letting my imagination run with ideas as the buttons run through my fingers.





Less than half of that special collection appears in this pic as I'd split it between the top and bottom of the box and today I added couple more fistfuls.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Burner Bonding



I barged in on this late evening bonding moment between my sister and her son a little bit ago. I was out in the front room taking photos of more nostalgia triggers when I smelled something reminiscent of a smoking meringue in the oven. So I came around through the dining room asking What is that smell?


Talk about nostalgia triggers. I remember toasting marshmallows in the fireplace at both the houses we lived in as children but mostly the other one where I lived from six weeks of age to a few weeks short of age eighteen.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

What Do You Call That Thing You Do?

u no turnign paygez fast enuf  i halps

Reading. I miss it. I've not read more than twenty pages since I arrived two weeks ago Sunday and hadn't read many in the preceding week which had been all about packing for this trip. My first week here was all about caring for Mom and visiting with her the second week was about my sister's biopsy and prepping two gifts and myself for my nieces's wedding yesterday. Had hoped that this last week could be about scanning family photos, more visiting and reading books I can't get ahold of back home.

But this week is shaping up to be all about the crocheted bookmarks. Will explain why in later posts. Right now I need to get back to them.

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