Saturday, March 31, 2012

Home Again

I'm exhausted.  And I wasn't even the one driving for six hour and having to turn around and drive another six.  And that after packing the van twice and helping unpack it again.

But I've had about five hours sleep since Wednesday so I'm running on fumes.  Thus this lazy post with recycled pic and meandering words.

Where oh where is that blue sky we see there?  That pic was taken two days before Xmas, the day we got the key to our new place.  It was cold that day but sunny.  Today was blustery, grey, wet and cold.  AKA Oregon in March.

I came home with more than twice the volume of what I took with me.  Among that were three lamps--two table and one floor; kitchen misc and half a wardrobe of quality second hand clothes.  That last much needed after loosing 20lbs since Xmas.

Ed and Carri unloaded everything into the living room so after Carri hit the road again I started schlepping things to their proper homes in the house.  Am far from done but made a huge dent.

Just got word from my nephew that Carri has made it past halfway home.  On schedule for 11pm arrival.

I was hoping to stay up tonight to participate in Bloggiesta some more and then kick off Script Frenzy at midnight for an hour or two.  But I don't think that is going to happen.  And maybe it shouldn't.  If I sleep now and go with a fresh brain tomorrow I'm sure I'll be more productive and have more fun to boot.

So.  *yawn* Night all.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Bloggiesta 2012: Goals etc.

I've been checking in on the Bloggiesta off and on all day but was unable to sit still long enough to make a post. I've just in the last few minutes reached the point in my packing for tomorrow's trip that I can start doing some things I want to do instead of the must dos. My sister is packing the van with my stuff as a type.

I'll have to shower and wash my hair in a few minutes so my hair can air dry before I sleep but then I'll have a few hours to play on my blog or at least do some more reading on the participant blogs gathering ideas and leaving comments.

Leaving more comments is my No1 task for Bloggiesta and going forward.  I am such a lurker.

2nd most important to me is learning some ways of putting posts together quicker.  The three to six hours I devote to my blog each night is not how I want things.  I want the blog be secondary to my creative work in writing, reading and fiber art.  I want to get where I can spend an hour or less per post so I can invest the rest of that time into writing stories and poems, crocheting book marks and reading novels.

3rd but related to above is learning how to whip out book reviews in an hour or less.  That is in addition to putting the post for the review together.  I have dozens and dozens of partially prepared book reviews.  Most are a collection of note, quotes, links and images related to the book and author.  Some have a good start at writing the review and a few just need final edit and fact check which often needs the book which is in the library.

Which wouldn't be an issue if I could get the reviews done before the books had to go back or failing that at least know which facts I'm likely to need so I'd have them collected in reliable notes.  Things like character names, occupations, locations, dates, page numbers.  I'm thinking maybe I need to create a form I can fill out for each book as I'm reading it.  Or is that getting too OCD?  Would it end up being just another task that would consume more time than it saved?

4th.  I want to learn how to use social networking.

5th.  I want to learn how to use the Pages feature that Blogger now has to organize my blog

6th  My side bar needs updating and decluttered

7th  I need to go into my archives and resize images and videos that are too big for the new template which I switched to two years ago.

8th  I need to label posts before 2007 and consolidate the labels I have which means rethinking many of the posts since I began using labels.  I've got so many labels that it takes forever to find the ones I want for the current post.  So sometimes I think it isn't there and I make it only to discover that I've added or subtracted a plural s or a capitalization so that my label list now has one of each:  i.e. label and labels or Label or Labels

9th  I also need to organize my blogging related email and create a calendar for commitments.  Earlier this month I lost an email in the clutter of my inbox that had the date I'm to post for an upcoming blog tour and I had to email my contact to get a reminder.  So embarrassing.  So unprofessional.

Well that is way more than I can hope to accomplish in this weekend seeing as how I have only a couple more hours to devote to it tonight and then can't get back to it until after my husband is in bed tomorrow night.  Still hard to believe that in only fifteen or sixteen hours I will finally be back home.

I hope to spend a lot of time at this on Sunday but that is also the first day of Script Frenzy and my first full day at home in three months.

So to summarize,  my main goal for this weekend besides breaking the lurker habit is to get educated on all of the above so I can continue to work at the tasks over the coming months.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Script Frenzy Resources

Script Frenzy

Some resources I've been bookmarking for Script Frenzy:

I'd planned to make nice text labels to hide the links in and add brief descriptive blurbs and then talk a bit about my Script Frenzy plans for Sunday but my browser has be bratty for the last couple of hours, freezing and java crashes and taking forever to load or to even do simple tasks in the Blogger platform.   A post that should have taken me thirty minutes to do has taken me three hours to just get this far.

Meanwhile, I can't afford to spend any more time on this if I want to do any Bloggiesta stuff before I have to sleep.  And I have to sleep earlier than usual tonight as I will likely get little sleep tomorrow night.  I still have much packing to do and need to have all but the last minute stuff in the van before my sister goes to bed tomorrow night.  We're leaving at 8:30 AM Saturday for Phoenix OR. That's about 33 hours from this moment.

It's about a six hour drive.  But we'll be in the Vancouver WA area for a bit before we hit the freeway south for real.  Then at the other end my sister, Ed and I will unload the van so Carri can turn around and head back north ASAP.  We are leaving Mom in her grandson's company for the day with meals pre-prepared and phone numbers he can call if necessary.  Including his mom's cell.

If all goes as planned, in less than 40 hours I'll be home.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bloggiesta Happening This Weekend

I just discovered this was happening this weekend.  Friday through Sunday, midnight to midnight or 12AM Friday thru 12AM Monday.  It is hosted at Suey's It's All About Books where you can sign up.

What is Bloggiesta?  It's a three day challenge and blog-a-thon in which bloggers devote as much time as they can to doing blog related work and asking for and giving help and doing mini-challenges.  And there are prizes.

I'm going to sign up but I'm not going to be able to participate the whole weekend.  I may get to do a little in the wee hours of Friday morning as it begins but then most of Friday and Saturday will be devoted the trip preparations and the trip home Saturday.  Then maybe Saturday night after Ed has gone to bed and if I'm not too exhausted I might get to check in for a bit.  But I will try to devote as much time as possible on Sunday.

Oh, Man.  everything is happening all at once.  The trip home that I was beginning to think was never going to go through.  Script Frenzy starts at midnight Saturday night.  And now this.

I don't know what to commit to working on.  Some possibilities:

  • my sidebars are in dire need of attention
  • checking out the mini-challenges 
  • checking out other blogger participants to see what other's are doing and that I might like to try.  
  • stretch myself socially out of the lurker mindset and leave comments.
  • writing up reviews for the six books I read this month.  Which I could conceivably work on in the car Saturday tho I'm sure my sister and I will be getting our last visit in for most of that five or six hour drive.  

I know that somewhere in my notes is my todo list for the last Bloggiesta which was huge and not nearly completed so I'l look for that to remind myself of all those things I once thought were important to do or change or update ect.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Frank Peretti in Longview.

Author Frank Peretti was speaking at a fund-raiser for a local Christian school in Longview this evening and my sister and I went.  She had read several of his supernatural thrillers for Christians a few years back and I had read at least one, This Present Darkness around the time it's sequel came out.    I had checked it out at the library.  Then I was unable to get the sequel, Piercing the Darkness at the time because the queue was too long.  By the time the 'new-release-rush' had dissipated my interests had moved on I guess as I never thought to send for it.

I had hoped to hear him talk a little about the writing process and storytelling as a craft but that wasn't his topic.  I suppose because it wasn't his audience.  He directed his themes at the Christian community of the school--parents, teachers, administrators and kids.

Here is some of what I took away from it:

  • There is no easy way to get from here to there, from the beginning to the end, from where you are to your goal without going through the middle.
  • Failure is good for you.
  • Success is the end result of 50% failed tries.  At least.
  • There's no such thing as perfection in human endeavor.  The point isn't to be perfect or to make the perfect _____________ but rather to make the effort and and do your best with the given resources in the given moment.
  • Don't use 'at' in the same sentence with :'where'.

Those were all paraphrases so I couldn't put them in quotes.  But the gist of the thoughts were Peretti's.

I guess when I get home I'm going to have to order his books from the library.  I'll probably have to read the first one again  before reading its sequel.  Then there have been several more since before the latest, Illusion, for which he is on tour now.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Dewey's 24hr Read-a-Thon 2012

Saturday, April 21st 
5am Pacific Daylight Time/8am Eastern Daylight Time 
(which is 12 noon GMT)

Reader Sign-Ups Are Here!

Cheerleader Sign-Ups!

I'm so excited!  I expect this to be as good an experience for me this time as I'll be reading primarily ebooks which I've been having such a good time with the last few months.  I may actually get to list more than one book read cover-to-cover again.  Reading a tree book cover to cover inside 24 hours used to be the thing I was known for but had gotten rarer over the last ten years as the RP encroached on my central vision.  But with ebooks I think I could read two or one chunkster.  Say 600-700 pages.

I have averaged half a novel per month over the several years before last fall when I downloaded the Kindle for PC.  Now just this month I've read:

Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mocking Jay
House Rules
Written in the Ashes

Counting the Hunger Games Trilogy as one, that's four chunksters devoured inside a month with a week left--well five days now.  

But I will have to slow down now since this week is all about preparing for my trip home on Saturday. 

 All of my stuff is scattered from one end of the upstairs of Mom's house to the other plus the laundry room downstairs. And the floor space upstairs is half again the floor space of our mobile home.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Serenity #276

My nephew has been listening to music like this in the office next to Mom's room where I spend most of my time. I finally asked him what it was and he told me 'techno' so I went exploring. 

 Haven't found the exact ones I've heard him playing that I liked so much but this one was cool. I love the drum action. And since I mostly hear it from the next room that is primarily what I hear--the bass beats.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

If My Heart Were a Cat

Because I just learned that next Saturday I'll be:

funny cat pictures - Ar we there yet? Ar we there yet?  Ar we there yet? Ar we there yet? Ar we there yet?

Yep, the date has been set for my trip home.  Yet again.  But I really think it is going to take this time.


Friday, March 23, 2012

A Lay on Grass

Sing It Kitteh
The scent of mown grass woke something in me today.

A Lay on Grass
by Joy Renee

Mowers purr in the scintillating air
skiffing the turf snow-blanketed
just yesterday.

The scent of awakenings seeping
into barely cracked car windows
settles on wool

and down-filled wraps, hitching a ride inside
where, harbored in hair it abides
awaiting dark

quietude, that sinking moment dream-snared,
to thrum a rapture of rebirth
laying in wait.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

20 Crocheted Bookmarks

My sister and sister-in-law both asked for ten of my crocheted bookmarks they could have on hand to give as gifts throughout the year.  I have had a stash of the original shell pattern that were tail-tucked and blocked only awaiting their ribbons.  So I got them and the ribbons out this evening and chose colors and color combos.

My stash of sans ribbon bookmarks has dropped significantly since its onetime high.  I once tried to keep three in every color and type of thread I had but after the last major addition to my thread pallet I never did get around to making up those for the stash because by then I had added new stitches and patterns to my repertoire and never looked back.

But this original pattern is simple and quick and easy to store without the ribbons in and I would like to build up that stash of all-but-ready bookmarks that I can dip into on short notice for gifts as I've been doing for over a year now. So besides replacing the ones in the colors I used as gifts or given to my sister to use as gifts and making the three in the 20 or so colors I've added to the palette since I stopped adding to the stash, I need to make close to a hundred. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gone Skwirly

captioned by Joystory at

I've been awake over 36 hours.  silly me.  i was planning to crash as soon as I posted my blog. in fact was micro napping as I worked on this post.  Then my sister informed me it was snowing and sticking.  So i spent the next half hour watching out the window.  

that's all I need is another lure away from the pillow.  i'm an obsessive snow fall watcher and if not for having read an ebook all night last night i'd probably be running to the window every ten minutes tonight.  but I don't dare.  I'd be 'skwirly' for sure by dawn if I did.

it is now after 1am. I started this post before 10pm.  I'd have been done well before midnight if not for these things:

  • snow watching and visiting with my sister by the window; 
  • those micro naps before the snow break;
  • finding the computer when I got back hibernated 
  • and when i woke it up it got busy with a major download I couldn't identify that was hogging RAM and bandwidth making Windows sluggish and browser tabs freeze up;  
  • and discovering after spending an hour locating and captioning a picture on that their new beta site is not providing the embed code 
  • and my brain was so sluggish it took me twenty minutes to realize I could just save the image and upload it to Blogger.  

duh.   *head smack*

And now I'm feeling wide awake again.  Like I could easily read that ebook all night again.  

Or watch the snow.

OK this post is full of typos and awkward grammar.  I could and usually would spend an hour sprucing it up but i think it wold be wiser to let it go this time.  between the fumbling of my fingers which feel semi detached from my brain and the rebellion of my eyes which are refusing to stay focused (so much for reading all night again) I make three more errors every time I go to fix one.  All of the uncapped pronouns and first words are due to my pinky fingers refusing to hit the shift key hard enough.

so I'm outta here....


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Joseph Campbell Quotes

So.  Learning yesterday about the release of the film Finding Joe got me thinking about Joseph Campbell and when I start thinking about something I tend to Google just to see what comes up.  Among other things, lots of quotes.  Many had been put on inspirational posters.  I just might turn some of these into posters myself but today I just want the words to stand on their own.

Things Joseph Campbell said or wrote:

Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.

Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.

Original Experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve got to work out life for yourself. Either you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience – that is the hero’s deed.”

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.

I think the person who takes a job in order to live - that is to say, for the money - has turned himself into a slave.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

Love is a friendship set to music.

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

A one sentence definition of mythology? "Mythology" is what we call someone else's religion

Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.

The cave you most fear to enter contains the greatest treasure.

As a white candle In a holy place, So is the beauty Of an aged face

Marriage is not a simple love affair, it's an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of ego to a relationship in which two have become one

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.

When we talk about settling the world's problems, we're barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It's a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends


Monday, March 19, 2012

Finding Joe

I've been itching to get my hands (eyes, ears) on this ever since I first heard about it nearly a year ago.  I have it in my Netflix save section for DVDs not yet available.  I learned today that the DVD is now out but alas I can't send for it while I'm out of town.

Ah well.  Soon.

But just watching this trailer has woke up my thirst for reading Joseph Campbell again.  It has been over a year since I picked up one of his books to read or browse.  In fact I had Hero With a Thousand Faces out of the library as I prepped for Script Frenzy last March.

I own his Mask of God series, for books tracing the myths from Paleolithic times to the present.  I've owned if for fifteen years but unlike HWTF I've never actually finished any of them.  I've started them over and over and each time reach 100 to 200 pages in only to get distracted.

As I was packing and nnpacking them for our move the week after Christmas I promised myself I would make this the year I would read them front to back.  I came close to bringing them with me but I had been given a sort of dare by my sister to limit the number of books I brought with me. She held out promise of unlimited access to the three libraries she has cards for--the Longview Public Library,  the Vancouver Public Library system and the Lower Columbia College..  

Since I thought this was going to be a four week visit and I had over 1000 ebooks on my netbook already (have tripled that since) I rose to the challenge and brought only four.  All of them reference books related to one or more of my fiction WIP.

My visit was extended repeatedly and now I''ve been here at Mom's for 9 weeks and anticipate at least 2 more.  I had such plans for 2012 after we learned the move would be happening but most I had to put on hold until I got home.  Now the year is a quarter gone.

Ah, well.  Soon.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Serenity #275

Two wildly different mood pieces. Love both. Both feel necessary to me today.

 Am reminded how essential music is to moderating and regulating my moods. 

 Have neglected music since I left home nine weeks ago. 

Must stop that. Just because I can't crank the boom box in an empty house doesn't mean I can't still enjoy it.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chocolate On My Bubblegum

Looking at these I hear a voice, an echo of that old candy commercial, saying:
You got chocolate on my bubblegum.

These three bookmarks were part of a set of four I made for my sister to give to her friend on her birthday.  The birthday was over a month ago but I just got these three dressed up last night, or rather the wee hours of this morning, so they could go with my sister today on her excursion out of town which would include a meetup with her friend.  

I'd finished the first one--a simple shell stitch with a single ribbon threaded thru the center--in time to go into the gift bag last month.  Then since I missed the deadline on these three I continued to procrastinate until I learned another visit with the friend was coming up this weekend.

And even then I waited until after midnight this morning to start working on them.  The crocheting part had been long done.  It was the dreaded tucking of the tails and the sewing on of the buttons that had me playing hide-an-go seek with the item on my todo list. 

I did enjoy the project once I got involved.  It has been quite awhile since I last did a series of fancy dress ups for the bookmarks.  In fact I think the last time was for my nieces xmas gifts and the time before that was when I was here at Mom's last summer.

That has a lot to do with how hard it was to set up a workstation that was safe from my cat Merlin who spent as much time on the bed in that room at my in-laws as I did.  He loved the ribbons and beads and buttons!

This was one of the things I was really looking forward to about having my own home.  And I actually did get to put my nieces bookmarks together at the new house on Xmas day itself--the day before we started moving in.  Which got me very excited about how it would be once we had moved in and I had a good workstation set up that I didn't have to put away when it was time for Ed to sleep and a door I could close against Merlin.

Then my long planned trip to Mom's got extended from two weeks to a month and since I got here has been extended repeatedly every time the planned day for leaving approaches.  Like happened again last week.  Now I've been here for nine weeks I think and there is at least one more but since next Saturday hasn't already been designated travel day I'm not holding much hope that it will be..  But I imagine it will be the first Saturday in April at the latest.

Meanwhile my new house seems more like a faded dream than reality.  My mental images of that room at my in-laws are ten times more vivid than those of the new place which I got to spend only ten days in all of which were devoted to packing and unpacking and packing for the trip.

I'm hoping to go to bed early tonight and by early I mean before 3am but I'm hoping even before midnight as I didn't lay down this morning until 8am and had to be up by 11:00 in order to have time to wake up and drink my coffee leisurely before it was time to fix lunch for Mom, my nephew and myself.  I also had dinner duty but my sister had made that easy by picking up TV dinners.  Thank goodness because I've been a bit out of it today.

It is my own fault.  First for procrastinating the task of dressing up the bookmarks and second for not going to bed as soonn as they were done at 4am.  Instead I returned to Mockingjay, book 3 of The Hunger Games and read until 8am.  I tried to stop at 6. But gave myself a few more minutes and within ten minutes I had passed that point in a story where stopping is nearly impossible.

This afternoon I started Jodi Picoult's House Rules.  I could easily sit up all night reading this story but I know better.  To do that twice in a row would be begging for a virus to move in on me.  Besides I'm not deep enough into the story yet to make it hard to stop so it seems wiser to get caught up on sleep tonight and save the allnighter for when I'm past the halfway to three-quarters mark.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: 10 Quotes for Scriptwriters

Rock Climbing in Idaho
Photo Credit Bureau of Land Management
Writing a screenplay is like climbing a mountain. When you’re climbing, all you can see is the rock in front of you and the rock directly above you.You can’t see where you’ve come from or where you’re going.   -Syd Field

In light of the fast oncomming headlights of Script Frenzy I've collected some inspirational and kick-butt (or kick-but) quotes:

The first draft is nothing more than a starting point, so be wrong as fast as you can.   -Andrew Stanton

Stop thinking about writing as art.  Think of it as work.  If you’re an artist, whatever you do is going to be art.  If you’re not an artist, at least you can do a good day’s work.   -Paddy Chayefsky

Successful people don’t wait. They don’t get stalled on one step, one issue, one project. They continuously go about the problem of creating value. They’re not interested in struggling and waiting, they’re focused on doing.    -Frank Darabont

A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what`s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.   -Kubrick

Our primary function is to create an emotion and our second job is to sustain that emotion.   -Alfred Hitchcock

It wasn’t until about the fifth draft of ‘sixth sense’ that I really began to figure it out. It was then that I realized he’s dead. It took me five more drafts to execute it right.   -M. Night Shyamalan

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.   -Scott Adams

Don’t get it right, get it written.   -Art Arthur

I write only when I’m inspired. Fortunately I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.   -William Faulkner


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Embrace the Frenzy

This promo was created by high school students.  How cool is that.

Only two more weeks.  And a bit.

I'm slower to embrace the Frenzy this year as I'm still at my mom's where I have less control of my time than I'd like for doing this but I have more control than many who participate.  I definitely have more than high school students.  Or mothers of young children, college students, people with full time jobs or those with health challenges.  All of whom have schedules with less flexibility than mine right now.

I guess it isn't really the time that concerns me so much as the fear of allowing myself to be lost in my story the way I always do.  Communicating with me at those times is like trying to wake someone from a dream.  Those times when I know others are depending on for whatever reason I resist that total immersion that is so essential to fishing that story out of my subconscious.  Of course there is a time factor in that too but its more about my knowing that I don't shift back and forth between that day dreamy mind necessary for the story and the no-nonsense mind necessary when I'm tending to Mom's needs or the open, companionable mind required for socializing with others.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cant's Stop Now!

I've less than 20% of Catching Fire to read.  That's book 2 of the Hunger Games Trilogy.  And I just know I'm gonna want to open Mockingjay, the final book, as soon as I finish.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Not Ready to Hang It Up Yet

My mom has been more productive than I have in the last couple of weeks or more.  She has been crocheting coverings for hangers.  Pictured here are just some of them.  Several have been given away as gifts already and some are already hanging in my sister's closet.  She made rainbow variegated ones for my sister.  These blue ones are for me.  I supplied the yarn and most of the hangers.

This isn't the only thing she has accomplished either. She has been winding my crochet thread off the cardboard tubes into balls for me for over a month now at the rate of one or two per day.  I haven't counted recently but I think I have less than ten more of the cotton thread for her to do.  Which should be about right as my new departure date is tentatively set for a week from Saturday.

It is amazing to see the difference in the space that thread takes up after it is off the tubes versus before.  I will get pictures soon.  But if you've ever seen the pics of the blue chest that held all of my thread you might remember that the cotton size ten thread alone took up 2.5 of the three drawers.  Now with less than ten percent left to do the balls are taking up less than half of one drawer.

This picture explains why as it shows the difference is space two nearly full balls take up before and after winding off the tubes:

These were some of the first that I did in order to make a project portable.  

 Here are some pics of my thread hoard as of approximately a year ago.  I haven't added a whole lot to it since then so it is representative of what I brought here with me this year.  The entire hoard overflows the three drawers and for over a year now I would have them stuffed and have a dozen or or two balls on the hook in portable project bags.

That is a huge help to me.  I had started doing it myself and mom asked if she could help and a few days later I stopped having got busy with other things.  But she kept going.  This will make not only storing the thread in waiting for projects easier but traveling with it and of course the individual projects will be more portable.  Many can be pocket sized even.

Mom also folds the laundry every day.  My sister brings it up from the laundry room and leaves it on the couch for her.  So in spite of her eyesight failing rapidly and constant pain in her hip and back she is not hang it up yet.


Monday, March 12, 2012

How Fast Do You Read?

ereader test

Ever since I started reading ebooks last fall, I had the sense that I was reading significantly faster than I had been with tree books using regular sized fonts.  Now I know for sure.

It was hard to judge since the ebooks don't measure by pages and when it says I'm at 20% what is being measured.  Nor when it says 244/556.  When I read 1Q84 this past week the second number was 2343 and I know the book was not 2343 pages so it isn't pages they measure.  I tried counting the words on a screen and then trying to keep track of how many screens I read in a minute or in five minutes but I could not keep the count straight plus trying to keep an eye on the clock did not help my speed.

So I was excited to find this little speed reading test on the Staples site.  It is designed to help you figure out which ereader you would get the most books read on a single battery charge.

The first time I took this test with 12pt font I read less than 300.  I think it was even less than 250--and I still failed the comprehension questions.  All three.  Then I zoomed my browser until the fonts appeared approximate 14 to 16pt and tried again.  And my speed increased to just under 500.  I went from 20% slower than the average adult to 96% faster.

It is still only half the speed I once read but I'll take it and smile.

This drop in reading speed is the fallout from the RP that is taking my eyesight one pixil at a time.

Not only was reading so much slower with tree books but I couldn't read for as long either.  Usually after less than thirty minutes I would need to rest my eyes and so often once I'd put the book down I didn't pick it up again for hours or days.  That was so frustrating.

Last night I started The Hunger Games after midnight and I almost finished it before I had to sleep.  It has been a long time since I came that close to reading a whole book of that length and difficulty level in under 6 hours.  I still haven't finished it as there was so much else going on today.

I can't wait until the next read-a-thon!!!  I might actually be able to list multiple finishes.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Serenity #274



 Thought it was fitting to post a Sunday Serenity featuring cats since it is March, the month my Grimlyn passed in 2007 on the Sunday after St. Paddy Day and threatened to ruin Sundays for me forever. It was a few weeks after that when I decided to start doing Sunday Serenity posts in order to make Sundays about more than reminding me to grieve.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Collapsing the Box

This is an awesome demonstration of creative think.  So outside the box you can't see it anymore.

Designer Kelly Anderson challenges us to question our assumptions and then proceeds to demonstrate three of her projects in which she questioned the assumptions about the uses and attributes of common everyday paper products and then designed something that startled and awoke wonder inn the recipient.

She didn't just exit the box she collapsed it...Maybe just for a short time from moments to minutes but the ripple effect of that reassessing has incalculable impact on the culture in which it is set loose into.


Friday, March 09, 2012

Words Matter Week 2012

Leave it to me to discover a week long event on the evening of its last day.  This is a yearly event for bloggers held the first full week of March each year.  Each day M-F a prompt is presented and anyone wishing to write on its theme may and then link back to the hub blog.  There are prizes too.

This year the prompts were:

Monday:  Writers craft words into memorable phrases, stories, poems and plays.  What writers make your heart sing?  Why?

Gabrielle Garcia Marquez because his stories are like waking dreams that seem to arise out of my own dreams or maybe it is truer to say that my dreams rise up to greet his stories as long lost companions.

Maya Angelou because her poems and stories are the fruit cultivated in the soil of pain and despair fertilized with hope and courage.  Her words teach me the meaning of 'overcome'.

Flannery O'Conner because her stories confront me with the damaged aspects of my psyche and their propensity to commit terrible acts of violence against the spirit and body of self and other.  Forewarned is forearmed so many such acts can be avoided but her stories also speak of the power and hope in redemption for those occasions when failure to heed the warning leads to the inevitable gross acts of unkindness towards ones self and those lives interacting with our own.

Tuesday:  What word, said or unsaid, has or could change your life?  How?

Forgive.  Because whether it is I who has offended another or they who have offended me, the word forgive spoken from the heart has the power to mend fractured relationships and strengthen the fabric of family and community.  We all offend in many large and small ways every day and without the ability to forgive others and ourselves and to accept the forgiveness of others the weight of guilt, shame, resentment  and anger would crush out souls and smother our sanity.  Living with the habit of forgiveness makes living in joy and harmony possible.

Wednesday:  Communication breaks down when words are misused.  What is the funniest or worst breakdown you’ve ever observed?

The words were misheard rather than misused but just this evening I thought my mom asked me to turn the light out here in her bedroom and in a bit of a shocked tone I told her the light was already out and was about ask if she really couldn't tell as I wondered if this was what she meant when she complained the last few days that her eyes were going fast.

But before I could voice my jumbled thoughts she spoke again, enunciating carefully with her dentureless mouth through the apnea machine mask, saying that she meant it was OK for me to turn the light back on if I needed to while I cleared off my side of the bed.

That may not be the funniest instance I've ever observed just the most recent.

There have been a number of challenges to communication with my mom in the years since her stroke what with her issues with mild aphasia and both hers and my hearing loss and vision loss.  Some have been as amusing as this one.  Some not so much.

Thursday:  What Person in your life helped you understand the importance of choosing words carefully?  What would you say to them if you met them today?
My great aunt who had been a teacher and a teacher of teachers in her day once caught me with a thesaurus at the tender age of thirteen and she was dismayed.  She said one didn't have the right to use words one found in such lists of synonyms without knowing them already.  She stressed that it wasn't safe to just plug in any word in the entry as there were subtle and not so subtle differences in meaning and it was the writer's responsibility to know those subtleties and select the word best suited to the thought they are trying to convey.

I am totally paraphrasing as her actual words are vague in my memory.  Still vivid tho is her disapproval.  And even though I didn't really get all the subtleties of her points then it primed me for later understanding.  And over the several years she had left to influence my life she took every chance to share her love of words with me.  Playing Scrabble was one such way.  But she also introduced me to crossword puzzles and the stories of individual words in their etymology and history of use.

If she and I could speak today I'd tell her thank you, many thanks, much obliged, so appreciated, I'm so grateful, gramercy, thankee,  thank you kindly, merci, merci beaucoup, danke, danke schon, gracias, grazie, spasibo Auntie Rie.

Friday:  If you had to eliminate one word or phrase from the English language, what would it be?  Why?

Indifference.  Because, assuming as Orwell did in his novel 1984 that elimination of the word eliminates that which it references,  then indifference itself would be history.  And it is my belief that indifference is the root of all evil not the love of money.  For indifference is the polar opposite of love and passion.  It is worse than hate in that it cannot be moved and while hate is to be eschewed its presence bespeaks the capacity of its bearer for passion and thus also for compassion.  While indifference stands by as vile acts are perpetrated upon the innocent, weak and vulnerable, making no effort to alleviate distress since the distress of others cannot touch one who can't be stirred to care.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: Script Frenzy

Script Frenzy

Less than a month until Script Frenzy starts.  I've been debating with myself whether I would participate this year.  Everything is so topsy-turvey  and if I'm going to write I'd rather write on my stories.  But I think I would eventually feel like I was missing out on something if I don't.  I don't stress Script Frenzy in the same way I do NaNoWriMo.  I've always approached it as an exercise for learning a new aspect of my craft--storytelling.  I have participated the last three years and have yet to accumulate more than twenty odd pages but I came away feeling I had learned a lot each time.

I had expected to be back at home before it was time to start preparing for Script Frenzy.  Each year except my first in 2009 I've spent most of March preparing--choosing the story, studying the formatting rules, practicing with Celtix, reading library books on script writing, reading scripts.  And pretty much that just continued into April.  I learned today that my trip home has been postponed yet again. For possibly two weeks and for sure at least one.  So my vague notion of waiting until I got back home to even start thinking about it no long serves.  I need to decide if I'm going to and if so which story and whether to send for more library books.

My first year in 2009, I didn't start from scratch with a new story but was adapting one of my short stories.  I just might go that same route this year.  Or multiple stories if I finish one and am still under 100 pages.  That would take the least amount of prep work which works better for while I'm still at Mom's and have so many other commitments.

The story I worked with in 2009 was Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities.  So that leaves these four completed stories to choose from:  

How Does Your Garden Grow?  part 1 part 2
Running in Circles   part 1 part 2
Blow Me a Candy Kiss   part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;
Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes  Part One ~ Part Two ~ Part Three ~Part Four ~ Part FivePart Six Part Seven ~ Part Eight ~ Part Nine ~Part Ten ~ Part Eleven

The last one features many of the same characters as Of Cats and Claws and is probably long enough to get me all the way to 100 pages assuming I make it that far.  But it would probably take all three of the others and even then may not be enough.

The links are to the 'snippets' I posted for Friday Snippets several years ago.  The stories are complete though.  You can find the links to Of Cats and the many incomplete stories on the post I've dubbed my Fruits of the Spirit Storyworld Portal

Which of the above stories would you like to see as a film?


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Finding Katie by John J Smith: Book Review

Finding Katie
by John J. Smith

John J Smith has a knack for creating eccentric well rounded characters.   In Delayed Flight there was the waitress at the airport that I was especially fond of But Finding Katie is swarming with them.  I'm charmed by eccentric characters because they always surprise me which gets harder to do as the decades go by.

The protagonist, Preston Meadows, himself is quite eccentric.  In his mid twenties, he works for his wealthy father and lives in the basement of the family home.  He has been so sheltered from the outside world he needs to be prepared for an excursion into it as one who is traveling in a foreign country without knowledge of its language or customs.  He is a genius and an empath which is what makes him so valuable to his father's business.

When his older sister Katie, a professor, is kidnapped he insists on looking for her himself.  And that's when the other characters begin taking the stage.  Some briefly, like the cab driver on the first day who thinks Preston must be the Devil  after he catches him cheating on the fare by using his GPS and the rate posted in the car to figure out what he should have been charged.  The driver gets out of his cab screaming and causes a several car pileup.

Then there is the woman who runs the homeless shelter that takes him in, an ex-addict with a mouth on her to make a sailor blush.  The shelter itself is full of eccentrics. There's the woman who works in the shelter kitchen who sings like an angel.  There are the overweight twenty-something woman and the young transvestite who are always vying over the same potential beaus.  They have knock-down drag-out fights over Preston who of course has no interest in either as he's besotted with an illegal immigrant whose brother is a minion of the same gang leader who has Katie.  There is the member of the rival gang who mistakenly believes that Preston is responsible for an injury he sustained and spends the entire novel trying to get even only to have each attempt backfire and boomerang back onto him.  There are many more.  Too many to list in a short review.

The action of the story is one fumbling, bumbling Keystone Coppish episode after another as Preston moves through the days attracting accidents and anger nearly always unscathed as bullets fly, cars explode, fists and Molotov cocktails are thrown, ladders fall, a squirrel steals nuts from Preston's bedside table then leads him on a chase to the roof and a 'vicious' attack dog is persistently distracted by his indiscriminate sex addiction.

The beginning is a bit slow but once Preston has left home the action picks up and there is one laugh-out-loud scene after another.  The young man who was so socially awkward at the beginning he could have been mistaken for someone with Asperger's syndrome has by the end not only made friends, fallen in love and become an integral member of the small community at the shelter, he has found the courage to break out of that family basement living mindset and to defy the father who'd kept him dependent in order to use his son's special talents to enlarge his wealth.

The story was a rollicking good time and I'd like to see sequels with Preston as the accidental detective solving crime with his unique blend of genius, uncanny luck and telepathic abilities.

John J. Smith
Finding Katie Tour Schedule


Tour Host:      Post,                 Date of review:               (GP)Guest 

Katrina Page Flipperz                       Mar. 2                   None
Crystal My Reading Room Blog        Mar. 6                   G & GP Mar. 8           
Vicki I'd Rather Be At the Beach     Mar. 5                    G
Joy Joy Story                                   Mar. 7                   None
Kari From the TBR Pile                   Mar. 8                   G
Theresa Frugal Experments              Mar. 9                   GP Mar. 9
Pamela Thoughts in Progress           Mar. 11                  G & GP Mar. 7
Patty Books, Thoughts..                   Mar. 12                  G
Jackie Housewife Blues                   Mar. 13                  G  Mar. 18th
Chris Redding, Author                      None                     Excerpt Mar. 14
Donna's Home Blog                         Mar. 14                  I Mar. 15
Fran Vampyre Gurls Book Club         Mar. 15                G & GP Mar. 16
Amy's Book World                            Mar. 19                GP & G Mar. 20
Kathryn Mysteries Etc.                     Mar. 21                 None
Courtney Crunchy Beach Mama        Mar. 22                 G
Lucy Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf    Mar. 23                 None   
Reviews by Molly                             Mar. 26                  G
Lisa Alive on the Shelves                  None                      I Mar.27
Yvonne Socrates' Book Review         Mar. 27                  G
Brenda WV Stitcher                          Mar. 28                  None
Donna My Life                                 Mar. 29                   G &GP Mar. 30


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