Nov 30, 2015

Manuduction Monday

manuduction ~ careful guidance; leading by hand

I must say, November is really kicking my butt. If anything can go wrong, it does. I'm behind in pretty much everything, including my Monday posts. Seriously, I just do one post a week and I can't even seem to manage that. And I'm doubly glad I opted out of NaNo this year because I strongly suspect it would have been an epic failure.

*deep breath - inhale, exhale*

Okay, now that that's out of the way ...

Have you ever noticed there's just not enough hours in the day? I've heard a rumour that our cable company is going to change their format in the new year - no, I'm not jumping off topic here, bear with me for a minute - instead of having to subscribe to all these bundles to get the one or two channels you actually want, they're going to have basic cable and then packages allowing you to pick and choose your channels. So you might have 50 channels, but half of them won't be sports or French or whatever.

So what has this to do with the hours in a day? Well, I was just thinking. Wouldn't it be great if we could choose how many hours there were in a day? You know, so if you were having a bad day you could shorten the hours, and if you were having a good day you could lengthen them. Or you could borrow time from the rest of the week to use now to finish that important project. I don't know about you, but I think it would be awesome.

I've been feeling stretched very thin for the last couple of weeks, and I feel like I'm on the verge of snapping. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything I need/want to get done and something's got to give. Lately it's been my sleep.

Last week, on top of the lack of sleep thing, I had a bad cold kicking my butt. Then it was the cold medication. Can't win for losing apparently. Now the cold medication I was taking was one of those all-in-one things that you can get in just a regular package or in a package that includes a night-time version. I went for the regular one and discovered that instead of it making me sleepy, it made me more awake. So even though I didn't get a lot of extra sleep last week, it made me feel like I did, and it was a pretty good feeling.

For one thing, I didn't have the urge to nap constantly. And because of that I actually got a few things done last week that I've been letting slide. Funny how that works out. One of the things I was able to do was make the Christmas dress for my granddaughter. When my daughter was little I used to make her a fancy dress every year for Christmas and sometimes Easter. So it was kind of nice to be able to carry on the tradition.

My daughter gave me a picture to go by and the material. The rest was up to me. But never fear, I've been sewing most of my life and for a baby's dress a picture was all I needed. Granted I pretty much blew off everything else to get it done in a day and a half, but I think it was worth it.

Here's the picture I had to work with:

And here's my version of the dress:

Not bad if I do say so myself. And as I type this, the dress has been sent to my daughter's friend in Vancouver to have silver snowflakes embroidered on the red part. I'm a pretty fair hand at embroidery myself, and I've worked with the metallic threads before. And all I can say is, better the friend than me!


Nov 9, 2015

Misfortunate Monday

misfortunate ~ bad luck; an unfortunate condition or event

I don't know about where you live, but here in Ontario, Canada we've been enjoying some awesome fall weather these last couple of days. There's been heavy frost on the ground in the morning, but the sun is still strong enough to burn it away by mid-morning. There aren't a lot of leaves left on the trees, but the days are crisp and cool and make me want to walk in the park so I can shuffle through the leaves.

Does anyone else like to do that? To me that's one of the best parts about the fall - shuffling through the crisp, crunchy leaves that cover the sidewalks and ground. And yes, I will go out of my way to shuffle through the leaves on the grass if there are none on the side walk. There's something about it that brings out the kid in me. :-)

Another thing that says fall to me, as I've already mentioned in previous posts, is apples. I received one more bag of apples last week and yesterday I used them up in half a dozen pot-pie sized apple crisps and two more apple pies. No more apples please, my freezer is full!

I've been thinking a lot about luck lately. Or more precisely, bad luck and its root causes. Why are some people luckier than others? Are they born that way or is luck somehow drawn to them just as bad luck seems to be drawn to other people?

I'm pretty sure I've whined about posted about luck before, but lucky you, you get to hear about it again. ;-)

I don't know if it's just the year or the story of my life, but I seem to have a disproportionate amount of bad luck. A lot of the time it's just little things, but it adds up so it's like having a big bad luck. Last week my little things culminated in coming home from babysitting Friday afternoon and discovering we had no hot water. And of course it couldn't just be a heating element or something going in the hot water tank, there was a steady stream of water coming from the bottom of it and little hissing noises coming from the top.

Now some people might point out that it could have been worse, and yes, it could have been. The hot water tank is situated right beside our sump hole, so the water was mostly draining into it - not that it mattered really because our basement was still pretty wet from all the rain we got last week. And the hissing noise could have been gas from the heating element escaping instead of just water.

And now that I think about it, normally I would have washed the container my lunch was in at my daughter's, but I didn't have time to eat lunch there on Friday so I had it when I came home. I rinsed my container out right away instead of waiting to include it with the supper dishes, and that's when I discovered we had no hot water. And the company we rent the water heater from just happened to have a truck in our area - they'd been just about to start back to the city, but came here instead. And I was fortunate they had a brand new water heater in their truck, which they were quick to install.

So I guess, when all is said and done, my luck can't be all bad. Maybe all the little good luck happenstances add up just like the bad ones do. The little good lucks of timing counterbalanced the bad luck of the messed up water heater.

Checks and balances. Maybe I should keep a list of both the bad luck and the good to see if they balance out at the end of the day. I can start with today, where I remembered to start the car to thaw it out before I went to the gym early this morning, but forgot to take my shoes with me. I'm already starting with a balance. LOL

Maybe the people who don't believe in luck are the real lucky ones. ;-)

Nov 2, 2015

Muscariform Monday

muscariform ~ shaped like a brush

As you may have noticed (or more likely you didn't - does anyone actually read this thing?) I did not get a post done for last week. I had two very good reasons for this. The first was that I appear to be in a creative slump. The second was that I had nothing to say.

These two reasons are not mutually exclusive. If you've read this blog more than once, you know what a boring life I lead. Work out, transcribe, babysit, sometimes throw a little baking or writing in. Occasionally I'll read a book or two, but that kind of goes hand in hand with the exercise. While it may not be the most exciting life, it's good enough for me. But it makes for rather boring reading.

Now the creative slump is something I've been going through at this time of year for the last few. I call it the "pre-NaNo-syndrome". While other people prepare for NaNo (more about that in a minute) by filling out character charts and creating elaborate story maps and plotting to a fare-thee-well, I simply do ... nothing. It's like a dam builds up in my mind, keeping the creativity at bay and then is released on November 1st in a torrent of words.

Never heard of NaNo? How about NaNoWriMo? No? Okay, then you need to go HERE.

Go ahead, I'll wait.




Have an idea of what NaNo is all about now? Okay, now you need to go HERE to find out why I'm not doing it this year.

There's another, even more compelling reason for me to stop doing NaNo. It's the NaNo Mind Set, and I have recently found it spilling over into my non-NaNo writing.

The NMS is what gets you through NaNo. You focus on the word count, on forging ahead with your story no matter what. Don't let anything stop you. You need to do research? Pfft! Just fake it and move on. You can do the research after NaNo. Need a character name? Call him Mr. X, call her Mrs. Y, worry about finding the perfect name once you're done. It's closing in on the end of the day and you have 500 more words to go? Start padding! Instead of Jane said, write Jane, who was related to Bob through an obscure cousin born on the wrong side of the blanket, heaved a much put upon sigh, rolled her eyes so far back in her head Lucy was afraid they'd roll right out of their sockets, and replied in a voice that was akin to nails on a chalkboard.

Now, as you should know by now if you've been here before - and stay with me here because I'm not going as far off track as you might think - I have a self-imposed daily quota of 500 words to write. It's a pretty reasonable amount really - two pages double spaced. However, I was appalled to learn that I'd fallen into the NMS with the four WIP I have going on.

In other words, I was focusing on the words instead of the story. I was starting to include all kinds of things that I knew were just going to get cut during the editing process, just to get my daily quota in. And while the NMS is good for completing the NaNo challenge or even to get a novel written, it makes for an editing nightmare. At least for me it does.

Take my fantasy novel Lucky Dog for instance. I wrote the first half of it for NaNo THREE years ago. And it continued in the NaNo fashion until the book was more than 100,000 words. And trust me when I say that even after cutting about 20,000 words, it's still a really big book. And it's still being edited.

So no more NaNo-ing for me until I get my words under control.

Will I ever do NaNo again? Oh, probably. It's a lot of fun and the NaNo community spirit is like no other. In fact, I was fighting the urge all day yesterday to pick one of the ideas I have on the back burner and go to it. But today, it's a bit of a relief that I only have to worry about 500 words instead of the 1667 that is the daily NaNo goal.

To those doing NaNo, I salute you, and may the words be ever in your favour. ;-)