Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Friday, March 1, 2013
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I gotta tell you though. Mornings? I am not a morning person. It is going to KILL me when the bug starts school and I'm going to have to get up regularly at six to get her butt on a bus.
I am a write at night person. My daily routine looks like this.
7:00 - 8:30 - Cuddle the buggit who wakes up cranky when Daddy leaves the house.
8:30 - 10:00 - Either errands or Zumba
10:00 - 11:30 - Try to convince the baby to eat lunch, try to remember to eat lunch myself, start laundry.
11:30 - 3:30 - Somewhere in here is babysitting time, where I watch a friend's toddler of similar age/size to my own.
3:30 - 5:30 - Baby naptime. Prepping dinner / Cleaning house.
5:30-6:30 - Write club on Wednesdays. More dinner prep / cleaning otherwise.
6:30 - 7:30 - Weight lifting on MWF, other errands that didn't get done earlier.
7:30 - 8:30 - Dinner time
8:30 - 9:00 - Screw around on the internet time!
9:00 - 10:00 - Baby bath and bedtime ritual.
10:00 - 12:30 - WRITING TIME. Which is also emailing queries time, writing blog status time, writing other emails I hadn't finished previously, other projects like my calligraphy & illumination work, and generally anything else I want to do sans baby.
Sometimes when I get on a hot streak, writing time gets extended to 2:30. However, since the baby wakes up three or four times a night, this is a dangerous, dangerous tactic.
This too will pass though.I just have to keep telling myself that. What are your favorite writing times?
Thursday, February 7, 2013
So I'm excited! Our writers' group, called Write Club!, may soon have a new member. When I first floated the idea of a writers' group on the classroom forum of my creative writing class, I admit I was terrified. There are so many stories of the "bad" sort of writers' groups.
|"What's wrong? "|
"The group said they hate the Oxford comma! I'm never going back!"
I do not blame you seal. I do not blame you.
And Google will give you a thousand more links to similar stories. And yet, when only two people responded, I was still disappointed. But we were lucky. We met for the first time two years ago, established a set of guidelines for meetings, and have been meeting regularly ever since.
We're tiny, which helps. There are only three of us which makes it easy to act like adults, but we also have very distinct perspectives so there is no "echo chamber" effect. We talked early on about going public, but one of our members had attended several other writers' groups with the more toxic results. So we set a rule that we would go to an "invitation only" status instead of Public Russian Roulette. We wanted to maintain the quality of our group, and while there was some worry about becoming stagnant, we figured the risk wasn't worth the reward.
But at my latest meeting of the Triangle Sisters in Crime chapter, there was a lady who was looking for a critique group. She was interesting, engaged, and I could smell the "serious writer" on her. She also made insightful comments during the meeting, and displayed a sense of humor, and I think she'll make a great addition, if it works for her. (She has about a 45 minute travel time one way, which is a bit much, but we'll see.)
I will also say that we have one member who meets long distance via Skype, and that works out fine for us, because we email our submissions and critiques out before the meeting, so we have all the notes and the face-to-computer discussion works well. We may have to look into some more web-conferencing stuff like Google hangouts.
Also, we are in favor of the Oxford comma and will defend it to the DEATH.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Daily Word count : 1,107
Total Word count on the WIP : 9,411
Sometimes I think the most difficult thing in life is setting priorities. Setting the direction you want to spend each moment of your life. Balancing all the things we want. I've figured out three things about the balance in my life.
1.) I require other people to keep me accountable.
I tried going to the gym by myself for two years. I went sporadically, but would often skip weeks at a time. When I made a commitment to go lift weights with a friend, I manage to go, even when she doesn't, because in my brain it is marked down in permanent marker as "Go to Gym with Friend Lizardface."
(She doesn't look like a lizard. But she had a bad reaction one day to eating shellfish, and she called me to wail, "I have a face like a LIZARD. I have lizard-face!" The name has sort of stuck, but in my defense, she posted THIS picture of me to Facebook and is therefore not a good person.)
|Seriously? I was trying to grab some lunch before I went back out to fight, and I was starving. Who takes a picture of a friend when they look like that?! Lizardface. That's who.|
That is the singularly most awful picture of me ever taken. Also, I leave the hyphen out of Lizardface because she is a librarian and it makes her nuts.
I didn't get much done on my novel until I joined a writer's group. We meet weekly, and take turns submitting. So every three weeks, I have to have SOMETHING done. And sadly, it usually gets done the day or so before I'm supposed to submit.
But it gets DONE. That's the thing. The progress is slow, but there IS progress. And it's all due to other people keeping me honest.
2.) I admit that I only have room to prioritize four things at once.
The problem with this is I have about seven things I'd LIKE to prioritize. Cleaning the house, making healthy meals and eating regularly, going to the gym, writing, armored combat, caring for the Buggit, and my calligraphy & illumination artwork.
|What do you mean we're out of bananas?!|
Three of those slots are filled at the moment with baby care, cooking food, and the gym. That means that writing fights with the other three for my time and attention. And the house does NOT get cleaned nearly enough. (Though cleaning a house with a 19 month old is sort of a Sisyphean task anyways.) It means if I wanted to focus as completely on writing as I SHOULD, that the other things that make me happy (and keep my marriage functional) would suffer. So I've had to accept that even though I should be spending an hour or two a day on submissions, and at least two hours a day on writing, (about the time to get 700 words on an average day.), it's not going to happen, because SOMEONE has to do the dishes, and my husband works 12 hours a day so I can stay home with the Destroyer of Worlds.
When the baby is bigger perhaps I'll have more room for priorities, but right now, that is all there is.
3.) Trying to squeeze more time for extra priorities by sacrificing sleep, healthy meals, or regular exercise is
REALLY STUPID counter-productive.
Turns out when I don't get enough sleep, my mood tanks, and I get more susceptible to fears, worries, beating myself up, depression, and other stupid stuff. The baby has had me on a regimen of sleep deprivation for the last 19 months, because she simply does NOT sleep through the night. Never has. At this point, I don't believe she ever will. Any further sacrifice of sleep is punitively painful the next day. If it happens two days in a row, I'm almost unable to function the third day. So staying up late to write until 2 a.m.? Can't happen for my own sanity. There are writers with kids who can do it, and I applaud their superhuman abilities. I can't. And I have reluctantly come to accept that.
Eating junk food? Affects my mood severely. I like cooking, and I'm an excellent cook. Sacrificing going grocery shopping and making dinner for time and Wendy's tends to send me into moody tailspins. I don't know why, but fast food with lots of grease and salt really screws with my emotional stability. Guilt over eating the fatty food? Neurotransmitter reactions? Don't know. Had to accept that too.
Not exercising. This was the newest epiphany, and it took me two years to really come around to believing, but when I make it to the gym regularly, I'm generally more productive over all for the rest of the day. Serotonin, endorphins, more neurotransmitters? Could be, but I've accepted that I get more done and am generally happier when I exercise regularly. Also, the gym has free daycare for 2 hours a day. So I get some non-baby sanity time. Also very good for me. :D
What hard lessons did you have to learn about priorities in your life?
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Zumba this morning! - YAY!
Baby does not wish to nap. - BOO!
Baby will nap, if Mommy lays down with her and tucks her into an armpit. - YAY!
Alarm on phone fails to go off, and the friend I babysit for finds me snoring and drooling on my baby when she comes by to drop off her child. - BOO!
Toddler Dance Party! (Toddlers dancing to Club music on the radio is hilarious.) - Yay!
Synchronized Toddler Poop! - BOO! And Ew. Two poopy toddlers do smell worse than one alone.
Nachos! - YAY!
Toddlers are stealing all my nachos! - BOO!
More Nachos! - YAY!
On balance, I think I'm having a pretty good day.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
On my way home from Zumba a couple days ago, I passed a house with furniture burning in the carport.
My first thought? "Baaad breakup." Seriously.
But then I realized I didn't see anyone outside screaming "Take that, you asshole!" And I backed the car up to double-check.
Nope, uncontrolled fire in the carport, and licking its way towards the house. No persons with a hose trying to put it out.
So I called 911, and I gave them the address and situation, and they hung up on me! I would like to believe the call was dropped, but there were weird typing/transfer noises that indicated things were happening on the dispatch end, and then it hung up.
I called them back, and tried again. This time the dispatcher did not hang up on me, but asked questions. Where, how far from the house, blah blah. Then we both hung up.
The house seemed unoccupied (10:45 a.m. on a Tuesday), with the only car off to the side of the driveway, but I got out anyways, and went to bang on the door. I heard a little dog start barking furiously.
"Crap." I thought. I banged on the door again and yelled, "Your HOUSE is on fire!" I went back to the car, to find something to possibly break a window with, so I could let the dog out before the fire got to the house. Just as I got to my car, the homeowner poked her head out of the door, looking sleepy and confused.
I yelled, "Your house is on fire! You need to get your dog and get out!" She started to come out, and I yelled, "Call your dog!" She ducked back inside, and I could have kicked myself. Never let someone go back into a building that's on fire. Cardinal rule of fire safety. The fire was just starting to go after the carport, so I didn't immediately yell at her to come back. She came out again within the three minute mark of me going to yell at her again, with a large tabby and a little bichon frise-looking puppy the size of a chihuahua.
We put the pets into my car. Luckily, they did not seem disposed to mess with the baby in the car seat who was saying "Doggy! Doggy! Cat! Cat! Doggy!" They sat very nicely in the back seat. The dog roamed around a bit nervously, but the cat found a comfy spot, and assumed the meatloaf position with the placid acceptance of any obese cat in a situation that shows no signs of involving food, pettings, or being chased.
My husband is a paramedic with the fire station literally a half-mile away, so I was really curious to see who would show up. First on the scene was the battalion chief in the special "Chief truck!" He confirmed that I wasn't a crazy, and that the fire was real. Then he got a fire extinguisher out of the truck and ran up to the house. By this time, the carport was going up, and I wasn't sure how much good he was going to do, but I found out later that he was trying to surround the fire so it wouldn't spread.
Next was a fire truck from another station, and then my husb rolled up in his truck. He yelled at me to Go Home! (With a smile), and I yelled back "I can't! I have her pets in the car!" He paused. "With my daughter?!" "They're very nice animals!"
He checked on the homeowner while she watched the FD put out the fire, and then went to verify that I had not in fact left our child to be eaten alive by strange pets. (And to play peekaboo with the buglet.)
The homeowner's mother showed up shortly after, and we tried to transfer the animals to her car. The dog went easily, but the cat dug ALL four feet into the seat, and had to be forcibly dragged out of the car. No yowling, no biting, just a narrow-eyed determination to keep all fifteen pounds of cat planted precisely where it was.
The mom and the homeowner both thanked me, and I went home feeling proud of myself for not screwing up my role as a good neighbor.
Now I told you that story to tell you this one. I posted about it on Facebook, feeling that I had had an interesting morning. I got a deluge of "WOW YOU'RE A HERO!" I got really upset. Because what I did was not heroic. It was what you SHOULD do as a decent human being. It is what I would hope any random person would do. It is a major part of my belief system that deep down, people will do the right thing when pushed.
I complained to my husband, and he confirmed that in fact, it is NOT the common action of people calling 911 to either stick around, or bang on the door, or even to call and give the dispatcher full information.
It shouldn't be that way, I argued. It is, he replied. But it shouldn't be.
I don't care what he says. I'm going to keep my faith in humanity's better half. And I did get a reasonably good idea for a short story from the whole thing, so hey. Win, win.