November 13, 2015

Falling Fast

This NaNoWriMo is throwing me for a loop, albeit a fun one.

I'm writing whenever the Peanut decides to give me a free moment, which, let's be honest, isn't often. And after a day of chasing him around the apartment, porch, playground, mall (insert any location here!), I find myself plopped on the couch after he's asleep to DVR my way through an hour of television, with a crochet or knit project. 

Then I'm back to writing for a bit. 

I'm only 12,000 words in, and not quite panicky about the fact that November is nearly half over. Sometimes I do my best work at the last minute, on a tight deadline. At this point, I'm not even sure if I care if the novel is any good. I just want to finish it and have a 50,000 word story with a beginning, middle and end. I can always rewrite and polish it later. 

In the meantime, Fall is here in full swing and I don't want to miss it. Some years it's over in one cold and windy night, and when you wake up, the leaves are all on the ground. So I'm still looking up from my laptop and even my crochet hooks every once in a while to see something like this. 

Do you know that feeling when you look at something and the light hits it just right... and you marvel at nature? 

Yep, me too. Whatever you're working on, don't miss what's right under your nose. Or up above it, as the case may be. Sometimes we all need a little fresh air and a break. 

October 30, 2015

A Novel Idea

I'm happy to report that things have improved since my last post. The blender is still kicking... our finances got put back in order, and although my camera still needs to be repaired, I think it might be a sign that I need to focus more on writing and less on taking photos. 

A decade ago (Really? Ten whole years ago?!) I stopped whatever I was doing at the time and gave myself permission to complete a three month photography course in South Africa. I learned a lot, both about photography and myself, and it gave me three busy yet full months to focus on visual creativity. In the past, I had always taken photos for an organization and had to work around their parameters. During the photography course, I was able to take photos for myself — a welcome change. 

I also discovered that I could never be a full-time photographer. I realized I needed to write as well, no matter what I ended up doing. As much as the photography projects filled me up creatively... something was still missing. 

I needed to write. I still do. 

When we moved south a few years ago, I was able to nab mostly freelance photography jobs. I also acquired a number of proofreading jobs, of which I am more than competent, but I still prefer to write rather than edit.

For whatever reason, the few writing jobs I pursued never came to fruition. Then the Peanut came along and I barely seemed to have time to breathe, let alone write. 

I still feel like that some days, but as he gains his own little independence, I find a few quiet moments here and there during the day to myself. 

Writers write... so they say, and it seems I haven't been doing enough of it lately. I have a dormant book about my travels to Ukraine on my laptop at the moment. So much of it is done — yet I'm not happy about the ending. Something is still missing and I feel like I need to return to the country to get the book done. 

For a while, it seemed like multiple obstacles blocked my path. The year I had a trip planned, I didn't feel peace about going. It wasn't the right time, I told myself, and instead I spent the summer in Latvia and Scotland. Then, my brother got sick and I cancelled my trip to Ukraine two summers later. Then a war erupted there... and then I had the Peanut. (And while I am all for traveling with babies, heading over to Ukraine soon after the Peanut was born probably wouldn't have been the wisest choice.) Soon after, my former boss and editor died. He was one of the few people championing my writing at the time, and even though he told me candidly, after reading a few chapters, what needed work, I felt like I had someone in the ring with me. 

I will still finish the book. But in the meantime, I need to let go of the details of it that I keep getting bogged down in, and I need to write something fresh and fun and maybe just for me. So I'm signing up for NaNoWriMo.

During the month of November, I'm going to write a 50,000 word novel. The last time I wrote anything of fiction, I was in high school. The last time I made such a rash decision, I was in college. I decided to ride in a 150 mile MS Bike-A-Thon from Texas to Oklahoma only two days before the event. I spent the day before asking everyone in the cafeteria for $1 so I could come up with the entrance fee. I spent the entire ride wishing I had better biker shorts. And I spent the week after, recovering. 

This novel might be a masterpiece. It might be awful. But, like that bike ride, I'm going to do it, regardless. Because sometimes, we all need a proverbial kick in the pants to remind ourselves of what we're capable of. I know I'm perfectly capable of finishing and eventually publishing that book about Ukraine. 

But first, I have a novel to start on November 1st. 

October 14, 2015

Fall Fail?

I often think of Fall as a time to reassess priorities. I don't know if it's the weather, or school starting back in session... something reminds me of a clean notebook and sharpened pencils and to do lists.

This week, I didn't have a lot on my to do list. Make sure the Peanut naps, cook (because I can be lazy when the Sailor is gone), take some new photos, blog a bit with said photos. 

However, Fall gave me a bit of backlash this week. 

I somehow managed to take out two overdrafts on our bank account. Now, this might be common for some people (my neighbor casually informed me she was $500 in the hole last week on her account.) But I balance our books to the penny. 

So it was with great chagrin that I incurred way too many charges recently because I somehow miscalculated, oh, say hundreds. (Thankfully, the money was in another account, but I still had to explain to the Sailor to not use his bank card overseas.) 

THEN, my credit card got phished. I don't know how, because again, we are meticulous about where we use our card and we're very secure online with it. Nonetheless, I had a fraudulent charge and now have to wait for a new card in the mail. 

The irony of all of this is that last week I found a debit card in the parking lot and I phoned the company to cancel it, because I would want someone to do the same for me. 

Next, I decided to make a delicious and healthy smoothie for lunch for the Peanut and myself. My blender has seen better days, but this time, it actually started to vibrate across the counter on its own. I'm pretty sure blenders aren't supposed to do that. 

Finally, I started taking some new photos and got excited about getting back into using my SLR camera more often. However, midway through a few pics, my screen flashed red, then black, then came up with a gigantic error message. The manual only relayed my fear: Contact a Nikon service rep if error message persists.

My camera is about as old as my blender. 

I can easily replace the blender. The camera? Maybe I can get it fixed. If not, I guess I may have to start saving more in that bank account, so that I can use my new credit card to get another one. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to head back out to my sunny porch with a view, pretend I'm starting the week over, and hope that I don't mess up my crochet project.

October 1, 2015

Summer Recap

I may have fibbed when I said I would be back in September. I meant to be, honestly, but then life kind of took over. Even though we extended our summer holiday well into September, the season was far too short. 

REALLY too short. I felt like I needed one final trip to the beach to mark the closure of summer... one last hurrah with the Sailor before he jetted off to another continent to return to sea. But alas, time got away from us, and while we managed to squeeze a ton of things into what should have been a rather relaxed summer, we didn't manage a trip to the beach.

Here's what did happen though:

I went to a dear friend's wedding. Actually, I got a flat tire on the way there and missed the wedding... but the Peanut and I made it in time for the reception. 

I reunited with my college besties for a few days in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. The last time the four of us converged, we were all on the brink of major life changes. This time, we discussed all that we've gone through in 20 years (20 years!) together. 

We moved to a new apartment with a view. The Sailor happened to be thousands of miles away working at the time, so I rallied a work crew and thankfully the Peanut gave me just enough napping time to box up our belongings. 

Only a few days after unpacking the last box, the Peanut and I took a 700 mile road trip to visit friends and family. The Peanut promptly learned to climb stairs at a friend's house.

The Sailor arrived home to our new apartment just in time for the Peanut's first birthday party. I'm not big on giant parties for little people, so I planned to simply celebrate with a cupcake for the little guy. Instead, he decided to get his first cold. The cupcake was quickly forgotten, because it was soon time to pack for...

SINGAPORE! The Sailor had some work training courses to complete, so the Peanut and I tagged along for two weeks. It was a LONG few flights, but worth it. 

Singapore was a food and shopping mecca. On one of the Sailor's earlier trips there, he brought back a magnet that said: 'Survivor Singapore: Out Shop, Out Play, Out Eat.' I thought it was funny back then, but I totally get it now.

I have traveled solo to many places, so obviously wandering around with a baby brought a whole new element to sightseeing. The Peanut and I had a blast together though and it was super special to see Singapore through his eyes, in a way. (Singapore is also very kid friendly... more on that later!)

(OK, so we DID manage to get to the beach, but only for a short while.
Just long enough to watch the ships.)

I managed to get a few crafty things started over the summer, like this lofty cross-stitch that I MAY finish by the time the Peanut is 18. 

Finally, I've probably been procrastinating with restarting this blog because I keep thinking it needs a change... a new direction or something. Maybe since I started this blog at the beach, I needed a trip to the ocean to figure out that new direction. I'm still not sure where it's headed, but I hope you'll stick around to find out. 

I hope you all had a wonderful summer! 

June 1, 2015

Summer Break

Summer is generally a slow month in the publishing world and like most students, I used to look forward to the season with tremendous anticipation when I was in school. Summers are generally lazy... a time to head to the beach, lay around the pool, catch up on paperback fiction, and sit on porches to watch the sunset. 

I need a good summer. 

I need a summer to sit around with a beverage of choice (even if the Peanut is clamoring up my legs...) I need a summer to travel and see friends I haven't seen in years. I need a summer to work on crochet blankets, one square a time. I need a summer to read at least one book that I can't put down — even if it means missing out on some sleep. 

I don't want to spend my summer thinking of projects to do, and then spending more time at the computer trying to blog about them. 

I want to actually try out the recipes from my homemade cookbook. I want to add the Peanut's photos to my Project Life album. I don't want to rush a single cuddle with the Peanut because time with him is already flying by too fast. I want to spend time eating lemon meringue pie and picnicking in the park with Pyrex. I want to sit on the porch while the Peanut (briefly) naps. I want to actually clean and purge and declutter, not only the cobwebs from the apartment, but from my mind. 

Many years ago, I volunteered with Mercy Ships as part of their communications crew. I wrote stories, hosted media teams and even took photos. After my nearly five years with them, I took three months out of my schedule to take a photography course in South Africa. I needed that time to create without the confines of an organization. 

I came away from the course refreshed and bursting with creative energy. (I also realized during the three months that I could never be a full time photographer... I needed to write and do other creative things to feel fulfilled!

I need a similar sort of break now. I need some time to actually work on projects and simply enjoy life, without wondering if I took enough photos and if I'll have time to document it in a blog post. 

With that in mind, I'm taking the summer off from blogging.

I know summer doesn't officially start for a few weeks, but according to most people, Memorial Day hails the unofficial start. And let's face it, it's hot enough to swim where I am, so it already feels like summer! 

I'll be back sometime in September... right around the same time school starts. In the meantime, enjoy your own summer and get out there and enjoy life around you. And for the small handful of you regular readers, if you're in need of a Typing Sunflowers fix, there are plenty of posts in the archive to get you through the next few months. 

Thanks for sticking with me! Ciao for now.