Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quick Update

It's been two weeks since I last posted, and I'm feeling withdrawals! I really do enjoy keeping up with my blog and I miss it when other things get in the way. I've spent the last two weeks:

  • hosting my parents, brother and sister-in-law for a long weekend in which it snowed both at our house and at theirs down south. Poor sister-in-law had to miss the 8 inches of snow at her house in order to get to mine!
  • enduring a stomach virus. It hit our entire family multiple times. (Did you know that could happen? I didn't, but the nurse at our pediatrician's office told me we can reinfect one another. Fun times.)
  • writing a novel. So not finished yet. See above stomach virus.
  • really, the stomach virus needs more than one entry
  • LOAD (layout a day with Lain Ehmann on flickr)
So, I could have handled two or three of these things with no problem. But frankly, getting sick completely wiped me out. I did manage to meet my word count on my novel the night that I got sick (I was SO impressed with myself), but since that night haven't managed to pick it up at all. I'm hoping that making that admission here will shame me into trying again.

I was doing really well on LOAD until the night my daughter got sick. After that it was just too much to face to not only do the layout but take a photo of it and upload it to the computer. I seem to be back on that wagon though.

I do have something to announce that I find very exciting. Hopefully, I will get to share the news in the next week. (And no, it has nothing to do with expanding my family, before you ask.)

So, what have you been up to the past two weeks? (I'm also behind on my blog reading. I'll try to catch up as much as possible once the novel is finished. If you haven't heard from me lately, though, this is why.)

PS. I was getting a lot of spam in comments, so I disabled anonymous commenting. If this is going to be a problem for you, please send me an email and let me know. It seems the only anonymous comments I was getting were selling things I don't want, though.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Small Successes

My small successes for week ending February 6, 2010:

  1. I have written 14,302 words on  my novel as of Saturday night. Granted, this was as of 2am so technically it was Sunday morning, but if I'm still awake I don't consider the day over.
  2. Got clothes washed and laid flat to prepare for the next stage in consignment prep.
  3. Took Abigail to the jumpy place for an afternoon.
  4. Met a new friend and introduced Abigail to a new friend.
  5. Did not make a dessert no matter how much I wanted to. Doesn't mean I didn't eat sweets, but I didn't feel obligated to eat something I'd taken the time to make myself.
What were your small successes last week?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today - snow edition

Outside my window... about six inches of snow, give or take an inch.

I am thinking... about making space.
I am thankful for... not having a reason to go outside. It's beautiful, but I don't want to be cold.
I am wearing... pink Scottie dog pajama bottoms and an Atlanta Semester tshirt from college.
I am remembering... fun times I had in the snow when I was a child.

I am going... to have eat another toffee soon. I shouldn't have made them yesterday!
I am reading... two writing books - The 4am Breakthrough and How to Write a Damn Good Myth-based Novel. I am trying not to start reading another novel until I finish the first draft of my own.
I am hoping...  the weather doesn't affect my parents' plans to come see us soon.
On my mind... my novel. Constantly.
From the learning rooms... you really don't need to know the plot ahead of time before you start to write. It's amazing. I wish I had known these fifteen years ago.
From the kitchen... saltine cracker toffee. Perhaps I should start a pot of veggie soup to counteract the effects.
Around the house... stacks of clothes waiting on their fate.
One of my favorite things ~ saltine cracker toffee. Yum!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  going out for Indian food; looking for seeds for the garden; maybe trying Ethiopian food; getting more words down.

A photo of today: A playing in the snow that fell overnight and this morning. We use her sand bucket year round!

PS. This may be the first time in the history of this blog that I have posted a photo taken the same day. At least one that is about the day in question.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Novel in One Month

I haven't mentioned my one word in a while. My word for 2010 is courage. I have several reasons for that, but one of them is my writing. It takes a lot of courage to write. I know that may sound weird, but it can be daunting to sit with a page in front of you and not know what the next words are going to be.

I have wanted, attempted and failed at starting a wriring career for over ten years now. I started a novel about twelve years ago and when I couldn't figure out what to say after 10 pages, I gave up. I wrote a column for an online scrapbooking magazine about six years ago, and when it went under, I didn't try to look for anything else.

It can be so nerve-wracking to write something and not know if anyone is going to read or will ever want to read it. It can be overwhelming to think that you can spend years working on something and that you will just throw it under the bed in the end because it's so awful. So why bother?

It takes courage to bother.

I have decided that it doesn't matter how terrible my first draft is, or how hard it is to keep going. I can only work a second draft if I have a first draft! With that in mind, I am using February to embark on a "novel in a month" project. I got the idea from NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is held in November. November is a busy busy month anyway, so I don't think I would get anything done, not to mention that's ten months away. I am summoning courage NOW. February feels like the longest darkest month of the year, so I thought I'd try this challenge before I hear the siren call of the zoo or something (you know, when it warms up?).

I don't know what's going to happen with this. I imagine it may mean less blogging this month. I'll do my best. I'm also participating in LOAD, which will take a little bit of extra time too. We also have family visiting for nearly a week at some point. And February is the shortest month of the year.

I gave myself a couple of extra days, and started my novel on Friday, January 29th. My final goal is 50,000 words. As of this morning, I have approximately 5116. (I'm writing longhand, so my count may be off). I'd love some support from readers, so please feel free to comment with some "Go, Deanna, go!" energy. No "what are you thinkings" if you please. At least wait until I've finished. Even if I don't get a chance to blog regularly, I will try to pop in now and then with a word count or a status update.

If you'd like to join me in my quest, please let me know. I think mutual support would be wonderful.

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 2 LOAD

Day 2 LOAD
Originally uploaded by Fun Mama - Deanna

Today's LOAD prompt was to use older photos or older product to create a page. I grabbed my 2003/2004 storage album ( the 3 ring binders that I keep my to-be-scrapped photos in), and quickly found these photos that I loved taking (and wanted to share, since I think balloon glows are seriously cool). I had about 15 pictures to choose from (pre-digital) and I chose these 4.

I grabbed a single sheet of black cardstock ( I have my cardstock stored by color) that just happens to be from a Club Scrap kit from about 2001. I wasn't really planning to use older product, but it worked out that way. I trimmed the photos, moved them around until I liked the arrangement, and adhered them.

I went over to my embellishments and looked for something that would enhance the elegant feel I already had going. I just happened to stumble across these tags from a different Club Scrap kit from about 2002. It didn't even occur to me that I was only using older product until I was photographing my page!

In all, including choosing the photos, paper and embellishments, I think this page took me less than 20 minutes. Granted, I didn't do a lot of journaling for this page, but I try not to spend over 30 minutes on any page (unless it's a story that needs a lot of thought and a lot of words).

What about the rest of the photos? I put 4 in my catagory draws (another Library of Memories concept - topical drawers that help me
"age" my photos for connections). One went behind Places-home-Louisville, one behind Things-food (it was the Coke balloon), and two behind Things-Seasons-fall (this festival occurs in the fall).

What will I do with the rest? Cold storage, or I'll give them to my Mama (since she was with me that night) or I'll just throw them away. They're sitting on my desk at the moment. I don't feel a signifigant need to keep them, though, because they are out of focus and I've already scrapped the memory now.

I hope this helps you a little to see the thought process behind a simple page. And to see how easy it can be to preserve your memories with scrapbooking!

Library of Memories starts Thursday, Feb 4

In 2007, I had the opportunity to take a class that changed the way I record my family's memories. My photos are now more or less organized, I know where they are, and I'm not behind in my scrapbooking! Sound impossible? I also gave birth two weeks after the class started, and I still was able to accomplish so much.

The class is Library of Memories (LOM), taught by Stacy Julian (founder of Big Picture Scrapbooking and founding editor of the now-gone magazine Simple Scrapbooks). Instead of scrapbooking your memories chronologically, and feeling behind if you aren't up-to-date with your photos, LOM focuses on getting your photos organized and then scrapbooking what inspires you. All (or most) of your photos will be accessible, and if you're scrapbooking your most important memories, then you will never feel like you're "behind." What's the point of a hobby that makes you feel guilty?

One of the things you learn is making connections between your photos, and telling stories across time. For example, I am currently collecting photos of my niece and nephew playing with toys that they have since given to my daughter. I took these photos long before we were ready to have kids of our own, and just hadn't gotten around to scrapbooking them yet. But I'm so glad I didn't! They will mean so much more now, side by side with pictures of Abigail playing with the same toys - sometimes with them looking on. What a great reminder to savor every moment, because they go by so quickly.

It's so wonderful to have the majority of my photos accessible to me (I haven't organized ALL my photos, just a few years). My layouts are all organized by subject instead of by date, too, and it makes it so fun. We can pull a book off the shelf of the places we like to go, and find pictures of our daughter at the zoo next to the parents on a hiking trip soon after we met. It's such a juxtaposition of life, and I love it!

If you are interested in taking Library of Memories, there is still time to sign up. Take the chance - you won't regret it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Small Successes

These are my small successes for the week ending January 30th.

  1. Gathering baby toys that my daughter no longer plays with. I will sort some for a consignment sale and keep the rest put away for possible future siblings and cousins.
  2. Washing, folding and putting away our sheets within hours of changing the sheets on our bed.
  3. One day this week I managed to wash and mostly put away all the dishes before I went to bed.
  4. I didn't cry when my baby turned three!
  5. I had all of Abigail's birthday presents wrapped at least an hour before she opened them.
  6. I started writing my novel on Friday.
  7. We have had several successful potty sessions this week.
  8. I finished reading 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs and Cleaving by Julie Powell, both of which were 7 day check-outs from the library, in less than the required 7 days.
  9. Got my living room and dining area presentable enough to have family over for Abigail's birthday, and baked a cake for the gathering (I finished icing it as they walked in, but at least it's family, right?).
I found out about Small Successes through my friend Dianna , who participates in Small Successes at Faith & Family, a Catholic magazine. I'm not Catholic, but I love this idea so much that I want to participate anyway.

What were your small successes this week? (Faith and Family suggests 3 small successes - I wanted to feel a little extra successful, so I wrote down everything I could think of that went well.)