Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another item off my checklist!

Because I'm living with my mother right now, I don't have room for all my stuff in the house (it's a small house), so I have one of those off-site storage units. I've been wanting to go through the boxes and sort things out, throw away the trash, put aside things for Goodwill, and repack some of the boxes because they're starting to collapse. It took two Saturdays, but I finished today! Another item off the list!

I still have three boxes to go through. They're all personal files--old utility bills, bank statements, etc--and when I have a free weekend, I'll bring those home and sort them out. Old stuff will be shredded, I'll repack the keeper items, add new stuff and take them back to the unit. That'll be another time.

Another item on the list I'm working on is scrapbooking my photos. I have, oh, I don't know how many pictures...not even worth counting. But I'm determined to get them caught up. I finally finished my overseas trip and now I'm working on my nephew's wedding. If all goes well, I'll have them finished by the end of this month (just a couple days away!). Then I'll jump right in to my Milford trip, then I'll start all my South Carolina pictures. Then I'll hop into the Wayback machine and do all the older pictures.

But here's the sad thing. A few years ago, I used to sell Creative Memories scrapbooking/memorykeeping supplies. I quit about two years ago, mainly because I was in South Carolina and battling depression. I kept buying supplies to make my minimum quota sales, but did nothing with them. I packed them up and moved them to my Winchester storage unit and forgot about them.

I had a few things here at the house and finally decided to get rid of them by selling them on eBay. I sold a few items, then took that money and bought some CM-specific pages in white off of eBay so I could finish my nephew's wedding album. Today (back to the "sad thing"), as I was working in the storage unit, I came across a box half-full of CM-specific white pages! Here I went and spent money on something I already had! I'm still steamed over that. But because I'm the optimistic type and try to see the good in the bad, I can balance that discovery with the fact that I need page protectors as well, and found a whole stack of them before I went and bid on some.

This is why I was going through my storage unit, to see what I had. So now I know, and I'll be auctioning off a lot more stuff on eBay in the coming weeks. And yes, that's another item on the list! Not checked off yet, but hey, I'm working on it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another Item off the To-Do List, pt 2

Just thought to add this...

For the past two months, I've been debating with myself about going to a writer's conference. It's in Myrtle Beach, so not too far a trek from Winchester, and it's at the end of October, which is a really nice time in MB--still warm enough to go to the beach, but far enough out of tourist season so the beaches will be empty. The cost is maybe a smidge high, but no so high as to be unreasonable, so I've really been debating it.

I've talked to several people about it, and they all said the same thing, which was "Go! Do it! You'll love it! You'll learn so much! You'll meet so many people!" etc, etc. Not a negative comment in the bunch. I did get differing opinions as to whether or not I should sign up for an agent/editor critique. I feel my work isn't really ready and some agreed that I should wait until I am, while others said an agent/editor would be able to give me guidance as to which way to go with my work. That, I guess, was the reason I was delaying making a choice. Deep down, I feel I'm right in not going for a critique yet, but I understood the other point of view as well. So, back and forth, should I? shouldn't I?

Yesterday, I finally said "Enough procrastinating! Isn't that why you've pushed yourself to finish the Belfast/Glasgow scrapbook? So stop putting off registering for the conference. Do it now before the seminars you want are sold out!" So I logged onto the site (here if you're interested), filled out the form and it's done! I'm going to my first writer's conference in October!

I have three good story ideas and I'm going to bring synopses/outlines of each, just so when someone asks what I'm working on, I can answer them intelligently. And I have some pre-work for one of my seminars, so I need to get going on that. So right now, not much to do to prepare, but some work to do. wonderful but silent fans...have any of you been to a writer's convention? Any ideas/tips of what I should/shouldn't do? Come on, you know you want to share!

Another Item off the To-Do List

Three years ago this week, my mother and I set out on a journey overseas, to spend eleven days in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Glasgow, Scotland. Part adventure, part work, we went to do a little genealogy research and, heck, just to see these two great cities.

My mom’s grandfather was from Northern Ireland and he we know he was a school teacher in the village of Ballindrum (which no longer exists, but we know where it was). They left Ballindrum for Belfast and her father was born in Belfast. They then moved to Glasgow when he was about ten years old. His father joined the ship-building trade and I imagine my grandfather did as well before emigrating to the United States.

While we were there, I took—no joke—just over 700 pictures. I figured I may never go back (though I’d love to go back to Belfast), so I might as well take as many pictures as I can.

Why am I telling you this? Because, after three long years, I finally, FINALLY, finished my scrapbook of this trip!

Oh, relax, I’m not going to start preaching about the wonders and pleasures of scrapbooking. I might start preaching about the pleasures of getting over the procrastination bug and finishing a project, though. It gave me such a feeling of satisfaction, knowing that something I’d been thinking about and worrying about and fretting about for three years is finally done and I don’t have to think about it any more! Do you know what that’s like? It’s bliss, I tell you, bliss.

But here’s the funny part. I pushed myself to work on it every evening this week. Monday evening I gathered together everything I needed. Tuesday, I journaled the Belfast portion of the trip, Wednesday I journaled the Glasgow portion of the trip (adding a few embellishments to the pages each night), Thursday I put each page into page protector sleeves and Friday night I bound all the pages into two books, then put everything away. I was done around 10:15-10:30 each night, but Friday I was done around 8:30, tired, satisfied, and yet strangely, at loose ends. I wanted to keep working! I was glad I was done but I wanted to do more. But I forced myself to relax and just enjoy the evening…because Saturday I start a new project!

The pictures of my nephew’s wedding came in on Thursday, and I want to get those into an album as quickly as possible. Far fewer pictures—about 200—so it shouldn’t take me three years…hopefully only three weekends. I want these done because I still have all my South Carolina pictures (Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head), plus my trip to Chicago, not to mention all the pictures of my nieces and nephew that have been crowding numerous picture boxes for numerous years…

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Let's get all caught up, shall we?

Hello all my lovely fans! So sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’d like to say I had a good reason, and in some ways I do, but the truth is, I’ve been both busy and lazy.

So here’s what’s been going on:

I had to finish my final writing assignment and it was a blast! I had to write a query letter, a cover letter, fill out a publisher’s choice form, and write the synopsis of my entire story. The letters I wrote pretty quickly, and the form was easy, so I figured the synopsis would be the hardest part. Wrong! The words just flowed from my brain to my fingertips and it practically wrote itself. I did most of it at work because there was nothing going on there for about a week or so, and I had to look busy, so that’s what I worked on. There were several scenes that I hadn’t worked out yet but as I worked on synopsizing the scenes I had already planned, ideas came for the missing scenes and it all fit together perfectly. I really was stunned at how easily it all came together. I’m so glad that’s done, but now the hard part comes. I have to write the rest of my novel!

My nephew MR and his wife SR flew in from Montana to attend his brother’s wedding. They flew out a week and a half before the wedding day and all I could think of was “why so early?” SR had never been to the east coast before, so MR wanted to show her around the area, and they saw quite a bit. She was in awe of our fair city of Winchester, and he took her into DC. They also went to Luray Caverns and Six Flags in Maryland. She really enjoyed herself and MR enjoyed showing her around. But a week and a half before the wedding? I didn’t understand why they needed to be here that early…until I found out that MR wanted to be here for the bachelor party, which was to be held in Atlantic City, NJ. MR is a poker player and has been to Las Vegas a couple times to play, so he was eager to play in Atlantic City. Unfortunately, the casinos they went to don’t have poker tables. There was blackjack, and video poker and slots, but that’s not MR’s game. He wants Texas Hold’em, Five Card, etc. To say he was disappointed is an understatement.

Oh, and the best news of all…while they were here, SR discovered that she’s pregnant! I’m going to be a great aunt! No offense to my step-niece, but this baby is going to be of my blood, therefore, it’s my first! I’m so excited for them! Of course, they had said from the beginning that they didn’t want to have children, and they hadn’t changed their minds. God changed their minds for them. MR said it was his fault, and Mom/Grandma/Future Great-Grandma said “Um, yeah, of course it’s your fault!” hahahaha But she talked to them both, helped them see the bright side of the situation, and they were both calmer about the news once she was done talking to them. My mom’s good at that.

I’m going to tell you a secret…This all happened on Thursday, and after the “announcement,” they went to spend the day at Six Flags in Maryland. Mom and I went out to dinner, and she told me then. I had to keep it quiet…not allowed to tell anyone until they themselves decided to announce it. I didn’t have to keep it secret for long. At the wedding rehearsal dinner, MR made the announcement and everyone was so excited for them.

Oh, and the wedding was wonderful! GR & BR (my new niece-in-law) make such a beautiful couple and it was a perfect outdoor wedding. Well, it was a bit humid, but at least it didn’t rain. Wait…take that back, it did rain, but not until we were all safely partying at the hotel. BR made such a lovely bride and they couldn’t stop smiling at each other throughout the ceremony. You could just see the love there between them. And I took tons of pictures, which I have already put into an album and it’s waiting for them to return from their honeymoon so I can present it to them. They’re going to love it. I just wish his mother and grandfather (my dad) could have been there to see it. Well, I believe they were there…in spirit. Just wish they could have been there in the flesh.

Let’s see…what else…Oh, I’m participating in JulNoWriMo—that’s July Novel Writing Month, just like the NaNoWriMo I did last November. The difference is that it’s promoted by a different organization…and it’s a different month. The story I’m writing may not be long enough. I don’t know if I’m going to reach 50,000 words with this story, but I’m going to try. And if I run out of words before I run out of month, oh well. It’s putting me in the right frame of mind to just crank out the words. I’m a bit behind in my word count. I should be at 8065 words and I’m actually around 5925 words with two chapters written. I hope to have chapter three finished by tomorrow. I may post the story here when it’s done so my three loyal readers can review it and tell me what they think. I haven’t decided yet.

I think that’s all for now. You’re all caught up. And I promise, I won’t wait so long to make my next post. (Yeah yeah, I’ve made that promise before, I know. You’ll just have to wait and see.)