Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas at the Craft Store


I went into Michaels one evening last week to buy a specific item for a Christmas gift and I had to wander and poke around while I was there. Is there a more fun store anywhere?

The possibilities are endless.

So is the fun!

I love everything about Michaels....even the way it smells. This time of year as soon as the doors open you can smell Christmas. It’s a wonderful combination of cinnamon and apple pie. I think they must burn scented candles when the store is closed, lol!


My favourite section is the painting one – all the paints hanging and the brushes standing tall. It’s a rare day when I leave Michaels without a bag full of goodies.


I was tempted by the Christmas ornaments this visit; especially since they were on sale, but Jon and I have WAY more ornaments than we know what to do with already so I managed to pull myself away with only a couple of pictures. 


I can’t wait to get back and since I have Michaels gift cards on my Christmas wish list I’m hopeful it’ll be soon – right in time for boxing day sales maybe!! Yay!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Walk and Roll


I’ve been struggling lately to find joy in simple things like I normally do. I don’t know if it’s the time change, the coming winter or if maybe I’m just depleted from spending every waking minute of every day for three weeks on my novel.

Whatever it is it’s starting to bug me – a lot. So yesterday afternoon I decided to drag my lazy ass outside to enjoy the end of the afternoon with the girls. All four of us had a nice walk around the yard and we played for a few minutes and then I decided to get my camera and see if I could find anything inspiring. I put Hunter and Astro inside so Meg and I could have some uninterrupted time together and I walked and she (mostly) rolled.


I never (ever) shoot at dusk so I had no idea what I was doing but I still got a few shots I think are ok (you can see them here if you’re interested), but mostly it was just nice to get out and get some fresh air and some play time in with the girls. 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Another NaNoWriMo Update


On November the first I told you I’d decided (rather spontaneously) to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I’d put it off a few years in a row and for some reason decided this would be my year.

This is my year!

My first attempt at NaNoWriMo was a success. I finished my novel yesterday coming in at about 51,000 words.

Writing a romance novel has been on my list of things to do for many years and I’ve started several but I’ve never been able to complete one. The NaNoWriMo way of quantity over quality is a great way to write. It really helps turn off the inner critic and get words on the page.

It’s suggested that you don’t edit at all through the month and just write but I had some difficulty with that so I grammar and spell checked daily and I made sure I didn’t have any huge plot holes. It’s still a work in progress because I still need to edit and do some re-writing but I did it.

I wrote a 51,000 word novel in 22 days!! Yay me!!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday


Today Jamie Ridler asks us “What peace do you wish for?” I could easily come up with several important answers but today the only peace I truly wish for is doggie peace.

This is Hunter when she's not cranky! 
Our baby girl Hunter has been tested for this, that and the next thing over the last few months because she’s become completely incontinent and we’ve finally had to put her on estrogen to try to manage the symptom (you can only clean up so much pee after all!) She’s responding wonderfully to it, we only need to give it to her twice a week and it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve had to clean up a mess – sounds good right?

It is...mostly.

Except like any other female with a change in hormone situation she’s become a little moody. I might even say bitchy. We have three dogs and Hunter’s always been in charge but all of a sudden she’s like a short tempered and very impatient dictator. “Do as I say (quickly) or I’ll eat your face” seems to have become her mantra. Needless to say things are a little tense around here. We’re hoping that with a few more weeks on her medication everything will settle and today I can’t help but also wish for doggie peace. J


Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update


I’m halfway through National Novel Writing Month and I’m proud to say I’ve already written just over 32,000 words.

The last two weeks have been busy and time consuming and it feels like I’ve done nothing besides write (which if you look around my house you’d see is true probably true).

My eyes are blurry from staring at the computer screen, my wrists are sore from all the typing and I’ve seriously had more tea to drink in these last 14 days than in all my days before. And that’s a lot of tea!! LOL J

But I’m loving every second of it. Well almost every second. I had to write my first sex scene on Monday and it was awkward. After 26,000 words with these guys I feel like I know them which made writing the sex scene a bit like being a voyeur.

I’ve always wanted to write a novel and although I’ve started about a million of them this is by far the furthest I’ve made it into one. I’m having fun getting to know my characters and I’m excited to see how it turns out for them...and for me.

32,000 words down and about 18,000 to go!! I’m on the home stretch now. YAY!



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday

Image from JamieRidlerStudios.ca

I’m always excited to see what Jamie Ridler will prompt us with on Wishcasting Wednesdays and some weeks the answer pops into my head fully there and all I have to do is write it down. Some weeks I need to ponder for a few minutes before something comes to me and other weeks I read the prompt and just blow it off. Nope...not for me this week.

The ones I ignore are usually the ones that end up staying with me the longest. They nag and cajole me to answer them (if only for myself) and now I know when I see a prompt that I immediately decide not answer that it’s one I need to answer to see what comes up.

Today is one of those days.

Jamie asks us....What do you wish to dare (or dare to wish)?


I wish to dare myself to dream.

I’ve been struggling with this since last May when I read A Year by the Sea, by Joan Anderson. I wrote about it then in What Do Dreams Ask of Us and it’s something I think about daily. I wrote about dreams again last week in NaNoWriMo and in a limited way yesterday in Bucket List - Part One. But dreams and dreaming are something I wrestle with all the time.

I think most people take dreams for granted.

I also think my dreams are as scared of me as I am of them and maybe what we need is a dare...or maybe even a double dare! J

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bucket List - Part One


When I was thirteen or fourteen my friends and I used to go to a little Italian restaurant that was around the corner from our high school. We were there almost every day and there was often this guy huddled in the corner booth with his notebooks and pens.

I was fascinated by him. 

My friends didn’t share my fascination and often remarked at how weird he seemed. Seeing him so often afforded me the opportunity to figure out his schedule. If it was early in the day he’d have coffee beside him and if it was later in the day he’d have red wine to encourage the muse. It didn’t matter what day of the week or what time of day it was I was pretty certain that most days he’s be there.

I saw him regularly for many months and finally I gathered my courage and asked him what he was doing. He was happy to talk to me and welcomed the intrusion. He told me he was an author – that he wrote novels to make his living. He explained how he and his wife had a couple of small children and he found it hard to concentrate at home so he brought his work to the restaurant.

We didn’t talk often after that but I always said hello and he was always open to my questions. I’ve often thought of him over the years when I see other people in pubs, coffee shops or the park writing. Times have changed now though; people no longer have notebooks and pens but laptops or tablets, but the process remains the same.

And I’m still fascinated.

Many years ago I started a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life and the very first thing that came to mind was writing a book while sitting in a pub.


I’m 43 years old – very soon to be 44 and I still think of that man and our conversation from so many years ago. I still think of him sitting there writing furiously at times and at other times chuckling to himself or sitting there lost in thought.


If you read my post last week NaNoWriMo you know I’m currently writing a book and yesterday I sat in a pub with my computer, a notebook, a half litre of (white) wine and my muse. We spent several hours together happily writing away and when I was done I could cross out one of the things on my bucket list.

Thank you to the anonymous man from the restaurant years ago, you altered the course of my life and to you I am very grateful. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creative Circus - A Follow Up (but not the follow up)


Last week I wrote about my trip to the fabric store in Creative Circus and how much I enjoyed myself. I got several comments (and calls) about what a great husband I have because he went there with me.

Here is Jon’s equivalent of the fabric store....the scrap yard. I spend part of Saturday morning in the scrap yard because Jon wants a cab for our tractor so he doesn’t freeze while doing snow. A new cab for our tractor is about $5000 and he figures he can rig something up for about $1000, which meant a tour through the scrap yard looking for something appropriate.

This is what he's come up with.
The spider webs are included :)
What a pile of crap..I mean scrap ;)
And a little more.

I think Jon had more fun at the fabric store than I did at the scrap yard – although it’s hard to tell from this picture. J

Seriously - he looked happier
at the fabric store!!
See!!!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Mark


Today would have been my brother’s 40th birthday.

It’s hard to believe that my baby brother would have been forty and it’s hard to believe still that he’s gone.

Rather than mourning him today I want to celebrate the good memories – I want to remember that he wasn’t who he became towards the end of his life. I want to remember that he was a crazy smart guy with a wicked sense of humour. I want to remember the sensitive person who held my babies with loving care and divine attention. I want to remember his laugh, his thoughtfulness and his quirkiness.

When Mark was about 20 he commissioned a pewter cross from an artist he knew and I just loved it. He wore it all the time and I admired it very vocally every chance I got. When my boys were christened Mark asked the minister if he would bless the cross and our minister being a very open minded soul agreed. After it had been blessed Mark gave it to me.

I will never forget that moment.

I’ve cherished it every day since and decided to have it tattooed on my back for my fortieth birthday and Jon decided to have a matching on done at the same time.

Me, Mark and Shane
at the christening; notice
Mark's wearing the cross.
Mark = cross = christening = the gift of the cross = cherished gift = 40thbirthday tattoo = Jon’s matching tattoo = Mark.

It’s funny how memories tie themselves all together, and thank God they do.

Happy Birthday Mark. I miss you and I love you.




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Wishcasting Wednesday



Today Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios asks us: “"What change do you wish for?

I wish for a change of perspective.

Where I now see struggle I wish to see ease.
Where I now feel pain I wish to feel love.
Where I now see loss I wish to see gain.
Where I now feel resistance I wish to feel eagerness.
Where I now feel emptiness I wish to feel fullness.
Where I now feel lost I wish to feel direction.
Where I now feel constricted I wish to feel open.
Where I now feel lack I wish to feel abundance.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Stress Management - An Oxymoron?


Like millions of other people I suffer from and struggle with excessive stress. I do all the right things – I eat well, I get some exercise, I meditate and practice relaxation exercises. I spend time with my family and friends, I play with my dogs. I have hobbies I enjoy and I even have a couple of things I’m passionate about.

And yet stress kicks my ass almost daily.

I’ve been trying something new the last couple of weeks; I’ve been taking Sundays off from everything. I know a lot of my stress is just me over thinking and worrying so I’ve been doing my best to not think for one day a week.

I don’t think it’s helping any....or at least not yet.

I know this is one of those issues that gets talked about a lot these days. Stress has become an epidemic and while some stress can be good for us to help us get through our days and accomplish things, too much stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and often our entire lives.

I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life and depression from time to time so every time I see my doctor she always asks how I’m feeling. I had my physical last month and as soon as I’d run through my lists of questions and complaints she asked me about my anxiety and about what I’m doing about it. She knows me well so when I rhyme of all the good stuff I’m doing she chuckles a little and says something like “well if the ‘natural’ stuff isn’t working for you maybe it’s time to try a new medication.”

I know some people need medication – in fact I have been one of those people on several occasions in the past; but right now and for the last decade (at least) I’ve been medication free. According to my doctor the decision between to medicate or not to medicate has become a “lifestyle” choice.

A lifestyle choice?? Come on! Since when has medication become a lifestyle choice?!

My lifestyle of choice is naturally doing what I can to minimize the stress in my life, to choose healthy ways to manage it and work with it and to try different things/different combinations of things until I find what works well enough for me.

Admittedly it’s not going well at the moment, but I’ll figure it out – I always do. And in the meantime I’m open to hearing what works for other people.

So tell me – how do you manage stress?


Friday, November 2, 2012

Creative Circus

I’m in the process of re-upholstering a chair that has been in my family for years and years. I painted it and I’ve been undecided about whether or not to antique the finish so I thought I’d go to the fabric store to see what I could find in the way of fabric that I like.

I figure my fabric choice will help me to decide on the final finish for the chair.

I haven’t been to a fabric store in years and years. I forgot how much I love them! They’re like a creative circus...there is soooo much to choose from. It’s hard to know where to start.

Seriously - how much fun is this?!
The chair used to be a dark mahogany colour with an ugly rose coloured velvet seat and I painted it pure white with Annie Sloan chalk paint, which you can by in town now at Malenka Originals. It didn’t turn out quite like I’d hoped so I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it.

  
I thought maybe a bold zebra print might make it fun, but I want to put it in the bedroom and Jon didn’t like that idea so I decided to drag him to the fabric store with me to help decide on the look.

Choices
And more choices
This is what happened, too many choices and an almost crazed husband. FYI, your husband and the fabric store – not a great idea!!

A crazed hubby
I haven’t figured out which fabric I like the best; but here are my favourites so far....

It's hard to tell but this is actually purple!

Not quite the original zebra that I was thinking of, but still awesome.
Although, that said, I also like this one....

It's just beautiful!

I will show you how it turns out once I get it done.

If you have any thoughts or opinions - let me hear them!J


Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo


In 2010 and 2011 I talked myself out of participating in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. This year I’ve managed to talk myself into participating.

Starting today and running through the month of November I will be attempting towriting a novel. To “win” at NaNoWriMo I have to write a novel (it must be fiction) that is at least 50,000 words and I must have it completed, uploaded and counted by midnight local time November 30th 2012.

For those of us who like details or are math oriented that works out to be about 1700 words a day, which if you don’t write regularly might seem like it would be easy to accomplish. It’s not.

I will continue to write here too – it’s going to be a month of writing (and probably not much else). J Good thing I don’t usually start my Christmas shopping until early December!

Throughout the month I’ll keep you up to date on my word count. I’d very much appreciate your support and words of encouragement. This is a big dream for me and I’m shaking in my boots just contemplating it, so I’ll happily take any love you’d like to send my way. I’m also open to a few ass kickings – you can be sure I’m going to procrastinate and find a million reasons why the dishes need done and the closets organized instead of getting in my 1700+ words a day.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out http://www.nanowrimo.org/, and maybe even donate to a great cause. There’s a lot of fun info on the site. It’s interesting to see how many writers have attempted to write in all the years since it started and the number or writers who’ve actually completed a novel.

I’m very much hoping that the first year I participate in NaNoWriMo will be the first year I complete a novel.

Wish me luck and send me love!