Lacking Inspiration, Needing Structure

It has now been a month since I have posted anything to my blog. NaNoWriMo is upon us. To be honest with you and with myself I will state that I haven’t really written a single word. I have pondered, come up with a much more solid outline, have a better idea on where I want my story to go and what steps I want to take to move that way. But I can’t seem to write.

It is going to sound like an excuse. But in all honesty I started a new job that has taken up my time and energy. I’m trying to figure out how to balance this. The new job is a work at home customer service position. So I am spending 8+ hours a day in my office working. It is hard to be here to write for NaNoWriMo as well.

So I have decided that I needed to schedule my day. I am finally out of training for the new job and I get to start my schedule. It is one that will allow me the time to write everyday. If I can get over the fact that I cannot wait for inspiration and need to just do the work :) I will wake up at the same time everyday, sit down to write for myself from at least 9am-11am, then get out of my office for a couple hours before coming back to work.

My overall goal is to become a published writer. One that can make a living at writing. I know many say this, but it’s what I want. I think the structure of a schedule will help.

Any writers out there have any advice? Suggestions? Words of encouragement? Please tell me how to get out of the corporate world sooner rather than later…..

NaNoWriMo is in November

For those of you that don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. I said early on in my blogging that one reason I am doing this is to help develop my skills as a writer because my ultimate goal is to write a novel someday. Well, actually I want to write a lot of novels, but let’s start with one.

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization who’s goal is to help writers write. The goal is for every writer to put out 50,000 words in the month of November. That is just under 1700 words every day. There is no pressure, no one is checking in with you. You can track your words and get pep talks. There is no need to share what you have written, it is more of a helping hand with motivation.

I have had a story idea floating around in my head for about 15 years. I haven’t written anything other than research papers for years. This idea has morphed quite a bit since I first started thinking about it and I want to stop thinking. Time to start doing. One of the things that has held me back is fear. Fear that people won’t read or like my story. Fear that people will be mean in their criticisms. Fear that I will spend hours, days, weeks, months, years on a story and never have it published and that it is all a waste of time. Fear that I am writing something so similar to someone else’s that they will be indistinguishable. Fear that this is a silly dream because lots of people want to become writers and I am no better than they are.

But now I have a fear that my fears are holding me back. I don’t want to wonder ‘what if?’ in the future. I don’t care if people won’t like my story, in fact I know some won’t and that’s okay. I no longer fear its a waste of my time because I have been thinking about this for 15 years already. I should spend another few months or year actually writing it down and seeing what happens. I don’t fear my story is like someone else’s. There are a lot of similar things, no truly original ideas. It’s all about writing, perspective, characters, and tone that make things different.

So I finally started telling people what my story idea is about. It’s still fairly basic, but that’s ok. That is one reason I signed up for NaNoWriMo, to get it out. That is why I am telling you. I want to be a writer. I am going to work hard at becoming one. Yay me!

Check out NaNoWriMo if you haven’t heard of it before. It’s sort of cool. http://nanowrimo.org/

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Subscription Boxes – September 2014

My boyfriend recently subscribed to the thing called Loot Crate. I’m not sure if you have heard of it, but you pay a monthly fee, around $20 (or more depending on the subscription) and once a month a box is delivered that is a grab bag of sorts full of goodies. It’s possible this is a total waste of money, but it is fun. It also guarantees that no matter what is going on in life, once a month you will get a package of gifts, just for you. Or you can give them to friends. It’s all whimsy to me.

This past Monday, the 22nd, his first Loot Crate arrived. He wasn’t home so I plucked it off the steps. I’m not good with packages. Curiosity usually gets the best off me. Even in 1994 when, as my mother snored softly in her bedroom, I unwrapped every single one of my Christmas presents to see what awaited me and then carefully wrapped them back up. I cannot even begin to tell you the disappointment I felt on Christmas morning when there were no surprises under that tree. I remember that year because I got a Caboodle and put the year on it with stickers. She felt deflated also because her snotty daughter showed no genuine gratitude toward any of it. I’m sorry, Mom. But I did learn my lesson and never peaked again.

Not even when my boyfriend’s package arrived. Although after telling him it was here he let me open it. Loot Crate is geek and gamer stuff. Each month has a theme and then goodies are shipped off to reflect that theme. I am going to post pictures, so I apologize if this spoils it for anyone.

Sept Loot Crate goodies.

Sept Loot Crate goodies.

As you can see this month’s loot included a Hans Solo in carbonite poster, a Star Trek Tribble (which instructs on the package not to open and not to feed), an Alien, Firefly currency, a mystery mini toy, Pop Rocks, and some other information. Pretty fun stuff.

Mystery Mini - Mal from Firefly

Mystery Mini – Mal from Firefly

Tribble

Tribble

Alien - ahhhh!

Alien – ahhhh!

The problem is now I want one. But I can’t get Loot Crate or we would get two of the same thing in the house. So I did some searching the morning and found there are a lot of different subscription boxes out there to choose from, depending on what you are interested in. There are boxes for crafts, pets, kids, tea, makeup, wine, jerky, candles, adult time, shaving for men, and pretty much anything you can think of. None of these really appeal to me and unfortunately I couldn’t find one that was geared toward sustainable living or steam punk. But I did find one… okay, two…. that I think look fun. Nerd Block and Horror Block. Similar, but they include different genres of stuff. I couldn’t decide, so I went with both. It’s a monthly thing and after one or two if I like one block over the other I can cancel. Next month I will post on all of them. Horror Block doesn’t ship until October 25th, so I will probably post the first week in November, give everyone a chance to get theirs before I spoil the surprise.

Here is a decent link to find boxes, if you are after a bit of whimsy for yourself. Let me know if you subscribe to any and what you think.

http://www.mysubscriptionaddiction.com/

https://www.lootcrate.com/

https://www.nerdblock.com/

The Over Grown Garden

I’m not sure how many of you, if any, live in Colorado. Typically we have a fairly hot, dry summer with some random rain storms. This year, it has rained nearly every day all summer long. It has kept temperatures down, but I have felt like we didn’t really get a summer at all. My water bill is loving it, my lawn looks good because of it, but my vegetables haven’t been too happy.

The extra water seems to have over done some of them and created a lot of bugs. Apparently earwigs love tomatoes. However, they can’t climb up plastic so the tomatoes in the buckets did a little better than the ones in the ground. Peppers don’t like the chilly rain. And I couldn’t keep up on the every overpowering bindweed. Grrr. Some things grew big and tall and happy, but not many vegetables. I am not sure what I could have done.

Overgrown

 

Overall, I feel that this was a somewhat disappointing growing year. Many of my gardening friends did much better than I. I wonder if the still super soil has something to do with my lack of success or if there is something else I need to do? (Remember that we created dirt from vermiculite, peat moss, and 5 types of compost.) Advice?

Next year we will just grow peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers. Perhaps I need to get really good at a few things then add to it.

Ditched by the Pimp

Well, my temporary job didn’t work out as expected. At the point where my 90 days would have been up and the client could choose to hire me on full time permanently they decided not to. I can understand that, it is their decision and I must respect that. What I don’t understand is why they waited so long to make this decision.

I was told by my staffing agency that the client indicated that as a temporary employee I was aggressive in wanting the temporary employees included. Case in point, there were several fundraisers for various organizations over the summer that the temporary employees knew nothing about because we didn’t get those emails. I mentioned at a town hall style meeting that it would be nice if we were included on those types of emails so we could get involved. What I thought was me showing initiative about being a part of the team was them thinking I was overstepping my boundaries. I had never had a temp job before. It is strange that I can’t talk to the company I am doing work for about those types of concerns, especially when they said that they had an open door policy.

I have heard that term a lot with corporations, open door policy. I have learned that what it really means is you can share ideas and come to them with concerns. However, they see it as who is the kind of employee that will make waves and who will diligently do their job like a robot without question. I don’t think the corporate world is for me. I make waves.

Oddly, the staffing agency I was working through has pretty much blown me off. It’s like having someone break up with you but not tell you that, they just stop responding to phone calls and emails until you get the hint. I find this unprofessional. They can tell me to take a hike, that’s fine, I enjoy the outdoors.

So here I am, unemployed for the second time in six months. I did realize I need to make my blog a priority, whether or not I am working. Honestly, I want to be a writer. What writer doesn’t write? Apparently me. But I am here to change that. I will check in weekly with different topics and practice my writing technique. Please keep in touch and post comments. I won’t think you are just trying to make waves. Your words are important to me.

I’m Still Here! Update……

I am so sorry for not being around. It has been crazy. I started a new job, got the flu, started my volunteering and then Comic Con. But I am still here.

I really wanted to participate in Writing 101, but am not sure if I should at this point. I am two weeks behind and I don’t work well under pressure. So I think for now I will just write what comes to me that follows along with really what I want this blog to be about. I am going to try to stay at it once a week. 

Next weekend I am sewing. I need new tops for work and just can’t bring myself to buy a shirt I have no strong feelings for at $25. Plus they just never seem to fit right. I will post pictures to let you all know how it is going.

The garden is amazing! It has been raining here almost every afternoon, which is unusual for Colorado in June. My garden loves the rain water and so does my water bill. The spinach went to seed, so we pulled it up. I am seeing peas now. The peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes are also growing well. This is the first year for the strawberries, so I think I will leave them alone and wait until next year to harvest fruit.

At Comic Con I dressed in my Steampunk outfit. I love that thing. It makes me feel sexy. I went with a friend and she and I got asked at least 20 times to have our picture taken. It really made my day. Here is a picture of me, yes I am sticking out my tongue. :)

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I think one of my first wood working projects is going to be to make a cane/walking stick for this outfit. I love it.

Besides sewing I am going to attempt to try something different with my hair. I already make my own laundry detergent. I am learning to reuse candle wax. I want to do something healthy and natural for my hair. So I am beginning to investigate alternatives to shampoo. There is no reason to put chemicals on my head. Does anyone have any recommendations? Advice? Personal experiences? I would love to hear from you!

The Garden is Planted!!!! And I Got a Job!!!!

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Peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers before planting.

We are done planting! It seemed so easy this year. Last year we got a late start and had to build garden beds with store bought dirt. This year, we simply cleaned up the beds and planted. It was so nice! Now we just get to maintain and enjoy.

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Clean bed, ready for cucumbers and tomatoes!

 

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The grate squares measure 1’x1′. We use these to easily measure and to keep the cats from using the loose dirt as a litter box.

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Tomatoes!

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Cucumber plants in one corner of each square. Seeds in the other corner of the square.

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Peppers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strawberries!

Here is an overall picture of the garden. The paver area is still a mess, that is the next project.

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Very top left in the shaded box is green beans. Clockwise from that: Peas, lettuce, carrots, spinach, strawberries, potted dill (not seen). potted tomato, 3 tomato plants and a whole bunch of cucumbers. In the white buckets are tomato plants, one that you can’t see has a cucumber plant (I’ll explain this in a minute). In the white box are peppers. Each large box in the middle measures 3’x6′. I have twelve squares (1’x1′) with several cucumber plants. My mother fears we planted too many, but last year she had the same concern and I held back and we didn’t get any. I can always thin them out if needed.

Most are pickling cucumbers, then there are two of burpless cucumbers. Peppers include 4 bell pepper plants, 2 anaheim peppers and 2 poblanos. Tomato plants include 2 mortgage lifters, one each of beefmaster, cherokee purple, brandywine, Mr Stripy, fantastic and an early girl. If you are counting along that would be 8 tomato plants. We are testing to see what kind we like best.

I am so excited. We plan on canning and if we need extra stuff, like onions or dill, I hope to find it at the farmer’s market. I think I may start early, I have never canned before and don’t want to have a learning curve when I have all my veggies ready to go. Some things we decided not to do this year, like potatoes. Just want to concentrate on what we have.

The white buckets are an experiment of my mother’s. Self watering potted plants. They are sort of like a pot you would use for your violets. On the bottom is a bucket that has a drain hole drilled into in about 2-3″ up from the bottom. A second bucket sits in it that has drain holes drilled on the bottom and towels that are threaded from the bottom to the top. The towels soak up the water that is in the bottom bucket to feed the roots of the plants. How does the water get into the bottom bucket you ask? Well there is a 22″ length of PVC pipe from the top through the bucket to the bottom. We put water through the pipe into the reserve. Yes, I get the irony that we still water the bucket, but we will see if it works.

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The bottom of the top bucket. There are many little drain holes to let water out. The large hole in the middle is for the towels to come up through. The larger hole off to the side is for the PVC pipe to thread to the bottom bucket.

 

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Three towel strips coming up from the bottom bucket to the sides. Now time for dirt.

 

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Finished….almost. You can see the bottom bucket, the PVC pipe on the left. In the background you can sort of see the finished product. We put black plastic over it to keep the dirt warm and extra water out.

I ordered a few little fruit trees in January and they have now all arrived. I have an orange tree (which is doing great), a lime tree and now a dwarf banana tree! When these things get bigger my living room will look like a jungle….but there are worse things. For perspective they are each planted in a 6″ pot.

 

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Orange tree

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Lime Tree

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Dwarf Banana

An update on the avocado tree. I moved it out of the bright direct sunlight and started ignoring it, just watering it weekly. Check it out. You can see on the bottom that the leaves are still burnt looking, but it’s still growing new leaves and getting bigger. I also started two new ones, because I could :)

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Avocado as of 5.17.14

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New avocados

And lastly, sorry for the long post, I got a job. One of my pimps came through for me. I should start next week sometime after my finger print background check comes back. It isn’t as much as I really need to make, but after 3 months of not working it is better than nothing. It also has no direct customer contact. That alone may be worth the decrease in pay.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Please leave feedback, advice, or just say hi :)