Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And NaNo Begins

The anxiety is rising and the absolute impossibility of writing 50,000 words in a single month is staring me down. Beginning at 12AM, the fun that is NaNoWriMo begins. Of course, at midnight this writer will be sound asleep and dreaming of all the fantastic scenes she'll be writing tomorrow.

As huge and daunting as the task may seem, I am getting excited about it. I've planned to meet a fellow NaNoWriter at a Barnes & Noble near my job from 5 to 8:30PM every Monday and Wednesday this month. (Don't ask me when I'm going to eat dinner.) I figure the accountability will help me to commit to writing at least those two nights. And I'm planning to go there on my own every other night after work for at least two hours. That's the plan.

So, my dear readers, it's very likely that all you'll be hearing from me during the month of November is the occasional word count and maybe a few excerpts from the novel-to-be. Unless, of course I find myself sitting at work with a few minutes and some serious inspiration for an original post.

Here's to a month of Novel Writing Bliss!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Four Things Meme

I got this as an email from my best friend out in Minnesota (love you Poopers!). I thought I'd turn it into a meme so that you all could enjoy it, too. Here goes!

Four Things You May or May Not Know About Me

Four jobs I have had in my life:
  1. Ice Cream Scooper
  2. Babysitter
  3. 1-on-1 Aide for Children with Autism
  4. Writer of things technical and otherwise
Four movies I would watch over and over:
  1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  2. Anything with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
  3. Serendipity
  4. Big Daddy, 50 First Dates, Spanglish, The Wedding Singer

Four places I have lived:
  1. Sackets Harbor, NY
  2. Canton, NY
  3. Parkville, MD
  4. Baltimore, MD

Four TV Shows that I watch:
(when I should be writing)
  1. Heroes
  2. Lost (when it's in season)
  3. House
  4. Criminal Minds (if I remember it's on)
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Sushi
  2. My mom's lasagna
  3. Turkey chili
  4. Peanut butter
Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. In Arizona with my sister
  2. In Upstate New York with my family
  3. On the couch with a good book
  4. Anywhere with My Love
Things I am looking forward to this year:
  1. More publications and opportunities to get my writing "out there"
  2. Dreams coming true
  3. Visiting with my friends and family
  4. Traveling somewhere I've never been before
Four friends I'm tagging to do this, too:
And of course, if you're joining in on NaBloPoMo in November, you'll have one less post idea to come up with!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Some New Posts in Other Places

I know; you're amazed at my proliferation of posts over the last few days. I'm super excited about things that are going on, and feeling uber creative, so posting here is just another wonderful outlet for what's happening in my head. Today, it's an update on the writing front.

I've been hard at work trying to get my name out there as a freelance writer and editor, as you've all heard before. So new clips are surfacing regularly, and my work is getting out there more and more. There's the Going Green blog at Radiant Magazine Online where I recently posted two entries on living a greener life. There's the fitness and nutrition blog at Feed the Soul, Inc where I'm still posting regular tips on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I just submitted an article for the Winter issue of Radiant Magazine. I'm also working on a query for an article about an integrative nutrition program I heard about through a friend. I'd like to get that one published in a national magazine (think Health, Natural Health, Shape, or Self). Oh, and the website I was writing content for is finally live!

All in all, it's been a pretty productive September and October. I'm very excited about what lies ahead! Of course, with NaNoWriMo starting in just a couple of weeks, I'm trying to get things in order for my month of novel writing. I'm really excited to put some serious focus on this story I have to tell. You might not hear much from me during the month of November (you should be used to that by now), but I'll at least try to keep you posted on daily word/page counts. Maybe I'll even post a few exerpts if I find myself writing good stuff!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Where Is My Beloved Autumn?

Last October I wrote about my love of Autumn over at my old blog. This year, I find myself wondering where my dear love has gone.

It's October 23 and the high for today is expected to be 75 degrees. This is not normal for my area. The average high in Baltimore for the month of October is supposed to be 68 degrees. Where are my cool, crisp mornings? Where is the smell of decaying leaves and the feeling of calm and preparation that fall always brings to me? Where is my beloved Autumn, with his colorful leaves and moderate weather?

It's just not normal to wake up at 5:30AM with my windows wide open and not feel a bit of cool air blowing through. It's unacceptable that this morning I wore a sleeveless shirt and didn't need a jacket or sweater when I walked out my front door. It's OCTOBER, people! I hate to think that winter may hit me like a ton of bricks in December because I haven't had my wonderful Autumn here to help me transition.

Please, Autumn, if you're out there please come back. I want you. I miss you. I need you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Training the Baggers

I've been getting better at taking reusable bags to the grocery store. But the baggers aren't getting any better at dealing with it. You'd think with all the talk of going green and being more environmentally conscious, grocery store cashiers and baggers would get used to being handed a canvas bag in which to place my groceries.

They're not. In fact, they generally look at the bags blankly until I explain that I'd like my groceries to go into them. Even the cashiers at the grocery store where I bought a few of my reusable bags are confused when I hand the bags over. Some practically insist on bagging things in plastic bags and then putting them in my canvas bag while my back is turned. And don't get me started on the cashiers at Wal-Mart, who have twice tried to charge me for the bags I brought in.

Maybe an open letter will help.

Dear Cashiers and Baggers of the World,

When a customer hands you a canvas bag that doesn't have a tag on it and doesn't look like anything you've ever sold in your store before, you can assume that the customer wants you to place her purchases inside the bag. She does not want you to first bag the purchases in plastic and then place the plastic bags inside the canvas bag. She also does not want you to place one or two things in the canvas bag and then move on to plastic bags. This defeats the purpose of the canvas bag, which is to REDUCE the number of plastic bags the customer uses, therefore reducing the number of plastic bags that need to be produced. Her canvas bag is big and strong, and if all of her things won't fit into one bag, trust me, she has another one to handle the overflow.

Also, please note that your huffing and puffing, sighing and rolling your eyes when a customer presents you with a canvas bag does not deter her from bringing them again next time. In fact, it just makes her want to seek you out again the next time she's at the store so that you can learn by practice. A better approach would be to smile kindly, thank the customer for caring about her environment, take the canvas bag, and neatly pack her purchases into it. It'll make your day, and hers, much better.


Earth-Friendly Shopper

Friday, October 12, 2007

NaNoWriMo, or Now I've Gone and Done It, or I Think I've Lost My Mind

So it's finally happened. I think I've cracked. You all know how busy I've been lately (and if you don't, you certainly should, since I can't seem to stop telling you that every time I post here, which hasn't been often enough). So imagine my surprise when I found myself clicking the "Sign Up!" link on the NaNoWriMo site. If you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, you can learn more here, but it boils down this: I've just commited to write the first draft of a novel (that's 50,000 words) during the month of November.

Does anyone know what happens in November? There's My Love's and my 4-year anniversary during which we hope to spend a couple of days relaxing and playing a little Black Jack in Atlantic City. There's the Baltimore Writer's Conference, which means I have to brush up a non-fiction essay that I'd like to have critiqued. And of course there's Thanksgiving--I'll be spending 4 1/2 days traveling and hanging out with my family. Not to mention starting over at the New Old-Job, doing per diem work for the Current (or Old New-) Job, writing group and association meetings, and various and sundry freelance projects that seem to be flying through my windows and doors every time I open them. (Don't ask what my house looks like right now...) I'm not complaining, but I truly think I must be mad to have just signed up for a motivational "contest" of sorts during which I'm required to pound out Fifty. Thousand. Words.

I won't be disappointed if I don't reach the pinnacle, but I do think this might help me get into gear where that novel is concerned. At the absolute minimum I'd like to average a little more than 3 pages a day--90 pages total. That's doable.


Do you think My Love will mind if I lug along the laptop on our weekend getaway? Will I be able to get away from the family madness for a few hours each day over the Thanksgiving holiday? I suppose only time will tell...

Stay tuned for more on the NaNoWriMo saga.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nutty Snacks Kill the Cravings

I've been getting some offers to try out new "healthy" products recently. I generally say "yes" if they seem like anything I might actually pick off the grocery store shelves myself. A couple of weeks ago, I received a couple of boxes of Roasted Nut Crunch Bars from Nature Valley. I'm big on their granola bars and I love nuts, so I was all for giving them a try. I'm glad I did.

They come in two flavors: Peanut and Almond ($3.39 per box of 6). With only 6 ingredients, about 200 nutrient-packed calories, 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber each, they're a satisfying snack you can feel good about. The Peanut Crunch version reminds me of peanut brittle, with the sweet and salty flavor of roasted peanuts and sunflower seeds that kills my afternoon cravings. The Almond Crunch, my favorite, has a combination of almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds and doesn't seem quite as sweet or salty, which I prefer. They're filling and pack in enough energy to get through an evening workout and dinner preparation without the usual hunger pangs. With that kind of power, they'll definitely be added to my grocery list in the future.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Feast or Famine

I know I keep saying this, but things really are busy around here. It's amazing to me how busyness seems to cycle in my life. Maybe I need it to be that way to keep going, or maybe it's just the way of the world, but it seems that one day I have very minimal going on in my life and then suddenly, the Heavens open up and the work starts raining down, my personal life becomes more active, and the new television season starts. What's a girl to do???

Put her nose to the grindstone and churn out the work, taking breaks only to watch her three favorite shows, eat dinner, and enjoy short bursts of QT with My Love, of course. And to keep you semi-up-to-date, I'll provide another bulleted list. I know at least one of my readers enjoys them. ;o)

  • I took the offer from Old Job. It was something I just couldn't refuse.
  • I'm excited to return to the old office and be around my peeps again.
  • I visited Philadelphia for the first time this past weekend.
  • I was very excited because I took the train for the first time to get there.
  • The train isn't all that exciting.
  • I stayed with one of my closest friends in Philly. She was there for a conference.
  • While she was busy I spent time in Rittenhouse Square hoping to run into one of my favorite authors. Turns out it was all for naught because she was out of town.
  • We worked on some writing projects during my friend's off-time.
  • We also ate an amazing dinner at the Midtown version of the Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar and drank a little too much wine.
  • We then ate ice cream that was to die for at Scoop DeVille. (OK, I got fat-free frozen yogurt, but if you check out their menus you'll see that it really doesn't matter...I got the Snicker Doodle Dough concoction.)
  • I didn't feel guilty afterward.
  • I'm almost finished with one of my recent projects--website content for a diabetes coalition in NY state. Very exciting stuff.
  • I've just taken on two new projects: one is very short term, the other will take much longer, but will pay better, too.
  • I can see several other freelance gigs on the horizon, including some potential ghost writing opportunities.
  • My iPod Mini is on it's last battery legs and I'm debating whether I should just get it refurbished at the Apple Store or if I should suck it up and buy the 8GB (PRODUCT)RED or the 80GB classic in black. Any recommendations?
  • I'm really tired...It's way past my bed time. Goodnight!

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