Sunday, April 20, 2014

Writing Updatery

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post not based on my week’s pictures. Or even a writing post for that matter. So here’s a little updatery for that.



I’ve finally gotten my edit list together on the book I’ve been futzing with for the last year.

A little background for those that skim my writing posts: It was finished and edited (not polished), but I knew that there was something wrong with it. MAJOR wrong with it. So it kind of lingered forever in this space of… BLAH.

I’ve learned from experience that sometimes I can’t rush things. And sometimes I have finish before I can see where I went wrong. It’s frustrating because where I go wrong is always OBVIOUS and GLARING once I see it.

*Looking at my nails*
*looking at the computer screen*
*looking at my nails*
*whistle*

I knew there were problems. Obviously. Hence the reason I was like: la-la-laaaaa I’ll just continue forward with it but I’m not showing anyone or talking about it. Because knowing that you need to fix stuff, and knowing WHAT TO FIX, are two different things.

I think sometimes people know they have issues with their book and they dive in “with all the FIXZ” way too soon. Or they get someone else's opinion too early before they figure it out on their own. That generally leads to the plot becoming a jumbled mess. Like word soup. Everything devolves and then the characters start to act schizophrenic…

I may know a little bit about that.

*cough*

Which is why I do not edit without fully understanding the problem and having a concrete plan.

Plus, my life has been nuts (let’s not forget that). So it’s not like I tried very hard to figure out the issues with my novel. Writing has been back-burner while I focused on the rest of my life.

Only so much brainpower to go around, yo.

It’s funny how everything snaps back into place like dominos. Life problems work themselves out… I begin to move forward… My brain starts to function again… My creativity unlocks…

AND BAM!

I finally realized where I went wrong. Plus, there was another area of the book that I knew I had to improve (it had always been on the To Edit List, but I’d put off fixing it because I knew I’d have a major revision anyway). Figuring out those two items led to several others that needed to be revised – because isn’t that the way it is? Edits are like an octopus, spreading its tentacles.

Squeezing my brain.

Drowning. Me.

My edit list turned into fourteen single-spaced pages.

FOURTEEN.

UGH!!!!

*exhale*

Hahaha.

On a good note: I’m so happy that I’ve finally unlocked this book. Now it’s just a matter of doing the work and making it amazing.

Easy enough.

Wink. Wink. Wink.

There are two notes I’m still thinking about/ruminating on that affect the end of the book. Not a big deal at this point. I’ll worry about it when I get there and reevaluate based on how the novel changed/grew.

So that’s where I am. It was difficult but so worth it!

Because now I’m giddy excited about it. It’s gone from a “book with potential” to “Oh. Em. Gee. I LOVE!”

Knowing me that feeling will last a week. LOL!

See you on the flipside, peeps.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 15

Since I've been so behind for the last few weeks I thought I'd spend some time writing a proper blog. You know, WITH WORDS. LOL! Time and words are such a rarity lately. It's nice to have a little of both on occasion.


I love these three people. They like to hang out together in the same room. Which is very sweet.

This last week has been Spring Break for us. It's the most mellow, yet busiest, spring break EVER. I've had an appointment (or three) every day. Today was my one day off. Then my dad called and said, "Hey, so-and-so is coming by at ten to give a bid."

Of course he is.

There went my one non-appointment day. LOL! But now that's over and I have a little bit of time.

On the plus side, my kids have been extraordinarily good. Or lazy… I guess that's two sides of the coin. Ha. They've pretty much entertained themselves this week.

Even with how busy I've been, this is the calm before the storm. The next few weeks are going to be chaos. I'm going to be a vagabond again, camping in my parents' new house (next door!) while work is being done here. And then we should get our stuff sometime in May. So it looks like I'll have to pack my things one more time and then one big unpacking before I can finally walk away from this lifestyle and say: I'M NEVER MOVING AGAIN. NOT. EVER.



Have I talked about my vegan journey? I have a label on here for it, so I suppose I have. :)

It's been going well. I feel better, that's the main thing. Actually, I feel AMAZING. I'm surprised at how different everything is, and that I was living in an existence where my body felt bloated and tired all the time.

Am I 100% vegan at this point? No. At home it isn't a problem. I've cleaned my life to where there isn't much in the way of meat products to tempt me. I have non-dairy substitutes for things like butter, milk and cheese.

Steven still grills himself a steak occasionally. Bekah will eat that with him. But Seth (who never liked meat to begin with) is thrilled not to have to eat it. Bekah, on the other hand, has always hated cheese. She's excited that it's not ever on the dinner menu. And both kids prefer Silk over milk. It has been a relatively easy switch.

My issue comes with restaurants (mainly when my parents are in town because that's when we eat out). Here's something to think about: If meat (and animal byproduct) should not exceed 10% of your daily intake of food, it's a huge problem that there is some form of animal byproduct in EVERYTHING (milk, eggs, cheese, butter). You don't notice it till you look for it, and then: wow. Not good.

Now take that and apply it to restaurants. Even their "vegetarian menu" is loaded with eggs, cheese and dairy. There's usually not a single item on the menu that you can order to fit a vegan lifestyle. And that, my friends, concerns me. Why are we so hooked on animals when things that grow from the ground are so much healthier for you?

When I originally started this journey I labeled myself as "vegan-ish." Meaning: I wasn't planning on sticking to this diet 100% of the time. That has come true in the sense that, while I do eat vegan 100% at home, when I'm out I'll take the broiled fish option (really, my only choice in most cases).

I had never planned on being strict about this diet. But. Then. That all changed when I felt amazing. I can't deny the results. For the first time in my life I eat whatever the heck I want and the weight is shedding (not that I needed to lose any, but hey, I'll take it!!!). I don't count calories at all. Perhaps I should, because realistically you can't eat 100 oranges and not expect to gain weight. ha. I'm not eating 100 oranges, though. I'm eating normal. There is such a freedom to that: to enjoying food and having a healthy relationship with it instead of looking at it as if it's the enemy.

There are moments when I crave sugar. Refined sugar is bad anyway, but the bigger downside is that it usually goes hand-in-hand with butter fat. So. :(

But I can't help that craving.

I've put in some strategies that seem to help. I bought a blender for fruit smoothies. That's curbed the need a lot. And when that doesn't work, there's always the cookie dough from Whole Foods made from soy and natural sugar. And when the need is REALLY, REALLY bad? I can drive to Sprinkles and purchase (only one!) vegan cupcake. But that's only a last resort because it's a trek, man. Plus, I'm pretty sure they're using refunded sugar. NOTHING tastes that amazing without refined sugar. haha.





Let me start this set of pictures by going on a slight tangent about the Dr. Pepper. I banned soda from the house over a year ago. Maybe almost two years ago. This whole time Steven's been sneaking it, which is fine. Whatever. He's a grown man.

Then. We've had visitors these past few weeks and it's come to light that he has all manner of contraband hidden in the garage and his office. Uh, huh. He's now gotten bold and in two of these pictures you can see he's been drinking soda in the house. I need to crack down on that again.

Anyway.

Steven started his new job this week. We're all sad not to have him around during the day. I can't tell who's sadder: Yuki, the kids, or me. haha. We've gotten spoiled with daddy home!

This job may or may not be the next "forever" job. We'll see how it plays out. But it does have some huge perks. The best one being: he's home by 3:30! SO AWESOME!

BTW: that's my new kitchen table. I can't wait to see it in conjunction with the rest of my furniture. It's gonna look amazing! I'm really thrilled with it.


I’m so excited about this picture. It was a shot in the dark (literally).

Seth has decided that he loves hanging out underneath his bed. He’s made it into a little cave where he plays video games. It’s seriously random, I know. But it’s one of those things where I just roll my eyes and move on. Except for that time when the carpet guy was measuring and Seth popped out from underneath the bed and gave the dude a heart attack. Now THAT was funny!

Anyway. So he was under there, playing video games and I wanted a picture. The problem is I didn’t have a light to meter off. The only light source was from his iPad and I couldn’t meter that because his face was down, the light just peeking over the edges of the blanket. I was banking on the fact that when he heard me, he’d look up, thus lighting his face. So my settings? I guessed based on prior success/failure in other situations such as this one.

Like any wild animal in their natural habitat, you have to stalk your prey so they won’t disappear. I low-crawled down the hallway so that I was positioned outside his door, looking through the underside of his bed. I put my 24-70 on 70mm and hit the focus button.

… And that was a no-go. It was too dark to catch focus.

Now, I suck at manual focus on a good day. But: On my belly, camera at an angle, glasses pushed into my eyeball, in the dark? YEAH, RIGHT! Like that’s gonna happen.

Seth heard my lens struggle to focus and looked up.

Which meant I had seconds (!!!) to react before he’d disappear. I flipped my lens from auto focus to manual, shifted my focus ring to where I thought his eye was in focus.

Prayed and clicked.

I got one shot before he moved so that I could only see the top of his head. I then chimped my viewfinder.

When I realized I’d NAILED it against all odds, I started frantically crying, “I GOT IT! I GOT IT!!!!!” Not only was the exposure perfect (I didn’t change it at all in post), I’d managed to get it in focus, which was the greater accomplishment of the two, letmetellya.

Seth huffed, “Mom, you’re so WEIRD!” Then he grabbed that blanket and pulled it over him so he was hidden from view.


And that, my friends, is how you stalk an animal in the wild. BOYAH!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 14





Dear Google/ Blogger,

Why are the two photos above in sepia tint?! The files are NOT sepia. They are the exact same shade of black and white as the other three pictures. I've tried to upload the file three times and each time it's the some random shade of sepia!

A. Different. Shade. Each. Time. Like a multi-colored rainbow of DOOM!

I don't understand! HOW is that possible?! How (AND WHY!) are the colors changing?! Color should be static on a jpeg file, THAT'S THE POINT!

It's so bizarrely weird, I can't help but to comment on it.

Still scratching my head.

Sincerely,
Heather



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 13

I'm a week behind. Esh. *gulp* I figured I'd better get a post up before I'm due for another.

These last two weeks have been as busy as I predicted. My parents were out two weekends before. Then this last weekend Steven's parents, my parents and my brother. And now my parents are here through this week. It's been a full house. Not to mention that every day has appointments scheduled. I feel asleep hard last night.

This is the first time I've been on my computer in over a week. Which is crazy, if you think about it. And my life shows no signs of slowing down at least for another two-ish months.

I edited a bunch of pictures this morning and then realized that, although I liked a lot of them, I really loved the pictures of the kids wrestling Steven. I, uh, kind of started this fight because I tried to tickle his feet (which he didn't appreciate). And when he retaliated, I called in my troops. Don't mess with mom. ;)





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