Category Archives: Daily Life

Life happens. When I stop to smell the roses or snap a picture of the dog, you can find that information here.

Boredom, Research and Coffee

Boredom: It happens. Sometimes it happens often. Other times, I can go months without a true period of boredom.

For me, boredom is one step past procrastination, where I have already broken down and completed all the unwanted tasks, like laundry and cleaning. It’s a time when my writing mind is blank, there is no work to occupy me, and I feel untethered. Adrift. Lost.

So there I was, on a Sunday, bored, mindlessly clicking on a computer game then getting up and wandering the house then sitting outside, rinse and repeat. I suddenly got curious about what other things might be out there to occupy my mind.

Follow this logic if you can: I wanted to find community activities, which lead to adult dance classes (that socially appropriate ones not the pole dancing variety). From there, it became adult fitness programs (remember this because it feeds back in later). Couples activities -> activities to do with your dog -> mommy and me dog treats -> luscious desserts -> why do I crave sugar -> sugar and fitness (see the fitness came back in) -> breaking sugar addiction -> symptoms of sugar withdraw

That’s where I stopped chasing down the rabbit hole of internet research. At the end of it all, I was left with three conclusions:

  • I’ve spread my sugar addition to my dog if his begging is a good indicator
  • While I still eat my sugar happily, I’m ahead of the game since I stopped drinking all soda and in-taking caffeine.
  • I miss coffee: going to my local coffee shop and ordering a barista’s choice, drinking a cup on the front porch with my husband in the morning, and having a reason to go to the break room every few hours at work.

Sadly, I never really found a good article or diary on withdraw symptoms. I thought it would be particularly good information since Felix (one of my four brothers) is an addict and I have toyed with forcing him to quit. When they say to torture your darlings, well, that would be one way to make his life more miserable.

Anyway, just some thoughts about where things go that I wouldn’t expect and why periods of boredom can be truly dangerous.Coffee

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Scribophile withdraw

I use an online writing group called Scribophile. Today, 1/1/16, they have been updating their servers or something. I can’t get on. I’m going through the internet jitters where I keep going back to the website to see if its fixed. It’s official. I’m addicted. Guess I will have to be more conscious in 2016.

Camping for my Birthday

I am a little older than I used to be, and for my brithday, we went camping. Ever been to Ha Ha Tonka?

I took this image from:  http://www.dupontcastle.com/castles/hahatonk.htm. This site has some of the history of Ha Ha Tonka. Sadly, this manision only survived about 20 years before fire destroyed it. The home originally looked over a side branch of the Lake of the Ozarks. When the Bagnell Dam was built in 1929-31, the lake disappeared, leaving Ha Ha Tonka castle overlooking a spring.

picture from Adventurist.net

Still beautiful but not a lake.

If you are looking for a mildly strenuous hike, take the Spring trail up to the castle. They say its 316 stairs one way. I counted 357 on the way down.  Even the dog was exhausted.

Other than hiking Ha Ha Tonka, we enjoyed camping on the lake. We had classic camp food (s’mores, dutch oven cobbler, foil steamed vegetables, grilled meat, bacon), two evenings just staring at the fire and relaxing, card games by lantern light, and just us. It was wonderful. Even the dog enjoyed his time sniffing around.

Hans exploring the camp.
Hans exploring the camp.

Been Awhile – Work/Life Balance

I’m pondering the work/life balance today.

I’m a fairly organized individual. Or I used to think I was. Now I think I may be the least organized individual I know.  I find my work/life balance is much more of a yin-yang than even scales. I go from heavy work to heavy life. Somehow that translates in to little time in general for my hobbies.

That being said, I managed to find some time in the last week to do a few critiques and draft a few words for a revision of one of my pieces. I hope this means I am experiencing an upswing in hobby productivity.

What I am left wondering is, how does everyone else find a balance? Are they just as lost and controlled by the circumstances as I am? Or do they put in the effort to control their destiny? (Since I am a crazy writer person, do others exert more character agency on their own work/life balance?)

Things to ponder on a Monday morning.

Drowning in Writing but treading my crafts

I was working through a book 90 Days to Your Novel. I was doing really well, even ahead of schedule, then I ran into the section that said write act 1, write act 2, write act 3. Ack!

It might have gone better at that point if I wasn’t working three rough drafts and a novel revision. So I fixed it. Now I’m only working through two rough drafts and a novel revision. It may not sound like much of a change, but I have been able to shift from getting nothing done to writing one to three chapters a week. Yay!

Enough writing. Pictures time.

What I am getting done is some of the crafts in my house. I might actually have a sewing room that is usable in a few months. Since my last post, I have:

IMG_0153

Made curtains. It may not be obvious from this picture, but this is a roman shade my sister and I made. It will go in the basement. It is backed with blackout fabric and uses 3/16 dowel rods to make crisp folds. We got the pattern and instructions from Sail Rite
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This is a quilt I have worked on for a few years on and off. My sister bought the pieces for me on a visit to Jamesport, an amish community. What I finished just recently was filling in the designs on the sunbonnets. Now that all the girls have hats, they must wait to be quilted until the rest of the other quilt tops waiting in line are quilted.

Good news there, too. Because I can now see my quilt frame and may be able to start working on the quilt that is in it.IMG_0067

This blue and pink quilt is a charity quilt. My oldest sister is a minister. At her church, a lady dying of cancer was given an unfinished quilt top. The person gifted it with less than a fourth of the quilt top stitched. I took the quilting out and machine quilted it ditch-stitching style. It was my first attempt to stitch in the ditch, and this quilt was big enough for a king bed. My little Kenmore protested. Its not perfect in any way, but it is done and in time for the woman to enjoy it. Kudos given to my sister who helped hand stitch the binding.

IMG_0123[1]IMG_0121[1]Here are a few more pictures. These are my brand new bench seat cushions that we made.

Don’t look at the wall beneath them too much because we haven’t put up the molding anywhere.

These cushions have been sitting in my sewing room for near four years. It is nice to have the giant rolls of foam out of my craft room. Each cushion has four inches of cushion inside. I managed to get a bead of trim around the edge of the cushion as well, making it the fanciest upholstery that I have done to date. Almost gives me the gumption to do other small upholstery projects I have sitting around.

Either way. Another big project out of my house.

Ok. Show and tell time over. There are still more projects to work on and more writing to do.

Inundated with Options

I made a blog. Great. Now what?

I like yellow brick roads. Ones that start off small and get bigger. When I’m comfortable with what I know, I build to it.

I started with the basic blog. I opened the beginners tutorial. It says choose a theme. There are a lot of themes. The tutorial tells me to watch out for things like columns, customizable headers, and themes that will automatically make mobile and tablet pages that are easier to access. (I’m not sold on mobile access. Some of my favorite websites have nothing useful on their mobile access, but my blog could be different, right?)

I picked a theme and set a header and a background. Then there are widgets and add on applications. Everything wants to spiderweb together, and I don’t even know if I like my blog yet.IMG_0014

I started with something small, but the more I play with it, the more I feel like an ameba in the ocean. What I am now worried about is that building and keeping up all this networking will consume my time to do the things I love. If anyone has advice on how to balance electronic networking with life, let me know.

Shiny New Things

Yesterday, I started this blog.

Then I spent hours wanting to play with it and love it and post every thought I had. I restrained myself under the assumption that less is more. All the excitement over the shiny new blog has me thinking about beginnings.

So I want to know:
1. When did you start writing?
2. After you decided to be share your work, where did you turn?

My giddiness is a pattern. Take writing for an example.

I’ve always written. I won school contests as early as 1st grade.

My alma mater - Go Bluejays
My alma mater – Go Bluejays

I even had some poetry in high school published in college magazines. Then school ended. College required me to shift focus. I still wrote, but I had to get the writing bug. The one that infected me with a great idea followed by four, feverish weeks of writing. College ended and work began. Writing became an exercise in short sprints written between tasks or after work while dinner cooked. I no longer submitted pieces to local magazines. I no longer entered competitions. I was a closet writer.

Last year, I decided I needed a support group. Hello. My name is Louise. I’ve been writing for 23 years.

Finding a support group is not that easy. I missed out on the convenient methods such as maintaining my connection with my English teachers or joining a group hosted by the college. As an adult, none of my friends were interested in a writing hobbyist group.

So I did what any good person would. I googled. Google scoffed at my attempts to find local writing groups. It suggested classes at a university. No published websites or meetings groups came up in my searches. The one group I did find, met on Wednesday during the normal work day. Why, Google, do you not create things on my whim that work perfectly in my schedule.

Finally, Google told me I needed to join a program called Nano. I was in luck. There would be a Camp Nano in July. So I joined. Nano Badge

I like Nano in many ways but not in others. Camp Nano introduced me to two people who would actually discuss writing and ideas. Great. But they both live far, far away.

Never fear, Camp Nano told me. In November there would be local events and a bigger program. I met a group of four writers who agreed to meet and talk with me after November. Thank you Second Chapter for being there.

Google also introduced me to Scribophile and Critters where I could inundate strangers with my writing. These online communities kicked my backside, scolded me for disorganization, shoved craft books under my nose, and prodded me until my writing improved a little.

In 9 months since deciding to do more than binge write at home, I have found programs I enjoy and built a small circle of folks I can rely on.