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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Last but Not Least

How in the world could I forget the software programs I am going to use for NaNo? I downloaded a few to try and have narrowed it down to StoryMill and Scrivener. So far Scrivener is in the lead. They have a special program for NaNo writers for the month of December located here. Normally the demo is good for thirty days, due to NaNo they are extending it until December 5, 2011. Also if you win NaNo they will be offering the program at a huge discount.

I printed out there 455 page manual and brought it to Staples and had it bound into a book. Scrivener has a few great tutorial videos and their customer service is great. While I was following their tutorial I used the time to add in my notes for my upcoming novel. I managed to do some character outlines, story outline, and adding research information.

So while getting the house ready and your story, if you are going to be writing your novel on a computer do not forget the software.


Get Ready, Get Set…

Arc Customizable Notebooks

It is almost time to go. Go where? To your writers corner and start on NaNo. NaNo? you might ask. NaNo is the short version of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month which is held each year in November. However, it might be advisable to get some things ready for your month long adventure.

I am a pantser, which means I sit down in front of my computer and start typing away on my story. No planning, just writing. For my first year doing NaNo I decided to do this the organized way. I bought books on the recommendation of Samantha of Samantha-Stacia blogspot a fellow She Writes who moderates a group called Blooming Late.

Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story, by Stephen Harper

And finally The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages by Nancy Ellen Dodd.

Of the three I really like Writing the Paranormal and surprisingly The Writer’s Compass. The reason I am surprised is that I did not like the introduction to the book. However, it didn’t take long before I started having ideas about my story, like a prologue. Then a mini synopsis came to me and I quickly jotted that down. Little things in my sub-conscious started wiggling their way to the forefront, all due to her teachings.

I also picked up a notebook, but not just any notebook. This is the ARC system found at Staples. The beginnings of a notebook are sold (covers – leather or poly, pages and binder rings) but you can add pages like to-do, projects and graphs. There are post-it type notes, small project idea notes, and poly storage compartments to add, just to list a few things. Here is a great write-up from Derek on a A Nation of Mom’s and the Staples site has a video to see it in action.

I am using the notebook system with the three books I bought. I have the to-do section in the front, as I am told to try this technique or that one, I quickly jot it down. As ideas come to me I put it in the lined section. I also have a projects section that I use to outline certain areas of my book, i.e. Prologue.

I also bought 5×8 colored index cards and Post-it Notes. I will try to do a story flow on the index cards and add whatever notes I think of as I progress. If I want to change something on the card, instead of erasing it (I might need it for another story) I’ll put the newer note on the Post-it and stick it over the index card I want to change. I will also use some of the index cards for each character description. I have white ones where I will answer the questions from the books I am studying.

I picked up Bic ultra fine colored markers. I am not happy with them, I thought I grabbed the Sharpie set I was looking at. I’ll probably go and get the Sharpie set. I love using ultra fine, my pens, fountain pens, pencils and markers are all ultra fine. With the markers I picked up copy paper, extra large. I have extra printer ink for my HP ink jet and my laser jet was just refilled so that one should last me through November. I use the laser jet for every day copies as the cost per page is cheaper than the ink jet. I have extra ink and ink cartridges for my fountain pens, pencils and pencil sharpener.

Big hunks of meat were bought at BJ’s so I can throw things into the crockpot in the morning. My hubby loves to cook so he will be doing most of the cooking. My son and his wife are living with us for a bit so they will be helping out with the house, unless Janelle decides to do NaNo also, then she’ll be busy writing. My winterizing is done in November, instead I started it this month. Most of the winter chores are done, I only lack switching over my clothes from summer to winter and straightening out my bedroom. We moved some things in there when the kids moved in so I need to get the stuff out of my way. I also have a little sitting area in my bedroom with a cushioned rocker and end table which I will use during November. I figured different scenery will help and I have a few picked out; cafe, library, outside gazebo, outside bistro area, my bedroom, living and of course my office.

I picked up a red cloth basket/bin which will house all my NaNo paraphernalia mentioned above. This way if I want to write outside on my laptop I just need to grab the tote and off I go, same with heading to a cafe or wherever.

I started researching some things of the area, even though I am very familiar with it, I could use a refresher on the growth of the towns and some of its elder residents and business people. I have started an outline for the story and characters, doing this while learning Scrivener a writing software program. I downloaded and printed the immense 455 page manual and will take that to an office store to have it bound.

I have told my family not to expect to see me during the month and asked them to please help any way they can while I am writing. I think I am also going to tell others that I won’t be around the social media scene that often. I will keep up with emails, She Writes, and the NaNo site but that is it. Unfortunately I will be having surgery on my right hand, the thumb and middle finger on the fourth. From the first to the third, I’ll write like made because I am not sure how long that hand will be down for. I probably can do hunt and peck for a few days; however, when I had the same surgery on my left hand, just for my thumb, it took a lot longer to heal then expected. It has to do with healing takes longer having fibromyalgia.


Learning to Love my Body

This is one of the hardest posts I have written. It is something that affects me every single day. I try and I try to just like this body I am in. Which makes it is extremely hard to get to the love part. I had always been skinny, even after giving birth to both the boys, I lost the pregnancy weight fast. Then twenty some years ago I stopped smoking for the first time. At the same time I started a job across the street from a pizzeria. Oh yea dangerous stuff. The office manager and I would go almost every day and eat there or pick it up and eat in the office. I went from a size 7/8 to 11/12.

It is funny how I have always considered myself fat, though not as a teenager. I never had body issues when I was younger, I never thought of it. It was after I got married that I started thinking of myself as fat. When I look back at pictures of me I am amazed that I thought I was fat. I was far from it.

Eventually I started smoking again but the weight did not come off. I did finally stop smoking seven years ago, for good this time. However, my weight has increased from that size 11/12 to a 16. I have dieted; Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, Sugar-Busters, and I exercise. I do yoga and walk/run. I haven’t in the last couple of months due to some health issues and I have been itching to start again. I do nothing less than thirty minutes which is a little over two miles for me. Yet, I cannot lose the weight.

I have a hard time looking into the mirror and seeing my body, whether in clothes or naked. I wish that I could love this body of mine like my husband does. He doesn’t see the rolls of fat and always wants to make love or tells me how hot I look. Me on the other hand, find it hard to even get in the mood because of this body. I am trying though. One thing I keep going back to is one of the reasons I quit. It was to be more healthy and in order to do that you have to at least like your self and your body.

I had visions of being leaner and healthier and being able to run a marathon. I need to keep those visions in my head. Even though, I must add, I did run a marathon. It was two years ago (hmmm maybe three now), and it was a Nike Women’s Marathon that gets held all over the country. That year the opened it to remote runners using your iPod. Using the Nike+ system it kept track of your miles. Once done and hooked up to your computer it sent the information to Nike. I finished the marathon and was so proud of myself. I did it with running and walking. However, this spring I want to run a 5K, and I mean run, no walking at all. Well anyway, back to this body.

Every time I see an ad with clothing I like I get disappointed, wishing I could wear it, but I know it would not look good on me as it does on the models. Where in the world are the plus size models? It doesn’t help that my Mother has to reinforce my weight issue. “Don’t you wish you still had a 22″ waist?” Umm Mom I was 13 when I had a 22″ waist, isn’t that a little unrealistic? I have to keep reinforcing the good when she does that but I don’t, not every time anyway. “You know when I was your age I was really thin and I had four kids all within five years.” Sigh, I know, she can keep going and I really don’t want to put it all down here and rehash them. There is a deep seated reason I left NY and moved to NC, one that sits just under other reasons why we moved.

Instead of looking at the advertisements and wishing I was that thin, I am going to start doing things a little different. I am going to look at my eyes and marvel how pretty they are (so I am told over and over again). Hey how about my ass, that is not bad at all, it is small and has a nice shape to it. Hey, did you know my body cannot be that bad, it runs and it walks, it can do yoga (even to the amazement at some of my yoga teachers, who are surprised at how agile I am). Heck this body outdid my boys in karate. We are not talking just easy to learn karate, these people were sadistic with the things they made us do. I eventually left, I am sorry, a heavy 45 year old woman should not be doing some of the things they were having 10-18 years old do. Work up to it maybe, but not go full head on and expect to be able to do it. That was just the warm-up, exercise phase. I had no problem at all with the actual karate. However, I need to remember my youngest remarks to me one evening. ‘Mom I was so proud of you, you even kept going after I was totally done for.’ Yeah it made it all seem worth it.

It really irks me when I hear someone telling a young girl how she is fat or getting fat or gaining weight. Especially when she isn’t. Come to think of it, I don’t hear that being told to young girls who actually are overweight. My Dad will do it to my niece, who is far from fat. She lives on a farm and that girl can throw a bale of hay or do anything that needs to be done. She is a cheerleader and all around great girl, for who she is, not for her body. Yet she is very impressionable, like all young girls. When I hear my Dad say that I give him hell. Little do they know what kind of seeds they plant.

So even though I am not to the point where I can love my body, I am taking the first step and can say I do like my body. Not for what it looks like, but for it’s amazing qualities and what it can do.

“This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival” which starts today. Where voices all across the nation will be heard in blog posts about some of these topics:

» Advertising/media influence on women and girls
» How I learned to love my body
» Airbrushing and other tricks that create unrealistic beauty standards
» Cosmetic surgery
» Dieting and eating disorders
» Negative, narrow gender stereotypes
» Colorism
» Loving your body and disability – This one is even harder because I find it very hard to love my disability
» Children’s body image awareness

People will post their links to the Now’s page for Love Your Body, so if you want to read more from other amazing women, please go to the link and look in the comments section for more.


Her Deepest Wish

This is an extremely rough first draft. The prompt Her Deepest Wish came from Peggy Tabor Millin at Clarity Works.

Photo by Niseag03 from Flickr

Photo by Niseag03 from Flickr

Jan flew out the door clutching her brand new shirt in one hand while fumbling with her phone to dial 911. Her long auburn hair streaming behind her. Her emerald green eyes glistening wet from her tears. Her hands were shaking way too much. She never thought her deepest wish would ever come true.

Jan lived at home with her mother and step-father. Her step-father came into her life when she was only seven years old. Her Dad having passed away from a massive heart attack.

Her step-father Rory was not the type of step parent anyone would wish for even their enemy. The horrors started when Rory lost his job and her Mom Sheila had to take on a night job at a local IHOP. IHOP is the International House of Pancakes a restaurant located in the downtown area, about a 30 minute drive for Sheila.

Rory would begin drinking at one in the afternoon, after spending the morning looking for a job. He would put in application after application to no avail. By four o’clock he would be out like a light and at five thirty Sheila would be heading out for her job. She hated leaving Jan alone with a drunk Rory, but she had no choice. They couldn’t afford a babysitter, not with Rory losing his job and all.

The nights started out easily enough, Rory waking at around six wanting something to eat. Jan would make something easy, frank and beans, or something her Mom might have left in the frig for them and she just had to heat it up. He then would go back to drinking to only fall back asleep until the morning when he would start his day over again as any other.

Rory would get dressed, put his iPad and resumes in his briefcase. Grab a to go cup, fill it with black coffee and head out the door to fill out job applications or sit at a nearby cafe, go on the Internet and look for jobs. Internet connection was one of the things that had to go after losing his job. They just couldn’t afford the extra hundred bucks it cost for Internet, cable TV and phone. It was a choice he had to make between them and his cellphone. He opted to keep his cell phone and have prospective employers call him there. That way if the brat picked up the phone and left it hanging while she tried to get him and then forget, that would be horrendous.

However, things started getting worse for Jan as the months progressed without Rory finding a job. When he woke up in the evening he wanted his food, right there and then. It didn’t matter that his waking time was not steady, he could wake up anywhere from five to nine. There was no way Jan would be able to tell when he would be awake in order to have dinner hot and ready for him. God forbid if she served him food the was hot and had a cold spot in it. Even though she was thankful for microwaves as it made her life a little easier, they always didn’t heat evenly. There were many times Rory would run for his pants to pull off his black leather belt and threaten Jan with it. At first they were only threats but then they started into actual hitting and developing into real beatings.

Then in the middle of the around midnight Rory would come to her room to apologize. Just to give her a hug and say he was sorry and then he would leave. Again as was his pattern, these also progressed, from him giving her a hug, to a hug and caressing her hair, to a hug, caressing her hair and back to eventually feeling her small, firm nipples in his fingers.

Jan knew deep inside this was wrong, even though she wasn’t old enough to know. No one had ever told her about this. No one ever said Jan it is not appropriate for a man to touch you anywhere. Not like they told her not to touch the stove or oven when it was hot. Or not to go near the fireplace because she would be seriously burned. Or don’t go running into the street for any reason; whether it would be to chase a ball, or just to run across and see Mrs. Schneider. No, no one said anything about this.

Rory would whisper things in her ear, telling her she smelled nice, how her mother never smelled like this. Or how her mother did not understand him and Jan did. How Jan was always there for him to get him his beer, dinner, or whatever else he needed. Jan was the one he loved and he wanted to show Jan how much he loved her.

Then came the fatal night. The night she had wished for, for two years. Her deepest wish was that one day they would find Rory dead. She never thought it would be like this. It was a Saturday just before school was to start and her mother took her to the dollar store to pick up some school supplies. The store wasn’t far from home at all, maybe thirty seconds away. There was one time at the store when she couldn’t find her mother anywhere, she thought maybe she went next door to the gas station to get some cigarettes as the dollar store did not sell them. She turned the corner around the magazine aisle and there sat her mother, a magazine in one hand and she was just staring, off in the distance somewhere, she was lost. Her hair was a mess, it looked like she had on a different shirt, but Jan couldn’t be positive. She tapped her Mom’s arm only to have Sheila jump a mile. She had startled her so bad that Sheila started crying. This was so unusual Jan didn’t know what to do or say. Finally she just hugged her Mother until her sobs resided.

They headed for the checkout counter and Jan wanted one of those bright shiny packages of gum. Something she was no allowed to have. Today was her day thought and Sheila allowed her to pick out one package of gum. This year Jan was going to start junior high school and turn thirteen next week.

Once inside the car Sheila showed Jan what else she bought her. A silver sequined top she had stumbled upon in the clearance section of the dollar store. The top was only two dollars but she knew Jan would love it. Love it she did.

They pulled into the driveway, and before she grabbed any packaged she ran into the house to show Rory her new shirt and that Mom allowed her to have one of the pink lipstick gum packages she always wanted. Jan stopped short in front of the puke green recliner that Rory always sat in. There he was, his eyes wide open, his tongue just peaking out from his pearly white teeth and a huge knife sticking out of his heart.


I Slowed Down

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been worried, and when I worry I tend to go deep inside myself. I know I shouldn’t do that, I really should reach out. So I am going to take heed of the advice given to me by Samantha, a friend from the SheWrites Web site. I am going to reach out to my friends. You see I had problems with ahem, umm, bowel movements, that was my major concern, even though I also have acidic stomach, nausea after eating and a really hard time losing weight. Being that I had five pre-cancerous polyps last year found during my colonoscopy, my doctor decided to be safe and have me do another one along with an endoscopy.

Again five polyps were found during the colonoscopy and during the endoscopy a lot of things were found. So many that they took between eight and ten biopsies. That is what scared me the most. They told my husband, well and me actually but I don’t remember, that no news is good news. I hate that. How do I know when I am supposed to hear from them if there is bad news. If I had the biopsy done on Tuesday will they know by Friday. So if I don’t hear anything on Friday everything is good. Or will they not have there results until the following week? So I made a conscious decision not to worry. I know I will get a letter from my regular doctor stating that he has the results and everything was fine.

The problem is not resolved though. So even though I went through all this I am still having the infrequent and then very frequent movements. The ends stage still has black stools which means blood. The doctor who performed the tests asked about the medication I was recently given, if they were helping. Well it was less than a week, but they helped some of my stomach problems but not all. He said to keep taking them. He also wasn’t the friendliest. It was down to business and that was it. I think next time I am going to request the doctor I had last year. He was friendly and acted like he cared. This guy was just hmm how do I describe it? flat, and regimental. Yeah that is it.

Flowers sent by Don, Janelle & Katie Bechtel

These lovely flowers were sent by a co-worker of my husband – Don and his family. They heard about my testing and how low I felt and sent them to me. I thought this was the sweetest thing. I have only met them during work functions, like company picnic and Christmas parties. They definitely worked! It made me feel wonderful.