Saturday, October 27, 2007

Two Books Down!

I found my groove and got two of the books done!! Yay!

Now I have to peel myself off the computer chair and go take a shower....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gathering Wool....

In her book Bird by Bird, writer Anne Lamott talks about her practice of forcing herself to do some writing each day, even if she doesn't feel like it, and how a lot of the time she gets started by "gathering wool" This, of course, is a cute way of explaining the random stuff we do when we are supposed to sit down and do something, but instead go off on tangents, trying to avoid the task at hand.

And that's what I'm doing right now.

A couple weeks ago I enjoyed the thrill of having completed my first ebook...for about a half hour. And then I discovered that the file was too large to upload anywhere. So I spent hours resizing all the graphics and photos and tried again. No dice. So then I decided to break the one large book down to several smaller books, which in theory would work out well. In reality, though, I'm struggling with it.

I didn't want to just chop up the book into smaller sections as sell them that way. They need nice covers. And introductions. And if I'm going to break them into smaller books, I have to decide which sections get which essays that I had sprinkled throughout the big book. And, some of the smaller books made me think that I could actually add one or two or three or more additional items to them, because, you know, who wants to sell a dinky ebook that's only 10 pages? Some of the books would require quite a bit of rewriting because of the way I would market it.

So I'm sitting here with so much hard work done, but needing to press through to finish. I have some good marketing opportunities open to me if I can finish any of these before the end of the month. Ideally, I would finish them by then. My second choice deadline would be to finish before I have my quiet retreat in a few weeks, because I don't want to spend my retreat feeling like I should get stuff done that's on my To Do list. The third choice deadline is that this simply HAS to be finished by the end of the year. I'm sick of having this hanging over my head, and have a lot more projects I want to get to. These have to get done.

And I'm sitting here at the computer in my pajamas, with a child watching a stupid Thumbelina video a few feet away.

As I'm said before, I just don't do well at tasks that I don't feel inspired about. Sometimes if I just get started on something, the inspiration comes and I get on a pretty good roll. I'm hoping for that today. So far, though, I'm just gathering wool....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

I had never heard of IBC until today when my mom sent me this link. Later today, we found out that my grandmother very likely has it. Tests will be in next week.

Until then, please take a few minutes to watch and learn. Afterwards you can learn more at this site.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Marching Band Excitement

I had a busy weekend attending my son's state semi-finals and finals for marching band. It was a gorgeous day--not a cloud in the sky, perfect temperature...flawless! Our band got their highest score ever during semi-finals, and then beat that score in finals. Very exciting. They came in 3rd in their division and 6th in the entire state. A good day. Glad I could go. But today, it's nice that there's no band practice after school. :)

Benefit Sale

A gal on one of my egroups is a farm owner, and their family and farm has really suffered this year because of the drought. They have put together a humongous benefit sale to help save their farm. They have tons of cooking resources, some amazing looking real estate/repo information for people that are interested in good properties to flip, and lots more. You can check it out here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Media Roundup

I keep thinking of various books, movies, or TV shows I've wanted to comment on, so today you get the hodge-podge.

In homeschool today we finished reading The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, which is my favorite book so far this year. It is the story of a 12-year old Matt who is left in his new cabin in the wilderness of Maine while his father goes to bring the rest of the family to their new settlement. Matt has to overcome many obstacles while surviving alone, and becomes friends with some local Indians. Much time passes, and Matt's family is long overdue to arrive. Winter is setting in, and we have no idea what has happened to Matt's family, and what his fate will be. There is a lot of neat information woven into the book about how survival can happen without guns or metal tools, and there are a lot of things to talk about with your children all along the way. The ending of this book was just what I love about so many of the books in the Sonlight curriculum. I was all choked up crying toward the end--it was really a moving, emotional end to the story. I highly recommend it.

Anybody else here been reading the Twlight series by Stephenie Meyer? I finally got ahold of Eclipse (the third book in the series, and last one available while we wait for the next two) and gobbled it up within a few days. If you haven't read it yet and don't want a spoiler, skip the rest of this paragraph. I finished the book with the opinion that I think the story is good, but I don't think Meyer is a very good writer. She fails to give the reader the visual cues that would help the story come alive in the imagination, and she fails to make her main premise of the story (that Bella and Edward can't live without each other) believable. However, the story has several interesting twists, turns, and layers that I enjoyed. (I love a book that can surprise me...usually) I finished the book in tears, bitterly disappointed that Bella would not leave Edward and go be with Jacob instead. Vampire life is boring and pointless, and I no longer believe that Edward and Bella need each other as much as we're supposed to believe. Jacob has so much more to offer Bella, and it's only because she's young and stupid that she has chosen Edward. Sucker. I'm hoping this travesty might be corrected in a future book, but I'm not counting on it.

If you've already read Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and need a little something to take that idealistic edge off of your thoughts, go read The $64 Tomato. What a funny, witty book! I'm not finished with it yet, but I'm loving it.

I missed commenting on the new season of TV shows. Although we don't have TV service here, I do manage to watch some (many) shows online thanks to ABC and the like. I need fewer Netflix, since I can watch many of my favorite shows at my whim from the computer.

Although I was thoroughly annoyed by Andy and the last shmucky season of The Bachelor, it's like a car wreck--I just can't take my eyes off of it. This season's bachelor is less annoying than Andy, but I still find myself puzzled about the mindset of these young women. I had no idea that so many beautiful, educated, employed young women were so desperate as to go on national TV with the hopes of falling in love and getting married. These girls are so into the "Pick Me!!" mentality that it seems they haven't even considered that they might not be interested in picking this guy. What. On. Earth?! Do they really think that they are going to learn anything important about this guy under the nonsense circumstances they are living in? Don't these gals know that there is more to marriage than "I just want someone to love me"? I don't understand this. Absolutely ridiculous. And, honestly, girls....WHY ON EARTH would you want to be with a guy that doesn't know for sure that he wants to be with YOU? I would NOT want to end up with a guy that had to go off and cry and get special counsel from his best friend in order to decide between me and some other girls. If you don't know you want me, you don't want me enough, bub. (Insert everything else I said about how aggravating I found The Bachelor last season) My suspicion is that Brad and Jenny have the best connection, and it would be nice to see a clear front runner emerge solidly and have him just send all the others home. Playing that show out to the end is just....gross. (but I'll be watching every week)

The new show Pushing Daisies is very interesting and worth a look-see if you like quirky and fresh shows. It's got an interesting premise, is visually fun, and I like the actors. I think it has potential.

Private Practice is the new spin-off show from Grey's Anatomy. Addison Sheppard has a new life in LA, and aren't we all so glad that she's not moaning about McDreamy anymore and getting a real life? I hadn't planned to watch this show, but gave it a shot and like it. The medical practice that she works in is very interesting, since they take a more holistic approach to the patients. The combination of high-tech medical, mind-body connection, midwifery, surgery, psychology, etc. makes for an interesting and entertaining show. It's much more interesting than the usual medical/hospital drama. And the characters are evolving in an interesting way as well. Check it out!

Brothers and Sisters is one of my favorites. The combination of a big, close-knit family, the political issues (on all sides of the spectrum), current events, and various issues is interesting. And with the exception of one actress (the one that plays Rebecca--ugh. Unless, of course, Rebecca is meant to be so annoying, in which case she's a brilliant actress!) they are excellent and convincing. Many more adult issues in this show, so some of you may not appreciate it as much as I do.

That's all I've got time for today. What have you been reading/watching?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maybe a change is needed....

Every night I try to get my younger kids to bed around 7pm, and my older ones around 8. (not counting the 15 year old, of course) what usually happens is that they goof around for awhile before I finally get them tucked in, prayed for, with drinks of water given out. And then they goof off some more and basically ruin my entire evening's plans of watching a movie, folding laundry, or getting any work done. Most nights I go to bed at 10, frustrated that I wasn't able to get more things done.

Although bedtime is running a little more smoothly now that it's getting darker earlier, I'm wondering if maybe I should just shut the whole house down around 8pm and go to bed then myself. I could get 8 hours of sleep and manage to get up at 4am, and then get up and do all the things I would like to get done while kids are asleep.

Years ago I read about "super early risers" who did this sort of thing as a normal course of events. One interesting thing I read was that for every hour of sleep you get before midnight is twice as restful as every hour past midnight. I have no idea if that's true, but it sure sounds cool, eh?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quick -n- Cute

Said by my four year old the other day:

Mom, my nose is leaking!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


And just as soon as I declared my book written, I was back to the drawing board. :)

First my file size was too large to send or upload. So I spent several hours resizing photos and reducing the resolution. All to end up with a file size that was still too large.

And then I decided to try another idea I have been considering for awhile, which is to make several smaller books in a series, rather than one large book.

So tonite I've taken notes and worked on moving some things around. It's not too hard, since the book definitely does lend itself to some obvious divisions that will work well for several smaller books. But, this process also reveals some gaps and needs that I will have to work on.

I'm not discouraged about it. Actually, once I was able to see the book process a little differently, it felt pretty easy to finish it, and I don't feel intimidated by the process any more. So, a hurdle has been jumped, and it feels great.

It's 1am. I've been waiting up for my oldest to get home from a school dance. I guess I have a bunch more years of that to look forward to, eh?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Free Halloween eBook

You can get a really cute and fun Halloween eBook that features lots of fun recipes, games, and activities here. You can feel free to spread the word.

Free Netflix

If any of you are interested in getting a free one month trial of Netflix, let me know. (send a comment with your email address. I won't publish it, so nobody else will see it.) I've got 3 coupon codes to share that expire at the end of this month.

One nice thing is that netflix now has instant viewing available for some movies, which means you can click and watch right on your computer. It's not their entire collection that's available, but we have found some educational stuff on the spur of the moment when we wanted to learn more about Christopher Columbus, mammals, etc. You get as many hours of instant viewing each month as dollars you spend. (so, $19 per month=19 hours instant viewing, in addition to your regular movies coming to your home).

Monday, October 01, 2007

By George, I think we've got it!

So my preschooler continued to be unhappy about going to school. His reasoning was that he was too tired at school. I believe him about that, because he almost always falls asleep when he gets home from school, and on non-school days he typically takes a long nap.

I talked to his teacher about it and she gave me a great idea--switch to the morning class!

We've had 1 or 2 kids in this preschool class for the last 4-5 years, and the morning class has always been filled to capacity, so I hadn't even considered that as a possibility. Wow!

So today was our first day of morning preschool. He had to get up dark-and-early, which wasn't too great since we had a church party last night that made all the kids late to bed. He complained a bit, but was out the door quickly. We started school very early and are already done at 10:30! Yay! Seems like a perfect solution from my point of view. In a few minutes I'll go pick him up and see if it worked out as well for him as it did for me. I hope so, because this schedule will be wonderful for the rest of us.