Saturday, July 29, 2006

Update & Something Amusing

Update: It turns out Paul's job interview is on Monday morning. I'll keep you posted about how it turns out.

Something Amusing:

This came to me via Bob's blog:

Your Bumper Sticker Should Be

Even if the voices aren't real - they've got some great ideas

Perfect for a fiction writer, right?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Good stuff going on

First, I hopped on David's scale on Thursday and discovered I've lost 12 pounds. It's pretty cool, even though weight loss wasn't my goal. Two pair of jeans are nearly falling off, so I'm losing some in that all-important middle where they worry about the fat causing heart disease.

Second, Paul's passed the phone interview and is going to be interviewed in person next week, probably Tuesday, for a good job with a good company. This is a real job, not a temp/contract job. With benefits. Any good vibes, prayers, finger crossing, whatever you do to wish others well will be appreciated. Paul's birthday is a week from Tuesday. Wouldn't a good job be a great birthday gift?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I've been gone a lot this week.

It seems like I'm hardly ever home these days. My oldest son has been walking with us once or twice a week. Then he always seems to have an errand or two to run. It's no big deal for us to take him, so we do.

We're finally in the cooling off stage of that heat wave. We spent a part of one of the hottest days at the movies. We went to see Pirates of the Carribbean--Dead Man's Chest. I loved it. I'd already been forewarned that it doesn't wrap up the story in a nice, neat package. We have to wait until next summer for the end, which is fine with me. That's no different from the last two Back to the Future films.

Next week, Woody Allen's new film Scoop is coming out. I think we're going to go see it. We saw previews when we went to see The Devil Wears Prada and it looks good. A bonus for us fans of Anthony Stewart Head of Buffy fame--according to his official web site, he has a cameo in it.

Other than that, things have been pretty quiet around here. Nothing happening with the job hunt. The paper says there's been an increase in hiring, but it's mostly in the hospitality industry, not the tech industry. Paul's put in applications in at places like restaurants and retail, but they won't even interview him. I suspect it's because nothing he's done uses a similar skill set to transfer over to that kind of business. So, we're still looking at whatever's out there in engineering technician work. And trying to keep a positive attitude.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Time Wasters for Heat Waves

Thanks to Dave Kuzminski, who posted the link in the comments on Miss Snark's blog, we can have fun pretending to be Jackson Pollock.

Or you can go here and pop bubble wrap.

Or you can go here and see part of The Lord of the Rings, as told by Peeps--those marshmallow bunnies you get in the spring.

Or you can go here and make snowflakes, a fun thing to do in a heat wave.

A last suggestion, go here and see the Bible performed by Legos.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is Fun!

It's summer! It's the middle of a heat wave. I don't feel like being all serious and "writerly" today. Besides, it's my youngest son's birthday. Happy Birthday, Chris! So, it's a fun stuff day.

From Evil Editor: Want to know what your blog or web site would sound like if it were written in jive? Go Gizoogle it. Warning: the language is a bit rough, so if that bothers you, don't go there. (So, now I've done it. All of you know my little secret. I'm really not a prude. (grin) I think writers cannot afford to flinch at any words. You never know which ones you'll need to tell a story. But that's just my opinion.)

As for Evil Editor's blog--go there. It's funny and informative. He skewers and revises one of the things all writers dread having to write--the query letter. I've learned a lot about how to write one and you will, too.

Another fun thing from my friend Andi's blog:

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.
You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.
Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.
Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

I love Kermit and I agree--it's not easy being green! :)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I don't usually post on Saturday, but...

I haven't been home to write posts the past two days, so I thought I'd better write something, just so you know I haven't disappeared again.

My husband and I have discovered Sudoku. It's actually quite fun and it does make you work your brain. Keeping our brains healthy is as important to us as keeping our bodies healthy.

We've still been walking. If I lose another inch or two in my tummy, hips, or butt, I'll be able to pull off the jeans I'm wearing without undoing them. I think I need to buy a smaller pair of jeans. I don't get it. I've spent decades of my life exercising and following Weight Watchers and doing what you're supposed to do when you want to lose weight. I struggled so much, ending up following the usual pattern of losing weight and regaining it, although I never have gone back to my highest weight. I don't know if this weight loss will continue or how much I'll ultimately lose, but it's pretty cool that it's happening mostly in my middle, which is where you need to lose it if you're going to have good heart health.

I had a couple of writing topics I wanted to post about, but I can't remember what they were. When I do, I'll write and post them. It's so annoying to have that happen. I wasn't at home to stick the ideas in my file, so out of my head they went. Rumor has it that when you're finally through menopause, you stop having so many memory glitches. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fun Stuff

Everyone is deserting us tonight. Chris has a D&D game. Mom's taking David out to dinner for his birthday. So, we decided to go to Red Robin instead of eating leftovers. We'll have the leftovers for lunch.

I looked at my list and discovered I have a lot of fun quizzes I haven't posted on here. I'm going to post a couple and save the rest for later.

Quiz #1:
Animal quiz: found on Stuart MacBride's blog

Your Animal Personality

Your Power Animal: Eagle

Animal You Were in a Past Life: Whale

You are active, a challenger, and optimistic.
Hard-working, you are always working towards a set goal.

That's pretty true, even if I do get sidetracked from the goal every so often.

Quiz #2:
From Jean's blog:

Draw a Pig personality test

You drew your pig:

Toward the middle of the frame, you are a realist. True.

Facing left, you believe in tradition, are friendly, and remember dates (birthdays, etc.). My family's tradition is to not do traditions. We don't try to force traditional times to be the same every time we celebrate because sometimes it just doesn't work. I am friendly. I used to remember birthdays, etc., but I have trouble remembering what day it is at the moment. Rumor has it that when I'm done with this menopause stuff, my memory will get better again.

With many details, you are analytical, cautious, and distrustful. I'm not distrustful. I tend to be too trusting. But I am analytical and somewhat cautious, depending on the situation.

With 4 legs showing, you are secure, stubborn, and stick to your ideals. These are true.

The size of the ears indicates how good a listener you are. You are a good listener. I try to be, but my original family was full of interrupters. You didn't get heard if you didn't interrupt to make your point. It's a horrible habit I catch myself doing way too often.

The length of the tail indicates the quality of your sex life. You have a great sex life. I'll just say, "You all can figure this one out for yourselves." (grin)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Catching Up

It's been really busy around here. I haven't been home much to post. Sunday Ladyesong sang for the church service. I heard a lot of compliments, which is always appreciated. Then I conked out and slept for an hour or so. It's been hot and we've had the windows open. It's a noisy neighborhood so I don't sleep that well at night. Thus, I conk out in the afternoon. I'd rather not, but me and not enough sleep is not a pretty sight.

Sunday night we had a snack and listened to some music by a local singer. She didn't introduce herself while we were there, so I can't give her a plug. Then we went to Mel's recital. It was an interesting program, starting with music from a composer who lived in the 1500s, I think. (I don't have the program, so I'm doing this from memory.) The pieces moved forward in time until the last two, which were by Irving Berlin. The singers sounded great and it was a lot of fun.

After the recital, we still hadn't decided where to go for dinner. We were dithering between one of the restaurants at Santana Row and Max's. It was late enough that we decided on Max's. Max's is down the street from the church and we were hungry. Good dinner, as usual. All in all, we had a really wonderful anniversary.

Then yesterday we took David to run errands and he bought us lunch. The joys of adult children--sometimes they pay for the meal. I had Laydesong rehearsal last night, so I wasn't here to post. I've noticed I've been kind of serious lately, so I think tomorrow I'll look for some fun, silly quizzes to post.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Exercise, Patience, & Writing

First, Tech, who started it, has given me permission to link to The Great Slim Down. Anyone interested in joining the gang in our efforts to lose weight is welcome.

So, how does Thursday's essay relate to writing?

  1. Just like you have to think of yourself as a thin person in order to be one, you have to think you're a writer in order to be one.

    If you call yourself a teacher or mother or volunteer or whatever, that's how you see yourself. Those roles are where you'll put your focus and energy. And you won't get much writing done because being a writer isn't in your list of who you are. You have to add writer to your list.

  2. Just as you have to see your true image in the mirror in order to be successful with weight loss, you have to see yourself the way you are in order to write honestly.

    If you're hiding from the dark parts of your soul or hiding them from your readers, your writing will be "fluffy bunny". Nice doesn't catch people's attention. But dark does. Dark is where the conflict comes from. It's where your themes come from. I tried writing nice and I was bored. Good thing I didn't inflict that on any readers. I had to learn to kiss the monsters, a term my online writing group uses to identify the things you don't want to write about, but are the most powerful things you could write about. That's where honesty as a writer comes from, the hard places.

  3. Just as permanent weight loss takes time, so does creating and selling a publishable novel.

    People want their novel, their first novel, finished--now. And sold and in the bookstores. More people want to have written a novel, and have it out there being bought and bringing in the bucks, than want to sit down and write the story. But neither writing a novel nor the process of publication is fast. If you need to be rewarded quickly for your work, don't become a novelist. It's a rare person who can write and sell a novel, first time out. Most published writers have more than one sitting in a drawer or on a hard drive somewhere that will never sell. You have to take the time to write the practice novels, where you go from beginner to publishable, plus the time to acquire an agent, plus the time it takes the agent to sell the book, plus the time it takes for the publisher to get it onto the shelves. Add that all up and you have a long, slow process. Weight loss seems easier and faster. (grin)

  4. Just as you have to "use it or lose it" to get and stay in shape, a writer needs to write regularly or you "lose" it by becoming blocked.

    If you don't write, you "forget" how. Now you don't really forget. Like riding a bike, when you get back on, you remember. But you get full of doubts about your ability to write again. You say, "I'll do it tomorrow." And tomorrow is just as full of procrastination or other things that keep you from writing as today was. You have to write regularly, if you want to be a writer. It's kind of the definition of writer. Writers write.

Friday, July 07, 2006

It's Friday & I'm Supposed to Post

I even promised an essay. But my internet connection went down yet again and it's late. I just want to go to sleep. So, I'll try to get that essay written and posted over the weekend, even though it's a super busy weekend, with our usual Saturday errands, our wedding anniversary on Sunday to celebrate, Ladyesong singing for church and going to the recital Sunday night. That's not a complaint. I like busy. I just don't know when I'm going to have time to finish the post. We'll see how it goes. And if I don't get it done before, the gods of the internet willing, I'll post on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Exercise & Weight Loss

I originally wrote this post for a blog that's a group weight loss effort. I'm not trying to lose weight, per se. I mostly post motivational things that occur to me. But since I've been walking, some thoughts occurred to me that I wanted to share with those who read this blog. I don't know if the weight loss blog is a public one, so I'm not going to link to it. Tech is one of the writer buddies I met on Forward Motion.

I'm up to seven laps on the track, three days a week. And a mile and a half on the Los Gatos Creek trail, two days a week. My jeans are getting loose, which is weird because usually when I lose weight or start exercising I notice it in my face, wrists, and ankles first. Not complaining, just observing. (g)

When I was reading Tech's post on patience, a couple of things occurred to me. One good reason to be patient is that it gives you time to see yourself as a normal person. We all think of ourselves as "fat people". Sometimes that image can derail you. It's important to see yourself as you are, not as you were. As you lose weight, take pictures of yourself in clothes that fit well. Post them up and look at them often so your mental image is the smaller you.

You can also use the set of pictures to help you see the weight loss. If you're really big, you can lose a lot of pounds, as reported on the scale, and not really see it in the mirror. But if you have a picture of yourself before you started, you can compare the current picture with the first one you took and you'll see the difference.

Also, even if you have to go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or a consignment shop, as you lose weight, toss your fat clothes and get clothes that fit. Take more pictures. If you're wearing clothes that hang on you and look terrible and don't show your body at all, you can't get an accurate mental image. So you keep seeing yourself in your mind as the fat person who started this weight-loss program. And that's the person you'll keep trying to become. Plus, if you're clothes are too big, it's tempting to let yourself get big enough to look good in them again.

The other thought I had about patience is something my husband reminded me. It took a lot of years to put on these pounds. He's a bit discouraged because he hasn't noticed any weight loss and he walks a lot farther and faster than I do. (An aside: This is funny, since men tend to lose more easily than women. But if we diet, no exercise, he takes it off way faster than I do.) So his comment was that he doesn't expect to lose it quickly. And, he reminded me that it's about good health, not pounds on the scale.

We hope to be like the 90-something grandma of an online buddy of mine who slipped off a stool and broke her hip. She apparently recovered fine. But what's special about that story is that the stool was in front of a slot machine in the Bahamas. I'd love to be in good enough health to be able to travel when I'm in my 90s. And as much as we all want good health now, isn't it really about not being bedridden when we're really old? That's all about the true cliche--use it or lose it. I'm not saying that if we don't get that, it's our own fault. I just think there are things we can do to increase our likelihood of being that way when we're really old.

One more thing about exercise in general. I've been eating less food since we started walking. I'm not dieting or following any particular program. I just haven't been as hungry. That tells me I'm walking about the right pace and distance for me. I'm not overly hungry, as I would be if I weren't fueling the exercise enough. But, obviously, I didn't need as much food as I thought I did, either. It's not a huge change. Just substituting larger portions of salad and veggies for slightly smaller portions of meat and pasta/rice/bread, etc.

Ok, so what does all this have to do with writing? Well, it's already a very long post, so I'll do that essay tomorrow. Stay tuned. (g)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Nice Concert & Fun Stuff Going on These Days

We did find seats. The music was kind of blah. Then they had a break and fixed the drum mix. They added a second sax. And then they were cookin'. It was a nice evening.

I have a busy week coming up. Ladyesong is doing the special music in church this Sunday. The choir only does four Sundays during the summer. We're singing two pieces, both favorites of mine. "Steal Away" is hard for me because I memorized a different version for another group I sang in and sometimes I start singing the other version, out of habit. We're also doing a spiritual called "Witness", which is more upbeat and is a nice contrast to "Steal Away".

Sunday is our wedding anniversary. 29 years with the same guy and we're still happy, despite the job issues and stuff going on in our lives. We're going to splurge on dinner out somewhere and go to a freebie recital. Mary Elizabeth Enman (Mel), the founder and conductor of Ladyesong, is doing a duet recital with Kathleen Nitz Kazdorf. They will be accompanied by Michael Touchi. If you live in the area, the recital is at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on the corner of Saratoga and Cox Avenues in Saratoga, CA at 7 pm. We might get a late afternoon snack and do dinner after the recital, so we don't have to rush. It mostly depends on how long the recital is and how late the restaurant stays open on Sunday.

Then, next week, Ladyesong has a concert at The Villages. It's a long one. We're doing 22 pieces and I'm trying to memorize them all because that shoulder/arm injury I had isn't 100% healed. It hurts to hold even one or two pieces of music, even without the folder, because in order to see the music, I can't move my arm. I have to hold it in a position that's awkward for the not-quite-healed muscles. I can use a stand, if I have to, but I'm hoping I won't because that's awkward, too. I'll probably end up tripping over the darn thing. My biggest problem with memorizing the music is that I haven't been home the past couple of days to work on it, but I've been able to listen to the rehearsal CD, which does help.

Anyway, I'm planning to post in here weekdays, as I used to, before I started into a downward spiral into a black hole you don't want to hear about. Paul and I started walking a month ago and it's helping a lot. We do the all-weather track at the local community center three days a week and part of the Los Gatos Creek Trail two days. I'm doing seven laps on the track and 1-1/2 miles on the trail. I must have lost some weight, too. The jeans I wore yesterday are getting way too big. And my appetite is down. I'm not eating as much because I'm just getting full. After our walk, I go get a plain, black coffee and write in my journal. The combination is making me feel, and act, like a normal person again. Whew!

We're walking with our son tomorrow and then we're going off to Target, because we both forgot to pick something up when we were there today. Carpooling is cool, especially when you actually like your kid. (g) I'm looking forward to it. He's done with school for the summer and it's nice to be able to spend some time with him.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day to you Americans out there!

It's interesting to read what people are putting on their blogs to celebrate this day. I have four I'd like to link to because they said good stuff.

We're going to celebrate American music, I think. One of the local malls has a free jazz concert every Tuesday from May through September. They get great local talent and it's a fun time, if you can find a place to sit.