Friday, November 30, 2007

More about the Fly Lady & Other Stuff

The emails from the Fly Lady are mostly working now. So I'm getting a better handle on how the system works. It was bothering me that I haven't been doing it much. Then I got some that I couldn't do because they were already done. YAY! I realized that I was letting that perfectionism she talks about get to me. After all, I cannot do some of the things because of circumstances beyond my control.

For example, I can get rid of the paper that needs recycling or shredding. Bag it up and dump it down the recycle chute. But I cannot file or put away paper because the filing cabinets that are the legs for my desk, and part of the desktops, won't be here until Tuesday. I need to be happy with what I can do. And the house actually looks pretty good, in terms of cleanliness.

I have piles of books hanging out on my dining room table and in a box and one pile on the floor. It sounds like a lot, but I had to take them out of my small bookcases so I could move them. Then I had to do other things in my life, so they're hanging out for a few days. I'll use Fly Lady's slogan--You can do anything in 15 minutes. Set a timer and get it put away.

Next week, after our computer table gets here and we get it set up, we'll measure the walls and head to Ikea for bookcases. I can actually imagine a day when I don't have boxes lining my walls. YAY!

In other news--we're hitting the busiest concert season of the year. I already did one concert. We have three more, plus I have an additional concert, in the next two weeks. Along with that, we have two more to attend. Plus Christmas Eve service to sing at church. It sounds hectic, and it is. But it's also fun and January can be a bit of a letdown.

I finished off the last of the turkey today. I made a pasta dish with a white sauce. It didn't resemble any of the Turkey Tetrazzini recipes that seem to be in every food magazine after Thanksgiving every year. It was good. I can't give you the recipe, though, and I'll never make it again. It was one of those recipes created by tossing in everything that needed to be cooked or it was going to have to be trashed. I had a great time in the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November

I was shocked at how few posts I've done this month. I expected to keep up, since I started building the habit of posting again. But I haven't been home. I'm on a forensic science list for writers and I have over 40 digests I haven't read yet. It's an active group and regularly has at least two digests daily, so it's not 40 days worth, thankfully. So, I guess I need to catch up for those who actually come here every so often and read this little blog.

NaNo is halfway a bust. It's a bust because I'm not going to finish it. It's not a bust because I discovered I have little bits of time in which I can write. I also discovered that I really didn't want to start a new novel. I really want to finish the one I'm in the middle of. I started NaNo with a different novel because the rules are that you have to do something new. I decided to put my effort where my muse wants to go--on 50 Ways.

It's not happening soon, though. We've had a small inheritance and have been using some of it for things we desperately needed to replace--old, worn out things or things that disappeared or were ruined while we lived at my mom's. The biggie is our Mazda 3 5-door, to replace our over 20-year-old Oldsmobile. We couldn't justify putting more money into the Olds, which was just wearing out. We love the Mazda. So far, we haven't found anything we want to carry that won't fit in it. It handles all the driving we normally do. And it gets decent mileage. Besides that, it's a really pretty dark blue, with a hint of green, and a metallic undercoat so it's nice and SHINY in the sun. What more could you ask for in a car?

Our computer desk and filing cabinets are trickling in. Some of it was backordered, so was shipped separately. Currently, we have one proper cabinet and 2 boxes topped by some of my cookbooks holding up the desktop. It gets the desktop computer off the dining room table. I still have to use the laptop there, but that's easy to move so we can eat. The rest of the modular system is en route. It shipped last weekend and I expect the holiday weekend to extend the waiting time by a day or two.

Our TV died the other day. We can live without a TV. But we'd planned to get a new one for Christmas. We knew it was going, but were hoping to replace it a bit later than this. We dithered around about it and finally decided to go ahead. We ended up with the same TV our oldest son has. He's trying to talk us into buying a Playstation 3, so we can play Blu-ray discs and I can start collecting Final Fantasy video games. It's a video game series we both enjoy. That's not happening. If so much of our stuff didn't need replacing, maybe we could justify spending the extra money. But we have to be mostly practical.

We had to replace our waterbed. It was not going to survive one more move. Then my youngest son used some of the wood for shelves, which sealed its fate. Our current bed is gradually getting off the floor. We'd started with an Aerobed. Then the box springs came and we had the aerobed on top of the box springs. The mattress got here about a week ago. So, we crushed the Aerobed and have the mattress and box springs. The bed itself is on backorder. It's supposed to be shipped on or before Dec. 10. So, maybe by Christmas we'll have a whole bed.

We found a small pantry online. We're planning to move as much of the food that's in our built-in pantry into it. Then we can use the built-in pantry for large pans, small appliances, and large bowls. All the stuff that doesn't fit in the regular kitchen cupboards. Then my kitchen will me much easier to keep clean. It will never be a convenient kitchen. A lot of the shelves need a step stool to reach and a lot are deep, so you have to move stuff to get to other stuff. I try to put the stuff I don't use as much in the back, but nothing is never used, so I expect to be moving stuff a lot.

I have almost all my bathroom stuff unpacked. This apartment has a good-sized bathroom with a decent amount of storage. I love that. I also love not feeling cramped in there.

So, that leaves the rest of the books, music, keepsakes, projects, photos, and misc. stuff that doesn't have a home yet. I expect a trip to Ikea for bookcases and a trip to the storage place for appropriate storage containers will take care of that. Maybe I can meet my goal of having all the boxes unpacked by Christmas. It's costing us a fortune. I expect mainly it seems that way because we had to pretty much start from scratch, like 20-year-old newlyweds or something. At that age, you'd have hand-me-downs from the family and accumulate a lot of this stuff the way we originally did--gradually. But at our age, there are no family hand-me-downs. We already handed them down to our kids.

OK--so, along with doing all the unpacking and shopping for stuff so I can unpack, and working at my job, I've been doing a ton of music. Plus some volunteer work. That's why I haven't been home so I could write posts.

We've done the first of our concerts since fall rehearsals started. Ladyesong had a great concert of works by local composers. Man, these people write wonderful music. But challenging! And totally fun.

We had the first of three Thanksgiving dinners at my church last Saturday. Two of us cooked turkeys, stuffing, and gravy. The third woman in our group took care of table decorations. We shared the shopping chores. A bunch of other people helped with set up and clean up. The guests brought the rest of the food. It was terrific, fun, and a lot of work. We're already discussing next year.

Tomorrow my youngest son, husband and I have been invited to a friend's for dinner. I'm bringing the cranberry relish. My friend moved to a new place a bit before we did. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Saturday, my family is coming to my house for Thanksgiving dinner number three. My married son is at his in-law's tomorrow. So we decided to take a day between turkey dinners and do our family holiday Saturday. My fridge is stuffed. I wish I had a bigger fridge, but it's an improvement over the ones they used to put in apartments. And I have a gas stove. It's wonderful to cook on. I'm looking forward to cooking my family's favorites, since I haven't really been able to do that for a few years. They all requested apple pie. It's wonderful to be able to make the apple pie and NOT feel forced to make pumpkin, too, just because you're "supposed to" have pumpkin. No one really likes pumpkin that much and no one wants two desserts, anyway.

Next week is my birthday. My hubby gave me a budget and I spent most of it on replacing my food processor (one of the casualties of the leaky, damp storage shed where my stuff was for the almost 4 years we lived at my mother's), and got the mini-prep Cuisanart for free, thanks to a coupon at the store where I bought it. I bought several expensive cookbooks I've been eying. There's one I'm still searching for. I could buy it online, but I'm in bookstores often enough. I'll run across it, eventually. Then he's taking me out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants on my birthday. It's special because I went for all that time not really cooking at all. It's a super treat to rebuild a decent kitchen and cook the good, healthy food I love to make.

I haven't forgotten the Fly Lady, either. I've talked about her emails. She's had trouble with the software not sending them consistently. It seems to be fixed. Anyway, I'm reading them and seeing how it works. I've also noticed that as I get useable storage and get my stuff unpacked, it's easier to keep the clutter down. When I get the filing cabinets and actually have a place to put all that paper, maybe I can keep it under control. I didn't have that problem when I had my big rolltop desk with places to put everything.

The Fly Lady's thing is to start with a shiny sink. I think it's kind of ironic that tonight everything in my kitchen shines except the sink. I had too many dishes for the dishwasher, so it will get cleaned tomorrow. I'm not staying up late to do another load of dishes and I'm not stacking dirty dishes on my clean counters, so I can shine my sink.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

NaNo--Days 3: 162 & 6: 375

My current total is a mere 1,421. I didn't write Sunday or yesterday, but I plan to write more words after Dr. Who and Torchwood. I know. I should write now, but Dr. Who is a two-parter and I just have to know how it turns out. After Dr. Who I have to cut up all the veggies for salads. Cutting them after I go to the store makes it simpler to make salads for lunch and dinner.

That chore is done and I have about 15 minutes, which I'm going to use to write a bit. But that will have to do for today. I'll have more time tomorrow. Today was emergency errand day because we didn't have time to go grocery shopping and do errands for about a week and a half. A quick trip to the local Safeway to pick up a few things was not going to be enough.

As you can see, I did manage 375 words today for a new total of 1796. Not bad, considering how swamped it's been. I'll need a marathon to catch up, I bet, but the next FM marathon will be when I'm cooking Thanksgiving turkey for our church dinner. I guess I'll have to do my own marathon, on those mythical two days when I don't have a lot to do.

I knew going in that I have a busy month. I'll keep chipping away at that word count and maybe I'll manage it. If not, I will have accomplished two things-whatever words I get on a story I'm having a lot of fun with. And established some kind of writing routine, which I want to continue after NaNo.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NaNo--Day 2: 498

So, yesterday I was not home. I managed 498. I figure every word I get before next week is a winner, since November 1-4 were not going to have long writing sessions, no matter what I did. I knew before I started NaNo that they'd be busy days. I'm going to try to get some words in before we leave for the weekend. And some when we get back. I'm not taking my computer, so I won't be posting any word counts until Sunday or Monday. Anyway, the story is going well. The writing stinks, but there's stuff to work with in revising, should I like this enough to do something with it after NaNo is over.

Friday, November 02, 2007

NaNo--Day 1: 761

My first day's NaNo count is: 761. Yeah, it's not the magic 1667, but I had a ton of stuff to do yesterday and wasn't home. I will be writing this morning. If my son doesn't need a ride to take care of paperwork for his new job, I'll write this afternoon, too. Tonight, my other son needs a ride to do an errand and we have an errand to run, too, so no writing after dinner.

(Funny how our children, neither of whom has a driver's license yet, suddenly need rides. Ya think it has anything to do with our spiffy new vehicle?)

I'm going to be out-of-town this weekend and I'm not taking the laptop. I don't expect to have time to write. I'll do my best to do a bit more on the days I can write in order to make up for the days I can't. Like next Sunday, when I have a concert. And Saturday the 17th when I'm cooking for the church Thanksgiving feast. And whatever day I end up doing the family Thanksgiving. It looks like I'm going to need 2053 words a day on the days I can write in order to make 50K.

My current plan on work days, since most of what I'm doing is pretty tedious computer input stuff, is alternate the two things. Use the work time to plot the novel, write a bit, then go back to the work stuff. We'll see how it goes.

So far, it's going great. I figured out what my protagonist wants more than anything. It's cool to see story developing where I had a void for a whole month.

Re: my Halloween Hangman link:

In the comments, Kristy Shreve Powers noted that it's a great NaNo procrastinator. Yeah, it is. I have another of those, if anyone wants to do a bit of charity and procrastinate on their NaNo novel: Free Rice. It's a vocabulary quiz, which someone posted on Forward Motion. For every word you get right, they donate one grain of rice, through a UN food program. You can rack up a lot of rice in a short time. Anyway, it's a cool way to while away some time, learn some new words, do some good, and have fun. Cool beans -- uh--maybe I should say--cool rice!