Hold on to that thought

I am been working very hard to maintain a healthy life balance in the mist of some hard changes lately, all of it outside of my control.   I have been seeking to focus on what is truly important and letting go of what is not.   I am spending more time on that which is under my control and not wasting time on things I can not change.   It hasn’t been without some push back by external forces and some feelings of guilt or not being enough on my part.   Yet in spite of it I feel I am moving forward in a good way, toward good things.     I have been reading lots of works by different folks, finding some inspiration, encouragement and jumping off points for reflection on life .  Maya Angelou is often quoted and this particular quote is often broken down and quoted in smaller bits and pieces.  Here is the complete quote   I want to share it with you because it has always been one of my favorites, and really rings true right now for me.

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   Maya Angelou

This quote also reminds me that although at this moment if feels very much like it is all about me it isn’t.   I can ” be a rainbow in  somebody else’s cloud“, another great quote from Maya Angelou.

I hope that if you need it, this quote provides some inspiration or support to you, if not hold on to that thought it might come in helpful some time in the future.

Life Balance Never Goes Out of Style

This afternoon RangerSir and I spent some time watching a movie and playing cribbage.   We watched the Karate Kid, the original movie that is 30 years old.   One of things that struck me is that one of the key overriding messages that Mr. Miyagi kept on delivering was about life balance for Daniel.    Thirty years ago there talking about life balance for a young kid, and today I talk about it as well.  

I am still working very hard to find a good balance in work and personal life.   I am trying to finding time to do all those things that I have been pushing aside for later when I have more time and work is less demanding.   I am meeting with some success in these efforts to find that balance.  Just like Daniel in the movie I have to practice things over and over and then suddenly the light bulb goes off and I get it.

I am back to full-time work for the next three months.   It is the busiest time of the year for the nonprofit I work for.   It is easy to get caught up in the efforts to get it all done today.    Already I am often working long work days even though I have been back only a short time.   I keep reminding myself the life balance lessons I have learned when my hours  were cut.    It doesn’t always work, but I am working hard to remind myself, that life is better when I life a more balanced life.

Today should have been my first try at a book club.   Unfortunately I read the first two chapters and found the book dry and it wasn’t doing much for me.   I decided that I will try this again later, but I want to read a book that doesn’t feel like a struggle each page I read.   Right now was the right time to let go of this.   I plan to watch what books they select to read in the future, and try it again, when the book is a better fit.

I am still working towards the 50,000 words that is an imaginary number that according to National Novel Writing Month says you did it.   I am not always writing every day but I am moving forward.   Some days there are enough things going on that writing that day just doesn’t work.   I have a brief moment of regret when I don’t write that day, but it it doesn’t fit, it has to be let go for the day and move on to the next one.

RangerSir and I are on work schedules that don’t mesh at all, by that I mean that our days off do not overlap.   Each of us are working hard at finding meaningful things to do together each day,  when I am still in my office when he walks in the door late at night and dinner is often not started. It would be so easy to blow dinner off and both of us unwind alone laying around the living room.  Instead we have taken to having a good glass of wine with dinner every night.   We are using the process of setting a more formal table every night as a tool to help us do more than dine and dash.   We discuss the day, talk about our observations, discuss politics, and share a dream or idea.   It really doesn’t matter what we talk about it is is that slow conversation that we both are enjoying together.

I am learning that balance in life doesn’t come easy.   You have to want it enough to be willing to fight for it.   If you don’t someone or something else will grab your life and suddenly it is out of control.

Never Give Up

This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week.   I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be.   I was on the road this week with work.   It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about  this little adventure I was on.   Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking.   It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.

I thought about quitting.    I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better.   It did not and I considered giving up for this year.  Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas.   She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list.   The other five are just there for moral support.   She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well.   In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems.   It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.

I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it.  If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet.   Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are.   I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be  there for virtually.   I  plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line.   I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.

 

Novel Progress Report

Well I am nine days into this adventure and still going strong.   I have written just over 14,000 words.   This is good in that I am on target to finish if I continue to write like I have been.    But when I think about my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month it is true that I am not very far in the process.  I sometimes wonder what I have written so far, and RangerSir has hinted he’d like to read it.  I have started this process before and not finished each time so am going to write until the voices in my head tell me it is over or the end of the month whichever comes first.   No getting diverted by early editing.

The good part of all of this writing is that for the most part my real life has not gone down the toilet or put on hold because I am spending all my time writing.   I still have a my job and show up and work each day.   I am carrying my load around the house, not letting RangerSir do a disproportionate amount of the general household chores ( I have a white chicken chilli in the crock pot, my last load of laundry in the drier, and manged to go to down and grocery shop before the mega storm arrives).  I still have carved out time to enjoy some of my other creative ventures including teaching a class, making some cards, blogging a little and reading some for pleasure.   Now that it sounds like I am having it all that is not true, my exercise program in almost nonexistent and I have two Christmas gifts to make that are not even started.    Life isn’t perfect but it is damn good and someday who knows I may call myself a novelist.   You just have to write one not publish one to call yourself novelist, but if I get lucky I could do both.

Now it is time to close this off and get back to the business of writing.

Fun Fridays

This has always been a tough time of year because RangerSir works weekends during hunting season.   He is busy doing what is called hunter patrol.   In past years this was a time where we often found ourselves passing in the night.   My days off were the traditional Saturday and Sunday and his were whatever he could grab.   Many nights he would not be home for the dinner hour.   It was not not a near miss either,  it was often closer to 8 when he blew in the doors.   All he wanted was a hot shower and to relax.

Since I have had my hours cut back and I now have Fridays off as well we have set aside this day to have fun together during hunting season.   We have started off our Friday with a Thursday night date.

Date night is tough because we love to eat good food.  There is not an over abundance of places to eat out and with the loss in salary we felt eating out was an extravagance we probably should not indulge in. Instead we have been cooking together on Thursday nights.   We have had all sorts of special dinners, playing music, drinking wine and dancing a little.

RangeSir looking for wildlife.

RangeSir looking for wildlife.

Our Fridays have been like a one day vacation that we have decided to give ourselves.   One week we packed up a picnic and took a half-finished bottle of Thursday nights wine up to the high country to watch for wildlife and huddle under the blankets.    We have explored some places that we have wanted to explore without the weekend crowds, like a little family owned hot springs that is geographically unfit for most folks to visit.   We had the whole place to ourselves.     How cool is that to be outside in the hot springs with all the forest all around?

Saturday and Sunday are my days.   I spend those days so many different ways enjoying my own company,  letting my creative muse run wild or curling up with a book doing nothing at all.

The rest of the week we are like always two ships passing, but it knowing that at least once this week we will both be in the home port at the same time that makes the rest of it all tolerable. Life is full of blessings when you least expect them.

Grammer 101

I recently completed a survey about grammar for a family member in college as part of a project.    It will be interesting to see her survey results when she compiles them. I like to think I am fairly proficient in grammar since my I am required to write for my job and I have been a blogger for years.

When taking the test there were a couple of areas I think I stumbled in.   It was a bit of a surprise, as I have taken quite a few English courses since high school.   Not only have I taken  general college English classes but several business writing, public speaking and creative writing classes.  Along with that I keep a couple of English usage references in my desk drawer at work, that I reference when something doesn’t sounds just right.

One of the closing questions was about if I read text books about grammar.   Of course, I answered that question NO.   Who has time or wants to do that unless you are fascinated by the English language?  It did get me thinking though that it might be time to brush up on my grammar usage.   Just because it sounds right or everyone around her talks that way does not mean it is proper English.  Maybe it is time for another writing class to brush up on my skills.

And you wonder why the dog does not follow basic commands.

 

Writing Dialogue

I have taken a fair number of writing classes.   Most of them have revolved around business writing. I have mastered the fine art of writing proposals, documenting businesses operations, and general written communications.      In the course of my career I have learned how to use  general business writing skills and developed my technical writing skills.   I can write text for websites taking into consideration how it will affect SEO (search engine optimization).  I have been doing this all long enough that it comes easy.

I have recorded family history and taken classes to help me learn how to take dry dull, facts and figures and bring to life the people who I have researched.    This works writing style works well with my analytical brain.

Now I am writing my first novel and I have discovered I know almost nothing about the right punctuation for dialogue.  I know the fundamentals of the use of quotation marks and where the comma goes but beyond that I have no idea.     I am writing this novel  pantser style so there will be lots of editing to do when I am done.     I will be looking to take class, read a book  or some other way to learn more about the right way to handle dialogue.   Right now the ideas are flowing, and they say as long as that is happening if you are a pantser you keep on going.

They say in good dialogue writing the reader knows who is speaking without telling them. What a goal.

 

I am over 8,000 words tonight and I put in a full day of work.   I am getting a blog posting written and I worked on a gift a bit tonight in my studio.   Do you suppose this novel is providing all this energy?