____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

IT CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE

I started out writing a very different post yesterday.

Before yesterday, if anyone asked where I was from, I would say Wisconsin, never bothering to mention the city, because before yesterday you wouldn’t have known where it was unless you lived there.

Yesterday, a young boy in Marinette, Wisconsin took a classroom of 23 students and one teacher hostage.

I wasn’t there and I don’t live there anymore, so I can’t speak to that.

From the reports I’ve read and talking with family and friends the unnamed boy took a Western Civ. class hostage during 6th hour.  The teacher told her 7th hour students there wasn’t any class and sent them to the library.  When school ended she was able to notify the principal, who contacted the police.  At one point, the boy released five students, possibly to go to the bathroom.  The police were outside the classroom door when they heard shots fired.  Police entered the room, and it sounds like the boy turned the weapon on himself when he saw the police approaching.  None of the reports indicate that the boy tried to harm anyone or fired his weapon on anyone besides himself.  He was taken to the hospital and his condition is currently unknown.  He has been reported to be a good kid, well liked, and never been in any kind of trouble before.  But yesterday he brought two guns to school.

One saving grace may be that just last year faculty and law enforcement took part in a training exercise involving a mock-shooter, and in this manner our small community was not completely unprepared to handle such a situation.  Teachers have always been my heroes, and now, more so.  Another stroke of luck may be that the incident didn’t take place until the end of the school day, that the situation was contained to one classroom, and that most of the school, unaware of the danger, was left to follow their natural evacuation patterns without causing chaos or panic.

I remember being in that classroom, with my own Western Civ. teacher, when we heard about Kip Kinkle, another 15 year old who brought guns into a school, an incident that ended so tragically different.  My teacher is no longer there, nor I, but I can still picture his desk off to the left side, in front of the chalk board,  a TV on a rolling cart in corner, and rows of desks facing the windows on the outside wall where the projection screen was pulled down.  Depending on the season, there was either snow or grass covering the field outside, and the creek, alternately frozen silent or babbling softly.  The ground floor rooms always seemed very make-shift to me.  While upstairs math and science classrooms were connected by cold, cinderblock walls, the downstairs walls seemed to be no more than thick cardboard, and not more than an inch, if that.  I don’t know what it would take to stop a bullet, but I can see so vividly, those three giant pieces of cardboard that so thinly protected the students on either side.  Sounds of history and English and French often intermingled.  I shudder, remembering that I once saw one of those very walls be blown down in the hallway on a hot and windy day, and quickly popped back into place as if it had never happened.  Back then, I was concerned that these walls would not protect us against a tornado, and just the same I imagine how those walls stood tall yesterday, separating one classroom from safety, and another from imminent danger.

The announcement of Kip Kinkle’s shooting spree came just a year before the tragedy in Columbine.  I stood there with my teacher, both of us wondering how such a thing could happen, what would motivate a child, or anyone, to do such a thing.  Neither of us had any answers, there weren’t any words to say.  It was unimaginable and foreign and far away.  It didn’t seem like a thing that could happen anywhere.  Now, it seems even less real that it could happen in the very same room where I stood a little over a decade ago.  Now it seems like something all too close.  And the reality is that it can happen anywhere, in the classroom where I sat, at the school I went to, a mile from the home I grew up in, and where my parents still live.  Some of my teachers are still there, some of my classmates now teach there, some of my classmates have joined the law enforcement that helped to control this situation and bring it to an end.  Many of my friends still live there.  Everyone knows someone who goes to school there or works at the school.  Everyone knows everyone.  If you didn’t know someone who was in that classroom yesterday, you know someone who could have been.

We don’t have any answers right now about why a young boy who had reportedly never been in trouble, was a good student, and well-liked would do such a thing.  Hopefully this boy will be ok and get the kind of help he needs.  I would like to reach out to anybody out there who feels desperate or alone and let you know that you aren’t alone and that there are people who can help you, no matter how desperate the situation may seem.  Please talk to someone; it’s ok to ask for help.

*If you have a family member or friend you are concerned about, have considered suicide yourself, feel alone or hopeless, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.*


  • Call for yourself or someone you care about
  • Free and confidential
  • A network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide
  • Available 24/7


My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved, along with their family and friends.





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Monday, November 22, 2010

NANOWRIMO and Everything I Did Wrong

Just a few short months ago, I heard about NaNoWriMo for the first time.  November is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, for those of you who don’t know.  And NaNo challenges authors, readers, writers, wannabees, and wannatries alike to attempt awesomeness and write 50,000 words (a modest novel length).  In one month.  November 1 to November 30.

It averages around 1,667 words a day.  Doable.  Definitely.  Heck, that’s only a couple of blog entries—And I do that pretty easy.

My November looked bright and clear.  I’d been getting flashes of brilliance and rages of inspiration lately.  This would be the perfect time to attempt one of my bucketlist dreams.  Just wake up, sit down, and write.

GO!

—Um, hold up.  Don’t go quite yet, it’s not November.

So, I’ve got all these ideas in my head, and I want to write them…but NaNoWriMo doesn’t start until November 1, and if I start writing something earlier, then it’s cheating, I can’t use it.

But should I stave off my creativity?  I’ve got a lot of ideas going on that I want to write.  I don’t want to be too ambitious—I can’t write them all in a month.  So, I should probably work on what I have now, and then start fresh, November 1.

Um, so I’ve got a couple of stories that I’ve started and am TOTALLY in LOVE with.  But now I can’t use them for NaNoWriMo.  Crap.  I need an idea for NaNoWriMo.  I need an idea, but I can’t work on it until November 1.

Ideas.  I have lots of ideas I’ve put on the shelf.  I’ll just dust one of those off.  Sweet.  I have an Idea.

October 31.  I’m signed up for NaNoWriMo and ready to go.  Let’s see what other people from my region are talking about.

Oh.  They’re asking each other what writing programs everyone is using.  I was just going to use Word, because I love Word, and that’s what I always use.  But they’re right, 50,000 words is pretty big.  Using Word by itself might get kind of hard to organize.  Hmmm… My group mentioned a couple of writing programs to try (for free).  I should check them out.  Wow.  These do make a lot of sense.  I should totally use one of these.

Cool, I downloaded a brand-new writing program.  I should really watch the demo, so I’ll know how to use it.

Hey, what else is my writing group talking about?—Oh, and outline?  I don’t usually outline—But I did outline for my last two ideas, that I’m super excited about.  The outline really helped me focus a lot.  It helped me organize where I wanted to put things, where things would fit best, and gave me a place to store important backgrounds and details that I want for my story, but I’m not sure where I’ll need them yet.

Well, NaNo starts tomorrow, I should get some sleep.  I’ll just do my outline in the morning.

YEA!!!!!!!!  NOVEMBER 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!  NANOWRIMO!!!!!!!!

Woke up bright and early.  Sun is shining.  Let’s write a novel!!!!

No blogging today—At least not until I get my word count.  No checking my daily blogs, either.  Novel first.

I really should have breakfast, though.  That way, I won’t have any excuses or interruptions.

Time to get started.  Still bright and early.  Let’s go!!!!  Um, but I think I will do a quick outline.

4 hours later.

Yea!!!!  I have an outline!!!!!  This is really good.  Let’s get started!!!!!!!

You know, if I don’t eat lunch now, I’ll just spend all my time thinking about lunch.  Even writer’s have to eat.  Right?

All set.  Ate Breakfast.  Did my outline.  Ate lunch.

BLANK.  WHITE.  PAGE.

Crap.  Why can’t I figure out how to change the background color on my new writing program!?!?!??!  I hate writing on a white background!!!!!—I haven’t seen my glasses in months and the white is really hard on my eyes.  I always write on black in word.

Maybe if I just change the text color, it’ll be ok.  Nope.  The text color doesn’t look as good on white; the white makes it look kind of faded.  That’s even worse.  I’m supposed to be writing a novel today, and here I am, wasting time on my background and text colors.  Linda and Bill are supposed to come over tonight; I’m not going to have any time to write later.  I just need to get started.  You know what?  I think it’ll be easier if I just get started in Word.  Then I can paste it into my outline on my writing program, so I can reorganize it later if I need to.

Yea!!!!  I’m finally writing!!!!  I’m writing my novel!!!!!  I’m writing!!!!!!

Email from my sister.  Bill can’t make it tonight.  Do we just want to go to Linda’s???—Well, that would be great, then I wouldn’t have to make my bed and I could spend more time writing.  Sure.  Let’s go to Linda’s.

Writing again!!!  Yea!!!

You know…As long as we’re going to Linda’s, I wonder if I could get an eye appointment while we’re in the area.  My eyes are totally not getting any better.  Even if I did find my glasses, the prescription is at least two years old.  And especially if I’m going to be writing like this all month, and spending this much time on the computer.  I really do need them.

Call eye doctor.  They DO have an appointment!!!!  It must be fate!!!!!

Look at the clock—Sister’s on her way home—Call sister, if we leave right away, can make appointment, pick out glasses, can be at Linda’s for dinner, and pick up new glasses on the way home.

I didn’t get much writing done today—But I did spend a lot of time on my outline, so that counts.  Plus, think how much I’ll get done with my new glasses!!!!

Doctor’s appointment took TWO FRACKING HOURS!?!?!??!!?  What the frak!?!?!?!?  No time to pick out glasses, have to get to Linda’s.  Won’t be able to come back until Friday.  Ok.  Will get glasses Friday.  I’ve made it this long.  I can wait until then.

Go to Linda’s.  Have dinner.  Play cards.

Get home.  It’s pretty late.  I should get to bed now, so that I can start fresh in the morning.

November 2.

NaNoWriMo Day 2.  Ok, let’s get going!!!!  A teensy bit behind, but it’s only day 2, and we have all month.  Let’s write a novel.

No blogging—At least until I get my word count.  No checking any blogs either.  No interruptions.

But first breakfast.

Yea!!!!!  I’m writing a novel!!!!!!!

I almost made my word count today.  Good job.  A little behind, but it’s only the second day.

November 3.

NaNoWriMo Day 3.

Wake up bright and early.  Wow.  That was a really good dream last night.  That would make a really good story!!!!  Frak!!!!  What should I DO?!?!!?  I’m already behind in my NaNo story, maybe I should write my new idea instead.  It’s only Day 3.

Frak—Friends are coming over tonight!!!!!!  We haven’t been social in months, why is sister making so many plans just when I want to write my novel!?!?!?!?

I’ve been writing my novel for two days, so I haven’t made my bed or done the dishes, and now I have to clean for company.  Plus I said I’d make lasagna.

Sigh.  Not what I planned.  I’m already behind and it’s only Day 3.  But I’ve got to work on other things first.  Then I’ll write.

November 4.

Day 4, practically a week behind.  No blogging or checking blogs until I get my word count.

And what about the great idea I dreamt about the night before—Since I’m already behind, should I write that instead???

I’m writing my novel.  I’m writing my novel.  I’m writing my novel.

Just keep plugging away.

Fall asleep dreaming about all the stories I’m NOT writing, and all the stories that would be just whipping along, if I were writing them instead of my current idea.

November 5.

Wake up bright and early!!!!!!  I’m getting new glasses today!!!!  THEN I can finally write a novel!!!!!!!

Crap.  I really don’t like any of these frames—Except for the sunglasses, and I REALLY need my regular glasses.

Well, I kind of like these frames.  So what kind of prices are we talking about???  OH.  THOSE kind of prices.  Hmmm…  I think I should think about it for a little bit.

November 6.

Wake up bright and early!!!!—Going on a wine-tasting tour!!!!!  I know I should be writing my novel.  But I can’t stay cooped up EVERY day.  I need to get out a little, too!  Plus, how often does an opportunity like this come along.  *JEOPARDY THEME SONG*  Um, let’s see, had a birthday last month.  Turned mumble, mumble.  And this is the first time I’ve ever gone wine tasting.  So, see; that is pretty rare.  Just go out, have a nice day.  I can write my novel tomorrow.

Besides, part of being a writer, is having new experiences to write about.

November 7.

Ok.  I checked out another glasses place.  And another.  They don’t do one-hour.  I think I’ll go with the first place.  I guess I like their glasses ok.  I REALLY need glasses.  I have to write my novel.

Go to the one-hour place.  Ok.  Ready to go.  Give me some glasses.  What do you mean, you don’t have my lenses in stock???  And it’s going to take 7-10 days to get the glasses that I don’t even like that much.  Forget you.  I’m not paying for the expensive glasses I don’t really like, when I can get the pair I REALLY love, with the kick-a$$ sunglasses, in the same amount of time, cheaper.

Then I’ll write my novel.

Go back to the other glasses place.  Finally getting my glasses.  Now I can write my novel.

6-10 days later.

                No blogging or checking blogs until I meet my word count.

My new glasses are in!!!!!!!!  Yea!!!!!!!

WOW!!!!!!  The difference is AMAZING!!!!!  And these frames really bring out the green in my hazel eyes!!!!  Gorgeous!!!!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!!!!

Things are so clear now!!!!!

November 18

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows starts tonight.  I LOVE Harry Potter.  I HAVE to go to the midnight show.

There are usually big lines for the midnight show, but we should be ok if we try to get there around 10ish.

I’ve got to have a Harry Potter movie marathon today.  That way I’ll be pumped and refreshed for the movie!!!  Plus, there’s no way my sister will remember what’s going on, unless she re-watches the movies.  And then I’ll spend the whole movie explaining what’s going on, instead of enjoying the movie.  And she’ll enjoy it better, too.

9:00 am.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

3 hours later.  New Plan.  Check playing times.  Ok.  Start watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  When sister gets home, switch to Goblet of Fire.  2 and 3 are fun, but not essential for her keeping up with the story.  It really starts to build and intertwine with 4, 5, and 6.  We’ll get done just in time to get to the theater and wait for two hours.

4:00 pm Goblet of Fire ends right on schedule.  Begin Order of the Phoenix.

7:00 pm Begin Half-Blood Prince.

9:43 leave for theater.

November 19

12:00 am after minor technical difficulties, begin Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1.  Fantastic is an understatement.

Sometime after 2:00 am, go to sleep.

Sleep in.  Sister has the day off.  And the rest of the weekend.  There’s no way I can get any writing done with her wandering around.  I get too distracted.

November 22

It seems less likely that I will make my 50,000 word deadline with a week left, and practically 50,000 words left to write.  Oops.

I haven’t done any blogging this month, because I wanted to concentrate on NaNo, and because I couldn’t concentrate, I just kept thinking about all the chapters I wanted to write, all the blogs I wanted to write, and all the blogs I wanted to check, but couldn’t because I haven’t met my word count.

…Meanwhile…I have met my word count, and superseded it FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS MONTH—or at least I would have, if I were actual working on my novel, and not writing a blog entry.


I know this month isn’t over yet, and I’m not quitting.  But I am thinking about extending my own personal deadline.  Part of me thinks I could make a mad dash for the finish line.  But another part of me, knows that I have plans for Thanksgiving.  So, I think the best thing to do at this point is regroup.  I can definitely see where I went astray.  I got distracted.  I got paranoid.  I started over-thinking things.

And while I may not have won this year, I think NaNo has taught me a lot.  I tried new things.  The new writing program is fun and cool, and I like it for some things.  But even with the new glasses, I still like writing in Word.  By the way, I know I spent a lot of time on the glasses, but especially now that I have them, I really know how much I’ve been needing them.  No matter when I got them, they would have taken the same amount of time.  And now that I have them, I’m getting a lot fewer headaches, and I can spend a lot more time on the computer without the screen blurring and the text bleeding.

I got distracted by the fancy tools—outlines and writing programs.  The tools that were meant to make the writing easier just ended up making it more complicated.  I didn’t need them where I was starting from.  And while I do actually like the outline and the writing program, I think they probably come in a lot more handy in the middle or toward the end of the writing—it probably would have been better for me to just write my 50,000 words and then bring it over to the writing program to better organize my work.

NaNo isn’t about being perfect, or being brilliant, or writing the next bestseller.  It’s about writing.  Period.  About showing yourself that you have what it takes.  But it took a month of procrastinating and excuses and trying to be perfect for me to learn it for myself.  Now I KNOW that I have what it takes.

It takes waking up in the morning, having breakfast, and writing.  I don’t have to ignore the rest of the world.  And I don’t have to over indulge either.  I do like deadlines and word counts—They give me a feeling of satisfaction.  I don’t need to beat myself up for not meeting this goal; I just need to reprioritize how I meet my future goals.

I didn’t get my 50,000, but I still feel like a winner.  Anyway, so, I’m back to my blogging, back to reading, and back to writing.

Best wishes to all my fellow NaNoWrimoers!!!!  See you all next year!!!!!





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Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'MM LOST AND FOUND (IMM15)

Soooo…I may have mentioned that I moved not too long ago.  Well, it doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long, but it’s easy to lose track of time when you live in a place that doesn’t have seasons.  So it’s been a few months now, and I’m as unpacked and settled as I’ll ever be, but I still have absolutely no idea where my glasses went.  The more I thought about it, though, I realized that my prescription was at least two years old, which means that even if I found them, it’s not to say they’d do me much good.  Time to get a new pair.

I’m not blind, by any means, which is why I’ve been able to go so long without them.  But I’m on the computer a lot, or reading all the time, which is pretty much what I need my glasses for.  Not to mention I seem to run into things more often without my glasses.  Oh, and the fact that whenever I’m looking at a screen, or trying to read things, everything is blurry.  No big.

The last time I went to get glasses I had my appointment, picked out the frames, an hour later, voila!

This time I had a really hard time finding frames that I liked—Almost all of them seemed really dark, or were too small, or blah, or a combination.  I went to three different stores.  Then back and forth to each of them, and back and forth again.  And after I finally settled on a pair, it took a week before they were ready.

And after all that?  Completely worth it!!!!  I LOVE them!!!!!!  I’m not sure how much you can tell from the picture, but they’re kind of a dark, marbled green, with some cute little detailing and sparklies on the bows.  Everything looks super crisp and sharp when I put them on.  But my favorite part is how much they bring out the green in my hazel eyes!!!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!

Also snagged a fantastic deal for the most kick-ass sunglasses I’ve ever had!!!!—And in the end, my two pairs were the same price as any one pair I could have gotten at either of the other stores!!!!  SCORE!!!!  ;)
Sooooo….the first thing I had to do with my pretty eyewear was take them for a test-drive over at the $1 Bookstore.  And boy, did I get a haul!!!!

I had a hard time deciding the best way to share these—About half of them are old favorites (Island of the Blue Dolphins, Zia, Jacob Have I Loved, Maniac Magee); half turned out to be award-winners (Island of the Blue Dolphins, Jacob Have I Loved, Rascal, Maniac Magee); I had two pairs by like authors (Island of the Blue Dolphins and Zia by Scott O’Dell and Jacob Have I Loved and Lyddie by Katherine Paterson), and randomly found two books about raccoons (Rascal by Sterling North and A Raccoon to Remember by Harriet E. Weaver).  Since they ended up being such a mix-and-match group, I decided to let them stay as they are.


My bookcases are starting to get a little crowded again, but B&N is still being kind of stingy on their freebies lately, so nothing new for my Nook right now.  I’m definitely keeping an eye out for day after Thanksgiving sales—I’m very thankful for all I have, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t be thankful for a little more!  ;)

OH!!!!  And any of you who haven't indulged your sweet tooth lately, seriously need to check out Tera Lynn Childs  and her super scrumptious Eye Candythe story of Lydia, a business exec with a compulsive candy habit...and now the Whopper of all lies—No one believes that Lydia has gotten over her ex, and no one will let her...that is, until she invents a NEW (slightly nonexistent) boyfriend.  Now that she has a new boyfriend, candy isn't the only thing giving Lydia a rush!!!   Tera (author of Oh.My.Gods., Goddess Bootcamp, Forgive My Fins, and the upcoming Fins Are Foreveradds a new, mouth-watering morsel, er, um, chapter, every Friday...And the most delicious part????  It's absolutely FREE!!!!!!  (And ZERO calories!) ;)  So, while I'm absolutely breathless in anticipation of Fins Are Forever, I'm still getting my TLC fix every FridayChapter 12 was just added this week, and I am absolutely buzzing!!!!!!


I hope everyone has an amazing holiday—I’m very much looking forward to this one!!!!Turkey and Tofurkey for all, and all a good night!!!!





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*In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren*  So head over there if you want to check out what everyone else got, or if you want to find out how to participate!!!