Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I cleaned the dining room!

And this blog continues to be boring -- LOL!

I now have three clean rooms at once: the bathroom, the kitchen, and the dining room. Next up: My office. Will Paula make it to four at a time? Check back later to find out!

I also reorganized my Web site. For one thing, I took the Market List down. I had a long run with it, from 1999 to 2007, but I'm obviously not maintaining it anymore. It was time to take it down. If I begin writing and submitting again, I'll probably do a market list in that same format, which I found easy to use, but I'll probably keep it just for me, leaving me the freedom to include only those markets at which my work might find a home rather than every paying market I hear of. But I left up a bunch of links to other market resources.

I also highlighted my full-time profession as a freelance editor/writer, giving it its own page with a link from the home page. As I've been casting about, seeking another client or two to buffer against the coming hard times, as well as to challenge myself, I realized that my Web site didn't reflect much of a professional presence. It was still set up to promote my fiction, and nothing's been happening on that front for a while. The overall effect was kind of dopey.

Every November, I go through a couple of weeks of finding the cold weather almost unendurable and not knowing how I'll survive when it gets even colder. And then, overnight it seems, I adapt. Today I was taking out trash and replacing outdoor floodlights in a T-shirt and feeling pretty comfortable. Yay!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

I cleaned the kitchen!

What did you think this post was going to be about? Last week, I cleaned the bathroom. Next up was the kitchen. This week, I cleaned the kitchen. Since the kitchen also functions as a mudroom for the dogs when they come in the the backyard, this is actually pretty exciting news. Especially having a clean floor. And clean walls next to the door, where they shake their jowls after eating grass and rooting around in the mud. Amazing what I scraped off those walls!

Next up: The dining room. This is the room where the mail piles up. We get an amazing amount of mail.

Bootsie: I'm happy to report that Bootsie the Cat enjoys figure skating. She especially likes it when the skaters spin. They must look like fluttering moths. I watch skating on my computer (though Ice Network), and Bootsie sits beside and behind the monitor and cranes her neck and watches the skaters for minutes at a time. She also likes the cursor, though, so I can't say her interest is really in either sport or in culture.

Work: I've had over a week now with nothing to work on, and I'm going crazy. Yes, I realize that normal people take a week's vacation now and then. In the last year, I've had two long weekends and a few days off here and there. Otherwise, it's been seven-days-a-week busy. But I don't have a job from which I need a vacation! I love my work! Still, judging from how much I slept last week, I guess I did need some downtime. Doug keeps telling me, "It's okay, honey. It's okay." He's a sweetie.

My e-mail's been down all morning. Maybe some authors have returned files to me, or maybe I've got some new projects. Not having e-mail makes me a little crazy. I just invoked my ISP's online chat helpline, and they know about the problem and have no idea when it will be resolved. Bleh!

  • The U.S. Senate race in Minnesota was so close -- only a couple hundred votes out of 3 million separated the two candidates -- that a manual recount was invoked automatically by law. So folks are counting ballots, and some are interesting. Apparently, filling in an oval next to a name is challenging for some folks. And then there's the Lizard People . . . See challenged ballots at the Minnesota Public Radio site, make your own decision, and see what other people think.
  • This is interesting: Nanowrimo. National Novel Writing Month is what I've always known as a "novel dare," in which a group of writers challenge each other to crank out a novel in a compressed time frame. They often blog about their daily word counts and blockages and e-mail each other to show support. Nanowrimo is like that but with global participation. The year 2007 saw 100,000 participants with 15,000 crossing the finish line with a 50k novel. Participants can write by themselves or find others in their local area to meet up with physically. There are forums and other ways to bond (and procrastinate). The point is quantity rather than quality, to break through any blockages and just write-write-write. Since November has been a slow freelancing month for me for the last couple of years, perhaps I should plan to do this in 2009?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I cleaned the bathroom!

Hey, this is a boring blog. What can I say? Although if you knew what the bathroom looked like before I cleaned it, you might be more impressed. Fortunately, no photos exist.

I've started cleaning the kitchen. I can hear the news being twittered everywhere.

Mostly I've been sleeping a lot. I think that weeks and weeks of long hours have resulted in a cumulative exhaustion thingie. I'm not depressed! Doesn't feel like that at all. I'm just really tired, in a physical way.

Or maybe I'm hibernating? After a protracted, balmy fall, winter's set in. The other day, it was drizzling ice -- the ice pellets weren't large enough to be truly hail, and it wasn't wet enough to be sleet. Need a new word. Could use a little sun, too. It's been scarce. Five weeks before the days start getting longer again; five months before the first bulbs come up. Minnesota gardens tend to be a crazy hodgepodge of as many flowers as can possibly fit. That's because by the time spring gets here, we're crazy for color.

Well, if I make enough money the next few months, maybe we can spend a week in Santa Fe like we did a few years ago. That was really nice.

Why do cats insist on being in the way? I swear they have a gift for detecting just what you need to look at and placing themselves there.


  • The Arbor Day Foundation has this cool map that shows how U.S. hardiness zones have changed from 1990 to 2006. Of particular interest to me is the finger of Zone 5 that has crept up the Mississippi River Valley as far as Minneapolis/St. Paul.
  • Have I posted this link before? The FreeRice site started as vocabulary SAT prep and is now available to anyone who wants to test and expand their vocabulary and donate rice to the U.N. World Food Program at the same time. For a word geek like me, it's a bit addictive! I see they've added a bunch of other subjects since I last visited -- must check them out!
  • Finally, want to put in a plug for my friend Harry LeBlanc's expressive arts therapy practice in Minneapolis: Arts of Passage. Harry has a master's degree in expressive arts therapy and is getting his doctorate. This form of therapy is a great approach for people who want to explore feelings and thoughts that may be blocking their fulfillment but don't want to "talk about their feelings" or have tried traditional talk therapy and found it unsatisfying. Harry's got a bunch of great resources up at his site -- I think it's worth reading his thoughts about the human condition even if you have no interest in seeking therapy at this time.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Maybe I Am a Workaholic?

In the last few days, I copyedited a couple of books and sent them off to the authors for review, and I did a little more work on the American Library Association database . . . and I currently have nothing to work on. Total panic! What do I do with myself? With free time? It feels so . . . unfilled, unpressured, unstructured! This can't be normal.

I've got a new manuscript coming in early next week. The two books in author review will come back. More work will come in. I still feel odd.

Is this what it feels like to need a fix?

Not that I don't have work to do -- housework. Lots and lots of cleaning desperately needs to be done in this house. Last time I focused on housework, I managed to get three rooms clean: the kitchen, the main bathroom, and the dining room. Those rooms were really nice. Nice to look at. Nice to be in. Nice. Now they're a mess again. Maybe I'll get them clean again -- and a fourth room? Can I get four rooms at a time clean? Check back next week to find out!

Election: Needless to say, I'm thrilled that Barack Obama is the president-elect of the United States. I don't expect miracles. I'm not that hopeful, and I know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I do expect things to get better: our moral standing in the world to improve, our socioeconomic structure to rebalance in favor of the middle class, the Supreme Court and other federal courts at least not to get any more conservative (yes, I'm very socially liberal, though fiscally not so much), increasing environmental protections and a regearing of industry to be more environmentally progressive (if we don't take the lead on this, some other country will, and they'll become the economic power of the 21st century). The national debt and annual budget deficit drive me crazy. For those, I don't see a solution coming any time soon. We had a major interstate bridge fall into the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis -- there's some investment that needs doing.

I-35 Bridge Collapse

I can't quite wrap my head around the financial crisis. Do that many Americans buy houses, and that many home buyers get mortgages they can't pay, that the whole world is going into an economic tailspin because of foreclosures? And I can't understand most of what Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says. Throw money at it. Don't throw money at it. Does it matter? I suspect we're like a snake that's just eaten a pig -- we're just going to have to stretch out somewhere until it passes through.


  • Super-complicated cryptic acrostic puzzles from the Atlantic. OMG! Some of these are so hard! You have to be good at cryptic (British-style) crossword puzzles even to get started, and then these have an extra wrinkle to them.

  • And check out Japanese figure skater Mao Asada performing this layover camel spin. Yes, she is spinning in place, meaning she's balanced over about an inch of 1/4" skate blade that's in contact with the ice. She's also got an amazing triple axel, which she's landed numerous times in competition. She'll be competing in Paris today and Saturday, and we'll get a chance to see her Tatiana Tarasova-choreographed programs. Tarasova has the ability to bring out the best in her skaters -- should be exciting!

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