Monday, November 26, 2007

Your Score: PORTLAND!

You scored 28% Style, 15% Climate, and 56% Culture!

You are Portland, Oregon! Portland, the largest city in Oregon and seat of Multnomah County, is located in the northwest part of the state on the Willamette River. Portland has a diverse economy with a broad base of manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and retail trade, regional government, and business services. Major manufacturing industries include machinery, electronics, metals, transportation equipment, and lumber and wood products. Technology is a thriving part of Portland's economy, with over 1,700 high-tech companies located in the metropolitan area. Tourism is also important to Portland's economy, drawing more than 7 million visitors annually.You are a nicely cultured individual, appreciating a good play, book, movie, or fine dining. You also appreciate some diversity, lest things get too boring. Not one for sitting and relaxing for long periods at a time nor dressing up the nines, you take interest in getting outside and being out in nature, enjoying the cool, crisp air...maybe even playing a sport or taking a hike. Portland is a good place to be, my friend. My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 99% on Style

You scored higher than 99% on Climate

You scored higher than 99% on Culture

Portland are Me. I don't get these stats. Which is it, 28% Style, or 99% Style? And what' s Style? *snicker* Knowing myself, the 18% is the right one. Ah well.
In other news: only got the NaNo novel up to 24,063 words over the long weekend. Doesn't look like I'm going to get to 50K before November 30, which is ... [checking] ... this Friday. But, I've got a good start and it's got enough substance and potential, I think I'll keep working on it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

19,822 words total last night, about 1938 more than were there the day before. Not keeping up with the minimum daily average needed to win but I still got hopes!

The NaNo experts say Week Two is when you become convinced you're writing pure crap, and they're right. For now, I'm just going for the word count, like Jack Torrance: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." lol

Monday, November 12, 2007

16,711 words as of Friday night - didn't do much yesterday so didn't post anything...

But I've got a cute cat story today.

My cat, Adams, is a burly boy who is constantly on the lookout for the main chance to escape to the great big outside world. He keeps sneaking into the garage through my broken screen door, when I'm not paying close enough attention. His nose is the first to the front door when I come home in the evening, hoping I'll forget he's there and he can get LOOSE and get FREE and feel the WIND in his fur, and have ADVENTURES etc etc etc. Drives me nuts.

Well, today I had a couple of people over here for a project, and when we were done, the two folks were chatting and meandering around between the front door, their cars, and my living room, and I was kind of distracted. At one point while we were all in the front room hashing things over, I stepped over and closed the front door. Not one minute later there was a tremendous CRASH! at the front door. Startled, I looked over just in time to see a big furry body fly up - I mean like four feet off the ground - and throw itself against the storm door with a loud kitty KKKAAAYYYYYYYAAAAHHHH! like a Ninja. In the two seconds it took for me to get to the door, I was confused: was there a neighborhood cat wanting in? Then it happened again! KKKKAAAAYYYAAAAHHH! Thud! and that furry body had thrown itself against the door again. I opened the door, opened the storm door, and was almost knocked off my feet by - none other than Indiana Cat, the dashing Adventurer - Adams, racing back indoors as fast as his kitty feet could carry him.

He'd sneaked out during the back& forth, and I hadn't noticed, and then I'D CLOSED THE DOOR!!!!

The two visitors didn't know my cats, so they were a little puzzled at the extent of my raucous laughter. And I've had a cat-shaped appendage the rest of the afternoon. I guess he wants to make sure I don't get out of his sight again. My big hero cat adventurer. LOL!

Friday, November 09, 2007

12,142 words!

Took Wednesday night off, I was just too exhausted. (Turns out I needed to remove the leveling shims from my bed's frame once I'd rotated and flipped my mattress - that teeny amount of slant was costing me whole nights' sleep! MUCH better now! Make a note: if you're sleeping poorly, check the level of your bed - head to toe and side to side.)

So I needed to write 3334 words last night to catch up. But, I was really tired again and only got 2007 words - which was still a bit above the necessary daily average to "win" NaNo, so I feel somewhat mollified. And, there's a three-day weekend coming up, so I have confidence I'll catch up entirely, and even pull a bit ahead, over the weekend.

Right now this little shrub is growing every whichway but I can go back and prune it later. This gives me lots of potential branches to follow in the next 3 weeks.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Easy night last night - I only needed about 550 words to hit my mark for Day 6, so I was really tired, so that's what I did. Got 'er up to 10, 032 words and called it a night. Back to the daily quota level tonight...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Got 'er up to 9,460 words last night! Whee!

Then looked at my NaNo page and saw that one of my buddies is at 41,000. LOL

Ah well, I'm very happy with my progress so far - I think this is the most I've written for NaNo this early in the month. Must. Keep. Writing!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Came out of the weekend with a total of 7,023 NaNoWriMo words on my novel! And it's been fun! And that is the end of the first chapter. So far, so good.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Yay, 2,001 words accomplished for NaNoWriMo Day One yesterday! Woo hoo! I'm on my way!

And, yes, I did get to have my week in Paris, the first week in October. And yes, I do have tons of stuff to post, and photos to set up in Kodak Gallery. Things take time. I'm still absorbing much of what occurred in Paris. It'll probably be the only time I ever get to go, so I'm savoring all the memories and poring over the changes that magic city initiated in me.

But right now, It's National Novel Writing Month so don't expect much. (No oftener than I post here, I don't reckon you do anyway.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Is this what relaxing feels like?

I spent the weekend repeatedly making myself sit down and do nothing - well, sit down and read for pleasure.

In the months since my husband died I've kept a small but steady series of balls up in the air. I have a list of Things to Do, large projects and small ones, long-term and short-term, for myself, for others, about the house, finances, disposal of things of my husband's in appropriate manners...I keep two or three of them going at a time.

It's not Avoidance (of the pain of grief: in evidence I offer the fact that I do feel it daily, write in my diary about it, talk about it, sometimes wallow in it for short bursts), (of loneliness: I have no troubles with being alone, but I do miss my husband terribly. I "get along" fine on my own, otherwise).

It's just that there are a couple of overarching concerns: #1 that I clear out what I don't need as soon as I am able, timewise, financially, or emotionally so that if anything happens to me, my son isn't stuck dealing with all that excess. God knows he'll have enough to deal with just with the stuff I want to keep and will use! #2 that I maintain the house & yard in good condition for future sale, most probably when I die or if I ever have to move elsewhere.

But last weekend I'd gotten to a kind of coasting place. The two or three Current Projects, I have to wait for others' actions or inputs. I know better than to start another one, that way madness lies. I was caught up with my financial info and obligations; the house was clean; I had no outside committments. It was time to practice Relaxing. Loafing. Sitting around. Reading for pleasure for long periods of time.

I've gotten out of that habit. I don't say that bragging about how hard I work (anyone who knows me that working hard is NOT something I would brag about, lol). It's just that for the past several years, while Hubby's mobility decreased, I picked up most of what he did around the house and yard so that by the time he went into the hospital last spring, I had been pretty much doing everything for a couple of years. I felt guilty if I found myself Just Sitting, because there was always something productive I could be doing. Then, when he was in the hospital those horrible four months, I added a daily visit (weekends: two a day) to the hospital on top of all the house stuff and job. And of course the first few months since he passed away, I've had a few business things to take care of, and to begin to try to figure out what my life will be like now, and in the future.

I've been striving so hard to reach certain goals. One was, get the house cleaned thoroughly, upstairs and down, and get caught up with the laundry. OK. That's done. I've got a baseline to re-start a cleaning schedule so that it never has to wear me completely out. I looked around the place Saturday morning and was a little taken aback: There was nothing much to clean! I went down to the laundry room. There was nothing much to launder! I went up to the den and looked at the hosuehold books. There were no payments due, no money stuff to deal with! It was Saturday morning! Whatever would I do all weekend???

I pledged to myself to Loaf. Read. Snooze. Eat. Loaf Some More. It felt VERY strange. It felt good. I woke up this morning more rested and relaxed than I can ever remember on a Monday morning. And it occurs to me. Life doesn't have to be all stress and pressure. I don't have to constantly feel rushed, obliged, booked, inadequate, behind, tense. Man. That's going to take some getting used to.

Friday, March 16, 2007

In my 20's, I used to yearn - actively - for perspective. I'd be in the middle of some crisis - personal, employment-related, as a mother, a wife, a girlfriend (the latter two never overlapped, I hasten to add) - and in agony I would recall one particular incident when I was maybe 6, staying overnight with my grandma and grandpa (my dad's folks) when I got sick. Vomiting, diarrhea, the whole bit. And my grandma was so placid and competent and gave me such a golden feeling of being cared for with love - and just knowing what to do and what to expect - that even at that young age, I remember thinking: She's been through this raising four kids and it's no big deal and I will be OK. Perspective was the word didn't know when I was six.

I'm fifty-six now, and I finally do have more perspective. I raised a son - as best I knew how - and he's turned out to be a fine man, for which I give him most of the credit. I've been through a divorce, and now I'm learning about widowhood. All those years and joys and mistakes and learning and striving and agonizing have an accumulated weight that seems to stabilize this little boat bobbing on the waves.

I've learned that divorce brings lots else in addition to freedom - including never-vanishing regrets. What I know now is that there are armies of counselors who would have loved to help us, if only we'd know there were out there, and if only we hadn't been so afraid of self-examination. We may have been able to weather the problems, and even have emerged stronger and better people, if we'd known. Our son paid the price. Regrets.

In losing my second husband and in the months of his suffering before he died, I learned that all those things I'd agonized over for so long - all those points of stress and subjects of discord, all the resentments and power struggles - they were nothing - nothing, compared to the depth and strength of our love. They burned away and disappeared like toilet paper in the blast of concern, then fear, then horror when at last it became clear that he wouldn't be coming home. I consider myself so lucky to have been able to let him know in those months, by my actions and words, how much I loved him. I have no regrets on that count. He knew.

In addition to the many things I've learned through this experience, about my husband, myself, and us - I've learned that we have - I have - the best family and friends on Earth. They supported and loved us every step of that cruel path, and continue to do so. I lost my dear husband, but because of family and friends, I count myself among the luckiest of human beings.

Gratitude is the great antidote to so many habits of thinking and feeling that could twist and stain and cripple my life. Resentment, envy, feelings of inadequacy, fear - all of these are parts of my personality and - [checking...] - yes, daily I grapple with every one of them. But thanks to my husband and years of honest effort on my part, I have the tools that help me work through them. I cannot ever take it for granted that I'll succeed. Every rearing of one of those ugly heads requires my serious and honest confrontation. I don't imagine that I am always - or ever - 100% successful. But this blessed perspective helps me keep both my successes and failures to a human - not an overwhelming -scale. I have learned to judge when it's appropriate to forgive myself, and when I need to work harder.

It's funny - I had no idea what I was doing, in my 20's, in the thrashings of emotion and usually self-inflicted crisis - but in yearning for perspective, I was wishing for exactly the right thing.

I am so, so lucky.