Over the last few weeks as people have been decompressing their Round 3 achievements or opportunities, and preparing for Round 4, it seemed I was not the only one who felt they fell short of what they wanted to accomplish. I believe the phrase Gene used was “Chaos happens.”
Even our fearless founding leader, Kait, struggled with balancing the day job and the writing – though the outcome for her word count was tremendous and she deserves a medal!
So while I thought I was a big slacker niblet noob (yah, I’m owning that phrase), turns out, I wasn’t alone! Many of you, through Facebook and my blog, shared your own “chaos theories” and barriers that made round 3 not as momentous as we all would have liked. But in keeping with last week’s theme, it’s all about the learning lessons.
So I’m challenging myself to do things differently for Round 4.
The definition of stupidity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
I’ve never claimed the title Stupid. Disgustingly and annoyingly persistent perhaps, but I’ve synonymed it: Perseverance! And I’m also really good at taking liberty with parts of speech, like say turning a noun into a verb! See my talent abound!
Ok, back to ROW80! I am a people person. I am inspired by people – things they say, questions they ask, stories they share. Many of us are in ROW80 because we have a support system here where people will empathize with us through the hard times and scream and cheer with us through the good ones! Since this round is going to be a much smaller set of goals for me, I want to use my time to highlight MORE OF YOU!
Every week, I’m going to call out a Role Model of ROW80! And this week’s winners of Fame and (no) Fortune are Kait Nolan and Gene Lempp. You can read their specific ROW posts by clicking the links at the top of this post, but these will take you to their blogs as well! Kait and Gene are both honest and incredibly helpful individuals who dedicate as much time to their writing as is humanely possible. But both know that life does get in the way. I’m really psyched for the two of them and their new strategies to accomplish their Round 4 goals.
For me, they gave two big takeaways that will help me set my goals:
- Writing everyday is not realistic for us all.
- When you know “Life” is going to drop you into an Indiana Jones movie set and watch you run, set small, achievable goals.
Thank you Kait and Gene for those stellar bits of advice! I was racking my brain trying to discern how I would tackle writing every day or setting big goals for ROW when I’m working 12+ hour days, and will be throughout the holidays. The writing plan that works best for me now is maximizing my precious days off to work on writing and crank out the: blog posts, plotting, journaling, WIP – whatever needs to get out.
As an example, Kait set a goal for herself to write 2/3rds of the days of the month (or 20 out of 30 days) which allots her days of guilt free reality check happiness, yet also demonstrates she’s a lean, mean (not really) writing machine!
And Gene shared that he combats life interruptions by breaking his goals down into weekly goals, and then into tiny bite size daily goals. He’s able to keep ongoing track of his accomplishments and opportunities and adjust as needed.
That fact alone is why you all need to be friends with Gene. He is excellent at calming the jittery, wide-eyed faces of a writer in meltdown. I shall now refer to him in all future posts as Gene Lempp, The Writer Whisperer.
So, taking what I learned from this week’s Role Models of ROW, I shall create a weekly plan of what I want to accomplish but give myself the wiggle room to know it may not happen every day. Which reminds me of something else Gene taught me, and has since become the mantra for my life – See what I mean…The Writer Whisperer! Gene reminds me from time to time that I may not be moving as fast as I’d like to, but I am still moving forward. One day at a time, right?!
- Read one chapter of Stephen King’s On Writing
- Finish reading Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer – prepare to discuss with Great New Books
- Journal something – I have a lot to get off my mind and this process helps.
- Blog ahead 3 posts.
Your turn! What are the big takeaways you’re implementing this ROW80 round? Who’s been a role model for you? Please share a link for that person, I’d love to meet them! What are the focuses this week on your goal list?
One of my favorite things about Halloween is the costumes! I love any chance to dress up. Don’t believe me? I’ve been twitter organizing the Life List Club members to be classic horror flick monsters. Picture it: Marcia Richards as Morticia from the Addams Family, David Walker as the Wolfman, Gary Gauthier as Dracula, Pam Hawley as The Fly, and if I get to be the Madeline Kahn version from Young Frankenstein, then I’ll play the Bride of Frankenstein. Gene Lempp, our honorary LLC member, offered to be Frankie himself. So, Sonia, Jennie B., Lyn, and Jenny H….it’s only a matter of time, choose your monster, or I’ll choose one for you! LOL
Over the years I’ve had to get pretty creative with my costumes. My parents didn’t believe in buying ready made costumes; whatever we wanted to be we had to make it ourselves. I’m pretty sure that’s why we have a family photo of me as a fairy wearing my Easter dress and a turquoise tinsel wig, my brother is a bum with a drawn-in mustache and pillowcase sack, and my sister is Charlie Chaplin.
The plus side of homemade costumes is that you have to think outside the box, be creative, inventive and resourceful. All qualities that I, your perseverance expert, feel I have. Just look at my Halloween costumes the last five years and you’ll see it!
Lion: In 2006, I was supporting myself in my first year living off campus. I had three jobs, paid my own bills, and bought my own groceries. Money was precious. So when Halloween rolled around, I went simple: Lion. I curled my hair, balled up two buns and made ears, wore the only brown clothes in my closet, and drew some whiskers. Bam! I mean, RAWR! When in doubt, or poor, go for the animal trend, it is always in style.
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The next year I went as one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. You can’t read it, but in that photo, I was “hanging up my shingle.” The magic of a costume is in its details. I bought the skirt, shawl, and my “medicine bag” at a local thrift shop. While my friends that year dressed up as Unicorns, Corpse Brides, and Playboy Bunnies, I couldn’t have been happier rocking my Dr. Mike outfit. Passion, confidence, and a heart full of fun can make your night on the town all the better.
The Incredible Hulk: Ok, so this year obviously needs a backstory. I
was am still working my butt off, supporting myself. And this year, Halloween sort of crept up on me. Before I knew it, the day had arrived and I still didn’t have a costume. I worked in the morning, and then ran to the store to scope out the remaining costumes. *gasp* I know, this was the only year I bought a pre-made costume. Problem was, I’m petite and all the adult costumes left were like XXL. But Perseverance Experts know how to improvise! This is child’s Incredible Hulk costume that I stuffed my body into. I had to buy some green tights and a longsleeve green shirt to wear underneath. I also had to cut the neckline open to breath and I ripped several seams throughout the night, but I was a hit! Strangers got their picture with me! So I say, if you’re in a hurry, seek out your inner superhero.
Medusa: Now this costume is a particular fave. As a kid we learn the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Why not do this with costumes too? I borrowed this one from my sister who made it with her husband the previous year. The dress is a simple sheet material toga with some gold jewelry. Then buy a bulk bag of toy snakes that wiggle or bend and spray paint them green. Adhere snakes to a wire cap, and place over a fabric cap for comfort. Don’t look now, you just got the evil eye from Medusa! Every time I moved my snakes moved with me and people oohed and aahed all night. Dancing was a little tricky, but totally worth it!
Mrs. Peacock: Last year’s costume was a group effort because more heads are better than one. A friend and I went to the thrift store and held our own “supermodel documentary hour,” AKA fashion show with the craziest dresses we could find. Suddenly the idea hit me. The cast of the board game CLUE. I purchased the perfectly peacock colored dress with the feather sleeves. I went to the craft store and bought a pack of peacock feathers for my hair and made earrings. I borrowed the belt, glasses, and wrench from friends. This was a great ensemble idea and friends felt like part of team!
So there you have a brief history of costume advice from your perseverance expert. I’ll bet you have more clever ideas. Tell me, what have been your favorite Halloween costumes over the years? Do you make your own, recycle with friends, or elaborate on pre-made? No matter how you style up, have fun…or else! It was Mrs. Peacock with the wrench in the blogosphere!
Hello Friends! It’s the second edition of the guest blogs from the newly formed Life List Club. I have to give a big thank you to everyone who read, commented, tweeted, and emailed their encouragement and interest in the Life List Club. To date, we’ve established 12 writers who will be guest posting every other Friday, but the club keeps growing. We encourage everyone to make your own Life List and post it on your blog! Check out our 12 featured writers’ Life Lists in the blogroll on my sidebar. We’re all blogging today and would love your feedback.
Today, I’m blogging over at Jennie Bennett’s blog, talking about relationships. *Gulp* Jennie is a fellow bookworm and busy mom carving out some space to write in, so definitely go check out her blog! And I’m pleased to host Emily Moir, a newcomer blogger working on a fantasy series with a beautiful title: Chronicles of the Gossamer Dreams. Welcome, Emily!
Earn Your Scars and Wear Them With Pride
My sister Sara is one of the most insanely motivated people on the planet. I don’t know how she does it, and personally I think it’s unnatural. She must secretly be an alien from an advanced race, but the woman gets what she wants. Sara does cross fit because she wants to be healthier, stronger and of course look amazing. Her instructor breaks her at every session. And I mean literally breaks her. In one of her latest classes they were doing pull ups and crazy moves involving a pull up bar. The skin on her hand broke open, a nice big tear right across the palm. Sara laughed it off and finished the workout. She proudly displayed her first tear and wore it as a badge of achievement.
When I hear something like this it makes me ask what have I given to achieve what I want? What scars have I earned in the process? MOST IMPORTANTLY: How have they made me stronger?
Whatever we suffer to achieve our goals, it is always worth it for the strength it gives us. Our scars may not be tears in the skin, or even something visible. If you’ve ever read one of her rejection letters or studied her life story, you would know that Emily Dickinson was definitely a woman with scars. But she gave so much love to her poems that even her death couldn’t stop them from coming forward and changing the world of poetry forever. Socrates died for philosophies that shaped the western world. If you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that achieving your goals would change the world for good, ensure your infamy, or even just inspire those you love to lead more fulfilling lives, what would you give for it? Going back to my sister, it may seem the motivation behind driving herself to exercise so hard is selfish; however, her daughter ran four laps doing the stadium stairs at the track the other day. That child will live a healthier, stronger life because of the example her mother is setting. I’d say that’s worth a tear in the hand.
Thank you Jess for having me on your wonderful blog.
Emily has lived in Utah for nearly twenty years, and in the Tooele area for about fifteen of those years. When not writing, she can be found with her nose in a book, lurking around the movie theaters or out enjoying nature. Emily primarily writes fantasy, short psychological-horror, and humorous articles. She is currently writing a fantasy series entitled The Chronicles of the Gossamer Dreams and encourages everyone to visit her blog and keep their eyes peeled for more information.
My bloggy friend, Madge, more commonly known as author Margaret Reyes Dempsey over at her blog, couldn’t believe that a girl who solved her problems with bologna sandwiches came from a family who owned a restaurant! So, I’m here today to state the facts.
Fact #1. Yes, I had a moment of weakness where I ate a bologna sandwich and drank Chardonnay after a bad day. My only fault was blogging about it (with picture evidence, no less) because now I’ll never live it down.
Fact #2. My family owned a Steak House for 16 years. I thought the place was my free-for-all and walked around like I owned the joint, grabbing grape soda from the bar fridge and hoarding plates of my dad’s AMAZING homemade cheese spread. I was in a sense, raised by a group of cooks and waitresses who let me help make cole slaw. In fact, the waitresses at our restaurant were actually the ones that named me! I’m not sure if that’s a charming trait, or a reality check that my mother was about to have kid #4 and just didn’t care anymore. (Just kidding, mom, I know you love me!)
Fact #3. My parents have two cooking styles. My mom (apart from salads and desserts) basically made the same meals for dinner on some kind of rotation. Baked chicken, meatloaf, chow mein, CHILI MAC (my fav.), and my least favorite, goulash. Who would like something named goulash? It tastes like it sounds. 😛 My dad, on the other hand, will make a variety of dishes, but he’ll also make them for 50+ people. After graduation, my dad enlisted in the Navy, and was the cook on ship during his service. Add that to years of restaurant managing, and you have a man who inevitably will buy one chicken and make you chicken, yes, but also chicken soup and chicken salad and chicken and rice and chicken tiramisu! Ok, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. How was I, the youngest, supposed to learn to cook in a house with a mother whose idea of taco salad was crumbling doritos on lettuce or a father who never measured a thing and made quantities for storage in a bomb shelter?
Fact #4. In college, I survived on pasta and frozen vegetables. My initial attempts at cooking were described as “palatable” and “finger food” by parties subjected to taste testing. I think back on my attempts to make my own coconut milk as creative! And so what if I was terrible at following directions and charred many a batch of cookies! It was the effort that counts, right?
Fact #5. I eventually learned to cook. I chalk it up to the wonderful gift of Simple and Delicious Magazine my mother gave me after graduation. Simple and delicious, you say? That’s my kind of meal! So get ready folks, I’m sharing with you two amazing recipes that will make dinner feel like summer’s finally here! These dishes were so scrumptious, even as leftovers! My honey and I really enjoyed them. Both were so flavorful, the burgers had a great little kick to them, and this potato salad was the best potato salad I’ve ever eaten!
Prep time: 30 min. Yield 10 sliders
1 pkg. (12 oz.) Hawaiian sweet rolls
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 tsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, divided
1-1/2 lbs ground beef
10 slices pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup mayo
Place 2 rolls in a food processor; process until crumbly. Transfer to a large bowl; add the salt, pepper, and 6 tsp chipotle peppers. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 10 patties.
Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Top with cheese. Grill 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted.
Split remaining rolls and grill, cut side down, over medium heat for 30-60 seconds or until toasted. Combine mayonnaise and remaining chipotle peppers; spread over roll bottoms. Top each with a burger. Replace roll tops.
Golden Potato Salad by Linda Behrman in North Merrick, New York
Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 15 min + cooling Yield: 10 servings
2-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 small red onion
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup mayo
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 Tbsp mustard seed
3 tsp snipped, fresh dill (I used dried)
1-1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the red pepper, onion, carrot and potatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, mustard, mustard seed, 2 tsp dill, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over potato mixture; gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining dill. Refrigerate until serving.
Are your taste buds watering? What yummy dishes have you made to kick off summer? Who taught you to cook? Have you ever tried to make your own coconut milk? It’s hard, isn’t it?
I’m back on the northern side of the Mississippi! Amazingly, I’m alive somehow. As luck would have it the adventures of this redhead were nothing along the disappointing avenue, rather they were at times too colorful for me imagine. Before you all start conjuring up images of me in some drive-up daquiri daze on Bourbon St., let me clarify. I was not drunk.
And any pictures that do make their way into this blog post were taken post day one, which was so terrifying I didn’t take a single shot.
I’ll back up. I was in New Orleans last week. I went to visit my best friend from High School who I haven’t seen in 5 years. Exciting, right? Sorry to disappoint again, readers, this post will not be a blast from the past or a list of Top 10 Things To Do With Your Bestie. I’m going to tell you how to survive on your own for a week in New Orleans living like a kinda local.
Rule #1: Though you’ve planned this vacation months in advance, you’re friend will be working all week long. So get used to asking for directions.
Rule #2: Those preemptive extra bottles of contact solution, hand sanitizer, and 2.5 ounces of shampoo will NOT save you from the Louisiana heat wave! Or from the constant smell of sweat and piss both inside and out.
Rule #3: When your friend says he’s arranged for transportation, you might want to check the measurements and pack any necessary safety features that aren’t otherwise included. For example, my friend gave me a bike to ride, but it was too tall, and made for boys, so naturally, I fell…A LOT. I wished I had a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, shin guards, and yes, a giant padded diaper around my ass, because I was in immense pain after day 1 and illustrated bruises I didn’t know were possible.
Rule #4: Learn how the locals eat, and react calmly. If timing isn’t your host’s forte’, you may want to snack in the kitchen or dig in immediately when the food is done and just be that person, because what my midwest manners did instead was wait until everything was ready and set out on the porch, which then consequently became COVERED in flies, and I don’t know if you’re aware but flies VOMIT every time they land. It’s true. I took science.
Rule #5: It’s not a joke when they say there are sharks in the water. When your friend tells you we’re all gonna go swimming in Lake Ponchartrain and how it’s a salt water lake that bull sharks go to breed in, don’t laugh, he’s telling the truth, though you won’t learn this until you later jokingly ask a cab driver and he confirms it.
Rule #6: Don’t mess with the police. So, if Lake Ponchartrain happens to be closed, and you have to hop a fence, trip through some thicket and steak out a hidden corner of beach to go swimming, it probably means the police will be MAD if they find you there. Especially if they find you hiding in the thicket.
Rule #7: Bike rides aren’t for wimps in New Orleans. Again with the bike, you say? How bad could it be? It was BAD, ya’ll! Several of our gang were falling off their bikes and hitting pavement hard. There were busy streets, scary potholes, and loose gravel. One member got separated from the group and was run down by a car yelling obscene comments. She walked home with her bike and a badly cut arm.
Rule #8: If in the morning you feel like crying and going IMMEDIATELY back to the airport after such a first day in a new city and you’ve slept all night on a pillow that stinks like B.O., just know you’re not alone. I’m right there with ya. And I’m here, alive, with no current police record, to tell you that New Orleans was ok. Laissez le bon tou roulez!
Stay tuned for more of my epic adventure! What have you all been up to? I missed you guys!
There has been an outburst of talented and thought provoking blogging lately! Or as Clay Morgan from Educlaytion calls it, Posts That Pop! I’ve been trying to get my maximum dosage of great bloggers this week as I will be out of town on vacation next week! I’m headed to New Orleans, LA to see my best friend from High School! So, I won’t be around to regale you all with stories of bad eating habits, getting lost, injuring myself, or otherwise fascinatingly frightening moments that encompass my life…for at least a week.
Here are my favorite, most thought provoking posts of the week! Take your time, enjoy, stop back and say hi, and I’ll see you all in a week’s time!
Posts on Writing:
Rachelle Gardner on E-book Publishing Effect on Readers
Anne R. Allen on The Reality of Writer’s Block, Don’t Bully Your Muse
Kristen Lamb on Reality Deficit Disorder, Why Writing Can Make Us Crazy
Katie Ganshert on Setting Realistic Goals for Improving Your Writing
Posts with Humor:
Elizabeth S. Craig on 8 Things You Need to Know About Living With a Writer
Clay Morgan on School Picture Day: What Happened To Me?
Mission: Unearth the desk that once was.
The thing about fracturing your nose is you have a lot of time to spend at home. And since I spent the whole holiday weekend watching marathons of Arrested Development, Sex in the City, and Four Weddings while icing my face, things needed to change.
My first day back at work was embarrassing, to be sure. I refused to tell anyone how I fractured my nose, and then thought better and used it as a sales tactic. Ok, everyone, if we make our credit goal by 4pm, I’ll tell you how I injured myself. It worked. Who knew public humiliation could make a successful business ploy? I guess it’s simple supply and demand economics. I supply the shiny cut across my nose, partial black eye and look of shame, they demand a story. I demand 7 credit cards by 4, they supply the accounts. Nice work team. Happy to have made this arrangement.
So, after a semi-humiliating day at work, I needed to do something that felt like progress could once again take place in my life. I did all my laundry, got it folded in the dresser and hung in the closet. I organized my make up drawer, mostly out of procrastination. And finally decided, I’m going to tackle my out of control desk.
One full garbage bag later, desktops were cleared, bills were filed, library books found, grocery lists moved to the kitchen, nail polish put away, and 12¢ was recovered.
*sigh* I feel better already. Operation Write Space is successful and I’m off to write right now!
What missions are you working on in life this week?
To the left, is the map of the main trails in Hixon Forest, which surrounds the beautiful bluffs and Mississippi River in the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The map is color coded. The green trail=easy, yellow=medium, and red=hard. My boyfriend is pointing out the nice yellow trail that follows along the river. The record must state that I said I wanted a bluffside view. So, we took the squiggly red line.
The squiggly red line was called the TNT Trail, and apparently, its for mountain bikers. We hiked it on foot.
If you ignore the foolish expression of fun on my face, you are wise. I however was not so wise. Our journey began safely enough. You can see the trail initially was clear, wide, and for the most part, smooth.
Oh, and that canteen in my hand, it’s full of red wine. Because if you’re going to start hiking up a cliff in the middle of the woods at 7:30 at night, you may as well get a little tipsy doing it.
We even found a cool looking cave thing!
And I climbed part of it! See, still smiling! Hiking is so much fun!
Now we get to the turning point in our adventure. You see, we reached the end of the TNT trail. We made it to the top. Unfortunately folks, this was a bum climax to our hike. The trail end took us to the city limits, we pretty much ended up in a cul de sac. And, no lookout point from the bluffs, we were in a field surrounded by trees. At this point, I I started kicking stuff and screaming “Where’s my rewarding view? I wanted a cliffside view! All I can see is someone’s driveway! What a rip!” So, the currently optimistic boyfriend, and I, started our trek back down the trail. The thing about trails is there’s usually a couple places where you have to choose which trail to stick with. We could go back the way we came. Or we could try an adventure and take a different trail! You’ll notice in the photograph, the trail is becoming much less easy to identify.
We climbed up something that looked like this.
And we got a view that looked like this!
I don’t know if you can tell by how dark the photos are becoming, but the sun was setting. And the record must state that my boyfriend didn’t want to climb up this cliff. I was the one who thought we had plenty of time, and wanted to see the city from the top of the bluff. A bluff, I should define for those who are unfamiliar, is basically a small mountain. On our journey back down another new trail, we came across several hitches.
Are trails supposed to look like this? Hmm, guess the city hasn’t cleared them all since the rain and the flooding and paths being washed out and all. *shrug*
This is where the photography stops, team. From here on out, survival became more important. At one point, my boyfriend said, “It’s a good thing you brought your purse. Now if we get all 127 hours out here, I can cut your arm off for you.” I was not amused.
The trail we were on got REALLY steep. To the point where I was crab walking down the side of it, trying to add a little extra traction. My boyfriend actually fell down the hill and into a tree, scraping his leg badly. It was growing darker and darker.
I really thought we were ok. A little sore, needed to move faster, sure, but I thought we were ok. Then, the trail just stopped. One minute we were on a dirt path, the next it turns into some kind of raveen covered in broken logs and limbs and leaves. And this was all about the same time the sun vanished!
Things were said. Things that came from my boyfriend that sounded a lot like, “I’m not happy.” And “I don’t like this.”
I hoped he would be the leader. Nope. I’d pushed him beyond his limits. It became very clear that I was going to have to figure a way out. With no idea where the car was from where we were, and since we had no flashlight and it was really dark, the plan became to head toward what little light showed through the trees on a far side and get to the highway where we could follow the road back to our car. However, that route led us to a giant rock wall.
The second route we took led to my boyfriend falling for the second time. Only it wasn’t a slide fall, it was a climbing over a tree trunk, grabbing onto a tree branch, and having it snap beneath you so you face plant into the ground covered in debris. When his breath returned, and I finished apologizing, we tried another route.
Finally, after a half hour of deep, meaningful prayer, my boyfriend said, “Is that our car?”
I started clapping and running towards it. We didn’t talk on the drive home. We didn’t talk when I started up a warm shower and got the Neosporin out. We didn’t talk while my boyfriend got a shot glass and a large bottle of gin from the kitchen.
But hey, we’re alive! And I did get us out eventually! Here’s hoping he’ll laugh about it tomorrow.
What’s the most exciting thing that happened to you this weekend?