Monthly Archives: February 2016

February Goal Recap

goalsEvery month I have been setting a handful of goals for myself for the month.  I share these on Listing Lists.

Things I’m Working On In February, is where I shared my February goals.  Take a moment to go read over my goals.  I’ll wait.

Now, here is how well I fared on them:

  1.  I did cook some this month.  I did not make any Candied Orange Peels.  I did bake more bread.  I made cupcakes from scratch, that didn’t turn out so well.  And I make chocolate chip cookies that were EXCELLENT.  (and they are also gone.  lol)
  2. I did not start my new blog.  I can’t settle on a name for it.  The name I really wanted (Simple Happy Home).  I’m also playing with the idea of buying some hosting and trying a wordpress blog to see if the earning potential is any higher.
  3.   I didn’t do any more cleaning of my desk drawers.  In fact, the top of my desk is a hot mess, an avalanche just waiting to happen.On the bright side, none of the drawers I already cleaned have gotten any new junk thrown in them, so they are still clean.
  4. Likewise I didn’t touch my bookshelves at all.  And the mess is overflowing off of my book  shelf onto the tiny shelf in front of it that we put our library books (and dvds) on to keep them separate from the rest of our books.
  5.   I also did not get anything listed in my etsy shop.Every time I would think about sitting down to make something, those horrible little critics in my head started their “nobody is going to buy this” chatter.  So I never did make anything to list.

So, there you go, what happened with my “To Do”  list for February.

I’m a little sad that I only accomplished 1 out of 5 goals this past month.

Keep your eyes peeled for a list of goals for March on Listing Lists

(image used from morguefile.com.)

Image

Anybody Any Minute

Anybody Any Minute by Julie MarsTonight I set aside the book I’ve been trying to struggle through (Wreck and Order) and picked up one of my recent library check outs.

This book, called Anybody Any Minute, is about a woman who impulsively buys an old run down farm house (on a credit card!).  She tells her husband she is going to spend the summer there.

So far she has moved into the farm house and has had a whole chain of bad things happening.  Not BAD bad, but the sort of bad things you would expect from a farmhouse that has sat empty for 7 years.  Including leaky roofs and resident bats.

She has lived in New York for all of her adult live, and thrived off the hustle and bustle of the city.  Her first weekend at her new house she has no electricity, no phone (set in the early 90s, cell phones were not a prevalent thing), no running water.  She can’t even just use the toilet!  And her husband, a man of routine, isn’t answering his phone!

From the characters I’ve met so far in this book I think I’m going to like it a lot.

I like “fix it” stories.  And this one sort of runs parallel to what i want in my life right now.  A farmhouse and some land, leaving the city behind, leaving my life, as it currently is, behind.

Since I just started reading I’m not sure how this tale will end.  Will she go home to her husband and the city?  Will her husband come to live with her at her new farm house?  Will the couple end up splitting up amicably?

Clearly she needed some distance from her husband, though they love each other.  They have had a rocky marriage, but have made it work for so long, will it really just fizzle out?

I’m kind of hoping he will end up shrugging off his own city life and coming to love her new home and coming to live with her.

But until I find out I’m looking forward to watching this city girl find her way in this small town, with its local inhabitants, as she tries to find her place in the town, and in the world.

Wish a little Wish

Has your whole life become a series of wants and wishes?

Dandelion Wishes

Image used from morguefile.com

When I was a child we used to say that if you made a wish and blew on a dandelion puff that the wish would come true if you could blow all of the seeds off with one breath.

Also, any unique old bottles found had the sweet promise of the possibility of a genie inside.

Wish. Want.  Dream.

All of my life I have been chasing wishes.

People often say that if you want it hard enough and work hard enough that you can make your own dreams come true.  I tend to disagree.

But maybe that is just because I’m a failure at life.

Other people give rousing speeches about how they started at the bottom.  Now they are famous actors, actresses, sports stars with multiples mansions and holiday homes in Europe.

I started at the bottom and have barely pulled myself halfway out of the hole that life plopped me into.

*sigh*

Can you tell I’m not in a place of light and sunshine tonight?

There are so many physical things I want.  So many things, less physical, that I wish were different in my life.

And what those two things have in common is that they will never become mine.  Those wants and those wishes are just the daydreams of a poor child who still blows on dandelion puffs and rubs bottles.

Life is what you make of it, people say.

Well, you can hand someone a pile of poo and tell them to make a chocolate pie with it, and the result might look like chocolate, but if you smell it or taste it you know exactly what you get.

Or, as my granny used to tell me, “Wish in one hand and spit in the other, see which one gets full first.”

Through the Looking Glass Darkly

Today I was thinking about how so many children today seem to have lost their sense of wonder.

The thought came to me as I was reading Go Set a Watchman today.  In a flashback in the novel a young Scout is afraid she is pregnant.

At her age in this novel children today would have no fear that a tongue kiss would make them pregnant, because they would know all about how babies are created.

But that is not the only place where wonderment is missing.

I will show my son things I find in nature.  I have shown him a feather, an interesting rock, the shell of a cicada left behind when it molted.  To me, at his age (he is six) those were amazing treasures.

He did briefly collect red leaves in a box, but even grew out of that.

His wonder is in the screen.  Right now he is obsessed with Minecraft.

Last night his dad had the TV and he couldn’t play.  He was wandering around huffy and puffy.  I asked him what was wrong he said, “I don’t know anything to do!”

“Boy!” I told him, “You have a whole room full of toys back there, don’t tell me you don’t have anything to do.”

Which is not to say that I didn’t say the same thing when I was his age.  I was bored plenty. But I didn’t have cable tv.  I didn’t have video games.  I didn’t have cartoons at my fingertips, or a whole room of gizmos and gadgets.  I had a few toys, a few books, and the whole wide world outside.

As an adult I want to go back to childhood.

I look at the world through a glass darkly.  I want to be able to look at it through the looking glass again instead.

Image in this post is a poster from amazon.com.  Click it if you think you’d like to purchase it!

Don’t Tell me to Smile

Have you noticed that people are not allowed to be unhappy, not even in the least.

In fact, if you are a female, you are not even allowed to have a “resting” face.  Don’t beleive me?  Think back on how many times you’ve been told to smile.  For no reason other than because you were not smiling.

Some people say that smiling, whether you feel like it or not, can actually make you BE happer.

This is not always the case.

Studies have shown that people who smile not because they are happy, but JUST to mask their more negative emotions, begin to associte smiling with UNHAPINESS.

Through research this study found that people who did not usually smile when they were happy actually felt WORSE when they smile more frequently.   The people who often smiled when happy felt better when they smiled.

So, if you are natural smiler then smiling can possibly make you feel better.  But if you’re natural inclination isn’t to break a huge grin every chance you get, then forcing yourself to smile will make your mood worse, not better.

Not to mention, when someone tells you to smile it is USUALLY a guy telling a woman to smile.

Why?

Because a smile is more pleasant for them to look at.

Yep, the guy wants you to smile, because HE thinks you look better when you smile and HE wants something easy on the eyes.  It’s not really about caring for the well being of the non-smiling person.  It’s all about desire and attraction.

If you really do care for someone and want them to be happier, then just commanding them to smile isnt the solution.

What do you do?

Don’t say, “You’d be happier if you smiled” or “You’d be pretty if you’d smile.” you should do something FOR them to make them smile.

Give them a compliment.  Give them a gift.  Tell them a joke.  Do something to brighten their day and EARN that smile.

Questions, and How they help you write

The world is full of questions.  Everyone has them.  Some questions are deep.  Other questions are shallow.  But every question, every single question, has the same roots.

Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
How?

That is what I was taught once upon a time a long, long time ago in grade school.

I think it was English class, which would make sense.  Because you have to answer all, or most, of those questions to write anything.

Who are you writing about?  What are they doing? When did they do it?  Where did they do it?  Why did they do it?  How did they do it?

“What?” is also the basis of most fiction tales.  An author will be doing whatever it is that he/she does and an idea will come to them.

“What if…?”

From there they blanks will be filled in of the other questions.

Fiction writers and bloggers have this in common.

They have to take these bland questions, and turn them into something entertaining that someone will want to read.

For example, “For dessert my son had pudding. He ate it in his high chair, with his hands.” covers all the questions.

Who? My son.
What? Pudding
When? Tonight
Where? His high chair.
Why? For dessert
How? With his hands.

It tells you exactly what happened, but not with any attention to detail.  Nothing to set a scene.  Nothing to make a reader say, “that was interesting.  I wonder what else happens in this persons life?”

As a blogger it is important to flesh out your stories, even if you are writing about an item you are trying to get someone to buy.

You want to give the reader more, to make them want more, to make them come back.

See the example below as a slightly more fleshed out example (though even it is rough and needs more work.)

—-

puddingMy son had trouble eating his supper tonight.  He has a snotty nose, and would chew a little, the
n open his mouth to take a breath. Chew a little and breath again.

He gave up on supper and was very upset and crying.

We decided to let him skip supper for the most part, but still give him dessert.  He likes chocolate pudding, and pudding is pretty easy to eat without having to chew.

So we put him in his high chair and gave him a pudding cup and a spoon.  He knows how to use a spoon.  He’s pretty good at it.

But this was PUDDING!

He put the spoon aside and had his hands crammed down in that pudding cup.  It looked like he was wearing chocolate gloves.  And of course it was smeared all over his mouth too.

—-

Now, do you have a story to tell, but you’re unsure how to start?  Go ask yourself those 6 questions, then fill in the blanks, and flesh it out.

Evoking Emotion

As a writer, I want to evoke emotion in my reader.

What I’m often going for is humor.  I like to make people smile.  I love to make people laugh.  I never was the class clown, but in my circle of friends there are people who think I’m pretty funny.

I try to bring out my humor in my writing.  But humor writing is hard.  You don’t have the same inflection as you do when you are actually speaking.  People might not pick up my sarcasm in writing where they would hear it in person.

Sometimes I want to evoke a different emotion in my readers.  I want them to feel the same outrage and anger that I do on certain subjects.

You would think that would be easier than humor.  The world seems on edge today, ready willing and able to be outraged.  Except the things that outrage me don’t seem to outrage other people as much.

Instead of feeling my outrage they sometimes tell me I’m being “too sensitive.”

I try to make my readers feel sympathy sometimes.  Usually for myself.

Yeah, I fish for feel good comments when I’m feeling particularly depressed.  Why?

Because just as I try to evoke emotions in my readers, my readers can also bring emotions to me with their words.

A supportive word can uplift me.

Having someone tell me something I’ve written was funny will make me happy.

Having someone agree with my anger and outrage on a subject makes me feel validation.

Yes, blogging is a 2 way street.  You GIVE to your readers, and in return you RECEIVE from your commentors.  (Not all readers are commentors.  Not all commentors are regualr readers.)

Blogging is the height of faceless communication in the modern world.

I wonder what the next generation will bring

What platform will they use to evoke their own emotions.

This post was inspired by a prompt from journalwild.com