Story A Day Challenge – Day 5 – The Assignment

For today’s prompt, which can be found here, I decided to once again not go too literal, but more literal than yesterday. My mind is on my middle grade fairy story lately so I reworked a scene from it. Tommie the fairy’s assignment is to cheer up a depressed troll (with Levi’s help). When trolls get upset, things often get destroyed. Hope you enjoy. Nox is my favorite character of all time.

The Assignment

Tommie and Levi followed the trail of blackened and destroyed trees looking for the fairy’s assignment. They heard her before they saw her. The troll made the most horrid sound. It was a loud, piercing screech. Tommie felt like her ears were going to burst as she got nearer. She stopped and translocated ear plugs for them both.

“Stay hidden until I get her to stop.” Levi crouched down behind a bush as Tommie walked up behind the troll. She sent a spurt of magic into the most recently burned tree and repaired it. “Hey, troll, why are you harming the forest?”

The troll spun around, startled. “Who are you?”

Tommie gasped. The troll was beautiful. Since trolls were always ugly, she was shocked. “Wow, you’re really pretty,” she blurted. “I’ve never seen a pretty troll before.”

The troll’s face went from surprised to sad and she started screeching again.

“Stop that!” Tommie yelled. “Your cry is absolutely awful, you’re going to pop my eardrums.”

The troll stopped crying and sniffled. “Do you really think so?”

“Yes it’s the worst I’ve ever heard.”

The other girl smiled. “Thank you.”

Tommie signaled for Levi to come out.

The troll watched him approach with narrowed eyes. “Do you think I’m pretty boy?”

Levi nodded. “But your breath is truly horrid. Please don’t face me when you talk.”

The troll blushed with evident pleasure.

“So why you’re destroying trees and scaring the wildlife away?” Tommie asked.

“Wait, I scared the animals?” At Tommie’s nod the troll pumped her fist in the air. “I didn’t mean to scare them but it helps that I did. I don’t really want to hurt the forest but I’m so sad.”


“It’s how you reacted when you saw me. The only thing you noticed was my beauty. You weren’t even scared.”

“Why is that be a problem?”

“Because I’m a troll. Trolls aren’t pretty, we are scary, mean, and evil tempered. Everything and everyone flees from us. Except, not from me. I don’t scare most people. The others of my kind think I’m hideous and I’m tired of not being a good troll.”

“Not a good troll? Nonsense. I’ve never heard a troll with a worse cry!” Tommie exclaimed.

Levi shook his head. “And if someone is trapped by your beauty, then they can’t escape your breath. You’re the perfect troll. You’re like a stealth troll, a ninja.”

The troll’s mouth dropped open. “I’ve never thought of it like that before. One time I tried to scare some water nymphs. No one ever told me they can’t resist beauty. I couldn’t get them to leave me alone until I ran away from the river. It never occurred to me to lure them over to scare them. I’ll have to think more about this.” She grabbed Levi’s hand and shook it. “I’m Nox.”

Tommie and Levi introduced themselves.

“Why are you here anyway?”

As Tommie explained her assignment she went back to fixing the trees. She knew it could get her in trouble but she couldn’t bear to see them in such a sorry state. When she finished the job she sat down next to the troll. Levi was describing how he and Tommie had met.

“I asked the council to let me be a fairy godmother but they turned me down. I got them to agree to let me help Tommie though,” the boy explained.

“Why won’t they let you be a fairy godmother? What right to they have to tell you what you can and can’t do?” The troll’s expression was indignant. “I’ve decided we’re all friends now. There is someone you need to meet who can help us figure this out.” She stood and walked away.

Levi turned to Tommie. “Um?”

“Just follow her, she’s claimed us as friends and you never want to tell a troll no. Let’s go.”

Tommie was very curious. If Nox could help Levi become a godmother it was worth trying.

The Prompt

Your character is alone in the woods and finds blighted trees, drooping plants…rot and slime everywhere. It once was beautiful but overnight is turning into a swamp–its not natural. Your character must get to the bottom of this and stop it before something they love very much is threatened also.

It’s funny but every day I read the prompt and think I’ll never come up with anything. Then after a few minutes of overthinking I calm down and ideas pop in my head. I’ve even managed to write two extra flash fiction pieces in the last few days. If you are a writer and not already doing this challenge I strongly advise you to give it a try. It’s worth it!

Below is a colored pencil sketch my daughter did of Nox.

Rough draft 662 words.


Everything Update

Writing: Not a lot to update here. However, I’m finally thinking like a writer again after all this medical BS I’ve gone through. I went to a hematologist yesterday (more on that below) and while waiting on results I found myself noticing the multicolored floor tiles in my room didn’t have a real pattern. I pulled out my notebook and wrote down my thoughts on it:

What’s under the floor? Is there a combination lock hidden in the lack of pattern? What are they hiding?

Maybe a little silly but there could be a good story percolating in those questions. A month ago I would have stared at the floor in a doctor’s office and zone out or gotten stressed about whatever the hell might be wrong with me. I see my ridiculous questions as progress back to being myself again.

I also keep thinking about my ghost story. I made a storyboard for it months ago, wrote a few scenes and some notes but haven’t touched it since, mostly because I thought I should work on a different story, the fantasy one. I haven’t been able to concentrate on said fantasy tale for a while so I don’t think it will hurt me now to work on something, anything for crying out loud! I stare at the storyboard and all I can think is the first act and half of the second are really a prologue or something to be brought up later. The story really starts in the middle of act two. So I got some poster board and I’ll move my index cards I from the first half to it and figure out how to change the middle. I’m super excited about it because it’s writing. I’m not staring at it thinking I just can’t deal with it now (like I have been since my appendix adventure).

I’m also going to try to get back into the class I’m taking. Thankfully it’s a work at your own pace kind of thing. Lesson 27 came out today and I believe I’m on lesson 15 or so. I don’t have to do everything in the class at my desk. My nice sturdy clipboard, my spiral and a pencil work well if I have to lay down.

No flash fiction lately but there is one mapped out and ready to be written. I keep changing my mind about the POV so I think I’ll write it from both options and see which I like better than flip-flopping and not working on it.

Medical: I got a second round of injections in my back today. It was so weird! Last time, in the middle of July, went so differently than today. In July, whatever they gave me that supposedly has a calming effect didn’t work, at all. This time, well let’s just say I didn’t really care how many needles they stuck in me lol. I didn’t exactly feel good, but nothing fazed me either.

I’m all healed up from the appendectomy. There is still a bit of soreness from the incision at my belly button but only if I press on it, which I don’t, or if the dogs jump up on me, which they are getting better about. It didn’t hurt me to lay on my stomach for the injections though. I still have a mega bruise near that incision but I’ve always bruised easily and kept bruises longer than most.

As for the hematology appointment. It was the most frustrating visit to a doctor I’ve had in this 3 or 4 month span of junk. The man was clearly knowledgeable but he spent more time making sure I knew how much he knew than telling me what I needed to know. It was like reading Michael Crichton! He would explain for a while about what could be wrong with me, then spend some time explaining how he thought none of the things he listed were actually wrong then ask me what I thought. Rinse and repeat for thirty minutes. He then said we probably didn’t need to do any really ‘big’ tests like a bone marrow test and he wanted to check my blood sample for 7 or 8 different things. After listing these off he said we should schedule the bone marrow test and we could cancel it if the blood tests indicated we didn’t need it. Huh? Oh did I mention that he only backtracked on the test when he brought up insurance and the costs adding up. I said “Oh I know all about it adding up, by Monday I will have seen my 8th doctor in four months.” Suddenly it was well maybe we’ll do the test and let me check your blood some more first. To be honest I don’t know what the hell is going on at this point. He said he originally thought my issue had to do with smoking but I quit almost five years ago so he discounted that. He didn’t seem to think it was anemia, which is what I was hoping for since it’s the easiest to fix. I didn’t come away from that appointment with any idea of what it could be really. He said he was checking for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and a bunch of other things I can’t remember.

I should get a call from his nurse soon. At this point I don’t know if she’s calling to schedule the bone marrow thing or give me results or both. I do know I won’t make the appointment until after the results come back.

Photography: I wish I had more to say on this. I did take over 100 pictures while in New Jersey but around 20 of them were of one sunset and the rest were around my in-laws’ property while I was making myself ‘ambulate’ a few days after surgery. There were a couple of great dragonfly pictures, cool looking moss and some plant ones. I didn’t get to go to the abandoned summer camp I planned to visit or to any rivers or lakes or anything else. Maybe next year.

Reading: I’m still working on the various Shannara books. I enjoy them because I like adventure tales with magic, deception, battles and some coming of age stuff thrown in. However, as much as I like these books I can easily pick out the flaws now. I’m thrilled they are making these books into a TV show. I think it’s a better medium for this type of story. The show will be better than the books.

Personal: There is a comic-con in my city this weekend and I’m hoping I can go. It starts tonight but I’m not pushing my luck going so quickly after needles in the back. We can’t go tomorrow because my husband works, so the plan is to go on Sunday. I won’t know until that morning if I can go or not. Maybe I won’t be too sore or it may be a dumb idea to even try. We’ll see. I’m leaning towards being dumb of course. This is first comic-con we’ve had here and while I think it will be a little dinky, I don’t want to pass up the chance. I could be broke afterwards but I think it will be worth it. Oh and I don’t cosplay but I can’t wait to see all the people who do! I’ll let you all know how it goes.

This is silly but I got the email revealing the theme of Loot Crate for September and I can’t wait! It’s Summon. The art in the email showed some World of Warcraft stuff, Supernatural, Pokemon, maybe Starcraft, maybe Final Fantasy, and weirdly Homer Simpson. I’m a WoW and Supernatural fan. I’m not into Pokemon but my middle son is. My husband likes Starcraft and we’ll see about the rest. This is the crate I’ve been more excited about. I was thinking about cancelling my subscription soon but not anymore!

That’s all for now. Next week will be full of writing updates (fingers crossed)!

“I Like Turtles.”

“I like turtles.” Never have three words been used to annoy two young girls as much as they have this summer. This is a really old video but somehow I came across it again recently. It probably randomly popped up in my Facebook feed. Since then I’ve used it so many ways I should be almost be ashamed of myself, or at least my daughters feel that way.

It started with me waking them up one morning. To get my youngest daughter out of bed I have to either sound angry, annoyed or annoying. During the summer I normally opt for the latter. For example, I once opened the door to their shared bedroom and loudly said “boop.” That’s all, nothing else. Both sat up, gave me the death look and did the teenager sigh (I live for that sigh). I’ve tried singing – badly, weird voices – mostly quoting movies and occasionally videos on Youtube (yaaassss), asking bizarre questions, etc. I tend to be pretty repetitive too so they get the joys of double annoyances.

A week or so before I went out of town I walked in their room and said “I like turtles.” I like to think I said it exactly the way the zombie kid did. One daughter sat straight up startled and the other said “what did you say?” I repeated it and they both looked confused but wide awake. Little did they know it was the beginning of one of the most irritating times of their lives!

I woke them up a few more times with it, including playing it on my phone on max volume. I sent many texts and memes. Some they laughed at, others rated only an: “OMG Mom!”  I searched for their favorite things/people and the word turtle to find stuff to send them, namely Homestuck and Anna Kendrick (I succeeded too). I took pictures of everything turtle related I came across including a metal turtle on my in-laws’ porch, glass turtles found in every single truck stop we visited and this beauty:


I couldn’t have possibly aggravated them more. By the time I quit, it had degenerated down to only eyerolls. Once the sighs stop I’m done. I’m a mom, I always reserve the right to be super irritating, repetitive, and funny (at least to myself). When you were(/are) a teenager wouldn’t you rather have been woken up by silliness than grumpiness? Doesn’t sending stupid turtle pictures seem like a better way to check in with family when you’re far away rather than constantly asking if they are behaving and getting their chores done? Besides, with me having an emergency situation come up while out of town the kids were scared. The best thing I could do to reassure them was to be my normal ridiculous self.

The only bad thing to come out of the weeks of turtleness is now I have to come up with something newly annoying, but since I always do I’m not worried! Maybe I’ll go back to the ‘yaaassss’ cat or the ‘how now?’ thing. Any ideas you want to share will be appreciated and utilized. I would hate to have to resort to learning the words to whatever song is popular right now…

Sidenote: In case you were wondering, I don’t particularly like turtles.

The Great Vacation Disaster of 2015

Well I survived my hellish vacation. When we pulled into the driveway at home yesterday afternoon I was so happy I almost cried. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. It great to spend time with my husband’s family and the beach wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be (pale skin and beach don’t mix well).

The drive halfway across the country to get there wasn’t fun since I’m still dealing with back problems but it could have been worse. The beach house we stayed in with Justin’s family was so awful it became comical after a while but it had comfortable beds so that was fine.

I had four days of hot sand, cold water and relaxation before it all went downhill. It started with a trip to the boardwalk. I had specific goals since walking for long periods of time was painful. I wanted to go to the large surf shop to buy my youngest daughter a hoodie to replace the one she got there last year (and wore every day – including in the summer), a place that has awesome caramel corn, a Christmas ornament store (always looking for dragons) and Shriver’s to get fudge and taffy. We managed to get to all the above and I found a little shop with dragon goodies. I bought a cute little box that looked like two books stacked and a dragon ripping itself out of the one on top.

A few minutes before finishing up my shopping the pain started. Every part of my abdomen and my back felt like it had been smashed together. Not something one feels everyday but I assumed it was really my back with pain radiating out because of all the walking. We parked a few blocks away and by the time I got to the car I was hurting more than I ever had and I was becoming aware that I was feeling two different kinds of pain. One was my back, which was bad, but the other felt like it was my stomach. I remember thinking maybe I had food poisoning from dinner or something. We made it home and went to bed soon after.

After sleeping for about an hour I woke up thinking I was going to be sick but I didn’t actually throw up. This started a once an hour, sometimes more, pattern for the night. I never really went back to sleep because the pain. In the morning my ‘stomach’ hurt so much I could hardly stand it but I was convinced I’d eaten something bad. I told my husband to walk down to the beach and enjoy spending time with his parents. He didn’t want to go but I finally convinced him. I figured once I actually threw up everything would be fine. HA!

I stayed in bed but couldn’t get comfortable. I was unable to play on my phone or computer. I couldn’t sleep. Hell I couldn’t even read. Finally I got nervous and went to webmd. It wasn’t helpful because my symptoms pointed to too many problems, however, after answering three questions in a row that made a red alert message telling me to go to the ER I got really scared. I called a nurseline from back home and told the woman who answered my symptoms. She asked me several questions and then in the calmest voice I’ve ever heard told me that everything she seeing on her computer is saying I should go to the hospital. She added: “You should go now.” I sent a text to my husband and started looking for clothes because I didn’t want to go in with pajamas on. When I realized how stupid it was to even think about that I noticed my husband hadn’t answered so I called him. I don’t remember what I said but I heard from my mother-in-law that Justin dropped everything and ran. He was definitely out of breath when he got to me.

We had a hard time finding a real hospital but managed to get to one within a half an hour or so. A doctor came in and poked my belly, which caused a dramatic reaction. Until that point I hadn’t considered appendix really, or at least I had refused to believe it. I had noticed that I didn’t feel any stomach pain by that point; I never really had, only rebound pain. I was in the emergency room for eight hours. They took lots of blood, gave me an IV (ouch) and did a CAT scan. A different doctor came in afterwards to tell me I had to have surgery and he was calling the surgeon immediately. Around 10:00 pm they took me into the operating room and I woke up maybe an hour later.

I only had to stay overnight. I was in a shared room, which was a totally new experience that I don’t want to repeat. After leaving the hospital we went back to the beach house for one night then drove three hours to my in-laws’ house. That part wasn’t fun but at least most of my recovery time was spent in more comfortable surroundings.

That week was awful. I was on two very strong antibiotics that made me nauseated constantly. Also Percocet made me feel horrid so I only took two half doses before stopping it entirely and relying on naproxen. Eating had the same effect so it was a vicious cycle. I barely ate at all and when I did I would spend thirty minutes trying not to get sick. I could only sit up for twenty minutes at a time and that didn’t happen often. Luckily I had to go upstairs to sleep and shower so I was forced to move around, which is good for recovery. If not for that I would have gladly spent every second on the couch.

We finally left for home on Wednesday. I was glad to spend the time with my in-laws but I was thrilled to go home. Having surgery so far from home and being forced to recover there was so hard. It doesn’t matter how much you love your family, when you’re hurt you want to be home and have your own stuff and your own bed.

The drive wasn’t too bad. I finished the antibiotics by the second day so nausea wasn’t too much of an issue. It was extremely difficult to get comfortable because I was contending with three incisions and the ever-present back pain but I was able to eat more or less normally. The first day I ate three-quarters of a six-inch sub and felt like I had won a marathon!

I slept better than I had for two weeks and I managed to keep my dogs from hurting me in their excitement to see us. The kids were happy too but they didn’t really know what to do so each one hugged me very gingerly and left me alone. We ordered pizza so we didn’t have to cook and I overdid it so I also had pizza for dinner last night (yay to no cooking).

I feel better now although I’m not completely recovered yet. I can’t press anything against my abdomen at all and have to be careful when lying down or getting up from the bed.

Hopefully I can get back to writing soon. I did have a few ideas on the way home. I got no work done during vacation so anything I write for now will be welcome. I managed to take a few photos, if they turned out decent I’ll post some soon.

Sidenote: Hearing my husband laugh out loud (which is rare) when I spotted some brown cows during the drive and yelled “HOW NOW?” was the best thing that happened on the whole trip! It’s a good thing it didn’t startle him too much. 😉


It’s almost vacation time! I’ll be out of town for a couple of weeks. I’m taking all my writing paraphernalia so it’s possible I’ll drop a few posts but I’m also going to the beach so it’s equally possible I’ll forget my laptop exists. Six of the days will be spent driving. I plan to do a lot of writing with a pen during that time.

Only the first week is at the shore. We’ll spend four days at my in-laws’ house as well. I’ve mentioned they live in the forest, I’m super excited about spending some time there! Sitting on a beach is nice and all but I’m more of a trees and mountain vacation kind of person. None of those landscapes are available where I live so all are great experiences, but the second week offers so much more for me.

I’ll have plenty of photo opportunities I won’t have again for at least a year (beach and forest). My in-laws have this great deck I can lounge on and stare up at the trees. This is a cool thing since most of the trees in west Texas were planted, so they are young. I hear there is a bear in the area so maybe looking up isn’t the thing to do but still, I can’t wait. My husband tells me there is an abandoned summer camp in the area. If I can gain access to it I’ll get some great pictures there and maybe some writing inspiration.

I keep changing my mind about what writing project I’m going to work on. Part of me thinks I should stick to one novel, though which one to choose is the problem. The rest of me wants to work on only flash fiction, or two novels, or nothing. It’s a vacation and it wouldn’t be so terrible if I didn’t write. However, with all these problems with my back, I won’t be able to do a lot of the things I would have otherwise. I might as well spend my forced downtime doing something constructive. I get bored pretty easily and if I just lie around I’ll end up sleeping a lot, which I do NOT want to happen.

I bought a couple of new e-books and I’m bringing a few paper books as well for days when I’m feeling lazy, mostly for the beach. I have an absurd amount of unread magazines as well. I feel like I’ve planned as much as I possibly can. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to be more active than I think. Something as simple as walking down the boardwalk and buying touristy junk will probably be difficult though. I’ll do it anyway. There is this large surf shop we always go to with awesome nerdy posters. I got the exploding Tardis last year and I’d like to see what’s new this time, plus pick up the ones I was undecided on before. I also want to search a Christmas ornament store for a lightweight dragon. We may have to go twice!

Also, the best caramel popcorn on the planet is found on this boardwalk so I’m going no matter what! My husband wants fudge. Sadly I’m not as into chocolate as I once was, but I still get to keep my woman card! Maybe I’ll be in the mood for it by the time we get there.

Mostly I’m looking forward to seeing my husband’s family. I hit the in-law jackpot, his entire family is great. I truly wish we could see them more often. It will be a great vacation! That’s assuming my kids, all grown or teens don’t mess up the house while I’m gone.

I might write one more update post before we leave. I go to the neurosurgeon tomorrow for my first visit. Hopefully he will set a plan and I’ll know better what to expect over the next few months. More on that another time.

Everything Update

Medical: I went to the pain management doctor last Tuesday for a consultation. He immediately scheduled me for epidural injections on Friday. I was relieved and terrified. Not really knowing what to expect I imagined giant needles (which they were) and extra pain for a few days (which happened). I also was hopeful these injections would give me temporary pain relief.

My sister-in-law gave a fair description of what it would be like. She said it would feel like there was a brick in my back and the pain would be worse for a 24-48 hours but then the stuff they put in there would spread out and I would feel better. The first part of her description is completely accurate. The pain was massive and there was new pain since the nerves were being pressed. The doctor knew I was going on vacation at the end of the month so he added ‘extra’ steroids. I could be wrong but I think it’s why now, three days later I’m still in pain from it all.

It sounds strange but I can only say I think it’s getting better. The burning spreading out to the sides of my spine is lessened and getting out of bed wasn’t as difficult. The problem is I’m a big baby when it comes to pain so the overriding thing in my head is it still hurts, a lot. So it’s hard to really gauge how much the giant needles jabbed into my back helped. I do have high hopes though.

Personal: I think the real test of how much the procedure will help comes at the end of the month when I go on vacation. We’ll be driving halfway across the country. This is our regularly scheduled trip to visit my husband’s family. Google maps says it’s close to a thirty hour drive. We’ve done it in two days but it will be almost three full days this time. I won’t be doing any of the driving so I’m hoping to get some writing done along the way. We are going to the beach (although since it’s in New Jersey I should be saying the shore). I have an interesting relationship with the shore. I live in west Texas in the middle of the plains so going to the ocean is really cool. I am also a redhead with the requisite pale skin and freckles so in a way sitting outside on the sand in the sun is terrible. Add in these stupid back troubles and I have no clue what to expect this time. I know I’ll get my yearly quota of vitamin D (not really a go outside for recreation kind of person here).

Writing: That brings me to my writing goals for vacation. Since I physically can’t sit on the beach all day, every day for a week but my husband and my in-laws can, I plan to get a lot of writing time in. I’ll have to bully my husband (I know you’re reading this) into staying out when I have to go back indoors, since it’s hard for me to write when he’s around, when anyone else is around actually, but if I don’t make this a working vacation I’ll be bored for most of the week.

I’m in the process of trying to decide what I’ll work on. Part of me says I should stick with my WIP — my fantasy trilogy. Another part of me says nope, need a break from that one. Right now I’m listening to the latter. I’m leaning towards a ghost story that’s been percolating in my head for a while. I plotted it out and have part of a synopsis. I also have written several scenes as they’ve come to me on and off for months. It has a younger protagonist but I’m not sure yet if I would call it YA.

If not that story then there is another which has tried to work its way to the front of the line for a while I could do. It’s a female vigilante story with not one ounce of fantasy or science fiction in it. Years ago I wrote about three-quarters of a suspense novel (that I will finish someday) and I’ve done several flash fiction length short stories not genre based but normally I stick with magic, dragons, quests, good & evil. Branching out into something more mainstream is a little scary. This one is more of a thriller and scares me at times, but it will be written. I’ve also plotted this one out, but I’m not happy with the end of the second act going into the third. Maybe I’ll figure it out during my trip.

I can’t guarantee I’ll want to work on either book so my backup plan is flash fiction — about anything that inspires me. I will be working on my classwork as well so I don’t know how often I’ll be posting on the blog while I’m out of town.

Photography: I do plan to take ridiculous amounts of pictures on the drive so maybe I’ll over post those. Living in an area renowned for being flat, I can’t really pass up the opportunity to take photos in different locations. Mountains, ocean, beach sunsets, forests and hills for crying out loud! We always pass by hundreds of abandoned barns along our route and I want to get closer to a few. My in-laws live in the middle of a forest and we’re going to their house during the second week of our trip so there will be some opportunities there. I’ve heard a bear hanging out near their yard so most of my pictures will be from inside the house once we get there! My husband promised to take me to some interesting locations around the area too so I can’t wait.

Reading: It’s all about Shannara. After watching the first look sneak peek video of the new TV show The Chronicles of Shannara, which almost made me cry, I decided a reread of the novels was necessary. I skipped The Sword of Shannara, because it’s terrible, and opened The Elfstones of Shannara. This is probably the tenth reread so I know what I’m doing. I then read the third book of the trilogy and have started book one of the quad set three hundred years later. I’ll be honest, after a while each trilogy that follows is basically the same story with new characters but I love them anyway. There is always something new or different and it’s a good old-fashioned fantasy adventure, coming of age, good vs. evil, magic tale. I truly hope the new TV series makes it at least through the second set of books.

I downloaded the first book of The Outlander series and Half a King by Joe Abercrombe on my tablet for vacation. Maybe I’ll write some reviews soon.

For the next ten days or so I’ll spend more time organizing and packing than anything else. I have to make up some freezer meals for the rest of the family since they aren’t going with us on vacation. They can fend for themselves but I’d rather they eat more than ramen and chili while I’m gone. Catching up on laundry is a thing (when isn’t it?), and locating things like beach towels not seen in a year and my good travel first aid kit are priorities. I want to squeeze in some writing but don’t know if I can. I might be posting some flash this week. I’m almost finished revising one of the five I wrote recently.

This is random but I tried new Oreo Thins and I might have found my new addiction!

Sidenote: WordPress tells me I’ve used too many passive sentences but since this post is three times the length I meant for it to be I’m leaving it alone!

Writing/Organizing Update

I cleaned off my a third of my desk. Kindly accept this was a monumental task and be proud of me. I have this awful habit of making piles of paper, spirals, notebooks, etc. I also have an unfortunate tendency to want everything I might need easy to see and reach. This makes for a full, confused and jumbled work area.

I have an L-shaped desk with a four-foot table added, making a comfy U-shaped nest to write in. As I look around, and I see three pen holders (each different and holding many writing utensils), three pairs of scissors, a stapler, battery operated pencil sharpener (that sucks), lens and screen cleaner, a random fingernail polish (I rarely use), lip balm, two separate containers holding paper flags, Aleve, liquid paper (both liquid and the strip kind), a flashlight, cough drops, candy, two types of tea, several types of sticky notes, many notebooks, notepads and spirals, a timer, two glasses cases (only one has  glasses in it), paper clips, and a tray that is meant for drawer organization (no drawers on my glass desk, what a mistake!). I am only mentioning the most obvious things.

I left out the three shelves on one wall, the bookcase behind me and the rolling cart with ten small drawers in it. I have plenty of places to put away almost all the above list. I will put it all up at some point but I will hate it. I despise the clutter but some part of me must need it because every time I ‘organize’ the desk, the stuff piles back up. The problem is my need to have it all ON the desk. It’s ridiculous.

So today is going to be an organizing day. As stated previously, I managed to clean off part of the nest, but that was the easy part since it was the table and where I do every bit of hand writing and where I do worksheets for my writing class. Next I’ll tackle the part of the desk that has my monitor on it. Did you hear the groan? It will not be fun, but most of the items there can and should go in drawers. I can be pretty forgetful (possibly the root of this issue) so I will have to label the drawers, but I have chalkboard stickers so no problem. The drawers are black so it might even look cute, except my horrid handwriting! I will simply have to bully myself into actually placing the items into the drawers.

The other third of the desk isn’t too bad of a problem. It holds my laptop, a mouse for it and mouse pad, a coffee mug full of Pixy Stix, a small container of Smarties, a box of colored index cards (that have a home and just need to be put up), a stack of spirals, legal pads and a magazine, and a coaster. The paper products need to go to their respective homes (wherever that ends up being) and everything else stays.

You might think that I should get rid of a lot of this stuff, but that is not something I’m ready for. As you probably figured out, I’m somewhat of a pack rat. The idea of throwing out perfectly useable office supplies (shudder) is unthinkable! Maybe someday I’ll get to that point, but not today. Thankfully, my desk and dresser (also full of office paraphernalia) are the only areas I have major chaos issues with.

So, what does this have to do with a writing update? I’m distracted by the clutter. If it goes away, hopefully I’ll get more writing done. I have written but not as much as I would like. I’m almost caught up on my class. I would be already but I’m spending a lot of time on one lesson because it’s about my main characters and I’m learning a lot about them I didn’t know before, or knew but hadn’t put into words. I think that is an acceptable reason to be a little behind.

I feel like I’ve started my story over in a way. I haven’t lost a lot of material because most of what I’ve written is in the beginning and middle of the story and still useable. I need to add more than take away. I lost some scenes toward the end but I wasn’t happy with them anyway so it didn’t make me sad. I plan to heavily revise the opening scene, adding more description and changing a couple of minor characters. I also have to fix the fight part because it’s too telly and needs to be more showy. I need to convey how badly injured my main character gets in this altercation.

If you read this blog often you’ve seen that I managed to write some flash fiction. Yay me! Hopefully I can do some more soon, on a clean desk!

Random photography update: It’s going well and I’m learning a lot. I’m going to get out a couple of times this week and try to get some non-nature photos.

I’m off to organize. If you don’t hear from me for a while, I probably got swallowed up by my nest of I’m in the corner crying about losing office junk. I’ll be back eventually.

Baby Steps In Photography

I got a new camera. It came with a sunburn and a massive caffeine headache due to the fact that I was out all day yesterday taking pictures of everything. I was too distracted by flowering weeds, weird ducks and cool looking trees to think of silly things like sunscreen and my caffeine addiction. It was hot, so I drank water. I barely remembered to eat that day.

Today I was a little smarter about it. I wisely put on sunscreen and drank some tea at lunch, which I set an alarm to remind myself of.

I’m getting to know the camera. It’s probably not very complicated but I’m a beginner with a DSLR so I have a lot to learn. Hopefully I’ll have all of that down by the time we take a road trip half way across the country this summer.

I have taken a ton of photos, some amazing things and some mundane stuff. I took pictures of places that I already had shots of with my phone camera, just to see the difference, and it’s dramatic! I’m having so much fun that I am okay with my feet hurting and my jeans developing holes in the knees because I kept getting down on the ground to take close-up pictures of ants and dandelions and tire tracks. Now that I’m sitting still my calves and knees hurt. I can feel some almost pain in my thighs and hamstrings but I think that’s a good thing. Getting a workout while doing something I like? Yeah I can do that.

Tomorrow will be much of the same but my husband is off so he’ll be getting exercise too while I drag him around. I plan to drive to my tiny hometown and take pictures of the tractor museum there. Did I mention it’s a very small town? In a farming community. The museum is mostly outdoors and some of the tractors have a haunting beauty I hope to capture.

I also hope to take some low light pictures tomorrow. Plus I want to get more photos of anything with cool texture (hence all the shots of weeds). I’ll post a small gallery soon.

I guess this is my writing for Write Anything Wednesday. I’m off to work on my class.