Friday, October 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo

I'm back!  My trip to Oregon was great.  I wandered all over Gresham, Beaverton, and Portland with my friends and family.  It was just want I needed, and although I was ready to come home, I already miss it.  I will share more about my time there in an upcoming post; however, right now I have something else on my mind:  National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo.



NaNoWriMo
*Official crest of NaNoWriMo: That's right- we have a crest.
 
 

NaNoWriMo is kind of a big deal- well, at least to professional and aspiring writers.   It is held every November and thousands of writers participate every year.  In fact, over 145,000 novels are currently registered* on nanowrimo.org, (including mine)!  There is one real purpose to NaNoWriMo: To get you started on that book.  You know- that book you've wanted to write since you were fourteen, twenty-six, fifty, as far back as you can remember, whenever; NaNoWriMo is the kick in the pants you've been waiting for.   

The rules are simple:  50,000 words in 30 days.  They don't even have to be good words.  Just write.  What do you write?  Anything.  Subject/content/characters are all up to you.  You can do it alone, with friends, or join others in your community who are participating.  There are always groups getting together for write-ins, meet and greets, and advice.  Registration is free and you'll have access to all kinds of resources and community forums. 

If you meet this goal- Yay!  If you don't- Yay! You started!  I did it last year, and only made it to 10,000 words.  But that's okay, because its 10,000 words more than what I had before NaNoWriMo.  With less than a week to go, I'm busy preparing for November 1st.  I decided to pick up where I left off last year and turn my 10,000 words into 60,000.  I have all my pages typed up, and just need to finish entering my edits.

Now you might be wondering, "Is NaNoWriMo right for me?"  The answer is YES.  Why?  Because it is right for anyone who wants to try.  And, I think we can agree, that you want to try.

Click here: National Novel Writing Month awaits.


*Registration is only a commitment to participate.  It does not mean you have to upload your novel, or that it will be viewed by others.  The website does allow you to share a brief summary or excerpts from your novel, but it is not required. 


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Curling and Other Natural Disasters

As I alluded in my previous post, there are many more adventures planned before the year is up.  I did say I would be posting some photos of a star gazing trip, and a Bonny Knees competition.  Well, the star gazing was postponed due to inclement weather, and none of my Knee shots turned out.  All you have to know about a Bonny Knee competition:  Blindfolded girls feeling up the knees of kilted men.  Yay, for my heritage!  Don't get any ideas; I was merely a spectator. 

To round out September, my friends and I opted for Curling; another Scotland-originated activity.  Curling isn't terribly easy to convey in a few sentences, so please enjoy the following "instructional" videos:




The importance of Form over Distance:






The benefit of Distance over Technique:






The importance of Follow Through:








 
(Ellen, Laura, Rachel, & our spontaneous teammate, Jun)
 
 
 
Well, I hope you now know all you ever needed to about Curling.  If not, please visit  boisecurlingclub.org for some actual background on this Olympic sport.
 
I will be on the road the next couple of weeks, visiting friends and family in Oregon.  I look forward to sharing about my time there with you all.  Have a great October!
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Photo Gallery

Good afternoon, Everyone.  I was browsing through my previous posts and realised that I have very few pictures to back up any of my stories.  So, not in any particular order, I proudly present...
 
Proof I Do Stuff (Part One):





I sail:
 

 
 



 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I get invited to swank parties:
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
I'm not afraid to get my Gypsy on:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 I actually did eat that Habanero Pizza:
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I met a Penguin:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
I was helpful at weddings:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oh, and this happened (Boise Comic Con):
 
 
 
 
 
 
So...I hope that settles things.  See you around for Part Two, where I witness a Bonny Knee competition, take a trip to see the stars (the ones in the sky, not in Hollywood), and attempt curling...
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

MIA

I have been MIA for a few weeks now and I feel like I've neglected you.  I know you've been up nights waiting for my next post, and I apologize.  I'm back now, so get ready for a good night's sleep!

I've been out of control lately.  I have been super emotional, super tired, super ready to crawl back in to bed five minutes after getting up.  It's been hard.  We have required overtime at work every week, and I've been putting in extra time to try to get a hold on my bills.  My brain is numb at the end of the day. I suppose that is one reason I've been away so long.  Per my Counselor's request, I have also been journaling everyday and that taps me out in the writing department.  I am keeping a record of my ups and downs, looking for patterns, triggers, and angst.  It is a good practice, even if you're not dealing with depression, it is a helpful way to assess how you are doing and what is important to you.

Despite all this, I have managed to complete adventures, hang out with friends, and check things off my To-Do-List.  I attended Roller Derby for the first time, went back to Flying Pie for seconds of Habanero Pizza, am attending our local Highland Games in two weeks, and am planning a late night star-gazing trip to the Bruneau Observatory with friends.  September has been one of the most eventful months of the summer.  I guess it is good to keep busy.  September has not always been a good month in my life.  September marks several difficult anniversaries.  Throughout the years friends have moved away, jobs have fallen apart, I lost my Grandmother, and years later, my Father; all in September.  So I am grateful to be busy.  I will gladly accumulate as many pleasant memories to associate with this month as I can.

What I'm really looking forward to is October.  October is my favorite time of year.  The weather gets cooler.  The leaves start changing.  The fire season in Idaho finally starts receding. October is a breath of fresh air.  It also sets off the beginning of several festive events and holidays, which I love.  Another reason to love October is that I'm taking a vacation.  I am spending 10 days in Portland, OR, to visit family and friends.  I am driving- my first big road trip by myself- and have been entertaining myself by mapping out my route online.  I can't wait, and I can't wait to share my trip with all of you! 

So, here's to happier memories, and to more blog posts.  I will see you soon.





Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Behold!

 
The Flying Pie Habanero Pizza.

Come one, come all, to ruin your palate on this deceptively delicious, gourmet, seasonal pie. 

Tip: Ask for cream cheese as an additional topping.  It cuts the heat.

Flying Pie Pizza is a regional favorite and you have to give them a try if you're ever in Idaho.  Every year in August when Habanero peppers are in full force, so is this pizza.  It is a big event for pizza lovers; even those who hate habaneros are more than happy to file in as spectators.



Warning:  You have to sign a waiver to take this pizza out of the restaurant


There are three levels to the Habanero Pizza:

Level One:  Approximately 6 fresh habanero peppers (heat equivalent of 5lbs of jalapeños). 
Level Two: Approximately 12 fresh habanero peppers (heat equivalent of 10lbs of jalapeños).
Level Three: Approximately 18 fresh habanero peppers (the heat equivalent of 15lbs of jalapeños).

Why would anyone submit themselves to this special kind of torture?  Well, some people love heat; some people love a challenge; and some people love to laugh at both.  Even an old pro will turn some shade of red upon consumption. 

Bonus:  Free ice cream with every pizza ordered.

I'm not getting paid to write this, (although if they wanted to buy me a slice, I'd let them).  I only bring it up because Flying Pie's Habanero pizza was one of the very first outings of my Adventure of the Month Club.  It holds a special place in my heart, and I look forward to it even though it's hotter than my personal liking.  I was there just this last Friday, and will be meeting some more friends this coming weekend for a second round.

 So, If you're ever in the area late summer, and ready for a challenge, you know where to find me.


Remember:  Avoid touching your face until after you've washed your hands.  Habanero oil in your eye is an adventure worth skipping.












Sunday, August 4, 2013

Retirement

I'm not feeling terribly inspired today.  However, I know it is important to push through this lack of interest and work anyway.  So, here I am.  Here I am to write.  Something.  Some of you with something, anything, better to do may want to go about your business.  The rest of you; fasten your seat belts.

So far today, I woke up late and rushed to get ready for church.  After church I went to Whole Foods, where I purchased an iced coffee and some yogurt.  I then came home, looked up who the 12th Doctor will be, watched Miss Marple on Netflix, ate cold pizza, and am currently on the living room floor typing this post as my laptop battery recharges. 

The only thing I've decided for certain today is that when I'm in my 80's, I'm going to solve crimes.  I'll be cute, tactical, and borderline aggravating.  I'll have friends all over the English countryside who will invite me in and make me tea while I scrutinize their neighbors and relatives for clues.  I will be at first a nuisance, and then revered by the local authorities.  I can't imagine a better way to retire.  Now, if I could only decide what to do with the next 50 years.  I suppose I could start my sleuthing career a little early by taking my cue from Jessica Fletcher.  Bonus- I'd be a successful murder mystery writer. 

I don't know about you, but I feel pretty good about this plan.  Still, I'm left with at least 25-30 years until I make it official.  Since my golden years are going to be pretty darn exciting, I suppose I can risk something a bit more mundane in the interim.  A home, family, and hanging out with friends.  Perhaps a good Murder Mystery Dinner from time to time.  After all, I'm going to need the practice.
 

 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Call Center Confessions

We sat in wedges.  Nondescript wedges completing a circle and pointing to a center of nothing.  Imagine a Trivial Pursuit game piece, that you snap colored triangles in as you master subjects, or one of those circular cheeses made up of individually wrapped triangular chunks.  This is the better analogy, as each desk had it's own slightly off cheese-odor.  Some people bring in family photos and potted plants to their office; we brought our own Clorox wipes.  We couldn't bring in photos or plants if we wanted to because we weren't coming back to an assigned spot.  The beginning of each shift was a silent, bitter battle to secure a somewhat less disgusting wedgicle for the day.

The initial training lasted eight weeks.  I loved training.  I love learning- even about cellular customer service.  I felt very proud when I scored 100% on my final exam.  I know it isn't a big deal.  It just felt good to excel.  Fast forward 12 weeks, waiting for my next call, and silently enduring a panic attack.  Nothing was wrong.  No one had yelled at me, and yet, there I was, realizing that this was as good as it gets, and not knowing what to do.  I sat there waiting for a call that wasn't coming when I felt the hand of my Supervisor on my shoulder,

"Hey, do you want to go home?  The queue is low."

Home?  Did I want to go home?  Oh, yes.  I wanted to go home.  I had never been asked that by an employer before.  I felt like an angelic choir was going to appear. 

"Yes, I would...thank you, I think I'm having a small panic attack right now.  Going home would be good."

My Supervisor's expression shifted from confusion, to concern, to discomfort.  I think he was wondering why I was telling him this.  His team's emotional problems were slightly above his pay grade.

"Oh, man.  Well, close out your programs and feel better..."

He walked away. 

The concept of going home early sank in.  It did not fix me.  I was genuinely having a mild panic attack in that moment.  However, I felt such relief.  So much did I love getting to go home, that I began impatiently waiting for slow queues.  Eventually I discovered a bulletin board in the back where you could sign up to leave early.  That's right- SIGN UP to LEAVE EARLY.  My first stop every shift was to see if they were asking for volunteers.  One time they made an announcement that the sheet was going up.  Everyone who was not on a call put themselves in break mode and ran to the back.  I joined them as soon as my call was done.  As I headed back I overheard two employees talking about it,

Employee #1:  "Why does everybody want to go home?"

Employee #2:  "Ha, they hate money."

I don't know why that conversation has stuck with me for so long.  I thought it was absurd at the time, but I think I now see where he was coming from.  You work hard, you earn money, you pay bills, pay off debt, plan for vacations, stay on top of everything.  You keep signing up to leave early- your paycheck suffers, your debts and dreams suffer.  However, I still don't believe anyone signing up "hated money."  I believe they loved something else more.  Loved getting home to have dinner with their family- (we worked the swing shift- 2pm to 11pm).  Loved getting to hang out with friends.  Loved going home and taking a nap, etc.  Most of us were not in a job we loved.  We made the most of it, but the pull to stay would never equal or exceed the pull to experience everything else. 

I stayed in my position for about eleven months.  Then, with the urging of a friend, I interviewed and obtained a position as an Front Office Manager in a Physical Therapy clinic.  For a long time this was a better fit.  I really enjoyed it, but ultimately, I moved on.  Several missteps later and where am I now?  Yep, a Call Center.  But a nicer one.  With a real cubicle that I can decorate, and co-workers that I know by name.  It is not what I hope to be doing for the rest of my life, but I'm not praying for a sign up sheet either.