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It is always an issue when I go into Home Depot.

I’m not saying this issue has anything at all to do with that fine establishment. It’s a chip on my own shoulder. I should just go in going, “WTFever.” But I don’t. I always go in stressed out that I’m going to be looked down on.

Unless I am in the middle of a project and on my fourth or fifth trip to return a part or get something I missed and I am beyond caring about anything other than getting the damn thing done, the issues always start with what I’m wearing. See, I want to look butch. But not so butch that people think, “Of course you’d shop here.” I want to look competent. But all my butchy clothes are winter wear. And it was too damn hot, yesterday, for that. So I had to wear capris (denim, of course), a tank, but I made sure to wear real shoes even though sandals would have been cuter coooler.

I went in to buy the toy I’ve been wanting for, like, ever, omg. My sliding compound miter saw. Oh, oh, you guys, she is so very pretty. Anyway, I got my shopping cart and headed in to get her. I greatly underestimated the amount of packaging that would go into such an amazing machine, however. So struggled to get the cumbersome box into, and finally settle for onto, the cart. But I was also picking up a miter saw stand. And this was a big bastard of a box, as well. After a quick sprint to Garden to get a flatbed cart, I load those bad boys up and I am off. But see, as I am loading the stand onto my cart, an employee stops briefly to slide the end of it the last, like, 4 friggin’ inches as he’s walking by with another lady. I thanked the guy, but I also kinda wanted to say, “Dude. I got it.”

When I went to check out, the cashier helped me pull the cart along, even after I said that it wasn’t heavy, just big. But, having been a cashier, I know it feels weird to just walk in front of a customer while they are pulling a big thing. So, ok, fine. I decline the offer of help out and head to my car.

Remember where I underestimated the size of the boxes? Yeah, my 90’s Corolla probably laughed as I walked up to it. I was able to slide the stand into the backseat, all smooth as silk. But the saw itself was just half-an-inch too big to go into my trunk. As I’m walking the box to my front seat, a cart guy runs up and asks if I need any help. I say, “Nah, I’m just Tetrising this into my car.” He still helps me the last little bit. I could have done it on my own. Honestly, if it had been heavy, I would have been fine with the help. But it wasn’t a “team-lift” item, ya know? Still, the guy helped me and thanked me for my business. All the employees were being nice, as they usually are. Just because I sorta half take them as possibly maybe “helping the little lady” is my issue.

Through the whole process I wanted to tell everyone who passed me, “These are mine. I’m Toysnot buying these for some husband or whatever. These are mine. I have wanted them, and I will use them. Because this big ass saw is mine. And, man, am I gonna cut and miter the crap outta stuff!”

I have issues. I come by them honestly, of course. But still, I wish I was cool enough to not worry about what other people are thinking.

Oh, and while shopping for my bad-ass power tools, I stopped to grab some paint. I spent 5 minutes deciding which color I wanted, contemplating the different shades on the color chips. I finally took my choice up to the counter and paint guy said, “You wanted the black, right?”
Uh, no, you barbarian. I wanted Cracked Pepper.”

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A cynical person would count my foray to the gym today as a failure. But not me! Today was a, well, it was a warm up. And hey, I actually went, didn’t I?

I decided I’d try a cycle class today, my first day at the gym. Sadly, though, a long train and my new combination lock, which seems to have been made at Fort Knox, delayed me enough to make me three minutes late. “Pfft! 3 minutes?” you say. Well, I cruised past the class with that same idea and found that there was a butt on every cycle in the back and they were already in full pedaling glory. So, no.

Well, now I’m at the gym. In my gym clothes. Having learned the secret to my combo lock. It’d be a waste to not do something. So I head into the machine area. I decide to get my strength on. However, I neglected to heed Google’s warning that this was the second-busiest time of day and everyone is everywhere! What does an introvert do?

Well, this introvert acted as if she totally wanted to get this machine right here that was one of the few that didn’t have another person on the other side of it. So I climb up on it. I give a side-eye to the guy two machines over to get a clue as to what I’m supposed to do and try to work the thing. My feet are on steps but I’m going backward. As I look around I almost get hit with a swinging arm. Instead of stopping to see if there are instructions, I act as if my normal warm-up is to dodge swinging metal arms and just keep going. Backward. The dude isn’t going backward. So I stop. Stretch, to pretend I’m just getting prepped to dominate this machine, and then push my feet forward and up. Or down. Not sure. Ok! I figured the forward thing. But by now the machine has awakened and is demanding I choose a workout. I press a button and am relieved I’m not thrown off.

I work my ass off. I don’t know what that machine was, but my ass and thighs were dying. And it’s only been 25 seconds. At 45 seconds my legs are threatening me with a boycott if I don’t get off the machine. So I pause again, pretending to read the incomprehensible lights on the machine while begging my legs to just get to two minutes. If my legs had eyes, they’d have shot death glares at me. I start again. And I’m going backwards again. So I pretend that I’m just working different muscles while my thighs and butt scream that this was not part of the deal. I realize the jig is up and pretend that I got an important phone call that tells me that my friend is having her baby right now and I must leave my excellent workout early.

I didn’t actually talk out loud. I didn’t even have my phone. I just pretended my fitbit alerted me to a phone call and I came up with that cover story in my head. I keep up my cover story, pretending to be worried and a little annoyed at being interrupted all the way out of the room. It’s a damn shame no one was actually watching my amazing performance.

So, sure. I was in the gym for only ten minutes. And, ok, sure it took me twice that long to drive there. But I went. By myself. I got on a machine, I learned to give myself much more time before a class, and how to work my lock. I’m calling it a win. And bonus, my legs are still all jelly-like. I have gym legs. Score!

Book rec

When I decided to try to level up from writer to author, I went looking for books on how to do that. Do you know how many people are out there writing about writing? And how many people are out there waitiOuliningBookPIcng to take advantage of aspiring authors?

I’ve gotten some really great books in the past few years. And one really great audio lecture. But I think the book I use the most and has given me the most oomph in my writing has been Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. After reading this book, it isn’t a surprise that Weiland also has a very successful website titled Helping Writers Become Authors.

Now, in the past I’ve been a full-blown pantser, the kind of writer who just starts writing by the seat of her pants and has no plan whatsoever. My only series and my biggest writing endeavor was all done with no real outline. Just an idea. But I was younger then with less cares (cue music and fuzzy memories). Now I have a lot more on my brain plate and have found that waiting about for the muse to strike and the story to form organically as I write isn’t happening. So I’ve started outlining.

There are many, many reasons why outlining is particularly awesome and the book goes into that. But the best thing, I think, that  outlining and, in particular, this book does extremely well, is get ideas to flow. Not just simple ideas, but ideas that can turn readers on their heads and they’ll love you for it. Ideas that might not come to you as you are writing because you are in the thick of it and can’t pull away far enough to see all the big picture and to see all the ways your story could go. Maybe you’ll see it in editing, but then you’ll be doing cutting and pasting and tweaking and shoving. You’ll have to do all that anyway, so why make more of the work for yourself, I ask.

Weiland doesn’t just sell a book that tells you how to organize your thoughts, but to really delve into and work out everything your story needs and wants. She teaches ways to jog some great plot points out and how to really flesh out characters and, more importantly, setting. So many authors, particularly in my genre, completely forget setting. Their characters dance about on a blank stage and it’s a truly terrible thing to read. In my big ol’ epic piece , The Concubine Prince, (which I am still writing on) I had my setting all planned out, but this book helped me get more detailed, more into it than just looking at it like a map. And because the setting came to life, more of the story could unfold and breathe, as well.

This book is laid out logically and written in a very engaging way. It’s not at all boring or dry. She uses real-life examples from other authors, as well as examples from the outlines on her own books. There is a workbook that goes along with this one, but I haven’t felt the need for it. Everything you need is right there and ready to be used and applied. A highly recommended book for any writer of fiction.

What about you? Have any excellent writing resources? Please do share!

NaNoWriMo, no?

nanoNovember is but days away. Days! And I still haven’t made up my mind on my project. It’s down to two: The novel I have been working on for years or the rewrites on my anthology-turned-series. I promised to have the series done by December, but I don’t see that happening. Which, admittedly, sucks. I overestimated my abilities. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who can multi-task, competently and enthusiastically. I give my all to one project at a time and downgrade everything else. I am nearly finished with my tax classes, taking the final on the 2nd. I’ll easily catch up on my NaNo word count from that delay.

But because of classes, I wasn’t writing nearly enough to meet my self-imposed deadline. Guilt tells me to use November to work on the series. But passion tells me to work on my beloved novel. I have it 95% plotted. I have a map drawn, notes written, inspirational photos and music. Passion for this project is high.

Guilt, however, has always driven me. On the other hand, I feel long-term guilt on my novel, seeing as how I once posted the first few chapters and never finished. That makes two public WIPS and I swore to never do that.

Well, is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo? What are you going to work on? If you are doing it and you wanna be buddies, I go by the same name over on the NaNo site, as here. Look me up and maybe we can inspire each other. …as soon as I figure out what the hell I’m doing.

Hilda!

HildaThe queen of the ample pin-ups! I adore her. I came across her existence a year or two ago and just found another stash of her prints. Her calendars were as popular as the other pin-ups back in the day, but she became lost to history for some time. I’m so very glad she was rediscovered.

Hilda1

Multi potential

Cruising through Facebook as I am oft wont to do, I bumped into this video.

I just recently celebrated my birthday and I am sliding into my forties. I’ve been going to school for years. I’ve switched my area of studies so many times, they’ve put a turnstile in the counselors’ office just for me. I’ve been feeling worse and worse about my lack of focus and drive, calling myself all sorts of names. I am so very glad I saw this video. Sometimes you just need to step out of yourself and see what you’re actually doing in a different light. This talk did that for me and now that I don’t see myself as a flighty slacker, I won’t present myself as one.

I hope anyone else who also beats themselves up for finding more than one or two things in life worth your attention and energy will gain something from this video, as well.

Would you say you’re a multipotenialite or kind that always knew what they’re calling was?

The Dead Lands

If you haven’t watched “The Dead Lands” you should give it a whirl. It’s set in New Zealand and about a boy who wants to exact revenge for the destruction of his tribe. It’s entirely in the Maori language. It has some violence, but nothing gruesome. Some CGI blood, that just gives you a gasp effect, not even close to vomit-inducing or comical silliness. I loved the ancestors part of it, the setting is obviously beautiful, and the story was incredibly satisfying. And the wicked cool Maori fighting is pretty bad ass. The posturing is incredible and if you’ve ever enjoyed watching the Haka performed before rugby matches, you’ll love this movie. We even have a stunning fight with a female warrior. Seriously, check it out!

And man flesh. Lots of man flesh.

And man flesh. Lots of man flesh.