“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


19 Hours and Counting!

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's almost here! NaNoWriMo is about to begin. November is going to be a crazy busy month, but I must WriMo!

50,000 words, here we come!

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An Unintentional Review of Reviews

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I always hated writing book reports back in my school days. I never knew what they were supposed to be – a summary? – a review? – nothing more than proof that you read the book?

As an adult, I have no teachers to make me write book reports anymore, but a book review seems to be the grown-up version of a book report in some ways. The problem is that I really don't like book reviews either – at least not what I think of as book reviews.

In my (possibly warped) mind, book reviews are written by well-educated, hyper-literary people who could medal in the MENSA Mind Olympics in the literary category if there was one. They know all the rules, have read every book ever written, and remember everything they read. Their reviews are riddled with facts I don't care to know (like how many awards the author has won and what lists the book is on) and never really tell me whether or not I would like the book or not.

What I do like is reading what my friends think. Since these are the people I like to hang out with (or whose blogs I like to hang out at), chances are if they like it, I might like it too. I don't necessarily want to know if its the most brilliant piece of literature of the century. (Okay, if it really was the most brilliant, I might want to know that, but the truth is that brilliance is just so subjective.)

I guess you could say what I want is a friendly opinion of the book you read. The really nice thing about friendly opinions of books (as opposed to reviews) is that you find out the stuff you really want to know, like whether or not you fell in love with the characters; if you got so immersed in the story that you forgot to make dinner; if you would buy the book because you know that you'll read it a dozen more times in your lifetime – or in the next 6 months.

I guess this is what most bloggers write when they post a review on their blog, but for some reason whenever I see that someone is posting a "book review", I think of that warped, MENSA-member-written version of a review instead of the nice friendly version.

Anyway, I was planning to sit down and write my friendly opinion of a book I just read, but the moment I typed the word "review" I choked and wrote this instead. I guess the actually opinion-giving will have to wait.

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Good What?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sometimes I wonder about strange things - not necessarily things that are actually strange, but rather things that are strange to wonder about. It's a quirk, I suppose, and hopefully one that is endearing rather than off-putting.

Lately I've been wondering about greetings that are specifically time-based, like good night or good day. It started when I realized that as I left work at 2:30 in the afternoon, I say to my co-workers, "good night," even though it's only mid-afternoon. They say the same back to me and no one seems to think it strange that we are saying "good night" in the middle of the afternoon.

Then I started wondering about people who work night shifts and what greetings they use. For instance, if a person starts their workday at 10:00 pm, they would not say "good night" to greet their co-workers as they arrived. Similarly, as they left the next morning, they would not say "good morning". It seems that good night is synonymous with good bye and good morning is synonymous with hello, except that you can not use good night in the morning or good morning at night.

And then there is the phrase, good afternoon. Pure common sense would dictate that I could use this phrase when leaving work at 2:30 pm, and yet it would sound horribly strange to say "good afternoon" when I leave. Good afternoon seems to be another phrase that means the same as hello.

So there you have it – just one of the many weird things that occupies my mind in quiet moments. I suppose there might be a perfectly good explanation for this phenomenon, but I doubt it. More than likely it just is what it is and isn't worth wondering about. And yet, I still wonder.

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It Doesn't Take Much To Entertain Me

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Here are a couple of funny things that had me ROFLing this week.

Generally I don't approve of Christians fighting over trivial things, but this made me laugh...
...out loud... work. Now that is quite the feat.

These churches face each other across a busy street.

Yeah, I'm not Catholic myself, but I gotta say that the Catholics totally kicked some Presbyterian tushy on this one.

And then there's this gem...

The Geek and I have been walking around the house randomly shouting, "MOOOOOOOOO!!" "TRACTOOOOOOOORRRRRR!!"

Of course, we think yelling anything in a heavy metal voice is funny. Really. Is that weird?



My (Not So?) Hare-Brained Scheme

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

(In my previous post, I mentioned that I was up to a hare-brained scheme. I'd like to apologize to the scheme for calling it hare-brained. Apparently it was a little hurt by that statement, so I just want to go on record as saying that it really is a brilliant scheme. It will be even more brilliant if I continue to follow through on that "working really hard and being happy" thing.

So, I would like to introduce you to my new Etsy store – Geekwif Crafts!

Geekwif Crafts logoI'm really excited about this. It gives me a chance to do lots of my favorite crafty things and (hopefully) make money doing it.

Austen BookmarkGeekwif Crafts will feature handmade items that are related to reading and books. All items will be original designs. So far I only have bookmarks in the shop, but I will be adding many more reading-related items soon. (Keep an eye on my shop to find out what they are.)

The first bookmark in the shop is called the "Austen Bookmark", after Jane Austen (of course). It's actually a design I created several months ago and liked so much that I adapted the pattern to make a baby blanket for a friend. You can click on the image to the left to see the item in my shop and find out more about it.

As I add more items, I'll be posting about them here. If you love to read and need a pretty bookmark or maybe a gift for a friend who loves to read; or if you are just curious, please come and visit me at Etsy!

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Working Hard and Being Happy

Friday, October 03, 2008

Last night I was browsing my RSS feed reader. I clicked on a link and as the page loaded, my eye passed over it. At a glance, I misread the first line to say, "I like the idea of working really hard and being happy..." Do you ever read something and an immediate "YES" goes off in your head with flashing lights and sirens blaring? This was just such a moment. I want to work really hard and be happy.

That is certainly not to say that I am not happy with my life. My Geek is the most wonderful man I've ever known. I am incredibly blessed to have him as my husband and I love him more every day I spend with him. I have a lovely home in a beautiful peaceful setting. I have supportive friends and family. Despite a few frustrations, I really am quite happy with my life.

But one of the biggest frustrations I have (and I know I share this frustration with many, many people) is that I am not happy with my work, and for the most part have not been for the past 20 years. I go from job to job to horrible job and every time I feel like I fall further and further into an inescapable sinkhole. I have to work so we can pay the bills, but the only work for which I am qualified and which pays enough, tends to make me unhappy.

So this mistaken quote struck a chord with me, to put it mildly. A resounding "YES" still reverberates through me every time I think of that sentence. "I like the idea of working really hard and being happy..."

I used to think I was lazy; that I hated my work because I didn't really want to work at all. But I know that's not true. There is a deep satisfaction to be found in working really hard, in exerting yourself whether physically or mentally with the result of accomplishing something productive and rewarding. I want that to be at the core of my working life.

I'm tired of going day after day to a job where I do work that has no lasting significance. No one's life will ever be made more beautiful or richer or more fulfilled, because of the work I do there. If I left, no one would even remember me a month from now and my work there would have no lasting impression on the company or any of the individuals there. My leaving would not impact the office either positively or negatively.

I want to work really hard and be happy. I've wanted this all my life, but never put it into quite those words. I've been searching all my adult life for a way to combine these two things – working really hard and being happy. Some people seem to find this elusive balance early on in life, and some spend their entire lives searching unsuccessfully. I'm certainly not one of the former, but I desperately hope I am able to achieve this goal before I become the latter.

So I'm working on a hare-brained scheme, something that makes me happy, and something I've been thinking of for a while, but I thought I could not accomplish while working a full-time job. Now I think, maybe I just have to push that phrase "really hard" a little further. Maybe I need to be willing to give up a little more in order to make this happen. So I'm going to push myself a little harder, work a few more hours in the day, and maybe if I work "really hard" enough at the thing that makes me happy, I can become one of those people who are fortunate enough to "work really hard and be happy".



It's Coming!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

NaNoWriMo starts exactly one month from today! This month we won't be in the midst of moving, so the Geek and I are both planning to write like madmen and cross the finish line of 50,000 words before midnight on November 30th.

I have no idea yet what I'm going to write about, but that's okay. If inspiration doesn't hit me by the 1st of November, I'll just randomly pick something. I can't wait to get started.

NaNoWriMo, Baby! Woo hoo!!

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