July 31, 2010

saturday snapshot

Kalya Joy--oh that look :P

July 30, 2010

gotta love the DMV...

When it comes to a shining example of government inefficiency, the DMV is usually at the top of the list. But they have made some strides in the last few years.

For example, you can now pay your yearly car registration online (at least in Colorado). No line, no waiting, quick and painless. Last year, when I freaked out that my registration was late (because I hadn't seen a card and my sticker said May), I went online and paid in a matter of minutes (turned out I was a month early...in June...go figure). This year when the card showed up (I was expecting it in July this time) I went online to pay.

But last year they only sent me a year sticker, so my car still says 5 even though it should say 7. So I thought I'd send an email asking for a new sticker. Turns out, the "contact us" button only gets you to the suggestions area, not the actual DMV. But they wrote back giving me the phone number. (Don't even get me started on how much I hate phones...)

So Monday afternoon I called and got an answering service. I left a detailed message with my name, my license plate number, and a request to send me a July sticker because I had a May sticker, and if they checked my records, my renewal is now July.

On Tuesday I get this message back: This is Aletha from the DMV. I checked your records and it looks like your date was changed last year because of a late renewal. You now renew in July and you should have a July sticker on your car. Since you already have this, you should be fine. If you have any questions call us back.


First off, I paid early last year. The year before is when they switched me. And I clearly said in my message that I did NOT have a July sticker. And now I had to call them a SECOND time.

I was a bit upset.

But Aletha didn't answer the phone, and the lady who did (thank goodness I did NOT get a machine, or I would have railed!) was very helpful. She pulled up my record, verified that I should have July, complimented me on my good driving (and not getting pulled over for expired tags!), and then apologized for her co-worker's incompetence.

And she got a tag put in the mail, hand-addressed envelope and all.

She's my hero.

July 27, 2010

stranger than...

Ever since I was in the third grade (at least that's as far back as I remember in this case) I wanted to be a writer. Mrs. Miller, my third grade teacher, had us write stories that we then put into books complete with wallpaper and tag board covers. I still have that book.

Through the years I've wanted to pursue many things, but the one constant has always been writing. If I had to pick one thing that I was created to do, it's tell stories.

I'm at that point now where I've told a few, both in prose and poetry. I've had some credible figures in the field of writing tell me that I do it well. And I've even finished a few novels. But finishing a novel doesn't get it published. If you took all the finished but unpublished novels in the last five years, I would venture you could cross the good old US of A with them!

Which brings me to now. If this is what I was created to do, if this is the purpose of my life, then I need move forward. It's not enough to tell a story that no one hears--stories must be read, be shared, be told. And to do that, I need to get published.

Getting published is hard. Like hitting a baseball to the moon sort of hard. But there is something that can help make it more like hitting a ball from San Francisco to New York--and that's an agent. So that is my next step: find an agent.

And to be honest, I'd much rather have to find an agent than to have one of my characters show up at my door (like in the wonderful film Stranger Than Fiction). It's not going to be easy to find one, but most easy things aren't worth it in the end.

So, wish me luck! I'm off to find an agent.

July 24, 2010

saturday snapshots

This was taken at the airport in Nambia, 2006.

July 22, 2010

glue and paper...

I've spent much time over the last few months trying to find a way to customize journals for the upcoming CleanPlace Moot. We try to provide a journal every year--usually just a notebook with a sticker on the front or something. But this year I wanted to do something more snazzy.

Turns out that buying customized journals is very expensive...not to mention that the minimum order tends to be 200+. We only have 30-35 members who come to the Moot, and giving out the same thing year after year is not really my style.

Then my friend Holly posted a creative and fun way to make journals on her blog. I thought, "Hey, I can do that!" So I headed to JoAnns for the paper and Walmart for the composition journals (you know the black and white hard cover ones--they are like a quarter each!).

And here's what I made...
I added a "name plate" on the inside of each since I picked paper out special for each member.
And then in the back I put a personal note (my CP name is NarniaPrincess, or Nia).
Each journal ended up costing me somewhere around $0.75 to make! And since I was able to pick out paper designs for each member, each journal is very personalized, even more than ordering preprinted one would have been! Not to mention that they are super easy to make--I am planning on making a few more for myself just because they are so fun. I'm so thankful that Holly stumbled upon this idea, and that she shared it with me. Thanks Holly!

--To make, you need four sheets of 12X12 paper--two for outside, two for inside--cut the outside papers to 12 high and 8 inches wide. For the inside cut them down to 8 1/2 high and 6 1/2 wide. I like to round the corners on the inside. Glue the outside papers onto the book (right up to the black edger on the composition book, that's what makes them look so neat and edged!). When dry, fold in the corners first and glue down (this is going to help square off the corners). When those are dry, fold in the top and bottom and side. To make things really neat, take some of the cut off paper from the cover and paste a 1 1/2 stripe of it on the inside fold, right next to the pages--this makes it look really awesome! Once that's all dry, glue in your inside cover. Add any embellishments you might want!

when strings cross...

Life is made up of strings. I know, you thought the substance of the universe was slightly more substantial and a little less annoying, but hey. Some strings never touch other strings while others get tangled. If you are really lucky you might even get a tapestry out of the deal!

Recently I was reading two very different things (Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury and essays by C.S. Lewis) when strings tangled in a lovely dance.

In Fahrenheit 451, first published in 1953, Bradbury talks about how television (essentially) took over free thought. People got sucked into scripts that said nothing, with "family" that they had never met.

Then came Lewis, in his essay published in 1947, "On Stories", he talks about a movie version of King Solomon's Mines, and how the movie changed the ending and thus, for Lewis, ruined the whole story. His rant against the silver screen was rather moving, even for a movie buff like myself!

I found it very intriguing that both writers picked up on the idea that movies might numb the mind to thought and fiction alike. Even more so because in a way movies HAVE changed the way stories are told, and yet, the publishing industry is still going strong. Thankfully we have not gone in the direction of Bradbury's world, but I have to agree with Lewis that in a movie made from a book, we sometimes lose what made the story so moving and beautiful in the first place.

For those who knew me when the Lord of the Rings movies came out, you'll know that I, like Lewis, can get a bit upset when a director "ruins" the story. I love story, and as an author, I value the integrity of story. But as a director and actor, I can also understand how some things work better visually than others. I am constantly torn between the two sides--and you all thought I just didn't sleep because I drink too much Mt. Dew!

I'm glad that I can still read freely, even more so that I can think about what I read and find the strings that shimmer through various thoughts and tangle. I just wanted to share these intersecting strings with you all, because maybe at least one of you will find it interesting.

Now go read a book!

(Lewis' "On Stories" can be found in the book Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, one that I highly recommend to anyone who has a love of story, and especially writers.)

July 17, 2010

saturday snapshot

This is my friend, Miss Pottenger. She has a picture of me taking this picture :P

July 11, 2010

saturday snapshot (only a day late!)

So, I apparently didn't set these up for July :P This was taken in Denver when Dara and I went up to celebrate our 32nd birthdays.

July 1, 2010

taking the punishment...

After 32 some odd years upon this planet I have come to realize that I will never like "working out." Over the years I've been told that it's something I would learn to love, that the more you do it the more you crave it. While that might be true for some people, it's not true for me.

Even in grade school I hate gym class (though I did like gymnastics, mostly the flying through the air part, not the attempting to climb the rope to the roof, which I could never do). Track and Field day was the worst day of the year. Sure I could run and jump, but I didn't really like it. Combine that with the fact it was always outside and always near summer (translate--hot outside), and you get a very ill and upset child.

In junior high I was a cheerleader, which I liked, but mostly because I got to cheer and lead--and we never had to run. Running was evil. About this time I developed asthma of the sort that inhalers don't help. Now I had a reason to hate running beyond the not liking it. I played basketball, but again, it wasn't the athletic part I enjoyed, it was the being on a team and the strategy. I do love strategy.

After college pounds settled on, I decided to try and do something, so I joined Curves. While the Curves workout is a good one, I found that I just didn't like going. I didn't like the feeling I got while working out (lightheaded, sick to my stomach, just plain icky). I did like the results, but even that wasn't enough to keep me going on a regular basis.

And here I am again. I got to that point about a month ago where I realized that I was never going to work out at home without some serious accountability, and since my house is too small for two people to work out together (and my BFF's apartment even smaller), I was going to have to go to option B--join a gym. I got a great price on membership to 24Hour Fitness and I've been going 3-4 times a week for three weeks.

And I still don't like working out.

It comes down to this: sweat is gross, having sweat trickling off my face is gross, feeling like I might pass out or throw up is gross. I would much rather be at home or in a park reading a book, better yet, writing a book. I'd rather be watching a movie while knitting a scarf. I'd rather be having deep conversations with friends. I'd even rather get a crown put on my teeth--that tells you how very seriously I don't like working out.

I don't expect to ever enjoy working out--I've stopped believing that lie along with so many others that I've been fed over the years (don't even get me started on the "your prince will come" lie!). But I do it because it's an means to an end, and I do want the end. I want to be healthier, I want to sleep better at night, and I want to like my body a little more than I do right now. So I sweat, even though it's a nasty thing to do, and I work out even though it makes me feel sick.

Just thought you might want to know.