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Joystory



Story is my joy



Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2016 17:59:34 +0000

 



My Brain on Books XVI

Sat, 23 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0000

I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I've participated in NaNo every year since 2004 and will again next month.  I have been blessed to have it in my life and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges unless required to have a separate post..   Be sure to scroll to bottom of this post for advice on how to ward off those scary nap attacks. You won't be sorry.Ode to Deweyby Joy Reneevote, fav and share for DeweyWe Miss You Dewey10:00 PM - This day did not go as I planned.  And no matter how flexible I tried to be about it, adjusting my plans and expectations, events would NOT cooperate. Don't want to waste anymore reading time giving the play by play so suffice it to say it involved malfunctions.  Many, many malfunctions--of the connection, of the clumsy fingers, of the eyes, of the tent door, of the sky, of the memory, of the wardrobe...Well, I guess the sky was functioning within normal April parameters and it wasn't its fault the tent door had lost its defenses.The story I started to tell here promised to be a bit of a hoot but I could tell it would take me the rest of the thon to do it right so I cut it out and pasted it into a new post.  Watch for it sometime this week.  I can't promise it for Sunday or Monday--tho I may surprise myself--as I'll be in the throes of a Thon hangover.  No I'm not drinking alcoholic beverages.  It's the fact that I did not sleep the night before the thon started so I passed my 24 hour awake mark at about 10 AM.  Which could explain a whole lot of the malfunctions related to memory, clumsiness, staying on task, OCD and ADD moments and such.Well, I'm going to post this update and then settle in with a book until my eyes or my consciousness gives out.  My husband's asleep, the kids in the treehouse next door are asleep and their parents have banked the campfire and taken their murmurs and chuckles inside.  The sky is behaving itself and I've got a good hour before I'm forced by nature to fuss with the malfunctioning tent zippers and make the trek up to the house.I'll probably make only one more update--the wrapup and I can't promise it will be before I sleep.  I want to devote as much as possible of the remaining time to reading.5:00 AM - Good morning fellow thoners.I'm going to be reading on a theme today: Reading about reading.  Like Jane Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking At a Novel, Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer, and Mortimer J. Adler's How to Read a Book to name just a few of such titles I have at hand.I'm not limiting myself to that tho.  I'll also be spending time with a stack of library books recently checked out--browsing in them for the most part unless one of them reels me in for longer.  That is my way with a new stack of library books.I will also be reading the third book in the second Thomas Covenant trilogy by Stephen R. Donaldson, White-Gold Wielder.  I began the re-read of these high-fantasy novels over a year ago as a project related to a story I'm writing in which reading the trilogies together played a big role in a young couple's courtship and throughout their marriage creating shorthand references in their communication.  I need to re-read them especially as a way to get inside the head of the husband who so strongly identifies with Covenant he re-reads the whole series nearly once a year and communicates even with himself in the story's language and s[...]



On the Move

Sun, 03 Jan 2016 07:55:00 +0000

Crocheted Headband and Hairbow Set This headband and hairbow set is two of the thirteen fiber art WIP I've finished in the last two weeks.  See my albums on fb (WWF and Crafty WIP)  I'll probably bring most of those photos into upcoming posts but by then the fb albums will have new stuff as I've taken to posting my current craft endeavors to share with my crafty cousins.Today we had a family gathering at my brother's house in Portland OR to celebrate our Mom's 84th birthday.  Tomorrow is her actual birthday so I'll save pics of her and the gifts for tomorrow's Sunday Serenity post.Tonight I'll share the three fiber art WIP I worked on today.Crocheted Belt to  Go with Headband and HairbowThis is the belt made with the same yarn and same stitch pattern as the headband and hairbow I finished the other day.  it is now 30 inches long.  it will need at least another ten for a buckle belt and another twenty for a tie belt.  Which one it becomes may depend on how the yarn holds out.  The ball is shrinking fast..I worked on this for the hour or so we waited for dinner to be served.  I worked on it a bit turning the game of Telephone Pictionary we played but put it away when I realized I would need to start measuring it frequently from that point on.A Crocheted Granny Octogon Slouch Hat (maybe)I ws working on this one in the car on the way to Portland. About an hour's ride door to door.  I'd put half a row of white in before realizing that I'd left off last week at the spot wher I change color.  So I took out the white and started working with the pink.  I didn't wind the white back onto it cake, thinking that since I was sitting in one place in the car I should be able to put in the row of pink and then switch back to the white and use up all the loose white well before we arrived.  But I was having issues with sun glare.  I kept making mistakes and having to take out an average of half of all the stitches I put in.Then less than a third of a row around I discovered that the pink thread had been dragging up globs of the loose white loops and there was a snarl forming.  I spent the rest of the drive and about twenty more minutes sitting in the car in their driveway before I was able to get the yarn gathered up in such a way it wouldn't get worse if handled carefully.  Needless to say I left that project in the car.I'm not sure what it is.  I started out with the concept of making a granny square slouch hat.  But when I put in the second row I put the six stitch set in all of the chain spaces of row one.  Instead of taking it out I decided to see what a granny octagon would look like.Well after row five it already had a significant ripple so I started decreacing by skipping the chain space in the middle of each side.  After three rows of this it was starting to lay flatter again but it was also pulling the middles into Vs making the octagon into an eight-pointed star.  I kinda liked that lookOn the pink row I'm now working I have stopped decreasing and in fact increasing by the granny square rules.  I'm sure it will start rippling again in two or three rows.  I'm thinking the ripples will look fine on a sluch hat tho so I'm strongly leaning that way.It took me an hour to get the snarl out after I got home last night.Crocheted Infinity ScarfThis was the one I worked on the longest from the lateafternoon through the late evening when we left my brother's home in Portland where we'd been celebrating Mom's 84th birthday.This is an infinity scarf I'm crocheting for myself from a lace weight merrino wool and silk blend with a metalic thread.  Handpainted in shades of teal.  The pattern is puff stitches joined with chain loops.  I started out following a stitch pattern called ZigZag Puffs but I tweaked it and ended up with something that looks like eyes with the puffs as pupils inside a chain frame.  I call it Puffy Eyes. :)This was one of the yarns I bought on my birthday [...]



Putting the 'MOVE' in 2016

Sat, 02 Jan 2016 05:52:00 +0000

Peacock--the symbol of 'joy' in India.This is my third year participating in One Word, an alternative to New Year's resolutions.  I kept 2014's word thru 2015 mostly because 2013 was more than half gone when I signed up but also because I felt I still needed so much work on that issue.  The same is true now so I was tempted to stick with 'joy' for another year.  But I decided instead to find a word to focus on that contributes to or is a component of 'joy' for me.  As of late last this week I'd narrowed it down to a handful of possibilities: accomplish, spontaneity, passion, breathe, belong and home.While talking via vid chat with my husand the other day he asked if he could make a suggestion.  There was a word, he said that fit the criteria of being a component/contributer to 'joy' in his opinion and it was something he wants to encourage me to include in my life plus it could be said to subsume all six of my possible words:One Word 365MOVEaccomplish = move toward my goalsspontaneity = move on a whimbreathe = moving air in and out of my lungs via exercise or meditationpassion = the energizing emotion that 'moves' one to act on desiresbelong = to acquire my longed for sense of 'belonging' requires me to move out of my comfort zonehome = to move back 'home' which is not a building but wherever my husband is and to live with him and be homemakers together again that is my top priority for the year as it has been for two years running.I will be doing a followup post or posts to explain the meaninfulness of each of those six words.  But one more thing I can say that is true of each of them (besides contribuing to 'joy' and involving some kind of movement) is that they each represent a particular challenge related to how the autism spectrum manifests in me. My diagnosis in September has been both disconcerting and a relief.  Why it was disconcerting is probably obvious--it would throw any fifty-something for a loop.  But a relief?  well after several months of reading, research and processing of information and emotions I realized that so many of my shortcomings are not character flaws, were never about will power.  Many otheres were imaginary based on unrealistic images of unattainable perfection.  And yet others were never shortcomings in the first place.Now that I've had time to process the diagnosis I'm starting to sense a direction in which to move in order to accommodate this reality.  I'm hoping that means I will be ready to blog more regulary again.  And not just about autism/Aspberger's but about all the things I used to blog about: reading, writing, research, videos, music, fiber art, crafts, LOLs, ideas, spiritual path and Joy's story.  And let's not forget words!Best Boyby Eli GottliebMy first book of the year i Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb.  it was one of the titles that came up when I put autism in a search box.  It was one of the few novels I found that way and I'm very interested in seeing how autism is represented in fiction.I've not finished it yet so this is not a review and I'm adding this commentary as a post script to this post because of the 'First Book of the Year' meme at Sheila's Book Journey.  A bit of a last minute thing as it isn't even still January 1st where Shelia lives.I also added it to this post instead of in a separate post because images from the story kept intruding as I was writing about 'move' above.  I realized that the narrator/protagonist in Best Boy, a man in his fifties who'd been committed to an institution at age 11 after his autism diagnosis, had been on the move from page one.  He was moving both physically and emotionally, including in both cases outside his comfort zones.  He was moving into new social circles and he even moved off the compound property (ran away) and walked the highways toward 'home' his single minded goal.  The courage he exhibits through all this is amazing and something I aspire to.[...]



All Out of Words

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 06:27:00 +0000

(image)
NaNoWriMo Win 2015

I'm all out of words.

Plus I was supposed ot be packing for trip home.  And spend last evening with Ed.

Questionable priorities.



Yeah. I Know. I Know. Finish Something Already!

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 04:34:00 +0000

(image)
Scarf Crocheted with Diversity Yarn
 This Diversity brand yarn has an elastisity to it and they call it memory yarn.  I ti lace weight and soft enough for baby  blankets.  This is another of the yarns I got on my 2014 birthday shopping spree.  I began this scarf for myself in January.  Had hoped to have it done before it was too warm to wear it last spring.  Ha.

I decided i wanted a hat to go with the scarf but wasn't sure one skein could do both so I tried to find more online.  Could not find the Zebra but I did find this:


And these are the colors of somebody on my list so I got it.  I'm winding it into a cake on my winder tonight and hpe to start a scarf tomorrow.

Yeah.  I know.  I know.  Finish something already.



Sunday Serenity -- Crocheted Infinity Scarf

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 04:59:00 +0000

(image)
Croheted Infinity Scarf
Lace weight wool, silk blend with silver thread.  Handpainted
Last month when I finally got the 400 yard snarl out of this yarn I targeted my birthday for finishing this scarf.  This picture was taken a month ago and I've added another couple inches to the width but I'm still at least a quarter out from done.  I would have finished it if I'd not spent the last ten days working on snarls in three other projects.

This was one of my finds on my birthday excursion to La Favorites in Kelso WA last year.

Well maybe I can be wearing this by Thanksgiving.



Drama! Drama! Everywhere But On My Novel's Page

Sun, 15 Nov 2015 07:47:00 +0000

WhizFolder Delux NaNoWriMo 2015 FileA Round of Words in 80 DaysRound 4 2015The writing challenge that knows you have a lifeROW80 Check-InIt seems like every year around the time NaNo starts some kind of drama in my personal life or someone who's part of my daily life heats up to a boil and there doesn't seem to be room on the stovetop in my brain for my novel as well.  This time the drama is mine and had my thoughts in a froth.  My fingers were flying to keep up with them--in journaling, email and texting. After two or three days of this I decided to do a wordcount on the words generated around this personal dram and found I was having no problem at all making daily quota...and more.If only it were in my NaNoWriMo file.  And that's when I decided to abandon my planned novel and transfer all these words already generated into the file and continue to transcribe the events as they unfold, muse on them, add backstory, try to access other POV and give myself free reign to novelize an see where it might go.  I'm sure it will be too autobiographical to publish but it will still be a good exercise.  It will give me the space to tell myself a story that might help me make sense of what feels like chaos at the moment.Meanwhile I didn't move the other story out of the file.  If the personal drama returns to a simmer and allows the Funny Bunny story to share the stovetop again I'll return to it.  Who knows I might be able to weave the two toegether in some way.  That's one of the things I'm so good at--bringing characters from one story on stage in another in ways in which their stories enhance each other.  That's how I ended up with one storyworld that's generated over 100 major characters and at least 16 novel lenth WIP and that many twice over in shorter WIP.Having made that decision and then watched the words swarm like African ants over screen after screen I'm even starting to feel a true pleasure in the writing again.  Something major broke loose.I'm still a bit hit and miss on my ROW80 goals:Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15min Daily -- hmm. Depends on whether I can count the time spent obsession on the personal drama...Read/Study Craft 15min Daily Average -- Again sadly under par.  A couple days each week.  My reading has become consumed by the autism spectrum theme since my diagnosis in September.7.5 hours of sleep daily --  the last two years have taught me the importance of this for keeping my anxiety low and energy high, weight down and creativity sustainable -- Fail!  This devolved from adequate before November 4.  I slept little in the first and second week of November.  Was awake from 9am Tuesday Nov 3 until at least midnight Wednesday.  Slept about 9 hours and was awake until the wee hours of Saturday.  Got back on schedule through Monday morning and then was awake until Tuesday night.  Slept about twelve hours, waking around 9am on the 11th and then did not sleep again until 4:30 this morning Saturday, the 14th and am still awkae in the wee hours of Sunday morning as I write this.Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily  -- I know it is crucial to health.  Both physical and mental.  And most especially creativity.  Yet I struggle to make it happen.  It is one of my Asperger traits to hate change and that includes switching from one activity to another.  I spend way too many of my waking hours sitting in my desk chair either at the computer or the craft table.  Switching between those is a matter of scooting a foot and swiveling about 80 degrees.  Swiveling another 45, standing up and taking two steps puts me on the mini-tramp.  Yet I've been on it since the crisis began on the 3rd.  It probably would have been as much help as the all the words generated around it.  It c[...]



Birthday Boots and Sisterhood

Sat, 14 Nov 2015 07:43:00 +0000

(image)
Keen Boots
My sister, Carri, took me shoe shopping for my birthday.  It was part one of the shopping excursion I asked for.  Part two will be for clothes.  Both are needed because my entire wardrobe except for a handful of items are one to two sizes too big for me.

She took me to a high-qualit shop in the Portland area first and I thought it would be primarily for fun--in store window shopping.  But two hours later I walked out of there with these boots on my feet.

I'd never paid a 3 figure price for shoes in my 58 years! I'm still feeling a bit weird about it.

After we left the shoe store we stopped to pick up a take and bake pizza--artichoke hearts/bacon/cheese--and headed over to our sister Jamie's apartment where she left me while she went to a Christian rock concert.  Jamie and I polished off that pizza as we visited together for the first time in months;

All in all a good birthday which kept my lucky Friday the 13th birthday streak unbroken.



Joy's Needled

Thu, 12 Nov 2015 07:54:00 +0000

Problem Solved?  Such a Small SolutionJig Pro hollow ended needle for paracord and leather lacesThe Joy's plaque I'm needlepointing to be mounted on a bag above where it already says: Getting Things Done, has been languishing for want of a needle.  A needle of a kind I wasn't sure existed.I was picturing something hollow on one end and with a dull point on the other and some way of securing the end of the cord in the hollow end. And slim enough to fit through the plastic mesh without breaking it.  I also pictured it with a tiny clamp or pincer instead of hollow but couldn't picture how that could be made not to snag the cord.  So hollow was better but I couldn't picture how the cord could be secured.  Turns out screw threads are the solution.  And to make the cord grippable you melt the end first..  I didn't need to do that as it acquired a good grip onto the end I'd treated with Fray-check.--a kind of chemical melt I suppose.I found it in leather-working supplies on Amazon.  I wasn't positive it was small enough because my eyes were not able to judge the measurement of the mesh hole and there was nobody around to do it for me so I took a gamble thinking that it was so close the canvas with the larger mesh would work with the needle on future projects.Why do I need such a bizarre sounding needle?  The paracord is too thick to go thru the mesh doubled over in the eye of a needle.  Besides needle eyes big enough to hold the cord are already too big to go through the mesh holes. I had resorted to fraying the end of the cord and then painting it with fray-check and twisting it into a point as it dried.  This worked.  Sorta.  But it was slow going. Like threading a cooked spaghetti noodle through a bead.But it did work OK as long as there was just one strand occupying the hole.  When trying to put the strand through the hole already occupied by the stitch in the neighboring row tho the fray-check coat on the point began to loose its stiffness and without that it was like trying to push a worm through a straw.The new needle works exactly as I imagined and it fits the empty hole.  But when I push it through the already occupied hole I must be very careful to go exactly straight as any pressure toward the side will break the mesh.  So far it only happened once and I managed to repair it by wrapping thread several times around the mesh bars on either side of the gap to replace the missing bar.  I hope that doesn't happen very often as it is a pain'I would send for another hollow ended needle in a size smaller except I'm pretty sure the specs on this one said it was the smallest.The brand of the needle was Jig Prol  It seems a very fine quality of metal with nothing on the surface that could snag the paracord.  What impressed me most about Jig Pro so far tho was that of the three different brands selling leather working needles that I ordered from in the same order they were the only one whose method of shipping made sense to me;  But that was probably because Jig Pro itself was supplying whereas the other two orders were being supplied by Amazon.  Amazon sent one needle set in the same box along with a couple other items in my order but I almost missed it as it had slid under the flap on the bottom.  The other one was in a box the size of a hardback book all by its lonesome.  Jig Pro sent theirs by snail mail in a greeting card sized envelop.[...]



Sunday Serenity -- Snarls and NaNo and ROW80

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 04:49:00 +0000

Snarls.I've been spending more time unsnarling yarn and thread in the last week than actually crocheting.The brown one above is the Mobius strip bottom/sides/strap for the quilter's tote. I made the silly mistake of leaving one ball of bamboo thread attached and adding another one to do a a couple of short stretches across the width before returning to continue along the outer edge where I left off..not so brilliantThe pink one isn't a project yet. It's just a ball of bamboo thread that was rolling around in a drawer dropping loops.The purple is one of my new bamboo yarns. I tried to find the inner string as I prefer to pull from the center as then I can have it in a smaller project bag or even a pocket. Pulling from the outside string requires room for the skein to roll and flip.Well, before I found the inner string I'd pulled out a lot of loops and when i pulled on the inner string it yanked out a clump of loops it was snarled with. I decided to stuff them all back inside and wind the skein into a ball on my winder from the outside string.But the skein rolled and flipped in the tray out of my line of sight as I operated the winder and the clump I stuffed inside came out and tangled with loops falling off the outside.A serious mess.All three are lace weight..Its a good thing unsnarling is one of my favorite things to do. Dont ask me why but I find it relaxing.But I don't really have time for such fun now. It's too close to Christmas. And I hate having the winder out of action.Plus NaNo is in session and I'm falling behind.  11111 words at the end of day 8.  8x1667=13336.  Which leaves me 2225 words behind.  More than a days quota.Plus my life itself just developed a snarl of similar proportions to that of the purple above.  Drama!  Why is it that every November some kind of drama heats up in either my personal life or that of someone close to me who's part of my daily life and whose drama sticks to me like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth?I was way more seriously behind as we entered the weekend--sitting around 5555 on Friday afternoon when Mom left for her weekend with my brother's family.How did I double that in two days?  By adding the real life drama to my story.  Or rather adding a second story that I'll try to work into a relationship with the other one which is probably a long short story rather than a novel anyway.I'd been generating a lot of words in emails and texts over the drama and by transferring those words--all written since Tuesday--into my NaNo file I nearly caught up.  I might have done so if I hadn't decided to write a blog post instead.I'm still a bit hit and miss on my ROW80 goals:Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15min Daily -- 2 or 3 days in a week.  Not good enuf.  Especially since they are seldom contiguous.Read/Study Craft 15min Daily Average -- Again sadly under par.  A couple days each week.  My reading has become consumed by the autism spectrum theme since my diagnosis in September.7.5 hours of sleep daily --  the last two years have taught me the importance of this for keeping my anxiety low and energy high, weight down and creativity sustainable -- Doing better than I used to but in the last month I've averaged two 24 hour plus days each week.  The other nights tho I do tend to get more than 7 and often more than 8.  It is a huge improvement not having frequent 6 hours and under nights.  And yes, they are nights and not days.  Another improvement.  I seldom sleep beyond 9am.Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily  -- I know it is crucial to health.  Both physical and mental.  And most especially creativity.  Yet I struggle to make it happen.  It is one of my Asperger traits to hate change and that includes [...]



Taking a Switch To It

Sun, 08 Nov 2015 07:28:00 +0000

Acer Aspire Switch 10 SW5-012 10.1" Laptop 2GB 64GB Altho I love my Nexus 7 and seldom go anywhere without it--not even from room to room--there are some things it won't do for me:It won't let me play music while I read or writeAll of the office productivity aps I've tried so far suck for anything more than note takingTransfering those notes over to the Aspire and into my prefered Windows aps is a painReading PDFs is nigh impossible for me as they won't wordwrap so when I set the font so I can see it I am forced to scroll sideway back and forth for every lineIt won't run my favorite aps.The PDF issue by itself was enough to justify looking at a 10 inch tablet but when I realized I could get a refurbished Windows tablet/laptop for about the same price I got my Nexus I did look back.It didn't hurt at all that it was also an Acer Aspire just like the refurbished 17in laptop I've been happy with for over two years now.It took me longer to shop for the cover.  Hours and hours of reading the fine print of the tech specs on nearly a dozen 10 inch tablet w/keyboard covers.  Until I found this one the only time the SW5 model was mentioned was to rule it out.Here is my Nexus 7 case on top of the Switch.  I can't show the Nexus itself as it's the camera.  The Switch is just a tad bigger than my 11 inch Windows 7 netbook which was my only computer between January 2010 and September 2013.  But the Switch weighs about a third of the Netbook. Even with the case.Since it arrived on Thursday I've only been doing set up tasks with it. I haven't even tried to read a PDF on it yet.  I always seem to forget how long it takes get preferences and other settings adjusts to my satisfaction.  I'm not going to start doing anything too serious with it until after it upgrades to Windows 10.  It came as 8.1 with elegibility for the upgrade.  It is 0000000000busy downloading that in the background.  First it had to download over 160 updates to the current system which took hours Thursday evening.There is one thing that frusterates me but its not unique to the Switch it is a bane for me on all Windows computers and that is their insistance on using 9pt font in all their dialog boxes and their refusal to allow me any control over it like the did in Windows 95 and XP.  Their so called accessibility options add more frustration than thay take away.  The magnifying glass forces parts of what I'm looking at off the screen and I can't track it when moving the mouse to scroll over to what I need to look.  Often something else I need to see at the same time disappears off the other side.  Its very inconvienient.  And there is no excuse for it.All of their high contrast themes except the black and white gag my eyes.  I hate the colors and they won't let me create my own version.  I worked with the black and white one for awhile on the 17in Aspire but found that loosing the cues provided by color was too high a price for the very slightly clearer fonts.  Really it looked nothing so much as white sand after birds with wet feet walked across it.My nephew has suggested I try changing the DPI to make everything on the screen 125%.  I saw that option but it said 'not reccommended' with warnings that sounded dire to me.  Whenever it says 'not reccommended' I feel guilty as I did as a child when my Dad frowned at me when I disregard and unless I know absolutely for sure the possible consequences I can't bring myself to disobey.[...]



Tackling the Biggest To-Do

Thu, 22 Oct 2015 04:27:00 +0000

Crocheted Quilter's ToteIt was my intention from the moment I started the travel jewelry kit in June for my sister that I would give it my disciplined focus until it was done--hoping that meant in time for her birthday in mid July--and then transfer that same discipline to this Quilter's Tote project that was my Secret Santa gift for my sister-in-law in 2012.  Well, tho I did manage to maintain the disciplined focus on the jewelry kit and gave my sister half of it the week of her birthday and the other half the last weekend of August, too many unforseen things happened with it (just like with the quilter's tote) and multiple rethinks and redos became necessary as reported in earlier posts and the final handover to my sister did not take place until this past Friday afternoon.The weekend was all about the read-a-thon but on Monday I cleared my craft table of the tools and materials from the jewelry kit project and got out the quilter's tote.  I layed it all out for this photo but also to re-familiarize myself with its current status.  I got out the to-do list for it and re-read it.  It is in a small notebook that travels with the project and the first page reads:Prep mobeus strip (in blud basket above)Prep wraparound panel (folded on left side above)Prep back/front flap panel (folded on right side above)Crochet 5 4" x 4" squares--4 for pockets on the carry strap 1 to wrap around the twist in the top of the strap.Crochet 3 small flowers for buttons to secure flap on front of bagCrochet 1 large flower for the strap wrapAssemble toteExcept for the squares and flowers which have patterns, each one of these items require multiple pages of instructions and task lists broken down into sub tasks and dependencies (tasks that must be done before another task can be started). Those lists were disorganized and missing some things I'd thot of since writing it so I tore them out and started over.  Assuming I've thought of everything...But if there is one thing this project has taught me is that it isn't likely that I've thought of everything.  In fact it might not be possible to think of everything before beginning a project and that has too often been my reason for procrastinating or quitting after encountering an  unforseen snag in my plan.I've done the same thing with my creative writing...But if there is one thing that sticking to it thru all the snags with the jewelry travel kit (a three week project that became a three month project) taught me it was that I'm clever enough to figure out a way around or through the snags.I think I've solved the structure problems I encountered a year ago when I tried to assemble the tote with the original plan and ended up with a flop.  Literally a bag too floppy to be useful.  Who wants to always have to depend on having someone hold a bag open while you put somethng in or take something out unless the bag is already stuffed to the gills?I think my solutions are going to work--installing cord on all the edges and lining the bag bottom and sides with microfiber pads. I'm in under no illusion that there will be no further snags but I'm confident I can work them out too. Tho it's possible that I'm going to be late for this Christmas too having gotten such a late start and that kind of disappointment has often tempted me to procrastinate.  Not this time.This will be my main focus for every day that it is possible.  It's not always possible--appointments outside the house, company, illness, Mom's needs--life sometimes has its own ideas.  But it will become north for my mental compass and my attention will keep returning to it.One difficulty it presents is that it is not portable.  It's a long time since it's been a lap project let alone a pur[...]



A Round of Words in 80 Days Round 4 2015 Goals

Mon, 19 Oct 2015 20:02:00 +0000

A Round of Words in 80 DaysRound 4 2015The writing challenge that knows you have a lifeI'm back after dropping out for Round 3.  It's been a rough year.  Life threw some new curves.  One of which was the diagnoses of high-functioning autism aka Asperger's Syndrome in mid September. Apparently one of the crucial things for someone on the spectrum is a highly structured day which means that participating in things like ROW 80 can only be of help.The fact that I've had the experience of ROW 80 since 2012 is helpful as I it has given me the tools I need to create that structure.  Now tho it needs to apply to my whole life and not just writing.ROW80 ROUND 4 GOALSsimilar to Round 1 and as always they are time investment rather than word count.Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15min Daily (until about mid summer this year I never lost this one since instating it in my first round in 2012.  A ROW80 win!)  --this had become an integral part of every day for me. I never really stopped the dreaming but I wasn't taking notes.  But even with notetaking it's not enough if it never leads to more than jotting notes as I live inside my story.Read/Study Craft 15min Daily Average -- This is one of the writing tasks I hung onto all year.  At least a significant amount each week if not always daily.7.5 hours of sleep daily --  the last two years have taught me the importance of this for keeping my anxiety low and energy high, weight down and creativity sustainable.Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily  -- I never got this back after the respiratory illness last winter.  I know it is crucial to health.  Both physical and mental.  And most especially creativity.Personal Journaling 15min Daily  --has not become a daily habit yet.  in fact i've not even reached for it since late February.  I feel serious resistance to it which probably means I need to be doing it.  Especailly to help me assimilate the autism spectrum diagnoses and how it affects my writing goals.Read Fiction 30min Daily Average --this is one thing I kept up even while sick except for a few of the worst days.  And continued right up through mid September when I began the big research project I've discussed elsewhere after my autism spectrum dianoses..Social network activities 30min Daily (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) --another thing I've a strong resistance to.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important.  Engage with the Blow Me a Candy Kiss structural rewrite file 30 min Daily*  --  except for November when I'll be working on the companion story from husband Greg's POV called To Embrace a Funny Bunny.  These two likely belong to the same novel but I'll be pretending they don't for the durration of NaNo. All of this in service to the overarching goal for 2015: Regain the joy in writing that I lost sometime last year.  The Joy/joy meter hovers around 7 out of 10.this week.*I've been struggling with this structural rewrite since my first Row 80 Round in 2012.  The autism spectrum dianoses helps explain why I have no problem accumulating words but can't seem to hang them on an appropriate plot scaffold.  Apparently issues with cause and effect are common on the spectrum.I'm hoping that working with Dramtica Pro will help address this issue.  Using it for NaNo prep this year hoping it will prevent the creation of another mess.  Am concurrently running Candy Kiss through it's paces to see if i[...]



Sunday Serenity - Travel Jewelry Box

Mon, 19 Oct 2015 03:36:00 +0000

This is part of the travel set I made my sister for her birthday.  Which was last July.  I finally handed this over for the second time on Friday.  The first time I gave it to her was labor day weekend but I had to take it back to fix a couple things. I'd given her part one the week of her birthday.  That was the first version of the earring wallet made from the same plastic needle point canvas as the box and meant to fit inside it.  But the same day I handed her the box she gave me back the earring wallet because the hook earrings would not stay put.  I had to comepletely rething the concept and start over and the result doesn't even fit in this box.  She has decided to use it for make up instead of jewelry.Now she is asking me if I can install some plastic loops on the lid to hold mascarra pencils and I sad no problem.  Hope it won't take me another month.  :)The clasp is what I forgot to install the first time and my original concept didn't work and I had to rethink it.  What I settled on was sewing a button on the bottom and attaching elastic loops to the front edge of the lid and the top edge of the polar bear picture which is opposit the front edge of the lid.  Not shown in these pictures is the vinal pocket on the back of the polar bear picture.It took me an hour to prep the pictures for the box and there are more pictures for the earring wallet so I'm going save those for another post later this week. I just don't have it in me to prep the pics and write about them.  I'm still read-a-thon hungover.  Six hours of sleep after forty awake was not nearly half enough.  To be sure I would sleep again at a fairly decent hour tonight in spite of waking up at one I denied myself all caffeine and even my perscription Adderal today.You can see pictures of it as a work-in-progress here.[...]



My Brain on Books XVII

Sat, 17 Oct 2015 11:44:00 +0000

I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I've participated in NaNo every year since 2004 and will again next fall.  I have been blessed to have it in my life and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. If you happen to be doing NaNo this year you can find me there as joywriteThis post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges unless required to have a separate post..   Be sure to scroll to bottom of this post for advice on how to ward off those scary nap attacks. You won't be sorry.Ode to Deweyby Joy Reneevote, fav and share for DeweyWe Miss You Dewey3:00 AM - Where did all that time go?Still awake.  Not even struggling.Well maybe a little.  Not having any trouble staying awake but am having trouble staying on taskI've done more reading on the blogs and social media following the thon activity and reading Dewey's archives than in books since last eveing's vid chat with Ed.  I opened a lot of books.  Mostly eooks but a few tree books and skimmed around in them.  Reading table of contents and other frontal matter--intros, epigraphs,  acknowledgements, and such.  It's one of my favorite things to do with non-fiction.  It may not be very productive in terms of stats but it's fun and that's the operative word for a thon is it not? Besides it can be very productive in terms of comprehension, retention, and connecting the dots when reading them later.  I call it 'Einstein whispering sweet nothings in Emerson's ear'  or is that visa versa?  At any rate I wrote an essay on that theme in the late 90s.  I've shared it here before.  Not sure I feel like hunting the link right now.Ambition is at low tide. Awake for over forty hours.I mostly lurked on the blogs and social media.  Played the videos, imagined how fun this or that challenge might be, admired page layouts, followed comment threads and drooled over images of books. But my ambition would not rise to the level of leaving more than a few comments with already familiar names.One little project I accomplished was sharing the image of my Ode to Dewey poem on facebook, twitter and google+.  And while I was on fb I stumbled on my neice's posts in the newsfeed and discovered Im a great-aunt again.  Since October 1!  How did I let that get past me?I spent half an hour at least drooling over baby pictures.Well, because I've not been on social media much in the last month.  And even when I was it was only on my blog's fan page after the rare blog post.  My focus has been on autism research, NaNo prep and the fiber art project I finally finished Friday (original due date July 11) that will probably be the subject of tomorrow's post.Very little of what happened conformed to my plan for the thon.  The only thing besides sticking to the dual theme that I adhered to was my intention to be OK with a pliable plan.  No shouldas or any other mental shaming tactics.  I kept the entire thon more than 90% on thon related activities.  And I had fun.  Now that was the plan.The hardest part was staying away from Net[...]



Read-a-Thon Rev Up

Sat, 17 Oct 2015 01:44:00 +0000

(image)
Ode to Dewey
by Joy Renee
We Miss You Dewey

It's that time again.  The fall 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  

As I type this now I've got exactly ten hours before my 4:44 alarm goes off so I can get up and unglue my eyes in time for my 5:00 AM Pacific Coast start time.  So if got two hours to get to sleep if I intend to have a solid 8 hours to bolster me for the full 24 hours.  If I make it that would be a first.

My tendency to insomnia is triggered by upcoming events.  All my life I've had trouble sleeping the night before a trip, the first day of school, my birthday, a family get-together, a doctor appointment, shopping excursions.  Basically anything with a social element or anything I'm highly excited or anxious about.

For the April thon this year I did not sleep at all the night before and made it the full 24 so I was up from noonish on Friday to after 6am Sunday.  Because of that there were several stretches that were a struggle to stay awake and even when fully awake my abillity to focus my eyes and mind were so compromised the pleasure of the event was severely curtailed for me.  I swore I'd not let that happen next time.

So I'm getting ready to wrap up my day.

I limited my caffeine today so that should help.

I've got my Thon post My Brain on Books XVII all ready to schedule for 4:44am.  I've got my Nexus 7 loaded with ebooks and audio books and I've got a pile of library books incuding one audio and I've got several talking books from the Washington Talking Books Library.  I plan to listen to audio a good deal while I crochet.

Tho I'm not going to hold myself to it like a rule, I've got a general dual theme going for my reads: Autism research (including novels featuring a character on the spectrum) and NaNoWriMo prep.

That has been the theme of my reading for the last month.  September and October have been NaNo prep for me for a decade but the autism research began in earnest for me in late August when my councelor and I decided to pursue an Asperger's diagnosis for me which was then confirmed in mid September.

Yikes!  it's almost 8pm.  I better post now so I have time to get my thermos of coffee made before I go to bed.



Sunday Serenity -- Having a Ball

Mon, 05 Oct 2015 03:55:00 +0000

(image)
Blue Muse Having at It
she seems a bit bemused but she's game
My Blue Muse and I were having a ball today playing with ideas for this ball of lace weight yarn. There's 420 yards so I believe that's enough for a scarf and hat set and maybe a vest or prayer shawl as well.  I think we settled on an infinity scarf to begin with.

One of the gems I got on my birthday binge last November, it's a blend of superwash wool, silk, and nylon with a metalic silver strand.  I first got it out to make a scarf in February but when I undid the hank and began winding it I ended up with a snarl:


(image)
Snarls
click to see post from February

The night it happened I managed to untangle enough to create a ball from each end the size of golf balls and over the next several months with occasional fussing with it I increased the balls to tennis ball size.  Since Wednesday I took them both to softball size and then wound one onto the other.  It is shotput size or the size of a large grapefruit.

(image)
Hank
That's how it looked last November when I brought it home




Upside-Down Nachos

Wed, 23 Sep 2015 06:56:00 +0000

(image)
Upside-Down Nachos
Ready For Chips
 One of my duties here at Mom's is to make her lunch but since I'm usually reading aloud to her while she eats I wait until after she's eaten to fix my lunch.  Nachos are one of the few lunches where we eat the same thing but since I"m not eatinc until as much as an hour and a half later it is still like fixing two separate meals.  So I devised a variation on a theme that makes putting together a nacho plate for a single person quick and easy.

First I paint the plate with refried beans straight out of the can or the fridge.  Then add any other ingredients that are already pre-prepped which also need heating up, including the shredded cheese and heat that in the microwave.

Next I add any uncooked or cold ingredients--salsa, sour cream, olives, green onion, tomato, avocado.  Only the first four are on on this version as the others were unavailable that day.

(image)
Upside-Down Nachos
Chips Ahoy!
Last step is to add the chips.  I usually just pile them on but I stopped to take this picture while the bean goop was still visible.  Sometimes for Mom I'll take the time to slide the chips in along the outer edge until the cirle the plate then add a second an third row behind that, pushing the bean goop towards the center.  It looks a bit like a sunflower.  But that takes at least another ten minutes and I seldom have that kind of time to spare.

Because this is a quick and easy way to make single-serving nachos this way of making them is handy on the weekends when Mom is with my brother's family and I'm responsible for all my own meals.



Fiber Art WIP: Jewelry Travel Organizer

Mon, 21 Sep 2015 07:45:00 +0000

Jewelry Travel OrganizerThe craft project I've targeted for dedicated focus until it is done is this jewelry travel organizer kit that I am making for my sister.  It was meant for her birthday in July and I did giver her one part of it the week of her birthday--the earring wallet with a postcard picture of a baby polar bear for a cover.  It had three sections of plastic needlepoint canvas joined on the short sides and it folded accordion style. The jewelry box, also made with plastic needlepoint canvas, has a top cover with a picture of a mama and baby polar bear.  The picture has a vinal pocket on the back and is attached on its bottom edge to the front edge of the lid so that jewelry can be mounted on the inside of the lid.    I have a tiny mirror mounted with decorative electricians tape but it is coming loose so I'm going to have to rethink that.I actually gave Carri the box two weeks ago thinking that the project was finished and I was free to move on to the next target (the nearly three years past due Secret Santa project for my Sister-In-Law--the Quilter's Tote) but Carri handed back the earring wallet telling me it wasn't working.  I took back the box too because I'd forgotten to attach the clasp.  Then I spent that weekend rethinking the whole project.I decided to turn the postcard sized wallet into something that can hold loose items and to crochet the earring wallet.  I spent the whole weekend crocheting the fifteen inch piece seen above.  Then Carri brought me her earring collection so I could mount them for her.  And Lo it did not work!!  The two-chain mesh I worked with size 5 thread was too big.  So after some more thought I decided to put an Aida cloth lining.  That did seem to work.  Especially with the crocheted back putting pressure on the hook keeping them from sliding out.  The lime green ribbon will serve a double purpose--to protect the earrings from scratching each other when the wallet is folded and as part of the clasp holing it closed.The lime green border on the purple crochet is done in lace weight yarn that I created by pulling apart the four fibers in several yards of Carron Simply Soft yarn.  i put that border on last weekend and during last week spent two days trying to find a way to mount a 15x2.5 inch piece of Aida cloth on a jerry rigged stretcher frame so I could put a backstitch border around the edge to stop fraying while being decorative.  I spent hours and hours untangling the sewing thread I was using to attach it to a loom I'd made from my Martha Stewart loom set.  I finally realized in the wee hours of a morning after extricating myself from the upteenth game of evil cat's cradel I realized that in the time I'd spent on that I could have backstitched around the border four times.  Plenty of time that I could have worked slow enough to stay mindful of my tension and thus prevent the puckering of the cloth that stretching it on a frame is intended to do.So I spent part of this past weekend doing that.  The remaining steps are:attach the crochet, aida and ribbon pieces togethermake the buckle for the clasp out of a 1 in sq piece of plastic canvasmount the earringstake the mirror off the lid and attach it to the back of the baby polar bearcreate an enclosed wallet with that postcard and the three plastic canvas piecesadd clasp to jewelry box I'll post pic when it is finished.  I'm hoping by Sunday night if not sooner.  Idealiy I'd like to have it done by Friday afternoon so I can get ba[...]



Sunday Serenity -- Movie Review: OC87

Mon, 21 Sep 2015 00:08:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7eJM4DKnbu4" width="400">OC87:The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's MovieBud Clayman, having had his dreams of a film making career interrupted by mental illness some thirty years ago, reaches again for his dreams by making this film portraying his struggles with mental illness.  We watch as he and those who witnessed it reminisce about the darkest moments of the major depressive episodes.  We are given glimpses into what a typical day looks and feels like for him with his Asperger's social awkwardness in full view and his OCD circular thoughts provided via voice over.  And as the story progress we watch his coping skills increase as he implements a makeover of his life with the advice and help of friends, family and therapists.  Along the way we witness the healing of relationships, including that with himself, a significant triumph in light of the challenges imposed by Asperger's aka high-functioning autism in which social engagement is severely impaired.In one scene he acts in a script he wrote based on an episode of Lost in Space that moved him as a child.  The one where John Robinson encounters his evil anti-self in another dimension.  In Buddy's version he gets to verbally chastise and overcome the bully side of himself that has tormented him for decades with harsh judgement and belittlement.As I watched that I flashed on the Star Trek episode in which a transporter accident split Kirk into two extreme opposite personalities--docile and aggressive.  Kirk learns that neither one of them can survive without the other but only the docile Kirk comprehends this.  The aggressive Kirk will accept nothing less than docile Kirk's annihilation so he must be rendered unconscious and held in docile Kirk's arms as they make the trip through the (hopfuly) repaired transporter to me melded back into one complete person. That is the scene I'd want to reenact with my inner bully.I need to thank Buddy for this monumental achievment and congratulate him for the follow-thru (so difficult for him) in bringing this project from concept to reality.  But especially for his courage in giving us this intimate view into his heart, mind and life when one of the major issues he struggles with--high-functioning autism--makes intimacy nearly impossible.A few year's older than Buddy (HS class of 76) and female, I've struggled with major depressive episodes, chronic anxiety, panic attacks, OCD and ADHD, since before kindergarten.  Bipolar was considered several times because of hyperfocus, insomnia, agitation and rapid speech but ruled out because I never had a manic episode not induced by medication and anxiety or sleep deprivation explained the rest.  But less than a week ago I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism and my search for more info led me to this film which could not have reached me at a more momentous time.If for no other reason than the profound effect his story is having on me, OC87 was worth every penny, every minute, every ounce of effort and every emotional angst and personal risk invested in it by everyone who participated.  Thank You all from the bottom of my heart. Based on other reviews on Netflix, I'm sure I'm not the only one so affected.  This was important and successful work even if no other metric seems to confirm that.   So you tell that to those OCDemons Buddy.  And keep telling them until you believe it.OC87 is for anyon[...]



I Can Relate: An Asperger's Girl on TED Talks

Sun, 20 Sep 2015 05:54:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/alix_generous_how_i_learned_to_communicate_my_inner_life_with_asperger_s.html" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="400">


Thanks to my sister Jamie for bringing this one to my attention.

Alix Generous's description of her visual thinking and vivid lucid dreams are very like my own as is the shyness and social awkwardness.  But I can only wish that I'd founded a biotec company dedicated to autism assistive technology by age 22 or developed the ability tounderstand humor well enough by then to perform what amounts to informative stand-up comedy.

She is amazing.  As is her vision for a future for those on the autism spectrum in which they are welcomed and integrated in society, their talents and contributions to culture and technology valued and the road blocks to their success removed.  I love her vision and if what she has already accomplished is indicative of her future success I've no doubt she'll have made it real by the time she is my age.  If not a decade sooner.

-------
I hope I don't wear out my visitors on the subject but my OCD and hyperfocus has kicked into overdrive since my diagnoses on Wednesday with high-functioning autism and I started collecting online resources.  Storing some of the most meaningful to me on my blog makes more sense than hiding them among the bushels of bookmarks on my browser.

Expect more but I promise I will diversify at least a bit.  There were quite a few nearly as significant developments during my six month hiatus which I can share--books finished, craft projects done or begun, thinned waist, thinned wardrobe, yardsale, a dire diagnoses rescinded, an ER visit, other health issues tended to, videos watched, room makeovers, items purchased, sorting and organizing projects progress, mood improvements, lots of reading and research, aspirations and insights.....

About the only one of my usual activities neglected since April was writing of all kinds and I think that is back now.



With Respect to the Spectrum

Fri, 18 Sep 2015 11:21:00 +0000

The Big Give for AutismHow ironic is it that this week seems to be the annual fundraiser for Autism and I received an official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder on Wednesday. I'm 57 and 10/12ths.Essentially I self-diagnosed a couple months ago while reading aloud to my Mom The Best Kind of Different: Our Family's Journey With Asperger's Syndrome by Shonda Schilling wife of Boston Red Socks Pitcher Curt Schilling about their experience with their son Grant.  As I was reading I kept finding myself identifying with the behaviors she was describing.  After the first few evening's readings I went back in the ebook and highlighted all the incidents for which I had memories of similar incidents.  There were already over half a dozen and as the days progressed I continued to highlight something nearly every day.So after stewing on it for a week or so after finishing the book I got up the nerve to ask my counselor if we could look into having me assessed for Asperger's.  It turned out she was already considering the possibility.And now it's official. Well autism spectrum anyway.  She was unclear whether the psychologist who evaluated the questionnaires my sister and I filled out was specifying Asperger's or not.  And I'm not sure if high-fuctioning autism is synonymous with Asperger's.  Since I never had a language deficit and tended to excel in most academic skills that seems to fit the high-funtioning criteria if not specifically Asperger's.  Most of my issues are in the social, sensory, emotional, and perseverating behaviors.  I guess we'll be fine-tuning all that going forward.Meanwhile I find myself feeling enormously relieved in so many ways by this diagnosis.  It explains so much--like:Why as a child I had few close friends and got along with adults better than my own age group and as an adult I continue to have few close friends and gravitate towards children and teens as my confidants.Why at nearly 20 months I spent the entire night following the July 4rth fireworks until past dawn screaming "BOOM! BOOM! Mama. BOOM! BOOM!"Why my first and only attempt to attend a high-school pep rally ended with me hiding in the girls restroom in the school library with the lights out (until I heard Mr H. lock the front door) in the grip of a full blown feels-like-a-heart-attack panic attack that overcame me just seconds after entering the gym where the band and cheerleaders were warming up and the bleachers were full of nearly 900 students all talking at once.  I'd always avoided crowds and had previously spent the pep rallies in the library but they made attending them mandatory so after that first time I made sure to be in one of the library typing booths with the light out-sometimes hiding under the desk-until I heard Mr. H. locking the front door.  Or I'd be conveniently home sick that day.  (I usually wasn't faking it as severe anxiety created symptoms that mimicked illness like sore skin, low-grade fever, sore throat, nausea.)Why I tend to get intensely focused on one topic or activity to the exclusion of others like watching all five Star Trek series inside of four months or all ten seasons of Criminal Minds inside of five weeks or crocheting for twenty hours straight or spending most of forty some hours writing a short story or listening to the same album twenty times in a row or until my brother threatened to break it if I didn't give it a rest...ad nauseum.Why I research every subject that catche[...]



Winding Up [ROW80 Check-In]

Wed, 29 Apr 2015 23:28:00 +0000

A Round of Words in 80 DaysRound 2 2015The writing challenge that knows you have a lifeI'm still having issues stemming from the weeks of infections.  The worst one is the dizziness verging on vertigo related to the ear infection.  Along with irritating tinnitus and, I hope, temporary hearing loss beyond what was normal before.  Energy levels are getting better but still iffy. Like an old fashioned tick-tock watch my energy winds down frequently making everything feel slow-mo.So for now, patience with myself is still the watchword.ROW80 ROUND 2 GOALSsame as for Round 1 except for the last one and as always they are time investment rather than word count.Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15min Daily (I never lost this one since instating it in my first round in 2012.  A ROW80 win!)  --this has become an integral part of every day for me.  But it's not enough if it never leads to more than jotting notes as I live inside my story.Read/Study Craft 15min Daily  -- easily triple that this past week. Before factoring in Saturday's read-a-thon.Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily  --getting back into it after two months of illness has been a challenge. baby steps for now but should step it up soon.  Personal Journaling 15min Daily  --has not become a daily habit yet.  in fact i've not even reached for it since late February.  I feel serious resistance to it which probably means I need to be doing it.Read Fiction 30min Daily --this is one thing I kept up even while sick except for a few of the worst days.  I've even finished several novels since the first of the yearSocial network activities 30min Daily (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) --another thing I've not yet got into the swing of since recovering.  but it's been a challenge just to keep the daily posts going since I started them up again a week ago.Engage with the Blow Me a Candy Kiss structural rewrite file 30 min Daily  --hanging head in shame.  can't remember when I last opened either Scrivener's or WhizFolder the two aps the story's material resides in.All of this in service to the overarching goal for 2015: Regain the joy in writing that I lost sometime last year.  The Joy/joy meter hovers around 5 out of 10 this week.  Except maybe Thursday thru Sunday it spiked a bit for the read-a-thon from the wind-up to the wind-down. I spent a lot of time during the thon with writing-craft books hoping to wind my enthusiasm for writing back up to stand even with that for reading which I do seem to have back.  Maybe JuNoWriMo will serve the same purpose for writing as the read-a-thon did for reading.  It's time to start winding up for it already![...]



Book Review: How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy) by Julia Cameron and Elizabeth Cameron

Wed, 29 Apr 2015 04:04:00 +0000

How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy) by Julia Cameron and Elizabeth Cameron

The 80 odd cartoons illustrating some of the creative excuses creative people come up with for why they aren't creating are the spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down.  The medicine being the little shots of reality disproving the excuse and the sugar being the LOL hilarity in seeing your excuse enacted by silly dogs dressed up as humans.  It takes the sting away while keeping your gazed fixed on the sharp needle of truth embedded in the contradictions between what you have said and what you have done and what is the reality.

Paraphrasing, here are some of the excuses I identified with the most:
  • Demanding 15 hour blocks of free time before considering getting started while using scattered 15 minute chunks for frivolous things.
  • Preferring to watch the movie on the screen over watching the one on the back of your eyelids. (your story)
  • Feeling depressed you don't have time to write.  Then turning on the TV to make yourself feel better.
  • Over-committing your time and energy elsewhere--people, jobs, organizations, housework, make-work.... 
  • Acquiring high-maintenance relationships that suck time and energy and overload you on drama that doesn't belong to you and leaves no room for the drama of your stories.
  • Surrounding yourself with negative naysayers.
  • Setting yourself up for failure by planning a project too big and complex for your current skills.
  • Talking about your WIP more than you work on it
  • Getting stuck in the planning/research stage forever.
This was the one and only book I read cover to cover during the read-a-thon Saturday.  I'm still feeling haunted by some of those images and challenges.  And I've reached for it several times in the last few days for booster shots.



Möbius Dick?

Tue, 28 Apr 2015 05:04:00 +0000

Möbius Dick?The  8ft Möbius strip to form the bottom, sides and shoulder strap of a crafter's toteBack to work on the crafter's tote project.  The 2012 Secret Santa project.  I'm beginning to wonder if this is my Möbius Dick, my white whale, my nemesis, the thing that is going to take me down with it.It is getting harder and harder to hang on to the shining vision this project was when first conceived the summer of 2012.  But I am still at it because I did not have the skill set to do a project like this.  I am developing it tho.  On the job.  Trial and error. So much error.The gross underestimate of the time it would take even if all went well and there were no unexpected snags was the first but not the worst miscalculation.  Underestimating the amount of thread it would take (and thus cost in money and more time) is in that same category.  Both of those are minor compared to not understanding the physics of the design.When I finally had all the panels in a state where I could pin them together last fall and see the bag in 3D I discovered that it would be the tote from hell for anyone trying to use if for its intended purpose.  It would take two people to load it--one to hold it open.Who would want a duffle they couldn't load without help.I spent months brainstorming concepts for solving that issue and I think I found the solution. It is just going to take more time and materials.  I finally got all those materials in place.  Now for the time.One of my concepts didn't need extra materials so I've been working on it while I shopped and waited on orders.  That was to double the Mobius strip over at the ends to re-enforce the four corners of the bag's bottom a bit. This involved finding the exact center of the bottom of the Mobius and marking it by running a grey yarn through to the exact center of the other side. Thru the mesh without catching threads so the yarn can be drawn out once no longer needed. Next count the joining loops on the bottom of the front/side panel strip. Then split that count in half and start counting the loops on the Mobius from the center, marking with the grey yarn where the front corner would belong--first on the right then on the left.  Then mark with another grey yarn the line two inches out from that and then fold that over and stitch it with the same brown thread.  Had that much done on one side when the pic was taken but have the other side caught up.Now I'm crocheting the joining loops across the fold where the ends of the front panel wrap around the sides to form the pockets.  I'm about half done with one side.  Working brown on brown is very difficult.Next will be sewing a dark brown grosgrain ribbon along both front and back inside edges of the bag bottom which will serve to re-enforce a bit but more importantly serve to hold the microfiber pad in place on the bottom which is one of the three such pads intended to firm up the 3D form.  There will be one on both the front panel and the back panel as well.  The back panel will also be strengthened by the doubling over of twelve inches of the panel to form an inside pocket along the back wall.Once I have that ribbon sewed on and all the tails tucked the Mobius will be ready to join with the two panels.  But there is a lot of similar prep work to be done on each of those panels before they ar[...]