Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My New Best Friend... maybe

I've just discovered a site that shows definite promise at helping me dejunk my house, while at the same time give some of my books a new home. It's called Frugal Reader and it's set up sort of like a lending library, only you don't have to return the books. More like an online swap meet, than a library. You list books you have and don't want to keep and you can get points when you send them to people who DO want them. Then you check out what they have, or you can request a book, and voila.... new books to you and old books out. My DH would say he doesn't think I'm REALLY dejunking the house this way... just swapping one group of junk for another, but I like my way of looking at it better!

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Wonderful History of Words

The “Wonderful History of Words.” Writers are all about words… how they fit together to make a sentence. How the sentences stream together to form a paragraph. How the paragraphs join together to complete a chapter. How the chapters link together to create an entrancing world called a book.

Words are more than mere "names for things, places or actions" or letters strung together and put on paper, however. There is a hidden magic in words: how they are used and where they came from. Behind the words are fascinating, undiscovered histories.
Language is not static... it is living, changing, and evolving. There are words in our language that did not exist forty years ago. I challenge you to look in a dictionary dated in the sixties and find terms such as "software," "modem," indeed, any words dealing with computers. The word "computer" itself, has changed in meaning from "an apparatus for carrying out mathematical operations by mechanical or electrical means or both" (1962, The American College Dictionary) to "an electrical machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical calculations or that assembles, stores, correlates or otherwise processes and prints information derived from coded data in accordance with a predetermined program (1980, The American Heritage Dictionary). Even the 1980 edition does not have an entry for "home computer."
Other differences are apparent as well in a comparison with older dictionaries. For example, a perusal of the word "pot" in the 1962 dictionary reveals many definitions: an earthen container, liquor or drink, a wicker vessel used to trap fish, a chimney pot, a large sum of money, a liquid measure, to preserve food in a pot, to shoot game birds or animals at rest, to capture. By 1980, included with the above definitions was "slang for marijuana."
The question, "Where on earth did THAT phrase or THAT word come from?" is enough to send me scurrying for the nearest dictionary or search engine. Discovering the origins of different words and phrases opens up new worlds; worlds in which words had meanings that are lost in the annals of time.
For example, take the word "leasing." Today we know it as the present participle of the verb "to lease," which comes from the Middle English les, which came from the Norman French lesser, which means "to lease," which in turn came from the Old French laissier, to let go or leave. However, there is another, more obscure meaning to the world "leasing." It too came from the Middle English, only from le(e)sing which came from the Old English word leas, which means "to lie." Therefore, "leasing" is also an archaic noun which means a lie, or the act of lying; afalsehood. Quite a different meaning. Information such as this is invaluable to the writer wanting to flavor his writing with language suitable for the time period in which he writes.
I like words. I like what they do for the soul. I like how they can take you from the mundane to the magnificent in one short journey. Words make up the very life we, as writers, inhabit. I think we should spend more time thinking about them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Life Path?

Taking my friend's challenge.

Your Life Path Number is 9

Your purpose in life is to make the world better

You are very socially conscious and a total idealist.
You think there are many things wrong with the world, and you want to fix them.
You have a big idea of how the world could be, and you'll sacrifice almost anything to work towards this dream.

In love, you can easily see the beauty in someone else. And you never cling too tightly.

You are capable of great love, but it's hard for you to focus your love on one person or relationship.
You have a lot of outward focus, and you tend to blame the world for your failures.
You are often disappointed by the realities of life - it's hard for you to accept the shortcomings of the world.

Your purpose in life is to make the world better

I can agree with that IF we say that "the" world consists mainly of my friends and family. I don't have any illusion that I can make the entire world better. I can make my little part of the world better by making my family and friends happy.

You are very socially conscious and a total idealist. You think there are many things wrong with the world, and you want to fix them.
You have a big idea of how the world could be, and you'll sacrifice almost anything to work towards this dream.

UH.... no. There may be many things wrong with this world, but trying to fix them? I'll leave that for someone better than me. If I want to make the world better, I'll have a better world in my writing.

In love, you can easily see the beauty in someone else. And you never cling too tightly.

Okay... this I'll buy.

You have a lot of outward focus, and you tend to blame the world for your failures.
You are often disappointed by the realities of life - it's hard for you to accept the shortcomings of the world

I don't think I blame the world for my failures... in fact, I've been told that sometimes I go to the other extreme and take TOO much guilt for things that go wrong. Oh, well. It was a fun quiz, anyway.

What about you?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Not the Same Language

I was remembering an episode from my past the other day and wanted to share it with you. I lived in Brazil for several years and taught ESL (English as a Second Language). The school where I taught specialized in British English. My first week, I was teaching a class of 4th and 5th grade students. One of the boys came up to me and said, "Teacher, do you have a rubber I can borrow?" (For any non-Americans who may not know, in US-English, "rubber" is slang for a condom.) Now, I knew this child was not asking me (in the middle of class, anyway)if he could borrow a condom. I didn't know what he wanted though, so I asked, "And, why do you need one?" He answered, gesturing to his paper on the desk, "I need to rub out an answer." Ah-ha..... in British English, rubber is slang for an eraser! I had one in my workbag and gave it to him.

When I taught my young adult class (more advanced) I took the opportunity to teach them both British and American slang. I could just see one of them coming to the US, needing to buy an eraser, going into a store and asking for a rubber.

It's fun discovering the differences in languages. I also found out (in a very embarrassing way) that in British English you do NOT call your behind your fanny. If you are interested in why, check out this
fun site.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

What's in a Name?

My friend, Marianne, directed me to this site. It's a name analyzer and she normally runs her characters' names through it. I couldn't resist, so (of course) I had to do my own. My legal name is Judith, but I've always been called Judy. I ran both names and they were very similar. Here's what they have to say about me:

The name of Judy creates a happy, versatile, and expressive nature, with good business judgment and a fine sense of responsibility, which should enable you to establish congenial relationships in positions of trust where you are dealing with the public.

You have a clever, quick mind, with the ability to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time, although it is not easy for you to systematize your efforts.

This name could allow expression along musical and artistic lines and gives you the desire to entertain and to meet and mix with people of refinement and culture.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Good (I hope) Resource

I needed some information for a short story I'm working on. During my search, I stumbled across this site. "Allexperts" has been around several years. It was created in 1998 and is manned by volunteers who share their knowledge and expertise...and the price is definitely right.

I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of response I get to my question. I think this is a great idea for writers who are looking for just that one piece of information that will help the story go from good to great.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Got an Idea

I was lying in bed last night, just before going to sleep, thinking about the story I'm working on. I need to add about 1,000 words to it before I can submit it to the market I'm planning on. I worked on it a bit yesterday and added close to 300 words, but that was still a far cry from 1,000. It's a simple piece and (imho) the simplicity is what makes it work, so I don't want to change the tone of it. What a conundrum! Anyway, I was pondering last night and I think I've solved the problem. Instead of adding any more to the existing story, I'll add another section...six years earlier. That might work.

I tend to do some of my best thinking in bed, I've noticed. In that interesting state... half awake/half asleep. One problem is that sometimes in the morning the idea has flown... lost on the wings of sleep. I'm sure that it exists somewhere in my subconscious and I'm hoping that the conscious mind will dredge it up when necessary.

When and where do you get your epiphanies?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Just Do It

I've been Internet hopping this morning, visiting different authors' sites, entering contests (I love the auto-fill feature on the Google taskbar!) and, just generally, feeling jealous of all the writers who have books published. Then it came to me...they are successful, partly, because they probably don't waste their time wandering around the Internet entering contests. They are busy utilizing the BIC method of writing. Butt in Chair. Now, I admit, my butt is in my chair, but I'm not pursuing my dream... my goals. I have a short story I need to expand three-fold, a new chapter to write in Fiona's Dream, a first-reader report to do for E-Press, and a couple of critiques to do for my writing group. It's going to be a busy afternoon! But, first, I'm going to take 15 minutes and go mop my kitchen floor.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Getting to Know Me

Thanks for the tag, Marianne Arkins

What were you doing ten years ago?

Working as assistant director at Ruby Reid Child Development Center and working on my Masters in Christian Education, as well as homeschooling the kids

What were you doing one year ago?

Working at a local child care center, writing, hoping for the day I could write and be a full-time homemaker (it happened the end of July last year)

Five snacks you enjoy.

1. Chocolate, but only about once a month... ladies, you will understand!
2. Chips of any kind
3. Popcorn - but it has to be smothered in butter
4. chocolate covered peanuts
5. peanut butter, mayonnaise, and banana sandwich

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics.

Just five? I must know a couple hundred. It always amazes my hubby when we are in a store or catch a snippet of a song on a TV show that I know most of the lyrics. Also, having been a preschool teacher/director for over 10 years, I know all kinds of kids' songs.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire

1. Pay all our bills off
2. Put money in trust for the kids
3. Travel (I would love to go back to Ireland and Brazil and there are so many places here in the US and abroad I would love to visit... esp. Australia)
4. Buy a large cruising boat so my hubby and I could cruise the rivers and intercoastal
5. Buy my mom a house

Five bad habits

1. Not exercising enough (is this on everyones?)
2. Not paying enough attention to old friends
3. Being lazy about writing
4. Reading too much (when I should be doing other things)
5. Not eating right (but I'm getting better)

Five things you like doing

1. Writing
2. Reading
3. Puttering around in my rose garden
4. Traveling with DH
5. Boating

Five things you would never wear or buy again

1. Black spandex dresses
2. Bikini
3. Capri pants
4. Blue frosted eye shadow
5. Stocking caps

Five favorite toys

1. Computer
2. bear collection
3. miniature teaset collection
4. All things Irish
5. Books, book, and more books

Five people I’m tagging

I don't think I know five people well enough to tag who have blogs...so, if you read this - you're tagged. How's that?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Good Saturday Morning

I'm waiting for DH to finish getting ready. We have some jobs to do today and the time's awastin'.

In addition to holding down a full-time job, DH has a stump removal business we do on the weekends... when he retires, it will become his full-time job. It's normally kinda fun to be outside... a lot of work, but fun nonetheless. It's chilly and windy today, though, so it won't be QUITE as much fun. Oh, well. Anytime I can get away with my love, it's a good day.

He and I really enjoy spending time together. It doesn't seem to matter what we are doing, it's just enjoyable being together. Some days we just ride around looking at things we haven't seen before or taking unknown roads. Since the price of gas went up, admittedly, we don't do so much of that any more, but we still manage to do some.

We were hoping to go to Lake Eufaula fishing this weekend (DH has Monday off due to MLK Day), but found out the conditions on the lake Sunday were going to be rough... windy with a high of about 40. Nope... we like fishing, but we're not really into freezing our butts off on the water. Much better to spend a cold, windy day cuddled up in front of our woodburning stove!

I don't normally get much writing done on the weekends, but wanted to at least get a few minutes in here... I do have a short story I've just finished. With a few tweaks, I think it will be ready to send off. Will keep everyone updated.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, January 13, 2006

I should be working on my story

... but I'm medicated. How's that for an excuse to fool around with silly quizzes like this one.

LiveJournal Username
Why you did it
Your lair
Your hideous secret weapon
Your favourite colour
Beautiful and exotic but deadly eastern lieutenant
Henchperson who constantly plays with knifes
Your perverted scientific genius
You cordon bleu chef
Lieutenant with serious moral qualms
Number of countries subverted57
Fun Quizzes by Andrew at BlogQuiz.Net
Scorpio Horoscope at DailyHoroscopes.Biz

15 Minutes at a Time

I began again yesterday. It's AMAZING what you can get done in 15 minutes! I've been avoiding the dreaded refrigerator. Of all the chores in the house, it's the one I hate the absolute most. I set my timer for 15 minutes... and, I admit, when the timer went off I had stuff sitting all over my counter. BUT, I also had the complete top shelf (which is really two narrower adjustable shelves, one with a drawer) AND the drawer washed and put back in place... adjusting them so I have a lot more room for tall things. The "science experiments" that had been lurking in the depths had already been disposed of and the dishes they were in put in the dishwasher. So... all I had to do was wipe off a few jars and TW and put them back in place. I was so motivated by that time, I spent ANOTHER 15 minutes cleaning out and reorganizing my silverware drawer.

Now, all that might not sound like a lot to some people, but it's a milestone for me. These are things I've just been putting off doing, 'cause I didn't think I had the time to do 'em. Well, I was wrong.

Unfortunately, I kinda got lost in redoing my website yesterday afternoon and completely ran out of time. I'm proud of it, though. I added a new page of authors I really like and kinda cleaned up the other link pages... adding some more room between links. Before it looked very tight and closed in.

Anyway... my time is up here. I have to go put a load of laundry in and fold some towels, then I have 15 minutes to give Timeless Tales on a prompt. Hopefully, during the towel-folding time, I can think of something to write. Toodles!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A New Start (again)

I've started anew, again! A friend of mine,
Marianne Arkins pointed me in a positive direction re: balancing what I need to do in my life. So, I'm giving it a try.

She told me she'd learned from Flylady that you can do anything for 15 minutes. I have a lot of obligations-- to my family, to my critique group, to EPress, to my writing, to myself-- and have been wondering how to juggle everything. So... I'm going to give it a try. The first thing I'm going to tackle is my refrigerator...it's been crying out for attention since before Christmas and (can we say it all together?) "I just haven't had the time!" So.... I'm giving myself 15 minutes working on my blog and a story I'm trying to develop for Woman's World (thanks for the heads up on what kind of stories they are looking for, M!!)... and then I'll spend 15 minutes doing however much I can get done in the fridge. I'll post my results later --I need to find 15 minutes to work on another First Reader Report for EPress before I do that, though. And... I need to work on my website. I still haven't linked this blog to that. Anyway... I refuse to let myself get too far ahead of myself. That's what gets me in to trouble in the first place!!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I'm just sitting here...

... trying to get motivated. I have so much I need to do today and have a bad case of the "Idon'twanna"s! I need to go downtown and do some research on some property we own, I need to do some reading and a first reader report on a story for EPress, and I need to work on "Fiona's Dream." I've decided that one of the characters just doesn't need to live anymore and I'm trying to figure out how to kill her off and make the most trouble for the main characters.

I'm open for ideas!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

still working on New Year's Resolutions

.... following through with them, that is. One of my main resolutions was to write something (ANYTHING) every day. I was hoping the blog would be one way to making me do that. So far, I'm falling down on the job. But... the year is still young and I'm giving it another shot.

I've taken on a new job that I'm really looking forward to. I'm going to be one of the readers for e-press. I really enjoy editing (probably even more than writing... especially when my writing isn't going so well) and this gives me a chance to do a limited amount.

I was thinking the other day that a lot of groups have problems with people posting their work, but not following through by commenting and critiquing other people's work. I tend to be a bit contrary. I am either on a roll and post way too much at a time or I go the other way and don't post for weeks... oh, well.

Trying to get things organized so I can do it all. I want time to keep my house at least half-way presentable, fix good nutritious meals (dh and I are trying to drop a few unwanted pounds), do the editing/critiquing I need to do, write and send out at least one short story/article a month (preferably for pay), and work on completing Fiona's Dream and Lizzie. I'm sure there's a way... any suggestions??

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

It's time to get back to work and to start on those goals. One of the goals I've set for myself is to write every work day... something, anything (well, I don't think I'll count the grocery list, but anything else is fair game!)

I got an email from a friend in England with the following test. Being a test junkie, I couldn't resist. I was very sad to only get a 23 (not sure what passing is, but according to the test I'm "very, very close"...) The test is supposedly a test to see if you qualify for American citizenship. Sigh. I don't... do you think they'll make me leave the country?

Seriously, it's an interesting test and a good way to test yourself on your own knowledge of American history. Have fun!

Citizenship Test