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my random ramblings about crafts, writing, books and kids

Archive for the category “random”

When did I move to Arizona?

This is the forecast for Washougal, Wa next week.weather0717

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest where it rains nine months out of the year, and there’s a chance of Hell in the summer.

heatstroke.jpgThankfully, we have air conditioning this year. The last six years, we lived in a house with no AC. I don’t even want to think about what that would be like on Thursday.




Advice from the Professionals

doctorsadrainThis past week has been less than stellar for me. I had a string or crappy things happen. Nothing big. I had to grill in the 100 degree heat then sliced my finger open while making dinner. Someone ate my burger I was saving and my son took my water bottle so I couldn’t go on a walk. Then I accidentally deleted half of the notes I was writing for an idea and I screwed up putting the screen protector on my daughter’s new iPhone.

Individually, these are all stupid reasons to be upset, but together, coupled with my depression, they started crushing me. Losing all of the notes was the most crippling blow. It derailed my writing completely. Sure, I’ve still written every day, but my heart hasn’t been in it at all.

So, I was happy to see this pop up on my Facebook wall from author Kristen Simmons:

Fact: I am not the best writer out there. I struggle, sometimes daily, to put together the right words and breathe life to the stories I see in my mind. I work, and sometimes, even now, it isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because I love it. Fact: it doesn’t matter if you’re the best, or the most natural writer out there. What matters is perseverance, and hope, and a willingness to learn. The road to where I am today is paved with failure. … But I learned from each book that didn’t make it, and if you’re struggling, I want to remind you not to give up. If you are a writer, write. You’ve got this.

carryonwritingIt was exactly what I needed to hear. It even brought tears to my eyes because it felt like someone finally understood. My family sure doesn’t get it.

This week–actually the last two weeks–have been crap, but next week will be better. I won’t give up because it got too hard or seemed pointless. I’m going to get up in the morning with a fresh outlook and find those elusive words. Even if I only write 100 words, those are still 100 words I didn’t have before. It’s a win.

Sometimes you just need a reminder.

Don’t worry. “You’ve got this.”


Tools of the Trade: Habitica

In the past, I’ve often made promises to myself to do certain activities consistently. Like write every day. Go for walks. Make my bed. I usually follow through for a couple of weeks then give up for lack of motivation. It wasn’t like anyone was checking to make sure I did these things.

If you have a problem like this and need a good kick in the but to do chores, homework, or anything else, then habitica.com might be the place to look for motivation. I had never heard of this site until last month when I noticed it being recommended over and over on the 4thewords forums. People swore by it. So, I looked it up.

habitica6This site is exactly what I needed to organize everything I need to do and to get me to do them. Habitica is set up like a role-playing game, but it’s more involved than 4thewords. You start by picking an avatar. That’s me over there.

After that you set up tasks and habits you want to accomplish during a day or week.


In my case, I set up “dailies” for all of my writing goals (on the right). These are things that have to be done every day or you health will be negatively affected. I set up my habits to give me “bonus points” for things like going over my word count goal for the day. Or getting by ass out of the chair to fill my own cup instead of having the kids do it. These are called “habits” on the site. There are also “tasks” that you can set up–sort of long term goals or other things that need to be done eventually. These can be broken down into smaller, more manageable goals. I use tasks to manage chores I need to do, breaking each one down to tiny components.

Habits, dailies and tasks earn you “experience” or affect your “health” (and later your “mana”).


Gaining experience (the yellow line) allows your character to advance through the game. You also earn silver and gold–digital currency to buy things like armor and weapons which affect how much experience and gold you might earn or how much a missed daily will damage you. You will also randomly receive pets and food as rewards for completing any kind of task.


There are a lot of different pets you can get. This is just the tip of the iceberg. They don’t actually do anything to your stats, but they’re cute and can be added to your avatar picture. If you feed the pets with the food you get, they grow into “mounts” that you can ride in the picture. It’s all just for fun.

habitica4Besides these things that you can do individually, you can also join guilds and parties. Guilds are just groups for people with similar interests. They offer a way to chat, get support, and participate in challenges to keep you accountable. Parties are more personalized, started by players who invite friends. They also have chats and challenges, but they can also go on quests. Quests can be about defeating a monster where completing tasks does damage. If you don’t complete your dailies, everyone in the party loses health. Talk about motivation. No one wants their friends mad at them for killing their digital character. My party consists of me and my eleven-year-old daughter. We’re currently on the hunt for eggs.

Put together, habitica offers a lot of ways to get you focused and on task. My productivity has really increased since I started using it. In fact, I’m writing this post because it’s one of the things on my task list which has turned red–meaning it’s old and needs to be done.

I highly recommend this site if you need a little extra motivation to write every day or get chores done.

Hilarious Spam Messages

I was doing routine maintenance on the blog and couldn’t help laughing at the ridiculous spam I get. You think they would try to make the spam-bots at least coherent. They really brightened my day, though.

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from Jason


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Most of these were left on this post

Tools of the Trade: White Noise

If you’re like me, you probably get distracted easily. So anything that helps me concentrate on my writing is a treasure. Last time I talked about 4thewords.com–a writing game that allows you to fight monsters with your words. My productivity has probably quadrupled since I started using the site. I’m on a 104 day streak!

Today, I’m going to offer up another tool that helps me. And that’s white noise. My hearing is… let’s just say it doesn’t like me much. When I need to hear–as in talking to someone or watching TV–I have a lot of trouble. Voices and sounds jumble together, making it frustrating to carry on a conversation. I’ve had to put the closed captioning on the TV or I miss a lot of the dialogue. But when I need the quiet, my ears seem to pick up every noise. And that’s a distraction. I run a fan 24/7 to help drown out the noise of five kids in the house, but that isn’t always enough.

Last week, I discovered white noise websites. Specifically, ones that make rain sounds. I had no idea what I was missing in my life. Rain is a white noise just like the fan. The only difference is the pitch changes some, and it sounds more natural. Add some thunder in, and I’m back in the Midwest in the midst of a storm.

I miss thunderstorms.

I highly suggest checking out one of the many sites out there.

The one I’m using right this second is noisli.com. It has several different sound options besides rain, such as streams, waves, and even a coffee house. You can mix and match the different sounds and adjust their volumes. So if you want to be in the middle of a thunderstorm, you can. If you want to be in the forest, listening to a babbling brook, you can. You can listen to a gentle rain at the coffee shop. Or sit around a campfire. Just find the right combination that works for you.

There are others.

mynoise.net has a slider system, like an equalizer on a stereo, that allows you to adjust each frequency of the rain and thunder. It also has presets for different settings like rain on a tent or distant thunder.

rain.today is another site I use. It lets you choose a few different rain/thunder options to adjust the sound. There are also white noise options like a television or other static.

rainymood.com has a simple on/off setting, but there are apps for Android and Apple.

ambient-mixer.com has nature sounds in a lot of settings. Like a tropical rain forest or a forest at night. That’s just in the nature section. There are other collections that can put you in the mood to write any setting. Their fantasy settings are especially popular.

There are a lot of other white noise and rain maker sites out there. rain.today lists several at the bottom of the page to look into.

I highly recommend one of these, or if you’re the kind of person that only seems to focus in a busy coffee shop, there are tons of those kind of sites out there as well. I’m sure you can find just the right combination of white noise to blot out the real world and let you concentrate on what is important: torturing your characters writing.

This Is the Best Day Ever!


Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s been a good day.

First, I had an all-time record number of words. 16,236 words to be exact. Of course, I haven’t slept in almost 36 hours. But 16k!

Second, 100 day streak! Yeah, baby.

Third, I finally got my dream minivan!



I’ve wanted a Town & Country for years. I figured some day I’d settle for a late model Dodge Grand Caravan which is the “poor” man’s version of the T&C. Well, after the truck broke down, my husband had no choice but to buy a new vehicle to get everyone home.

They told me they were getting me a “Susan,” which is what we named the rental we got years ago. I was excited, although anxious about new car payments after just buying a house. But what are ya going to do?

They finally get home, and I’m shocked to not just see my Town & Country, but the thing is flippin’ fully loaded. DVD player, Sirius (which isn’t hooked up), leather seats, imitation wood trim, all sorts of fancy buttons and dials.

Now I really, really don’t want to know what he paid for this or how we’re going to afford the monthly bills. Yikes.

I’m not sure what year the T&C is, but it is, by far, the nicest, most expensive vehicle I’ve ever owned. I get to drive it tomorrow. Squee! The kids want to call it “Destiny,” since it was apparently our destiny to break down there and buy her. I’m secretly going to call her “Felicity.”

Oh, and fourth, my family finally made it home from their adventure. Three days late. But that’s not important because minivan!

I’m kidding. I missed them, and was getting worried. I just didn’t miss the noise and mess. They’ve been home four and a half hours, and already I’m exhausted.

Happy Rex Manning Day!


Damn the man. Save the Empire!

March Goals

Goals for the month of March.


Um, actually read a book. Hopefully more than one.


  • Continue my streak.
  • Finish writing a story that’s just for me, although I’m really liking the tone if it, so I may possibly perhaps tidy it up and post it. At least part of it.
  • Write several more of these self-indulgent stories
  • Continue my #writeastory (although prompts haven’t been released)
  • Fill a couple prompts in my prompt book
  • Write every day in my new writing journal (mostly just rambling and venting about my writing)


  • Finish 2nd draft revisions for the novella-length The 100 fanfic I’ve been working on
  • Start 3rd draft revisions for above novella
  • Start taking notes for revising “Unbreak My Heart” (another The 100 novella)
  • Finish and edit at least one more shorter story from my WIP folder


  • Start posting early chapters of above novella (one a week)
  • Post at least one short story

2017 Goals

Goodreads: 52 books
Writing: write at least 444 words every day
GetYourWordsOut: 250,000
Editing: finish and/or edit one old story every month
Novel: finish second draft of Boys Like Mine
Planningwork on outline for NaNo 2017

Goodreads challenge update #2

Two weeks have gone by. When the month started I needed to read 39 books in 30 days. A daunting task. The first week I made it through 9 books. The second week slowed a little with my kids having snow days on Thursday and Friday. I only finished 4 books and am mostly finished with the fifth. Hopefully next week will be more productive because I’m getting farther behind.

I now need 25 books in 17 days. I need to find novellas to keep up this pace. Read this week:

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