Garden Foe

I tend to get a tad behind on my outdoor chores – well, most of my chores – during the Spring.  I intend to plant as soon as the threat of frost has past, but it never works out that way.  Invariably, it is May before my beds are planted.  Last year, Texas suffered through a summer of record heat with little to no rain.  Watering restrictions were imposed and subsequently, quite a bit of my landscape perished.  The only thing to survive and flourish were the sweet potato vines I planted in one small space.  Being the lazy proactive gardener that I am, I decided that the sweet potato vine would dominate my landscape this year.  If they survived last summer, they could survive anything.  A couple of weeks ago, I marched myself down to the local nursery, bought several flats in three varieties, and proceeded to plant. 

Yesterday, I came out of my front door and found this:

IMG_1437

…and this…

IMG_1427

…and this…

IMG_1442

The culprit?  This adorable little baby bunny who lives in my front bushes.

IMG_1373

Note to self:   Bunnies are sweet potato vine kryptonite.

Just Write: Self-shaming Sunday…er…Wednesday update

When I last left you, I was struggling to find Anna’s new voice.  I received some great suggestions from my fellow writers and bloggers, and I thank you all for that.  It helped.  I must say once I reconciled myself to the fact that she was not who I initially intended her to be, things began to flowed and the scene came together quite nicely.  The tone has been set and I am largely pleased with it – and myself.

This week’s process has been hampered by another stumbling block.  A need for a few additional scenes that were not on my original outline.  And, as Anna needed to change, so too did another essential character – one who used to be a contributing villain.  I’ve cleaned him up a bit, given him a purpose, and put the burden of national security upon his war-weary shoulders.  I think I sort of like him now. Maybe I will have to kill him off about midway through.

So on to some news.  I’ve decided to participate in this summer’s Camp NaNoWriMo.  Every November several members of my writing group delve into the madness of NaNoWriMo and they’ve produced some pretty impressive stuff.  I always feel a twinge of envy, when they do.  November is a crazy month for me and to commit to such an undertaking would land me in an institution, and maybe even divorce court.  Except for a family vacation near the end of the month and my dreaded 40th birthday, I have nothing going on in June.  I have no obstacles and no excuses.

Bring. It. On.

The nitty-gritty:

Last weeks goal:   Work out my characterization problem with Anna and her team; write the aftermath and resulting mission; and accumulate a word count in the 5000 range.

Goal met?:  Yes and no.  I have worked out my character issues with Anna and her team, written the initial disaster but am still working on the aftermath – it is a more complicated situation that requires additional scenes.

Next weeks goal:  Finish up what I lagged on this week; begin the frenzy that is Camp Nanowrimo; have a very nice word count to show for my efforts.

Evening glow

There are a lot of things I should have done tonight – a blog update, a hospital scene for my WIP, a load of laundry or two – but the setting sun cast an inviting glow across my backyard and it seemed like the perfect time to work on my manual setting skills. 

I liked this one.

IMG_1179

Morning Dew

I haven’t had the opportunity to get out and practice with my camera lately.  This morning, I had the itch to shoot something, anything.  My backyard was the logical place to start.  It was early enough that everything was still dripping wet with dew. I always like the effect water can have on an otherwise boring subject.

Enjoy.

IMG_0903

 

IMG_0910

 

IMG_0913

Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that it’s turning out to be a rough year for music.  This week we lost another great – Robin Gibb of the Bee GeesAs I said last week, the Bee Gees were a staple in my house growing up.  Many of their songs rank among my favorites, many of them from the disco era, but the tune that I love to listen to over and over is this one:

No surprise that it was released in the sixties – the greatest musical decade in the history of rock & roll.  RIP Robin Gibb.

…that I smell clean, or so a woman at my local mall informed me this week.  I’m going to take her unsettling observation as a compliment, because to do otherwise would cause my overactive imagination to kick into overdrive and I will begin to believe that I am destined to die at the hands of a deranged serial killer whose taste for blood is triggered by the April fresh scent of my fabric softener.

…that the loss of my tooth crown virginity is a momentous occasion – at least to the staff at my new dentist’s office.   I have to say, I’m confused by their level of excitement.     This is how the conversations went:

Hygienist #1:  How many crowns to do you have?

Me:  None.

Hygienist #1:  None?  This is your first?

Me:  Yes.

Hygienist #1 (with a giant grin on her face):  Awww.

One week later at final fitting and placement:

Hygienist #2 (as she studies my panoramic x-rays on a computer monitor):  You don’t have any other crowns?

Me:  Nope.

Hygienist #2:  Really?

Me:  Really.

Hygienist #2:  Oh wow!  Your very first.  Awww.  (she then gives me a motherly pat on the shoulder)

I think someone should inventory this office’s supply of nitrous oxide.

…that a bit of positive feedback goes a long way in boosting my creative confidence.  I unveiled the opening scene for my work in progress rewrite this week to my writing group.  I’ve agonized and obsessed over this particular scene for weeks.   I was apprehensive about their reaction.  They can be a tough crowd, but the scene was well received.  I made it through an entire read without any snickering or side jokes regarding some unintended sexual innuendo or inadvertent Yoda-speak.

…that I have a new theme song.  Sara Bareilles is on of my favorite singer/songwriter/performers at the moment.   She just finished a grueling tour schedule and is now going to enjoy a little time off before she heads back into the studio.  As a parting gift she gave her devoted fans a five track EP.  It’s musical perfection, as usual, and I have a new favorite.

***Warning:  This is not a song you want to crank up at work or in the presence of your children.  There is quite a bit of crude language so considered yourself warned.  Enjoy.

…that last, but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by the elusive Blue Jay who feeds in my backyard.  I’ve tried for weeks to sneak up on the wily little bastard to snap a picture or two.  My patience finally paid off.

IMG_0453

Scarborough Faire

My camera and I – and my family – embraced our inner geek and went to the local Renaissance fair this weekend.  As an avid people watcher, I am always intrigued by the array of people who frequent these festivals, and the lengths some of them go to in their costuming.

As usual I took way too many pictures, most of them were terrible and screamed of my inexperience, but here are a few who turned out pretty decent.

The glassblowing demonstration was the highlight of the day for me.IMG_9130

IMG_9146

IMG_9153

I’m not sure who this guy was supposed to be.IMG_9185

Or him…but he rocked that hat.IMG_9175

Belly dancerIMG_9237

A little silliness…IMG_9288

Someone took his job a tad too seriously…IMG_9507

Voodoo child!IMG_9565

No Renaissance fair is complete without a good old fashion joust.  And what is a joust without a king.IMG_9933

And a dastardly villain.IMG_0023

And a king’s champion.IMG_9987

The good will be victorious!IMG_0001

I’m sad this picture didn’t turn out clearer. These woman made my day.IMG_9120

Just Write: Self-shaming Sunday update

This week I delved in and began the process of actually rewriting my WIP.  I must say that it did not go as smoothly as I’d hoped.  I am struggling with Anna’s new role.  She is less solitary in this version, more of a team player and a bit warmer, with a sarcastic wit that would have never worked originally because her entire life was molded around the desire for revenge.   That is an element of this story that no longer rests on her shoulders, but on those of another.  As such, it is important that the opening scene convey this change in personality.  The reader needs to understand the deep mutual respect and, dare I say, love, that she and her team share.  It is proving difficult because I am having trouble completely letting go of the idea of Anna that I have long held to.

I have written the scene from beginning to earth shattering kaboom, but because of the personality issue, I do not have the tone quite right.  I feel that because this is the opening, it is important for me to get it right before I move on.  Yes, I realize this is contradictory to everything they preach about momentum in basic story writing class, but I don’t give a shit.  If I don’t work out this problem now, it will plague me  down the road.

So what’s the skinny?

Last weeks’ goal:  Introduce the world to Anna and blow up the Piazza Navona.

Goal = largely met

Next week’s goal:   Work out my characterization problem with Anna and her team; write the aftermath and resulting mission; and accumulate a word count in the 5000 range.