Wednesday, November 28, 2012

geese over Umass library tower

If you get a chance, click over to one of my other blogs to see some photos of the snow in Shutesbury.

I tried to get a shot of the geese flying over the library tower at Umass this morning. Don't know if they will show up or not. I think you can see them better in the second picture.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NaNoWriMo Goal is met!!!

I realized it was only a week ago that I was at 31,000 words. Last night I passed 50,000 words. The goal for NaNoWriMo is the 50,000 mark so I DID IT!!! I have written more in the last 26 days than I've ever done before. Written more on one story line than I ever have before, and I know I'm not done yet. The novel isn't complete, it still doesn't have a title, and I still don't have an answer to "What is your story about?" but I met the goal of the challenge and it feels great!!

At least for today. I still have to finish the story. I still have a lot of editing to do. I have no idea if it's any good or not. How would I know?  Even I haven't read it all the way through yet!

Anyway, I am writing. I have written about 20,000 words in the last 7 days and that does feel like a lot. It's actually killing me a little to take breaks to live my life, to work, to be a parent, to be a wife. I would rather be writing. This stuff is addictive you know.

Anyway, I am not the only one reaching this goal. There are thousands of people out there doing this every November. You can learn more about it at .

Happy writing everyone!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have been working on my NaNoWriMo project as promised. Starting to panic a little though. Up over 31,000 words but still have a long way to go. Time is getting harder to find this week with Thanksgiving and all.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo and more...

Going to cheat a little and cross-post from my Sparkpeople blog...

HI all. I just feel like I need to check in here a little bit.

First of all we are FINE from Sandy. We stayed home on Monday but our little house never lost power. We had some branches down but no damage to our home or cars. Tuesday we were back to normal and even though the rain is still with us, I think we are in the clear pretty much. Many, many thoughts and prayers to those who are suffering.

NaNoWriMo.. National Novel Writing Month... is upon us!! Fellow writers you know what I am talking about!! I have done my research, created notes and files, and I was feeling inspired but RIGHT NOW I am not feeling it. I feel SUNK. I feel doomed. I feel like there is NO WAY I can write SEVEN pages a night!!! It just feels like an enormous task. Last year I failed, and failed miserably. This year I am just so nervous about failing again. AGH!!! PANIC!!!

Weight Gain.. checked my notes and I have gained *5* pounds in the last 2 months!! I got rid of my fat clothes. This CAN NOT HAPPEN!! The holidays and winter cold and dark is upon us. I need to STOP this. The scales need to go DOWN, DOWN, DOWN!!! I think the culprit may be that I readjusted my nutrition points after losing some weight. Maybe I need to move them back down again or something. I don't know. Anyway, this is dangerous. I need to pull into check ASAP.

Ok, now if you don't see me blogging for a bit it's because I have that novel to write. Be well friends... oh, and Happy Samhain/Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

to lighten things up a bit.. a quote from my 6 year old

As my 6 year old daughter shared the living room chair with me last night she gently touched my hand. "Your hand is cold and doughy Mommy. I guess that's what old feels like."

Yup... old definitely feels cold. I knew that part, but doughy???? I guess I better work harder on losing some more weight!

On a more serious note--

Many thoughts and prayers going out to my friend Amy today. She is having surgery for lung cancer. I hope the doctors can give her the best possible news under the circumstances. I know she is in God's hands but I am worried for her.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Memories of a cracked toilet

I saw this sign at work this morning on the door of one of our staff bathrooms. Immediately I went back in time to 1983. Funny how a simple little thing can do that!

I don't remember exactly when we moved in, but my mother found us a house trailer that was parked on a hillside on a dirt road in a small town. The trailer was parked in a cow pasture and surrounding our little plot were cows grazing. The whole place smelled like cow shit. Manure would be too kind. Literally we could not escape the stink, even in winter. There was another smell too, especially outside near the bathroom where the plumbing was. It was the smell of gas.

We only lived there for a few months, from winter into spring. By June we were on the move again. I remember it though. It was just up the street from the home of my mother's friend, and my boyfriend (who wasn't my boyfriend just yet). We rode bikes up and down that dirt road. We threw darts into the ceiling near the bathroom for fun. I had to walk a long way to the bus stop up the road, by Jennifer Peters house. The trailer had 2 bedrooms, one for me and one for my brother. My mother slept in the living room. She had done that in the apartment we had before this place too. We had left that apartment because there was no heat. It had been so cold that our fish froze to death. In this trailer we had cats. Cats that my mother heartlessly abandoned somewhere when we moved out. I think she dropped them off in the center of town. I was upset but powerless.

I was only 12, in 6th grade. I had a great teacher that year, a woman named Mrs. March, who I think actually cared about her students. I was only in that school for a year.

Back to the trailer. One of the cats used to like to poop in the bathtub and in the bathroom sink. It was gross. I was always the one who had to clean it up. Since the whole place smelled like poo anyway though I don't know if it actually stunk.

So back to the toilet cracked. Yes, the toilet in the trailer was cracked. It was blue. We still used it though. We didn't have much choice. After we moved out, left town, moved on... someone else was living there. One night the smoke alarm went off and he got out just in time. The whole place blew up. I guess that gas leak was really something after all.

And that is my toilet cracked memory.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prayers and help needed for neighbor with cancer

I posted this on another blog, and I am cross-posting because I care about this family and I want to help.

My 34 year old neighbor is losing her battle with metastatic (advanced) bladder cancer. When I look out my front door I see her home through the trees. Her two children are a little older than my daughter so we don't do play dates but we know each other. She and her husband both work at a local healthy foods market that is cooperatively owned by its members. They eat healthy, they live healthy. Her daughter won an award last year at school for having checked out the 3rd most books of anybody from the school library. Earlier this year we heard she had cancer but was keeping it quiet. She didn't want to scare the kids. We'd just lost another child's mother to cancer in our small community (there are 150 students in our K-6 school). She didn't want the kids to think that cancer equals death. She wanted there to be hope. She had hope. Her husband had hope. No one is giving up. Even now she is seeking alternative treatments.. but the reality is the conventional treatments aren't working. She is going to need to leave her job soon so that she can focus on fighting this illness. I've heard these lines before from people. It is not good news. 

I am only a helpless neighbor, but the more people who know the story the better. Please, read her story, and share it with others. This family needs all the help they can get during these difficult times. Here is a link to learn more... 
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Friday, October 19, 2012

More demolition photos of Physical Plant at Umass

Didn't realize it would take so long to tear this thing down. They are still working on it.. Paused for a moment to watch this morning. Saw someone up in Machmer looking out the window. She had a much better view, above the fence line. Lucky her!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trying to find Renee Mees regarding Leffelaar

Renee posted a comment to one of the posts here. Another reader here, Jack, has the information Renee is looking for. Unfortunately Renee posted anonymously and did not give any way to contact. I don't know if Renee now has a different last name or if Mees is still her last name. Renee is from the Netherlands, that much I know.  I am posting this in hopes that Renee or someone who knows Renee will see this and provide an email address that I can pass on to Jack. Renee's and Jack's comments are in the comment area, below the post that Renee responded to in the first place.

I hope by posting this I can somehow unite Renee and Jack. Jack is an excellent researcher and has the information Renee is looking for.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Writer with a Day Job: Inspiration & Exercises to Help You Craft a Writing Life Alongside Your Career" [by Aine Greaney

Realized as I wrote my post about Natalie Goldberg's book that I'd never actually posted anything about this one. "Writer with a Day Job" was a much slower read. I found myself putting it down to absorb the information and meditate on it. I did some of the exercises, I looked things up for further reading, and I took my time. There is a lot in this book and unlike Natalie's materials, I haven't really read Aine Greaney's stuff before so I was unfamiliar with her material. I am keeping both books handy for future reference as I go forward writing longer pieces. Since I am still new to novel writing Aine's book gave me a lot of good information and ideas. There were online resources to investigate which I liked. She talks about how long a novel should be (NaNoWriMo is only 50,000 words. An actual novel should be much longer).  Great examples of how writers with day jobs find time for writing, how they work it into their schedules, and what they are able to write about etc. Lots of good stuff in here.  I highly recommend it.

reading "Old Friend from Far Away" by Natalie Goldberg

Started reading “Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of writing memoir” by Natalie Goldberg last night. I should have remembered that it would be a quick read with lots and lots of writing exercises. Practically every page is an exercise. Of course I wasn’t doing the exercises as I went. I was sitting just outside the door of my daughter’s art class. It was her first class and she was nervous- new place, new teacher, new classmate.. yup, just one classmate so far. Anyway I was able to read 70-80 pages during the hour or so that I was there. It is a very different read than the other book I just read (about how to write a novel). Since I have read other books by Natalie Goldberg, and also taken a couple of classes where her materials were used by the teacher I feel like I know a lot of what is in the book already. It’s a little disappointing. It’s good stuff, and it’s good to have it in one place, but I’m not getting anything earth-shattering out of it so far. Nothing is jumping out at me that makes me scream “OH! That’s it!!” It’s kind of like “yeah, I know that already...” but maybe when I read the book again more slowly and take the time to do the exercises some good will come from it. I did actually buy this book so I can go back and re-read it whenever I am ready.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A poem- "Drive to work" by yours truly

Driving through the darkness of the early morning
Daylight hasn’t quite reached the horizon of the empty beach
White sand stands alone and I do not pause
I watch the fog rise from the water to the hills above as I drive by
at the top of the hill I turn right.
I put the burning red sun in my rearview mirror and leave it behind me
the bright red sun climbs the hill as I go down the other side
headlights approach in front but it does not matter
more come up behind me fast and I wonder
“will they pass me on the straight-away?”
something small and quick darts across the road
just barely missing my tires
I do not hear or feel a thud and I think it made it safely
whatever it was I am not sure
it was that quick, only a blur at the bottom of windshield
at the bottom of the hill I can see now
the white pickup truck with cab on back has chosen
not to pass me but to follow me into town
I turn and descend another hill, even further from the sun
When I finally stop and turn off the engine
the fog and the red sky have disappeared
it is just another quiet, cool Monday morning
in September.

September 24, 2012... Rebecca Addison

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Politics- Obama, Libertarians, recap

Wrote this one after the presidential election in 2008. I'll be voting Libertarian again this year too, again in hopes that some day we can get a 3rd party candidate that will get enough votes to win. I feel like the Libertarians are a stronger party than the Green-Rainbow party in terms of support. Maybe some day we'll even have 4 valid parties or more, but let's start by getting the Libertarians up there at least. Think I pegged Obama about right... "don't have high hopes that he will be able to work miracles..." Yup.

So Gary Johnson for President! Let's send a message that Obama and Romney are both wrong for this country.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Umass demolition, construction, and sunrise photos Thursday Sept 13, 2012

This morning's deconstruction pictures at sunrise...

The usual sea of yellow, going into work at the construction site for the new dorms, They are typically dressed in yello, carrying a hardhat and a lunchbox, and maybe a container of water. The few women that I have seen generally have a purse or a briefcase or both. Mostly it's men though.--

And then here's a couple of pictures that I just thought were pretty....

Multi-tasking, multi-tasking

As I drove into work this morning I thought about how crazy I am making myself right now. On my commute I was taking pictures for two of my blogs, plus reviewing in my head some of what I had been reading in "Writer with a Day Job". Suddenly I realized that I was also writing my novel while I was doing these things, and driving, and thinking about what my work day was going to be like and and and and and.....

Let's break this down:

1. I'm working my job
2. I'm a mother to my kid, and will spend time with her after work
3. I'm a wife, and will see my husband at lunchtime hopefully & later when he gets out of work
4. I'm writing and taking photos (and posting them for this blog)- Umass Construction/Deconstruction, writing, family, and politics are some of the topics. I've been quiet on the politics but it's coming soon. November is approaching after all!
5. I'm taking photos for my "View From Lake Wyola" blog
6. I'm working on my Al-Anon blog which isn't getting as much attention, and trying to keep my sanity. I have some stuff going on at my daughter's school that I really need to be applying some 12-step stuff too. I just haven't figured out how to fit it all together yet.
7. I'm blogging at SparkPeople
8. I'm keeping a "writer's journal" for myself where I make notes about the writing I have in process
9. I'm posting on Facebook of course, and occasionally I find things that I know will interest my friends (like the 2 Eric Church trucks I saw yesterday)
10. I'm keeping up with Twitter sporadically
11. I'm actually writing my novel, and other pieces of writing as they come to me.
12. I'm reading the "Writer with a Day Job" book, and I have another writer-related book ready to read.
13. I have research to do regarding my novel that needs to get done.
14. Of course friends, family, activities, and life
15. Trying to exercise and lose weight and stay healthy.

Now why is it that I thought of #15 last? Shouldn't that have been closer to the top. Small wonder I overate yesterday.

And yes, I'm going to cheat here and repost this blog in at least one other place, maybe 2.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

random picture from Umass

Took this photo yesterday on the path that goes from the band building down toward the Mullins Center... not really sure where to put it.

Demolition continues

Brick by brick they seem to be bringing the last stack down... these are from yesterday

This morning I saw this-- note the left side is chipped off: 

Monday, September 10, 2012

construction continues and so does demolition

Not sure how well these are this morning, but over the weekend Campus Center Way was scheduled to be closed on Saturday so that the construction workers would have more room to do their thing. I was curious what I would see this morning on my way in.

This young lady was on her way into work when I was. She was headed toward the construction zone for the new dorms though. Note the hard hat she's carrying on her left.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Umass Construction/Destructions pictures, Sept 5 2012

Here is a few I got this morning. Yesterday was better though..

UMass Construction Updates, Sept. 4 2012

The students came back over Labor Day weekend and some of them were a bit surprised at all that was going on by the Physical Plant. It was a pretty good show when I came out of work yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately the battery on my camera was dying again so I only got a few pictures. Took a few more this morning though. Very cool to see the progress of this all coming down. So here is from yesterday afternoon: