Saturday, October 29, 2011

There are worse places to be....

Probably anyone who still looks here knows I'm in Hawaii.

But if you didn't know, I'm in Hawaii.

And that is the view from my balcony.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

How does your garden grow? (Or, Why my neighborhood is awesome.)

Today I picked these:

Then I arranged to barter some tomatoes for these:

But the best part was that when I was heading out the door, the Young Men/Young Women (my church's local youth group) knocked on the door and asked to do some service as part of a service scavenger hunt.

So I gave them the tomatoes, they brought back the eggs. I hope they won.

Now, before the week is out, I shall make soup out of the tomatoes, and puree the peaches and raspberries for my mom to make into jam.

Gardens are freaking awesome, you guys.

(Also, there might be some salted caramel brownies on the horizon. Keep your fingers crossed, book club.)

In the meantime, I shall get cozied up in my jammies and knit while watching Tron. 

Yeah. I live a charmed life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's time to get my swim on!

So my friend Jenna is crazy motivated. She's a full-time mom, self-taught photographer, and earlier this year started a weight-loss challenge for her readers (which I started but sadly will not win). Recently she posted about how she's dealing with an injury that's preventing her from running, so she went swimming instead.

Sadly, I've never been a runner. Members of my family run, and I love the running culture, but since I grew up with broken barbie doll knees (and a lack of any sort of real motivation) prevented me from joining the club.

Aside: I'm not kidding when I say broken barbie doll knees. I have SEVERE hyperextension in both legs. Sure, it was a cool party trick growing up, but I've sprained my left knee twice, and it's never, EVER a cool thing when the doctor says "Whoa! I've never seen anything like that before!" Note to future doctors, even if you haven't seen that before, please, please lie.

But since I thought that part of the high school experience involved athletics (come to think of it, nearly all of my friends were on some team or another) I joined the swim team my sophomore year. Did I lose every race? Yep! Was I relegated to back stroke because my dives were embarrassing? I have my suspicions. But did I love it? Completely.

Here's the thing about swimming. It's a pain in the butt to get ready for. Squeezing into a swim suit, exfoliating, shaving and smoothing, running all over town trying to find a swim cap because you cut your hair at the end of last summer so it doesn't fit in a ponytail holder and you can't stand it when your hair gets caught in your goggles...all sorts of annoying.

But once I run through the necessary checklist, I could seriously go swimming three times a day; I love being in the water that much. And I'm not a social swimmer. Let's be honest, I don't want to be sued for blinding anyone. (If you think I'm exaggerating, well, my vitamin D deficiency isn't from lack of dairy intake.) No, I like to go when the pool isn't crowded and the only ones there are swimming laps.

Why do I bring this up? Well, today, I ran through the checklist, and come tomorrow morning, I will be in that water. Lately I've been motivated to be more active. I really don't know why now and not before, but regardless, it's swimming time!

Friday, May 06, 2011

It's like...magic.

I suppose the thing about reading a new book for the first time, or even an old book for the eightieth time, is the anticipation that maybe, just maybe, my life will never be the same by the time I’m finished. When it’s over, I’ll have new ideas, new perspective, new insights because of a stack of paper bound in plastic covered in black smudges.

If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Playing with blocks

For Christmas, Mallory gave me a whole array of lovelies that perhaps I will tell you about sometime, and one of them was this beautiful mug. I love this mug. I drink out of it whenever possible, and I'm always bummed when it has to take its turn in the dishwasher. (But I'm grateful for dishwashers.)

Here's the thing. I love stories. I love hearing a well-told story almost as much as I love telling a well-told story. There's nothing quite like the feeling of spinning a yarn and weaving it around and through the audience. The craft of telling a story is something I like to think I've come by quite accidentally, but it's a skill I enjoy. No, where I feel I've lacked in the past is actually having a story to tell.

Well, no longer. I choose now to make my writer's blocks my play things. I will build them in to great big towers, and maybe they'll fall. Or maybe they'll rise up into the most epic game of Jenga ever played. But whatever happens, I feel confident in the beginning of my story, and the first few chapters are really the stuff dreams are made of. I don't know how it will end, but I know where I want it to go. And the great thing about being the writer is that I have more of a say in my story's outcome than maybe I give myself credit for.

So here's to the hours and words, the weeks and chapters, and the years and volumes to come.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011: An Active Life

When I was in high school, I regularly participated in student journalism competitions. Yes, there is such a thing as competitive journalism. One year in particular, at a local competition at Fresno State, I thought I wrote a killer feature article. To where I was convinced I was going to win. As I recall, it was about the Gandhi statue that lives on the campus.

I felt so good about things that a friend and I went speed bowling. I think that may have been the only time I ever broke 100, and I did so in under ten minutes. I'm a terrible bowler.

Imagine my surprise when they called out the top three finishers in features, and none of those names were mine. It turns out the judges' notes on my article said I used the passive voice too often, a big no-no in journalistic writing. Up until then, I had no idea what passive voice even was, let alone how to avoid it. But now I know.

Basically, in the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. In the passive voice, the subject just sits back and takes whatever the object throws at him. For example:
Active: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Passive: The lazy dog was jumped over by the quick brown fox. 
As an editor, when I get a manuscript written entirely in the passive voice, I kind of want to cry. Recasting passive sentences into the active voice is a tedious, time-consuming process that often seems never ending. But the end result is always worth the effort.

What does this have to do with my goals for 2011? Well, it turns out I live a pretty passive life. I know how to dream big, but I haven't figured out to how to work to make those dreams realities. So that's what I want to do this year. More examples:

  • How often do I sit and watch TV, read blogs, or re-read books (passive) when I could be writing, creating, and sharing (active)?
  • How often do I go to craft fairs/blogs/stores and say, "I could make that," (passive) when I should actually be making those things (active)?
  • How often do I eat what someone else has cooked for me (passive) when I could be increasing my talents and passion for food by creating it myself (active)?
  • How much extra time do I spend lying in bed (passive) when I could be spending that time exercising, studying the scriptures, or making a healthy breakfast (active)?
  • How long have I been waiting to be loved (passive) instead of looking for the one who might be waiting for me to love him (active)?

So 2011 is the year I edit my time, recast some sentences, and basically just make my life read better. It'll be tricky and it'll likely be tedious, but I'm utterly confident the end result will be totally worth the effort.