Photo credit: RJS Photography

Photo credit: RJS Photography

It’s so much easier to get overloaded than to move stuff off my plate.  I don’t have that many commitments outside my home, so I’m never quite sure how I get so overloaded.  I’m sure that poor time management skills and having a lot of things I want to do are part of the problem.  I don’t watch much TV (though I’m currently watching Breaking Bad… more on that later), and I’ve been trying to read less.

I realize that saying I’m trying to read less is probably a little strange to most people, but I have a serious book addiction.  I really cannot put books down once I start them, even if I’ve read them before.  Its not unusual for me to read a book in two days, but during that time, I’ve accomplished virtually nothing else.  So I have to just read less because I do have other things I want to do.

Right now I’m in one of my overloaded states, but it’s just been a busy few weeks.  I already work a 4/ 40 hour week with an hour commute each way.  I’ve recently had some things I’ve had to do to help family, extra trainings for work, and all the normal stuff to keep a household running.  Plus, since I’m a whole foods vegetarian, I pretty much have to cook.  Add that up to one overloaded person.

On top of all that, I gained a bunch of weight back that I had previously lost.  While I’m trying not to judge myself for that, it’s just not easy.  With the weather getting marginally cooler here, I’m trying to recommit to walking daily.  Just a half hour a day, and if I can’t do that, 20 minutes, and if I can’t do that, 10 minutes.  I’m reminding myself that the goal is improvement, not all or nothing.  All or nothing is what overloads me in the first place.

To all of you out there who are in the same boat as I am, be kind to yourself today.  And if you’re not going to judge me for being too busy and making poor food choices, don’t judge yourself either.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

My horoscope sign is Leo, so my element is supposed to be fire, but I identify far more with water.  As a teenager, fire and water were two of my favorite things to write bad poetry about. I love the sounds of the ocean, the smell, the taste.  I love floating in it and swimming into the waves.

Inspired by this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge at the Daily Post.

Character Development and Miley Cyrus

Judgmental cat is judging you.

Judgmental cat is judging you.

This week’s writing challenge at the Daily Post was to blog about a divisive issue, namely the whole Miley Cyrus thing at the VMAs.  Normally, I wouldn’t bother with this issue, because I didn’t watch it and don’t care enough about Miley Cyrus to give her space in my head.  That being said, when I went about with my day after I read the topic, things started popping into my head about character development for stories, and how that applies to people in the media.

First off, this isn’t a new issue.  Elvis shook it and scandalized a nation, and millions were shocked when Madonna did “Like a Virgin.”  Okay, pretty much all of Madonna’s early career was shocking.  I’m sure they were called all sorts of names and blamed for the moral downfall of youth.  I saw some of Miley’s performance, and I thought it was pretty disgusting, done for shock value and lacking in artistry.  But it’s not new.  It’s almost a rite of passage.  When I was in my late teens/ early 20s, I did some dumb things because I was trying to grow up too fast and find myself.  I was just lucky enough that none of it was caught on camera.  Hopefully, she’ll grow up, leave this phase behind her.  There are plenty of other young men and women waiting to be “scandalous.”

How does all this link to character development?  Well, I remember reading a bit of advice a long time ago.  It reminded authors that characters were not the people who wrote them, and to be dynamic, they should have their own thoughts, feelings, actions, that may be in direct opposition to the writer.  Books would be pretty boring if they always acted as their author did.  Hearing about Miley Cyrus got me to thinking about the complex motivations of other people, and reminded me that when I’m writing about young adults, they see the world much differently than people twice their age, and I’m sure differently than people twice that age!  If ten people see one event, they will have ten different viewpoints and memories about the event.

Thanks for the reminder, Miley.

Blue is For Nightmares- A Review

UnknownI’ve read the first two of an apparent four part series, starting with Blue is for Nightmares and White is for Magic by Laurie Faria Stolarz.  It’s a young adult series centered around Stacey, who learned kitchen magic from her now deceased, but beloved grandmother.  Stacey is having nightmares about her best friend Drea, and she knows from experience that her nightmares come true.  Stacey needs to figure out the dream before something bad happens to her friend.

To be honest, I liked Stacey, but I didn’t like her “best friend” Drea.  Throughout book one and two, I kept thinking that Drea was mean and selfish, and it was hard for me to watch how Drea pushed her around and away.

These books are a good, entertaining read, but I probably wouldn’t bother to buy them full price.  Get them used, borrow them from the library or a friend.  I read them on vacation, and they were perfect for that.  They were a nice, light read, but not so engrossing that I had trouble pulling away from them to go to my vacation activities.

Atlas Shrugged- Movie Review

by The TV Guy

UnknownAtlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, finally became a film after decades of inability to come up with a deal the author could agree with. The movie was in two parts, and at times felt like one of those after school specials funded by some sort of ultra right wing group. This is a book and movie that has been embraced by conservatives as a justification for greed and selfishness. The book was originally panned as an angry mean book that had no place in America thought when it was first written.

I support some of the basic ideas of allowing people to meet their own greatness. The problem with Rand is that her life experience has thoroughly distorted her sense of reality. She believed that by doing for others we hurt everyone. She has allowed for a generation of super rich to justify their greed and encourage them to have general disgust for those who have nothing.

Watch this, don’t watch this; it’s your call. The movie was so poorly put together that actors in part 1 and part 2 were different. I have to think that those who did part 1 had some sort of regret and became unable to part 2.

If you want a laugh, check this movie out. If you enjoy incongruent thought and average Joe bashing you will enjoy this one.

Hiking Makes Me Feel Old

San Tan Mountains, Photo Credit: Doree Weller

San Tan Mountains, Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I love to hike, and my friend and I have been hiking pretty consistently for the past 4 years. When we started, we only did 2 miles. These days, we do 5 miles in the summer and 7 miles when temperatures drop into the 80s or 90s. I love hiking as it makes me feel powerful, strong, and connected with what little nature we have out here.

Getting in my car after a hike is difficult, and getting out of my car is even more difficult. I swear I can hear my bones creak!  The morning after a hike, I’m usually more sore than I like to admit, and I can feel every muscle I’ve used.  But I do it again, week after week.  Why?  I just plain love it.

I love walking through the desert.  We’ve seen coyotes, rabbits, lots of lizards, birds, scorpions, weird prehistoric bugs.  I even saw a snake once.  We also found a skull of some type of animal, which was pretty cool.

The desert is a harsh place to live, and sometimes I regret moving here.  I miss the green that was everywhere in Pennsylvania.  In the grass we never bothered to water, the trees everywhere, flowers that didn’t really need special care.  We had to water the tomatoes, but if we missed a day, it was no great tragedy.

There are pockets of beauty here, and I’m constantly reminded of them when I hike.  I know when the growing seasons in the desert are, and I know that many things make their homes here, despite how hard life must be.

So even though my bones ache, that’s why I hike.  It’s not bad exercise either!