Florence opening store

Time for a different purse

Yesterday I finally gave up on my fanny pack. I think that that one was about a year and a half old, and was falling apart, and my phone kept falling out of its pocket. I'd really like them to hold up better than that, but we haven't really found anything that will.

I've been looking at Walmart and Target to see if they had any bags that I'd like, but I haven't been able to find anything. I find big bags, little bags, in-between bags, but nothing that'd really fit me. Fanny packs are not in at the moment, so I didn't really expect to find one. We've been buying them the last few years at Worlds of Fun, so maybe I'll be able to get a decent one once they open this summer.

But anyway, if I can't find a fanny pack, my next choice would be one of those smaller over the shoulder half backpack bags. But those must also be out of style, since I couldn't find any. The purses and bags that I could find all tended to have the same problem, though. A serious lack of pockets. I depend on pockets to keep all my stuff organized, so that I can find it. Keys go in this pocket, phone goes in that one, calendar and notebook go over there, pens go here (by the way, I need to dig out some more), etc. But the big totes all had one pocket, and some others may have had one or two, but that's it. One bag looked promising, but half its pockets were fake, and the rest were pitifully small. What's the point in putting a fake pocket on a bag?

I finally dug out one of my old purses that I could find, and transferred my stuff into it. I haven't used it in years, it's probably older than my son (12). It's decent sized, with enough pockets and divisions to satisfy me, and in reasonably good shape. But the day that I've been carrying it reminds my why I switched to fanny packs in the first place. Any time I move at all, it slips off my shoulder, and down my arm, so I have to keep sliding it up. I'd far rather have my arms free.

Writing Update

It's been one of those weeks. Between putting my hand through the bathroom wall, and trying to figure out how to pay for that, and planning a couple of other projects that have come up that we'll basically be saving up all summer for, I didn't take as much time for writing last week as I should have.

Which is a shame, since the times that I did write, the words just seemed to flow. Mostly in fun world-setting that doesn't move the plot. And I might not have gotten enough details in anyway, even if I'll have to cut everything out later, since I spent a lot of time saying how delectable Andrea's cooking was, without really describing what it tasted like.

And, no, it doesn't taste like chicken. Except, of course, when she serves chicken.

I'm thinking I must have been hungry when I was writing that.

I've also fallen a couple pages behind in my typing, and will have to spend the next day or two to make sure that I type more than I write until I catch up. At the moment, I have about 5,500 words started, not counting the ending which I've written. Counting the words that I've written, but not typed yet, that brings it up to about 6,000 words.

Which isn't really all that much, when you look at it. I'm still hoping to have a reasonably complete rough draft by summer vacation, though.
Flying Pig

Book Review -- Troll Valley

Troll Valley
by Lars Walker
Kindle Link
Epub Link

I've never done a book review before, so I'm still figuring out how to do it. First of all, I'll say that I really enjoyed reading "Troll Valley". I'd call it a Christian/American Historical Fiction (turn of the 20th century)/Fantasy book, with a light dusting of horror from time to time (mostly off screen).

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The dangers of re-reading too quickly

I have lots of books that I like to read, and re-read frequently. For instance, I'm in the middle of re-reading The Lord of the Rings. That's been one of my favorite books since junior high school, and I've re-read it every couple of years since. We've worn out at least one set of those books. Now I've got it on my Nook, so I shouldn't have to worry about wearing it out any more.

But if you take a book, and re-read it a couple of times in close succession, various plot holes, and other things, that you might not have noticed otherwise might suddenly loom so huge that they suck all the joy out of that reading.

The one that comes to mind immediately was when I discovered "The Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett (she also wrote "The Secret Garden). I was in college at the time, and so really out of the targeted age bracket. But I picked up the book, and immediately loved it. I loved it so much that as soon as I finished reading it, I turned around and read it again.

I think it was on my third reading of the book, still in close succession, that my mind suddenly asked me, "Why didn't the father's friend contact the lawyer (solicitor)?" ::poof:: All the magic in the book was suddenly gone, and it was a few years before I could read it again. Of course, if the father's friend had contacted the lawyer, it would have been a much shorter book. But the he should have, it should have been an absolutely obvious first step for him. And even if he didn't think of it, his own lawyer should have.

Perhaps the author had put in a few lines about how the father's friend had wanted to contact the lawyer, and wasn't able to, but the editor took them out to tighten the story, or perhaps it had never occurred to her that the question might come up to someone. Probably no way to know, now.

I've had similar things happen when reading other books, though I don't think any of them were quite as dramatic. So, now I usually try to put a little time, and other books, between when I first read a book, and when I re-read it.
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Writing Schedule

I've been trying to stick to a schedule that will allow me to write, exercise, and get the house work done. And I've got one that works, if I actually follow it. That's the hard part.

It involves me leaving the house at 9, 9:30 at the latest. Monday and Friday, I can go down to the community center, and take some water exercise classes, while Tuesday and Thursday I can work with the weight machines. Wednesday, I go grocery shopping. However, if I don't get out of the house by 9 on the class days, or 9:30 (though 9 would be better), I have a tendency to waste the whole day. I can go to the classes from 9:30 to 10:15, or whenever they end, get to the library by 11, write until 1, come home again, and work on cleaning. Funny thing is, though, if I don't leave the house, then absolutely nothing gets done. I don't like that, and need to figure out how to change it.

I'm also going to have to figure out a different schedule for when the kids get out of school. But fortunately, I've got some months to consider it.

I've been working on my Unicorn Return story, and having a blast with it. It is really annoying, though. I can sit at my AlphaSmart Neo and write this blog without any trouble (I have more trouble remembering to put it into the computer and posting it), but I can't sit here and write my story that way. I've tried, and I stare at the screen, and it stares back at me. So, I've been writing it out by hand, then typing it into the Neo the next day. That way, I don't get too much of a back-log needing to be typed, and get my mind going the right direction in the universe. I'm writing between 400-500 words per day (though today I got over 700 words), which means that I can write the worth of a NaNoWriMo day in approximately a week. Though, if I can get the house caught up enough, I could probably squeeze another hour into the day somewhere, and get another 400+ words. That would be good.

Interestingly enough, though, now that I'm writing several times a week, my handwriting has improved considerably, and I think I'm able to write faster, too. I can read my writing most of the time now. It might even have improved enough that other people might almost be able to make it out. Sometimes. It wasn't what I was going for when I started this, but I'll take it.
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Memory, memory . . .

It's funny what sort of tricks the memory can play on you. I was reading Lars Walker's  book, Troll Valley (*link lulu*) (which I'll review later this week), and early on came across a throw-away line about a book called "Mama's Bank Account", later made into a movie called "I Remember Mama". He said that the book almost never mentioned church. My mind came to a full stop, while it processed this, because I thought that "I Remember Mama" was absolutely packed full of church references. Fortunately, my mind started again after a couple of moments, and I remembered that I don't think I actually read "Mama's Bank Account," though I once saw portions of "I Remember Mama" on TV. The books that I was thinking of were called "Papa's Wife", and "Papa's Daughter", by Thyra Ferre Bjorn. Those were entirely different books (for one thing, the family involved were Swedish, rather than Norwegian), though the theme's probably similar, from what I remember. It's probably been a good twenty years since I read those books, though. I probably should look them up to see if the library has them (I have looked them up at B&N, and they aren't available as an eBook).

I'd say it's a pain getting old, but I think my mind always tended to mixt together things of a similar theme like that. Then again, it's my provenly faulty memory telling me so. ;-)

(no subject)

We once again had nice weather this weekend, after those cold days we had last week. It looks like that trend is going to continue for a while. It got cold again last night, and is supposed to stay cold these next couple of days, while getting nice again on Saturday and Sunday. At least, though, we stayed in the 30s last night, not those really cold 19° and 14° days we had last week. The wind howling last night, though, made it sound like a lot colder out there than it really was. And when we heard the rain coming down, it didn't really sound like a good thing. Fortunately, the ground was still warm from the nice weekend, so no ice stuck. I think ice storms are probably about the worst thing about Missouri weather.

Dominant Eye

Have you ever taken the dominant eye test? Apparently it consists of holding your arm straight out, and covering up a distant object with your thumb. Then you close your eyes one at a time, and see which eye makes the thumb move. The other eye is then your dominant eye.

I think I first heard about this test in high school, but it doesn't work for me. Every time it comes up, I try it, and I get frustrated, and other people get frustrated trying to explain it to me.

When I hold my thumb out at arm's length, and look at distant objects, I do not see one thumb, I see two. Both are transparent. neither of which can actually be said to "cover" that object. I can cover it with my whole hand, my hand's large enough that I get a significant overlap between the two hand images that I see.

Conversely, I can look at my thumb, instead of the distant object. Then I only see one thumb, but see two distant objects. I can cover either one of those up with my thumb, but the other is still out bright and clear.

I looked up other tests for finding the dominant eye. One consists of holding your hands out together, overlapping and leaving a hole between your thumbs and forefingers, then centering the distant object in the hole. Once again, I see two holes. I can look at the object through either hole, but to center it, I'd actually put it behind the fleshy bridge between the holes.

I don't know if I just don't have a dominant eye, or something else weird is going on. But for between 20 and 30 years, I've been trying to do this, and have only gotten frustrated. I don't know why it works for other people, if their mind suppresses the image of one of the thumbs, or what.
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World's of Fun

Remember When? (Computers)

It's funny, looking back at things, how much has changed since I was a kid. The changes seem to happen slowly, until you look back, and realize how much has happened.

When I was younger, computers were just beginning to enter into private houses. We got a Vic20 when I was in high school, and used it to play games and do word-processing and such. The hard drive hadn't been invented yet, so the programs were on cassette tape, and you had to run one every time you turned it on. The screens were monochromatic, green or orange. Orange tended to be easier on the eyes. And the graphics were hardly worth the mention of the name.

When I went to college, the school required me to buy a portable computer (it was a technical/engineering school). It was technically portable, but was about the size of a suitcase, and heavy. The keyboard fastened onto the front of it, for storage and portability. We had moved on from tape to 5" floppies, quite a step up in the world. But still no hard drives, so you had to make sure the right disk was in the drive when you turned it on. And you also had to wait for the message telling you that you could take out the disk, or you'd ruin it.

I don't remember when hard drives came in, but they made life much easier. And then we switched from 5" floppy disks to 3" disks, which weren't really floppy at all. I remember predicting that eventually we'd have computer disks, storage systems the size of credit cards. They would try to go smaller, but then move back up, because too many people would lose the dumb things. Well, you see how well that's turned out. We get a lot of programs on CD/DVD disks, which are stiff, not bendable at all, and probably close to 5" floppies in size, though they hold considerably more. We also have small flash drives, thumb drives, etc., that are much smaller than my thumb, but hold a couple gigs in memory. The amount they hold keep going up, while the prices keep coming down.

And for a lot of things, you don't even need drives. You can pull the information you need right out of the air. That's bizarre, when you really think about it. The air is filled with information, computer wireless, TV, radio, GPS, probably a whole host of other things, that you just need the right equipment to pull out of the air and use.