Friday, July 24, 2009

Disappearing Me

So, one of my goals is to get back to my wedding day weight. I don't know if that is terribly reasonable since I was 98lbs on my wedding day (I am very short) and that was back when I was still doing some very low-level local modeling. Most of them were pin up style (but I put a normal one on here instead :-P) so when I was close to the old weight they were really motivating to lose weight, but now are just depressing!

I think it's reasonable to revamp my goals for my late 20's to be different than my early 20's. So, instead I am going to try to lose 10% and will be ecstatic :).

To do this I am going to cut out all beverages with a calorie count about 10 (primarily meaning alcohol) from now until my birthday (mid September) with the exception of charity events. I am also going to eat either cereal or a homemade salad for two meals of the day for the next two weeks. Also, no desert (besides my nephew's b-day party) until my b-day. I am hoping to have.

Any of my other blogger-friends out there interested in joining me in this last-ditch-before-summer-ends weight loss?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Month Two of 105 Goals

Below are the items that I have accomplished within the past month. I really didn't do much during the first month. It's only been about 8% of the time thus far, but I've done far fewer than 8% of the goals (which might have been to lofty and might need to be adjusted down a little, we shall see). My time is ticking away, but once school is done I will have more time to pursue these endeavors.

# 4 Burlesque class for three sessions (1/3) -- 1 added :)

I found a local studio that offers some nice classes and took the intro four week class. It's awesome. Very much all about feel confident as women.

# 18 Go to ten Chicago-area street fairs (2/10) -- 2 added :)
At the Taste of Chicago

At the Greek Festival (I am drinking a Greek beer in this was okay)

# 20 Go to a Cubs, Bears, Fire and Blackhawks game (1/4) -- 1 added :)

At Wriggly (cubs) with Mike, our new Financial Planner who took us. Sounds soo funny to say that. My guess is his real clients bailed so he took the nice-seeming ones :) I really liked him and his wife, also named Lauren. Good people. However, we have only done insurance with him...will wait to do actual financial planning once school is done and refi nightmare is over.

# 25 Take ten hikes out of the 60 Hikes in 60 Miles of Chicago book (1/10) -- 1 added :)

At Deer Grove Loop

# 26 Volunteer with Pete five times (1/5) -- 1 added :)

Pete at a little park off of Irving Park Road on the north side

# 33 Have a picnic (1/1) -- 1 added :)

At Lake Michigan only 3 blocks from the condo :) We took my sister and her family here on Friday night. The kiddos had a great time!

# 36 Do ten "touristy" things in Chicago (3/10) -- 3 added :)

At the 4th of July Fireworks

Rode the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

Boat Cruise Along Lake Michigan (with my nieces and nephew--above is me and Mini Me on the cruise)

# 39 Get life insurance (1/1) -- 1 added :)

# 46 Get a grill (1/1) -- 1 added :)

Pete with his grill (actually got a portable one as it fit better in our spot, so in this picture we took it to the Chicago lakefront for the picnic we had with my sister's family)

# 95 Take each kid out to something fun three times (2/9) -- 2 added :)

Ice Skating with Mini Me

Ice Skating with Blondie Girl

ok, ok, it was at the same time, but I am counting it as two

# 99 Do twenty things in the heart box (1/20) -- 1 added :)

The heart box is something that I gave to Pete on our wedding day that had enough date ideas to do something every week for three years. We were suppose to then do something from the heart box every week, but that didn't pan out.

Us at Brassiere Jo's

# Do something with a friend that they have never done before

At the Butterfly Room in the Nature Museum with Meena, who had never been before. The flying butterflies were tough to catch, but they were all over the place!

So, to all of you out in blog land, I have a question. I am trying to think of something to swap out one of my classes with (I don't want to do horseback riding...too far away). Recalling that my other classes are: Ballroom Dancing, Piano, Spanish, Burlesque, pottery, woodworking?, something else artistic, project managment, Photography, Wine Class, Motorcycle, Martial Arts and Belly Dance, do you have any suggestions for a fun class to strech me creativily, mentally or physically?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fleeting Freedom

Sorry that I've not been around. My week off ended up being very, very busy and overly short lived. I *maybe* got 1000 words in and hardly did anything on my side company. What did I do? Besides some school work, I am not entirely sure. Mostly getting caught up on stuff around the house and related paper work. My sister's family is coming into town this weekend. They arrive today at 1pm. I am bubbling with excitement! We have a very full weekend with activities including the zoo, the beach, the lake front, Millennium Park, Navy Pier Fireworks and more. Sooo excited.

Now to finish cleaning....I will be around to comment on your blogs Sunday night :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Two Weeks of Freedom

happy girlAs those who follow my blog may have heard me complain about in the past; the small company that I work for has been having some cash flow issues of late, as have many business both small and large around the world. After careful consideration, I am going to stick it out here even though I am unhappy for many reasons outside of the bounced/late paychecks, there are certain flexibility capabilities that I'm not willing to trade at this time...and the economy sucks anyways. There is one more shoe left to drop, but I've been told my job is safe. I will detail that particular story next week, after the other shoe has dropped.

Anyhoo, I am two weeks behind on pay as of Friday and will not see anything until August. However, everyone is getting two weeks off during July. Paid. This isn't a forced vacation where no one gets paid. This is a forced vacation to make up for late payment. Half the staff has off this week and the other half, which is the group that I am in, gets the week after off. Then I'll work another week and then have the last week of July off.

Sooo...I'm sort of going to be a full time writer!! I say "sort of" because I have to work on school and the company that my friend, Jill, and I are starting.

To work on

My goal is to work on writing for four hours, the website for four hours and school for two hours. That's a ten hour day, which with commuting is how much extra time I will have.

That is what I will do with my two weeks of freedom. :) I hope, by the end of the month, to be up to 70k words and to have some semblance of a rough draft done for every section, also Phase Pre-Alpha will be done on the website.

Normally I'd want to be hopping around on the beach as the sun sets behind me, as the girl above, but since I am going to have no income from mid-June through early August, I have to stick around town. Luckily Chicago is a fun city and I have tons to keep me busy :)

What would you do with two weeks of freedom?

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Town Does Fourth of July

Actually, it's my town does 3rd of July as that is the day of our Fireworks. The logic for this is, when 4th of July falls in the middle of the week you will want to be able to stay up late and not worry about work the next day.

We celebrate Independence Day with Fireworks over Lake Michigan, the Taste of Chicago, and an outdoor symphony at Petrillo Music Shell. The 85th Army band played this year, although we did not go to listen as we were claiming our spots for Fireworks. The Independence Day Fireworks are actually offered as part of the Taste of Chicago and is funded out of the same budget.

We started off our Third of July celebrations by checking out the 29th annual the Taste of Chicago. Every year three million people converge on Grant Park in downtown Chicago to sample the delicious foods that Chicago has to offer. The Taste starts on Friday of the weekend before Independence Day weekend and run through until the Sunday after Independence Day. 70 local restaurants had booths with various ethic and American food choices. $8 buys 12 tickets, which includes a $2 surcharge to cover security, clean up and entertainment. Most vendors had an entree sized selection for 6-8 tickets and small "taste portions" for 3-4 tickets. Pete and my usual method is to share these taste portions between the two of us for a wider variety of "tastes." This year we sampled ten different tastes ranging from Mexican, Irish, BBQ, African, Creole--and others. There were several restaurants that I want to go back and experience their real meal as the tastes of their offerings were amazing.

There is free entertainment all day and a little park area called "The Family Village" (not normally, just for this event) with moonwalks, a carousel, and a little Ferris wheel for the children. This Ferris wheel is dwarfed by Navy Pier's wheel, but the little kids taking it for a spin didn't seem to mind. There also was various educational activities and presentations in this area. We heard a "Raffi" clone singing songs that sounded much lamer than I remember them being, but the little kids seemed to like it, and that's the important part :). We caught some neat dance routines at the Best Buy Entertainment stage (yes, everything is sponsored by someone). If you ever go to the Taste, I would recommend going earlier in the day. It opens at 11am. If you go then you can be done by 2, just in time to run away from the heat of the day.

Actually, Grant Park is a pretty neat area and will be a topic of a future My Town Monday post. It always has various events going on. But, the real attraction for the day are the Fireworks that night. Walking over to the Taste we saw many people who took their fireworks seating very very seriously.

These pictures were taken at 11am. Fireworks don't start until 9pm. These people are serious. Yes, that is yellow caution tape marking off their little areas. It wasn't just these people, we saw it all over the place. Made me glad that our plan was to watch the fireworks on the dock at the Yacht Club. Anyhoo, talking about the Yacht Club, we actually parked there before the Taste so that we had some (free) parking that was easily accessible. Parking downtown on these days can be as much as $30. And then trying to get out of the parking garage after...yeah...

For those of you contemplating viewing the 3rd of July fireworks in Chicago in the future, the best places to go are Grant park, along the lakeshore at the Monroe/DuSable Harbors and Museum Campus. Northerly Island is a good bet too.

We biked home along the lake front, which was about 6 miles, not too bad. I'll blog about the Lakeshore Bike Path some other day. Was a nice day for a ride, but pretty hot. Many, many families were having cook outs along the path and the beaches were absolutely packed! We rode the el back downtown later on that evening with almost as many coolers and blankets as people cramed into the little el-car. The excitement was almost palpable.

Once we got downtown we high tailed it over to the Yacht Club where we were able to go out to the dock to view the fireworks. Around a million people swarm to the lake front each year so it was nice to be able to sit away from the crowds, even though we had to battle through them to get to the boat. I could definitely see why some people stake their claim out early. Although, I have been told that you can get a decent view if you show up an hour before.

You can't really see the crowds, but trust me, they were there. Short of being in the boats in the Harbor (which we were for Venetian Night last year) we had some of the best seats in the city!

Information and ariel picture from:
(all other pictures are mine)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

I hope that everyone out in the blog-o-sphere is having a great 4th of July. Pete and I are doing a Chicago stay-cation. In addition to visiting various places around town (the 4th of July specific ones shall be my topic for My Town Monday). Above is a picture of us at the fireworks last night. I have managed to get in some writing...and some homework.

There is a bit of a damper on all the 4th festivities, which I am not at liberty to currently discuss, but will share sometime next week. It's bad, but not my tell, until it's been told in real life.

Writing is going okay. I need to recalc and update my word count. I will probably do that tomorrow after I get my next set of rewrites out to my crit partners.

So far this is shaping up to be a great 4th weekend, despite aforementioned damper.

I wrote a really lame fight scene yesterday. Anyone out there in the blog-o-sphere have any comments or suggestions for fight scenes?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Revising Early Drafts

Just like in many areas of life, there is no right way to go about writing and revising a novel. Many authors prefer to write the whole thing and then circle back and start the revision process. Others, like me, prefer to write and the circle back as we go. The benefits to this approach are, you can see where you need to revamp to foreshadow, more agilely shift character motivations and more easily keep all the layers straight. It's harder to start something and not follow through since you are living in multiple parts of your novel at the same time. For me, it helps make everything much more consistent.

However, some people prefer to write straight through. I understand this feeling. Sometimes my muse is just flowing through me and the words and plot just spill out of me. But, normally I revise as I go. Not chapter by chapter. I try to stay about 20k words ahead of where I am revising. Sometimes I go back even further, just to make sure it is all flowing together.

Revising is not fixing typos or grammar. That's proofreading. Revising is not just about finding better word choices or reducing redundancy. That's editing. You definitely need to proofread and edit as you revise, but revising is much bigger than that. It's thinking through your ideas more fully. If you haven't thought through them, rewording isn't going to do you any good!

I am blogging about this today because, after my econ exam, I am going to go home and work on revising my third chapter set. (I'm adding to the plot line of the 7th chapter set right now.) This is the revision so that my beta readers can read without wanting to gag.

The following are the questions I am going to ask myself as I flip through these pages. (I print out...killing trees, I know, but at least I recycle and print on two sides!)

What is it that the charectors are trying to say?
Is there tension in this section?
Do we learn something?
Is a secret revealed?
Can I hide something or just hint at it?
Can I describe something better?
Can you show instead of tell?
What are the motivations of all of my characters? Why is this their motive and is that coming across (or being hinted at so that it can be revealed (or realized) at a later point in time)?

But, be careful. Don't get so stuck on revising that you don't move on. Otherwise you'll never get to "The End." Sometimes Often, I have a tendency to do this. However, usually revision ends up adding a couple scenes, but I have definitely been known to remove or simply change a scene. Since my first pass is very rough,y my word count typically goes up by about 30% during the first revision, which is the main reason I have to revise as I go along. I have zero clue of the word count until I have gone through a few cycles of revision.

Set a deadline. Give yourself a certain number of days or hours and after that, move on. You won't get it perfect. That's the benefit of revising as you go through. You'll revise again at the end. It's just that when you do your revision at the end, there will be much less to clean up!

How do you revise and what questions do you ask yourself as you do it?

Related Posts with Thumbnails