Christmas and new endeavors

It's that time of year again. The time of year when things need to get finished and out the door to arrive at their destinations in time for Christmas. Now, Canada Post swears that packages will arrive to the US before Christmas, as long as I send them by December 10. But, there is one problem with that. If you go to the outlets, they will tell you that the package will take 6-8 weeks. Considering we are only 4 weeks from Christmas...ya...can you see the problem here? I sent a package yesterday and it cost me $15 instead of $3, because I need it to get there as fast as possible...and definitely before Christmas. Here is what I have been up to lately. Since my hands have been so sore, made worse by the cold weather, I made myself these: Untitled They are just a simple stockinette knit with only a thumb to add on. They were knit with Online Supersocke yarn, which created that great colour pattern. They aren't really thick or anything, but they are just right for when I am sitting at the computer or knitting. They come down just far enough on my hands to cover my knuckles, if I roll the cuff down. Otherwise they nearly cover my whole hand. lol But, with rolling the cuff down I get double warmth on the knuckles and they are not complaining. I am also doing some Christmas card swaps with a couple groups on Ravelry. We are trying to put something into the card, so I am making these: Untitled Seeing as how much as I like knitting socks, I just thought they were incredibly adorable! And they are really fast to make as well. I love them. 😀 Since I finally figured out how to make an icord (seriously, it's not that hard, but I had a real brain blockage on that one), I am making icords to come off the stocking with a tassel at the end. I am using left over sock yarn for these, and it takes such a small amount that I could make these little guys for years and not use all my leftovers. lol Hmm...maybe I have too much sock yarn...or too many pairs of socks...bah! Never! lol I also made a Spain themed stuffed soccer ball for J's Goddaughter. It's not the size of an actual ball, which is what I hoped it would be, but it is a good toy size. Even Daisy thought so. I sat the ball down on the bed to pack everything up and she reached up and pulled it towards her. lol I had to wait until she settled down to get it from her because I would have lost a limb if I tried to get it. Untitled In other news, November has been all about NaNoWriMo. Well, during the day anyway. My evenings have been dedication to knitting. But, the daytime has been all about literary abandon. What exactly does that mean? That means I have been spending many days writing like crazy to try and hit 50,000 words by November 30. The great news? I hit that number on November 24th!! Yes, for the first time, I won NaNo!! And so did J! Now I have begun doing some editing and fixing and adding. I have my whole main plot done within the 50,000 words, but there is no extras, little to no character development, etc. It's not even close to being a short story, let alone a novel. But, that's what the next few months are for. When I think I am close to finished, or finished completely, I'm going to actually send it to print. With winning NaNo you get a coupon code to get a copy of your novel in print. I think you have 6 months to claim that, so I'm going to really try to do that. If I'm happy with it, perhaps I'll do an e-book self publish. I don't know that it's going to be good enough, but who knows. Maybe I'll surprise myself. That has been the fun that was November...is November...well, almost not anymore. hehe Then, of course there is this little dish of happiness that I got to eat all by myself. 😀 I had lost the recipe, but found one just like it on Pinterest that called for pumpkin instead of pistachio, and it was close enough if not the same as the recipe I had. I think it was called Pumpkin Lust Cake on Pinterest. It's really really good. You can substitute any pudding mixture you want and it will be just as yummy. Untitled On the new endeavors front, well there are a couple. First, I think I have mentioned that we are planning to move soon. My paperwork is in to move to the US, and we're still waiting on that, but it shouldn't be too much longer. So, we plan to move to Virginia in the Spring-ish/winter-ish..whatever it ends up being when we get the paperwork back. So, the question came up as we were thinking about moving of what would I do there? If I go back to school, I need 2 or 3 references, which I'm having trouble coming up with. I just didn't/don't know enough people. That's one of the problems with doing the lecture classes..you don't get to know the professors. Plus, my degree program isn't available there. That means sort of starting over. I get to keep a lot of my classes, but I would need 2-3 years of classes to get my degree. It would be at least 2 because there is a rule that you have to be there 2 years before they will grant you your degree. Now, the Universities are cheaper down there, which helps, but I'm torn. What did I decide? I have decided on two things to start. One, I am going to get the Etsy shop up and running. I need to get things made to put up for sale, so after Christmas, that is where I will begin. I am going to be sewing bags and things. Plus I am going to be knitting/crocheting bags and installing zippers. I just ordered this which is a crochet hook with a very sharp tip for puncturing fabrics. It allows a single step for attaching a crocheted edge on to fabric. Normally you would have to cut a hole, and then come back with the crochet hook later. This is my NaNo completion gift to me, but it's also useful. hehe In addition to the Etsy shop, I'm going to be starting on a photography business. But, I don't plan on doing events. I am thinking of doing more stills and nature photography that can be printed and framed and sold. Right now, my current camera is okay, but really limits what I can photograph and how large I can print the pictures. I am limited to 8X11 right now, because they start to get grainy after that. That will be my fun for the next few months, of getting things set up and ready to go. Then, after we have moved I will be able to get things rolling. I need to be into the new house first before I can do a lot of selling, but I can at least get started. The new house will allow me to have all my stuff together to really get going on things. There is no way I'm going to put the photo printer into the truck to move across country with us. If I took everything we won't need the moving truck. lol But, the photo printer is about 2' long, so it's way too big to put in the truck and expect to be able to have a lighter load than our last move. That's everything that is happening in our little piece of the world right now. We're trying to have some fun and get going for our move, which is taking a lot of our time. I'm feeling a little better today, which is nice, but still not terrific. I'll take any good days when I get them. It will be really nice to be somewhere a bit warmer than where we are right now, because my joints will be very happy. 🙂

Winter

The winter is getting to me already. Technically it isn't winter yet, but given how much snow we have here, I'm calling it winter. And it's getting to me. I've been dealing with depression, which thankfully has been a bit intermittent, and not constant, but most days all I want to do is just crawl back in to bed and ignore the world. It also means that my temper isn't as in check as normal..I'm a bit impatient with things. I almost threw my knitting across the room last week, but I managed to control myself. Mostly because one of our cats was really hoping I would throw it for her to go fetch. lol I did manage to get a couple things done, though. I finished the mini stockings for a friend: Untitled Untitled I sent then in two envelopes to save money. It's easier to just replace them if they get lost than it would be to ship them as a package with tracking...much cheaper this way. It was $4 for envelopes, but would have been $25 for a package with tracking. I only charged $30 for the stockings as it was! No thanks. Here is a look at our wonderful winter. Even the tree is labouring with it all: 2012-11-09 14.23.52 2012-11-09 14.22.56 I have just a couple things left to make for Christmas, and then I am done! Thank goodness. I was stressing over that too, because I just haven't felt like doing much of anything, knitting included. I was also lucky enough to get an arthritis flare this past week as well. That was fun! (/end sarcasm) I have some of the use of my hands back, but it's not great. I'm still having trouble typing, which is fun for trying to participate in NaNoWriMo. But, I am almost to 30,000 words. I will definitely hit that tonight. I would love to hit 35,000, but we'll see how that goes. I'm back into having dizzy spells again, which isn't fun. Maybe I just need more chocolate. 🙂

It’s November!

And do you know what that means? It's time for NaNoWriMo! This means a month long adventure in writing as much as possible to end up with 50,000 words by the end of the month. There is no editing or rewriting right now. It's just about pushing through with your story. You can edit in December. We began on November 1. Here in Edmonton we did a write in event. Many of us, probably about 30, met at a local library and wrote for about 5 hours. It was awesome!! I had over 7,500 words by the time we left. This put me way ahead of what I needed. In order to hit 50,000 you need 1,666 words per day. I am quite thankful that I was able to get get extra words written. I am currently just under 17,000 words. But, today wasn't very good for me. My spine is causing me serious issues. I have the symptoms of my spinal cord being compressed, but no one is paying attention to it. So, I'll just have to hope that the pain eases off enough by tomorrow. We are hoping to get to a few more write ins with the Edmonton group. It's great for keeping the momentum going. My story of choice this year is a murder mystery. This is quite out of character for me. Normally I pick something that is more science fiction or even a post apocalyptic work of fiction. But, as I started planning this year I came up with 3 ideas. Of those 3, one was sci-fi, one was post apocalyptic, and the other was the murder mystery. I couldn't get the murder mystery out of my head, and the story line just kept coming to me. So, I went with it. There was no way of containing the story. So, I set off. I am enjoying how it is coming along, even though the actual writing isn't all that good. I'll have quite a bit of editing to do in December. Somehow I changed a characters name along the way. Plus my main character wants to be called something else, so I keep writing the wrong name there too. I have caught some of the mistakes as I've gone, but not all. I am still managing to find knitting time. The last little while has involved making little writing sprites. I have made a bunch for the people in the writing group, and giving them to them for free. I will have 5 more to take tomorrow, and the will probably be the last batch. I need to get some Christmas knitting done. lol These guys went to the writing group and were gone within minutes. Untitled I have a lot of projects on the go, like these socks: Untitled But, really nothing has been completed lately. I hope I can change that over the next week or so. 😀

NaNoWriMo

Today is just day 4 of NaNoWriMo. You have 30 days to write 50,000 words. It can be a lofty goal, and many people spend a big part of the year planning. This is not something for the people who actually want to get published someday. But, like J and I, we are not in the habit of writing daily. So, NaNoWriMo gives us the opportunity to make daily writing become habitual. Participating in NaNoWriMo means that you will probably have crap coming out on the other end, and that's alright. The whole point of the month of November is that you just write steady. There is no editing, no deleting, no changing. That can be done in December. I have a story that I really like, and this will allow me to work out the story line. It should be fun. 🙂 Where am I in my word count? I am at 4,948, as of last night. So, I was only 50 words shy of where I needed to be when I went to bed last night. You need to have about 1,666 words per day to meet the 50,000 words. I am right on target.

Redirecting efforts and energy

After the house sale fell through, I fell. Mentally that is. I have been very down in the dumps. I'm not sure I would call it depressed, but I was definitely on my way. All I wanted to do was sleep, and sleep I did. I didn't feel like doing anything. Now, this honestly isn't all related to the deal falling through. I have been dealing with this for months now. It had gotten to the point that J was noticing issues with me. So, we decided it was time to start the vitamin D therapy for me as well. He already takes vitamin D every day for chemical depression, which in the winter is SAD. I've only been taking it for a couple days now, so I'm not sure how long it will be before I notice a difference. However, today I was able to do a few things. I also have not napped in the last couple days. I am trying to pick myself back up, dust myself off and keep going. The last straw for me was that I was having, and still am having, a seriously case of the "I-miss-my-mamas". It's been very difficult. I thought I would be able to see my folks in a couple months, and now it's uncertain again. It is making it difficult to get interested in anything. But, life goes on, and I have to pick myself up and get going. I am back to knitting again after a few days of not wanting to do anything. It's nice. 😀 I had to put away sweater B for a bit, because it was getting a bit boring. Stockinette stitch over and over and over again. I'll get back to it shortly. I did manage to get the back done, and I'm about 5" into the front. Now I am working on some really pretty red socks that will become a Christmas gift. I am coming along very nicely on the gifts. I like feeling like I am accomplishing something. I am also back to being able to keep the house nice and clean. Today we were at the grocery store and I found some pillar candles and potpourri that I picked up and put out when we got home. It's my start of Christmas decorating. It's so pretty. 😀 We are going to look at ordering me a new leg brace. http://swedeo.com/step_smart.htm We found this one, which is pretty cool looking. I love that it gives me some ankle bending, while at the same time controlling everything. It's supposed to help with the tiredness and the energy spent while walking. The only thing is that I need a professional to do the adjustments to make sure it fits properly. Also, there is no brace on the market that is exactly what I need. I have a huge list of needs for a brace. lol This one ticks off many of them. It keeps the ankle rigid for side to side movements. It keeps my foot supported, but allows me real movement of my ankle up and down. It also has the hinge in the back to lift my foot up, which will mean that my ankle will hit first. People with drop foot also have the issue of not just what they call foot slap, where the foot comes down hard and hits the floor, but also that the heel takes too much shock. This brace is designed to reduce the heel stress. There are adjustment points in the back to have a proper amount of flex. That way, you can bring it down if it's pulling up too hard on your foot. You check this by walking. If when you walk and you are in your back stride on that foot, it feels too hard to bend at the ankle, then it's too tight. Scale it down until it's more comfortable. Obviously, if it's too loose, it won't lift your foot as it's supposed to. I am hoping that this will also help with the ankle pain. The brace has a strap that goes from the top to the ankle, which might be sufficient to keep my leg in. It definitely looks more comfortable. I really need something that I can wear indoors, and preferably without having to wear shoes. So, there is a lot going on right now; both in my head and in my world. Luckily, in a week I have NaNoWriMo to think about! I had a story idea that I was going to try to work into a novel. But, I had a few problems with it. I didn't have a story line that was compelling. I couldn't figure out how that was going to pull people in, and make them read, let alone make the character do what I wanted her to. Then last night at 1am, it came to me. I now have my story line, and I am totally psyched about it! I have conflict, on conflict, on top of conflict. There is a motivating factor for my character to start things rolling, and there is a desire that should be able to be instilled into the reader that will make them want to learn the result. It will be in the mystery/action genre. I have never written in this genre before, so this will be new. I am really looking forward to it. So, I have 30 days to write 50,000 words. And the best part is that J is taking part in it this year as well. We will be able to motivate each other to keep on writing. I can't wait. 😀