Thoughtful Thursday – Stir Crazy

I haven’t felt myself most of this week. The job hunt is ongoing and it is emotionally taxing.

On Monday, I felt anything but merry. I realized I was going stir crazy and the weather was absolutely perfect for a visit to Papanack Park Zoo. I took more videos than photos as my camera is not a DSLR and isn’t so great at taking action shots. I spent the bulk of my time there admiring the big cats. Perhaps a strange thing to do for someone with a cat allergy, but they were fascinating. As I walked toward their cages, I could feel the danger in the air. Some of the enclosures reminded me of a wooden version of those found on Jurassic Park. Lions act rather like a mixture of house cat and dog. They pounce if you turn your back on them and jump up excitedly when they see their feeder. This doesn’t go on for long as they wear themselves out quickly. They were surprisingly adorable. I never heard any roar, but would have liked to. Tigers are more active and are surprisingly hard to lose sight of despite their orange colour. During the feeding, I didn’t get much chance to take pictures of the tiger, so I went back alone and watched it until it snapped at me. At that point, I told myself it was best to leave it alone if that was what it wanted. I had left the tiger as I was following the feeding tour. Our next stop was the snow leopard. What a fluffy kitty. It had a pretty relaxed demeanor and I swear it was walking by the cougars on purpose to rile them up. The cougars were right next to her and they were nasty. One female cougar in particular was terrorizing the male. The other female left the two of them to fight while she stayed hidden from the crowd. The male let the other female push him around until food came and he was hungry. He snapped back and she threw herself to the ground and tried to act all sweet. He wasn’t buying her act, though. I visited the monkeys and realized their poop smells the most like human poop. There were a lot of them too. The squirrel monkeys only did cool things when I didn’t have my camera out. Figures. Now for some pictures… The first is of a pair of owls. The one on the right wouldn’t take its eyes of me and turned its head around more than 180 degrees. It was a bit creepy.

owls

There were creepy bald eagles too. Somehow I didn’t notice until after I took my picture that there were three in the cage that were all in the exact same pose. Other birds were so still I wondered if they were alive or even real.

eagle

There was a capybara, which I thought looked rather like a giant beaver.

capybara

I also got to see cute things like a wallaby. I fantasized briefly about having one as a pet.

wallaby

There were zebras too.

zebra

I felt better after the zoo visit. It surprised me how much the wild dogs looked like regular pets. I did not find them scary, but should have. I did start sneezing after a while, but by then it was time to go home anyway. I didn’t spend much time looking at the North American animals. I was more interested in the exotic ones and had only so much time.

On Tuesday, I finished the edits on Sandra’s First and sent them to my editor. I was dreading my afternoon appointment with Dress for Success. I felt like there wasn’t much point to getting clothes for interviews as it seems I haven’t been selected for any. At the start, I wasn’t confident in some of her selections for me. She gave me a mint green shirt to try, which was as awful as I expected. Shortly thereafter we found two outfits that I can mix and match. They make me look great. Also, older and taller. I can’t wait to wear one to an interview!

Tuesday evening was somewhat frustrating. One member of my martial arts club was being subtly jerky to me by uttering comments meant to make me feel stupid. I will defuse that situation in due time. It caused me to lose a lot of sleep and I won’t let that continue.

Because of the lost sleep, I was barely functioning yesterday. I couldn’t even manage to use my scanner properly, but I also couldn’t nap. I caught up on Supernatural and picked up a package. I also got an ergonomic cushion to make my office chair better and did some shredding. At least I got more than nothing accomplished.

Today, I’m still a little sluggish, but almost back to normal. Caffeine helps. I’ve been watching more TV than I should, though.

Back to working on the to-do list.

Ciao,
R~

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday – One Month

thoughtful

Today is an anniversary. I have been without a job for one month.

Here are my goals:

  1. Become bilingual.
  2. Write.
  3. Become an independent contractor.
  4. Get my home clean.
  5. Get fit.

I’ll break down the status of each of my goals below.

Become Bilingual

  • I have registered, paid, and been placed into French level 2. I’m really happy that I found a budget-friendly place to learn French. It is something I’ve always wanted to do as many of my family members only speak French and I want to be able to talk to them. Family reunions are seldom enough that it’s entirely possibly that I will be fluent for the next one!

Write

  • I am currently editing a short story for publication in an anthology this fall.
  • I will be doing more edits on my urban fantasy erotica novel before submitting it to a publisher.
  • I will be writing another short story for winter.

Become an Independent Contractor

  • I am registered with a recruiter thanks to a friend I will owe dinner to.
  • I have created a website.
  • I have met with accountants.
  • I am getting my financial advisor to talk with the accountants to get them on the same page.
  • I have begun applying to contracts.
  • I will be reading to refresh some of my skills because that never hurts.
  • I should get business cards and a logo drawn up.

Clean the House

  • I bought a small bookshelf to organize my things better.
  • I bought a proper shoe rack for my closet to make better use of the bookshelf I had in there and now I can see the floor in my dining area.
  • Did some recycling though there is more left to do.
  • Did some dishes, but there is more left to do.
  • This item will take longer as it is a lower priority than everything else.

Get Fit

  • I’ve gotten some smaller plates and bowls from the dollar store to get better control over my portion sizes. My other ones will be left for special occasions.
  • I’m aiming for 30 minutes of cardio each day.
  • Every 2 days I’m doing other exercises.

Other than those specific goals, I’m continuing to do my martial art. There is a seminar and taikai (tournament) coming in a couple of weeks that I am preparing for. I came in third at the last tournament. I’m hoping to improve upon that. I’ve been working hard on my core strength, my focus, and my hip alignment. There is so much to coordinate between one’s body, mind, and sword that it is not easy.

What is on my mind, though? Well, for a while I felt like nothing was improving. As I’ve been editing this short story, for example, I had 10 pages left no matter how much new content I added. Today, I finally broke through that and have 7 pages left. I’m stuck at the current place and need to do some thinking to get out of this spot. And on the job front, all the contracts available were asking for much more experience than I currently have. One came up today that I am missing some things for, but not as extremely outmatched as the rest. I was also informed of a potential writing job, which if I can’t get a contract, at least I would be working in the interim and adding to my business writing skills portfolio.

I have some upcoming appointments through my job coach as I’m still unemployed. I am certainly not just sitting around. Tomorrow, I have a workshop on interviews. Next week, I meet with people regarding my clothing. I also have to put in another EI report. Due to severance, I haven’t begun actually collecting any money from EI yet.

There is condo drama that is also on my mind, but I’m refusing to get involved.

As I’ve spent the bulk of the day editing, I am taking the night off from that. Dishes, laundry, and a movie are calling to me.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday – Going After Your Dreams

merry_monday

Image created using Bit Strips.

I took in some 2016 Olympics this morning. I’m not an avid watcher, especially of the summer olympics, but a man I went to high school was competing and I wanted to see how things went. I enjoyed watching someone else from my hometown chase their dreams. That was a bit of a pun as he’s a runner.

When I was growing up, it seemed a common belief that no one from my little hometown could amount to anything. Also, that everyone would invariably move back there. Many in my generation have refused to give that credence. Many of us are entrepreneurs, artists, top athletes, etc.

I’ll be an entrepreneurial artist soon. I’m excited about this, but I’m not in a rush. I’m using this downtime to better organize my home and personally grow. I want to be sure that I’m back in the driver’s seat.

Part of that growth has made me realize that I should be a little selective in my writing projects. One of my upcoming opportunities I backed out of because with the job changes, my novel, language learning, and other life priorities, I realized I could not get it done in time. I’m not one of those writers that can get 2000 words down in a day. Maybe one day I will be, but I’m not there currently. I didn’t have an idea for the story yet and it was stressing me out. I’ll  be happily working on the story for the next one once I finish the edits for the fall story. Editing has been an adventure. It’s teaching me a lot and I should be able to improve my writing because of it.

Anyway, I have to get back to the job stuff and the editing.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Another week already?

thoughtfulWell, here we are at Thursday once again. Things are looking up. I hope I’m not jinxing myself when I say that.

I’ve nearly finished editing my novel for its next submission attempt. I’m checking through the grammar before submitting it. I expect I’ll include a synopsis in the email to them.

I continue to apply for jobs, but having gone to a workshop I learned that Networking is how most jobs are acquired, not applying for them. As such, I’ve been switching tactics. The hidden job market is accessed through who you know and accounts for most of the job market, apparently. Through a friend I’ve gotten a meeting set up with a recruiter. The meeting is later today. I hope it goes well.

My severance was more than I expected. I’m hoping I won’t have to use all of it to survive and can dump some into RRSPs. We’ll see how this all goes. One day at a time.

I’m meeting with my job coach tomorrow morning. We’ll see what the thoughts are for me in the coming week with respect to job applications.

Once I’ve submitted my novel, I will take a day or two off to clean my house and then delve into the next short story as I have another deadline. Oh, I should probably let them know I intend to submit a story for that anthology 😉

Alright, it’s time to shower and have lunch. Meeting is at 1pm.

Ciao,
R~

 

Wonder Wednesday: Extreme Editing

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

Prescheduling this one as I think I might be incapable of much on Wednesday.

The day before I submitted my manuscript to the Half the World competition, I signed up for Grammarly Premium. Grammarly found nearly 2000 issues. This was bad, yet good. Bad because time was so short and good because there was time to fix things before sending it out.

It was submitted on the morning of Tuesday, June 7th.

What I learned:

  1. I had messy battle scenes that I was convinced I needed to print out in order to cut up and move the pieces around. Well, my printer was out of ink. I was about to head out and buy a better printer because I actually hate inkjets. Then I said, “Don’t be stupid. All you need are your brain and fingers.” I hunkered down and it was way easier than I thought. I’m still going to replace my printer with a laser printer but it’s not pressing.
  2. I used to have excellent grammar skills. I used to tutor others. Somewhere along the way, I forgot proper comma usage. Indeed, nearly half of the 2000 errors were related to commas.
  3. I like the word though quite a lot.
  4. It seemed my manuscript had a lot of repetitive words but they were all located near each other. Like my brain locked onto a word for the day or week and it was going anywhere it could.
  5. Editing both battle scenes on the same day helped me fix both of them even though they were very different from each other.
  6. Somehow I can function on very little sleep without caffeine. I have had about 3 hours of sleep. I edited for the bulk of one day before going to sleep then the novel beckoned me to wake at 2AM after closing my eyes at 11:30PM. I continued to edit for about 2 hours. Then I tried to sleep but I doubt I fell asleep. I rose with the alarm and continued to edit. Then I submitted and hastily showered before going to work. I am now wondering if I am really human.
  7. I learned how to write a synopsis while driving in my car. “Oh god! I have to write a synopsis. I hate those things! Whatever shall I put in it?” I asked myself. “Just run through the story, include the main plot points and the ending.” My brain is wonderful sometimes. Other times I wonder how I managed to put my laceless shoes on my feet.
  8. I write rather lazily because I know there’s no point in making it perfect before I’m sure I have the right words. I get the idea down and it might be in simple language. “Josy was hungry. Josy ate food.” Later that may turn into, “The hunger pangs disrupted Josy’s ability to concentrate. She retrieved a yogurt from her little fridge and mixed it with some granola.”
  9. I’m neither a pantser nor a plotter. I’m a weird hybrid.
  10. My book is currently as good as I can make it on my own. After the contest is done, I’ll search out an agent and try to get it published. The winners are supposed to be announced about a month from now.
  11. I’d like to try a relaxed writing pace of about 350-500 words a day or about 1 page. After 1 year of that, there is a complete manuscript.
  12. Don’t bother with the free version of Grammarly for MS Word. What happened? I used it first and it created more advanced problems. If you just use the premium one, you avoid that issue. Sign up for a month then cancel before renewal.
  13. Work on my grammar, writing skills, and vocabulary. These will make editing less painful. Especially learn to use the damn comma properly.
  14. Grammarly premium gave me pretty good editing advice. I got shown my issues one at a time, almost like find and replace. It was slow at times, though. There were some suggestions I ignored as they were just wrong for my fantasy novel. For example, it would suggest plant should become building when I was literally talking about a green leafy thing. It suggested best word pairings. It informed me I was using the same words too often and I could work with one problem sentence at a time. It usually suggested words that were helpful or I would realize there was a problem, but I had a better idea of how to fix it. I often chose to rewrite a sentence and eliminate the issue entirely. I imagine this to be part of an editor’s job. Now, when I get a professional edit done, it can be focused on story rather than grammar and spelling.

I’m now on a writing break for at least a month. After that, I’ll probably work on the roller derby one unless the alien conspiracy takes hold of me first.

For now, I’m catching up on sleep amongst gardening, cleaning, guitar, and video games.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Brief Update

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

Hi, readers!

The weekend was packed. Saw the Rideau Valley Roller Girl travel teams take on those from Tampa Bay Florida on Friday. Ottawa, unfortunately, got crushed but I think they learned a lot. They should be proud anyway. When you’re ranked 60 and you go up against a team that is ranked 17… Well, you have to have some gumption to even try that. Tampa had many phenomenally skilled skaters. Seriously, some of their jammers looked like ballerinas because they were tiny and extremely light on their feet. Perhaps we’ll see the Vixens catch up in the future. Watching Roller Derby on a Friday messed with my brain as it’s usually on a Saturday. When I realized I still had tons of weekend left, well that felt pretty awesome.

Saturday had me at Prose in the Park. The weather was excellent. I should have drunk more water as I felt a little awful at the end of the day after running around in the heat all day. I bought three books. Two are award winning and I’m looking forward to seeing how an award-winning book differs from the rest of the stuff I read. I capped Saturday off with work on my novel.

Sunday was filled with novel writing and a break for Iaido. Partner practice in Iaido was fun though I didn’t really want to be there. It helped with my writing to take the break and get in the right frame of mind for writing battle scenes. It dawned on me while editing that I should change the title and luckily a natural title came to me.

As of this morning, I have two chapters left to edit.They are both of the battles because these are the messiest things to write. I can’t really stick to just one character as they all have to come together at some point. If I stick on one character too long, it gives away part of the rest of the battle. I’m going to print these out and cut each sentence out so I can literally move each sentence around. Sounds silly, but I feel this is the only way to work with these two chapters.

Oh, my word count is currently 66, 594.

This start of this week will be finishing the book and submitting it. Then I get to chill and play video games as a reward. Also, clean my place.

Ciao,
R~

Funky Friday: Long Weekend Recovery

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

I’m completely oblivious to what has been going on this week outside of my own world.

Personal

  1. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were seminar days that involved a lot of hard training and partying. I did well at the auction and came home with an entire outfit for $50, which normally costs around $200 at least.
  2. I was reunited with Scarlet (my guitar).
  3. Trying to finish the edits on The Page & The Magician before June 8th, so I can submit it to a contest.

Ciao,
R~