Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Miscellany

*Note:  I am changing my Monday posts titles to 'Monday Miscellany' cause well, they tend to be just that--a group of different topics and things I've seen, heard, listened to, contemplated and gotten done over the prior week/weekend.  And since Blogger doesn't do categories, it will be easier to group the Monday posts together using labels! Besides, isn't miscellany just an awesome word? I love it!* 

What a weekend.  It was one of those where I was up at an early hour both days, trying to get a million things done.  Knowing that this week is going to be busy, my goal was to try and get myself ahead of the game by checking some things off my list and I think I was successful.   Well, moderately so anyways.  

Book Club is this Thursday, at my house.  So Saturday was spent cleaning and doing some prep work for the food. I'm a bit nervous about this little gathering since my house is, well, kinda old.  The other members of the club have these brand spanking new houses and mine is about 100 years old and has been been lived in by someone in my family for that entire time.  It has loads of history in it and I've grown up wanting to live here since I was 5. But, that being said, I'll be the first to admit it needs work in terms of being updated (which I am getting to--just having to do it room by room for budgetary purposes.)  The upside is that the downstairs is presentable in that it is painted, decorated in a style that is me, and ready for guests, kind of.  I want to kick myself for feeling self-conscious about it, but old habits do die hard I guess.  

And just in time for Book Club, I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns Saturday night.  I have started a review of it which I will posting soon, but I wanted to wait until after Thursday.  If you have not read this book yet (it came out in 2007), I highly recommend it.  It's been awhile since a book has hit me like this did.  It was so, so good.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any catching up on the DVR done.  I am seriously considering cancelling cable, at least for the summer. Now that the Walking Dead is over for the season I might, and just keep basic cable.  Though, honestly I don't know what that is anymore.  Last time I had basic cable it meant channels 1-13....I guess I will have to look into that before I make a decision!  I can't imagine not having cable and a DVR, but I could get some serious reading and writing done if I didn't have it as a distraction...hmmm, this will have to be pondered over the next week or two.

Last week I was on 'spring break' from the classes I've been taking, though that just meant I was home for a week. Sadly there was no beach involved.  Even though I know my assignments ahead of time and could have gotten ahead, I did zero homework.  I needed that mental break since it has been a rough first half of the semester.  But starting today, I need to get back to the books since I have a whole lot of reading and researching I need to get going on.  My hope is to spend 2 hours a day on it.  I might even use the word sprint time (which I usually write for) as homework sprints instead. That should keep me on schedule to not freak out when the end of April comes and all this work is due.    

And to wrap up the relative boring recap of my weekend, I will leave you with a song by Train.  Their new album comes out in April and seriously, I love these guys.  Ever since the songs "Meet Virginia" and "Drops of Jupiter" they have become a staple on my playlists. There are so many songs I could pick, but this new single is just so fun that I've been singing it around the house and in the car since I heard it last week.  Have a listen if you'd like!

"Drive By" by Train


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bidding Adieu to ROW80 Round 1--Final Check In

It's here! It's here! It's here! To paraphrase REM, it's the end of Round 1 as we know it!  Have goals been met? Or even smashed into oblivion with the awesome-ness of your progress? Or did you take a slower and steadier approach to get the year started?  Whatever the result, the end is here and it's time to look back and see what has been accomplished thus far.

For me, Round 1 has been a mixed bag of progress.  I wish I had made more progress than I have, but at the same time, I am grateful for the progress I did make.  I am trying to look at what I've done this round from a balanced and realistic perspective.  I don't want to get all emo-sad because I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to, but I also don't want to be overly congratulatory of myself either.  I know I have work to do in round 2, but for round 1, here are the results:

Writing:  I did okay here, writing 3-5 days a week, though my word counts weren't always that stellar. I am at the point in my WIP where I need to go back and add in several scenes in the beginning which I hadn't planned on, but that make sense after some of the recent changes that have occurred in the overall story.  My hope is to work on those scenes between now and the start of the next round.

Working out: habits here are better than they had been at the start of the round, but not where I want them to be.  With the string of nice weather we've been having I have definitely picked up the pace in this regard, but I still lack the willpower and motivation I need to have.  I just wish I could get to the point where working out becomes a habit and doesn't feel like actual work.  It would make things so much easier!

Blogging/commenting:  Much improved! Posting took a hit when I took a bit of a break in February, but I am getting back on track with this.  I had forgotten the reasons I started blogging in the first place and that was to (1) have fun and (2) get more comfortable writing to an audience since that was the biggest hurdle I faced (and still face) in my writing. My blog posts aren't earth shattering by any means, but they let me put a little bit more of myself out there.  Progress is progress, right?

Twitter:  This is still a work in progress, but the word sprints in the afternoon (when I can particpate) are a huge, huge help here.  Not only do I knock out a lot of words, but it gets me more comfortable in the twitter-verse.  And seriously, I love the motivation that the sprints provide and it's a great group of people to write with.  *throws glitter over all the word sprint peeps!*

I also had an unofficial goal to read more, and this has been happening. Between my classes and reading for fun, I've read 6 books (almost 7!) this year and have a bunch more to get through.

In looking over the results of this round I see much accomplished and much which can be improved upon.  I have already started tweaking my goals for next round to make them work a little better with my schedule which will be crazy between now and the middle of May.  I definitely need to make the goals more realistic for everything that I will have on my plate.  Two papers, two finals, plus lesson plans and grading for the classes I teach, on top of the day job, and well, life in general, will make for a very stressed out Kat if I take on too much!

So fellow ROW80-ers, how did everyone else do this round?  Did you check off lots of goals from your lists?  Are you planning on taking part in the second round?  Good luck and see you in eleven days!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Mash-Up: Basketball and Music

Unlike the last two weeks, this past week I did a whole lot of nothing on the entertainment front so my Monday Mash-Up post is woefully empty.  The weather was just so nice, and since I didn't have to teach (yay for spring break!) I spent as much time as I could outside, enjoying the sun--something we don't always get a lot of where I live.  The television I did watch involved a whole lot of college basketball and in case anyone was wondering, my brackets are thoroughly and completely busted.  I am still hoping Syracuse wins since I have a lot of loyalty towards the schools I've attended. St. Bonaventure ended up getting knocked out of the first round, but...they made it there for the first time in 12 years and it was a really close game. We should have won in fact, but oh well, there is always next year!

Other than basketball, the only other show I watched was the season finale of The Walking Dead.  Can we say zombie-tastic?!  Holy wow, I was floored by what happened in the episode and am so excited for the next season.  Just wish I didn't have to wait so long cause...just...WOW!  Seriously people, if you haven't seen this show, it is so good!  I'm just going to keep hoping that the zombie apocalypse doesn't come in my lifetime.  Because seriously, a zombie herd has to be the scariest thing ever.  More frightening than bees--and I have a strong loathing and irrational fear of bees, so that is saying a lot!

Lastly, since I have so little to report in terms of entertainment, I thought I'd combine the Monday Mash-up with the song I was going to blog about later in the week.  I heard this towards the end of last week and something about the amazing weather we are having here and the rhythm of this song had me blasting it over the weekend.  The song also got me past a block I was experiencing in a particular scene I was writing.  I was having so much trouble I though about leaving the scene out completely, but then I just had this hole in my outline. I finally got through it, with the help of this song. Now, I can move on to the darker parts of the work, which for me always tend to be easier to write.

Andrew Allen "Loving You Tonight"

Happy spring (it hits officially on Tuesday!) and if you see a zombie...remember to aim for the head!  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday ROW80 Check In

I almost forgot to post this update for ROW80.  I have had such a busy day with hosting a family dinner at my house.  I had to get up early and it was non stop cooking and cleaning but I had so much fun it was all worth it.   So as I get to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead (and yes, I have my pillow ready to hide from the blood and gore that is sure to be ever present in the episode), here is an update for what's been happening since Wednesday:

  • I wrote 5 days this week and though my word count on those days wasn't always 1500, I made up for it on some of those days.  Overall for the week I knocked out 5175 words.  It wasn't the 7500 I wanted to hit, but it's better than nothing!  And also, a big big big THANK YOU with a bunch of glitter thrown in to all the ROW--ers who have kept me going during these sprints!  It has been so much fun, and it really is the best part of my day. It's nice to have people cheering for me, and to cheer for others, as we all work on our WIPs!
  • Exercise--took at least a 30 minute walk (some days longer though no less than 30 mins) three days this week, and did a bunch of Just Dance 2 on the Wii this weekend with my niece.  I had a bunch of fun and exercised--that is the best kind of workout in my opinion!
  • Blogging and twitter--still keeping up with both of these, though at the end of the week I wasn't around much twitter wise. Sometimes the day job just doesn't let me to be as present as I'd like to be, but I hope to at least be around during the word sprints.

Next week I am back to work so I won't be able to participate in the word sprints everyday, but I am hoping to get in at least three days.  The rest of this week my plan is to finish a few posts that I've had in my draft folder for a bit, as well as finish reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns".  This is the book that I chose for book club this month and since I am hosting I definitely have to read this one!  I knocked out over a hundred pages Thursday and am hoping to finish it by the middle of this week.

Hope everyone's week has good and Happy St. Patrick's Day! I know it's a day late but...well sending the luck of the Irish to y'all anyways!  See you Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Freakin' Awesome Song...and a ROW80 Update

As I mentioned in Saturday's post about Fitz and the Tantrums music is so important to me and I'm always finding new and interesting tracks to listen to while writing.  Well, while cooking dinner (carbonara with whole wheat spaghetti and grilled asparagus. So, so good!), I had VH1 on and the following song came on.  As the music started it barely registered with me until the chorus literally made my head turn. The video is...different.  It's very artistic-which isn't a bad thing, since it allows the focus to be on the music itself, but a friend of mine was like "wtf does that mean?"  My response was "who cares?! Did you not hear the song?!" and then I promptly hit repeat.  I can't stop listening to it, though I totally understand that it might not be everyone's cup of tea.  It's a bit quirky but in my opinion, quirky in a good way.

Gotye  "Somebody That I Used to Know"

And now for the Update--so far so good. Word count so far is:

Monday:  844
Tuesday: 1142

I plan on doing the word sprint at 2pm today.  I need to get some extra writing in this morning because I am way behind my '1500 words for 5 days a week goal' and really need to pick up the pace.  As for working out--blah.  This is just not going well.  It doesn't help that my allergies are kicking my butt at the moment. I did take a walk yesterday and am going to take another one this afternoon.  I need to take advantage of the rare, sunny weather we are getting in central New York.  Blogging, catching up on reading blogs and tweeting are all checked off my list and I am definitely happy about that.  I just need to keep it up.  I am having so much fun blogging about the music that is inspiring my writing and the different tracks I'm finding.  Same with writing what hopefully will become my weekly Monday Mash-Up.  I've done two weeks so far, and it's just been fun.  I feel like it's letting me put more and more of myself out there too, which actually makes tweeting a whole lot easier.  Who knew?!

Hope everyone's week is going well and see you Sunday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Mash-Up: A Little of This And A Little of That

This weekend was fantastic for several reasons. Not only do I have spring break at the college I am teaching at, but the midterm I had to take for one of my master's classes is over.  Thank god, because seriously, I was stressing like crazy over that thing.  So this weekend, I vegged a bit, did some reading and caught up on one of my favorite shows, and watched on my favorite movies.

Speed:  Can I say that I just love love love this movie.  I don't know why, because it certainly isn't an Oscar winner or anything, but seriously, I love Keanu Reeves in that movie.  And Sandra Bullock's hair is so cute!  It was funny too, because it came out in 1994, and so the cell phones they used are as big as bricks.  It had me totally cracking up.  I love this movie mainly for the fun of it, not it's artistic appeal.  It doesn't make me think too hard and I can just stare at Keanu Reeves for a couple hours.  Not a bad way to spend some time.

The Walking Dead: I hadn't seen the last three episodes and was itching to get caught up on my favorite zombie drama.  Yesterday I finally got the chance and can I just say..this show rocks.  I do find that I have to turn my head away or mute it when someone is being gorged on by zombies, but I can handle that. I watch it more to see just how this group of people tries to survive in the world while facing the zombie apocalypse more than anything else.   I won't give away any specific spoilers, but the fact that the creators of this show are not afraid to have fan favorite characters die is a testament (I think) to their commitment to the telling of the overall story.  Sure, a few of these were some of the most popular, but ya know worked.  It wasn't for shock value, or just to have more bodies pile up.  The deaths made sense given how the story has progressed up to this point, so kudos to the writer for staying true to the story as opposed to the individual characters. It's an ensemble for a reason after all!  If you haven't caught this show, or have skipped because of the zombie aspect of it, trust me--it's not just about zombies.  And like I said, the mute button, or a pillow, works great if you are at all squeamish like me.

And lastly--it is that time of year again where so many of us become focused on college basketball and that amazing phenomena that is March Madness and I just want to say...


I am an alum of St. Bonaventure University (undergrad) and Syracuse (graduate school) so I am so happy to see that they both made it to the Dance.  Syracuse was a given since they were ranked #2 in the country most of the season...but Bonaventure?!  Who freakin' thought that was going to happen?!  They hadn't been asked to the Dance since 2000 but this year they kicked butt in the A-10 tournament becoming A-10 champs for the first time ever and getting an automatic bid.  Kudos to the underdogs and the place I spent some of the best years of my life.  Now we just gotta get past Florida in the first round, but even if we don't...least we made it!  

And with that sports related cheer of sorts, I will return to regularly scheduled programming, which means getting back to my as-yet to be titled work in progress.  I got a certain character who needs a slap to the back of the head...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

ROW80 Sunday Check In

It's Sunday's check in and all in all I would say things have gone okay this week as I get back in the saddle!  I missed a day of writing (only got in 4) but I did catch up on the exercise front, which I really needed to do.  As for blogging, it's definitely becoming easier now that I post about topics other than writing. Don't get me wrong, I love writing and love to write and read about it, but sometimes a girl needs to change things up a bit to keep things fun, fresh and well interesting!  I've decided to do a Monday Mash-up kind of post about whatever shows, books, movies, blogs, YouTube videos etc. that I've seen the week prior that has peaked my interest and want to share.  I had fun writing Monday's post about Primeval and Stargate Universe so I want to keep that up. I also will try to do a semi-regular post about the current music that has me inspired, that I'm writing to, and/or music that I just like and want to share.  Saturday I blogged about one of my favorite songs by Fitz and the Tantrums.  I have a bunch more songs and albums waiting in the wings that I want to blog about too.  My decision to blog about music came about from a post I did on Tuesday, where I discussed turning to writing to relax and release some stress, and how doing that affected a scene in my WIP.  Music has a huge influence on my writing so I am really looking forward to doing more posts that are music and writing related!  I've also been reading a lot--for my classes and just for fun--so I have a bunch of books (and even a few poems!) to review too.  I will be starting to tackle that stack soon!

As for the goals I didn't quite make?  Well like I said, I missed a day of writing, and also...Twitter.  I still am more of a spectator than anything else. I watch and don't say much.  I know that deep down this is a self confidence issue and I just need to put myself out there and tweet, but yeah, I'm still not totally there yet.  This goal is continues to be a work in progress!

Hope everyone's week went well and good luck on your goals this week!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Whatcha Listening To?

I am obsessed with music. I always have it on--and I mean always. From the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed, unless I am in a meeting for work, or teaching, I have it going, even if it's just on low in the background. I think it has to do with my grandmother's love for music-when I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time at her house and she and my grandpa always had music on.  The type of music they liked was what I used to call "oldies" but it was still music.  My dad was always listening to music too; or he was  singing; or both.  Although I didn't mind my grandparents when they listened to music (mainly cause I wasn't stupid enough to tell my grandparents to NOT listen. That would have gotten me grounded for sure).  But when it was my dad singing, that was a different story. I for some reason hated it.  Of course, it didn't help that he did it when my friends were around.  Talk about mortifying!  There was nothing worse than hearing your dad singing a Johnny Cash song while your having a sleepover and your trying to concentrate on boys, makeup, New Kids on the Block, all while watching scary movies and drinking kool-aid.

So back to the point of all this: I LOVE music and listen A LOT. I sing and dance to it while hanging around the house, even while vacuuming or doing the dishes; and if you pass me in the car, although I may have a hands free cell phone thingy in my ear, that likely isn't me on the phone.  No, it's probably  me singing like a fool.

Singing and listening to music lifts my spirits; it provides me with inspiration, especially when it is on short supply; and when I am stressed it helps me even out and just relax.   Given my stress levels of late, I have been finding a lot of new music and artists lately and wanted to share, and figured what better place than my blog!  I hope to do this semi-regularly as my taste in music tends to vary quite a bit (from 50 Cent to Micheal Buble and everything in between and beyond!) and hopefully someone will hear something new they like, or perhaps have a suggestion for something I should check out.

For now, here is the song that I've had on replay this week on my MP3 player.  This is Fitz and the Tantrums "Don't Gotta Work It Out".  They have been getting a pretty good rotation it seems on VH1, but if you've haven't heard of them, I would definitely suggest checking out the video below or via Zune, Spotify, ITunes or wherever it is you check out new musical talent.  Hope you enjoy and as always, feel free to leave a comment or suggestion to let me know what you're listening to, or think I should be!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ROW80 Check-In--Feel Free to Throw Things...

I totally deserve it.  

I feel like I should make some sort of confession for having disappeared for like...a month...I have no excuse other than I was wrapped up in that "oh my god I have too much to do, lemme just hide under the covers until it all goes away!" kind of feeling, and didn't know where to start. It's no big surprise that while hiding under the covers,  things didn't just "go away".  I finally had to crawl out and just start ticking things off my to-do list and get back on track.  So now that I've begun that process, I sheepishly drag myself back before you to try and finish out the end of this round as strong as I can.

So that being said, since Sunday, I have done two days of 1500 words.  I've blogged Monday (a fun one about some sci-fi shows I caught up on this past weekend. Yes I am a geek, and I wear it proud!) and Tuesday (focusing on writing while being all moody...and the effects it had on the character in my WIP).  I'm really proud of myself for just blogging about things that interested me at the time I was writing. I wasn't worried about what people would think, which I unfortunately worry about all too often.  I am working on that though.  Anyways, back to my update.  I haven't made the blog rounds yet but plan on doing towards the end of this week and well Twitter...yeah that's just a mess. I really am such an introvert when it comes to twitter. I will get more comfortable with it though...I just need to practice and it!  As for working out...*just glares* Week isn't, there's still time to buckle down on this one.  Hopefully the weather cooperates.  

Hope everyone is kicking butt in terms of their ROW80 goals better than I have been, and I look forward to seeing how everyone is progressing as I hop around blogs in the next few days! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Writing when I am in a ‘mood’ always makes me, the writer behind the keyboard, feel better. But what I have discovered is, that when I go back to look at what I wrote during times of heightened emotions, I often have taken my characters to dark places—emotionally and otherwise. As I re-read a scene I had written yesterday, it became quite clear that this was the case. Prior to writing this scene, my character was standing on top of cliff, looking down at the main street of the town she lived in. Her emotions were already swirled up from the action in the story that just preceded her walk, and there were dark storm clouds rolling towards her, to reflect her emotions. As I sat down to write, my mood was just as dark as those clouds.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Mash-Up: Clearing Out Space on the DVR

So I am a television/movie junkie. Problem is I always end up liking obscure shows that get cancelled--or, don't find time to watch the shows I do record on the DVR and end up way behind.  Well, the last two weeks I have been trying to play catch up on a variety of shows saved on the DVR and in the Netflix queue in an attempt to fix this problem.  Last weekend, I caught up on Castle--which can I just say, I love Nathan Fillion.  If you haven't seen that show, or Firefly (and the movie, Serenity) stop reading right now and go watch them.  It's okay, I will wait til you're done....

Alright, so you're back.  Amazing right? Can you see why I love him?  Now, where was I, oh yeah...Castle.  So that was last weekend. This weekend I knew I would be stuck inside, trying to get homework and grading done and knew I would need something on in the background while I worked. You see, for me, there is nothing worse than sitting in silence while I try to do either of those things-the silence drives me crazy. So I found myself once again looking through my bloated Netflix instant queue and my DVR to see what I could find.