Thursday, October 30, 2014

No More Pity Party

A meme that appeals to me.
I'm back. I'm done feeling down about the loss of my troll's job. I'm looking forward.

I got a bit of an eye-opener, thanks to my Facebook feed. You see, when Alberta booms, everyone wins. Everybody makes money and babies, and buys trucks. When Alberta busts, everyone shakes in their boots and hopes like hell they get to keep their jobs and that enough work rolls in to keep things afloat.

We got off easy. The severance pay is in, and Employment Insurance will kick in after Christmas. My GICs will have matured then. My husband left on super-awesome terms, and will receive a glowing reference and job recommendations.

A friend of ours lost HER job after three months because she 'doesn't fit in', despite her powerful work ethic. (She's a little goth.) There's no severance package for her this time. Another friend was laid off after she rented a house. Another of Dan's former co-workers BOUGHT a new house right before HER layoff. One couple I know of is scraping by so hard, they're selling things to afford rent. Fortunately, girl just got herself a new job, so wish her luck.

I am humbled, and I am ashamed of my poor attitude. It's time to stop being a princess, and suck it up. This could have been so much worse, and I'm being a wimp.

The plan is to buckle down and get stuff done. This is a new beginning in our lives, and I intend to embrace it. You won't hear me whine about this anymore.

Oh, and Happy Halloween! Here's my favorite Halloween meme!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bad Week Blues

I didn't want to blog today. I would like nothing better than to build a fort out of blankets and pillows and sleep there for a few days.

Two days ago, after 18 years, my husband lost his job. We kind of saw it coming, there wasn't any work, but it's still a shock. He's had that job for as long as we've been together. I remember when he signed on.

He's handling it very well. Better than me. For him, this is breaking the chains of slavery and he's looking forward to doing something new. He's been puttering around the house, getting ready to yank up kitchen tiles. For me, this means fear and worry. Will he find something soon? Will I have to go back to work? Will we have to move? Sell the house? Will we really be okay? Am I being selfish for worrying about money? Is he going to wreck the floor?

Did I mention last week, I backed into the garage door frame and it's going to cost $1300 to replace? Of all the times to make a stupid and costly boo-boo. Who in her right mind backs out of her garage with her truck door open? A writer with blonde roots and no coffee or breakfast burritos in her system.

I retreated yesterday. Tried to be quiet and unaffected by the world around me. I turned the news on later in the day to discover some terrorist shot up my country's parliament and murdered a young soldier standing guard at the memorial there. Years from now, when people ask where I was when I heard of the shooting, I will know I was lying on the couch feeling sorry for myself and pouting.

And today, I find out a friend has brain cancer, which I should have seen coming too. Just another one of those things you know deep in your heart, but refuse to acknowledge until it bonks you on the head and refuses to let you deny it. I know this person from Facebook, but I'm still worried and sad. I feel like I can't do ANYTHING useful to help.

What's my point? I don't have one. I'm just venting. Can I go back to my fort and eat marshmallows now? I have more childishness to partake in. This week is a write-off.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I Like Big Words and I Cannot Lie.

Image courtest
I was inspired to write this blog because of a fellow author's post about how a critique partner's suggested 'dumbing down' words for readers. She was told perhaps she should use smaller words in order to relate better to the reader. She disagrees, and so did many of us in the comment section.

I was always very proud of my vocabulary, and I learned much of it from reading books. If I found a word I didn't know, I either learned from the context, or looked it up in the dictionary. Not difficult, especially when the spelling is GIVEN to you. I always considered it valuable to learn.

I don't even remember what word I was looking to spell when I found the word 'percipaciousness'. It's so rare, I don't have it in my current dictionaries. I had to google it. 

It was for the character of Dr. Stuart Thompson. I think I may have been looking for the word 'persnickety', or something relatively similar. The recent search for this word is close to what I read that day: Having or showing an ability to notice and understand things that are difficult or not obvious notice and understand things that are difficult or not obvious. 

The original meaning, in a different dictionary said something more like: The uncanny ability to predict the outcome based on extensive knowledge and/or a 'hunch'. This is closer to the one I had, but I digress.

My point is: I learned much of my vocabulary as a reader, even more as a writer, and I know I'm not the only one. I personally believe a writer has a responsibility to write BETTER words, and therefore build the vocabularies of any one who reads us. 

Give the reader some credit. Just the fact that they enjoy reading is a good enough reason to indulge their delight for new things they might just find useful. If you are a reader or a writer, chances are you'd love a new word.

I had a school friend who liked to argue.(Hi Garth) He was MUCH smarter than me, as in Valedictorian smarter. He and I used to get into word wars. He called me out over the word 'notorious'. (I was a Duranie at the time, and that was the name of their current album. I referred to MYSELF as 'notorious' and he corrected me. "In order to be 'notorious' you must be KNOWN for doing something evil."  He actually gave me a backhanded compliment with that.  I guess he figured even beating people with my drumsticks didn't make me terrible,  but it resulted in a war of words until a teacher made us use our vast vocabularies to compliment each other.

I told him he was axiomatic...It means 'Proven existed.' or 'self-evident'. I don't remember what his actual response was, only that he was shouting again! 

I saw him just a couple weekends ago. Our conversation must have sounded infinitely incomprehensible.

I really like big words, and I'd like to think I use them well.  Too bad I'm not smart enough to get this blue highlighter crap off my blog.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Odd Things to be Thankful For.

Thanksgiving isn't a big thing in my family, thus it always catches me by surprise when it shows up. The holiday is coming this next Monday, (Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October) and I'm not quite prepared for this blog. THANKFULLY, I just found my list of odd things to be thankful for. It's a little list of inventions and things I never take for granted. Yes, they're all man-made, but humans and the divine spark within them created these things.

Left-Turn Traffic Signals: Each time I'm at an intersection and I see that green arrow I feel a delighted sense of relief. Turning left against traffic is stressful, and it makes me feel better when I don't have to decide when it's safe to go.

Instant Ichiban and Miso Soup: Comfort food for under a dollar and it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Favorite simple pleasures.

Garage Door Openers and Remote Car Starters: I live in Canada and winter is coming. Enough said.

The Internet and Cell Phones: Every single week I marvel at the technology in my hand. I wonder how many people were able to get un-lost through maps on their phone. Or to tell someone they're running late. How many fights have those two options prevented? How many times a week do I need a fact or a measurement and I just type in a phrase to the  Google Chrome app? I don't need a TV or a newspaper to get a weather report. The world's knowledge sits in the palm of my hand, accessible by touch. I think of that often.

I Could Go On and On: Kindles can hold hundreds of books without you needing to dust them all. Facebook puts you in touch with old friends, new friends, co-workers, potential clients--Everyone. iTunes insures that never again to you buy an album only to discover you spent over $20 and you only like the one song.

Sure is a great time to be alive, isn't it? Gotta be thankful for that!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Too Many Notes.

You know what I discovered last week? There really is such thing as too much detail. I'm not talking about adjectives, although using three or four words to describe a man's hair is a bit much.
"His flowing blonde mane tossed and whipped  in the wind."
I'm not even talking about atmosphere. You know...the kind where the writer waxes on and on AND ON AND ON about the beautiful landscape? From the snow-tipped mountains to most delicate foliage.

Nope. I'm not sure what to call it. Information Overkill? I discovered it during edits.

My character was digging a grave. Simple enough, but I'd made it complicated. He started by talking to himself about the depth of the grave, and methods of body disposal. He faxed philosophical about religion and serial killers, and the paranormal. Then it went on to the method of killing and how people like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy got caught and the bad practice of keeping trophies.

I no longer knew what I was even talking about, and the flow suffered so badly, it didn't make sense anymore. I didn't even know what to do with it because I didn't even understand what I was trying to say.

So I sat on my butt with a scraper and pulled Peel and Stick tiles off my kitchen floor. Renovations are good for a writer's frustration. In the end, I ripped out 14 tiles, plus two and a half paragraphs.

Ahhhh...Much better. I think the moral of this story is: "When in doubt, rip stuff out!"