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Stephanie A Cain
16 September 2012 @ 07:57 pm
Went to Pine Creek Important Bird Area with the parents today. Mom and I have been meaning to get up there during the fall migration for three years now, and this year finally managed it. I'm not sure why Dad goes along on bird-watching expeditions, because he spent most of the day sitting in the car. Apparently he just likes riding around in the car with us. Anyway, we had a good time. We hiked a few miles of grassland at Pine Creek (which is not currently a creek, thanks to the drought), then drove over to Willow Slough on the state line. We added a few lifelist birds and spotted some other exciting birds.

We're getting a lot better at warbler identification, thanks to my Audubon Birds app on my iPhone. If we have a bird narrowed down but aren't quite certain, listening to the calls always cinches an ID for us.

Our lifelist birds were:
Sedge Wren (at Pine Creek)
Black-and-White Warbler (at Willow Slough)
Blackpoll Warbler (at Willow Slough)
Black-Throated Green Warbler (at Willow Slough)

In addition, at Willow Slough we saw two Great Egrets, three Sandhill Cranes, several Great Blue Herons, two Belted Kingfishers, and one Bald Eagle! Along with the remarkable birds, we also saw the usual blue jays, catbirds, crows, and of course, lots of my spirit bird, the turkey vulture. *G*

Came home, made supper, paid bills, and read a little bit of Writer's Digest. Now I need to sit down and get some writing done.
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
Well, we're expecting what's left of Isaac to hit any minute, if you listen to the news. Early predictions were that Isaac could "erase" the drought in some parts of Indiana. Way too late for the corn crops, of course, and every projection I've heard since has lowered the expected rainfall. Not that I mind. We could use the rain, but we've already had more in August than in May through July, and even though I mowed the grass a week ago, it needs it again. And Dad broke the mower yesterday.

>.<

Seriously, what does it take to get a break around here? Or, um, a nonbreak?

The Cub Cadet has been broken since May, and we haven't fixed it because the Snapper was running fine, and we didn't have the money to fix the Cadet. But the mower Dad broke? Of course--the Snapper. So we dropped the Cadet off at the service place today, which means I'll have a non-zero-turn mower I have to use for the rest of the season. Ugh. But at least it has a drink holder. *snort*

Speaking of breaks...

My PC is still giving me fits. It behaved itself for about two weeks, making me think my problem was fixed. Then this morning it froze in the middle of doing something, and I had to power it down with the button. When I restarted it this afternoon, I had to go through three hard reboots before it settled down to actually work. Urgh.

Took the kitties to the vet for their shots this Monday. Strider embarrassed the hell out of me. The assistant weighed him and he was fine. Then Dr. Jon listened to his heartbeat and checked his ears, and he was not pleased about that. When Dr. Jon gripped his head to look in his eyes and mouth, Strider flipped out. He hissed and growled and came off that exam table like he had a rocket under his butt. Jumped to the windowsill, where Eowyn was waiting patiently for her turn, and landed on her, then almost climbed the window shade before dropping down under my feet. I tried to grab him, which earned me a nasty stripe across the back of my hand, then Dr. Jon told me to let him go. Strider stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by four people and a very unhappy sister, and slunk off under the sink, where he growled and hissed copiously for quite a while.

I was SO SHOCKED. He has never behaved like that in his life! It was worse than one of Merlin's freakouts in volume, though he didn't actually bite anyone, and I'm not sure he intentionally swiped me. But he was very loud about warning everyone off, that's for sure. He hid under the sink while Dr. Jon ignored him and did Eowyn's exam. She wasn't pleased, but she behaved herself very well. I think she was more shaken up about Strider than the exam or shots. Dr. Jon had to get The Net, which he used to capture Strider and (mostly) immobilize him, so he could give him the two shots. And then we realized that Strider had pooped on the floor. >.<

Neither of the kitties like car rides, but I'd held Strider on the way to the vet, and he'd been completely content once he could see out the window and everything. He didn't get that privilege on the way home. Strider got put in the backseat of the car, carrier draped with a towel, while I rode in the front seat and held Eowyn in my lap. Strider let out a couple of growls, but calmed down pretty quickly. When we were about two miles from home, Eowyn started panting really bad, which panicked me a little. We got a little water in her, but she wasn't really thirsty. Once I pointed the A/C vents right at her, though, she started doing better. I got her inside ASAP and made sure she was okay.

The funny thing is, we left Strider's carrier on the floor in the garage for a minute while I settled Eowyn. (I was planning to isolate him if he didn't behave.) Eowyn walked around meowing as I carried his box up the stairs. He was acting just fine, so I let him out. Eowyn went up to him, sniffed him, and stopped meowing. I think she thought I had left him at the vet!

They were both lethargic and not very hungry for the first day after the shots. Eowyn snuggled up on my lap every single chance she got. In fact, Monday night I slept on my back in one position all night, because she was lying on my stomach when I went to sleep, and she was lying on my lap when I woke up, and my back freaking killed me. LOL Strider was very sleep and a little subdued all Tuesday, and it took Eowyn several hours to forgive him for jumping on her. I know he'd taken a chunk of her belly fur off, because I had to pull it off his back claw when he came out of his cage.

They're both fine now, and adorable and well-behaved as ever. They're getting along fine now, too.

I'm sort of terrified of taking him to the vet next time, though. I think I'm going to schedule them for different days, so he can't, at least, traumatize her again next time.
 
 
Current Mood: coldcold
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
15 August 2012 @ 06:54 pm
August 2012
- Finish The Loyalty Factor revision.
- Finish "Blue Watch" or "Long Way Home."
- Identify markets for short story.

September 2012
- Write a short story set in Teronn.
- Begin querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.
- Submit finished short story.

October 2012
- Continue querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.
- Examine writing goals and revise if necessary.
- Decide on and plot NaNoWriMo 2012 novel.

November 2012
- NaNoWriMo 2012
- Attend at least one write-in.
- Continue querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.

December 2012
- Recover from NaNoWriMo.
- Finish NaNoWriMo novel if necessary.
- Continue querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.
- Set writing goals for 2013.
 
 
Current Mood: crankycranky
Current Music: Reeve Carney - Rise Above 1 (feat. Bono and The Edge)
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
15 August 2012 @ 02:08 pm
I have changed my LJ layout. I'd love to apply that to DW as well, but I can't be arsed to work out if it's possible. :P ETA: Not only is it possible, it isn't as difficult as I'd feared. And actually I decided the layout I made for Innerslytherin was more appropriate for my writing LJ, so that's where I put it. This layout is by [profile] scholarslayouts.

So far it has rained more in August in Indiana than it did in May, June, and July all put together. This is nice for our yard and garden, but I fear it's too late for the corn crops. Soybeans might yet be all right. The resurgence of my allergies has proven that there is, in fact, a connection between how much rain we have and how allergic I am. This reinforces my goal to move to the desert at some point in my life.

I have written a whopping 1583 words in August. >.<

I would really love to put some of my old writing together in a document to sell for a couple bucks on Smashwords. The dilemma is that I don't want to self-publish the things for which I would like to pursue traditional publishing. So I want to self-publish old old writing. So the writing is quite possible (probably) sub-par. But I don't want to take the time (away from my fantasy novel rewrite) necessary to even read it and decide if it's shite. Anyone feel like doing that for me? LOL

My sciatica is acting up again. I'm taking Advil intermittently for it, and I've explored yoga, but I honestly don't have the patience/discipline/whatever to make myself do the yoga every day, so I have yet to see benefits for that. But at the moment my right leg is tingly and my right butt cheek hurts like a bitch, which means I've been sitting at the computer too long and need to do some stretching. I'll walk out to the mailbox as soon as I hit post.

This is Mom's first day back at work. I intended to use the empty house to my advantage, but instead I am sitting here not being productive. Argh.

I got a Starbucks card yesterday. Damn those green coffee lime refreshers!
 
 
Current Mood: crankycranky
Current Music: Kaiser Chiefs - Caroline, Yes
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
13 August 2012 @ 11:36 pm
So I love my job. Seriously love it. I GET to go to work every Friday and Saturday, and it is awesome. The more I learn about Lew Wallace, the more I adore the man. And it's so much fun to share that love with people who come to the Study.

I am, however, not making a lot of money. As in, hardly any. So I am still hoping that another historic location in town will get in touch with me regarding some part time work.

In have changed my mind about Camp NaNoWriMo and dropped out. As soon as I signed up, I think I got this mental block. As soon as I deleted my profile, I got unblocked. I think I may have come to the end of NaNo's usefulness to me. It's fun, but honestly, I have to find the motivation to write within myself, and I have been, and I no longer seem to need the camaraderie of NaNo to keep my word count up.

Except that I have backslid a great deal this month. Of course, Mom goes back to school this Wednesday, so I am trying to enjoy all the hanging out time and all the accomplishing projects time that we have left. Today we hiked a little over four miles at our local state park. It was awesome.

We saw a yellow-billed cuckoo today. First one we've seen there in years. We saw a cuckoo in Trinidad (a squirrel cuckoo, I think), but it's neat to see the local one. :) Our cuckoos don't really say "cuckoo" though. There's a little "coo coo coo" noise, but the awesome one is the "c-c-c-c-couwl couwl!" It's a fun bird to listen to.

Eowyn has caught five mice in the past four days. Friday night she caught one and we threw it way out in the yard. Saturday night she caught one and brought it upstairs to me. I was at the computer when she jumped on the bed and I realized what she had in her mouth. I carried her back downstairs, mouse still in her mouth, and ended up taking the mouse outside. Then Sunday she wasn't downstairs for two minutes before she had her first mouse. I felt bad for taking them away from her, so I put her and the mouse in a big box and let her play with it for a while. Then Strider jumped in the box, took the mouse, jumped out, and ran for the upstairs. I had to chase him and take the mouse away. These wretched, adorable creatures. They must really want to feed me mice. >.< Eowyn caught another mouse 15 minutes later, but it got away down a hole to the crawlspace. Then about an hour later, we heard growling from the area of the stairs. Eown had caught a mouse, was holding it in her mouth, and was growling around it at her brother to keep him from stealing her mouse!

She doesn't seem to know what to do with them once she catches them though. I let her play with that one until she seemed bored, but the mouse wasn't badly hurt when she was through with it. I carried it well out into the field and dropped it in the beans. Hopefully now that Mom and I sealed up the hole to the crawlspace, the mice won't get back into the house. :P
 
 
Current Mood: happyhappy
 
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
06 August 2012 @ 09:13 pm
Because I have become obsessed with the time-management side of writing, I printed out a calendar of July and marked the days I didn't write. I wanted to see if there was a pattern. And I discovered there's a pretty obvious pattern.

Click to see my calendarCollapse )

See the pattern? Right up until I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, my non-writing days were almost entirely centered on the weekend. To be exact, 8 out of 12, or 66.67%, of my non-writing days were either Saturday or Sunday. The remaining four days were 3 Mondays and 1 Friday. Okay, so they aren't technically weekend days, but they're just to one side or the other of the weekend.

So what happened when I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo? No idea. Intimidation, maybe? Or rebelliousness against the idea that now I have to write? I have been enjoying it so much in July, maybe introducing the additional challenge of CampNaNo in August subconsciously threatened my enjoyment?

Who knows. Anyway, I'm GOING to write tonight, dammit! The OCD side of me is protesting the outliers that are going to show up on my August map.
 
 
Current Mood: crankycranky
Current Music: E. S. Posthumus - Arise
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
02 August 2012 @ 12:53 pm


Just signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. No idea why, except that, hey, I wrote 32K last month, so I ought to be able to write 50K this month, right? Especially since my goal is to finish the original novel revision by August 30.

Let's hope, anyway.

Also, I'm signed up as a sponsored camper, so if I raise $50 in donations I get a nifty pen, and if I raise $100 in donations I get a nifty poster. So if y'all are so inclined to sponsor me, please click below.

http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=206981
 
 
Current Mood: crazycrazy
Current Music: Reeve Carney - Rise Above 1 (feat. Bono and The Edge)
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
30 July 2012 @ 06:21 pm
I'm a member of the [community profile] inkingitout community, where we check in on a regular basis with the amount of words we've written. There are great conversation starters posted at the journal as well, and recent questions have been about the timing of our writing. Do we write on a daily basis, on a cyclical basis, etc? Where on the spectrum do we find ourselves? It really got me thinking about my writing habits.

My comment at the community got so long and so involved that I decided to post it here as a journal entry.

Let's see, I last checked in on the 25th, so from then until the 28th I wrote 2613 words. I'm at 72909 for the year.

I've been obsessively tracking my writing since 6/30 of this year, and I've noticed that I do a great job of writing daily...for 3 to 5 days at a time. Then I seem to need at least one day off, up to three days off at a time. I do feel better about myself if I write every day, but since 6/30 I've taken off the following days: 7/2, 7/7-7/8, 7/14-7/16, 7/21-7/23, and 7/27-7/29. This seems really weird to me, but over the course of a month of tracking my writing, it's pretty consistent, so apparently I have a short little writing cycle myself!

I really would prefer to be writing on a daily basis, or perhaps taking only one day off a week. But then again, despite the days off this month, this has been the most productive month for my writing, aside from NaNoWriMo, in quite some time. My total word count since 6/30 is 30,704. So I may have to just accept that this is the best way for me to be productive.

What I've discovered is that I have a hard time experiencing compelling fiction written by someone else and then writing my own fiction afterwards. For instance, three of those days I took off writing because I had been watching the Dark Knight trilogy. Another day I took off because I watched Brave. Another set of days I took off while I was reading a novel. Of course, the other side of this could be that after several days of writing, I need to experience compelling fiction written by someone else. In other words, which is the cause of the break, and which the effect? Do I stop writing because I read? Or do I read because I need to stop writing? I don't know. It's something I'll have to think about more.

My most recent days off, however, have been because I was working very intensive days at my day job, and was just frankly too exhausted to write at the end of those days, and then last night I started reading another novel that just sucked my time away from me. In no way am I complaining about the days at my day job. It's a great job, with great people, and I get to spend my time learning about history, talking about history, writing about history, and it's by far the most wonderful thing I have ever been paid to do. I look forward to going to work every week.

I just need to figure out how to have enough mental energy left to write when I get home from work. :)
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
25 July 2012 @ 04:16 pm
*eyes desktop warily*

My 4-year-old HP desktop is acting unhappy lately. It'll boot up, I'll start doing something, and two minutes later it just randomly shuts off and goes into the reboot cycle. O.o Or it tries to boot, then freezes and I have to do a hard reboot. *sigh* I really really can't afford to replace it right now, so I am going to sacrifice a goat later to see if that appeases it. >.> Or maybe I'll just run a few more diagnostics and pray really hard. Heh.

In the meantime, though, I've been using Rachel Aaron's method of fast writing, and I am floored with how excited I am to sit down and write every day. It's been a long time since I've felt that way, so this has basically revolutionized my life.

One thing Rachel Aaron does is track her productivity, which I had always done in a desultory sort of manner. I used a spreadsheet to track how many hours I wrote and how many words I wrote each day, but I hadn't bothered tracking much else. I do know that spending 5 hours at the Barnes & Noble cafe always means a very good writing day for me -- often between 5-8k words. But I hadn't done too much specific tracking. So on June 30 I started a spreadsheet that tracks Times (of Day) Written, # of Hours, Word Count, Words Per Hour, Location, and Medium (meaning longhand, netbook, desktop).

Since June 30 I have written for a total of 23.51 hours. In those hours, I've written 28,091 words. Most of those words have been written at home, many of them on my netbook, which has a new lease on life thanks to Xubuntu and LibreOffice. A lot of those words have also been written at Starbucks, where I go for two hours once a week to write. During that time, I've had 9 days where I was unable to write, for various reasons.

I confess, I haven't read Rachel Aaron's books, but she is officially one of my new favorite authors, simply because of what she has taught me. As soon as I have money, I plan to buy all her books.
 
 
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: Luke White - Black Market Red Roses
 
 
Stephanie A Cain
19 June 2012 @ 05:09 pm
When I'm struggling through the nitty-gritty grind of squeezing out word after word, trying to get things just right on the page, it's really easy to forget there's a world out there, let alone other people who understand what I'm going through.

Then I see a post from someone like [profile] kosmickway, talking about some aspect or other of writing, and I'm reminded that Hey! I know other people who do this nitty-gritty grind of squeezing out word after word! And sometimes just talking to them helps you figure out what's blocking you, or why you're struggling, or what your character really wants, or how to portray what your character really wants.

So this is just a shout out to the many, many people who have been helpful to me over the years. Not necessarily people who get paid to put words on the page, but people who do it for the joy of it. People who like to read words on the page. People who ask smart questions. People like [profile] kosmickway, [personal profile] slightlyjillian, [profile] krycek_chick, [personal profile] severity_softly, [profile] resolucidity, Zardok the Amazing Beta Reader, and so many, many others.

Thank you, guys!
 
 
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: Ramin Djawadi - Jon's Honor