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Archive for July, 2011

ROW80 Check-in #1

Today’s the first check-in day for a round of words in 80 days. It’s only a couple days into it, so I won’t beat myself up too much for where I am. I wanted to be writing 2000 words a day for this week on my WIP. Usually I wake up early so I can write before the kids get up. But, with Monday being a holiday, I turned my alarm off. And we all slept in until about 7:30(which in my house is the next thing to a miracle). I got 391 words written during my son’s morning nap, then we went to my mom’s for a picnic and were there all afternoon. My daughter slept almost the whole way home, a good half hour or so, and when bedtime came(usually 8, but with the way she was acting & not listening, I put her to bed at 7:30), she did not want to sleep. I fought to get her to go to sleep until after 9 and felt so stressed out at that point that no writing got done. I did a lot better on Tuesday though. I managed to write over 1400 words during the day and after the kids were in bed, I managed another 1300(a total of 2775 for the day). I’m still over 800 short for where I had wanted to be by this point, but I’m hoping I can make that up during the week. Usually I would just make up whatever I miss on the weekends, but this weekend will be packed full, so I probably won’t get the chance. Still, I can see the light at the end of this WIP as I just broke the 75K mark on it yesterday. Another 10-15K and it should be finished.

I wrote one flash fiction piece over the weekend(before this round actually started), so I won’t actually count that toward my goal. I did post it on Tuesday, which is a huge accomplishment in itself for me since I’m not used to letting people read my stuff(an issue I’m obviously going to have to get over).

Like I said, I’m not going to beat myself up over not being quite where I’d like to be right now(especially with the holiday), but I’m going to leave my goals the way they are for now and hope I can catch up.

Stained Snow

This is my first attempt at flash fiction. I got the prompt from Writing Fix, which gives you one sentence and you write something from that. I had a lot of fun with this even though I ended up having to cut more than 250 words from it. Of course, when I first started writing it, I wasn’t even sure if I would get 500 words, then it just took off on me. This is also the first time in probably at least eight years that I’ve written something from a 1st person POV, but for some reason felt that’s how the story should be told. Hope you all like it.

The footprints in the snow suddenly ended. I had tracked this man for weeks and now nothing. If I let it go at that, I knew he would never pay for his crimes. The blizzard that had blown in a few days earlier had wiped out most of the tracks, but I had managed to pick them up again until I came to this point.

I looked around, but the wind blew at full force here and erased any sign of my quarry. Sighing, I led my horse into the protection of the wall of stone. “Well, Boy,” I murmured as I stroked the animal’s neck, “do we turn back now?”

My horse shook his head as if he understood me and let out a shrill whinny before nudging me with his nose. “You’re right. I made a promise to see justice done. I can’t go back on that.” After all, a graveside promise was still a promise. It meant as much to me as one given to someone still living. “Well then I guess we’re not finished yet.”

I swung back into the saddle and rode for another hour before finding signs of a recent camp. Swinging down from the saddle, I studied the remains of the fire. The charred wood still held some heat so he had not abandoned it long ago. Seeing where man and horse trampled the ground, I could tell there was only one of each. And seeing sign of the telltale limp in the horse’s tracks, I knew the man I hunted had slept here.

I scanned the ground for the sign that would tell me which direction they went and found it at the western edge of the camp. Mounting again, I followed this new path. When I saw sign of the horse stumbling, I knew he was not too far away. Once the horse’s leg gave out, he would not get far on his feet.

I knew the horse injured one leg years ago in a fall and it left him with an awkward walk when tired. I knew this because he was my damn horse. It was one more crime added to a long list. My hands tightened on the reins as I thought about all that was on the list.

When my horse sensed my mood and hesitated, I clucked my tongue at him and nudged him forward with my legs. “Soon, boy,” I promised him. “Soon we’ll have him and can go home.” But, I knew that home no longer existed.

Knowing we were getting closer, I took my rifle from the scabbard and loosened the pistol in the holster. We followed the trail into another stand of trees and found a brief break from the wind. We came to the edge of the wood and I pulled my horse to a stop. I swung to the ground, and he shied away from the smell of blood and death. I walked over to the horse I raised from a newborn colt and knew he had not gone down on his own. The bullet through the center of his head put him down when he could not go any further. I did not have time to mourn another loss though; so mounting again I led my horse around the dead animal and broke out into the clearing.

Then, he was there in front of me, rising from behind a rock. All the rage I’d kept contained while searching for him came bubbling to the surface. I didn’t realize the scream came from me as I spurred my horse forward, raising my pistol as we went. The snow here was too deep though, and the horse stumbled to his knees, tossing me over his head.

When I got my wind back and looked up, the man had me under his gun. Gritting my teeth against the pain of jarred bones, I closed my hand over the gun I dropped and struggled to my feet. I knew he could cut me down, but I would not leave this world on my back.

“You should have just left it alone and gone back home,” he shouted to be heard over the wind.

“I have no home now,” I shouted back. “You took that from me when you forced me to bury my wife and son.”

“You brought it on yourself. They should have been mine.” He took a step toward me and raised his gun. “But, I should have just dealt with you first. Then, I could have had them to myself.”

The world around me seemed to slow as I struggled to raise my own arm. The fall from the horse jammed my shoulder and it would not work for me. The first bullet slammed into my leg, and it collapsed on me. I shifted the gun to my other hand, determined to take him with me.

I saw he had moved closer, and I steadied my arm before pulling the trigger. The two shots sounded barely a second apart. I didn’t feel his bullet plow into my chest, but it still knocked me to the ground. I did not see if mine touched him. He stood over me a moment later, his gun aimed between my eyes. My blood stained the snow under me, but I still had some fight left.

I fought to raise my now weak arm and pull the trigger, but the shot went wide. He only had to kick my arm and the gun slipped from limp fingers. My heart still wanted to fight but my body didn’t have the strength. My wife’s face floated in front of me as the darkness closed in. “I’m comin’, my love,” I said, my voice no more than a weak whisper.

Before the last of my blood soaked the ground, I heard a trumpeting cry and saw a flash as my horse raced past me. The last thing I heard before I passed from this life was my brother’s scream.

Knitting Wednesday: Previous Projects pt 2

Bookmark

I decided to do a quick and easy project after the slippers, plus I needed a new bookmark since mine kept getting lost/broken. I finished this one in about 1 hour or so. It’s a little too thick though so if I make another, I think I’ll need a lighter type of yarn.

Truckin’ On Bib

This is another pattern I found online and just had to make it because my husband is a truck driver. It has the outlines of two trucks on it, facing each other(it’s kind of hard to see in the picture). It wasn’t too difficult although I had a little trouble with the decreases for shaping the shoulders and doing the I-cords for the ties. But, I had a really cute model for it(almost 5 months old there)

Baby Mitts

This was another easy project that I was able to do in just a day or two. The hardest part was seaming the ends and sides together(was still trying to figure out how to do a neat seam). When I posted the picture of it on Facebook, a friend wanted me to make a pair for her daughter and son. For her daughter’s I was able to use the same pattern, since she’s still an infant. But for her son’s, who was only a couple months from turning three at the time, I had to find one that had thumbs. That was my first time knitting ones with thumbs, but I think they turned out all right.

The blue/yellow/white ones are the first pair I made. The pink/blue/green/white are the girl’s. And the green ones are the toddler ones.

Two Needle Garter Hat

I wanted to make a hat for my daughter, but I wasn’t confident enough yet to use circular needles(or double point). so, I found a pattern that used two straight needles. But, it did not give alternative directions for different sizes, and she has a large head(was always in 90-95% until they stopped measuring at 3). It ended up being too small and I think I messed up a bit on the brim as it didn’t look quite like it was supposed to. But, I was able to give it to a niece to wear, so it was all good.

Writing Challenges

I have a confession. I am *slightly* addicted to writing challenges. I was introduced to Nanowrimo(National Novel Writing Month) last year, and it got me back into writing. Even I had not realized how much I had missed writing and how saner it made me feel. I failed that challenge(was a little more than 3K short). But, when November, and the challenge, was over, I didn’t have anything to keep me going. Then, in January I learned about WriYe, a challenge lasting the whole year where you set what goal you’d like to achieve and work toward that. But, you have to email what you’ve written during each 3-month period, and I couldn’t remember where I’d left off after the first period, so I never checked in for the second one(but, I have been keeping track of this year’s total and I’m only about 10K away from my stated goal of 150K). Earlier this week I learned about Camp Nanowrimo, which is a spin-off of the challenge in November. There’s one this month and another next month. So, I may participate in next month’s since I’m still trying to finish my current work in progress and don’t want to set it aside. Another challenge I’ve learned of recently is A Round of Words in 80 Days (or #ROW80 on Twitter). This is another one where  you set your own goals, but with this one you check in twice a week to encourage and be encouraged. And you can change your goals at any time depending on how things are going. Round 3 begins on Monday, July 4 and runs until September 22. I have set a couple of goals for this round.

Goal #1:

Finish Serial Neighbor by 7/22(maybe sooner). This could take anywhere from 10-30K more words, which I’m hoping is on the lower end of that range. I’m going to increase my daily word count by 100 words a week each of those 3 weeks, so I’ll be trying to write 2200 words a day by the time I finish it.

Goal #2:

Map out/outline the sequel(which I did not know was going to exist until about a week ago) by the end of July. I realized my secondary character had a story to tell as well, and there’s not enough time in this one to tell both.

Goal #3:

Write at least 56K words(for Camp Nanowrimo) on the sequel by the end of August and another 30000(to hopefully finish it) by 9/22.I will still be increasing my word goal until I reach 2500 a day.

Goal #4:

Write 1 flash fiction piece a week, for a total of 12, using prompts from Writing Fix, to be posted here every Tuesday.

I have even changed my blog schedule around(and added it to the side bar if you have not seen it) to incorporate the ROW80 check-ins as well as this last goal. Here’s to me being able to stick to a goal and during the next round, maybe I will start editing what I have written this year.

Steps to Walking

It’s hard to believe that just a month ago I was worried because Nathan was not quite crawling at almost 9 months. He was going backward but had not figured out how to move forward yet. And it seemed that all the other babies his age were crawling and starting to cruise along furniture. I remember feeling that Hayleigh was so far behind the other kids her age and how stressful that was for me and was determined not to go through that again. Apparently not determined enough though because by the end of May, I was feeling like he was the only nine month old(or almost) that wasn’t crawling.
Then, just before Memorial Day, we were at a friend’s house and he took his first forward crawling “steps”. After that, there was no stopping him. The next day, he was pulling up to his knees and the day after that, he started to occasionally pull to his feet.
When he would get to his feet, he would always get upset. We’re still not sure if it was because he didn’t know how to move or because he forgot how to get back down. But, we don’t have that problem anymore. He is now cruising along furniture, gates, and pretty much anything he can hold on to.
I did not think I would have too much to worry about when he became mobile. After all, when his sister was at that stage, she did not give us too many problems. We just had to tell her no a few times and she learned what not to touch or get into. What I forgot though is that from the time of conception, these two have been just about exact opposites. She was a laid back baby and still is for the most part, except for thinking she’s three going on thirteen(her latest thing is “okay, if you say so”, each syllable full of attitude). He spends most of his day in “baby jail” (aka: his playpen), because he keeps trying to play with things, particularly the cords behind the tv, that I keep removing him from and trying to redirect him. And he just usually laughs at me when I tell him no. I can see I’m going to have my hands full with this one. And I’m sure he’ll be walking(and running) earlier than his sister since she didn’t take her first solo steps until 16.5 months.

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The day after he started crawling. Going after his sister’s toolbox because she was not home.

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pulling up to his knees on the gate

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getting to his feet so he can pester his sister

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pulling up to stand in the playpen

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getting ready to start cruising

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like I said, he’ll pull up on anything even if it’s not too sturdy.

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