Last Day of Effexor, Last Day of Therapy

So today is two big lasts: my last day being on Effexor and my last day of going to mental health therapy. It was completely random that they coincided like this.

 

So far, the drug transition has gone pretty well. I’m on week two of three. I see my regular doctor on Thursday about everything, but I think it’s gone pretty well. I had a few bad days and a few really good ones and several in between.

 

The therapy went really well, too. I’ve learned a lot more about myself and what I want and how to get there from here. My therapist was really great to work with and asked a lot of good questions that honestly if I’d been self-help-booking it I would have just glossed over and not answered. It’s important for me to have someone there looking at me waiting for an answer before my brain will provide me with one.

 

I have spent the last two weeks mostly avoiding the world, though. I haven’t done any writing at all (though plenty of daydreaming), or paying much attention to the calendar (sorry I missed a few things), and am at the whoa-nuke-my-email-inbox-and-start-over stage of emailing. Thankfully nearly all important things are texted or FB messaged these days. So if you’ve been waiting for an email response from me…well, try again through another method because I have totally just been deleting everything these days.

What else? This afternoon I start writing actual words again. Tonight I’ll work on a therapist-suggested daily schedule for writing/housework/hobbies. I’m also outlining a new chores/consequences schedule for the kids, since they have not been motivated by rewards (also therapist-suggested). Tomorrow I’ll put all that into motion.

I think that’s it. Whee! On to the writing….

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Words, words, words

Yesterday I had no words left after a good week of writing. I decided to give myself the day off from writing and to let myself doing some story intake instead. So I watched bits and pieces of a few different things.

 

Today when writing time came, the writing came out like a deluge. I wrote about 1500 words in about 45 minutes. It was fantastic!

 

Then I spent some time perusing other writing projects I’d set aside and adding details into them and bringing their files up to date. During the digging through old files, I found a little chart I used to keep of how many words I wrote each day about 14 or so years ago. I never managed to get above 250 words at once.  I am doing so much better now! 🙂 I can usually do about 1000 words an hour these days.

 

Sometimes it is good to look back at old things. There were a few story ideas that I feel more than willing to tackle now that I didn’t feel like I knew enough about writing to do in the past.  I’m so excited that I’m back to writing and feel good about it again.

Starting Over

I have a novel that I’ve been working my way through on and off for a couple years now. I like my characters, I like the setting, I have some great scenes, my brain keeps coming back to it, but something about it just hasn’t been working.

So this week I’ve taken some advice and am just starting over. I didn’t do anything drastic like throw away my notes or delete my files, but I have allowed myself just a little bit of re-imagining time with it. I’ve done a few exercises from The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within and am enjoying some new insights into my characters. I’ve also let myself start a new Scrivener file for it from the 7 Point Story Structure template I downloaded from The Self Publishing Toolkit several years ago.

I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Novel in 90 – Day Two

Today I got the rest of yesterday’s words done and went 47 over on today’s number of words as well. It’s going pretty well, although at one point Scrivener told me that I had written -22 words (I got rid of a terrible scene and replaced it with a better one that was apparently 22 words shorter than the original.)

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Ben caught me writing in the van on little bitty post-it notes. He thought I was crazy. I probably was…but I’d had thoughts and my little travel keyboard needed charging before it would connect with my iPhone and I was desperate. Six or seven post-its later and I was fine. 🙂

 

Now Writing!

During our writing retreat last weekend, Steph told me her writing group was doing Novel-in-90 starting March 1st, so I joined that community. Yesterday we started. I didn’t get as much done as I wanted because I was busy, busy, and more than busy, but I hope to make up for it today.

I am working this year mainly on the Magical PTA novel, which I started during a different Novel-in-90 with the same group of people a couple years ago. I’m about 25,000ish words into it already, as I obviously didn’t finish last time. Hoping to do much better this time around. 🙂

Life goes on…

You know what? I thought I’d post more once I got out of my hectic-working-two-part-time-jobs-and-pta-president lifestyle. It turns out that I just don’t. I want to, and I mean to, but then things just go on and it doesn’t get done because it’s not on my calendar of things to do.

So what have I been doing? Here, let me show you:

lisasdailies

First I made a weekly schedule of all our extracurricular activities, then added in the housework and stuff I need to do at home, then I put it into Excel and made a handy-dandy worksheet for the fridge and my family binder.

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Then I made a template for our meals and snacks. Nick and I still work on the dinner menu together in a two week format for the fridge, but having this here one week at a time gives me a better way to figure out what snacks and lunches go best with the dinner plan we’ve already come up with.

weekly

Finally, after looking at a bajillion planners online, I realized that I wasn’t going to 100% love any of them and I’d better just make my own. So here we have it. I loved the idea of a TOP 3 for my week and I loved breaking down what I needed to do not by day, but by for what/who. My text/call/email/snail mail list is awesome, too, because I can do those things whenever I have time for them.

If you zoomed in on those pictures, you saw that I have time to clean, time to work out, time to eat… some of the schedule still needs tweaking. I forgot to put important things like laundry and Bible study time in there. But I also have time set aside for “Special Projects” which is super fun. So far “special projects” has really meant “in-depth house cleaning and reorganization.”

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If you follow me on facebook, you’ve seen this one. I cleared off my grandmother’s desk and rearranged my art (adding some new pieces and repainting frames) and added back my desk tray. I even found my label maker and labels! 🙂

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Ben & Greg’s room got the next treatment. We took down the bunk beds that were causing musical bed nights (the kids take turns sleeping with the puppy and she couldn’t be on the top bunk). Ben has a light he can reach now and he can look out the window at the pink crepe myrtle trees outside while he’s reading.

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We’re reusing the ladder as a magazine rack (though it’s moved into a different place since this was taken) for Boy Magazines (Lego, Cobblestone, Kind News, Boy Scouts, etc), and Greg has room for his side table and music stand & guitars in there as well.

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During the desk cleanout, there was also a cleanout of the Giant Filing Bag of DOOM (a queen sized-comforter bag filled with old papers and file folders). I spent a solid day and a half sorting through papers, shredding, recycling, labeling folders, and filing. I have four of these bins now living in my closet on shelves.

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Change of seasons: I do this every year, even when the house wasn’t clean. I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like school is back until I’ve put up my fall decorations. There’s more than this, of course, as we’ve got a few things in nearly every room of the house. This is just my favorite view. 🙂

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I hesitated to post this. I’ve been feeling private lately, which may be why it took me so long to blog at all. Anyway, this is my bedroom. You would not even believe how awful it had gotten in there. My room used to be the dumping ground for everything any time anyone came over. NO MORE.

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Yes, I actually TOOK OUT a bookshelf from our bedroom. I didn’t get rid of the books. I just sorted them out into two categories: 1) appropriate for boys in the near future and 2) things the boys will probably never want to read or if they do, they have to wait til the far off future. Anyways, this made the hugest difference in my room. I really cannot explain how big a difference; it has to be seen in person. Anyway, the room looks twice as big now.

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Organized liquor cabinet. Yes, this is all some sort of scotch or whisk(e)y. It is nearly all earmarked for some special occasion or other (each of the boys turning 21, anniversaries, special whisk(ey) tastings). I made Nick move it all out of the kitchen so I could put kitchen items in the cabinet there. *gasp* I KNOW, right? Anyway, it looks much better here.

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Bins for Morning Snacks (we got notes this year from all three kids teachers that lunch is much later than usual and to PLEASE send healthy morning snacks) and Outdoor Toys that Live Indoors. A weird combination, I know. This is a temporary location at best. What I’d really like is a part of the kitchen cabinet set up as Lunch Making Central and a cabinet outside in the back for Things That Are Outdoor Related, but Shouldn’t Get Wet. But I have neither of those things at the moment, so we have bins sitting here. At least all the boxes of snack food in front of this shelving unit have a home now (scroll down for the next picture).

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This used to be the liquor cabinet. Now it stores the aforementioned Sam’s Club sized-boxes of extra snack items (yes, Ramen is an after-school snack for starving middle school boys), a few Need to Be Used Soon alcoholic beverages (that I don’t actually recognize, so maybe they’re just THAT old), oddly sized boxes of baking gear, and of course, the special-from-London chocolate I don’t want the kids to get their hands on (it really does taste better than the ones you buy here.)

What’s next on my list?

  • Moving the shelves from Ben’s closet to the front hallway closet and the bins from that closet to his closet.
  • Sorting through the last two boxes left in my closet.
  • Tidying the hallway bathroom closet.
  • Rearranging storage boxes in David’s room’s closet so stuff he needs is below and stuff he doesn’t is above.
  • Getting a second dresser for the younger kids clothing.
  • Tidying up the last bits of the garage (things get dumped there now that they’re not being dumped in our room).

Those are all small projects compared to the ones I’ve already tackled, so I’m going to do those on evenings and weekends as the year moves on.

So what’s really up next? Finishing the novel I started last year. I’m nearly there, I just have about a dozen scenes to finish and some segues to throw in between things I’ve been rearranging this week. When I need beta readers, I will tell you and if you’re interested, I’ll send it your way. 🙂

And now I’m off to do laundry. Because it’s Thursday, and regardless of the wrongness of the above (now corrected) chart, that means it’s Laundry Day.

What I’m doing this year

People are asking, so here we go:

  1. I didn’t “quit” the PTA, despite how gleeful I might be about stepping down from President-status. I’m still going to Student Health Advisory Committee meetings and am acting as a Council Delegate for at least the middle school PTA (and I’ve offered to do the same for the elementary school, since I’m already going to be there and be writing up reports, may as well kill two birds with one stone, right?). I’m still on the Staff/Teacher Appreciation committees and bringing food up for those days and also doing the Flex Day and 93 and Up Party at the middle school, and heck, I’ll probably even chaperon some field trips and dances while I’m at it. But I’m not on any Executive Board this year and really, that is a lot of work/time/mental stress I’m “skipping out” on.
  2. What am I doing? To sum it up quickly: writing and exercising and organizing.
  3. Oh, you want details? Okay, here goes:
    1. Writing: I have a few novels that are nearing the end of Draft One that I’d like to see actually finish Draft One and move on into Draft Two and Ready for Human Consumption/Editing sometime this year. Also a dozen or so poems that are probably finished, but need Eyes and Sending Off.
    2. Exercising: I’m trying to lose about 90 pounds (a number which I find horrifying). I’m a stress eater/drinker. Boy, have the last few years been full of stress. (Joy, too, but still a lot of stress.) Plus I have been taking multiple medicines that have been shown to cause weight gain as a side effect.  So I’m starting with restorative yoga one day a week, strength training a couple days, aerobics a couple days, and a couple days off because I can’t keep it up if I don’t take time off for rest.
    3. Organizing: I’m a pseudo-hoarder. I occasionally watch those shows on TV and think “Oh, thank God I’m not THAT bad!” while I have boxes and boxes of things carefully labelled and awaiting sorting/filing/recycling. I love labeling things, but throwing things out or recycling them? AIE. I’d rather die. What if I need something out of that pile?!?!? No, really, I’d rather scrapbook them and move on, but barring time and energy to complete those tasks, I’ve labelled and boxed things up and now my house is impressively full. So my plan is to start going through the boxes and start tossing/recycling things that no longer have meaning to my family. Once that part is done, I’d like to get back into scrapbooking things again. I like scrapbooking; it’s just time consuming and I have been far too busy with working for money and working for the good of our schools and our church to get that kind of thing done. So part of my time this year will be catching up on that.
    4. Extras: singing in the church choir & ladies ensemble, helping out on the kitchen crew one weekend a month, playing with the church ensemble and playing piano/clarinet solos/duets for Special Music or Offertory, helping out with kids crafts/social time at church, maybe starting up a book club again, helping out with Cub scouts and Boy scouts, helping people figure out their computers and smart phones, writing blog posts, and updating Facebook. You know, the usual. 🙂

Home again, home again, jiggedy-jig

Technically I came home more than a week ago. I intended on making my first blog post then with a summary of our big Eastern European trip and a thoughtful essay on things I’d learned about myself while I was away. Then the jet lag hit like a wall made of far sterner stuff than I was made of and I instead spent a week lying in bed dozing and pseudo-watching re-runs of Pretty Little Liars (I like the music on that show; it’s easy to sleep to) while the children ran amok and ate all the granola bars in the house.

So now even Nick is back – he left for Brno, Czech Republic the day David and I arrived back in the US – and we are settled back in to our regular summer routine. Well, almost. We spent a lot of yesterday at the local state park with his family and the kids came home exhausted, so they are sleeping in today: hence this blog post.

New things around here:

  1. We gave up on the themed days. The kids were not as enthused by the scheduling as they’d thought they’d be. We did a few days of it, but mostly what they wanted to do was have totally free days where they got to play all the games they wanted and watch all the tv they wanted and eat all the granola bars they wanted. So, last week they had that. This week we are going to have a different kind of schedule, just a bit. I have an idea of what kind of outdoor work needs to be done, so we’re going to do some of that. We’ve got a dentist appointment, and we’ll plan a couple play dates. My parents are unexpectedly here, yet again, so we’ll have to plan around that as well.
  2. I got a Fit Bit. I’m sure you’ve noticed the stats coming through the blog. I thought I’d set it to weekly, but it went daily. Ah well, technology.  In any case, I now weigh more and am more out of shape than I’ve ever been. I wanted something to jumpstart me into some more accountability in my physical wellness and everything I learned online lead me this direction (Well, to be honest, I’d thought about the Garmin band as well, but I couldn’t find one in town that day and it’s main advantage was the I could swim with it and I’ve currently no access to a pool, so that’s a moot point anyways.).

…..

So now the kids are all up and I need to be directing them towards clothing and breakfast.  Hopefully I can get back into blogging with some regularity again now that we are home and things are more settled. 🙂

 

NAPOMO # whatever

I’m not even bothering to catch up. 🙂 I am having an unanticipated quiet day at home, due to lost keys. I’m listening to the DVD of yesterdays musical adventures and cleaning up from all the fancy dinners.

Here’s an untitled poem from another quiet day this year:

I can hear:

tick   tick   tick

chime     chime   

HUMMMMM

No cymbals,

No shouts,

No tinny music

Just this:

tick   tick   tick

chime     chime   

HUMMMMM

No machines, 

No requests,

No frantic running.

Only quiet sounds:

tick   tick   tick

chime     chime   

HUMMMMM

Lisa Holcomb 2014

The problem with poetry

Here’s my problem with posting my own poetry: I never feel like it’s DONE. Not the posting, but the poetry itself. I start to post it and then I realize, ooh, I could tweak this line or that line and it will be better. It’s never-ending.  So yesterday’s post is still under construction. (And then there’s the post that is stuck. I have no idea why it won’t post. I’ve hit “publish” a half dozen times and it still sits there saying “draft.”)

 

So…anyways…

 

The next few days are super busy in Lisa Land, so if I don’t post or if my posts are weirdly short…that’s why. Today’s chock full of BSF, Flex day at the middle school (PTA does a party for kids with good grades, basically), and finishing the raking at my mom’s house (the kids job, but I have to facilitate). Tomorrow is a PTA meeting for the elementary school (I’m the president, can’t miss it) followed by chaperoning the middle school band to their UIL contest.  Friday is therapy (whee) and getting ready for the weekend. Sunday is Passover (we arranged for babysitting for the church – hope they show up), Monday night we’ve got guests for dinner. Tuesday is church all day.  Since there’s so much church going on, I’ve also got to practice my vocal music for ladies ensemble, my clarinet for instrumental ensemble, my piano for the duet I’m doing with my mother-in-law…. aie, I think I just worked myself into a tizzy.