Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday "Here Comes the Warm Weather" Fiver

1. Seattle is poised and ready to take advantage of it, so come on down, warm weather! (I will be out weeding my front yard!)

2. Am booked up with writing jobs (more than copyediting work) right now and it feels a bit strange, but I'm jiving with it. Here we go.

3. New season of Deadliest Catch! Okay, so it started a few weeks ago and that week was a banner one because we saw Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern at the airport as we picked up hubby's sister. His family was on her flight. Sig was bombarded with people wanting pictures. He's shorter than he looks on television, but really polite and kind to everyone. Fun star sighting! Only in Seattle!

4. We are packing for London this weekend! Going to try and not check any bags because we're going through Terminal 5 at Heathrow (the same BA terminal that has been in the news of late for lost luggage woes) and to pack that light takes some planning. I am motivated!

5. Writers group meet went off last night and what fun. Had a reading from Jen's new novel that is headed out to agents, brainstormed with Elizabeth as she figures out a way to use her vast international network to sell her novel (she's well-connected; had a private audience with the Dalai Lama when he was in Seattle recently), and we were wowed by Sonya's first chapter. I came ready with a complex writing exercise as I am still in prewriting mode. We had good wine, good food, and a great time.

Off to write!

Currently reading: Kindle version of Roy Peter Clark's Writing Tools
Currently listening to: Natasha Bedingfield

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Am An Orange?

Publication coach Daphne Gray-Grant writes an excellent Power Writing eZine each week that I always make time to read.

Last week's edition was printed out and is still sitting here by the computer because it's so good.

Why You Should Think Of Yourself As An Orange

(love the title)

In a nutshell, when we try to write (or think and write) we give up too quickly. If we take time to write out what we are trying to understand, we often can dig down to a deeper well of better ideas. Brainstorming techniques work really well here.

If you want to sign up for the Power Writing eZine, check out Daphne's site.

Off I go to prepare for my writer's group.

Currently listening to: Natasha Bedingfield
Currently reading: Kindle version of Joomla guide

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Administrative Assistant Day

After spending years as an administrative assistant (to a mayor, city manager, CPA, head librarian, CEO), I recalled fond memories this morning of my favorite admin assist day, way back in 1995. I job-shared with a good friend and our boss sent us on a day-long scavenger hunt (how he had time to plan a day-long one is beyond me) complete with rhyming clues and mystery faxes sent from Russia and Chicago, all culminating in a final clue that led us to our prize. A Cross pen.

I treasured that pen for years (thanks, Loren) and I still have it, 13 years later. That job was one of the hardest (inside a juvenile detention facility) jobs I've ever had and prepared me to jump into any other admin assist job with ease. I dealt with the press when I supported Lebanon, Oregon's mayor and I was even able to calm down very self-righteous people who were fighting the city's plan to build a bigger Walmart. Those were heady days. Every single boss I had helped me become who I am today. I no longer assist anyone and now I'm the one working on spotlighted projects at work. And I tell every single high school senior to do the same -- learn to work, learn to listen, learn to soak up every lesson you can as you start in the working world. Every job has something to teach. It's worth it to slow down and pay attention.

Cheers to all the administrative assistants today who are making this world a better place.

I'm really putting my Kindle to good use. Downloaded a list of books and have now hauled it to Costco, the gym, the post office, and the dry cleaners. Love this thing!

Currently listening to: Leona Lewis
Currently reading: Medical insurance guide to benefits

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Showing Up To Work

So, yesterday was my first day of a new daily schedule. It was a bit frenetic. I have three goals this year and last week realized I wasn't allowing time in my day for any of them. So I changed up my daily calendar on iCal and yesterday was the first day.

Well, it went well, but then petered out. But I did get a lot done on my to-do list. SO I can't complain too much. I did get in my writing time and went to the gym. The goal is to do that every day this week and next week and the next week and by then it will be habit. Just in time for me to fly to London and ruin the habit. Oh well.

It's a bit of a struggle to make certain things stick every single day. I'm determined though and it will happen. I just need to prove to myself today that I can stick to a schedule and keep up with all the extra things I jam into my day as well.

So off I go today to try.

In today's news, Disney's Evolving Business Model from

Russian newspaper that angered Putin shuts down. Yikes.

An interesting look at creating web content by suffering newspapers without hiring anyone.

Have a great Tuesday!

Currently listening to: The Magic Flute remixed
Currently reading: Jodi Picoult on the Kindle

Monday, April 21, 2008

Change It Up: Five Things to Rethink In Your Life

My weekend was full of rest, reading, and planning. With less than three weeks until we leave for London, there is a lot to plan.

So recently, I went to Macy’s to get a refill on my liquid foundation makeup. This is the same makeup that I wore on my wedding day, now almost five years ago. The Lancome lady who gave me my makeover swore she had never seen a makeup blend so beautifully on skin. The friend I hired to do my makeup for my wedding said the same thing.

When you hear things like that, you treasure them for years. And go back to get more of that golden liquid well before you really run out. Hey, I put makeup on when I go to the gym. Yes, I’m that vain.

I always repeat the name of my makeup to myself a few times as I approach the Lancome counter to make sure that I ask for the right shade, thus it came as quite a shock when the clerk said to me “We’ve stopped making that line.”

I immediately went pale (not hard to do when you haven't tanned for months) and choked as I exclaimed, “No, don’t tell me that.”

Within minutes, the makeup clerk had me perched on a chair with a sample shade in her hand ready to apply to my fair forehead. I held the mirror up, afraid to hear the words. “Oh, this just doesn’t match your skin as well as the other.” I was so afraid my life with an invisible makeup line was over.

But after a few tries, she finally found a shade that matched my fair look. Because this year, just a long minute in direct sunlight will make me sprout another two dozen freckles. (I'm trying to quit tanning in order to be more natural. My legs are already scaring people.)

So I love my new makeup. I love it more than the old makeup, which now looks all forlorn in its messy bottle in my medicine cabinet. And it got me to thinking about other things in my life that I’ve done day in and day out for the past five years and that I thought were a perfect fit.

1. Buying books. Yes, the arrival of my Kindle today will change that, but wow, discovering the King County Library system last year was a godsend. They have everything and I mean everything. Even obtuse titles like The Mother/Daughter Plot, written in 1989 by Marianne Hirsch, which outlines how literature throughout history has viewed mother/daughter relationships. On Abebooks, this would have cost me a mint. I no longer have to buy as many books as I did before. I can’t decide if I’m happier about saving trees, or saving money. Hm. Keeping this trend.

2. Procrastinating on my taxes. Now that my CPA and I have finally completely separated my business affairs from my personal affairs (it takes time, trust me), the corporation is getting easier to file taxes for. The pittance of money each year I pay my CPA (and the firm charges a good amount) in comparison to how much time they save me boggles my mind. Why didn’t I think of this ten years ago? I’m keeping this trend too.

3. Saving ziploc bags. Okay, so my family will kill me because this is an uber-frugal, "save the environment" thing that I just can't do anymore. I absolutely hate washing out ziploc freezer bags. Hate it! And then hubby pointed out that I use like a box a year. Forget it. I'm just buying a box a year.

4. Buying new fabric. I am now addicted to finding beautiful pieces of fabric on Ebay or at Goodwill or garage sales. Well, okay, so it's already a dress. Seriously! A friend just made an amazing apron out of an old 1950s dress. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. No more ugly fabric. Time to get creative.

5. Using old collaboration tools. I have gigabytes of old email. This has got to stop. My goal for the next five years is to figure out how to downsize my archives and to use new tools to better utilize my time.

And that's all the wisdom I have for today. Unless you want to read a long expose on Gossip Girl. Yeah, you know you do. It's back tonight and I am getting sucked in.

Currently reading: Brazen Careerist
Currently listening to: audio interview for a client