Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The local Reid Park Zoo, which is not far from our house, sponsors a zoolights program each year around the holidays. They decorate the zoo with lights, trees, blow up Santas, bears and snowmen and invite the public in to stroll about after dark. The animals, of course, are all in their beds.

On members' nights, they also provide entertainment -- quartets of singers, choirs, a jazz band, a harpist and, our favorite, a steel drum group. They serve hot chocolate and cookies, have a snow machine set up and the kids can visit Santa. My mother and I have gone every year for a long time. In years past when they sponsored group-decorated Christmas trees, our homeschool group participated, and I was the leader of that project. It was a lot of fun.

I took the camera tonight and got some not so great pictures, though they capture the feel of the event. At right is a picture of the long line of trees along one of the zoo's paths, their lights reflecting in the water of the elephants' pond in the foreground.

Today was the first since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving that I got any work at all in on Black Box. I don't know what happened, but though I tried Monday and Tuesday, I could not get myself to work. It was one thing distracting me after another.

But today was good, and I'm hoping tomorrow will be, too.


Monday, November 26, 2007


Recently I finished reading Michael Crichton's Next, another book on my list of novels for research. Like his previous book, State of Fear, this one takes on an emerging and increasingly political scientific problem, that of genetic engineering. Like State of Fear, this one has a significant bibliography of intriguing books in the back, as well as the author's conclusions as to what should be done about some of the problems raised in the book.

The first is that we stop patenting genes, which seems to me to have been a harebrained notion from the start. As Crichton points out, a gene is a fact of nature, not something someone invented. It's like patenting a disease or turtles. Or, noses, the examples he gives. If noses were to be patented then everything to do with noses would require a license from the patent holder -- glasses, cosmetics, breathe-right strips, medications, etc.

I didn't like this one quite as well as State of Fear, because it was much more focused on its technical subject and the potential consequences than the characters. And while I found the subject fascinating, there were a lot of characters -- at least fourteen viewpoint characters that I can recall off the top of my head. And in the end I rooted most for the transgenic chimpanzee and parrot. I especially enjoyed the parrot, Gerard, who could do math. He was very cool.

I made notes as I read, some directly applicable to Black Box, some just for personal interest. Like,

"Persistent hype lends unwarranted credulity to the wildest claims. For example, stem cell research is being touted as the coming miracle. Because of all the hype, people believe miraculous cures are just around the corner... and so do scientist." (Who are people, too, after all, and just as subject to hype as the next person; maybe even more subject to it if it happens to coincide with their own hopes and dreams of finding those cures)

"Scientific institutions love hype -- it brings grants. Yale, Stanford and Johns-Hopkins promote hype as much as Exxon or Ford. So do individual researchers at those institutions."

"Science is as corruptible a human activity as any other. Its practitioners aren't saints; they're human beings and they do what human beings do -- lie, cheat, steal from one another, sue, hide data, fake data, overstate their own importance and denigrate opposing views unfairly."

This latter makes me think of American Gangster, which ended with a note at the end to say that when Richie Roberts finally brought Frank Lucas to justice, Lucas agreed to help him root out the corruption in the New York Police force at the time -- in exchange for a lighter sentence, naturally. It turned out that they indicted something like two-thirds of the drug enforcement section of the police department. Of all people, you expect police -- and military personnel -- to be upright and have integrity. And I suppose you would expect it from doctors and pastors. And since scientists are allegedly on a quest to discover the truth about how things work, you would think they would be especially scrupulous about objectivity and honesty. But that's only if you forget that they, like all the rest of us, have sin natures and are vulnerable to greed, pressure, intimidation, and the prospect of becoming fabulously successful. Also arrogance, stubbornness, bias, subjectivity, blindness and delusion.

It was interesting to see Crichton mention this. Especially in light of the book I'm reading now, Intuition, also about science, and taking all this to a new and intriguing level. But more on that later.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wild Turkey and American Gangster

Well, the Thanksgiving holiday is over. We had a nice one. I cooked a wild turkey this year. I don't think I'll do it again for Thanksgiving. It tasted okay, and didn't have a lot of fat on it, but the meat was a little dry and a little tough, and the skin was just yucky. Not crispy and good, but thick and rubbery. Also the dark portions of the drumlegs and thighs were veined with tendons and connective tissue that made it harder to eat. Didn't taste bad, but not as good as a Butterball.

I read in today's paper that the reason chickens and turkeys have white breast meat but dark leg meat is because they hardly do any flying. Muscles that are used a lot are usually dark with blood. Muscles that are fast twitch muscles, used for sudden bursts -- like a chicken's quick flight away from the dog -- are white. So duck meat is all dark, because ducks fly and swim and move around a lot. Wild turkeys run and jump all over the place, which is why their leg meat is darker and tougher...

We also went out with our movie group on Friday night to see American Gangster with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Excellent. I really liked it. The lead actors were fantastic. But the story, which is based on a true story -- the principles are still alive, in fact -- was fascinating. Frank Lucas, the Denzel Washington character, presented a chilling picture of the way Satan is. The one thing I dislike most about fantasy films is that they always portray the evil creatures/people as hideous, repulsive with bad teeth and overactive salivary glands. Of course, Satan's not like that at all, but rather the most beautiful creature ever to come from the hand of God. And though he is fallen, he still has that beauty. He is still incredibly attractive, charismatic, charming, wealthy and powerful. He values authority (as evidenced by Ephesians 6 where the run down of his organizational structure is given) -- so long as it's his own! -- and he has no compassion whatsoever for those under him. He uses them and casts them aside when their use runs out or they displease him.

I can't get over how well that was portrayed by Denzel Washington as he brought Frank Lucas to life. Right down to his ability to drag all his family into his corruption. Some of the reviewers I've read seem to struggle with his goodness -- he's always well dressed, poised, almost always in control and amiable, unless you cross him. He lives in luxury, beauty, order. He provides order to the streets, gives graciously to the poor, takes his elderly mother to church every Sunday... and can whack a guy at the drop of a hat. Put the gun to his forehead and pull the trigger without a blink. How can this be? some seem to ask.

Consider this quote from a review by Frank Wilkins for Reeltalk:

"We're disgusted at seeing small children wallow in the filth of their heroin-addicted parents, yet we can't help but be charmed by his aristocratic courtesy, amiable nature, and impeccable appearance. Washington is so convincing, we're forced into an uncomfortable struggle with our own moral beliefs. Is a crime-riddled world acceptable if it's kept neat and orderly by a man of wealth and integrity?"-- An American Godfather by Frank Wilkins, Reeltalk

No it's not acceptable. What is neat and orderly about addiction? About all the thousands of people who died from using the product Lucas was selling? The children left orphaned because of it? And how can he ever be regarded as a man of integrity given what he's doing? His facade was nice, but underneath was evil, arrogance, and self-absorption. Just like Satan, who goes forth as an angel of light and who wants to be like God. Not the opposite of God, but to take God's place, and in his very independence and self-will is the essence of what evil really is. Not sin. Not nastiness, but independence. And the kind that tries to be good -- apart from God -- is the worst of all.

Russell Crowe's character was, on the other hand, not neat and orderly. His Richie Roberts was slovenly, and his personal life a mess -- divorce, custody case, promiscuity -- even as he maintained the highest level of integrity when it came to his job as a police detective. I enjoyed the contrasts, and the way the two men were set against each other. The good vs the evil, but done in a way that makes you sort through what things really matter, and what things don't.

The acting was awesome, the sets fascinating, the whole cast fit together well. There was violence, yes, but not the gross out, blood and brains spraying everywhere every five minutes of some gangster films -- this was more subdued and did not happen that often. There were also yucky scenes of needles going into arms, legs, whatever; naked girls processing the drugs in the slum lab (naked so they couldn't steal anything); the ravages of drug addiction shown pretty clearly; quite a few bad words; and some rather active dogs-on-the-street-corner sorts of sex scenes. Not for children, as its R rating indicates. But it's a movie that fascinates, that held my attention, mostly riveted, for the entire two hours and 40 minutes, and left me with much to think about. I think I might like to see it again.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Long Way

"Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element..."

Yet, "this poor people's present condition..." was hardly promising. " friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies, no houses, or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succour..."

With winter storms howling around the tip of Cape Cod, "whichever way they turned their eyes (save upward to the heavens) they could have little solace or content in respect of any outward objects. For summer being done, all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face; and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild ad savage yhue. If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world... Let it also be considered what weak hope of supply and succor they left behind them... What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace?"

~William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation, Wright and Potter Edition (Bradford's History of the Plymoth Settlement 1608 - 1647)

Oh, how far we’ve come!

This season may we take time to reflect on all the blessings, security and comforts we too often take for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Perfectionism is Nasty

There are SOOO many doctrines against perfectionism! Or maybe I should say so many of the elements (ways of thinking) that combine to produce perfectionism are so wrong!

Like, Perfectionists focus on the end result instead of the process. They tend to live in fear and doubt (out of the innate knowledge that they're very unlikely to produce the perfect product their warped standards demand). And guilt (which comes from the inevitable failure to attain their unrealistic goals). They live in "shoulds": "Oh, I should've worked on Box today! I didn't. I'm baaad..."

Except on the day that I wrote this, I did work on it. I got the notes for the next scene out and pulled together all the info on the viewpoint character forit. But no, that's not enough. I should've done more. Now I'm going to be behind and might not finish in time.

What is that last line? It's worry. What is worry? A SIN! Stop worrying about anything, says Phil 4:6.

"I am not behind." (A Flylady saying) "And God is not interested in me catching up." (a paraphrase of a Flylady saying) He doesn't need me to catch up. He just wants me to stop beating myself up with guilt, confess it and get back in the plan.

Perfectionism is just innately wrong. It's arrogance. It's thinking you are something when you're nothing. It's thinking you can do things perfectly, which is a lie, or that things depend on your performance, which is a lie. It's setting up your own standards and believing that if you fulfill them, then you are good and God is pleased. Total legalism.

The idea that you must do things perfectly to win approval of other people or even yourself is completely against grace and the word, which says we're all dust and we can do nothing apart from Him. Everything done in the power of the Spirit has worth. Everything done in the power of the flesh is utterly without worth. And things done for the wrong reasons = things done in the power of the flesh. Like desiring the favor of men; like wanting to feel approved and worthwhile because of your accomplishments when the Bible says you're already approved and worthwhile in God's eyes because of HIS accomplishments; like thinking that blessing and success and whatever it is you want actually comes from your efforts rather than the grace of God. Perfectionism is a terrible insult to God and His grace.

But I realize it's not going to be easily set aside. Mental habits don't change overnight, or because you want them to. You have to confront them daily and replace them with truth, over time. In some cases you have to turn to a different way of thinking entirely. (Like how do you focus on the process and not the end result? but that's for another post)


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Goal Work

I'm pleased to report that I finished Chapter 10 on Friday! Hooray. On Saturday I pulled out all my notes on the next possible scene. I'm still wrestling with how to assign myself good, attainable goals, especially when things are as amorphous as they are now. One thing I've thought is that I will try to work for three hours every day on the book.

Another thought I've had is to break the book down into sections, like Flylady's zones, where you work on each room/chapter for a specified period of time (say a week) and when the time is up you move on, knowing you'll come back to it later. In the case of the house zones, they repeat every month. In the case of the book's chapters... well, coming back to them could be when I go through the next draft. Probably in a couple of months.

It sounds good on paper. I'm not sure I can do it, though. I'm pretty sure I could start out writing something and making myself stop at week's end. What I'm not sure of is whether I could keep going with it. When I've tried this in the past I've eventually run into a wall where no matter what I did I couldn't write. Or if I wrote it bored me to tears.

I see I shall have to work on this...

Oh, and I touched base with my editors at Bethany House on Friday and I have a new deadline: March 31, 2008 with a planned release in the Spring of '09. That's a whole year and a half away. Which is nice -- it gives me time to work, where I haven't had that in awhile!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back to the Biofreeze

Today I saw Dr. Meaney, my orthopedic surgeon, for what I hope is the last time. My arm is doing well, and I should have full recovery of my range of motion by the first of the year. To celebrate I came home, worked a bit on chapter 10 -- I think it's very close to done -- then went to the Y. My arm was doing so well there, when I got home again, I decided to do the set of arm exercises I'd forgotten to do at lunch time. I was quite vigorous in my pushing, figuring, I suppose, that I wouldn't wait for the first of the year to get that range of motion back, but regin it all today.

For that idiocy, my hand is now throbbing for the first time in a couple of weeks. And my right hand has been sore for days from too much housework after next to none for way too long! So, I'm walking about with two flippers again <<>> and am now going to go and put on some Biofreeze and ice the thing in search of relief.

Which is why this post is so short. Have a great weekend.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mopping the Ceiling

I'm really tired tonight. Had a big day, with lots of things in it. I had to do my morning routine, including arm exercises, then get in some writing time, then more arm exercises, so I could leave at 11:30 to get the car washed and then take my mother and sister to an art show. From there it was off to my physical therapy appointment, hurry home to walk around the park and get back in time for Bible class... With little time to spare between activities.

I had it all mapped out. Not surprisingly, God had other plans. I'd just finished my routine, was on the verge of going to the office to start writing when I accidentally dislodged a bottle of root beer from its six-pack carton in the laundry room and it fell to the floor. Amazingly it didn't break, but the fall built so much internal pressure it popped the lid off and sprayed the kitchen. Root beer shot across the floor to the opposite side of the room, doused the stove, the fridge, the cabinets, the walls... It also puddled into the doormat beneath the bottle and spattered the carpet in the adjoining bedroom. what a mess!

I cleaned it up, hosed off the mat, then found root beer on TOP of the microwave. How did it get up there? I wondered. Then I looked up. My white kitchen ceiling had transformed itself into something out of Carlsbad Caverns -- a brown wash, gathering itself into an array of stalagtite drops, which looked as if they'd fall to my newly cleaned floor/microwave, etc, at any moment. Aaack! I grabbed the mop I'd just used on the floor, rinsed out the head and mopped my ceiling. I've never done that before. It works rather well.

Since I had to move the dog crate to get the mat out so I could take it outside to hose it down, I decided I should use the opportunity to clean under that as well, even though it was root beer free. Then about two hours later, when the mat had dried, I had to put it all back.

I lost about an hour to all that, but the rest of the day went more or less as scheduled. I'm starting not to be so bothered by things like that. Even though it undoes a lot of what I'd just done, or puts me back on my schedule, I'm realizing that it doesn't matter what kind of obstacles come up. The system is solid and if I just keep with it, all will get back to normal eventually.

And as it turned out, I did get in some work on chapter 10, despite it all. I'm doing revisions right now, changing the direction I was going with the scene, and got about half way through it before I had to stop. And I have the next few scenes after this outlined. The 15 minutes on the timer method is working well (for writing and decluttering!). In addition to getting me started I use the timer to remind myself to get up, stretch a bit, walk around, and then come back -- which is good for my hands. I don't always do that after the first 15 minutes, but always after the second.

Sometimes I even use it to write a blog post! And now, the time is nearly up and I need to get ready for bed. I have high hopes that tomorrow morning will proceed more smoothly than today, and I will get at least 2 hours of work in. Maybe even three. But I don't want to get unrealistic in my goal-setting. LOL.


Monday, November 12, 2007


Last year (2006) when we went to the Oregon conference, we took a trip to the beach, which was very different from the one we took this year. Then it was cold, windy, so misty it fogged your glasses. We left much sooner than we expected because everyone was freezing. But one of us managed to catch this picture of Sasquatch!

Well... maybe not. But we were in the Pacific Northwest.

I've followed the Sasquatch saga off and on since I was a teen and the film footage captured by Roger Patterson on October 20th, 1967, of a bigfoot in Northern California had just come out. I went through a period of being intensely interested in all things weird -- UFO's, the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch and Yeti.

On the one hand I think maybe they do exist. The habitat they are said to live in is rugged and remote for the most part. And it's not as if they're never seen, just not seen at the right time to prove their existence. And proving their existence would only come through actually capturing or killing one of them. If they are as smart as some suggest, maybe this would be difficult enough that it's not happened yet.

Anyway, I like the idea that they're out there, and while I think Patterson's footage doesn't look very realistic, despite the claims of some "experts" that it does (there's no zipper, they couldn't have made a costume like that in those days and some people claim to see muscle movement), the legend is fun to contemplate. For example, maybe they're descended from the Nephilim!

Okay, true, we have no record of Nephilim being hairy and living like animals, but ... perhaps it's a result of inbreeding! LOL.

If you want to see stills from the footage and maybe read a little bit (or a whole lot) about the Bigfoot case, check out the Crypto-Bipedal-Primatology website, which offers a "Study of Unclassified Bipedal Primates: SASQUATCH"

It think the thing that I find most interesting is the whole attempt to prove it's true, when proponents really don't have the one thing that would nail it all down: a body. Which, of course, doesn't mean it's not true. We only just got actual footage of a giant squid in action, so it's possible -- likely -- there's still quite a bit about the world and its creatures we don't know.

Have fun!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Realistic Goals

The perfectionist sets standards and goals that are unrealistic and unreachable. A good goal is specific (so you'll know when you reached it) and attainable -- that is, some action you can actually to to attain a certain result.

The goal of emptying out the closet and throwing away the things I no longer want is specific and something I can do. However, Flylady would say that goal is still too big. Better is, 'I'm going to work on the left side of the shelf in the closet for 15 minutes.'

I think I understand that, but now I want to translate that to writing. I was noticing last week (before I was struck with this realization of perfectionism) that my writing goals for the day had gotten vague and grandiose: "Work on Chapter 10." That could be anything from writing ten pages of prose to staring out the window to finishing the chapter entirely. (In fact, I think much of the time that was the hope that lurked at the back of my mind when I set that very poor goal.)

The reason you make the goal specific is so you'll know when you've completed it. "Work on Chapter Ten" could conceivably be considered finished after giving it one second of thought. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, only when the chapter is finally completed to my liking, which could take weeks. On any given day I could work all day and still not complete the goal. Which is probably why I so often feel like I'd accomplished nothing, even though I'd worked for hours. Because I've set the wrong goal. Or set no conscious goal at all, relying merely on that "work on Chapter 10" thing.

So this week, I'm going to set more specific and reachable goals. "Work on chapter 10 for 3 hours." That can be broken down into 15 minute increments: "During this 15 minutes I will read through the beginning of Ch 10 which I wrote on Friday and make whatever notes or changes as occur to me." Or, "I will address the notes I've made, one by one." Or, "I will make the changes I've proposed," or "write one paragraph of description of this place."

Small achievable goals. And with the timer going off every fifteen minutes, I will also remember to stop and stretch!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Perfectionism Revisited

"Perfectionists tell themselves that their determination to be
perfect will win success..." (From Perfectionism: A Double-Edged Sword)

I know that I cannot personally be perfect, and don't try to be. I know that in much of my life I'm not going to do things perfectly and I'm fine with that. I try to do the best I can, but hey, we're not perfect. Even in the Christian life, I'm well aware of how weak and stupid I am, and how easily I fall and fail and have to get back up again. There's freedom in all that.

But there was one little spot... maybe one of those little rooms that Eph 4:27 references in "do not give the devil and opportunity" ("opportunity" translated from topos which means a spot, a location, a room). A place in your thinking where you are blind to what you're doing. Those motivations we don't always know we have, or that we've slipped back into.

One of those little areas where I was operating in full blown perfectionism and didn't even know it. If I could just come up with the most scintillating plot, exciting, compelling, profound, why then the book would be successful. If I fail to do that, of course the book would not be successful. It all depends on me. I have to do it.

I thought I had already jettisoned that nonsense from my thinking and yet, here it was, back again. Like those nasty spirits in Poltergeist. "They're ba-ack..." Ick.

Of course all this is a battle of thoughts. Thoughts like that must be confronted and brought into captivity to the mind of Christ. And the mind of Christ says I am already accepted by the only one who matters -- God, Himself -- and that God is fully able to bless me with adundant success if He chooses, success that would have nothing to do with my striving for the perfect plot. One look at the industry would show me books I don't think have good plots being wildly successful while books I think have good plots fade into the background. So... the whole thing is just nutty. Especially when I let it push me into procrastinating and then into guilt and fear and all the rest of it.

** I wrote the preceding paragraphs on Tuesday, figuring that Wednesday and Thursday I would proceed in dealing smoothly with this newly identified relapse into perfectionism. Of course, that approach is perfectionistic in itself. And there were so many things that happened in these last two days that... I didn't really have the chance. One thing I did realize is the importance of babysteps, as Flylady says. Babysteps in the writing as well as in all the other things. But how can I apply the concept of BabySteps to writing?

That's for next week, by which time, hopefully, I'll have figured it out.

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Perfectionism: A double edged sword

I know I have perfectionistic tendencies, and I've fought with them before, but mostly I thought I'd overcome them. Then I started reading the Flylady essays, and she mentions perfectionism and its ugly head quite often. Perfectionism is why we start decluttering the closet for fifteen minutes and then can't stop. Why we wait so long for things to get dirty, because we need the satisfaction we get from the big contrast our efforts make -- nasty transformed to nice.

And I'll admit, I have had a lot of trouble stopping after my timer goes off. Yesterday I went through some stuff, the timer went off and it took me more than double that time just to get all the stuff thrown away, bagged up, etc. I should have just stopped and done all that throwing and bagging the next day but I didn't. I felt compelled to get it gone because it felt so good.

It just didn't feel so good later when I'd used up much of my time for writing. Using up much of my time for writing has been happening a lot. I've not been overly concerned most of the time, but I have noticed it. I have noticed that I'd rather clean or dejunk the closet than get down to business. Or research. Or make birthday cards. Or, lately, get organized. For awhile I told myself it was nothing. But more and more I've been thinking it was something I should address.

Today I did it again. Used up my time on this and that (all worthwhile pursuits) and then sat down about an hour before lunchtime. I finished up chapter 9 and then was faced with 10 and a bunch of questions I had no answers to and ... kept thinking of other things to do. Finally I stopped and went to the Lord because I was pretty sure I was sinning, but I wasn't sure how.

He showed me right away: fear I wouldn't write a good enough book, self-condemnation because I wasn't getting anything down, implacability toward every idea that I came up with. They were all bad. They were all mundane. They weren't special and I needed special.

This immediately reminded me of a testimony that just came through the Flylady email loop where the woman couldn't seem to get down to the business of establishing her daily routines because she was spending all her time researching on the net, trying to find a better/the best calendar to keep track of her activities. Finally realizing that was wasted effort she stopped... only to get sidetracked again trying to find a better/the best feather duster...

Instead of calendars and feather dusters, I was trying to come up with a better/best event, string of events, etc, for my plotline! Well, yes, I know I already have a plotline. One that the Lord gave me when I was writing the proposal. One my agent actually got excited about and Bethany House contracted me for. But it was no good. I needed something better. Was this not... perfectionism rearing its "ugly head" yet again?

It was. I googled perfectionism then, and found a couple of sites, which I read. Right on. One of them was at the University of Texas site here. I especially liked what this article said regarding the myths about perfectionism. Like "I wouldn't be the success I am today if I weren't such a perfectionist." Actually "there is no evidence that perfectionists are more successful than their non-perfectionistic counterparts," whereas "there IS evidence that given similar levels of talent, skill or intellect, perfectionists perform less successfully than non-perfectionists."

Whoa. And that leads right into the realization that perfectionism is all screwed up from the get-go because it's the striving to do something perfect, in hopes it'll be accepted/approved by people, thus earning success from one's own efforts and shoving God right out of the picture.

God's called me to write this book and promised that He will provide me with everything I need to do it. So... why not just take Him at His word, stop searching for the perfect sequence and just sit down and do the best I can in the time I have? In fact, give myself a specific time period to come up with a solid outline, with chapters and scenes and linkages and all that. Not a perfect outline, not a thrilling outline, not a spectacular outline, not even an outline I think is splendid. Just an outline. Okay, a coherent outline. Or, maybe not even that.

So that's what I think I'm going to do tomorrow.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Progress, not perfection

Time for a picture.

This is a shot of a canyon tree frog taken by a friend of mine on her travels through the riparian areas of our desert. I think he's pretty cute.

Well, it was a busy weekend, and promises to be a busy week with doctor's appointments, rehab appointments, birthday celebrations, and Thanksgiving already looming in the near future. We're going to use a wild turkey this year; the one that's already in our freezer. Should be interesting.

We have just discovered the return of the termites -- they build little exploratory mud tubes down from the ceiling in the living and dining rooms. Last night (after I'd just finished decluttering the bed in the office/bedroom) we had to take everything out of the closet and put it on the bed so my hubby could climb (literally) up into the attic and see what was going on. He replaced some boards, but still needs to treat the area with termaticide, so the stuff is staying on the bed for now. But! I am using this opportunity to start decluttering the closet.

One of Flylady's sayings is "Progress, not perfection." I'm adopting it in my cleaning (whatever I do, it's cleaner than it was if I'd done nothing) and also in my writing. It's a nice little mantra to head off the, "But I don't know if this is the best/perfect way to do this scene." Instead, I just plow ahead, shoehorning the stuff in as I can and moving forward. I'm on chapter 9 now, having redone parts of 4 and 8. I had thought last week that I would be radically changing the second scene of ch 9, but now I think I'm going to leave the flow of events more or less as they are, and tweak them a bit. That's for tomorrow.

Have a great day

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Last Friday we finally saw Transformers, a film I wanted to see when I first saw the trailers for it -- and was thwarted first by my broken leg and then my broken arm.

I'd always loved the way my son's transformers worked and the way the ones in the movie changed looked even cooler. It is a kid's movie, and in my opinion, walks a fine line between too kid-oriented to watch and pretty good. It does a lot of things right. Shia LaBeouf, who plays the lead, is an intriguing actor, reminding me vaguely at times of a very young Russell Crowe. I love the soundtrack. There are some very funny parts. And the transformers were very cool to watch as they shifted forms and engaged in their battles.

Even more interesting to me were the places where the film touched on elements of the real angelic conflict. A friend suggested it provided a cool visual aid for spiritual concepts in that you are watching these huge, powerful superbeings engaging in violent conflict over the right of humans to be free to live their lives. One is even assigned as a personal guardian of the hero. (Though I admit, I had some believability issues when the guardian's name was revealed. "But that was one of the transformers real names, Mom," my son informed me. Still... Bumblebee????)

Other things that struck my fancy:

At the end, the bodies of these huge robot warriors are dropped into a deep trench in the ocean, where pressure and frigid temps would immobilize them -- reminiscent of Bible's mention of an abyss under the sea, place of imprisonment of angels following their defeat in battle.

The main transformer villain was found frozen in the arctic, and was kept frozen as he was studied -- the secrets taken from him allegedly sparking our human "discoveries" of the microchip, and other things I can't recall. The Bible says that in the end times it will be like the days of Noah. In those days fallen angels walked the earth in physical form, and according to the Book of Enoch (an extrabiblical writing classified as pseudapigrapha but useful in learning what people thought about such things at various times) were said to have given men technological information like fire, medicine, astronomy, astrology, metalworking, etc.

The transformers' ability to take on form of common machines/electronic instruments and move amongst people unnoticed (the good and evil ones) also echoes angelic operation. Since they go among us unseen. The Bible even says (Heb 13:2) we are to be hospitable to strangers, because by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

So I guess overall I'd recommend it. It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours and I came away with some cool images and also, fabulous writing music roaming through my brain.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Flylady Report

Well, my week has flown by, as I suppose is no surprise with all the things I'm suddenly doing. I remain very pleased with the guidance, encouragement and ideas I've gotten from It's all about establishing routines -- habits, really, but in "baby steps" as they like to say. You work on one at a time for a month.

Well, as it turns out, a number of the small habits and routines she's advising people to establish I've already established. When I get up in the morning, I automatically get dressed and make the bed. Hardly even have to think about it. As for the sink -- I've been doing that almost a month now and I found myself at a friend's wiping her sink down after I'd finished washing my hands. Seems like maybe that habit is already taking.

I've also made a habit of using a calendar (though the degree to which I consult it varies -- Flylady's emails are helping me with that). What I haven't made a habit of is putting things away when I'm done. No. That's not exactly right. I don't put away the projects I'm working on that I intend to come back to later. When she suggested that I do so, I was stunned. Well... yeah. Especially in a small house this makes sense. And it's not like it takes all that much time. A whole minute maybe.

So putting things away when I'm done for the day or even moment, is a new thing I'm developing. I like the lack of clutter this produces. In a small house leaving things out really does make a significant difference.

The other thing that has just blown me away (besides the effects of the sink, which are ongoing) is her use of the timer. "You can do anything for 15 minutes" is one of her sayings. Using it has made a huge difference. I use it for different household tasks but also for writing. I've started working 10 minutes a day on fan mail. The key to timer use, it turns out, is not so much getting you going (which it definitely does) but STOPPING when it goes off. I still don't do this very well, but it's a big part of the system. Whether you're done or not, you stop. And that's the big help because my tendency, once I get on a roll with something, is not to stop. And then I don't get the other things done that I really needed to do that day. Resulting in not doing the first thing (like the email) at all the next day, and then many days afterward, for fear of falling into the two-hour time trap.

Anyway, I'm pleased to report that I continue to stick with Flylady, am more comfortable with all the emails as I understand the intention, and am delighted with the difference in my life they are making. If you're interested, the website is

Have a great weekend!