Road Trip

I love a good road trip. Heck, I love a bad road trip.

Old school map.

I have fond memories from childhood of being stuffed in a car with my family, driving insane distances to view something amazing, and then stop at every odd road side attraction. So of course I wish to pass that on to my kids. But you first must prepare for a road trip. You can’t just hop in the car and go– that causes chaos.

Everyone knows to grab a map, cash, and clothes. But there are other things that are just as important for a long trek in the car. So he goes,

Road Trip Packing List

  • Popcorn– That’s right you heard me, popcorn. Not the store bought stuff on the chip aisle. Don’t get the microwave kind either unless you have a fancy SUV that comes with its own tiny microwave.  I’m talking about that really good popcorn at the local gourmet shop. Now, hold on. Here you can buy 2lbs of buttered popped corn for $10. 2Lbs of popcorn is the size of a toddler. That’s a lot of popcorn. It will last my family of four through an entire one week road trip. Granted when you get home you’ll be finding popcorn for weeks but it’s worth it.
  • Paper towels– You should know this. If you spend 6 hours or more in a car you will need paper towels. Especially if you have popcorn.
  • Red solo cups– They don’t have to be red. Solo cups make the perfect holder for popcorn. It allows you to eat it without getting your hands dirty. Genius! It also makes a great holder for small treasures you find along the way like shells, rocks, and gold doubloons.
  • Playlist/tunes– Every trips deserves its own playlist. I still take a few CDs’s along but most of the time I play mp3’s.  My favorite playlists for traveling are: Spring Break, Summer, and Road Trip. They have tunes specific for the season or long driving sessions. Yes, Radar Love is included. 🙂 Sometime I will make a list geared to the city. New Orleans would have a totally different list of music than Memphis.

    How am I old enough for a teen driver?

  • Reading material– I love to read so I take 2 or 3 paperbacks as well as my kindle. Hubby claims the kindle causes a glare 😦 I also tailor my reading to the trip. This last trip was to North Carolina so I had a handful of mysteries set in the Outer Banks.
  • Toys– That’s right. Take toys. I have teenagers but I still take playing cards, coloring books, and crosswords along for the ride. The girls each took books to read and have a phone but you never know…
  • Towels– It dosesn’t matter where you go. Take a towel. I have one kid who will “accidentally” fall in any bit of water they find. It pays to be prepared.
  • First-aid kit– Again, I have that one child who always needs a bandage or an x-ray.
  • Kites– This is specific to the trip we took. But if you are heading to the beach or an area with open spaces a kite is fun and relaxing. It ended up being too windy to fly our kites but we had them.

Make new friends.

 

Road trips are a great way to bond with the wee ones. It’s an adventure where all sorts of things can go wrong 🙂

What do you take on a road trip?

-CK

 

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Haint Blue

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Life has been crazy, forcing me to put aside writing and focus on home and hearth. And read. I hope Spring will bring a little peace and time, and frame of mind, to write.

Haint Blue

Every Southerner knows what haint blue is and what it’s used for.

Haint Blue is a specific color traditionally used in the South to paint the ceiling of porches. I don’t have a porch. If I did I would paint it blue. A soft blue-green to be precise.

But why the name?

Haint means to haunt or ghost.

So haint blue means blue ghost…?

Why? If asked most will say the ceiling is painted blue becasue that’s just the way it is done. I’ve never seen any color other than blue.  A soft shade of blue brings to mind breezy summer days. It invites a body in to sit a spell and drink iced tea in a swing. I’m not entirely sure what a ghost has to do with it.

A bit of research…

Ah, here we go. Haint blue is protection from influence of restless spirits, much like our bottle trees.

Sherman Williams has a nice page on Haint blue if you are interested in reading a bit about it and browsing through the colors. Maybe after my kitchen is finished my honey will build me a porch.

The Land of Color also has a nice article full of lovely colors.

The Awl takes a more historical look at haint blue. I highly suggest this article.

There you go. Haint blue ceilings. What color is your porch?

-CK

2017 Goals Revisited

The goals for 2017 were short and simple.

Yet, I still managed to fail miserably at them.

2017

  • Write 200,000 words.- I wrote 38,145 new words.
  • Edit 600 pages.- I edited 449 pages.
  • Walk 2,600,000 steps. Really who knows. I gave up in February.
  • Read 80 books. My only real success. I read 96 books.
  • Find the shipwreck at Ft. Morgan. My wrist surgery kept me from the beach. I even failed at this. 🙂
  • Complete devotional. I did complete a devotional just not the one I intended to read.

2017 was not a good year for these goals.

Goals in themselves are of no value. To me, the value of goals is to see why or why not you succeeded. You learn something about yourself. I learn from my mistakes. Sad fact.

I learned I hate exercise. I knew this already. But I have no internal motivation to exercise. I just don’t have it. I’m not even sure what it would take to make me exercise on a regular basis. It’s not going to happen.

I’m also a creature of habit. If I’m going to do anything on a regular basis I must make it a scheduled event until it is habit. If I can write between 25,000 – 50,000 words in November why can’t I do that in January? Is it the little tracker I have marking the words? Is it the winner T-shirt? What is it? Or is it knowing that millions of people around the globe are like me and trying to write the novel in a month. It’s possible I’ve done it before.

The difference. I made it a priority. I sat down every day no  matter what and I wrote. In preparation for NaNo I spent October editing another story. So it wouldn’t sit on my desk staring at me. I edited over 80 pages that month.

So what do I do?

That’s the million dollar question isn’t it.

It boils down to priorities and motivation. I allow my family to take precedence over my writing. That’s not going to change. Family first. I also allow household issues to overshadow writing time. My house is old. It needs lots of work. At the moment we are working on the kitchen. At some point in the next millinia, we will be finished with that. But it takes time, money, and brain power from writing. Wrist surgery also kept me away from writing.

I’ve never treated my writing as a job. It’s a dream. A hobby. A desire. But in honesty I’ve never let my job overshadow my family life and responsibilities. I’ve alwasy been family first.

As I sit down and think about what I want to accomplish in 2018 the one thing I don’t want to do is let the fire for writing be smothered by the feeling of failure because I didn’t reach my goals. I knew when I made them that they were lofty goals.

Am I disappointed when I look over the numbers from last year? Yes I am. But I did make strides. I did make certain accomplishments. I know have two stories that need polishing before submitting. I’m happy with that.

Over the next few days I will be assesingmy goals before i comit to anything.

Happy New Year,

-CK

NaNoWriMo Prep 3

NaNoWriMo 2017 Participant Flair

It is official I am participating in NaNoWriMo 2017. I say it’s official because I finally signed up at NaNoWriMo. I also bought the t-shirt. Not the winner shirt. I usually buy the winner shirt in advance but last year I didn’t finish. Not even close. So now when I wear the shirt I feel guilty.

Goals from last week:

  • complete character inventory sheet/backstory Done. I think most of the character work on the four most important characters is complete. I know I will continue to add to them as I plan but the hard work is finished.
  • Sign up on NaNo website Done. I just need a title now.
  • Work harder on finishing Origins. It’s not finished but it is close. There’s probably less than 20 pages left to edit.
  • Think about the major plot points for NaNo. I have a few plot cards.
  • Finish setting out Ghost rules (from last week)

I consider last week a success even though I did not finish everything. This week is plot and research.

Goals for week 3 Preptober:

  • Make a list of “locations” and describe- these are the main locations where the story takes place: MC apartment, where she works, and the cemetery. Yes, every ghost story needs a cemetery.
  • Begin assembling a list of minor characters- just the few that I know I need. Most will be added as I write.
  • Plot, Plot, Plot
  • If possible visit local history library for research- there’s a few things I need to research for my story
  • create a list of synonyms for walk- don’t laugh, this will make my life so much easier

That’s pretty much it. More than enough to keep me busy.

What are you working on this week?

-CK

NaNoWriMo Prep 2

 

 

 

 

Last week was horrible. Between kid activities and the hurricane, I’ve accomplished next to nothing. I’m still working on Origins. I had hoped to have this round of edits finished before NaNo, but I’m not so sure that will happen. I’m 3/4 of the way through, but I have to change POV. I’m going from 3rd person to 1st. It’s tedious to say the least. But it works much better this way. A quick shout out to K. Nebity, she recommended I read The Phantom Tollbooth. I did. I enjoyed it but not as much as I would have if I had read it as a kid. Thanks for the recommendation.

NaNoWriMo 2017

October is Perptober. I didn’t know it had an actual name:)

I have the main idea of the story (spark) and the two main characters. I still need to finish fleshing these characters out and finish with the ghost rules.

This week goals:

  • complete character inventory sheet/back story- I like to delve deep into my main characters. So this is a must this week.
  • Sign up on NaNo website- I need to do this. I did buy this year’s t-shirt. And it’s already arrived 😉
  • Work harder on finishing Origins.
  • Think about the major plot points for NaNo. It’s a ghost/mystery story. I want this started soon because I will need to do a little research at the library later.
  • Finish setting out Ghost rules (from last week)

If you are going to participate in NaNo this year, Click here to read more information and sign up. There are also Twitter sprints that take place once NaNo starts. I love those. Sprints really make you write. There are also other groups on different social media sites.

A few sites with NaNoWriMo Prep ideas:

Boho Berry has printables and links. She has a beautiful NaNo bullet journal. Yes, I’m jealous.

Storyist has an in-depth page on NaNo prep. It would work for starting a novel at any time.

Better Novel Project has an outline.

Here is an October schedule for NaNo.

There you go. A few resaurces to help you along.

How is your planning going?

-CK

Row80 Round 2 week 6

The countdown clock for summer is in full swing. I am so ready, maybe even more ready than my girls…no on second thought. Even though it is the end of school, I’m starting to prep for fall. My girls go to a small private school which means I have to buy books and uniforms. Bummer. But so worth it, we love our school. This week I had to locate pictures of Daughter #1 for the 8th-grade recognition slide show. Pictures of her over the last 14 years 😉 No I did not include that embarrassing one of her chewing on her toenails. Although I thought about it. I found one of my favorites.

Look at that hair! You can see the bayou behind her as she flies by on my daddy’s boat. She was a cotton-top when she was little. Her hair still has the corkscrew curls, but not as blond. Sigh.

I also received the book list and uniform policy for next year. Thankfully, she can still wear the uniform she has unless she outgrew it. She probably did, she’s at least two inches taller than me. Yes. She’s tall, thin, and blond. I’m so doomed. The book list is insane. I went ahead and ordered her summer reading books, both deal with the Holocaust. That should bring up insightful conversations this summer.

If that’s not enough trauma for me, Baby Doll has her swim team party this week and the last band concert next week. She’s only 17 months younger than her sister. She’s so excited for next year. This will be the first time they are on different campuses 🙂 Time to spread some wings.  Baby Doll has been swimming since she was 4ish. At first, water was the only thing she feared. Now, we don’t even have that! I’m pretty sure she is part fish. Hence our slight obsession with mermaids.

So this summer is a season of changes. New school, new adventures.

On with the goals:

  • Write 200,000 words.
    I wrote 989 words this week, bringing the total to 11,903. Not much but it is something. I have difficulty writing and editing at the same time. It’s like my brain can’t switch gears.
  • Edit 600 pages.
    I edited 11 pages, bringing the total to 312 pages. I am over halfway to my goal.
  • Walk 2,600,000 steps. I’m sorry, but this is not happening. I give up. Dropped.
  • Read 80 books. I finished Caravan of Thieves by David Rich. Not my favorite book. It was okay.  I needed a book by an author with my first or last name for the Mother-daughter reading challenge. I didn’t finish Hunter by Mercedes Lackey. I got bored with it and put it aside. I am currently reading The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I love it! The writing is beautiful. 29/80 books read.
  • Find the shipwreck at Ft. Morgan. Summer goal.
  • Complete devotional. I am now two lessons behind.

There you go. I’m inching forward. I am disappointed about dropping my walking goal but I didn’t see the point in pretending it’s going to happen.

How did your week go?

-ck

Three Weeks Until Summer

That’s right folks, three weeks until the kids are home… all day, every day. Pass the coffee. The end of school tends to be just as busy as the beginning of school. Everything comes to an end with dinners, parties, and programs. My calendar is screaming for relief. This past weekend we drove to Montgomery for the State Bible Drill, my youngest was in it for the first time 🙂 She did well. If you’ve never seen a Bible drill it’s hard to explain. In a nutshell, the students memorize huge amounts of scripture and then have 8 seconds to locate it in the Bible and recite it from memory. She did well, only missed 4 but that was enough to keep her out of the finals. Better luck next year.

On the downside, I am now the proud owner of a moving violation citation (running a stop sign) ;( Really! Okay maybe it was a rolling stop but the road was empty. My hubby had the joy of driving the rest of the day to and from Montgomery!

Let’s get on with this sad goal check.

  • Write 200,000 words. Still at 10,914 words. No new progress.
  • Edit 600 pages.  The total is still 301 pages. To finish Camouflage by June I need to edit roughly 5,000 words a week.
  • Walk 2,600,000 steps.  Yeah, I don’t think this thing is working all that well.My new pedometer says I am at 34,370 steps. I walked over a mile on Saturday and a mile on Monday.  Along with my regular walking. That means I only walked around 14,000 steps this week. Something’s not right here. My previous step count was 474,725. I think I will add the totals together at the end. I’m thinking I may need to ditch steps and change it to timed sessions.
  • Read 80 books.
    I am still reading Caravan of Thieves by David Rich and Hunter by Mercedes Lackey. I have mixed feelings for both of these which is why it’s taking me so long to read them.
  • Find the shipwreck at Ft. Morgan. (summer)
  • Complete devotional. I’m back on track.
  • Deep Cleaning. We have the yard sale coming up this Saturday. I’ve cleaned out both hall closets, laundry room, bedroom closet, and the massive lego horde. This is where most of my energy has been spent.
  • Submissions. Nope. I’ve barely had the computer on this week.

When I do my goal check-in’s I flip open my calendar. May’s is totally blank. That is not a good thing!

Excuse me I have writing to accomplish.

How did your week go?

-CK