I forgot to blog.

Yes, dear readers, it’s true. For the past nine days, I completely forgot to write blog posts! I’ve been busy with stuff at work and recovering data from a computer hard drive at home. Moral of the story: you can never, ever, ever make too many backups of your data. My theory is this: if it doesn’t exist in at least three places, it doesn’t exist at all. 🙂

This week is going to be busy, too. I have a lot of stuff to do at work and I’ve been working hard on my novel after work. So far I’ve maintained a daily average of over a thousand words, which is the most I’ve ever done! (Except when I did NaNoWriMo, because to win that you have to average 1,667 words per day.) But hopefully I will not forget to blog this week.

Also, can we just ban Mondays? I really think Monday should be an extension of the weekend and we should work four days a week. Who decided to work five days a week anyway?!

Happy Independence Day!

I like the vintage look of this photo.

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

–From the second verse of Francis Scott Key’s poem The Star-Spangled Banner. This poem is our national anthem, though usually only the first verse is sung.

Happy Fourth of July, fellow Americans! Today we celebrate our birth as a nation. Even though I didn’t do anything in particular to celebrate today—aside from not working and listening to our national anthem—this is the best Fourth of July in a long time.

Happy Independence Day and may we have many, many more!

A Weekend In Bullet Points

  • I got home early on Friday, which was glorious, but then the electricity went out less than an hour after I got home, which was not so glorious.
  • Since it went out due to a storm that blew in, a ton of people in the state were out, so it took a few hours for it to be fixed. I didn’t know when it was going to come back on, so I ended up going to Whole Foods for dinner. I actually hadn’t wanted to go out, but everything I had to make required electricity to make it. Some people were out for way longer than I was though, so I’m not complaining.
  • I shopped and read books on Saturday. Oh, and seven months after starting the draft of my novel, I finished it on Saturday night around ten pm. Of course, I immediately started on another book, the one I was outlining concurrently with writing the now-finished draft.
  • I wish I could stay home and write tomorrow. Why don’t we make random days writing days when we don’t have to go to work?!
  • On Friday I picked up a book of essays about the Russian revolution. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it because it looks really good.
  • I wrote so much last night and tonight that I think my June word count will be amazing based on that alone. I really need to throw in more 3,000-word days because those really have a way of upping the daily average! 😉

The Exam Result Is In!

Remember in my last post when I talked about how studying for the final part of a certification exam took over my life? Well, I took the aforementioned exam on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, to be exact. I’d wished I’d been able to get an earlier time, but I got there early and they let me start early, so that worked out well.

Anyway, I received my result right away. This isn’t like some exams where you have to wait for weeks at a time before finding out if you passed or not. And yes, I do have good news: I passed! That means I passed all the exams on the first try and after I file some paperwork, I will finally have my certification!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have passed. Not only was I sick of studying, but I really thought I was going to fail when I was actually taking the exam. There were some really tricky questions that I struggled with. I did a lot of preparation, but there were still concepts I hadn’t seen before.

Anyway, I did some actual fiction writing tonight, and now I’m writing this blog post. I do plan to resume blogging again, so get ready for that. I have some pretty good posts in the works, if I don’t say so myself. 🙂

Trapped In Test Land

I haven’t written fiction in almost three weeks.

My apartment desperately needs a good cleaning, but that’s not going to happen right now.

I haven’t played violin in months.

I haven’t worked on my knitting since the beginning of the month.

And I haven’t blogged in forever. I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I wrote a Wednesday Music post.

Yes, my friends, it has happened. I thought I’d be done with studying after I finished school, but that’s not the case. I decided a few weeks ago to sit down and start studying for the last exam I need for my professional certification. I’m tired of the whole thing hanging over my head, so I’ve been studying nonstop. Obviously I still have to work, too, so there hasn’t been much time for doing things other than studying, I’m afraid.

There is an end in sight because my test date is coming up. Either I’ll pass or I won’t. If I don’t, I’ll be terribly demoralized and have to study more so I can retake it, but I’m really hoping I’ll pass. Then I can get back to writing, both fiction and nonfiction on this blog.

Until then, the posting here is likely to be sporadic, but I hope to start posting regularly again soon!

Life Without Feedly

I’ve been using the RSS reader Feedly since 2013, when Google unexpectedly and unpleasantly announced that it was shutting down Google Reader forever and ever. Feedly was the closest alternative—design-wise, it somewhat resembled Google Reader but was slightly better. (Design has never been Google’s strong suit, if you ask me…)

Fast forward to 2017. Feedly is quite popular since it gained a lot of users when Google Reader died an early death. Unfortunately, the designers and developers at Feedly have been tinkering with it more and more. They kept changing where the settings were, what everything looked like, and all sorts of things. I got sick of it, so a few weeks ago, I exported my feeds and deleted my account.

I started using the WordPress.com reader and it’s surprisingly decent. I mean, I tried it once before and didn’t like it, so I am pleasantly surprised this time around. Granted, I don’t know how useful this would be to someone who doesn’t blog and/or comment a lot with their WordPress.com account. Yes, you do need an account to use it (but that goes for just about any web-based RSS reader out there). I’m a tiny bit obsessed with WordPress, so it is nice to have all of the sites I follow in the same place as my blogging.

I like how it knows what I’m interested in, LOL. Click to see larger.

If you are looking for a central hub to keep up with your favorite sites, I think this reader is worth a try. And just so you know, WordPress did not pay me to say any of this. Though in advance, I feel compelled to tell any WordPress employees reading this that I am willing to accept payment in the form of free WordPress.com goodies (as in, the various paid upgrades they offer) or cold hard cash wired into a bank account. 😉

My First Business Trip

Okay, the title of this post is a little bit misleading. This wasn’t my first business trip—the trip to New York in 2015 that I forgot to blog about was my first business trip—but this was my first trip with my current company.

The city by night after we arrived

Two of my coworkers and I went to a major city in the southeastern US. We ate some fabulous food, which was great. My prior company had a limit of what you could spend per day on meals. I think it was $25 or $35, which isn’t very much for a major city. My current company doesn’t have that. We are asked to “use judgment” when choosing where to eat, which I interpreted to mean that the five star restaurant I really wanted to go to was off-limits. Within reason, though, we could eat anything we wanted. Swiping the corporate card was very satisfying. 😉

However, the highlight of this trip was the hotel. We stayed in a Four Seasons, which was a first for me. I’ve wanted to stay in one for a while. Allow me to explain.

Several years ago, I started writing a crime thriller. In one of the scenes at the beginning, my intrepid protagonist gets to stay in a Four Seasons with her wealthy cousin (the cousin’s wealth greatly ties into the crime aspect of the book). I stopped working on the book for a while, then came back to it in 2015 and finished it. In preliminary edits, I ended up cutting the Four Seasons scenes—too much backstory—but those scenes still had been fun to write and I harbored a secret desire to stay in a Four Seasons. (Also, that book is one of my favorites that I’ve written so far, so I really need to go back and give it a proper editing and try to sell it to a publisher.)

Anyway, who would have guessed that years later, I would be able to stay in a Four Seasons? It was a very neat experience and I do have photographic evidence to share with you.

Here’s the hotel room: the first photo is at night after we arrived and the second is during the day.

The bathroom was quite luxurious, so I had to photograph that as well.

That’s a five-star toilet right there.

And that, my friends, was my experience at the Four Seasons. I ate the restaurant one morning for breakfast, which was decidedly lackluster, so I went to a local bakery the other mornings. Of course, the whole time I was there working and eating with my coworkers, I kept thinking of the book I wrote and how my trip wasn’t just an ordinary business trip. It doubled as book research, a fact I’m sure all my fellow fiction writers will appreciate.