Nikon 3300 and Zoom Lens

Just a quick note. I bought a Nikon 3300 camera (the red one – because it’s red 🙂 ) and zoom lens (Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus)  last year. With working, writing, and family life I’ve had little time to play with it. A few weeks ago my husband and I took a few days off to go to Galveston and I gave it a try.

It turned out better than I expected. I used the automatic settings and a tripod (I’m not as steady as I used to be).  The image on the left above is a cropped version of the image on the right. I am so pleased with the clarity of this image. Now, it’s my header image on this webpage.

Hopefully, I’ll get some time to play with it some more. It’s just a wonderful camera. And a side benefit of taking on a dull job. Pay the bills, but find some time to create. It does the soul good.

 

Evergreen Files: UPDATE

EVERGREEN UPDATEQuick note:

Still making progress on the second book in the series: Counterplay. In the meantime I will be making chapters available on my website. These can be accessed as pages in the dropdown menu on the home page of this website.

Today I have added the Prologue for The Evergreen Gambit  HERE and the prologue to Counterplay HERE.

 

Still looking at a spring release of Counterplay on Amazon. Fingers crossed!

 

Simplify: The Art of Making Room for Art

meal2We only have 24 hours in a day. If we want to make room for art – we have to free up time (and money) to do it. One way is to simplify our meals and clean-up as much as possible.

Many of the recipes I use have changed over the years. I don’t have a lot of them written down the way I make them now or how I change them according to what I have one hand. Most of my children have moved away, but they are always asking me to tell them how to make their favorite meals.

I used to make meals for eight – and I think I did a pretty good job of it. But now I have to re-think meals for one or two people who are adults now. And, because I am working often at dinnertime, many nights they have to fend for themselves. So, I am converting many of my meals to simpler, easy-to-cleanup, fast meals.

Another plus, is that converting these recipes frees me from the worry of cooking every night for those who are still at home – giving me more time and energy to devote to my art work.

There are still special times (days off and holidays) where I can cook larger meals for our growing family, but I also know there will come a time when I can’t do it all.  As I grow older, it makes me feel better that they will know how to take care of themselves instead of eating out all the time. And, for now, it will help them spend less and live healthier lives.

Where to start: I recently saw a video for “dorm-friendly” meals and decided to try them. It’s here below:

 

I must say some of the recipes are very good. However, there were a few problems. For example – cooking rice or macaroni in a small mug in the microwave guarantees that it boil over. It makes a terrible mess. Another minor problem is that shredded cheese and milk is probably better for you, but mac and cheese is usually made with a processed cheese food. A third problem was that I found the frozen meatballs I bought disgusting (that may be a brand problem, but I do know how to make and freeze meatballs.) The point is this: if you are going to get people to change over to good habits you have to do it gradually.

Continue reading “Simplify: The Art of Making Room for Art”

The Day Job: Shift Happens

Previously, I spoke about the challenges of working and writing.(The Writing Life: Keep the Day Job)

Today I want to say that I now understand why Millenials are having such a difficult time balancing their lives. Not only is it hard to find a full time jobs, the shift changes from day to day make it almost impossible to have a life outside of work.

Last year I worked as a waitress and, as hard as that was, I loved it. The hours were late and long, but consistent. The job I have now is also hard work, but my hours have no rhyme or reason to them. I work late several nights (past 11 pm) and then have to be in very early in the morning on other days. Shift changes like this make it difficult to get enough sleep every day. I felt young at my old job and now I feel old at my new job.
Millenials suffer the most, I believe, as they never knew a time when this kind of scheduling was frowned on. When I ask co-workers why the scheduling is like this they don’t seem to see it as a problem that can be overcome. They seem to be unaware that they should have better options and that means the job shouldn’t infringe on every waking moment of one’s life.

I’m sure that this sad situation arose out of a need for “flexible scheduling,” but it’s morphed over the years into a chaotic monster that shatters any ability to make plans off company time.  I often find I have no idea whether its morning or night while I’m at work – there’s no frame of reference if one starts work at 6pm one day and 8am the next. The hours blend together – endlessly in some grotesque cycle of work and sleep.

The paranoid in me wonders if it’s not a master plot by some evil HR head. To keep from having to listen to employees complain that they don’t want to work late shifts or they don’t want morning shifts – some genius decided to give everyone bizarre schedules . Then the misery is shared and no one can complain their schedule is the worst. They’re all equally bad.

Continue reading “The Day Job: Shift Happens”

Evergreen Files: Counterplay

Evergreen Files Counterplay cover

I am making steady on the sequel to The Evergreen Gambit. The working title is Counterplay. I still have some scenes to work out, but the outline is done and the (never ending) editing process has begun.

I’ve changed the cover and title several times already. Hopefully, this is the final cover edition.  Still, thank goodness for Photoshop if I do change my mind again. It makes life so much easier for writers.

This sequel addresses some questions that were left as unfinished mysteries in the first novel. Why was it so important for Eliot to be at the Sochi Olympics?  Why was Eliot spending so much time communicating with his ex-wife, Alyona Hubba? Why did it all have to do with Russian politics?

Continue reading “Evergreen Files: Counterplay”