The Friday Five

Roussillon, France
Roussillon, France (May 2014)
I've been kind of quiet on the blog recently, and it's not for lack of things to say! It's because I'm continuing to get my life in order. Only a few more items on the spring cleaning list: going through sewing supplies, tools, a few more items of clothing, my husband's books and textbooks, and electronics. Phew! Of course, that doesn't include getting more organized.

We've started buying the hard drives for our RAID system and now we are looking at purchasing a DROBO to hold the back up drives. THEN I will be able to pull my California images off of my camera cards and look at my water drenched hard drive to see if any of my files are recoverable.

I'm also finishing up planning for our trip to Florida, working ahead on planning for our time in NYC when we attend a wedding this fall, and getting ready for our trip to Egypt this winter. Although, let's be real: Egypt is definitely on the back burner. With a summer vacation coming up quickly (that wasn't my choice), obviously my focus is on that. And trying to save money too.

Anyway, here's last Friday's The Friday Five! Please join me in answering these questions. I'd love to read your responses! :)

1) Where did you go, and what did you do, on your last vacation trip?
 I went to DC to the JapanFest and to see the cherry blossoms. We had a friend participating and performing in the JapanFest. We didn't do a whole lot. We walked around, ate pizza, and explored the National Portrait Museum.

2) How often do you take trips for pleasure? As often as I can! I like going during US holidays because I typically have them off of work. Any chance to get out and see the world or explore a place I've never been to!

3) How much vacation time do you take each year? I am given 3 weeks + a number of holidays. I often get extra days during the year equaling to more than four weeks off. (I don't get a choice in the extra days.)

4) Are you satisfied/happy with the amount of time off you can take? I feel like I get a lot of time off compared to others. My biggest worry is that if I take too much time off I could lose my job. Or if I take too much consecutive time off, that could be a problem.

5) What would be your ideal or dream vacation if money and time were no object? Exploring the world. I mean money and time are no object, right? There are too many places I want to see and not enough money or time to visit. A snippet of places I want to see: Japan, Morocco, Greece, Russia (I know, I know), Italy (again), Spain, England, Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, etc, etc, etc…

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!


At the beginning of every month, as part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I take a look at my successes (not just in writing), share the ways I hope to improve in the next month, answer the IWSG question of the month, and provide inspiration (if I have any).

plan for our July trip (currently looking at Miami and New Orleans)
– and for our trip to Egypt.
Mother's Day! And three birthdays. And a first communion.
– Change oil on both cars. Rotate tires on the truck.
Get the truck's transmission looked at. (wasn't necessary)
Recover files from the dead computer.

Additional Successes:
• Got rid of at least 30 books!
• And 8 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of shorts, 2 pairs of shoes, various tops, dresses, and other household items…
• Found old clothing I was able to re-add to my wardrobe! (Like going shopping but cheaper!)
• replaced the bathroom mats that were falling apart
• And got a new pillowcase (So soft!)
• Cancelled Delta Amex.
• Installed keyboard protector on my laptop.
• Bought a book to help with Egypt travel planning.
• Went to an after work happy hour with my husband (i.e. was social)
• Organized all of my art supplies and photography equipment. 
• Helped my mom organize her laundry room, clear out her spare bedroom, hang her mops/brooms up so they are more organized, clean out a coat closet, reorganize her kitchen, and take some furniture to Goodwill.

June Goals:
• Figure out the RAID system, decide how much it will cost, and when we will purchase
• Is there a better way to organize my pictures?
• Finish July travel planning.
• Work more on Egypt planning.
• Rotate truck's tires.

IWSG Question: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Book names. I don't really do fictional writing that involves characters, but even if I did, I think the real problem would always come down to titling a piece. This is a struggle with blog posts, emails, etc, etc… How do you come up with a three or four word title that completely sums up a piece? And, ideally, provides keywords for clicks as well

Of course, big props to fiction authors who have to name characters though. I can't imagine trying to pick out the most fitting name for a character, especially if it implies something about the character's personality or provides foreshadowing for what will happen to the character later in the book!

Your Turn

Do you struggle to come up with titles for writing you produce? Have you ever read a piece where the article seemingly didn't match the title of it? What are the most thoughtful titles or character names you've ever read?

Click here to learn more and
link up with IWSG!

The Friday Five

I always feel guilty when I don't post much to my blog. Why have one if you aren't going to write? Plus, I've had the joy of following along with so many other bloggers that not posting feels almost like not interacting with you all. Like, I'm somehow withdrawing…

However, life occasionally takes over. And I need to focus my attention elsewhere for a time.

IWSG is coming, but here's a preview of my checklist:

+ I've been sick for the past two weeks. So much fun.
+ Spring cleaning. We need more room in the house which means I need to get rid of things. I've taken two small bags of clothing to Goodwill so far and last weekend I filled a box that we need to take. I have endless amounts of clothing and not nearly enough closet space. 80% of it needs to go. I've gotten rid of lots of books (20+), but I still have more that I need to go through. And let's not even talk about the magazines. Or art supplies. (How do you trash markers, crayons, paint brushes, colorful paper? Couldn't all of that be used at a later date to make cards?) Plus so many emotional connections to "items"!  Seriously. It's ridiculous.
+ At work, I'm helping the kids I babysit for spring clean. They are just as attached as I am to their toys! The youngest wants to keep play clothing and shoes that no longer fit. And she's so cute that it's hard to say no.
+ I'm also working on cleaning up and cataloguing files on my laptop. Do I really need to keep blurry images that I will never print or edit? How do I organize my files so that I know which ones I've edited before?
+ My husband and I are looking at getting a RAID set up. Basically, it's a bunch of hard drives that continually backup your computer files in multiple places that way when a hard drive fails, you still have another backup on another drive. The system we are looking at getting would allow us to use some of the hard drives we already have in places of getting all new ones. (It's the difference of approximately $1000 vs. $300.) I also told my husband I want to be able to access my files wirelessly. With the thousands and thousands of image files I've taken over the course of the past five years, I don't have nearly enough room to store them on my computer, so being able to access my files wirelessly is a huge help for blogging and editing purposes.
+ The part of my backup drive holding my Hawaii images is broken, so I'm withholding finishing April A-Z until I can get the drive completely backed up, safe, and secure.
+ Recurpost (where it revives your old tweets) is no longer working, so I need to find an alternative.
+ I sold some clothing on Poshmark! So yay!!!!
+ I also bought some clothing that needs to be returned.
+ I got my hair cut last night with a side bang. All of a sudden I've gone from "mom" to "Can I see some ID?" when I order a drink. YAY! Plus, my hair just feels a lot cuter. It's nice having a change.
+ Then there is my travel planning. My husband says we have to stay cheap for our July travel, so I'm trying to stick to a $1000 budget for a week. 😳Can I do it?
+ Egypt planning is on the back burner. Every Barnes and Noble I've been to only has one Egypt travel book written by Lonely Planet. I don't like their books. The search continues…

And, for fun, the Friday Five:

Would you rather [entertainment version]...
1. Download music // buy a CD
2. Use MP3 player // Use CD Player
3. Watch a movie at a theater // Rent a video
4. Amusement park for the day // Picnic in a park for a day
5. Read a magazine // Dollage with a magazine

A few caveats:
1. CDs take up too much space. I'm spring cleaning! Remember?
2. Who has a CD player any more?
3. I love the whole experience of going to the theater. The popcorn, soda, candy. But I want BOGO movie tickets at a theater where the tickets are $5/person. And I don't want to pick my seat before I get there. I want the first come, first serve experience. If I can't have all of that, then I will just pick a random movie online and watch it for free at home with my husband's delicious homemade popcorn and a rootbeer float. (Go big or go home.)
4. Picnics in Europe watching the sun go down with a bottle of wine is pretty epic BUT we can't do that in the US. So amusement park it is. Give me WDW or Six Flags any overcast day when it's not too hot. Otherwise a museum, the beach, or anywhere cool would better serve me.
5. Let's be real: I don't read. Magazines or books. Maybe one day I'll get to again, but for now they just take up space.

So, that's where I am at. What are you up to? What are your answers to the Friday Five?