Showing posts with label ok i so love my life :). Show all posts
Showing posts with label ok i so love my life :). Show all posts

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Books You Jump Out of Bed For

 holiday is also good for getting thrifting in -- 75 cent hammered silver cup my latest find.

If you are the kind of reader to have several books on the go at the same time, you are likely the kind of writer to do the same with your novels in progress.

So even though I have a few books I really should finish, I had to jump out of bed and write out the newest that came to me in a big chunk while trying to fall asleep last night: title, plot, sub-plot, main character, and even cover design. Time off work is good for the creative soul.

What writing hot looks like this morning: one fourth of a chapter in 30 minutes. At that rate, it would take 1 work week to get to first draft. But given that most of my writing is done cold (making oneself sit down and get to fleshing out the next scene) it will likely occur within scheduled early morning sessions before my daily walk. Even at that optimistic production rate, this means 100 days until draft completion. I think I have my 2016 project before me.

If you have a writing question or want some feedback on your 2016 writing project, email me at everydaywritingcoach@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Big Fat Newsletter, Cheap Eats Advice, and What to do with those Scraps of Paper Lying Around


It's been a bit since I last posted.
I confess, I've been letting instagram get the best of my day to day. (it's hard not to -- the whole family including my grandma is on there so it's like visiting with them all day long)
My account doesn't get to be the charming hour by hour play by play my sister raising two kids under 2 manages -- my teenagers would definitely not be ok with me following them around for the shots ;) but it'll still be an overshare of what I'm reading, what color polish I'm wearing, and what last food D has cooked up for us. (all riveting, I know ;)

My everydaywritingcoach readers will be happy to know that they will be getting a twice-as-thick summer newsletter for July & August this week. (If you want to sign up simply email everydaywritingcoach@gmail.com You can send your writing questions there as well.)

I am also happy to share this blogger with you. If you are interested in eating real food, buying local, and spending very little money doing it (she feeds a family of 4 on $330 per month), you will want to check her blog out as well.

I'm off to release that newsletter and corral my scraps of paper notes into the summer manuscript.
Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

the important things


A bit of what I've been up to.
The day job has wrapped up for the summer.
Which means the backburner projects have my undivided attention.
(when I am not being distracted by the important things -- see above)
I'm heading to bed early in order to wake up for an early writing session tomorrow.
If you are looking for a writing community or some inspiration, make sure you are signed up to receive the everyday writing coach newsletter -- everydaywritingcoach@gmail.com


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Some Words if you want to Sneak in a Writer's Retreat in Every Month Without Your Family Noticing

 I like to leave notes for myself. At my house if it's on a wall, it's either one of two things: a photograph or some words. Here are some of my favorites. ABOVE: the best to-do list
 ABOVE: my about to be graduated high schooler's grade 1 lines for being noisy at lunch ;) The rowdiness I worried about then is a smile-at-the-memory now.
 
 ABOVE: spread the love, joy, peace, perseverance...
 ABOVE: my little sister brought this back from Ireland for me. It's among my favorite reminders.
ABOVE: this is as true to me today as it was when the boys were little: "Don't wait to make your son a great man. Make him a great boy" Investing love and answering the "why" questions intentionally when you think they're too little for it to make a difference and you will see the results when you've forgotten about the exhausting effort.

The beauty thing about being a writer is that you can string together your own words for others to be inspired by. If this is your leaning, you are in luck. GIVEAWAY for my blog readers: 1 year subscription to the everyday writing coach newsletter (like a writer's retreat in your inbox every month) email everydaywritingcoach@gmail.com with 1YEARFREE in the subject line. You can ask your writing questions as well. New FAQs will be featured every month.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Of thrifted treasures, dinner I didn't make, and time with my boys



One of my favorite things to do to decompress at the end of a demanding week is thrift. This weekend's under $10 haul: 2 farm animal collectibles, a chair for the corner of the kitchen, and a laptop bag.
It was D and my 18th anniversary yesterday. We did our favorite day: hanging out with the boys, getting our individual projects done, going for a drive, and watching TV to a dinner he made. And, chocolate, of course. It was lovely and mellow.
Working on a few to-do's before the kids wake up and the before school and work rush starts. This is my usual writing time. I get it back in a month. I've learned if I try to get everything done at once, I will likely get nothing done. Better to be realistic and compartmentalize the calendar.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When Your Calendar is Filled with Fill-You-Up Stuff.

This quote resonated with me this week. It's been a week of sharing ideas: learning from the online learning communities in the online workshops I am participating in, putting together the soon to be released Everyday Writing Coach monthly newsletter (details coming soon), meeting with my conference planning team-mates in preparation for this great annual event, and doing an author reading at the Writing and Publishing event for FVRL in Hope. Nothing is more exciting than exchanging ideas, no matter the topic. And best of all, these exchanges and relationships are available to everyone. Take a look around and see who can use your information and whose you can use. It's worth your time.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

a man in the kitchen and other dreamy things

receiving magazines from friends, reading them (like any list-making geek, I take notes), and then passing them on to other friends is how I make sure the stacks under my bed don't get any bigger
 little c is a Pictionary superstar. it gets complicated when you are drawing for and against your opponent. and he is a worthy one
 one of his friends has a Christmas time birthday and her favorite color is purple so we hunted down for this stack and wrap. mission accomplished
the beauty of being a list maker and being married to a man who will not get out of the kitchen is that he will use the ingredients for the above to make completely different dishes (that admittedly are better than mine;) I won't complain. while he was training little c to be his soux chef, I was reading.

I've made some strategic writing plans for 2015 but am holding off on their execution so as to get in a bunch of holidaying time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

more season

 it's been a great weekend. in the middle of it, my seventeen year old and I brought some Santa fun to a local library. the kids were so sweet. definite believers among them. one little guy was so star struck he didn't get the courage up to wish Santa a Merry Christmas until he was walking away ;)
 speaking of the season, the cards have started arriving. my favorite was this one from japan. a sweet student who stayed with us this year sent heart warming wishes and some great pictures he took
 I had dinner with some girlfriends this past week where I was gifted this great purse. it screamed holiday party to me (it could have been the oversized green ruffles ;) so I took it to the work shindig d and I went to last night. fun dinner (don't tell our moms, but d even thought it rivalled home cooking -- it was amazing) and dancing (important to balance all that food consumption) and staying overnight to sleep in and have breakfast in peace. that was pretty amazing too.
I have been putting up a few more Christmas trinkets. this one was 75cents at a local thrift store. (my favorite kind)

I am re-reading this book and listening to this. inspiring. and giving the season context. which I love.
this week has one work day and then holidays in which to write and read

Saturday, November 22, 2014

visiting our annual haunt



This time I’ve been more present, less encumbered by first time nerves. I’ve been here to appreciate the humor of having to label my dorm room door because the first day at the end of a work week packed full I was too tired to remember which door was mine. (I found it on the third try --Allison will not let me live that one down ;)
I’ve been here to appreciate turning on the light and reading in the middle of the night without worrying about getting my religiously observed 7 hours or waking D who is also logging hours to fuel his next day (and who has the side of the bed with the lone lamp by virtue of keeping later hours and being no less voracious a reader).
I’ve been here to stare at the ceiling getting caught up in the old glow in the dark stickers which appear when the lights are all off to show me an artificial version of the big dipper, a clever trick that makes the room seem like less of the small containment cube it is.
I’ve been here to witness the first time nerves of other people, the palpable thrill when they say at loud what they only admit to themselves about their writing, and when I discover that my new favorite author could well be someone I’ve led through workshops only hours before.
I’ve been here to eat meals laid out at prescribed times, to get bossed around by a schedule I made myself, to thoroughly enjoy the feeling of camp, and to feel smiley on the inside when a fellow writer declares this the best camp experience she never had as a child.
I’ve been here at the writer’s weekend.
And next year, you could be here too.
 Email me to enquire about a spot. michelle.vandepol@ufv.ca

Friday, November 07, 2014

Ode to Intentional Holidaying


 How did we land up in November so soon? Not that I'm not thrilled. I am a complete Christmas geek, collecting gifts and themed wrap (2 matching reversible patterns so I can keep straight the gifts which are heading in three different directions while we celebrate with our family of five and then with D and my families' of origin). Christmas tunes have been playing at my house awhile (and I am looking forward to putting up the tree the last week of November) and when D and I went out for a long overdue dinner date this week I was thrilled to hear them playing in the little restaurant a road over from our home. (he may have rolled his eyes ;)

Due to making like a girl scout and being prepared, I am now on round II of stocking stuffers. Because little C and I are pulling a near all-nighter getting ready for his sleep deprived EEG (tracking his petit mal seizures), I have the opportunity to make some of these felt stuffies I've been pinning on pinterest.

I'm thinking bunny deserves some new duds as well. what do you think? red cowboy boots? ;)
As the holiday season approaches, I'm looking forward to a mall-free season (FYI; if you want to skip the mall Santa lines, join us as we collect items for local babies & the food bank and get FREE pictures with Santa and a free book at the Hope library Saturday Dec 13 from 1:30-3:30) -- making it about more than the traditional hustle and bustle & focusing on spending time with loved ones, celebrating the reason for the season, and giving back.
Taking a break from the office to make up for last week's six day week. Behind me: date night (delicious, non-interrupted time with D), parent teacher interviews (which always make me fall in love with the kids' school all over again), and the watching of a great documentary on Netflix (happy -- which you will love if you are invested in being happier yourself and finding out the science behind it). Ahead of me: little c and me time (I spy celebratory Starbucks on the horizon and he is hoping to wrangle the brain scan from the technician for some investigation with his grade 5 science class), a playdate that doubles as girlfriend time for me and a couple of mommy friends, and a 2 day spiritual retreat. The sort of thing that fuels my scribing and keeps me sane. you know I like it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

celebrating other people turning 30 and growing up

my little sister turned thirty this week (not the blond one, but the one who has always signed her cards, "your little twin") and my mom, my sisters, and I are heading to the city to celebrate. because it is my day off I started it with a Netflix documentary. it was surprisingly poignant and worth the watch,a definite tribute to sticking with marriage and family, one of the reasons I like career coach blogger Penelope trunk as well. Read her latest punch to the gut post here. today promises to be a pack the bags with new thrift store duds and get out of town kind of day. should make for some good material.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I may suggest what to buy your loved ones for Christmas


The last month has been a crash course in event planning. Our friend's beautiful wedding (the first wedding D & I have hosted and it was a dream), D's 40th birthday, and then a great event at work.
Now I'm back to the regular: a much slower rotation of work, writing, scrapbooking, thrifting, reading, and Netflix series obsessions.
The high schooler is on the cusp of his own driver's license which I'm not sure will cut down my driving as the other two have their own jobs and activities to go to, but it is thrilling (and hand wringingly nervewracking ;) to see him at this milestone.
I'm one of those annoying people counting down until I can turn the Christmas carols on. I've restrained from posting a countdown on my Facebook, but that hasn't stopped me from liking everyone's post who does ;)
Currently reading: Free the Children by the founder of Me to We (it has renewed my interest in kiva.org )
Currently writing: A writer's guide with my other half of the Writer's Weekend. It should be out for Christmas purchasing.

Monday, December 23, 2013

more seasonal captures





we did a little pre-Christmas celebrating with our out of town friends who came over for turkey dinner and board games and homemade wine last night and stayed over with the family for an eggs benny en masse this morning. super fun. (and my first ever turkey turned out well so that was a relief)

I have more family portraits up in the kitchen -- my favorite spot for them (and not only because it's one of the biggest rooms in the house). feeling seasonally touched by family time, advent celebrating, and reminiscing over Christmases past (love the framed nativity sketch that's about a decade old), and the accumulation of Christmas cards in the mailbox.

wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas -- embrace the perfect little moments and brush off the things that go awry.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

advent reads in newsprint

advent goodies to open has always been a tradition at our house. (see here  and) here the two oldest informed me mid last year that they were done with the doo dads to open every day in dec (i suppose it makes sense -- they are 13 and 16 ;) but it was a mental adjustment for me.




once i got over the ok, they're growing up, i decided to rework little c's advent tradition, inspired by this blogger and her wisdom on simple celebrating. I decided to pick up a book for each day for him to open and for us to read together at night. so it wasn't a crazy expense, I thrifted 23 picture books (which ranged from 25 cents to 1.00) from the local thrift store looking for classic goodies. I glued small rectangles of kraft paper over the previous owners' names and wrapped them in the kraft paper I had on hand (and when that ran out -- in the cardboard liner of other wrapping rolls, scrap art paper, and finally flyers out of my recycling) It made a cute stack and he is thrilled about the tradition. Thank goodness someone is still 9 :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Economics and the 1920s -- not necessarily in that order

 d and I went to our monthly dinner party club last night where we met with our favorite dining peeps (the ones who don't shy away from a theme and go all out on their turn making dining magic happen) the theme was The Great Gatsby which meant my new haircut had purpose and d looked adorable in a bow tie.
 in my latest stack of library books was the one below -- insightful pretty much self page turning read. no matter what your approach to your relationship, I would bet u would find it speaks to you too. love books written by clever people.

this is my favorite time of year: the tree is on standby, I can't wait to start playing Christmas tunes ,and I've been wrapping stocking stuffers for some time now.

off to tidy up some more house before schlepping the kids back and forth to youth group. I have some time scheduled for plot rearranging this week. will let you know how it goes.
i'm not the only one who's psyched for holiday decorating. check out little c's coordinated lights and balloon chandelier -- I should be putting him in charge of the rest of the house ;)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Making time for the sentences that change your life.

There's a reason for one pot suppers. they save time.

I've just finished Nora Ephron's "I feel Bad about my Neck" and I loved it. had I not been given it by a friend, I might not have read it, having heard previously that it was about the physical side of aging and going on and on about it. but it wasn't. it was clever and funny and honest and had more depth than I was expecting.

as I finished it, I realized (part of this was tripping over the books beside my bed) that I read a lot of books. Just this week I posted on Facebook that I had finished my book club read (Monday meeting so I read it over Saturday and Sunday) and then went on to list the two I was reading after that.

My friend sue suggested goodreads which I clicked on and which looked fascinating, but I worried it would cut into my reading time. plus, I have such a substantial wishlist going on at alibris that I probably don't need to run across more to wish I'd read.

I like to own and collect books -- which is why at least one shelf in each room is full of them. and I'm married to a reader so he doesn't mention to the book sprawl and in fact contributes to it himself. which is huge to me. when I was a teenager, I dated a few boys who were not readers and knew we would never last.

there are many things I do to maximize reading time. I don't spend time nagging my boys to clean their rooms other than to throw their laundry and the missing towels down the stairs. (our room salso consist of an unmade bed and discarded reads so d and I can't talk) I speed clean ( I figure that doubles as working out which saves more time for reading ;) -- but not the boys' domains -- they do that when they need to

I also don't spend time recreational shopping either online or in real life. I have a few main stops I rotate through for the practical stuff, but most of my expenditures seem to be on non-fun like commuting gas and more groceries. sourcing those take up enough time -- my reading time would be severely cut into if I added more errands.

you won't understand this devotion unless you are similarly held hostage by reading addiction and compulsed by also a writing addiction so that nearly every thing you read and thing you experience finds it way into a scribbled note somewhere. perhaps that's why people sign up for goodreads when they already have a plethora of other social networking sites and not enough time already -- it's community.

timer beeped. blueberry scones coming out of the oven. (not usual for me -- baking also cuts into reading time -- usually my middlest takes care of it) they will perfect accompaniment to another read as soon as I tackle enough to do list to warrant it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

prior to turkey dinner wrap-up

 This setting was the ultimate for a writer's weekend. If you'd like to join us for the spring 2014 edition, send me an email at michelle.vandepol@ufv.ca


I am back from the writer's weekend and it was everything Allison and I hoped it would be and more. Safe to say it will be a repeat. The only side effect to turning your brain on and filling it with writerish things for an intense stretch is that you arrive home with a heightened case of writer's buzz brain. Luckily for me, nothing takes the buzz down to a manageable level than the to do list of a house left to the devices of my 4 male housemates. Who knew the second shift was such an integral part of mental health?

While I was out of town, (thankfully she kept me updated of the progress via text) my leggy blond SIL gave birth to the littlest Vandepol who is sure to make an appearance at family turkey dinner later today. She is adorable and we are all thrilled.

Add my sister's impending first birth on the other side of the family and you know why it's an exciting Thanksgiving. I am off to hang out with my so-big-we-have-to-rent-a-hall family Thanksgiving lunch first so I will do my best not to appear stuffed at D's family's shindig.

If you are looking for something new to throw into your life, get inspired by these entrepreneurs. I've been juggling multiple gigs my whole working life so you know I find their stories affirming.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

this is how nightmares beget sore necks

Our master bedroom bed (the beautiful estate sale one I love that is a vintage queen -- read modern day double) is perfect for a couple that prefers to sleep with limbs intertwined, but not so great for a family bed. that didn't stop little c last night. after walking back and forth from his room to ours to tell we how getting back to sleep wasn't working -- I should I have told him what I recently learned about second sleep and to just start a project ;) he stood by the side of the bed while I prayed aloud for the riddance of evil including nightmares in our home and he crawled in and promptly starting snoring. success, I think ;)


the bed in the usual state of lived-in ness. if you want to read a lot of books and start projects wily-nily, you might have to give something up -- like bedmaking ;) (this previous house shot b/c camera card is still MIA)

finished this book (short synopsis video here -- worth taking two minutes to watch) from my one of my favorite bloggers in one go last night between pre-dinner tea with my sister and picking up the highschooler at work the late hours my dad used to wait for me outside of Wendy's when I was 16.

 

it was worth putting a tree grows in Brooklyn aside (which is my favorite kind of read ever since I read Booky as a kid -- brave, descriptive while emotionally understated, plucky, resilient hardship -- also why I loved the glass castle and Angela's Ashes)

after spending time with my dad and then my sister yesterday and then having a quiet night at home with d and the boys last night (where he made nasi and watched his favorite movie for the quadrillionth time and I read my book beside him) I am set to spend Saturday morning my favorite way (tea with my mom, grandma, and sisters) and then get ready for d's family to come over for dinner tomorrow) it's the best kind of weekend.

also, three cheers for spontaneous writing inspiration. it's started again while driving yesterday.