Monday, December 5, 2011

Geocaching


 Photo credit: Robert Hartz

     This is one of my new favorite hobbies. It’s basically a world-wide treasure hunt that uses GPS co-ordinates to find the hidden caches. Geocaching combines a lot of things I already like to do. We go out into nature to hike and explore to find the caches, it uses a fun tech gadget (Although at my house, we just use an ap for my Android phone,) sometimes you have to solve a puzzle or figure out a hint to find the right hiding spot, and who doesn’t love searching for a hidden surprise?
     I love to hike, and hang out in the out of doors. I’ve tried to get my kids to love this too, but it doesn’t always go well. They do love the outdoors, but mostly if there is a playground involved. They get bored too easily on even small hikes. Geocaching came to the rescue for me. Now when we have a goal! We aren’t just walking along to enjoy to journey. We’re going somewhere. We’re on a quest!
     What’s strange is that when we geocache, they are actually more likely to do the things I used to wish they would do on as regular hike. Things like, notice interesting plants, listen to birds singing, spotting wildlife, and noticing seasonal changes. I wonder if they take more notice of nature due directly to the fact that they are searching for something and therefore their observing circuits are active. Or could it be that since they aren’t currently thinking, “When will be done here?” they’re more open to being present in the hiking moment. I actually tend to think it’s the second. In general, they are not all that into the actual search. Sometimes they like to carry the GPS, and they will give a token, half-hearted attempt to help me search once we’ve come to the right co-ordinates. Usually they are contented to follow me along, look around a little at the hiding area, but what they get excited about is seeing the container once we uncover it, and checking out the ‘swag’ inside.
     Swag is the name for the small treasures that some caches contain. We have a collection of items that we take with us when we geocache so we can trade for some swag if there is any. Some caches are too small for any real swag items. The treasures are usually small, cheap toys, or similar items. The kids of things you’d find in Gatcha-gatcha machines. Some of the larger or more remote caches may have a more interesting selection of swag.
     So really, the prizes are not the reason to geocache in my opinion. You could get similar things with a lot less effort. For me, it really is about the journey. If you’re already a geocacher, or want to learn more, check out www.geocaching.com. I’m khartz over there if you want to see the caches I’ve found or be my geocaching friend.

Monday, October 31, 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011 Starts Tomorrow



And I haven’t decided if I’m going to participate or not this year. Actually, I decided that I’m not going to participate. Then I just clicked over to the website to look around a little. . . 

But, no. I don’t have time to do NaNo this year.

Then I went back to the website and updated my bio and added a picture. In the field asking for information about my novel, I entered my current work in progress. 

What’s the matter with me?

I think what it is, is that I do WANT to do NaNo. I like it. It’s fun. It’s a crazy community. It makes it feel okay to put writing ahead of other stuff for a change. After all, I HAVE to hit my 1667 words every day. Normally, I would do those dishes, but I can’t. It’s NaNo. Sorry.

Last year was the first time I ever ‘won’ NaNo. I know have a much clearer idea of what it takes to keep up that sort of writing pace for a whole month. Right now, I’m just afraid that I don’t have that in me. We moved recently, and I’m nowhere near as unpacked as I should be. I’m starting a couple of great writing projects for work. Projects that are very important to me, and I want to be the very best they can be. I need time to dedicate to them, and there’s a little bit of a learning curve as I’m figuring out some of the technical aspects that are taking me a little longer than I thought it would. 

Last year, I pretty much won by giving up television, gaming, and reading for pleasure. This year, I already do a lot less of those things. I don’t have much I can give up. Maybe I’m just afraid to lose, but I don’t think so. I’m afraid of overloading myself. I’m not good at pacing myself, and only taking on what I can handle. I tend to pile so much on that I freeze and do nothing. 

But I love Nano. What can I say? I’m signed up. I have a novel that needs more words. So I know I’ll pop over to the National Novel Writing Website and enter any progress I make. I’ll be breaking the ‘rules’ by not starting a new novel fresh on November 1st, but no one really cares. I’m going in with the expectation of not hitting 50,000 words this year. That’s okay. I just want to be involved. Make some progress. 

Do you have NaNoWriMo plans? If you’re unsure, why not join me in a half-hearted attempt? Could be fun.

Monday, September 26, 2011

All Moved, and the Silverware is Found

I had a head full of ideas for blog posts. Then we moved. Now my head is full of boxes, and I didn't label most of them properly, so most of my ideas have been misplaced. I have a million notebooks all over the place for the explicit purpose of writing things down, and I still don't do it. It's a habit I'm still trying to instill in myself.

Anyway, I've been pretty overwhelmed by the move and I haven't been writing. Here or anywhere for that matter. I wasn't writing all that much before, but with this break, I now find myself missing it. A lot. So tonight, I thought I'd at least type up a little blog entry since virtual dust has been gathering over here lately.

Now the silverware has at last been located, so we're starting to feel like this is a real home, and less of a house-shaped box storage facility. Time to get back into the flow of regular life. That includes writing, and blogging. As I write this now, one or two of my post ideas have emerged from the dusty storage of my mind, so I hope to get back to regular posting.

Nothing too exciting for today. Just wanted to say, I missed you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm in Stories For Children Magazine



My Story, "A Thief in the Night" is now out in the Aug/September Back to School Issue of Stories For Children Magazine. I'm so excited. It even got its own illustration.

It is the story of a little girl trying to catch the tooth fairy.

This is an online only magazine, sort of like an e-book. My story is on page 9, so it even shows up in the tiny sample if you follow the above link. It's too tiny to actually read though. If you'd like to go straight to buying the whole issue, you can do so Here.

Now that I'm done admiring my own story, I'm off to go read the rest of the issue. I saw an article about dinosaurs in it, so I'll probably need to share with my kiddo when I'm done.