Being Earth-Wise

Last month I had a chance to tour a friend's garden, and saw his very nice composting setup. He'd acquired 2-3 very nice compost tumblers over the years from neighbors.

Alas, I don't have any neighbors offering such stuff up for free.  Even on eBay the least expensive compost tumbler I could find was well over $100.

A search of the internet provided inspiration. The post How to Start a Compost Bin in the City (with Little Money) sold me.  My 20 gallon Rubbermaid bin cost $12, but I was able to throw in an extra lid (to catch the compost tea) for free.  Five minutes with the drill, and it's done.  The week's paper shreddings and vegetable bits are now happily ensconced there together.

In other news, we will be building a rain barrel later this month.  Then we'll be able to combine water conservation with having 55 gallons on non-potable water in case of an emergency.


Cool Tools

I recently purchased a new-to-me iBook off eBay.  The primary purpose was so I could use Scrivener , a powerful novel-writing program.

My other motivation for buying the iBook was wanting something I could write on comfortably.

I had lots of computer things on which I could type before:

2 desktop computer systems
2 Asus EeePCs (7 inch screens)
3 AlphaSmart Keyboards

I love the little EeePCs, but eventually had to admit that the keyboard is simply too small for me to use comfortably.

I don't mind the desktops too much, but they are fixed in space (and a precious commodity in our home of net-savvy people).

The AlphaSmarts are ultimately portable and battery life is measured in weeks rather than hours - particularly important for really long plane flights.  The keyboard is adequate, but not pleasurable.

I would never have purchased a laptop merely to have a more pleasurable portable keyboard experience.  But since I couldn't have Scrivener on any platform other than a Mac with OS X 10.4 or later, I "needed" a Mac.

This particular Mac is an iBook G3 900 MHz machine with wireless, a 40 GB hard drive, and a 12.1" screen.  It's delightfully intuitive.  Now that I've downloaded Scrivener and the Flip4Mac WMV player, I had everything I need to import my writing and upload my audio files for transcription, as necessary.

I already have been able to import and organize bits and pieces that have languished for months (Sept 2008 and December 2008 for my "Children of Heaven" (COH) and "Pearl of Alba" (POA) novel projects, respectively).

With my POA manuscript, I experimented with dictating scenes, planning to transcribe the audio files and then organize the transcriptions into a first draft.  I found myself with a backlog of audio files to transcribe at the end. Once I had transcribed the files, I had several hundred interspersed snippets of text and that's where I left POA in December 2008.

The tangled mass of snippets that seemed overwhelming without Scrivener now seems entirely manageable and I'm energized to move forward.  Hooray!


Back in the Saddle

In February my buddy, Luc Reid, asked for volunteers with whom he could work on some area where they wished to become more motivated.

I had three areas that came to mind:

1) Writing
2) Physical Health (e.g., diet and exercise)
3) Household Organization

I decided that the first thing I had to knock out was the household organization thing. At the time I started working with Luc, about 50% of my home was effectively unusable because of the "clutter." It has been this way for years. But now, less than a month after Luc started working with me (an hour a week over the phone), I have 90% of my home available to be used as originally designed. The remaining 10% (the erstwhile family room) at least has a clear floor even if it does contain >200 neatly stacked boxes awaiting "defragmentation."

Can I just say now that I am completely amazed that this happened so quickly. I thought it would take months.

[moment of appreciative silence]

So now I have the mental space to turn back to my writing.

I'm in the process of acquiring a Mac iBook so I can run Scrivener. I'll be a proud owner of an iBook on 17 April one way or the other. The cool thing about Scrivener is that it will allow me to work with the bits and pieces I have on my "Queen of Alba" manuscript (QoA has been too daunting to deal with up to now).

However, my first priority is to write my "Children of Heaven" book, which takes place during the last years of Joseph Smith's life, seen from the POV of three people who lived with him. I wrote a draft of this a couple of years ago, back before I knew how to write or half of the historical factoids. That original draft was important and necessary, but the book I will start writing now is as unlike that first draft as a newborn is unlike the blastula from whence it evolved.

Don't need Scrivener to write "Children of Heaven." I just need a healthy dose of "butt in chair."

Yippie Ki Yea!