Better Late than Never

Tina Here!

Sorry about that lack in post on Wednesday. It was my day and although everyone around me has said, “Why don’t you pre-write the posts?” Well, I am an authentic writer. I like to write something that is relevant to what is going on with me at the time. However, this leads to some of the same issues we just had. I was bogged down with Doctor appointments of various kinds on Wednesday, which is also my Pathfinder game night where I am the DM, and it was the last day of the week for my online school to turn in work for that week. So I thought, ehh, I will be a day late. NOPE! My life had plans.

One of the greatest things that has happened this year was the meeting of my amazing friend Gen. She is a freaking god send. She loves the same stuff I do, she is right on key with goals and life goals. She is, as one of my favorite books Anne of Green Gables, would say, my bosom friend. Someone that it seems like my life was never whole without. She understands me, she listens and I love her to pieces. Gen has, above everything else she has done for me, inspired me to follow my dreams of owning my own cafe. A dream I have held in my heart since middle school. The reason she comes up now is because yesterday she came over to work on homework with me and we got sidetracked and started talking about my plans for a cafe again. She started asking me some really tough questions about funding and where I was going to get the money for start up and such and it got us cooking on how to make this thing really happen.

So, I would like to introduce Keyboard Crafts. My new craft Etsy store. I am working on finishing up things like logos and other set ups, but I will be crafting for my cafe, using the money I make to fund my dreams. I enjoy making all kinds of crafts, from crocheting cute little dolls, to making notebooks, soaps and custom designed shirts. So keep an eye out for that stuff and a link to the store to come up soon.

In other news, I am now in my 4th Term of school! I have almost finished my first year!!!!! I am so freaking excited and can’t wait to look back at everything I have done and use it as fuel anytime I start feeling low. I got this! We got this! YOU got this! Let’s go make stuff happen!

Year of Change

Tina here.

This time last year I had just started with my therapy and finding help for what I thought at the time was maybe just depression, and a bit of some kind of crazy. Because what sane person sees demonic or dead figures, watches them act out a story or scream their name in the middle of the night?

Well, I was right that I had depression, however, it was classified as Severe depression with Highetened Anxiety. Oh and Untreated or documented PTSD! Wooooo.

The voices and visions were because my brain didn’t know how else to tell me something is seriously wrong and we need help. They made great inspiration for scary stories, but I was so tired all of the time and seeing random things just made me jumpy all of the time.  I can’t count the number of times Kris woke up to me crying and saying creepy things about why I couldn’t sleep.

Fast Forward to a full year plus of being on medication, getting help and having a subject to research and help me keep on top of things. I feel like I still have bad days. The visions are not completely gone, especially if I forget to take my meds. I know that my family is upset to see me on so many pills and think that I am just trying to medicate myself away or that my doctor pushed me into it. No. I went for help. I do use the pills, they do help. I can tell a clear difference of when I have not taken them. (as they wear out of my system)

I enjoy being able to stop myself from yelling about stupid little things like my husband taking a bite out of all the food he makes for me. OMG that bugs me so much, but I would become like, someone just slapped my kid angry about it. He didn’t even know! I hadn’t told him it made me upset. He just did it out of habit since childhood. The communication about how I feel has been sooooo much better. My husband doesn’t understand feelings, or rather, how others feel. He thinks you should take everything at face value and that there is never a hidden meaning behind something unless otherwise said there is. He is extremely Vulcan. I am EXTREMELY emotional. Everything has meaning and you should always be aware of what you say and how it could come across in the situation. Yeah… We had some problems. We are coming up on 7 years of being married and I can honestly say that we understand each other so much better now. He knows that if I start getting upset or worked up with what I am saying that I am most often just having an off day. He will offer me tea, blankets, hugs, bubble bath, time alone. Whatever he things might help me. And I have learned how to take a deep breath, think about what I am feeling and explain it to him much like I would explain my symptoms to a doctor. It helps him get a better idea about how to address whatever we are talking about. It also helps me understand myself and why I might have been getting worked up about it.

So a year might not seem like a long time, or maybe it seems like forever! Either way, keep working on yourself. I have gotten help with my mental problems, developed greater communication with my husband and family, and went to school! I am about to start my finals for my second Term in two days! Just keep swimming, put one foot in front of the other, all that jazz.

 

Much love,

2018 Tina

How we Outline

Howdy ya’ll Tina here again! You know what that means. I am just sooo much cooler than Kris. I get to say that because I can. HA!

So because thinking up a blog post on the fly is OH so much fun, I am proud to present you with, Our outlines for NaNoWriMo! This is my second year doing it, but I am kinda cheating because I don’t want to start a brand new novel, I am going to do 50,000 more words on the novel I worked on last year! And this will be Kristopher’s first year doing it so he is a fresh new little baby into the whole NaNo world. He is aiming for weekly goals and as he says, isn’t wholly aiming for 50,000 so much as for writing every week on a story.  So, I thought I would share with you some of the brain farts and dumps that we do when we were getting ready to get started!

Let’s start with me first since Kris still hasn’t sent me his pictures yet.

Binder
I have a Binder for Each of my Projects
Acts
Each Manuscript has it broken down into Acts
Blocks
Which is then broken down into 3 blocks
Scenes
Further broken down into 3 scenes

So, When I break it down like this I find it much easier to focus myself on what I am writing at that moment. I make notes on each scene as to what I plan to do within that scene and expand it with my beautiful words. Taking in those tiny little strings of thought and turning them into big fat bottomed thoughts of filled goodness. I push to have about 500-1000 words per scene but tend to end up with more.

So in that image you can see my ideas for each Scene on that Block. Then I included pictures of the word count for each of them to show you that I tend to go a bit more heavy handed in words. I enjoy adding detail, and I can always cut it out later if I need to.  Here are some extra pictures from my project I thought you might like to see.

Project Statistics
Here are some stats from my projects
Full break down
And here is just a full view of more of my acts.

Now, Kris does things a little more wonky….

Now I apologize for the blurriness and crazy tones in the pictures, that was my fault. However, you can see, Kris likes to lay out a bubble plot where he has lines that connect in various ways. How did he say it again? *shuffling papers around, flinging post-it notes here and there* AH! here it is, “double lines are plot progression, single lines or connected bubbles are relevant or progressing ideas”.

There you have it. He included several pictures of his more detailed outlines where he has it more neatly laid out but I thought the bubbles were the cooler part of that whole process.  He has pushed himself so far and I am so proud of him. I have really enjoyed getting to brainstorm with him about ideas for both of our stories since they both take place in the same world. He is even going to have one of my main plot points show up in his book for like a few seconds. *girly sequel* How romantic is that! Well, Until next time Keyboard Couple readers!

 

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Place!

 

*Groovy bat symbol spiny sound*

Enlightened and Rambling

Howdy ya’ll, Tina here.

I am now in my 6th week of classes at the University of the People, UoPeople for short. It is a tuition free, online based, accredited university that is open to people around the world. When I say tuition free, I mean, you don’t pay for books, you don’t pay for classes, you only pay for your application and final tests.

“Tina, that’s great and all but I don’t really care…”

Yeah I know and you are so sweet to be so supportive of me in my three sentence intro. I only said something because I am so excited about the application I have already given to some of my current classes.

I am seeking a Business Management degree and in my business class I had to create my own mission, vision, goals, and strategy using the various methods we are being taught. They were to pertain to my own personal life and what I want out of it. Well, see, trouble is, I have never really known what I wanted out of life. I have always held on dearly to the dream of living in Japan, but other than that I never set my mind that I would become something more than just me. Mostly because I don’t tend to think very highly of myself. Now before you get all, “Oh poor Tina” , I have to say that a great deal of who I am today as a person was shaped by my past. Even more of who I am has been shaped over the last few years as I learned to move past that and push on with becoming my own person. So I would say the whole self discovery thing was just, uh, delayed. I talked about my assignments with family members who all without knowing what the others said gave me the same advice.

“Tina, you love Japan and writing. Always have.”

See, writing as a kid was therapeutic for me. It provided a way for me to press my own feelings, goals, hopes, dreams and demons onto someone else. Pretending for a while that it wasn’t me going through it. I wrote everything, love stories, poems, dark and depressing or light and hopeful, I wrote adventure, and I wrote horror. Lots of horror. I don’t really know why writing didn’t pop up to me right away as a possible goal for myself. I guess really because I think of it more of a thing someone does as they work a real job. However, as my mentor and cyborg queen overlord has said over and over again, Writing is hard, and anyone who says differently isn’t a writer. Writing is a real job, with insane hours, a cranky and sometimes rude boss, unrealistic goals and dreams, and a killer time sink if you just quit. So if you dive into it, you gotta be ready to live it. Family and friends don’t support you, or worse do but don’t understand the kind of commitment you need to give to writing and call you selfish, it is gonna happen.

I have been given the most amazing ideas and creativity that can spin up yards of ideas in an instant. My husband is logical, intelligent and always willing to help me out. He is my chosen editor and key reader for my works.

 

So, if you have never done it before, find out what you want from life. It might surprise you and lead you to joy you didn’t know you had access to.

In which Kris supports supporting characters

 

Kris here,

Tina’s been pressuring me to write some stuff recently because she thinks I’m “lazy” even though playing Minecraft is technically writing I’m just saying. We’ve also had Zack down for a few weeks to visit, and between hanging out with the kids, working and keeping the house tidy, I’ve done basically zero writing in the last six weeks. So she’s probably right. Tina also recently said “hey Kris there’s this thing where a bunch of people want to write 52 short stories in 52 weeks let’s go!” and I spit my coffee all over myself. A short story a week?!

So I’ve been setting the backbones for a bunch of short stories recently and in doing so, I notice my protagonists generally seem to be non-heroic or not the main character if you will. It’s a bit interesting so I actually got sidetracked for a while just looking at other stories to see if it’s just because that’s what I’ve read or if I’m subconsciously modeling my writing after someone, but I don’t think so. I’ve got the world I started out of boredom about a year ago that’s stuck with me because I love it (and my wife wrote a 60,000 word novel in it that she almost finished because she doesn’t care about my mental well-being) so naturally my stories are based there – but even when I’m thinking of other ideas, the only type of story that I write the main character as the important person is in horror stories. Nobody is going to be scared if you write:

“and then she received a phone call. It was the police! They said her *related person* was in a car accident and there were ghostly scrapes on the car door!”

That’s..not spooky.

Well maybe those types of stories aren’t interesting and that’s why nobody writes them, but I know I can’t be the only one! I’m thinking of famous big sellers like The Hunger Games (face of a revolution) or Harry Potter (he killed the bad guy as a baby AND an adult); but also the lesser known books too, like one I’ve mentioned previously the Enchanted Forest series (smart princess who’s amazing.) I know a lot of protagonists start as the underdog and then are the hero by the end, but that counts too. I added a story a month or two ago about an innkeeper who was assailed by a bad wizard dude – he’s just a dude trying to get by, then the two magic dudes come fight it out in his inn and burn it to the ground. By the end of the story, he’s still just an innkeeper.

I probably won’t ever make a full-length project out of a supporting character – it would be incredibly frustrating. Even in the story I just mentioned, I was thinking “maybe I should write about this wizard he seems awesome” – I think this sort of thing would be good only as supporting stories or something to tease an audience about how super great the main character for your actual novel is going to be. Each time I set up a short story, it’s a side-person: a kid who needs help with a curse seeking out a witch doctor, an innkeeper getting dragged into an evil wizard plot. This probably stems from the fact that writers are usually notorious for only worldbuilding as much as they actually have to, so I’m always finishing up books like “No! Go back to the swamp why were the snakes on fire! Teell meee!” I’m pretty drawn into side details and background information and I think side-characters are a good way to explore these without detracting from some grand quest to save the world.

Oh man, I got distracted again, there’s no way I’m going to be able to fit 52 short stories in 52 weeks DO THESE PEOPLE NOT HAVE CHILDREN!

Flavoring your life

Tina Here.

 

When you are sick or broken as often as me. You start to loose hope in things quickly. Goals that once seemed doable are now far out of reach. You loose the motivation to push on for the things you care about. You loose a large part of what you feel makes you. I push and push when it comes to dealing with just everyday life. I am so sick of my personal daily grind of just convincing myself that getting out of bed is worth the effort.

When you have to push to get every little bit you can, finding the drive to do the things you want to do becomes nearly impossible. However, When you find people to support you and understand you, you can make a sucky outlook seem like the past.

I just got done working at RTX for my 3rd year. I love working at conventions because they show you how much a group of strangers can come togeather like a family to support a cause they love. I enjoyed every second of my time at RTX this year and even with my limitations I knew that I could rely on my RTX family to have my back.

Izzy was a huge help and loved by everyone. She alerted not only to my anxiety and things but also when someone else would come in and they were battling things too. She just looked at each person and seemed to give more attention to those who later told me they had been having a really hard time until they saw Izzy. That warmed my heart more than anything. My service dog was not just a service to me, but to my extended family as well. She never barked at another dog or person. She waited for me to tell her to say hello before she walked over to people. She was the most amazing 5-month-old Great Dane puppy that I could have ever asked for. She set a standard that I was proud to see was so much more than I could have hoped. We educated, we loved, and we took care of everyone. Those are the things I love doing the most. So because of Izzy, I had the best RTX ever and I can’t wait for next year.

Things like RTX and PAXSouth are events I look forward to every year. I push myself to go to them despite how my body is feeling or how many things I think will go wrong. I use it to push myself past my limits and show myself that I am capable of working with my environment.

Now to start working on my book… Oh man. I just opened a can on myself there. Well, time to get writing on that.

Izzy – Week 2

Rounding the corner I feel we have a better understanding of how the house runs. Izzy needs to potty, she gives us a few quiet whines then squats. I’ll tell you what, we are keeping our local HEB out of paper towels… SO MANY MESSES!

Besides the battle of the bladder, we have been working hard at getting Izzy ready for service dog training by working on some basic commands. I had thought to enroll her in a class at my local Petsmart but seeing as how I have limited time this summer to spend with my boys before they both start new adventures, (Kindergarten and Jr. High!) I figured I could work most of it out on my own and get help from books, videos and my hired trainer after we get started with her.

Here are some pictures of a training session with me and Izzy.

First up. Sit.

IMG_0674

I try and teach a hand sign with the words so that if for some reason I couldn’t talk or thought she couldn’t hear me, I could still clearly communicate with her what I expect her to do. For sit, I face one of my hands, normally the one holding the treat, with my palm up and fingers down then pull them up in a single motion as if beckoning someone to come near.

Being a large dog she won’t be sitting much. The trainer said that we should focus more on down and heel rather than sit. Which I get. However. I expect my dogs to sit before being fed or pet. I figure I can transition this to down easily enough since she is learning both.

Which means, next up is Down.

IMG_0675

You can kind of see my hand here because she is still very young, I sit on the floor and use my finger to directly point where I want her face to go. I have started to slowly change this to just a flat hand, palm downward and moving downward motion. However, for now, it is easiest to get her to follow the treat and go to the ground.

Down will be useful in general transportation, meeting new people, going to a restaurant, and just the normal everyday meeting of people. People tend to be least scared of dogs if they are seen in a resting pose such as down. With a big girl like Izzy, it will be best if she defaults to down when relaxing and not focusing on a task.

Speaking of tasks, Ready, Fetch and, Leave it.

Playing tug is one of Izzy’s favorite way to spend time with her humans. As such it provides a great chance to turn her favorite game into a learning chance. She loves to bound around and play tug with her lion, but if I wait and don’t play along she will drop the toy and wait to see what I will do next. I give her a treat and tell her good leave it. Then engage in play with her again. I start using the words leave it when I stop play. Then I get her focus on the treat and my face. The last picture up there she is looking at the treat but she was splitting her focus between me and the treat. Waiting to see if she was doing the right thing.

Fetch was pretty easy. I just tossed it far enough away from me that I could easily grab it again and engage in play. Then she caught on and started to try to get it faster than me. I started throwing it farther and farther and each time she picked it up praising her and clapping and calling for her to return to play.

This is one of her favorite things to do and will play with anyone who picks up one of her fetch toys.

Next up, a silly one. Bang, Bang.

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When having fun with her my brother commented that I should teach her a silly trick that the kids might think was cute or could help break the ice with new people who might be unsure about her. His suggestion was, and I quote, “Dog. Play dead where the tongue luls out of the mouth.” Well, this was quite a task. So breaking it down into smaller parts I knew I would need her to understand what I wanted her to do when I said the phrase “Bang, Bang.” I started by having her go to down then pulled the treat along her side toward her belly till she started to lay on her back. Then I would touch her ribs and say bang bang. Now she has gotten to the point where my 5-year-old can touch her ribs with his finger and say it and she instantly falls over to her side. It amused him to no end and I am sure she gained a full pound from the treats from him because of it.

Back to the practical. Touch, Paw and, Other Paw.

This one seemed to be something she did on her own. She pawed at me for a treat when waiting for another command. I took the opportunity to put a name to it and treat her for it. Touch isn’t anything difficult for Izzy but sometimes it takes her a minute to figure out if you want Paw or touch with the nose.

The hand sign I use is a pinched pointer and thumb holding the treat and three fingers upward for a surface for her to touch.

Lastly, but most practiced! Heel and watch me.

These two are insanely important for a service dog to do. They must be able to heel at a command and with anyone and watch their person for any signs or symptoms that problems are coming up. I personally have a few ticks that I never noticed but my husband has and pointed out to me. These are some of the things she will be trained to watch for, but first, she has to learn to watch!

She has always stuck very close to whichever human is of the highest rank in her chart that is with her. I come in first, then Kris and Nik, then Watson our roommate. (because he loves on her and talks sweetly to her and she only sees him rarely) She is a velcro puppy and I am using that to my advantage to teach her that walking with us is more rewarding than trying to rebel.

Update, The puppy nibbling has reached a slow down except for when she gets too worked up. A quick time out in her playpen for 5 to 10 mins helps her to understand that we don’t want to play with her or have her hang out with us if she is going to bite on us. Kisses have become much more common. Everyone in the house has been instructed to keep their hands away from her mouth and that if she does start to nibble to ignore her and walk away if possible.

She went to the vet for her Microchip and Rabies shot since she will be traveling out of town with me on Memorial day weekend. The bonus was we learned she has grown 4lbs since last week!

Welp, see you all next week!