Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How do YOU stay organized?

Do you have a busy life that requires organization?


This past week or so I've been attempting to catch up with myself. I decided to try a few organizational tools over and above the handwritten "to do" list in my "daily-notes" book.

I want to be sure I get:
  • my exercise done,
  • my meals planned and cooked,
  • my contacts kept up with, 
  • my ongoing reading and research done
  • my writing moving forward and 
  • questions answered on various topics for friends. 

I also like the satisfaction of checking off the things I do get done. Rewards like a square of chocolate (dark of course) or a cup of my favorite tea (Ginger Peach) also encourage me to get more done. 

 

To help me stay organized, first I had a look in Excel

 

- and found various templates. I tried this one. Still getting used to it - and still adding things to the to-do list AFTER I've done them. That satisfaction in checking them off thing. The template carries forward repeat items with each date. Excel has list-templates for everything from moving to meals. Well worth checking them out.

Excel DayBook

With my writing, however, organization requires a different approach.

I still like old fashioned scene cards written by hand. When I've exhausted the ideas for scenes, characters and plot, I convert them to typed pages. This time, with the 3rd book in the Caleb Cove Series, I am using Power Point slides to record each scene. The typing-up process solidified the plot and revealed clearly where I need more scenes, more character appearances and clues.

 My search for organization will be ongoing.

 Before
Hand written scene cards
                          After
Scenes in Power Point













What advice can you give me? What do you do to keep your life, your family, your job or your writing on track?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What do we gain by going home to our childhood haunts?

The heart wants what the heart wants - 

- and often that is a glimpse of your childhood home, a memory that triggers a smile and warms your heart. For me when I go back in space or just in time, I gain the ambiance of family, friends and the childhood hopes of an amazing life... most of which happened even if not in the way I expected.

For me home is Indain Brook, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. 

Recently I found a post the reeled me back to age 13 and hot summer's climb, an adventure over a rarely used path to the Indian Brook Falls. (Large and Small). Foilage smells swirled around me, aching leg muscles triggered a twitch and laughter washed over me. Have a look and see if this was in your past, wouldn't it trigger strong memories for you?

Water Falls of Nova Scotia by Abvhiael Crowley.

This is only one photo of one of the many falls Mr Crowley has collected from Nova Scoita. This one is Little Falls, Indian Brook River. I put my bare feet in that water to cool sneaker-heated toes. It was cold and fresh. Nothing quite like it.  Please visit his site and see all the information and photos.

This photo by Dr. Paul of Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort.

  The House I Was Born In


 I was born in the community of Indian Brook, in the front, downstairs bedroom of the Presbyterian Manse. Although we lived in many manses after than, and I've had many homes with my family, this area still makes my heart ache with its beauty.





Do you have a place from the past that you like to go back to, if only in your mind? Was it good for you? or not? 
Please share in the comments if you have such a memory.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What if you had to choose new comfort food?

Comfort foods -- can they be healthy?


The comfort foods of childhood reflect cultural or geographical features and satisfy taste and emotional needs. Giving them up is difficult.

One of my favorites was home made macaroni laden with thick cheese sauce made from whole milk, flour and cheddar cheese. My dad and I topped ours with molasses. One of the best foods ever.

About fifteen years ago I was diagnosed as celiac. Gluten from wheat, rye and barley was now off my menu. Later, dairy had to be struck down. There went many go-to "foods of comfort."

Back then only rice products that fell short of "comfort quality" were available for substitutes. Today things are better in the market. Gluten Free has become almost fashionable. Not all GF foods are any better for us than wheat products. Donuts are donuts. Cookies are cookies. Sugar and fat in both types render them tasty but not so healthy.


YES - There are healthy comfort foods. Here are two.

Thanks to the internet and inventive folk, ice cream and pudding - long left off my menu -- are back on.

  
David Wolfe's chocolate, avocado mousse is easy to make and tastes like the real thing.








My "ice cream" isn't really cream but it is tasty (and healthy.) Think DQ Soft Ice Cream texture.

-Cut up a banana and freeze it.
-Put the frozen banana in your blender, bullet or Ninja
-Add a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and 2 tablespoons of almond milk and blend.
-It does not really taste like banana once it's frozen, so the illusion of ice cream is there.

If it's too thick add more almond milk and whiz again. Frozen berries or a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder can be added for flavor variety.


This is excellent as is or on top of cake or pie or served in a bowel all by itself.

 

WHAT IS YOUR HEALTHY COMFORT FOOD?

Let us know and with your permission I'll share them here in coming posts.(Send to mahrie.reid.writer@gmail.com with subject: Comfort food and tell me if you want your name included or not.)

Watch for more menus.