Unfinished project – too excited to not share!

4 March, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s not finished yet, but I really really really couldn’t wait to share something I’ve been working on.

Drumroll … and … Ta-da! My very first website!

Image

This is just a snapshot of the future homepage of kaitlincarpenter.com, but a lot more has been going into it than meets the eye. I’ve used several different resources to start learning Ruby on Rails, like this Skillshare class, as well as just playing with it, searching for examples and seeing if I can make them work in my application.

That isn’t to say it hasn’t been frustrating or difficult – those have been present in abundance. After all, this is an entirely new skill to me, and even when the answer is simple, it can take me a long time to find it or figure it out.

All the same, I’m excited to get this live soon, and to continue learning!

It’s 2013? (or how I ended up with 179 photos & 11 videos of my kitty in less than 2 months)

23 January, 2013 § Leave a comment

cat watching fireworks

Dobby watching New Year’s Eve fireworks

Wow, time flies. Am I the only one who isn’t sure where 2012 went?

Seriously, I’m sure there’s scientific evidence for some sort of time compression that made everything go faster during 2012. Either that or I lost way too many hours stalking my cat around my apartment convincing him to let me trim his claws.

I think there’s more evidence for that time compression theory.

Either way, three weeks of 2013 and a presidential inauguration have already gone by, and I’ve just begun thinking about making some resolutions.

This year, I think I’ll try calling them my “2013 Goals” instead. That still implies focus and intention, but with a little less resolve (and self torture/blame) if I don’t quite manage to get them done.

Not that I won’t try … but just in case, I’d better make these “goals” things I’m at least 82% certain I can accomplish.

1. Cook a new recipe at least once a week. Once a month. More often than I order Pizza Hut delivery.
2. Unrelated to the first goal, attend the exercise boot camp I already signed up (and paid) for.
3. Adjust the ratio of real-life and cat photos I take. At present I’d say it’s at about 1 real life photo for every 10 cat photos, so I’m aiming for 2/10 this year. Setting the bar high.
4. Put in at least a few hours every week to continue learning Ruby on Rails. I should say an hour or two every day, but I don’t think I can promise that. A girl needs to sleep in now and then.
5. Update my blog more frequently. “More frequently” is subjective, so, my devoted imaginary readers, please don’t be disappointed because I put this on the list.

sleeping cat Dobby

Sleeping Dobby

That sounds like enough for now, especially considering I’m already 3 weeks behind on starting these. But that’s because Dobby won’t let me trim his claws.

Maybe I should start in February.

Not a novelist … yet.

8 December, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well, it’s over. My first NaNoWriMo.

Let me just admit that I didn’t finish all 50,000 words to “win” National Novel Writing Month, and I have overwhelming respect for everyone who did. It’s an intense mix of creativity, hard work and flat-out time (and sleep deprivation).

I am a little disappointed in the fact that I didn’t complete my first novel in the space of 30 days. That would have been an awesome first. However, I did accomplish some other firsts in November 2012. I outlined a story, developed characters and wrote 24,167 words in one month – more than I’ve every done before. I sat down at my computer and typed at least one page every day – usually more.

Even if it sounds cheesy, I’ve learned I’m capable of something really amazing – writing thousands of words in a single month, on top of all of my other obligations, work, etc. I made it halfway in November 2012. Next year, in November 2013 (or maybe before!), I will finish a 50,000 word novel.

There was one final “first” I’d like to share:

Kitten in laundry basket

Dobby has no master, Dobby is a free kitten!

Technically I adopted Dobby, but it feels more like a mutual arrangement. He is a couple months old – somewhere between being a kitten and a cat. He also has cat food breath, likes to give me kisses and help with the laundry (or just get in the laundry).

Dobby also promised to help me finish NaNoWriMo 2013, so I think success is pretty much in the bag.

And so I began NaNoWriMo (yes, that’s a real thing)

1 November, 2012 § 1 Comment

This should have involved more preparation. Not that I didn’t plan to prepare, it’s just that November came out of no where, and I’m pretty sure my calendar skipped at least September, if not October as well. “Why are there leaves falling?” I thought. “I just went swimming and had a popsicle the other day.” But November 1st has come, and I pinky-promised myself I would start this today. And so I did.

Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed. However, starting a project of this magnitude has just been too daunting. I feel like I’m being asked to jump straight to tiger-training when I haven’t even successfully convinced a dog to roll over and fetch.

What is this NaNoWriMo that’s so daunting, you ask? National Novel Writing Month is essentially a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month (at least 1,667 words each day). My first novel.

Today, November 1st, I sharpened my pencil and readied my spiral-bound (okay, I opened my laptop) and word-vomited 1,679 words into the first .doc file in my NaNoWriMo folder. I typed in things like “Tallguy” and “Maingirl” where I hadn’t yet decided on character names, and frequently checked my word count progress.

Sometimes it surprised me (“Wow, that 600 words went quickly.”) But more often it was a college flashback (“Ugh, does the professor really want 3 single-spaced pages? I think the 2.5 I’ve finished are good enough.”) I’ll admit, it was a little painful towards the end.

I guarantee these first words will never see the light of day. But the beauty of it is that they never have to. These 1,679 words are the talentless, inbred giants upon whose shoulders my future words will stand. They’re not supposed to be the ones in the sun; they’re only supposed give me somewhere to start.

So, cheers, fellow NaNoWriMo participants. Whether you’re a seasoned vet or a first-time participant like myself, I think we’re off to a decent start. How was your first day?

Noveling Affidavit

My pledge to complete NaNoWriMo during November 2012.

Relatively determined: National Novel Writing Month

14 October, 2012 § Leave a comment

Over the past few days, I have become relatively determined to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. For anyone who read that first sentence and thought, “Cool, that sounds like fun,” I would like you to know that you are wrong. (For myself, who typed both of the sentences before this one, I would like to remind you that it is unnecessary to point out the thoughts of readers who don’t exist. Regardless, it made me feel better.)

The title is pretty self-explanatory. You (try to) write a novel in one month. And I’m not making this up – this is an actual annual event a guy founded in what was clearly a subtle effort to eliminate the competition by driving any and all potential authors deep into a bottomless pit of insanity.

Or so I imagine – I haven’t even begun yet. But I have been planning and reading my handy-dandy “No Plot? No Problem!” novel-writing kit by the event founder (Chris Baty).

We’re still about half a month away from my planned start date (November 1st), but here is a list, in order of importance, of the things I’m anxious about:

  • Deciding what to actually write about
  • How I will also find time to write and mail my Christmas list during this
  • The 50,000 minimum word limit – that is a lot of typing to ask of my fingers in 30 days. They had better look like little Arnold Schwarzeneggers when I’m done.

The reason I have talked myself into participating despite the overwhelming volume of work it will require of me (all wrapped up into only 30 days) is simply because I would like to accomplish this at least once in my life. Whether it’s good or bad, whether it remains a little file icon on my desktop or anyone ever wants or is allowed to read it – I would just like to know that I am capable of it.

And in case you were wondering, there is a reason I’m sharing this on my blog. One of the tips for keeping yourself motivated is to share with others. So I’m posting here my promise to myself – that I will do this. It might be a rough month, and I might have to cut out nonessential activities like laundry and sleeping, but it will happen.

So here goes, world. Wish me luck.

Try new things! (Embrace blisters.)

4 August, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been itching to try something new for a while. I considered some options:

  • I’ve wanted to get a pet, plus they double as a foot-warmers, but that’s too expensive right now.
  • Becoming a foodie was also too expensive, and way too much work … unless “Pizza Hut connoisseur” counts.
  • A new class seemed fun, but I’d already done the usual yoga and fitness bootcamp (you’ll have to trust me on that one, as the results have yet to materialize).

I settled on an indoor rock climbing class. Why not? I’m only mildly terrified of heights and falling, and it’s always sounded like one of those things you have to try at least once, like sky diving (except I could never go sky diving).

And so I ventured out to “Basic Skills” at the SportRock indoor climbing gym. I spent 2 hours learning safety and how to tie my harness and knots. Then during the final hour I finally ventured up the 20 foot high wall, squinted my eyes and peered over my shoulder at the ground. Then I came back down. Very, very carefully.

Several classes later, I’ve decided I rather enjoy rock climbing (who knew there’s more to it than just, “Climb up that wall! Hold on to the little poky bits here and there!”) and it’s easier to have a little perspective. I even bought my own shoes! (There are only so many times you can wear rented shoes.) But that first class … I memorized those knots and clung to that rope like my life depended on it.

Spoiler alert: it does. But you get over that – mostly.

I still haven’t scrambled up a 40 foot wall, but I have continued to go up the 20 foot walls wearing a harness (top roping) and the 12 ft. walls without one (bouldering). Every time I manage to follow the correct route (they’re color-coded and numbered for difficulty) and reach the top, I convince myself to look down. To look back at how far I’ve come, even if it’s a little scary.

So far, so good. I could do without the blisters though.

Places You Don’t Expect to Find a Lizard

5 January, 2012 § 3 Comments

I heaved my 50-pound suitcase up the last few steps, fumbled my keys out of the bottom of my carry-on, and at 2 AM dragged myself into my apartment after visiting Idaho for the holidays. The vacation had been superb, the journey long, and my last meal (aside from the 3 in-flight peanuts) far too many hours ago. So, propping my eyes open with my fingers, I made a beeline for the kitchen.

Where I encountered this. Sitting on top of the oven.

Lizard on Baking Pan

I have now added “kitchen” and “baking pan” to my list of places I do not expect to find lizards.

Yes, I shrieked, and had there been a chair nearby I would have jumped on it. I peered back around the corner, and so far as I could tell, it wasn’t moving. But it was between me and the refrigerator, so I did what I had to do: ran upstairs, sated my hunger with all the Christmas candy I could find, and avoided the kitchen for 2 days.

It has since moved to the dining room table, as pictured.

But I am happy to note that it moved there on the baking pan, and not on it’s own four, scaly legs.

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