27 February 2009

Lenten Reflection

Today is the first Friday of Lent.

I'm happy to say that I'm already spending more time in prayer than I normally would, but not where I expected I would be.  I've had some trouble sleeping, so it's been hard to get up in the morning for my prayer time, so I'm going to work harder beginning tomorrow morning.

I found a great article this morning on Tara's Modern Catholic Mom for Lent.  It's original source is Catholic Exchange, and the original link to the article is here.  You can read it on Tara's blog here.  The article is called "40 Ways to Get the Most out of Lent."  Not all of the 40 things are feasible for me this year, but I'm going to try and do as many of them as possible.  Here's the list for those of you who would like to get more out of Lent this year.  I'm copying it word for word from the original article, and the only things I've omitted is references to the author's CDs for sale.

  1. Take 30 minutes to pray, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, look over this list, and make a few practical Lenten resolutions.  Be careful.  If you try to do too much, you may not succeed in anything.  If you need to get up early or stay up late to get the 30 minutes of quiet, do it.  Turn off your phone and computer.  Don't put it off and don't allow interruptions.
  2. Get up earlier than anyone else in your house and spend your first 15 minutes of the day thanking God for the gift of life and offering your day to him.
  3. Get to daily Mass.
  4. If you can't do Mass daily, go to Mass on Fridays in addition to Sunday and thank Him for laying his life down for you.  Maybe you can go another time or two as well.
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes in Eucharistic adoration at least one time during the week.
  6. Recover the Catholic tradition of making frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament throughout the week, even if it's only for 5 minutes.
  7. Get to confession at least once during Lent after making a good examination of conscience....
  8. In addition to the penance assigned by the priest, fulfill the conditions necessary for a plenary indulgence.  You can learn about plenary indulgences from the official Handbook of Indulgences, Catholic Book Publishing Company (costs only about $13).
  9. Make a decision to read at least some Scripture every day.
  10. Even if you can't get to daily Mass, get a daily Catholic Missal or go online to get a list of the readings used each day in Mass, and read those readings daily.  During special seasons such as Lent, the Mass readings are thematically coordinated and make for a fantastic Bible study!
  11. Pray the liturgy of the hours.  You can buy a one volume edition or a full four volume edition.  Or you can get it day by day online for free at www.universalis.com.  Or you can subscribe to a monthly publication called the Magnificat that provides a few things from the liturgy of the hours together with the Mass readings of the day.  The Magnificat is a great way to start learning the Liturgy of the Hours.
  12. Get to know the Fathers of the Church and read selections from them along with Scripture.  Short selections from the Fathers writing on Lenten themes can be downloaded for free from the Lenten library of our website, www.crossroadsinitiative.com.
  13. Make the Stations of the Cross each Friday either with a group or by yourself.  If you have kids, bring them.
  14. Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary often during Lent, especially on Friday and Wednesday.  The glorious mysteries are especially appropriate on Sundays.  Joyful and Luminous mysteries are great on other days.
  15. Purchase the Scriptural Rosary, which supplies you with a scripture verse to recite between each Hail Mary.  This makes it easier to meditate on the mysteries....
  16. If you've never done a family rosary, begin doing it.  If starting with once a week, try Friday or Sunday.  If it's tough to start with a full five decades, try starting with one.  Use the Scriptural Rosary and have a different person read each of the Scriptures between the Hail Marys.  This gets everyone involved.
  17. Make it a habit to stop at least five times a day, raise your heart and mind to God, and say a short prayer such as "Jesus, I love you," or "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner," or "Lord, I offer it up for you."
  18. Pray each day for the intentions and health of the Holy Father.
  19. Pray each day for your bishop and all the bishops of the Catholic Church.
  20. Pray for your priests and deacons and for all priests and deacons.
  21. Pray for the millions of Christians suffering under persecution in various Muslim and Communist countries around the world such as the Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, China, Viet Nam, and North Korea.
  22. Pray for Christian unity, that there would be one flock and one shepherd.
  23. Pray for the evangelization of all those who have not yet heard and accepted the Good News about Jesus.
  24. Pray for your enemies.  In fact, think of the person who has most hurt you or most annoys you and spend several minutes each day thanking God for that person and asking God to bless him or her.
  25. Pray for an end to abortion on demand in the United States.  Pray for pregnant women contemplating abortion.
  26. Pray for a just peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Holy Land and elsewhere.  Pray for military personnel and others in harm's way.
  27. Pray for an end to capital punishment.  Pray for those on death row, and for the families of murder victims.
  28. Find a form of fasting that is appropriate for you, given your age, state of health, and state of life.  Some fast on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Some fast from sweets or alcohol throughout Lent.  Some fast on one or more days per week from breakfast all the way to dinner, spending lunch hour in prayer or at noon Mass.  Some cut out all snacks between meals.  The money saved from not buying various things should be given to an apostolate or ministry serving the physically or spiritually poor.
  29. Prayer is like breathing--you have to do it continually.  But sometimes you need to pause and take a very deep breath.  That's what a retreat is.  Plan a retreat this Lent.  It could be simply a half day, out in nature, or in a Church.  Or it could be a full day.  Or an overnight.  You can certainly read lots of things during your retreat or listen to lots of talks.  But try sticking to Scripture, the liturgy, and quiet as much as you can.  During or at the end of the retreat, write down what the Holy Spirit seems to be saying to you.
  30. Find a written biography of a Saint that particularly appeals to you, and read it during Lent.
  31. Instead of secular videos for weekend entertainment, try some videos that will enrich your spiritual life.  Suggestions: Jesus of Nazareth, by Franco Zeffirelli, The Scarlet and the Black, the Assisi Underground (if you can't find these for rent at the local video store, they are all available from Ignatius Press)
  32. While driving, turn off the secular radio for awhile and use commute time to listen to some teaching on audiocassette or CD.  Som great resources can be purchased through www.dritaly.com or from other Catholic apostolates and publishers that you find on our links pages.
  33. Find a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or crisis pregnancy center, and volunteer some time there throughout Lent.  Serve the people there with the understanding that in so doing, you are serving Jesus.  Try to see Jesus in each person there.
  34. Visit someone at a nursing home or in the hospital or sick at home.  Again, love Jesus in and through the suffering person.
  35. Is there a widow or divorced person living in your neighborhood?  If so, invite that person to your home for dinner, coffee, etc.
  36. Go and see Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ during Lent, if you feel you can handle the violence.  Get a copy of The Guide to the Passion to help you get the most out of the movie.
  37. Bring someone to The Passion of the Christ, especially someone whose faith is rather nominal, or who does not practice their faith, or who does not profess Christian faith at all.  Give them a copy of The Guide to the Passion.
  38. Spend some focused time with your spouse, strengthening your marriage.  Start praying together, or make praying together a more frequent occurrence.
  39. Spend some focused time together with each of your children.  Listen.  Pray.  Maybe even have fun.
  40. When Easter comes, don't drop the new practice you've begun during Lent!  Make a permanent feature of a deeper Christian life!

26 February 2009


I have many blogs I read on a regular basis.  And thanks to the Google Following tool, I can scroll through and link to them instead of typing individual web addresses and hoping I remember everyone, or finding that so-and-so hasn't updated all week.

Well, I was reading my "subscriptions" today, and hopped over to my very dear friend Frazzoo's foodie blog, which I read for her great recipes and because I love her.  And what do I find?

The darling has given me a "Lemonade/You Make My Day" Award!  First of all, it cracks me up.  And second, I'm touched that I make her day.  And to pass on the love to other bloggers, I get to give the award out to bloggers that make my day!  What fun!

Though she's already received one, I'm giving Frazzoo of Adventures in Home Cooking yet another award.  You may see it as cheating, but I love her blog to pieces, so she deserves it.  If you want a fun recipe to try, just wander through her archives.  Not only will there be something to tempt you, but she even gives tips to make the cooking easier, or suggests changes to make it even yummier!

I'm also bestowing an adorable virtual award to Dana of En Tequila Es Verdad.  As a writerly friend, she's always been a great support to me, and when I need a good dose of political snark, she's really the only place to go.

The next award clearly goes to Jen of Cake Wrecks.  Come on.  A blog about awful cakes?  Embarrassing frosting misspellings?  Babies riding carrots?  Pregnant belly cakes with creepy vampire-looking hands on them?  Idiocy for the sweet tooth?  Come on.

As a writer, I'm always looking for good info in the publishing industry.  That's why I'm proud to announce the next award goes to Nathan of Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent.  He gives advice, keeps us updated on what's going on in the world of publishing, and makes me feel like I really have a shot at being published someday.  Keep up the excellent work, Mr. Bransford.  You may be getting a query from me sometime, and with all the great advice you give, it'll be a good one!

My final award goes to the Bull Moose Conservative himself, Mike of The Big Stick.  We may differ politically, but he presents his political views intelligently, without disrespect for the other side, and is always open to a great discussion.  Not only that, I love reading his blog when he's posting on the same person or event as Dana.  Great reading, really.

For those who have just been given this prestigious award, please don't let it go to your head.  It is truly an honor, and while you have earned it, I hope you will not shirk your responsibilities and rest on what you have done.  Keep up the great blogging.  

You keep me addicted to the Interwebz.

25 February 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the first day of the Lenten season leading up to Easter.

Lent is a serious time in the Liturgical Calendar.  It's a time of penance, reflection/prayer, and fasting as Catholics (as well as some Protestant denominations) prepare their hearts to celebrate Christ's death and resurrection.  And as part of penance, Catholics are instructed to "give something up" for Lent, to (in a small way) remind themselves of the sacrifice Christ made when He died for our sins.

However, I think a large part of Lent, and one that's often overlooked, is prayer and reflection.  This is a time for self-examination, for taking a long, hard look at who we are, decisions we make, priorities in our lives.  Our Lenten sacrifice is meant to make us stronger, more faithful people, and in order to do that, we have to be honest about who we are to begin with.

I decided this year that I'm "giving up" wasting time for Lent.  I realized I spend a lot of time doing nothing.  So for this Lenten season, every time I find myself without a work or personal task to do instead of playing a game online or turning on a random television show, I'm going to spend time in prayer and study.  It will be a much better use of my time, and will hopefully be a habit that continues even after Easter.

Whether you observe Lent or not, whether you celebrate Easter or not, I urge you to spend some time in reflection.  What are your priorities?  What do you want to change in yourself?  What New Year's Resolutions have you kept?

What's Going On?

It's been a while since I've expressed my frustration with education.  I'm a bit more separated from it, but now that I've got a little java bean to think about, I find myself thinking about education options (public, private, religious, home education) for the (near) future.

Let me give you a little background.  Growing up, I always went to public schools.  Then, after a couple of years in a community college, I went to a small, private college loosely affiliated with the Methodist church.  (At the college, I was able to minor in Liberal Arts, which I greatly enjoyed.)  My husband also always went to public schools.  Then, for college, he went to the same small, private college as I did.

So Hubby and I don't have an elitist private school background or anything like that.  We went to public schools from kindergarten through high school graduation, and we did well all the way through college.

And yet, I was disturbed when I read this.

Here's the deal.  

I'm not trying to convert anyone to anything.  

Whether you're Christian, atheist, Muslim, humanist, or whatever, the simple fact is that history, art, music, literature, and even sociology and psychology has been shaped by Christianity.  And without some knowledge of Christianity, specifically the Bible, many of the lessons taught in English Literature, history, art, or music courses are flat, or even missed completely.

Regardless of your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), it's important to have some knowledge of religion in order to understand other things.  Just as I wouldn't read works by great scientists without first having a base understanding of their fields, you can't delve into literature without a base understanding of the mindset of the author(s).  And in many cases, this includes Christianity.  In the BBC article linked above, Poet Laureate Andrew Motion says:
'I've always been concerned about the levels of not-knowing since I started teaching, but quite recently I had a very bad experience of trying to teach some of my, in other respects, extremely good students about Paradise Lost.

They knew so little about the context in which the poem was written and about the references that the poem itself makes that it was very difficult even to get beyond go in talking about it.' [sic]
If you don't even have a frame of reference for Paradise Lost, how can you get more subtle references that give you a little extra depth for getting them?

However, you shouldn't limit yourself to the Bible in order to "get" literature, history, art, and music.  There's a whole wide world out there of different religions, philosophies, and schools of thought that have greatly influenced the minds of the world.  And in order to appreciate what those minds have to offer, it's important to first appreciate what those minds took the time to learn.

Fiction is great.  But every once in a while, it might be a good idea to pick up some nonfiction, too.

Motion says about Biblical references:
'...these stories achieve archetypal status because they tell us recurring truths about human nature that is a pleasure and an important thing in and of itself.'
Even if you don't believe that the stories in the Bible are true, they have become like the ancient myths that serve as a jumping-off point for many other stories.  The characters in the stories have become standards by which other characters are measured.

Think about it.  What comes to mind when I say someone's life is Job-like?  What do you think of when I call someone "a Jezebel"?

If you have no familiarity with the Bible, these character references mean nothing, and how can you understand the image I'm trying to portray?

Sorry, folks, but there's more to literature than meets the eye.  It's not just poetry that has deeper meanings.

24 February 2009

New Design

I've been looking for new designs for my blog.  

I liked the plain design I had before, but after Chef Frazzoo has been changing things around on her blog, she inspired me to do the same.  I have this one for now, but if I find something I like a bit better, you'll see another change.


23 February 2009

Writing for Others vs. Writing for Yourself

As a freelance writer, I've gotten some odd requests for articles from clients.  I've written articles on mangosteen, grappling shorts, and even the history of chandeliers.

And one of the things I've learned is that freelance writing sometimes means setting aside my own writing style to fit the clients' needs.  It's not that I abandon my style, but when you're writing for someone else (especially ghost writing), you have to let the other person's style be the one that shows in the article.

This has been an adjustment for me, and one that I'm still working on as I write for clients, especially if I go from writing fiction to working on freelance projects.  Who I am tends to peek through, so then I have to go back and edit me out.

Writing for yourself is a different experience than writing for others.  In writing for yourself (and by this, I mean writing your own pieces such as fiction), you're expected to have your own "voice," a distinct writing style.

When you write for yourself, you're putting yourself on the page more than you do in freelance writing.  I think that's why I spend so much more time agonizing over word choice when I write fiction.  In writing fiction, every word choice is a reflection of me, and my writing style.  So it's far more important for me to make sure I give the right reflection of myself in my writing.

I think that's why I haven't been working on fiction lately.  I've been so concentrated on writing for others that I'm lost in them instead of sharing myself through my own writing.  

So I think I'm going to pick up the coffee house book again and let myself shine through on the page.

22 February 2009

Planning Your Menu?

A very dear friend of mine has a great foodie blog that uses her own weekly menus to share great recipes, her changes to them, and how they went over with her hubby.

So if you're looking for a new recipe to try at home, or something to take to a potluck dinner, be sure to check out

19 February 2009

Coffee-Stained Nightstand: Next Up

In keeping with my two-books-a-month goal, I'm starting another book for February, which should give me more than enough time to finish it.  It's one that intrigued me when I first saw it on the shelves, so when I saw it on the bargain books rack yesterday, I picked it up and brought it home.

This evening I'll be starting The Heroines by Eileen Favorite.  According to the inside cover:
Although a true lover of books, Anne-Marie Entwhistle perfers not to read to her spirited daughter, Penny, especially from the likes of Madame Bovary, Gone With the Wind, or The Scarlet Letter.  These novels, devoted to the lives of the Heroines that make them so irresistable, have a way of hitting too close to home--well, to the Homestead, actually, where Anne-Marie runs the quaint family-owned bed and breakfast.

In this enchanting debut novel, Penny and her mother encounter great women from classic works of literature who make the Homestead their destination of choice just as the plots of their tumultuous, unforgettable stories begin to unravel.  They appear at all hours of the day and in all manners of distress.  A lovesick Madame Bovary languishes in their hammock after Rodolphe has abandoned her, and Scarlett O'Hara's emotions are not easily tempered by tea and eiderdowns.  These visitors long for comfort, consolation, and sometimes for more attnetion than the adolescent Penny wants her mother to give.

Knowing that to interfere with their stories would cause mayhem in literature, Anne-Marie does her best to make each Heroine feel at home, with a roof over her head and a shoulder to cry on.  But when Penny begins to feel overshadowed by her mother's indulgence of each and every Heroine, havoc ensues, and the thirteen-year-old embarks on her own memorable tale.
Being a lover of Fforde, the idea of these heroines escaping their own drama definitely caught my eye.  I'm beginning this book with great interest, and hopefully, I won't be disappointed as I was with my last literary endeavor.

18 February 2009

A Brief Departure From the Professional

I try to keep this blog separate from my personal blog.  I've mentioned bits of my personal life, and reference the Hubby from time to time, but for the most part, this blog focuses on my life and career as a writer.

For this post, though, I'd like to step away from that to give you some insight into why my blogging (and emailing) have been a bit wacky.

Of course, some of it has been due to my little java bean.  I've been feeling better lately, but between morning sickness and exhaustion, some days I'm so wiped out I barely have enough energy to get my work done, let alone email or blog.  Now that I'm in the second trimester of pregnancy, though, I hope that things will normalize more on that front.

Another reason, and an important one, has to do with my personal situation and my Hubby.  I won't go into details about it here, but Hubby has needed me to be here for him lately.  And there have been many days that he's needed my full attention.  And as important as writing is, and as much as I care about my friends and want to keep in touch with them, my husband is one of the most important things in my life, and he comes before computer time.  His well being is more important to me than I can explain, so, unfortunately, some of my friends may not get calls or emails as often as I'd like.

For those who deserve that connection, I apologize.  I really do.  And now that things in my personal life are getting better, that should change.

I do want to tell you that just because I can't email you as often as you'd like, or because we haven't talked in a while doesn't mean I don't care about you or miss you like crazy.  And it doesn't mean I'm avoiding you or whatever.  I do care about you.  And I miss you.  And I wish we were still taking classes from the Big Seuf in our pajamas together or emailing about homicidal cats almost every day.  Again: it's something I'm working on.

I hope you will understand that when my life is in chaos, as it has been, I can only focus on fixing one aspect of it at a time.  Now that it's getting fixed, I can work on fixing other aspects of it.

You're next in line, I promise.

17 February 2009

Writing and Life

I fear I've been neglecting my fiction lately.  Between finding out about my little java bean, chaos in my personal life, and freelancing, my coffee house book has been left alone for a while.  I do feel bad, and I miss writing fiction, but there are more important things going on in my life right now that need more attention.

So I've been thinking about my coffee house book, doing research, and taking notes, and when things are more normalized, I'll be able to open the file again and get back to work on it.

When I was working on my writing goals for 2009, I wanted one of them to be that the coffee house book would be finished, edited, and that I'd be querying agents.  But I decided recently that I don't want to put any pressure on myself.  It's not that I don't want to get it done, but I'd rather take my time and make sure it's right.

I know I can write a book.  NaNoWriMo has proven that the past two years.  But that doesn't mean that what I write in a month should be handed out for public consumption.  Do you know how much it takes to edit a story?

I have a friend who has been writing.  She's been reworking her first book, and is starting to see what really goes into preparing a book for people to read.  I doubt her book is even ready for beta readers (though she knows that when it's ready, I'm happy to read for her!), and she's been working on it for a bit already.

My coffee house book is important to me.  And when I'm ready to send queries, I want my book to be the best I can make it.  That said, I'm lifting my 2009 expectation of completing it, and I'm just going to keep working on it until it's ready.

But hopefully, I'll be able to give you updates on how the writing is going soon!

16 February 2009

Coffee-Stained Nightstand: a Reflection

I finished reading The Meridian Anthology of Early Women Writers: British Literary Women from Aphra Ben to Maria Edgeworth, 1660-1800, edited by Katharine M. Rogers and William McCarthy.

I went into the anthology with interest.  I didn't know the names of the authors in it, and was looking forward to learning about them and perhaps discovering a good writer I could read more of later.

I think there's a reason I haven't heard of any of these writers.

I don't mean to be snobby or elitist about it.  After all, it's been a while since I've been in my academic reading mode (maybe I'm just out of practice), but I had to force myself through many of the pieces.  In fact, I had to force myself through some of the author biographies!

I think I'll stick to my Norton Anthologies.

14 February 2009

Do You Love Words?

If so, did you know you can actually adopt a word?  That's right, folks.  If you adopt a word (my favorite author adopted "linoleum"), not only can you show your appreciation for "gamut" or "moot," but you can actually help kids at the same time!

Show your love.  Adopt a word.

11 February 2009

It's amazing...

...how little gets done when a freelance writer doesn't have Internet access for two days.

And how much work it takes to get caught up when you get it back!

08 February 2009

Time Off Can Be Bliss

As a freelance writer, many times I feel my office never closes.  After all, if someone contacts me on Sunday afternoon and has a rush job they want me to do for them, I'm not likely to turn them down.  That's a writer's life.

Yesterday, my office was closed.  I went to Gasparilla, and didn't think about work all day.  It was strange knowing I couldn't check my messages to see if a client had contacted me, but during the day I realized that it's sometimes important to take a day off to recharge, spend time with the Hubs, and let things mull a bit.  It was just what I needed.  And even though, when we got home I was exhausted and ready to go to bed, I was mentally ready to get back to work.

There needs to be a balance between working and taking time off.  Yes, it's true that, as writers, we only get paid when we write, but is it better to stay up until threein the morning to try and finish an article, or go to bed and get up an hour or two early the next morning to finish it?

It's hard for me to "turn it off" when it comes to writing, but I have a little index card on my desk that helps me keep it in perspective a little bit.  It says, "Even the military gives leave."  The idea is that companies give time off to their employees for good reason.  Everyone needs a break from time to time.  Even if it's one day to go to a crazy pirate festival, you have to allow yourself time to step away from the chaos of work and enjoy being a person once in a while.

Even the hermit herself goes to Mexico to see the Peacemakers.  Everyone needs time off every now and then.

I'm not saying you should schedule two weeks off every year.  That may work for you, but you may not be able to afford that, either.  But maybe it works for you to take one or two days off each week, or one weekend each month, or whatever in order to step away from the office and spend time with family, friends, and fur babies.  The work will be there when you get back.  I promise.  As long as you won't miss a deadline or a meeting or something by taking a day off, it could be really good for you.  At Gasparilla yesterday, I saw about a hundred people that would make fun characters in various stories, and I came up with an entire short story plot.  If I'd stayed home, I would've missed out on that.

What's your schedule?  Does it allow for time off regularly?

04 February 2009

What would you do for office supplies?

Do you remember the old Klondike bar commercials in which "ordinary people" were asked to do silly things in exchange for a delicious Klondike bar?  (Please tell me you remember.)

Those commercials came up in a conversation I had yesterday, which got me to thinking about what I would want in exchange for silly or absurd behavior.  Other than money, office supplies are the only thing I'd consider in exchange.  (Yeah.  I'm a nerd.  Get over it.)  I know it's the writer in me.  After all, what else is so valuable to a writer than tools to write?

Sure, I'll hop on one foot.  But you gotta give me that beautiful blue ink roller ball pen in your pocket.  Didn't think I noticed?  I noticed.

What is the most extreme thing you would do in exchange for office supplies (or your personal equivalent of office supplies)?

03 February 2009

Kitty Games, TLC in the afternoons, and other such nonsense

My writing plate hasn't been as full lately as it has been in the past, so I frequently find myself in the middle of the afternoon with little or nothing to do except watch A Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby on TLC.

And while it's very fun for me to watch baby shows every afternoon and get all teary when they hand Baby to Mama, during the commercials I find myself thinking, "Crap. I should be writing something."  Then I feel guilty at having wasted the afternoon watching TV instead of writing or reading or anything productive.  And playing games with our crazy cat Azshara who likes to chase movement under the covers doesn't count as productive, I suppose.

So I've decided to tighten up my schedule just a bit, particularly since, this time next year, I'll have an adorable, cherubic, perfectly mellow ::snort:: Baby NP on my hip who may need attention when my Muse taps on my shoulder.  This will also be helpful in case I need to venture outside of the house for a bit of traditional income-seeking and won't have the flexible writing schedule I currently boast.  (Just how is call center work, heart sister?)  More on that some other time, though.

In the many books about freelance writing I have, every single one of them talks about having a schedule and sticking to it in order to stay productive.  I'm afraid I've let myself get a little lax in that area, and I'm suffering the consequences (often referred to as procrastination and/or laziness).  So I'm reworking my daily schedule to accomodate my new dedication to productivity, and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I stick to the schedule I create.

And until I finalize said schedule, I'm going to spend as much time playing with the kitters as possible.

Don't judge me.

I could be writing a story about cats.  You don't know.