New and Updated Website at DWHirsch.com

May 17, 2016

Hello everyone!

You may have noticed a lack of posts–or you haven’t because I haven’t written anything here to notify you of. The reason? I have moved my WolfHowlings blog over to a self-hosted site:

DWHirsch.com

At this time, this blog will stay open as a static history of me and all of you. I am posting new content at my other blog, and I will get in touch with all of you, my dedicated subscribers, to let you personally know of this change. This was a decision a long time in the making–and a difficult task in the transition. More on that there. The new site is still under construction, and sporatic updates will be posted here.

Come join the fun: all this site had to offer and MORE!!

I look forward to seeing you there.

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One #ROW80 Round2 goal done, but doesn’t change a thing

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If we were having coffee…
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I’m excited to say that it’s officially done: this website is now self-hosted. However, I am not promoting that site. Not yet.

I set up a self-hosted site with a brand new shiny name, but doing that wiped out all of the current formatting that you’re looking at. That’s not the end of the story. Heck, it’s not even the prequel. It’s a story to tell as I share my self-hosting blog experience, a simultaneous point of pride and wide-eyed disbelief. Simply put, I have to do this whole thing over again.

This website thing throws my ROW80 goals into a spin dryer. In no particular order, Goal 5 stated: “Update one thing on my blog each week.” Following this plan would keep my site freshened and current with the updated links-badges-formatting, those makeup touches long overdue. I did not expect a facelift.

1–Complete migrating this WordPress blog to the self-hosted one.
1–Redesign new/old website for launch Thurs, April 21; soft launch to my writers group and others Tues, April 19.
With this timeframe, I get my site launched and looking snazzy before the Rochester Writers Spring Conference on April 23. With two pre-launches, I can tweak anything that is glaringly unprofessional. I hope.

2–New business cards.
Now that my new web address is functioning in a skeletal stage, it’s time to order cards. I need something in my hands by April 18-ish, so design and order this week. My gosh, it’s April 10th already! Yipes! The thing is, I’m okay ordering anything professional-looking right now so I have cards to network with. I can always order new ones before my writerly events in May. A waste of money, you think? First, it’s a business expense, so no. Second–and maybe most important–I could spend $100/month on coffee if I set my mind to it, so re-doing cards is no big deal.

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3–Complete AtoZ Challenge posts for 2016 AND 2015.
Ugh. I lost track of my 2015 posts and had to list out what I needed to write. There’s an unlucky 13 of them. What a pile of poo I was about this last year. I’m staying current with this year’s haikus, and my posts are as long or short as I want to make these days. I have lots of open writing time this week.

4–Catch up and keep up with email.
It’s a nice goal–“Deal with 10-25 emails/day”–but I get at least 50 emails/day before deleting the obvious trash ones and those I have no interest in reading or dealing with, leaving still a net-negative emails in my Inbox.

6–Complete all blog/social media planner sheets for Happy Planner.
I keep creating new ones! I’m spending so much time planning my planning that I’m not utilizing these planning tools. Just stop already *smacks hand with wet noodle* Stop, stop stop!

7–Schedule social media.
See above re: planning planner sheets. I’m thinking on that, meditative reflection with coffee and tea nearby.

9–Put away holiday decorations: 1-2 boxes/week.
Haven’t yet.

10–Call family members at least once a week.
I’m going to call my Uncle Harold today. After I nap.

12–Continue writing letters.
I’m doing this, and finding inspiration through Write_On, which I’m writing about (ha!) this week. It’s more than a project, too fun to be called a challenge, and more awesome than just a campaign.

BONUS: Write for fun. Y’know, just play with words.
Haven’t done that yet, but this week, I’m okay with that.

—POSTPONED GOALS for April—

5–Update one thing on my blog each week.
Yeah. Addressed above. I’ll revisit this in May.

8–Schedule time to write/edit/promote my two current WIP: My Father, My Friend and Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks.
Postponing until May, after the April blog nonsense is over, or at least contained. I’m hoping I’ll pick up some tips at the conference in two weeks. (Two weeks?!? Yipes!)

11–Contact 2-5 potential editors.
Yep, pushing this off until May when I’ll start with my Alaska contact and Fiverr.

I printed out these ROW80 Round 2 goals and attached them to a dashboard in my Happy Planner. No excuses for forgetting them now.

Crazy little thing called…

Love.

Smallish details seems to be this month’s blog theme because here I go again.

There’s a blog party over at Suzie Speaks with the theme of love.

Who doesn’t love a good party? Given the theme, how could I not participate? I thought of the specific details of “what is love?” to me and I came up with one word:

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Receipts.

Specifically, meal receipts.

Early on when my husband and I were dating, he took the itemized receipt after some dinner out and wrote a note on it, something commemorating the event or location. I probably blushed, smiled for so many reasons and cooed “thank you” to this charming, sentimental man who was not my own (yet). Whatever my reaction was, it was enough for him to do it the next time out. He hasn’t stopped since.

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I adore it.

It’s a tradition now, almost expected and yet not.

What makes a meal receipt-worthy? The event. The location. The food. The memory. There was something significant and not commonplace about eating there at that time, and he captures that. I’m not allowed to write them; he does that.

Except one time when I took him out for his birthday. That was my receipt responsibility; he couldn’t write on his own birthday. That was my treat.

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My first arrow heart I Love You just yesterday

The notations evolve over the years. There are flags for sporting events, birthday hats, holiday hearts, even a diamond ring for one wedding anniversary. The excitement is discovering what new sentiment he’ll scribble down. He never fails to delight me.

Such a little thing. Such a big deal.

Retro love

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”~Martin Luther King, Jr., American leader

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately.

Do you remember any class in school where you had a creative writing assignment? If so, you may have stressed out about writing that first line. That’s when your teacher would say “Just freewrite,” which meant for the next however many minutes, you wrote whatever thoughts came to mind, without stopping.

Your pen. Remember those? Or maybe you wrote with a pencil. Regardless, it was–and still is–a stick that you hold in your hand that produces a visual image when pressed down on a surface. I mention this because I don’t think we do remember these anymore.

I watched a YouTube video the other day, and the host was a teenager or a girl in her early 20s. She created some art with her hands and then had to write some information down. “My cursive is terrible,” she wined. “I haven’t written in cursive since middle school. Looks like I have to practice my handwriting. It looks terrible.”

First, as a writer or blogger or artist, never apologize for anything you do save technical difficulties or natural disasters beyond your control. Even then, explain don’t excuse.

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My husband shares my nostalgia in this gift to me (us)

What made her comment doubly bad was that she made an excuse for not using her talented hands to write. Much of society has lost touch with the tactile, with the real. I haven’t tangled in awhile–something I miss, and a whole separate topic–but I do journal by hand. No online diary for me, except for this blog. I write and edit my stories. I use colorful pens to make it more fun. Heck, what happened to crayons?

Twitter chats this week were retro: what books do you recall fondly from your childhood? Favorite high school trip? When did you see your first concert? What video game(s) rocked your world? For the record, my answers include:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
–Cancun, Mexico (seriously!)
–Hall & Oates Big Bam Boom tour…you do the math
–Joust, Sinistar, Dig Dug, Mappy and Gauntlet

So I have been missing that lately, the delightful memories of youth. The times when I felt young and free and safe. What about you? Is there something you miss from long ago, or just from last year? Times change, but our memories do not.

I want to go home and color.

Social media haiku

“The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.”~Richard Bach, American writer

Today was a delicious day, and it was totally media free.

It was a long drive back to Michigan yesterday, and my husband and I both took today off. I slept guiltlessly until 10:30am, getting out of bed only because I was hungry. It took a lot of effort to microwave my meal, so I stretched out on my LoveSac for a two hour nap.

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Haiku Horizons #98: Find”

At 4pm, I finally showered, ran a few errands and came home to relax with another easy-to-prepare meal. We ventured out for our annual sneak peek of the Plymouth Ice Festival at about 9pm, but tarps covered the carved sculptures to keep them as cold as possible before the 40-degree temps hit our area on Saturday. We did see some carving being done on a side street: a half-completed Norse-style dragon and a flying bald eagle. Then home for the night.

What makes this day delicious–aside from the sleep and nap–is that I didn’t touch my smartphone all day. I turned the ringer off, turned the alert volume to mute, and I left it face down on the bed until after I showered.

For almost 18 hours, I did not check email, status updates, alerts or voicemails, nor did I play any games.

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Finding myself in a haiku

It felt wonderful!

No guilt. No stress. What surprised me was that I did not feel itchy to check my phone even though I live with it connected to my hip. I was able to focus on other things around me: my husband, the TV, the blinking Christmas tree lights, the softness of the blanket, and my daydreams. I was active in our conversations and I looked out the window when we drove around. I found things to do to keep me from being bored. You know, like before there was Internet.

Have you ever unplugged from the world? How did it feel? Or why do you feel you can’t do it?

A new year, a new #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

It’s kinda nice to get out of the house, isn’t it?

Yeah, it’s not like I’ve been cooped up all week–far from it!–but sitting in this Starbucks gives us some space to spread out. Too bad that local coffee shop in Maple Glen closed. It was charming. They started a tab for me the last time I was there. How cool was that? How dangerous was that? I wanted to show my husband, but alas. I was hoping we’d meet there, too, but this is the best we’ve got at 6:12pm.

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Happy New Year in Philly

Happy New Year! How did you spend yours? My husband and I were crossing the highway hand-in-hand when everyone tooted horns and yelled out windows. We made it to Sugarbush Casino to see the fireworks over Philadelphia. Much warmer than last year, and this spot in Philly is easier to get to. Maybe you’ll be in town to join us?

My gosh, a worldwind week: shopping in New York City; train ride from New Jersey; craft stores in North Wales here; mall shopping at King of Prussia and here in Montgomery Mall; coffee shops everywhere; and so much more. The weather was great all week.

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Believe in the magic of Christmas and window displays

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Celebrating in the City and beyond

It was in the 40s when we were in the City, perfect for walking around. Times Square was the most crowded, maybe because some streets were already blocked off for the ball drop the next day. The Macy’s window displays were creative. The bookish geek in me adored the Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus display, but the Charlie Brown animatronic windows were divoon. My favorite was the Red Baron one with Snoopy decorating his dog house in lights then taking off into the sky among fireworks. The way the curtain of clouds revealed the story made everyone gasp.

We found some fun Starbucks Christmas tree ornaments and exclusive Times Square mugs. It rained only as we got to Penn Station for the train home, and of course we got roasted nuts. No trip to the City is complete without nuts.
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The Penn State bowl game yesterday was a loss, but it wasn’t. My husband and I watched the game with the Montco Penn State Alumni Chapter. They hosted it at a bar and provided free appetizers. The final score was 24-17 Georgia, but our team came back with two 4th quarter touchdowns to make it a game at the end. It all came down to the last play of the game, and it was a real effort. No one gave up, and we don’t feel bad about the outcome. Okay, we hoped they would win, but the soul and the spirit that the players showed was enough for me to feel proud about it all.

I did get some writing done, as well as some writing organization. I didn’t touch Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks once I chose not to publish by December 31, but I did some blogging, some planning for blog and writing time, and I’m catching up on my much-neglected social media.

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Lucky the puppy flops on the stairs waiting for head and tummy scritches

It’s strange that people are going back to work tomorrow, but we’re still on vacation until Wednesday. Not that I mind. It’s been nice visiting with my in-laws and the puppy. Eat, nap, scratch, eat, sleep…oh, the life of a dog. I feel like that today since I’m sleeping in tomorrow.
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Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I haven’t, and I don’t intend to. It’s complicated but really simple: I don’t want the pressure. I’m being kind to myself that way, but that’s why this whole writing-planning thing is important. I’m setting goals and striving towards them, which is different than “resolutions.”

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Together time: he whooped my butt in air hockey

It’s been all about food. There was brunch last Sunday, pizza from another delicious hole-in-the-strip-mall Italian restaurant here, more pizza in the City, homemade lasagna, Wawa subs and…. Let me say that I’m looking forward to getting home if only to eat “normal” food and exercise on my WiiFit.

It’s really been all about family. And the puppy. My husband and I had together time, we talked with his folks around the dinner table a few nights, we played with the puppy, stuff like that. His folks are getting older, so it’s good that we make these times to be together. Make no mistake, I wasted many hours playing games on my phone and watching YouTube videos, but we were here in the house with them. Sometimes just being is enough.

Care for more coffee or tea? There’s free in-store refills for Starbucks Gold Card members, and I have yet to hear what you’ve been up to. How was your week?

A #WeekendCoffeeShare about Christmas, writing and out-of-town family

If we were having coffee…

It’s nice here, isn’t it?

My in-laws take us out for brunch every year at the William Penn Inn here in…is this Lansdale? Chalfont? North Wales? Oh, I always forget the town, but I do remember the food. And the family. This year it’s just the four of us, and you, of course.

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I thought I’d be too tired to eat after the drive yesterday. My husband drove this time, and I was surprisingly awake most of the way, just dozing a bit through central PA. Going across I-80 instead of the turnpike saved us about $37–one way! We’re going back that way for sure, but not for another week. We’ve got all sorts of plans: shopping, the City, of course more puppy time, maybe even a movie.

My husband was on vaca all last week. Me, I finished up work and still spent Christmas Eve finishing wrapping presents. Of course, we saw the Star Wars movie on Christmas Eve Day, and it was as good as all the hype. Are you one of those last minute gift-wrappers, too? No matter what I do or how I plan…. Well, the movie was worth it, as well as the writing.

Oh, didn’t I tell you? I planned to make some progress on my latest Jimmy the Burglar book, and I accomplished that in a solid rough-sloppy second draft. I threw in an additional conflict and tied in this one sock element with a new twist. I feel so clever! I’m having fun writing this book, and I’m working this week to get Jimmy out into the world by Dec 31st so I have a book to enter in the NFPW contest.

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It’s not as crowded in here today as past years. It’s still festive with the green trees and white lights and red ribbons. White tablecloths and flowers on the table make this feel so casual while being formal. The food’s just as good–are you getting seconds? I am. The eggs, French toast and hand-carved ham are especially good today. The Peach Nectar Ambrosia is quite good; I’ve never had champagne with breakfast, but I’m feeling festive.

I’m going to get a sampling of desserts? Want some? Be sure to ask for another refill of coffee. I want to hear about your week.

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A festive #WeekendCoffeeShare and time management

If we were having coffee…

Here, let’s sit at the dining room table. I finally cleared it off enough that we can use it. There’s room for our musical snowglobe now, my husband’s favorite decoration. Shall I plug it in? The plastic snow blows around as the music plays.

**Music, music, music, the kind that sticks in your head all day.**

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The “front” of my ornament

We put up our tree earlier this year. I always decorate in multi-color lights, and there always has to be a strand or two that blinks. Mom decorated the tree like that when I was little. It’s so fun. Solid white lights are blinding and unimaginative.

How’s your Christmas shopping going? For me, it’s a busy and I’m-still-behind holiday season. But I’m not stressed, not at all. I just finished this Christmas ornament for my Altered Book Club’s exchange tomorrow. See the bling? That’s all jewelry I’ve picked up at yard sales. It’s double-sided, too. Do you like this orange plastic-bead side with Christmas sheet music or the other side with the earrings as the hook and the pearl-diamond deco?

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The “back” of my double-sided ornament

I haven’t wrapped any gifts, let alone shopped for them. I know what I’m getting my husband, just as soon as he leaves the room…**whisper whisper whisper**

Next week at this time, we’ll be — **breaks out in sing-songy voice** — on the road again…to his folks for the holiday week. He’s looking forward to seeing their puppy, Lucky. Me, I’m looking forward to a cataonic state of shopping in AC Moore. Have you ever been? No? Take the best of Michaels and Hobby Lobby, and then throw in some stuff you’ve never seen before, and you’ve got AC Moore. I’m going to see if they carry any unique stuff for my Happy Planner. Let me show you. I’m using up old scrapbook papers and stickers my husband bout me. Isn’t it fun?

It makes me happy to look at, and the to-dos don’t feel so oppressive. It feels good to see what I’m thinking, and to work within my schedule and plan and make sure I don’t steer off track any more than I am. I’m going to scrapbook more and finish my husband’s annual calendar when I’m cropping with my friend next week.

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My socks match the tree.

We have to cut today short because my husband and I are going out to our annual dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. This kicks off his vacation and officially starts our holiday season.  Have a great weekend.  I’m glad you stopped by.

A #WeekendCoffeeShare of writing…failures?

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”~Margaret Mead, American scientist

If we were having coffee, I might be dozing off. It’s been a long week. I guess I haven’t caught up on sleep from last weekend’s trip to State College for the Penn State-Illinois football game. We ate too much, stayed up too late, shopped way too much, cheered until we couldn’t speak, and just other general alumni rowdiness.

My writing has fallen off this week, and I guess that’s just part of life, the universe and everything. I signed up for NaNoWriMo at 11:30pm on October 31, and my current word count is six, I think, and that’s because I typed in a proposed title. My idea with NaNo this year is bucking against the “rules” to write 50,000 words of one novel. I plan to write 3-4 short stories, easy enough to edit and ePublish by the end of the year. That’s a good use of my November, rather than draft another novel-I’ve-always-wanted-to-write just to have it sit in a file on my computer.

Other writing goals are sluggish. I did finish my Scrivener tutorial. What a mentally exhausting task that was. In the process, I seem to have muffed up the program itself, so I’m awaiting response from the developers to see what I did. MailChimp is proving to be not as easy as others said it would be, or else I’m making more of it than I should.

I haven’t submitted anything to my writers’ group in a few months, but I did discuss with them the options of self-hosting this blogsite and finally using the domain name I’ve been hanging onto for about 5 years. At least I planned ahead for that.

My husband’s off sulking because Penn State didn’t win this week’s football game. I’m a bit bummed myself. It came down to one play–a poor play call, even I could tell–but a lot of games this season have been won by one final play.

Grab an Oreo cookie to-go; we have plenty left from my Halloween blog party. Have a safe drive home, and I’ll see you next week.

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