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December 2014
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February 2015

ROW80-1 - 01/25 - Distracted by Hunger

Not my hunger, but that of many of Canada's Inuit. There have been several reports in the news lately on the horrendous prices for food in Canada's far north - like this video. Kellogg's Protein shakes - 3/$19, 5 kg flour - $25.  One place had 7-up, case of 12 cans for $48. These are often subsidized prices too. There is a government program to try to help this, by throwing money at the problem, but it is ineffective and understaffed - of course - and the northern stores are profiting from it. So, some Canadians slowly starve, some fill up on junk food, with lots of sugar, which kills the hunger but is unhealthy.

A woman in BC started a Facebook group a few months ago, called Helping Our Northern Neighbours,with a simple purpose - to match southern donors with northern families. We buy the food, and pay the shipping, they get it and eat it. Just simple food, the basics, but if they ask for Minute Rice (cheaper to cook with high fuel prices) we send it. No brown rice or quinoa or nutritional lectures - they already have Health Centres doing that. The main group has almost 12,000 members now, some just to post and comment but many with families. Some are even from the US. I've already made a number of friends through this - across the country and here in Ottawa. Canadians who just want to help our less fortunate neighbours. We also help each other with tips and tricks and funding, and are learning a lot about the challenges and issues of living in the North. There is a more political group too, Feeding Our Families, that is running protests and lobbying. This issue will hopefully may bump up a bit in the government's agenda.  

So - I joined a few days ago and have been busy researching shipping choices, and food prices, and taking part in a myriad of discussions. Life got in the way of my writing goals. I have my name in for someone in Baker Lake, and will email my orders in to a store in Arviat - about halfway up the west side of Hudson's Bay.  Saves me a lot of shipping costs that way, and they can get perishables in by plane the same day. It will likely be a week or tow before I get my peeps, so hopefully I can refocus on editing. 

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ROW80-1 - 01/21 - Flattened

First it was my battery, then it was me. Flattened by a wonky back. It's happened before. All it needs is a twist the wrong way or bending over to pick up a pen and I get a lower back spasm. Last time doctor found nothing more than weak muscles and reminded me of my exercise program. Drugs, rest, and a heating pad help but the side effect is not a lot of work done since the last post. I did finish reading the Luminaries - what a marathon! 

And I've been following/posting to a new Facebook Group - Helping Our Northern Neighbours. Given the excessive cost of food in Canada's north, and the lack of effective government support, the aim is to match needy families with people down south willing to buy and ship food to them. They also work with food banks up there, and some more local suppliers. A long term solution is needed, but this works now. 

Back to me and my editing challenges - I'd started using the Pomodoro Technique as a way to focus better on things. 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off. Repeat. After the fourth 25 minute piece, you take 15 minutes off. There's a book, but that's pretty well it. Pretty simple, but it seems to be working. I've an iPhone app that helps me track it and there are web sites. Or a kitchen timer. It's also a good way to NOT focus, as in getting up every 25 minutes to stretch and do something different. 

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ROW80-1 - 01/14 - This and That

Here's Wednesday's post - on Thursday. I'm already back to putting the top of the list - editing - after the bottom of the list - other odds and ends.

I did do some work on my second book, but most was on marketing and publishing things, And a broken car. It's been pretty cold here, but my car still managed to start as needed. However, the last few times were with a little less pep. I should have taken the hint. Luckily my neighbour parks right next to me and was willing to give me a boost eventually. It's a 2008, and the battery had just faded away. New one now.

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ROW80-1 - 01/11 - No Good Habits Yet

The "A Round of Words in 80 Days" challenge does realize that you have a life, and is fine with other things occasionally usurping your goals. That's especially likely to happen if you leave the important things until later in the day, or just dabble at them at random times.As opposed to establishing some regular writerly habits. I need to at least remember to set the next day's schedule before retiring at night. I'll be talking about this planning effort to a writer's group this week, so I better get some focus here!

I have been getting in two hours a day on editing - or close to it - but really need three. The Pomodoro method does seem to work well for me - 25 minutes on, 5 off, and repeat. I use an online countdown timer for it too, ticking away on another screen. But, as mentioned, sometimes that editing happens first thing in the morning. sometimes late at night, sometimes scattered through the day.  I also did get a lot of publishing odds and ends done in the past few days, so was not a complete loss. Oh - and I got a bread-maker. And I figured out how to use it.

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