Saturday, November 25, 2017

Quick Update

Hello all, I do not plan on making another post until December, or if I'm lucky a few days before. This month has been packed full of family emergencies and, sadly, the loss of a pet. I'm grateful that my family member has gotten some help, despite this we still really don't know what is going on, but cancer has been sort of ruled out so that's good.

My kitty Tiger started showing signs of being lethargic earlier this month. We got him to the vet, came to the conclusion that he was diabetic, and thought that would be the end of it. His bilirubin did not go down despite medicine that should have helped it. To spare a lot of details, this was over the course of 6 days, I'll skip to what we "know".

His bilirubin by the end by 27.2 with no indication on if there was a blockage (advanced ultrasound was inconclusive), his liver was very fatty, gallbladder was extended,  half of his pancreas was extended (most likely what threw off the signs of diabetes), his kidneys had incrementally shut down, and his white blood cell count was less than 300.

We could have done a feeding tube but our vet wasn't sure if he could even digest the food. Even if he would have made it through the minor surgery, it would take months for the bilirubin to come down if there wasn't a blockage, but getting the amount of calories he needed would have been very difficult. Exploratory surgery was brought up but, where a healthy pet has a 50/50, he had a 20-30% chance of survival but no guarantee what they would be able to do would work. [EDIT: I did forget to mention that the vet also only gave him a 5% chance of survival with the surgery.]

We decided that the best could of action would be to let him pass peacefully on November 14th. Since then it's been very difficult to cope with the loss. I know we did everything we could but, the fact that he lost him when he was only 7.5 years old, has made it so much harder. There were so many things that we had hoped to include him in our life and, quite frankly, never questioned that he would be there.

So, I do hope to get back on soon. I needed time to be able to grieve and not worry about other things in my life. I'm really grateful I wasn't working because otherwise I would have to be working on top of this. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and make sure to hug your pets (unless it's a fish, then I don't think they'll appreciate that as much).

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Google Docs

Hello everyone! I meant to get this done sooner but, life.This post is going to focus on Google Docs. Once the other Google related series will be posted (Sheets and Slides) I will include links in this post as well.

Google Docs works much like a simplified version of Microsoft Word. Now, if you don't have Word, this is a great way to write and edit your documents. However, when the time comes to publish or send it off, I would take the time to check over it in Word to be on the safe side. There are 3 great ways to use Google Docs: Writing, Audio Typing, and Tables.


Writing

Of course, the main benefit is indeed the ability to WRITE on them. There's all the basics: fonts, highlighting, changing colors, line spacing, and more. You can even check your word count and spellcheck in the tools tab. Now, there are a lot more great features that you can use, but personally I don't use them. 

The main reason I love it is because I can share between my two gmail accounts and can edit between either of them. Or, just login on a different computer, and my writing is there! It makes any NaNoWriMo event nicer because it's so easy to access my writing. Plus, if you want a fresh set of eyes on your writing, invite your friends and they can leave comments easily! My group of friends has been using it and it has worked very nicely.



Audio Typing

This is a feature I am very excited about. I haven't used it much yet but, once I hunker down and look over some of my handwritten stories, this will be lifesaver! It's also great if you just want to verbally muse on things you might add. Plus, now I don't have to get other software and spend more money!

How you use it is really simple. Just go into: Tools -> Voice typing (or ctrl+shift+S) -> then allow the microphone access. I have not yet used a microphone with this yet and I have found there are times where it doesn't pick up quite as well. So, definitely play around with the program, and see how you like it. One quick side note, I really do like using the Keep notepad, especially when I'm working on editing or adding details.


    Tables

    Another feature you could use is tables inside of the Google Docs. Personally, I prefer using Sheets and I will go into more detail on why in the future blog post, but it does have some benefits on the Docs. For example, if you go on NaNoWriMo forums frequently and look at the Adoption page, you might find some neat quotes, lines, characters, or other ideas. The tables could help you make the section more visible in your document.

    In the picture above I show a few different things you could use the table for. Of course, if you want one section for only details then another table that has more columns for another point, you can do that too! It's especially great because if you change your mind, it's very easy to edit the Doc.  To get to the table: Go to: Insert -> Table. There you will have the option of how big you want to make your table.

    Conclusion

    Overall, I wish I would have realized what a lifesaver Google Docs are! For me it's great being able to access where I can get my writing quickly. Plus, no USB sticks to lug around, or trying to remember where I left off in a story. I hope this article has helped you and, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post in the comment section!

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    Monday, September 25, 2017

    Google Drive for Writers

    Hello everyone! Today I'm going to share how Google Drive can be a great (and free) resource for writers. I hope to elaborate more on each section in separate blog posts but for today I will give brief information on them.

    Google Drive

    The Google Drive consists of 4 aspects:
    1.  You can upload any files including pictures into your storage area (15 GB free).
    2. Google Docs allows you write and saves your progress online.
    3. Google Sheets is similar to Excel (which can also be useful for writers!).
    4. Google Slides has another benefit that I recently realized.
    I love being able to store additional things in my Google Drive. I'm also lucky that I get an extra 100 GB's for I believe 2 years since I have a Chromebook. But, even without the extra storage, it's still a lot of space for writing documents. 

    Google Docs

    The benefit of this one is pretty clear. It's a basic writing program that works similarly to Word but has less features. Honestly, it has everything I could possibly need, and I love that I can share it between my writing account and my personal email. That way, I don't need to only sign into this account. Plus, if you want someone to beta read, this is a great way to share the file and allows for them to comment along their reading experience. 

    Google Sheets

    Now, I know what you're thinking, sheets are for those people who work with numbers. I have been using it to track what I need to do as well as some basic character information. That way, I can easily filter my information to find what I need quicker. I will be doing a separate blog post with pictures of how I use the sheets.

    Google Slides

    I honestly haven't touched Slides since college. But I was looking at it the other day and it dawned on me. I could use them similarly to note cards. Now, I love note cards, and I have way too many in my house stashed away. I plan on using it to write scene ideas so I can easily shift things around until I'm happy with an outline. I may also write character information on the sheets and, if you have the font big enough, you can print out the information so you have a backup. Again, I plan on doing a separate post so you can see the overarching idea I have for it.


    There are also additional programs that you can download and use for the drive. I personally do not use them but if there is one you like, feel free to tell me in the comments, because I have not tried any of them. If you want to read other writers perspectives on using Google Drive for writing there are others who have posted in the last few years (you can Google it!) that were interesting to read as well.

    Thanks for reading and if you have additional ways you use Google Drive please comment below! Until next time. :)

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