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Monday, November 29, 2010

I Can't Believe I Wrote The Whole Thing!

I somehow, through the grace of something, managed to finish my NaNoWriMo goal one day early!  I am just absolutely stunned that I kept up with the writing all month, and I woke up today determined to finish before work tonight.  Here I am, a proud winner of 2010 NaNoWriMo.  Now I can put up my Christmas decorations, clean up the house, and dive into more books.  

Thanks to everyone who commented on my posts about this test of endurance this month.  And thanks to Bud, for being supportive and not being around much so I could come home and type all night!  That sounds weird, I know, but I seriously doubt I would have finished if my sweetie had been here.  He's kind of a distraction--but in a very very good way.

Off to have a celebratory lunch!  Woohoo!!

A Blog Award To Start Off The Week

Look what The Frisky Virgin sent my way!  Oh, that turkey looks like it could chip a tooth.  Anyway, the rules are to tell a story about cooking, holidays, intoxication, or the kitchen.  So, I'm going to tell a story that involves my oldest sister Debbie, who is about 12 years older than me.   When I was  still much younger, she was married and had my nephew.  We lived in Iowa, and she lived in Illinois (we moved after she got married and left her there!).  One Thanksgiving, we went to her house.  I remember this vividly, because of my Dad's reaction and also because it was one of the rare times we were not home for Thanksgiving.

Checking on the turkey, it looked beautiful.  Smelled pretty good, too.  Out of the oven it came, and my Dad decided to scoop out the stuffing before he carved the turkey.  Oops.  My sister left the bag of "stuff" in the turkey.  And of all the people to discover it, it was my Dad.  So into the garbage the stuffing went, along with the turkey's last gift.  We all ate the turkey, with no ill effects, but I learned one lesson:  always, always check the cavity of a bird before you cook it!  Needless to say, my Dad enjoyed reminding Debbie about that turkey for years and years.  My sister is a very good cook, and never made that mistake again.

Thanks Frisky Virgin!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Week To Come: Chock Full Of Optimism--Or Just Plain Insanity?

We can all breathe a sigh of relief that Thanksgiving is under our belts, and now we're focusing on Christmas.  This leaves me with two weeks to get myself together, and have everything ready for Christmas, since I work 6 days the week before Christmas, and 6 days the week of Christmas.  I know I'll be tired and have an amazing lack of energy after leaving work those two weeks, so time is of the essence now!

This week, my huge big deal is finishing NaNoWriMo.  I'm getting close!  I can't believe it's almost over.  That deadline is Tuesday at midnight.  On Tuesday, C-Joy is having her Holiday Soiree, so I must have my 50,000 words done by early Tuesday morning.  Then I can relax and enjoy the Soiree--and celebrate!  

I also have to decorate for Christmas.  I have a wee little house, so while it may not take much to decorate, too much looks overdone.  I've decided this year, since watching HGTV, to go for a few colors, and make it look as elegant and charming as I can, with a limited budget.  A trip to the basement, and digging around in my boxes will let me know what I can work with, and what I need to buy at the store.  Colored lights hung around the living room ceiling are a must--it's so wonderful to lay on the couch, with lamps off; the glow of those twinkling lights create such a cozy evening.  Add in a few pine scented candles, and it's very romantic and holidayish!

Food wise, thanks to C-Joy and a Saturday of cookie dough mixing, I have some cookie dough in the freezer ready to defrost and bake in a few more weeks. A few loaves of a family tradition--date bread-- and I should be set for special treats.  My Christmas cake is marinating under weekly sips of brandy in the basement, to come out on Christmas Eve.  And my homemade limoncello is making magic in the fridge.  I just have to decant it into some bottles I bought at Pier One to give as gifts to some friends--and for myself!

Hopefully, when I go back to work on Thursday, I will have accomplished my decorating, cleaning, and NaNoWriMo.  All that would be left is the last minute baking and sending out Christmas cards to my family.  I will finish my Christmas shopping on Wednesday for sure, and get everything wrapped in the gift wrap I bought last year on clearance.  Phew.  I sound organized on a blog, we'll see how I do in real life.  And did I even mention exercise?  Well, I will certainly work on making that happen since I didn't go to the gym at all last week.  I'd like to try and run on the treadmill, and see how things go.  I know I will be horribly disappointed at my lack of energy and stamina, but I've got to start again sometime.  And maybe I'll get up the courage to try a spin class.  Wow, what a full week if I can get this all done!  I think I'll sleep well at night.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Survivor!

I got to work at 5:45 AM.  Thank God I live five minutes away from the bookstore and only have to make a few right turns to get to it.  The traffic on Collins Road looked like rush hour traffic.  Two co-workers sat in the traffic for 15 minutes trying to get to work.  We flew around the store getting everything ready, putting up sale signs, and unlocked the doors at 7 AM to a deluge of bodies.  There were only four of us in the bookstore, one in our Music Department, and two in our Cafe.  Needless to say, it was crazy for an hour, until more bodies arrived and we had more help.  I was fried by 10 AM, when I finally stood in line in our Cafe and got my first shot of caffeine of the day--an Iced Mocha (skim milk, no whip cream, and an extra shot of espresso).  By then, then tension headache had taken hold and didn't leave all day.  Other than being tired from not sleeping well last night (Is the alarm set?  Did I not hear it go off?  What time is it?!)  the day went very quickly, and at 2:30 I got to leave.  It was still as busy as it was earlier in the morning!  People are out shopping hard.  And all of our customers were very nice today, friendly and seeing we were doing our best to help everyone as quickly as possible.  All I can say is that a lot of people are going to get NOOKs for Christmas!  And it always makes me happy to have people come in and buy loads of books for kids.

My plan after work was to come home, work on my "novel" for a bit, eat a pizza, and relax.  Well, I got my pizza, drank some iced tea, and promptly fell asleep on the couch for about 2 hours.  I've finally woken up, finished a book, and now will attempt to pour some imagination into my story.  I'm glad NaNoWriMo is almost over, cause quite frankly, I think this story had run it's course and I'm ready to finish it!  Tuesday midnight is the will be close.  Bud is out hunting all weekend, so I've got no excuse to not type away.  I think it's time for another dose of Dr. Wicked's Write or Die.  It's like a really horrible tonic you have to take, but you know it will make you better after you spend some time either staring into or sitting on the Porcelain God.  Yep, it's kinda like that.

I hope everyone who shopped today had a good experience, and if you didn't shop, good for you for staying away from the madness!  My sweetie actually went out this morning, went into one store, saw the line that stretched from the front of the store to the back, and promptly left.  He did get a few bargains at some other stores, though.  Even the "man" stores were full of people ready to grab whatever deals were still around.  Oh, I would have loved to have been there with him to see his face!  But, I was busy selling stuff to ladies like this:

Yes, some people wear slippers to shop!

I will finish my shopping during the middle of the week, when everyone else is working, and the stores have restocked their shelves.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Day--The Quiet Before The Storm

It's the day before the day before madness begins!  In other words, it's Wednesday.  Friday morning will find me at work at 6 AM  (I feel very sorry for those other worker bees  who have to be at work at 3 AM!) ready to put books and NOOKs in the hands of customers.  I will probably go home from work and take a nap. Saturday will be less crazy, since most people will spend their money on Friday or wait until the next weekend.  Everything is on sale all the time, so you'd be hard pressed not buy something that wasn't on sale or has a coupon.

So what does Thanksgiving mean to me?  Unfortunately, for the past 20 years of retail work, it means the beginning of absolute nuttiness.  I really would much rather stay home and have a quiet dinner and be a sloth all day, but as we all know, Thanksgiving is meant for being with others.  Bud and I will be at different places this year--I have decided to go to my sister's  house to stuff my face along with two other sisters and their families.  Bud is staying home with his parents and will probably hunt during the morning.  I will find a relaxing spot with a glass of wine and a book and settle in to wait for our meal.  Then I must go home and prepare something (I'm thinking pumpkin bars) for our annual "Can't Get Out Of The Parking Lot" Potluck at work.  Seriously.  Whomever designed the parking lot in front of our strip mall was an idiot.  It becomes a big clusterf**ck with deadlocked traffic.  So if you leave to get something to eat, you will be gone waaay past your lunch time--and probably won't find a parking spot again.  

What am I bringing to our Thanksgiving?  Homemade applesauce, a few pies (not homemade--not brave enough), and a cheeseball.  And a bottle of wine--for me.  No one else drinks wine.  And maybe a pillow, to sleep on when I fall asleep after eating too much!

So everyone have a great Thanksgiving!  Christmas will be here before you know it.  Ho Ho Ho :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Too Pooped to Post

It has been a very busy week and weekend for me, and I am completely wiped out, so I apologize for not responding to all the wonderful blogs I read, and not posting at all this weekend.  On a great note, people are Christmas shopping now instead of two weeks from now, so we have been super busy at the bookstore.  So super busy, that my poor 44 year old body can't take the rushing around quite so easily as it did just a few months ago when I was 43.  As for lifting and hefting boxes of books around, well, what I could do when I started at my bookstore at 27 is not the same as what I can do now--mainly, not much tossing boxes around with ease!  Oh, the aging process had begun.  Only a hot bath and my owl flannel jammies can ease the aches and pains.  And having Bud on the couch with me :)

Anyway, I hope to post something interesting before Turkey Day, I'm just too pooped right now.  This is my big push week for NaNoWriMo, so if you see my word count moving up, that's what I'm doing with my time.  And trying to finish a few books.  

Ciao for now, folks!  Talk to you soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dr. Wicked's Write or Die--A Brilliant Idea!

Last year on my failed attempt at NaNoWriMo, I found on their website a great tool writers can use to get their word count/productivity up:
Dr. Wicked's Write or Die.  It's  a website that promises to put the "prod" in productivity.  And hell yes, it does!

You set how long you want to write (say 30 minutes) and how many words you want to type (say 1500).  Then you hit the start button, and the time begins.  Your clock is ticking down, and your word count is sitting at the right bottom corner of your screen, adding up those little words every time you type and hit space.  You can pause your typing only once, and then it won't do it again for  you.  There are a few ways you can increase the level of stress--and hopefully--productivity by choosing which mode you want.  Take Kamikaze mode, for example.  If you stop typing for more than a few seconds, it will warn you, then it will start to delete, word by word, what you just wrote.  It makes for a diaper wearing experience--you have no choice but to keep typing no matter what!  I will advise you to make sure you've peed, have a drink handy, and have shut off your phone.  No interruptions allowed.  I'm too afraid to not finish my goal in the time I've set for myself.  I have no idea what happens if you fail.  If you panic, just hit the "done" button.  But then you feel like a big weenie!

I tried Kamikaze  last year, and I couldn't take the pressure after awhile.  There's another gentler mode which flashes the screen red, then starts a baby crying very loudly and annoyingly until you start to type again. Once you've hit your word count within your alloted time, you can hit the "done" button, then copy and paste your writing onto whatever program you've been writing on your computer.  For me, it's Apple.

This thing works.  It takes the "I'll start in a minute" chat out of your head, cause you have to start and keep moving.  I managed 1600 words in under 30 minutes today, and I'll do it again later on to hit my 30,000 mark.  Apparently you can buy the program for your computer, but the free program works just fine.

If only this worked for household chores, exercising, and other stuff we dither about.  I would be a whirlwind of activity.  So check this website out--if anything, to see what madness some people come up with to get things done.  And--try it yourself.  See if you can hack the Kamikaze mode.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bud Is Back and NaNoWriMo News

My sweetie is back after a week long much needed vacation, and by golly, what did we do?  Eat supper and fall asleep on the couch!  We are fans of Desperate Housewives, oddly enough, and have missed the last three weeks.  Bud's parents kindly tape them for us, and unfortunately, we were able to watch only one last night before Bud's lids started to get heavy, and he was out for the count.  I quickly followed.  I decided since he had experienced the trauma on vacation of having to  eat tater-tot casserole (I've never had it, and never will!), he should have a dinner that I was sure he hadn't had while gone:  caesar salad and shrimp scampi.  He loves to eat the shrimp on slices of baguette, so he can soak up the sauce.  An ice cold beer completed the meal.  And I cooked the shrimp just right--finally getting the hang of that.

Bud hates tater-tot casserole; a painful memory of repeat casserole dinners throughout his high school years.  I can't make a casserole for him, cause he just won't eat it.  Now, my family is not from Iowa; we are from Chicago.  My parents were both born and raised in Chicago, and tater-tot casserole is, I think, a very rural Midwest kinda thing. I come from the land of polish sausage, corned beef and cabbage, and beer.  So, we never had tater-tot casserole, or tater-tots at home.  I love me some tater-tots, with lots of ketchup and salt.  But never ever on top of a casserole!  I had a great giggle on Bud's part, imagining the horror he felt when presented with that dish for supper.  And he said it was a mixture of ground beef and veggies in a soupy sauce, which must have caused shudders to run down his spine.  But being the gracious and polite guest he was, he ate it.  Poor baby.  This has set back my attempts to feed him a casserole for at least another ten years.  Dammit!  And I've got some really good recipes :{

Tater Tot Casserole

On NaNoWriMo news, I have hit 25,000 words!  Holy Crap!  I love the weekly pep emails participants get from the organizers, because they are a good reminder to keep going and toss in a bomb to shake things up.  I'm trying to move things along, and I hate to create trauma in my character's world, but I'm thinking I may have to introduce someone bad who has only the wrong intentions.  My character is making progress in her quest to have a better life, but we all have set backs, right?  Even make believe people.  And I already know how it's going to end, just not sure how the road will lead me there.  I did have thoughts the other night that I should have written a completely different story--doh!  A ghost story for kids.  But it's too late, so I'll just have to shelve  that until next year.  Bud reminded me, of course, that I've only got 14 more days to go, and to kick it into gear.  So I will endeavor to type until the keyboard smokes, and I have finished before November 30th.  I found out that I will probably have to type over 50,000 words, so when I send it in for an official word count, I have a word cushion.  Apparently, not all word counters are equal.  I would have a cow, a sheep, and a pig if I missed my count by a few hundred words.  I would have failed my mission, but be the proud owner of my own little farm.  Moo  Baah Oink

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Super Quick And Easy Banana Bread

I found a recipe for banana bread on Simply Recipes which is a great website for all sorts of baking and cooking recipes.  I've made this banana bread twice, and it is so pathetically simple to make--only one bowl is needed!  I've added chocolate chips to my bread, which makes it just over the top, yummy good.  If it's a homemade pumpkin, banana, or zucchini bread, I will add chocolate chips anytime.  I usually cut down on the sugar required; if it's one cup, I put in 3/4 of a cup.  The sweetness of the fruit and the chips makes up for it, and quite frankly, you can't tell the difference!  So whip up a loaf or two of banana bread.  It takes less than 15 minutes from start to placing it in the oven.

I didn't have time to take a photo of my delicious loaf cooling on the counter, but it looks amazingly similar to this:

I used defrosted bananas that I kept in my freezer from my failed attempts to eat healthier this summer.  I can never eat the bananas fast enough before they start to ripen too much,  so I  just peel them, stick them in a freezer bag, and  defrost them before using for the bread.  Also, they get pretty liquidy after defrosting, so I just pour the nanner liquid out of the bag before I use the bananas.

Go forth and bake!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Slothful Day

My self sabotage is just flat out amazing to me.  I lay in bed at night and plan what I want to do the next day before work, after work, and, if I don't work, how to get some projects done around the house.  

Yet when I wake up in the morning, that planning guru, the motivator Ms. Caboo, has disappeared into Slothful Sue.  She still has the compulsion to do something, anything, but Weenie Girl has taken possession and the phrase "I'll do it later" runs through my head.  Until later is gone, and it's too late.  Then Pissy Ms. Caboo appears, annoyed as hell that the other two didn't move it and at least do one thing!  So that's been my weekend.  It's my last weekend off til January, and I've managed to not rake, (too cold and windy), not clean the house, fold clothes, or wash the windows.  I have, however, managed to finish a book, watch some TV, become seriously sleepy after lemon drops on Friday night, and wine on Saturday with C-Joy, and have taken to falling asleep on the couch around 6PM every night.  

This is what I planned to do today, before I have to go to a book signing tonight for work:

The Y opens at noon today.  It's 11:58.  Don't think I'll make it.  I could go to visit my sister and her family, but that would mean getting dressed, putting in the contact lenses, and driving somewhere.  Or, I could fold those clothes.  Knowing I have to be at work at 4pm and work for a few hours tonight (which is really sitting at a table selling cookbooks to adoring fans of Art Smith)  had made my motivation drop to zero.  I'm a bit stuck with my novel, and I'm trying to push through to my magical 25,000 words before midnight tonight.  I have about 4500 words to go!

So I'll make a deal with myself.  I will stay home, and do sit-ups, push-ups,  squats, lunges, and planks.  I'll make a nice lunch for myself, since I'm not sure where or when supper will be later tonight.  I will set a 15 minute timer, and fold my clothes and put them away.  

Do you ever waste a whole day, and then wonder where the heck it went?  I've already made lists for the next few days.  On a bonus side, I've eaten three chocolate cupcakes in the past few days.  I'm now tired of them, and have no desire to eat the rest. I don't know what happened there; my body has an infinite capacity for chocolate cupcakes.   I'll save them for Bud. Bud!  Haven't seen him for over a week!  He's been out of town, and it's been very odd.  Hopefully, tomorrow night we'll get together and fill each other in on our past week away from each other.  And I'll ask to borrow the leaf blower.  Heck no, I'm not going to move all those leaves by myself!  Years of doing that has made me appreciate the leaf blower.  I'm all for exercise, but raking a backyard that is ankle deep in leaves will render me incapable of moving the rest of the week.  

Have I managed to put you on the edge of your seat with anticipation?!  Will I crash and burn again, or actually function this week, and make a dent in my to-do lists?  Sometimes having too much time on my hands guarantees I will not do a damn thing.  Off to fold clothes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Skip the Whole Day And Get To Dinner!

Do you ever have one of those days where you wake up, and just want it to be dinnertime?  Today is one of those days for me.

I have to work today, and after work I'm running to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients for what promises to be a super delicious, extraordinary, soon-to-be-a-staple recipe for dinner.  What is it, you say?  Well, it's a recipe a customer gave me that involves bow tie pasta, cheese, artichokes, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, chicken, and did I say cheese?!  Pair that with a movie, and a Lemon Drop for sipping, and I've got a "Friday Night Don't Have To Work Saturday" fantastic evening  ahead of me.  It's dreary and rainy outside--first time it's really rained since September.  Perfect for a cozy stay inside tonight.  

How's the NaNoWriMo going?  Well, I'm about 2000 words behind, and I have time to make it up this weekend.  I'm feeling a bit bored with my story, so I will let the brain juices marinate today and hopefully I'll come up with something to shake it up.  I don't want to toss in a nuclear meltdown, or a horrible disease that turns everyone into zombies, but I do have to shake up Lydia's (my main character) world.  The poor thing.  She never suspected what I could do to her life when she popped up in my head.  I promise she will emerge from this novel with all of her limbs still attached, and no major lasting damage to her life.  Just enough to freak her out!  Oh, the power!  Ha Ha Ha...  I think she will have to make some Lemon Drops of her own to cope with the sudden shift in her make believe life.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Shout Out

My two nephews 

Today's Veterans Day, and we should all take a few moments to thank all of the men and women who keep our country safe and free!  My nephew Eric joined the Marines and went to Iraq for a year.  He's now back home, and out of the Marines. Thankfully he returned to us without injury and we appreciate all he did during his four year stint in the Marines. I will always keep his letters home as a reminder that sometimes we all have to do difficult things in life to make things better for others.

My nephew Ben always talked about being in the Army since he was a very small boy, and in his junior year of high school joined the National Guard.  Ben is still in the National Guard three years later, attending college to become a police officer, and proud to wear his uniform.  

I love my nephews and am very proud of them!  So forget about not getting any mail today, and appreciate those vets!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Think I Like This One...

This blog background may be a keeper for awhile.  I need something flashy to keep up the holiday energy!  Another beautiful day outside; in the upper 60's, which is unheard of in Iowa in November.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is the last day of nice weather, after that, much cooler and rain.  Perfect for me staying indoors and pounding out the novel, which I haven't attended to much the last few days.  That will all change later today.  I always have a sense of relief when I have a day off and I have nothing really planned.  I do have to have some structure, or I will never get off my duff and even make my bed!  But knowing I don't have to go anywhere tonight, and I can eat dinner whenever I want is a relief.  A quick trip to the grocery store for supplies and then I'm home until tomorrow morning, when I attempt to get down to the gym at 5am to workout before work.

I have to get outside and clip down my lovely mums.  They're all fallen over and are looking kinda sad.  I will try  to "quickly" rake up some leaves.  I think I will leave the majority to next week, when I have some extra time.  That reluctant housekeeping I blogged about earlier this week?  Well, I have to do some of it today.  Bud will be back tomorrow, and I do need to at least look like I tried to maintain some level of tidiness in the house while he was gone.  Laundry, bathroom cleaning, kitchen floor mop; tossing out the junk mail.  All the fun stuff!  Then finally, sitting at the computer and typing.  I've fallen dangerously behind on my novel, so I have to make up for it later today.  I have made a goal for myself to not stop typing until I've hit 2500 words today.  Oh, lordy, I have put myself in a pickle!  So off to do my chores, and  I have no excuse later not to write.  Maybe the chores will spark some bit of creativity in my noggin and I'll have a huge turn of action and plot in my novel.  Oh, how funny to call it a novel.  Right now, it's just a bunch of blathering and fanciful imagination I threw up on the computer.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I've Crumbled Under The Pressure

Man, everyone is changing their blogs!  So now I'm doing it, too.  I don't know if I like this one, and quite frankly, since flowers are now dead for the next few months, I don't have any pretty flowers to show.  I may mess around with my background; I'm trying for the holiday season, but looking for something "cool" without being super-holidayish.   I may just say "screw it" and go full bore into Santa, reindeer, and snowmen.   Stay tuned!  

And oh, Thanksgiving, we haven't forgotten you.  Kiss Kiss.

The Reluctant Housekeeper

 I like a clean house.  I love to see everything freshly dusted, vacuum tracks on the floor (if you have carpeting), a fragrant scent in the air.  Floors scrubbed; bathroom clean and sparkling.  Clothes all put away.  No junk lying around.  Yes, I love all of those things.  What I don't love is that I have to do it.  You'd think just looking after myself, in a small house, wouldn't be tough.  But it is.  When I first started dating Bud, I would rush home from work, and frantically clean the bathroom and straighten up the house.  I didn't want him to think I was a messy person.  Now, I don't do that.  It lasted about 3 months before I realized he not only didn't care, but never noticed if the bathroom was clean anyway.  

I have gotten very bad at housekeeping this year.  I have junk all over, and I'm shocked at what a messy little pig I am!  Oh, there are the excuses, and then there's just because I'm a lazy ass who just moves stuff from one pile to another.  So here's what I look like now, gazing around my living room/dining room:

A reasonable resemblance to me

FYI:  I never ever wear a kerchief.
 Other than that, this is how I will certainly look tomorrow, when I have a moment to clean up this mess I live in.  Have to keep the place clean, so my novel ideas can flow, right?  All this messiness is blocking ideas from floating into my head!  If I just spend a bit of time de-trashing the place, i can do this:

I look nothing like this, but you get the idea

I've managed to get to  over 10,000 words in my novel, so I can change my diaper and go to work.  When I return home, it's list making time! I tend to get more done if I can physically mark it off a list.  And it has to be a handwritten list, too.   A huge week ahead for me; yard work to do (the leaves are finally falling off my tree out back), winter-proofing the house, and by golly, keeping it clean! And lots going on at work.   I hope to hit 25,000 words by next weekend so I'll be halfway to my goal and quite frankly, in shock that I've thought up that much of a story.  

Oh--by the way, I made the Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup from the Farm Chicks cookbook, and it is excellent!  Pair it with a salad and some crusty bread, and you will be a very happy chicky!  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cooking Bucket List--Another One Checked Off!

This is really another reason for me to not write my "novel"; a putting-off exercise, putzing around, you get the picture.  But I can check off another Cooking Bucket List Recipe:  Eggs Benedict.

 I  made Eggs Benedict last night for supper.  I was going to do that thing that serious cooks do--make my own hollandaise sauce from scratch.  I was going to be noble, and wipe the sweat from my brow as I whisked and stirred and poached while Bud slowly faded away on the couch from hunger.  But no.  As I was taking a short break at work, a lovely woman I work with asked what I was making for supper.  I told her my plan, and she said, "Oh, I never make hollandaise sauce from scratch.  I buy the Knorr dry mix.  It tastes great!"  

Oh.  Trot trot over to the grocery store.  Pick up the Knorr Hollandaise Sauce packet.  Easy-peasy.  I felt a bit guilty, but knew Bud could care less where it came from.  Needless to say, my EB turned out fabulous, even if the poached egg pot looked like some kind of alien goo floating in water.  A squeeze of lemon juice into the sauce before I spooned it over the eggs, and--like magic--Eggs Benedict!  And my God, that sauce tasted awesome!  So much so, that I spooned about ten giant scoops onto my eggs, canadian bacon, and english muffin.  I always ask for extra at a restaurant.  It's the best part of the whole dish!

So thanks to my co-worker, I did not spend endless amounts of time trying to devise clarified butter, or stir things just right.  Dump, stir, thicken, serve.  

Bud loved it--I picked my jaw off the floor when he said "I don't think I've ever had this before."  What?!  It's only my favorite breakfast (followed a close second by breakfast burritos smothered in green chile sauce).  Where has this man been?  I have extra sauce in the fridge.  I don't know if it survived the night.  I'm going to make more EB tonight and have a happy stomach!  Unless the sauce is bad, in which case I will have a sick stomach and a very long night in the loo.  Oh--gee--another excuse to put off my word count tonight. :P  If my NaNoWriMo widget isn't higher than 8000 words by tomorrow morning,  then you know what happened...

If you're in a relationship, or have ever been in one, do you have those moments where what is said is so ridiculous, that you can only laugh hysterically?    Well, here's mine.  Yesterday, I was talking to Bud on the phone.  He said "What's that whistling noise?"  and I said, "It's my nostril.  My nose is dry."  What followed was bellyaching laughter on both ends of the phone.  Now I'm a Mom with a whistling nostril.  I can bet you I'll be reminded of that for many years to come.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So, How's NaNoWriMo Going? Uh...

So it's day four of my writing extravaganza.  I still have to get my word count up for today, but so far I've been meeting my goal.  Bud is going away for a week (sniff sniff) so besides work, I will be able to come home and type away every night.  My story is not following my outline at all, but that's ok.  Sudden brain farts of "hey, write that!" keep coming rapidly, so I feel like I'm trying to steer a car on a very icy road.  Whoaa!  Moving left, when I want to go right!  Fishtailing instead of keep it straight on the road.

But that's the fun part of this challenge.  Who gives a shit what you write?  It's not meant to be good; you're not meant to think about it too much--just think the thought, type the words, and move on.  I had a rough outline of what I sorta kinda wanted my novel to be about, and so far, the only thing that's the same is that the main character is female.  Other than that, nothing is even close.  Apparently, the fear of a bad word count and a rush for time means my brain is thinking up something completely different.

So far, I've listened to music, burned incense, and sipped wine whilst typing.  My next idea is to balance an apple on my head and practice yoga poses while I compose.   I think I might try keeping my eyes shut and  continue typing, too.  Whatever keeps the brain functioning and the words moving!  You know the monkeys and the typewriter story?  That's me.  The great epic novel of the century (sorry, Jonathan Franzen) may be just a few clicks away.

Movin' on!  Honestly, if I get to 10,000 words by Sunday evening, I may have to change my diaper.  I'll be pretty freakin' happy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Review: The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen

This book is a feast for your eyes.  It's not just a cook book, oh no.  The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen by Teri Edwards and Serena Thompson is full of fantastic photos, craft ideas, and wonderful stories, on top of some really yummy recipes.  

The recipes are incredible.  I don't know what to try first!  Apple Puff Pancake?  Roasted Chicken and Pesto Hoagies?  Enchilada Soup?  It would make an interesting meal if I made everything at once it all sounds so good.  And each recipe is uncomplicated, which leaves you time to wow your friends and family by creating your own scone cozy or an apron from vintage sheets.  
Who knew a scone cozy existed?  It would probably become fast friends with your tea cozy.  Sitting side by side on a tray while you entertain your friends.  They would talk about what really goes on in the kitchen when your  back is turned.

I have to admit this isn't my usual cookbook/craft book.  We've already discussed my crafting abilities in previous posts, so I'm probably not going to rush out, gather the materials, and begin whipping out aprons for all of my near and dear.  But I so wish I could!  What I love about this book is the homey feel it projects, and yes, the crafting ideas are pretty easy and very clever.  

The Farm Chicks also just released a Christmas book, The Farm Chicks Christmas: Merry Ideas for the Holidays
which is just as delightful as their first book.  It will certainly put you in the holiday mood, and give you great ideas on decorating your home and some great gift ideas that won't break the budget.

If you're anywhere near a store that has magazines, you've probably already been sucked into perusing the endless supply of holiday magazines.  They're pretty hard to resist, I know.  And they make you believe that yes, you can spend hours painting little ornaments by hand, or creating a complicated dinner for twenty in 30 minutes or less (this is called take-out!).  And a cookie exchange?  I've never participated, but I hear it can be a sweat-inducing experience, and when you finally get your cookies, you just don't care!  You're worn out from making 6 different types of cookies after working all day and making that dinner for 20.  

So take a moment to check out The Farm Chicks on their website and get a feel for their delightful take on life, food, and family.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo Has Begun And November Is Here!

Devil Print
My plan to stay up late last night, and start my "novel" at midnight fell through when I fell asleep on the couch with Bud at 10 pm.  However, I did get up this morning, and after much dithering, and pondering, and cups of coffee, I sat down, turned on my music, and began to write.  I managed to start with nothing I had written down as a rough outline, so only the Gods know what will come out of my brain and into my fingertips.  I was very proud of myself that I managed over 2000 words this first day.  I'm ahead of the game, and my goal is to keep my count at around 2000 words each day, so if for some reason I don't write for a day or two, I won't fall horribly behind, like I did last year.

And yes, this is a brand spanking new, fresh novel idea.  The one I started last year still sits in Apple Documents.  I haven't looked at it since I stopped writing it last year.  Maybe some day I'll go back, read what I've started, and keep going.

So, November.  The official start to the crazy ride of Christmas.  C-Joy and I made our Christmas cakes yesterday, and mine is now sitting in a cool place, waiting to be bathed in brandy once every week.  We used dates, dried cranberries, apples, and raisins in our mix.  Can't wait to see how it all turns out at Christmas.  It was hard not to lick the spoon, but there was a child present, and I had to set an example.  You know if Turtle hadn't been there C-Joy and I would have licked the spoons and cleaned out the mixing bowl!  I will never be too old to clean out the mixing bowl.  So naner-naner to you :P

Good news on the hamstring front.  I don't have to go back until the end of the month.  Now I have to strengthen my very weak hamstrings with weights, balance balls, and other assorted exercises.  I also have to work on my core--which is buried under a layer of fat.  I promised myself I would make a very concentrated effort to work out 5 times a week, which is what I am supposed to do.  So today it's planks, some hip work, and I'm tossing in some push-ups.  Tomorrow I go to the gym to use some of the equipment I can't afford to have in my house!  Actually,  I would have to turn my garage into a gym, since none of it would fit in my front door.  Wee houses weren't built to hold treadmills and weight benches!  Just wee people.  Who don't eat much.  Cause my kitchen is also very wee.

So what will November bring, besides a small mental breakdown?  And a lot of empty wine bottles to take to the redemption center? Well, hopefully, a novel, some beautiful weather, some quality time with Bud (quantity will be in short supply), and, of course, my beloved Pom-Poms.  And how can I forget some great reading, too?