Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNo? Not So Much

I didn't finish my NaNovel this year. I didn't finish it in 2004 or 2007 either, so I'm a bit bummed over that.

However, my word count is over 27,500 which is well over my previous all-time high of 12-13K back in '04. So that's a personal best at least :) Plus I'm going to keep working on my wordcount until I can't anymore, meaning past 11:59 PM tomorrow night.

Will I finish this book, at least eventually? I hope to. Even though it's quite terrible, it would be nice to finally complete one, and also I can use some of the bits in this particular NaNo as a springboard for NaNoWriMo 2010.

Ah well, December is on its way. Time to crack down on restarting Couch to 5K, and also get that Christmas shopping done. Have a good one, y'all!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The Gum Zombie is a creative child.

He and his Elder brother managed to get the football stuck on a flat portion of our roof and had gone through all possible removal methods short of, say, asking the resident grown-up, aka their mother, for help.

The Elder threw his hands up in the air and resigned himself to waiting until Choreboy came home without a word to me. But did the Gum Zombie do that, or in the alternative, decide to mention to his mother that maybe, perhaps, her assistance might be required?


He instead formed a lockpick out of a twig and was trying to unlock the shed to retrieve a ladder.

Twigs aren't very effective as lockpicks.

They also tend to break off in the lock.

Just sayin'.

So now I have Our Future Burglar in his room until I start breathing normally again (because hello, ladder???); I also have a completely jammed shed door.

Days like this remind me of just when my hair started its rapid descent into "obviously grey"... a time which perfectly aligns with the Gum Zombie's birth.

Go figure.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best. Video. EVER.

Seriously. Yes, clearly I'm a dork.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

That Time of the Year

Everyone who's commented, you all rock. I've recovered from my visit to The Mouse, and would have said, posted, and responded more but work has been INSANE this past week!

My NaNovel is about 10,000 words behind. Can I crank that out in one weekend? Sure. It'll be crap, but it's not as if the quality of writing on it otherwise is, say, good. So we'll see. I'm still determined to finish this year.

One thing that might get in my way of churning out scary (and bad!) wordcount though is the time of year we're entering. Unless you live under a rock or outside of the US you're aware that Thanksgiving is coming up this next week, which means my kitchen is going to be working overtime. My parents decided to fly the coop this year and are on their way to board a Caribbean cruise with my mom's brother and sister-in-law, so it's falling upon the local kids to generate our own Thanksgiving dinner.

Now this isn't a hugely big deal. We've done it before. And even when my parents host Turkey Fest, we bring the lion's share of sides, desserts, and appetizers. My brother and sister-in-law are hosting because The Nephew just turned three and is easier to supervise in his own home.

As far as the turkey goes, both my SIL and I can manage to roast a bird and not burn it into a crisp or anything, but rather than either of us taking that on I believe we've opted to purchase a deep fried turkey from some friends of theirs who've used this economic downturn to hone their barbequeing (and now turkey frying) skills to a fine art. It should be awesome -- I haven't had a deep fried turkey for over fifteen years.

What? It's Thanksgiving. I'm not obligated to eat the whole bird. :P

Tradition dictates that we have my maternal great-grandmother's congealed cranberry salad along with the bird. I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I do like the cranberry salad. But on the other hand, I want to try my hand at a standard cranberry sauce if for no other reason than to say "There, I did it!" So I think I'm going to go that route.

The ghosts of my great-grandmother and grandmother are going to get me for that. My mother might too, now that I think of it, especially since she wrote out the entire recipe for me to make and produce by Thursday.

Outside of my heretical cranberry sauce -- which no one will really eat because, really, who does? -- I'll be bringing the refrigerator mashed potatoes, which are deeply awesome although not deeply fried (note that with the fat content they might as well be). Additionally I'm bringing pumpkin pie, buttermilk pie, crackers, and cheese, as well as a couple of assorted beverages. My SIL has volunteered to handle the rest, God bless her, her logic being that she's a stay-at-home mother.

I know she's busy as all get-out regardless of what her job description is, but I'll take it.

This is also the time of year when I start getting the urge to make sour cream glazed walnuts. Choreboy also gets the urge to eat them at this time of year, which might explain the four pound bag of walnuts he brought home from Sam's the other day. We're going to take a tin of them with us to my brother's. They're ridiculously easy to make.

Glazed Walnuts
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb. walnuts

Mix 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 2 tsp vanilla in a sauce pan on top of the stove. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring as much as necessary to avoid scalding. Remove from heat and quickly mix in walnuts to coat thoroughly, then spread on wax or parchment paper to dry.

Serves 1 Choreboy (or an infinite number of regular humans)

So I'm making up my grocery list, checking it about 80 times, and trying to also figure out what I'm cooking today and tomorrow for meals, so we have adequate leftovers to help me avoid cooking other than Thanksgiving stuff until Thursday.

I think I'll also make the walnuts today. [edited to add: make that tomorrow -- today's already getting away from me!]

I'm aware the recipes and what we've got scheduled for Turkey Fest 2009 aren't exactly on the healthy spectrum of foods at all, much less calorie-conscious. Honestly, I don't worry about food composition for these special events. I do, however, focus on portion control. It seems to serve me well. I may well jump way over my calories for the day, but what works for me is that it's once a year. And as long as I'm at least watching the size of what I put in my mouth, I'll keep the damage down.

Okay, off to brave the masses at the store once I figure out dinner tonight and tomorrow (potato casserole? chili? GACK!!!) Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Because I'm an overachiever, we hit three parks yesterday: the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. I've lived in Central Florida most of my life, and when we were children my brother and I would study the map of the Magic Kingdom to plot out our attack on the park. We went about once a year, from what I can remember, and over the course of those years we got to know which rides required us to race to them upon park opening, which we could wander to at a more leisurely pace, and in what order we would accomplish these things.

So with that in mind, Choreboy and I had finished off all the "vital" rides at the Magic Kingdom by 11:00, those rides being defined as Pirates of the Caribbean, Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Haunted Mansion, the Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear (what??), the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, and the Jungle Cruise. We then ate brunch, and grabbed a shuttle bus over to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's a newer park, and although I've visited it multiple times I don't have the knowledge of it I have of Magic Kingdom, plus it's been about 15 years or thereabouts since I've been there. In that time they added the Tower of Terror -- I think it was under construction the last time I was there -- and also the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. I could have lived without the Tower of Terror. Freefall is all well and good, but this has freefall-stop-more freefall-stop-go back up-freefall-stop... GACK! My brain hurt after that. But the Rock'n'Roller coaster, well... rocked. Choreboy and I had done the dorktastic thing and both wore our NaNoWriMo 2009 t-shirts, and ran into a lady in line for the coaster who is also attempting NaNo this year. We were also scolded by a few Disney employees for not being at home pounding out wordcount. Heh.

We pretty much raced through Epcot, hitting just a couple of high points (Living With the Land, which had been closed on our official honeymoon, and Mission: Space), and then headed back to the Magic Kingdom so I could buy my "The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves" t-shirt that I'd decided was a must-have at Pirates. Why didn't I buy it earlier, you ask? Especially since it was clearly a "must have" item? Because it was 9:20 in the morning, and I had it in my head I was NOT going to tote that thing all around the parks all day. See, genius-level thinking at work.

I should have bought it earlier. Because we had to almost literally fight our way back to Pirates at about 8:00 that night, bought the shirt, then wrestled our way out of the park only to be stuck in a ginormous herd of departing folks bound for the Ticket and Transportation Center as we were. It was somewhere in here between leaving Epcot and trying to get out of the Magic Kingdom and get home already that my right hip finally gave out. I have a bit of sciatica and bursitis in that side, and the sciatica kicked in fitfully at first, but by the time we were trying to get to the parking lot I was walking ridiculously.

It didn't help that we lost the car, which had us wandering around the parking lot for probably an hour after we left the Ticket and Transportation Center. You'd think one of us would have been intelligent enough to mark where we parked, wouldn't you? You'd be WRONG. We got there so early the trams weren't running, and all we were concentrating on was the mad dash to the Magic Kingdom, not petty little details like, say, how we're going to get the hell out.


All that said, it was an awesome day. I'd better be well-rested to crank out the 5,000 words I want to have pumped out before I hit the office tomorrow. Eh, we'll see.

Now if I could just lift my right leg more than six inches off the ground...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Week 2

The Very Bad Novel is coming along. I'm right at 20,000 words into it, just slightly ahead of where I should be to finish this sucker on November 30th.

The plan today is to work on it more, because on Saturday Choreboy and I are heading to Disney to be silly newlyweds again. The timing isn't great, but the tickets we'll be using expire in December, so, goshdarnit, have to go play all day.

Yes, it's a hellish life I lead.

Here's the latest snippet from my NaNovel:

Chapter 11
Daniel stretched, and levered his body up into a sitting position from the cushions on the back of Ellie’s couch. He looked over toward the kitchen and watched Teddy pogoing at the gate.

What is it, small creature?

Potty potty potty!!

I don’t know why you call it potty – you hardly use the toilet, the large cat grumbled. I could use the toilet if I wished. I merely prefer the box.

Teddy ignored Daniel, as was his usual practice, and continued to bounce up and down.

Now now now!!

Yes, yes, fine. Very well. Let’s go outside and go “potty”. He stalked to the gate, leaped over, and held open the pet door for the tiny dog.

Teddy streaked outside so quickly he practically didn’t touch the porch, let alone the steps. By the time Daniel made it onto the porch for his supervision duties, the one pound mutt had finished the first order of business and was deep into location research for the second.

Well, it’s probably almost time for my afternoon nap, thought the large cat. Once he’s finished with his befouling of the grass I’ll get to work on that.

Is all you do sleep? came an unexpected query. Daniel lifted and swiveled his head to see Bob approaching from the Ostrofsky’s side of the property.

Unlike some felines, sniffed Daniel, I have embraced my true calling, which is to be highly decorative and primarily inert.

Except when you’re talking, the smaller feline pointed out.

There is that, admitted Daniel.

Emily wandered up onto the porch as well. She sniffed the air. Food? she wondered.

Mine, informed Daniel. Then, in a rare fit of generosity he shared, but Ellie keeps an extra bowl on the back porch for occasions such as this.

Thank you, responded Emily. Hungry.

And she hopped through the pet door and made her way to the back porch and food.

Words aren’t her strength, are they?

She is a cat of few words, and large appetites, agreed Bob.
It is pure crap, but it's my crap. It'll do.

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

Yep, I'm giving it a whirl again. For those who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month -- more information here. Here's the first bit:
Chapter 1


“Dammit! EVERY year the SAME freaking thing!!”

Ellie pushed herself out of her desk chair with her left hand as her right was clutched to her nose. And yes, every fall, generally every November, she got the Mother of All Headcolds. It would have been annoying enough on its own, but the cold also generally tended to interrupt whatever her Self Improvement Project of the Year happened to be. One year she tried training for a marathon – got the flu. Another year it was NaNoWriMo – bronchitis. Ad perpetuum, ad nauseum.

As she dug through the hall closet looking for her tissue box, Ellie muttered, “I’d like to thank you, Mom and Dad, for blessing me with these abnormally active sinuses.” She finally spotted a box at the rear of the closet and, reaching for it, continued, ”It gives me such peace of mind to know that I will never have to use a decongestant, like, EVER, because ALL I DO IS FREAKING SNEEZE!”

And with that, she ripped open the box and wiped off her nose.

“Good grief.”

With a sigh of resignation, she figured the coffee was ready and headed into the kitchen. Immediately, Ellie was attacked by a small, brownish blur.

Me! Me! Me! Mommy mommy mommy pet me me me me me me!!

With a laugh, she picked up the tiny dog and cuddled him to her chest. “You missed Mommy, didn’t you? Well if you could learn that the carpet is not grass you’d have the run of the house sweetie. Want another chewie?”

Chewie chewie chewie mine mine mine please please please!!

Ellie chuckled and tossed Teddy a small, rawhide chew stick. “There you go sweetie.” He grabbed it in his mouth, glared at the incoming feline with great suspicion, and hurtled to his bed where he curled up and began contentedly to simultaneously chew and growl.

Good lord you ridiculous creature, I wouldn’t have that slimy bit of pigskin if you paid me. Daniel stuck his pristine pink nose into the air and swiveled his attention to Ellie. Really, Madam, was he truly necessary? And might I trouble you to freshen my water? It’s been nearly six hours…
Clearly I was without much inspiration, so I siphoned off my own life rather shamelessly. Teddy and Daniel are lifted straight from my house, and the cold my main character has?

Yep, sneezing like nobody's business here. Have been since Thursday/ Friday. And now I have a delightful rash all over my trunk and down my arms which is a weird little viral reaction I've gotten since I was 15.

Fortunately, though, NaNoWriMo isn't as affected by upper-respiratory yuck as C25K. That's got to wait another week. Again. Ugh.