Thursday, December 30, 2010

Photo Recap

I won't say much...we've been passing along various sicknesses through the family since Christmas Eve eve. My poor husband has had the worst of it; we're finally getting him in to the doctor today (note: getting appointments during flu season is not easy). Then yesterday I started feeling it come on. I'm going to the prime care unit later this afternoon...

Anyway, I did in fact get a new digital camera for Christmas, so I thought I'd share some photos with you. We got a white Christmas here in Georgia--first one in the metro-Atlanta area since 1883.

Oh, and the kittens? Yeah, none of that "punishment" I was hoping for happened. They took over the house immediately, cowing both the adult cats with one spare glance.


First off--this is the painting I did, which I mentioned in my post last week. Everyone was very amused and pleased, which is exactly what I intended. (For the record, I'm the one hugging the cat in the bottom left)

Mack is mourning the loss of the great mountain of presents. 

This is Herbie the Munchkin cat. I rescued him from the shelter where I used to work about a year and a half ago. He's the sweetest boy ever, but our kittens were terrified of him. 

This is Roo, the other adult cat. This is pretty much her typical expression. 

Starting to snow!

Nathan (bro-in-law) and Kozue getting some video of the snow.

Morning after Christmas. We got about an inch and a half? 





 Being the awesome kitty-mom that I am, I harnessed up Mack for a winter wonderland adventure. He loved it and didn't want to come inside, even when he was shivering from the cold. 


And finally I'll leave you with this utterly goofy recording of me narrating the snowfall...

video


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday time. I heard that only 4 states in the continental US didn't have snow, which is pretty amazing. 

Also hoping that this sickness doesn't come your way... 

Have a wonderful New Year's Eve, and I'll be seeing you on Saturday, my one-year-blogiversary. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Smiles Here. No, Really.

Okay, I lied. No smiles here, but I'm trying.

I didn't want to end my year of blogging on a dour note, so instead I'll give you the lead-in into my holiday weekend:

Yesterday I spent all day painting the afore-mentioned pictures (and yes, I did end up including the girlfriend), then spent three hours last night making the Martha Washington candy I included in my Be Jolly, By Golly! blogfest post. Dude, that shit's worse to make then I remember. But tasty. However, I lick so much off my hands while I bake that I feel sick when it's done.

I've been estranged from my family for six months, but we made up this past Monday, so this afternoon hubby and I are going over to have Christmas with them and eat dinner. I'm nervous and anxious and trying to be positive about it, but it ain't happenin'. I also made brownies to take over there. And since I wasn't counting on things being reconciled, I did frantic shopping, so the gifts are on the lame side.

And after we leave my parents, we're swinging by the house to pick up the kittens and heading down to my in-law family. My bro-in-law lives in Maryland, so we only get to see him twice a year; therefore, it's a big deal.

I'm secretly looking forward to keeping the kittens at their house for 5 days. They've been incredibly rotten the last few days, and my in-laws' cats scare the stuffing out of them. So there, kittens. Take that.

When I got out of bed this morning, I kicked the wall and broke my toenail. Then I cut myself shaving in the shower, dropped my contacts on the floor, and saw that the kittens have put the last nail in the Christmas tree's coffin.

I'm hoping all of this is getting the bad stuff out of the way so the holiday festivities are enjoyable.

I never got my mild case of flu, so I'll be reminding myself to smile.



Happy Holidays! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Truthfully?

I have enough things to admit to make a full-fledged tell-the-truth Tuesday post. Here we go:

1. Even though I restored peace with my family, I am seriously considering moving to Alaska to get away from them.

2. In the past 2.5 weeks, I have crocheted 6 gloves, 2 hats, and a scarf, all because I really just wanted an excuse to watch 3 seasons of The Tudors and start Mad Men.

3. I kinda hope to get a mild case of flu before Christmas, as my cheer-o-meter is somewhere around -5.



4. I'm drawing/painting a goofy little family portrait for my in-law family with us all as "Santa's Elves" (inside joke), but I'm torn on including my bro-in-law's girlfriend. They've been together for three years and we think they're serious, but she's Japanese and he's super sensitive about it, and I'm terrified that my cartoony drawing skills might make me seem racist if I try to draw her. But then I'm afraid if I leave her out, bro-in-law will be deeply offended. *deep breath*

5. I told my husband he was getting an Xbox. *cringe* It's not from me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Being Jolly (by Golly!)

This is my entry for the holiday blogfest. You can see the master list of participants (and it's a big one) here.

First, some pictures of my decorations. I went fairly minimalist this year, since I didn't know how the kittens would react. Turns out it was a good thing. 

Also, I apologize for the poor quality of the photos. Hopefully Santa is bringing me a new digital camera (that isn't 7 years old): 

The Wreaths

This wreath hangs on the storage closet in our hallway. It's my little homage to the naturalist in me.  


This wreath was originally intended to go outside, but I decided I liked looking at it too much, so it's inside the front door. I made both these wreaths with stuff from Hobby Lobby. 


The Living Room


This was the first decor I hung, just a simple garland & ribbon across that weird short wall thing between the kitchen and living room areas. 


This is the faux mantle piece, sitting on top of our entertainment center. Currently the cats' favorite thing to chew on...(please note my SHE-RA dvds!)


This is a totally precious decoration I found at Pier One and filled with scented potpourri. Love it! 


And finally, my three amigos. They're on top of the TV. 


The tree is pretty minimalist this year. Pinecones, bronzed snowflakes, and gold shatterproof balls, all to keep the kittens from making it any worse than it already is. Same reason that the gifts are wrapped, but not ribboned. They won't be ribboned until they're safely at my in-laws' house Christmas Eve and I find myself with 30 gifts to ribbon...


The Food!

My favorite holiday drink is a tie between egg nog and mulled wine. 



However, my favorite holiday foodstuff was easy. This is something my mom has been making for as long as I can remember, and I've made it a few times myself. It's a bit of a pain to make, but totally worth it when you're shoving these things down your gullet hand-over-fist:

Martha Washington Candies


Here's the recipe:





2 (1-pound) boxes powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups flaked coconut
2 cups finely chopped pecans
**optional: 1 12-oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips for dipping**

Combine powdered sugar, butter, sweetened condensed milk, coconut and pecans together, mixing well. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. Chill (I usually freeze.)

If you want to dip these in chocolate, prepare the chocolate with a double-boiler and coat each ball, then chill (freeze) again. Personally, I find the chocolate a bit overwhelming, but it's good to just drizzle or maybe dip half.


Anyway, thanks for stopping by! Can't wait to read all the other entries.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

These Are My Things.

Yesterday we got a baby ice storm. It was pretty frickin' sweet. Dangerous, but beautiful. Georgia loves its ice. Forget snow. Ice, ice, baby.

Yesterday, I finished making my writing gloves. I've been on a major crocheting kick lately; in the past two weeks I've made four pairs of gloves and a scarf. I'm planning on starting my first hat, but it looks pretty hard.

Here are my gloves. They're different from my outside gloves because they are more delicate and of thinner yarn.
Again, the camera blows and wanted to focus on the keyboard instead of my hand, but whatev. You get the picture (get it?)






Yay warm hands. My thermostat claims it's 70, but I'm pretty sure it's lying. I've been wearing jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, hoodie, hiking socks, my boot slippers, these gloves, and a frickin hat ALL day. And I'm still a bit chilly.

Next, because this is my blog and I do what I want, I'm going to show you pictures of things that I like.


Just a sampling of the bird action that's been going on outside my office window the past week. Click to enlarge, so you can actually distinguish the doves from the ground. I've had to refill that feeder three times in the past week and a half. Birds are eating me out of house and home!



This is Mack. He's been whining about being an outside cat for so long now that I bought him a harness and tie-out line. If the weather's good enough, I'll tie him to the front patio for a little while. He mostly just sits in the garden and stares at birds--as if he'd know what to do with them.


Last weekend, Evan and I painted our kitchen table and chairs. They were a gift from his aunt and uncle and rather beat-up, so we decided to give it some personality. Mack approved.



And now for a few more pictures of my cats, because they're my fur-babies.

Magoo, the female, decided the drop cloth from the table project was a prime napping spot. I'm showing this because it's cute and also so you won't think I don't love my Goodle-Boodle as much as Mack. I do--he's just the showboat. As evidenced by these next two pictures...

Lately Mack's been acting really restless. He walks around meowing and is trying his damndest to climb to the ceiling, I'm pretty sure. These are the two places we caught him this week:

Top towel rack in the bathroom. He got up there by jumping from the sink to the top of the shower curtain, and then walked over onto the rack.

Having a little stroll across Evan's dress shirts. We still don't know what that was all about.


So there's my things.

How's your things?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why I Believe In Reading Multiple Genres

Imagine that you love pastries. Flaky crusts, decadent chocolate, tart fruit fillings--these are what you see when you go to your happy place.

All you want is to be a pastry chef.

When you see your name in print, it's going to be on the front of a place like this:


But what if, in your earnest desire to be the best pastry chef ever, all you ate was pastry?


Maybe sweets aren't your thing?

How about this?


What smells better than fresh-baked bread? Soft, warm--the crust with just the perfect amount of give. How butter melts across the perfectly aerated surface...

But what if bread was all that you ate?

Don't like bread? Who can resist this?


Cheese. Smoked, baked, hard, sharp, soft, white, gold, rolled, crusted--you name it, I want it.
But my god, could you imagine living only on cheese? You'd probably be lactose intolerant within the week.

So besides the opportunity to share mouth-watering pictures with you, what's my point?

I'm sure you get it by now.

Genre is literary food.

In order to live a healthy life, we need a well-balanced diet.
Wait--but what about the pastry chef--the one who wants nothing more than to be the best pastry chef in the world? Shouldn't s/he see what the competition is cooking? Taste every kind of chocolate that comes across the plate? 

Sure. Absolutely, in fact. 

But what's one of the most important things a truly brilliant chef posses? 

A mature, broad palette. 


After all, if bacon was always put with eggs, how would this have been born?





To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.  
~W. Somerset Maugham



Friday, December 10, 2010

You Show Me Yours, I'll Show You Mine!

Got your attention now? Good.


A lot of you participated in National Novel Writing Month this year. Didn't you? Didn't you? That's right, nerds. Raise your hands. (I raised mine too, don't worry.)

Okay, good.
This is for you whether you won or not.

Two of my favorite bloggers approached me about co-hosting this little shendig, so please give all accolades to Sarah (Falen) Ahiers and Hannah Kincade.



With our powers combined, we are pleased to bring you the "Show Me Yours" Blogfest!






The point of this blogfest is to share an excerpt of your NaNoWriMo novel. All we ask is that you keep it around 500 words in order for us to read as many as possible.

Since the date is January 3rd, 2011, this will give you time to choose a scene and edit it, revise it, change it...whatever.

Feel free to give us a little background about your story or at the very least a title and a genre. That always helps, right?


So if you were a 2010 Wrimo, now's the chance to show us your skillz...or, yanno, your suck. Either one. 


We will be attempting to share the same link widget, but if it doesn't work, the master will be on Hannah's blog.

Feel free to take the badge and spread the word, but make sure you link it back to either this, Sarah, or Hannah's post so everyone can get in on the diaper-peeking fun. 


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giggles

I know--twice in a day. But you MUST see this.
I saw this linked on Twitter and was certainly not disappointed:

Tales From the Used Book Store: Space Vamps, Cyber Samurai, and a Duchess

Another Note

It occurred to me that many of you might follow this blog in Google Reader, and when I changed the domain name without warning, GR probably freaked out like whoa.

So.

I changed it back.

Also, I tried to vlog today. I used our palmcorder and made a lovely [boring] 15-minute long recording that I swear I was going to edit down to be more interesting [lies], but I couldn't get the video to my computer.

Oh well. The world will hear me some other day...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

O.M.G.

Nothing too serious, don't be alarmed.

1. Thanks for all the lovely feedback on the new look and name! The overwhelming majority approves. Thank you!!

2. Please note that I changed my domain name to reflect the nom de plume. Admit it--the old one was really hard to type. Believe me, I thought it was too.


3. OMG, The Tudors!
   **Spoiler alert***


  Talk about killing your darlings!!
  I've never actually done that. Killed off a main character. But I'd like to. What about you? Are you more the ICU type, or off with their head?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Make It New

Keeping on a role with my ex-pats, tell me what you think of two things:


1. My new blog look. I'm obsessed with birds, and I love the double-whammy. I'm also obsessed with contrast, and red is my favorite color. Also, I thought it might be nice to finally have the context of my blog title within reading sight.


2. My new pen name. Whaddya think?

Monday, December 6, 2010

We Survived

Four full days without spousal presence.

It wasn't bad at all.

In fact, I daresay we rather enjoyed it, but we were still happy when hubby surprised us by coming home Thursday night instead of Friday afternoon.

Monday & Tuesday it rained and poured and had tornadoes (south of me), which was perfect for the wrapping presents and watching The Tudors I mentioned in the previous post.



Wednesday, I had to go to the university where I'm beginning my college life again, almost seven years later. This is a sort-of funny story. I'm going back for a nursing degree, but due to some clerical reasons, I had to enroll for this (2010/2011) school year. I deferred enrollment in the fall, but absolutely had to register for spring semester.

So. I go to this orientation session Wednesday, where I finally meet my advisor, who proceeds to tell me that I have already satisfied all the non-nursing courses for the degree (which I already knew, since I already have a bachelor's degree), so I should just register for whatever I can get into.

After much searching and feeling frustrated, I finally just went for the funsies and now this is what I'm registered for:

A fiction writing workshop
&
a practicum for the staff of the university's creative writing/art journal-magazine thing.

How's that for a jump into the sciences, folks?

I won't deny that I'm excited, though.




Round Up Stats from Bachelorette Week:


cases of food poisoning: 1
alcoholic beverages: 5
mornings slept in late: 3
bowls of noodles: 2
days with lack of real clothing and/or makeup: 4
snuggle sessions with lonely kitties: 2324

Here's my question for the week:

When faced with a massive rewrite/rethink of a novel project, how do you go about deciding what direction to take? Especially when faced with 4 potentially wonderful, though very different, ideas?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cross-Genre

As you've figured out by now, I'm not one for doling out writing advice. However, I like to occasionally share when I have a lightbulb moment, or even when the dust is blown off an old lightbulb.

I think I've been crossing genres my whole life. Just ask me to explain the premise of any of my novels, and you'll probably readily agree. 

It's certainly not a bad thing--in fact, I'd dare say it's a great thing (except, of course, if you're specifically targeting a category market). After all, what's an epic story without a little romance?? Maybe I'm a sap, but I just about don't want to read something unless it's going to have some mush in it. Life's all about our emotional connections with the people around us, so it's only fitting for that to show up across all genres. 

As a self-admitted cross-genrer, I can still sometimes surprise myself at bull-headedly ignoring teeming idea holes. 

Case in point:

The Tudors


I've had seasons one and two of this show for over a year, just sitting on my shelf. They're my brother's, actually, and from time to time he'd pester me about not watching them and insist that I return them. I'd hastily assure him that I would, in fact, one day watch them. 

Well, yesterday was that day. I had a bunch of Christmas presents to wrap, it was pouring and gloomy outside, and since hubby is still out of town...well...

Seven episodes in a row later, I was hooked. 

And even more surprising? It gave me a GREAT idea for the sci-fi/urban fantasy (see? I can't even describe it here with just one genre) novel I wrote last year for NaNoWriMo. 

Yep. THE TUDORS, which is obviously, y'know, set in Tudor era England, gave me a great idea for my FUTURISTIC novel. 

Great Idea. Needs to be said again. 


So. Let this be a reminder that inspiration can come from all places, sometimes the ones we least expect. 

Also: watch The Tudors. If not for the picture above, how about this one?


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Haters, don't hate!

Today celebrates Talli Roland's ebook birthday of the rom-com delight The Hating Game.
If you're a blogger, chances are you know Talli, so let's show her some support! I know I'll be getting this on my Kindle post-haste!

Best of luck, Talli, and can't wait to read it!



Here's the official text:


Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/hNBkJk

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback.  Keep up with the latest atwww.talliroland.com.

About THE HATING GAME:

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?