Icy Friday

Thanksgiving came and went with much jollility and feasting here at Bookends Cottage, but left winter in its wake. It actually was warm the day before, but last night the temps plunged into the freezing range and brought with it icy rain. We’re in an ice storm watch today, which doesn’t bother me in the least since no one in the family has to drive anywhere. Nettl is still on her holibobs and Micah doesn’t have class until Monday. And none of us support anything that remotely stinks of Black Friday. So here we are, warm and cozy and enjoying yesterday’s leftovers with steaming cups of tea, coffee, and cocoa. Really, what could be better than that?

The only thing I’m not looking forward to is Nigel’s evening walk. I can’t seem to find my wool peacoat and there’s not an umbrella to be seen anywhere, although I know we have at least two. It wasn’t all that long ago that I made these walks in summer clothes and sweltered beneath 100º heat. But this is life in this part of Oklahoma, and I’ve gotten used to it.

Tomorrow I begin the task of painting the kitchen. I got the sage paint I wanted and I’ve already cleaned the cobwebs and dusty door frames, and I’m ready to get at it. Being in the painting mindset, however, has shown me that other rooms need to be painted just as badly, especially our bedroom. I’ll do that next; definitely some time before Christmas. The bedroom will be a bit more work because I’m going to paint the wood trim as well, all the way into the bathroom. Still, I’m looking forward to the outcome more than I dread the actual job of painting. When we moved in here in 2009, we painted every room, every piece of trim, every door. That was heinous. Not doing that again; I’ll take it a room at a time.

Wild Bil McCombe
Wild Bil McCombe

With NaNoWriMo out of the way, I’m itching to get back to my album. And this is a good time of year to do it since I’ll be using the bedroom as my studio again. People won’t be living on their front porches and fewer cars go by due to bad weather. This corner will be much quieter. I think I’m going to re-do everything and start from scratch. Back to basics and all that. I need to keep it simple, I think, and the time away from it has helped me come to this decision. I’m just hoping I’ll be able to impose myself on Wild Bil McCombe one more time to lay down an acoustic slide guitar track on A Polite Little Madness. I absolutely love what he did on it with his electric, but I’d like to hear an acoustic version of the song, too, so that I can decide which version to use.

But today I’m useless and I’m not in the least bit bothered by it. The month ahead will be busy enough and I think I have the right to use today to rest up in preparation for that. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and that you will find even more to be thankful for in the year ahead.

Have a great weekend!

Continue Reading

I Freakin’ Did It!

Check it out! At 5:45 this evening when I validated my NaNoWriMo manuscript, I came in at 3,385 words over the 50,000 criteria, and—get this—6 days ahead of the November 30 deadline! Of course, I wasn’t trying to prove how fast I am, I just didn’t want to break my streak of getting my word count in every night and Thanksgiving loomed before me; I knew I wouldn’t write a stinking word on Thursday. Anyway, I’m done!

“Done with Book Three of your trilogy?” You ask.

Oh, hell, no! Not by a long shot. I fully expect the finished manuscript to be in the 150,000 words range, but taking part in NaNoWriMo was to get me back into the habit—HABIT, I say—of writing. I’ve been calling it Writer’s Boot Camp. And now, I have the evening free to enjoy a glass of chardonnay… or two… or the whole damned bottle if I want, damn it. I deserve it, and the last I drank any wine was at my birthday party last September.

Cheers, everyone!

Continue Reading

Undergoing Changes

As you can see, I’ve had to change my blog’s look. The theme I’d worked so hard to look just right got all effered up when I applied an update the developers told me was necessary. Too many issues, not enough patience, and too tired to care, I just went with another theme. Unfortunately, these days, finding a WordPress theme geared for actual blogging rather than rabid capitalism is nearly impossible. I found this one, though, and I liked the look of it as well as the ease of customization. There’s still an issue with the font color and all of my posts appearing on one page, and I also had to go through and resize every last photo so thanks for your patience while I work through these things. If you don’t hear from me before Thursday, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble.
__________

Update: Happy to report that all of the little bugs have been sorted, except for the fact that the year isn’t displayed on the posts. To solve this I’ll simply add the full date at the foot of each post. The new theme is a keeper!

Continue Reading

Catching Up

Catching Up

I was amazed as well as a bit off put when I saw that it’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. Two weeks? Really? But I have a good fistful of excuses.

Excuse 1, the Noble:

Of course, you already now that NaNoWritMo has been taking up a great deal of my time. My take? It’s great as an exercise in self-discipline and an easy way to increase your Twitter followers, but for me that’s about it. About one week in I came to the conclusion that if I were going to see it through to the end, I had to think of it as sketches for my book, not the actual manuscript. Once I was able to shift my thinking, the flood gates opened and the words began to pour forth. Writing straight through from beginning to end with no re-reading and no editing just isn’t my M.O. Will I take part next year? I honestly don’t know. I mean, I could be spending this time working on my album instead, but it has given me back my writing mojo so it hasn’t been a waste of time. Not by a long shot.

Excuse 2, the Justification:

This year we decided to draw names for Christmas. There are eight of us these days and not a one of us can really afford to buy that many presents. For us as parents it means buying double that (we like to give each of our five kids two gifts), and the others are working hard to get their foot in the door of life. To make it even easier for our kids, we decided that we would be a single entity in the drawing: “The Moms” as opposed to us as individuals. Our Lauren drew The Moms and, being the enterprising, practical, and generous person she is, she gave us our gift early: she put us on her T-Mobile plan and had two spanking new iPhones sent to us. Need I elaborate on this excuse? I thought not. So now that we’re out of the Dark Ages, we’re having fun taking and uploading pictures of the pets and of our plates. Hey! When you got your first smart phone you did it too. Do you know how devastating it was to sit here looking at post after post of that crap? Of not being able to get an Instagram account? Of not having access to the web, and not having apps? Our most recent phones were just one step up from flip phones. And they were through Net10 to boot. Bite me. It’s your turn to look at pictures of my cats and my fish tacos. I’m only one person. You were legion.

Excuse 3, I’m Only Human:

My body is still adjusting to the 5-HTP supplement I started taking late last month. Some days I feel like I’ve snorted a hefty white line and other days dynamite couldn’t blast me off my arse. That the aforementioned NaNoWriMo might play a part in this energy fluctuation has not gone unnoticed. Also, Angry Birds until four in the morning.

Excuse 4, Nigel, Leaves, and Christmas:

As winter approaches, Nigel starts altering his routine. There are fewer hours between his dinner time and nightfall, and I don’t like walking him after dark. It creeps me out although I know he’d eat the nuts off of anyone who might want to cause me harm. Still, we matter, too, and I have to fix his dinner, cook our dinner, eat said dinner and take him on his evening walk all between 5 and 7 o’clock. On the surface this has nothing to do with not being able to write a blog entry once in awhile, but I walk him three times a day. This means that his one-hour pre-dinner, pre-walkies alert system makes these demands last twice as long. I also must count the hours I spend calling down his barking tirades every time someone walks or bicycles past our house. “Calling down” usually entails putting down my laptop, getting up to show him the spray water bottle (when “Do I have to get the water bottle?” doesn’t work), sitting back down and trying to find my train of thought that’s choo-chooed around the bend. This is no small thing. While writing this very post I’ve had to do this no less than five times, I shit you not. That I’ve managed to take part in NaNoWritMo and stay ahead of the game confounds me.

We have an 80 year-old oak and a bald cypress on either side of our driveway. Leaves fall, I rake, wind blows, I rake. Leaves fall, I rake, wind blows, I rake. Leaves fall, I rake, wind blows, I rake. I’m 64 years old. I rake, I ache, I take something for pain, I nap. I also pick up trash that blows into this large corner property, remove fallen limbs and chase after lawn chairs as they blow across the yard. Autumn is probably my least favorite season.

Meanwhile, we’re planning a large, Griswold family Christmas this year and there are a couple of things I want to do in preparation, like paint the kitchen. The color we used when we moved here in 2009 has faded to a pale, pale, mint green and has lost its earlier apple green vibrancy. I prefer a green kitchen so I’ve decided on a medium sage. I have other projects in mind, maybe paint our bedroom as well. Not sage, but a restful blue. Then there’s my ever-present holiday food, cleaning, and decorating lists every year.

NaNoWriMo ends on the 30th so I hope to get back to regular posting after that date. Then again, after reading this post I can’t help but wonder.

Continue Reading