Saturday, October 27, 2007

If I won't be myself, who will?

-Alfred Hitchcock

Okay, yesterday my word count was 695. Not gonna cut it for NaNoWriMo. Today I'll try to do better and write more.

The bad news is that we are all sick now, even my husband. I am really hoping this passes quickly. The GOOD news is that Baby Bear slept for SEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT last night!!! Woohoo! Even ill, my husband and I feel human today. It is amazing what sleep will do for our bodies and our minds.

Baby Bear is trying desperately to turn himself over from back to front. So far he can get to his side, but then can't decide how to move his bottom arm out of the way and use his top arm to get him over. Poor thing gets really frustrated by it these days. He is also trying to crawl, but ends up looking like a flailing sky diver because he hasn't realized that his feet need to push on the ground not in the air in order to propel him forward. It's tragic looking, but exceedingly adorable at the same time. Until he's had enough and begins to scream.

This week I ordered a book from called Dancing the Breeze for our little neighbor girl who is turning 2 in a couple of weeks. Her father is a gardener and plant connoisseur extraordinaire and when I picked this book up at a thrift shop for Princess last summer, I just knew it was the perfect story for their family.

Friday, October 26, 2007

1786 Rambly-ness & 7-minute icing

"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."
- Simone Weil

In figuring that I will need to write 1786 words per day in November in order to finish The Novel, my brain went on a little tangent-trip and began to wonder what happened in the year 1786. Here is what wikipedia says and here is a list of my ancestors who were born in 1786:

5 Jan 1786 Jacob NEWMAN
27 Jan 1786 Roxana HAND
29 Jan 1786 Elizabeth WHITTLE
5 Mar 1786 Guri ASLAKSEN
21 Mar 1786 Moses SWAIM
23 Mar 1786 Mary DAGGET
28 Mar 1786 Phebe Ann MORTON
1 May 1786 Thomas RUSSELL
10 May 1786 Jacob RHOADS
23 Jul 1786 Hans SORENSEN
27 Jul 1786 Stephen HOOPES
30 Jul 1786 Mette Marie PEDERSEN
1 Aug 1786 Charity SWAIM
2 Aug 1786 Sarah WILLSON
15 Aug 1786 Rachel A. SHIPMAN
21 Aug 1786 Athalia HOWARD
22 Aug 1786 Samuel WHEELDON
4 Sep 1786 John WELBORN
22 Sep 1786 Julana GEER
24 Dec 1786 Mary POTTS

Possibly not interesting to anyone but myself but there it is anyway.
My husband spent the summer (while we were eating angel food cake with seasonal fresh berries and whipped cream), raving about his mother's angel food cake icing. He has lots of fond memories of eating this, and after months and months I called and asked her for the recipe. She couldn't find it in her recipe collection, but she looked it up online and found this version, which she gave me over the phone.

7-Minute Icing

2 cups white sugar
3 egg whites
3 tbs corn syrup
3 tbs cold water
1 tsp vanilla
In a double boiler combine ingredients. Place over boiling water and beat on high for seven minutes or until frosting forms soft peaks. Remove immediately and frost cool cake.
She said to serve is as soon as you can as it doesn't keep well, and don't beat it too long or it'll turn "hard" and you won't be able to spread it. In this case, just add a dollop to a slice of cake on a plate. Excellent with chocolate cake as well.
After she finished the frosting instructions she told me how nice it was to be able to be useful for something and to help me. Sometimes, in order not to be a bother we don't ask for help, and the funny thing is I almost didn't. When she told me the name of the frosting, I could have just looked it up myself. Instead, I let her take the time to hang up, look it up online, call me back and read it to me. Sometimes, we do them ourselves because it is easier than waiting for someone else to do it for us. That is what my quote at the beginning of this post is about. Sometimes we should let others do for us because it does them more good to be able to serve, share and assist. By giving people our genuine attention for longer than we need to - longer than is convenient - we give them something that can not be bought or forced. A rare generosity of human connection and trust.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Writing notes, I'm sick, Recipe

Last night I went to my writing group and we had some great conversation. I told them about NaNoWriMo and they were all supportive. We reviewed and critiqued the work of one of the women for the first time and it was great - the piece and the discussion. I love critiquing/editing/helping to make stuff better.
I got my first real taste of this when I helped others edit their fanfiction in a process called "beta-ing". This is really just having someone read and review your writing, but they call it this in the fanfiction world. I love doing it for others and having others do it for me. Even when I've written something I think is good, the chance to make it better is both challenging and exciting to me. I think one of the things about NaNoWriMo that will be most insanity provoking for me is the no editing thing. To have no time for clean-up or meaningful feedback might push me over the edge.
I got a few ideas on the drive home - yeah! I think I have decided on my heroine's name - one I thought I made up, but apparently someone else did too as there is a dragon drawing by that name at Anyway, I am going to try and write the required number of words everyday between now and the 1st, to see if I can get myself used to it. Not on The Novel of course, but this and other stuff.
I am sick. Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, stuffy-head, nasty cold sick. I thought I was better, but then yesterday it hit me again with a vengeance. The rest of the family seems fine - thank heavens - but I am wishing for a nice, warm, dark cave to crawl into for a few days. Instead I have 4am feedings and a 4 year old who wakes up at the crack of dawn, followed by her baby brother. Please, let them not get sick. I don't think I could handle it this week.
I do have to say how appreciative I am that they wake up exuberantly - it's hard to be unhappy, regardless of how I feel physically, when I am awoken by two blissfully cheerful cherubs. Even with the hard moments, I truly do delight in my children. I can't imagine a better thing than having them.
Allie asked for the Overnight Butterscotch Buns recipe, so I thought I'd share it with everyone. It has a different actual name, that is just what I call them.
Julie Badger
Meridian Magazine
Easter 2005
18 to 20 Rhodes frozen rolls
1 (3 oz.) pkg. butterscotch pudding (not instant)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter
Arrange frozen rolls in a greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle pudding, brown sugar and pecans over rolls. Drizzle butter over all. Cover with damp towel and let rise overnight or about 12 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool 10 to 20 minutes before inverting to a serving plate.

Lara's note: We have theorized that this recipe what could be made with any flavor of pudding and add-ins.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday, Monday...

"The common conception is that motivation leads to action, but the reverse is true — action precedes motivation. You have to prime the pump and get the juice flowing, which motivates you to work on your goals. Getting momentum going is the most difficult part of the job, and often taking the first step is enough to prompt you to make the best of your day."
— Robert J McKain

I so grew up listening to The Mamas and the Papas... I can sing the lyrics to almost all of their songs. My parents both liked their music but I remember listening to them with my mama, first on the record player, then on tape. My husband recently took a tape a snitched from my parents when I left home - the Greatest Hits album - and converted it to mp3 so we can listen to it on the computer, worn out though the recording is after a good 20 year stay on my play list!
It's Monday again, and this week is for cleaning, tidying, menu-making and trying to stay calm about the impending descension (is that a word?) of guests coming next week. I'm having a hard time getting myself into that mode where I'm thrilled to be getting my house in order. I'm not as sick as I was over the weekend, so that is good, I just feel like doing nothing.
We've ordered the new queen size air bed and the plan is to clean up the study, move Princess' single bed into there for Granny and put the air bed in Princess' bedroom for Grandma M. Still need to decide about begging, borrowing, stealing (or buying) sheets for the air bed... We had thought to just by a king size air bed so we could use the sheets we already have, but there is no place large enough in our house for another bed that size without removing other large pieces of furniture!
I also need to figure out food for the Blessing Day dinner. So far I have: frozen mini frozen spanakopita and a huge ham and that is it. I have a couple other ideas, like my Apple Feta Arugula salad and Overnight Butterscotch Buns... but the menu is not easily taking shape at this point.
My sister-in-law is having her directing debut this weekend! Wish we were there, but instead I'll send flowers. I've never met a theatrical type (myself included) who didn't appreciate a floral tribute!
Why can I not get the spacing to work except spordically and accidentally? Anytime I try to fix the spacing, bad, bad things happen.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The person who says it cannot be done
should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- Chinese Proverb
Writing 50,000 words in 30 days has been on my mind a lot, especially the breakdown. It's Twelve and a half thousand words a week. That sounds like a large number of words to me. When it's broken down by day, it's about 1786 words per day. That seems do-able I think. This morning I started working an idea out in my head... and trying to decide when I will find time for these 1786 words in my daily schedule!
My biggest concern there is that we have company coming for Baby Bear's blessing Oct 30-Nov 6. Both my mother and my mother-in-law will be here... and I may find it difficult to entertain and write my 1786. And if I skip the first week I'd never catch up.
I think I'll head in the fantasy direction... romance and good verses evil included of course. I have to write something that I am actually interested in reading. Considering character names. I have a handful of good heroine names to choose from that I've created for my WoW characters, but no hero name list. My husband has a few interestingly named characters, but none that I adore. Clearly I have a some prep I can do.
Are real writers banned from using emoticons? Does it show a lack of literary intelligence that sometimes I just feel like the only way I can express myself is with a little face made from a parethese and a colon? :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Writing and dreaming

"Self trust is the essence of heroism"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last night I dreamed about a dancing, and a friend I had when I was a teenager whose given name was Molly Shenandoah. I always loved her name and it seemed to fit her. Being a child of the 70's in a small Washington self-proclaimed hippy town, I had lots of friends with unusual names - in my 2nd grade class their were girls named Butterfly & Cinnamon and boy named Reefer (no joke). But Molly's name wasn't just unusual, it was lovely.

Molly was tall and pretty and smart. She was a great dancer and she had a boyfriend I wanted (and eventually got a half dozen years later). She was a year or two older than me, thrillingly Californian and very kind.

After she moved, we kept in touch on and off... the odd phone call and Christmas card, meeting up occasionally when she came to town. She was someone I called when I heard at 20 the devastating pronouncement from a doctor that I would never carry a child. Since proved wrong... but at the time as a young newly-wed, very much wanting a baby, I was crushed.

What she said to me was one of the most comforting things anyone said during the following 8 years of childlessness. "Some people are just meant to be mothers, and you are one of them. Somehow you'll find a way. You'll be a wonderful mother."

I dreamed we were taking a modern dance class in the gorgeous room on the top floor of the local YMCA that I taught in for a number of years. She was married and expecting a baby. We were so excited because we were again in a place where our lives matched enough that we could keep up with one another again.

Being one who believes in the power of dreams, got out of bed and Googled her :) She is married, is living in Ohio and had a baby about a year ago! Weird. She and her husband run a spicy pickle company and she works with a local group whose mission is "to educate, support and empower women as they journey through pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period". I think I'll write her this week. Who knows. Maybe it's our time again.


I've joined NaNoWriMo. I'm nuts. But Allie offered home made chocolate truffles. What was I supposed to do? I have NO IDEA what to write. The quote at the beginning of this post was to remind me that I can do this and I need to trust that I can.

BTW, that old boyfriend of Molly's? The one I went out with years later? He introduced me to Allie and after a dozen years she and I are still great friends.

Monday, October 1, 2007

"In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life." - James E. Faust


Think so? The last few days have definitely been a challenge. Baby Bear has hit a growth spurt I suppose and wants to a) eat or b) cry. I'm tired, I am overwhelmed and my house is dirtier than it has ever been in my whole life. Calgon, take me away. My husband took one look at my face when he came home for lunch and asked if I needed my passport :)
His 8 week check-up on Friday weighed him in at a whopping 14 lb 5 oz and almost 26 inches long. Princess' 4-year check was a week ago today and she is considered tall, but both are completely and absolutely healthy from the doctor's perspective, so that makes me happy and relieved. Our new pediatrician is wonderful. He is one of the very best doctors I have ever had for anything! He listens, he's not in a rush, and he treats us all (even the kids) like actual people.
In four weeks we have family coming to visit for Baby Bear's blessing day. This is not a christening (we don't do that in our church), but more of a name-giving ceremony and a bestowal of gifts (blessings). It sounds like we will have a house full and more! So far the RSVP list include my mother & mother-in-law, and the family of my husband's oldest brother (4 kids, 2 adults). Probably we can also count on my sister and her boyfriend, my brother, and my dad and his wife. Remember me saying my house is dirtier than it has ever been in my life? I shouldn't be blogging. I should be scrubbing. And sorting and shelving and throwing junk away! If I spent all day every day on this house I am not sure it could be ready in time. This is one of those moments I am tempted to sell my soul for the means to have a maid!