Tomorrow is November first, the start of National November Writing Month. I did it last year and that is how I started my book The Chic Bootlegger. I continued writing the book after last November until I got to over 150,000 words and I’m still not done. This year, I am determined to use this November challenge to finish my book at long last. The challenge, I feel, provides a great incentive to sit down and write simply for the sake of writing. This summer I took a break from my book because I went overseas and then when I got back, I went to my sister’s and then I went away with my mother and also to Boston and my computer went away to computer heaven (thank goodness I saved my book on a UBC). Now I need to stop making excuses and huddle down and force my story out of my head and onto the computer. It is only a matter of doing, not procrastinating.
- Haunted Tale
- Stephen King’s House
I just read a haunted tale co-written by Stephen King and his son. It is called the Tall Grass, I read it in Esquire magazine. It completely turned me off from helping anyone who sounds lost in the mist and beyond my sight. A brother and sister embark on a cross country journey in their beat up old car and stop on the side of the road for a rest, they hear a little boy’s voice calling for help from within an expanse of very tall grass. They, being kind souls, go off into the tall grass to try to help the little boy, only to find themselves separated from each other and the road immediately. They, each in their forced isolation, spend what seems hours upon hours trying to find each other and the boy but to no avail, they start to suffer from hunger and thirst and I will not spoil the ending for you if you come across the short story but keep in mind, this is Stephen King we are talking about. I got scared reading it.
We in Blandford emerged safe and sound from the hurricane named Sandy or as the news media nicknamed her Frankenstorm. Over the weekend we were all alerted to Sandy’s massive size and all Northeastern Governors took steps to prepare and safeguard their respective residents. Our Governor closed all schools Monday just in case and he did the right thing, the gale force winds were frightening. I am happy to say that both my mother and sister didn’t suffer any power outages or damage to either of their homes. I was quite worried for both of them, they live right near the center of where Sandy was at her most powerful.
I was surprised that we lost power for a 24 hour period during the storm despite being fairly far from the epicenter. We didn’t get rain but boy did we get wind. I was walking baby Jack up in the park yesterday morning and while he was sniffing, a tree crashed down not too far from where we were standing. It happened so quickly, we both jumped. That was before the gale force winds, even with the Indus I was surprised at our power outage, we had a major upgrade to our electrical grid following the devastating ice storm of 2008 and our trees were meticulously trimmed all summer long, with all that overhaul and preparation we still lost power.
The only thing that bothered me with the power outage was my refrigerator and freezer contents. I didn’t want things to spoil so it did put a damper on eating last night, this morning and this afternoon. The first thing you learn in a power outage is do not open the fridge or freezer. That rule stinks when you are hungry.
Last night as I lay in bed at 10 I was thinking of one of my favorite t.v shows, Copper on the BBC America. It takes place in New York City in the 1870’s right after the Civil War. You get to see characters from the wealthy class and the underside of New York and the working class. The poor and working class women didn’t have time for leisure or to be bored. I am not sure if wealthy women were ever bored but they did do embroidery and needlepoint in the evening hours. So I decided that I wasn’t going to complain about being bored. I do admit that I felt in the dark without any news, other than that I did a lot of reading. So it wasn’t so bad. I am glad that it is over.
- New Holiday
Retirement day. I think that we should, as a reward for a lifetime of hard work, establish a personal day in the year of your retirement and make it a holiday for those who are near and dear to you, to celebrate your life’s achievements and christen your first official day of retirement.
- Googling for Inspiration
When I look at this classic version of the fondue, I think of a cozy chalet during a snow storm. A roaring fire also comes to mind along with the savory aroma of good Swiss cheese perfumed with a fine white wine and the smell of warm crusty bread. My mouth is salivating with all of these images and I can practically smell everything right here while I am typing.
Teaching is a gift and not everyone has it. I have had the privilege to teach French to the little ones at my children’s elementary school for seven years until the state funding went dry. However, I know that I couldn’t teach French formally, I have to many bad grammatical habits, it would be a disaster. When I worked in retail and as a waiter, all those years ago, I trained all the new hires. I liked training the new people, it was fun and I found it easy but what I was teaching them wasn’t complicated, it was just a matter of social skill and outgoing nature.
Do I really know any complicated subjects? I wouldn’t call cooking complicated per se, it really depends on the cooking in question. In my experience, cooking revolves around your senses, all five of them. As long as you pay attention to your senses, you are already halfway there. A good example would be cooking a steak. Your eyes tell you when the meat is caramelized, your nose will tell you that the meat is getting there, your finger will tell you the doneness of the meat, when the meat doesn’t spring back to the touch, that is when it is well done and when the sizzle starts to subside, it is close to well done. Cooking is something that needs to be done often for you to get to the point where you are comfortable and at ease. But one of the things that I really love about cooking is that you can always learn something new and always get better despite your level of expertise.
Gardening is something else that I love but I am far and away still a neophyte. I would never presume to teach anything about gardening because I am constantly learning every year and every day of that new year in gardening. I do love talking about gardening with others and sharing experiences and anecdotal stories but that is not teaching, technically, just sharing the wealth of know how in plants.
In my mind sharing knowledge and experience is a great way to make new friends, learn new things and spend a lovely time.
- Being Goldilocks
- Mattress Shopping, 4/365
My hubby and I were talking about mattresses and the need to eventually replace ours, so we went down to the Sleepy’s store down in Westfield. It was fun going to mattress after mattress and laying down to sample the different types now on the market; all in the pursuit of the mattress that will be the one that is “just right”. I know that we found one that felt “just right”, but it cost quite a bit more than we had ever dreamt of spending. We do share that in common, caviar tastes with champagne dreams; I just heard Robin Leech’s voice inside my head.
So Wednesday was the drive from New York City to Massena New York, a seven hour drive with an inadvertent stopover to Canada for much needed sleep. The Ramada at Cornwall, Canada was your standard hotel room; the only complaint I have is that the next day on the way to picking up Nolwenn, I started itching and I now have seven nasty bug bites on my legs, my arms, my fingers, my neck and the side of my face. My mommy was blaming bedbugs but she didn’t get bitten by anything, so I don’t know. Whatever it was, I am on fire and itchy.
Thursday was a full day yet again, driving from Massena, N.Y to Blandford, MA took a full six hours, not counting stopping for food and then stopping at Westfield, MA to go food shopping for Friday’s birthday celebration. The car ride was very enjoyable, my mommy and Nolwenn talking about a whole bunch of things while I listened and drove us through the autumn countryside of both New York and Massachusetts. I have to admit that by the time we got to Westfield, I was spent so the food shopping was a blur. When we got home at 8 p.m, it was all that I could do to unload the car with my mommy and Nolwenn, get them all settled and get some food in them as well as walk Jack. Oh yeah, I still managed to roast butternut squash and garlic, sauté onions and combine everything with chicken stock and dried sage to make butternut squash soup for Friday night. I also poached salmon, minced smoked salmon, flaked the cooked salmon and combined the two with room temperature butter, minced chive, lemon juice and salt and pepper. This makes for a nice spread called rillettes de saumon; my baby boy loves this very much served with good crusty bread or crispy water crackers. When I fell into bed at midnight, I was proud of myself for a good long day of solid work.
Friday was a new day and a new day for more cooking, walking and doing things. After breakfast, all three of us took Jack for a walk that lasted two hours, that wasn’t planned, but it did us a lot of good, breathing all that clean mountain air, it also worked our muscles that had been seated for two days in the car. Once we got back home, we ate simple sandwiches and Nolwenn helped me make a clafoutis de pommes. A clafoutis is a fruit filled flan; eggs, milk, sugar, a little flour and apples, very simple. Dessert was taken care of; another part of the menu done.
We ran back to Westfield for bread and a birthday present for the baby boy. We came back and I started, with help from my mommy and Nolwenn, to sauté shrimp with garlic and parsley, stripped down paella rice with caramelized onions, tomatoes, garlic and saffron and sautéed string beans with garlic. By this time everyone was home; my hubby, both the baby boy and baby girl and they were ready for dinner.
We started with the soup, then came the rillettes de saumon, followed by the shrimp, rice and string beans and then the grand finale, the clafoutis de pommes. After all this; present time for the baby boy. It was such a nice family dinner, the kids were talking about this in that, going in and out of French and English, a lot of laughing going on, mostly from me. I laugh at anything, especially when I am happy.
Today is Saturday, my mommy and Nolwenn left this morning and I have been resting and unwinding. All my adrenaline of the past few days has worn off, so I am pooped. Hooray for tomorrow, Sunday, the official day of rest.
- Language comparison
I speak both French and English fluently. When I was growing up, I wasn’t appreciative and found it to be a chore to always speak French at home. Now, I am and have been, for the longest time, grateful to my parents for demanding that I speak French with them. Since becoming a parent myself, I chose to teach my children French as well. Luckily, both my children appreciate being spoken French to and they demand that I speak only French to them. They do not like hearing me speak English to them, they don’t care if I speak English to others as long as it is not directed at them.
Would I like to speak other languages; if it were possible, I would. But I know that I do not have an easy affinity towards learning another language. So I am content with the two that I have under my belt.
- I’m awesome!
- Crack Me Up
There is my love/hate relationship with my hair, there are days that I love my hair’s thickness and there are days when I hate my hair’s frizziness. I love my easy sense of humor and I love my love of reading; as long as there are words, I am never bored.