Sunday, October 31, 2010

On the Brink of Who Knows What?

As I write, I'll keep stoked up with cups of coffee...

My fiction-mode mind came out of hibernation a few days ago.  It rubbed its eyes and took a few wobbly steps before it went to work and provided me with this beginning to my novel for the 2010 NaNoWriMo challenge:

...and some in this mug as well.
 Shaddy hit the road early Monday morning, November 1st, 2010.  She gave two weeks’ notice to her employer mid-October and wrapped up things at work the previous Friday.  Her future for the next few weeks and months was no more than a huge question mark.  Driving in her Chevy Avalanche truck with no specific destination in mind promised to be a far cry from her married life since 1969 and sitting safely at her desk in the dental office where she'd worked since 1992.
Shaddy marveled at how easy it was to get up this morning.  For the past twenty years, when she awakened, she usually scowled and dared the hands of the clock to creep forward.  She stayed glued in bed until her sense of responsibility grudgingly separated her from the bedsheets at precisely 7:00 on good days and as late as 7:10 on not-so-good mornings. 
"I've never been on my own.  I feel like I've missed an important part of life."  Shaddy spoke those words to her husband several months ago in the first of many conversations that led up to her departure from home on this particular morning.
We aren't supposed to begin our novels until after midnight tonight.  We are allowed to make an outline and have notes to help us write through the next thirty days.  Since I have no outline or notes, I feel justified to have written a few words to spring me off the starting blocks.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why Not Yesember?

What an encouraging quote for those who will participate in National Novel Writing Month!

As I consider the month of November, I can’t help but think that Yesember would be a more positive name for the next to the last month of the year.  I know.  It’s a silly thought.  Unfortunately, my noggin’s full of silly thoughts (as you well know) and to relieve the pressure I have to release them frequently. 
Yes, indeed, month number eleven approaches.  As I photograph the artistry in my datebook for this November blog post and observe the scant number of pages yet to be turned before year end, it’s frighteningly clear that 2010 is running out of days. 
November will have her arms full when she arrives.  She’ll dole out the following special days as she marches with us from the first to the thirtieth: 
Nov. 1-All Saints’ Day
        2-Election Day
        3-Guy Fawke’s Day
        7-Daylight Saving Time Ends
        11-Veterans’ Day
        25-Thanksgiving Day
I’ll be busy with NaNoWriMo (you must be getting awfully tired of reading about that already) which means the month will pass in a blur.  Hopefully, I won’t forget I’m having company for Thanksgiving!!    

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bound & Determined

Last week I stopped at Staples to check out the binding options for the loose pages of my "novel" written during last year's National Novel Writing Month.  I was astonished to learn that I can have it bound with a coil binding with a clear plastic top sheet and a protective back page for $3.49.

I rented an armored car this afternoon and hauled the results of my blood, sweat and tears during last year's NaNoWriMo to Staples.  Am I overly protective?  I slinked into the Print and Copy Center, slipped the loose pages and a note with my binding request to the professional and within fifteen minutes was back inside the secure vehicle with NaNoWriMo by Shaddy looking pretty and quite novel if I do say so myself.    

My 2009 novel is bound and I am determined.  I'm determined to write another 50,000 words this year in the November 2010 challenge.  

P.S.  I created the title page on a design-a-cover website.  The stars represent the imaginary part of my book while the tree reflects the true-to- life, realistic conclusion.                  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Congratulations Randy & Mandy

I present the bride and groom, Mandy (our niece) and Randy.

Austin (Mandy's son)

Elizabeth (Randy and Mandy's daughter)

Mandy and Emilee (Randy and Mandy's daughter)

Vicky (mother of the bride and Lon's sister)

Brittany (the maid of honor)

Al (brother of the bride) and Booker (Al and JoLynn's son) 

Callie (Al and JoLynn's daughter) and JoLynn (sister-in-law of bride)

Dennis (Lon's brother) and Allison --uncle and aunt of the bride

Lon and I  (uncle and aunt of the bride)
Trying to identify the relationships has made me dizzy.  I hope I got it all straight! 

We had a wonderful time at the wedding and the reception and being with family.  We were treated royally and enjoyed being spoiled.  We wish Randy, Mandy and the children--Austin, Elizabeth and Emilee, the best of everything.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

100% Cotton or Plastic?

Do you remember my previous blog post regarding my order of bedsheets from QVC?  I posted it on September 5th and titled it "On the Air with QVC."  If you haven't read it, you can find it in my blog archives at the left side of my blog page.  The bedsheets arrived a few weeks ago and here they are.  I opted to use our bear as a model rather than draping myself across the bed as originally promised.  (I'm a big talker).   

I've never had designer sheets before; can you imagine that!  (We're so backward regarding the current trends).  The first night we used them, I was tempted to stay awake all night just admiring the fine signature embroidery and bold label.  Unfortunately, another feature grabbed my attention.  Scroll down for "the rest of the story."   

Lon and I put the sheets on the bed as a couple, working together.  It's king-size so I always fetch him when it's sheet changing time.  I don't wash clothing or sheets before I use them so we opened the package and proceeded with the task at hand.  To our amazement, the sheets felt and looked like plastic.  I checked the tag.  It said 100% cotton.  Honestly, the finish and feel of them was exactly like the flannel-backed, plastic tablecloth we use on our picnic table when we're camping!  I appreciate a nice crisp feel to new sheets, but this was WAY beyond that.  The top of our mattress is 36 inches from the floor.  It crossed my mind that by going to bed between these sheets, I was taking quite a risk.  If I slipped out of bed, I'd have a rude awakening and possibly a broken bone.    

Here you can see the sheet peeking from under the blankets and comforter.  We really like the colors in the sheets and the cheerful pattern so we decided to give them a try.  I know QVC will take them back if we should decide we don't like them.  I expect that after they're washed, they'll lose that plastic feeling, although we've actually become accustomed to them, believe it or not.  As long as I stay away from the edge of the mattress, I feel safe sleeping on this slick as ice surface. 

Our bed looks quite normal when it's made.  It's only when we pull the top layers back and actually feel the sheets on our skin that we wonder if we're sleeping on fabric or plastic.  In the grocery store, I'm asked if I prefer paper or plastic.  The QVC representative didn't offer me a choice when I placed this order.  
 Perhaps I wasn't paying close attention to the product description when these sheets were presented on QVC.  Maybe these Liz Claiborne sheets are designed specifically for easy clean up for consumers who like to EAT in bed.  Or for couples who long for that oh-so-desirable wrapped in plastic freshness upon arising in the morning.  What do you think?

Friday, October 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2009 By Shaddy

Yesterday I printed out the novel that I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year.  Why I never did that before is beyond me.  Looking at the thick stack of printed pages makes my book much more real to me.  Up until yesterday, it only existed within my laptop and I viewed it as a saved document in my word processing program.  Now I can pick it up and hold the 52,667 words on 166 pages.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Just Do It, Kathan

A blogger friend of mine, Kathan, is trying to convince herself to participate in NaNoWriMO, National Novel Writing Month.  I wrote the following paragraphs to Kathan in a comment on her blog in hopes of encouraging her to go for it.

"I just came from posting a NaNoWriMo gadget on my blog. I need to commit to the task.  With the proper motivation, I'm off and running.  I took the challenge last year and it worked for me.

I find joy in just writing what comes to mind without any preparation. I find my imagination works rather well when I don’t censor myself. Last year, I wrote approximately 1,666 words per day which is 50,000 divided by 30 days. On weekdays, even after working 8 hours, I didn’t have any trouble reaching my daily word goal. On weekends, I would usually go over my daily quota. We were going away for a few days at Thanksgiving, so I worked extra hard so I’d reach 50,000 before we left.

I really don’t care what I write. It doesn’t matter. I don’t have to share my writing with anybody. I can write a dozen or more chapters that are totally unrelated to each other if I want and still call it a novel. To me, NaNoWriMo is just a good excuse to write with abandon.

I’ll probably just sit down on November 1st and let my mind go. My novel may begin with my main character leaving a note for her husband telling him that she wants to live her childhood dream of being a truck driver. She’ll take her Chevy Avalanche and just go.

I’m not giving it any more thought than that. I’m planning to have fun throughout the month of November going places and meeting people I don’t even know about yet.

Call me crazy or follow my example. Since at least part of you is interested, I say go for it. If you write 100 words and stop, you haven’t failed. You’ve written 100 words. If you write for one week and stop, you haven’t failed. You’ve written for 7 days and that’s something to feel good about.

Don’t put any pressure on yourself and I bet you’ll have some fun."

(Interested persons can go to for all the details).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shaddy Shows and Tells Some More

Friends of ours owned a cabin on Lake Vermilion.  Their cabin was at the end of this private road which is flanked by several summer homes.

After our first invitation to join our friends here in the late 1980s, we followed this road to their driveway in the dark, pulling our boat, hoping and praying we were going the right way.  If not, turning around on this narrow drive would have been a challenge. 
As I walked toward the cabin we enjoyed so often, I paused along the way.  I love the contrasting colors in October. 

I see beauty in moss-covered rock.
Large masses of rock abound in this area.

 Discarded autumn leaves adorn this young pine tree.
 ...prettier than pretty...
This rustic road has more than its share of ups and downs.
I was pleased to see the Giuliani family still owns this home.  As I passed the house on my walk, I saw Bob Giuliani loading his truck.  (Lon and I became acquainted with him during our early visits to Lake Vermilion).  Bob and I enjoyed a nice visit today. He brought me up to date on all that's changed since I'd last seen him.  Bob's 85 years old and presently doing well.  It was so nice and unexpected to see him again. 
When I have my camera in hand, I see so many sights that are worth photographing, including these dried ferns.  
Ain't them some purdy golden yeller leaves?
Did you think we'd ever get here?  At the end of the private road, the summer home that once belonged to our friends still nestles under the pines, a stone's throw from the lake.  This is where we first fell in love with Lake Vermilion.  
  I hesitated as I approached the cabin, but kept moving closer for one more picture of it. Nearby, I saw a man walking to his truck.  We greeted each other and I asked him if he'd known our friend, Roger.  He said he did and, in fact, now owned what had been Roger's cabin.  He showed me inside and the changes that had been made.  It was still basically the same and it felt good to be there again.  I thanked Mr. Strawbridge for his hospitality and we parted. 
  As I walked back to the White Eagle resort, I passed beneath this well-established tree.  I pointed my camera and came away with this rather interesting photo.
    Who wouldn't enjoy walking here?
 If I'm really good, may I walk this way again?

    Trees like to cuddle too.  I named this one "A natural embrace."
 The lake is always home.  It never takes a vacation.
This big lug ain't goin' no where either.
Isn't this amazing?  This fine example of nature's artistry impresses me immensely.
...blurry but blissful...
Oh what joy it would be--to be a bee!
...later in the day...
...sunset reflections...

If you'd like to see more photos of Lake Vermilion, go to my two previous posts.