Friday, December 31, 2010

White is in the winter night... {also: story help?}

The color of purity. hope. salvation. rebirth and renewal.

 Looking out my window, that is all I see. White. The ground, the trees, the sky, the very air itself is dancing with white.
White is also the color of blizzards. Of relentless cold and icy wind.
 Frozen stars rarely chose to peek out upon this white country when the grey-black palette night at last comes.
 Day runs into day; hour into hour; deja vu is common place. Cabin fever, of which I am suffering, is almost mandatory.
 And it's only day two.

I have exhausted my creativity all yesterday and so today feel completely uninspired. I tried writing but that turned out nothing but frustration; as did drawing, sewing, baking, and piano. Even reading left me devoid of interest. 
 I need to move! Run, ride, climb, jump -- anything but this long, tedious sitting about waiting.... for what? For the snow to melt? I wish. 

 I have also reached a platue in both my stories. The first in my "NaNo" novel because 'Trent'{still pending} is at a modern day highschool in the suburbs of some East coast city/town. The problem? Several actually.
 1) I have nothing in common with him or his surroundings at the moment. I've only set foot in a real HS perhaps twice in my life and that was for my older brother's Out of Town basketball games. I have no idea what the classes are like - are they set up sort of like college ones? I know more about those. And what about the other kids that go there? I've heard many, many horror stories from friends of what goes on between people there, but surely they can't all be true? Aren't there some good, responsible teens left in the public system? Can you help me out, O those who have experienced it firsthand? I would really appreciate it!

2) I don't like writing modern day. I need history or fantasy! Modern is so... so... typical? real? boring. To me at least :) I'm really going to have to push myself to finish this part of my book. Soon they'll be in Palendí....

In my other book, The Legend of Skyrian, Cilla is just beginning the real adventure and is being introduced to new and important characters right and left, as well as learning a great deal and trying to forget the recent past. It's very daunting to me, the writer. I'm so excited to finely be getting into the real heart of the story, yet I'm a little apprehensive as well; This is important stuff I'm dealing with! keeps running through my mind, and I'm not ready yet! especially gets me. So I set my pen down. Sigh.
 Again, advice is most welcome.

Ah, it looks like the snow is starting to let up. Thank goodness! I thought we might get another foot today -- thought, not hoped.

Searching the interwebs for one-way ticket to Hawii,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Owl be home for Christmas'

I had a rather owl-y day yesterday, and it all started with a hot mug of tea, freezing temperatures, and some idle creativity.

I was done wrapping presents - I only had one. But don't worry and think me a Scrooge. The rest are in the mail. At least, that's what I keep telling people... hehe.

 Sad little snowflakes fell to the frozen earth in tiny wisps; it's too cold here for big, fluffy flakes. I think I've already voiced my opinion on these present pitiful things. Anyway, as I said I had a cup 'o tea and was watching said flakes from the window when a creative bug started to stir within me. Do you ever get that feeling where you just have to make something or you'll explode? A card, some cookies - anything! That was me. Vainly, I searched the interwebs for anything that would appease my sudden artistic spasm. I thought maybe I could make something to give as a present. But just about everything labeled 'homemade Christmas' was a) hokey or b) I didn't have the materials for.
 I remembered Mum showing me the cutest little craft ever on her friend's blog, Gumbo Lily. Peeps, I'd like you to meet Meep.
My pocket-sized, hand-stitched, new friend :) 
 I had my doubts as I printed out the pattern: I have never gotten on well with needles of any kind. I faint at the thought of vaccines, grumble at my attempts at knitting, and sigh with boredom over embroidery. I haven't even picked up a needle in a year or more, pretty much because I need something more to do besides just pulling thread through cloth, even when I know the outcome will be an adorable little owl. Music, a movie, I even thought of reading while stitching, but that wouldn't work out too well. I usually lose interest after a while without these things to help me along. But this little guy only took me forty-five minutes to hour to make; clipping, cutting, stitching and all.
Everyone who's seen Meep now want me to make them one. "He's just so cute!"
 I will defiantly make more during the blizzardy months ahead, of all different sizes and colors.
 I need to craft more often, I think. Lately writing and music have completely blocked out any time or energy I used to use for drawing or card making and it's starting to burn me out on both subjects. Like now I don't even want to look at a sheet of music for at least a week. So maybe my owl is a wise owl, in a way, he kinda told me to quit focussing on just writing and playing and return to my other talents too. Yeah, I'm pretty happy with my little owl :)

Merry Christmas,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A chill winter mourning

Hullo to one and all!
 That looked incredibly peppy and enthusiastic, didn't it? But I'm afraid I'm not. As you may or perhaps may not know, this week has been my Grandpa's funeral as well as a memorial for my Grandmum who passed this spring. Three days of prayer, tears, laughing with family, and moments of lonely silence. Longing for some normalcy,  a sense of stability, amounts to nothing more than a heavier blanket of grief.
 Grief cripples me.
 I cannot function under it. It's like I need to be perpetually happy and light hearted. Or at least have control over what I call excess emotion; anytime I feel overly - perhaps even vulnerably - angry or upset or excited, I can take a walk or a ride, or even just write in order to get a grip and stabilize my feelings. Maybe that's why I'm writing now.
 But I just cannot fix grief. And it frustrates me. {I suppose its my German engineer side coming out.} Yet it fascinates me and compels me like no other emotion. {If that confused you just now, don't worry, I'm a bit lost my self.} Of all the blithe jigs and reels in the history of Celtic music, it's the heartbroken songs of mourning and loss that I love the most. All the tales of adventure and bravery are lost on me unless there is a great and beautiful loss in it. Something that makes the characters vulnerable; their world fragile. Yet I hate being there myself.
 The majority of my own characters have incredibly sad or at least stirring backgrounds. And if they don't, they soon will. *insert evil laugh here*
 I'm strange, I admit it.

 Right now I'm mediocre. Neither glad nor sad, stuck instead in a sort of limbo between them.
 I am glad my grandparents are together again, as they always were, and now it's even better with no pain and with Jesus. Can you even imagine what that must be like? Right now, the same Grandmum and Grandpa that watched my soccer games are now viewing the heavenly throne!
 At the same time I am acutely aware of the fact that they are no longer here, no longer touchable. It takes time to heal wounds, and prayer and petition to heal the heart.
 Mum says times like these, when grief is near and the stress of musical performances is hovering with certain doom, build character - and they do. But to me they are more faith-builders. Without them I would still be the same stubborn daughter of Eve trying to piece and patch together everything herself. I am in no way saying that I'm no longer stubborn - heaven knows far better than that! - but I am growing. And learning.
 It will take more than a lifetime to learn, I'm sure. But you must start sooner than later, right?
Hmmm. I feel infinitely better, now that I've wrote this. Even if nobody reads it all the way through :)

Until next time {hopefully then we can begin the giveaway!},

Monday, December 6, 2010

What makes it Christmas?


Just, ah.

That's what I feel like at this moment as I sit typing to you with my bandaged fingers {pinky - argument with a 5lb metal pole and solid ice. Index finger - broken Christmas light.} after a long day of Christmas decorating.
 From the time I awoke till sunset I was effectively bringing Christmas cheer into our home. Mum worked all day and had a nice surprise on her return :)
 But as I was risking my neck to put up lights above the stove and candles near the clock, a thought occurred to me; simply
what makes it Christmas?
Now the obvious answer to a similar question would be, "Well, Christ's birth, of course!" But that's not what I was asking. You can have a Christmas without the tinsel and all that, but it doesn't feel like Christmas, does it? There are certain things - traditions, foods, decorations - that you just need in order for you to feel the full effect of Christmas, aren't there? I realized that as I unpacked all our décor, each with its own special meaning. After putting every one of them in there proper places {and heavens, do we have a lot of 'every ones'!}, I decided to go on a hunt, camera in hand, to find the pieces that make my Christmas puzzle complete.
Christmas tree hunting. Tramping about in the wilderness, tracking rabbits and some kind of weasel, watching a herd of elk, and finely finding our Tree. What could be a better to start the season? The long drive up into the Hills is very much worth it.

Christmas lights... that shine so brightly and warmly. Gives one a cozy feeling just glancing their way.

Decorating the tree. Is there any more to be said?

Music. The Christmas season wouldn't be whole without it. Besides making everything more acutely beautiful, I believe music has a deep affect on our spirits; something that words alone cannot encompass.

Carmel-apple-spices and decorated coffee shops. That delicio hot drink to see before you now is the holiday spirit in beverage form. The little coffee shop where my mum works makes it exclusively. What is it? Oh, I thought I said already! Well, apple cider is a big part of it, cream too. Lots of carmel and spice. Yup, that's all I can tell you ;)

Our little glow-church. The warm lights from this little church has always greeted us merrily when we  return from Advent services in the dark of night for as long as I can remember. I love it.

The Nativity scene. One of my favorite pieces by far, my mum's Italian Fontanini figures. The stable is extra special too. Da, my older brother, and I made it as a Christmas present for Mum when I was about four or five. My job? Gathering the rocks to make the walls.

When setting these up, I try and give each character a story; like this one where the frightened lamb in the shepherd boy's arms is crying for its mother. The ewe, also bleating, I always imagined butted the boy eventually to reach her baby. :)

A portrait of Jesus. This statue isn't really part of the Christmas decor, we keep it all year round, but I think it is an important, if not vital part of Christmas, a reminder. It is after all why He was born. This statue has always fascinated me, especially when I was small. Whoever the artist is, they did beautiful work portraying the pain and sadness our Savior went through for us.

Those are all most of the things that put me in the holiday spirit. What are yours?

Ah! And concerning the giveaway I promised, I hope you all won't be upset if I delay it for awhile. With the funeral arrangements for my Grandpa and all my music gigs in the next two weeks, I'm afraid I won't be able to host until maybe the week of the nineteenth... maybe. Well, I'll get it figured out, don't despair.

But now I must bid you, all 100(!) of you, good night!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving prayer request

Last night my Grandpa passed away. It did not come as a surprise: he's been fading ever since Grandmum went ahead in May. Now together they will celebrate the true Thanksgiving feast with the Giver Himself. And that make me happy.
 But prayers for those of us still waiting behind would be much appreciated.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone
 Be truly thankful for your family this year!
"The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord" -Job

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's forecast: 16" of snow and large helpings of pumpkin bread

You heard me right, sixteen (now more like eighteen) heaping inches of white stuff has been dumped unceremoniously over the landscape. It's also waaay too cold for my liking with the low being -13* and the high a balmy 12*. And don't even get me started on the windchill..!
 All this called for some baking. (... and coffee :)
 Enter Pumpkin Spice Bread! A scrumptious new recipe I braved on the culinary frontier -- it was very daring because I was a tad short on pumpkin - yes the key element - so I had to... improvise. But it turned out great! And aside from the exploding flour and dumped vanilla, everything else went perfectly!
 Want to try this too? Mini loaves are perfect for holiday gift baskets.

Mini Pumpkin Spice Loaves
{From Christmas with Southern Living 2008}

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.
 Combine flour and next six ingredients in a medium bowl. Add pecans and raisins, tossing to coat. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with pumpkin, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla.
 Spoon batter into 12 greased and floured 5"x3" loaf pans. Bake at 325* for 45 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clear. Cool in pans on wire rack for ten minutes, remove from pans, and let cool completely.

All this snow also gave me lots of photo ops...

To see much more click here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I return from the 'relative' dead

"Hullo hullo hullo!" to quote Prince Rhun{Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain}.
 Sorry I disappeared without a word, I was rather knocked for a loop by the flu last weekend and didn't feel at all like writing of any sort, plus it was my birthday weekend to boot. So my 'sweet sixteen' really wasn't all that sweet though I was recovered enough to enjoy it from my invalid's chair :) While it wasn't quite what I was expecting, I shall always remember my 16th, all thanks to a little virus :)
 Six days later I'm still awfully tired all the time and a little weak, though I'm getting stronger. But it's really not surprising since I lost nearly six pounds in two days. Wowzer, I think that's a new record! Not a great one, since it completely undid my entire workings for my New Years resolution to gain ten pounds. I hit seven last month making me a whopping 108lbs! *then dramatically* But no more.
 Well, I guess pile on the turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, wot? Haha!
But enough about me. How fares everyone else in the bloggy world? Still plugging away you NaNos? I confess that mine has barely stirred since the *gulp* 9th. But I did receive two awesome writing journal bookies! A beautiful blue velvet bound one, and a pink tooled leather one that I think I shall keep in my purse/bag-of-many-things to jot down ideas, sketches, etc in when I'm away from home... and peering at observing interesting people from behind a National Geographic. 

 Ooo! I must tell you! I also was given the first series of BBCs Robin Hood! Even though my inner historian screams and writhes at the almost complete inaccuracy of the period, {Greek fire? It's gunpowder you ninnies!! Greek fire is waaaay different! And black powder was invented by the Chinese, not the Saracens..!} I have for the most part accepted it just as a jolly good swashbuckling kind of show, telling my historian to close her eyes for the length of it lest she have a breakdown of sorts. It's not easy, it is my favorite and most studied era after all. And after the last episode she was just muttering to herself things like "Tudor swords..."
*shrugs* Whatever. I'm enjoying it :)
It snowed here, as you can probably tell by all the photos I have up, and Hammie and my little brother are defiantly enjoying the wet white stuff. I am too -- photo ops!! Ugh, these last few weeks everything has just been dying yellows/greys and all the leaves have gone so there was nothing to photograph except indoor stuff and that's no fun.

 Mum and I went into an adorable little shop when we were in town yesterday. It the kind of shop that has antique style boxes, candles, lights, clocks, teapots, and all things delicate and yet cozy. You could spend years in there and not see every little thing. They're all decked out for Christmas, and the moment you open the door the warm scent of ginger bread and cinnamon fills your nose. And now I'm all Christmassy too :) Already I've dug out Enya's Christmas cd and been playing it, waiting for the angels, as it were. I'll leave you now with my favorite one...


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Second snow

... of this season is happening on the other side of these glass windows.
 It's both saddening and funny to read other blogs where they write that "autumn is finely here!" when winter is just beginning on my golden prairie. Disbelief is mixed in there too, now that all the beautiful leaves have been blown away. Part of me balks like a mule at thought of winter, yet there's always that eternal optimism that fills me at the start of each season, that this time will be different. This time it will be great! We have had a long autumn considering last year when we had about one week before the snow hit, and I'm thankful for the last few days that have been filled with absolutely lovely weather.
 The flakes that fall now are ragged and skinny; the first of the Valkyrie, so to speak. {Okay, perhaps that's not the best definition, but I love that legend and that name!} Pitiful to compare with the one- to two inch fluffs that will drift haughtily from the sky like ermine clad lords later this year. They can't even survive long enough to dust the ground.
 In other words, nothing worth photographing.

My Grandpa and Double Stuff are both doing much better, and I must thank you all for the kind words and prayers. Dudders seems to have made a full recovery though he coliced for another day after I posted last.
 My aunt flew up a few days ago and has been staying with us to be near Grandpa. My other aunt and cousin will be coming to see him this weekend as well. And I think that is what is making him stronger.
 They say laughter is the best medicine but I think it's family.

My music concerts were accomplished, more I can't say - I can remember! It all went by in such a blur.
 My NaNoing is very slow, I'm trying to write at every possible opportunity but I can't promise I'll hit the 50k by the end of this month. I've also been away from the interwebs quite a bit so I haven't updated anything or commented anywhere. I guess it's an unconscious decision to read more books{Allison Croggen's The Naming for the third time. Oh I love her writing!}  and less blogs - no offense or anything :)

But now dear peeps, I must go to the dentist to get my teeth drilled on :(

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Maybe I'm not meant to NaNo..?

That's the impression I've been getting ever since I started.  I just keep running into road blocks!

This morning I went to do the chores as usual and noticed as I was feeding the horses that Double Stuff was laying down in the shed. It struck me as odd at first as I passed but then figured he was sunning himself since it was a little chilly. I pitched the hay but Double Stuff showed no interest what so ever. That was enough to get me worried. He's always hungry and will eat anything.
 I finished and went over to try and get him up, already suspecting the dreaded colic {You might as well call it horse bane}. I took me a couple shots of pulling and pushing at him before he reluctantly got to his feet. His head drooped and he looked like a little kid who'd eaten too much Halloween candy. It was so sad. He pushed his fuzzy little head against me as if to say I don't feel good. I stayed for a minute to just watch him and see if I was right about colic.
 He was on his feet for about five minutes but kept stepping out uncomfortably. Then his knees buckled and he went to rolling and kicking again.
 Classic signs of colic.
 I ran home and got Da and the colic kit {the stomach tube, milk of mag, buckets, etc...} and played assistant vet for the next hour and a half.
 I will spare you the rather unglamorous details, which I'm sure you'll appreciate if you're reading this while eating :) Suffice it to say that poor Dudders didn't like having a tube up his nose and so milk of magnesium went everywhere {which is why you never wear your good coat to the barn}.
 As far as I know he's doing a little better this evening{8:30} and I think any danger he may have been in is past, but I'll check on him again in an hour or so.
 I haven't written a single word today because of this and music lessons, and unless Double Stuff is completely better by tomorrow, I most likely won't get a chance then either. Not so great for my word count :/

I just got an email from my violin teacher with another performance possibility for this and/or next month. I've tallied up all my music concerts and special deals {like a radio spot. Pretty cool!} and it comes to seven or eight gigs in the next 30 days.

 I'm deciding right here and now that I'm just going to try and finish my novel by the end of the month and just forget about the word count -- I have quite enough to stress over at the moment! Maybe I'll hope back on the word wagon later on, but for now I just want to take one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow, if that's possible. :)

 So say a prayer for my family{and fur-child} and I'll keep you updated on Double Stuff.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Find a happy place, find a happy place!!

*deeeeep breath*
Well. It's day two of NaNo how is everyone else coping? I myself am off to a rather rocky start. Friday my grandpa had to be taken to the ER, and it turns out he had pneumonia really bad. The doctors were amazed he was doing as well as he was with the amount of fluid in his lungs. He's still at the hospital receiving antibiotics and meds for nerve damage{something he's had for a long time}, so thank heaven he's doing better now. Even a cold at his age is worrying and could go either way, let alone pneumonia.

My writing nook by my bed.

That was all very concerning but what hit my planning/writing hard was on Sunday I woke up feeling positively awful. I didn't even go to church{I hate missing church}. I missed all the Halloween parties too. I guess it's a good thing then that I don't care much for All Hallows Eve.
L-H My pumpkin, My older brother's, and my younger brother's
A horseshoe. For me, a little predictable but me none the less :)
Not because of all the voodoo about how it's supposedly the devil's birthday or whatever {sorry if I'm being insensitive}, but more because I really don't see the point of the whole deal. I mean, what are we celebrating anyway? Cheap latex? Free candy? The basic urge to scare the dickens out of a fellow human being? It's worth a thought. :)

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes...
 Monday I was still feeling peakéd but was able to scrape out about a thousand words by midnight. Today I typed it out and wrote some more, and, as you can see above, reached 2,470. I'm still behind a bit, but I'm not going to worry about it too much because I have two music recitals this week (!!). Violin next Sunday and piano on Friday. I'm slightly apprehensive about both of them.
 The violin recital I'm playing in two separate groups. In the elite group we play Orinoco Flow by Enya, great song but a very difficult arrangement. It must have been a nightmare to compose!
 In piano I'm playing Brahms Lullaby duet with my teacher. I am ashamed to say I haven't practiced -- I hope my teacher isn't reading this *smiles winningly*

Okay this post is just sad so I'm going to stop trying to write with what's left of my fried brain and add some pictures.


Monday, October 25, 2010

A change of tactics

With NaNoWriMo a scant eight days away, I've made an agonizing choice: I've decided not to write Joan's story.
 Last night I wasn't able to sleep and so, as usual, I lay awake thinking about my stories. I began to stress over Joan's tale because I've never written a historical fiction before, and the fact that I had so little of her story mapped out. In short I felt very unprepared and slightly hysterical.
 At the same time an old story idea I had last February started to come back to me. Perhaps some of you remember The Stolen Word(working title)? It never quite took off for me. I mean, I loved the idea and everything, but something was lacking.... until last night. Ideas for plots, cultures, characters, etc. haven't stopped flowing! I am completely pulling away from my first rather weak aims and going for a much wider scope of things; creating a more elaborate world and people.
 I started off with two MCs, Trent{I'm not sure about his name... Thoughts?} and Senira, planning to just have them carry the plot. But all of a sudden, this rebellious princess shows up named Natiri. I have no idea what part of my mind she came from, but I rather like her! Granted, she needs an attitude adjustment, but hey presto! character development!
 Natiri is of the Sea Folk and therefore, like all her kind, has a love for pretty things. Which brings me to my next bit...

 i love it.
 each piece is just so beautiful!
"Natiri wears a circlet of seaglass and silverwire to show her status and rank." Senira whispered to Trent. He nodded. Then asked, "What is her rank?"
{possible story piece}

I most definitely will be drawing these characters sometime in the near future. When exactly? I'm not sure. Things continually crop up and get in the way of any progress I might wish to make story-wise. Like today the farrier is coming to clip the horses' feet and it's my job to catch them and hold them, etc. I only hope that in November I'll be able to.... hey, maybe I should just buy a lock for my door. Hmmm. I like that. ;)
 Well, we'll just have to see how everything goes.

Still flying by the seat of my pants,

*seaglass pictures do not belong to me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A favorite quote of mine

I plan on taking a photo of perhaps my hand writing with a quill pen and putting this quote on it and having it printed so I can hang it on my wall. A lovely reminder of adventures yet to be had between the pages of a note book, don't you think?
 Do you have a favorite or inspiring writer's quote?

Monday, October 18, 2010

A month of madness

Well, I've done it. I finely taken the plunge after two weeks of silent debating back and forth.
 I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. I am now an official participant! And I'm pretty excited :D
It's my first ever year - missed last year by two weeks, darn it! - and I refuse to be daunted by all the horror stories, like, plot bunnies being devoured by ravenous dead chapters, writer's block plague, and all the many other afflictions that beset noble writers in their quests for the 50k. If there are any of those brave writers reading now, click here to visit my profile and feel free to befriend me fellow Nanners!

I've already come up with a basic story idea, though I'm going to have to put a lot of research into it. But here's the novel cover and blurb:

Yup! Joan of Arc is my new protagonist! I'm very excited to get to know her next month. Why Joan? you may ask. Well, the truth of it is I've admired her for her great faith and courage, but one thing that has bothered me about all the books I've read on her is that they are so insensitive to what she must have been feeling. Oh sure they'll talk about her bravery and honesty. But what about her fears?? I want to scream at them. Her loves? Her misgivings? After all, she was human, wasn't she? Of course! *breathe*
 Now you have a good idea why I've chosen Joan for my first NaNo. I'm afraid I don't have any excerpts or other tid bits to share with you all at the mo., but I'll stick some up as November immanently approaches.

I've seen that other NaNo veterans have survival kits and have taken their advice and put together my own. If you think I'm missing something go ahead and tell me! Any tips and advice are very welcome!

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

1. Notebooks; fresh, new lined pages in bindings of all sizes scattered throughout my room for jotting down ideas, historical tips, etc. As well as one large one for the actual story writing.
2. My computer, Newton; for word counting, uploading, and editing generally.
3. Pilot gel pens by the dozens! I seem to write fastest and best with black gel ink for some inexplicable reason.
4. Athletic tape; for taping up my fingertips. I have a bad habit of biting my nails when ever I write
5. Chocolat! 'nuff said.
6. Tea. Nothing inspires the writer in me like a cup of old fashioned tea.
7. A clean room; free from distractions and with a lamp shedding warm light in the corner.
8. My Joan of Arc movie to keep the plot going in the right direction
9. A thesaurus - always a good idea to have laying about
10. Reference photos of clothes, weapons, housing, etc of the period. {I'v never gone in for the 1400's till now, choosing the 1100s - 1200s and Renaissance eras over the bubonic ages, so my knowledge is rather limited during that time}
11. Music. Lots and lots of music. Probably with wood winds and fiddles and maybe even bag- or ulian{or ulleann} pipes to set the mood.
12. Gloomy weather; when I'm not tempted to avoid writing by going outside{it's going to be a big problem if the weather is nice} 

So there's that! I think it's rather obvious that through next month I probably won't be posting much. I will try though! And I'll be sure and post some excerpts and other fun things as I go along. But is anyone else here participating in NaNo? I would love to hear from you!

Must dash now!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On cloud nine

I'm joining in Carlotta's new photo blog hop On Could Nine with this photo...

 It's simple: Post a photo of something that makes you joyful, exuberant, or warms the heart, and then explain as to why you chose that photo.
 I think it's easy to tell with mine. :)
 To me this picture is just so cozy and inviting. And as the weather gets a little more chilly every day, it becomes more so; beckoning you to come in from the cold and curl up in front of the fireplace, a good read nestled in your lap, and all your work done for the day. Sigh. That would be cloud nine for me.

Join the other cloud dancers

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The day I felt fancy

The following is the account of my grand day yesterday at the 10th and last annual Presidential Sculpture Unveiling.  {As you may already know my brother and I as well as my friend Luseach* were to play lobby music.}

My day began early in the morning. I stumbled half asleep down the hall to my parents bedroom where Mum curled my hair; the first step to my rather dramatic transformation from the groggy, tousle-haired morning me, to the poshed** up musician that followed two hours later when we arrived at the theatre.
 The car ride there was long, so I made the most of it by sleeping most of the way.
*I translated her name for privacy purposes
**British informal word: stylish, upper classy, etc.

The theatre was done-up with all sorts of patriotic things for the day, bulletins and presidential brochures were handed out at the door.
Feeling a bit over done, we unpacked our instruments only to find that the theatre had no place set up for us. It was three minutes till we had to start. We scrambled to the manager's office and he sent one of the staff to get us chairs. We waited but she soon returned chair-less. They apparently had been moved to heaven knows where.
 At five past nine we had finely tracked down someone who knew where the chairs were and set up, beginning the song almost before we had adjusted the music stands.
 Not to brag or anything, but I think we were fantastic! {says modest me ;)} At least for pulling it together in two days, not bad at all.

The ceremony was grand in itself, and slightly emotional for the president of... well, the presidents project, it being the last real unveiling and all. Yes, it was nice to listen to the speakers and sculptors{my Da included} talk about the newest stationary members. But afterwards I shall remember always. Afterwards was the VIP Presidents-associated people only dinner at a five star hotel, complete, may I add, with foreign waiters.
 For someone used to going to steakhouses the elegant chandeliers, white linen tablecloths, and waiters with accents{I could listen to them talk all day}, it knocked me sideways! Don't think I don't like the rustic ranch restaurants we usually visit, heaven's above no! I love the atmosphere there! But this, this was something completely different. And the food was so beautiful and carefully made..! Of course I snuck pictures, even though the dark-haired lady gave me several disapproving looks. She probably thought I'd never been to such a place. Which of course is true.

Dinner was three courses(!) First, a light appetizer of french bread and garlic butter, and lemon water{above}. I admit that because I had had no breakfast I consumed five pieces of bread and three glasses of water. I would have eaten more bread but Mum said I had to share with my brothers.
 I was hungry!

Second was the main. Gourmet tender steak {which I didn't care for. Meat should taste like meat, not plants} and a whole lot o' salad. How ever much I may hate eating greens, in the spirit of experiencing new things I bathed the leaves in Italian dressing and gave it the heave-ho. On reflection, I should have realized that they would have made the dressing fancy in some way and that I should have tasted a tad before sticking a forkful of saturated foliage in my mouth. But I didn't and therefore the taste I faced was not the tangy make-your-mouth-tingle taste I love that comes from plastic bottles, but the strong bitter flavor of white wine. It was so strong that I could actually feel my sinuses clearing. What an awful surprise. Especially to someone who has just plucked up courage to eat salad after years of refusing its dreadful leafy bits.

 After that unfortunate event and the main course was over coffee was served. *angel chorus* What delicio café it was too! Yumyumyumyumyum! I cannot drink plain house coffee, I just can't. But if it comes from a coffee shop or some place like this *sighs*. There are just certain things in this world that are set high above their kinds. Food: Çhocolat  Animal: Horse  Drink: Coffee  :)
I like my café best with about a third cream and two table spoons sugar or even black with honey.
I love this photo, by the way. Doesn't it just look so warm and cozy? Perfect for the chilly autumn days ahead.

 *Takes deep breath* And then there was dessert. *needs another deep breath* 
Okay, I am not a food person{though I do have a sweet tooth}. At all. If I could survive I would probably go days without eating because I simply don't care for food. But this..! Dessert was just so beautiful! This was my Mum's Cremé Brulé. She let me taste it. It's like the best vanilla pudding on the planet with a crunchy, sugary, caramel-y top. 

I got about two and a half cups of the richest apple cobbler ever. The cinnamon alone was to die for! And as an artistic touch they spiraled caramel over it. I'm making myself hungry now.

My younger brother had apple cobbler too, and my older one had chocolat cake, which he described as like a muffin -- but not!
 Oookay... Moving on!

 Having artistry in the blood, us children of course took the opportunity to 'play with our food'. This is Older Brother's plate. Sadly, I had no chocolate sauce to draw with.

All too soon the glamorous party dinner came to an end, alas. But I shall always have fond memories of my first really fancy dinner. The whole thing was a little surreal; I kept thinking that in a few hours I'd be back in my blue jeans seeing to Roanie, cleaning her feet and applying smelly ointment to the sores on her belly and back where the flies ferociously gather, knowing their pathetic days are numbered.
 It was like for two hours I was two very different people. Kind of a fun sensation. :)

 Now it is Sunday night and yesterday already feels so long ago. But if there's one thing I learned yesterday{besides taste gourmet things with caution} it's that you don't always have to be outdoors to experience an adventure.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Behind The Curtain and other works of art

My goodness I've been busy! And stressed. It's no good starting from the beginning because, quite frankly, I don't know when that was. So I'll say this, about a week ago I was asked by Da who was asked by the board of the City of Presidents{a sculpture event in which my Da is one of the artists} if my older brother and I would play the introduction music for the last Unveiling{we've run out of presidents, you see}. Of course I said yes, as it is rather a big deal, but did not realize at the time that the Unveiling is Saturday. As in this Saturday.
 My brother is rendered useless at organizing anything because of his college studies, so it was all down to me. I immediately dove into our deepest music stores in search of patriotic type pieces but all I came across was celtic, celtic, and more celtic.
 I guess there is a downside to pursuing one form of music so thoroughly.
But at last I found five good ole' songs that were old enough to suit my tastes{1800's} and very American. I also enlisted the help of my extremely-talented-in-everything-including-music friend to play second harmony on the violin. It seemed we were saved. Until Monday. It was then that Da informed me we were to play for thirty minutes. I had barely enough music for fifteen. Aah.
 I'm still scrabbling to pull things together in time for Saturday, but amidst all this I found time to unwind an create my latest best artwork.
{Sorry for the poor picture quality, something went wrong...}
This was intended as a portrait of my character Cilla in her younger years {maybe at age nine or ten}  when she still belonged to the group of bards, jesters, performers, etc. {I have yet to name them appropriately}. I tried to portray how things really were behind the masks, makeup, lights, and curtains. The truth was that the life of any entertainer was hard and unforgiving, no matter their age; though their music and acts may suggest a carefree life.
 I tried to really bring out the contrasts of what you see on stage {the makeup and glitter} and the actual reality {the patched and threadbare clothes, cheap brass jewelry, and sad eyes}.
 I don't know how well I succeeded, but there you have it.

 Next is just a relatively simple sketch, yet I am pleased with it beyond sane reason. You see, it's my first ever decent horse with it's head down! It's grazing and it looks natural!! *yells for joy* At last!

I have also started yet another story. I know you must be thinking, "Gwyn get ahold of yourself!" because I am too.  Yes, I know I have yet to finish one story, but still... Let's just say I've always had a weakness for new story ideas -- I can't let them go by!
 This one I hope won't be very long so I'll probably post it here *when* I finish it :)

{For lack of anywhere to post a picture of a holy potato I post it here.}
I was peeling potatoes the other day for a stew when looky here! It's the Mother and Child! I should have put it on eBay and made a fortune, but instead I snapped this photo and then finished peeling. In short, we ate the hundred million dollars I could have made off the same guy who bought the piece of toast with what looks like Jesus' portrait burnt on it.
Apparently there's one of Mary too{right}

 Oh, well.

I hope you've enjoyed my rather strange post.
 I must go now to do battle with Sir Algebra and then rejoin Sir Gawain on his quest to defeat the Green Knight. Onward!