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 peak├ęd 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.