Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NaNo NaNo

So I went and did it again. I joined the participation in NaNoWriMo. I'm actually doing quite well this year. I'm up to 34,000 words and seem to have steamroller momentum going. The last five days I've been averaging 4,000 words a day. And, the cool part is, I haven't written any filler stuff. I wrote the story and only the story. And I am not writing a conventional novel, I'm writing it all in verse. Like Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth - one of the best books I think I've read. I fell in love with the format, which I'm sure any of you who've known me in this space for awhile would not find surprising.
I am a poet. I love writing stories and novels and will never stop. But I think in poetry. Words need a cadence for me. I know I'm in my zone when I can hear that cadence. That's when the beautiful words come out of hiding, and that's when the cool ideas start popping out of nowhere.
This in part is why I have been once again absent. Just when I was gaining momentum here. But I don't regret a thing, so you won't be hearing any boring asinine apologies. On top of NaNoWriMo, I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year - only we're doing it on the weekend. I know it sounds too nontraditional, but Canadians don't have Thursday and Friday off. So Saturday it is. I've been preparing for that. I've smattered my house with Christmas decorations. We like to call it the Noel Shotgun Effect. And, because we do en masse birthday parties (ok its only 11 of us) for the summer and winter seasons. Thanksgiving will be the winter birthdays as well. Which means I'm finishing sewing projects for presents. And designing and printing birthday cards.
All of this adds up to a brain that won't turn off till nearly midnight every night, but somehow turns back on at five am. Woot. Somehow I get the feeling I might crash Sunday and sleep all day unintentionally. I don't actually have time for it though. No rest for the wicked you know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drugs Across the Street

http://lejournaldequebec.canoe.ca/journaldequebec/actualites/faitsdiversetjudiciaires/archives/2009/11/20091118-194227.html#texte

The above link will take you to an article about a giant drug bust in a house in the Levis, QC region. It's in French so I'll paraphrase:

A couple in Levis who are Asian were arrested on Tuesday who were growing over 500 plants of marijuana in a residence on the south of the river. The plants are estimated to be worth $500,000. They are suspected to be part of a large ring of Asian drug traffickers who were initially busted last spring.

This house is directly across the street from me. We've been watching police empty the house all day. They've actually been at the house since yesterday afternoon. They even pulled plants from the attic - which is only accessible through crawl spaces.

We had long suspected something weird since the original person who claimed to own the house became less and less frequently there until he stopped coming at all. Then various Asian people would show up about once a week and stay for a few hours then leave. Mowing the lawn mainly - and doing whatever they were doing inside.

We are wondering how damaged the house is. And will it be put up for auction. Can you hear the gears churning?

I have to say I think this is one of the wildest things I've witnessed with police dressed in full chemical protection garb walking in and out, other plain clothes police carrying giant grow lights and plants out. They loaded a trailer about the size of an average horse trailer, twice. Wild I tell you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fragments of my World

Our little girl got her first 'style' - woot!


I was a little nervous about cutting her hair, but in the end I think it turned out pretty darn cute. And she picked the style herself (from a line up of several lengths and styles I showed her).





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I've been in a no cooking rut. This means we've been eating out all too often. It is amazing to me how quickly it shows that this is an unhealthy lifestyle. We go along feeling pretty spiffy and then get in one of these fast food phases and all of a sudden we're really tired, sluggish, having headaches and even signs of feeling generally down in the dumps. Just not a great place to slump into.

And the stupid thing is that I love cooking. I love food and trying new stuff and winter time is the best time too because hefty hot meals are easy to put together. Heck I could at least be giving my crockpot a workout. I should probably get out some of my favorite cookbooks and do a little browsing. I think that would respark my cooking gene.

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Bras

I have never mastered the skill of clasping my bra from the back. I have to clasp it in front and then turn it to the back before inserting arms in straps. I have always held a deep admiration for women with this talent. I can however remove my bra without taking off my shirt, a handy skill for sure.

And then there is the nightly breast scratch after removing the bra. Nothing more satisfying in my opinion, and a ritual which my husband derives much amusement from. You do this right?

Monday, November 16, 2009

All We Need is a LEM

Sometimes I feel like a 'voice in the wilderness', a 'lone rider'.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm just unrealistic or my expectations are too high.
I get these ideas, and when I discuss them with my Hubby, I get a lot of negative feedback. Not all the time, just the stuff he's not inclined to put effort forth for.

Take for instance garage sales and camping.

We like vacationing with the kids. It's a great way to get ourselves away from his work, the work on the house and really focus on the family. When he takes his vacation and we stay home, we do some family stuff but our tendency is to either work on the house or watch movies. We need to teach our kids more activity than that. And, last summer he actually ended up going in to work for a day during his vacation! Not acceptable. So, since we are trying to be frugal, I thought why not camping? We have a lot of the equipment all ready, we just need to fill in a few things. And for me, some of my best memories as a kid were of camping. From what his mother tells me, Hubby and his family went camping a lot too. I was therefore, revved into telling him this stupendous idea of mine and completely shocked when I got negative fizzle spilling from his brain. It will cost too much. We don't have enough time. If we do that we can only go for one night to start out, etc etc. What? What happened to Mr. Scout?

And the garage sale? This man would rather toss this stuff in the donation bin of our local second hand store. A good charity there is no denying, but since we're being frugal and could use the money, why wouldn't we try selling it in a garage sale first? There is no crime in this. But he thinks it's too much trouble and that we'll only get about $30 total. Uh, not if you don't hand things away.

Well, I for one don't believe in giving up. At least I'm not going to do that anymore. In the past I have allowed his arguments to cave my optimism in. But, I can plan, I can arrange, I can even do these things by myself. But if I do get the ball rolling, then most likely he'll be happy to roll too.

This happened last summer with the house painting. I needed to get the kitchen and living room done. They were atrocious. He didn't want to do it. He had every argument against it. But, as paint is inexpensive, and we had some on hand as well, I saved what was needed and did the painting myself. In the end, he chipped in on the last day (he was off work by then) and ended up getting his own momentum started to dig in to some reno projects. And he later told me he doesn't feel so apprehensive about doing this stuff when I've dug my heels in and gotten the whole thing off the ground.

But what I want to know is why a man who leads over a hundred people in projects, who has camped practically all his life, who knows how to do practically everything, doesn't want to do these things? Sometimes I question whether he's happy hanging with the family. He loves us, that is undeniable. But does he love being with us? Maybe I'm taking this waaaay too far. Maybe he's tired from work and the effort takes too much from him? This one would be understandable except when I say I will take care of it he gives me a rather disappointing answer : I'd rather do it myself or do it together - this gives me the indication that he does not trust I can do these things myself. I wonder if he truly realizes how stubborn I am.

Marriage is such a maneuvering matter - I never expected it to be.

P.S. if you were wondering about the title and/or tag check out From the Earth to the Moon - absolutely fantastic series about the NASA Apollo program!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Cultivating Your Kids

I ordered The Best Old Movies for Families by Ty Burr, a film critic, a few weeks ago. He shares how he got his children interested in old classics and lays out great strategy for introducing oldies to your kids. It is a fun book to peruse. Burr gives great suggestions for starting out with young children and sections of his book dedicated to age of child, genre of movie and the people (actors and directors) who made them.

I was so inspired that I immediately ordered five old DVD's for our collection. We had been wanting to beef up our DVD selection with older classics and this gave me a great jumping off point. I was happily bemused when my children delighted at the movies. The twins being almost five, were an easier sell. I ordered a musical (Singing in the Rain), an adventure (Adventures of Robin Hood), a western (Stagecoach), a sci-fi (The Day the Earth Stood Still) and a romantic screwball comedy. The sci-fi is too scary for them yet, so we'll wait. But the other four were a big hit. The romantic comedy would have flopped I think, but it has a leopard and an adorable terrier as two of the main characters (Bringing Up Baby).

I had never seen Bringing up Baby before and I found myself laughing throughout the entire movie. It was so much fun. As for the other movies, I had seen them but didn't remember them much since I'd watched them with my mother as a kid. They were all delightful. Now my teenager tried to act like he was just too far beyond these movies, but I've noticed that he watches riveted as long as he's unaware of us noticing him.

This book has been a treasure trove of information and set us on a path that I hope to wander for a long time.

Friday, November 06, 2009

OMG WTF

So I've been sick. Today, I'm marching towards flu symptoms. Oh yay. In the interest of knowledge is power, I went looking on the net for information about early symptoms of H1N1. I know, paranoia at its best. As I was searching, I came across a very informative site which also has a page concerning health insurance coverage and treatment of H1N1. Um, I hadn't even thought of that.

To be honest, I didn't have to. I live in Canada as a permanent resident. I and my family are all receiving publicly funded health care, as does everyone in Canada. And despite the complaints, and failures in the system, by and large it works. And we sure don't have to worry if we're covered before we see a doctor or get a prescription. (Note: we do pay a 10% copay for our prescriptions, but considering pharmaceuticals cost up to 70% less here in the first place, we're not talking about breaking the bank, ever.)

So this website talks about how many insurance companies in the U.S. are not covering treatment of H1N1 once you've got it. Or some that are covering it are charging hefty copays. I don't know about you, but I think that's deplorable. This is a potentially deadly illness. They should not be allowed to NOT COVER people. Not to mention the fact that the best defense we have against the PANDEMIC is to get inoculated or treated. I think of all the people south of us who have lost jobs, or are making less than they can get by on right now. What are they supposed to do if they get sick? Fat cat CEO's sit in their fancy offices with fancy houses and all the money in the bank to pay for treatments whatever the costs. I don't begrudge anyone their wealth earned the right, good old American know-how and gumption way. But profiteering off of people's health and potential death makes me sick.

Now I'd sure like to know why public health options are so 'scary' when private insurance companies (and their lobbyists) are the scariest things I've heard of. And believe me, I've dealt with them. I've had things that were covered by my policy denied just because they try not to pay. You have to fight them to get them to cover even things in your policy. It is a shameful thing that our country being one of the richest, most resource-laden countries, has a problem like this and it continues through ignorance and spin.

I'm not saying there aren't problems with public health coverage. I'm not saying the problems aren't complicated. But dammit, access to proper health care should be considered a RIGHT not a privilege.


P.S. A couple of bloggers out there have been going through some tough stuff, so stop by and give your love will ya?

Suebob at Red Stapler just got laid off.
And Mamatulip at Where am I going and why am I in this handbasket has had H1N1.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In My Confessional

Confessions of a wannabe novelist:

I use the Thesaurus. Though I feel guilty whenever I do.

Naming my characters is the hardest part of the job.

Sometimes I get to cackling like a mad scientist when I write. Seriously. It just is so much fun when your characters come to life and start defying you like rebellious teenage children.

I doubt myself every day.

Most of my writing ideas come from my dreams.

I'm actually more of a poet and I can get a little wordy and lyrical in my prose. I have to watch that.

I am a slow reader. This just seems relevant.

I can only listen to classical music when I write. This is not a snob thing. The problem with any other music is that, if there is singing involved, I will sing. No matter what. That is very distracting.

I talk to my characters as I write. Not always, mostly when they surprise me.

My favorite color is green. This doesn't seem relevant.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

For many years now, I've wrapped my self-worth as a mother around Halloween costumes. I would sew and sew and fret when it came out wonky (as it invariably would). I would march through neighborhoods proud that in spite of the wonkiness, at least the costumes were homemade and clever. But there was always a stress involved. Getting the sewing done on time. Making something the given child wanted. And doing it without losing my cool.



Well no more. Not the losing the cool part, the self worth part. This year, my kids wore what they wanted from among the dress-up clothes we had. And I relaxed. And they had a super fun time. And what more could anyone want for this holiday?




Except. The weather was so stormy, there were trees dropping limbs all over town. Sirens running back and forth to clear roads and accidents. So. Going out, even just in the neighborhood was out of the question. What did we do? Hubby and B hid behind doors in the house and we trick or treated our way around the house. The twins thought it was awesome. I was glad we didn't have to brave the storm and everyone ended the night over joyed.



Tada.