Monday, November 19, 2012

Grown-up Weekends and Santa

We had our good friends Tamlin and Joanne up over the weekend which meant a few things.

1. I didn't get any writing on my NaNoWriMo novel.  Not a single word, which was slightly disappointing and would have made me sad except for points 2 and 3.  The good news here is that I've just broken 40,000 words and should actually meet my 50,000 word goal before the end of the month! Yay!

2. We got to spend the weekend hanging out with two of our favorite people, laughing and talking and generally having fun.

3. We left the house.  I know this might be shocking to some of you, but we actually physically left our home and went into old town.  We had a late lunch at a really great french place.  I had hot chocolate where they brought me a steaming cup of milk and the tiniest pitcher you've ever seen filled with warm, delicious belgian chocolate that I got to pour in myself!  Then after some window shopping we ended up at a bar/restaraunt that brews it's own beer and had menu items like Venison Tartar and Truffle Mac & Cheese and more kinds of beer than either Tamlin or The Hubs could get through even if we stayed all night, which regretfully we didn't.

4. I got very little contract or overtime work done while they were here, so I ended up working late last night to try to catch up, making  me very tired this morning.

5. No laundry was accomplished this weekend and now I have piles of it waiting for me.

I love it when they come up or conversely when we go down to visit them sans kids, because it allows us to just be us for a while.  Not mom and dad, not employees and in The Hub's case, not a student, but a real live honest to goodness couple who ya know, hang out and talk with other grown-ups.  It also reminds me that I don't always have to go 90 miles an hour or get EVERYTHING done.  There are more important things than laundry people.  I know you don't believe me, but it's true.

While their visits are always awesome and rejuvenating, this one had a twist that I just can't help but comment on.  We took a mini field trip to a hardware store to find a dryer vent cleaner (to help my eventual laundry pursuits) when we came across this guy.

He's almost 6 feet tall and the minute we saw him, we all wanted him.  I made the observation that he would be the perfect alternative to a Christmas Tree.  Just put your tree skirt down and pile all of the gifts at his feet.  Or better yet, get those big giant sacks and have one for each kid on the floor at his feet.  Upsides? No needles, no worrying about tree fires, no having to figure out how to get a real tree home, no watering the tree, and no worrying the kittens will climb the damn thing bringing it and all of our ornaments crashing down in a big 'ol mess.  I also think he'll become a great new tradition in our family that's unique.  The Hubs was on board right away and apparently so were Tamlin and Joanne since we now both have matching Santa's in our homes - so much for our unique tradition!  I know we haven't even gotten to Thanksgiving yet, but I'm not sure we could have hidden this guy until after Thanksgiving in our small house, so there he stands in the corner of our dining room.

The only downside we've found so far?  When we walk into the room it's always a little startling until we realize it's him.

Ho Ho Ho!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Professional Juggler

I just finished watching "I Don't Know How She Does It" and let me tell you, this is the story of my life.

Women everywhere walk the tight rope between work and home, of being a wife and mother of excelling at it all.  And I love this movie not just because she makes it work, but because things are crazy and hectic and sometimes she falls flat on her face.  Sometimes the dessert she brings to the bake sale is store bought.  Sometimes she's down to her last clean shirt and sometimes she goes to work with pancake batter on her.  She stays up late at night making lists in her head of all the things that need to get done, of all the doctor's appointments, play dates, birthday party gifts that still need purchased.  There is nothing perfect in this movie.  They're just a family struggling to find that balance and it's good when they do.  And it gives me hope because my life is just as hectic and crazy and wonderful when it all comes together.

If you haven't seen it, you should.  It's worth the time away from work, kids and lists.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Little Black Dress

I've been talking with my facebook friends a lot about the possibility of a girls night.  With dancing.  At a club.  No no, you keep laughing, let me know when you're done.

Done? Great.  Just because we're in our late 30s / early 40s does not mean we can't work it like a rock star.  Just look at Sex in the City, the whole point of that show was proving that life didn't end at 40, or after having kids, or surviving cancer.  Life has this funny way of continuing on and we can either let it bury us, or we can live it.  These days, more and more, I'm choosing to live it.  I'm doing this in several ways.  I started using the kids activity time, to listen to books on tape and walk for an hour killing two birds with one stone by getting my exercising and my book time in.  I also started going to the gym on Saturdays.  All those endorphins are helping me combat my extra busy schedule and keep me from feeling too run down.  Earlier this year, I picked my blog back up.  See, you're reading it now.  Having this creative outlet has really helped me keep my center, helped me connect with so many new people, and I can get advice from all of you about the pertinent things in my life.  Win/Win for me all the way around.  I even took up the NaNoWriMo challenge to try my hand at a novel.  These are all very me-centric activities that quite frankly, make me feel good.  So good in fact, it makes me want to go out dancing.  Something I haven't done in well, a very very long time.

And I will go dancing.  I don't know when, and I don't know with whom, but I do know that my last little black dress was a size 4 which is not the size I am now.  I'm not sure I'll ever be that tiny again.  So this might be an excuse to shop.  I do have some rules about what I want.  First of all, this is not a cocktail dress, it's a clubbing dress.  I want it to have some flair and be loose and easy to move in.  I'm married already, I am not looking for a man, but I do want to feel sexy but not like a hooker.  There's a fine line there people and so many people cross over without even realizing it. 2. I'm almost 40, so the hemline cannot end right under my crotch like you see most girls wearing these days.  I've given birth twice, no one wants to see that. Something mid to 3/4 of the way to the knee will be lovely thank you. 3. I am not an old maid - high cut and long sleeves are not going to cut it. And finally 4. I did mention I had two babies right?  That means I have curves, let's keep that in mind.

I did a little online shopping this morning and here's a few numbers I think will work just fine.

I love how fun and flirty this one is.  Covers all the important bits and would probably dress up nice with the right accessories.  Plus, perfect for club dancing or line dancing!

I love the sleek lines of this one.  Showing just enough skin but still covering all the important bits.  I feel like the lower part isn't as flowy as I would want, but the top would camoflauge my baby-having tummy while still showing my curves.

A little longer than I was thinking of, but look at that cute swishy hemline.  Love it!

And even though this one falls below the knee, I think it's my favorite.

What would your over 30 - almost 40 club dress look like?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'll Protect You From The Big Bad Wolf

Just a little taste of part of my NaNoWriMo story.  Not perfect, no editing or revising yet, but I do like how this particular scene is coming along.

“What do you think of our alpha?” he asked.

I gave him a questioning look. “Alpha?”

“Liam Kincaid our Commander in Chief, Lord of our Domain and Alpha of our local werewolf pack.” He clarified irreverently.

“I’m not sure what to think,” I said honestly. “It’s not every day fantasy bleeds into reality.  I think I’m still processing." I hesitated, "But he seems okay.” I finished lamely.

He waited a beat before throwing his head back and giving one of those deep belly laughs when something is really funny. “Okay, she says.  You mean you weren’t won over immediately by his arrogant attitude and intimidation tactics?” His laugh was so infectious I started laughing too. I realized part of it was just left over tension and stress but it felt good to laugh.  To realize Brian at least, had an easy way about him that made all of this seem a little more comfortable and real.  It helped make them all seem a bit more normal – more human I acknowledged.  Liam walked in a few moments later frowning at the two of which only made us both laugh harder.

When we finally caught our breath Brian leaned across the desk and put a hand on my cheek, blatantly ignoring Liam.  It was an intimate gesture that forced me to look him once again in the eye.  “You come find me if you ever tire of our fearless leader’s ways.” When Liam audibly growled it startled me, but I couldn’t look away from Brian. “I’ll protect you from the big bad wolf.” He added and winked.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting, Birthdays & Candy

Today is voting day.  I voted a while back via mail in ballot and I can't tell you how relieved I am not to have to try to brave lines.  Consider yourself encouraged to vote, no matter who you're voting for.  Let your voice be heard and get educated and have an opinion.  In today's world, it seems like we don't have any control over the things that are important to us, whether that be jobs, health care, gas prices or whatever hits your hot buttons.  This is how you take control. By educating yourself about the issues and the people that will vote the way you would, if you were in their shoes.  I'm sure you've heard it before, if you don't vote you can't complain.  So do it.  Everyone should have the right to complain. - And this concludes the soap box portion of today's post.

Let's talk Birthdays.  Bug and Bunny have birthday's that are three days apart so we'll be throwing them their very first combined - friend invited - birthday party this year.   I've just paid a pretty hefty chunk of change to Jumpin' Jammin' - a huge indoor playground at one of our local malls - for their destination party.  I'm excited by the prospect of almost no set up, absolutely no clean-up and not having to clean any portion of my house to make it presentable to the masses.  I also think the kids will have a blast.  My only concern is people my not come.  Their birthdays are right around Thanksgiving - and so is mine as I share it with Bug.  This means lots of kids are travelling or adults have other plans with family.  I had lots of parties growing up where only one or two kids showed up, and I hope that's not the case with this first Tweedle party.  We're having it on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and hoping for the best, so wish them luck!

Let's talk Birthday Grab Bags.  You know, the bag you provide each kid who attends your child's party which contains candy and/or some cheap toys.  I'm going to do something radical at this party and not have them.  I think parents mostly find them annoying and the kids probably wouldn't miss them.  What about you? For or Against? Discuss.

Let's talk birthday costs.  Is it just me, or has the price of throwing a party for your kid gone a little insane?  For years with GG and LW I attended parties both destination and home grown and am shocked that kids parties these days run in the hundreds of dollars.  Destination parties alone are expensive, but we'll also have to provide our own cake/ice cream/ drinks and snacks and for 50 people or so - 25 kids / 25 parents - that starts to add up.  Even home parties between all the food, drinks and the inevitable bouncy house and pinata it just adds up to be an expensive endeavor.  Has it always been this way and I was just oblivious?  What do you think?

Lets talk Halloween candy.  Each of my kids got one piece the night of Halloween.  The next day I emptied their baskets into zip lock bags and put the bags on top of our fridge.  It's now six days after Halloween and neither one of them has asked for their candy.  I'm thinking of throwing it all out.  Does that make me the best or worst mom ever?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Writers Cramp

I'm in to day two of NaNoWriMo and let me tell you, this is a lot harder than it looks.  I'm doing really well on my word count, but this experience has been enlightening in so many ways already.  For example, I'm apparently for the most part incapable of writing out of order. I wrote what I feel like is the ending of the story some time ago and I'm using that as the jumping board of the rest of the plot, but there's a lot to cover between the beginning and the end. And now that I've dove in head first to the story-line, I can't seem to break from it.  So when I get stuck with dialog that doesn't sound believable or I haven't been able to convince myself that my character has every right to get down right snippy with her co-star everything comes to a screaming halt until I work it out.

The NaNoWriMo people say over and over not to edit.  Editing is bad.  Edit in December, after your story is complete.  And several people I know who are participating in this craziness have joined in with how freeing it is to let go of your inner editor and just let the writing flow.  For me though, I feel like my story is incomplete with all of those disjointed parts that don't flow naturally together.  And I often find myself re-reading to figure out where my plot will go next.  Maybe if I'd had more time to plan this out instead of deciding to just "do this thing" three days before the event started.  Or had more than a half baked idea of what my story was even going to be about, I might be okay with just letting the writing flow.  Okay, probably not.  Too much of a control freak I guess.

Those same friends have offered up a few programs that help them in their writing flow and I thought I'd share them here for anyone who's interested.

This handy program lets you write your book in individual files or scenes that you can re-order and organize at a later date.

A lot like Scriviner but free.

Write or Die by Dr. Wicked
I love the concept of this if you're able to actually sit down and devote a set time to your writing.  This handy program forces you to write by providing consequences if you don't.  Some of the fun consequences include: disabling your backspace, a full-screen mode to cut out all other desktop distractions, disable save until word count goal is met, makes it so the program is always in front of any other programs, or a time limit.  While I'm not sure writing by punishment is the way to go for me, it sure does sound like a lot of fun.

But I think the very best part of this experience so far is writing more of this one story than I have ever written for any story ever.  I've just broken 10,000 words - so 1/5 of the way to my goal.  I do consider myself having cheated a bit in that count since I'm including the ending I wrote and posted here last Sunday in my word count, but that's only about 900 words, so I think I'm still doing really well.  And because this is a contest of sorts, I feel compelled to keep going - to keep working out where the story is going - than I would have otherwise.  I've written a lot of incomplete scenes but never tried to bring  story so completely to life like I am this time.  That, is freeing.

Seriously.. Thoughts?