Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Resolution #2

Continue writing, which really isn't too hard, but I really need to get my act together and join a writing group or continue with the Loco FoCo Wrimos.  Jay and I have decided that we'll be staging our own write-ins once a week some place other than home.  We both have fabulous starts on our novels, and by God, we're going to finish.

We're going to shoot for 1,500 words a week each, and my blog words don't count.  It has to be 1,500 words per week on my novel until it's complete and then revisions start.

My other goal is to submit my query letter for Tales From The Trail by the end of January.  The publisher warns there's a four month turn around on queries, so I really don't have a whole heap of time to get my act together.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Resolution #1

Be healthier.

I'm trying hard not to say "lose weight", 'cause that's what I say every year, and only one year I succeeded.  I managed to lose 28 pounds and keep it off for a good while, but then it snuck back up and then some.  So bye-bye 124 pounds, hello 60 pounds more than that.  Side note:  I just can't bring myself to type my actual weight, so you'll just have to do the math

Yet, despite not saying I'm going to lose weight, I joined the Lose It Bitch challenge, which runs from January 2 through April 30 (I think - rules and dates haven't been formalized yet), which means that every Wednesday I'm going to have to post a picture of what my scale says here on my blog.  God, the humiliation and torture.

How am I going to do this without torturing myself to death?  Well, I sure the hell don't intend on starving myself to death...that doesn't work any way.  I've tried, but I don't have the will power to do it.  So, I guess I'll have to start with cutting my Coke intake down.  And maybe my dining out at lunch intake down.  And absolutely no Chinese food on Tuesdays, the day before weigh in.  God, that salt swelling'll kill you when you get on the scale.

And *heavy sigh*, I'm going to have to start actually using my gym membership.  I don't really mind working out - it's not my favorite thing in the world - but it's not as fun as playing sports.  However, I'm in no shape to play sports, so the working out thing has to be my starting point.  I'm shooting for a minimum of three times a week for at least thirty minutes.  I really like (when I have time) thirty minutes of cardio and thirty minutes of lifting, but I'm not sure how I'll eek out an hour at the gym.

I think that RockCrawlinChef will even join me at the gym, so I'll have some on-hand support.  Heck, if this works out, I might even be in good enough shape to tackle an over-thirty soccer league this summer.  Man, I do miss me some soccer.

And, honestly, it'll feel good to let my inner Michelle Rodriguez out.
Now that's what a GunDiva's supposed to look like!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trichous Inductus Vomitus

It's been cold in Colorado lately.  And I don't mean a little on the chilly side, but booger-freezing cold.  So cold that when you step outside your boogers, even if you didn't know you had any, freeze into solid boogercicles.  When it's that cold it's easy to let a few grooming habits, like leg shaving, go by the wayside.  After all, don't Polar Bears have a layer of hair close to their bodies that traps the heat in the dead airspace?  Aesthetically speaking, who is actually going to see my legs anyway?  It's winter.  I'm in long-johns and jeans or long-johns and scrubs.  Who cares if my leg hair gets a little on the long side?  And if Happy Hubby has too big an issue with my prickly legs he can just sleep on his own side of the bed.

So during the last cold spell, I ignored the leg shaving for a week or so.  That was about as long as I could stand sleeping with my own prickly legs.  The weather finally warmed up to freezing, literally we got up to 32 degrees, and I'd had enough of sleeping with my own prickly legs.  Into the shower I went, armed with shaving cream and fresh razor.

I took care of the basic shower duties: hair wash and rinse, body wash and rinse, armpit shaving.  Life was good, time to take the hedge clippers to the legs.  I squirted the shaving cream into my hand, leaned over to slather it onto my legs and, oh shit *blech* there *blech* were two *blech* loose hairs from my head *swallow, swallow, don't puke* stuck to my *gross* leg hair *oh God, I'm going to puke*, which was acting like velcro.

See, I've got thing thing about loose hair.  It grosses me out.  Loose, wet hair?  Well that's just a puke-fest waiting to happen.  In fact, I can't even watch this commercial...

I had to have my husband preview it for me before I posted it, as just the thought of all that *blech* wet *swallow, swallow* hair makes me want to puke.  Some people would accuse me of having trichophobia, an unnatural fear of hair.  I'm not afraid of it.  It just makes me puke. 

What I really have is Trichous inductus vomitus, hair induces vomiting.  Attached hair is fine. 

Loose hair = dry heaves. 

Wet, loose hair = puke fest! 

Oh boy, I'm a ton of fun at a public swimming pool.  And the pool deck when I took Scuba diving lessons - that was a deck full of potential landmines as far as I was concerned.  I'm pretty sure I was the only one who mastered getting her airtanks on while standing on tippy-toe between clumps of hair on the deck.  It's been years and the memory still makes me gag.

The thought of a nice, long, hot soak in the tub?  No way, Jose.  Do you know what goes down the drain?  Hair.  Do you know what floats back up into the tub? Hair.  No effing way!  A nice, long, hot soak in the tub, for me, involves duct tape.  After the drain is closed and before the water starts running, there has to be some of this involved...
...covering the drain or a bath ain't happening!

I'm not sure where my affliction came from, but it hasn't gotten any better through the years.  In fact, it may have gotten a tad worse.  One of RockCrawlinChef's biggest jobs is to "save" me from any loose hair in the shower.  When he hears, "ooo, oo-oo" like a monkey and sees my hands flailing about helplessly he has to come save me from the wet hair that has attached itself to my body before  the dry heaves start.  The worst, by far, is fingers and toes.  Again, just thinking about it makes me gag.

Sadly, during the shaving incident a couple of weeks ago, RCC wasn't around to save me.  I had to do it myself.  I pulled down the shower head and attempted to just rinse the loose hairs away.  Have you ever tried to rinse hair out of velcro?  Doesn't work.  In fact, it just makes it worse.  Whereas before, I had two hairs hung up on the velcro-like leg hairs, now I had the loose hair stuck to both my leg and the leg hairs.  I had no choice, I had to do it.  I had to actually touch the hairs with my fingers and pull them off of my leg.  I took a deep breath, clenched my jaw against the impending puke fest and resolutely plucked the hairs off of my leg.  I tried to ignore the dragging sensation as the hair pulled off of my leg and tried to ignore the feel of it between my fingers, but to no avail.  I did manage to sort of save myself from the hair, but I spent the next five minutes bent over the shower drain with the dry heaves.

I managed to get my dry heaves under control, quick shave my legs and get out of the shower before the dry heaves started in earnest again.  I spent another ten minutes bent over the sink, praying that there was something in my stomach to puke up rather than the rhythmic contractions of the dry heaves.

I learned an important lesson from having to save myself: don't let the leg hair grow long enough to become velcro, no matter how cold it is outside!  It just ain't worth it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Parenting in the Movie Theater

My sister and her husband also attending the movie last night with their toddler and how they handled her made a big difference in the movie-going experience.  For Stupid B!tch from last night, I offer my sister's guide for taking a child to the movie theater in three easy steps:
  1. Don't pay full price for a kids ticket!  You won't see the movie anyway.
  2. Pre-planning will ensure that you sit at the edge of the aisle so that you can get up and leave if your toddler gets loud or restless.
  3. Leave - take your child to the hallway, outside of the theater - if he or she gets restless.  You can do it with a minimum of fuss if you just follow rule number 2.
If those three easy steps don't sound appealing to you, I offer up two words: Benadryl. suckers.  Let the little one take a snooze while the rest of the adults enjoy the movie.

My husband was seated in front of a child last night who initially started kicking the back of his seat.  You could maybe take notes from this kid's mom as well.  When this kid's mom saw what he was doing she leaned over and told him, in a stage whisper loud enough for Jay to hear it, "you keep your feet off that chair."  She said it with enough menace for the kid to believe it and for Jay to believe that if it happened again, someone was going to go to the bathroom for an butt whoopin'.  The kid stopped.  Jay was happy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dear Stupid B!tch, A Movie Rant

Dear Stupid B!tch,
I know that you and your lovely husband waited until later in life to have a child.  Though I would have thought with your advanced age, you might have learned a thing or two about movie etiquette and small children.  I'm thrilled that you think that your daughter is about the cutest, most precocious child on the planet. I really am.  Every child should have parents who think the sun rises and sets on their every move.  For a while, that is.

However, I am not thrilled that you thought it was a good idea to drag your toddler along to a grown-up movie.  I'm not talking the X-rated kind, but the kind that carries a PG-13 rating that kind of implies that toddlers shouldn't attend.

I'm also not thrilled that you insisted on repeating everything that your toddler said as though she was the smartest child on the planet (I'm sure you think she is, anyway).  Truly, it was bad enough hearing your toddler babble, but a grown woman repeating the babble... Well, let's just say it took all of my will power not to shove your precocious child down your throat.

Be thankful that James Cameron created such an amazing movie that I was able to (mostly) block out you and your child's incessant babbling, otherwise you'd still be belching up whatever was in your precocious baby's diaper after I crammed her down your throat.

Next time, hire a sitter.  Really, it's worth the investment.

Homicidal Mom Who Was Smart Enough To Leave Her Children At Home

P.S.  I didn't find out until later that I'd inadvertently pissed you off by saving my seat, but I'm glad I did.  Just wish I'd known it sooner.
P.P.S.  If you were dumb enough to pay full price for a toddler, you deserved to lose her seat; she would have ended up sitting on your lap anyway.  And who honestly pays full price for a toddler? (Sorry, just can't get past that one).

Christmas Chaos 2009

Four Christmases in twenty-four hours.  Only ours went a whole lot smoother than the movie Four Christmases, Thank God.

Christmas #1: Christmas Eve
Our Christmas Chaos started Christmas Eve at Grandma Mary's house, which was, as usual, standing room only.  The key is to arrive early enough for butt space.  Christmas Eve is where having kids really pays off, because the kids can step and fetch while you protect your butt space.  If you arrive too late, you're screwed, you've got to find some place to stand and that just sucks.

Of course, the Chaos was controlled by my friend Amanda, who provided us with a good sized bottle of Apple Pie Hooch.  No shot glasses were to be found, but, hell, we're all family, we'll just share the bottle...

Sure beats the time, a few years ago, when we had a bottle of wine, but no corkscrew.  Being the inventive family we are, we drilled (yes, power tools were involved) a screw down into the synthetic cork and used the claw end of a hammer to pry the cork out.  We don't need no stinkin' corkscrew!

Christmas #2: At Home
We woke up bright an early on Christmas Morning.  Well, actually RCC and I were woken up early by Digger, who is well known for his sleeping in ability.  Color me surprised that he woke us up at ten 'til seven, ten whole minutes before our alarm was set to go off.  He was like, well, a kid on Christmas Morning.  In no time at all, he'd roused the entire house and we tore into presents.  We didn't get a tree up this year, which I didn't think would bother me because we went so many years without a tree, but after our amazing tree last year, I'm kinda sad we didn't do one this year.

Christmas #3: Off to the In-Laws
After our early morning, present fest, we loaded up both cars with the kids and the dog and off we went to RCC's parents for Christmas Morning with them.  Unlike last year, when his little brother was still asleep when we got there (what kid can sleep in on Christmas Morning?), Dallan was up and frothing at the bit to get started.  Christmas at RCC's family's house is much more sedate than the free-for-all that occurs at my grandma's on Christmas Eve.  But, Lord, my family is so enormous that if we did the one person open one present thing there we'd be opening presents until New Year's.

Christmas #4: To the Mountains We Go
After RCC's family's house, we packed up and headed to my parents' place in Allenspark.  My brother, Deejo and his family, had arrived from Arizona too late to enjoy the fun at Grandma Mary's, but were waiting for us at Mom's.  Well, sort of waiting for us.  They'd done the present thing before breakfast brunch, which we missed while we were at RCC's parents' place.  I was kind of sad and pissy that we missed the major opening party, but felt better when I found out that not everybody had opened their gifts.  I was anxious to see their faces when they opened their gifts from us.  RCC and I had bound our NaNo projects on Blurb for Christmas presents and I wanted to see their faces when they opened them.  RCC's parents loved them and I was hoping to get to see my Mom's face when she opened her present.  I got lucky, she'd been too busy preparing brunch to open her presents, so I still got to be there when she opened them.

It made me happy to see her so excited about the books, even if they're nowhere near being complete.  Monster and Deejo's kids tried snowboarding out back, but that didn't go so well.  The snow was too deep and they had to shovel out a path for the snowboard.

After the non-success of the snowboard, Monster, who cannot sit still, managed to talk his uncle into pulling him behind the car on a snow saucer.  Yes, I know, it's kind of illegal.  But it's also a whole ton of fun.  And we survived when we were kids.  He had a couple of colossal wipe-outs, but managed to survive with all of his fingers and toes and no broken bones.  I gotta tell you, this kid can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

We survived all of our Christmases and slept 'til 11:00 this morning.  Wow.  All that running around must have really taken it out of us, but I'm glad to have this running around to do.  I remember some pretty sucky Christmases, so I'll take the exhaustion of running all over God's green earth over some of our other Christmases.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Odd Realization

Just saw a picture of my ex-boyfriend on a friend's Facebook and I realized, "Wow, that wasn't painful at all."  What surfaced were old, fond, fun memories, not the hurtful, hateful, you've-ripped-my-heart-out,-threw-it-in-a-Waring-blender-and-set-it-on-frappe memories.  For the first time since we broke up, when I saw his picture, I thought, "we could maybe be friends."  Odd realization.  I never thought I'd get to that place.

I wasted a good number of years (yes, years, as my girls will attest to) wishing I could have what I lost.  Only now, looking back, that relationship wasn't right for me.  He did a lot of good things for me, but perhaps the single most important thing he did was introduce me to the girls.  I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for them.  For that, I say, "Thank You, Brian, with all my heart." 

Know what else I realized?  He wasn't the right man for me.  Actually, I realized that years ago, but it took finding the right man, my true soulmate, to drive the point home.  Brian was good for me, yes, but he was not right for me. 

RCC is.  RCC is the perfect man for me.  We complement each other's weaknesses and strengthen each other with unwavering support and I love him more than I thought it was possible to love another human being.  I had given up on finding a relationship and sure the hell didn't believe in a soulmate.  I thought romance writers were a bunch of loonies with their Happily Ever Afters. 

Bah!  No such thing.
Until I met RCC and got my own HEA.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wow! Another Award!

I could get used to this!  Nathanael over to This Is How It Feels gave me another award.  If he wasn't gay, I'd think he had a crush on me.  We've been mutual blog buddies for a while now, but this was another nice surprise.  You know, one of these days I'm going to have to give him an award.  Maybe a "You're Good For My Blogging Ego" award or something along those lines.

Of course, as with any blog award, this one has some rules:
  1. Post ten things that make you happy
  2. Pass it on to ten other bloggers
Ten things that make Gun Diva happy: (in no certain order.  Well, except maybe for the first one)
  • RockCrawlinChef - otherwise I wouldn't have married him
  • Family - and I've got lots of it
  • Estes - the equine love of my life
  • Books - can't imagine life without them; they are the world's cheapest vacation
  • Shooting - there's nothing quite as empowering as a controlled explosion
  • Godiva Dark Chocolate with Raspberries - Glenna, you're still in trouble for introducing me to those!
  • Fried Ice Cream
  • Jimmy Buffett - another cheap vacation
  • Swinging from the chandelier
  • My girls - there's so much I wouldn't have been able to make it through without them.
Ten bloggers: (again, in no certain order)
  • Damzee at Living In Distress.  C'mon, how can you not love a story about Damsel (the character's name) living in Distress (the city)?
  • Mel at Boots and Saddles .  I'm not an endurance rider.  In fact, I know nothing about it, but I'm learning a lot from Mel.  Her mare Farley looks a bit like my Estes and sounds like she's got the same attitude, too.
  • Sally at Environmental Arts and Faerie Houses.  I love her work.  Whenever I'm having a bad day, I just hop on over to her blog for a quick fix.
  • Meg at Fuzzle Me Please.  She's a fellow WriMo, who is also a horse person.  I love reading her exploits with her horses.
  • Little Farm. Growing.  Boyles Family Farm is a local family trying to eek out a living as new (been at it less than a year) farmers.  I love reading about their trials and successes.
  • MJ at Tetanus Tomato.  I love her sense of humor.
  • K. Erickson at Preachers and Horse Thieves.  His wickedness reared its hilarious head with his Tiger posts.
  • Keep Smiling Smileyfreak!  I must need a lot of laughter in my life, because I keep coming back to the blogs that crack. me. up.  This is one of them.
  • JennyMac at Let's Have A Cocktail...  So I'm cheating with this one.  I stole her from Nathanael, but, damn, the woman's hysterical.
  • Jessica at Rome Photo Blog.  I love Italy and this lucky girl gets to live there.  And she's a talented photographer to boot.
Whew, that was tough.  Mostly because ole Tink (Nathanael) and I obviously share the same sense of humor, so it's hard to find blogs that he hasn't already given an award to.  Only one duplicate.  Not too bad.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Just Couldn't Wait!

I normally try my best to not post twice in one day; afterall, if I do that, someone may miss an important post *gasp*.  However, Jay and I made the Best Christmas Presents EVER last night and I can't wait to show everybody.  I'm not giving anything away because they are for my grandmas, neither of whom have a computer or really give a damn about my blogging, so they'll never know that I shared their presents with you first.

Any gift giving is torturous for me - once I find the perfect gift I have to give it.  Right. Now.  Case in point: I bought my family members the Best. Present. Ever.  Normally, I'd go running to them to tell them what about the perfect present I found, but since it's for them, I can't do that.  Torture.  Failing that, I post it on my blog.  However, my family loves me and follows my blog.  Guess what that means?  Means I can't freakin' post about the Best. Present. Ever.

Thank God for my work family who at least pretends to be interested when I jump up and down and clap my hands when the Best. Present. Ever. is delivered to the office and I have to show it to everybody.  Every single person in my office knows what my family is getting for Christmas.  Sorry, I'm a blabber mouth, I can't keep a secret, so don't ask.  But...I'm also their boss, so they have to pretend to be interested and don't dare open their mouths, so - family, I'm talking to you here - don't try to bribe them unless you want to pay their unemployment.

Oh, I got off track...drum roll please...the Best Christmas Presents EVER...

I was at a loss for my grandmas.  One of my grandmas has a great outdoor flower garden that she has all sorts of ornamental stuff in, so I was thinking that she needed something along those lines for Christmas.  Then I talked to my mom, who reminded me that Grandma is always talking about the stuff she's got to haul out every summer and pack away every fall, so then I thought that it would be great if she had something ornamental for her house plants.  An inspiration from Sally at Environmental Art and Faerie Houses, who makes everything out of natural stuff, lead me to the indoor fairy houses.

I made this little gazebo from non-natural stuff we found at Michael's.  There's even a little cushy, soft bed for the faeries to sleep on and gossamer window treatments to filter the light.  And little flowerboxes outside of each window, just in case the faeries get tired of looking at Grandma's amazing houseplants.

This cute little A-frame is what Jay made for my other Grandma.  He carefully hand-placed each of the stones in the stone wall, which took hours.  We made this with the intent of nestling it down into one of her large indoor tree pots.  Don't ask - I don't know what kind of large indoor tree it is.  It's big and green with big, ginormous leaves.  The faeries should be happy to be sheltered by such a wonderful tree.  The trick now?  Keeping my niece from destroying it (even if she is old enough to know better).  Grandma doesn't have the word "no" in her vocabulary.

P.S. - Tink, I'll get to your generous award tomorrow.  Three posts in one day may be too much, even for me :)

Baking Weekend, Day Two

My laptop is back, though my jump drive is not, and for once I'm glad I'm behind on uploading my pictures from my camera, so I have pictures dating back from October.  *whew*

My girls and I had a great time during Day One of Baking Weekend, and it was hard to see them go.  The great thing about it is that I know that I'll see them again...and maybe next year, if everything goes just right, we'll have another little on in our troupe.  *sending good vibes to Robin's uterus - AI in just two days*

Day Two ended up just being family, which was wonderful!  We haven't had a "family-only" Baking Day in forever.  We were a cookie making machine.  It took us about six hours to add another six batches of Magic Window cookies and a couple of batches of gingerbread cookies.  Jay finished up his flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  I think that chefs give foods fancy names just so us home cooks will never attempt things like ganache.  Do you know what's in a ganache?  Heavy freakin' cream, butter, and chocolate.  That's what!  That's all.  WTF?  A fancy name like ganache should include some culinary magic, not a simple double boiler.  Cripes, even I can work a double boiler!

While we were baking away in the kitchen, having a great - and loud - time, the snow was gently falling outside.  Big, fluffy white flakes descending ever so softly from the sky.  It was beautiful.  We worried not about the snow fall, afterall, we're a Colorado family, born and raised.  What's a little snow?

Well, a little snow plus a little snow adds up to four fluffy inches pretty quickly.  What did we do?  We turned up the music, put on some chili for dinner and my sister made homemade tortillas.  And we kept baking.  And baking.  And baking.

By the end of the day, we were pretty well done with cookies.  Didn't really care to see another one.  And if that damn timer went off one more time, well, we couldn't be held accountable for our actions.  But this is what we had to show for it...
...quite a bounty.  It may not look like much, but at our mid-point my nephew counted up the number of cookies that we had and it went something like:

  • 22 dozen Magic Window cookies

  • 3 dozen chocolate chip toffee cookies

  • 10 flourless chocolate cakes

  • 8 dozen candy cane cookies

  • a couple-a dozen Neiman Marcus cookies

  • a dozen (or so) peanut butter thumbprint cookies

  • and some chocolate-y chinese haystack thingies that my mom makes every year.

Even though the baking was done, were we done?  Oh, no.  That would be too easy.  After everything was out of the oven, we had to pack up our platters (or in my case, shirt boxes) full of cookies for distribution.
My sister and her heathi strung their Magic Window cookies with ribbon so they can hang them on their tree.  Me?  Nope, I just eat them.  I don't bother hanging them on the tree anymore - I just cut out the middleman - and go straight to the mouth.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Computer ITD Continues...

Good News: The IT God was able to get my laptop back up and running.  I love that man!

Bad News:  I lost pretty much everything.

Good News:  I had most of it backed up on my jump drive.

Bad News:  My jump drive also got an ITD.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dead Computer

I'd love to post the pictures from Day Two of Baking Weekend.  There are so many beautiful pictures of the snow gently falling and the kitchen full of family and laughter.

Unfortunately, my computer caught a ITD (internet transmitted disease) and DIED.  I turned it on last evening and there was nothing there.  Just a blue screen with shortcut icons that led to nowhere.  Everything is gone.  My pictures, my work-in-progress, my iTunes.  Everything.  Our IT Director at work is working feverishly to resurrect my poor laptop.  I love that laptop.  There's nothing special about it, other than it's mine.  It's well broken in and fits like an old comfortable pair of shoes.  I may cry if he's not able to work his magic.  The good thing is that I backed up everything in September and back up my WIP each time I close it, so the only thing I'll really lose are pictures for the last quarter of the year.  I can live with that.  If I have to.

Until he's able to bring my computer back to life, I'm stuck with this loaner.  Despite being the exact same make and model, it's just not right.  It's like driving a rental car that's the same make and model of your car.  Familiar, but not right.

Being the optimist I am, I'm not transferring anything to this loaner. Nothing at all to make it feel more like mine.  So until my computer is back, the Day Two blog is on indefinite hold.  I'm not uploading my pictures to this one - I'll wait until I get my computer back.  Which, I'm hoping is by the end of the week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baking Weekend, Day One

Well, Day One actually started last night with Jay whipping up a couple quick batches of flour-less chocolate cake for his favorite customers on his route.  He used my step-dad's mother's old crank handmixer until his arms gave out, then he had to change to the electric handmixer.  Using the crank handmixer would have taken far too much effort for me, I would have just by-passed it in favor of the modern, easy-to-use, plug in style to begin with.  While Jay's cakes baked, I whipped up four batches of Magic Window Cookies dough.  The dough has to chill for at least an hour before use, and I figured it wouldn't hurt it to sit over-night.

This is my parent's breakfast table, which seats twelve adults, when I started this morning.  I began the morning with two double batches of chocolate chip toffee cookies while I waited for the best part of Baking Weekend to arrive - my girls!  Baking Weekend started out as Baking Day twelve years ago and has evolved into a two day bake fest.  Baking Weekend has seen us through break-ups, marriages, and babies.  It's the only weekend that we can guarantee that we'll all be together, even if it's only for a few hours one day.  Back before the marriages and babies, it truly was girls' weekend, but with family comes obligations.

Two hours into Day One, we were starting to see some progress...
Neiman Marcus cookies joined the chocolate chip toffee cookies, along with some M&M cookies and we kept trucking.

Jay's mom and sister joined in the festivities this year.  They came up to see "what it's all about" and got put to work.  Next year, they'll bring their own recipes and to-do list.  It seems like everyone's first year is kind of an "observation", then they get into the spirit and join in full throttle the following year.

This is the table after about four hours; I didn't get to take a picture of the full table - I just wasn't fast enough before the girls had to pack up to leave.  But imagine that the entire right side of the table is full of candy cane cookies.  More than half of the cookies left with the girls for their cookie platters or boxes, whatever they'll make with them.  Tomorrow, my sister and her crew is coming up and we'll knock out another six batches of Magic Window Cookies and bourbon balls and whatever else we feel like.

Right now, though, my feet hurt, my back hurts and I'm exhausted.  And I can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Colorado Car Starting Attire

It's been COLD recently.  Even for Colorado winter, it's cold.  So for your edification...a tutorial on proper Colorado Car Starting Attire.*

Let's start with the boots, worn for two reasons: 1) easy on/easy off function - no tracking snow through the house - 2) the snow has to be really deep to fall inside - while not warm, toasty feets, at least dry feets.

Next, the ever sexy running pants circa late 1980s (yes, I've had them that long).  Again, two reasons: 1) they slip down into the easy on/easy off boots, so no snow gets stuck in the cuff (so I'm short, I have to cuff my scrubs) and 2) I can go back in the house, kick off my boots and pull on my scrubs or jeans over the top and be toasty warm.

Big fluffy coat that covers my butt.  'Cause there ain't nothin' worse than a cold ass. (Not even a dumb one.)

Gloves.  Have you ever stuck your hand to the car in sub-freezing weather.  'Nuff said.

Dry hair is preferable, but not required if you don't mind frozen hair.  But it's just hair, it'll thaw.

Now, some of you who follow my Tales From The Trail blog may realize that the Car Starting Attire sounds very similar to the Bear's In The Dumpster Attire.  Very astute.  It varies only by the britches (flannel jammies vs. running pants) and the state of the hair (clean and combed vs. bed head).

*The pictures are a tad fuzzy because of the frost on the inside of the door - my eldest son was too wussy to open the door for the pictures.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What A Nice Surprise!

Nathanael over at This Is How It Feels has honored me with a bit of blog bling, and what a great surprise it was!  Nathanael and I "met" when he was honored with the Honest Scrap award by Monda over at No Telling, I jumped over to his blog and fell in love.  We were both then honored by Monda when we were included in EasyStreet Prompts' Blog Carnival.

When I think about the people I've "met" via blogging, it's rather mind-boggling.  The internet, I know it's been said before, has opened up whole new worlds.  Where else would I have met a gay solder serving in Baghdad or a Southern gal with a passion for writing or another wickedly funny Southern gal or an endurance rider from California?  There are so many people that I've met through blogging that I would never have had the opportunity to meet before.  It truly is astounding.

The rules, as have been explained to me by Nathanael are:
1.) grab the award (check - see above)
2.) post it on your blog along with five things you love to do (Oh Jeez, just five.  I'll have to think about that.)
3.) five others you want to recognize... (Again, only five?)
Things I love to do: (in no specific order)
  1. Ride my horse, Estes.  You can find the story of how I fell in love with her over at my other blog, Tales From The Trail
  2. Blog.  Well, write.  I love to write, and blogging is an easy way to connect with people I wouldn't normally get to meet.  I also love my morning blog crawl and can't get through my morning without it; it's my equivalent of reading the morning paper, I guess.
  3. Shoot.  Hence the name Gun Diva.  I love the feel of a controlled explosion, which is all shooting really is.  And, hey, I'm pretty good at it.  My friend and fellow Gun Diva, Tara Janzen, is a rifle shooting queen.  Me, I love the handguns.
  4. Read.  This kind of ties in with #2; part of blogging is reading.  I get to read small, bite-sized stories daily and look forward to them, but I also love novels.  Really, anything with words.  Hell, I even read shampoo bottles.
  5. Work.  I really do love my job and the people I work with; I can't imagine doing anything else.
Recognize Five Others... (again, in no specific order.  Nathanael, you know I'd send this back to you if I could.)
  • K. Erickson at Preachers and Horse Thieves.  He was awarded Editor's Pick for the 1st edition of EasyStreet's Blog Carnival.  I jumped over to his blog and immediately followed.  I love his writing and his dedication to his wife.  Here's a man who is head-over-heels in love with his wife and isn't afraid to post it for the whole world.  Oh, and he's got some great stories, too.
  • Monda at No Telling and EasyStreet Prompts.  She's a great storyteller and I look forward to her posts everyday.  I'm not sure how I stumbled upon No Telling, but I enjoy it immensely.  And, of course, EasyStreet Prompts has a place in my heart, as my Honorable Mention (posted over at Lyon's Roar) was my first ever blog bling.
  • Candance at Crazy Texas Mommy.  I love this woman!  Her posts are guaranteed to make me laugh.  Everyone needs a little CTM in their life.  Imagine my surprise when I was talking to my brother in Arizona one day and he asked if I'd ever read CTM.  We both found her blog at about the same time and fell in love.  Shortly thereafter my step-dad started following CTM, so now it's kind of a family cult thing.  So...that sounds a little creepy.  Didn't mean it to come out that way.
  • Roxanne at Pet Blog.  Her stories about Verne the horse trader keep me in stitches.  I love the way she's able to bring his stories to life in so few words.
  • Bill and Juanita at It's A Horse Life.  Okay, so there's a bit of nepotism here, they are, after all, my parents.  And I was the one who not only talked them into blogging, but set it up for them.  It started as just a way to share some of their favorite stories and recipes and stay in touch with their guests, but they're really taken it and run and their hits counter is burning up. 
That was tough, only choosing five.  Please check them out; I think you'll enjoy them.  And be sure to tell them I said 'hi' when you stop by.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ready for Christmas Caravan for Kids!

Sadly, I'll be in Las Vegas for work next weekend, so I'll miss the annual trek to Denver to join all of the rest of the Colorado Four Wheelers for Christmas Caravan for Kids, which benefits the U. S. Marine Corps' Toys For Tots program.  Jay and I, after we got married, decided that each payday we'd spend ten dollars from each of our paychecks to buy toys for the toy drive.

Ten dollars doesn't seem like a whole lot of money, unless you don't have it.  At one point in time, I didn't have ten dollars a year to donate, much less ten dollars a paycheck.  Life has been a whole lot kinder to me and mine this year, so it's been thrilling to be able to do this.  After only five months of buying toys, Jay and I managed to buy toys for fifty-eight kids this year!  (Fifty-nine including Ashee's donation of the very large SpongeBob ball.)


It astounds me that the small sacrifice of just ten dollars twice a month was able to do this, and it excites me for next year, when we have an entire year to collect toys.  We're playing around with the idea of putting our ten dollars into a separate savings account all year and going on a big toy buying spree.  That would be a lot of fun, too.  We figure that if we do that, we'll have between $450 - $500 to buy toys with.  We haven't decided what we'll do, but no matter what, it will be a blast!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Anti-Gunner Comes Out Of The Woodwork (or Bunk House)

So, another character caught me by surprise today.  I haven't had time to work on my NaNo because, well, I've got my required 50k and the last couple of days at work have been hellacious very busy.  I sat down to pick up where I left off with Shelby shooting VW Bear in the ass (boy I've wanted to do that myself for a long time).  Turns out that one of the wrangler applicants is an anti-gunner and cannot work in a place where there are guns on the property. 

I love that I can talk to Jay about my characters, because when I told him what Carrie (the character) told me, he looked at me and said, "Well, duh, the ranch is in the mountains.  Of course there are guns."

This is the shotgun that Shelby shot VW Bear in the butt with.
Damn I love that shotgun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Won, I Won!!!!

At 10:47 pm, I reached my goal of 50,000 words! 

Is my novel complete?  Not by a long shot. 

Have I built confidence in my ability to write what seems an exorbitant amount of words? Yes. 

When I first joined NaNoWriMo, I was completely overwhelmed by the task, but by breaking it down into words per day, it seemed more doable, only 1, 667 words per day.  What I found was that I had pretty much composed the story in my head, so on my first day of writing, I managed to spill over 9,000 words.  My biggest block came when I realized, I'd only thought ahead a couple of days in the book.  Once I finished writing about those days, I had a really bad block. 

What I found most helpful to increase my word count wasn't padding at all, it was my overly competitive nature.  The timed Word Wars at write-ins pretty much guaranteed me five hundred words in ten minutes.  I found one of my fellow NaNos who was writing at approximately the same pace as I, and pushed myself to keep up with her.  Going into the weekend, she had 14,000 words on me.  After the Night of Writing Dangerously, I had closed the gap to just a few thousand.  I caught up and had her by two hundred words this morning, but she rallied and jumped ahead by a few hundred words.  My competitive nature jumped into overdrive and I cranked out the required number to beat her to 50,000.  I just got my 50k posted just a couple of minutes before she posted hers.  If we'd been in a horse race, it would have been a photo finish. (Thanks, Molly!).

So, I've "won", now what?  Keep writing.  It won't do any good to have a half-finished novel.  Even if nothing ever comes of it, at least I can say I did it.

Here's the winning scene, the one that put me over my 50k.
Jake’s low growl wakes me out of a deep sleep about two o’clock in the morning. I have a hard time shushing him, but once I do, I hear what set him off. There’s something big on the deck snuffling around. Jake’s growling gets louder until it covers the sound of whatever is on the deck. I shush him again, climb out of bed and into my jeans and boots. I had hoped that whatever it was on the deck would lose interest and move on, but the snuffling is getting louder and I can hear things being moved around on the deck.

I’m pretty sure that it’s a bear on the deck, so I get my tactical shotgun from the closet and load it with 12 gauge rubber slugs. I shut Jake in the bedroom and move through the house in toward the kitchen, trying to get a lock on where the bear, or whatever it is, is on the deck. Remembering the BBQ chicken that we had at lunch, I’m pretty sure that he’s checking out the grill and if I go out the kitchen door, I should be in a good position to get him the hell of the porch. Just as I’m moving through the kitchen, Allie joins me with her own shotgun.

“I forgot to burn off the grill,” she whispers at me, “I’m so sorry.”

“No worries, we’ll just train him right off the bat. Stepping up on the deck hurts.” I whisper back and open up the kitchen door to step out on the porch.

I shoulder my shotgun and trigger the tactical light on the forend, lighting up an enormous black furry butt. The bear is sniffing around the grill with his back toward us and as he lifts up one enormous paw to take a swipe at it, I pull the trigger, shooting him square in the ass with a rubber slug. I rack a new round into the chamber as he jumps a mile and turns to face me. I shoot him in the shoulder while he’s turning and Allie nails him in the chest. He’s less than twenty feet from us, so I know that those rubber slugs hurt like hell and I’m hoping that they didn’t break his skin. I’m hoping to just cause a couple of deep bruises and instill in him that getting up on my deck is a very bad idea.

He doesn’t immediately move off of the deck, instead we have a stand-off of sorts; Allie and I with our shotguns shouldered and our fingers on the trigger versus six hundred pounds of post-hibernation black bear. If he wanted to, he could take us, but we are determined to teach him a lesson. It feels like our stand-off lasts hours, when in reality, it only lasts a few seconds, but each passing second is an eternity. Finally, he huffs at us and ambles off the deck, deciding that our chicken drippings aren’t worth the effort. We keep our shotguns shouldered and follow his movement across the yard until we’re sure he’s gone and not coming back.

I didn’t realize that I’d been holding my breath until I let it all out in a rush, relaxing the shotgun from my shoulder. I flick the safety on and turn to Allie, “Good shootin’, Tex.”

“Me? I can’t believe you shot him in the ass. I wish I’d had my camera. That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” She puts her safety on and doubles over laughing. “Only you would think to shoot a six hundred pound bear in the ass.”

“He was going to destroy our grill. It’s a good grill. He deserved a shot in the ass.”

Sunday, November 15, 2009


*unless you're gay.

Why is it that the very government that makes it illegal to discriminate based on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation is allowed to do just that?

I'm talking about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.  One of my fellow bloggers, a young, articulate, gay man serving in the Army, currently deployed in Baghdad, has just had his discharge paperwork processed for being gay.  Nathanael has been blogging about DADT and his rather abrupt dismissal from the Army for a couple of weeks now.  What I don't understand is Why?  Why were the Commanders at Fort Hood afraid to get rid of a Muslim with potential terrorist leanings because he was an American citizen, but the Commanders on the front line don't think twice about singling out our gay men and women, who are also Americans? 

I just don't understand it.  Can someone please explain it to me, because this whole DADT thing makes no sense whatsoever.  Nathanael is fighting his discharge, but he was told that if he went quietly, he could have an honorable discharge.  But if he doesn't go quietly, there's a chance that he'll be dishonorably discharged, which means that he loses his right to vote (and therefore his right to change policy, hmm...) and his right to bear arms (which, as you all know, is a sticking point for the Gun Diva).

We're not talking about someone who was drafted into service; we're talking about someone who volunteered to risk his life to help protect ours.  How is it right to say, "thanks, but no thanks"?

Go check out Nathanael's blog, join his FB fans, write to your Congressman, do whatever you can, because this is flat-out wrong.  No matter how you look at it.

42k In And Finally, Shelby Starts Her Online Search...

So, Mom's been whining about no romance yet in the book.  This isn't romance, but possibly the start of it...

The kids are sitting around the coffee table, working diligently on their homework, pretending not to watch Allie at the computer. I bend over her shoulder, “Alright, I’m here. Show me my virtual matches.”

“Trade me places, so you can see better. I’ve already got you logged in and brought up your hits. All you have to do is sort through them.” She gets up and grabs a chair to drag over so she can watch over my shoulder.

“What about your hits?” I ask, taking the desk chair.

“Oh. They were all losers, but don’t worry, there will be more tomorrow, I’m sure of it.” She’s treating this online dating as just another adventure in her life.

I start scrolling down my list of potential matches, or hits, as Allie calls them. I suppose the ten or so I see aren’t bad considering that my profile hasn’t even been up for twenty-four hours. I start at the top and work my way down. I’m really trying not to be too picky, but the hits who are blatantly looking for nothing more than a bed buddy get denied, along with the ones who can’t spell or punctuate. If that’s the best they can do while trying to impress someone, I can’t imagine how bad they would be when they quit trying to impress. In less than a half an hour, I decide that my hits, too, are losers and turn hopelessly to Allie. “C’mon, Al. Have we really been reduced to this? Are we really so horrible in person that we can’t find our own dates?”

“Hell, no, we’re not ‘so horrible that we can’t find our own dates’. The problem is, we never leave the ranch to meet anyone else. Everyone we come into contact with is business-related. Even the hot guests we get are off-limits. How the heck are we supposed to meet any decent guys this way?” She gestures around us. “Look, I love our life here, being a part of your family and helping raise the kids and run the ranch, but you know, occasionally, I’d really like to get lai…,” she catches herself, remembering that the kids are right behind us at the coffee table, “I mean, I’d really like to have some companionship.”

Luke snorts behind us and I know he caught Allie’s little slip of the tongue. I glare at him in warning to keep his knowledge to himself. He looks away, grinning.

“I know,” I say quietly, “We really appreciate everything you do for us, really. I’m sorry that being here with us is screwing up your life.” I feel guilty about depending on her so much, at the same time, the thought of her finding someone to start a family of her own with scares the hell out of me.

“Stop right there. I know what you’re thinking. Just stop.” She puts up a hand, “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be. And I love it, I really do, it’s just that sometimes…”

“I know. Me, too.” I turn back to the computer, “Show me this dynamite profile that you’ve created for me that’s attracting all of the losers.”

“Not all the losers, I got my share today, too.” She reaches across me and clicks over to my profile.

The picture she has posted for me takes my breath away. I usually hate pictures of myself and was wondering what she’d post. My profile picture was obviously taken this morning during my wild ride from the barn to the trail on Purina. I’m leaned up over Purina’s neck, practically glowing with the thrill of the ride. My long auburn hair is streaming back from under my cowboy hat at the same angle as her straw-colored tail; her mane is flowing back up over my hands, which seem to disappear into it. Allie and her camera with its ultra-fast shutter speed managed to capture Purina with all four hooves off the ground; we look like we’re flying through the air.

“Wow,” I finally breathe, “this picture is amazing.”

“I heard you two coming and got my camera out just in time. I got a lot more, but I think this is the best.”

“Heathi, come look at this picture Allie took. It’s amazing.” I can’t move my eyes from the monitor I’m so mesmerized by the picture, so I just wave to them to join us. Allie clicks on it, enlarging it to fill the whole screen.

“Mom, that’s you! And you look so happy!” Caitleigh squeals.

“Free,” Luke corrects, “You look free.”

“Mom, you’re the prettiest Mom in the whole world,” CJ tells me seriously, choking me up.

“Thank you guys, but Allie took this, isn’t it the most beautiful picture? Look, she even got Purina with all four hooves off the ground. Doesn’t it look like we’re flying?”

Cait climbs up onto Allie’s lap and squeezes her neck in a tight hug, “Thank you for making Mom look so good. Now she’ll be sure to find a boyfriend!”

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stacy Westfall - My Big NaNo Boo-Boo

While re-reading my bareback scene, I realized that Shelby had told the wrangler applicants that she didn't expect them to turn into Stacy Westfall, who is known for her amazing bridleless bareback riding skills. 

However, I did manage to forget to have Shelby give them bridles to ride with.  They arrived at the arena with their horses in tow, a few sentences later they swung their reins (apparently they were imaginary since Shelby forgot to give them bridles) over their horses' necks and rode into the arena. Oops.  I did manage to get all of the wranglers into helmets, though (surprise, surprise, Heidi and Julie - and you thought I'd never use my helmet again).

The good news is that when I realized my mistake and fixed it, I'd added a couple hundred words to my word count.  And Shelby's wranglers don't have to ride like Stacy Westfall.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Hit The Wall...

I was doing so well, cranking along with nary a worry.  It looked like the challenge of 50k, one I started, was actually going to be a breeze. Yeah, until now.  I'm 31+k in and stuck.  I know where I want to go.  I can see it, but I'm getting bogged down in the details and can't seem to get there. 


Last night, in an hour, I only had added six hundred words to my count.  Today, I've been sitting at the computer for going on two hours and haven't managed to squeeze one hundred words out of my fingers.  I keep hovering them over the keyboard like it's an Ouija board; I just need to channel my inner writer and I'll be just fine.  Problem is, my inner writer seems to be on a vacation where NaNo is concerned.  Anyone wanna hover their hands over my Ouija board, I mean keyboard, with me?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Birthday and A Day of Surprises

Happy Birthday, Dear Deejo!  I told all of my funny stories about you last year on the blog, and I haven't seen you except for my reception this year, so I guess all you'll get from me is the standard Happy Birthday greeting.  Love you, brudah., while writing, I found out a couple of things I didn't see coming.

  • Shelby's son, Luke (13), finally asks for a horse of his own, since Taco (the kids' horse) is a baby's horse and he's old enough to have one of his own.  Shelby and Allie had already been talking about it, so she was ready to agree until he threw her a curveball and said that he wanted to adopt a BLM mustang from Canyon City's WHIP.
  • Shelby's equine baby, Callie (short for Calypso) is preg checked on advice of the woman whose winter pasture the herd roams.  One of her neighbors claimed to have seen some feral mustangs mingling with the herd.  Turns out those ferals were potent, as all of the mares in the herd are pregnant.
And, Shelby released one of her potential wranglers.  I've included an excerpt of the exchange:
“Heidi, Twila, stop for a second and take a few deep breaths. Turn your back on your horses and relax. They’re moving away from you now because they can sense you’re frustrated and angry and they can’t figure out what you want. They can tell the difference between confidence and anger.”

“But we’re not angry!” Heidi hollers back at me.

“Really? Because the tightness around your eyes and your tense body posture tells me otherwise. Your jaw is practically locked shut. If it looks like anger to me, it definitely looks like anger to the horse. Relax your jaw, take a deep breath and just release the tension.” I smile when I see Heidi do what I say and watch her horse take a tentative step toward her. “Great, do it again and then look behind you.”

She takes another deep breath and exhales. This time I can see her body release the rest of the tension and her horse takes another step toward her, stretching out her neck, almost close enough to touch her back as though asking ‘what’s wrong?’. Heidi looks over her shoulder at Raja, who is standing respectfully behind her, waiting to be caught. Heidi murmurs Raja’s name, loops the lead over her neck and halters her without any further drama. I smile when I see her give Raja an extra pat before leading her to the barn door.

Twila huffs and puffs a little bit before she calms down enough to try my way of catching Shy. As soon as the tension leaves Twila’s body, Shy turns to face her and takes a step in her direction. Resigned to the fact that I do actually know my herd, she tosses the lead rope over Shy’s neck and roughly halters him. Shy can’t figure out what the heck he did wrong and balks when Twila yanks on his lead rope to pull him toward the barn. I can see that she’s seething with anger and am at her side before she can swing the end of the lead rope at Shy, “You’d better think twice about hitting my horse. You’ve got a choice to make right here, Twila. Chill the fuck out or leave. Those are the only two choices you’ve got. What’s it going to be?”

“What do you mean chill the fuck out?” She screams in my face, yanking on Shy’s lead rope, “He wouldn’t let me catch him and now that I have, he won’t follow me to the barn! He needs to learn some goddamn manners!”

I put my hand on Shy’s neck and take the lead rope from her fisted hand, “Twila,” I start quietly, “I had high hopes for you, but your temper and my horses won’t mix. Please go back to the bunk house and pack your stuff. Allie will meet you there.”

“You’re sending me home! I’ve got the most experience here and you’re sending me home?” She screams.

I catch Angie’s eye and hand off Shy’s lead rope to her. Angie quietly leads him away from me and Twila, headed out to the dude rail.

“Yes, I’m sending you home. Please stop making a scene and go quietly,” I tell her calmly.

“You can’t fucking do this to me you bitch! Do you know how much work I put in for you? And this is the thanks I get? You’re sending the most experienced horse person home?” I stand my ground as she takes a step closer, really getting in my face and doing her best to intimidate me with her height. She does have a good few inches on my five foot four, but if I’m not intimidated by a herd of one thousand pound horses, I’m sure the hell not intimidated by her.

“Just because you’ve grown up with horses and riding does not make you a horse person. The people who will be staying are the ones who want to learn, not the ones who think they know it all. This is the last time I’m going to ask you nicely, please go to the bunk house and pack your stuff.” I refuse to get caught up in arguing with her or escalating my temper to meet hers.

She makes up her mind and brushes by me, trying to knock me off of my feet. I step to the side and let her stumble her way out of the pasture before heading to the barn to phone Allie. As I walk toward the barn I hear someone singing, “And another one down, and another one down, another one bites the dust. Hey, we’re gonna get you too, another one bites the dust.”

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaNo-isms: When Your Brain Thinks Faster Than Your Fingers Can Type

Oh, I've got a couple of doozies from the last twenty four hours:
  • Leaving the keys in the transmission, I park the car in first gear and set the emergency brake.
  • I put her rack up on the saddle...
No, it's not a lesbian romance, so quit thinking about Shelby woman-handling another wrangler's rack.  I meant "her saddle up on the rack" just like I meant "leaving the keys in the ignition".  Oy.  It's going to be a long month.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day Six Update

First, let me say, THANK YOU GLENNA!  Our ten rounds at the range were exactly what I needed today and I'm already looking forward to next week when we splurge and shoot two magazines.

NaNo update: I got not one word written yesterday for my NaNo, instead I worked on a post for Tales from the Trail during my lunch hour at work.  However, I did manage over 2,000 words today, which means I "only" have 18,000 words left in the 20k weekend word challenge.  Maybe I did bite off more than I can chew since I don't have 18,000 words total yet.

Shelby and crew managed to stack fourteen bales of hay, after sending the two Buckle Bunnies packing.  Allie spent the morning gossiping with Ed and Sam, the hay guys, about how she and Shelby were going speed dating.  So far, everyone's managed to make it through lunch.
Truly depressing that so much hard work can be pared down to three sentences.  I'm giving into the headache that has been plaguing me all day and calling it quits.  I'll pick it up tomorrow and hopefully it will make a whole lot of difference.

G'night y'all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Exhaustion - I Mean NaNo - Update

Finished the day with just over 15,000 words.  Lost my mind and joined a challenge to write 20,000 words between Friday at 4:00 pm and Monday at 7:00 am.  Probably won't be able to write tomorrow, as it's finals day and I'm way behind on my grading, which I only have 24 hours to turn in.

NaNo summary of the day:
Fourteen ton of hay was delivered.  The Buckle Bunnies copped attitude with Shelby and got sent packing.  Allie (Shelby's best friend and live-in cook/nanny) decided that she and Shelby were going to go speed dating in the very near future.
It's kind of depressing how easy it is to boil down all of that hard work into three short sentences.

I'm still trying to figure out which story to write for Tales from the Trail and I've got to get a new post up for Lyon's Roar.  Those posts may be my break from NaNo this weekend.  I've got a couple of things in mind for Mr. Brody's reception dinner to liven up the story a bit again; we'll see what ends up on the page.

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNo Update, Day Two

I slowed down considerably today, finishing the day with a grand total of just over 13,000 words.  I know, rationally, that of course I wouldn't get almost 10k today - hello - I have to work, but maybe getting off to such a strong start is kind of depressing.  I whipped out the first 9,498 without breaking a sweat.  It also took me hours to do it; hours that I won't have during the week.  All I can hope for is to stay on track during the week and really crank out the words on the weekend.

Summary of today's work:
First full day on the ranch.  Already, half of the girls missed breakfast because they were fussing with their hair and make up or were sleeping until the last second.  Their choice, but I can tell you, they are going to be starving come lunch time.  The first load of hay was delivered and the crew is learning how to stack it in the hay barn.
Yup, that's pretty much what happened in 3,300 or so words today.  Pretty sad that I can boil down that many words into a four sentence summary, ay?  Let's just say that conversations are the best way I've found to pad my word count.  Heck, we haven't even laid in a hundred bales.  I've still got all of the horses to introduce; that should be good for another 3-4k right there.  A couple of lines of description on twenty two horses will add up.

One of the girls in our region has already cranked out more than 20,000 words, which makes me feel like a big ole slacker.  Jay's closing in on 6,000 as I type this and Jordan's last update was about 5,700, so we're all just tooling along.  The trick, they say, is to maintain the enthusiasm for the entire month, not just the first week.  We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Busy Day And A Big Goal Met

Whew!  The day's winding down and I'm happy to say that I not only met my goal of 5,000 words, but I obliterated it and I'm more than halfway (well, barely more) to my second 5,000 today.  I was thinking that 10,000 words would be a lot to post here, so I'm just going to give you an overview of today's work.

The wranglers arrived at 3 Heathens Ranch for Wrangler Boot Camp.  Ten women, mostly young girls, arrived bright eyed and bushy-tailed to compete for four full-time positions at the ranch.  After a couple of years doing hiring the tradional way, Shelby came up with the idea of Wrangler Boot Camp.  The applicants arrive to do what the restaurant industry calls a stage, a working interview, for a week.  And then at the end of the week, the four top applicants are offered the job.  Some of the things the applicants will be required to do:
  • unload and stack three hundred fifty eighty pound bales of hay,
  • clean and oil tack for twenty two horses,
  • de-worm and vaccinate twenty two horses,
  • spend some serious saddle time learning the trails and the horses
Also, we got a glimpse into Shelby's past and find out how Allie, her best friend, came to live with her and her three heathens at the ranch.
Surprisingly, at one point while I was writing Shelby's past, I made myself freaking cry.  WTH?  But I wiped my tears and got over it.  Hmmm.  Damn RCC putting me in touch with the softer side of GunDiva.

Off To A Good Start!

Today I'm celebrating two wonderful things! 

First, this is my 100th post.  I spent some time the other night reviewing some of my old posts and thinking, "why didn't I ever keep a diary?".  This blog has become my living diary.  There are lots of memories stored in each of the one hundred little (and some not so little) blurbs about my life I've put up for the world to see.  And, of course, this blog has created two spin-offs: Tales from the Trail (which is featured in Easy Street Prompts' Blog Carnival, 2nd Edition) and Lyon's Roar (which won Easy Street Prompts' Blog Carnival "Must Read" award, 1st Edition).  Really, this blog has created a writing monster.

Second, today is the official 1st day of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.  In order to stay on track to write 50,000 words in thirty days, I have to write 1,667 words per day.  After we got home from Wicked last night, Jay and I plugged in and got started.  I managed to cough up just over 1,700 words before I called it a night and Jay got just over 700 in.  I'm currently at 3,100 words and hope to reach 5,000 today; Jay's goal is 2,500 and he's more than halfway at this point.  The big difference is the speed in which we type.  I'm awfully thankful that I had a "mean" typing teacher in junior high who made us learn how to touch type.  Jay's just enough younger than me that typing wasn't a required class, so he's a two-fingered typist.  Pretty darn quick for only using two fingers, but it still slows him down.

If I have any fellow NaNo reader, my NaNo name is CSWilson and I'd love for you to add me as a writing buddy.  I'm quickly learning that I'm going to need all of the support I can get :)

I'll post some of my finished 5k later today.