Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Whoda Thunk?

So, today's been a pre-NaNoWriMo day; doing laundry, getting ready for the potluck kick-off party tonight, and trying to keep my fingers out of Word until midnight.

I flipped the TV on to keep me company (RCC's at work, so no freaking NASCAR or football!) and found some shows that I had heard about, but had never seen.  I've wasted the afternoon oddly fascinated by Swamp People on the History channel and Sister Wives on TLC.

First, Swamp People.  They've actually made a TV show about 'gator hunters.  Those ole boys are some tough old coots.  And then there's the idiot son who keeps forgetting to load his gun.  Really?  You've got an angry gator on a hook and you freaking forget to load your gun?!  Hell, I wanted to take him out behind the woodshed for that.  And it didn't happen just once.  Oh, no.  He "forgot" multiple times.  Ugh!

And Sister Wives.  Man, I have often said I need a wife to do my cooking and cleaning and laundry and haul the kids around.  Sounds good, right?  I'm not so sure the cost is worth it.  I don't play well with others as far as my husband's concerned.  Even though I'm not the jealous sort, I'm also not the sharing sort.  It's easy for me to not be the jealous sort when I *know* my husband is coming home to me and only me.  I'm thinking that if I had to share, it wouldn't last very long and I'd be posting this blog from the old cross-bar hotel.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I *Can* Cook

Though to hear my kids tell, not well.  Whatever.  They wouldn't eat anything but macaroni and cheese and Ramen noodles anyway.

When Mrs Mom and her husband and the BrownEyed Cowgirls visited last weekend, I stole RCC's chicken parmesean recipe and attempted it all by my lonesome.  Lest you all say you don't believe it, here is the photographic evidence.

Okay, so I'm not a food photographer; it doesn't look as good as it tasted.  I surprised even myself pulling this off.  I told RCC over and over again not to worry about it, I couldn't screw it up too badly (even though I didn't truly believe that I could do it without screwing up).  You know the phrase, "fake it 'til you make it"?  Yeah, that's exactly what I did.

I've always made RCC make this before, but since he taught me how to do it, I can now do it whenever I feel like it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Did I Miss This?

Seriously, how did I not ever pay attention to the cool little "Stats" button at the top of my screen?

Really, GunDiva?  It wasn't until I saw K.'s car review today that I even found out about the Stats button.  See how observant I am?

I've just wasted an hour digging through my stats for each of my blogs.  How cool is that?  My most read post for this blog is "Epiploic Appendagitis Sucks", followed closely by "TST: A Shocking Story".  Sorry, RCC, but your illness seems to be my biggest draw - think you can have another attack so I can boost my stats?  Or maybe we should go for a walk in the TP aisle again?

I was pleasantly surprised that besides Google, the URL that refers most readers my way is "Jack Sh*t Gettin' Fit".  Thanks, Jack Sh*t :)

I knew I could spend hours on (and have), but now I've got a whole new time waster to play with.

A Moment of Levity

Grandma's death has dragged on and on and on.  She died last Thursday, but because of other factors, her funeral won't be until Friday.  Yep, a full week and one day after she died.  It's dragged out the grieving process so that it's almost unbearable, but only a couple more days...

Anyway, back to the "fun".

Last night we had a "reading rehersal" for those of us who will be doing readings at the funeral.  I was handed my reading and on the top was written "to be read after the first reading".  No problem, that makes my reading the second reading, right?

One would think so. 

However, there was another reading handed out that said "second reading".  So I asked, "when do I do my reading?"

Answer: "After the first reading."

Me:  "Okay, but this other one says it's the second reading."

Answer: "It is the second reading."

Me:  "How can that one be the second reading, if I'm supposed to read after the first reading?  Doesn't that make mine the second reading and that one the third reading?"

Answer:  "No.  That one's the second reading, but you go after the first reading."

To borrow from Momma Fargo, *blink* *blink*

It was like "Who's on First?" all over again.

The worst part was that only my cousin C understood where I was coming from.  In my crazy family's mind it made perfect sense that the passage that I'm reading after the first passage was not considered the second reading.  So C and I decided that the actual first reading is 1A, I'm reading 1B and then we'll get to the second reading.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On A Happier Note...

I found this picture of me and Nebalee at the cabin when I was looking for pictures of Grandma.

I'd forgotten we had this up there, but do remember spending lots of time with it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mary T. Gallegos 6/14/20 - 10/21/10

Grandma Mary laid down for her final sleeping kitty this morning.  Dad went into wake her up this morning at 6 am she wanted to sleep some more, so he left her to sleep in.  When he went to wake her again at 9:30 this morning, she'd recently joined Grandpa Moe in Heaven.

While I'm heartbroken that she's not here anymore, I know that the last few months, ever since her stroke, have been really hard on her.  She never complained - that wasn't her way - but I know she was frustrated with being wheelchair bound and unable to care for her family; others had to care for her for a change.

Death is always hardest on those left behind.  The kids took it as expected: Ashinator lost her mind right off the bat; Digger shored up and shed very few tears (he'll lost his mind at the funeral when it's real - kinda like his mommy); and Monster got angry and shut down.  Me?  I've been busy rounding up the kids from school, driving to Wyoming to pick up Digger, and dealing with family drama. 

I'm not sure when I'll finally let down; for now, I'm at peace with her death.  Grandma Mary and I were very close, she often told me that I was like a daugher to her, rather than a granddaughter.  That's a hell of a compliment from such an amazing woman.

The thing is, I know how hard it was on her to be dependent on someone else.  I know how much she hated not being able to go about her daily routine and to have the physical therapist come and torture her every day.  And I know how much she missed Grandpa Moe every day.

She had a good day yesterday; Dad and my Uncle took her out to lunch, she spent the evening with her kittens on her lap and howling - literally - with the dog.  According to Dad, she and the dog had quite the chorus going and then she'd laugh and laugh.  When I talked to her yesterday afternoon she was in good spirits and was a jabbermouth.  Only, after her stroke, when she got excited she tripped over her words and you had to glean her meaning simply by her tone.  Her excitement told me she was having a great day.

So while I'll bawl my eyes out at her funeral and I'll miss her every day, I'm at peace with her passing.  She had a great day yesterday and died in her sleep this morning. 

I'm okay with that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

TST - Wedding Dinner

It's time for my second favorite day of the week!  True Story Tuesday, hosted by Rachel and Mr. Daddy (who should look just ravishing in his new Dress Barn dress).

Twenty-three years and four days ago, Bill made perhaps the biggest mistake of his life.  And I'm not talking about marrying Mom and her four heathens.  No, the biggest mistake he made was allowing the four heathens to choose where to have their wedding dinner.

Now, I was 16; Nebalee was 13; Deejo was 11; and Junior was 7.  He really thought it was a good idea to let us decide where to have their wedding dinner?  I'm not quite sure where he thought we'd choose, but I'm pretty sure he didn't expect us to come up with Casa Bonita.

Yup, just the quiet, romantic place he envisioned spending with his new family, I'm sure.  But he was a good sport and off we went after the wedding.

We had a blast!  Well, at least we kids did.  Mom and Bill were kind enough to pretend they had a good time.

Over the years, it's become a joke that Casa Bonita is our "fancy dinner" restaurant - reserved for special ocassions.

You know, the really special ones, like... a twentieth wedding anniversary.

Oh, yes, we did.  We made them return to the scene of the crime for their twentieth.  Of course, by this time, the family had grown to include spouses and grandchildren.

Mrs Mom and her DH are coming for a visit this coming weekend.  Guess where we're taking them?

I invited Mom and Bill.  Bill declined, saying by his calculations, he's got another 17 years before he has to return.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane

A couple of weekends ago, RockCrawlinChef and I got a wild hair up our butts to go for a drive to see the fall colors.  We put a lot of miles on Ripley, crossing up over the Continental Divide and back.  We found some amazing colors; at one point, we rounded a curve and I gasped at the scene before us.  Amidst all of the pine trees, the mountain was shimmering gold with Aspen.  It was seriously a "Heaven opened up and Angels sang" moment with the sun shining directly on the Aspen.  Travelling at highway speeds, we were past them before I could come to my senses enough to scramble for the camera.

This is one of the pictures I took, but it doesn't do the trees any justice...
I love the broken down old cabin nestled in the trees.

Since we were (sorta) in the right neck of the woods, on the way home, I took RCC by the cabin where I grew up.  I have so many fabulous memories of the cabin.  Mom and Dad built it from the ground up and we spent every spare minute there.  Even though we lived in town and Mom and Dad built us a great house in town, my favorite place was at the cabin.

When it was our cabin, it was harvest gold and the bottom wasn't enclosed.  It was up on stilts and we used the space beneath the floor to store our canoe and firewood.

It was two giant rooms; one was the kitchen/living room/dining room and up a couple of steps was the bedroom.  The bedroom - if I remember correctly - was big enough for two full-sized beds and two twin beds, plus up a ladder was a space big enough for a couple of small children to sleep, lounge, read, draw on the drywall, whatever.

The floors were bare plywood, requiring socks or slippers at all times.  The wood-burning stove served to keep the cabin toasty warm and heat the water for our baths.  Four small children in the mountains get very dirty and we became champs at taking baths in an oversized cook pot.  I have a picture of Deejo taking a bath around here somewhere...

We didn't have running water, so we'd have to stop at the well pump on the way in and fill our 10-gallon water jugs.  We also had a very fancy two-holer outhouse that had a space heater in it, so that when we turned on the light switch in the cabin and beat feet out to pee the seats weren't frosted over.  'Cept at night, we kids didn't use the outhouse.  Instead, we had a Folger's can in the closet that we'd use so we wouldn't be bear or mountain lion bait.  And trust me when I tell you that if you had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you prayed that you had to go before Nebalee.  That girl could not hit the can to save her life.  She'd sit on it, get the beautiful Folger's ring-around-the-butt and still pee everywhere except the can.  Mom said she always knew when Nebalee beat any of the rest of us to the can because we'd wail, "Ne-ba-leeeeeee!".  In her defense, she was really little.  And I'm pretty sure she got blamed for Deejo's aiming errors as well.

This is the lake where we learned to ice skate in the winter...

The water would freeze so clear that you could see bubbles frozen in the ice that I was just convinced that they came from the fishes.  After learning how to ice skate outdoors on a lake, it was a culture shock to skate on a smooth indoor rink when I got older.

At the bottom of this lake rests a fishing pole and tackle box that our dog, Michael, helped put there.  Michael used to like to go out in the canoe while Dad was fishing, but one day decided to jump out of the canoe, capsizing it. 

I loved the cabin; it was perfect in my eyes.  I have so many amazing memories from the cabin: the "helicopter" rock; my "horse" (a tree limb just my height); being pulled behind the truck on a sled; sledding; 4th of July pig roasts; the mountain lion who took up residence under the cabin; and the first time I saw a bear up close and personal.

Unfortunately, my memories have been tainted by my Dad's bad temper.  I don't remember him and Mom fighting much when we were little, little, but he became quite an abusive bastard who would line all of us kids up on the couch in order of age while he beat the tar out of Mom.  I spent many a lifetime (or so it seemed) sitting on the couch, plotting ways to get out of the cabin, run the mile and a half into the village and get help without Dad noticing (or turning his anger to the other kids).

Mom is a tough woman, she stood up for herself, kicked Dad out of the house and embarked on life as a single woman.  The saddest part for me, now, as an adult?  I missed the cabin a whole lot more than I missed Dad.

Monday, October 11, 2010

TST: The Moose

It's that time again!  Time to dust off the memory banks and put your favorite stories up for everyone to laugh at you like the freak you are enjoy.  So head on over to Rachel and Mr. Daddy's to link up and join in the fun.

I've grown up in Colorado.  Lived here my whole life.  Never seen a darn moose.  Tourists come here, they see moose.  I go to where the moose are supposed to be - no moose.  I have to see a real, live, honest-to-God moose before I die.  I simply must.

Several years ago, my friend Angelina and I went through Yellowstone on our way to go see her husband who was working in Washington.  I'm getting excited.  There are moose in Yellowstone.  The moose won't come to me in Colorado, so I'll go to them in Yellowstone.  It's a sound plan, no?

We only had a couple of hours in Yellowstone before we had to hit the road, so we stopped at Old Faithful to look around.  I had my camera out and was taking pictures.  Mostly of bison, because, well, let's face it, there are more bison than humans in Yellowstone.

I was squatted down, taking pictures, when all of a sudden I hear, "A Moose!"  Remember how I really, really wanted to see a moose?  And how I've never seen one?  Yeah, I was pretty excited.  I jumped up, camera ready, to snap a picture of the elusive moose.

I looked around frantically.  But I didn't see a moose.  Now, I've heard they're big critters.  Hard to miss when they're standing up.  But I didn't see one.  What I do see is Angelina barely able to hold her sh*t together.  She's laughing so hard that her face is red from trying to hold it in.  She gestures toward the tourist, who is pointing at the "moose"...

I looked at Angelina and said, "My public school education has failed me again!  I would have sworn that we were looking at bison."  (Okay, I had to add that last part just to tie in with Mr. Daddy's school theme, but I really did say that.  Really.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

NaNo News

I tossed around the idea of starting a temporary blog for this year's NaNoWriMo and finally decided to do it.  I did it for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I don't want to bore my followers who may not be interested in NaNo with daily updates.  I'll cease posting NaNo related stuff here and will keep this blog for my randomness/daily life/BS.

If you are interested in following my NaNo progress (and getting a peek at the novel I'm working on this year), head on over to Hunted Lyon.  Posting will be sporadic from now until November 1st, but expect almost daily updates during the month of November.  If the writing goes well, I may keep the blog up as I continue to work on the book.  (Oh, hush Mom.  I know I never finished last year's NaNo.  They got their Happily Ever After - okay?)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Stuff I Wish I Didn't Know...

You'd think being married to a chef would be all amazing food and great kitchen gadgets wouldn't you?  But noooooo.  First, I learn about blue bandaids and now, this.

You know when you go to seafood places and they have live lobsters and crawfish?  You wanna know why they're live in those water tanks? 

I bet you don't, but I'm gonna tell you anyway.

They're in there to "purge".  Yep, that's exactly what it sounds like.  They put them in those tanks without food so that they can't make any poop and the poop that they might have in their system is "purged".  They do this so that they don't have to de-vein them.

And people wonder why I don't eat crustacean.

It's Almost That Time Again...

2010 NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! 

What is NaNoWriMo?  It's National Novel Writing Month and begins at 12:00:01 on November 1st and ends at 24:00:00 on November 30th.  In that thirty day period the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel.  It doesn't have to be a good novel; it doesn't have to be a complete novel; but it does have to reach 50k.  I "won" last year with over 60k.

I'm in a bit of a panic, because up until just a couple of days ago I had no idea what I was going to write, despite having just returned from the Writers' Police Academy.  I logged into the NaNo website and plugged in my synopsis of the book I had in mind and then had a change of heart last night.  Completely changed my mind on what I'm going to write.  I've started plotting in my little brain and couldn't sleep last night with all of the scenes running through my head, which means I've chosen the right book to write.  For a while, I had a blog called "Lyon's Roar Protection" (I took it down when I realized I was writing utter and complete trash).  The book I will be writing this year is the precursor to Lyon's Roar.  Maybe once I get the groundwork in place I can resume where I left off with the blog.

This year I'm going to try something a little different.  I went into last year's NaNo without a plan whatsoever and did okay, but this year I think I'm going to storyboard it.  RCC and I gathered our materials for storyboarding and will be getting started probably this week.  I've never done it before, but was inspired by Terry Odell's non-plotting posts.  Rather than using a large poster board, we'll be using file folders and different colored sticky notes.  We figure the file folders are easier to pack up and move when we go to our nightly write-ins.

RCC will be putting his graphic design skills to work again this year designing cover art for the other writers (as well as for the two of us).  Once I've settled on a title and get my cover done, I'll post it up here.

Anyone else interested in joining up?  Just go to the website and sign up; if you want to add me as a writing buddy let me know and I'll be sure to add you.  It's a lot more fun with some healthy competition.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Did You Know?

That restaurants stock blue bandaids for their chefs/cooks so that if they fall off they are easily identified and removed from the food?  That's also why they prefer blue gloves to be used.

Had no idea. 

The things I learn being married to a chef.

More on WPA

I knew when I went to WPA that I wanted to meet Terry O'Dell, as I've followed her blog for a while now and knew she was going to be attending, so I set out to meet her (don't worry, Terry, I wasn't really stalking you).  I have to say, I laughed at Mr. Daddy, who called the lodge looking for Rachel, during the High Country Rendezvous and had to introduce himself by his blog name before Bill knew who he was.  Maybe I shouldn't have laughed, because when I finally got to meet Terry, I had to do the same thing.  It's one thing to be GunDiva in bloggyland, but quite another to refer to yourself by your blog name IRL.  Terry and her husband are wonderful people and I enjoyed spending time with them throughout the weekend.

Terry's got some great WPA posts over at her blog.  For her take on it, be sure to click here, here, and here.  Heck, while you're at it, why don't you just click her follow button so you don't miss anymore WPA posts?

I got the surprise of my life during Bill Lanning's presentation, which quickly outgrew his scheduled room and we had to change rooms.  I turned around and - Oh my God, it's Sophie Littlefield!  Really, that was my reaction.  I think I elbowed H in awe and nodded toward Sophie.  H looked at me like I'd lost my mind, because I was completely tongue-tied.  But this was a moment I could not pass up, I took a deep breath, marched over to Sophie and introduced myself.  Well, introduced myself as GunDiva and then my real name - still very weird to to that.  She was amazingly warm and genuine and immediately invited us to join her at lunch.  Sadly, that didn't happen because our schedules were a bit off and I missed her, though I did get to talk to her throughout the weekend and each time she was amazingly wonderful.

Sophie hasn't blogged about WPA yet, she's been a little busy with releasing her new YA books and getting put on covers of magazines and all that mundane daily stuff that we aspiring writers dream about, but you should head over to her blog and click follow, too.  Better yet, go buy her books, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY and A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY, because the next Stella book is fast approaching.

For more WPA - just in case you can't get enough - be sure to head over to Lee Lofland's blog to check out his behind-the-scenes take on it and his daily WPA Picture of the Day and to my post on Girls With Guns for my experience with FATS training.

I've heard from Lee that next year's going to be even bigger than this year's WPA, so if you're interested be sure to start saving your money now.  I've heard rumors of a "Microscopic Murder" lecture and a helicopter addition.  I can't wait to see what Lee comes up with for next year.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

WPA - Day Two

So, I know that the Day One post was really, really, really long, but I thought I'd give you a taste of what the day was like.  Now that you all get the idea of the craziness, I'll dial it down a lot.

Day Two started at 8:00 am with this...

And ended roughly around midnight with this...

There was a bunch of other stuff in between, too.

Then I went to bed.