Crazy, Crazy Day

Swiss house under demolition (so internal stru...

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I pulled myself out of bed promptly at six this morning. So early that the sun wasn’t up yet, nor even the cats—though they did slink around the corners a bit. It’s a nice time, and for once I had the house to myself. This could do wonders for my mental health.

Having a goal made the endeavor far more palatable. Not that it was much of a carrot, it still gave me purpose.

I revised my short story. It’s not a good story, and never was, but hopefully it’s a little better. Got some of the little edits in, playing with paragraphs and sentence structures, that sort of thing. Most importantly, I filled in a sort of missing scene. The story itself had no indication that this scene existed, much less missing, but it builds the step between the ignorant beginning and the “epiphany” of the climax. Nothing quite so grand actually, but it’s far too late after my early morning to remember what the term I want is. Oh, the shame!

Then at 7:40 I got the call to sub. Maybe I planned the early wake up as me time, but it certainly made it possible for me to get to school that quickly. And it was the last day I needed this month to pay the bills.

And at 4:30, my brother and I had to head toward the theater to set up the movie. But brother had locked his keys in the projection room. And when he finally called other brother, he found that the other set of keys was in other brother’s car. Which my mom was driving, since other brother is out-of-state. So we went home. I remembered to pick up my jacket if it got cold again at night (it didn’t) and my glasses to focus the movie. We got back to the theater and brother got started setting up the movie, and my friend came over to hang out since we hardly ever see each other. Brother was kind enough to let me get away with this. Friend and I made fun of a certain book that she had lent me from her sisters’ collection.

Now, we could have finished the day off like this, the three of us: setting up the movie, and watching it (to check for errors of course). Except M.P.A.T. schedules “blocking” (play practice) at the theater on Thursday evenings. I forgot to inquire as to why this is so.

I had to go and walk about on stage while trying to read my lines and several actors not present.

It wasn’t much fun. I’m the only newbie on set; as brother put it, I “haven’t been in a play since kindergarten.” I told him that was a little excessive, because who could count kindergarten pageants plays? Other than possibly parents. Nothing against kindergarteners here. At any rate, I can’t enunciate and I don’t know what to do with myself on stage. As every other person in the cast has, I think, several years experience at least, I found this to be hugely embarrassing. Maybe not hugely. And even ’embarrassing’ doesn’t convey all that much, as I get embarrassed by almost everything. Although at least I can finally spell the word.

We finally cleared out the play paraphernalia (that is to say, the metal folding chairs on stage) about 8:30, at which point brother and I were finally able to eat dinner. An over-backed bake-at-home pizza. It was hot though, and dad delivered honey too, so it was almost palatable.

Brother helped me actually set up the movie—run the film through the projector and flip most of the switches. And we finished the rest of the flip switching by eleven.

Crazy, crazy day, I tell you.

Rendering in Ink

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If there’s a reason to keep kids learning cursive, it’s so they can send handwritten letters and notes to friends and relatives.

Writing letters isn’t the easiest activity, though it isn’t particularly complex either. As the oft-repeated quote goes:

I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead.

Attributed to Mark Twain, Samuel Johnson, and Blaise Pascal, it is true enough. Letters aren’t (weren’t/shouldn’t be) just extended status updates, or self-indulgent/activity-specific blogs, but are the best medium to share experiences with distant friends. A good letter doesn’t just list the weather, or tally the places you visited, or recount your activities, but should encompass all of these (if necessary) and your reactions to them so you can share the adventure that is your life, since they can’t be there for it.

Well, that’s a little over-the-top, and admittedly, I’m not exactly good at it myself. But especially since I’m not all that good at consistently using the phone

Hey! How are you?

It can’t have been six months.

Weren’t you getting my telepathic messages?

Ahem. Anyway, being an old-fashioned sort, I’ve always been more enamored with the idea of letter-writing than the reality. For one thing, I have to actually sit down and write something, the very act of which has three issues: a clear-enough desk or finding on of the incredible disappearing clipboards; finding a pen that will survive the length of the letter; and thinking of something to actually write about.

Right now, that feels something like that

Today, I went to the library. Again. And I read some. I was also online way too long again, and even though I subbed 3 times last week I barely remember it because I subbed 3 times last week and was very tired.

That’s probably not too bad as a tongue-in-cheek start, actually. Basically, like any other kind of writing, getting the first mark on the paper is the hard part. Once you’ve got the scrawl started it word associations will generally carry you along just fine.

Speaking of scrawls, I am reminded that my handwriting is one. Indeed, at times my print resembles the chicken scratching description everyone uses, although I admit I haven’t seen many scratches of chickens. Of the few letters sent to friends, not one garnered a complaint of unreadability. Perhaps they just though I sent them an example of modern art? Should it be that attractive. I try to draft every letter just so I don’t have to cross out words every line when I forgot where my thought was going, or with every misspelling. Then I write the true letter on a sheet of nice-ish stationary—in my budget, that means patterned printer paper from BigLots.

It’s terribly thin, almost tissue or tracing paper, but as long as I only write on one side…

When I bought the printer paper, I did consider writing my letters on the computer and printing them out on the nice paper, but then I though…yeah, you don’t get as much credit for that. Also, I like to practice my handwriting, because my mom has lovely handwriting she learned from her grandmother and I want mine to look like that.

Heh. What do you think of a handwritten blog post?  I could write it, scan it, and post it as an image!

Just the Last

The small class on the highlight of all Rockland High School field trips take notes as the manatees bob roundly in the water. When Molly remembers how they have those fat little fins, she wishes she could give the big one a hug, and leans over the edge a little to catch a glimpse of the cow-sweet eyes.

“Heh, look how many scars they have,” her boyfriend says, nuzzling her hair like he always does. “Bet if I had a boat I’d go fly’n if I hit that fat one.”

“You are so immature, Howard,” she answers. And pulls away.

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Writing to Prompts

This particular prompt was:

Write a 100-word story using these words: envy, manatees, and Texas.

And I don’t know that my answer is particularly awesome or anything, but today’s prompt was to write a 100-word story about ninjas and pirates, which is such an internet meme I’m positively sick of hearing about them.

Not that I didn’t love the joke in college, when my friends and I played with the idea (I was on the ninja side, by the way). But it’s not something I want to try to write one hundred words on. What would those words be? Nothing that I’m particularly interested in writing.

Not What I Wanted to Post

That would be a review of Inception, since I’ve seen it twice now, and Witches’ Children (by Patricia Clapp), because it’s simply a beautifully written novel and just…just…well, awesome is all I can say here, because I’ll definitely have to finish the review for that one: it’s too good not to. I’m going to campaign for that book.

But I’m still distracted online, reading/watching reviews of Twilight, and Harry Potter fan fiction, and also just generally looking at other web-culture type things.

Mostly because I have a two stories and two poems that I almost, kinda, sorta want to submit to Watershed, but though I reworked them a bit a few days ago, I’m rather afraid of looking at them again. I only have a few days before I have to send them off, and I can only think of what they are not. For instance, good.

And the problem is really that I just can’t evaluate my own work in any objective way…which is fairly typical as far as I can tell. But not a helpful insight. So I’ve resorted to avoidance.

Maybe I can work on them tomorrow, to distract myself from the other Big Deal, the rehearsal for The Curious Savage.

Help, I’m Trapped Online and I Can’t Get Off!

sleep disorder

Heh, it's called "Sleep Disorder"

So I’m up too late again, if only because I didn’t quite get enough sleep last night after watching Inception (after setting it up) but could only do so after going to play practice, and Inception is a very long movie. Once you get past the first hour and a half, it’s compelling, interesting story! And then I woke up too early after a fabulous dream, and although I might have been able get back to it enough to remember exactly why it was so fabulous, I was called in to sub for PE.

I remember I didn’t like PE in school. If I had to do high school over again knowing what I know now, I’d be much better at it, but I’d never be in that situation in the first place. I don’t have a high-school soul. Not like the Cullens.

Anyway, I got home. And subbing is always tired, I don’t know how teachers aren’t perpetually unconscious. So I got online, although only after finishing an art thing for my friend (yay me, I got something done!). Anyway, then I got online, and then I ended up on, which just linked and linked and linked and now I have way too many tabs to catch up on when I’m not trying to write a blog post while falling asleep at the keyboard.

At least I’ve learned many interesting things.

For instance, that the only reason they could show her bellybutton was because Roddenberry got the censor drunk.

So I’m Rather Conservative


If I had to choose the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten, I couldn’t possibly tell you. I can’t say my mom’s “big dumplings” are all that weird, but she didn’t make them for me until I was in college, and they were a little different.

And not like those described by the taker of the photo, who refers to pork and onions, the so-called ‘big dumplings’ of our family still have the potato dough, but are filled with hamburger. And when they are finished boiling, you fish them out of the water, plot up some butter and sprinkle them with sugar. That’s why I began to think of them as a little odd, sugar not being my condiment of choice with hamburger of any kind.

Maybe it’s because we’re Norwegian.

I mean, as far as I’ve found googling–which I acknowledge to be less than totally reliable–hamburger may never be used by anyone else in this kind of thing. So maybe my family just does it wrong. And generally the family style calls for butter and sugar topping everything from lefse to milk mush.

Grandma Anderson’s Big Dumplings

  • 1 c. mashed potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/4c. flour
  • 1/2 lb. hamburger

Brown hamburger; season to taste with salt and pepper. With floured hands, pat out dough on hand. Fill center with hamburger. Roll into ball; drop in boiling salted water. Boil approximately 15 minutes, until they float.

So okay, it doesn’t say anything about the sugar on top, but at least you get the full recipe. That’s what you get with family-style recipe books, the authors know who their audience’s are and tend to leave out some hand-holding.

I love the family recipe book. At least for great-great(?)-grandmother’s Depression-era recipes. Simple, good, and very filling. Perfect college fare.

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Spock Must Die!

Image by Morgales via Flickr

This picture has nothing to do with anything. But I can’t get rid of it. If I try, the entire post is deleted.

Dear WP, I hate you, M.

It’s been one of those days.

Spock Must Die! So goes the title of my newest Star Trek novel. You may see the appeal. Just the sort of campy over-the-topness I enjoy. And, as it is the Corgi British edition (1974 of course), it has the best cover ever:

Spock Must Die!

But frankly, I just don’t feel like blogging today.

There isn’t even much to talk about. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours sketching out a picture, and then nearly eight working with in in Illustrator. Which then crashed. So I had to do it again, and though it went faster I was still up to midnight. End product was awesome though.

But then I had to get up early to sub at the high school, which is cool and all but exhausting. And always weird, since so many of my former teachers still work there, and the others think I’m a student. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t feel like a teacher, which I’m not, but not even like substitute teacher. Anybody else remember elementary school, before you learned a teacher’s name, what you called them?


Students, I think, don’t see any particular person-hood in their teachers, not even in high school. They are starting to, but there are certain parameters of behavior that are expected, and I’m constantly afraid of violating them. It’s a disorienting experience.

I need to get back to writing on Plinky. The daily write-ups definitely kept up motivation and interest.

Alturas Balloon Fest

I got up at six this morning to go to the balloon fest, so this is image heavy and text light.

History: I’ve gone to the balloon fest almost every year I’ve lived in town for it, but never gone up in one except for 2001. Usually the fest is the second weekend of September, but though that year they pushed it back and the balloons couldn’t go up. At least, not all the way.  They stayed tethered, and a ride up and down only cost $10. Don’t have any pictures of that, so you’ll miss the image of me in my goofy denim overalls.

They serve a pancake, egg, and bacon breakfast every year, for just a couple bucks. Serving starts at 6:30, to beat the balloons.

Usually they lay the balloon out over tarps, although one shows up every year without one, and ends up with a rather dusty balloon when it’s in the air. This particular balloon was actually the last—all the other balloons were full and flying. And if you aren’t familiar with hot air balloons, this is taken from what is the top, when full. They fill it up with that giant fan.

One nice thing about a small town  balloon fest is being able to get right up close. When they used to hold it at the elementary school, we students were able to help fill it—that is, hold the sides along the middle and drag them out so it will fill properly. They can’t hold it at the school anymore, so now a generous resident donates their field.

The tarp-less balloon. For some reason I recall it always seems to go up early, or earlier than others—that’s why it looks so wrinkled. We don’t get many balloons here, and they tend to be the same ones. There’s a bigger balloon race in Reno earlier, so we get those who just don’t have to go home yet. And are very grateful. Though I miss Smokey the Bear.

Humpty-Dumpty is something of a consolation. He’s gone up a few times here. He’s all filled up and getting ready for take-off—you can see the flame in this picture.

Yay, they made it up! There isn’t a reference in this picture, but what with the cloud cover they couldn’t get very high. Up and down, and up again, but never very far, sometimes it seemed they wouldn’t even make it out of the field.

So no one was left in the field, as far as I know, but they sure didn’t make it very far. This is about a mile, at most, from the field, and in the middle of town. Convenient that we have a giant field in the middle of town as well.  Just over to the left, and they might have made it into a church parking lot.

Pretty pictures, but they do turn out better in sunlight.