Monday, October 31, 2016

Starting tomorrow, I'm planning on writing 1,667 words per day for the entire month of November.

All part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which encourages participants to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

From their website: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.

I did this in 2011.

One of the NaNoWriMo rallying cries is "No Plot? No Problem!"*** Just keep writing. The idea is to dispense with writer's block, perfectionism, procrastination, and the like, and just go for it.

Well, it ended up being a real problem for me in 2011, not having a plot. I ended up with, over time, close to 80,000 words of various scenes and stories very loosely strung together, spanning decades and multiple points of view. In other words, a mess.

Maybe I'll get that sorted out some day to my satisfaction, but tomorrow, I'm starting with something new. I've been thinking about it for a while. It's going to be non-fiction, which makes me a bit of a NaNoWriMo rebel. (They actually have groups for the rebels, as well!)

It's a good thing there's a starting point. Because I have all kinds of excuses to not start. My writing/sewing/craft room is not set up. It's been painted and the carpet's been cleaned. But nothing more.

I'm hoping to get this desk emptied and moved in before tomorrow.

The bookcase will have to wait.

And the closet will take a while longer. (Yes, I really do Project 333; this is the extra clothing that didn't make the current three-month cut.) The idea is to get all my stuff out of this blue room and into the pink room, so the blue room will be all nice and clean for guests.

And I didn't even show you the piles of stuff on and under the bed that need to be moved and organized. Scrapbooking stuff, sewing stuff, old journals, etc.

If I don't get the desk moved, I will just have to sit down and write there.

Or, I will have to clear a spot on our kitchen table, which is currently in the living room, housing a microwave, a toaster, our vitamins, and all kinds of miscellaneous items while the kitchen is being done.

What a mess!!
So you see, there are lots of reasons why I could procrastinate. I really do want to write this book in an organized, neat, and beautiful (the beautiful matters!!) environment. This is driving me crazy. 

But NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, whether I'm ready or not. Start your engines . . .  er, laptops!

(Or maybe I should write longhand, and edit on my computer? Writing with pen is supposed to foster creativity. Hmmm . . .  spiral notebook or looseleaf? Aargh . . . . stop it, and just start writing!!)

Anybody else out there doing this?

***At least it was in 2011. Not sure about now. They have loads of support/info/write-ins/local writers' groups to join. People post their word counts on Twitter! I am not involved in all this, because I feel like it will just distract from me actually writing. I will check in occasionally to their online support for encouragement, as needed, though!

The heart of the home

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I'd like to think that, as a mom, I'm the heart of our home. But we all know that the true heart of any home is really the kitchen

It's where everyone gathers, where all the good stuff happens.

It's where most of the conversations take place. Where good food is prepared. Where everyone meets at the end of the day, ready to rest and relax. A place where you can drop your defenses, let down your guard. Whether you enjoy a simple soup and sandwich or all the fixings of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you feel comforted and nourished.

It's a place to feel safe and happy and at peace.

I've been thinking about this lately as our kitchen has been torn up for renovation.

My husband and I feel a little like intruders in our own home, skulking around the edges, making coffee in the laundry room, and eating our takeout in front of the TV. The big main hub of the home, the kitchen, is closed to us, and we are feeling a little lonely for its warmth and comfort.

I'm pretty excited about this cabinet. We moved the refrigerator down to the right and now have a double cabinet here, which will be for all my china teacups and teapots (well, all that fit!). It will have glass doors and shelves and lights inside.
I've gained weight. I have indigestion. Everything's out of whack. Our routines are disrupted, and I've been losing things. I had a special place in the kitchen for my phone and eyeglasses. Now, I can't seem to keep track of them.

No matter how much extra room you have in your house, there's something about the kitchen that draws you to it.

When we first started homeschooling, we set up our schoolroom in our basement. I had a big table, bookshelves, and all our supplies, organized and ready to go. But nine times out of ten, we'd all end up working at the kitchen table.

I'm going to be moving all my craft and sewing supplies and writing stuff into my daughter's room now she's married and moved out. Right now, the sewing machine is in one closet, the scrapbooking stuff is in another closet, the knitting stuff is on a shelf in the family room, etc. I can't wait to get this room all organized and ready, with everything at hand, and a nice big work table in the center. 

My daughter picked out this pink paint called Angel Wing when she was 13 years old. I decided to keep it. It's very soft; a warm and pretty color.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to be gathering supplies and heading down to the kitchen table, at least occasionally. Especially in the middle of the winter when a pot of soup will be on the stove and the tea kettle on to boil. Oh, and especially if I've made a fire in the next room.

What a blessing a kitchen is! I'm so thankful for the one here in the works. And you better believe I'll be doing a lot of cooking and baking this Christmas!


So, you may have noticed this mural in the background above. It is currently the focus of a running debate at our home. Keep it or lose it?

When we first looked at this house, I thought to myself, that mural is the first thing that's gonna go. But it kind of grew on me, and it is the only thing that hasn't been painted here in 18 years. We have ended up pulling the colors out of this mural for all the rooms downstairs -- sage green in the kitchen,  soft yellow in the library, blue in the living room.

It stretches from the doorway to the laundry room all the way around the wall to the foyer.

And ends with this.

I think I'm finally ready to paint over it. But everybody, my husband, my kids, my book club . . . even the carpenter putting in the cabinets . . .  wants me to keep it. 

So I'm waffling. 

What do you think?

Another goodbye

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I am sitting here at Panera writing this.

I just don't feel comfortable in my own home with workers in my kitchen. I used to think it would be wonderful to have "staff," a la Downton Abbey, but I realize I am way too private to share my house with any one but family or friends.

Which brings me to another point.

We're sharing our home with no one now. The first time in 29 years.

It seems I've been saying goodbye to my children for about 11 years now, ever since my first went off to college. Then I had to do it all over again when my second one left. Then saying another goodbye to the first one when she moved out of state after graduation. Then, the hard parting with the youngest as he started college. But not an empty nest, as our daughter was back home by then. Then saying goodbye to both boys as they moved out of state. That was a Big Goodbye, from which I haven't fully recovered adjusted.

And now my daughter has moved out and into her new home with her husband. 

Getting an antique dresser, the last of the furniture, out of her old room. (Notice her pink work gloves!!)
I was so involved with the wedding planning and the excitement of it all, that I forgot.

How much we talked together every day and how much fun we had. How I would miss her.

{Good grief, Deborah, she only lives 15 minutes away!}

I'm just surprised I guess. That I haven't quite got used to this goodbye thing. 

A new (to me) teacup offers consolation. When the kitchen workers leave I will make myself a cuppa and enjoy my current read, The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge. I've read it before, but it's too good to sit on the bookshelf.  A wonderful, cozy read.

Too many choices . . .

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I'm in the midst of a kitchen and powder room renovation.

Between that and the stink bugs and all my daughter's stuff piled up in the living room waiting to be picked up to go to her new home, it's a bit chaotic here.

The Keurig is on the shoe rack in the laundry room, and we have a toaster on a table in the living room. (That's all we can make here. Tea and toast. Not bad, actually. My favorite things.)

I'm stepping over dishes and boxes, trying to vacuum and sweep up the extra dust, and feeling discouraged at some weight gain from eating too much takeout over the past couple weeks.

I'm not complaining, really. It's going to look beautiful.

But I do wish I was a little better at decision-making.

I need to pick out lights and a mirror and hardware. And paint colors.

Who knew there were so many options?

I went to one website and typed in chandeliers. Over 37,000 results. Put in your filters, and you still have a few hundred. Multiply that by several sites (you have to compare, right?), and that's a lot of chandeliers. Then there's kitchen island pendants, bathroom mirrors and lighting, and more. Then try to get them to all look good together without being too matchy-matchy.

I've spent days looking at this stuff online. My head is spinning. Mr. Beautiful is quite tuckered out by the whole thing.

This is the chandelier I finally decided on to go over the kitchen table.

From here.
I wasn't looking for this. I just stumbled on it. And funny, because when I was picking out countertops and backsplash a couple months ago, this candle holder was my inspiration piece for colors . . . 

This quartz looks kind of green in the photos. It's not. It's actually got a slightly (pink) cast. (I'm hoping my husband hasn't noticed that.)


In knitting news, my instructor didn't show up for the first class. 

A very nice lady in the store overheard me talking about trying to learn to knit socks, and spent about a half hour with me. She gave me some good tips. Lots of great people all over. So I am soldiering on, with her encouragement . . . 

I made the mistake the other day of entering the election fray on Facebook. I think I'm better off knitting and drinking tea. Much more peaceful.

Pure Michigan

Thursday, October 6, 2016

We just returned from five days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

The colors won't be at their peak for another week or two.

But it was still quite pretty.

Had an authentic UP pasty. They are filled with beef, potatoes, onion, rutabaga, salt, and pepper, and were originally introduced to the area by immigrant miners from Cornwall. Mining (copper and iron) was big in the UP, and the area is still largely populated by descendants of miners from Finland and Norway. 

These were conveniently tucked into the miners' clothing where they stayed warm until a dinner break.

I never saw as many mushrooms and fungi as I did this past weekend. And lots of moss.

Perfect for fairies.

And what's camp without a big bonfire and s'mores?

While we were gone, the rest of these cupboards were removed. We will be without a kitchen and downstairs bath for about eight weeks. I have a coffee pot in the laundry room. Looks like a lot of takeout!

Have only seen four stink bugs since we've been home. I insisted we take apart our bed before we moved back into our bedroom. One under the mattress and one on the frame.

I wonder where else they're hiding?!

ps . . . I've lost my entire blog list on my sidebar. I see Blogger Engineering is supposed to be taking care of this, but that was days ago. Looks like I'll have to manually add all the blogs I follow. Has this happened to anyone else?
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