Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving Brian and I went with his family to their Aunt Deb's house after lounging around in the morning watching The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.  We got to Aunt Deb's around one in the afternoon and soon found ourselves tucking in to a very yummy feast.  All of the requirements were there:  turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole and lots and lots of pie.  Unexpectedly there were sopapillas on the menu, which made me happy, and also some scrumptious little "acorns" which were really just bite-sized Nutter Butter cookies fused with Hershey's Kisses...  so good!

Anyway, this holiday is about more than food.  It's about gratitude as well.  There are many things that I am grateful for in my life.   To name a few:
  • Brian.  He and I have been together for three years now and they have been the greatest three years of my life.  I consider myself very blessed to have found my true love and partner in life.  I hope that he feels the same!
  • My family, even though I never get to see them!  I'm also grateful that Brian's family has so lovingly accepted me into their lives as well.  They are truly great people... and that includes all of his extended family!
  • My friends, especially Michelle, who cheer me up and support me in so many ways!  I really appreciate all the movies and dinners and long conversations that we share.
  • I'm thankful to have a job, especially in this rough economy.  I'm also thankful for Brian's job and the fact that he just got a raise!  Woohoo!  Seriously though, our money situation is getting better and that is awesome.
  • I'm thankful for the opportunity to go back to school and for grants and loans that helps me to do it!  I'm thankful for my professors and classmates who teach me new things all the time and I'm really grateful that I'm not failing!
  • Delicious food!  Oh, how I love it!
  • Time to write... although sometimes it's a struggle finding it.
  • The chance to live every single day and experience all that life has to offer!
I hope everyone has a terrific Turkey Day!

Friday, November 18, 2011


My novel-writing is going strong and I feel confident that I will have the first draft done by the end of the month.  I'm about halfway there as far as word-count is concerned, and it only took me 10 chapters to get to the point where the beanstalk shows up!

Chapter 10 ends with the following paragraph:
Outside on the other side of the house, a tiny leaflet pushed up through the soil under a crescent moon.  Its bright green color pulsed with the process of photosynthesis and life, stretching out its leafy tendrils as if yawning after a long nap.  Watered by teardrops and planted with passionate emotion, the beanstalk lifted its vegetable head and looked skyward towards the heavens.  Its goal in sight, the great plant sprouted upward in a rush of great speed and breathtaking magic.
Then later in Chapter 11, once they discover what has grown in their yard overnight, I describe the beanstalk as so:
The base of the beanstalk was just as wide as their front porch, comprised of large intertwining stems the size of tree trunks.  Great leaves like giant green tents sprouted forth in every direction casting immensely long shadows in the early morning light.  Tendrils like twisting garden hoses curled up and out, and amidst all of the emerald foliage enormous beans grew of every type.
Bean pods hung like evergreen canoes on a Christmas tree.  There were green beans, coral beans, red beans and black-eyed peas.  Runner beans ran up along the sides, never losing their breath.  Winged beans flew alongside pigeon beans and moth beans, each racing each other towards the sky like jade-colored angels.  Plush velvet beans beckoned at Jack, inviting him to climb upward.  Upward amongst the fava and pinto and hyacinth.  Skyward with the kidney and lima and garbanzo.

It really bothers me that the beanstalk is typically depicted without any beans growing on it.  Even in the new movie Puss in Boots, there are no beans growing on the beanstalk!  Crazy!!  Well my beanstalk is so named because it really is a bean plant with growing beans.  Giant beans, of course, but beans nonetheless!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Being Sick Doesn't Help the Writing Process

Since about Tuesday night I've been suffering from a cold.  It got so bad on Thursday that I was sent home early from work, so I spent the day taking medications and sleeping a lot.  Like a lot a lot.  I didn't go to my Thursday night class or my Friday morning one.  I just slept.  When I woke up on Friday I was feeling much better though, so I went and saw a movie, caught up on my movie reviews for the other blog and then went to work.  I came home after midnight and went straight to sleep and I just now woke up at noon today!

Basically what I'm trying to tell you is that being sick doesn't help the writing process.  I was very proud of my progress with NaNoWriMo until this stupid cold came and kicked me in the pants!  Now I am severely behind!  Today is Day 12 and I should have 20,004 words by now, but I only have 12,263.  It's a sad sad day in Jack's world let me tell ya.  However, if I can manage to write 1,987 words a day I can still finish my goal!  I don't have work until 5 today so I'm hoping to just write like a crazed maniac and see how many words I can do.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 7, 2011

An Excerpt from 'Jacky Boy' Chapter 4

As I mentioned already, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo and trying to get a novel knocked out before the month ends.  My book was once titled Jacked then Jack Sprat and now I'm calling it Jacky Boy and it's about a gay teenager named Jack who climbs a beanstalk, meets a giant and deals with quite a lot of other issues.  I've featured the first draft of Chapter 1 on this blog way back in August, and yesterday I featured a small portion of Chapter 3.  Here is a tiny bit of what is currently the fourth chapter.

To explain a little, Jack just found out he was fired from the movie theater he worked at.  While there, he runs into his friend and coworker George ("Georgy Porgy") who apologizes for not visiting Jack in the hospital (after his fall down the hill) and then teases him a little...
“So how have you been, Jacky Boy?  I’m sorry I never got a chance to see you.”

“Meh, don’t worry about it.  From what I hear I was knocked out most of the time.”

“Oh, well in that case, I visited you every day there, Jacky!  Ha ha.  You were just sleepin’ away like a little angel.”  George smiled again.  He sure was smiley.  Like jolly old Saint Nick.

“So how has it been around here?” asked Jack.  “Super busy?”

“Super slow.  Nobody wants to come to this ragtag theater anymore.  Folks would rather drive an hour to Castle and go to that new theater they’ve got up there.  Fourteen screens!  And the chairs recline back and everything.”

 “Do you know what’s the best part though?”

“No.  What?”

George leaned over the counter a little and whispered into Jack’s ear.  “The armrests push up.”

“So?” said Jack, his heart rate accelerating a little to have even fat ol’ Georgy’s face next to his.  He could feel his breath trickling down his neck, perking up every microscopic hair along the way.

“With the armrests out of the picture,” George whispered, “it’s much easier for two people to make out.”  And with that he slid his tongue into Jack’s ear before jumping back in hysterical fits of laughter. 

Friday, November 4, 2011


Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month?  It's also National Peanut Butter Lover's Month but that's beside the point.  Although there's nothing better than typing away at the computer with a great big jar of peanut butter and a spoon by your side.  Ah, the sticky sweet taste of literary abandon!

Since it's November and I am indeed wishing to write a novel, I decided that I would participate in NaNoWriMo which is an organization that helps motivate young authors to write a 50,000 word first-draft of their novel by the end of the month.  There are different forums and online pep talks to help connect us and keep us going strong!  There's also a really handy feature that allows me to track my progress, letting me know how many words a day I need to write to hit my goal.  I can even have fellow writers read and critique what I've written!

So since I'll be so busy with work and school and novel-writing, I don't know how often I'll get to blog.  Perhaps I'll share little teaser bits of the story I'm working on, like this:

Summer’s stay is always fleeting, and soon the leaves die out in a blaze of colorful glory, leaving the trees naked and bare.  The passionate heat of the warmer months had warmed Jill up from the inside out, opening her eyes to life’s possibilities.  Radiant beams of light had penetrated deep within.  Her cheeks had been flushed; her body soaked with sweat.  The sun had done more than warm her.

It burned.
Wish me luck on this endeavor!  I'll need all the support I can get...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Treats!

Halloween was lots of fun yesterday.  Brian and I spent the day making sweet treats and then gorged ourselves on them all through the night!  Our delicacies were very simple and definitely delicious.

Homemade Orange Marshmallows

For this treat, bloom gelatin in cold water for ten minutes.  Meanwhile, make a syrup with sugar and evaporated milk.  Once the syrup registers 240 degrees (you'll need a candy thermometer for this) add it to the gelatin and beat it for ten minutes with a hand mixer until it is very thick and fluffy.  At this point we added vanilla and orange zest to give our marshmallows a fun flavor!  In a square or rectangular baking dish (buttered and dusted with powdered sugar) pour the marshmallow mixture and let it rest for two hours or so.  We covered ours in orange sugar to give it a more fitting Halloween appearance, cut it into squares, and stuck them with lollipop sticks!

Caramel Apples

A quintessential autumn favorite!  First make some caramel by cooking sugar with a little bit of water until dark brown.  Off the heat, add some heavy cream and butter.  Once the butter has melted, dip your washed apples into your homemade caramel sauce.  We died our caramel red (although the photo makes it seem brown) and covered them with some Halloween sprinkles.  The caramel apple sticks and the lollipop sticks from the previous recipe were hard to find, but we eventually located them at a kitchen supply store called Bosch.

Chocolate Truffles

You can't have a celebration without chocolate!  Brian and I made these truffles by first making a ganache, which is just chocolate that's been emulsified with heavy cream.  We used white chocolate and died it orange for Halloween.  You then put the ganache into the fridge to firm up, and in the mean time you make tempered chocolate by melting half a bar of dark chocolate and then stirring in the rest of the bar and letting it melt from the residual heat.  This will cool down the temperature of the chocolate and allow it to harden once again.  With a melon baller, scoop out small portions of the ganache and roll into balls.  Using a skewer, dip the balls into the melted chocolate and roll into any toppings such as hazelnuts or coconut.  We placed ours into white paper cups and let them sit at room temperature until the chocolate coating hardened (if the chocolate wasn't properly tempered you might have to put them into the fridge to harden).  It's a happy little surprise to bite into the truffle and discover the fun orange color inside!

Chocolate-Dipped Bacon

If you are unfamiliar with the amazing sweet-and-salty combination of bacon and chocolate then you are severely missing out on one of life's greatest joys!  Simply cook up some bacon as you would normally, then follow the directions above for making tempered dark chocolate.  Dip one end of the bacon strip into the chocolate, throw on some Halloween sprinkles, and allow the chocolate to harden.  I probably ate about six of these last night!


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