Monday, November 30, 2009

You're Right, Life is Totally Not Fair.

Poor Kid 1.

Let me back up. Kid 1 is not a whiner. She is not a complainer. She understands things, she does. But she's still sad about not having a cell phone.

She doesn't mention it above a couple times a month, so it's not even obnoxious. More like "Hey, if I get a real job, can I get a phone?" (Did you catch that? She wants to "get" a phone, not "have" a phone. The difference is that she knows that she will be paying for it. Thing of beauty, that is.)

So you know how some kids will use the "everybody else" line? "Everybody else gets to go to the Midnight Movie on a school night" or "Everybody else gets to take Driver's Ed this year" or "Everybody else has channels and a DVR" -- You know this phrase? Well, I never actually hear the words "Everybody else has a cell phone" (because she knows it won't crack my rock-hard resolve, but will probably end in mockery). But know what?

It's true.

She is the only one of her friends without a phone.

If I were to list her five, her ten best buds at school, I think it would be true. She's the only one. Now, this is not to say that I think she needs one. She doesn't drive. There are telephones at school, and at every house that she may find herself in, and clearly, in the bags, pockets, or backpacks of all her friends. There are phones everywhere. This logic is infallible.


It's not just about her being able to call home, or receive texts, or check her facebook status during lunch break. The problem is, her friends won't call her at home.

Because anybody might answer the phone. Anybody. Like... your Mom. Eww.

May I be clear once again? Kid 1's friends rather like me. I'm Mama Becca. I'm the good cook, the one who knows all the lyrics to all the cheesy musicals. I'm the driver. I don't mean to sound vain, here, but I'm the Cool Mom.

But they won't call our house, because someone else (not Kid 1) might answer the phone.

This leads to sadness. Unfair sadness. Like not getting called about the sold-out show. Like not getting called about the Girls' Night In. Like not getting called.

And what can I do? She's right. It's not fair.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


My Christmas Tree has been up for 2 weeks. Eleven or twelve years ago we bought a really pretty artificial tree. Yes, that can happen. We have certainly gotten our money's worth from it, but I worry just a little that ten more years will mean all the poly-plastic needles have gone the way of the vacuum cleaner. But it's holding on. Hanging tough.

It's lit with all white lights (non-blinking, natch) and silver ornaments. Husband is a careful light putter-onner. I? Drape. He carefully wraps each branch so there are no visible cords. I? Want to see hundreds of tiny white lights. We worked together this year. The effect is lovely. Just don't step too close.

Gifts are purchased/ordered/made/wrapped, and today, they go on display under the tree. I sort of can't wait for this part. I love to see the pile. It's not huge (partly because the Kids are growing out of the Big Gifts - like anything made by Little Tykes or Fisher Price, and we all know those things take some real estate under there) but it's (*throat-clear*) color coordinated and matching.

So let it begin, really begin. Merry Christmas, friends!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Husband!

Today is Husband's birthday. Husband, the loving, the talented, the hard-working, the early-rising, the studious, the gentle, the appreciative, the concerned, the love of my heart. Want to know what? I love birthdays. And want to know what else? I love presents. Mine, or anybody else's. Buying gifts, planning gifts, making gifts, wrapping gifts... it all makes me really happy.

And also, I couldn't wait until today to do the birthday present thing.

So we came home from Grandma and Grandpa's house yesterday afternoon (it really was afternoon, even though it was almost dark) and busted out the presents. I had a good excuse, really, because Husband was threatening to put on the Netflix show of the moment, which happens to be Jurassic Park. It's not that I don't like Jurassic Park, it's more like I just... hate it.

So we suggested presents, and after some new windshield wipers and some vanity shelving for the beautiful photos he takes and also Coldstone Ice Cream, which is available now in my very own market's freezer, there was UP. You may recall that I liked this show every time I saw it in theaters. (I think 3 times. Maybe more.) Somehow, I liked it even more snuggled up in the basement with the fireplace going and the Kids all piled around each other. And not only because I could fall asleep for twenty minutes without getting that crunch in my neck when my unfortunate sleep patterns manifest themselves in a movie theater. I just really love the act of filling my home with something good. And this movie is good.

But, I have to say that if I had never seen it and I just read the back jacket copy, I would never have bought this DVD. Listen to this: "Carl Fredricksen, a retired balloon salesman, is part rascal, part dreamer who is ready for his last chance at high-flying excitement. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets off to the lost world of his childhood dreams. Unbeknownst to Carl, Russell, an overeager 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer who has never ventured beyond his backyard, is in the wrong place at the wrong time - Carl's front porch!" Yes, the exclamation point is theirs. The copy only gets worse after that. I mean, really? Really? You can make a movie THIS wonderful, and here's what you say about it? It reminds me the importance of a great query letter. But this is not about writing, not really. This is about Husband, and birthdays, and days off school and work and post-holiday relaxing.

So Husband is a year older* and our fridge is full of a Honeybaked Ham that we totally did not bring to the Thanksgiving gathering yesterday (on purpose, because I'm selfish, not like Nathan - who just forgot to put everything that's not pie in his car, I'm just saying) and we have three more days of nothing planned. That would be my idea of a vacation. All the Kids here, no work schedule, the house is already clean, no school, no plans. Except a photo shoot, because that's what Husband really wants for his birthday - to take pictures without anyone moaning or melting in protest. I'll let you know how that turns out. The pictures. And the moaning.

*not a year older than me. He's three years older than me. Just so we're straight on that.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Honestly, today it's all about the white flour. I'm off to the kitchen to make Many Fine Rolls. Enjoy your day, won't you?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Still Feeling Thankful

So today, I'm feeling really grateful for forgiveness. In the big ways, and also in the small ways. I'm thankful for God's way of accepting my too-small offerings. His mercy. His generosity. His continuousness.

And I'm grateful for others who forgive my constant, stupid, small and huge offenses.

For instance, my adorable friend had a baby this week. In a fit of resourcefulness, I managed to leave my little valley to visit her and her perfect son in the hospital. We snuggled her baby, we laughed, we visited, and it was great. I, being the kind of girl I am, offered to bring her family dinner after she got home. Which would be last night. Last night. The night I did not remember to feed anyone who lives outside my own kitchen.


I am an idiot. This is clear over and over, to anyone who knows me even a little bit. But I know that my friend's family did not starve. At least I'm pretty sure, and I'll call to make completely sure as soon as the sun is over the mountain. And then I'll bring actual dinner, and she'll forgive my stupidity, and everything will be okay (even if she never *quite* trusts me again to feed her children).

And I'm grateful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Funny Thing

My friend Cindy just sent me this. If you're a New Moon fan (or if you're not, but know the story) this is a good way to spend five minutes laughing.

More Thanks

I'm grateful for my talents. I'm not talking about writing, don't worry. I'm talking about home talents that make my life easier.

I'm grateful to know how to budget. If this were a superpower, I'd be Wonder Woman, stretching dollars all over the town. The most amazing facet of my superpower is determining the difference between a want and a need. No idea how this came about (because my Dad, bless his heart, needs Double Stuff Oreos and Lemon Drops. But only whenever he's at the store. Or the gas station*) but I'm glad to have it.

I'm grateful to know how to cook. I love food. I love really good food above all. I dream about food. Japanese Soba noodles, last night. I've never actually eaten Japanese Soba noodles, but I read "Garlic and Sapphires" a few years ago, and that chapter absolutely hooked me. So in my dream, I was on a noodle quest. Don't judge. Also I love white flour. I know that's not chic. It's not fashionable to like it, but hot, white, buttered starch is my kind of nirvana. Pardon me while I dream of pasta. Pretzels. Popcorn. Rice. Crusty, rich artisan bread.

Mmmm. Bread.

Okay, I'm back (she says, wiping drool from the keyboard). And while we're on the subject of good things I can cook, I sort of dare you to name it. There are some things I choose not to make (anything deep-fried and Chinese - I do it, and I do it well, but I can't eat it after I see how the oil reserve sinks. I'll take my Sesame Chicken from Shoots or PF Chang's.) But the only thing I've ever tried to make that totally flopped? Mozzarella sticks (we were newlyweds, and too poor to hit Denny's to satisfy a craving. That was the last time I ever even craved mozzarella sticks. Just don't even try to imagine the damage.) I love food, and I'm grateful that I can make myself whatever I want to eat.

I'm thankful to be able to prioritize the little things. One load of laundry every day makes me able to handle my life a lot easier than being a slave to Mr. Maytag all day every Thursday. Multi-tasking is a great blessing (ironing while I watch "Guys and Dolls" or painting my toenails while I read to the Kids or letting the Lysol disinfect the toilets while I reread "Guernsey" in the bathtub).

I'm thankful for a decent sense of organization. I've got several things to arrange and deal with, when I think about my 4 Kids on their 4 school schedules, plus practices and lessons, homework, chores, and music practicing, and sometimes the thought of it makes me roll up in a ball. You moms who work? I don't know how you do it. I'm thankful that I stay home (that's code for "run around for everyone else") so I can keep myself and my family in order. Which brings me to:

I'm grateful for my newfound ability to say the word No. This came in my middle thirties. And it is a gift, let me tell you. I'd heard of it before, but I'd never dared try it. But now? I'm a No pro. Want a free sample?

Becca, can you...? NO.
Becca, would you like to...? No.
Pardon me, miss, could I have a moment of your time? NO.
Mom, may I please...? No.
Honey, could I...? No.
Becca, would you...? No.
Do you want to...? No.

Wait. Maybe I'll rethink that last one.

*Oh, come on. He also taught me the fine art of exaggeration. He should be proud.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Gratitude Week

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Here at my blog, we'll be jumping on the Grateful train* and talking about all manner of things to feel grateful about.

And what am I thankful for? Today, and increasingly over the years, I am grateful for my family. I have a really, really good Husband. He's a kind, hard-working, funny, talented, handsome, generous guy. He hands over compliments like Halloween candy. He'd rather be at home, with us, than anywhere in the world. He uses his talents to make the world beautiful**.

And then there are the Kids. The healthy, happy, smart and adjusted Kids. They like each other. They love each other. They grow their talents and they are obedient and they are kind.

Kid 1, quiet and reserved in normal life, lights up like a sparkler when she's on stage.

Kid 2 is self-motivated and hard-working, and makes lovely music.

Kid 3 keeps me laughing*** with her diva ways.
Kid 4, totally not a baby anymore by the way, shares his love, spreading his friendship all over the kindergarten and beyond.

This family, it's my greatest blessing. I thank God every day for them, for their goodness and their sweetness.

*which, naturally, reminds me of my favorite scene from "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?" where the 3 convicts, still in ankle chains, leap onto the train car and then fall off. Priceless comedy.
**Kind of like these pictures.
***you know, when I'm not beating her

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Twenty Years Ago Today

Standing at the circulation desk, filing cards grown soft at the corners, I heard the phone ring. Eager for a change of pace, even if it meant I'd be doing someone's research over the phone, I grabbed up the receiver.

"Batesville Public Library, can I help you?"

It was my dad. Calling from the hospital room in Chicago where my mom had been admitted during their getaway weekend. He just wanted to check in on me - he'd missed me when he called home to talk to the boys.

"I'm good. Work is fine. I'm excited to go to Cincinnati this afternoon. Can I talk to Mom?"


Now, I should explain that pauses in telephone conversations with my dad are not unusual. There is always... a great deal... of... white space... in talking with him. So why was I suddenly hot around my eyes, and tight in the back of my throat?


Throat-clearing. "No. You can't. Mom's in a coma, Bec."

Did I know that? Was there some conversation in the past few days where this information was given to me, and did I somehow forget about it? Is that even possible? But if not, how could he have neglected to mention such a vital fact to me?

The library, quiet anyway, went fuzzy like cotton around me. Even the whispers were muffled, and I felt wrapped up in the familiar. I didn't even sit down. I tipped my chin to roll the tears back into my head, and finished the conversation like a well-bred teenager. Which I was.

Maybe years of living with a mom who spent a week every year in the hospital calloused me. Maybe the idea of her in the ICU was just part of my childhood. I'd lived with it my whole life, you know. So maybe you won't find me a completely unfeeling ingrate when I tell you that the rest of the day was more than fine - it was fun.

After a rowdy drive into Cincinnati, Missy and I got dropped off downtown, scoured a few ballet supply stores (for her) and a bookstore (for me). We ate at Taco Bell. For a skinny person, Missy could really eat. She ordered no less than five menu items, and I watched, impressed, as she downed every bite. We met at the rendezvous point to get picked up for the dance.

The dance.

Here was where I belonged, in this under-decorated church-building-turned-social-hall. With these kids, from towns and cities an hour from my home -- this was where I felt like me. Good kids, and all so different. Different from what I saw every day at school, and different from each other. I felt loved there, not judged, not watched, not weird. This was a place for a great deal of hugging.

Dance, dance, dance. Cute boys and happy girls and jokes and laughter and music. Forgive me for forgetting, for a couple of hours, what was going on a few hundred miles to the northwest.

After the dance, Pizza. As ever. Mr. G's pizza, breadsticks, and root beer. More laughing. More talk. More teasing. Gentle teasing from the others, and more pointed teasing from my brother. I shook it off, like I'd learned to do (not like the years and years that I would scream and yell and then get in trouble for overreacting).

Somehow on the long drive home, I didn't know. I had no premonitions. The earth didn't shift. Air wasn't sucked from the atmosphere. I just rode home, laughing and not sleepy and not afraid.

I checked on Marc. He was sleeping in the parent's big bed, elbows and knees everywhere. Good. Wash face. Brush teeth. Change into jammies. Lights off. Climb into bed.

Knock at the door.

Blood runs cold.

Ignore it. It will go away. My fear of the dark, fueled by far too many Stephen King novels that first year I worked at the library, overtook all logic.

More knocking. Monsters. Axe murderers. Doorbell. Vampires. Psychotic animals. More knocking. Another doorbell.

I picked up the phone in my room and called our own number. I don't know if this works anymore, technologically speaking, but that night, I hung up quickly and the phone began to ring. Once, twice, three times. It stopped. I grabbed the receiver.

"There's someone at the door."

Only the intervention of a benevolent God prevented him from reminding me that axe murderers do not ring doorbells.

"Okay. Coming." The bravest words of a brave big brother.

I stood, shivering at my bedroom door. Saw him walk from the basement stairs across the small family room. He turned and I heard the door open. Heard the Rockwoods' voices, hushed appropriately for the time of night and the delicacy of their mission.

I didn't wonder if we'd left something in their car. I didn't wonder if anything terrible had happened to their kids between dropping us off and getting themselves home. I didn't wonder anything. Because I knew.

I knew.

I walked to the front door. They'd come in, but only just. Their backs were pressed against the door, and I knew again. There were no jokes, and if the Rockwoods weren't telling jokes, this was more serious than anything I'd ever experienced with them. Jolene, tall and stricken, held her arms out to me. I shook my head, not because I didn't want her comfort, not because I didn't believe, but because my head would shake. Back and forth as I was folded into her arms.

Whispered words: "Your mom..." Head shake, back and forth.

"... dad called..." Head shake.

"Come home with us, sleep at our house..." And then I could nod. Yes. Your house. That is the right thing to do. Because we shouldn't be here alone. And we should give you the thing you need, too. We should allow you to do the only thing to do when there is nothing, nothing anyone can do.

Before getting in the car, I did the only thing I could do when there was nothing else to do. I went back into my room, picked up the phone again, and listened as the buttons sang Jorja's song - the eleven-note jingle that meant I could reconnect with my far-far-away best friend.

Her mom told me she was asleep.

"I need her."
"My mom died."

Gasp. "Oh, Becca." A quick waking, and there it was. The comfort I needed, across a thousand miles. The words, just right.

Will you be shocked, or will you understand when I tell you we laughed? Will you know what it is to share a heart, and to realize that there is a time for tears, and a time for laughter? And, sometimes, will you understand the need for both at once? Will you know that both, in equal measure, are required in order to heal?

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Not You, It's Me

It may not be clear from the words appearing on my post and all, but I am taking a little break from writing today. Not like breaking up, exactly, just taking a break. I'll say it - I'm going through a selfish phase. It's not you, it's me. I need some time. Let's still be friends*.

But really, seriously now, I am reconnecting with the other parts of me, the little lost parts.

There's no Christmas-shopper part. There's no good-sister part. There's no good-friend part. There's only a sliver of a good-server part. There's not much of a cooker or a cleaner or a book-reader part.

But I will relocate my Wife pieces and my Mama pieces, and I will polish them till they shine. (And if, purely by coincidence, bathrooms also happen to shine today, that will be a bonus.) I want to recover something that has started to slip in all the bustle of the past couple of months. If that means I disappear from some of the other roles I've been playing, at least I'll know I'm focusing on the pieces that matter most.

*If I had been responsible for more breakups in my past, I could probably come up with more lines. But, whatever, I guess I was always on the other end...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Come See Me!

Hey, Y'all in Utah County! I have a little event in Orem tomorrow. I'll be at the new Deseret Book (by Five Guys Burgers and Fries, just north of University Mall) from 1:00-3:00. I have good, good news to share with anyone who comes...

I Absolutely Almost Remember Doing That Already (I Think)

I am losing my mind.

Not in the slow, graceful way of the aging woman of character. Fast and loud.

For instance: I do things, regular house-y things or different elsewhere things, only to check progress and find that I didn't do them at all. Like? Oh, how about the laundry that should be dry by now but instead is moldering in the washing machine EVEN THOUGH I PERFECTLY WELL REMEMBER SWITCHING IT OVER. Or the bed, that I absolutely remember making this morning when I got out of it, now rumpled and messy, with all the covers on my side. Or that bread I bought at the store, because who has time to NaNo and bake bread? But where is it? Not in the cupboard. Not in the fridge. Not in the freezer. Not in the pantry. So I fervently check my receipt so I can call the market and righteously demand they return the hostage bread I bought... which is not listed on the receipt.

This works both ways with writing. One morning I wake early, check the draft from yesterday, find where I was working and look for that funny paragraph. You know, that one that made me laugh while I was typing. That one where the guy goes to the place with the thing? Lost. Can't find it. So I read the entire manuscript, which is up to 22,000 words by now, searching for that funny paragraph.

It does not exist.

But want to know what does? A different scene, written with only slight variations, in at least three places. That scene that seemed so easy to write, so natural (maybe because I've written it seven times before). Ack.

Bye, Sanity. I enjoyed your stay, brief as it was.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good Advice

Hey, it's a quote from Husband!*

"Discover what each character needs."

Great writing advice, right? Even though he uses it for films, it's the same sort of idea. And it can help get me out of a NaNo slump. Because my characters will always need something (a drink of water, a slap, to find the key to the hidden garden door**, whatever). And if I give them what they need, the story will be over. So, naturally, I give them (or allow them to take) what they think they need, insuring all manner of mayhem.

What does your character need? A quest? Love? A job? Comedy? Some kind of Personal Knowledge? If you know what they need, you're well on your way to denying them for a few chapters (or a lot of chapters, if you happen to be a long-form, dedicated, non-flighty sort of writer). Let's get back to the writing.***

*When I hit that, the "!" didn't come out, because I was sliding off of the shift key. It said Husband1, but only for a second. He is Husband 1, you know, but also HusbandForever.
**What? That's been done? Why didn't someone tell me that 20,000 words ago? Come on, people!
***As opposed to the writing about writing, which is nice, but doesn't add to my climbing word-count. So, bye.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post # 250. No Kidding.

In honor of the fact that this is my 250th post, I am absolutely not going to tell you 250 possibly interesting (or possibly not) things. I am not going to give away 250 random items I have sitting around my house. I am not going to spam 250 people and ask them to read my blog (because I don't know how). I am not going to do any of that. I am going to give you... (drumroll, please) another RRO mini-excerpt.

Mom pulls her new toy, a talking GPS directions-thingie up close to her eyes. “Turn right here. No, here. Sarah, you missed it. Now Mildred’s recalibrating.” I swear if I hear the polite British GPS voice, which, yes – Mom named, tell me one more time that she’s recalibrating, I’ll chuck her right out the window.
“It’s okay, Mom. There’s another entrance to the parking lot.” I point ahead half a block and turn into the lot between two huge trees.
It’s almost over, I tell myself. And then somehow you’ll miss this.
Try me, I respond.
"My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions" Chapter 1

I know, right? We can hardly wait. So, I have some good news about that. The Lovely Editor (whom we shall call Lids because I have a small typing handicap and it feels so much like Lisa - she understands and so should you) has recently let me know that My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions is at press this week. THIS WEEK, people.

I know.

So it looks like we might have an earlier-than-expected release date, too. Yip!

Also, 19,000 words as of today. Yip, yip!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fighting Style

I've been writing a fight - not physical, and not even an argument. It's a silent avoidance, and sometimes those can be the most painful. Someone is keeping a secret. Someone else makes (totally incorrect) assumptions. Everyone feels bad, bad.

Are you a confronter? Or an avoider? What about the people in your house? Same as you, or different?

And, if you care: Here's a little NaNo update: I'm at 15, 771 this morning!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Together Again

Husband flew home through the night. He's been on a work trip to Hawaii. Before you get too disgusted, you should know that he didn't even get in the water once. He worked his tail off (even though "work" has a little different connotation when you're a filmmaker - he had to do some location scouting where they shot "Jurassic ParK" and "Lost," along with a little shopping in Chinatown).

And now he's home. Currently trying to sleep over the sounds of Kids 3 and 4 dancing to "The Final Countdown" by Europe, which (by the way) has been much overplayed this week.

But it is so good to have him home. It's just right for him to be here, you know? Good. Safe. Complete.

In the immortal words of Kermit the Frog, "Hey, it's good to be together again."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seen Around Town

A person who would leave the house like this:

must have either very high self-esteem, or none at all. Is there a third option?

(the turban is covering curlers for the Play tonight. Made from a very pretty scarf Husband bought in Ecuador last fall.)

Who Knew?

Blog O' Random, coming at you.

* Bathrooms don't actually clean themselves. However, the amount of time you spend in your house in inversely proportional to the number of times someone says, "Hey, what's that smell?"

* 2500 words in a day is a lot to write. But dialog makes those words come faster.

* Sick little boys who would rather be coughing in Kindergarten than watching "Newsies" in my bed = Massive Cuteness.

* It would be cool to have Personal Assistants/ Vice-Beccas / Counselors for every aspect of my life.

* The community theater production of "Annie, Get Your Gun" premiers tonight. I have to put some curlers in my hair.

* Husband is emailing occasional photos of handsome Islander men from his work trip to Hawaii. The photos are not directed to me. But I still manage to find them. Because I routinely read the Kids' email.

* I haven't had a professional haircut in more than 19 months. This should probably be remedied.

* Contrary to popular opinion, I am not addicted to edamame. I could quit any time I wanted to.

* My dad's birthday (64) is later this month. I have no good ideas for gifts, and only partly because he's not a "things" kind of guy.

* NaNoWriMo is not conducive to exercise. Or maybe it's just the valid excuse I've been looking for.

*Okay, time to tackle those bathrooms. And those 2500 words. (And go read some blogs - later. Maybe.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mom Memories

I made my mom's carrot casserole for dinner last night. I came close to crying. It's seldom that missing my mom feels so direct. And it almost always surprises me. Like when my youngest (step)brother took pictures of his precious family at my mom's gravestone in Indiana. This sweet brother and his wife, neither of whom ever met my mom, paying tribute to her with their babies, telling them that this is where "Grandma Janet" is buried. And like when I opened a box of sheet music, found "Don't Rain on My Parade" from "Funny Girl," started to sing it to my kids, and got all choked, because that is a Mom Song. Like seeing my sweet dad, still handsome in his sixties, and realizing that the last time he saw my mom, twenty years ago this month, she was not much older than I am now.

So I made the carrot casserole.

It was so pretty, and it smelled so... right. You know how smells will take you right back to a time and place? Yes. That. And it reminded me of so many things I loved about my mom -- her ways in the kitchen, how she always tasted right off the mixing spoon, and how hot breakfast was non-negotiable (even if it was apple crisp, because really, how different is that from apple-cinnamon oatmeal?), and how sugar cereal was for camping trips. My mom had a spagetti sauce that would bring kids from town. I'm not kidding. My friends would fill up cups with it and eat it with spoons. And once, she burned pork chops. In the microwave.* But that carrot casserole. I loved that stuff.

Here's the recipe, if you're so inclined.
2 and 1/2 cups grated carrots
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 cups cooked rice
1 Tablespoon grated onion**
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/2 cups grated cheese (Knowing how I grew up, this probably meant cheddar cheese, medium. But now that I've become a cheese snob, I made it half and half with Gruyere. Mmmm. Gruyere.)

Blanch carrots in 3/4 cup water for 5 minutes. Drain, and save the juice. Combine carrots with eggs, butter, rice, salt, onions and cheese(s). Mix it up.*** Press into a greased 8x8 pan, place that pan into a 9x13 pan with a cup or two of hot water in it. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Next, you make a white sauce, using the carrot juice for half the liquid. Like so: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy sauce pan. Stir in 4 Tablespoons of flour and stir over medium-high heat for a minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Then add carrot juice and about 3/4 cup of milk, whisking constantly until the sauce has thickened. Don't let it boil. Then you add a cup or 2 of really good-quality frozen peas. If you don't know the difference between good peas and the other kind, give me a call. We'll talk.

Serve casserole with cream sauce over the top. See if it makes you miss my mom, too.

*This may be where I get my aversion to microwave cooking.
**But why stop at 1? I used 2.
***My Kid 3 said at this point, "It looks just like chopped candy corns!"

Good Morning

It is. A good morning, I mean. One thousand words down pre-Kid-wake-up. Plus some research. And do you know what I am finding? In that research? That symptoms of just about any disease or emotional disorder or abuse can be confused with all the others. Which is good for purposes of this novel, but tricky in life.

For instance: Do you know a kid who has shown sudden changes in eating habits? Well, that could be Anorexia, Depression, Drug Abuse, Bulimia, all manner of Cancer, or Puberty. Or nothing. Comforting, right?

But adding all this unclarity (the computer thinks that is a word) makes my characters able to reach all manner of wrong conclusions. Which, of course, makes Good Story. And that is what we are after.

Today I will try to write another two thousand words, and also to make it to the shower. (I think that is a good goal for me every day, and usually it happens. I'm just saying.) Since tomorrow is a be-at-the-elementary-school-most-of-the-day sort of day, I want to get a jump on what I may not be able to finish in my short bursts of computer time tomorrow.

On a totally unrelated note, is anyone else still waking up at 4:30? I can only blame the time change, and I'm not complaining, but it's a little weird that this body would think that 4:30 is a decent time to get out of the bed. But, hey. A thousand words before Kids wake. Not too shabby.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Word Count Update -UPDATED

I hit about 800 words before kids are up this morning. Be back later...

Okay, 'tis later. I'm back. With happiness:
2550 words today!
And it's not yet 10:30 in the morning!

At this point I need to celebrate. And eat something. And probably get out of this chair.