Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Hard Day for Dreaming

A little more than two years ago, I retired as a green blogger in part so I could spend my free(writing)time working on a novel. I've always planned to write a novel, and since the Day I Must Return to Work was looming closer and closer, it seemed like a good time to start. Two months ago, I finished the rough draft, and Michael had the manuscript printed and bound.

that time I wrote a novel

Let me tell you about this novel. It is partially based on some experiences I had in college and partially based on some thoughts I've had about motherhood and marriage, which means that the audience for this novel is very narrow - basically, people who are exactly like me. And if we assume that we are all unique individuals and that no one else in the world is exactly like us, we can conclude that I am the sole audience for this novel. So when I call it the Novel No One But Me Will Ever Read, I'm not being completely facetious.

I recognized approximately two chapters into writing it that the story had no audience and that it would never be published, but I finished it because it was something I'd set out to do. I try to console myself by describing it as a learning experience, but since my primary take-away lesson is that the type of stories I like to write (character-driven, heavy on the nostalgia) are not the type of stories most people like to read (plot-driven, heavy on the supernatural), I have to accept from the get-go that anything I write will be Novels No One But Me Will Ever Read. Spending two years on a novel just so it can sit in a drawer for the next fifty years is not exactly motivation to try again.

The title of my novel is A Hard Day for Dreaming (after a Rilo Kiley song), and the idea behind it is thus:
  1. About the time that Michael and I started dating, one of my old crushes suddenly decided that he liked me back. Every now and then, I have a dream about this boy, and when I wake up, I am always in a mood.
  2. Every young adult novel these days seems to revolve around some kind of love triangle. I'm a fan of love triangles, but one day, I started to wonder...what happens next? Bella chooses Edward, ten years pass...does she sometimes wish she'd picked Jacob? Does she regret the choice she made? (If I were stuck with Edward for all eternity, I know I would!!!) 
So my story goes like this: In college, Emma Whitacker is pursued by two boys. Ten years later, she has married one and dreams about the other. The plot of the novel flip-flops back and forth between the present (where Emma is in a mood after waking up from one of those dreams) and the past (where we get the backstory of those college years).

Right now, the manuscript is with my sister-in-law, who is hopefully putting together some solid feedback. I plan to have a couple more people review/edit the rough draft. Then I'll work up a final version to give to my mother.

This whole post feels kind of heavy on the gloom (perhaps I'm in a mood), so let me add:
  • What you don't see in that picture at the top is me feeling ridiculously over-the-top giddy about seeing 300 pages of my own words all bound up like that.
  • Despite its many flaws, I really love my novel overall, and I'm proud of myself for finishing it.

Thanksgiving Turkey

As flexitarians, every year we order a turkey from Rainbow Meadows farm, one of the meat farms at the state farmers market. Because these turkeys are in high demand, you have to place your order in September, and since I wasn't sure at that point how many members of my family would be coming for Thanksgiving, I ordered a fifteen to eighteen pound bird. When I found out that only my parents would be coming to see us this year, I figured we'd just have a lot of leftovers. Little did I know...

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Michael headed to the farmers market where the lady at the Rainbow Meadows farmstand informed him that our turkey "got to eighteen pounds and kept right on twenty-eight pounds."

A twenty-eight pound turkey!!!!


Here's Michael getting ready to put the turkey in the oven. We estimated that it would take six and a half hours to cook, but it ended up only taking four and a half hours. We had to scramble to get the rest of dinner made two hours early.


Dinner was simple, the leftovers were delicious, the company was perfect, and we have enough turkey in the freezer to last us until February.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Birthday Season

You know how when you're a kid, you have a birthday, and on that day, you actually feel older? 10 felt different from 9, 13 was much different from 12, etc...I turned 35 a few weeks ago, and it's the first time in all the birthdays I've had as an adult that I actually felt older. 35 feels much different from 34. I feel like a grown-up. Not a young woman - a grown-up. I feel old.

I told Michael recently, "I'm starting to look old. I have a lot of wrinkles. I'm thinking maybe I should start wearing make-up everyday." Of course, I am extremely lazy when it comes to my appearance, so even if I should start wearing make-up everyday, I haven't. A real grown-up would probably start wearing make-up.

Cole also had a birthday a few weeks ago. He turned 10. As I typed that, the thought crossed my mind that maybe he's the reason I'm starting to feel old. How can I have a ten year old? How can I only have eight more years before Cole moves out of my house? My baby done growed up.

Michael made me a hot fudge ice cream cake for my birthday, but we don't own a springform pan, so he had to put it in a bowl. If you put an ice cream cake in a bowl, it basically becomes a giant sundae, so when Cole asked for an ice cream cake for his birthday, I talked him in to serving sundaes instead.

Erin's birthday cake 2013

Cole had a really wonderful 10th birthday party. He wanted to take all of his friends to the dollar theatre to see Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. When we sent out the invitations, Percy Jackson was still in regular theatres, so we figured we'd have to pick a different film. But fate was smiling on us, and Percy Jackson moved to the dollar theatre just in time for the party.

One of the guests got the location mixed up, so I sent Cole and his other three friends into the movie while I waited outside for the late guest. Knowing that Cole would do exactly as I asked and not cause a ruckus in the theatre is a wonderful perk of having a 10-year-old.

After the movie, I drove all of the guests back to our house to play video games, eat pizza and ice cream, and open presents.

Cole's 10th birthday party

Fall is our birthday season. Cole's birthday is exactly two weeks after mine, and Rylan's is exactly two weeks after his. In between their birthdays is Thanksgiving, and Christmas follows soon after Rylan's birthday. Is it too cheesy to write that at this time of year, we have no money, but I feel very rich indeed? Too bad. I wrote it anyway.
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