Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 -- FREEDOM!

Yes, I did it!  I was ready to quit last week...and the week before...and two days in...  I persevered, however, and wrote the most completely crappy 50,000 words of my life.  But it's a novel and it's mine and it counts, so I will gladly accept the applause of the lovely NaNoWriMo folks above and I will print out my certificate and I will feel like I accomplished something this year.  And, if I haven't mentioned it before, I give permission for anyone to bludgeon me with a ceramic turkey next year if I even hint that I am going to do this again.  Never, ever, EVER again!

You would think that after I wrote about the agony of NaNoWriMo last year and the much easier, but challenging, NaBloPoMo I would have known better than to take up this writing marathon again.  Yeah, right.  And you would think someone who KNOWS she gets horrendous acid reflux when she overindulges on candied sweet potatoes would only have a small amount on Thanksgiving.  Let's just say I need to get more Pepcid AC at the store.  


* NaNoWriMo Vs. NaBloPoMo

* Don't You Have Anything Better To Do?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Many thanks to my friends and family who thoughtfully donated to my son's Haiti fundraiser.  (If you don't know about it, please read here.)  If anyone sent a check directly to the school and didn't get thanks from me, it's because I wasn't aware!  PLEASE know that my son and I are truly grateful for any and all donations.  I want to give a special shout-out to Alison Hector at Embrace the Struggle, who sent a generous donation all the way from the great state of Maryland!  Her kindness earned her a phone call from my son's French teacher, who wanted to personally express her gratitude.  (Alison wrote earlier this year about Haiti two years after the earthquake here.)

Now, on to the $1 for Haiti Challenge.  Mrs. Pecsok, my son's French teacher, wrote today in the From Loveland to Haiti:  French Students Providing Hope blog post that they had reached the milestone of 9100 views.  (You can read the post here.)  One student marveled at how much money the class could raise if each person who viewed the blog gave just $1.  The $1 for Haiti Challenge is born!  Each and every dollar means so much to these kids, giving them a chance at education, nutritious food, and a safe environment in which to grow.  If you can spare just $1 (plus the cost of a first class stamp), you can help change the lives of the children pictured here

Details of the project as a whole can be found on the From Loveland to Haiti:  French Students Providing Hope blog here.  For specifics on the $1 challenge, click here.  Donations can be sent to:

Loveland Middle School
Attn:  Hilary Pecsok - French Class for Haiti Fundraiser
801 South Lebanon Road
Loveland, Ohio  45140
In this season of giving that is quickly approaching, could you spare a dollar for a child in need?  Even if you don't wish to donate, please check out the links below for more information on the kids of Haiti.  Thank you!

* "Loveland Students to Help Peers in Haiti" - Article in the local newspaper, The Loveland Herald.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Sniff, sniff.  Talk amongst yerselves.  I'm a little overwhelmed this morning.  You may remember that my 70s-obsessed self was reeling from the e-mail response I received from Carol Brady Florence Henderson a few weeks ago.  Well, imagine how I felt when I opened the mail and found this little goody in a manilla envelope:

In all fairness, there's an address on her website where you can send an SASE and request an autographed photo.  I figured I'd get one with her signature, one of many out of a huge stack she signs while she's watching CourtTV.  (Wait, that's my t.v. obsession.  You get the idea, though:  hours parked in front of the t.v. churning out signed photos like an assembly line.)  What I didn't expect was for it to have my name on it as well.  She signed to name...with hers.  Even my uppity daughter seemed impressed, although she kept insisting we could pawn it and it was worth a billion dollars.  She did ask if I was going to frame it and put it next to my autographed photo of David Cassidy.  Was there ever any doubt?


 * The Warden's Jail Break

* Carol Brady Would Be So Proud

Friday, November 2, 2012


This is a reprint of last year's November 2nd post.  I was going to write a new one, but A) I'm too busy doing NaNoWriMo and B) my mom really liked this one.  

Growing up Catholic, November 2nd meant All Souls Day, although I don't really remember anything in particular happening at school other than going to church.  My sister, 16 years my senior, has more vivid memories and perhaps things had changed some before I entered parochial school.  In recent years I've heard a lot more about the celebrations around Day of the Dead, which sound like a much more fun way of honoring the deceased.  I have a thing about altars anyway, so the idea of setting one up for departed loved ones and then munching on some sugar skulls is right up my alley.

Today on my sister's writing site, Nudged to Write, she talked about Day of the Dead and gave a prompt (or "nudge") of writing about death-related customs.  I don't really have any myself and my father is probably furious in the afterlife that I don't go to his grave every holiday with plastic flowers as was his custom.  (He always bragged, "Hell, I got these for 99 cents each at the dollar store.")  I love to wander around cemeteries, but not the ones housing my close family.  I'm not one who thinks that any part of the person lingers where he/she is buried.  If I want to visit with my maternal grandmother, for instance, I prefer to go to Morrow, Ohio, where she spent her childhood years.  If her spirit was going to hang out anywhere it would be there.

The other day I read an article about pagans preparing to celebrate Samhain and one in particular who held a dinner with place settings for her departed relatives.  According to the article, on October 31st the "veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is believed to be the thinnest of any time during the year."  I'm always too busy out trick-or-treating with the kids to serve dinner for relatives, living or dead, but I really like the idea and it got me thinking of who I'd invite and what I'd serve.

My father passed away two years ago following a stroke.  While he was alive, though, he liked his food.  I could go with Montgomery Inn Ribs, White Castles, or KFC chicken strips, all favorites.  I definitely would skip his more disgusting taste treats like pickled pig's feet and Limburger cheese.  Ultimately I would go for Swedish meatballs.  At the buffet at my wedding reception he pretty much single-handedly cleaned out the steam tray devoted to them.  When he returned to the head table, my step-mother looked at the plate and said, "I can't eat all that."  He returned with, "Goddamn, they ain't for you."

Grandma Martha
My maternal grandmother shared my love of food...and my weight issues.  When I was ten she joined Nutri-System and during counseling they talked about "notorious eating companions."  Yep, I was labeled as hers.  I can't think of Grandma without remembering her chocolate pudding, the ribbon candy she put out at Christmas, and her "recipe," which was a mixture of Ginger Ale and Mogen David Wine.  For my dinner, though, I think I'd go with black walnut ice cream, which she never passed up.

My step-father, who I always called "Imi", died in 2004.  He did not have sophisticated taste in food and was perfectly  happy with a lunch of canned soup and fried baloney sandwich.  He was an avid gardener and would grow zucchinis the size of baseball bats.  For that reason only I'd serve zucchini bread at the meal in his honor.  (Plus I can't abide the thought of a fried baloney sandwich.)

Grandma Mary
My paternal grandmother quite honestly never seemed to think much of anyone's cooking but her own.  She was known in the family for her apple pie and coffee cake, although I seem to remember lots of Jello cookies and the time she made boxed macaroni and cheese, not understanding you were supposed to mix up the powdered cheese until it dissolved.  I doubt she'd like anything I cooked (although she loved me and probably wouldn't have my face).  I think I'd go with something familiar from my childhood with her but which tastes the same no matter who prepares it:  Rice Krispies treats.

Shirley on left, my mother
on right
Aunt Shirley
My mother's only sister died just last year and I don't really connect her with food.  She was glamorous.  She had very blonde hair that was usually very big, brightly painted red fingernails, and rings on every finger.  She had a nice figure up until the last decade or so of her life when health problems took a toll.  For her I'd probably go back to a treat from her childhood, when her mother would make fudge.  So, for Shirley there is Grandma's homemade fudge.  (Unfortunately Grandma took the knack for making it to the afterlife with her and we've never quite been able to duplicate it.  Same with her "recipe.")

Aunt Margaret
My father's sister passed away weeks after his funeral.  I'm sure Aunt Margaret liked to eat, but honestly when I think of her I see her with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  (My sister still remembers, with horror, Aunt Margaret crushing up her Sno-Cone for her with a cigarette between her fingers and the ashes falling in with the ice and sugar.)  I believe she gave up both drinking and smoking in her later years, but I'm sure it wouldn't be a heavenly feast for her without a Budweiser.

I've already made clear to my family that I want to be cremated and my ashes put in a Dooney and Bourke purse.  My sister is planning how she can line the thing and waterproof it.  I used to say I wanted to be sprinkled on Wrigley Field near home plate, so when Ryne Sandberg slid some of me would stick to the back of his pants.  He retired before I died so now I go with the Dooney option.

Anyone else already have their burial plans in place?  Any unusual requests?

** Unrelated note:  I do not control the content of the ads on my website.  In particular, I want it to be known that any political ads are not an endorsement by me.  I've had candidates from both political parties show up in ads and I don't want readers to think I'm pushing an agenda one way or another.  If you disagree with a candidate shown, please don't hold it against me.  Depending on who it is, I may not like him/her either.


* Favorite Haunted Places - Kings Island

* Favorite Haunted Places - Mansfield Reformatory

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo, the November writing marathon.  To meet the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month, the writer needs to average 1667 words per day.  I aim for a total of 2000 to make up for days when I'm busy and don't hit my quota or (gasp) don't write at all.  This morning I wrote just short of 1800 words.  And I pretty much used up all the ideas that have been floating around my brain the last two weeks.  What the hell am I gonna write about tomorrow?!?  Now I remember why every year at the end of NaNoWriMo I say "never again."  Time to break out the supplies...

** Unrelated note:  I do not control the content of the ads on my website.  In particular, I want it to be known that any political ads are not an endorsement by me.  I've had candidates from both political parties show up in ads and I don't want readers to think I'm pushing an agenda one way or another.  If you disagree with a candidate shown, please don't hold it against me.  Depending on who it is, I may not like him/her either. 


* The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

* NaBloPoMo vs. NaNoWriMo