Tuesday, May 22, 2012

40,051

I'm sure you have all noticed my postings aren't as frequent as they have been in the past.

(Please, your concern is overwhelming.)

Well, here's where I spill my guts as to what's really going on in my life.

I'm happy.

Very happy

I won't go so far as "delirious," but things are looking up. And the reasons why are varied and strange, but what it all comes down to is that I'm doing what I love. And once I figured out that this one thing made me happy, everything else in my life fell into place.

The title of this post refers to what I'm doing. That number above, 40,051, refers to a word count. A word count to a book I'm writing.

Today, I hit my official half-way point. My goal is to get to 80,000 words, which is a median word count estimate for a novel. It could be longer, but I'm at least going to hit that 80,000.

I have never gotten this far in a project like this. I am poet, and my work is at most 200 words a pop. I don't work a lot in short-stories, mainly because I get bored with the characters, the dialogue, and the premise. Last November, I started writing an idea I had brewing, something that I personally would want to read. At first, I just did it to distract myself from my shitty life, to see a personal fantasy and fable written in black and white.

And then the story grew. I found myself in love with my characters and plot, and what started as a short story to amuse myself turned into a longer story to amuse myself.

Around March, I started setting a goal to write 1,000 words a day. I doubled my story in three weeks. Oh, did I mention that I've actually written about 60,000 words, but 20,000 of them were an alternate version of my story? No? Well, now you know.

(There have been lots of edits, too. I have a whole file called "Cut and pasted stuff" that I dump parts of the story I can't bear to lose forever. My 40,000 word count today reflects the words after my latest round of edits and a general direction for where the plot is heading.)

Now here's the clincher folks: it's not funny. This is a serious story, with funny parts to it, but mostly a serious plot. Oh, I have some memoirs floating around in my head that will make you pee with laughter; someday, I hope to turn this blog into something for Barnes and Noble. But this story took on a life of its own. Remember, it wasn't supposed to be anything but my own entertainment.

I didn't think much about my absence, both here and in real life, until a friend of mine bumped into me at the school and asked, "Are you mad at me?"

Of course, the answer is no, but my hermitization is impacting my social life. Funny, though, I haven't much missed it. My story is my social life. It's what I want to do when I wake up, it's what I want to do when I go to sleep. I literally dream about my main character. I'm totally self-involved right now, and it's a little scary.

Writing my blog has been therapy for me, and a great jumping-off point. It's this blog that's reminded me how much I like to write. Don't worry, I'm not killing off The Snarky Mom in anyway.

A long time ago, I met Disgruntled Husband and fell in love. We got married, we had Larry Potter 11 months and 22 days later. We had real life shit to work out, and what took the backseat was writing. And, unbeknownst to me, my happiness sat next to it in the backseat.

What has fallen into place? I have a sales job from home that I started a month ago (Are you in ND, SD, WY, MT, ID, RI, or MA? Do you have a kids clothing store, baby supply store, or OB office? Drop me a line!), I drew a line in the sand against things that brought me down, I'm also down close to 25 pounds since March. (Weigh-in is tomorrow...cross your fingers that I hit that magical 25!) Things are better with me and DH, my house is cleaner, money is...well, money is never going to be great, but we're able to navigate okay, and my children have magically become compliant and respectful little cherubs.

Well, almost everything has fallen into place.
--
Soon-to-be-FAQs

Am I going to make this available for people to read it? Not until it's finished, or even possibly published. There are maybe two people in this entire world that I will let see it before it's polished and shined...and DH isn't even one of them.(And he's asked. Repeatedly.)

What is it about? Well, like I've said, it's about 40,000 words. (Rim shot! Hey-ooo, I'll be here all week!) Okay, okay. It's about growing up after you've grown up, and thinking back to your dumb youth and all the choices you made then that impact your life for years to come.

Is it about my life? No. I mean there are some similarities, because you're supposed to write what you know. There's a red-headed lady with three kids who lives in Wisconsin, but isn't that to be expected? If my main character were a balding middle-aged Chinese man living in New Mexico, I'd probably lose credibility.

Are these bolded questions really necessary, you narcissistic little bitch? Nope. I just know these are the three most asked questions of the people I've told about this.


Monday, May 7, 2012

It's What's For Dinner

My dive into the culinary abstract arts started in college. I was an RA all four years (that's a whole 'nother post), and when it came time for me to leave the dorms residence halls to become an RA for the transitional living areas, it was the kitchen that scared me the most. (I may or may not have made the kitchen my key argument as to why I should be an Assistant Residence Hall Director. I didn't get the job. Duh.)

It's not that cooking scared me - I grew up being in the kitchen - but rather the whole self-reliance portion of it. If I had a kitchen (and only half of a college meal plan), then I would be forced to grow up, just a little.

My step-mother bought me a cook book before I left for college that senior year. It was called the Starving Student's Guide to Cooking. It had easy meals for 1-2 people, with easy ingredients, and the best part - pictures of what pots and pans I'd need.

Awesome.

This was my dinner last night. Come on over. There are plenty of leftovers.


With a few simple recipes under my belt, I was confident to do other things...like get married and cook for a husband. (Well, it may not have been the recipes that made me decide this...)

Cooking is about one thing: following directions. If you do step one before you do step two, and so-on and so-on, in the end, you should have something resembling the picture Betty Crocker provided for you. As I did more cooking, the easier it became.

However, my kids aren't asking for culinary masterpieces. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last food-based disagreement we had was based on a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (the only cereal all three can agree on). I can make a PB&J with one hand tied behind my back, and time a grilled cheese to coordinate with commercial breaks.

I am not a short order cook, nor do I play one on TV. What I make for dinner is what they are all expected to eat. I don't please everyone all the time. Actually, rarely do I have even a strong majority.

Last night, I made a roast. I tend to make roasts every Sunday. It's part of the alcohol-fueled idyllic family fantasy I have, like children that are seen and not heard, and dishes that magically do themselves. My roast-making capabilities have definitely evolved over the years, and now with the help of The Pioneer Woman, I make a pretty damn tasty roast beast with carrots, onions, rosemary, and thyme. When it's cooking, I just want to crawl in my over and inhale the anticipation.

I also made some rice (the only potato eater here is Disgruntled Husband) and roasted some brussel sprouts. (As I found out later, I am the only one that likes these.)

At least DH and I liked it. And the cats.


I call everyone to dinner. They sit. We say the blessing. And three kids eat buttered rice, a bite of meat, possibly one roasted carrot, and complain we didn't have Hamburger Helper.

I think I either need to adjust my expectations (and menu) for what my family will eat, or find a family that will appreciate the meals I do make.

At the end of the meal, when most of the kids had migrated to the living room, Clark the intellectually-challenged cat, jumps on the table and before I can swat him down, steal some meat from Hoover's plate.

I'm cooking for a F-ing cat. Make that two, because later Mo was found trying to get scraps from the garbage.

At least someone appreciates a good roast.