Tuesday, November 30, 2010

63,825 Words

"I did it, I did it, I knew that I could do it and indeed I did!"

Actually, I didn't. In fact for years I have thought there was little chance that the bones of a story I have kept tucked away in the recesses of my brain, added to slowly over the years, was enough to write a story. But then suddenly, with a great deal of doubt, I decided to give it a try with a deadline of 50,ooo words in 30 days. I felt that perhaps, maybe, it might possibly have a chance with the pressure of a word count to push me on. I felt like it was something I should do and many prayers went into the story. Is it good? I wouldn't say it was stellar. I would say that it needs a lot more work. And I would also say....

Now what? Sigh. Well, I can think of a bookcase that needs serious dusting, boxes to be sorted, cooking to be done, errands to be run. And a nice cup of hot chocolate, a reward for finishing the job. That portion of the job at any rate, the starting.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Here's to Not Saying What You're Thinking

I was calling to change my address for a legal document and the guy asked me my social security number. Well, brace yourself for this, I don't have my SS# memorized. Gasp! I said "hang on a minute, let me get my wallet." He exclaimed, "what’s a matter girl, don't you know your Social Security number?"

I said, "No, I have enough trouble even remembering my phone number." It was a bitter memory (not), when I was first filing this same paperwork, I couldn't remember my telephone number! It's true. After humming and hahhing for a while the lady finally, "we don't need it." And then I remembered what it was. You know, going into it, I just knew I was going to forget it and you would have thought I'd have taken some precautions, but no. But back to the man on the telephone....

He listened and then asked, "Are you blonde?"

Can he get in trouble for saying that? I just want to know, that's all. I reassured him, "no, not really. Numbers just aren't my thing." I'm very glad I stopped from defending myself by saying, "but I could cook you a pretty good meal." It was my only redeeming quality that came to mind and I was about to make some pies for Thanksgiving. Honestly, he sounded older, sort of the grandfather type (uh, maybe I just really insulted him?), but I'm so glad that I processed that one fast enough to discarded it. Just not a good idea. Really, really not a good idea. I can laugh because I didn't say it. I would be dying if I had. Dead. Or wishing I was.

I wonder what he would have said if I'd told him, "it's not my natural hair color," Pause, "it's not my artificial hair color either."

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The wind whips across the mountainside howling, hurling the snow along with it into ever deepening drifts, it whistles against the building. I am thankful to have a roof over my head and four walls. I am thankful for the many hours friends and family (even a sister-in-law with child) have spent to help us do cleanup and build a shelter against such winter storms……

Dish soap drizzled into a large bowl, cold water and then boiling not one, but two kettles of water to make a hot soapy bath for the dishes. I rinse the clean pots and pans, plates and bowls, utensils and serving pieces, measuring cups and spoons in the frigid tap water and my hands become cold, but I am thankful for running water…….

Working in the kitchen preparing meals, my fingers numb with the chill of the air, but I am thankful for food to cook, as the day fades and darkness reigns, I am thankful for even the small light of an oil lamp…..

Grateful is what I am, for the many layers of blankets I sleep under to keep me warm, for loving parents that get up at all hours of the night to stoke the stove and keep a hot fire going all through the night…..

I am very thankful that my brother and sister-in-law live close by and are so gracious as to allow me to use their hot running water for baths….their washing machine and dryer to clean clothes….

For the good times of the family gathered close to the woodstove (that my oldest brother very lovingly restored so we would have a better heat source) sharing the warmth, a meal together, laughs, optimism and pessimism, manicures, movies…..for this season in my life I am grateful, and that it will not last forever, I am truly thankful. (Even if will look back upon it with very fond memories!)

I truly am blessed to have such a wonderful family, including married siblings and spouses, and I am very thankful for the tremendous love and serving we have shown each other this year through difficult circumstances, tests of faith and great joys, the times we laughed when we could have cried, were cheerful when things were bleak, worked together to get things done, ate salad out of the spinner together while apprehensive and yet excited over the impending birth of a new nephew. I have a lot to be thankful for and a special gold star goes to my sister-in-law Fogwood214 for her incredible graciousness and hospitality, her kindness and compassion. This year and this season of life would have been a great deal harder without her amazing generosity of attitude, time and resources. I should also give credit to my oldest brother, they have been not just family, but wonderful neighbors.

Happy Thanksgiving from TW at The Blue Castle!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life in the Blue Castle

It's beautiful with a blanket of white snow. It is also rather cold since we tried to upgrade "Jack" and the new stove isn't starting right. Brrr. I'm just hoping something can be done about it soon or that the single digit weather doesn't come.

Life is an adventure!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Remodel Part XXIII

Day Three: Pictures taken Monday, November 8th.

On Sunday, in the pouring down rain, my oldest brother dug drainage ditches along the driveway and moved these landscape rocks from another place on the property. It was a long, cold, miserable project. Not only was it bucketing moisture most of the day, it was very chilly. He didn't warm up until the next evening (I quote).

The problem with moving all that dirt around is there is now mud. This is the mud bog that you have to cross to get in the front door now. Uh, have you ever tried doing that in the dark? I have successfully managed it several times. Fortunately, the night that the interior lights were out inside and it was really dark, I was wearing my tennis shoes and not my three inch heeled dress boots, because it didn't go so well that time. Squoosh. That gives one a very sinking feeling. Emotional and otherwise.

The Remodel Part XXIII

Day Two: Saturday, November 6th.

And today on the job we have a junior foreman. Isn't he cute?

Digging out to put down a drain pipe and foam to insulate the slab.

Placing the foam up against the slab. At least the slab won't get cold. The rest of us? Ahem, that is another story. :)

Working together.

Outside the kitchen window. It's up close and personal!

Committee meeting through the kitchen window. I poked my head in and asked, "would you like fries with that?' It's just the kind of humor I have.

The Remodel Part XXIII

Day One: Friday, November 5th (Was it really that long ago? Times is hard to keep track of these days.)

Mother was praying for good weather so it wouldn't be an absolute mess with the excavator working, and it was perfect; mild and dry! For the first two days at any rate.

Tyvecking and putting the house wrap around the windows.

The first day was spent excavating around the house to get the right grades. Partly for drainage and also for future landscaping.

Working into dusk.

You can't tell so much in the pictures, but there is now about a twelve foot level area that was built up on this side of the house. Eventually there will hopefully be a covered patio, then steps down the drop off to a landscaped area. The future. Please don't close the books on dates. Is that bookie cant? Shocking me. (Cough, for the record, I don't really know what I'm saying.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Tale of the Savoury Pie

(Alternate Title: Why I'm Not Married Reason #1)

We made a venison soup the other day that ended up having a lot of meat and being very thick, more like a stew, perhaps thicker than that even. So, with some of the leftovers I decided to make them into a nice British style savour pie. I thickened it with flour, added onion and a little more spice and put it into a pie shell. I was feeling efficient, since I'd done all that around writing.

Only, the flour didn't thicken the liquid, the onion didn't cook and the vinegar called for in the pie crust ended up being very pungent. Uh, at least it looked good?

See, that might be one reason I'm not married. They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach not, "it's looks pretty." What is wrong with them I ask? What is wrong with beauty? Well, okay, I can see their point.

(Raises right hand. "On my honor, it actually didn't taste that bad, it just wasn't the amazing savoury pie I had in mind.")

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Remodel Part XXII

First, today is the one year anniversary of the epic event that started this whole machine moving: our neighbors house burned down.

Last Monday it was time to build the loft that goes over the kitchen and is is also part of the girls room. That's D.C. and C.A. working on making as much sawdust as possible. Good fiber in the cooking. Actually, I think they were trying to drill a hole for some electrical wires. That was funny and scary to watch at the same time. C.A. is holding the ladder, and he moves it just wrong and D.C. nearly goes over sideways. There was a startled exclamation of fear and then he caught himself. And then a moment later he starts going down the ladder and steps on C.A.'s hand. "Ow!"

Sitting by the wood stove, waiting for the guys to clear out so I could cook lunch, I decided to take portraits of some of the work tools. This is a nail gun.

This is a saw. Do you see the saw? Did you ever see the saw saw from Arkansas? I'll stop now.

This is the guys lifting a beam into place. A beam made up of 2x12's with a wafer board sandwich. It was very heavy. I did not help lift it. You can sometimes judge how much something weighs by how much guys grunt and groan. They didn't hardly do either so you know it weighed a lot. That's my theory at any rate.

Round of applause, they did it!

The floor in the first section. And they didn't use metal hangers but another method of construction. I still don't know how it works. I worry, "is the floor going to stay up?" It looks nice, which is usually my greatest concern, but I'm supposed to sleep up there so I have cause to be worried. They say it's fine. I think I trust them. If it crashes in and I die a horrible death they can just put on my headstone, "She trusted. She died." I do believe that would give a much needed lesson to those who read it.

Monday evening, the first section completed.

From the other direction we get a different perspective. Please don't say, "duh." Thank you.

D.C. came back Tuesday to finish the last section. Surprisingly, the loft makes the house feel bigger. I thought it would close it in, but it doesn't at all.

Mother moved her shaker cabinet into place beside the doorway shown above and arranged some baskets and a vintage (?) scale.

The upstairs. Next up is railing, insulating and finish work.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Remodel Part XXI

The kitchen has really been coming together over the last couple weeks and here's a quick preview.


I love beadboard. Love it. And I'm thrilled that mother decided on it as the finished wall treatment for the kitchen. So far we only have three panels up, but we have more that is waiting to go up as soon as a few more things are done.

Installing the first panel.

Coming soon! Pictures of the loft over the kitchen!

Tree in the Fog

I love fog. It's so mysterious.


So, I decided to do the NaNoWriMo because it was such a good year and I have nothing else to do. Not. Actually, I have considered doing it in times past and decided I didn't have the time. But I'm into doing new things lately, in my own small way, and I realized this was probably one of the worst years to attempt it. Therefore I am. Which makes no sense at all, actually, but there you go.

I can't say I'm one of those organized writers that knows their entire story line and has things sketched out ahead of time. Truth be told, I have probably the least idea of all the stories I've written of what to write, so with a wing a prayer, I've been typing.

Somewhere I have the impression that the project is a contest. Maybe in some way, but I have no idea. I'm just doing it for the experience and so I can finally get it out of my system. We'll see how this project goes.

This is me, in the office area on the first day.


(Do you know how hard it is to do self portraits?)

Anyway, all that to say that I do have some more progress pictures of the Castle to post, but I'm using most of my computer time to write. However, stay tuned!