Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo...The Countdown Starts

Right, so NaNoWriMo starts in about two-and-a-half hours. I think I'm ready. I have an idea--not a very strong one, but there is an idea in place. I think I even have my first sentence in mind (though, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I won't write it down until it is officially November 1st).

We'll see how I do. I'm confident I can churn out 50,000 words in thirty days. Whether or not those words will make any sense remains to be seen. But hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gratuitous Kitty Porn

Every once in a while, Millie and Harley have sweet, peaceful interludes on the back of my couch. Just when I think they'll be best friends forever, however, Harley bites Millie in the butt and World War III breaks out, complete with hissing, swatting and growling on Millie's part, and determined, playful swatting on Harley's.

But oh, how cute it is while it lasts.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To Blog Or Not To Blog...

I found this a while back and laughed at it. I just rediscovered it among my files and had to share it here.

I wish I knew who to give credit to...

Purge, Baby, Purge!

The last couple of days, I've been feeling the need to clean and purge. There's negative energy in my apartment, and my natural reaction, of course, is to oust it with Clorox and the Hoover. And a bag for Goodwill.

This afternoon I went through a box of pictures, figuring it's okay to get rid of the washed-out ones, the ones of someone's backside, etc. I kept the most special pictures and put them in some little photobooks I have. Some I'm going to scan and then get rid of, figuring the memories will always be available on my hard drive (which reminds me, I really need to buy a back-up hard drive to keep stuff on. I went through a few boxes in my 2nd bedroom and purged a few items.

Tomorrow, I will attack this place with disinfectant and dust rags. The last time I did a "Big Deep Clean" was when the Peanuts Gang left in July, so I'm overdue. I clean--I just haven't done the picky little things like dusting the baseboards and pulling furniture out to vacuum.

When that is done, I'm sure the positive energy will take over and I'll be able to relax this weekend in the forecasted rainy weather. : )

In other awesome news: I started tutoring today! One of my fellow sopranos in Chorale teaches fifth grade at a nearby school, so I helped out in her classroom. It was very rewarding, and great to be working with kids again. I love teaching! I'll be going 2-3 days a week for a few hours to help her kids. She's got struggling readers, and a lot of her kids are struggling with their multiplication. It will look good on my resume, and I can go to job interviews and tell people that I did more in my year of unemployment than just sit around reading the Keane forum, playing Pet Society and Farm Town on Facebook, and blogging. : )

On Saturday I've been asked to help with Adoption Day for AFC. The usual ladies are not available and Marian needs extra hands on deck, as PetCo will be having their Halloween Pet Parade (dogs in costumes--cute, but scary for foster cats). She wants someone there to help keep the cats calm, and help remind people to keep their dogs away from the cages. Not all cats are dog people. Some do okay, but some haven't been exposed to dogs, and they get frightened. There's going to be a lot of activity that afternoon. I'm happy to help.

So there's a lot going on. I'm heading into a busy few weeks, what with Chorale performing the Mozart soon, Mom's craft faire coming up, and my normal activities. Staying busy keeps me from going insane, so bring it on.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday pictures are brought to you from my "Best Pictures" folder. If you're curious about the who/what/where of a picture, please comment!

Monday, October 25, 2010


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts on Monday, and I'm thinking of joining the fun this year.

You may have noticed from this very blog that I can certainly churn out a lot of words--both meaningful and not-so-much, and I think, without a full-time job in the way, I could easily churn out 50,000 words in 30 days. The whole point is not to have a ready-for-publishing novel, but simply to write a novel. Instead of putting if off as something to do "someday," do it now!

I have some ideas floating around. Maybe I'll write them down and see if I think they've got enough meat to turn into something more. One idea? A woman's journey through weight loss to a stronger body and more ability to love herself, quirks and all. People say, "write what you know." It's a place to start, anyway.

Oh, and the tentative title? Wild and Absolutely True.

Monday Music: Boris Pickett and the Cryptkickers

Sunday is Halloween, so I'm pulling out one of the BEST Halloween songs EVER.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present: "Monster Mash." You haven't lived 'till you've done the twist to this with delighted kindergartners in their Halloween costumes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I've been on a weight-loss plateau since May, pretty much, hovering in a five-pound range. Gershom has yelled at me a time or two that I could easily lose twenty more pounds if I just really push myself...and I know I can, and I will try.

But I had an epiphany this week.

I love my body.


Sure, I've got a bit of a tummy still, and my thighs are mushy in places but if you look at the following photos (the first from June 2008 and the second from Wednesday), you can see just how far I've come.

It feels great.


With all the wild and crazy fun of Wednesday posted below, another great part of my week has gone uncelebrated:

Mom and Dad are home.

: )

I shout from the rooftop all the time, all about how I'm an Independent Woman, a Grown-Up, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. This is true, but the fact is, there is still a rubber-ducky clutching, Snoopy-toting little girl in me who sits on a bed in the ER wishing for her mom.

I love that my parents are spending their retirement going on grand adventures like this three-week cruise around Asia (starting in Beijing and ending in Singapore). I'm happy to babysit Bella and Duchess. And when things are quiet and calm, the time flies by and before I know it, everyone's home where they belong. This time was different--falling victim to bronchitis and the endless boredom of being stuck at home for days while I recovered made me long to see Mom and Dad again.

Fortunately, I had my super-fun wild and wonderful Wednesday adventure this week to keep me occupied, but still, when I pulled into Mom and Dad's driveway on Thursday, with four cats crying in the back seat and a weekend's worth of clothes and reading material, I was very, very excited.

As I pulled into their neighborhood, Dad called me to let me know they were on the ground, boarding the bus that would bring them back to Lincoln from San Francisco. I had two hours until they would need to be picked up, so I opened all the windows to a fabulous, sunny fall day, made some coffee and iced tea, and had a life-saving shower. I put the cat carriers away and puttered around the house until finally, finally, the phone rang again, with Dad telling me they were ten minutes out.

I hurriedly changed from pajamas (my clothing of choice when I'm home) to khakis and a nice shirt (in an annoying twist, my only pair of clean-ish jeans got peed on by Duchess when I put her in her carrier and were, by this time, hanging out to dry on Mom and Dad's clothesline) and hopped into Mom and Dad's van to drive to the clubhouse.

I waited a few minutes, bopping up and down in the driver's seat, impatiently waiting. Finally, the bus pulled into the parking lot and I walked over. Mom and Dad were among the first off. Hugging Mom was so lovely--they were tired and desperately craving their home, so off we went, talking the whole ride home and beyond.

It's been lovely to be here this weekend, hanging out, relaxing, getting a craft store fix with Mom. I will go back to Stockton on Tuesday, but for now, I'm enjoying some much-needed time at home.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wild and Wonderful Wednesday, Part 5: Mumford and Sons

I first heard of Mumford and Sons a month or two ago, when they came on my radar as the group that Mt. Desolation would be opening for in San Francisco. I checked them out on YouTube and was floored by how awesome they are.

Four British guys, all in their early to mid-twenties, who play multiple instruments including upright bass, electric bass, steel guitar, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drum kit, shaker, accordion, keyboard and various percussion instruments.

Take Marcus Mumford, lead singer: In many shots he's singing, playing guitar, and thumping a steady beat on a bass drum with his right foot while his left food plays a slightly different rhythm on a tambourine attached to a foot pedal. He's 24 years old. My jealousy knows no bounds.

Anyway, their songs are fun, they're super-talented, and Ben is ADORABLE. Seriously, he's a smiley, dancing, madman up on stage. As my friend Maayan put it in a text to me, "He has such a joy in life." It's apparent on stage and off.

My last round of pictures, and then I shall collapse in bed with my book.

The indredible, astounding Marcus, using all hands and feet in addition to singing.

Country "Winnie" Winston (banjo) and Ted (on bass)

Ben The Adorable

I absolutely love this shot.

Again a case of the guy in question turning around before I could get the pic!

I got to meet Ben very briefly after the show. Gorgeous, no?

Finally, here's another video I took. My favorite M&S song is "The Cave" and this was the final song of their encore. The sound quality is horrid from my camera, but you can see the energy the guys poured into the whole show. So much fun.

The whole show was great fun, and Annie was a great concert buddy. I hope to go to some Keane gigs with her someday!

After the show, I gave Anna and Charlotte a ride to their hotel. Annie and I stopped at a Jack in the Box for food and took it back to her hotel to pig out before crashing. She had kindly offered to let me crash there because at this point, I'd been awake for 23 hours.

I got 3 hours of sleep and left San Francisco at about 7:30 this morning. I went home to Stockton, loaded my already-packed suitcase into RosiePro and gathered four unhappy cats into their carriers. The Kitty Khorus arrived at Mom and Dad's house around 11:30; a few hours later, I picked up Mom and Dad at the clubhouse and brought them home exhausted but happy to be here. After my ER adventure with bronchitis last week, it was so good to see them.

Tonight, I shall sleep.

Wild and Wonderful Wednesday, Part 4: Mt. Desolation

Okay, for the non-Keane fanatics who may read this, a quick bit of explanation...

Why, exactly, are the Keanos going to see Mt. Desolation? You may wonder.

Mt. Desolation is a fun little side project for Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin of Keane. With a few people from various other musical acts, they've created a sort of folk/rock/country album, just...because they can. Keane is commercially successful enough that the Keane guys are financially set, so a side project, complete with a mini-tour across the pond, is feasible.

At this point, it's a one-off thing. Both guys love Keane too much and figure they'll only release the one Mt. Desolation album.

Anyway, when I heard they were coming to San Francisco, I had to get a ticket.

First, here's a very poor-quality video I took of their song "State of Our Affairs" with a bonus mini-cover of "The Night They Brought Ole Dixie Down." Annie and I were right in front of Tim, which was lovely as he's very passionate while he plays--how he can throw one leg around while singing and playing his CP-70 is beyond me, and he's even more wiggly when he's with Keane.

I love what Mt. Desolation has done--their album released on Tuesday and I've got it on my iPod already--but I thought this gig was a wee bit weak at parts. They were sometimes out of tune and I have to wonder just how much of that was because so many people in the crowd were just chatting away through their set, waiting impatiently for Mumford and Sons.

That said, I still thought they were pretty awesome (I'm only saying anything because I've heard them with Keane and know they are strong, strong musicians) and I was happy to stand right under Tim, whose piercing blue eyes are very visible, even in dim lighting and ten feet away.

So, some more pics, of course. : )

Our security friend, Cap, was concerned about this pic, but I promised I only took it to get Jesse tuning his guitar.

This is Colin, TMTTS (Richard's words: "Tour Manager to the Stars" from many a photo blog). Cool that he's helping Mt. Dessy set up before their set.

Jesse pulls a classic rock-and-roll pose.

There are a lot of pics of Tim--blurry and clear. What can I say? He's photogenic.

My Keane friends will pull a big ole "Yeah, right!" but it's very, very true that I was taking a pic of Tim's front when he turned around and squatted down...ending with a shot of his backside. Whattayagonnado?

Wild and Wonderful Wednesday, Part 3: The Queue

Annie and I arrived at the Warfield at about 2:30 in the afternoon. To get good spots, you've got to be up front in the queue, so we got there early.

Annie has gone to various Keane gigs with Anna and Charlotte, two Brit ladies who are currently visiting the US to see Mt. Desolation and Mumford and Sons. They got there before us, so Annie and I were numbers three and four in line.

The long afternoon stretched into evening, and we took turns holding places so we could eat, use the bathroom, etc. At one point, I took a 10-15 minute wander down Market Street and to a couple of nearby side streets, taking some really cool pictures. San Francisco is a city full of great architecture and fantastic street art. Every time I visit, I find something new. I suspect I'll never see it all.

Early in our wait, I looked up and saw a familiar face--it turns out it was Ben, the keyboardist, accordionist, back-up vocalist and sometimes-drummer of Mumford and Sons. He's a twenty-something British bloke, absolutely adorable. He smiled and waved at us as he walked to the corner of the side street where the tour busses were parked.

Later on, around four or five, I was standing while the other three ladies sat (every time I sat down, my feet fell asleep). More people had joined the queue at this point. Suddenly off to my side I hear, "Hello, ladies." I look up and it's OH MY GOD JESSE FROM KEANE!!! He was standing right next to me--he had recognized Anna, Charlotte and Annie from the many gigs they've been to and had stopped to say hello. He greeted each, got to me and stopped. "I don't know you."

I made some inane comment about being new to the magic of Keane and "Mt. Dessy."

Annie introduced me and Jesse said, "Nice to meet you." Then he and his friend/crew member he was with set off for "a wander" while I stood there and quietly squealed to the other ladies, "Ohmahgah I justmetJessefromKeane!!! I sent off rapid fire texts to Summer, Maayan and Twitter. A few minutes later I called Maayan at home and squealed some more.

An hour or so later, he walked by us again on his way back to the bus. I smiled and waved and he did the same back but didn't stop. By this time the line was much longer and we'd been moved from in front of the doors to a different part of the sidewalk, right in front of a "gentleman's club" where we could see women in tiny outfits and thongs parading around with their backs to the doors.

As seven o'clock grew closer, our anticipation grew. We befriended two big, burly security guys for the venue, Dennis and Cap (who would later confide in Annie and I between sets that his name is Calpernius, but he doesn't tell his colleagues). We joked with them until finally, finally, the doors were opened and we were allowed in.

We got front-row spots, right where we wanted to be...and the next post will be all about the first part of the show...Mt. Desolation. For now, some pics!

True and embarrassing story: I was so excited to see the damn tour buses, I turned the wrong way onto a one-way street. Eek! Fortunately, no catastrophes.

A cool sign across from the buses.

Mumford and Sons

Sold Out--only the cool kids are getting in!

Annie and I wandered off in search of a loo and some lunch. I took a few pics.

Lunch--a chili cheese dog. I ate HORRIBLY yesterday and I feel no shame.

During my solo wander, I found some great murals.

This great building was in three parts.

I love the tiered windows!

Mr. Swimmy and I, getting very excited.

The Warfield

This is a terrible picture of me (the flash on my camera is intense), but oh well.