Month: November 2014

Trees, Turkey, Meals and Lights

Hi guys!  I just wanted to give you a little update on my life.

Well to begin with Christmas has arrived. Got the lights and the tree up!

lightswindowThis year I rented my Christmas tree which is a completely brilliant notion.  Instead of having to store a giant tree all year and lug it out, decorate it by myself, I signed up and for the price of a house cleaning it is set up, stored, decorated and taken down at end of season.

treeAs some of you will remember from years past I have a memory tree with ornaments from travels and all other parts of my life.  I also have little picture frames that have black and white photography of my friends and family, which is especially nice this year as I will not be seeing family and my best friend Emily is away.

I have a few new ornaments to add to the tree.  Some I got in Tampa and these fun Disney ornaments to pay tribute to my Disney project and blog this year.

disney ornamentIn other news Thanksgiving has been a lot of fun.  I went to my aunt and uncle’s for dinner and it was a full house of cousins and relatives.  I was in charge of making the salad and it turned out pretty tasty.

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And now a little recipe.

saladArugula Salad with Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Dressing

Arugula

pomegranate pips  (put pomegranate under water and it makes it easy to de-seed)

butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced into 1 inch cubes

parmesean cheese

walnuts

cranberries

apple cider

apple cider vinegar

olive oil

shallots finely diced

digon mustard

maple syrup

Start with butternut squash on baking sheets with olive oil and maple syrup. Put in 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until the cubes are tender but crusted on outside.  While cooking mix 2 tbsp vinegar, 3/4 cup cider, 2 tbsp syrup, 2 tbsp shallots in saucepan.

Cook for 8-10 minutes until mixture has thickened.  Then add1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp mustard, 1/4 cup maple syrup.  Put in jar and shake until mustard is emulsified.  I added a little water because my vinegar was strong.  If you like it sweeter add more syrup . If you want more mustard go for it!

I used a cranberry walnut mixture I bought at the store but if you don’t have that then I would roast the walnuts before.

When serving add arugula, butternut squash, walnuts, cranberries, pomegranate pips, parmesean shavings.  Add all ingredients and top with dressing and serve!

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Since I wasn’t cooking Thanksgiving dinner I decided to order one from my local market, Harmons, so I could have some leftovers!  It was pretty cool I got everything from a full turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls and 2 pies for $100.  Pretty cool right?

So I portioned it all into meals and have them ready in my chest freezer for many holiday meals to come! Pretty clever right?

dinner dinners

So that’s my little holiday update. I hope you are all doing great and having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Make sure to check out Scrooge month on my other blog.  I’m having a blast watching and writing about these films of the story I love so much. I just posted yesterday about the Alistair Sims classic and today on the Disney stop motion effort.

Scrooge Month Introduction!

I am excited to announce on my movie blog site I am going to be starting Scrooge Month! As my gift to all of you for the holidays I am going to be reviewing as many versions of Christmas Carol as I can. Merry Christmas and Bah Humbug!

Reviewing All 56 Disney Animated Films And More!

scroogesI am excited to announce to all of you my next project.  Consider it my Christmas gift to all of you wonderful readers.  I have always loved Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol.  I see it at our local theater, Hale Center Theater Orem, every year and watch as many film versions as I can.  This year I figured let’s hunt down some more unusual one’s, as well as the favorites and blog about it.  This should cover everything from silent movies to animation to Muppets.  I’m really excited!!

I won’t go through the basic plot for each review because they are all basically the same, but I will note different choices in each version, talk about the leads and each strength and weakness.

scrooge_2091779b

If you live under a rock and don’t know the story of A Christmas Carol it is about a Victorian banker named Ebeneezer Scrooge who has allowed his…

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Nanowrimo, Christmas Music in November and Other Silly Rules

First I just wanted to announce to all of you I have finished the Nanowrimo challenge.  It was a tougher book for me to write than any of my other 3 and I’m proud of the basic story I was able to develop.  The prose is rough but the story I really like.

1508173_10152619833772239_8048249337604887857_nIt ended up being a story about a woman who has never fallen in love who loses her job which leads her into the path of an ever-growing group of people including a girl who ends up pregnant in a domestic abuse situation.  The more people she allows into her life the more she grows as a person.  It went darker places than I expected and I really enjoyed writing it.

I hope you are all having a blast with your writing and your projects! I look forward to having a bit of my life back after being kind of obsessed with nanowrimo.  I’m that way.  I get focused on one thing and shut other things out.  I would like to change that but it seems to just be part of me, so I work around it.

I’ve been thinking a little bit about the silly rules we set for ourselves that seem important at first but when you really think about it they are kind of dumb.  For example, for a long time I said ‘no Christmas music before Thanksgiving’.  This year I kept turning on Christmas music on the radio and enjoying it and then turning it off because of my rule.  It finally occurred to me ‘why?’.  If it is making me happy than why not listen to Christmas music?

Most people set such a rule because they don’t want to tire of the Christmas music.  Well, I do not tire of things like that.  If it is something I like I like it on listen 1 and listen 1000.  I just don’t grow weary of music, movies, food the way other people do.  Not sure why but it’s true.  So the rule may be helpful for other people but for me it was silly.  It was denying me of joy for no reason but to obey some rule.

It’s made me wonder what other silly rules I have that are unnecessary? Do you have any?

Well, I am exhausted so I will sign out.  Let me know how you are doing on nanowrimo.  Finish strong my friends!

Something to Talk About

calvin_and_hobbes_phone_fun21

So yesterday my friend called me with some exciting news.  I listened and couldn’t have been more thrilled for her success and I told her that.

“that’s so great! Congratulations” I said in a few different variations as she told me the news.  That took a few minutes or two and then we both kind of sat on the phone for a few seconds neither really knowing what to say.  Then I came up with a few follow up questions and we chatted and she went on to tell the news to everyone else.

Contrast that to a call I had with the same person where I was telling her all about Big Hero 6 and then we talked about movies, her kids, Halloween and everything else. We talked for over an hour about silly stuff without any trouble.

Isn’t that weird?  I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days and I find it a very odd phenomenon. Why when someone has something genuinely exciting in their life do we have nothing to say and yet we can talk for hours about stuff that is fun but doesn’t really matter?

I think part of it is with big news there really isn’t room for discussion.  It is just kind of happening and it is either wonderful or sad.  You genuinely express the appropriate emotion and then what do you discuss?  I feel this is particularly true with a baby announcement.  Someone says ‘I’m pregnant’ and you say ‘Congratulations.  That’s so wonderful’. What to say next after you learn the due date?

The only thing I can think of is to ask about her health “How have you been feeling?” or “when do you find out the sex of the baby?”.  But there isn’t really a discussion.  Maybe if you got into broader topics like parenting there would be discussion.

A wedding is different because there are so many follow up questions.  “How did he propose?” “When are you getting married?” “Where?” “Colors, dress etc”.

I guess not every phone call needs to be a discussion I was simply surprised to see I had so little to say about big news and so much about a movie I’d seen.

It makes me wonder how much of my life is spent talking about silly things? But I guess as long as people I’m talking to are happy that’s what matters.  It’s a funny thing we do though. Don’t you think?

No Fear of Being Alone

Recently I was talking to a single friend of mine about my Thanksgiving plans and telling him I was going to be solo this year. He seemed horrified by this notion.  Technically I will eat Thanksgiving meal at my aunts house (but wasn’t planning on that at the time of this conversation).

I told him that it was fine with me and I am okay being alone.  I told him ‘I am comfortable in my own skin’ and he said ‘I wouldn’t be.  It would kill me’.

I guess it’s a normal reaction to being alone on Thanksgiving and some years it would make me sad, but this year I’m ok. I was actually a little bit more sad to be facing Halloween alone (ended up having a great time with 2 couples my friends Danielle and Cory, and Rachel and Grant). The reason I was sad about missing Halloween is that it used to be a highlight of the year with my friends.  We would throw a big party, dress up and just have a blast.

I guess the reason I get a little nostalgic for Halloween and New Years is that I know it’s a time that is gone from my life.  My friends are almost all married.  Like seriously I have 4 or 5 single friends on my phone and they are usually so busy.  Even book club has become impossible of late.  I get it.  I understand people have to be with their little one’s on Halloween and New Years but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss all the good times with friends.

With Thanksgiving I know next year I will likely be with my family and the year after that and onward.  There isn’t a feeling of devastation because it’s just a day and like I said I do have friends and family to share the day with.

If you are alone on Thanksgiving and want to still cook a turkey dinner make sure to check out my Thanksgiving for one article I posted last year on my friend Samantha’s awesome food blog.

http://littleferrarokitchen.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-1-guest-post-smilinglds-girl/

This year I am going to order a Thanksgiving meal from Harmons (a local grocery) that make delicious food so that I have some thanksgiving food besides the meal at my aunts.  (My knee isn’t quite up to preparing feasts yet)

Anyway, this conversation about being alone at Thanksgiving and my friend being so horrified at the idea made me think about my life.  I am alone a lot.  Even though I have a roommate and tenants we don’t really get to sit down and spend time together that often.  It’s so much effort to get together with friends but I am a very social person and I do make that effort, but still I am often alone.

Many people have a fear or social anxiety about eating alone or going to the movies alone . Eating I get a little bit because you don’t have anyone to talk to but I do not understand why people care about going to the movies alone? You can’t talk in the movies so unless you are there with your honey and can snuggle I don’t see the value in having another person accompany you to the movies?  Please someone explain why that is such a social faux pas?

In fact, I realized today that all the movies I have been to this year have been alone.  I have seen in the theater- Boyhood, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Ghostbusters, Meet the Mormons, Edge of Tomorrow, Guardians of the Galaxy, Book of Life and The Boxtrolls and Big Hero 6. None of those experiences were hurt by being alone? I don’t get it?

But anyway, I feel like there is this anxiety many feel about being alone.  My Mother gets very nervous being alone .In fact, she has probably spent under 5 nights in her whole life alone without family of some kind with her.  That blows my mind.  She’s very fortunate that life has worked out that way for her.

I would love to have my own family and fall in love but that’s not the cards God has dealt me.  My job is to be as happy as I can be with the life I have. And never forget I am surrounded by amazing people.  Whether it is reaching out to someone on phone, Facebook, twitter, this or my disney blog, my channel, or someone in my ward there is no shortage of people who care and love me.  That’s the great part about being single in this day and age.It is so easy to not feel lonely even if you are alone.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days.  I do.  I have days where I feel sad and bemoan the fact I may never have my own children or a great love story.  It may happen but it may not.  I’m a human being just like anyone else and I express the full range of human emotions at different times of my life.

But I can confidently say being alone is not a fear for mine. It is the reality of my life and I always know that with God I am never truly alone.

So if you are alone this holiday season know that you have a friend here at this blog and on social media who knows how you are feeling- both on your good days and bad.  I get it.  I love you and we can support each other.

Take care my friends and god bless!

Btw thanks to Emily and Megan today for calling me out of the blue and cheering me up! I’ve got such great friends and family to support me.

Nanowrimo Update and First Drafts

Hi guys!  I just wanted to give you a little update on how things are going here in Nanowrimo land.  Well, as you can see from this photo I am happily engaged in the project.

rachelMy story ended up taking a darker turn than I expected with my character who has never fallen in love meeting a girl at school who is in an abusive relationship.  It was my first time writing an intense scene like that and it was quite draining!

Even with the intensity I’m really enjoying my story.  It is a combination of About a Boy, Erin Brokovich, 40 Year Old Virgin and a bunch of other stories.  It’s a good mixture of comedy, drama, friendship and family and characters that really aren’t much like me which is new.  Branching out I guess!

Some people question the value in all this writing.  I mean shouldn’t you edit as you go to produce something good?  The surprising answer is No.  We are creating a first draft of your story and stopping can be anti-productive in developing the first version of said story.  That’s what makes Nanowrimo so effective it gets you to get the story out on the paper and then the multiple versions and rewrites that inevitably come with publishing a novel would come next.  That’s the tough part.  The fun part is the power of creation.

Chris Baty the founder of Nanowrimo started it with 20 of his friends who just thought writing would be fun to do together and it grew, and grew to 500,000 worldwide participants in 2014.  He was recently interviewed on NPR and I really enjoyed the whole broadcast and his comments about first drafts.

A Washington Post article says about Baty and the program ”

“We wanted to write novels for the same dumb reasons twentysomethings start bands,” Baty writes on the event’s Web site. “Because we wanted to make noise. Because we didn’t have anything better to do. And because we thought that, as novelists, we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as non-novelists.”

But a funny thing happened on the way to 50,000 words. They discovered the writing process was fun, something they hadn’t expected. It was like watching TV. “You get a bunch of friends together, load up on caffeine and junk food, and stare at a glowing screen for a couple of hours,” Baty writes. “And a story spins itself out in front of you.”

I can really relate to that (except for the date part!) but the excitement of creating something and helping others get involved.  This year I’ve enjoyed encouraging a number of friends in their stories and that is so rewarding.  I keep telling them it’s not about the publishibility or a section being good, it’s just keeping the story going.  I tell them ‘don’t edit.  That’s for December’. What a freeing thing!

wordsSo I’m loving the process and hope you are too.  Let me know how it is going for you.  And Happy writing!!!

 

RIP Tom from Car Talk

car-talk-banner

I don’t normally get overly emotional when a famous person or celebrity dies but every once in a while someone who has touched my life, celebrity or not, will pass away and it makes me feel sad.  Today my Saturday morning friend over on NPR, Tom Magliozzi, passed away from alzheimers and it made me feel very sad.

He and his brother Ray were the hosts of NPR’s Car Talk and were better known as Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers.

Here is a tribute done on NPR today.

The thing is anyone who knows me knows I hate cars.  I hate driving.  If I could live in Manhattan and never own a car I would be a happy lady.  They are a necessary evil in my life and a royal pain in the neck.  As my Dad knows I even hate cleaning cars.  I just don’t care about cars.

And yet I liked Car Talk.  I first discovered them around 2006.  At the time I was very unhappy working as a receptionist where I would do long stretches of data entry, sometimes days of data entry.  One regular project I had was 35 pages of data for the monthly car account.

That was just one of the mindnumbingly boring chores I did for that job.  When there wasn’t a call I could put an ear bud in one ear and play some music or a podcast, so I downloaded just about everyone I could put my hands on. That is also when I started my audible account so I’ve had that for 8 years!

In fact, I preferred podcasts to music because it was less distracting and made me feel like I was having some human contact in my cubicle cell.  I could be doing the most boring task imaginable and listening to a podcast on books or science and feel like my brain was getting some aerobics in the day.

In all those podcasts I discovered Car Talk and the first episode that really made me laugh was when Tom told the story of Tanya the Trainer.  I posted this on my blog years ago and it still makes me laugh every time I read it.

I was hooked.  Tom and Ray were the embodiment of cheerfulness and joy.  Every Saturday I would turn in and laugh and smile and then I would listen to the podcast again a couple of times throughout the week.  Just a few months ago I tweeted during stopped traffic ‘thank you for Car Talk. It makes traffic liveable”.  Joyfulness and a love of life will have that effect no matter what they are talking about.

Another funny bit that was a favorite of mine is the operation vowel drop.  I’ve listened to this about a hundred times and it still cracks me up.

A recurring bit on the show was that Tom could never remember the puzzler from the previous week.  Little did we know for at least some of the years he literally could not remember.

Here was a bit where the two laughing at dementia and foreign accent syndrome.  Even though I didn’t know him his laughter was infectious and I’m sure he would want to be remembered for it.

It’s interesting that I would find Car Talk when I was so unhappy at work and listening to all those podcasts while grinding through all that data entry because Tom was somewhat of a crusader of anti-work.  He said he had an epiphany one day after commuting 45 minutes to work and almost being in a dangerous accident:

“He had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world.

“He actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”

As Tom once described his own attitude to his listeners, “Don’t be afraid of work.  Make work afraid of you. I did such a fabulous job of making work afraid of me that it has avoided me my whole life so far.”

I love that. Just when I was so miserable in my work I found a joyful spirit in someone who had found freedom from it.  Do what you have to do and do it with joy and ‘work’ in it’s 4 letter sense will leave you be.

This is another caller I love who they talked off the edge from destroying her car.  They just made you happy when you listened to them.

A friend of mine told me she didn’t like their show and I found it astounding because they are so cheerful and happy.  It’s like not liking a babies grin or dimples on a little girl.  They are so joyful.

Anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and say thanks to Tom and Ray for cheering me up all these years.  RIP Tom and my comforts to Ray and the entire Magliozzi clan.

It just shows what good a human being can do when he or she finds their calling.

They were immortalized by the Pixar folks with Ray a Volkswagen van and Tom his fabled Dodge Dart.