This site is shut down until after the first of the year. Thank you for reading and I sincerely hope to see you again after the holiday madness, er, season, is over.
Monthly Archives: November 2012
. . . my new post on my new “American Cuisine” page. Thanks for reading. 🙂
American cuisine, for the purposes of this site, includes mainly foods that are stereotypically associated with America.
Sometimes this will mean burgers and fries. Sometimes it will mean restaurant dishes and sometimes it will mean meals prepared in my own kitchen. After all, the point of this section is to embark on a world tour through readily available cuisine here where I live, in America. In honor of that, I figured I would start with the most quintessential American dish of all.
Turkey on Thanksgiving.
As yesterday was Thanksgiving ( a holiday worthy of its own post ) I feel that it is appropriate to start this new section ( and this new lease on my writing obsession ) with American cuisine centered around Thanksgiving leftovers.
Green bean casserole.
Sweet potato pie.
Did I mention turkey?
Stuffing. I have a love/hate relationship with stuffing. I’m trying to move it from “hate” to “tolerate” if I can’t achieve “love”. This year I made it deliberately dry, since my main complaint with stuffing is that I loathe (with a passion) soggy bread. I know. Many people will be outraged by the previous statement.
It’s my kitchen, my mouth, and I’ll make it how I want too. There was plenty of soggy, drippy, mushy stuffing out of the bird, anyway.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Listing delicious Thanksgiving treats. I forgot one of the most important ones: cranberry jelly.
I have never liked cranberry jelly before this year.
I have always loved cranberry salad with walnuts, cool whip, and grapes. However, the walnuts do not like me (my mouth is easily irritated by them) and I’ve yet to try to make my favorite cranberry dish with pecans instead of walnuts. This year, however, I did discover a fabulous cranberry wine that I just loved ( and I normally do not like wine much at all ) and I discovered why people like cranberry sauce.
Today’s leftovers for my personal consumption started with pumpkin pie and whipped cream for breakfast ( I did a two-mile walk after, so I refuse to feel guilty ) and for lunch, two turkey sandwiches on potato rolls. I took a chance today, wanting to tantalize my taste-buds instead of boring them to death, and added a smear of cranberry jelly to my sandwiches.
Lo and behold, I love it!
The tang, the sweetness, the smooth consistency mixed with the ever-so-slight-resistance of the bread and the shredded turkey filling, was perfection in my mouth. I still prefer my turkey piping hot and lightly salted, or perhaps kissed with gravy, at Thanksgiving dinner, but there is something to be said for cold turkey freshly plucked from the bone, piled high between two pieces of delicious bread, slathered with mayo and cranberry sauce.
Of course, tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts, cheddar, a little bacon added to that turkey and cranberry sauce also sounds divine. Maybe that will be dinner. . .
I’ve had to come to a realization recently. It was hard. It took much longer than I wish it would have. And, I had no idea it was coming. Funnily enough, the realization itself crystallized for me when I decided to put aside my fears of making a mistake with my website and decided to just do whatever I wanted to do with it.
The past few days, I’ve been loathe to write. (Yes, this is the realization. Well, the main one, anyway.)
Not just reluctant.
The idea of trying to force myself to put words on the screen was loathsome.
I set too high of a goal when I decided to try to write two manuscripts this month. I’m already under enough stress- that’s why I withdrew from one university in favor of changing my life by attending a different one. That, and I couldn’t face the idea of another term while still waiting to purchase our house. With each passing day, that transaction gets more stressful, for one reason or another. The stress of school, child-rearing, and life in general had gotten to be too much. So I withdrew and applied at a closer institution. And then what did I do?
I decided to try to commit to writing 100,000 words in 30 days.
Sure, in a normal year, where I’m not going to school and I’m not involved in a lengthy house purchase, I could probably do it. Barely, but still manageable.
This year, not so much.
A couple of days ago I decided to revisit a different method of novel-writing. I am hopeful that I will find this method to be more sustainable. I need, desperately, a writing schedule that will fit into an already-hectic-and-about-to-get-more-so schedule.
I need to find a balance.
Part of finding that balance, for me, is giving myself the freedom to write about whatever I want to write about. That’s what this site is supposed to be for me.
Somewhere, I lost sight of that. I forgot that I had decided not to try to fit in to the normal mold. Other wise, I would still have a series of separate blogs.
Instead, I have one website.
The byline is “An Author’s Voice” for a reason. I have not yet pigeonholed myself into one category or genre. That’s what I had forgotten.
I had shackled myself to the idea that I had to write around themes I’d already established.
I had shackled myself by over-committing myself when already overtaxed.
I gain my freedom today by launching a new page: A Culinary Virtual World Tour.
I gain my freedom today by forgiving myself for making a commitment I cannot fulfill and releasing myself from my promise to try my best to fulfill the NaNoWriMo requirements.
Instead, I will be writing about the fabulous restaurants I’ve visited recently and researching for the two stories I started for NaNoWriMo. Once I am re-familiarized with the other writing plan, I will begin following it. I will be writing about that, too.
All in all, it has been a much-needed beneficial realization.
I am once again looking forward to writing and sharing my experiences through this medium.
Thanks for reading.
. . . that I want to share with you: I secretly fantasize about being one of the first anthropologists on Mars.
I know, it’s ridiculous, but articles like this http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/16/mars-radiation-levels-tolerable-to-humans/?hpt=hp_t3
help me to dream. I’ll settle for the Moon, but Curiosity has given me hope that within my lifetime we will have made great strides toward sending astronauts to Mars. And in my wildest fantasies, a colony ship. . .
. . . I haven’t written anything for days! Literally!
Ok, so only a couple of days ago I was neck-deep in research and writing my stories. Then, I got distracted.
I can justify the distraction, but it is a distraction, nonetheless. Let me explain.
One of the stories I am working on is the beginning of a multi-volume world. As such, during my research, I should have expected stories and characters to leap out and demand attention. However, I didn’t expect it to be so hard to put them aside and focus on the one I’ve already begun.
It’s, it’s, well, it’s been nearly impossible.
Yet, I must overcome and persevere.
I’ve tried to cut myself some slack and expect that I’ll get back on track in time to finish NaNo successfully, but the time has come to buckle down and force myself to focus past the other characters crowding my brain. So, to that end, I am creating character worksheets, titles of stories, and one-to-two paragraph blurbs. Hopefully, that will stave off the tendency to flit from one story to another so that I can actually focus and be productive again.
To all you NaNo-ers out there, I wish you good luck and great success!
. . . unfortunately, not a Battlestar Galactica reference.
A year or two ago, I stumbled across an article that addressed the future “fracking” of land outside one of the towns that features heavily in my childhood memories. This worried me, for many reasons. I read the article and tried to reassure myself that everything would be O.K. That humanity would not cause, by accident, a natural disaster the likes of which my home region is not prepared for.
Today, I saw an article that resurrected those fears and makes me worried that humanity is taking yet another inadvisable step:
I hope someone in the chain of command of the company(ies) involved in fracking whilst extracting natural gas in Central Oregon reads this. I’d love to be able to take my family to the High Desert Museum next summer.
I can’t do that if it’s destroyed by an earthquake, whether human-induced or not.
At this point, any such tremors in that area are likely to prove to be caused by this practice.
While doing research for one of my stories that I’m struggling with this month (Oh, NaNo, you siren luring me onto the rocks of inadequacy. . .) I was reading dictionary definitions. First, there is succubus. The dictionary definitions reads pretty much like this:
Succubus: noun, plural, succubi
- A demon in female form, said to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep. Compare incubus.
- Any demon or evil spirit.
- A strumpet or prostitute.
Notice, if you will, where it says “compare incubus”.
Being the person I am, I did compare the two terms; I have to know these minute details if I’m going to give my story credibility. It might be erotic fiction, but it is still a world unto itself.
So, the definition of Incubus reads:
Incubus: noun, plural incubi
1. an imaginary demon or evil spirit supposed to descend upon sleeping persons, especially one fabled to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women. Compare succubus.
2. a nightmare.
3. something that weighs upon or oppresses one like a nightmare.
I never really thought much of these two terms when I first read them as a teen. It never occurred to me to question the fact that they are basically male and female counterparts of the same type of entity, yet if one is female, the term is much more broadly applicable. As in, a prostitute can be a real being. A strumpet could be a term applied to a real person. Then we cross to the metaphysical side. If you’re female, “Succubus” could apply to any demon or evil spirit.
In contrast, “Incubus” seems to give much more room for credulity and be much less applicable to reality. It seems to send the message that if a man is seduced, there must be evil intent on the part of the female, but if a woman is seduced, well, you know, that may or may not have actually happened. Being as the creation of one of humanities most popular deities was from the consummation of the sexual act of a spirit with an unconscious, or sleeping, woman, I’m a little amused at this point. Ruefully so, but amused still.
I don’t know all the deep, mysterious origins of the concepts of demons, gods, devils, djinn, et cetera, though I have been trying to find out more about these ideas in my spare time. Thus, this post. And likely many more to follow.
I can’t write creatively when I’m shaking my head in awe at the webs humanity has woven to control itself.
I could never be that detailed, creative, and all-around phenomenal. Therefore, I must try to understand it in order to better emulate it. That does not, however, mean that I have to like putting such constraints on my characters.
We’ll see what more my research can teach me. Perhaps there will be a way for my bookwork Succubus to fight the sexist system that governs her new existence.
So, as you may know, if you’ve read a bit of my blog the last couple of weeks, I am attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or, NaNoWriMo for those of us who are “in the know”. 😉 Well, I am on my Monday, the first day for my darling husband going back to work for the day. As such, I decided to motivate myself. I went for a walk, intending to eat a nice brunch and write before grocery shopping and coming home. Well, life doesn’t always work out the way we intend it to.
The sushi place I wanted to eat was not open for another 35 minutes, and I’m way to impatient and busy to wait around for that long. So, I nixed brunch and went shopping. Two packages of chicken, some carrots, celery, a small bottle of soda and a small bottle of water later, and I was on my way. I am intending to make delicious chicken soup for dinner, and was happily marching along, nearly home, when my morning took a turn that thrilled me.
One of the establishments in our neighborhood is an old-fashioned country store-workshop type of building. I believe it used to be a general store. Perhaps I’ll learn a wee bit more of its history after today.
The proprietors of this establishment have a couple of small, cute dogs. One is a pug. She is friendly and willful and the elder gentleman that I talked to today simply cannot seem to get her to listen and being hindered by limited mobility doesn’t help him much. By this I mean that he walks with a cane and cannot chase the energetic little pug as she scampers off, eager to investigate whatever strikes her fancy. Today, that was me.
As I grew up on a cattle ranch, I have experience with dogs simply running up to sniff me. The fact that I have a natural affinity for dogs helps matters in that I can usually get the animal to listen to me, even if it won’t listen to its owner. It’s nuts, because my own dog ignores me until he’s pissed me off; then he cowers like Pain and Panic from Disney’s Hercules.
No matter. Today, this little pug wouldn’t listen and I walked her back home, even stepping just inside the doorway so that she would enter her owner’s home. He was grateful, so he gave me a copy of a map of Historical Orenco. I was, of course, delighted. I love seeing what the world looked like in the past. I mentioned how perfect this little photocopied gift was for me, since I am studying to be a cultural anthropologist. Upon hearing that, the gentleman stopped me from leaving as I had intended, saying, “Hold on, I have something else for you.” He disappeared into his shop again, returning with a roll of paper that made my week.
The outer layer is a newsprint from 1879!
You may not be excited about that, but I am! 🙂 I have long had a forbidden love-affair with old (1920s and prior) printed work. I had the opportunity once to explore a couple of abandoned farmhouses that each had a few dozen books in them from 1950 and before. I was in heaven and wished I knew how to protect them and had the time to read them and study them. Unfortunately, I never did.
Now, I have as much time as I need to study these prints. I can’t wait to see what glimpses into the past they provide and when I’m done reading them, I’m intending to frame them. They are, currently, my most prized academic possession. I just hope I can set them aside until the end of NaNoWriMo. That’s going to be the challenge, right there. How to stay focused on my crazy goal with the siren call of historical print media singing to me. . . Ah, it’s a good thing I am strong!
Now, off to write and have a long-delayed meal. Good thing it’s only lunch time, huh?
Yes, today is the first day of NaNoWriMo. No, I am not posting my requisite words for the day- that’s for tomorrow. No, this rant will not be the last I say about the topic. Nor should it be.
As the title says, the world has suffered the loss of another precious life.
What makes this loss different, you may ask? More specifically, why am I choosing to address the loss of this life over any other life that was lost today?
I am ranting about the situation because the life that was lost was that of a 16 year old girl. As the mother of a 16 year old, I’m trying desperately to get him to open up and share his burdens, to get him to seek help, to guide him as best I can during these last two years before he graduates high school and leaves my home. I cannot imagine any circumstance wherein I would take his life.
The parents of this poor, unnamed-in-the-media girl felt it was justified and necessary to poor acid on her until she expired from her wounds.
The saddest and most enraging thing to me is that there are thousands of other girls and women out there, literally around the world, who have endured the same fate. Perhaps not by the same methods and tools- some use knives, some use rocks, some use plastic bags, some use guns- but the end result is always the same: the death of a woman or girl who displeased someone in power in her life.
Even if all she did was exist. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/14/world/asia/india-female-infanticide/index.html
I remember as a child hearing about the rules in China, where parents could only have one child. Then I learned that the prevailing culture at the time favored boys over girls. This resulted, I was told, in millions of girls being abandoned or killed (the truth is much more complicated; http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/27/with-1-child-policy-china-missing-girls/?page=all
A quick Google search shows that this issue has been reported for years. The articles make it clear that organizations that fight for human rights around the world are aware of this reprehensible behavior. Yet, of course, it still continues. Humans have long justified their cruelty to those most innocent and helpless among them- legends of exposing one’s offspring to the elements for a night or day are not unheard of in Western cultures, too. I just find it to be horrid.
I have a deep reverence and interest in cultures from the Levant and its surrounding areas.
I intend to volunteer with groups that help immigrants, specifically from Pakistan from what I hear, get settled here in the U. S.
I do not know what I would do if confronted with such a situation in my own personal life.
I am guiltily thankful that it is highly doubtful that I would ever be confided in about such a topic.