Monthly Archives: November 2015

Wednesday, again?

It’s blog day but it’s also pie day and I am exhausted. I only baked seventeen pies today. When I first took over the Thanksgiving pies for the big family gathering, I baked on Wednesday and on Thursday morning and I made up to thirty-two pies. My mom made the turkey and I just transported lots of pies from my house to hers. I have an amazing collection of Tupperware pie stackers.

My mom is gone now and my husband makes the turkey, so I don’t have access to the oven on Thanksgiving morning. That’s why Wednesday is pie day. I actually start Tuesday evening by making the filling for the eggnog pies. That needs to chill for a while and it’s also a pain to make, so I get it out of the way early. I was feeling lethargic yesterday, so I thought making that filling would feel like a chore, but it didn’t. As soon as I started putting ingredients in a pan, I could feel my shoulders start to relax. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “this is pie-making. I like this.”

I am not good at many things, but I am good at making pies. It makes me happy, even when I make seventeen of them in a day. I get tired, but I have a good time. I still mix my pie crust by hand, in a stainless steel bowl, with a fork. These days, most folks who make pie crust from scratch use a food processor. Even Martha Stewart uses a food processor, but not releaf1954. I have to do it the old-fashioned way. This is a tradition and I don’t mess with tradition.

It also seems to be a tradition to start the day with a quick bowl of cereal and then try to get by on spare eggnog and coffee until all the pies are done. I guess that could be one reason I’m so tired. At least I came up with supper.

Pie scraps

Pie scraps with sugar and cinnamon


Tough Choices

It’s Wednesday and Wednesday is the day I’m supposed to come up with a blog post. I made a commitment and I am trying to keep it, but this week, it feels impossible. Everyone knows what happened in the world since my last blog post. Terrorists attacked Paris. They killed more than a hundred and twenty people and injured over four hundred. That was five days ago and Facebook is still full of posts from people going back and forth over the issue of the United States taking in Syrian refugees. It breaks my heart and it makes me angry and it makes me wonder if humanity is worth saving at all.

I don’t understand how anyone can blame all Muslims for what a few extremists have done. I don’t understand how anyone can turn away innocent widows and orphans who are running from the same people who carried out the attacks in Paris. Do they think all danger comes from outside our borders? Do they think denying these people refuge will make us safer?

People, we are not safe. We are fragile beings. We live in a dangerous world and not one of us is getting out of here alive. Does that mean we have to live in fear? I believe we are called to live in love, not fear. I believe we came to this place to learn how to choose love instead of fear. If you barricade yourself inside a bunker and surround yourself with guns, you are still going to die. We all are.

While we are here, we have choices. Every one of them is the choice between love and fear. Fear will tell you it can save you, but it can’t. All it can do is make living feel like dying, day after day after day. I have visited that place and I don’t want to live there. I have a choice and I choose love.

Waiting for Dawn

Wednesdays come and Wednesdays go, but this has not been my best Wednesday ever. It started too early, for starters. I didn’t plan to wake up at three o’clock in the morning. I didn’t want to wake up at three o’clock in the morning. I’m not sure why I woke up at three o’clock in the morning, but once I was awake, I couldn’t get back to sleep. I gave up after a half-hour in which my dark bedroom just seemed to get darker and darker.

If you have never been afraid of the dark, you will not understand how heavily the darkness weighs on a person like me. I guess everyone is afraid of something. What is it for you? Deep water? Spiders? Clowns? Whatever it is, just imagine how you feel when you see that thing and you will have some idea of what happens to me when I have to face a dark room. I know it’s not a particularly rational reaction. Please don’t tell me there’s nothing in the dark that’s not there when it’s light. Believe me, I’ve heard it. It’s a big, fat lie. My fear is there and it’s as real as that spider crawling up your arm.

I may be a bit touchy about this subject. The point is, it was dark and I needed light. I couldn’t just turn on the bedroom light. My husband didn’t need to get up until five-thirty, so I couldn’t shine a big light in his face at three-thirty. I grabbed a flashlight and headed for the bedroom door. Once I had it shut behind me, I turned on the bathroom light. Then I turned on the kitchen light. Then I turned on the living room light. I put water on to heat for coffee and I grabbed the notebook in which I write my morning pages. Any time after midnight is, technically, morning.

I wrote. It helped. I drank coffee and wrote some more. I listed the things I could do that would make me feel better, like Sweatin’ to the Oldies and accomplishing things I had been putting off. I knew I would be okay once the sun came up, so I just kept writing to keep the darkness at bay. It’s always peeking in the windows and trying to get past the weatherstripping. Not on my watch, darkness!

I finished my morning pages and then I updated all my iPad games. I squished monsters in Springfield, I picked apples in Ponyville and I hatched out a Spunge or two in My Singing Monsters. I found hidden objects in Pearl’s Peril and Mirrors of Albion. I caught up with all my friends on Facebook. That doesn’t take long at four o’clock in the morning, if one has done it the night before. I went to Words with Friends to see if any of my Friends had come up with any Words. I am currently playing nine games, but seven of them are with my daughter, who rarely takes her turn. My other friend never fails, though, so I had two games to update. I had no vowels on one and almost no consonants on the other, but that just keeps things interesting, right?

When I ran out of games to update, I decided I might as well get my word count for NaNoWriMo. My novel might have taken a dark turn at that point if my novel made any linear sense at all, but it doesn’t, so that wasn’t a problem. Two thousand words later, the sun was up and I had survived the scary darkness, one more time.
In your face, darkness! The sun always rises.

NaNoWriMo, Why Can’t I Quit You?

There are people who can do it. I saw one of my Facebook friends do it. She came to the NaNoWriMo page and she said she would not be participating this year. She’s sitting this one out. She’s offering support to people who are participating but that’s it. She’s not writing fifty thousand words this November and she’s okay with that. I thought I could do it, too. I had already told my daughter, who got me involved in NaNoWriMo in the first place, that I would not be jumping on the bandwagon this year. I was not excited about participating. I didn’t have an idea for a novel. I had no desire to commit myself to thirty days, fifty thousand words and no excuses. I had done it three times already and I wanted a break.

Then November first rolled around. For most of the day, I stuck to my guns. Everyone else could have a lovely National Novel Writing Month, but I was not going to join them this time. I saw them posting about it on Facebook and I just scrolled on by. Nope. Not this year. Not me. The day wore on and I stuck to my guns. I did. For hours and hours and hours, I did not participate in NaNoWriMo. I was fine with it. I was glad I wouldn’t have word count hanging over my head every day in the month of November.

Then evening came and it just felt … wrong. It was the first of November and I was not writing. It was the first of November and it was getting late and I was just sitting there, scrolling by the NaNoWriMo posts on Facebook, trying to congratulate myself for escaping the craziness, but I wasn’t buying it. I was forced to admit that I was MISSING the craziness. I began to weaken. Then I caved.

I couldn’t remember my NaNoWriMo user name, so I messaged my daughter to ask her what it was. I was still on her buddy list, so she had no problem finding the information. She passed it along and I went to the NaNoWriMo web site. I couldn’t remember how to log in, so I messaged my daughter again. She was happy to enlighten me. I logged in. I created a novel. I went back to the word processor on my netbook and started a file that would be my 2015 project for National Novel Writing Month.

Okay, I’m in. I have to confess that I’m a rebel this time. I am not writing fiction. I’m not sure exactly what I’m writing, but I’m writing. The only absolutely hard and fast rule in NaNoWriMo is that you can’t write the same word fifty thousand times. I am not doing that. I’m writing complete, original thoughts from my own brain. I don’t know where they’re going from paragraph to paragraph and I don’t care. I get to go to the NaNoWriMo web site every evening and update my word count.

It feels like coming home.