Category: NaBloPoMo (page 1 of 5)

NaBloPoMo

blech

tardisIt was day spend trying to head a cold off before it got too much of a foothold. I watched Doctor Who while knitting a Tardis glove; I’m going through the all of the new Doctors again and am just finished the Jones years. I’m kind of surprised how many of them I’d missed, but then again Martha has never been my favourite companion.

Ravens

Oops, forgot to hit Publish last night.

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From last night’s writing session;

Ravens

It was our second day in Dawson city. We had moved from one of the apartment-style rooms to the renovated Gold Rush cabin. I loved the cabin, with its odd mix of old rustic and new modern. I liked to put one splayed hand against an exposed log on the wall, and the other against the fridge or TV and pretend that I could feel the years channelling through me, that i could send a vision of the room in the luxurious now to its former occupant in a wild and rough past.

We had spent the day exploring Dawson City. We had taken the ferry back across the river and looked around the ship graveyard, where most of the old steamships that plied the Klondike river had been pulled to shore and left to disintegrate. In any other place, in any other national park, there would have been an interpretation centre, and paths with signs to tell you the history of each one. Not here. The first person we spoke to at the Dawson City visitors centre didn’t even know about it and had to go ask. An older woman managed to find a much-photocopied hand drawn map and gave us the instructions to “take the ferry to the campground, walk all the way through it and follow the path”. The path proved so long and so overgrown that we began to wonder if perhaps we’d missed something when the prow of a paddle wheeler, rusted and covered with moss, appeared from undergrowth.

We poked around the wrecks for an hour or so. We only found 5 of the 6 or 7 before the drizzle prevented us for delving too deep into the thick underbrush. we went back to town and had lunch in former bordello. What is it about former bordellos that lend themselves to becoming restaurants? We’d seen the same thing in Skagway and Haines. Bars, maybe, but a restaurant?
But I digress.

We tried to avoid the bus groups taking tours of old part of town, and found ourselves walking in and out of the residential areas as we wandered up and down the dirt roads. We found the liquor store and a grocery store in our travels and decided to make dinner in the cabin than eat out yet again. We made it back to the cabin in time to watch the opening of the Beijing Olympic games before grilling our steaks. We sat on the porch overlooking the Klondike, and as we ate we talked about what it must have been like a mere hundred years before.

“just think” Keith said. “there must have been a time at this very spot with someone eating steak and beans outside. We could be like an echo”.

“Yeah, an echo with propane, a four piece bath and hot and cold water on demand.”

I’d seen photos during the day that stripped away any of the period’s romance. Would we even have been among the ones that survived it?

After dinner, I headed to Diamond-toothed Gerties, a gambling hall at the north end of town. Every vacation, I pick someplace, state I want to fill in the blank here, and make that a goal of sorts for the trip.
On this trip I had decided I wanted to go to Diamond toothed gerties, play some poker and add another poker chip to my collection.

The gambling hall itself wasn’t really what I expected; from the pictures I’d seen of the stage where they put on old dance hall shows and of the casino floor, I was expecting it to look like more of a period building on the outside, as had the other buildings we’d looked at during the day. Instead, it had the look of a small town hockey arena or community centre, with white painted cinder blocks and siding.

I’d just made it through the external door into a small foyer and was beginning to greet the two employees inside when the power went out. Immediately, thin back up lights came on, and my way into the casino was blocked by the larger man, the one in the period outfit with Gerties embroidered on the pocket.

“sorry ma’am, I can’t let you in while the power’s out.”

Over his shoulder, i could see dealers quickly cover and lock the chips and cash boxes. Their movements were smooth and practised, and the casino patrons seemed to be taking it all in stride. I wondered how often it happened.

“No, I understand” I told him. “I know this is a stupid question, but any idea how long?”

“it’s been going off periodically all day. Give it a few minutes.”

I walked back outside and past a group of men, standing by a side door, smoking and listening to one guy complain about a bad beat in the last poker hand. I hid a smile as I past and wondered if the same rule applied where you had to pay your listeners a buck after forcing them to hear your bad beat story, your poker tale of woe.

I walked around a few blocks, and took some pictures of abandoned and decaying buildings and of a very friendly cat that twined itself around my ankles but soon ran off in the direction of a woman calling “blackie, dinner!”

I headed back to the casino but could see that the power was still off. The desire to complete my goal of playing some poker in a Gold Rush town was still there, but it was starting to wane. The combination of waiting around outside in the damp and knowing that I had beer in the fridge and bubble bath for the cabin’s claw foot tub won out over standing around, waiting.

It will give me a reason to come back, I thought as I abandoned the goal I’d had in mind for months and headed back for the triumvirate of beer, book and bubble bath.

The streets were deserted on the walk back, even by the ferry landing that had been busy all day. I found it kind of surprising until I looked at my watch to find that it was well past 10. The light in the land of the midnight sun made it seem like much earlier.

I was close to the cabin when my attention was caught by two ravens on a street light above me. The one on the left had a large piece of food firmly gripped in its beak, and the one on the right was being very vocal. I had to anthropomorphize, but there seemed to be something very questioning about the raven’s gurglings and caws. As I stood watching and listening, I realized that there was a pattern, there were three distinctive calls repeated over and over.

Watcha got? Where’d ya get it? Whatcha gonna do with it?

The raven with the food stared straight ahead, ignoring the other. This went on for a quite a while and I was just about to give up and continue down the street when the raven on the left suddenly ruffled its feathers and turned to caw at his neighbour, and so dropping the food it had had in its beak. The vocal raven immediately launched off the street light, swooped down to grab the food and flapped off over the trees. I couldn’t help but laugh at the the look the remaining raven gave to its now departing companion, earning me a blink from a beady eye and a rough gurgle in my direction before it flew off in a different direction.

I was still smiling about it later as I lowered myself into a bubble filled antique claw foot tub in a renovated Gold Rush cabin.

Perfect day in pictures

Motorcycling along the Great Ocean Road between Warnambool and Anglesea. A perfect day in Australia with my beloved.

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge

 

At the Loch Ard Gorge

At the Loch Ard Gorge

 

Seen on the road to Cape Otway. The beginning of the Guess What Koala Butt jokes.

Seen on the road to Cape Otway. The beginning of the Guess What Koala Butt jokes.

 

Didn't see one, so they must have been active elsewhere.

Didn’t see one, so they must have been active elsewhere.

 

Cape Otway

Cape Otway

 

The view from the top.

The view from the top.

 

Path away from the lighthouse/

Path away from the lighthouse

 

Good view with our picnic lunch.

Good view with our picnic lunch.

 

The couch.

The couch.

 

Wild parrots outside our hotel room door in Anglesea.

Wild parrots outside our hotel room door in Anglesea.

 

Ending the day with a beer while waiting for an amazing Italian meal.

Ending the day with a beer while waiting for an amazing Italian meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the hell am I doing?

Just got home from the third session of the Prud’homme Beer Enthusiast class. To say I am in a funk is an understatement.

I knew that Roger, the instructor, had taught a course for the Brewmaster program, so I asked him a bit about it. He then asked why I was interested.

“Because I’m applying”, I replied.

“Why?”

That simple question flustered me…I babbled something about becoming a brewmaster and starting my own brewery. To be honest, I don’t have a full plan for when I grow up but then I never have. I should have just just stated the truth in four words:

Because I want to.

“Make sure you have a backup plan”, he said. And then went on to tell me about people he knew, people with years of experience and with certifications like the BJCP or Cicerone, who could not get into the program.

My self-doubt jumped in and whispered in my ear, if they couldn’t get in, what makes you think you can get in? You have none of that, you’re a noob with nothing to back you up except enthusiastic delusions. Why the hell are you bothering? What the hell are you doing? 

I have only one answer that I can give the self-doubt:

Trying. Because I have to.

11 random things

I responded to Michael/Grange95’s Facebook status, so have been challenged to come up with 11 random things about me. I think I’m supposed to post them on FB, but there is no way I’m giving up a perfectly good blog post during NaBloPoMo.

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  1. I still have the first vinyl record I bought with my own money – Fantastic by K-Tel records. 22 original hits, 22 original stars! As seen on TV!
  2. I’ve undergone Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for agoraphobia, defined through Wikipedia as becoming “anxious in environments that are unfamiliar or where he or she perceives that they have little control. Agoraphobia is often, but not always, compounded by a fear of social embarrassment”. It’s given me tools to deal with my anxiety so I can avoid a panic attack, but I will never lose the anxiety completely.
  3. My favourite candies are marshmallow bananas and strawberries, spearmint leaves and double salted licorice. I’ve loved them since I was a kid, blowing my allowance at Kelly’s General store.
  4. I grew up in a rural area, and once entered my crafts into the local fair. I still love going to country fall fairs – seeing homemade preserves and pies with blue ribbons fills me with delight.
  5. I made jam this year for the first time in 30 years.
  6. I live across the lake from where I grew up.
  7. When listening to music or watching tv, the volume MUST be on an even number.
  8. I have been colouring my hair since I was 18. I have dyed it a number of colours, but have never been a blonde.
  9. my favourite flavour is black currant
  10. I have watched Monty Python’s Holy Grail about 40 times.
  11. I am hoping to go back to school next year. My application goes in in February. Keep your fingers crossed that mine is one of the 24 applications selected.

Quick answers to prompts

From Plinky.com:

You’re in the middle of a terrible argument, and everyone turns to you to help resolve it. How do you respond? How do you react to conflict?

People wouldn’t be able to turn to me help resolve a terrible argument because frankly I’d have left long before it escalated to terrible. And I respond to conflict in exactly the same way my mother used to – avoidance. I ignore it until it goes away. If it doesn’t go away, then I do.

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From NaBloPoMo (picked at random from last week, as they don’t publish prompts for the weekend):

If you had to be trapped inside a movie for 5 days, which movie would you pick?

That’s a tie. The Shipping News because of the beauty and quirkiness of Newfoundland and its people, Fifth Element because it’s silly fun.

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From TestYourVocab.com:

How many words in your vocabulary?

According to their test, 35,200.

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From Geo:

Use the following unrelated objects in a story:
1) pint glass
2) speculum
3) chainmail

I need more beer, or maybe something stronger, in my pint glass before I can make any connection between a speculum and chainmail, other than they are both metal, colder than they should be, and the opposite of sexy. And no, a chainmail bikini is not sexy; see the other two points.

 

 

 

Favourite martini recipe*

cosmo* NaBloPoMo prompt suggested by Heather

Purists would say that my favourite martini is not a martini at all. Well, if it’s served in a martini glass, then as far as I’m concerned, it’s a martini.

I can’t take credit for this; the recipe comes from the Martini Goddess. It’s the perfect blend of flavours for my taste buds, walking the fine line between sweet and sour. It’s also sneaky – it’s one of those drinks that dangerously creeps up on you. It will only let you know how potent it is when you stand up after your third one. Or, I should say, try to stand up.

Raspberry Cosmo

1 oz. Raspberri Absolut (don’t use Smirnoff Raspberry, it tastes like shit)

1/2 oz. Triple Sec

1/2 oz. lime cordial

2 oz. cranberry-raspberry cocktail

Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, letting the sound of the ice swooshing around soothe any shattered nerves.

Pour into a 4 oz. martini glass, garnish with a few raspberries.

Sip and enjoy until the crappy parts of your day are nothing but a distant memory.

Running out of steam…

Day 14 of NaBloPoMo. I have nothing really to write about today since I did nothing but go grocery shopping and finish my nephew’s website. The most excitement I had all day was when the Macbook had a kernel panic and shut down, taking about an hour and a half’s worth of work with it.

Truly. That was the high point.

Yeah, I’m living the dream here.

So I’m throwing out there for my 3 remaining readers: give me a prompt. Could be anything. Is there a picture from katitude.ca you want the back story on? A story from my past, a first-time-I-did-insert-thing-here? Give me three unrelated objects and I’ll write a story about them.

As long as none of the prompts have anything to do with Rob Ford. I will seriously lose my shit if that’s the case. The antics of Mayor “Laughable Bumblefuck” (so dubbed by Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing.com this time last year and it’s stuck) fill me with such disgust and rage that I find it difficult to be coherent. I can’t even.

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In other, much more cheerful news, it’s the ever-fabulous Juliette’s birthday right now! RIGHT NOW! Hope it’s a wonderful birthday! Having a raspberry cosmo (or two) to celebrate it with you, or as with you as one can be on the opposite side of the planet.

I miss you so much.

Niagara

Headed out to the Niagara region today to meet with two men at Niagara College; one is the head professor and the other is the program coordinator. It was a great meeting, and I got enough information about the program to set the hook in my desire to get in. There are only 24 spots and 150+ applicants every year, a statistic that my self-doubt had a field day with. The little voice whispered that I’m going to go through all this work for nothing, I should just accept reality and look for a job that won’t be what I want to do but will pay me for it. Because really, who gets to do the work they want to do in this world?

Dear self-doubt: bite me.

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After the meeting, I killed some time by driving along the Niagara River, ending up in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was a ghost town compared to the summer theatre-town craziness. I think I counted maybe 8 cars and 20 people. But the the coffee place was open and the park at the lake was empty, so I was a happy little introvert.

notl

10 down, 20 to go

One-third of the way through the month, and one-third of the way through NaBloPoMo. I’m glad of the event to get me back into the practice of regular posts, but I am going to need some decent fodder for writing to prevent this from deteriorating into the lame side of things. Like this.

I have spent most of the day  knitting half a sock and mainlining Battlestar Galactica. The cat was trying to get me to nap by demonstrating how awesome an all-day nap could be, but I resisted the siren call. I was not able to resist it enough to actually get anything accomplished.

I did manage to import a year’s worth of posts from the old photo-a-day blog to the new photo-a-day blog without breaking it, so I am declaring it a win. Only half of the pictures actually imported though; the rest are linked to the old blog. So I guess it’s not an absolute win. It does however give me something (about 180 somethings) to fix the next time I need to procrastinate yet still feel productive.

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