Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Day... Another Dollar

42 Days Until Christmas
2/ 38 projects completed
5846/50,000 word written for NaNo
Well, I managed to do more than I planned. And less than I planned at the same time!
Yesterday was a sort of nightmare. I agreed to work some extra hours. I need the money. We all do, right? Hellooooo! Economic Crisis! Well, I wasn't expecting the three hours of overtime to be so eventful. First, a girl refuses school. She was supposed to go so she could have some time with her mentor. Obviously that was not motivating for her at all, and I wasn't about to push her buttons.
Then, after all the residents leave, and I am in chill mode, thinking I have three hours to get my NaNo time on, I am called to work in the school. Mind you, I have only even set foot inside of the school one time up until yesterday! I have no idea where anything is, where people are, or what to do. Even worse, I have to wake up a resident who doesn't attend school and drag her up there with me. It's about 8:30 in the morning, cold out and wet. The resident gets up and curses me to the high heavens as though I caused a ruckus at the school and snuck back to the cottage to make her get up early. Doing my best not to completely snap, I get her to take her morning medications and we walk. At this point, I am flustered, confused, disoriented, unorganized, and tired. I look like a crazy piece of hell. I knew Aunt Flow intended to stop in, so my hair is in braids, no make up, baggy clothes to ward off cramps... you know, a fump-a-licious mess! Even if I were wearing jeans and I did have on make up, everyone would have still had crap to say about me because of my hair. I guess I have nice hair, but it's thick and curly and I don't like to bother with it if I can help it.
On my way to the school, irate resident vomits... well, all over. Luckily we were outside and she hadn't eaten anything. It still made me gag. Not cool. I don't do bodily fluids! We get to the school and I am swept into a classroom with about 3 girls in it. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a small glimpse of "Tall Caramel Delight". Yes, I give every guy who I am smitten over a nickname. It usually has something to do with sweets- ha! I love to eat!
I am immediately embarrassed. I look and feel like hell. I am also swallowing hard, trying to fight back the urge to vomit myself. Again, I do not do bodily fluids! I sit with the girls and then it's time to switch classes. We go down to an art room. Art, of course, is my thing. I didn't get to inquire much about the project because the *madness* began.
Brace yourself for a complete insanity of ramble...
The program manager calls to say irate resident has to stay back from work because she is too ill. Program manager becomes irate when she finds out I am at the school, rather than in the cottage letting irate resident sleep more. As program manager is cursing me, I am trying to diffuse situation by offering to get irate resident back to cottage for some R&R. Tall Caramel Delight walks in, completely throwing off all concentration. His good friend Loud Mouth Fatty begins to taunt and tease me as I am getting cursed and attempting to focus long enough to negotiate a solution. Loud Mouth Fatty then begins to tell me about how I need some "side dick in my life so I won't be so uptight".... Program manager yells "I love how people can just fuckin' decide what the fuck to do with my fuckin' time, well your time because you are actually there, but it's my time because I would be there now if you weren't"... girls are being rude & disruptive in art room... Loud Mouth Fatty "Imma hook you up! Don't wanna be up tight-- git done right. Ha-HA!!!"... Tall Caramel Delight ignoring me completely, as he tends to do. I hang up and go off on Loud Mouth Fatty... saying things that aren't very wholesome, Christian or lady like at all. Loud Mouth Fatty continues to tease me about how he knows I want "good dick"... and I explain that "this here (pointing to panties-region) is much harder to get than most men have the energy or intelligence to bother with".. then I suddenly become stressed, realizing that I lost irate resident. I came in and was rushed off to the classroom with the other girls and I didn't even think that I should be sitting with the sick resident as well or instead. Then, I chose to walk her back to her bed, but I was terrified she would pass out. Since she was so sick, no one offered to help me get her back. Understandably, I needed a chaperon. This resident is pretty obese and I am heavy as well, but my weight comes from height. I don't stand any chance of picking her up and carrying her the 3-4 blocks back to the cottage. I couldn't leave her in the road if she passed out. With no help, I find irate resident and take her temp again just to verify her being super sick. Another co-worker that I call Boobs Over Chocolate comes out to tease me... yes, I relive my high school days all over again every time I work with co-workers. I love being alone at night! I give Boobs Over Chocolate a quick grab of the man-boobs and head out with my sick, irate resident, praying that irate resident is able to make it back to her bed.
All in all... Loud Mouth Fatty promised to be an asshole, which is something I can always count on. Tall Caramel Specialty ignored me, which is something else I can always count on. The girls were terribly rude as if being horrible to people is the new "Cute". Boobs Over Chocolate laughed at me...or is it *with* me? Not sure... Irate resident made it to bed and actually felt somewhat better once back in it. Angry program manager chilled out and found someone to come in and relieve me. When my relief came in, she and I cracked up about the whole morning.
After that, I went grocery shopping. Much to my surprise, I spent $50 less than planned. I was good! Working 6 days per week, learning French, reading Lolita, and mini-marathon training doesn't leave a lot of time for cooking intricate recipes. The plan was to get something written for NaNo and to work on a project for a pen pal at home. Unfortunately, I was so sleepy by the time I got home at 2:45, all I did was put away the groceries, grab a hand full of grapes and pass out.
I meant to get back up, and I did wake up every two hours. I couldn't get out of bed. It was so comfortable. I think I staggered to answer the door to get a sweet package from my lovely pen pal in Bochom, Germany and then I grabbed another hand full of grapes. I slept until I had to get back to work.
The good thing is I was able type 4146 works in an hour and forty five minutes! This is 646 more words than I planned. Again, I went to that special place! But I am worried...
At some point today, I need to really think more about where I am going with the story. The main character is now female. Who cares what my gut is telling me. I want a Thudercat! I also now have 2 side stories that are happening in the past and present along with the main story. I need to do some sketches and character analyses today while at work. That will give me the answers I need to "embellish" my characters better. That will also help me to figure out where this complicated story is going!
And let's not even talk about a title! Ha! I literally at this very moment just realized that my book doesn't have a title! I'll let you know what it might be when I finish typing my 50,000th word!
Saturday: finish another gift and write 1700 words. I was going to take Saturdays off from writing, but I should plan to write everyday so that I am not in a mad dash to finish in the end. I shouldn't say that. What I meant is *so that I am not in a mad dash to finish it all in the end*. We all know I will be finished at least a quarter of the book in the last 48 hours!
Marching on to November 30th .... and then on to December 25th!

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's the Final Countdown...of 2010

43 days until Christmas
Projects completed: 0

Ohhhh.... What happened?! I am so confused! I am really bad with math, so that has to be the problem. The calculator has to be wrong! I just counted...well "calcu-counted" that there are 43 days until Christmas... FORTY THREE DAYS! Where did the whole year go? I am completely dumbfounded. Just a second ago, I revised my Christmas list. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that I should maybe cut a few items out of the list. Either I changed my mind about who should get what gift or I reconsidered who should get a gift from me at all instead of just a card and/or a friendly hug. Well, let me say this... not counting about 10 people who I spontaneously put on the *hhhmmmm... Lemme get back to you on that* list, I have 38 Christmas presents to make! That is almost one per day!!! I think I might have just soiled myself... Let me check!

Ok... just kidding about that last statement. I didn't shit myself, but I feel like I could spontaneously rupture at any moment! On the one hand, I am excited. I love a challenge. Nothing motivates me more than knowing that the odds are against me. On the other hand, this is going to be one of the biggest failures I have set myself up for in a while. Which brings me back to the positive side of things. When I get stressed and bummed, I totally engage in self-destructive things like: spending more time with friends & family, writing letters, completing art projects that have nothing to do with anything other than personal gratification and/or education, reading, cooking & eating amazing food, and shopping. Under normal conditions, I try to limit all of those things because they are all huge time-wasters in reality (with the exception of spending time with family, of course!). But in the rare situation that I get to indulge in any of these activities, I am always grateful. Even though it is supposed to be a "bad thing".

As someone with a gargantuan appetite for life, I have completely, and almost unknowingly bitten off more than I could ever chew, swallow, or digest.

Last month, I became super excited about this writing project for National Novel Writing Month. But then, I decided to challenge myself to finish all Christmas presents for pen pals by November 19th. But then I also decided that I wanted to make this really cute, colorful blanket... I was inspired by some multi-colored, slightly tacky yarn while in Hobby Lobby. But then I got back into making jewelry because I found these cute beads also while in Hobby Lobby! So then I went back to writing... but I couldn't think of anything to write. Marital problems began to boil over, and I became side tracked with ways to de-stress that didn't involve a shot gun or doing shots. When that died down, I was off from work, but spent most of those days hanging around with my daughter, completely unmotivated to do anything of importance. Believe it or not, I didn't even cook! After that, I decided more art and less cooking elaborate recipes, but then I went on a baking frenzy... I baked 3 cakes and 2 batches of cupcakes for the girls I work with. I also decided no more working too much so I would have more time for all these projects... and time to study and learn French. But then, I was offered so many extra shifts, that I couldn't say no. It's easy, yet stressful, work and it's over time pay. Then I went to the dentist. Terrible idea! Just bad news there... And so I became obsessed with my teeth and I was literally spending hours per day looking in my mouth and flossing very carefully. All the floss in the world won't make my wisdom teeth grow in. They will have to be cut out because they are happily residing under bones in my jaw. Since I will have to pay for that extraction, I chose to accept even more over time.

As you can see, the extra stress has me rambling like a mad woman! Where am I now with everything? I have portions of 2 gifts made for 2 pen pals. I have 1700 words written of my novel...which is about 18,304 words less than what I should have by now if I were on any sort of a writing schedule. I only learned one new word in French *bois*. I actually can't remember what it means, but I know it is pronounced *Boowah*, not *Boys*. It has something to do with water, mouth, or drinking...maybe cup. Who knows!

As of right now, I am going to be investing in some de-stressing techniques... like over eating, binge drinking, sleeping too much, avoiding my problems, and watching Julie Julia every single day because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Somehow, in addition to those counter productive activities, I also plan to blog -- even if just a short note underneath a picture taken on my cell phone-- every single day as I countdown to my doom! I am pretty excited about it to be honest. These Cheeto's Puffs and Coke are a treat! I haven't had either in at least two months, back when I swore to cook more often and delete all trash foods from my diet, especially while at work.

The plan for tonight.... Finish the one scarf I have started for my pen pal. It is 2:40am. I have until 6:30 to finish it. That is approximately 3.5 hours of hard work... I can finish Julie & Julia and start it back over again in that time. I will also make my self a huge bowl-sized mug of coffee, plan out this week's recipes (Dude, I know! I have no time to plan and cook tons of recipes! But I love to cook!).

I also need to re-think some things for my novel. The main character was supposed to be female, but as I got lost in writing, she became a He. How did that happen? I don't have the slightest clue, but I know that I just completely leave this world when I write. I let the story go where it goes and I just hang on for the maybe the main character is supposed to be a male. But dammit! I want to see more Power Women on the scene! I will think about this over coffee, crocheting, meal planning and my movie. We will see what I decide.

The goal for tomorrow night, while at work is to finish another present and to write 3500 words. This is just a few hours of typing for me, so I should be able to do both. My goal is also NOT to watch Julie & Julia. Aside from my concerns about this odd obsession with the movie, I am genuinely becoming worried that I might damage the DVD and then what would I do with myself when I get stressed or bummed out? I would have to resort to all my other films, which are sinister, violent, and dark... more my style and preference, but they don't make me happy in the end the way that watching actors pretend to cook amazing French dishes does!

Until then... oh-reh-vwah! I have no idea how to spell anything in French except *BOIS*. But can spell all the sounds.


Monday, November 8, 2010


Sigh... my first night back to work in about 5 days. I am so tired, I think most of my body has gone numb with exhaustion. Each blink lasts about 10 seconds instead of one. I have done everything to stop myself from completely crashing for the night. I have loaded myself with disgusting foods-- Shrimp Cup Noodles, Coke, 2 Peperoni Lean Pockets, Sprite, Chips, Mr. Good Bar, and entire box of Nutter Butter Cookies... Thank goodness I am in the home stretch. I am running out of things to eat! All the sugars and fat have my mouth and teeth covered in a film that tastes like vomit from all the mixtures of disgusting malnutrition I have consumed, all within the last 2 hours.

Tonight was a relatively good night at work. Perhaps I should have thought twice before returning to work and accepting to work 2 double shifts back to back. I have to make it through one more hellacious night tomorrow. Only tomorrow, I have no intention on eating nearly as much in order to stay awake! I will try to use conversation, which failed me miserably tonight because I kept slurring my words from exhaustion. I will try to write some pen pals back. I am behind in letters. I couldn't make this happen tonight either. I kept having to use my correction tape because my sentences made no sense. Most importantly, I will work out. Before bringing in any craft items to work on (because I will be too tired to lift a finger) I will bring in my work out items. I will also pack a huge edible survival kit of high protein items (whatever that means) and vegetables with dip. Oh my! I just stared at my now empty paper towel, where my Lean Pocket once was, and thought of eating the napkin!! I am going crazy!

Well, well. Projects! Let's be honest, do you really think I finished all of those things? Apparently, when I am home, I am not interested in doing art. I would obviously rather spend time with my three year old and cook good, wholesome meals. I did start to work on a purse/tote. I tried to make it significantly more complex than I have the skills to execute. It took me two and a half days to realize that what I was trying to do was beyond my skill level and I ended up changing it completely, meaning I started over. So now, I have about half of a bag out of everything on the list.

The good thing about my little Christmas list for pen pals is that I will be back at work for the rest of the month. While at work, I am inspired and completely compelled to finish work that I plan on. If all else fails, I know I can start and finish a project at work.

I just had a very vivid vision of me frantically brushing my teeth with my head all the way back as I simultaneously squeezed globs and globs of toothpaste from a never ending tube.

Well, I best start my tasks for the night. One should be finished in the next 20 minutes... I am not sure whether this is to happen or not, but it can't hurt to try. I think I will learn French online as I work to start and finish all my work in the next hour or two.

More later....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Challenge

I am proud to announce that my Christmas list for my pen pals is completely finished. Wanna know what it is? Well, I obviously can't discole EVERYTHING. What if one of them were to check into my blog spontaneously and find out what I have in store for them. Well, that would ruin everything... including my motivation. Right now, the element of suprise is one hell of a motivator! I love giving gifts... and I have FOUR days off from work, and FIVE nights off. This presents itself as an amazing opportunity for me to set up a challenge. I personally think I can I finish all gifts for all 6 of my pen pals before the end of the weekend. Did you just say, "Bullshit!" and call my bluff? Well thanks for that! Because I am serious. I just know I can do it.

The Challenge...

By Sunday night, technically your Monday, at 8am, when I am finished with work, I will have the following completed:

  • 3 hat & scarf sets

  • 3 decorated canvas totes

  • 3 stationery sets

  • 5 books/journals/photo albums (not each, but they are all just books really!)

  • 2 make up bags

  • 1 charcoal drawing

Yesss.... It can be DONE! And this will be the funnest challenge I have completed in a Long time... Imagine: **Extreme giddy excitement**

Go ahead and doubt me if you like, but I've already won both the race and all the bets!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Key to Wasting Time Gracefully

Some time earlier this week or late last week, my husband and I began a series of arguments. I hate to argue. What are they ever about anyway? You know the saying: "It's never just about the dishes"... At any rate, I handled the added stress in the only way I know how besides self medication and truancy from work: Art & Food. Mainly food. I mean, who doesn't love to eat? I really only like to cook because I love the taste of the food after I am done with the labor.

As you may remember I have been going on and on and on about this whole Boeuf Bourguignon recipe since forever. Well, it hasn't happened. I am totally intimidated by the recipe! I did, however, manage to get a book from Border's on sale full of some of Julia Child's most famous recipes. The funny thing is I am too sheepish to even attempt most of them. The even funnier thing is that I spend hours per day studying the same recipes of interest over and over as though I will be tested on them. In fact, at this point I can probably recite at least 6 recipes from complete memory, but I haven't mustered up the guts to take all that knowledge to the kitchen where it belongs!

Instead, I was able to experiment with some far simpler recipes. First, I tried to make asparagus taste... well, like something other than asparagus. I like the overall flavor of it, but it is a very strong flavor. To my knowledge, there isn't any way to change the way this particular vegetable tastes... At any rate, I liked the end result. I cooked/baked it in butter (I am such a butter-holic! Always have been!) and some garlic spices. It was good, but it still totally tasted like asparagus! Forgive me for the picture. For some reason, Blogger has chosen to warp and load all of my photos vertically despite however they were edited and saved on my laptop.

Of course, Julia Child has some awesome recipes for asparagus and sauces to eat with veggies. I have to try them! I never thought to use lemon juice on asparagus! But the citric acid is so strong, it just might work! But then, I have to think... if it doesn't taste like asparagus anymore, what in the world should I expect?!

Shortly there after, my husband comes up with the glorious idea that he is craving home made chicken noodle soup! A little secret I kept from him was that I have been dreaming of trying to make that soup for at least 6 months. You would think that it is some sort of insanely complicated feat. It's really not! But of course in true "Bri Fashion" I had to research about 60 recipes all over the internet and in random library cook books until I came up with something I thought I could manage with the ingredients I had on hand. Again, in true "Bri Fashion", while researching the chicken soup, I got distracted and decided I wanted to make some dumpling soup too. I have no clue what exactly a dumpling is to this day! Nor do I have a clue as to how people make their own noodles! But I can say this with perfect intelligence: Go to the damn grocery store and get the shit in a box/bag/jar. And that is what I did!

I was worried about both of these store bought products. As you can see, the noodles called themselves "dumplings", but they didn't resemble the gnocchi at all...which, did appear to be what I know as dumplings. I was afraid the boxed, dried gnocchi was going to be rock hard in the soup, especially because the box said to boil them for just 5-8 minutes. And I was sure the egg "dumplings" were going to dissolve completely into muck!

Just my luck... neither of those things happened!

My second dilemma was that I had no intention on buying and boiling an entire chicken to get stock. I planned on making two totally different soups! I wasn't about to fool with boiling, chopping, and all that! So I used some boneless, skinless breasts that I baked in spices and well... yup, you guessed it... BUTTER! I love me some butter. It makes everything tastes better, different, richer. Well, everything but asparagus, that is!

Again, with the photo uploader. Sometimes, I really do think that everyone and everything is out to get me...including the Blogger people! Ha!

In the end, the egg "dumplings" didn't dissolve. Thank goodness. I would have hated to explain that I ruined my husband's dream lunch by turning it into baby food. It was almost like it came from a can... meaning it wasn't some strange and unfamiliar flavor, but it was Better. And just so you know, these are not my words. My Husband said so!

The creamy chicken & dumpling soup was all right. It actually needed to sit before being eaten. I was shocked about that because I had anticipated something more exciting to come of that soup. I am not sure what the package creators had in mind, but letting the gnocchi simmer for 15-20 minutes was a Much better idea because then they take up the flavor of the soup rather than just tasting like flavorless, industrial potato balls, which is what they resembled after 5 minutes of being boiled.

In the same day, I decided that I wanted to make the Panera Bread mac & cheese. I didn't plan on shelling out a million dollars and consuming ONE THOUSAND calories (no, seriously! The large portion is a whopping 980 cal!) But, aside from butter, I am in love with cheese. The pictures looked to appetizing, so I figured I would do some research and give it a try.

Well, I don't want to knock the recipe that I found. I also won't post a link to it. All I can say, briefly, is that there is a reason I hate baked mac & cheese. It tastes powdery and not creamy. But the recipe did have an interesting point to it. There was this method of mixing and stirring butter, flour, and cheese until it turned into a complete cream sauce. That was delicious until I went and baked everything. So, I will return to that microwave method again...very soon! Who doesn't love mac & cheese. It's like an all-American staple! Or at least that's what I tell myself.

The sad thing about all this is that, despite my joy of cooking, no pun intended, and my complete delight in satiety, I have decided that I better get on a diet. If I eat another FOUR sticks of butter in one day, I might have a heart attack... or wake up with an additional 47 pounds that found its way to my body over night.

Tomorrow, I am going to focus more on art than eating. In fact, I have come up with another idea to distract myself from the fact that I am unable to focus long enough to complete my goals of opening an online shop to sell my crafts. I have absolutely nothing on my walls. I think that I will find some art online and create a pastiche from some famous artist. Since I really enjoy black and white charcoal drawings, that is the medium I have chosen in order to complete my project.

I found some amazing pictures from one of my favorite artists, Robert Longo:

Untitled (Ulysses) from the Yingxiong (Heroes) 2009 Exhibition

This amazing pilot mask is a charcoal on mounted paper drawing, not a photo! I think it's sheer genius. Just like this next one:

Russian Bomb (Them)/Semipalatinsk from the Sickness of Reason 2003 exhibition

Well, let me reassure you that I have no real talent of this expertise. Having viewed all of his collections- charcoal drawings, 3-D exhibitions, and photos- I just want to admit that am not a photographer to this capacity, first of all, and I am not sure that my attention span would allow me the opportunity to create detailed drawings of this magnitude. This, however, is an example of the sort of awe that I want to evoke.... in the very few and typically random house guests I happen to have.

Instead, I have chosen to do large charcoal drawings of dancers. I found these amazing photos by Lois Greenfield. As mentioned before, I love dynamic photos, and what could be more dynamic than someone dancing. Although, not all of her work is in black & white, I will print the photos in b&w and then draw from the copies. She has literally hundreds of photos to choose from, so you can imagine my head spinning as I try to choose which ones would be the best for my living room.

Here are a few of my favorites:

New York City Ballet Co.


Maureen Fleming

Carmen De Levallade

Maureen Fleming

Most of these seem to be of the ballet influence. I am not sure which genre of dance I will stick with. I know it is not my style to have one cohesive collection of items, rather than some melting pot of seemingly nonsensical insanity. I would really hate for the meaning only to lie within my own heart and mind. I want, when someone comes through my front door, for the first thing they see are these ginormous amazing works of art. I want breaths to be taken away. I want people to feel a sense of awe, excitement, and joy. And if it is a woman who walks through and sees ballerinas (if that is what I go with...), then I want for her to go back to a time when she was a little girl and the most important thing to her was her holiday dress and she would spend hours and hours pretending to be a world renowned ballerina. That is what I genuinely believe all little girls think of at some point- the beauty, discipline, grace, flow, and respect that a ballerina exudes. Unfortunately, I am not all that feminine anymore, so it would be uncharacteristic of me to have huge drawings of ballerinas all over, but I am not really designing and creating for myself... I am doing it for what I believe all artists work for- to inspire onlookers, to set a point of view, to chnage opinions, to push boundaries... to evoke emotions that have been unknown, forgotten or repressed.

So as soon as I collect the funds to get the paper to draw on, preferably a 38X50 inch piece of Stonehenge, I will whip out my never before used easel and get straight to work.... Oh, yes, I am forgetting something. I have to do one of my absolute least favorite tasks: Make a Decision! I better get that part together, otherwise, I will never buy the paper. And with no paper... well, we all know where that will have me ending up- Right where I am now... Nowhere! And we can't have that.

Tomorrow, I will show off some of my little hooking journeys that I have made in the last two weeks. It's winter time, and I am all about creating cute little ways to keep warm! If I am diligent, which is almost never, but a girl can dream right... I will give a little sneaky peak into some Christmas presents. If I am patient and diligent, I will also do a GIVEAWAY this week-- woo hoo! I am excited to do my first give away *Big Goofy Smiles* So all you praying folk out there who enjoy hand made crafts... get them prayer shawls on and say a little prayer for me to have Focus, Determination, and good Craft-womanship this week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

B is for Blasted Blogspot!

I have spent the past FOUR days, which is extremely dedicated for someone like me trying to make this damn thing load all my photos right. I have a totally great (or at least I think so!) blog made out, but all of my photos will only load vertically rather than horizontially how they were saved.

Rather than trying to kill my laptop or searching for those responsible for ruining my blogging experience, I am going to get some sleep!

STUPID BLOGSPOT!!! I gots my eyes on you!