Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fun meme, courtesy of...

Kelly :-)

Your Name: Teresa

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. ALWAYS hot chocolate *g*.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps them :-)

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Coloured, though with the very young (and not always so bright) cats, we can't leave the tree out. Maybe next year.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Sometimes. Depends on whether I can find some and have somewhere to hang it.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually the first week of December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Ok, now don't all go "eewww" - but it's pickled herring followed by a shot of vodka - a staple when celebrating Wigilia if you're Polish. Followed closely by my mum's stuffing and my mother-in-law's trifle.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: I have so many - the last Christmas before my aunt died (I'm not even sure we knew she was sick yet), when my uncle came from Australia stands out as we had my dad's family together - there's a pic of me and my sis with my aunt that I love. There was also a ski vacation we took to the Eastern townships with another family. Like Kelly, I didn't usually like being away from home for Christmas, but that ski holiday was lots of fun. And then there was the year I poked my way through the gift wrap on one of the packages under the tree *g*.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Ya know, I really can't remember! Just seem to recall that by about 9 or 10 I knew the truth. Though there was one Christmas Eve I swore I saw Santa and his sleigh up in the sky as we drove home from my uncle's house *g*.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yep - it's part of the Polish tradition, where people open all gifts on Christmas Eve. We compromised with one. My sis and I loved that.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? With a mix of ornaments and lights. No tinsel or garland, cause of the kitties. But I never really liked tinsel much either. And often Bob and Doug MacKenzie's Christmas album playing ("...and a beeer in a tree") - didn't know about the South Park one!!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it as long as a) I don't have to shovel it and b) it doesn't stay longer than a week or two. Though I do love it in the mountains when I go to ski.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes. Love ice skating. Will miss gliding down the Rideau Canal.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? As a child it was probably a tie between my long-haired Chrissie and Timey Tell dolls. As an adult, the first Christmas gift Sean ever gave me - a big white teddy bear I named Nicholas clutching a brand new Sony walkman.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family and the food - especially the traditional Polish and English dishes.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? It's a tie between my mum's mince tartlets and my mother-in-law's trifle. LOVE them both. And always eat way too much!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? It's so hard to pick just one, so I'll cheat *g*. The first is the breaking of the oplatek on Christmas Eve (Wigilia) and the second is the English Christmas stocking - I love both buying and receiving all the cool little things, especially the chocolate. And I'm thinking of starting the Love Actually one Kelly mentioned - it's one of my fave movies and I picked up a copy in London Drugs recently!

17. What tops your tree? A fabric angel made of gold gauzy stuff and wings. (Sounds like Kelly and I have the same one *g*)

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I really like both - searching for and giving just the right gift, and the surprise of unwrapping packages myself.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Again, I'm going to have to cheat here. My fave traditional carol is In the Bleak Midwinter while my fave Christmas song is Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on A Very Special Christmas, Volume 2.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or yum? Yuck. I'm not big on hard candy - prefer melty dark chocolate instead *g*.

Anyone else going to play??


More snow and inspiration...

Yep, we're supposed to get more snow today. Yikes!!

And I had a moment of inspiration last night, so hope to do a little more writing today, once my other work is done.

Responding to comments:

Annette - yep, it does seem rather ironic *g*. We're getting the Ontario weather and you're getting the BC weather. Go figure!! Though it is supposed to rain again starting tomorrow.

Gabrielle - that's one thing about snow on the coast of BC, even when you get a lot of snow, it rarely stays more than a few days. But yeah, it would certainly make it easy to write a lot!

Kelly - LOL. Best thing is, we don't have to shovel it. Though I did clean the car off yesterday *g*.

Ok - on with my day. I did post yet more photos of the snow, including a very cute one of Tiva the dog, over on my Windshield Chronicles blog. So feel free to hop on over there and have a boo :-)


Currently Reading: Book for review
Link of the Day: CKAY newswatch

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snow, snow, snow & more snow...

The subject line pretty much says it all. It started snowing Saturday and didn't really stop till last night and now it's flurrying again this morning. I'm not sure of the totals, but this is the most snow seen up here on the Coast in at least a decade. We did make it back from Vancouver before things went crazy, leaving the hotel by 8 am on Sunday morning. Downtown things were fine, but we knew the highway to Horseshoe Bay would be very snowy and as traffic built, things wouldn't be good. By the time we got to the ferry terminal we could tell it was going to be a bad storm.

Things were ok here till about 6:25 am yesterday morning when a tree went down on a power line down the road, cutting off our hydro service. We camped out up at the big house with my in-laws who have a propane stove, a wood furnace and a wood-burning fireplace. My mother-in-law and I even went snow-shoeing with the dog (on paws, not snowshoes *g*) and had a great walk, though the sound of branches snapping in the surrounding forest did make us a tad nervous.

Bedtime came early last night and by 7:30 pm Sean and I were sound asleep under duvet, comforter, blanket and cats. Just as Sean was getting ready to leave for the radio station at a very early hour, the power came back on and so far, knock on wood, it's stayed on. But it could easily go out again, so I'm staying prepared.

Here are some pics I've taken over the last few days:

A sign of things to come - snow up on Mount Elphinstone, taken Saturday morning on the way to the ferry terminal:

The storm from the window of the Queen of Surrey, Sunday morning - 9:15 am:

The snow outside our cabin as of Sunday morning, around 11:30 am:

What it looked like by Monday morning:

The view outside our bedroom window (where Cleo and Chloe love to sit):

What things looked like by 3:30 Monday afternoon - LOTS of heavy snow, bowing down the trees. The lake still hasn't frozen, though and it looks really cool, with the snowy trees reflected in its surface (don't think I can capture that too well with my little camera):

The view out my in-laws deck door:

The snow seems to be picking up speed again! Could be another interesting day. Am very happy Sean has a heavy, 4WD pickup to drive!!! I was going to post another couple of pics, but Photobucket now appears to be down, so they'll just have to wait till later.

It's back up - here's what it looked like about an hour ago - if you've got good resolution on your screen, you should be able to see the lake reflecting the trees if you click on the thumbnail for the full-sized photo:

Re: my story - thanks for the suggestions :-) I'm still working on what to do, so it looks like my NaNo will top out at just under 23,000 words, which still isn't bad, considering. We'll see how things go over the next couple of days.


Currently Reading: I'm between review books - have one more to go.
Link of the Day: Articles on the Craft of Writing at The Romance Club

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Ok - I have too much internal conflict and I've written myself back into the same corner, with my hero and heroine so focussed on what's keeping them apart that they can't see why they'd be good together. Ok, well they can, but they're still too hung up on their internal conflicts to work things through. My hero wants to retire to a small town, whereas the heroine has just come from one and doesn't EVER want to go back to one. They each have their reasons - he was accused of something and no-one believed in him, not even his wife. He was innocent. So why does he want to move to a small town? He figures if people know him really well, that they'll be less likely to listen to idle gossip (I'm not saying his logic isn't flawed, but that just makes him more human - his issue is that he needs to learn to trust again). My heroine became the subject of gossip after her husband died. She'd always been itching to get away, but that was the last straw, so she moved across the country and began a new life, where no-one knows her. That is why she doesn't want to go back to a small town.

He's realized how much she means to him, but can't figure out why she's so against living in a small town. She too knows they are perfect for each other, but isn't willing to let go of her newfound freedom and anonymity. As I mentioned before, she works for him in a small business. I figure they need a common goal that will force them to work together, but I can't figure out something that won't seem too contrived. Oh, and she needs the job with him to support herself while waiting for her old house to sell, whereas he needs money to buy his land and wants to sell his business, but is reluctant to put her out of work.

Any bright ideas? This is driving me nuts. I can't get any further till I figure this out and was really hoping to crack at least 30,000 by next Thursday. Heeeeeelllllpppp.


Slowly but surely...

I'm building up my wordcount. Still having trouble moving the story forward, though. Definitely a case of "sagging middle syndrome".

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends :-) Enjoy your day!!

Tuesday: 1020
Wednesday: 1703

Currently Reading: Just finished one book for review and preparing to move onto another

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NaNo Update...

Yesterday's total was 1530 words, handwritten in a smaller than normal notebook. All these little tricks seem to work. I brainstormed a couple of ways out of my roadblock and seem to be back on track. But it's hard to tell for sure.

LOL, Kelly re killing someone off. Doesn't really work here, but I appreciate the suggestion :-)

Back to the salt mines!!


Link of the day: A Short Informative Essay on The Pencil, by Elizabeth Hoyt

Pics from the Coast...

I took these pics of a deer family having breakfast a couple of weeks ago:


Monday, November 20, 2006

And this is why I hate pantsing...

The story has stalled. I've written myself into a corner and have NO idea how to get out of it. Been lying awake at night trying to come up with new places to take my h/h, but so far, nada. VERY distressing. My h/h have admitted their attraction to each other, but both have major reasons to avoid a relationship, especially my heroine. So now I've no idea what to do with them. She works for him in his small business, so I'm trying to come up with something related to that.

I think another issue for me is that I'm so used to writing historicals, where the characters are also involved in historical events, so those came in handy to move the story forward. But part of it is because I'm used to knowing where my story is headed, often scene by scene. This "flying into the mist" can be great, but it can also end, as I've discovered, in a total roadblock. Will have to do some more brainstorming this morning, before trying to write this afternoon.

On the home front, my brother/sister-in-law and our niece visited this weekend - we had a quiet time involving Monopoly, knitting, reading and the Grey Cup game. Sean made chili for the big game (which BC won - yay!!) and we also visited a local craft fair where I picked up at least one Christmas present.

This coming weekend, Sean and I are heading to Vancouver to do some shopping there :-) Should be fun!!! We'll also see my brother/sister-in-law & niece again for dinner. Now we just have to hope the weather is half-decent. We're expecting more rain today. NOT that I'm complaining. I actually like rain :-)


Currently Reading: Book for review
Link of the Day: Resources for Writers from Natasha Oakley

Friday, November 17, 2006

Five Things for Friday...

Kelly tagged us, so here's my contribution...

Five yummy things:
1. Coffee
2. Popcorn with butter and salt
3. Lindt dark chocolate truffle balls
4. Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream
5. Pickled herring and ice-cold vodka (I'm half-Polish)

Five songs I know by heart:
1. Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush
2. All Because of You - U2
3. Rock this Girl - Jann Arden
4. I Was Made for Lovin' You - KISS
5. The End - The Doors

Five things I would do with a lot of money:
1. Make sure my family was taken care of
2. Buy an English country home with a stable of horses
3. Open a bookstore
4. Take in all the stray cats that need a home here on the Coast
5. Start a subscription library

Five places I would like to escape to:
1. Dorset, England
2. Ireland
3. Paris
4. Wroclaw, Poland
5. Whistler

Five things I would never wear:
1. A micro-mini skirt
2. Old lady polyester pants
3. Gauchos
4. Anything with a Disney character on it
5. High waisted jeans

Five favorite TV shows:
1. Rescue Me
2. The Office
3. House
4. ER & Law and Order: CI
5. Studio 60 & Heartbeat
(okay so I had to double up as well *g*...)

Five things I enjoy doing:
1. Writing
2. Reading
3. Watching Movies
4. Hanging out in coffee shops & bookstores
5. Knitting

Five Favorite toys:
1. My digital camera
2. My alphasmart
3. My books
4. My car
5. My Palm Pilot

NaNo Update
Wordcount for Thursday - 1455
Wordcount for Today - 1038

We were among the lucky and have had power pretty much since later Wednesday morning. Lots of debris around the property, though. We have yet to check our building site - maybe on the weekend.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Really quick post....

We're having a major, major storm here - 100Km/hr winds and rain. Power on and off! Just to let y'all know that we're fine though - have a fire, two full pots of coffee (brewed while power was on) and plenty of food.

I did manage 1700 words yesterday, but none Monday. Went to buy wool for more knitting projects. I'm definitely addicted.

Anyway, I'd best go. Imagine the power will go again soon. My sweetie is at work, keeping people up to date on all that's going on.

See you tomorrow, hopefully (assuming we have power *g*).


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Books in storage...

Below are some pics of our second storage room, the one with all the books. The first three are wide shots of all the shelves, from various angles:

Here are some closeups - I took lots more, for reference sake, but figured I'd show just a couple here. For fun :-)

And these are the French Revolution books I had to leave behind in storage - can't have them all in the cabin:

Happy Sunday!!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Only 1534 words yesterday...

but that's where the story flow ended, and with pantsing, I've discovered that's what I have to do. Keep writing until I hit a wall and the characters stop talking to me. Will see if I can get to at least 1700 words today. And I'm taking the weekend off. In fact, I'll be taking all the weekends off. Pantsing does NOT come naturally to me, so I definitely need breaks. Plus we have three busy weekends ahead, so even though it's against the NaNo ethic, I'm doing what feels right for me :-)

I've no idea how good the story is. Sometimes if feels like things are going well, other times I wonder. And my stupid heroine won't tell me what she wants. I know her internal goal, but externally, she's just not fessing up right now. Oh well, it's fun for the most part. At least my hero cooperates most of the time. But darned if yet another cat hasn't found its way into my ms *g*.

It's rainy and windy here today, perfect for writing. I'm hoping to get a bit more done on my historical too.

My fellow Canadians, please remember to take a moment or two tomorrow to remember those who fell defending our country - whether it be at a cenotaph ceremony or just quiet time at home. Though none of my own family has fought for Canada (I'm a first generation Canadian), I salute all those who have and do so now and never fail to be moved by the ceremonies on November 11th.

***NaNo Update***
2065 words today. Tough ones. Maybe cause I actually wrote at my computer, which allowed me to check my wordcount periodically. Bad move. Anyway, they're done. I always try to leave off in the middle of a scene, so I can get going right away on my next writing day.

I just figured out I have 14 writing days left for NaNo, which means I need to be averaging 2500 words per day. We'll see. I may be able to up my count next week. But I refuse to get down on myself if I don't get to 50,000. Just making a good start on this story is enough.

Now I'm going to turn to my historical and see if I can squeeze out a few more words today. Am thinking the change in voice may prove helpful to my output.


Currently Reading: Book for review
Link of the Day: Remembrance Day

Thursday, November 09, 2006

For the cat lovers among you - Cleo with her toy

Click on the still to get the video to play. I took it yesterday. Sorry about the grainy quality.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A big sigh of relief...

But first, thanks for all the birthday wishes!!! They're much appreciated :-) Among Sean's presents to me was a lovely journal from paperblanks (mine is the last pattern - Saddleworn) - isn't it gorgeous?

Now for the big sigh of relief - I found my memory keys. I thought I'd lost them. Went to back up my work yesterday, but when I opened the zippered pocket in my purse, they were NOWHERE to be found. Dumping my purse didn't help, nor did checking all my desk drawers, coat pockets etc. At one point I thought they may have gone through the washing machine as I remember tucking them in the pocket of the jeans I'd washed the other day. But they weren't in the laundry room. Or in the jeans on the drying rack. My night was semi-sleepless, and I resumed my hunt this morning. Went through everything, chanting over and over my nephew's line "It has to be somewhere." and following Sean's timeless advice (he experiences this a lot in his life with me, bless the man) "Look in the places you haven't already checked. Look everywhere." And thus I tracked them down in the bottom of my make-up bag. Don't ask, I've no f******* clue how they ended up there! But at least they're not lying in a parking lot somewhere.

Anyone know how to password protect stuff on a memory key? That was my big worry, what with my full mss (ALL of them) backed up onto those thumb drives.

So, now I can breathe again, I'm moving on with my day. Hope to get some good writing work done today :-)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! And thanks for your continued NaNo support. I'll update my wordcount later today.

**NaNo Word Count Update**
Today's total was 1840 words, pushing me over 10,000! Yay! My goal for each day is to write as much as comes naturally to me. Usually this happens in about 2 hour increments.

This morning I also wrote the first 600 words of my historical!


Currently Reading: Book for Review
Link of the Day: Editors' Choice Titles for the Nov 2006 issue of The Historical Novels Review (if you scroll down about 3/4 of the way, you'll find there's some BSP involved here *g*)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All about Me Meme...

Well, I figured as it's my birthday, I'd tell you all about me :-) I found this at Kelly's blog:

1. I'm a wee bit psychic. So was my paternal grandmother (to whom I bear a very strong resemblance). I often know who's calling before I answer the phone, can pick up when something is wrong with people far away from me (the night my nana died, I woke up at 3 am with my heart pounding - at 6am, the phone rang with the news) and have a very uncanny ability to know when women are pregnant BEFORE they tell me (just ask Sean about the day we found out his aunt was pregnant).

2. I spent five years working as a buyer's assistant for the Canadian Forces. So if any of my fellow Canucks shopped at a CANEX during the early 90s, well, I was responsible for at least some of that stuff being in the store.

3. I was a union floor rep while working at CANEX. Sean refers to this as my Norma Rae phase *g*.

4. I lived my entire childhood in the same house and was amazed to learn this is considered unusual. My mum STILL lives in that house!

5. Until I went to school, I spoke with an English accent. My mum took me to England for a longish visit when I was about 18 months old and learning to talk, so I picked up the accent. That and most of my parents' friends were European so I heard a lot of foreign accents as a young child, the predominant ones being English and Scottish.

6. Like Kelly, I learned to read at four and have rarely been away from books since. And yes, I was one of those kids who read the cereal box at the breakfast table. *g*

7. I kept my eyes tightly closed the first four or five times I crossed the Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver - you guessed it, I'm scared of heights. And bridges in particular, though the view from the LGB is fantastic, so now I'm more used to it, I do keep my eyes open.

8. Sean and I not only met at university, we were married at the chapel there when we were 24.

9. I worked my way through grad school as a TA in the History department and Residence Don.

11. I've been to Tombstone, AZ - a very cool place!

12. I was a member of the Ottawa School Board's All-Star Reach for the Top Team. We played a team from the base at Lahr, Germany when they came to visit Canada. Years later I ran into one of the members of the Lahr team at university. She was a friend of Sean's at the radio station there. Talk about a small world.

13. I'm an amateur genealogist who was lucky enough to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City last year, while attending the Historical Novel Society conference.

Message from Sharon:
"PLEASE LEAVE THE FOLLOWING IN ALL 'PEOPLE COLLECTION' POSTS:Remember that it isn't always the sensational stuff that writers are looking for, it can just as easily be something that you take for granted like having raised twins or knowing how to grow beetroot. Mind you, if you know how to fly a helicopter or have worked as a film extra, do feel free to let the rest of us know about it :-)"
I'll be back later with today's NaNo wordcount.


Only 1274 words today, but hey, it's my birthday - I'm allowed some slack *g*. I'm still averaging 1795 words a day :-)


Currently Reading: Book for review
Link of the Day: Tombstone, AZ

Monday, November 06, 2006

A quickie post from the stormy west coast...

First, my word count for today was an incredible (for me) 2222. Done on my AlphaSmart as my wrist/hand started cramping almost right away when I tried using pen and paper. I didn't think I'd done nearly that much, so was totally thrilled :-)

On the weekend I did no writing. On Saturday we spent six hours at the storage place, rearranging stuff, as well as unpacking and shelving boxes and boxes of books - Sean set up several of my Billy bookcases in our new room, so at least some of the books have been freed from their prison.

Yesterday was errands/laundry and relaxing. Yeah, I could have written, but my wrists were sore from all the book work the day before, so I didnt want to risk making things worse.

Thats about it. The sky is really dark now, so I'm gonna upload this blog post and then power down my system.


Currently Reading: Book for Review

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nano Day 3...

Thanks, everyone, for the continued support!! It means a lot. Today's total was about 1800 words. And that was after a later than usual start. I went to the gym this morning, then spent some time on the phone with my mum.

Tomorrow we'll be out much of the day, shifting some of our stuff from a smaller storage bin to a larger one. Well, Sean will be doing the shifting - I'll be supervising!

We had torrential rain here this morning, which made for an interesting drive. But the sun seems to be breaking through, so maybe the rain they forecast for the weekend won't actually fall! That would be nice :-)

I'm off now to get mail. Will try to catch up on my blog-hopping soon - sorry if I haven't commented recently. My mind seems rather stuck in my story at the moment. Which is good for my Nano output, but not so good for much else *g*.

Have a happy weekend!!


Currently Reading: SHe's the One by Cathy Kelly
Also Currently Reading: Book for review
Link of the Day: Live Webcam from The National Gallery of Art Plaza

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Nano Day 2 - 1950 words today...

so I'm still going strong! Almost half were from the hero's pov, so I'm starting to learn a little about him. That's pretty cool. Until this point I've known almost nothing, but bit by bit he's revealing things to me as I write.

Tomorrow I hope to get as many words as today. Then on the weekend, well, I'm not sure. Saturday is going to be really busy, but I'm hoping Sunday to write at least for a couple of hours.

I'm tired now, though. Been awake since 5:30, went to Nia this morning and then have been writing for the last couple of hours. Must report my daily total at the NaNo site, post this blog, then go and fetch the mail. It's rainy here, which is nice, cause the cats and I are cozy in our cabin. But it does make me even more sleepy :-)

Thanks for all the encouragement!!! And Kelly, hope those office mates of yours quiet down!!


Currently Reading: She's the One by Cathy Kelly
Also Currently Knitting: A baby blanket (very slowly)
Link of the Day: Photos of my Alma Mater

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nano - Day One

Well, much to amazement, I surpassed the required daily total to reach the 50,000 words!!! Yep, that's right. If you check my counter box just above my profile in the right hand sidebar, you'll see my approximate word total for Day 1 - 1725. I have to guestimate as I hand wrote today's pages at a local cafe, then counted the words on four of those pages, totalled them and took the average. Imagine my surprise when I figured out I'd exceeded 1700 words!!

All in all, a good couple of hours work :-) I think it really helped that I wasn't sitting at the computer with that cursor blinking at me. Under normal writing circumstances, it doesn't bug me to see the cursor, but when I'm under pressure to come up with words, that's a whole other story. So far my wrist coped with the writing fairly well, though I'll have to be careful to wear my brace at night.

Other than that, not much to report from here. I'm glad y'all liked the pic of us at the party the other night - thanks for the compliments :-)

And now, I'm off to commune with the kitties for a bit, having deserted them this afternoon.


Currently Reading: She's the One by Cathy Kelly
Also Currently Reading: Book for Review
Link of the Day: Claire Delacroix on The Book of Your Heart