Monday, December 27, 2010


This past Christmas, one of my good friends gave me a copper bracelet engraved with a line from Lord of the Rings:

"Renewed shall be blade that was broken..."

Thus has become my motto for 2011. This line is from a poem about Aragorn. To me, it is much more.

Life can break us. And there we wait, pieces of our existence collected on a shrine of regret and indecision. Like Aragorn, we search and fight and bide our time until we can take our rightful place. There is hope. No matter how shattered we become, we can always be reforged. Reborn. It's painful. Much fire and banging but in the end, it is all worth it.

The beauty of it is we don't have to wait. We can do this ourselves. Pick up the pieces and make ourselves anew. And we can do it over and over again.

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost,

The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadow shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow is Evil

Snow is evil. Let me tell you why.

"But it's so purty!" You say. Yes, it's pretty. But many pretty things can also wreck havoc. Snow is pretty like that hot chick assassin in the movie. She's a looker, but watch out; she'll kick you in the teeth and kill you with her eyelashes, step over your rapidly chilling corpse and keep on truckin'.

Snow is white. In Sheri World; white is the color of death. "White? It's a pure color." You argue. Pure evil. White is not even a color, it's the absence of color. As in all color as been sucked out of it. The "white light" folks see when they die. Yeah. White. Not pink, blue or even chartreuse. It's the color of ash. And just try wearing a pair of white pants and see how long it takes for them to get dirty.

Snow is cold. Again, in Sheri World, Hell is cold. It's miserable. Cold can even burn. Add to this the wet part of snow and you have the double whammy. Cold, wet and absolutely miserable.

Snow covers everything without regard. It coats your car, your house, your dog if left outside, your front walk and your driveway. You must combat this with physical labor. And when you're done, damned if the bitch snow doesn't still fall and an hour later covers everything all over again. Snow doesn't give a rat's testicle about you spending two hours shoveling. It laughs at you. That "whispering of snow falling." No, it's fucking laughing.

Snow transforms normally sane people into absolute lunatics. Think you know how to drive in snow and its partner in crime, ice? You might, but the fifteen people around you who had to get to the store and stock up on provisions can't. Cars skid around, crash into things and other cars. Cars get stuck in intersections. And that whole "must go to the store thing?" That is not usual behavior. Snow induces panic on an Armageddon scale.

Its effect on children is akin to the seventh level of hell. Snow makes children vibrate! They're excited, they want to play in the snow. Please, can we?? So, they get all bundled up, go outside for ten minutes and realize: "Oh.. hey, this crap is COLD!" Um.. we're going back in.

Pile up enough snow and ice on a power line and it snaps. No power, no heat. Cold. Avalanches? Big ass piles of snow waiting for someone to unleash their fury with a loud belch aimed in the wrong direction.

Snow is even bad Feng Shui. All that white everywhere. Talk about jacking up someone's chi. Snow is like a bad rash. It comes, stays, goes away and around about the time you think you can toss the skin cream, it comes back. Sometimes the stuff sticks around like a bad boyfriend. Snow is the stalker of weather.

I will admit, a large part of my attitude is the result of having a job that is made infinitely more difficult by snow and winter weather. Try taking 500 911 calls in an hour about yet another accident on a snow-slicked roadway. And when it snows, I still have to get to work. I don't get the luxury of working from home or telling my boss, "I think I'm not coming in." And I don't care for cold, or wet.

You may not share my opinion and that's all right. I will bemoan the arrival of that chilling harbinger of death, doom and destruction until such time that I can move to a tropical climate.

My luck though, I'll move to Florida and it will start snowing there.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Been a rather busy week at Chez Blume. I managed to work two evening shift-midnight shift doubles in a row. This is getting to work at 4pm in the afternoon then working until 8 am the next day. Twice. My bod revolted. However, I ended up with an extra day off so it was rather worth it.

In the world of "O", things are plugging right along. My Mom is totally on board with the organic-eating-better plan which surprised the heck out of me. Usually she just nods when I decide I want to make a change in my eating habits. I'm happy to say that she has embraced the idea for health reasons. The kids have also taken this idea and run with it. Also a surprise, because I was expecting a fight.

Now the trick is working out when to go shopping for food and where. We have three main stores that specialize in the organic and healthy food. A couple of other stores have sections with organic products that we can go to in a pinch.

Also trying to find recipes for things like cookies and pancakes and such. It's a process, but one that I am enjoying. I've tried stuff that I don't think I would have tried a month ago. And on the upside, I've lost ten pounds so far. My pants are too big now. I will end up needing to shop for clothes at some point. (DARN!) Who doesn't need an excuse to shop?

Speaking of shopping, gotta give a shout-out to local stores. One I can't mention in this post because of Christmas cloak-and-dagger reasons. Suffice to say they were very helpful and friendly and it felt good to support a local business. Location to be divulged post holiday. :0)

The other one is a favorite of mine. I don't get there as often as I'd like, but this trip was worth it. Fountain Bookstore on Cary Street is one of those places that you'd expect in a movie. Script calls for small charming indie bookstore. Oh yeah, this is the place. But it's more than that. Local authors, book signings, and the owner Kelly Justice is bookseller awesomeness. Check it out if you have a need for books. They also do online orders, so you can have the books delivered to your house. You can shop local and never leave your sofa!

Finally getting to the jewelry. November sapped my creative juices with NaNoWrimo and I'm just now getting them back. Stay tuned for new items. Might be too late for Christmas, but hey, folks get money for gifts, ya?

Told ya this post was random. Bunch of different things going on. And the picture, I added just cause I happen to like it.

Here's wishing everyone a Happy-Merry-your-holiday-of-choice-December.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Letting It Go

In a fit of boredom yesterday, I opened my Stories folder on my computer and took a stroll down Amnesia Lane. More specifically, I read over my NaNoWriMo attempt from 2005. Ok, more to the point, attempts three, four and five. Which might be considered totally separate books from the original because the story changed drastically.

Version five, the final incarnation is actually, somewhat, pretty decent. I think. But it only weighs in at 46K words. That's a novella.

I spent a couple of years massaging this book. Massaging, beating it into submission, pistol-whipping it, then banishing it to the dungeon where it has languished in writer purgatory for the last three years.

Five years is a long time. And I am still not entirely satisfied with said book. There are parts that are good. And parts that just plain suck. The ratio of good to suck is about 1 to 10. I don't know that I have it in me to balance that ratio.

So, here is my question: At what point do you let a manuscript or WIP go? When do you cut your losses and admit that you and your book are slow dancing in a burning room (to borrow that line from John Mayer)? You have invested time, blood, sweat and tears to making this thing work, but it still ain't workin'? When do you say good-bye?

Is it possible to come back to something after years (and more years), and projects when you as a writer have changed? Maybe learned a thing or two? Or are there books that just aren't meant to be written?

Being the stubborn biatch that I am, I don't know that I am ready to kick this book to the curb. Or am I just hanging on for sentimental reasons?

Any fellow wordslingers out there experienced this problem? If so, did you exile your book to the Island of Misfit Novels or did you give it one more go?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Do Christmas Without Christmas Doing You?

I have a confession: I am a Scrooge. And a heathen. So it is twenty-some-odd days until Christmas and my Scroogy impulses are starting to rear their heads. Most modern Christmas carols leave me twitching and every Christmas movie ever made with the notable exception of White Christmas (crush on Danny Kaye), makes me want to pull out my spleen with a rusty shrimp fork. If I had to choose between sitting through Christmas movies or Twilight, I think it would be a toss-up. All this Christmas stuff starts around mid-November and by the time the actual day rolls around, I'm pretty darn near Christmased to death.

"But you can't be a Scrooge, you have kids." They peanut gallery likes to chant at me. Yes, I have kids. This is why I am a Scrooge. Christmas has become another monetary obligation. Another chore and duty as a parent. If not for my kids, I wouldn't even bother with the Christmas tree. Not only is it bad Feng Shui, but it's a pain.

Every year, I try to remember the magic of Christmas when I was a kid. The most I can come up with is excitement over the acquisition of a material object. Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciated all the gifts my parents gave me over the years. I also appreciate how hard they had to work for the money for those gifts.

Add to that years of working retail during the holidays and one can easily see why I'd just as soon leave off from this whole Christmas deal.

I realize this whole attitude is largely that: attitude. So, this year, instead of giving in to my Scroogy Heathen ways, I have decided to adopt a more... shall we say, accepting attitude towards Christmas. I would like to create some non-materialistic memories and traditions. I plan to take the kids shopping not for gifts for themselves, but for a charity. We might try making cookies (spelt and agave sweetened cookies in lieu of sugar cookies?hmm). And who knows, I might even dig around online and find some Elizabethan Christmas carols.

Don't expect me to watch the 25 days of Christmas movie marathon on the Family Channel nor sing anything, but maybe I can fake it at least until the Christmas spirit decides to land on me in some form or fashion. Here's hoping it doesn't knock me out.