Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.  
~ Native American Saying


Harvey Milk 
Born May 22, 1930
Assassinated November 27, 1978

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah (/ˈhɑːnəkə/ HAH-nə-kə; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced /χanuˈka/ in Modern Hebrew; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah, Chanukkah or [Chanuˈkah]), also known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

This year Hanukkah begins at sunset tonight. It will  overlap with Thanksgiving here in the States, something that will not happen again, so I hear, for something like 70,000 years. So those of you who get to celebrate both, have an extra good time!

As I have pointed out before to my Christian friends and family, Hanukkah is mentioned in the Gospel of John (10:22-23) under the title of the Feast of the Dedication.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kinda sorta finished? [Updated]

This afternoon I finished my editing of the printed version of the text, entered it all on the computer and then went through and made more corrections. The end result, word-count-wise, is 61,307.

As far as NaNoWriMo is concerned, that's it.

I, on the other hand, am considering putting the novel into one volume with a novella and a short story, as I already mentioned. To do that, I need to go back and make some changes to make things more consistent. That should not take too much time. It will also make the printed volume look more substantial by adding another 15,000 words or so.

And even as I was writing this post, I remembered something I intended to put in the novel! It may never end.

Update: Now 61,489 words.

Stop me, before I write again!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, Monday

Woke to a whiter world again, but not any significant accumulation. Temps got up near freezing and looks like it will be dry and cold all week.

Made major progress on editing today. Tom had to go to Madison for a meeting, and I had the house pretty much to myself until early afternoon. Sundance was prowling and howling for much of the morning, but eventually she exhausted herself and went away.

Nothing major to report. I haven't entered the editorial changes in the computer yet, so no new word count.

Thought for the day: “At the age of 20, we don't care what the world thinks of us; at 30, we worry about what it is thinking of us; at 40, we discover that it wasn't thinking of us at all.” 
~  Author unknown

"At 60, we begin to wonder if we are thinking."
~ Michael

Good kids

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Shivering Saturday stuff

It was about 12 degrees when I got up this morning (-11 C), but it got all the way up to 19! (-7.2 C) So a good day to stay inside. We have heard only a few shots from hunters, so maybe the deer decided to stay in today as well. Tonight it may get down to 1 degree (-17.2 C).

Being stuck in the house, Tom worked on his latest painting for a while. He says it will be a whimsical Noah's ark. It's totally unlike his other things, and I am waiting to see what he does with it.I think he is just being playful to get back into the flow of painting now that he has a studio with room to play. Here is what it looks like at this point --notice no animals yet!

Sundance is quite intrigued by it. In the photo it is on an easel, but Tom did much of the work with it laid out on the game table. Sundance kept jumping up onto the table, examining the painting, trying to walk on it and get her pawprints all over it. She is having a rambunctious day. We think it is dawning on the cats that winter is here and they are going to be bored for the next several months. It seems to catch them by surprise every year. Cassidy is happier to just lie around doing nothing, but she would prefer to lie around out on the deck in the sun. It takes her a while to catch onto the fact that winter sun does not equal a warm deck.

While Tom painted and fended off the cat, I puttered with the printout of the novel. At the moment (3:30 in the p.m.) I have about a quarter of the revisions done and entered into the computer. So the word count is up slightly, at 61021.

Thought for the day: Things are not as they seem. Nor are they otherwise.

Discuss among yourselves.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Frosty Friday frolics

I have not posted new word counts the last couple of days. I am not adding to the book right now. Instead I got a printout and am using it to proof, amend and otherwise edit. So don't despair, fond fans! I am still at work on the project.

This morning I did my tutoring, then went by the doctor to have my blood pressure checked. It was high when I saw the endocrinologist on Wednesday and it was still high this morning, although it was coming down. In fact, it was going down when the nurse took it when I arrived. By the time the doctor took it, it had gone down to near normal. He was more concerned that my heart rate is slow. I assured him that this was just because I am laid back. He preferred to think it was due to one of my meds, so he took me off that and I have to pick up a prescription to replace it this afternoon. I was relived that he was so casual about the whole thing. My BP is normally quite good, I am happy to say.

Woke to a white world again this morning, but much of it has disappeared in the bright sun of day. Deer season (with guns) begins tomorrow, and I think the hunters were all hoping the snow would last until then. The deer, no doubt, had other hopes.

Stuck for gift ideas for the geek in your life?

No, I don't get a commission.Click the arrow in the middle.

Check out ThinkGeek. Totally the right stuff. For geeks and bacon freaks and just about anyone else with a slightly odd sense of humor.

Like I said, I don't get a commission. But I get lots of laughs reading through their catalog. And one of their gadgets, which is ALWAYS out of stock, gave me an idea that I used in the novel.

And I know you have a geek in your life, even if it's only me.

50 years later and so much yet to learn

I was in eighth grade in Huntsville, Texas on this date in 1963. Just as we came out of the cafeteria after lunch, some kid who had gone home to eat came back and told us the president had been shot. We assumed he had not been killed. Then we got called to the auditorium.

Things went downhill from there.

"I'll pray for you."

How often do my prayers for others involve hidden prayers for my own agenda?  How often is my search for happiness a boulder in the path of growth for another, or even myself?  Seeking growth through humility and acceptance brings things that appear to be anything but good, wholesome and vital.  Yet in looking back, I realize that pain, struggles and setbacks have all contributed eventually to serenity through growth.

I ask that I not hinder another person's growth today -- no matter how sure I am that I am right.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Doctors, stories, saints

I spent much of the morning with a friend I haven't seen for a while. It was good to catch up. He's had some health problems, but things are better now. I have reached that age where too much of my conversation with friends is about our doctors' appointments! He had one in Madison this afternoon. I have one in Madison tomorrow.

I did some more work on the novel and am happy to report that I think I have filled the gaps in the story and have a complete version in hand. Now I have to sit down and read it straight through again to see what's missing. Word count for this draft: 60,620. I think that is about what the word count was for my John of the Cross mystery.

This novel is a sequel of sorts to a novella (or long short story, oxymoronically-speaking) that I wrote and published as an e-book. When I have the novel complete enough to publish, I think I will include that novella in the print volume, along with another short short story (repetitively speaking) that has a slight connection to the others.

Happy feast of St. Raphael of St. Joseph (Kalinowski), OCD. He was a Discalced Carmelite who lived and was buried in the town where Pope JP II grew up. He is a bit of a Polish civil hero, as well as a religious figure. I guess he was having a tedious day when that photo was taken. JP II canonized him, along with about a zillion other folks.

A friend recently commented about my frequent feast day notices. What can I say? I spent 30 years in a monastery. Just be grateful for all the feast days I don't mention!We were all about finding an excuse to have a good meal.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Windy days and Mondays

No rain today but lots of wind this morning. It was howling around the house when I descended to the basement office to work on the book. The word count this evening as I put that project to bed is 58,811. I am about 60% of the way through the text with editing, additions and all that jazz.

In addition to that, I spent more time than I care to think about changing passwords on various accounts today due to a security breach at Adobe. 

Not to get all Luddite, but sometimes ...

One hopes ...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rainy days and Sundays

It was a rainy day today. We did a little grocery shopping. Tom is watching the last NASCAR run of 2013. I had a blast working on the novel. It is about half-revised, -corrected,
-amended, -whatever-you-want-to-call it. Word count: 56,649.

Most of the fun today, though, has been doing more research on unusual belief systems to use as filler. It made me think of a song from 1968: "It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack."

You've no idea.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Up to speed

I worked on the book this morning and this afternoon, with significant chunks of time out to vacuum, ride the exercycle, eat and nap. And to snack the cats, of course.

The word count now is 55,248. More important to me than the word count is the fact that I have reviewed, cleaned up and filled in the story for the first third of the first draft. That feels like I am keeping up to speed. Increasing the number of words is no longer my priority. Instead I am working to make sure that these are the words I want.

Seriously, don't the two guys in the photo look like Mormon missionaries? I say that kindly, having known some Mormon missionaries when I lived in Chicago. The monastery building where I lived had formerly belonged to the LDS, and they still owned some houses on our street. Some of these served as residences for young men doing their missionary service. When I worked downtown, a couple of them often got on the bus I was riding on the way home. One was particularly interested in whatever I was reading at the time, and we chatted a lot. He had been working in Chicago for a year or so, and he seemed pretty relaxed. His companion had just arrived and always looked a bit frightened, whether or me or the city, I wasn't sure.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A trip and a bit of writing

The weather this weekend is supposed to be lousy -- rain and thunderstorms. So we took advantage of a beautiful day today to drive to Viroqua, a town about an hour-and-a-half west of here that our neighbors had told us about. We visited a great used book store which is located in an old tobacco plant and where local high school students were preparing to film a movie. Tom bought a book on Wittgenstein and I looked through their collection of Wicca-related stuff, thinking maybe I would get something to help with my novel. I decided I had more books from the library about Wiccans than I needed, though, and left empty-handed. Across the street was a flea market in another old tobacco company building, totally unheated and filled with amazing things. Some even at reasonable prices. We both left empty-handed there, although I was tempted by a variety of vintage clothing items. We had lunch at a very nice little cafe downtown; looked through some interesting art and other stuff shops. My favorite bumper sticker for sale: I'd rather be Amish. Then we wound our way -- literally, the road is winding as all get out -- back home.

We went out for Mexican food and then made a stop at Gander Mountain to see if they carry L.L. Bean  slippers. They don't.

When we got back I decided to do some tinkering with the book. So I wrote for a bit, adding some stuff I have run across about other odd belief-systems to flesh out the course the protagonist is supposed to be teaching. Word count at the end of the day: 53636.

So not too many words added but they do help flesh out the story. Progress, not perfection.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Public service education announcement

No, not fired because of inappropriate behavior or failing to do your job well, but just because you are gay. And yes, it happens.

This does not mean you will be fired because you are gay, but it does mean you have no legal protection if your boss fires you because of it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It has been a craaaazy day, but I finished the story and the word count this afternoon at 4:29 p.m.: 52,536. 

One of my "friends" suggested that, since I have finished one novel in less than 15 days, I should buckle down and write another one between now and the end of the month. Thanks!

What I will do, though less maniacally than I put together this first draft is go back over what I have written, proof and correct the text, fill in the story-gaps and try to make it coherent. Then I will have to go back over it and edit for style. How much of that will get done in the remaining 18 days of November, I cannot predict. But with any luck, and if it feels right, I might have a book that I am willing to share by Christmas or New Year. This part is done, but it is not perfect.

For now, I am going to take a break for my brain.

Yay, me!

BTW: The last words of this draft -- Toad Suck, Arkansas.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Aloha, Hawaii!

I see by the ever-reliable [not!] Wikipedia, that Hawaii is the only state of the United States that is not geographically located in North America, grows coffee, is completely surrounded by water, is entirely an archipelago, has royal palaces, and does not have a straight line in its state boundary.

No straight lines? Explains so much.

Pict-ure perfect

Today's count: 47,766. Tomorrow I will hit 50,000. I am trying to bring the story arc to a conclusion as well, and I think I will also be able to do that tomorrow. Then to re-read the mess and see what can be done with it.

The Picts have managed to sneak into the story, which ought not surprise me. The main Wiccan character is from Scotland. One lovely thing about the Picts, something they have in common with Wicca, is that the information about them is all so incomplete and contradictory. Makes them a great feature for fiction -- you can say pretty much anything you want. Not that the Picts as such play any role in the story. But my best writing is not in the story so much as in the asides, I think.

Not exactly Gainesborough's Blue Boy, are they? I note that some experts point out that although the Picts were often described as painting themselves blue and  covering themselves with tattoos, surviving monuments do not depict them with tribal markings. I ignore this in my book because I want to ignore it. And no, these guys are not in the book.

Nothing about Toad Suck today. Hope you aren't disappointed.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Within sight [With insight?]

So despite all the blogging I did today, and despite spending much of the morning doing errands and other stuff, I did get around to writing: 44,079 is the word count here at the end of my writing day.

I think I may wind up completing the first draft and completing the story arc about the same time some day this week. I will have to go back and fill in a bunch of gaps, though, besides the usual proofing and editing. So I am not really all that close to the finish line with the project, even if I am fairly close on the NaNoWriMo target word count. But it's been fun so far.

For all those confused by the OCD stuff

The religious community to which I belonged for thirty years is the Discalced Carmelites. Discalced is the seldom-used English version of a Spanish word meaning barefoot or un-shod, referring to the fact that that particular group did not wear shoes or boots with its habit but wore sandals. The name of the Order in Latin is Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum, thus giving rise to the abbreviation, OCD. Discalced Carmelites write those initials after their names, the way Jesuits add the letters SJ, meaning the Society of Jesus, or academics might write PhD.

The other reference to OCD [or ocd] concerns obsessive-compulsive disorder,  which is (according to Wikipedia) an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry; by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety; or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms of the disorder include excessive washing or cleaning; repeated checking; extreme hoarding; preoccupation with certain kinds of thoughts; relationship-related obsessions; aversion to particular numbers; and nervous rituals, such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room. I note that lots of us do some of these things, but that doesn't mean we suffer from clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some of us are just reflective and careful about how we do things, right?

So in the earlier post, I was playing with the fact that I used to be an OCD [Discalced Carmelite] and still am a bit ocd [obsessive-compulsive] when it comes to things like writing.

Or explaining myself.

Like this post, for example.

Just because

Chicken Little

I don't want to go all Chicken Little on you, but at 7:30 this morning the sky started falling.

Yesterday morning, I had seen snow showers in the forecast for today, but later they took the snow out of the forecast. Then put it back, but it looked like only during the sleeping hours of early morning. When I first got up, it was rain, but then it turned to the white stuff. Oh, well. It is November 11 in Wisconsin.

Here are a couple of pictures from later in the morning after the snow stopped. Side-back yard first and then the view from the front door.

I know I half-promised some photos of the basement-in-progress last night. I took the pictures but wasn't all that happy. But here are some to satisfy any curiosity.

This is what the "entertainment center" looks like from  across my desk. The chairs are spaced that way to help flatten the rug. We have a fireplace DVD for the television, but the photos of it didn't come out.

This is in the area between Tom's studio and the stairs. The paintings are just leaning up against that wall until we decide where they go. This is going to be a game-puzzle table for when the mob descends at Christmas.

This looks a little fuzzy, and I am not sure why. At any rate, this is Tom's four-panel painting that is probably going to hang on that wall it is now leaning against in my office.

When I started publishing my books, Tom created a logo for the fictional Pileated Press. I had a clock made for my office to make it look professional.

I woke up sleepy this morning. I did my regular morning routine (snack the cats, personal ablutions, breakfast, spiritual reading, meditation) and then we ran errands. It is approaching lunch time and I have yet to do any work on the novel or ride the exercycle. I will get to them. I just decided to be maybe a bit less OCD today. And by OCD, I mean less obsessive-compulsive, not less Discalced Carmelite. Although bothering to explain that seems a bit OCD. Obsessive-compulsive, that is.

 I suppose I shouldn't knock being OCD. That's why I have over 40,000 words done on the novel already.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On a roll

I have been on a roll today. I did a load of wash and wrote while the clothes were washing. I threw them in the dryer and wrote while the clothes were drying. I folded and put clothes away and then wrote. I ate lunch and then wrote. I rode the exercycle and then wrote. I called in a prescription renewal and then wrote. I snacked the cats and then wrote. 

I am now at 41,041 words and thinking I had better take a break. That's over 5,0000 words today. 

Tom is getting ready to watch Joey Logano on NASCAR. I think I will take a little nap. Later today I  may post some pictures of developments in the basement. Yawn. Or not.

While I am away, feel free to do a computer search on Toad Suck, Arkansas. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the novel I am writing, not really. But it has shown up somehow. In David Copperfield, a character named Mr. Dick is trying to write his memoirs. He is never able to finish, however, because the head of King Charles I keeps intruding into the text. Perhaps in my book, it will be that way with Toad Suck, Arkansas.

Or not.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sleepy head

I woke up about four this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I started thinking about the novel and finally got up and came down to the basement and began working on it. I had realized that I had left a huge hole in the story-thus-far and I needed to fix that. I was groggy-headed for much of the morning, but I plugged away for a while. Then again in the afternoon. I am getting ready to go snack the cats and then call my mother. After which, Tom and I are going out to eat.

So this is a stopping place with a word count of 35,753 according to the NaNoWriMo calculator and 35,701 according to Microsoft Word.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy feast of Elizabeth of the Trinity

Today the Discalced Carmelites celebrate the memory  of Elizabeth of the Trinity, a saintly French nun who died in 1906 at the age of 26. She wrote a beautiful prayer, "O My God, Trinity whom I adore."

This morning I wrote for a while and then went to the library to help them finish up a project that had been postponed during inventory this week. I put in a couple of hours and then came home. I enjoyed it because I saw some of the volunteers that I no longer see since I am not working there every day.

I did some more writing and my word count for the day is 31,606. That is it for the day, I think, because we are about to do the Friday fish fry thing with some neighbors. For what it is worth, today I poisoned the victim during a Halloween/Samhain celebration.

I mentioned how things are going at work and one of the volunteers said, "I could never do that. I don't have anything to say." I assured her that 30,000 words does not mean I have anything to say. Just that I go ahead and say it anyway.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday's child has not-so-far to go. [Updated]

The library lunch interrupted my writing day, but I normally spend most of Thursday working at the library anyway. So today I had more time to write, a couple of hours before the lunch and a couple of hours after. Word count right now -- a bit before four p.m. my time -- 26,605. [UPDATE: At 7:00 p.m., 27,198.]

According to the NaNoWriMo calculator, if I were to keep this up, I would hit 50,000 words next Thursday. That may happen, which I doubt, but I don't think I will have been able to complete the story as such by then. If things do move swiftly enough, though, I may be able to complete the first draft and get it proofed and cleaned up a bit by the end of the month. At which point I will have to decide if I want to go public with whatever I have done. I have already promised one friend that I will send him a cleaned-up (that is, legible) copy when I am done, whether or not I go to the trouble of publishing. That will teach him to be a friend!

And because that same friend mentioned that my digressions on Woden's Day and Thor's Day might be signs that I am losing my wits, I will say nothing about Friday being Frigg's Day or that Frigg is supposed to be the wife of Woden/Odin and stepmother of Thor. You will just have to find that all out by yourself! I will say, however, that that is a picture of her spinning the clouds, and that my favorite thing about her is that she is supposed to have the power of prophecy but refuses to reveal what she knows. How's that for a cover story?

Lauding the library

I just got back from the volunteer appreciation lunch sponsored by the library board and the Friends of the Library. I went as staff, Tom as one of the much-appreciated volunteers.

To share some of what we learned: [All statistics are from 2012, the last year for which complete figures are available, of course.]
  1. Items circulated -- over 113,000
  2. Visitors to library and bookmobile -- 128,978
  3. Reference questions answered by staff -- close to 20,000 [Laura asked if they had to be ones we answered correctly, and we were assured that they were correctly answered. More or less.]
  4. Computer sessions on the public access computers -- almost 60,000
  5. WiFi service provided to about 5,5000 users.
  6. Library collection: 46,000 items on the shelf. Access to over 3 million items through the South Central Library System. Access to over 63,000 e-books and downloadable audiobooks
  7. More than 5,000 people attended special library programs and over 1,800 children and young adults attended summer programs at the library.
To put this into some perspective, the Kilbourn Public Library is a joint venture of the City of Wisconsin Dells and the Village of Lake Delton, serving those towns and the surrounding area. The city and village have a combined population of about 5,500. Plenty of people living outside the village and city limits use the library, too. But there are other libraries in Reedsburg, Portage and Baraboo, all with fifteen to twenty miles. So we do not carry the burden of more rural patrons by ourselves.

The special population we serve is made up of the millions of tourists who descend on the area every summer and the hundreds of foreign students who come to work to make the tourist industry possible.These people especially make use of the library's computer access to check e-mails and stay in touch with family and friends back home, whether back home is Minnesota or Moldova. Trust me, we have both kinds of people.

The Kilbourn Public Library has ranked as a Star Library in the American Library Journal's national rankings every year since the Journal started doing the rankings. Tom and I are happy to help the library be the great service to the community that it is.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday is Woden's Day

The novel I am working on is about a sorority whose members are all Wiccan. The research on it is fascinating and so I am very conscious of the pagan remnants that surround us. The name of this day of the week, Wednesday, is connected to the Anglo-Saxon deity, Woden -- Woden's Day. More familiar is the Norse version of the name -- Odin.  Thor is his son. You know, Thor's Day -- Thursday. That's Odin in the middle of the picture there, from the Thor movie. Thor is the blond dude behind him and Loki, the bad guy, is on the other side. Loki is sometimes considered the devil-figure in Norse mythology, but it is more complicated that that. For that matter, Satan/Lucifer is more complicated in the Hebrew tradition than many people realize.

At any rate, none of this really matters in my novel. But all I had to do was remember it is Wednesday for my mind to wander in that direction.

On Woden's Day, I do tutoring for most of the morning. I got up early this morning, though, and did some writing, and then did a bit more when I got home. So the word count for today, boys and girls, is 22,673. Still averaging well over 3,500 words per day. And I think the story is developing nicely. I decided today I might not kill off the person I had chosen as victim. I think I may just poison him and put him in a coma, but he may survive. He's a bit of a jerk, so maybe he'll learn something from it.

But that may all change tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Motto: State Sovereignty. National Union.

Rainy days and Tuesdays always make me write.

 My friend Lee mentioned that I must enjoy writing to be going this fast on the novel. As I said yesterday, when it flows, it flows. Or to plagiarize the Morton Salt marketing people, "When it rains, it pours."

John of the Cross, when asked where he got the verses for his poetry, told the nuns that sometimes the words came and sometimes he had to search for them. That is pretty much the way with me -- not to compare my work with that of the patron saint of Spanish lyric poets, of course.

If I get started in the morning, it is pretty easy to crank out a few thousand words. More importantly, if I start in the morning, throughout the day I tend to come back down here to my basement office and plug away as ideas come to me.The end result is lots of draft, with the emphasis on draft.

At any rate, I am about to close down for the afternoon with a word count of 19,514, or an average for the five days of about 3,900 words per day. If I were to keep going, at the end of the month my draft would be well over 100,000 words long. I don't even want to think about editing something that size! So I won't think about it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A long day's journey into ...

Things went well at the library, but I came home quite tired. After dinner, I did sit down and do a bit of writing, though. So my word count is now 13,245. At least that is another 1100 words to keep me going. And it means I am averaging over 3,000 words per day.

It is clear to me, however, that I write better in the morning, or at least during the day, than at night. I know some people find the just the opposite. But for me, creativity seems to set with the sun. When I go to bed, before I fall asleep, sometimes things come to me to use the next day. But the writing itself is better when I am fully awake! It flows and is livelier. This evening felt like a bit of a slog. And it may read that way, too.

I just have to remember: this is a first draft.

Note to self:

It takes a lot of things to prove you are smart,
but only one thing to prove you are ignorant.
Don Herold
Don Herold
Read more at t

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Because tomorrow I work all day at the library

Tomorrow I will be working all day at the library, or at least from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is a training day for staff, and I think I am supposed to give a session on how to help patrons download library books to things like Nook, Kindle and iPads. I know I once agreed to do this, but I am not sure it is still on the agenda. Whether it is or not, I will be tied up and have little time to work on the novel.

So I put the pedal to the metal or the fingers to the keyboard today and am proud to announce a word count of 12, 104 words. So I will be okay word-count-wise even if I don't do any writing tomorrow. On the other hand, today things really got rolling -- as that word count indicates -- and I don't want to lose the momentum. You know what they say about a body in motion ...

PS -- I also made two batches of fudge -- one with walnuts and one with a touch of peppermint. So I was able to send some down to Chicago with Peter for Jennifer and Parker. Tomorrow I will get Tom to take a batch next door for the neighbor kids.

Happy Diwali

Diwali is one of the many festivals of light celebrated around the world by many peoples. In this case, it is a Hindu feast commemorating a variety of events, historical and religious.

November 3 is the feast of St. Martin de Porres on the Roman Catholic calendar, although this year the feast is not celebrated because it falls on Sunday. A native of Lima, Peru, he was a Dominican lay brother of mixed race, for which reason he is seen as a patron of those seeking racial harmony and social justice. One of the things that I recall about St. Martin is that he was kind to animals, something mentioned as remarkable by witnesses who testified to his sanctity. Some churches have a special ceremony blessing pets on his day, similar to the same custom for the feast of St. Francis. Martin is sometimes shown with a dog, a cat and a mouse eating in peace from the same dish, over which hovers a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit. People attributed this to an ability to communicate with animals, but one suspects it was more a result of his habitual empathy and kindness towards all living beings. An example to us all, yes? Perhaps if the saint could get dogs, cats and mice to come to the table in peace, his example and prayers might help human beings do the same thing.

St. Martin de Porres, on this Festival of Lights, pray for us!

Word count and a visitor

Okay, here at 10:30 a.m. (Standard Time, Daylight Savings having ended earlier today), I am at 8,621 words, an average of about 2,675 per day. That looks really promising, although the organizers encourage participants to try to get 10,000 words over the first weekend to provide breathing room. So I may come back and do a bit more later today.

Peter is with us this weekend. He drove up from Chicago after work yesterday and arrived around dinnertime. Tom had made chili in the slow cooker so that it would stay warm in case Peter were late, but he arrived in a timely manner.

He also arrived in a wounded manner, having fallen from the truck while moving someone yesterday. He fell about eight feet but broke nothing. He did have some bad scrapes, though, especially on his left knee. That had stiffened up what with him sitting in the car for so many hours. After taking some nourishment, he went off with Tom to get fresh bandages and antibiotics and whatever to re-dress the wound. While they were gone, I got the kitchen cleared. They were able to get what they needed, and although getting the old bandages off turned out to be noisily painful and bloody, Peter got himself all cleaned up and patched up. He had a good enough night and seems in good repair this morning.

Now I have to go up and make fudge. I promised some for our neighbors and want to send some back with Peter for Jennifer and Parker.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Word count

As of noon today, November 2: 5,654 words
Averaging 2,827 per day.

The NaNoWriMo web site provides a word calculator, as does my word processing program. The counts do not match exactly but they are close enough.

Now all I have to do is keep at it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

No longer weird enough

Trust me, I found this while doing research for my November novel ... BTW, I went over the expected daily rate of 1667 words today on my first day of writing: Word count as of 11:00 a.m. -- 2,611

There is a great website about weird news, run by Chuck Shepherd. Ten years ago he put together a list of stories that were once weird, but which had become too common for him to consider them weird-news-worthy any longer. You may find this amusing:

by Chuck Shepherd Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.
Updated: August 1, 2003

The following kinds of stories were formerly weird, but they now occur with
such frequency that they must be retired from circulation:

1. an old, widely-advertised phone-sex number is reassigned to a
2. suspicious package thought to be a bomb, turns out to be something stupid
3. robber leaves his ID [wallet or appointment card for probation officer or etc.] at the scene
4. peace/brotherhood conference erupts into violence
5. robber on getaway accidentally hails unmarked police car
6. political candidate dies but still wins the election
7. family thinks he's dead, but he's not and attends his own funeral
8. hunters shoot each other
9. funeral home owner neglects/mixes up bodies
10. "victimized" drug buyer complains to police that someone sold him weak or bogus drugs

11. some countries prohibit giving children certain names
12. in middle of an obvious drug raid, customer wanders up and asks cop if he can buy some drugs
13. shoots himself while supposedly demonstrating gun safety
14. global warming caused by animal methane
15. burglar gets stuck in vent or chimney
16. courthouse visitor/defendant inadvertently places contraband on the
x-ray tables at entrance
17. burglar falls asleep during job.
18. family accidentally leaves behind a kid at a highway rest stop
19. driver's license applicant crashes into examiner station before or during test
20. [Oops! It's about the same as number 15]

21. overdue-library-book scofflaws actually go to jail
22. DUI tickets for "driving" a bicycle [or horse or riding lawn mower or etc.]
23. starts fire because can't stop smoking even though hooked up to oxygen machine
24. gasoline thieves check quantity in tank by using a match or lighter to peer inside
25. older teacher/younger boy relationship
26. firefighter with an arson habit [to keep in practice or to feel wanted or etc.]
27. local election ends in tie, settled (by law) by coin flip or draw of cards
28. Japanese men committing suicide because of overwork
29. angry customer drives car right through store's front door
30. heating-oil delivery to wrong house, resulting in flooded basement

31. postal worker hoards mail because he's behind in delivering it
32. bank robber hails taxi or municipal bus for getaway
33. the annual student cheating riots in Bangladesh
34. criminal on the lam goes on national tv talk show and mentions that he's wanted
35. dog steps on gun, shooting the master
36. pack of animals breaks into liquor cabinet or fermenting vat, get drunk
37. a loved one died at home, but the relative never gets around to burying him or her
38. school zero-tolerance policies for "weapons" that are purely, obviously ornamental
39. amateur videographers set up miniature cameras in restrooms
40. animal-hoarding (mostly of cats) women

41. carjackers who never learned to drive stick shift and must abandon the car
42. criminal suspect evading police, jumps in river to escape, and drowns
43. young-looking adults impersonate teenagers and return to high school
44. African nation's rumors of people with power to make penises disappear
45. humongous abdominal cysts removed in surgery
46. unlabeled urn with loved one's ashes mistakenly stolen or sold at yard sale
47. husband takes his wife back even though she just tried to kill him
48. judges punish young people by forcing them to listen to [classical or polka or etc.] music
49. hit-and-run driver drives on and on with body or bicycle in grille or windshield
50. criminal, cornered by police dog, bites the dog

51. burglars leave footprints in snow, directly to their homes
52. [Oops! It's about the same as number 48]
53. video shoe-cams or smoke-detector-cams to spy on women
54. Japanese making many silent hang-up telephone calls against former lover or business partner
55. robber smashes store's surveillance "camera," but it's only the lens, and it captured his face
56. inadvertently tries to cash a stolen personal check at the store [bank] where his victim works
57. accidental bombing of house by airliner's "blue ice"
58. elderly citizen trying to convince bureaucrat that, contrary to records, he's not really dead
59. elderly motorist makes wrong turn, gets lost for days
60. bands of criminals videotape their entire crime sprees for kicks, but makes it easy for cops

61. parents frolic while their small kids are left home alone
62. people trying to outrun police while driving slow-moving vehicles
63. combining jellyfish gene to produce another plant or animal that glows
64. imposter cop has car with flashing light, stopping motorists, accidentally stops real cop
65. parents who leave their small kids locked in hot cars while they frolic
66. inmates who advertise innocently for penpals on lonely-hearts pages on
the Internet

Copyright 2003 by Chuck Shepherd

Thought and update

1) Thought for the day: There is a graceful way of being right, and many ways to be wrong.

2) Today is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, a project I am undertaking for the second time. The goal is to write a 50,000-word first draft of a novel in 30 days -- about 1667 words per day. So if I am absent from the blogosphere for a while, don't worry. I will return. But I will be putting time into the novel. 

If you want more information on NaNoWriMo, click on this link. Their motto, if it is any encouragement: The world needs your novel.