And Now I Want Baked Beans and Hotdogs...

I know what you're thinking. Two posts in two days? INSANITY! I know, right? I'm trying something new and different. It's called writing on my blog. It's a revolutionary concept I expect will sweep the nation in four to six months. Or, you know, whatever.

Anyway, something funny happened yesterday and it got me to thinking about my favorite kid of blog posts. You know the kind, where someone says something weird/embarrassing/stupid about themselves and I instantly think, "You, too? I thought I was the only one who thought/felt/acted like that!" I love those kind of posts. I'm pretty sure they are the best part of the Internet.

Yesterday, Sister and I spent the majority of the day at my parent's house, partly because I'd had a crappy week and needed them and partly because they've been out of town for a while and I wanted to see them, but mostly because I was hungry and my mother offered me pancakes. I'm a simple girl with simple needs: air, water, shelter, pancakes (or any other carbs that come in somewhat circular forms). Not necessarily in that order.

At some point during the day, my dad made himself a snack of french bread and braunschweiger (if you click, please don't let the picture of the sandwich throw you off--whoever made that sandwich was an idiot who doesn't know how to make sandwiches). He's loved certain strange foods for many years, including this and pickled herring. As a child, I grew up eating braunschweiger because he liked it and I was very much a Daddy's Girl (a term which I've always hated the sound of, but I have no other way to describe it so we're going to have to pretend it isn't awkward, mmkay?) and I wanted to like what he liked and do what he did--except eat pickled herring; even I wasn't brave enough for that.  Parental hero worship might be an interesting blog post, but it's not this one. Just wait, I'm getting there.

It's probably a good thing he introduced it to me so early, because if I had come across it as an adult, I would have wrinkled my nose and never tried it. But I love it right alongside him. Again, a better blogger than me could spin that into a "LOOK! There's this thing I HATED as a kid and now I love it!" (or vice versa) kind of post. I am not that blogger.

So my dad finished his disgustingly delicious snack, which he was kind enough to share with me, and got up to go do something. And he got a massive charlie horse in the back of his thigh (sidenote: I have trouble when he gives me a pretend sad face, so seeing him in actual pain makes my chest physically hurt--it's a weird link I have with him, probably related to the whole Daddy's Girl [ick] thing).

And can we just take a(nother) break, for a quick question? Does everyone call them charlie horses or is that one of those weird regional colloquialisms that no one understands unless they grew up in a specific area? I thought it was a universal term, but I'm starting to doubt myself and I don't want to have a million wiki links peppered throughout this post (plus, it seems like a weird thing to link to), so if it IS one of those things and you don't know what I'm talking about, a charlie horse is a leg cramp that make your whole leg seize up and you have to find a way to either point your toe or flatten your foot and it's awful and no one likes them and, uh, charlie horse. That explanation got away from me. Moving on! And if you already knew and I was wrong and EVERYONE knows this information, I'm just going to move on in an embarrassed and slightly stealth-like manner.

I realize this may sound like I'm rambling (BECAUSE I AM), but this is all a (very detailed) set-up for a somewhat interesting point/question, I promise.

As soon as we got his leg to loosen up and got him set up on the couch, Mom and Sister told me a really ridiculous story about how, while I had run out to the grocery store after breakfast, my dad had gotten a charlie horse while stuck under the sink trying to fix a non-serious plumbing problem and the other semi-calamitous events surrounding the plumbing and charlie horsing and I had this CRAZY BRAINWAVE. In my mind, I have always had a memory linkage between braunschweiger and my father having a charlie horse. I cannot explain it or point to another time when he was eating it and got a charlie horse, but there is a DIRECT link in my brain.

When I mentioned this to my family, they kind of just blinked at me for a minute, so I followed it up with this: every time I go into the garage at my parents' house, I have to pee REALLY BADLY, whether I've done so recently or not. I don't know if it's because that's how we always came into the house as kids when we were playing outside and we needed to use the bathroom or what, but I am 25 and it still happens. Maybe it's the temperature difference? Anyway, they kind of got it then, I think. Or they were just nodding and smiling and thinking of where to hide the knives from the crazy person sitting on their couch.

But I have these connections with all kinds of things. Whenever I put on mascara, I think of the movie Sybil with Sally Field. This one I think I understand--I had to watch it in college for a screenwriting class and I underestimated how long it was going to be, so I was in a hurry to go somewhere near the end and spent the last fifteen minutes watching it through my bathroom mirror while I got ready to go.
And I know I just made up the rules to this...thing..., but I'm not even sure if this one qualifies: I will never NOT get the two names Gretchen and Bridgette mixed up in my head. Never.

BUT! Hot dogs and baked beans with new potatoes will ALWAYS make me think of that old show Night Court (Mom and Sister agreed with this one, actually), because that was almost always the meal Dad made for us kids on Saturday nights when Mom worked the night shift and we would eat it while watching that show. To this day, the smell of baked beans cooking occasionally makes me hum the Night Court theme song (Watching to that just made me SO HAPPY, you have no idea. Oh, the bad hair! And John Larroquette! BULL! Man, I miss that show).

There are a million other little things like this for me. And despite my family's initial reaction, I CANNOT be the only one. What strange, inexplicable, or ridiculous linkages to you have trapped inside of your brain? And if you don't have any, could you please make some up while you think of places to hide your knives from me?


And the Crickets Keep Chirping...

I didn't mention it here, mainly because I haven't been mentioning much of anything at all for the last several months, but I participated in NaNoWriMo again this year. Some of you might remember last year, when I attempted to write my first novel in 30 days while also posting here every day. And even thought I accomplished both, I think it broke me. My posting had not been regular here since.

Anyway, I did NaNoWriMo again this year. Everything was going well for the first week and a half--I was even consistently ahead in my word count by a full day or more. I was thinking of upping my goal from the baseline 50,000 and trying for 75K or even a 100K (when I'm feeling optimistic, I get a little ahead of myself). Then I got SLAMMED with insomnia. For over a week, I tossed and turned until 3:00 am. I could barely function during the daylight hours, which BY THE WAY are incredibly short at this time of year. I was also volunteering pretty heavily at my church and caught a couple babysitting gigs, so my novel sat on the back burner. Then there was turkey day and family time and what it all comes down to is that I had 25,000 words left to write in five days.

That's HALF of the goal. But for some reason, my brain shielded me from that concept and I just jumped back into writing it. I thought, I'll just have to do 5,000 words a day. That's not THAT hard. Ha. Haha. But, as my last post informed you, I've had a rough year and it only seems to be getting rougher. So I desperately needed a win. Or, more accurately, I wasn't sure I could handle another failure. 

Ignoring all the stats, I put fingers to keys and just took off for five days. Yesterday night, I managed to write 9,916 words to finish NaNoWriMo with an hour to spare! AND I figured out how to verify it, which means that I'm an official winner. Unlike last year when I really did finish, but didn't know I had to verify it so it looks like I just logged on every day to type in progressively higher numbers until I hit 50,000. So I'm a two-time finisher, only a one-time winner. And I'm trying not to be bitter about it.

The story is only about halfway done, which is fine, because the type of book I want to write is between 300-350 pages. 50,000 words is a little over halfway there. So I still have some work to do. But, again unlike last year, I actually LIKE this story and it's going well. I'm not sure it's worth publishing or letting anyone read, but it's worth it to me to finish it--if only because I've never finished a story and I'd really like to. And while the win doesn't feel ALL that winnish (it was all a little anticlimactic what with the story not being finished), I know I would feel terrible today if I had given up, so I keep focusing on that.

The only difficult part of the whole thing (you know, other than needing push out 25,000 words in five days) was that the topic is incredibly sad and is somewhat personally relevant, since I took a real life thing and asked the question "What's the worst that could happen?" Since November was such a rough month for many other reasons, I tried to bury myself in the novel. But it often just felt like trading one kind of sad for another. And that was incredibly hard on me. It wore me out and it pulled me down. But I really think that the characters are more believable and relateable because of it. I hope.

Anyway, some of you have requested to be beta readers. I am so worried about sharing my work, but I also am kind of excited to get some feed back from people who aren't related to me and therefore are practically required to be nice about my creativity. So. If you are interested in reading an unedited first draft of half a romantic/family drama with Christian values, speak up now. Why am I hearing crickets? There are no crickets in Far North.