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Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog, I am glad you are here. For the most part, I use this to comment (and sometimes ramble...) about the many things I love or perhaps am fascinated with this week. This can include quite an assortment of topics, including my propensity for reading novels at all hours of the day, writing, art, and travel, as I do have a serious case of Wanderlust.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine

Monday, December 19, 2011

my mom, one of the unintentional funniest people I know

Mom: Which car would you like to take, yours or the Escalade.
Me: .....We don't have an Escalade.
Mom: Oh, right, whatever dad's new car is then.
Me: The Acadia? Right. We'll take my car, I'll drive.

______

Mom: Oh it's like the bad guy from Harry Potter! What's his name again?
Me: No one tell her. Mom, try and guess...
Mom: Vort? Mort? Tort?
Me: So close.

______

Mom: BOTH of you THREE be quiet!


I love her :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Funny Sunday

Conversation:
Me, in the shower, answering my cell phone (bad idea...btw): Hey, let me call you back in like ten minutes, I am just getting out of the shower
Friend: Ohh, shower, nice.
Me: I will talk to you in ten you big creep.

This does not translate to funny via this avenue, but just trust me that it was hilarious for many reasons. This friend of mine, I shall call him Moose, does say some creeptastic or inappropriate things at times to me, and if it was anyone else but him.... It is all complete with out any intention whatsoever, and for some reason it just cracks me up. Oh he makes me happy :)

Also, I think I am going to be a little early on a resolution for next year. I am going to read 100 books. WHOAAAA, right? Well, since getting my nook, I have ready about 35 or so (this was in May), so I think this is so doable. Also, I am kind of obsessed with my GoodReads account and would like to get a whole bunch more rated and maybe reviewed :)

I hope your Sunday has been a Fun Day :D

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Food Blog!

Holy Smokes, I am actually doing a food blog! I found this yummy looking recipe and decided to whip out the old camera whilst I slaved away making it. So now I shall write about it...


{{DISCLAIMER}}} I don't know how the eff these people take such nice pictures of their food they are making... I tried really, really hard and it still looks messy. But hey, I am like the Swedish Chef in that way, so whatev :)

Also, this was originally for Mac and Cheese Muffins, but as you will soon see, this did not work out, so it will be Baked Mac and Cheese, still amazing delicious and tweaked a little here and there.

First, gather these ingredients:
2 Cups Elbow Macaroni
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil




Preheat your oven to 350.

First, mix together the bread crumbs and olive oil. This will be your topping, so set this aside for now. I have seen recipes that call for a bit of salt in this mixture as well, but the bread crumbs I use are nicely seasoned already in the Italian style, so I did not use it.


Boil some water, and add the noodles.



Cook them for about 9 minutes or so, or whatever the box says will make them al dente (if they are a little firm still, that is fine because they will cook in the cheese mixture as well in the oven, so they will be perfect at the end, don’t worry!
If at all possible, try not to dump the noodles in the sink whilst you rinse them.... #oops

When they are done, drain them, and then add the butter and egg.
Stir this until it is coated evenly and the butter has melted.

Add the cheese, saving a little of each for the topping, and the milk. Stir this around a bit until it starts getting all nice and melty and gooey with each other.
Mix all that delicious cheese in there with the noodles who await their tasty fate!

They all really liked getting to know each other in the pot.

Pour all of this into a greased (I just used cooking spray) casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheeses and then the bread crumbs on top. Cook for about an hour, checking on it from time to time (again, the original receipt calls for 30 minutes, but those are tiny muffins, and this is a bigger dish entirely.


I originally checked on it after about 45 minutes, but it was still a bit runny, but 15 more minutes did the trick).


Yum!!!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Blehhh

After this weekend, I don't want to be in a car for a long, long time. Unfortunately, this wish will be ignored as I have work bright and early tomorrow, all week, etc. etc. :) Just too much driving, and while it was a road trip per se, it was not a usual long one (maybe 2 hours into borderland Indiana) and so it just did not feel right. Oh well, home sweet home once again.

Nashville will be better, of course, as I am already creating an amazing musical collaboration for our journey ((also, I just read that I blogged about going in November.... I was clearly having a minor brain melt, as it has always been in January.... so something was rotten in Denmark that day. Aww, that makes me think about a jr high math teacher #memories #lesigh)) which will be epic. I am really good at making road trip mixes, so if you need one, let me know!

What else....hmmm... Well, this holiday season is making me more sad than normal which is slightly annoying, I wish I could just snap out of it. Alas, I am sure once everything gets closer I will get into it and be more excited, but it's not so much happy and chipper at the moment :/

Something that does make me very happy, however, is my Grandparent's Surprise 60th Anniversary Party! We are getting all their friends who stood up in their wedding to come in as well for it (that is the big surprise!) from all over. It will be a good time for sure.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Favorite Christmas Songs

So guys, the time of of the unyielding flow of Christmas songs is upon us. I like it in intervals, but when it is a constant drone of the stuff, it gets old very fast.

And before you go "Bah Humbug" me, I believe I have a point. Think about it. There are only so many Christmas songs/carols/holiday sea chanteys, right? And while this second pool gets bigger each year, there are only so many different artists who perform their version of the song. And clearly, the classics or more popular remakes/versions get the most play time, right? Doing the math, from the day after Thanksgiving (normally when the radio starts cranking it out) that is a full month of inevitable the same few songs over and over and over again. I don't care who you are, that is grounds for insanity.

However, I do have some favorites, but I do not want to hear even these more than maybe 12 times a year, thank you :)


Last Christmas, WHAM!
Happy Christmas (War is Over), John Lennon
Baby it's Cold Outside, various duos perform it to my liking :)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, same as above


There are perhaps more that I will add if the mood so strikes when I ultimately hear them, numerous times, in the coming weeks.

Grind My Gears.

I don't like when people say "I like British Accents." They are not really saying what they mean.



Please, look at this Venn Diagram and tell me just what accent you like. I guess I will say if you generally like the accents of those who hail from Scotland, England, and Wales then you can say you like British accents because those countries are what make up Great Britain, or I guess you may go further and say you like the accents from all the above places as they are all the British Isles.... but I am guessing that is not what you mean.




I know this is kind of a rant, perhaps a bit frivolous, but it really bugs me for some reason. I hear celebs on talk shows (ahem.... celebs on Craig) say it all the time and it drives me nuts. Read a map, people.




///rant over :D




I like Scottish (obviously) and Northern Irish accents the best, methinks. How about you?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Over!

I won tonight for NaNoWriMo, eclipsing the 50K mark around a quarter to midnight, a few days early. I am not done, of course, and there is a whole helluva lot of editing to happen, at some point. But, I am happy to have hit it. I was worried towards the start, but alas, put your mind to something you want and you will get there, even if it takes longer than you would like it to.

Also, I got an @reply from Chris Baty from NaNoWriMo last night on twitter, so talk about motivation! That was amazing :)

Alright, I don't want to look at a computer for a good several hours.

nighty night

xxoo

Thursday, November 17, 2011

She lives!!

I am still here. Hello again :)

My novel writing happenings have obviously been taking up my usual time for blogging this whole month. Sadness!

But -- I am finding that writing this year is much, much easier than last year, which is interesting because I was so in love with my story last time. I am still struggling to get to know my characters and have their whole selves come out in the book for it to make sense, and there some parts of the plot that I am still developing this time around. One would think this would make for a more difficult writing experience (as opposed to last Novemember where I knew exactly who was who, what was going to happen, and how it was going to end) but it is not. I can crank out about 2,000 to 5,000 words a sitting which just blows my mind. This helps because I have fallen behind a few times, but I am (w)right on track (haha, you see what I did there? ;D).

27,951 words written, 22,049 to go.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's a jungle out there.

First of all, that title makes me think of Adrian Monk... I digress.

The location of my office cube is near by HR, who have a station set up for new employees and student workers to watch the Safety at Work and Sexual Harassment videos. And because sound does travel, and the cube walls do not reach the ceiling, I have probably heard these a dozen times if I've heard them once.

Their theme is something involving an office being like a jungle, which is probably the most accurate thing I have ever heard. There is one amazing clip where there is a poorly placed extension cord that someone trips over, body flying and flailing through the air. This 'office jungle' reference is of course a gigantic, extension cord-shaped boa constrictor. Both of which are found in excess in both jungle and office enviroments.

Blargh. Happy Monday.
#NaNoWriMo word count -- 11,686. right on track. (I was worried because for the first 4 days or so I had a whopping 740 words done. I thought I was doomed, but I caught up this weekend. Let's hope I don't fall behind again!)

Monday, October 31, 2011

About 3 Hours Left --

until NaNoWriMo!!!

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's already here!

I did not do as much prep as I would have liked (even though I did decide to let the 30 day constraint help to shape the story a bit more this year), but there's no sense in dwelling on that because it is almost upon us!

I have a few ideas for how this 30 day, caffeine infused party is going to go, and I can only hope I have the success of last year. I look forward to some great Write Ins with Ana and my other NaNo acquaintances and to have 30 straight days of creative expression.

That being said.... I will try to post something every once in a while on here, but chances are it will be pretty quiet around here for about a month or so :). But who knows, I may have a day I need to work some plot kinks out or get over a writer's block, so I will for sure share some of those experiences too, perhaps even update you briefly on my word count from time to time.


Something warm, slippery, and odd....

I had two ultrasounds today, one of my abdomen and one of my thyroid/neck area/shape.

It was very odd-feeling. The goop was warmed up (nice of her :) but it was a weird shade of blue and slimy. And the 'wand' thing hurt me a little, but that's just because my kidneys are hurting (and I am kinda a wimp when it comes to this kind of stuff....:/).
My neck did not hurt, but it was just a bit awkward because I needed to be a 'long neck' and so I was laying down in a way that facilitated this shape. Again, I just think Odd is the best way to describe it. My tech was super nice though, which of course made me feel a lot more comfortable. I feel do much closer to my internal organs now that I have gazed upon them lovingly.

So now it's the waiting game to see what's up.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guilty Pleasure Thursday

I am sure you all are familiar with the website CraigsList, yes? The land of legitimate business dealings and also some of the creepiest stuff ever.




Well, another one of my guilty pleasures lies within these gates of anonymous abandon. Under their 'for sale/wanted' section, there is a little word called free. This is where people who have stuff they don't want and are not charging for it (hence the appropriate use of the word, free, mind you) can put up an add to try and get rid of it. I would say maybe 75% of this stuff could fall under the legitimate business dealings we talked about before. You know, I have this old piano that won't fit in my new apartment so if you come and pick it up, it's yours for free. Fine and dandy, those things weigh a ton, by the way (probably not actually 2000 pounds, but excuse my hyperbole. They're heavy bastards).




However, the other 25% of the time these things are amazingly odd, interesting, or just plain creepy. And for some reason, this makes my day. Yes, more than once have I been given the heeby geebies after viewing some of the items people want to get rid of (and think that someone will actually want, free or no!) but it just makes me happy in an odd way.




So, my advice to you is this. Check it out, perhaps on a rather gloomy or boring day you may be having. You never know what free treasures may be out there, waiting to haunt your dreams for you.




My all time favorite (so far) from what I have seen -- A man took a picture of his hand holding a single red brick and was offering it to someone for free. One little brick, in his hand, captured forever on the interwebs. There was some LOL'ing for sure.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wendesday: Nashville!




This November, I shall be returning to one of my favorite US cities for some Blackhawks/Predators action (and of course for some honky-tonk/cowboy/country music happenings, too :D)








Monday, October 24, 2011

Is this even a thing?

Hello there, happy Monday Tuesday!
I really hate how often this happens. I start a blog and then I get interrupted so I save it, only to come back later (tomorrow) and not have posted it yet. Boo. Oh well. Onward!



Here is the question of the yesterday...
How specific is too specific of sub-genres of books? For example, there are the big ones: Mystery, Romance, Biography, Fiction, yadda yadda. Then it breaks down a bit more: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, and I am sure there are more not relating to historical bits but my brain doesn't work right now...

My example that I think may be too specific is the type of Romances that are my favorite. Scottish Highland Historical Romances. It probably is. But, the way I see it is this, if I have it narrowed down so far, if I pick one up that fits into this cubby hole I can maybe know that I will at least like it.

Okay! Here's another example. I like books that have a parallel plot feature to them. Like the two 'present day' characters are chugging along and then -bam!- the book shifts to some time in the past with a new main character and the author beautifully connects the two planes of existence and reality into an amazingly page-turning, I'm not getting any sleep 'till this is over bonanza. Mmmmm I do love those.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Read more books.

Happy Wordless Wednesday (except for those....and these to follow....)


























Also, even though this is from a movie (can you guess which one? if you're correct you will win an abundance of pride in knowing your Disney (hint hint) stuff :D)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amazing Luck

Yesterday night I was tumblin' on Tumblr, looking up the tag Scotland (big surprise, I know). I went through several pages, and then my heart skipped a beat. A simple back and white picture made time stop for a second or two.

It was a picture of an old man in full Highland regalia on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. He was looking off camera, his face showing many years of many memories.

The amazing thing for me is that I met this man when I was in Scotland this summer. I took a picture with him and he was raising money for Ovarian Cancer. He had the kindest, brightest blue eyes I have ever seen in my life. The moment I saw him near St. Giles Cathedral, I was drawn to him like a magnet. I will never forget his face, his touch, his smile.

However, I never thought I would see him again, and I did. Okay, I know it's not the same thing, but for this picture to capture this same man, with the thousands of people, let alone dozens of pipers, in that city on any given day, and then for me to find it in the hundreds of posts with said tag, it was just amazing. I was speechless for a few minutes, and then had to go share it with my mom, who was there with me. She loved it.

It's hard to convey these kind of memories or experiences. It was so deeply personal to me for a number of reasons, so I could not not share.


(I will post a link to the photographer's flickr soon)

////Here it is! Check it out, it's beautiful <3

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Idea! I love those!

Okay. So. As we know, NaNoWriMo is creeping up on us and will thankfully be here before we know it! Horray!

However, I have not at all been getting my writing juices flowing nearly as much as I should be. To rectify this, I am going to try and write a very, very short piece of, well, anything really, that is inspired by this awesome Random Word Generator I found tonight. I will spin the wheel click the button of destiny and see where it goes. I don't want to make promises, but I am shooting for maybe two or three times a week?

This will hopefully get the good writing joojoo out and get the creativity imps running on their tiny wheels in my brain parts. Excellence, all around, if you ask me!

So, we begin with: CURATOR.

Violet walked in to the building, and was surprised at once by the lack of patrons. Checking her watch, she saw that the museum had been open for almost an hour, but perhaps it was the steady rain outside that was keeping the history buffs and busloads of students away this Wednesday morning.

Making her way to the coat check, she shrugged out of her damp coat and handed it over, along with her umbrella. A few stray drops of rain puddled on the dark wood counter, and she quickly pulled the sleeve of her sweater over her had to blot it up.

"Don't worry miss" the attendant insisted "this old thing has seen much worse that a few drops of water." Violet opened her mouth to offer an apology despite his comment, but the elderly man had disappeared into the coat room once again.

"Well, I will just catch him when I leave, then." She thought to herself. Picking up the small scrap of paper that proclaimed her habiliments were safely stowed away in bin 17, she began her familiar walk to the exhibit that had prompted this third visit of hers. Coming all the way from the Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, the Highlander History and Tradition exhibit had finally made its way across the pond. Broadswords, tartan, ancient armor and everything in between was exactly the inspiration Violet was looking for to aid her in the historical fiction she was trying to write.

This particular visit, however, was going to be a bit different. She had made a few calls and somehow had been able to make an appointment to speak with the curator of the exhibit, a Mr. Gaelan Cairns, also from Scotland. Despite the fact that the hours she had spent in the exhibit had lent the entire room to memory, being able to hear about the history of the pieces from someone who shared her passion was something she would never pass up.

She made her way though the rich wooden halls teeming with more history that would have to wait for another day. She rounded the last corner and saw the glint from the wall that held the various armaments collected from various Highland battlefields. For a second, she imagined the fierce warriors that held these things, ready for battle, causing some chill bumps to run across her shoulders. From the research she had already done, it was amazing to her the sheer strength of these people, both on and off the battlefield, and what a rich history they had, although not lacking in sorrow and darkness at times.

Snapping back into the matters at hand, she found her bearings once again and turned towards the row of office towards the back of the room. She gasped in surprise as her daydreams and haste in moving had prevented her from seeing that she was well on her way to careening into something behind her.

It was a blur at first, but it soon stated to take shape as strong arms reached out to steady her. Opening her mouth to try and apologize, the second time in less than an hour, she thought, she was met with the bluest eyes she had ever seen, and a voice with a brogue that brought on a whole new series of chills...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alcohol and Crafts. A perfect combination.


So here's something fun. Not only can one enjoy the process of procuring the materials needed for this craft, but enjoying the fruits of your very hard labor is pretty!

Simply take some bottles that have been emptied... If I remember correctly, the bottles in question here were a basic red wine, some delicious raspberry wine we tried once, and some gin. Delish. Rinse them out well, and remove labels, if possible. Here, the light blue gin bottle (let's call it sapphire, okay? hint hint) does have some etchings on it, but that's fine. As for paper labels, sometimes it takes a good soak in very hot water (rinse and repeat) and there are also a bunch of products out there that can take off any remaining gooey residue.


Pick a flower to showcase. It should be tall enough for whatever bottle you choose. For me, sunflowers are a beautiful representation of fall with their range of colors from bright yellow to burnt orange, and the stalk is tall and thick enough to give it all the support it needs.

Fill up the bottle with water (I'd say halfway is fine) and some of the 'food' packet that comes with it. Remember to change the water from time to time, adding more food, as this will prolong the life (okay, prolong the inescapable death that has been bestowed on said flower since it was ripped from the ground....) of your project.


Viola.

Como se dice.... domination?




Hello out there, we're on the air, it's HOCKEY NIGHT TONIGHT!

Oh, that's a great song indeed. And tonight's game shall be greater indeed.

Speaking of hockey, let's just say that this week, I am almost dominating in the fantasy league. Only the twin bruddah is giving me some sort of competition.

Yes, I know it's a longer week because of the day the season started, but still. I'm going to revel in my glory. So pipe down and let me :)

Let's just hope I didn't jinx myself...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fiction Friday: Transfer

The One-Minute Writer's Friday Fiction! Check it out and get writing!

Here's mine...

"Oh my god, what happened here...." said Davis, repulsed at the hell hole of a crime scene he found himself in so early on a Monday morning, no less.

"What, this your first rodeo, kid?" The lead detective gave him a look he hoped he'd never have to see again, and straightened himself up from his crouched position. This was his first day on homicide and he wasn't doing himself any favors in the way of making a name for himself.

Ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of this job. His dad, his grandpa, and all of his uncles were all detectives, serving in some of the darkest places of the city he loved. The day he buried his dad and they handed his mother that folded flag, he knew he had to carry on that famous legacy his old man left behind. There was no one on the force that didn't love that man, and while it was nice to hear them reminisce from time to time, they were sure some damn big shoes to fill.

Snapping him out of his brief daydream, Detective MacLean snapped at him again. "Well rook, what do you make of it?"

Here we go, Davis thought. While he was still learning the ropes and trying not to piss too many more people off, this was his bread and butter. The initial crime scene impression. He had a gift for noticing the less than obvious details of any room he walked into, and he hoped this would help those in charge see past his other not quite honed skills as a detective. Like tiny pangs of nausea that still hit him on those real messy scenes.

"Well, it was clearly staged, the whole thing." he began, garnering strange looks from the techs who were beginning to process the scene. Clearly with the amount of blood that covered the floor, wall and victim, they thought otherwise. Before anyone could jump in and object, he continued. "All the blood, it's obvious. Someone put it there. Take the door frame. See those streaks there? That is clearly transfer from some sort of cloth. you can tell by the fibers that caught on the raw edge of the wood, just there. I'd bet my next paycheck if we look at those sheets over there, we'd find a match. And there's not a single print in any of it. If a struggle took place here, which I think they want us to believe, we would absolutely have at least a partial on the wall. But there's nothing. I'd say that whoever did this killed the vic relatively quickly and then made this mess. He wants us to think it was a struggle, maybe a break-in gone wrong. But it wasn't. That poor girl knew who did this to her."

Davis turned from the blood covered wall to see how MacLean had taken his first impression. Surprisingly, he was already having the sheets processed, doing an initial comparison to the clearly obvious match on the frame. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all...

it has a name!

and that name is Iliac Furrow.

#shudders

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are you listening?

No, really? Are you?

One of my favorite Saint Benedict quotes is this "Listen and attend with the ear of your heart." I think this is so relevant to my initial question.

How many times can you honestly say you listen to the person speaking to you, across from you, on the phone, etc? I think we'd all like to say "All the time, of course!", but is that really accurate?

Let's say one is engaged in an argument or heated discussion, are you listening to the other person, or are you thinking about how you are going to respond to what they just said? Or, let's say you're speaking with someone and the whole "Hi. How are you" bit goes on. Do you really listen to how they are doing?

But Kim, I do listen when I ask people that and all they say is 'I'm good' or 'Okay". Well... what do you make of that. With the myriad of things that a person goes on with not only in that 24 hour period, but also including all the other things that they have been going through, are preparing for, etc, do you really think a one or two word answer sums it up?

Sure, they may be preoccupied and not ready or able to break it all down and speak with you ((especially when the person asking continues to walk right by, sometimes before you even answer their question!)), but I also very much think that we have all been programmed this way. We are always 'fine' or 'okay', and we should not burden others with what is going on. How are we to truly listen then if all the messages we have been receiving have been to not speak?

And going back to the Saint Benedict quote, I think it takes even more work to not only listen to what someone is saying to you, but to do so with your heart. Truly hear and in doing so, feel, with the person and what they are saying to you.

But Kim, you're a counselor so you know empathy and Carl Rogers and blah blah blahhhh.

Nope. I'm not buying it. Human connection and empathy is innate. We all possess the skills to do this, but again I think for whatever reason we shy away from this. Empathy let's us actually feel with the person. If someone is having a very sad day, why would we want to share in that experience that with them? Well, sometimes that is exactly what they (and everyone, at many, many times in their lives) need. Not sympathy. We don't need people to just understand or support us, perhaps feeling sorry for our situation. We would like someone to share our experience with us, be that fellow sufferer (because we all are, anyway!) and listen.

What am I going to hear today?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Artist of the Day! ///edited for your visual pleasure///

The first winner of this sought after title goes to one of my favorites. Biffy Clyro. (check them out! if you find you fancy them, join team biffy!)

This Scottish rock trio from Kilmarnock consists of Simon Neil and the Brothers Johnston, Ben and James. And I just love them. Their sound is extremely diverse, and to me, no two of their songs sound alike. They are just amazing.

One time whilst I was frolicking around Scotland, I heard them in a taxi and flipped out in the best way possible. It was a pretty perfect moment if I may say so myself :)

Also, they are precisely what is getting me through this Monday at work. Blargh.

/////EDIT/////
A good friend of mine suggested that I include a picture. I agree. I scoured the interwebs and this is a favorite :)

Notice, if you will, their dashing Scottish good looks and obvious charm, as well as the twin-ness of the brothers Johnston. Love <3

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday already?!

Oh man, this weekend went by way too fast if you ask me... but then again, don't they all?

This weekend, however, was a nice one. I got to see some good friends I have not spent time with in quite a while, so that was a good time.

Also, I spent all of today babysitting my tiniest niece! She is walking and blowing kisses now and is just plain adorable! Every day I just can believe how much I love that little KatieBug :)

This morning I was able to finish Outlander for the 6th time. I think I fall in love with that book even more every time I read it. This run through, however, was interesting because it was the Anniversary Edition, so reading all the 'extras' was great too. Now, back to The Fiery Cross and all those other books I have my nose in as well.

Ughhh..... I still feel sick from the fumes last night, so this will be short and sweet. Meaning it's over :)

Hopefully this coming week I will feel more inspired. I need to get the flow going, just over 3 weeks until I have to start cranking out 1,667 words a day (@ least, that is...)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Something Bad....

So last week, we remember, I ate ice cream for dinner after a pretty long and super stressful week. Understanding that this was not the best thing to do... this week I did something else bad....

I had ordered some new work clothes (aka monkey suits hehe) and had them shipped to the store for free. Woo hoo. But that is not the bad part.

So, I get to the Promenade and enter said store and look around for a wee while, just in case I find something else I don't really need can't live without.

Nothing caught my eye right away, so I went to the front and handed the nicest sales girl my 'pick up' papers. She got my order, but not before pointing out that with said paper, I could get 10 bucks off of 50 if I wanted to pick anything else up that day. So, I found some things. And opened a credit card to save 15%. And saved 10 bucks with the coupon.

And now I have buyers remorse. Eeep. But, this is probably better than eating ice cream for dinner again, right?? #rationalization

Monday, October 3, 2011

MYM: Perfect Fall Bonfire!

Good Morning!

As my first MYM post, I will take this time to celebrate the wonderful season and month we have entered, Fall! This past weekend, we made and enjoyed a wonderful, warm and snuggly Bonfire.

It is simple things like this that make fall so wonderful to me. My backyard is really nothing too spectacular, but when the stars are out and there is a roaring fire glowing through the screens of the fire pit, there are few things better.
And I am super excited that this coming weekend, I will be attending another Bonfire at my best friend's house with her family and some old friends of ours. I can't wait!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's Finally October!

Thank goodness!

Along with all the classic fall things that are well under way (for the most part, at least... it's going to be almost 80 next week -- boo), October also brings with it HOCKEY SEASON!

I have been waiting all post season for this, and this week brings with it Opening Week! Tonight we had our NHL Fantasy draft, and let me tell you, this is much more stressful and competitive that it should be. I am maybe 85 percent happy with my roster; if about three of my guys can get healthy asap then we should be good to go. Also, over the post season my team relocated. Once known as the Five Hole One Timers (5H1T), we are now Two Man Advantage (5on3). So, perhaps with said new name and jersey we will have a better season than last. Fingers crossed....

Let the games begin!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Y3W: See ya, September!

Oh goodness, what a day week it has been.
At one point, I did not believe I would ever be found under all the files at my desk. Yikes bikes.

And now, I have to force myself not to think about the ones still there that I was not able to finish. I will let them leave my mind. I will not think about them until 8am Monday morning. I WILL ENJOY MY WEEKEND, GOSH DARNIT!!

This led me to a very delicious conclusion that ice cream cake would be a superb, if not nutritionally unsound, decision for dinner. I will probably regret this decision tomorrow....

Also, it is that time of year again to bid farewell to hybrid weather September and fondly embrace glorious October! The leaves on my street are just starting to change, and the air was so delightfully crispy and fresh, I'm beyond ready for Fall! Time to snuggle up with my Nook and some hot apple cider and get reading! I have 30 days before my life is once again consumed with NaNoWriMo! Can't wait!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

~Guilty Pleasure Thursday~

So, I have decided that I am going to start at least one new 'weekly' topic for my blog. I so decree that the fifth (or fourth, if you start your weeks on Monday...) will not be known as Guilty Pleasure Thursday.


At first glance, it appears that this means I have enough G.P.'s to comment on weekly. And I probably do. But I sometimes get very excited about new things I discover from week to week, and I plan on including these sorts of things on my Thursday posts as well.

Okay, so it's not the perfect title, but I will work on making it more appropriate and encompassing of all the things I may discuss. Any ideas?

Okay, so my first Guilty Pleasure. And this one absolutely fits the bill for being such.
Scottish Highland Romance Novels

Many of you know that I am an insatiable reader (my Nook has only added to this, if I may digress...), but I don't usually share that I love this genre. I think I fear the harsh judgement of people who think these books are just trashy. Yes, I have read some general romance that is just that; no real storyline, just an excuse to write some steamy sex scenes (but, some novels people like that, so who am I to judge, I say!). However, I have been lucky in that the ones I have read recently have been excellent in all areas. And honestly, try reading a chapter featuring a strapping kilted man and not be charmed. I double dare you ;)

Perhaps it's obvious if you also know how much I love Scotland, particularly the beautiful Highlands, so maybe now all the pieces are making sense now? For a future follow up post to this, I will share with you some of the recently devoured novels, as well as some of my favorites.


Tell me, what is your Guilty Pleasure this week?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My 7th Day in Scotland (otherwise know as 'Time's Runnin' Out!')

Okay. I get it. I have been delaying these posts more and more. How long ago was it I started to document my trip? At first, I was very inspired and motivated to get crackin', only to realize that the faster I did this, the faster I would have to realize it was all over...


But enough dallying! I had a spectacular time, so let's not dwell on the fact I am back home and celebrate the wonderful memories I have. Okay? Okay.


So, day 7. Ah yes... our 1st full day in Edinburgh. We begin our day with another short driving tour of the city. We see what is still the Stevenson family home! As we drove past, the family came out to check the mail! We exchanged waves and everything was just quite delightful. Also, I love their red door!


I don't know what it is, but I like old cemeteries. Especially if they are in another country. This was an added stop. Our guide Richard felt sad that the Queen was inhabiting Holyrood Palace at the time (our scheduled stop), so we went here instead. It has a beautiful view of the Palace, as well as grave markers that were hundreds of years old - right up my alley!

Next, off the bus to the famous Royal Mile! Not lacking in various establishments to get a pint, shop, or learn more about this Medieval city. We were there right in the midst of tourist season so it was packed, but this only added to the liveliness of the place.

We then walked up, up, up to the Castle Esplanade where we saw the changing of the Royal Guards! More yummy kilted men! They were also preparing for the upcoming Edinburgh Festival, so an entire stadium was also being constructed around us.

Once inside, we walked to the very top of the Castle, Richard giving us a tip-top explanation of what to see and do with our free time inside. It was so gorgeous, and much different from the 'usual' castles I am used to visiting. This whole area was made up of several differing buildings in a whole, and one can absolutely see history tell it's story. There were rows of what were once shops, armories, chapels and other religious establishments, and even a small terraced graveyard for military pets! It was definitely not hard to imagine what life may have been like to walk around that very place hundreds of years ago.

By the several cannons in the half-moon armory, we were able to capture breath-taking views of the city! Here was the Scott Monument from a distance, just as stunning if you ask me! It was here that I also realized it is very simple to use the 'panorama' feature on a digital camera quite incorrectly. It seems as if it would be a piece of cake (and in all honesty, most likely is...) but not for me. After two pictures that looked like something out of Inception, I finally figured it out. Good thing, too, because the views were just too pretty.

Alright, here we go. Once our tour was over, we hitched a ride with Richard back to the hotel to freshen up a bit before we hit round two. It was unusually hot that day with abundant sunshine, so I had a lovely triangle of sunburn in the middle of my chest. Nice.



We had two missions to accomplish at this point.

1) We wanted to find where we would be meeting our day tour the next morning, and get a general sense of how long it took to get there so we would have time in the morning for our leisurely stroll from New to Old Town.

2) Find The World's End. For you Outlander fans out there, you may remember this being mentioned in Voyager; it was the pub that Jamie frequented in Edinburgh with Mr. Willoughby! After reading about it, it was immediately put on my 'to-visit-whilst-in-Edinburgh' list.

We were able to accomplish both of these fairly quickly, actually. The meeting place for the day tour was right smack dab where it said it would be, and The World's End was maybe the equivalent of 2 blocks away? As we walked in, it was just as Diana Gabaldon had described! Benches along the wall (where this Lady decided to sit! I pretended for a minute that I was in the book.... it was glorious :), a bar to one side, and long tables on the other. It was perfect. Our two waiters and hostess were so nice as well, and the food was delicious. Fish & Chips and Haggis, Neeps & Tatties (below), pretty perfect if you ask me. We were also convinced into trying the Sticky Toffee Pudding as well (our waiter said if we didn't like it, which he knew we would anyway, he would sit and eat it for us). Well, that was not necessary because it was amazing!


With full stomachs and a pint or two down the hatch, we made our way back to New Town. I was a little stumbly at this point... I started my first pint before dinner (see: empty stomach), and it was all down hill (literally, we had walked up the entire way here) from there. Luckily, we made it back with no incidents and crossed the Waverley Bridge one last time for the day.

Time to snuggle in our fine Scottish beds one more time and await our next adventure!





The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Messy

The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Messy

For some reason, I always have to have a drawer that is messy. Call it a 'junk' drawer, a miscellaneous draw, whatever, I have one. It keeps the odds and ends that otherwise don't really have a place, so I keep them all together where they can keep themselves company in an otherwise misfit world they would live in.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo!

If you didn't know, November is also known as Na(tional)No(vel)Wri(iting)Mo(nth), where writers are challenged with composing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days! What a challenge, and there is never a shortage of caffeine induced all nighters, word wars at local write-ins, and the intense final week to get it all in.

I realize we have over a month to go, but I am so excited! Last year was my first time participating, and I was one of the many winners! I also was able to have a proof printed of my novel. It is still in my crazy editing phase, but who knows, maybe it will be on a shelf one day :)

I have about three ideas floating around my brain at the moment for the novel I will be composing this year, and I think I will just do a game day decision come the 1st to discover which one I will be proceeding with. I don't want to think too much about them specifically because part of the process, for me at least, is seeing how the constraints of 30 days help to develop and construct the story itself.

Anywho, it is a beautiful fall day and I am going to go enjoy it. If you are so inclined and want to be a part of this amazing experience, check out http://www.nanowrimo.org/ to find out more about the event (and they have a few other events throughout the year, too!) sign up, and get ready!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Should'a Been a Cowboy...

What a night!

Due to a text from a bff, and a few plans changed/postponed..... I was able to see Toby Keith tonight with said bff!

It was just glorious. We got to see Eric Church open for him; also a wonderful artist. I just love country music. There are so many stories to tell with so much heart. Even if it is the same story, hearing it from another artist's eyes can be amazing and the sound can be completely different. I urge all the haters out there to give it a chance, you may just like it (take a listen to Trace Adkins's Songs About Me and you'll understand...).

For me, that goes for ALL music genres as well. I see music as a fluid entity. Yes, we have a variety of sounds and themes to pick from, but the beauty of something that is an art is that unchained idea. It does not have to be xyz, it does not have to fit in a box. I see this in county all the time. There are 'crossroads' between artists from all across the spectrum and the result is indescribable. Overall, I am not saying you have to love it, but just don't write it off just because it's almost a punch line now to describe music tastes in the way of "anything but _____ (country, for example..). Art is not made to be hated at all. We all have things we gravitate to and that's fine, but what is the point in putting down something else. Use your energy for good, everyone :)

So, back to the concert. Toby, if I may be so bold and call him that, was just great. He played a nice array of songs, and I even was able to sing my most favorite song he does right along with him. I love that at concerts, don't you? I can believe how amazing that must feel as an artist to hear the crowd of thousands sing your art back to you. Chill bumps abound! He also did a spectacular tribute and salute to all of those serving our country, that is always appreciated. There were several in the audience that he pulled up on stage too, just great.

I think the initial 'post-concert' high/adrenaline is wearing off. I am shivering something fierce. Time to get snuggly.

Goodnight xoxo

Monday, September 12, 2011

Scotland, take 6 (and I need to buy a thesaurus...)

I think I avoid doing each next installment of my trip because it makes it that much more real that it did in fact and, and I am back home. Also, I apologize beforehand regarding the repetition of certain adjectives. I am working on this, so be a dear and bear with me on this as I grow as a writer ;-)

Here goes, day 6!

Glamis Castle, Saint Andrews, and day 1 of Edinburgh are on the plate today.

We started this day by taking a sort of internal maze to breakfast. Apparently all of the dining rooms are connected by hallways and small doors, so it was fun. I was able to acquire the smallest ever bottle of ketchup this morning as well! It was so adorable I could not bring myself to open it; I just gazed adoringly at it from across the table. Hehe.

Now, off to Glamis Castle.
Located in Angus, Scotland (which itself is noted as the birthplace of Scotland, fin fact!) it is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Since the 14th century, it has been the family home of the Lyon family, and I found out the Queen Mother spent her childhood here! We were able to see many of their rooms, preserved very well in the way they used them; everything was beautiful!
When we arrived, the gates weren't quite open yet so we had a wee walk around the grounds. It was a gorgeous day and this offered some nice pictures of the outer grounds. The castle itself was just wonderful.
However, the real star of the morning for me were the gardens.
Breathtaking. So many beautiful flowers, plants, and trees that are meticulously maintained. Just wonderful.

Now, on to the Home of Golf, Saint Andrews. A lovely little town. I am not a fan of golf per se, but I have many family members who were very envious of this leg of our trip. It was very nice to see the Old Course, stone bridge, and the many, many people enjoying an afternoon on the links.
We walked over to the shore as well, and the Scottish sea breeze and sunshine on my face was just amazing.
After lunch and shopping a bit, we took some time to sit, relax, and enjoy the afternoon.
OH! Speaking of lunch, we had the best paninis ever. Ever, really. Haggis & Bacon and Ham & Brie. YumO!

Ladies and Gents, back on the coach. Time for Edinburgh!
I was very excited to get to this part of the trip, as I had heard so many great things about this city by a friend I met whilst on my internship. Quite a bit of history in the Old Town, new posh shops and such in New Town, and a whole bunch more in between.
Look at these daises that were here to welcome us to their fine city!

The hotel we were staying at had a big Masons convention going on, so lots of men in suits (no kilts, sad!) all over the place. This being said, we were given instructions on how to get to the lobby, acquire our room keys, then escape back upstairs to change expediently before dinner. My mother and I were lucky and able to get in, through, and up rather quickly as we chose the stairs option. There was one tiny elevator that the entire group were waiting to use, so we decided to do not that. We were the first ones back out after getting all gussied up, earning the praise of Ian.

Before dinner in Leith, we went on a short twilight tour of the city seeing a few sites we would actually go to the next day; a bit of a preview if you will.
Kyla and I still hadn't been able to have dinner together yet, so we made it a point to have our 'date' this evening at our last group dinner at Prezzo.
It was right on the pier, wonderful views of the sun setting on the docked fishing boats.
What a great end to the tour.

Well, not really. This is not the end. We do have one more guided tour tomorrow morning with Richard, our Edinburgh guide. However, as far as Ian and Eddie go, this was the last hurrah with the whole group.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A broken heart can still love....

And that is precisely what it needs to do.

I wasn't sure if I was going to blog today or not. Ten years gone by or not, the emotions are still as raw as they were when it happened. I remember these details from the day that are unbelievable, some almost laughable because of the context. My 15 year old brain th

ought the big news that my teacher was about to tell us was about Michael Jordan, as he announced his 'un-retirement' the night before. Then to discover what had just happened a mere 700 miles or so away. It broke my heart and horrified me. What a monumental loss for so many people that day.

Today as I watched the memorial services, I cried. My heart broke again for all of the victims, the first responders, and the families and loved ones left behind. I noticed so much love as well. Wishes of love for those lost, for those still in the line of fire (no matter what capacity), and for one another. That reminds us that there is still so much g
ood in the world, and we should love and cherish this.

I send them all of my love and I wish for them peace.

They will never be forgotten.

<3





Friday, September 9, 2011

If possible, start your new job on a Thursday!

Hello!

So, day two of my new job is out of the way, and lookie there, it's the weekend! Thank goodness. I don't know what I am going to do when I have a full week in front of me. Well, I did technically have full weeks this whole summer and before, but in the new position. Which is way different.

I think I am going to like what I do, but it is just a matter of getting there. These past two days have been.....interesting. Definitely been a lesson in breathing and being patient. If things are out of my control, I need to let it go. I think frustration is a good word. I do love my supervisor, though. I think we will get along quite well indeed. So that's a plus.

I kind of just want to drink the past two days away tonight. Or go shopping. Both options being less than helpful in various ways (But Kim, you are being paid more, remember?!) Quiet, you!

Hah, speaking of Dwight, my cube is starting to be filled with KimO-esq decorations (haha, did you see what I did there??) which of course include my Blackhawks stuff, The Office things, Scotland, purple, and soon some artwork. Horray!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Of all days to fall asleep!

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Craig Ferguson and The Late Late Show. For those of you familiar with either, he does a segment on the show where he reads tweets and emails from viewers and responds in a most amusing way.

I have been tweeting and emailing him things for quite some time, always hoping that he may one day begin with "This one is from Kim in Darien, IL..."

So, last Thursday, I send him a tweet about how much cleavage is too much. A topic that would clearly garner some amusing responses, yes? Yes. So I watch Thursday night and nothing. However, I am used to this, so I am not too upset, as the ones he read were also hilarious.

So, Friday comes and goes and I find my very boring 25 year old self falling asleep around 9:30, totally missing the show. I woke around 4:30 due to the very odd sleep schedule I have and see that I have a text message.... It's from my friend Ana telling me some important news....and I quote.... "CRAIG READ YOUR TWEET!!!!"

What!?! My brain immediately woke up and flailed a little bit, and then I went downstairs to watch this glorious moment unfold on cbs.com. And glorious it was.

I was quite upset at first that I had been a big lameO and slept right through it, and funny enough, the one before mine asked Craig "what happens if I'm sleeping when you read my email?" which was an interesting foreshadowing in and of itself. But it's okay, it is forever saved on my phone thanks to the hi-qual videos they have featured on cbs.com. Horray!

I can't even believe it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A little Rabbie Burns for this Monday

After the past week I had, I was delighted to find this snippet from A Bottle and Friend.

"Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, Man!
Believe me, Happiness is shy,
And comes not ay when sought, Man!"


Saturday, August 13, 2011

such a fangirl...

So far, the twitter fangirl stats are as follows.

  • One @reply from Diana Gabaldon and Susanna Kearsley, two of my most favorite authors!



  • An @ reply from Anita Clenney, an author whose 1st novel, Awaken the Highland Warrior, I am absolutely in love with!



  • A re-tweet from Jeffrey Stepakoff after I read and expressed my love for his novel, Fireworks over Toccoa



  • An @ reply from Regina King, one of the stars of SouthLAnd, one of my favorite shows!



  • An @ reply from Mary McMormack, star of In Plain Sight and fellow Craig Ferguson fan



  • A few @ replies with Allan Scott-Douglas, actor who hails from Edinburgh and who portrays Jamie Fraser in Outlander the Musical.


Now, just one littlest @ reply from a certain CraigyFerg and all will be well :)
Not really, the first few on that list are more than enough! I think it is just wonderful that authors are able to use social media to connect with fans. It certainly made my day <3

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 5 in Scotland

I was very sad to leave beautiful Inverness today. One final farewell to the beautiful city...


But, this just meant we were going to have a nice drive through MORE highlands, so this is fine in my book. This is one of the many things I love about traveling. I am so sad to leave, but a little part of me is happy because I know that I will come back to Inverness one day, so it is absolutely something I can look forward to!

The first stop was to the AMAZING ruins of Elgin Cathedral.


Oh my goodness it was beautiful. We did not have a long stop here, but it was just enough to get quite a few lovely pictures and a little time of fresh Highland air off the bus.




A little while later, we find ourselves in Glenfiddich country.


Time for a wee dram or two and learn about how uisge beatha (water of life in Gaelic) is made! Very informative and interesting. Whilst touring the distillery, I thought about how this was just like Wonka's factory, only for grown ups! The story of the place is very interesting and inspiring.

In 1886, William Grant and his 9 children built the original building, that is still standing.


The first drop of whisky came through the stills on Christmas day, 1887. They only use the water from the Robbie Dhu spring in the Highlands, and I believe are one of few, if not only, distillery that had such a singular, close source such as this.

The mashing room smelled so good. The copper stills, exact replicas of what William Grant first bought over a century ago, looked like rotund coppery men chugging along, brining this delicious libation to us.



Also, learning about how the whisky is aged was amazing. First, they get casks that have been filled only once with either sherry from Spain, or American bourbon. This is what gives Glenfiddich it's unique flavor. Then, the marrying happens. Because each distillation is unique, several casks are 'married' for a wee while as to let the flavors truly come together.

There is also a thing called the Angels' Share. As the whisky ages in the casks, there is natural evaportation, and of course the longer it is aged, the less product one will have at the end (naturally making the older whisky more expensive). This is called rather romantically as 'the angels' share'. Glenfiddich also has an artist in residence program, and one of these students created a beautiful sculpture for this room called just that, where two angels no longer needed their wings, leaving heaven behind, because they tasted Glenfiddich.

Where to next? Oh yes, now I can tell you about the best lunch experience ever, probably for all the wrong reasons.

Lunch was in Dufftown, a pretty little town with many little shops along the high street. We walked around a bit, and then it started to rain so we decided to get some grub to wait out the drizzle. Enter Noah's Ark Bistro. A very cute little place in a converted lower level of a house. Very ecclectic decor and maybe four tables total. All of which were filled with our fellow tour mates. I felt very bad almost immediatly, as she was on her own and now she has 16 patrons. Yikes. She was very nice and did her best, and then her friend came to help. What made it funny though, after the fact of course, was that we were on a time crunch because the coach was leaving in about 45 mintutes, as as each minute ticked on by I got more and more nervous. The orders then had to be taken again by the friend, and then something started burning in the kitchen..... No one else seemed concerned about missing the bus.... maybe they forgot about the rule that required one minute of singing for each one you are late.... bah!

Anyway, our lunch was amazing. I had a chick pea burger and it was so delish, my mom had a veggie baguette she loved. Looking back, should I ever find myself in Dufftown again, I would love to go back, but this time not with half of my tour group...


We made it back to the coach with a minute to spare, so no singing to the group. Whew! On the road for a wee while more, passing the very pretty Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire. Completed in 1626, it is a perfect fairy tale setting with turrents, gargoyles, and a beautiful setting!




I loved all the other ruins we saw driving around. I always wonder about when it was first built, who lived there, and all the history surrounding it. Le sigh....




Our next stop was the Tea Room at the Falls of Feugh.


Oh goodness, was this beautiful! A lovely spot of tea and delicious scones for a relaxing rest before we continue on to the hotel.

When we did get to the Ardoe House, we were amazed. A beautiful 19th century mansion in Aberdeen, it too looked straight out of a fairy tale. The story, however, of it's creation was a bit more scandalous, mistress included!




Lucky for me, there was some sort of fancy shindig happening at the hotel that night, so I feasted my eyes on room fulls of very handsome kilted men. Yummy.

Our dinner here was probably one of the most entertaining. We sat with John, Shauna, Egdar and Margaret. More of my faves :) Talks of rocket salads, fig leafs, and the other tables being jealous of the great time we were having :) Our bartender/waiter was amazing too, hilarious with his banter with us, talk of crockery, and looked like a Scottish Rob Pattinson.

This was a long day, so off to bed! But stay tuned, our next day included tiny cannons :)