I am a Winner!

Dear November,

I kicked your ass. You didn’t kick mine this year.

Oh, and incidentally, I wrote a novel while you were trying to bum me out. Yes, that’s right. While you restricted sunlight, pelted me with hail, and blew moldy leaves at me, my creativity still shone through.

See you in another eleven months,

Liz

I Did It!

No, I didn’t cross the 50k mark. That’s tomorrow when I chronicle the resuce of Protag’s best friend from demonic sacrifice. Protag will not be wearing pants for this rescue. I figured, everything’s funnier without pants, right?

But I wrote a sex scene. That’s right. The werewolf and the Protag finally got it on.

He was in human form.

They didn’t have intercourse, owing to the fact that I couldn’t have them carrying birth control around for no real reason, and a Marine Biology Masters student is hardly likely to allow a new guy to do it, unprotected-like.

I feel so liberated!

Next challenge: Demonic sacrifice rituals. At least with the sex scene, I had some prior knowledge to draw from. I’ve done a lot of things, but been present at a demonic sacrifice? Not me.

Hunh.

You Are Scary

You even scare scary people sometimes!

Why Is It

Called a television set? There’s only one of it. It’s a unit, not a set.

Random Memory: Naples

It was mid-November when Michie and I landed in Naples, and were immediately overwhelmed with the forwardness of the males there. A light-skinned curlyhead and a tall Asian girl stuck out, well, like a WASP and an Asian in a city whose natives are short and swarthy. Men crossed the street to talk to us. They blocked our paths until we shouldered past them, they offered us compliments aplenty. “Ciao, Bella!” echoed behind us like a wake, along with a strange clucking noise reminiscent of someone calling a recalcitrant cat inside.

We stashed our stuff, sweating < !> in the November sunshine on our way up the winding road to the hostel. There was a bus, but another hosteller had told us she had heard it wasn’t very reliable. So we toiled upwards, rewarded at the top by a view of the Bay of Naples, sweeping out into the cerulean distance.

Back down in the town, we wandered twisting little streets. Eventually we ended up in the Villa Communale, a gorgeous waterfront park, but were quickly put off by the constant, bothering men catcalling and walking towards us, ostensibly to make our acquiantance. They were everywhere! Michie asked me in an undertone at one point, “Are they comng out of the bushes, or is it me?” I thought they were, as well.

We sought refuge in the world’s oldest saltwater aquarium, which was cool and damp and dark. Michie, whose father is a sushi chef, got homesick for her dad’s cooking, and went from window to window saying, “Ooh, I can eat you! I could eat you! You’re delicious with nori and rice!” Blessedly, we were the watchers, not the watched.

Naples is supposed to be infamous for crime. We saw none, unless you count the moped-riding teenaged boys who stole Michie’s hat off her head as we walked that evening, and then laughingly gave it back at the next intersection. “Grazie!” we gasped. They laughed and sped off.

We got lost. A lot. Naples is built on a hill, and is old. This means no planning went into it. Streets go wherever, and street signs sometimes confuse. At one point, we stopped to ask some carabinieri where we were. They flirted shamelessly as they told us.

The shopping seduced us. The bargains were amazing. Michie’s rallying cry was “You can’t get this for ten dollars!” Translation: Buy it, we can’t get this in North America, with this experience, for ten dollars. And she was right. There was something about Naples. What posessed me to buy that halter-topped, butterfly-printed sundress that seemed saucy, yet in my Vancouver home, I knew would look damned slutty?

Michie and I often looked at each other and said, (shrug) “It’s Italy.”

The nervousness at the forward men wore off. When a waiter at a restaurant hovered, entranced that I could speak French, Michie and I ate with equanimity. It was strange, but not oppressive. “Besides, you can speak French!, said Michie. “You get more hot foreign girl points!”

The truth was, at some point, we stopped worrying that it was different from North America, and started to relax.

We took a day trip to Capri. The Blue Grotto was off-limits, owing to high winds, but we still had a good time. Turns out the trains did a wildcat strike, so we had to take a bus home. The bus driver had a friend on board. They bought us cappucinos at one of the roadside stops, and insisted on driving us up that winding road to the hostel, even though it was completely off-route. They waved us into the hostel, crying, “Ciao, Bella!”

Now, we all learn early that we don’t accept rides from strangers. Michie and I held a brief confab when the bus driver offered to drive us up the hill. You don’t accept rides from strangers. But we went with our guts. These men meant no harm. They backed off when we were uncomfortable and kept a light, guidebook-assisted patter all the way. Their flirting wasn’t threatening, even if it was constant. One of them stole a kiss from me. Michie took a picture. I look at that picture now, and all I see is a Canadian girl, enjoying Italy.

Two days later, we caught an express train out of Naples that plunged us from the playful sunshine into some biting northern snow. It wasn’t just the temperature that had our moods plummetting. Just before Lake Como, I turned to Michie. “I feel ugly.”

She nodded. “Me too. No one’s called us Bella for five hours now!”

I miss that sunshiney feeling, sometimes. You know, the allure of “Ciao, Bella!”

Foodies in the Suburbs.

Today is our sixth anniversary. We’d been celebrating it on the 25th, but Johnny Miller, who had the partry where our first actual date took place, informed us that it was the actual 26th. Thanks, Johnny.

I started the day at the Christmas Bazaar at Em’s mom’s old church in PoCo. I got almost all my Christmas baking done in 15 minutes. Oh, and I got a pie. It’s our anniversary, right? Pie is good for anniversaries.

Em’s mom treated us to bizarre bazaar food. Man, I could really, really tell I was in a suburban Christian church.

We started off with the soup course, which appeared to be a hearty Minestrone featuring ground beef and tomato skin. Lovingly cooked for hours, the pearl barley was definitely too mushy to mutiny. (I didn’t get this. I just stayed very still while our septugenarian waitress brought it, and she didn’t get me any. See, God listens.)

The main course was a choice. We could choose either a delicate medley of egg, Miracle Whip, and salt, gently shaved canned ham, or lovingly decanted canned salmon. Naturally, we got the choice of a very health-conscious generic brown bread, or the always palatable Wonder Bread. The Save-On brand margarine teased lovingly at the tastebuds with every bite. All sandwiches were thoughtfully prepared beforehand and left to blend flavours while waiting to be so eagerly consumed. The bread, in the time-honoured Tuscan manner, had that slightly gritty edge that suggests it has been out on the counter for awhile.

Dessert was also a choice. There were cherry or lemon tarts. My lemon tart was a symphony of flavour, a dollop of Shirriff Lemon Meringe mix perching pertly in a pre-form Tenderflake tart shell. The topping, a spoonful of off-center Dream Whip, completed the meal.

It was really an experience that will stick with me for a long time to come.

E Has A Cell Phone.

Just got the third call of the night:

Him: Hi!
Me: Hi?
Him: I programmed our number in! I just hit it and I can call home!
Me: Cool.
Him: Okay, see you in ten minutes.
Me: Okay, see you.
Him: Do we need any milk or anything?
Me: We’re good for now. But if I think of anything I’ll call.
Him: Hee hee! Okay!

Pointless call, pointless post. But it tickled me.

Brush Your Teeth!

When I was a young teenager, my friend Colin had braces. When we all camped at Wilderness camp together, and herds of kids would go off exploring in the woods, hiking atop cliffs, or throwing things into waterfalls, Colin’s mom would always be yelling at him, “Come back and brush your teeth!” In fact, we all perfected Colin’s mom-isms, including “bruuush youuurrr teeeeeth” echoing forlornly through the Purcell mountain range like the lonely call of a strange new beast. There was also the Hamburger Helper without the Hamburger, but that’s not the point here.

Today I got up close and personal with why we should brush our teeth.

Professor Jun is going to give a talk to his daughter’s class on the perils of tooth decay (Latin: Dental caries). he has a coupple of power point presentations. One is full of cute little Korean anime guys. One is full of grisly closeups of decaying teeth. Both are effective in their own ways.

But today he needed me to work a good English translation up for him, as both his presentations are in Korean. And here’s what I learned:

The stuff that causes plaque is a mutant relative of the Streptococci bacterium.
This little bad bug actually excretes the stuff that turns into plaque on our teeth. Excretes it! Plaque is bug poo! Ew.
The Streptococci mutant bugs feed off sugar. This is why it’s important to brush your teeth before going to bed. They won’t have anything th snack on all night.
The pH of our saliva falls at night, which is dangerous because it causes erosion of the enamel of the teeth. This is also, obviousy, harmful. Saliva’s daytime pH is about a 6. It can fall at night to 7.6 or so, and this can be dangerous over the long term.

Excuse me. I’m going to go brush the bug poo off my teeth. Oh, and floss.

Push!

I know it’s November 24th. I know this because I’ve had a sinking feeling all day that it is. I know it is because I’ve got 37,500 words down for my Nano novel and I’m stumped. They’re heading to the big showdown with Petrus. Cass knows Kaz is a werewolf. She’s warded, she can shield against hexes, and I seem to have created a story where they’re going to have to stick a knife in her ribs, nothing else will work. But I don’t know what Petrus wants. he’s not giving up the goods to me or my characters.

Bastard.

Update: He wants to use her to amplify the sacrificial spell when he finally gets off his evil butt and turns Broadway into a Demonic playground. What a knob.

Saskatchewan Christmas.

E booked the tickets. We’re going.

If I were a rabid control freak, I would be concerned about gifts and baking and blah blah blah, but in my new go-with-the-flowiness, I just ain’t going to bother. I’ll bring a dozen mince tarts or something and concentrate on staying warm.

I’m going to have to completely rethink how I live my life. As it is, I frequently wander outside in slip-on shoes to plan my garden or get the mail, or pet a friendly dog, or look more closely at a bird I don’t recognise. Sure, I close the door in the rainy months, but it’s no big thing. Sometimes if it’s raining hard, I’ll put something on my head. Sometimes this is a hat. Sometimes it isn’t. Since I pretty much live in a sweater and jeans in the months when I’m not wearing a t-shirt and jeans, I stick a coat on when I go to work because I know it’ll be colder when I’m coming home. That’s pretty much it.

I open the bedroom window every day to air it out.

This Christmas, I’ll be spending a week in a sealed house. If I go outside, I will need a toque, sweater, coat, mittens, boots, warm socks, and a scarf. I’ll probably need thermal underwear. Inside, I’ll need slippers. Hey, maybe I should get one of those things Laura Ingalls had in Little Town on the Prairie. You remember, the illustration by Garth Williams, where Almanzo’s bringing her home for the weekend and she has that thing swathing her head that looks like a big onion? Maybe I need that.

I’ll probably need some kind of ultra strength face cream. Hell, if it drops below zero here, I need a pretty strong one. My face might just shrivel up and fall off in Regina! How’s that, friends? New, Faceless Liz, back for ‘06!

E says we can go sledding. Who is he kidding? It’s flat there!

We will probably go to restaurants. The Regina restaurant scene has just discovered fusion food, and E’s mom loves it. She does yoga (without the aid of Lululemon, who’da thunk it?), so I’m going to get her to teach me some.

And of course, they have cable. I’ll be watching Food Network and Discovery Channel.

I’m 33 years old. I’m going to have a familiar-tradition-free Christmas for the first time in my life.

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