Monday, November 30, 2009

December

"The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linter in the beautiful foolishness of things." - Kakuzo Okakura



December is a time of reflection that I can never ignore, and some of it is foolish and not very beautiful. As time goes on, that feeling is less and less. For years now, I have made lists of what I would like to see of myself the following year. When I was young, my mother gave me a unicorn glitter globe that I had sit next to my bed. I would tape that list to the bottom of the globe, and when the new year arrived, I would read it and replace it. Funny, but every year without looking, I somehow accomplished the things I set out for myself. I do it even now still.

I will be posting two different lists a week throughout the month of December, as well as try to post a review of the nook and books I have currently finished. I want to step up this blog a bit since I have been neglecting it more than I like.

December is also a great time to get my writing groove back on. I hope to get a good start to the ending chapters of KIN and finish the last short story Joey and I need for our first collection in the "secret project". Then it will be edit, edit, edit!

I will report back at the end of the month, but for now, I hope you will enjoy the lists and reviews!

Natasha

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

I am thankful for trees, pumpkin seeds, good health, Aero bars, the internets, Stonehenge, spices, tea, art, new home, zombie movies, cats, comics, stories, being green, friends, Hello Kitty headphones, polar bears, family, boba, guitar solos, smoke free, Cookie Monster, sectional couches, farmers, Rock Band, dreams, kindness, 101 Cookbooks, cosmos, lion statues, new beginnings, and true love.



Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Strange November, e-books, and writing update


It has been a strange November, but really, it has been a strange here in North Dakota. Weatherwise. Last month we had lots of rain- about twenty one days of it. It snowed some in there. Now, towards the end of November, we have had so much sun that brings up people's moods and weather that I hope lasts throughout the whole season.

I did a lot of catching up this week. I found my notes for KIN and the secret short story project. I typed up the handwritten pages and am now ready to start writing the last scenes of the novel. I am almost at 79,000 words, which means I am almost 30,000 words more than I had thought. This book has taken a life of its own, and I am really looking forward to editing it.

The Nook comes out in the next few weeks. I am trying to gather a list of e-books that I would like to invest in. I am also really hopeful that my plans to do some editing with it will work. I am trying not to think of it too much since I don't want to grow impatient. It doesn't help that I am seeing a lot different articles talking about e-books. The ones that have really stuck out to me are the ones talking about how people with e-readers actually buy more books and why we should hold onto our print books. Right now, a lot of this feels like real speculation. I only know one person that has an e-reader and she writes fiction that is now only in that format. The short story collection that Joey and I are writing will be mostly for e-reader format that we hope to distribute on Scribd or other viable websites.

I graduated from high school almost ten years ago and I think about the change in technology over those years. Google wasn't in my vocabulary, no one had a cell phone that I can name in my school, and CDs were still cool. What will e-readers and e-books do for the publishing industry? I am not sure, but I know I will still buy books in both formats. As an author, I will not be against it. Audio books are becoming more mainstream, with people listening to them at their jobs, and some people don't see them as really "reading", but I think we shouldn't discourage the spreading of words. I don't see books going away and I like to see that the book publishing industry is starting to get into this and not be like the music industry.

I am hoping one day to have a color e-reader for comic books. Comic books are becoming bigger than ever and it has been proven that they help kids learn. My mom said she read an article about it years ago and that is how she encouraged my brothers to read (for me, it was a lot easier since I loved books right away).

Thanksgiving is coming up and it will be our first as vegetarians. It has been almost a year since we made the switch and we couldn't be happier. I plan on putting a post of the recipes that I have chosen with a few pictures. I have been making some great recipes from 101 Cookbooks including Garlic Soup and Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Delicious! I plan on making curry later this week. I couldn't resist!

I will leave you with a picture of our cat, Cherrie. We gave her a bath this week and I can't resist showing you pictures of her before and after. She is such a pretty kitty!

Natasha

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Better

I am feeling much better today on this Sunday with the sun shining and church bells going off in th distance. I am one of the lucky ones and only caught a cold. I have consumed my fair share of tea, cough drops, and medicine. My husband took good care of me while I rested on our couch and went to bed early. In a way, it felt like I was on a vacation where I could just take my mind off things.

Also, being sick like that makes a person appreciate their health and how much they can accomplish when they are feeling well. This was the week I was going to get my stuff together. That didn't exactly pan out the way I had hoped. Still, that is part of the journey.

We just started watching Smallville, and I have been noticing the people that he helps do help him learn something about himself. That is part of the journey, taking some knowledge from what happens in your life. I have had colds before, but it is a reminder in the journey to take care of myself, don't take it for granted. It sounds silly to compare myself to a TV show about a super hero, but it is hard to ignore.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Becoming Vegetarian

It has been almost a year since my husband and I both decided to go vegetarian. We had been cutting away at meat in our diet for a while. We gave up most beef after we both had gotten sick at a very, very well-known fast food joint. My stomach couldn't handle hamburgers, or even the thought, after that.

I cooked a lot with chicken, and sometimes bacon and ham (gifts from my meat family). Gradually, though, we started cutting down the chicken in our meals. We ate a lot of fajitas and stirfry and soon I was only eating half or a fourth of a piece of chicken a day.

Then we visited England and Paris last December. It was the most amazing trip I had ever gone on, and the food was an adventure in itself. What we found in England were vegetarian options and we tried them--- and they were amazing (especially at The Blue Note Cafe in Glastonbury). I couldn't believe the substitutes that English places had--- they were so amazing!

A week after we returned home, we were going out for a friend's birthday party at a local Mexican place. We were talking about the food, and then talking about our diet. We didn't eat a lot of meat. It made us feel pretty bad sometimes, and before, it just seemed difficult. I come from a meat-eating family. As I write this, I have my father, brother, uncles, and cousins probably out pushing the bush for deer. Growing up, it would have been impossible for me to become vegetarian since I lived in the middle of nowhere. I live in Fargo (biggest city in North Dakota) and it can prove difficult looking for places to eat sometimes. However, I have re-learned how to cook and I really enjoy it. Actually, I feel much more adventurous than before! I don't plan my meals around meat any longer (and even rarely substitutes). Most importantly, I feel physically better. I am also very lucky that my husband and I are on the same page with our eating habits. And that I am such an adaptable cook.

I thought I should talk about my choice of being vegetarian. Recently, I have been very surprised at the amount of articles surrounding Jonathon Foer's Eating Animals. I fully intend to read this book in the future, but I started becoming enthralled by the articles popping up all over the place. They aren't just about the book, but about people's own eating habits. I am surprised more and more of how people are now attempting to cut meat out of their diets, even for a few days out of the week. My own local paper even had a recipe for this very reason this past week!

I don't like to tell people what to do about their diet, but I do encourage people to learn more about it. Maybe try new things. Coming from such a meat-eating family, it was a hard choice to wrap my head around changing my diet in such a drastic way. Now I eat more ethnic foods that I had never heard of, and they are more amazing than I could have imagined.

The reason why I don't like telling people directly is that I remember the summer when I was sixteen and staying out in Seattle baby-sitting my little cousin. My oldest cousin (two years older than my mother) took me around downtown to see the Puget Sound, the Space Needle, and to the most amazing bookstore I had ever seen called The Elliot Bay Company. We went out to lunch with his son (a few years old than myself). I recall him mentioning that he was vegetarian and it took me back. I was silly, and sixteen, and said something like, "I come from a meat-eating family. I don't even know what to think about that." And, as embarrassing as it is now, I was speaking the truth of that moment. I didn't have any idea how to do it and it seemed impossible. That moment stuck out in my head for a reason, and maybe, I knew that someday I could do it. I just knew I couldn't do it then. I think sometimes just telling people about it gets them to think about it, and maybe one day, they will make a choice. It took me ten years to decide that enough was enough.

Great articles about Eating Animals from The Huffington Post:


Recent articles on vegetarianism:


My favorite vegetarian recipe blog ever
:


Natasha

Picture: Vegan burgers at The Blue Note Cafe in Glastonbury, England

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hallowe'en

I can't believe that November has begun! I will be helping a friend move today and to attempt to hang things up on my walls in the kitchen and dining room (finally!). We moved in a month ago tomorrow, which is an amazing thought!

We spent the holiday yesterday relaxing. Hallowe'en is my absolute favorite holiday and the first that my husband and I spent together back in 2001 before we were dating. We watched Salem's Lot and The Thing, ate some yummy lentil loaf and roasted vegetables with banana cream pie for dessert, and took a lovely walk around our neighborhood. It has been raining and dreary for about 20+ days out of the month so it was welcoming to see sunshine and the temperature at almost 60 degrees.

We also decided to check out the dike along the Red River. We didn't realize that on the other side of the dike is a bike path that stretches along the river and to some of the main parks in the city. It is a nice walk along the river, and there are some reading trees! We also went to one of the nearby parks, and I just fell in love with this neighborhood all over again. I grew up around trees and hills (we are by one of the only ones in Fargo!) and I feel so much better around here. Going to the other side of the city now seems so bare and different now.

I hope everyone else enjoyed their Hallowe'en! I am thrilled to have discovered so much about my new neighborhood and to relax with my husband. It was a great way to end a stressful month and I am seeing myself starting to update about my writing starting this week. I also have some books that should be delivered tomorrow and I will pick up Juliet Marillier's new one this week. So keep an eye out for upcoming reviews! A great way to start National Novel Writing Month (more on that later!).

Natasha

Picture: Go here

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