The End of NaBloPoMo: The Heidi Chronicles

So I’m officially a NaBloPoMo failure. I figured I would be when I never realized in the beginning that Thanksgiving was actually in November…whatever. But I was rolling along, and then when Wednesday hit and I was up until after midnight (looking longingly at the clock watching that minute hand creeping ever closer to the magic hour which would cast me into the ranks of blogging quitters and thinking that I could run upstairs and just squeeze out a fake post to keep in the game….)

But NO.

I let my faithful followers down. My NaBloPoMo compatriots. *heavy sigh*

I was too tired. I was whipped. I was everything but perky in the waning hours of the day, sitting in my chair, enjoying the wafting scent of spiced candles and final bottle glass of wine before retiring for the night. Staring at a chic flick I’ve seen a million times so I wouldn’t dream of scanning lists of ingredients in recipes, and filling small white porcelain dishes for mise en place or whatever the heck that’s called. Watching the time evaporate, ending my quest for NaBloPoMo fame.

It just wouldn’t be a class act to slam out a crappy post at 11:57pm.

But the dinner tables (yes, that’s an “s” on the end of tables) were set, the flowers arranged and the candles organized just so. The old linen napkins were lightly starched and softly folded.

The  Primo Seats

The  Not so Primo Seats

Nary a cat yack stain was visible. Well, maybe one because Freshness, Her Royal Butterballness Barf-o-rama on wheels in disguise did summarily regurgitate her afternoon snack upon my freshly cleaned carpet. Just. Once. To let me know she was still in control of my destiny.

Dumb ass cat. Lovely pet that she is.

Blackness & Presh-Ass, The Yack Star

But I digress.

We fell into bed for a night of tumultous passion exhausted sleep (we, because the MoH seriously pitches in during the holidays, lovely man unit that he is) with windows open (yes, in Paradise, we’ve still not shut our windows for the winter) and covers nicely fluffed.

Paradise:  Overcast, but warm.

Ready to begin again at seven-freaking-ay-em the next day.

But there was plenty of bubbly on hand throughout the day for mimosas and champagne cocktails, or just a plain glass o’ bubbly.

Thank. Goodness.

And thank Mr. and Mrs. Diestel who grow turkeys somewhere in the Sierra Nevadas for our lovely bird whom I immediately named Heidi when I saw her cozied up in that little box all tricked out with handles.

Heidi the Turkey

She performed well on the day most revered by this foodie — the super bowl of Food.

Oh. My.

If there was ever a question that a bird should be ordered by phone ahead of time, fresh-not-frozen, heavily discounted because your son works there WOOT!, artfully brined, and lovingly basted each half hour by the MoH, this was it.

Simply droolworthy.

And the guests were jolly, filled to the gills with the tasty fare.

The highlight of the evening was the iChat session with family in VA which broke into a bawdy session of, well, you’d have to know my family to understand. Suffice it to say that we all seem to have a fixation with the posterior portion of the human anatomy and it’s only a matter of time before a parade of buttocks fill the screen. I do think it must have something to do with not having a proper number of opportunities to share on Show ‘n’ Tell day in kindergarten. Thank goodness for the Internet and family members who are only a sign-in away. We aren’t for the faint of heart.

The VA iChat Visitors

They sort of resemble that Chumbawumba album cover, don’t they?

But the sink backed up, we ran out of counterspace, and I believe there was not a dish in my kitchen left unused. The stacks of dishes and pots, bowls and platters, wine glasses and utensils riveled Dr. Seuss’ buildings in Whoville.

But I survived.

Barely.

Sorry I haven’t been by to visit…I have serious catching up to do, and tagging to unleash on unsuspecting neighbors in Bloggsville. Be warned.

Life is grand, isn’t it?

Dear Mr. Gynecologist…

As Toto and Dorothy continue along the long and winding road on their NaBloPoMo journey, Dorothy has gotten snippy, and Toto has begun to look longingly at her ankles, imagining what they might taste like, and just how loudly she’d scream if he chomped firmly on one…

November 20, 2007

Dear Mr. Gynecologist Doctor Person:

Reminder I just received your reminder in the mail about my annual check-up. Damn. I thought you’d have forgotten about me since I only saw you a few times. What a pleasant surprise that you remembered me! Although I must commend you for the stereotypical tasteful predictable pink fuchsia gerbera on the cover and pleasant sans serif font, it doesn’t diminish the fact that I absolutely HATE and am completely TERRIFIED of rarely look forward to taking care of this particular business.

I know. It’s necessary. And I did promised myself that after last winter, I’d take better care of myself.

But you made some adjustments last December, remember? Removed everything? There’s not a single girlie organ left. Not. One. Nada. If you knocked on my abdomen, it would most likely sound like a watermelon. Perfectly hollow.

Okay, so there are still a few other types of guts left in there. But still.

So, uh, I’m wondering just how you go about this favorite check up of mine. You know, the one I successfully avoided for more than five years which is why you had to relieve me of my equipment? Yes, that checkup.

How exactly does one have a PAP smear when one has no cervix? No uterus? Zippo ovaries? Hmmm…? I mean, think about it. You take your car to the garage for a tune up, you lift the hood, and whoops! There’s no trannie. No carburator. Hell, the engine is even missing. So what do you do? Shine things up a bit? Steam wash it? Make sure everything’s squeakin’ clean?

I can see having to go if a tune up is in order, but what exactly will you tune?

I don’t like that table with the motorized end portion. Or the stirrups. And I absolutely detest that light whose brightness resembles the ones they use when they work on freeways in the dead of night allowing anyone interested to see all the way to China without their glasses. Bright. Yanno?

But what I’m completely freaked out about is that you’re going to poke at my scars. You’re going to push on my abdomen. They not only still bother me, they creep me out, and I’m already wincing, just thinking about it.

Completely disgusting.

So I hope you don’t mind that I’ll just put this off a bit until I adjust to the idea of having missing equipment checked and hearing you say, “Yup. It’s still gone.” or “Need anything else adjusted?” And I won’t know how to respond since it’s difficult for me to tell when things are wrong with my body. I’m just not good at it. Well, unless it’s my left elbow which is completely screwed up right now. But you aren’t an elbow man, are you?

What I’d really like to say about this check up is, “Let’s not and say we did. ‘Kay?”

Okay, fine. So are there any bars near your office then? I’ll knock a few back before I get there. Well it sounds better for this situation than sipping wine and nibbling on a salad. Don’t expect me to be able to actually stay on that table once I get there, though. Okay?

Mortified,

Me

p.s. And I don’t want to hear ANYTHING about not taking my hormones. Got it?

p.p.s. I know. There’s no whining, either. Whatever.

Dear ustream.tv Gurus…

November 19, 2007

Dear Whomever thought of ustream.tv:

What a completely cool idea. Yesterday I had so much fun being on “TV” while I was working in my kitchen. Who knew? Does this mean I’m a closet Giada or budding Rachael? A potential Bobby or possible Mario? If you’re even thinking of swallowing this, pigs are circling over your head as we speak. But still.

ustream.tv broadcast

Setting up a broadcast on ustream.tv was the means to an end. I have quite a few cyber baking buddies, and because we’d planned to cook together yesterday (quite the feat considering I’m on the Left Coast, a couple are in the Midwest and East Coast, and one lives in Argentina. And the plan was to have used Yahoo for instant messaging.

Right.

And I have swamp land in Florida. For sale.

I won’t go into the sordid details of why this never actually happened other than to say that I, using the web version and in Beta, somehow did not fit in. So rather than collecting my baking pans and calling it a day, logged on to ustream.tv and launched my show, “Kelly Cooks.” I’m not there right now because my tongue’s still hanging to my knees after yesterday. Jeez.

It was completely hilarious. And not unlike blabbing with friends or family sitting on the other side of the bar while I cook at a party. In fact it felt exactly the same.

Of course there was no clevage, or giant sets of teeth, no Eee-Vee-Ohh-Ohh. In fact, sometimes, there was no food, or no face. And never both at the same time. The camera is at the top of my screen so making it point in a particular direction isn’t an art. Yanno? I don’t exactly live in a television studio, and that wasn’t the purpose of the broadcast anyway. It was to chat with friends while I cooked, remember?

And I got to chat with Helen of Tartlette which is the most amazing dessert blog you’ve ever seen. And Jerry of Cooking By the Seat of My Pants, who has several blogs (I don’t know how he does it…) and is also caught in the throes of organizing his place like I am. Jerry’s trying to get me to cook by the seat of my pants, too. And he’s encouraging me to drink wine while I’m doing this. This reminds me a bit of running with scissors, but I can, and do. Frequently. But I was on tv, yanno? You have to maintain some degree of hoity-toityness, right? And let’s see, who else? Breadchick of The Sour Dough and Ben of What’s Cooking?. And if I remember correctly, Sara of I Like to Cook. Of course practically my whole fam damily in Virginia, because I called them and asked if they wanted to see me make an ass out of myself on tv and of course they said yes and could they have a front row seat. So they hunkered on down for the duration on several computers. And it was quite the duration. Nary a cyber tomato hit me. Imagine that! Rotten pitchers, that audience of about…oh….I’d say about 10 whole people. Actually, the stats say there were 326 drive bys views.

So what did I make? Cinnamon rolls. Homemade pasta with roasted peppers and herbed goat’s cheese. I’m completely pooped. Totally. Multitasking has been taken to a new level. It was hilarious trying to remember what I was doing while trying to read the questions and comments written the the chatbox. But it wasn’t too bad. At least I didn’t pulverize the English language like Dub-Yah does…did? Does he still do that? Whatever.

A hot bubble bath smelling somewhere between a fig and a grapefruit, a novel, candles (to see my book because the light’s not great) and more wine were seriously in order after all was said and done. Ahh….such is the life of a web tv drone star.

So thanks, ustream.tv gurus. I had a blast meeting new people as well. I’ll have to be a bit more organized if I do this again, but I don’t know how. Plus, I had to carry my beloved Mac down to the kitchen, so that was an annoyance to others in the house, even thought they didn’t actually complain. I would have. And my niece said I should have some kind of sign that states what I was cooking so each time someone new entered the chatroom I didn’t have to repeat what I already said.

Perhaps a sign that hangs around my neck? A chalkboard. Park someone with a hook off camera for dragging me off screen when things get truly pathetic, lapsing into, “A guy walks into a bar with a monkey…” while I’m whipping egg whites. Yes, like that.

I’ll let you know when I do it again. Heck, I’ll even give you advance warning so you can make sure you’re not anywhere near a computer. Bwhahahahaha!

Sincerely,

Me

p.s. One kind viewer/chatter said that there is also something called stickcam which allows the viewers to be heard and seen as well. I’m going to check that out. And Yahoo? Well…feh.

Kelly Cooks

Well, after a ridiculous morning trying to set up an instant message conference with some baking buddies and completely failing (yahoo and apple most likely have a sheriff out looking for me considering the number of reports I filed for the errors and unexpected quits and failures to launch downloaded software…) I’m now broadcasting.

So if you’re completely bored today, or are not a football fan, or if your team is losing and you’re in complete despair.

Drop on by.

I’m making something in the kitchen. But don’t expect me to explain anything. That would be too much like walking and chewing gum at the same time…

And give me some feedback about this ustream.tv business. How does it work and all. Yanno?

What day in NaBloPoMo are we?

Kelly Cook

Go ahead. Click it and see…

Letters do get answered, and my gratitude runneth over…

You have to appreciate those who seem to have a grasp of where they fit into this whole NaBloPoMo thing. Me? I’m just a lemming. And today, I’m a late one. TOTALLY. It’s 11:09 am and I was supposed to be at the grocery store already, and cooking. I’m making tons of stuff this weekend, and none of it is in preparation for Thanksgiving. So, these posts are doomed to impending sketchiness. I know. When pigs fly.

November 16, 2007

Dear My Most Esteemed Colleagues in Bloggsville,

Today I find myself humbled by so many recent gestures of kindness, I have to take time to state my appreciation here, blowing kisses all the while, and blushing on cue. But before I get started, please know that I am so completely FREAKING late getting my day started, I’m going to be TOTALLY screwed if I don’t slam my thanks out with far fewer words than I normally use. For those of you who just wiped your brows, I saw you and I know where you live.

So, first up: If you missed my letter a couple of days ago to Desiree Bartlett, snooze you lose. BECAUSE SHE COMMENTED ON MY POST AND SHE IS SERIOUSLY COOL FOR DOING THAT! She made my day, and I’m already rallying the troops for a fan club so I can be the president. Line forms to the left for those of you who want to get your sedentary butts kicked by a lovely and professional stealth butt kicker. Redeem yourself now, and read the post. Thanks, Desiree. I heart you!

Smile Award Second: Dah-link Olga, The Traveling Bra has bestowed upon me the “You Make Me Smile” award which means quite a bit. I know how it feels when I’m reading someone’s blog, and I realize I’m grinning ear to ear. It makes my day, and continues to leave me marveling over the unique community that is Bloggsville. *sigh* Thanks, Olga. When are you coming to visit me? I will pay this forward. But not today. I PROMISE!

And while I’m on the subject of awards, Dawn, blogger extraordinaire, of Twisted Sister has dubbed me true to myself and that I AM my blog, and therefore deserving of “Be the Blog” recognition. This deserves an entire post, too, because I have much to say (as you all know) about this passion for blogging I’ve developed. So thank you, Dawn. Letter coming… Be.The.Blog Award

Third: Marie of A Year at Oak Cottage, a fellow Daring Baker, hosted a cooking event in which I won a prize for my SoCal Sarnie. She was gracious enough to actually send me a lovely present for my success, which was so nice! She has the most amazing job in a beautiful place. I am currently living vicariously through her and loving every single minute of it. Thank you so much, Marie, for the inspiration you provide me. Oh, that I could spend a year in England. IMG_4725.JPG

Fourth: I have many friends who are still actively involved in the position I left a year ago. I made lunch for one friend and took it to share with her at her office the other day. Not only did we get to gossip wildly about what has changed since I left visit and plan a dinner party for tomorrow night at her knock down gorgeous home, she gave me a belated birthday present which is quite lovely. Does she know that she could have skipped the cologne and just given me the cute bag and box? I’m a complete and total sucker for simple, elegant design in creme and black. So chic…But the cologne is simply divine. I’ll be the best smelling jammy hound around. IMG_4721.JPG

And not least: My VBF gave me a gift certificate to my favorite nursery perched in a habanero plant (whose peppers I’ve now used in one luscious marinated steak recipe and have dried the rest for later use), and I finally went shopping. Nothing like celebrating my birthday a couple of months later, right? So VBF, I now have a lovely grapevine wreath for my front door that I wrapped with holiday ribbon, IMG_4722.JPG some new bedding plants (including a chocolate smelling plant!), a new ceramic pot for my kitchen, now graced with a kalanchoe, IMG_4724.JPG a nice bag of potting moss for my orchids (two are blooming WOOT!), and 8 paper white bulbs to force. IMG_4726.JPG

I had so much fun choosing my gifts, and thank you very much. It was misting outside that day, making the experience so pleasant.

I do hope you know how special you all are. My time with you is well spent, and always enjoyable. Thank you so much for what you bring to my life.

Fondly,

Me

p.s. So now it’s like 12:04 and I am way late on my list of To Do’s for the day. Jeez. But stay tuned, because I’m going to try and broadcast a cooking thing on ustream.tv on Sunday. I’ll let you know tomorrow if I get it up and running…

Dear Peter Walsh, Organizational Guru…

I’m making progress here, although today, if it wasn’t for NaBloPoMo, I’d probably take the blogging day off. I’m in high gear on this house organizing frenzy, liking it, and noticing some interesting things about what exactly is organized and what isn’t in this house…and why. Like, the answer is Earth shattering, and everyone’s been waiting for it. For world peace. And stuff.

November 15, 2007

Dear Peter Walsh,

The other day, I actually sat down to watch Oprah. That may not seem to be anything special, but I’ve been a sort of lazy good for nothing but blogging domestic engineer for about a year now, and spend no time watching daytime television. I don’t even think about it. You’re wondering what in hell all this has to do with the price of tea in China, right? So anyway, I actually remembered Oprah, clicked on the television, and there was Celine Dion. I’m a closet Celine aficionado — well, not quite an expert, but still. So I grinned, turned up the volume and sang the entire hour. I just love “I Drove All Night,” don’t you? The Roy Orbison version the best, I mean, he’s incredible, but Celine is great, too. Did you see her show in Vegas? It was completely amazing. I know, I know. You’re thinking I’m less than balanced and I can see that wild look in your eye that lets me know you’re planning your escape route. But stay with me here.

So there was a commercial during the show that advertised another show coming later in the week. I think it’s airing today. It was about hoarders. I’ve been wondering about the idea of hoarding, and have been thinking of it while I’ve been going through my house. Sorry it takes me so long to get to what I’m talking about. My mind is full of clutter. Things go in and never come out, all up there waiting to be used. It’s a genetic problem. You just never know when someone may need to know what the botanical name for a Bird of Paradise is at the San Diego Zoo when you’re really there to see lions and tigers and bears. Fortunately, the problem isn’t so horrendous that I never get to my point, though, so that’s some relief. Isn’t it?

But good news! I’m only in the mild to minimal category on the Hoarding Severity Scale. And according to my Clutter Assessment Results, I am a clutter victim, who can blame a “busy life” (um…car pool four times a week and two blogs? No.), “disposable income” (he’s kidding, right? What? You didn’t know money grows on a tree on our patio? Feh.), “and a steady influx of purchases” (well, okay, but they’re mostly food related, so they don’t stay around long…), and “junk mail” (erm, no one’s going to complain if the post office outlaws that crap. Maybe they could get on that?) Like I was saying…

Here’s my progress to date. I have a handle on:

  • where all the bills go now (cool folders with LABELS *Woo Hoo!*) Okay so the folders aren’t cool; the labels are. And I will be getting cool folders. Some day after I get organized.
  • the office shelves are great, the closet isn’t too bad, and the stacks are down to a low roar. Of course every time I get my desk organized, someone leaves a tank on it. Sheesh.

It’s hard to get good help any more, yanno?

    • magazines are now sorted, organized by date, and either recycled or marked and stored (but I’m really lying on this one, because going through the saved issues will take time…and I do have time)

  • the cheese drawer in the fridge (I’m still working on the science experiment that is our veggie bin, but at least it’s not mushy any more)
  • the RT’s bedroom which is much, much cleaner and organized (almost minty fresh and clean) I said almost, okay?

IMG_0936.JPG IMG_4589.JPG

Before and After. Not bad, huh? Now to get rid of the bunk bed. Okay, where was I?

  • the laundry room upper cabinets (so I still have to dig into that stoopid lower cabinet that all those plastic grocery bags are stuffed in but it’s scary in there. Really.)

But I should get credit for some things never, ever being disorganized.

IMG_4707.JPG

They’re always perfect. Except when the MoH empties the dishwasher and just puts the wooden spoons on top of the steel utensils, or the measuring cups in this drawer instead of the one next to it. And the wire whips? You have to put them in a particular way. Because.

The rack below it is also organized by color: greens, reds, blues. So probably a little touch of OCD to add to the mild hoarding tendencies and clutter victim state.

You could come and help me out since Martha hasn’t accepted my offer yet. You know, maybe hook me up with a nice set of shelves for this lame coat closet that builders still insist on including around here, which is truly ridiculous considering we never have to wear coats. Ever. Shelves would be great. Could you get right on that, please? I need the space for my kitchen overflow.

And these built in cabinets? What are they for other than hiding things? My cats love to sleep in them, but that’s not the best idea considering everything in the cabinet gets hair all over it and then has to be washed. What would you use them for? Suggestions when you have time, please?

Well, after you’ve helped that lady who has 75 tons of trash in her house. Which is just plain weird.

Thanks for your time today. Maybe we can do lunch and discuss the possibilities. Yes?

Have your people call my people.

Sincerely,

Me.

p.s. Do you know anyone who does windows?

Dear Desiree…

Tally-Ho NaBloMoPo on Day 14. So move it. Can you do it? Make it burn…on three…ready? Let’s go. Whatever. But this one will be short, because I have to do a post on my food blog today, too. I was nearly done with a post two days ago, was loading the last photo, and then…Yes. That stoopid message that says something about being reset so the connection was lost came up after I realized things were getting a bit slow and I suspected the inevitable was about to happen. When’s the last time you actually saw mad? You know. Like, really mad.

November 14, 2007

Dear Ms. Bartlett:

I just thought I’d take a moment today to let you know you kicked my butt the other day. Seriously. I should have known better, and that’s what I get for not taking the time to do a bit of research; i.e., look before you leap. I should have channel-surfed a bit. But you looked so harmless. So sweet. It was that smile.

I’m sure you’re far too busy for someone like me, but I’ve been trying to find ways to make sure I get regular exercise. I don’t always look forward to it, but do a fairly good job of getting in some exercise at least four days a week. But I’ve been struggling with the time change since I have a tendency to go out late in the afternoon or early evening to walk — hopefully right before the MoH gets home. One day it was completely dark by the time I’d finished, and although I sort of enjoy that, occasionally, the brush by the side of the road engages my overactive imagination and my constructive pessimistic proclivities begin to map out my defense on the chance the boogey man is hiding in the bushes and is getting ready to jump out to get me. Little does he know that I’m ready to grab the sides of his face in my palms and dig my thumbs into his eyeball sockets, knee him in the nards, and if necessary, ram his nose up into his sinus cavity with the base of my palm. Of course, a lifetime of repressed rage would most likely also be unleashed and there wouldn’t be much left of him.

Yes. Well, um, so I had waited too long to walk and it was already dark, so I decided to take a look at the free On Demand channels on cable. I thought I’d seen something about Exercise on Demand and thought I’d give it a shot. Mind you, it was some time ago (like years) that I’d see this feature of our monthly service to Time Warner, but that’s beside the point.

You would have been proud. I had appropriate exercise clothes on, and my tennies. Hell, even my weights were close by. I have to be honest though — I was a bit worried about my left arm since it’s been so screwed up with tendonitis. But I wasn’t going to use that as an excuse. I was going to suck it up.

Suck dough balls was more like it.

Sheeeeee-it. You smiled the entire time you were kicking my butt. In fact you kept telling me to smile and each time you did, I wasn’t. What’s up with the whole smiling while your tongue’s flapping around your chin? Have you ever tried to do that? But since I’m a team player, I tried, and I did learn that if I smile with my teeth, at least I can get air into my oxygen deprived lungs.

And I did appreciate that you kept telling me that I could take a break any time I wanted. I did notice that you smiled when you said this, like it was some kind of a dare. I’ve got you all figured out, marching in place there and not losing count while you’re smiling and telling me to take it easy. And not sweating. Not a single shiny place on your body.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to hang on to a weight when sweat’s dripping down your arms? Huh? And your your spine? Well, suffice it to say it was a veritable river headed down to my drawers. At least the RT didn’t make any comments when he walked by wondering about this latest project his mother had gotten involved in. And he didn’t laugh when I grunted, either, and I was listening.

I know you know that I knew I’d be doomed after the warm up and before the weights because I was already toast. That you knew that I’d know those repetitions would make my muscles feel like they’d been flopped into a frying pan set on sizzle. You totally knew. And you smiled the entire time. But you also knew I’d feel like *thank gawd I’m done* successful and proud after you ran me through the wringer the routine. I know you’d know that I knew I’d know you knew. Yanno?

So all in all, the beginner’s (ohmygawdwhatmustheregularworkoutbelike?) workout was a freakin’ killer great and because it was an interminable, exhausting only 30 minutes, I switched to a cardio salsa dancing workout that finished the job you started immediately afterward. I’ll have to thank her another time since I couldn’t see the writing on the screen with my face on the floor didn’t catch her name.

But hey! It was so incredibly tortuous and I was so sore the next day fun, that I was thoroughly encouraged to go on my walk again, making sure I got it in before the sun went down — in the drizzling rain.

So thanks, Desiree! The next time I need my butt royally kicked an amazing workout, I know how far and fast to run in the opposite direction you da man.

Devotedly,

Me

p.s. Might you be related to Rachael Ray? Just asking. It must be the smile.

 

Actually, the workout was excellent, and I was surprised that I felt as if I’d gotten more done than twice the time on a vigorous walk. I enjoy getting outside, keeping an eye on my odd neighbors in Paradise breathing, and watching the sunset, but this is something I need to do a couple of times a week. The on demand channels are an included service, and I can exercise whenever I want, which is, well, not a whole lot different that most everything else I do. So…okay. Whatever.