Nanowrimo

I have finished my first try at Nanowrimo.

I do NOT have a coherent novel at the end. I have pieces and sections and chapters and questions. I have to look up a bunch of microbiology and also how the goblets cells in the stomach work, because I don’t remember and anyhow, I am sure it has changed since I was in medical school.

BUT I DO have 50,000 words.

I got stuck twice at the beginning and had two days where I didn’t write anything except this blog. And then another two. I kept dreaming about an ogre who wanted to be in the novel. Well, ok. I finally decided that the goal was to write the 50, 000 words, not stick to an outline. I added the ogre and have not missed a day since. To finish 50,000 words in 30 days, it breaks down to 1667 per day. If you miss four days it is more. I had two days where I wrote over 5100 words. That helped a lot.

Now I think I will rest for a day or two and then start looking it over. Write a list of questions, work on some needed research, think about it. That ogre is interesting. Unexpected.

I think it was fun! At least, some of it was. I got stuck writing about something based on when I was ill, so that was difficult. It brought up the fear and the deep loneliness of that time. I learned to skip to something else when I get overwhelmed.

Anyhow, HOORAY!

Living together

Lichen are a lifeform formed from algae and fungi, which is amazing. Apparently they join forces when they can’t survive on their own and form a different creature. And it’s not just one kind of algae or one kind of fungi, but lots of them! I am reading Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures, by Merlin Sheldrake. It’s really quite amazing. I love science, it opens up the world!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: lichen.

Feed the birds

I fill the bird feeder, a day late, because I had to go buy more birdseed. I also buy suet and fill that feeder. I walk both cats, harness and leash, one at a time. I put both of them in the outdoor screened animal container and they crouch, riveted watching the birdfeeder. I put four peanuts along the top of the fence.

I hold a fifth peanut in my hand over my head and wait. It starts snowing, just a little.

The flock of goldfinches, in their winter more subtle coloring, shows up. I count nine. The feeder can hold 6 at a time. They ignore my hand. A stellar jay comes by, but stays high in the tree. Chickadees pop in between the goldfinches. They are rounder and a little bigger and talk to me. No one comes to my hand. Juncos come to the ground beneath the feeder. The cats would REALLY like to catch them.

And then a bird does come. A hummingbird comes to my hand and hovers right by it! It does not land. It doesn’t like the peanut. It then goes and buzzes the glass, where I used to have a hummingbird feeder up, until the ants find it.

I laugh and get the other hummingbird feeder. I make food and wait for it to cool. I fill both feeders. The Anna’s hummingbird finds it within 15 minutes and eats a lot. The other feeder is on a different window, right outside my desk window. It is soon occupied by a second hummingbird.

I hope to have more photographs soon.

I took this out my desk window yesterday.

There is avian influenza around. I have two feeders and wash one very thoroughly in hot water and soap each time. I change the feeder out every time, to try to reduce the chance of the feeder passing on infection. And wash my hands very well too.

Though it’s rather more than tuppence a bag!

Sterling too

I grow up with sterling.

My mother has a set of sterling. It is important to her. It is an emblem, a badge. She does not have as extensive a set as her mother.

My sister and I know the silver is special because of our mother. We like the tiny spoons best. They are silver with gold on the bowl.

“Can we use the special spoons?” we ask. For ice cream.

“Yes,” says my mother, smiling.

We run to get them, the small spoons, heavy for their size. Silver is heavier than stainless steel. The spoon also gets colder than stainless steel and tastes different. We eat our ice cream with our special spoons very happily.

We know that the silver is sterling. I don’t know what that means for a while. It means it is not plate. Plate? But these are spoons.

My mother shows us the stamp on the back of each spoon. “See? It says sterling. That means it is silver all the way through. Plate has silver over another metal.” She shows us the back of another spoon. The bowl has a worn spot. “The silver has worn away. And it does not say sterling.” We both study the two spoons and weigh them in our hands. The plate one is lighter. My mother is scornful of silver plate.

My mother is an artist and goes to museums. She comes back from one laughing. “They have an exhibit about homes and decoration. There is a room with tv trays and very few books and wall to wall carpet and a large color television. I thought it was so dull and ugly. Then I went to the next room. Oriental carpet and books and a guitar and no television and art!” She laughs. “They have me nailed. I am such a snob and it looked just like our house!”

We do have a tv but it is the smallest black and white that you can get. And my father knocked it over one night. Now the picture is cup shaped. The top of heads are wide and swollen. Neither of my parents care enough to get it fixed or replace it. They spend their money on art supplies and books and music. Friends visit. “What is wrong with your tv?” I look at it in surprise. I am so used to the deformed picture, I stopped noticing long ago.

Once we are at my mother’s mother’s house. My mother tells another story. “I found mother sweeping to get ready for guests. She swept the dirt under the edge of the rug! I said, “MOTHER! What are you DOING!” Mother just looked at me and said, “It’s a poor mistress who doesn’t know the maid’s tricks.” My mother’s mother did grow up with servants. But not here. She was born in Turkey because her father was a minister, running an orphanage and school. My grandmother lived there until she was sixteen and the family was exiled from Turkey at the start of World War I.

I give my mother’s sterling to my niece, after my sister dies. My children are not very interested in sterling. That is ok with me. Things change and values change.

I still have some special spoons, and think of my mother and father and sister when I eat ice cream.

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For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: sterling.

Sterling

Mary and Nissa are at the fundraiser. Only $100 each!

“I am the man for the job,” says Joe. He is elegant in a suit and tie and crisp white shirt. “I don’t lie. I don’t break laws. I don’t even speed! I am a man of sterling character!”

Mary and Nissa enjoy the fundraiser very much. Nissa is driving Mary home afterwards.

“He’s so wonderful! And that meal! Did you see all the silver? He is the man for the job!”

Nissa turns the car into Mary’s driveway. She turns the car off and looks at Mary.

“What?” says Mary.

Nissa pulls a spoon out of her pocket.

“You stole a silver spoon?” says Mary, appalled.

Nissa breaks it in half. It splinters.

“Wood. With silver paint. Don’t be fooled, Mary.” Nissa hands Mary the two wooden halves and Mary stares at them. Nissa gets out to help Mary in to the house.

After she is situated, walker within reach, Mary says, “I may rethink that donation I was going to make. Thank you for coming with me, Nissa.”

Nissa smiles. “You are welcome. Thank you for taking me.”

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The woman in the picture is new to my home. She has a tag that reads “Chubby Purple Mama”. She was made by an artist in town, Karen Renee Page, who died in September. Many dolls were given for a fundraiser. This doll has crystals and a piece of wood in her belly. Without them she is not balanced. I added one of the chalcedony nodules that I find here on the beach.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: sterling.