After weeks of rain and dreary grey clouds, look up there: redorangeyellowgreenblue stripes shine bright against a steel-blue sky. A sign of hope. A promise from God. A reprieve.
The following is the first 500 words of my unfinished NaNoWriMo 2010 novel. Comments and critiques welcome. Enjoy!
"Of course you know, the place is haunted," the real estate agent said with a big, dorky grin. The tag pinned to his bright blue blazer read George Finkle. A funny sounding name for a funny looking guy: short, bald, with what my dad used to call a “beer belly”.
My mother sighed, but smiled politely at his attempt at humour. "I'm sure it is."
George Finkle chuckled and reached out to muss my hair. I hate when people do that, like I'm four years old instead of almost fourteen.
"Of course, since the cemetery has been abandoned, you won't actually be responsible for the upkeep of the grounds or anything," he continued.
"Of course," my mother replied as she peered into the small living room just off the narrow hallway where we stood. Jojo nudged past us and started sniffing everything: the fireplace, the ratty rug on the floor, the legs of the old wingback chair; anything she could get her nose on. Like she was a Bloodhound instead of a purebred German Shepherd Dog, and a retired police dog at that!
"And, this is the kitchen." George Finkle lead us off to the left into the small, old kitchen. It looked like something you'd see in a museum. Except dirtier. Peeling floral wallpaper, grimy cupboard doors, dirty green stove, chipped countertops and grungy, spotty floor.
"Oh, gross!" My hand flew to my mouth. I hadn't meant to say that out loud.
"Chris!" My mom said. She gave me a look like, "Yeah, I know it's nasty, but we can still be polite!"
"Sorry," I said.
"Oh, um, yeah, well, the house has been unoccupied for some time now," George said, blushing. "The original owner, the fella who caretaker for the cemetery for over 45 years, died and well ..."
"Did he die in here?" I asked. I didn't really want to know, but I couldn't help myself.
The realtor coughed and cleared his throat before answering. "Uh, well, yeah, as a matter of fact, he did. Right upstairs. In the first bedroom on the left."
"Man, I would NOT want to sleep in that room," I exclaimed.
My mom looked at me and smiled. "I wouldn't expect you to, son," she said. "I'll take that room."
"You mean, you're really going to buy this house?" I asked. Okay, I shouted, a little, and my voice might've gotten a bit squeaky at the end.
"Oh, there's nothing to be afraid of," George said, reaching to mess up my hair again. I ducked at the last minute. "Uh, I was just joking about the place being haunted. Of course. Everyone knows there's no such thing as ghosts."
I wanted to say, oh, really? but luckily kept my mouth shut this time. How does he know? Has he ever seen a ghost? Because I have. Lots of them. Jojo, too. We both know ghosts are real, and places, especially places like this, where someone has died, can be haunted.
Mom and I started 2011 with a delicious clean dinner from the newest Clean Eating magazine: Split Pea Soup with Smoked Salmon. This was probably one of the easiest and fastest meals I've made in a long time! I loved all the beautiful colours of this soup - the spring green of the celery and split peas, the bright orange of the carrot, and the pale pink of the smoked salmon - and the smell of the lemon and dill. Best of all, it tasted as good as it looked! And yes, I was very careful with my new camera when I took this picture:
It was so cold Friday morning the rainwater in our mosaic birdbath was frozen. I thought it might be just a thin sheet of ice on top of the water, so I tapped it with my finger. It didn't move. It was hard and completely frozen all the way to the bottom! I know that's not so unusual in other parts of the country, but here on the Central Coast, we don't usually get that cold!
The above is one of the last photos from my old elphie camera.
Well, I finally did it: I bought a new camera! Sure, my old camera still takes great pictures (the last shots will be featured the coming weeks), including the one above, but with the view screen no longer working and the zoom working only when it felt like it, it was frustrating and not as much fun to take pictures. So, I ran over to Best Buy today and after checking out a couple different cameras, decided on the one above: the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital ELPH. It's tiny - about the same width and height as my old Elphie, but at least half as wide. I'm going to have to be SO careful not to lose it! Or, you know, drop it in the soup!
Here's the first shot from the new camera:
So far I'm very happy with my purchase, but if this camera annoys me in any way, shape or form within the next 14 days, I can return it! Cool!
Today I discovered this interesting writing project, which is occuring the month of January 2011, during a visit to Gemma's website (where I was admiring her lovely photos!). I thought it sounded not only like a fun writing project, but helpful as well. As stated on the Small Stones website:
A small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention.
Writing details, descriptions has always been difficult for me, so hopefully this little writing exercise will help me see details better and therefore be better able to describe them. Please click on the badge above to join in!
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week I'm reading Mattimeo by Brian Jacques. This is the second book in the Redwall series and so far it's just as charming and delightful as the first one. My teaser comes from page186: "Mattimeo, what is it?" she asked. "You've changed since we were recaptured."
This delicious low fat version of one of my favourite meals is from the November/December 2010 issue of Clean Eating magazine. I remember as a child I would get to have a steamy chicken pot pie fresh from the oven as a special treat. It wasn't homemade like this one, but a frozen dinner - probably Banquet brand - that came in its own little tin and had creamy chicken and veggies inside surrounded by a flakey crust outside. Despite seeing the steam pouring out of it when I broke the crust with my fork, I was unable to wait for it to cool down, and more often than not, burned my tongue on that first bite. Oh, that takes me back!
The Clean Eating version uses turkey instead of chicken (I'm sure you could use chicken if you wanted, but it was one of those "What to do with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey" recipes) and has a brown rice and parmesean cheese "crust". It was pretty easy to make though there was a lot of prep work with all the peeling and chopping of carrots and turnips and onions, and cutting the turkey breast into bite-sized pieces, and my stove/oven just takes longer to cook foods. Still, the final product not only looks wonderful but tastes amazing as well!