Thursday, December 9, 2010

49 Days...

It's been 49 days since I've touched my story.

I am a horrible, wretched, lowly excuse for a writer.

My computer still barely chugs away. And my car is making extremely untrustworthy sounds. I feel hindered and trapped sometimes.

And apparently the "Enter" key on my keyboard works only when it chooses too (and thus this post is taking its time to be written).

My story will not go away. It sits there, in the back of my mind tinkering around with all the half-developed ideas I left it with. Like some obnoxious song that gets stuck in your head... And you can only remember the chorus and the first two lines of the second verse. Beautiful. Overplayed. Unfinished.

I'm going to write something now. Even if it's just 10 words. The End.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HELP (and Dorito-Bookish-Gilmore-stuff)

Hello Radiant Dust. I've been gone for way too long.

And I need some savvy brainwaves from the rest of the world.

1. My computer, dear sweet GlorfinDell, is croaking it's last few croaks (thus the lack of blog updates). I need a new desktop PC. I would, of course, prefer a little Macbook, but apparently PCs are better for gaming and the hubs would like a gaming computer. It would be silly to get TWO new computers. Plus I'll inherit his middle-aged Glamdring (hello there MacBook Pro) in January or February. But for the time being and for work purposes I need a computer sooner than January or February! So.... 

Any suggestions on what type of desktop PC to get would be very and greatly appreciated! (And then I can find another "g" name from LOTR to name my new little dear...)

2. I am cooking Thanksgiving brunch next week for about 7 people, 2 of which are devout vegetarians. Throw me some recipes folks. And then I'll post what I actually concoct next week!

Meanwhile, in other Lark-related news...

  • My friends just made a commercial for this year's Dorito's & Pepsi Max Crash the Superbowl competition. I played a bit part. Check it out.
  • I have been unfaithful to my novel and not completed nearly as much as I intended to this month. But... having no computer to write on makes it extremely difficult. (Thanks Glamdring for allowing this current blog update.)
  • I just finished Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. If she can write a first novel that good (and it was good!), then so can I.
  • The hubs and I are working our way through all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. This is a lifetime goal, folks.

More posts will follow... I pinky-swear.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Terror of Creativity...

I'm psyching myself out...

A day ago I was proclaiming my ingenious idea to complete the first draft of my novel during the month of November... You know... "Novel November"... It has kind of a ring to it... (plus there ARE crazies who do complete an entire novel during National Novel Writing Month)

But I'm tentative. I'm fearful. Can I actually write a full length novel? I have the outline. I know all the characters. I even have 2 chapters written... But write an entire novel? ME?

I've recently been inspired by a bunch of crazy go-getters who have been blogging about achieving their dreams (check out SpireSpire). One has the goal of writing and publishing a bestseller within a year's time-frame. It seriously got me thinking - why don't I go after my goals with the same amount of gusto?

I know this - I don't want to be on my deathbed and not have attempted to write a full-length book.

I don't want to think "What if....?"

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Met Eliza Doolittle and I Want a Goat For Christmas...


Yesterday I went through the express checkout lane at Target. I had 2 cans of tomato basil soup (a staple), 1 can of condensed cream of celery soup (for boca pot pie - my husband drools over it... only change is that I make my own crust), cinnamon raisin granola, and rice milk. I resisted the urge to buy couscous and a box of white tea... Beggers must be choosers.

So I'm in the checkout lane and the checkout lady is very short... (which is really irrelevant to my story, except for the fact that it makes me imagine that her uncle was a dwarf and that makes me squeal).

And the little checkout lady says "'Ello, madame" in what was unmistakably a subtle cockney accent (which, apparently, can be taught - this guy is awesome).

I enjoyed my little moment while she bagged my food, took my cash, and gave me my change. And then she said "'Ave a nice day, madame!" And I took my groceries and left, thinking "WHO ARE YOU?!?!? WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!?!!?". So. Cool.

In keeping with my appreciation of different cultures (really... was she from England, or just making up an accent to make her Target-day job more exciting? She's my hero), I am enamored with goat-giving this Christmas...

A goat for Christmas? Yes.

Samaritan's Purse has an online Christmas gift catalog where you can shop for gifts. You can buy a fishing boat, fruit trees, water filter, mosquito net, honey bees, goats, and much more!

And you're probably thinking "Huh... I'm not sure I really want a mosquito net for Christmas..." Yeah, me neither. But for someone in a third-world country that mosquito net can be life-saving (mosquito bites spread malaria which kills over a million people each year). So this year, when you're doing your Christmas shopping, PLEASE consider the following:

  • Does your Aunt Mildred REALLY need that $35 cashmere scarf? (Hint: NO)
  • Does $35 feed a family in a third-world country for a month? (Hint: YES)

I really don't want want a goat in my nice little suburban house (or my nice little suburban back-yard). But I do want one that can provide milk for a starving family in Uganda.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Don't Let Your Crackers Go Naked!

Dip Recipes, Both Tried and  New...

I'm glad my readers put up with my eclectic taste in blog posts! (Is this a recipe blog? A writing blog? A journal blog?)

Because I was asked, here are two recipes that make my mouth water. One that I've made many times and and one that is brand new.

The Spinach / Artichoke Dip That Everyone Loves 
(Adapted from Hot Recipes in Cool Dishes)

Preheat Oven to 400

Mix together the following (I always use my KitchenAide, but a bowl with a hand mixer works just fine, too. And this photo is from the cookbook - lame, I know.)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (approx. 1 cup) Note: If you're out of artichoke you can make this dip with just spinach - just add extra spinach to the recipe.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I sometimes do pre-grated Parmesan, but grating fresh block cheese tastes best. I also sometimes throw in a handful of shredded mozzarella to make the dip gooier)
  • 1 cup sour cream, regular or reduced fat
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach (the original recipe calls for fresh, but I usually use frozen and it works great! Keep a bag of frozen chopped spinach on hand and then just throw in 1 1/2 cups frozen.)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic  (feel free to add extra garlic if you love garlic... My husband always asks for more...)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until dip is bubbling and top is lightly brown.
(Note: This dip tastes just as good IF NOT BETTER reheated the next day!!!)

Newly Invented Hummus Dip
(Invented as of today... You'll need a blender for this one.)
Add the following to a blender or food processor:
  • 1 can garbonzo beans / chickpeas (Note #1:  Keep the broth from the can, you'll need it later. Note #2: It took me FOREVER to realize that garbonzo beans and chickpeas were the same thing... Brilliant,  huh?)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini / sesame seed paste (Okay, confession:  I didn't have that. So I ground up 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.... Worked just fine!)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (depending on how much you love garlic)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pinch paprika (what's a pinch? Hmm... I just dashed some in...)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
Blend together. Add extra broth from the canned chickpeas to thin out the mixture if it gets too thick. This tastes AWESOME with veggies like baby carrots or broccoli. (If you hate veggies and are looking for something healthier than veggie dip then you gotta try this!).

 What's the best outfit your crackers ever wore? Let me know! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cheapskate & Beans

One of the tragedies of my adult life: Money does not grow on trees.

(Side-bar and TRUE story: I was an evil big sister. When I was about 8 I convinced my 4 year old brother that his Halloween candy corn would grow into a candy corn tree if he planted it. So he did. And I dug it up later...)


Anyways. So right now Mint (handy little budgeting website! check it) hates me and continuously sends me texts to inform me of what I already know - I have no money. It's nothing new and I'm combatting it as best I can (need a content writer or English tutor? I'm your gal!), but nevertheless it is disheartening. I'm becoming a bit of a cheapskate (except for my fantasies about puppies) and doing whatever it takes to stay debt-free. Thankfully, my husband views it all as a game  ("Level One of the Frugality Force 2010!!!"). Thankfully, my husband also doesn't feel the need for cable TV, enjoys walking instead of driving, and likes the taste of beans.

Poor beans, they get a bad rap. But they are my new best friend! Here's why:
  • They are one of the cheapest food sources.
  • They are one of the healthiest food sources - high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins; low in fat and sugar. Go ahead, compare beans and red meat. Amazing!
  • Beans need not make you smell. Use the following method when cooking beans:  
    • Cover in a pot with cool water
    • Bring to a boil for 3 minutes
    • Remove from heat and let soak for 6-8 hours
This method reduces the amount of gas in beans. I tried it! It worked!

So, PLEASE let me know if you have any fabulous bean recipes. Or if you have one that's horrendous (that way I know not to try it!). We just finished a pot of Trader Joe's 17 Bean & Barley Soup. It was deeeeelish!

Comment below to let me know your money and/or bean advice! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Raw, Puppy, Future Tech

(Please note the commas in the title, otherwise it sounds incredibly weird...)

This blog is a bit eclectic and has three main points.

The hubs and I are slowly shifting our food intake towards more of a raw food diet. We are trying to eat at least one meal a day that is made up of ONLY raw fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains. No animal products and no cooked food. (Why uncooked? Cooking food destroys many of the natural healthy enzymes and vitamins). Call us crazies, but we both agree - our bodies FEEL SO GOOD after downing a huge spinach-avocado salad with baby carrots and hummus on the side. We both are die-hard dairy fans and looove warm cooked food.... But the difference we feel is amazing. Has anyone else out there done a raw-food diet?

I have puppy-fever. A week doesn't go by that I don't loudly vocalize my pooch-love. My husband and I went to Petland today and fell in love. We would totally get a dog tonight, but we are a little strapped for cash. AND we have many specific desires for our dog. It must be small (5-10 lbs); sweet tempered and good with humans, other animals, and kids; non-shedding and hypoallergenic. Any suggestions?!?!?

I'm writing a story. My question for all of you is: What do you think technology will look like in the next 10, 20, 50 years??? Help me imagine! :)

Yikes...... Kiiiiind of creepy....

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Would You Like a Cup O' Tea?

Maybe you're not a tea drinker.... Yet! Either way you totally need to check out Octavia Tea. It's amazing. A little on the pricey side, but it's top quality and the flavors are fabulous. (Don't names like "Raspberry Champagne", "Jasmine Citrus", "Vanilla Coconut", and "Spiced Apple Pie" just make your mouth water?)

I'm going to order some for myself and maybe for some Christmas presents. MMM yummy. :)

What flavors or tea brands are YOUR favorites? I want to know.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Charlie Eldermun

Truth be told, the top item on my do-before-death list is to write a full length novel and actually attempt to publish it. This will probably take some time and I will regularly have to fight off the demons of self-doubt, incompetence, sloth, and general lack of time.

However, I WILL NOT DIE before seriously pursuing my goal (shhh, don't tell Death). I will do my part and I will write.

My dear husband has been doing his part by encouraging me endlessly and giving me random writing assignments. The following is my answer to a writing challenge he gave me: Write a short story, beginning, middle, and end, that is only two pages long. I wrote it in about an hour, so it's far from perfect. But I had fun doing it. :)

Enjoy. And let me know what you think!


 © S.E. Fowler; August 17, 2010

Charlie Eldermun woke up to the sound of his mother’s voice.

”Good morning, Charlie!” She had a sweet and melodic voice. Like caramel covered apples.

”Mom, I don’t feel like going to school today. I think I’d rather talk to Benny about the plans and we really don’t have time for school today” said Charlie as he pushed himself up into a sitting position and scooted to the edge of his white metal bed.

“That’s just fine, Charlie. You don’t have to go to school today. Benny’s already in the sitting room. Why don’t you have some breakfast and you can go over the plans with him then?”

Blue eyes smiled down at Charlie and gentle hands helped to lift him off of the bed.

“Do we have pancakes today?” asked Charlie. He yawned and slowly scratched the back of his head.

“Yes, we have pancakes. Today’s Wednesday! We always have pancakes on Wednesday.” cooed the caramel-apple voice.

After breakfast Charlie’s mother helped him into his automatic go-kart and he set off for the sitting room.

Charlie liked to ride his automatic go-kart around the house. It was a very big house and it was much more fun to ride in an automatic go-kart than to walk everywhere. Besides, there were so many people that came to Charlie’s house that he quite preferred being able to zoom away in his go-kart if he didn’t feel like talking to them. Charlie’s father was always having consultants over and Charlie’s mother was always trying to get Charlie to make friends with all sorts of visitors. Some visitors stayed for long periods of time and others stayed for only short periods of time. The only visitor that Charlie liked being friends with was Benny. Benny had been visiting for a long time.

Charlie rode into the sitting room and grinned. Only Benny was there. Charlie liked it best when only Benny was in the sitting room.

Charlie scooted his go-kart over to Benny, who was sitting on the edge of the maroon couch.

“Charlie!” Benny’s face broke into a huge grin and he reached out his long arm and slapped Charlie on the back. It wasn’t a very hard slap since Benny wasn’t really that strong.

”Benny!” whispered Charlie. “We really need to decide when we’re going to go to Australia. I got out of school today and we should decide when we’re going.”

Benny crinkled his nose and his eyebrows pushed together and he pursed his lips. This was Benny’s thinking face.

”Well, Charlie, we better figure out HOW we’re going to get there before we figure out WHEN we’re going to get there.”

So Charlie and Benny spent the morning and afternoon deciding both how and when they would go to Australia. They were interrupted by some of Charlie’s mother’s visitors in the morning and by Charlie’s mother when it was time for lunch. Charlie’s father’s consultants interrupted their conversation in the afternoon and they finally had to break off their planning when it was time for dinner.

”Okay Benny,” grinned Charlie as he turned his automatic go-kart towards the hallway entrance.

”You got it, Charlie!” Benny waved.

Charlie winked at his friend and rode off with his mother, who laughed, a light tinkling laugh.

“Charlie,” she said, “you been making plans with Benny, again?”

”Maybe…. Do we have mashed potatoes tonight?” asked Charlie.

She winked a hazel eye at Charlie and whispered “You bet!” and squeezed his shoulder.

The next morning Charlie woke up to the sound of his mother’s voice. It was deep and silky sounding, like honey molasses.

”I don’t think I want to go to school today. Benny and I have to make plans and there’s no time for school today” said Charlie.

“That’s alright Charlie, you don’t have to go to school today” said the molasses voice.

”I can make plans with Benny instead?” Charlie’s face lit up and he pushed himself up into a sitting position.

”Well, no, I don’t think you can see Benny today, Charlie…”

”But we have to work on the plans today! We’re leaving on Saturday.” Charlie frowned.

”I’m sorry, Charlie, you can’t see Benny… Benny….. passed away last night, Charlie. It was time for him to go. I’m so sorry, Charlie…” The honey-molasses voice faltered and her green eyes blinked several times.

”But he can’t… he can’t have passed away… Benny had lots of time left!” cried Charlie.

”Oh, Charlie, Benny was 96. That’s only 5 years older than you! He lived a good life, Charlie. It will be okay. Do you want some breakfast, Charlie? Today’s Thursday. We have waffles today.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Bro

 Dear Brother,

You were born twenty-two years ago on this day. You share a birthday with Brigitte Bardot, Dita Von Teese, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Hilary Duff.  And twenty-two years ago today residents of the D.C. area dealt with any overwhelming infestation of large black field crickets.

Lovely women and lucky (or annoying) crickets aside, September 28th, 1988 forever changed my life. I went from sole possessor of parental attention to having to share. It was bitter, but it was sweet.

So today I decided to help you celebrate by breaking into your car (er... inherited minivan). It's okay, I didn't actually break in - I had a key. I gave you a Mr. Roger's themed card, munchies (you're student-teaching and you are definitely wasting away), and a Mickey Mouse balloon.

Here's to the next twenty-two years.


Yer Big Sis

Monday, September 27, 2010

The 3 Month Mark

Three months ago I woke up with an additional ring on my left ring finger and an additional body in my bed. My world has been forever and eternally changed.

Many have warned us that the first year of marriage is the most difficult. Or that three months marks the start of domestic unbliss. Truthfully, our relationship is far from perfect and we are both incredibly imperfect beings. But we knew that when we married each other. And we have yet to encounter any strong cases of relationship struggle. Call us naive, lucky, or just plain stupid, but I think we're off to a good start.

Communicate. With yourself AND with your spouse. What's the REAL reason that you feel like wringing a neck? Know thyself and know thy mate. And never consider them fully known.

What do you think? Comment to share your tips, tricks, or general warnings against naiveté.