Sunday, November 30, 2008

I win I win I win!!!


I have written 50,589 words (or 50,590, according to the website's word validator) of a novel in the month of November this year! I think I cut it closer than I ever have before (though I can't remember for sure), reaching 50K about an hour and a half before midnight. I added on 589/590 words after that, and now the first thirty days of Bernice's Grand Adventures are posted on her blog.

Sometime tomorrow, I'll put a poll up there, and would very much appreciate your feedback on a couple of different issues. I am indeed going to continue her story, though I'm not yet sure if it will continue daily, or a couple times a week, or what. I'd also like to hear what you've thought of the tale so far, and what you would like to see more of and less of. As the author, I will do as I please with the plot and characters, but I'd still like to hear your opinion, and I'll take it into consideration as I plan further.

Thanks so much to all of you who have been reading along! I really appreciate it, especially those of you who have left comments. I would LOVE to hear from more of you in the comments section; Bernice may even occasionally reply to you there!

For those of you who haven't read, or who aren't quite caught up, 50,590 words is coming to just short of 98 single-spaced, typed pages in Microsoft Works. That's roughly the size of Catcher in the Rye or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (word-wise), all in all. Feel like reading through the equivalant of a little 200-ish-page paperback? Go for it!

Thanksgiving and Relaxation

Thanksgiving was nice and pretty much stress-free. We met Mom and Dad at one of the fancier hotels in town, where they were having a fabulous buffet. We stuffed ourselves silly, then went home and played Wii Sports Bowling (Mom won, then Dad, then Matt, then me) while snacking a little on a veggie tray, then we watched Wall-E and ate some nachos for a "light" dinner.

Before all that, though, we took some pictures! We all dressed up a little for the buffet lunch, and we were all in one place with no pressing engagements, so we figured why not?


After my parents left at about 6, Matt went straight to bed. We both had to be up by about 3am, and at work by 4:30am on Black Friday. I stayed up til a little after 8, then laid in bed. Then I read for a while. Then I laid there a little longer. Then I got up and put a movie in, and snuggled down on the couch, hoping that would knock me out. Nope. About midnight, Matt came in (he hadn't been able to sleep, either, but for about an hour and a half before I came in) and made me get back in bed, and we finally fell asleep. So for Black Friday, we were both running off about 3 hours of sleep. UGH. We're just used to going to bed so late, we couldn't trick our bodies into being tired earlier!

When we got home Friday afternoon at about 3, we were, of course, exhausted. (Yes, our shifts were that long. So were everyone else's at work that day.) However, there needed to be some "winding down" time, and as my throat was sore from shouting at customers over the general racket (not in anger, just to sell them stuff!), it needed to include tea with honey.

So I decided to make a little Thing of it, and do it right.


I got out my teapot and the cozy I got from a swap, as well as my one super-fancy tea cup. I had a few of the fancy tea cookies, also from a swap, on one of my "nice" dishes, and put everything on the table at the end of the sofa so I wouldn't have to get up even after the tea was done steeping.


Lovely, no?

I watched some of a movie on my laptop with the Netflix "Watch it now" feature where it just plays in a browser window, but about 30 minutes in, I could NOT keep my eyes open, so I lay down on the couch and fell dead asleep for the next four hours. It was glorious.

If I'm still working in retail next Black Friday (and unfortunately, I think I probably will be), I think I'll make this a yearly tradition! It was a nice bit of pampering for myself after a long, hard, crazy-busy day. Sometimes it doesn't take much--the nice dishes, a treat to eat, and a cozy blanket--to make you feel really special.

How was your holiday?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Free stuff!

I know, I know, it's not past Thanksgiving yet, when it's "acceptable" to start doing Christmas, but dang it! Thanksgiving is so late this year! I've been restraining myself from wearing my Christmas socks and earrings for a week, and I finally caved and started listening to Christmas music on my ipod today.

In that vein, a friend turned me on to eight free Christmas songs at Oprah's website. They're only available for the next 48 hours, though! (And I'm not sure when that 48 hours started...) So grab them fast! Easy downloading instructions are on the website.

Know what else is free? My poll! Come on, now, I know more than 6 people read this blog. I don't flatter myself that much more than 6 people are reading, but it's got to be at least some more. And if you're worried that I can see what you vote, I can't. It doesn't log names or even IP addresses or anything. So please go and let me know if you're reading about Bernice's Grand Adventures! Then at the end of the month, make sure you take the poll I'll put up on her site about how I should continue the story. Thank you thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, tomorrow. Even if you're somewhere that doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving, think for a minute about what you're thankful for, and then give the people you love a hug.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Monday

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Test Poll

At the end of November, I will post a poll on Bernice Greenwater's blog to get some feedback about my experiment (i.e. writing, editing, and posting part of a novel every day for 30 days). I found a website that lets you make polls for free, and I am testing it out here to see if I'd like to use this website for that poll. Have at it! (Feel free to leave comments on the blog about it, too.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

8 Things Friday

I have six pictures, can those count as six things? Yes, today I think they can. Too tired and brain-dead to write much, especially after the awesome write-in tonight.


My littlest cousin, Caden, a.k.a. the cutest baby in the whoooole world, in the hat I knit him.


With his grandpa, my Uncle Burl.


Nature centerpiece. I found these GREAT pinecones on my walk, the usual route. I might go back and get some more and spray paint them silver for Christmas decorations!




Tiny Christmas ornament #1: Hat


Tiny Christmas ornament #2: Mitten. This didn't turn out so great, so I might stick to hats and maybe little sweaters, if that attempt doesn't bomb.

7. Wrote 2,700ish words in about an hour and a half at the NaNoWriMo write-in tonight! And then my hands almost fell off. I'm practically at my word count goal for tomorrow! Although there's a lot of stuff I have to cover tomorrow in story-time, so I can't just slack off and only write a few hundred words. Oh well. And then Saturday after the 6am store meeting, I'm going to a coffee shop to write for a couple hours, since I'll already be up and out early. Hopefully I can continue to come up with plot (or at least backstory that can be explained, LOL) for the next few days!

8. After the meeting on Saturday, I have the rest of that day off, then all of Sunday and all of Monday. Ahhhhhh, it's going to be SO nice.

GOODNIGHT! *Falls over*


I don't waaaaaaaanna go to work! As you may have noticed from the fact that I haven't posted for a week, I've been busy! Little time to post, and very little other than work going on, so not much to blog about. I did go on a nice walk the other day, and gathered up nature stuff to make a little centerpiece for the table, which I'll show you soon, probably tomorrow. And I attempted some little knit Christmas tree ornaments which I think turned out kind of cute.

The novel is going well, though the last few days have been a struggle. I'm almost to the point where I'm running out of plot! Which is actually not too bad, as I thought it would only last two weeks, tops, and here we are almost at the end of week three, but still. What will I do with Bernice for seven more days?? Hopefully the next few days of writing will help me figure it out.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is only a week away! And that Black Friday is a week and a day away! Aughhh! It's going to be INSANE at work that day, but exciting, I think. My shift is 4:30am-3:00pm. Oy. But everyone in the whole store has shifts like that.

Okay, I guess I better pack my lunch and get dressed. *Sigh* See you tomorrow for 8 Things Friday, and hopefully some pics!

Friday, November 14, 2008

8 Things Friday

1. Matt and I are going to see the new 007 movie tomorrow after I'm done with work. Yay!

2. This is what (my half of) the Netflix queue looks like:

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
Night at the Museum
Kung Fu Panda
Wall-E (when it comes out) - (I think I'm in the mood for kid movies...)
Starter for 10
Bride and Prejudice
Saawariya - (and silly cute movies)

Matt's half (we alternate a Matt movie and a Heather movie so we have one of each at a time) is Mythbusters and old James Bond movies.

3. I finally got my package sent for the Steampunk - Alter an Item swap.


I altered a "hat box" from Michael's.


Painted the outside brown, then gave it a clear coat to keep it on. Decoupaged vintage-looking scrapbooking paper onto the top and added my partner's name with typewriter stickers, as well as an old key and a gear. Then I hot-glued some fancy trim around the edge of the lid. I think it turned out nicely, and I hope she likes it!

4. The store meeting for this Sunday evening was cancelled so the Ops (Operations) team--i.e. cashiers and customer service--get to have our bowling night after all! I don't think I've been bowling since about 8th grade. I should bring my camera!

5. This is the fabric I'm going to make an apron out of!


How flippin cute is that?? I spent over an hour in the fabric store because I couldn't decide. I couldn't find anything I liked in the colours of my partner's kitchen. Then I looked at "shabby chic" stuff, since she said she liked that, but didn't like any of the fabric combinations I could come up with. So I got this awwwesome cupcake fabric, and matched it with the polka dots, which will be the sash and ruffle, and the cherries, which I think will be a pocket, if it looks okay. If not, the pocket will be out of the dots. Eeeeeeee so cute! Even if it doesn't match her decor, it will still be adorable. Hope she likes it! There really isn't such a thing as "too cutesy/girly" for me, personally (mostly), but when I'm making cutesy things for other people, they usually have a line, and I'm afraid I might cross it sometimes. It's hard to know.

I should take a pic of the super cute apron I got in the swap. I should put on my "Donna Reed" dress and pearls, though. If I'm gonna do it, I should do it right.

6. Our Thanksgiving plans are to STAY HERE. Matt and I will both be working the day before and the day after, so there will be no driving down to visit my parents (his will be out of town) and stay the night with them. And it's tiring to drive down there, hang out for a few hours, and drive right back. So instead, my mom and dad will be driving up here, and we'll go OUT to eat! No stress, no mess, no clean-up. (I think I just sounded like a Reynolds commercial.) Afterwards we might come back to my house and watch a movie and eat pie. And then go to bed early once Mom and Dad leave, so we can charge up for Black Friday! Doooooooooooom!

7. Speaking of Thanksgiving, here is some of the decoration I put up yesterday:


It's a little hard to see, but I wanted to show how nicely the lights glow when it's dark in the living room. It's a little cornucopia with fake gourds inside, sitting in a "wreath" which is a fall garland with little berries and such on it that I wrapped a string of white Christmas lights around. I like it a lot! :)

8. Too brain dead to think up one more thing. AND I still have to write some on my novel tonight. *SIGH* Wish me luck! (P.S. I'd appreciate it if you weighed in on a very important decision in my previous post, if you don't mind. ^.^)

Quick Poll

8 Things Friday will be coming shortly, this time with pictures!

First, though: I got a new coat today, this one from Target. The question is, what colour scarf should I (eventually) knit to go with it? I have a cream one and a black one that will work for now, but I'm thinking stripes... So name two or three colours that would go with that, and that would look good striped together, to get me started thinking about yarn choices! (For my knitter friends, if you have a specific self-striping yarn in mind, you could mention that, too.) Thanks!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

News and Meme

Good news: I got the full-time cashier job at work! :) That will give us a little more breathing room every month, money-wise. And I feel like I'm moving up in the company, a little, even though I'll technically be doing the same thing I've been doing. It just feels good to be recognized for my work!

So this post is more than three lines long, a meme, from my friend taillow:

01. What's the last DVD you watched?
Casino Royale, in preparation for the new Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, that comes out TOMORROW! Mmmmmm, Daniel Craig...

02. What are you wearing at the moment?
Green turtleneck, really old jeans with holes in the knees, and stripey ankle socks.

03. Who is your favourite writer?
Oh geeze. Like I can pick one. Right now I'm into Louisa May Alcott. <3

04. What is your favourite scent?
Clean laundry, or citrus scents, or coffee. Though right now I like pumpkin spice-type smells; it's season appropriate.

05. What's that one movie you can watch over and over again and never get tired of?
I loooooooooove A Knight's Tale, for all its ridiculosity, and have since it came out. (I had a huge poster of Heath Ledger from the movie in my bedroom when I was 16.) I probably have about half of Chaucer's lines memorized. And even if they're hilariously historically innacurate (don't get me started) I like the costumes. And Heath Ledger. *Sniff*

06. What do you drink the most?
Water. Second most: coffee.

07. Is there a useless thing that you cannot brace yourself to throw out?
Oh yes, many. Most of them are in the Craft Closet of Doom.

08. What is your occupation? What do you do there?
I am a FULL-TIME cashier in a big retail store. When I'm not ringing people up, I'm stocking, dusting, cleaning, or chatting with my co-workers, most of whom I really like.

09. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher and a mommy. And I'm getting closer to being both!

10. What are your favorite song(s) of the moment?
I have the 007 theme song stuck in my head at the moment.... Favorite song? Also hard to choose. Well, the Sweeney Todd soundtrack gets a lot of play on my ipod, as do the Michael Buble albums, and the Disney mix.

11. Which characters are overrated?
EDWARD CULLEN!!! I'm going to the stupid Twilight midnight release with work people in order to socialize, but ughhhhhhhhhh I'm so tired of hearing about those books! (I MADE myself finish reading the first one, and don't know if I'll read any of the rest of them. *SIGH*) Plus, it's because of the Twilight movie that HP6 got bumped back to next summer! Argh!

12. What 3 people would you invite to dinner?
If I could just snap my fingers and bring them here, Megan, Carrington, and my cousin, Jenna, because I haven't seen her in forever.

13. What is your current desktop?
This, which is what I check for my NaNo word count each day. I made it myself!

14. What are you afraid of?
Moths. No, really. And sometimes I'm afraid of not getting into school, or the car breaking down, or the economy collapsing. You know, little things like that.

15. Where would you love to go on your next holiday?
San Fransisco, Seattle, or maybe Vancouver. Yeah, cuz that's gonna happen.

16. What are you into right now?
Knitting baby hats! I sent one off today for my little cousin, Caden, and will start another one for Matt's cousin who is due any day now! They go so fast! A day or two (really, a movie or two) of knitting and they're done!

17. What did you do today?
SLEPT IN. It was heavenly. Finished Casino Royale, which I couldn't finish last night because I was tired. Wove in the ends of my cousin's hat. Added flair to my Facebook profile. Decorated a little with Fall/Thanksgiving stuff. Mailed swaps and the hat at the post office. Shopped for fabric for a "Sweets for the Sweet" apron swap. (It's SO CUTE, I can't wait to show it to you!) Came home and supervised Matt while he put the frozen lasagna in the oven. And in a bit I'm going to find names for a few more characters, then go to the bookstore for the usual Thursday night NaNoWriMo write-in. After that, I'll get tickets to go see Quantum of Solace at a Saturday matinee.

18. What do you want?
A baby, a new Christmas tree, to be out of credit card debt, and lasagna. Not necessarily in that order.

19. What should you be doing right now?
Nothing! But in ten minutes I need to switch the laundry to the dryer.

20. What's the meaning behind your username/name/nicknames you go by?
Layne isn't actually my last name, for those of you who didn't know that. But that's what I go by on the internet, and it'll be my nom de plume when I'm a famous author someday. ;) The name of this blog came about when I was blog-hopping a couple of years ago. (Blog-hopping = reading some of a blog, then clicking on a sidebar link; reading some of that one, clicking on a link; and so on.) Someone had a name that was similar to "(Name) In Progress," but not quite. I can't remember what it was now. It got me thinking about how my life is constantly a work in progress, how I'm always learning and changing, bit by bit. Rather than name my blog "Work In Progress," I called it "Heather In Progress."

P.S. I'm on Facebook now! Cuz I didn't have enough to do on the internet as it was. :P

P.P.S. Weigh in on the "Winter drink of choice" poll before it closes Saturday, if you want to.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Still crying

So our church's adoption "fair" that I mentioned in my last post was tonight, and it was actually more of a message than a fair, though there were booths set up at the back of the sanctuary where you could get information. And it was more of a "help the children" thing than just about orphaned kids, so there were people talking about foster parenting and being mentors as well. They had video clips of a couple of families that had adopted kids, and our pastor talked about the process of adopting their little girl from China.

I was mostly fine until the following song played at the end of one of the video clips (though some of the pictures of the abused kids from meth-addict homes got to me, too):

I'm not gonna watch it again! Or I'll start bawling again. And I don't know if it was specifically written about adoption, but they've been playing part of that song during announcements at church for the last couple of weeks, advertising the "adoption weekend," and every stinking time they'd play it, I would tear up.

Well, after hearing all these stories and seeing all these pictures tonight, I about lost it. Matt kept teasing me and being silly to get me to stop, but when someone draws attention to the fact that I'm crying, it only makes it worse. And I cried most of the way home, and I have to concentrate on not crying now. I'm like a leaky faucet.

But this is really touching my heart! I've always had a heart for kids, and have always babysat and worked in church nurseries because I love little kids. I'm so glad that Matt is with me on this, and was even the one to bring it up in the first place a couple of months ago. On the drive home tonight, Matt was even talking about adopting two kids, though if that's in addition to our own biological child, I'm not sure. I do really want to have at least on of my own children, so I guess we'll just see how it goes with our life situation in a few years, and financial things, and if we have a house, etc. etc. But dang, after tonight, I want to adopt ten kids RIGHTNOW! There are such terrible injustices happening. It's not fair to these children who can't do anything about it! And it breaks my heart.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind and heart right now. I got a bunch of pamphlets and will be looking up the websites for info, but not tonight, lest I cry myself into a puddle. Be praying for and thinking of Matt and I in this, if you would (as well as the other church families who have been moved to adopt). It's several years off, still, but it is definitely in our future.

Friday, November 07, 2008

8 Things Friday

1. I'm writing this Thursday night and setting it to (hopefully) post on Friday because, like last week, Friday will be too busy to blog. Meeting at 8am, work 9:45-3:45, ZOOM to pick up a prescription before they close, get groceries, and possibly stop by the Goodwill.

2. One thing I want to get at the Goodwill is long-sleeved white shirts. That's the only colour we are allowed to wear under our uniform shirts at work, and it's been freakin cold lately! What's really great (not) is that the front sliding door at work is broken and won't close, and I'm always up at the front of the store, so brrrrrrr! I have one off-white/light oatmeal shirt I've been wearing, but that's not going to cut it for the rest of the winter. Also might look at khaki pants for work, as I only have one pair, and a cute black skirt I almost got a few days ago, but didn't because I didn't have the money. I hope it's still there! Because I know I'll wear it a lot.

3. NaNoWriMo is going quite well! I'm at my word-count goal and then some, and have been all six days I've been doing it. Is anyone reading it? I would love if you'd comment over there, especially if the comment is addressed to Bernice herself, as it's her blog. Her world is a little different from ours, so if you'd like clarification about something she mentions, just ask!

4. I'm on MySpace. *SIGH* Like everyone else on the planet. But I have very little idea how to use it. I don't know how to make my page look pretty like some I've seen, with photos and videos and shiny things. I could probably figure some of it out by poking around, but I just haven't spent the time there. Anyway, if you're on MySpace, I would LOVE for you to add me! It would be tons easier than me searching for everyone I know by their email address (which, by the way, is probably the easiest way to find me there). I ran into an old classmate at the Halloween party and he told me about a short movie he and some friends had made this summer. He said the easiest way to find it was to check his MySpace, so that's what made me finally sign up. (Hey, girls that I graduated with, remember Todd? :) It was nice to see him.)

5. WHY have I got The Leader of the Pack stuck in my head? And the other day I woke up with an old Backstreet Boys song. (No, I won't subject you to a link of that one.) Ugh, strange.

6. CHRISTMAS! The decorations are up in the mall, and Matt claimed they've started the Christmas music too, though I didn't notice it when I was there this evening. Storefronts are full of sweaters and scarves and boots, and adorned with snowflakes and sparkly things! And Matt and I have begun our Christmas gift list. We pretty much have ideas for everyone, now it's just a matter of buying one or two things per paycheck to spread it out a bit. I know we still have to get past Thanksgiving first, but I'm already excited about decorating the house. (If only we could find the missing third of our Christmas tree.... Ack!) Oh, and if you haven't weighed in on the Christmas music poll over in my sidebar, now is the time! I'll take it down on Saturday and put up a new question for the week.

7. I'm having a hard time coming up with eight! Not much has happened this past week besides working, writing the novel, and.... Yup, that's mostly it. Not much craftiness, either. It seems like I'll focus on a big project--like the Ren faire outfits, the wedding shower apron, the Halloween costumes--and then I'll be "crafted out" for a while and I won't do much for a week or two. I'm still knitting a scarf, and need to buy another skein of yarn tomorrow so it's long enough. I also learned another girl at work is pregnant, and want to make her a baby hat. She's only 5 weeks along! LOL But I love knitting baby things.

8. Aha! Eighth thing. Speaking of babies, our church is having an adoption fair this weekend! I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but what we'd like to do is have our first child, then adopt the second, of the opposite sex. That way we know we'll get one of each, and we'll be helping a child who otherwise wouldn't have had a family. We don't know if we'll adopt from our own state or country, or somewhere far away like Africa or China. We'll go to the Saturday night service to start getting information, as this won't happen for probably 5 more years, but it'll be good to get an overview.

I hope you all have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend with at least a little relaxation and enjoyment of the last remnants of the Fall colours--what hasn't been blown off the tree branches, that is!

And now for some "Fall" pictures I took a couple weeks ago and kept not posting:




Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Proud to be an American

No matter who you voted for or how you feel about the outcome of the election...

Don't you think it's pretty awesome that a black man is president of the United States of America? When my parents were little, it was practically unthinkable. And even more so when my grandparents were young. And now my kids will have never known a world where there hadn't been a black president. Pretty cool.

(P.S. I am SO GLAD all the mailings and the phone calls are over now!)

Monday, November 03, 2008


Go vote tomorrow, if you haven't already!

And if you don't vote, and if at any time during the next four years you whine about the way the government is handling things, I will tell you that you have no right to whine because you didn't vote.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween 2008

Here they are, the long-awaited costume pictures! (Okay, two days. Whatever.)


This is the only decent picture I got of this costume, which I wore to work on Halloween. I was already running late, and Matt is rarely a patient photographer, so all the other ones turned out blurry. I would've done it with the self-timer, but I think that would've taken longer, waiting ten seconds for each picture, then running over and hitting the button again to get a few different poses. So this is it. Scary, no? I had a couple of people I worked with, when they came through my line to get a soda, or when I said hi to them on my way through the store, say that I looked really scary. One guy shuddered, and the other said I was "creepy." Sweet! I've never been something scary for Halloween, so I'm glad it was a success.

Sarah, I wish I'd seen your suggestion for a red ribbon around my neck in time! What a great idea! Not too gory, but suggestive of getting one's head chopped off. Next time I'm the ghost of a decapitated person, I'll be sure to do that. ;)

And onto the costumes for the party at night!


Here I am as Bernice Greenwater. I made the skirt and the waistcoat, as well as the goggles, bag, and holster; the shirt is from a boutique in a mall far away, the boots from Wal-Mart a few years ago, and the awesome gun is from a Swap-Bot swap. My partner painted a squirt gun from the dollar store to look like metal--very steampunk indeed!


Closer-up of the gun and goggles. (I'm not that thrilled with how the goggles came out--they're rather messy--but I got a couple of compliments on them at the party, so yay. As long as you don't look too long or too closely at them, they're all right.)


Trying to be tough and blow the smoke from my gun, but smiling.


There's Mom as Cruella deVille! She didn't even get coloured hair spray all over my bathroom! (The fur coat was loaned from Grandma, she's had it forever. Mmmmmm so nice.)


She used the same hair spray on her poor Chihuahua, Cait, to make her look like a dalmatian. Cait did not go to the party, though, she would've been too stressed out.

YAY HALLOWEEN! What shall I be next year? :D

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bernice's first post

NaNoWriMo has officially begun, and Miss Greenwater's first diary entry is up for your perusal and (hopeful) enjoyment. Feel free to leave a comment here or there if you like, and check her previous picture posts, which acted as "teasers" for the story.