State of the Blog

birthday-08Only a few more days until 30 During 30 is over.

Which is a good and bad thing. Good because December is a lovely month. I am looking forward to my birthday, several events, and Christmas.

Bad, because let’s face it. I’m not going to make all the items on the 30 During 30 list.

*Scooby Doo Ruh Roh Voice*

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I just got busy this year. Which is also a good thing. I’ve wrote more this year, creatively, than I’ve wrote in my whole lifetime. I’m talking working on stories from 8am to 5pm, 7 days a week, and being frustrated that I couldn’t write more.

‘Cause if I’m honest, one of my biggest lifetime bucket list items is to write the best story I can write.

So, even though I kinda lost at 30 During 30, I’m still winning at other things.

And, I think this experiment is also a really good lesson…it’s hard to decide in Dec/Jan everything you want to try to do all year long. Although I didn’t pick outrageous and travel intense items this year, a lot of my schedule does center around my husband’s job and what we feel like doing when he’s off.

the_homework_debateMaking yourself do things, even things you things you wanna do, can feel like homework.

Take the AFI Passions list. I love movies. I watch a lot of movies anyways. I wanted to discover passionate and/or romantic movies I hadn’t seen before. And I did find a few great ones. However, the definition of passionate/romantic is different for other people, and I also found a lot of TERRIBLE ones, which turned the bucket list into a headache.

And, also, maybe I defined the list too strictly. When I listed “do more fanart” I meant painting. But the fan perler art and the fan photography I’ve been doing could also be considered “fanart”…and if that’s the case, I could have crossed it off the list months ago. But I just have preconceived notions of how I define the task.

Anyhow, I’m going to try and knock out a few more items, just to say I did.

Then, I guess this blog will magically turn into a “general” bucket list.

I haven’t decided what to do about the Instagram account…maybe turn it into a weekly update?

 

Driving A Tractor

img_8054I am from rural, North GA. I describe myself as a farm girl. A sidelined Appalachian chick waiting to be re-released into the wild (aka her and her hubby finish their education/work contracts and move out of Middle GA).

I grew up in a town of about 3,000 people. I didn’t know everyone Andy Griffith Show style, but I did know everyone my own age. And my parents knew everyone their age, and my grandparents knew everyone their age…so when in doubt, if you named enough relatives to a stranger, eventually you’d list someone they had heard of…which might be a good or bad thing. It’s true that everyone is famous or infamous in a small town. And since life is a slower pace, rude and kind memories last forever.

Although everyone there is “country” in one form or another, it took me a while to fully understand the uniqueness of my childhood. In my hometown, nearly everyone’s grandparents were farmers in their youth. The differences in mine, they were still farming.

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It took me a while to realize, not everyone went to grandma’s house and fed chickens, cows, and turkeys. Got up hay and picked apples. Shelled peas and gathered up eggs. For a long time, I figured this was just a grandparent check-list. That it was something everyone “had”. Today, I’m still not sure why my grandparents kept farming, but I’m thankful they did. My memories there are an inseparable part of who I am.

img_9932Anyhow, the one experience of farm life I never tried: Tractor Driving. My grandpa had a 1970 Ford 3000 Tractor. It was old, it was expensive to repair. It wasn’t something, unlike a 4-wheeler, to be used for fun. I knew if I looked at the Tractor the wrong way and it broke, we were doomed (mostly because my grandpa could lament endlessly, something awful).

Although my uncle offered to let me drive it for this bucket list, the thought of “tearing it up” still drums up a childhood fear in me. It’s an antique!

So, my hubby and I opted to use my father-in-law’s Tractor, which is closer to an automatic. I didn’t do any farm work, but I did take them on a nice long ride around the yard. And I made myself proud. I know now, that if I ever needed or wanted to use a Tractor, it’s not something to fear.

Messy Twister

twisterAh, Twister. Fun childhood memories of falling over!

Honestly, I had forgotten all about the game until I became addicted to Pinterest. Searching for “bucketlist” items, one that continuously came up was “Messy Twister” or Twister played with paint.

Suddenly, I became nolgastic. Both for the game and art class and summer nights in the yard.

I price compared the game at several stores (Target, Wal-Mart), but I hated to ruin a perfectly good gameboard with paint. I had considered using a large sheet of paper left over from one of my college art classes…but then I forgot to bring it to my in-laws house…I always forget to pack something while traveling.

Hobby Lobby really didn’t have a sheet of paper large enough for the game. So, I decided that a white plastic tablecloth would be a good improvise and cheap enough to throw away afterwards.

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We already had a pack of washable Crayola paint left over from our “egg canvas” art project.

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Definitely messy, but fun! Note our “old” clothes. I was worried that they would be forever stained. However, immediately after the game I put the clothes in the bathtub with dish soap, rang them out, let them dry, and then washed them like normal in the washing machine. Not a spot of paint left on them! When Crayola means “washable” they mean “washable.”

All and all great memory we’ll try again sometime.

Knocking the AFI lists out

Argh, still behind on everything…

Bucketlist “30 During 30” has took a backseat to my creative writing life.

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I’ve wrote well over 100,000 words this year. Great for my stories, not so great for my blogs.

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Anyhow, here’s some thoughts on the last of the AFI movies:

NINOTCHKA – Funny for an old movie, worth seeing. Shows the clash between communism vs. capitalism with humor.

LAST TANGO IN PARIS – Well acted, but terrible subject matter…I guess it was 50 Shades, before 50 Shades.

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE – Classic title, which I have meme’d and joked about for years (I love going to the mailbox). Anyways, wow. Awful situation, but I can see how it inspired all the crime dramas of today.

A PLACE IN THE SUN – Ditto…just madness…Still love Elizabeth Taylor, though.

REDS – Great actors, but film felt much, much longer than it needed to be…

PICNIC – Ditto, apparently a lot can happen at a community picnic.

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT – Probably the best one I hadn’t seen. Bogart is a good alpha and the chemistry between the characters is off the charts.

WHAT’S UP, DOC? – Babs acting like a hyper cartoon character…I guess this is where we get Babs Bunny. Dated, but I can see the influence on chick-flicks and female comedians today.

ROXANNE – Wow, how did I miss this one? Super unrealistic, but very funny. Made for a good 80s throwback date night.

COMING HOME– War, injuries, bitterness, depression…sad movie.

WOMAN OF THE YEAR – You can’t go wrong with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as a duo.

THE GOODBYE GIRL – I think I vaguely remember this one as a kid. Cute, heartwarming, recommended. Characters I actually liked and rooted for.

THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING– Argh, this people just needed to form a hippie commune and all live together.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION – Issues addressed in the old film still matter today. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

FRANKENSTEIN – Classic, way ahead of its day, but very different from the heart of the book.

 

Return to Fort Mountain, GA

IMG_4822Changes, turn and face the change…

15 years ago our family realized we’d never been “real” camping…pitching the tent in the yard doesn’t count…even if you live on five wooded acres with a lake.

So, it was determined camping would be our family vacation. My single mother picked Ft. Mountain, GA as our destination, because in the state park brochure it looked nice.

We didn’t take into account that we are wimps when it comes to mountains…

Picture the four of us: my mom, my uncle, me, and my little brother, snaking up hairpin turns, climbing ever higher, as the sky darkened, and the wind picked up. To entertain ourselves, my brother and I started “pretend crying,” only to be told to shut up cause my mom really wanted to cry but she had to drive.

Once on top of the mountain, the storm passed, and camping was successful. But my mom, fearing heights, swore we’d never go to the mountains again.

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Flash forward 15 years later. My husband is mountain crazy. I swear the man is part jumping goat. On previous adventures he’s taken us: 5945′. Fort Mountain, GA is only 2,851′. So, in hindsight, we had nothing to fear but taller mountains.

IMG_4929Because the memory was such a large part of my teenage summer, and I compare all mountains to this first mountain, I wanted to take my 30 year old self back. Thus, when my husband got the call 5/28/16 that he didn’t have to work Memorial Day, a plan was hatched.

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Overall, the park is much how we left it. In my photo album, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the pictures of large rocks and trees I found interesting, only to see them again, like silent old friends. It’s the little things that amaze you.

The overlook is a lot nicer. Maybe things do improve with age.

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Thoughts: AFI movies continued

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GiGi – Clearly, I can see how this movie still influences musicals. Did Disney’s “Beauty and and the Beast” reference this? I mean, besides the awful subject matter and objectification of women…

Funny Girl – Although I just watched this movie, I feel like I’ve seen nods to it my whole life. Lots of “ah-ha” moments when I realized several comic influences. Anyone else think Babs is like Bugs Bunny or vice versa? Much longer than it needed to be, IMO.

The English Patient – Today, this feels so ’90s. As I kid, I recall all the fuss over this movie. How it was marketed as the ultimate drama and romance. I appreciate the overall story, but I struggled with its slowness.

Way Down East, The Jazz Singer, All Quiet On The Western Front – Each could be subtitled “There’s Nothing New Under The Sun”. I was little shocked that films from 1920-1930 dealt with seduction, pregnancy, being the black sheep of one’s family, abandoning one’s culture/religion, shell shock, and loss of ideals/patriotism. I shouldn’t be, since several novels pre-date this material. Yet, “movies” were for the masses and I thought ethical boards of the time would frown. I really need to read more about it.

Manhattan – Oh, Woody. I liked Annie Hall…but this one was a train wreck for me. Maybe I’m just too Southern to appreciate it.

The Quiet Man – A true “where-has-this-movie-been-all-my-life” moment. John Wayne is my preferred cowboy, yet I rarely think of him as a romantic lead. This proved me wrong! Oh the romantic angst, the conflict, the beautiful scenery! IMO, unique plot and setting. I’ll be watching this one again! Good movie for St. Patty’s Day.

Notorious – Having seen several Cary Grant + Alfred Hitchcock, I wasn’t expecting anything new. “To Catch A Thief” was enjoyable, but not my favorite. The tension between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman starts wonder. Then the movie slows a little. I started playing on my phone, until the main characters finally go down into the basement. After that point, I was hooked. OMG that ending, you must see it.

The Last of the Catchup (Ketchup?)

IMG_7284Happy Leap Day! This is officially my last post about my 30 Before 30.It’s the last of the catchup due to life, my epic creative writing project, hubby’s nightshift rotation, and my own typical procrastination. Henceforth (don’t you love old fashioned words?), we’ll be working on the 30 During 30 and then shifting to a general bucket list for life.

I closely associate canning with growing up in the South on a farm.I know it’s a staple of life everywhere. Yet there’s something about food in jars, that raised word M-A-S-O-N, that takes me back to humid summer evenings and we’re-going-to-have-snow-it-never-snows type days one can only experience in this area. Sweet pickles. Canned tomatoes. Vegetable soup. Kraut. Jars of peaches.

To say I never canned anything before would be a half-truth. I never canned anything on my own. Yet, I grew up helping my grandparents can items from their farm without ever really thinking about it. Since there was a grocery store down the road, I never actively thought, I’ll have to do this on my own someday. This was before natural, organic, non-GMOs, locally sourced, farm-to-table.

IMG_7939However, after moving into an apartment, I discovered I really missed gardening. College BIO class peeked my interested in the science behind farm-to-table. A presentation at the Decatur Book Festival made me realize farming could be quite hipster. This combo, along with a growing interest in cooking, led me to add “5.) Can something” to the 30 Before 30.

I thought this would be an easy one. Knowing I could phone it in with my grandmother’s help. I thought we had more time. Not making this one a priority and taking more photos with her, are two of my biggest regrets. The item transformed from “something-I’ll-do-with-her-this-fall” to an heirloom mantle I found myself ill prepared to experiment with on my own.

I suddenly felt like Henny Penny. No one wanted to help me, but everyone was ready with some terrible story about hot cans blowing up in someone-they-used-to-know’s face. It started to feel like “Canning something” and “Hot Air Balloon Ride” were two items out of my reach. I’m sensitive anyways and started to despair that I was a failure as a granddaughter and blogger/writer.

But, a trip to a farm supply store really helped me. I bought:

  • A Granite-Ware 21 1/2 Qt Canner with jar rack
  • Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving” edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

The book was a lifesaver. I tried to make pickles using an Internet recipe but they didn’t turn out great. So, using the book as a guide and Pioneer Woman (she’s great), I decided apple preserves would be a recipe I had confidence in:

  • 6 cups sliced cored peeled apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package regular powdered fruit pectin
  • 1 medium lemon (unpeeled), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg

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I know now that I should have peeled my apples. I was thinking about fiber, so I ignored that part of the instructions. There not bad with the peel on…just a little sharp on the tongue.

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So there you have it friends. You can do what you set your mind to do. Take nothing for granted. Rise to the occasion. May you have the best adventures. I’ll be making more preserves this year for 30 During 30!