Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cold White Blanket

It snowed here! This is my first snow since the year I lived in Yosemite. I like it, for now--I'm cozy and warm in my house, and everything is quiet and beautiful outside. I also spun and knitted myself a cowl.


The snow made for a good chance to see some pretty Christmas lights. One of the standard displays around here is this one. Instead of strings of lights, an electric candle is placed in each window. This looks great on old colonial-style houses with many small, uniform windows. The picture below shows a pretty one. There's also a guy in town who got some horrid dim bluish candles--the house looks more haunted than merry.


This is just a pretty one. Is it too arrogant of me to think this looks a bit like Magritte's Dominion of Light?


Or maybe it's just the lamppost.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Grand Finale, and a Holiday Treat

I finished the novel today! The final wordcount for the first draft is 53,647. I wrote the big finish, but I really skimped on the denoument. I figure I'll come back and re-do it in the second draft when I have a better idea of what needs to be denoued. I'm pretty satisfied with the ending, though--to my surprise, I managed to come up with something that actually tied together many of the random events and characters from the rest of the book in a way that kind of makes sense. Now I just need to go back to the beginning and try to make the ending seem more inevitable. That should be fun. I might work on something else in the meantime, though.

For now, here's a recipe of mine that was discussed at length on Facebook today. It's an old family favorite, passed down from my grandma who probably got it out of a magazine in the fifties. This is the sort of dish that you either love or hate. Personally, I love it. Some say it tastes like toothpaste, but they are wrong. I'll give you the traditional version first, then the gourmet version after.

Candy-Cane Pie (aka Peppermint Pie)



1 pkg (9 oz) Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (could easily substitute chocolate graham crackers, Oreos, etc, but you want a fairly dark cocoa taste)
1/2 cup butter, melted

Crush the cookies using a hammer, rolling pin, or food processor. Mix with the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.


1 pint heavy whipping cream
12 candy canes, crushed
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup pecans, broken up by hand

Whip the cream until quite stiff. Fold in the other ingredients.

Note: It's best if the candy canes aren't totally pulverized--it's nice to have some little crunchy bits in the finished product. Be sure to use red candy canes, or green candy canes, but don't use candy canes that are colored both red and green, as this will make an unpleasant brown color. You can also use starlight mints if you can't find good candy canes.

Spread the filling evenly over the crust. Refrigerate, preferably overnight.

I'll be straight with you--this makes a scary-looking dish. It's a delicate shade of pink, studded with little marshmallows. Some people might think they are too good for it. To make them feel better, I offer the following variation, which I haven't tried, but I'm sure it would be great.

Gourmet Candy-Cane Pie

As above, except halve the recipe for the filling. Instead of the 9x13 pan, use two nine-inch round pie pans. Press the crust in the bottom and up the sides of the pan, as if making a graham cracker crust. Chill the crusts until firm.

Meanwhile, prepare your favorite recipe for dark chocolate ganache. This normally involves bringing some cream to a boil, then stirring in quite a lot of high-quality dark chocolate. After the ganache cools slightly, spread a thin layer over the chilled crusts. Then fill the crusts with the peppermint filling. Then top each pie with about 1/4 inch of poured ganache. Chill. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Monday, December 14, 2009


OK, so now that NaNoWriMo is over, you may be wondering how I pass the time.

Well, I've been going places:



Knitting stuff (mostly socks):

Photo 72


And cooking:


Soon I'll get back to writing, but for now I'm enjoying the break.

My blog needs a new name. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Well, it was fun writing 50,000 words in 30 days, but now what? The glamour and companionship of NaNoWriMo is at an end.

I didn't write a word for the past two days. Instead, I mostly knitted. I also wasted ample time on the internet. Oh, and I also attended the local NaNoWriMo "TGIO" party at this crazy giant arcade-burger-palace called Dave and Busters. Once again it was a very small event, but pleasant enough.

Then today I felt like getting into it again. After all, I'm really supposed to be writing all the time, right? So today I wrote about 1900 words, and my guys are on the brink of the final bump in their adventure. I even kind of know what it's going to be. It's amazing how talking to Darling Man can get my stuck wheels turning--it only takes a second. A couple of weeks ago, I said to him, "what should happen to complicate my story?" And he, not knowing any details of the plot at that moment, said "doppelganger." It was perfect! A doppelganger was exactly what I needed. Then yesterday he asked me how the story was going to end. I sighed. I said I didn't know. I said that it was going to take place in the ruins of the royal city, and it should be an act of assimilation. Then I said "maybe I should have them wake up the king." That was literally the whole conversation, but, you know, I think that's exactly what's going to happen. They're going to wake up the king. The land is a wilderness because, in DM's words, "the king is not in session." Why didn't I see it before?

Today I also went to the library (I rode my bike there!) and got a couple of books. I got Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose (her real name), which was recommended by the NaNoWriMo people, and I also got Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. No doubt you have heard of this one. I got it because someone told me that O'Brian deals well with having two heroes. I'm also curious to see how he manages the rest of the crew, since that has been a problem for me. Also, I guess some people apparently think this is a good book, or something.