A Night At The Opera

I’m glad today’s finally the 28th of November, because it means I can finally tell you about the opera Wes took me to see on October 28th.

You see, I had pretty pictures on my camera after the opera, but I only download pictures to my computer about once a month, so the pictures stayed there long after they were relevant. I didn’t really want to write a post about going to the opera without including a picture, so I waited.

And then a week passed.

And then two weeks passed.

When three weeks had passed and my pictures were finally on my computer but too old to be any good to me, I decided to just wait a month and call it good.

So, that’s what I did. Or, rather, what I am doing.

Let me take you back. At the beginning of October, Wes said to me, out of the blue, “Anticipation.”

“Uh, what?” was my response.

He repeated himself, without any explanation save telling me he had a surprise for me but wouldn’t tell me what it was.

He really should have known better.

Picture a fly trapped in a jar. Ok, now give that fly a sugar high. And a full bladder that he’s unwilling to relieve in the confines of the jar.

That was me. I was FREAKING OUT trying to figure out what the surprise was. I LOVE surprises in that I hate them. I like surprises so long as I know what they are. All Wes would tell me was that he was planning a special evening for us, but that was it.

INFURIATING.

After three days of literally losing sleep over the whole thing, I gave up. I decided to try acting like an adult and just let me husband surprise me. Which was, of course, when he decided to relent and tell me.

He bought us opera tickets. To go see Carmen.

Carmen by Georges Bizet is my all-time favorite opera. It’s a dark story but my GOODNESS the music is incredible. I could listen to the music all day every day and if you have the right woman playing Carmen? PERFECTION.

Going to see it live has been on my bucket list for years. Wes, knowing that, heard that the Seattle Opera would be performing it and scooped up tickets for the show, with which he then surprised me.

He had the whole evening planned. First? Dinner at Benihana (I saw the restaurant on Mad Men and wanted to try it).

(Those are sampler glasses of Sake, for the record. Not photographic proof of how wasted I got. I didn’t get wasted.)

Next stop? The opera!

My sister in law straightened my hair for me, which is why I look like an entirely different person. I wore really high heels and a classic little black dress and I painted my nails and looked Oh So Stylish.

Though in Seattle you almost shouldn’t bother because no matter how classic your styling may be, odds are pretty good you’ll get seated next to some smart-aleck drama student who came to the opera dressed as a frigging bird. True story.

In sum, the opera was absolutely transcendent. The music was flawless, the acting and singing superb, and it was everything I’d always dreamed it would be. A night well worth waiting for.

The Promise of Christmas

Friday is Christmas decorations day!!! I’m sure my focus should be on Thanksgiving and all, but I can’t seem to get jazzed about turkey because FRIDAY IS CHRISTMAS DECORATION DAY!!!

Wes and I were strolling through Target yesterday and it took every scrap of self-discipline I had not to buy ALL THE THINGS.

Ornaments, tinsel, Christmas lights. They’re all amazing and they all belong in my house! Right now!

The reason I love Christmas decorations so much is that I’m not normally very big on decorating my house. My house looks nice (in my opinion, at least) but decor is pretty low on my list of priorities.

Except on Christmas.

On Christmas, we have a tree, and trimmings, and lights, and sparkly things, and there’s color everywhere! Everywhere!

This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but here in Seattle it gets dark at 4 pm during the winter and you start feeling like maybe there isn’t any color left in the whole world. Like the world is swamped with shades of darkness and shadow, swabbed with a patina of frost.

But at Christmas? The frost is pretty. And the cold outside makes the Christmas lights shine brighter. And the world is all glitter, and gold, and firesides, and treats, and it’s all just the nicest way to celebrate Jesus, in my opinion.

So that’s why this week I’m all about Friday. Because turkey is awesome and all, but it’s nowhere near sparkly enough.

Book Giveaway!

I thought I’d start this lovely Wednesday by letting all of you know there’s a giveaway going on over at my friend Brooke’s blog. She’s giving away a free book, and all you have to do to win it is leave a comment.

The cherry on the top of this free sundae? She’s giving away a copy of my book.

For the low, low price of one desultory little comment you can win a copy of PWNED for your very own reading enjoyment!

In so doing, you will not only be supporting an emerging author, you will also be actively engaging in Certifiably Awesome Behavior.

So go! Hit up Brooke’s blog! Leave a comment! Heck, leave ten! I sincerely hope the book I’ll be shipping out at the end of next week has your name on it.

National Novel Writing (Quitter) Month

Frick. My camera is all the way upstairs and I keep sitting down at my laptop and thinking, “This post could really use a picture” and then my camera is still upstairs because I was probably thinking about laundry or something when I walked downstairs last time when what I should have thinking about was what the heck I was supposed to remember!

And that? Is just about how my day has been going. Just one big brain cloud that follows me around wherever I go.

It’s not my fault, really. This has already been an incredible month, and it’s only half over. It started out with a project that I thought would preclude me from doing NaNoWriMo. Then, I finished that project early and started NaNo two days late. I was coasting along, really gaining momentum when BAM! ANOTHER PROJECT, this one even bigger than the first one and with little to no warning.

To add stress to projects, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house last weekend for my side of the family. Just me, a 19 lb turkey, 14 hungry mouths, and a small mountain of bread dough. It went really well (and by really well I mean the food was all hot and finished at the same time, everyone had enough to eat, and everyone got along) but I think I only sat down twice the whole evening.

In the midst of this maelstrom of cholesterol, my poor NaNo novel has been sitting on my hard drive, abandoned and stuck at a perpetual 14,843 words. I had finally caught up to where my word count was supposed to be when I got derailed by my GIGANTIC PROJECT.

I haven’t touched it in a week. As prolific as I can sometimes be, I doubt that even I can finish NaNo with a nine day deficit. It’s okay, this novel will get finished in December maybe. Or January. Heck, let’s go crazy and say maybe even February!

In the meantime, I’ll be over in the corner trying to console myself that I’m not a failure just because I didn’t finish NaNo this year. And yes, “console myself” is just code for eating chocolate. Talk therapy is cool and all, but chocolate is way cheaper.

Zombie Sandwiches

I should know better than to go into NaNoWriMo thinking I know what I’m going to write about. I should really know better than to do a whole bunch of research on said book idea beforehand.

Why?

Because novels are squirrely. At least, mine are. They start out as one thing, then do an abrupt about-face that leaves me trailing after them holding scraps of now-useless research asking, “WHY?!?!?!?!”

Characters I think will turn out to be a big deal excuse themselves from relevance, throw-away side characters extract themselves from the woodwork and steal the show. It’s a silly business, writing a book. For all the good plotting does me, I might as well just wing it and stop wasting my time on preemptive research.

When I started typing novel #3 on November 3 (I know, two days late. Whatever will I do if I don’t finish?!) I had every intention of writing about a ballerina jewelry thief. I had the story all laid out, I was excited about it, I even had the first line all typed out in my head.

Wanna read that first line? Here:

She arched one impossibly long arm over her head, bowing it over her outstretched leg like a taut branch supporting the weight of a bird. A tiny chorus of pops and crackles from behind her as the muscles in her back warmed up, stretched, remembered their soreness from yesterday’s class.

But then…I couldn’t get past this paragraph. I tried changing point of view, I tried starting somewhere else. Nothing. Writer’s block. Muy no bueno.

So, I started writing about something else. I had no idea where it was going, I was just writing for the kicks of it. And then I started meeting this entirely new character. And thought maybe this could be that zombie apocalypse novel I’ve always wanted to write.

And, Heaven help me, I think it just might be. Wes and I combined our considerable imaginations and came up with an entirely new (to us, anyway) kind of zombie, and now I’m 9,951 words into a book I have trouble not writing because it’s so dang fun.

I’m still behind on my word count. By the end of day seven I should technically be at 11,669 words, and in order to pull that off I’d have to write an additional 1,700 words today to cap off the 1,400 I already wrote this morning.

So, I might not catch up today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after that.

Who knows? By the time I catch up the novel may have changed again, morphing from a zombie apocalyse book into some kind of heartwarming tale of redemption and kindness and cracker sandwiches.

Stay tuned.