Thanksgiving '09, a story. (A bit late)

Thanksgiving 2009, a story.

That's my Gramma Julie, mother to my father, and known crazy lady. Back in the middle of November, at a ham and turkey raffle, she asked what I was doing for Thanksgiving, laying down the hint that she had absolutely nothing to do, should I care to invite her to wherever I was going. I told her that I'd probably do the same thing I'd done the last two years: drive around town with Dad for twenty minutes while he claims he knows the Chinese buffet was open, and then end up going to Perkins, because it's the only place that's open.

She replied with, "Oh, well, Jo Ellen and I usually do something, but I don't know if we're going to this year."

I smiled, freshened her beer, and went about selling raffle tickets at fifty cents a pop.

Fast forward a few days, I'm ringing the bell for the Salvation army with my aunt Jo Ellen, and we're talking about the upcoming holiday. She's not planning on doing anything either, not even going out with her mother. She was going to go to the auction, eat turkey there, then come home and rest.


"We should have a Thanksgiving dinner, because Lord knows I'm sick of Perkins' shitty turkey substitute," I told her.

She thought, "Joe and them used to come over for dinner, but it got to be too many of them for my little house. We could do it, if we kept it small."

I listed off the people in out family that didn't have a Thanksgiving to go to, which amounted to a total of six people, including us. And thus, it was born, Thanksgiving in Eldred, PA. Invitees were called or texted at lunch that day, and by the time we rang the bell again, two days later, we were ready to assign food dishes for people.

Thanksgiving day, Mickey and I picked up Grandma around three thirty, and made the trek over to Eldred. We thought we'd be late, because instead of making the pie and the mashed potatoes the night before, we woke up at noon Thursday and made them (we also did the laundry and cleaned the car). But, luckily, we made it there just in time, four on the dot, and before my Dad and Sally, which meant we weren't really late.

Since aunt Ellen hadn't cooked a turkey in decades, the Turkey was nearly overdone by the time we all got there, so instead of having munchies and sitting around until five, which was the original plan, we set out to setting the table, carving the turkey, reheating the side dishes people brought, and talking to my cousin Kim, who called so she could talk to most the family in one go.

After dinner, and desert, we retired to living room, while Sally cleaned (because that's what she does). Aunt Ellen, Dad, Gramma Julie, and I played Wii bowling, while Mickey watched. It was a close game, except for my father, who was a few strikes behind.

Dad came in last place, which we all kind of figured, and Gramma Julie, Aunt Ellen, and I were all only a pin away from each other. Aunt Ellen placed in third, and guess what.

My 89 year old crazy Grandmother beat me in Wii bowling.
But only by 1 point.

A winner and a loser.

So, I won NaNoWriMo this year, with the most words I've ever written in a month: 55,162. I wrote right up until midnight, managing to write 100 or so words before validating for the final time. I actually hit 50k on Sunday, the 29th of November, but I couldn't stop for two reasons:

1. My story just wasn't finished. It still isn't, because I, like a lot of Wrimos, took a week off. I plan on getting back to it when I get free time this week. (My free time got cut down a lot because I got a seasonal job at Dollar Tree.) I might do NaNoEdMo, if some of the others in my region would like to participate. If not, I'll edit at my own pace.

2. Writing was war. At the end of October, I entered a word war with the ML of Sudbury, Ontario. We had to write more words than his wrimos during the month of November, which didn't happen. (We were close, only about a half a million words short.) My punishment was to sing a song of Rintaran's choice, for the pleasure of his region. I was allowed to sing with any Wrimos that I could gather.

Well, today was our TGIO (Thank goodness it's over!) party, and it was time to pay our debt. Here it is, for your enjoyment, and our public embarrassment, the Southern Tier Wrimos (all three of us) singing "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles.

(Sorry, the video jacked up during the end, so it's a bit off.)

The singers are Skervin, Irregex (aka the boyfriend), and me.

Video Post - Vlogging


I have a love/hate relationship with Lost. Mainly because, after all these years, I've began to figure things out on my own. I remember tweeting something from the beginning of the fifth season that said something similar to "I like having answers, but I hate guessing them weeks in advance and then having the suspense played out when I know I'm already right." (If you plan on watching the fifth season of Lost, and have so far managed to avoid spoilers, stop reading this now. Same goes for the new Doctor Who special, Waters of Mars, and the preview for the upcoming Christmas episode.)

My examples for Lost are all forgotten now. But, most of the things that happened in the beginning of the fifth season I guessed near the end of the fourth. The one that stands out right now is "Jin is alive." I was all happy to believe that he was dead, until I saw a season 4 wrap-up thing. I'm not sure what, exactly, it was, but it aired a few episodes before Jin flashed his way into Rosseau's heart.

I'm alive. You're French. TV still sucks.
Tell me something I don't know.

What's the thing that led me to know this wonderful answer weeks before it was revealed to us? I blame two things: 1)Jin is just too awesome to die. (I said the same thing about Charlie, but he went on to work on other TV shows, Jin didn't.) 2)During the little recap thing I watched they said, "Sun believes Jin is dead."

Yup. Apparently they thought they were being clever, or something.

The rest of the beginning of Season five continued like that. Something that I guessed long ago, on a whim, became the right answer, and I had to watch the powers that be make like I didn't already know what was going to happen. It made me sad, and I almost quit Lost, except that I kept watching in hopes that I was wrong (and when it came to Locke, BOY WAS I WRONG.)

On to Doctor Who.

'Ello there!

Somewhere back in the fourth series, I believe it was the Easter special, you know, the one with the bus, someone told the Doctor that "he would knock four times." Ooh, mysterious and ominous and whatnot. MAYBE FOR SOMEONE ELSE! (I have to point out here that I thought the line was "death will knock four times," but I just went back and rewatched it and chick totally said "he," so I had to change this thing. So, if it reads funny, that's why.)

Maybe it would have been mysterious for someone who wasn't in complete and utter love with John Simm's version of The Master.

Who has sonic anymore? Laser is totally the way to go.

I must have watched Utopia, Sound of the Drums, and Last of the Time Lords a dozen times before series four even began. And I recently rewatched the entire new series of Doctor Who, just to notice the little things they plant throughout the episodes each season. Most of those things I didn't pick up, like the Ood referring to our hero and his companion as "DoctorDonna," many episodes before Donna Noble became fused with Time Lord biology and became the Doctor!Donna. (I picked up on the "Rose screams for the Doctor" thing too, but I chose to ignore it because I AM SO FUCKING SICK OF ROSE TYLER. GET A ROOM RUSSEL T DAVIES!) I did, however, pick up on the "four knocks" clue the first time around. It may have helped that, before watching the Easter Special, I had watched the season three finale many times. Either way, I'm still proud of my self because my boyfriend didn't pick it up.

Pay close attention to when the Master starts drumming his fingers on the table.

That moment, right there around 1:53, is what led me to believe that the Master would bring about the Doctor's death. "He will knock four times" you say? The drumming that is ever constant in the Master's head has, what, four beats? duh duh da duh. duh duh da duh. duh duh da duh.


The Master totally died at the end of Last of the Time Lords, making the Doctor the last one, yet again. Well, fuck.


Now, three specials later, we've yet to see the Master's return, and I kind of forgot about my epic revelation. That is, until the Doctor kept screaming about "no one is knocking" and "AHA YOU ONLY GET THREE KNOCKS!!" Then, I remembered, the Master may soon return.

And, after I called Adelaide killing herself, I got treated to the preview for the Christmas special.



(Oh, and Donna and Grandad Wilfred come back, which I'm also super stoked about. There was so much epic squeeing during those few seconds, that I may have scared the neighbors. I know for a fact my cats were frightened.)

PS- How sad was Waters of Mars? I mean, at least until the Doctor went all "I'M THE RULER OF TIME NOW! I MAKE LAWS AND NO ONE CAN CONDEMN ME FOR IT! Except you, Adelaide, you can do whatever you want. Except die, you're not aloud to do that. BECAUSE I SAY SO, THAT IS WHY!"

PPS- I also should admit that I thought the whole "He will knock four times" thing came in season 4, not a special, so that's why that one paragraph seems to jump a little bit. Sorry, I skipped rewatching the specials because they kinda sucked.

Lis and I have a day out!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Lis and I went on an Owl Homes tour.
Since we were broke and trying to kill a lot of time, we toured each home extensively.
We even took pictures to see which homes we looked best in.
These are those pictures.

All of the Owl Homes master bathrooms can accommodate two people at a time.
Three, if two people get in the shower together.

As an added bonus, there are seats in the showers.

Lis really, really had to go to the bathroom in this house.

I decided to take a bath while she was doing her business.

Lis was really tired, touring all those homes, so she decided to take a nap.

After a while, all the houses began to look the same to me.
It also could have been because I was a little tipsy.

Makin' sure those damned kids stay the fuck off my lawn.

Another house, another bathroom.

This bathroom, however, had a fireplace AND wine in it.
We decided this was the house for us.

So, I kicked off my shoes and sat down to read a book.

Lis, on the other hand, took a nap in the chair.

Then, after we decided we couldn't afford our new dream home, we went clothes shopping.
Lis found her perfect dream dress in a second hand store.

We ended the night at Sprague's, where Lis celebrated her birthday.

Too bad Lis's birthday isn't until June.

It's that time of the year again.

Posted by JessAnn on , ,
Yes, kids, it's that time of the year again, National Novel Writing Month. This year, I've added onto my list of things to do in November (write 50,000 words) and I've become a Municipal Liaison (ML, as the kids say). Nothing special happens in my region when you're ML, because we're all pretty mature and capable. So, a few times a week, I send out an e-mail telling my group (which, as of this post consists of 129 different people) to write, write, write, and to attend write-ins. Basically, I'm a noveling cheerleader.

Last year was the first year in five years of participating in NaNoWriMo that I won. I did it with a fantasy novel that I called Bruises. So, to continue my tradition of win, I've decided I'm going to stick with fantasy again this year. Only, this time, I'm doing what I like to call "young adult modern fantasy." My title? The Road Home.

As of right now, I've written 12,709 words towards my novel, almost double the amount needed to be "on track" with the month. I've also, in addition to noveling, created several images to go along with my novel. Most of the images are book covers, but a few are things like banners for my forum signature, or user icons. Would you like to look at them? You would? Well, you're in luck, my friend.

The first book cover:

My banner for my forum signature.
I know they're tacky, but everybody has one.

An icon of sorts, using a road, and not the model.

Just in case you were wondering, the girl who I used in my novel cover and signature banner is Katerina Martinovska, she's a Czech model whose work is mostly found in the knitting magazine, Rowan. Though, some of her work has been featured in the Russian Elle.

60 in 60: Extras

The blog has been taken over by cookies, and I promise no more cookie posts for awhile. Here's all the little extra things that went on behind the scenes of my cookie/blogging experiment.


On Day 6 (Cappachino Crinkles) I really, really, really hated the cookie dough.
Here's a picture to prove it:


Around Day 16, my freezer was overflowing with cookies. Here's a little sample of my "How many cookies can I fit in my freezer?" experiment. (The answer is somewhere over 300.)


In late September, I figured I enjoyed baking so much, that I ordered a commission of yours truly the hot-bodied baker of love. Rosie made me this very awesome and truly spectacular piece of artwork. (I have a print of it hanging in my living room.)


On October 1st, I donated over 200 cookies to BonaResponds for their LiveStrong Days bakesale. I'm not sure exactly how much they raised for their cause, but I know it was over 200 dollars to a great cause.

24 cream cheese cut outs
16 pink lemonades
16 best ever chocolate chip
26 craisy oatmeal cookies
24 Granola cookies
16 white chocolate macadamia nut
38 oatmeal toffee
6 Buffalo Chip Cookies
12 Almond Biscotti
18 Oatmeal Raisin
6 S'mores Bars

Giving up.

So, this little 60 in 60 thing isn't going to be finished. I haven't baked since the 19th of October, and that's fine by me. Life has been a little more than baking recently. So: I'm giving up on 60 in 60. Which is fine. I don't feel I've left myself down and I don't feel that I'm any less of a person because I didn't complete this. I had some fun, and I made a ton of great cookies. I also helped Bona Responds raise almost $250.

What have I been doing recently then, if not baking?

My brother turned 30 on the 20th. There was a party. I made cupcakes and a cake. Both were delicious. Then I got sick. Deathly ill, waking the boyfriend sick. The next day I did some theatre work at St. Bonaventure University. I ended up turning the houselights up and down for Michael Cooper. I also spent 20 minutes of each show being creeped out by a giant baby head. I did that for two days, then on Friday I spent the day with my friend, Lis. Since we're both ultra-broke, unemployed, former SAC employees, we spent the day walking around various shops, turning in out pop cans (nickels, FTW!), and looking at Owl Homes.

Owl Homes, for those not in the know, are pre-manufactured homes. Apparently, you choose one by going on a lot and looking through all the model homes and then deciding which one you like best. Some are even decorated so you can see their potential. Most of them have awesome kitchen islands installed. All of them have enough shower space for two people. One of them has a fireplace in the bathroom.

In the bathroom!

Since then I've watched a lot of television, and sat around on the couch a lot.

Sunday, on the other hand, is going to start a whole new challenge. (Well, I've done part of it before.) Sunday, I officially begin my 6th year of NaNoWriMo. It'll also be my first NaNoWriMo as Municipal Liaison (ML). If you don't know, being a ML is a big, huge, awesome responsibility. I'm, officially, in charge of herding cats, basically. All the other NaNoWriMo writers that go to write-ins and post questions on the forums and need pep talks. I'm in charge of them. Making sure they play nice, making sure they have all the answers they need to write, and making sure that they have all the pep they can handle - plus some!

Oh, and I also have to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Well, it's 6am, that last paragraph didn't make sense, and my cats (the fur kind) need petting. Also, this post should have pictures, lots and lots of pictures. At least two of them should have bathrooms involved and at least one of them should have a bathroom fire place. There was even going to be a picture of me wearing a very large headset. But, alas, the laptop won't reconize the memory card from the camera.

Here, have a picture of puppies instead:
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60 in 60: Day 44- Chip Cookies

These cookies were originally a recipe out of a Better Homes and Garden's Cookie Book. They were modified by Heather for her friend, Chip. I modified them just a little bit more (the original recipe calls for cayenne and cardamom, not nutmeg). When Heather sent me the recipe she included how these cookies should be stored. Unfortunately, for the fridge, these cookies didn't make it to the "storing" stage. They did, however, make it all the way to the "Save the recipe because these are freaking delicious" stage.

Heather's description of the recipe follows: "Okay, this is adapted from a Better Homes & Gardens recipe. I changed a bunch of stuff around, added things to taste, and made corrections as I saw fit and there's actually very little of the original recipe left in there, but gotta give credit where it's due. We just call them Chip Cookies because my friend Chip asks for them, is responsible for most of the flavors being requested, & cites this finished recipe as his favorite. If I had to classify them, I guess they'd be chocolate-gingerbread-wafer-cutout... things. He has to be rationed, or he'll eat all of them in one sitting and make himself ill. They're a bit time-consuming, but totally worth it!"

Chip Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg (which I used because I was missing the 1/8 tsp cayenne 1/2 tsp cardamom)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
(Heather says "If you don't have all that stuff, the cayenne & a couple teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice should do the trick.")
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 & 1/2 cups flour, (Heather says "Spooned lightly into the cups, not packed & leveled off, or the cookies will be really dry.")

beat the butter for 30 seconds

Add in the brown sugar, spices, cocoa, & salt. Beat all that until it's incorporated, then add the egg & vanilla.

Mix in the flour just until it's all mixed in. Don't over mix it or the cookies will be tough.
Divide it in half & chill it if it's too mushy to roll out. (Mine went in the fridge for about 20 minutes or so, just so I could roll it.)

Roll out cookie dough to about 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut out cookies using fun shapes. (Heather says: "If you want authentic Chip Cookies, use leaf-shapes and dog-bone shapes, 'cause those are his favorite.")

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. (Some of my cookies ended up looking like wonky bats.)

While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate chips.

Drizzle chocolate over the cookies.
Heather says: "Chip favors as much chocolate as humanly possible coated on the cookies, but I think about 50% coverage is good for letting the spices & flavors all come out.") I just let whatever came off of the rubber spatula coat the cookies. I liked the ones with less chocolate, while my boyfriend enjoyed the ones with more.

Let the chocolate cool off before devouring the deliciousness that are "Chip Cookies."

Just in case you don't devour all the cookies in one sitting, here are Heather's rules for storing, "When all the chocolate is set (this can take a while, and cats hamper the process), store in an airtight container (if you used parchment paper earlier, tear it up & put it between layers of cookies in the container, otherwise, throw 'em in a ziploc bag). They freeze really well, and if it's really hot & muggy, you want to at least put them in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting."

Yield: There.. was more than one cookie? I don't believe you.

60 in 60: Day 43- White Chocolate Walnut

Just so you know, there is a big difference between "White Chocolate Macadamia Nut" and "White Chocolate Walnut."

White Chocolate Walnut


1 and 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1/2 c Raw Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
4 oz white chocolate chunks
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts

(You should know this one:) Cream together the butter and the sugar.

Add the vanilla and egg, beating until just blended.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients all willy-nilly.

Form the dough into balls the size of walnuts (Which I found amusing, because there are chopped walnuts in the cookies.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes on a greased cookie sheet at 350.

Cool on the sheet until cookies firm slightly, then transfer to racks for the cookies continued cooling pleasure.

I'll let my pal, Rosie, do the talking for me on these cookies: "[JessAnn] sent me cookies. i am orgasming right now because they are seriously some of the most amazing delicious cookies ever." So, fellas, take a tip from your girl, JessAnn, if you want buxom, blonde women to quiver with ultimate joy, bake them cookies.

Book Yield: 20
My Yield: 20!

60 in 60: Day 42-Cherry Cookies

Posted by JessAnn on , , , ,
Another previous-made recipe (but aren't all of these? How abouts I say "way previously-made"?) from the Golden Cookie Book of doom and deliciousness. (I wish it were really called that.) These delightful, colorful, odd-shaped cookies, that reside on page 118, were originally made on October 7th.

Cherry Cookies


1 and 2/3 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, cut up
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c finely chopped candied cherries
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles (say it with me) fine crumbs.

Add the egg, beating until just blended.

Stir in sugar, cherries, and vanilla to form a soft dough.

Knead the dough until smooth.
Form the dough into a long log (Random fact: "Lanky llamas like to lay on long logs" was a voice exercise I did back when I was in the theatre.)
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Catch up "Chuck" since they have part of the second season on Hulu.

Slice that dough! (1/2 in thick)
Bake on greased cookie sheets at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or until "just golden."

Transfer to racks to cool.

These are delicious, and since candied cherries are easy to find around the holiday times, are a PERFECT non-denominational-holiday cookie!

Book Yield: 35
My Yield: 27 and a half (Don't ask.)