Monday, November 17, 2008

Blog Carnival: What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Our family doesn't have any official traditions, per se, but there are some things that seem to play out the same every year, and brings a smile to my face every time.

The turkey is in the oven or on the grill, or in the smoker (however we are preparing it that year), and all the advance food prep has gone about as far as it can. Everyone adjourns to the great room. The TV is turned on and tuned in to the Lion's football game, and everyone finds a comfy spot to sit and watch the game.

Thus begins the group nap. Some don't even make it to kick-off (*blushes and raises hand*), and by the end of the first quarter, everyone in the house is snoozing comfortably. By the end of the game, most are up and about again, and dinner prep resumes in full force.

Even asleep, though, it's some pretty good family together time, though :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Featured EtsyBlogger: StoryBeader

This November, the EtsyBloggers Street Team is featuring StoryBeader. Her shop is filled with gorgeous handmade jewelry, and every piece comes with a unique hiaku, written by the artist. This makes each piece a true work of art that no one else will ever have. Please check out her shop and blog and show her some Etsy love!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Betani's Bureau on Facebook

Just a quick announcement that I've made a Facebook Page for Betani's Bureau. It needs a lot of work yet, but hopefully it will become a good place for updates and advertising. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cozy, cozy, cozy, cozy, cozy...

Yarn: Paton's Bohemian
Pattern: Shaker Slippers
Needles: Sz 13
Size: Pontoon

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Come Back!

Wow, since I started posting my NaNoWriMo updates, you all disappeared! You have my word, no more bad fiction! Come back! I miss you! I promise I'll be more intersting ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NaNoWriMo - Day 3

Betty walked a little faster as she crossed a derilect parking lot. Circling around the park took time, and the looming clouds overhead didn’t look like they wanted to offer her much time to get to her makeshift shelter, such as it was. She gingerly made her way down the embankment at the far end of the lot and began walking along the overgrown railroad tracks that had long since fallen into disuse. With every step, she both cursed where she was and wished to be somewhere far off to make a brand new start. She didn’t much care where. Just somewhere where she could keep the past in the past and never have to think of it again.

The hairs on the back of her neck prickled suddenly. Her pace slowed, and she looked around. She would have sworn someone was watching her. Seeing no one around, she continued on along the tracks, still more slowly, despite the increasing wind and chill air. She still had several hundred yards before there was a passable way to climb up to the park where her tree awaited.

She smirked bitterly to herself. Her tree. It had only been a week and a half, and here she was, laying claim to a bent old pine tree as her new home. Well, the closest she could get to a home right now, anyway.

She stopped. There it was again. Stronger this time. Someone or something was following her. She couldn’t see or hear anything, but she was sure of it. She folded her arms and stood defiantly where she stopped. She searched long and hard for her hiding spot, and no way was she going to risk it being discovered. She glared around her, daring her persuer to come out. The air around her got strangely quiet. The wind had stopped, and there was no other sound to be heard. The silence stretched on for an almost painfully long time, but Betty stood her ground.

Just when she thought she couldn’t take it anymore, the apparent battle of wills ended. She couldn’t be sure, but she thought she heard a disgruntled “Hmph” as the wind picked back up and conditions returned to normal. Betty stayed where she was another half minute or so, just for good measure, then pulled her jacket tight and resumed walking. The further she walked, the more ridiculous the whole incident seemed. She was prone to flights of imagination, especially when her emotions were working overtime. It had to be a simple case of paranoia. There was just no other explanation.

She slowed again, just to help calm her nerves. Her footfalls became almost rhythmic as she watched the railroad ties pass out of her vision one by one and tried to clear her mind.

Monday, November 3, 2008

NaNoWriMo - Day 2

She couldn’t admit to herself that she had no clue what to do. As she wound her way up and down the city streets, she casually felt around in the pockets of her jeans, then her jacket, then the small shoulder bag she tried to pass off as a purse. The last bits she was able to salvage before the firefighters caught her and dragged her out of her burning home. A handful of cash, half a pack of gum, a small photo of her and Gram taken in a photo booth in a moment of silliness long ago, and the usual assortment of things a woman carries with her that she thinks are important when the world is still sunshine and roses. Fat lot of good most of it did her now.

Betty pushed away a group of inconvenient oncoming memories and tugged her jacket a little tighter as the air took on the chill of evening. Looking back wouldn’t get her anywhere. She looked up at the sky and noticed the approaching dark clouds. If she didn’t know better, she would have thought her dark mood had summoned them. She took the cue and changed her course to her recently discovered hiding place where she had take residence the last few nights.

She was actually quite proud of her resourcefulness in finding her makeshift camp site at the back of the park. It was close to the railroad tracks, but that actually worked in her favor in terms of not wanting to be found out. The oldest pine tree in the cluster of trees looked quite full and lush from the outside, but when Betty called upon her childhood hide-and-seek skills, she pulled back one of the low boughs and revealed that most of the inside branches were dried and broken off. Once cleared out, the tree was roomy enough to sleep without worry of being found.

As she crossed the street toward the park, a quick glance at the parking lot told her double back to avoid the people taking their sweet time packing up and going home.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NaNoWriMo Day 1

The aged wooden bench just outside the old public library entrance was a bit cold when she first sat down, but luckily it didn’t take long for her body temperature to make sitting there bearable in the chill of the autumn afternoon. Betty would have much preferred to stay in front of the courthouse on the much nicer contoured fiberglass bench donated by the local art school, but the longer she lingered there, the more uncomfortable she felt. She couldn’t help but feel the eyes of people who noticed she didn’t have anywhere to go.

The day from Hell had already turned into the week from Hell, and now it was beginning to look like the month from Hell. In fact, this was beginning to look like a permanent condition. She sighed and slumped down slightly on the bench, hoping to look like she was thinking about something, or perhaps waiting for someone, rather than fighting of the hopelessness she actually felt. For the umpteenth time she recounted her downfall, wishing there was someplace where she could slip into the past and figure out how to stop the madness before it could run its course. It barely felt like any time had passed since she had come home to her apartment to find it half empty. When she reported the break in to the landlord, he informed her that her ex-boyfriend told him she allowed him to come back and retrieve the last of his belongings. Apparently, her landlord was oblivious to how unamicable their break-up really was. The constant yelling and verbal abuse Betty had endured in the last weeks of their relationship hadn’t phased him in the least.

She thought her life had hit an all-time low as she spent hours at the police department filling out forms and going through all the red tape of the police reports. When she lost her job at the county records office in a thinly veiled act of nepotism, she wished things were as simple as filing the police report again. But when the gas main break in her neighborhood caused an explosion that set her apartment ablaze, she began to wonder if she wasn’t downright cursed.

It was incredibly difficult to come to terms with being suddenly homeless. Betty didn’t even want to allow the word to enter her thoughts. How could it even be possible? She’d always been very independent. She’d been estranged from her parents for a very long time. She didn’t even know if they were still alive, let alone where they might live now. She had no brothers or sisters, and her only real family was her grandmother, who she had taken care of until she passed away four years ago. With no close friends to speak of, there was no one she could turn to, or even talk to. She shifted uncomfortably on the bench. As if echoing her thoughts, the streets and sidewalks around her were devoid of any people just then. The word ‘alone’ seemed so inadequate.

She tried to force away the lonliness for the moment to take advantage of the few moments she could be sure no one could see her. Stupid damnable pride. She wasn’t dumb. She knew there were people and organizations that would be willing to help. But to seek them out would be admitting defeat in Betty’s mind. She rubbed her eyes to make sure the tears she was holding back hadn’t escaped. She was strong, and if anyone was going to pull her out of this mess, it would be her and her alone. Shelters and charities were for people who needed them. Not her.

The glass and metal doors behind her gave a short, jovial squeak as a gaggle of giggling librarians left the building, happy their shift was over for the day and they could speak above a hush again. The ones that caught sight of her smiled and waved as they passed. Betty screwed up her determination and did an admirable job of smiling and waving back. As the flock of women continued on to the parking lot, one of them paused a few feet away from Betty’s bench and reguarded her.

“Are you waiting for your ride, dear?” she asked in that friendly, helpful voice that seems to be a prerequesite for a degree in library science. “You can use the phone at the desk if you need to.”

“Oh, no, that’s allright. I’m sure it won’t be much longer,” she bluffed. “Thank you, though.”

“Are you sure,” the woman began. Betty cut her short with a friendly nod and a smile that was harder to manage each time she tried. “Well, if you change your mind, don’t hesitate to ask at the desk. Have a good day, dear!” And with that, the straggling librarian jogged to catch up with her cohorts. Betty watched them until they were out of sight.

When she was sure they wouldn’t come back for anything they might have forgotten, Betty casually got up and walked away from the building. She scolded herself for staying in one place too long. If anyone caught on, she would die of shame.