Category Archives: If We Were Having Coffee…

If We Were Having Coffee #20

If we were having coffee I’d offer you some espresso! I got an espresso maker for Christmas!  This may lead to me saving money 20141225_161607because I’ll be able to make espresso in the morning and therefore visit my coffee cart less often.  Or, it might lead to me just having more coffee.  Time will tell!

My Christmas was okay. Over the past fifteen years I’ve spent more Christmas away from my family than with them — and the majority of those times with them in those years I’ve been coming in from out of town. Having Christmas when it’s just the same people who are always in the house, going through slightly changed plans… it wasn’t what I expected.  But now I know that I have to take action to make Christmas what I want it to be next year – it can be done.

There’ve been some great parts too.  Christmas Eve one of my friends took me to see Into The Woods.  We got dinner first, and the place we went had gluten-free pasta!  I have been craving mac-and-cheese that I didn’t have to make myself, and was so happy!  The movie was good too — though I think I need to see it again before I write my promised review.

The train took us through another tunnel of light -- this was harder to get a picture of, but I kind of LOVE how it turned out!
The train took us through another tunnel of light — this was harder to get a picture of, but I kind of LOVE how it turned out!

On Friday I got to go with a friend and her kids to see ZooLights.  I love the Oregon Zoo, and it’s a beautiful to see it all covered in lights, some animated.  We took the train, and even got to see some animals!  It was fun to be out and about, around the excitement and energy (even if a little cranky and tired at moments) of little ones.

Colorful Lights above me and beside me -- I walked through a tunnel of rainbow lights!
Colorful Lights above me and beside me — I walked through a tunnel of rainbow lights!

Saturday night was Christmas Part Two – over at my Dads.  No presents, but food, yummy wine, and visiting.  It was a pretty good time.

I’m looking forward to New Years — for the first time in I don’t know how long I have plans!  A bunch of friends and I are getting a house on the coast and going to have a fun, two night, Friendsgiving celebration.  I’ll tell you all about it next week!

How were your holidays?  Did you do anything fun?  Any wacky stories to tell?  Any great plans for this week?

Would you like another cup of espresso?


If We Were Having Coffee.. #19

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that it’s a strange time for me. So much change happening in my world right now it’s kind of hard to find a perch to settle on.  But I’m trying.

Christmas Tree Reflection at Pioneer Courthouse Square
Christmas Tree Reflection at Pioneer Courthouse Square

I can’t believe that Christmas is this week.  Everything’s a bit of a swirl, but signs are clear.  Cards arriving in the mail (meaning I actually am getting mail, which I always love), lights and trees in the house and around the city.  Though it’s the second year I’ve spent Christmas somewhere that doesn’t have much of a chance at all of snow this holiday — and I miss that.

But it has been fun to see all the holiday things appearing.  Friends are posting all sorts of pictures of their decorations, and their kids celebrating and preparing.  My friends have some of the most adorable kids!

I managed to start writing again this week, a little bit on Disparate Threads.  There’s editing that needs to be done, and I’m worried that I’ll fall behind, but I need to start pushing myself some more.  It’s far too easy to fall into a slump, and I can’t have a slump that lasts too long, not if I plan on meeting the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

My cards so far this Holiday season– a mix of holiday and sympathy/condolence cards.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I have been having some thoughts about this blog in the coming year.  I’d like to start bringing in other voices, interviews with writers (and readers!) guest posts, things like that.  I’ll have to start figuring out the “how” of all that, but… it’s something I’m starting to think about.

How has your week been?  Are you enjoying the season, whatever celebrations it may bring for you?

If We Were Having Coffee #18

If we were having coffee I would probably be a bit bleary eyed. It was a long week, on top of working with my grief, it was also finals week.  I’m not in school just now, but I work in an academic testing center.  And I think I have decided that the only things worse than having to take finals is dealing with stressed instructors, and students.  Worse than that, dealing with the large amount of greatly stressed individuals when you are not sleeping well.

One of the nice things this week has been that reminder, once again, that I have friends who are looking out for me.  Good friends who check in (even if they live far far away), and who were some of the first people I contacted after Grandma died.  The simple texts, emails, and messages of  “Thinking of you,”  “I’m here if you need anything,” and “How are you?” all helped me a lot.

Things are starting to gear up for Christmas, today I’m going out with my mom to get a tree.  Christmas decorations are going up around the house, which means I am getting to see some of those things that I made as a child.  Decorations that have been taken out year after year.  It’s kind of fun to have those things that are the same year after year for as long as I can remember.  So much else has changed, but I can always count on the fact there will be some decorations that appear every year.  This will be the first “normal” Christmas I have spent with my family in years.  I lived so far away, for so long, that coming back here just wasn’t feasible.  Last year I was out here, but my sister got married just a few days before Christmas and so we were away to the wedding until Christmas Eve.

I’d also probably tell you that I’ve had a hard time getting back to my writing.  I gave myself the first week of December as a week off, since I realized I had pushed myself a bit for NaNo, and deserved a short break.  But then this past week I had trouble getting my brain around anything, so writing didn’t happen.  I’m now, officially, two weeks behind my schedule — with holidays and celebrations, and friends back in town.  So this week I’m going to try to focus, starting with some free-writing. Free-writing, followed by more writing for Disparate Threads, and some work on the webpage for it.  I need to get back into the groove of regular work, wish me luck!

How are you doing this week?

Not Quite “If We Were Having Coffee…” (#17)

Normally on Sundays I invite everyone to join me for “coffee,” share some of my week, ask how your week has been.   I really enjoy writing these posts, it’s a chance to reflect on the week and find things to highlight — and I kind of love the idea of being able to read back over a bunch of posts to get a glimpse of all the things that I have done and that have happened throughout the year.

That is all a long introduction to say that this week is a little different.  I sit at my computer wondering how it is possibly already Sunday, and — even more — how it possibly just be a week since Thanksgiving?  Such a long week.

So.. a coffee post… but this isn’t really going to be a coffee post… because there really is just one thing that is sticking in my mind right now.  If we were having coffee I would probably want to sit back and listen to you for a while.  I would want to hear how the week has been, how everyone is, and if you have any great plans for the next week?

I don’t know what I’d say.   I’m sorry to be vague but I wanted to post SOMETHING today (I wanted to post something on Friday too, for the Celebrate The Small Things), but I’m just not there yet.   I promise a less vague post later this week, but for now the words aren’t coming out correctly — what I want to say, and how I want to say it just isn’t coming together yet.

So for our coffee today, I’m content to simply listen to what you may have to share.

If We Were Having Coffee #16

It’s been a busy weekend, so I welcome the chance to sit back for a bit with some coffee (or tea, or cocoa, or eggnog…).   I hope your Thanksgiving went well (if you celebrate Thanksgiving).

This year we had a lot of family come over, and I took on the cooking.  Other people helped, my grandma made two of the dishes, my mom helped make a few, my sister made a few, people brought drinks, and did the clean-up.  We had relatives staying with us, and everyone arrived on Thursday, so we celebrated on Friday — but had family meals starting Thursday at lunch.  So much food was made, and consumed! The highlights, for me, of what I made were the pumpkin creme brulee for dessert, an artichoke-spinach dip for appetizers, and the turkey. The BACON WRAPPED turkey.

Behold, the bacon turkey!

I’d never made a turkey before — luckily my little brother has many times and was able to lend aid.  He also came to my rescue when I went all squeamish-silly about taking out the neck and gizzards bag.  Eww, eww, eww!  I was glad that I was “convinced” (it didn’t take much) to give up on the idea of brining, so the idea of doing just a rub came up, and then the decision to make a bacon-wrapped Turkey arose.  I’d talked to friends all the time about the idea, and already decided that this was the last turkey I will ever make (so much work for a meat I don’t really like), so might as well take the moment to make a bacon-turkey!

There were certainly some errors…like the bottom of the oven ending up catching the turkey-drippings after the flimsy pan had sprung a leak, but… it turned out well!   Yay!

I completed NaNoWriMo on Wednesday (got my 50k words!) and told myself that I would put the novel aside for a month now.  I may do some outlining, re-reading, and figuring so I know what needs to be done when I start revisions in January.  Are you NaNo-ing?  I hope, if you are, regardless of if you’ve reached (or think you have a shot of reaching) 50k before the end of the day, you’ve managed to get some writing done.  Because THAT is the most important thing about NaNoWriMo — the entire point is to spend some time writing, dedicate energy to your project.

Now I’m getting back to writing on Disparate Threads.  And getting back into the flow here on Eclectic Alli.  I’ve been terribly neglectful when it comes to replying to comments (I’ve read them all…just haven’t gotten to responding to them), and want to remedy that.  It will happen!

What are your plans as we move into this holiday season?  Anything exciting happening?


If We Were Having Coffee — Thankfulness Edition

Coffee Time!
I’d tell you, as we settle down with our nice warm beverages, that I’m hoping to encourage people to look at what they are thankful for this week.  Today I’m realizing that it can be a good (if challenging) exercise to focus on thankfulness when things seem overwhelming.   I’ve ended up in the position to be in charge of most of the food preparation for Thanksgiving, and we have a crowd of people who will be staying at the house.  I’m also trying to finish up my novel for NaNo, and have had a busy weekend already.

It would be easy to get overwhelmed, but I can’t let it.  So instead, I look to the positive side, the things within this all to be thankful for.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’m thankful for the opportunity to have a Thanksgiving dinner that will be prepared by three generations.  Grandma, Mom, and myself (and whoever else wants to step in and help) will be working together.  I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving food (I’ve said a few times that, left to me, we’d be having Nachos, or Pizza, or something of that sort).  But It will be cool to learn how to make these things. And I get to make Pumpkin Creme Brule for dessert – which I’m very excited about!

I love the interior of the Schnitz — such a beautiful place.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m thankful for days like yesterday — it was a busy day but overall amazing.  I was able to get tickets to go with a friend to see Bernadette Peters at the Schnitz, and we decided to make a nice evening of it — going out to dinner first.

Earlier in the day I had gone to a wine tasting with my Dad and Step-mom, which was also a lot of fun and I got to taste a few new wines that I like.   I’ve very thankful for family and friends that enjoy going out and doing those things with me that I enjoy doing.  Friends that help me laugh.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m thankful for what I’ve been learning participating in NaNoWriMo this month.  I’m getting very close to the goal of 50k words — though (as I predicted) the writing this second half of the month is going slower.  I do, however, feel like I am getting some really good stuff on the story, learning about the characters, the magic of the world, realizing things about different subplots that will help (or hinder) story cohesion.  It’s very cool, and it’s also been amazing to be gaining a sense of confidence that I can do this — I can write even when the story is getting to be a challenge.  I can pump out over 4k words in a day (I’ve done it a few times this month), and they are a decent base to jump from.

If we were having coffee, what would you have to say about your week?  The one past or the one to come?  What are you thankful for today?

If We Were Having Coffee (#14)

“Hey!  Good to see you again!”  I’ll give you a hug, if you’re open to hugs, because I’m in a hugging mood today.

Let’s settle in this lovely living room I’ve created in my imagination, overstuffed chairs (and a few old-fashioned, wood framed, lightly padded ones too, so you have options), the walls lined with shelves of books, the window looking out on some spectacular scene — city-scape, the ocean, mountains, lakes, mountain-lakes… take your pick.  It’s a living room of dreams, so it can take the form you want.

 I’m not actually drinking coffee this time, I need to detox a little bit after the spree of caffeinated beverages I had yesterday.  My NaNoWriMo region held a coffee-shop-hop, moving around the area from one coffee shop to another, writing our hearts out on our novels.  I spent an unhealthy amount of time at one of the shops, and then moved on to the next one with the group for a while.   I do not want to count how many shots of espresso I had in that time….  So, today is a bit of a detox day so that Monday mornings coffee can still be effective.

I can’t quite believe November is half over, but I’m really enjoying the work that I’ve been doing on my novel.  It’s kind of cool to watch the story finally unfold — after having vague ideas about it for so long it’s cool to see how things are playing out.  I’m actually starting to look forward to the editing and revising process!  REALLY hope that feeling lasts!

Not a whole lot else happened this week. I wrote a lot.  I spent large quantities of time in coffee shops for said writing.  We had a great threat of winter weather this week, which resulted in a little ice – but nothing too grand.

I feel like I’ve hit that point where my story is taking over much of my thought and energy — so I’m afraid my conversations are getting repetitive and dully, as I just keep trying to work through the story points over and over again.  Hopefully I’ll break through that soon — editing and revisions will at least cause me to look at it a bit differently and vary the conversation topics a tad.

In the meantime, what has your week been like?  Anything exciting going on?  What challenges are you facing?