Yeah, not participating in NaNoWriMo, because this is the busiest time of year at work. But I can at least blog every day, can't I? Thus, I have signed up for NaBloPoMo and will be blo-po-ing daily this month.
Let's run my 2015 reading against the POPSUGAR reading challenge list. My recollection might not be perfect, but let's see how I fared. I am going to move all the no's to the bottom of the list, change the list to be numbered, and viola:
A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with: "His Majesty's Dragons", about the navy and aviators in the 18th century. And dragons.
A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy: I knew I would love "The Racer"
A National Book Award winner: nope
A YA bestseller: nope
A book that's becoming a movie this year: not that I know
A book recommended by someone you just met: don't think so
A political memoir: nope
A book that's more than 600 pages: not even close
A book from Oprah's Book Club: nope
A book recommended by a family member: nope
A graphic novel: nope
A book with a protagonist who has your occupation: nope. This is probably the hardest category.
A dystopian novel: I don't think so.
A book of poetry: nope
The first book you see in a bookstore: possibly
A classic from the 20th century: nope
A book from the library: nope
A book about a road trip: no
A satirical book: no
A book that takes place on an island: no
Not too bad! Considering that most of my reading was murder mysteries and science fiction, and 14 of the 30 books I read were all from the same detective series with the same setting and characters. And still I met more than half of the categories. With a little planning ahead, these forty bits should be fairly easy to check off.
... aber unsere Liebe nicht. It's an old German pop song, from back in the sixties, and it popped up in my brain because I am about to bake a Marmorkuchen, a marbled cake. I have not baked this kind of cake in a long time. I would not be surprised to find out I have never baked it since I moved here. So why now?
We have a staff meeting on the calendar for tomorrow morning, and I asked my manager if there would be cake. At first he responded with a firm NO, but then he added that, you know what, yes, there SHOULD be cake.
I said I would take this as my action item. Hmmm, what to bake? Last time I made lemon pound cake, with the super lemony trick. Breton apple cake sounds good, but I don't have enough apples at home. Oh, right. I have not made Marmorkuchen, marbled cake, in a loooong time, and it's a German specialty. Alright then. Marmorkuchen it is.
And it is later now, after 11:30pm, and the cake is almost done, while far away in France, Joaquim Rodriguez has won the stage up the Plateau des Beilles, soaking wet in the pouring rain.
Not enough hours in the day. ESPECIALLY in the evening. Le sigh.
I had a cup of coffee after lunch, took off for my training session at the gym, and arrived yawning. After having coffee, fer Chrissakes!
The trainer asked if I was stressed. And how I'd slept the night before. Nothing out of the ordinary, far as I can tell. But the Tour de France is quite a time commitment, I have to say. Two and a half, or three and a half hours every evening. We're at the halfway point now; they'll race into Paris on Sunday the 26th, and then I'll race into the finish line for Camp NaNoWriMo.
But it's Bastille Day, and I am watching the peloton ride through the beautiful French country side. They are in the Pyrenees, near the Spanish border. This is the first day in the South of France, after the first week in the Netherlands and Belgium, and then in Normandy and Brittany. I keep picking out villages to vacation in, and castles to lord over. Hard to decide what to settle on.
Really, I just want to sit on a balcony with a breeze fluttering the curtains, a croissant on my plate and a big bowl of café au lait right under my nose.
Makes me think of a morning just like that, when I was - gasp! - hitchhiking back home from the Mediterranean. I forget where I was exactly, but I can see the picture in my mind - the clear blue bright light, green pastures, and the Massif Central rising in the background. Was that the Puy de Dôme? And the guy who gave me a long ride through half the country in his Peugeot, what was his name again? He lived near Marseilles, and worked in some manufacturing plant. I sure got lucky to get a long pull like that.
Back to the Tour de France. I was going to go with a couple of my coworkers three or four years ago, but then I pulled out of the planning when my cat got diagnosed with diabetes, because I had no idea what to expect in terms of her care and my finances. Now that she is gone, we are talking about a French vacation again. I have a reminder in my calendar for mid-October, after the route for next year gets announced; then we'll get together and start talking about plans.
Where to go?
Alps, Pyrenees? Normandy or Brittany? Paris at the end? La Manche? The Grand Départ has been announced for Mont Saint Michel, near the English Channel. Visiting the Channel Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, that would be interesting too.
I know, I know, I'm lagging. Getting nowhere near the average word count I need to make it to 10,000 by the end of the month.
But I'm blaming all my shortcomings this month on the Tour de France. I get up in the morning and check out the finish of the day's stage. Then I work a long day, I come home, feed the children and myself, and then I sit down and watch the day's stage in its entirety. This is of course quite a time commitment: the coverage is about 4 hours long, and even with me fast-forwarding through all the commercials and through some of the coverage when "nothing is happening", I still watch TV every day for about two and a half to three hours.
And when I'm done, my brain is full. Or empty, rather.