Saturday, November 1, 2014

*Crickets*

Happy NaNoWriMo!  I figured this would be a fun day to confirm I have not died nor have I been put into an sort of institution.

I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, first off.

Secondly, while I have completely disappeared and not even read a single one of the blogs I follow since..... oh geez, May probably, I do want to continue to write and finish my novel from last year.  Have I kept up any sort of writing habit?  Hell no.  Reading?  Nope.  What have I been doing you ask?

Baking.
As in breads and cookies and carrot cake and pumpkin rolls with buttercream frosting.
That's my big news and what's been going on.  I've started my own bakery business.

Back in April for the A to Z Challenge, I did a post for P, and it was about my kick-ass great-grandmother (who's still with us).  Her actual first name is Florence.  She used to bake a ton.  Breads, cookies, carrot cake, oh god it was all so good.  It took me a few years but she finally began to share with me all her recipes.  Because when she's gone, we're going to want some god damn carrot cake.

I cannot cook to save my life.  I cook better with my character in World of Warcraft than I can in real life.  So you can imagine how shocked Adam and I were after I made said carrot cake and it was the best carrot cake we've ever had,  I knocked all her recipes out of the park.

With a little brainstorming, math, and a big, terrifying jump, I began the journey of Flo's Bakery, baking out of my home to pay my bills.  I left my old job at that car dealership mid-August and haven't looked back.  That position began sucking the life out of me where I'd be coming home either in a fit of rage or a ball of tears, so there was no desire at all to write.  Since then I've been caught up in the business.

Also, Adam and I did tie the knot in September.  We leave for our honeymoon next week, which is another reason why I'm not doing NaNoWriMo.  Blizzcon, Disneyland, and we even get to see Metallica.  BLAM!  Best trip ever!

So that's what's going on here in Michigan.  Dara the Writer isn't writing a whole lot, but Dara the Baker showed up out of nowhere.  After our trip I do want to get into a routine again and start writing again, getting back into that mess of a supposed novel and complete it somehow.

Place your bets for when I'll post here again.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: STELLA!!!!



Oh Marlon, you were once so attractive.  We miss it.

Anyway, beyond a Tennessee Williams play, here's our beverage of the Thursday.

Devil duckie not included.

I found Stella Artois by accident.  I was at one of my favorite bars back in Chicago (Prarie Moon, go if you can) and I asked for Harp.  No Harp.  Well, shitballs.

"If you like Harp, try this," smartest bartender ever.  All bartenders are smart.  Great people.  Tip them well.  Because they introduce you to magical things.  Like this beer.


Have any suggestions of what I should be drinking?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I wrote stuff last night!

Don't get too excited for me, I'm not sharing any of it here.

I got in a good hour of brainstorming/writing last night.  Considering I work late Mondays and had a crummy day at work, I'm proud I got that much done.

I bounced ideas slash asked what I "should" be doing with Adam last week and determined I should first complete the WIP from where it's at.  Literally get to a THE END point.  That itself is a struggle as I haven't built up enough already written to get to an ending that makes sense.  So much is still in my head but I don't want to go back just yet to re-work everything.

Already I'm going over what needs to be re-worked.  The antagonist needs to be more of the main antagonist and not just a looming/empty threat.  My protagonist needs stronger motivation that fits with the plot.  Those are really the big things, those two characters.  If I can get the two of them nailed down, I'll be golden with the rest of the story and it'll all come together.

Channeling Chuck Wendig:
"Plot is like Soylent Green: it’s made of people."



Thursday, May 8, 2014

More on the WIP goal and Thirsty Thursdays

If it's one thing I do understand about setting goals is that I need to be clear and specific.  If I come up with some general, bland, blanket goal, you bet your ass I'll find a way to meet it in the most minimal way possible.

And that's not what I want to do.

I promised for myself to have "a manuscript complete by September 6."  Why that date?  It's our wedding date.  I figure it's fitting.

More importantly, I need to define "manuscript" for myself.  Not for you, for me.  Right now, the WIP is the super-ugly draft as it stands; plot holes, name hole, scene holes, a whole lot of holes.  I want to complete the story from where I left off.  Get to some sort of ending where I can say to myself, "Alright, Dara, it's over.  You can go curl in a ball for the next week and then get back to fixing the mess you have there."

Phase 2 will involve going back to the start, notebook at my side, and fix things.  Not all shiney and fancy, but certainly have it flow a lot better.

THAT is what I want to have done by September 6.  Ideally, from that point, I will be ready to hunt down a critique partner or editor or whatever the hell the next step would be.

I don't know, I've read so many articles on the writing process, it's all mashed together into a lump in my brain.  What's a good step-by-step for a newb?



Thirsty Thursday: Pacifico

A belated Cinco de Mayo theme.  Although when I had it, it was Cinco de... Tres?


While I'm not a fan of Dos Equis or Corona, I will drink the crap out of Pacifico.  It's labeled as a "Mexican pilsner-style" beer, which I find funny because I personally don't like pilsners.

I'm not planning much on Thirsty Thursdays other than sharing with you a different drink each week and whether I enjoyed it or not.  I would love some suggestions!  I get a bit stuck in my ways so any recommendations of beer would be welcomed.  Yes, beer.  We'll start there and see where that can expand to.

Anyone have their own favorite they'd like me to feature?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG - May 2014



The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the sexy creation of Alex J Cavanaugh.   Its glorious purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Visit the website and/or join the Facebook Group.



Oops!  Well then!

My insecurity this week is forgetfulness.

Because while I rocked scheduling two posts for the week, I neglected this month's IWSG.

This will be one of the shortest posts ever as I did want to participate this month but didn't pay attention to my schedule.

June will be way better, I swear.  Hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A to Z Challenge aftermath

Well that was fun!

A formal welcome is due to any new followers.

Welcome!

..... I'm wearing a ballgown, you can't see it.  It's formal, I promise.

I own the fact that while I rocked out a post every day through April, I sucked at visiting other blogs.  I also sucked at reading any and all of the other blogs I follow.  I feel bad about it.

I alluded to two goals for myself during the recent challenge.  The first being some sort of blog schedule.  I have a habit sort of built in where I'm drawn to my Blogger dashboard and the need to schedule something for some point.  Score!

Decision: Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Let's make it fun.  THIRSTY Thursdays.  Oh!  Brilliant idea!!  Not only will I whine about writing, I'll also highlight a beverage of the day.... and by beverage, I mean beer.

This excites me.

On another note, I did myself in on April 26th by making a promise to myself that I would have a manuscript complete of my WIP, tentatively titled Life and Body Organs.  I sit here at our dining table on my ultrabook, much like I was in November, putting it off once again.

Hey, at least I'm writing.  :)

How about you people?  Will it be business as usual now that the A to Z Challenge is over?  Or have you made some big plans for yourself as well?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z: Zelda

Let me first address a pet peeve.  THIS is Zelda:


This is NOT Zelda:


Google Images gave me a nosebleed just now.  Moving on...


My gold cartridge Legend of Zelda NES game was one of the first I ever received.  It was glorious and a pain in my 8-year-old ass when I first played it.

Turns out the Zelda series is one of Adam's favorite games of all time.  But here's the hilarious part.

He has never played the 1986 ORIGINAL Legend of Zelda.  Ever.  If you want to talk the timeline, sure, it's the "most recent events" in the world of Hyrule.

But seriously.  Never.  WTF, Adam.  Not even on an emulator on his PC.  He's played Zelda II and everything since, but not the original.

I do still have my 8-bit system, but it doesn't work and I'm too protective of it to send it off to this place that repairs NES systems so they run like new.

But I might have to.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y: Yard

I have lived in apartments and condos my entire life.  So the whole Yard and Garden section was never necessary when doing grocery runs and home improvement and blah blah blah.

Then Adam came along and bought us a house.  We have this thing called a yard now.


 
 


P.S. I suck at trying to format multiple pictures.

Decent front yard and side yard.  We live on a corner so we have another massive side yard (final photo).  The backyard is a work in process; the house had been empty for so long, massive weeds/shrubs/stumps took over the backyard so we/Adam has been gradually removing stumps and getting grass to grow.  He's rocking it so far.

He rocks at a lot of things, actually.

video

What we have both learned is that much like cats and dogs, I am an indoor Dara.  I will clean a bathroom and kitchen and do laundry like it's my job.  But ask me to help pull out the weeds so we can get mulch down.... good luck with that.

Monday, April 28, 2014

X: Xmas movies

I went with Xmas because it fit the letter X, so calm the hell down.

Christmas/Xmas is definitely one of my favorite times of the year.  I'm not just talking the day itself where my friends and family get to open my always awesome gifts, but the whole time frame starting late November through the end of December.

Note I said late November.  Give Halloween its space.  Adam and I rocked out Han Solo and Leia Organa costumes and plan for Link and Zelda soon.  /end tangent

I have traditions (more like rituals at this point) that start Thanksgiving weekend with the pulling-decorations-out-of-storage, setting them all up with movies on the TV.

I am a Christmas movie whore.  A high-class whore as there are only certain ones I will watch.  I seriously go through each movie at least 5 times during the season.  With the exception of this one:

All day long ON Christmas day?  You bet!!!

A Christmas Story is tied as my all-time most loved and viewed movie.  The other?

Because Bill Murray.

Of course there's Charlie Brown and Home Alone and It's A Wonderful Life and cartoon Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty, and Snow Miser.

But it all really starts, and this is Mom's fault, with an oldie but a goodie:

Presented in VISTAVISION!

The second the boxes are brought up, I hit "play" on the PS3 and Irving Berlin starts my holiday off perfectly.  This is the classic movie White Christmas if you have no idea what Bing and Danny there are doing in pretend drag.  Want to have fun?  Take a drink everytime Vera-Ellen comes on screen wearing a high-collared top.

"I don't know what he's up to, but he's got that Rodgers and Hammerstein look again."
"Is that bad?"
"Not bad, but always expensive."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W: World of.... Writing

Two part post, and I shall make it brief.

Part one, World of Warcraft.  I mentioned before that Adam, the fiance, and I met playing this addiction of a game.  My account has been inactive for so long that I can't pull up an image of my character to share with you, so here's the next closest thing.

I'm telling you the balls in this raid were EXTREMELY important.

My little drunken rogue is there between the two trees.  Oh Ulduar25, how I kinda-sorta-but-not-really miss you.  I haven't played in forEVER.  There's that new expansion coming out later this year, we're contemplating getting it.  BlizzCon is this year as well, and we're seriously contemplating going there for our honeymoon.  Stupid awesome idea, I know!


Part two, writing.  Those of you who tuned out for the nerd-gasm can come back now.

The only writing I have been up to as of late are these lovely little bits of blog posts here this past month.  I saw a topic somewhere asking what life will be like post A to Z challenge.

Definitely more posts.  I got in the habit of cranking out posts Sunday, scheduling them for the week.  I don't see that they'll be daily posts (I'm sure many of you are tired of the completely random topics I've covered this far), but they will be back into the theme of my endeavor of writing.

With the post(s) set for the week, more writing time.  Between work and working out daily (I gotta get the bod ready for a wedding dress, remember), writing is back up to the top of my priority list.  The WIP being first of all.

Know what would be awesome?  Having my WIP be a complete manuscript before September 6.

Let's make that happen, Dara.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V: Vertigo

Ever have vertigo?  It sucks.

Movie?  Fantastic.  Actual vertigo?  Nope.

Never had it?  Here's a description of what it's like, and it doesn't have much to do with a fear of heights.

You know how when you've been drinking and everything seems like it's spinning around?  Tilting around?

That's how your vision is.

Only you're not drunk.

So it's awful.

Another analogy is like spinning around in a circle with your forehead on a baseball bat and then trying to run.

Bending over, laying down, lifting my head up to look up above.  Any of that would trigger the dizziness.  How?  No reason.  For me, it just happened.  Often if you been sick and coughing or sneezing a lot, that can jolt up the "calcium crystals" inside your inner ear which controls your balance and just have you go haywire.

I was never sick.  I woke up one more and nearly fell off the bed as I sat up.

Adam found this hilarious.  I went to pull a frozen pizza out of the oven and nearly fell head first into it.

Actually, that is kind of hilarious.  A Tombstone nearly did me in.

After 2 months it just went away.  Weird.

Don't get vertigo.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U: Ugly light

Do you have one of those ceiling lights in your house that just makes the room ugly?

I'm not meaning the style of the light.  I'm talking about when the light is on, the way it lights the room is bad.  You turn it on and you instantly go, "Ugh... this room is awful."

The floor lamp in the corner or table lamp are SO MUCH BETTER and makes the room nice a warm and friendly and comfy.

But that damn ceiling light.  It's only purpose is when your contact lens pops out and you need all the light possible in order to find it.

Lamps FTW.



This post may have been created out of spite for the ugly lamp debates Adam and I have on a daily basis.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T: Totes ma goats



That is all.

Adam's boss at work does 4-H stuff with goats.  I'm trying to borrow one of her goats for the above purpose.

Plus, they're cute as hell.

Lastly....


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S: Sid

I mentioned back on April 11th that I had a car.  I bought it new in 2005.  A Saturn Ion.  He goes by Sid.


It wasn't long after I got Sid where I noticed the comment put by the dude who added the detailing accent lines whatever they're called.  Have a close look at this picture, "Sid did it," is what it says.

Aside from how unprofessional of the Sid guy who did that (apparently doing that is frowned upon), I never really thought much of it and still referred to my car as, "My Car."

"Sid" was all Adam's doing.

While still living in Chicago, Adam borrowed my car and put gas in it while he was out.  Back at my place, "Oh, I put some gas in Sid for you."

"Who?"
"Sid."
"Who the hell is Sid?"
"Your car.  Don't you call him Sid?"
".... no?"
"Oh, well, he's side.  He's even got a name tag already."

This coming from the guy who used to drive Darby the Durango and now has Debbie the Dakota.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R: Roller Derby

My move from Chicago to Michigan was times as the town I was arriving to was trying to start up a roller derby team.  For anyone who doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about, here's a visual:

There's about 4 fouls happening in this picture.

It was perfect.  The place right right up the road from where Adam and I were living at first (his parents'), it was something I had already thought about doing, and it was a great way to start meeting people that wasn't work related.  That was June 2012.

Cut to July 2013, I quit.  Yes, I'm sure somewhere in my subconscious is my same issue of some fear I have no idea what.  But when I look back now, as much as I enjoyed it, I wasn't happy.

The team that was trying to start up fizzled out not long after.  Drama aside, and there was a shit ton of it, I noticed that if you are trying to build a team, you don't isolate people on that team.  I was guilty of it myself; there I was trying so hard to fit in that I would do the same crap high schoolers do in order to feel accepted.  Of course when I caught on to how I was acting and stopped the immature behavior, I was quickly isolated as well.

Apparently because I didn't have a kid, didn't like country music, wasn't single or had a shitty relationship with my significant other, I wasn't one of the cool kids.

Like I said, lots of drama.

At that point I was also beginning to dive into the world of writing (I started my blog not long before I quit) and I decided that I can put the same amount of work into writing that I was derby and actually get shit done.

I love roller derby.  It was stupid fun and great exercise.  And I did learn a lot about myself and how I operate as well as how the environment is out here in small-town Michigan.  I did consider trying another team (one that is established) but the time spent driving for a 2 hours practice 3 or more times a week.... meh.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q: Quiet... and how that doesn't happen

I am loud.  Talk loud.  Whisper loud.  Laugh loud.

I get my hands slapped to this day because of it.

Sure, as any typical kid, I was loud.  Normally a person learns about the "inside voice" by the time they've reached 5th grade.

I missed that day in kindergarten apparently.  As well as "don't worry about what other people think about you" day, but that's another story.

I've had family members of friends leave the room because I'm talking too loud.  I've gotten written up at jobs because I talk to loud on the phone.  My mom will move her fingers as if turning the volume down on a stereo amplifier when we speak to each other in person.

On the other side of it....

My great-grandmother is nearly deaf and she wants to hear how Adam and I are doing and asks me to speak up.  I often feel as if people try to speak over me or interrupt, so I speak louder.  I thought what you said was freaking hilarious and god damnit, I'm going to laugh about it.


Even when I'm at home by myself, I always have to have something going on in the background.  Music, tv, random movie, something.  Total silence makes me uncomfortable.  Which shocks me that Adam can sit in the house and do work with NOTHING ON.  Dead silence.  I assume something awful happened and he's all, "Nope, I'm fine.  Just reading."

What.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peez

Pronounced Peas.

As I've mentioned, Peez is my great-grandmother.  The one responsible for the Polish in our family.

March 2008.  Notre Dame sweatshirt.  We have problems.


She's 96 years old.  Peez played the role of Mom when actual Mom was at work.  And she spoiled me rotten.  As any great-grandmother should.  Her house was my other "home" as I went to school though 5th grade in town here.

Some of her gems are:

"Dara's too young to be wearing deodorant!"
"Gram, she stinks."

(while looking at old pictures)  "Boy, I was quite the looker!  So attractive!"
"Modest, too, Mom."

Mom and I started a blog years ago with the intent to publish a book.  Peez would always put notes in my lunch as a kid and wrote short poems in birthday and holiday she gave to me and Mom.  Once we moved to the city, she would send them almost every week, then once a month at Mom's insistence (she would send me an "allowance" that I hadn't exactly always deserved/earned).  Always with a poem.  When I was in college, I got a weekly poem and cash.  Every holiday I could always count on a poem.  Birthdays, especially.

But she's 96.  Classic old person, her hearing is shot and glaucoma and cataracts have wreaked havoc.  If I don't call her when Wheel of Fortune is on, she won't hear me as only the sexy Pat Sajak gets the honor of her putting in her hearing aids.  She's been falling a lot (luckily she hasn't injured herself).  She's too stubborn to let my grandfather teach her how to use the walker she recently got correctly (he lives with her and cares for her).

Her best friend still calls her Hot Lips.  And she still calls her best friend Tits Galore.

Her body is winding down, but her mind is still there.  She will still call me her Dear Little One and Little Shit in the same breath.

It's very hard for me to think about her now, presently, compared to back in days of yore when she would carry me around her house on her shoulders, singing "I love you a bushel and a peck" while we look at ourselves in the weird amount of mirrors she has in her house to this day.

Save for my step-father's passing (which I have yet to fully deal with over a year later), I have no idea how I will cope/handle when she has to leave.  I have been very grateful/lucky that I have yet to experience that in my life.  But it still sucks and I'm not looking forward to that day.  I'm not sure what I'll do and how I'll function.  It was hard enough moving away to Michigan, four hours away.

Holy crap, this was a longer post than I intended.  My bad!  On to more fun topics!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O: O apostrophe

A short rant expanding on my April 10th post.

How many people in the US identify as Irish American?  Lots.  I don't have a number, but I know it's lots.

I hate having to fight and have my name spelled correctly.  Unless the person I'm talking with also spells their surname with O', people look at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears.

"O apostrophe capital R?  Why does it have to be capitalized?"

Because that's how to spell it!!  If your name is Katherine, I bet you'd get ticked if I kept spelling it as C-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e.  Even more so if I went the route of K-a-t-h-r-y-n.  Yeah, pisses you off, right?

And my fellow Irish and even Scottish with Mac or Mc in their surname have it just as bad.  You and I both know it's MacFarlane and McIntire.  Yet you'll have your name tag printed as Macfarlane and Mcintire.

Oh, I know why (other than people just not understanding).  Computers.  I understand.  Whatever "language" your system uses to operate won't allow an apostrophe because it screws with the code.  It's 2014.  I know for a fact that this isn't a valid excuse anymore.  If a friggin' bill collector can spell my name out properly on the next harassing letter they send me, then AT&T can do the same with my monthly bill that I've had for six years.


End rant.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N: Notre Dame... I mean Novel! Yes, Novel...

When figuring out my posts for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, N was easy.  Notre Dame!  DUH!

Luckily for you, I addressed that obsession already on April 7th.  So I had to come up with an alternative for today.

Novel.  I wrote one.  Five months ago.  In 30 days.  Remember how I was stupid happy that I did, too?  And how I was even more happy that the story itself isn't finished, maybe halfway?

My novel has been the source of my rantings here.  Rants, in that I rant how I can't get myself back to it.  Have a look at my IWSG posts, nearly all are around how I am just not writing.  Especially that.  So since I already have an opportunity to whine about my writing shortcomings, here's a bit of a mess of a synopsis of what my novel is since I've never really shared a lot of it.


Maisie Riley is a late-20s-something living with an extremely rare blood disorder/condition that prevents her from sleeping.  Ever.  She never has.  To her knowledge, her parents put her up for adoption because who would want to deal with a toddler that doesn't sleep?  After hoping around from foster home to foster home, she has grown into a pretty level adult.  The fun starts when she finds out that the CEO/owner of a global medical research company is her grandfather and she is the only living relative.  Hello massive income!  Maisie's happy and spoils herself and her two BFFs Bree and John.

Insert wrench in her plans here.  After being attacked by what she assumes is a bath-salts addict, Maisie learns the true nature of the global empire she's inherited.  Sure, it guides and supports groundbreaking research for human health, but the real purpose is to control a growing population of Unliving; people infected with an unknown ailment or something where they require Living human organs and flesh to sustain themselves to keep from going crazy and outright murdering normal people.  The crazy bath-salts attack she had was really an Unliving, and due to her blood disorder, she wasn't infected.  Her grandfather had the same problem and spent all his time trying to handle the Unliving population on top of finding a cure for his own problem and a cure for the Unliving issue.

Also insert Bree possibly being an Unliving hunter a-la Bruce Wayne/Batman, jackass board members trying to push her out and have Unliving run the show, and other crap I can't put words to yet.  It's a fun little shit-storm I have planned out.  Mostly.


Think Repo Man plus Walking Dead plus 28 Days Later plus other random things here and that's the novel I'm trying to complete.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M: Mom

I have mentioned this wonderful woman numerous times.  Perhaps it's time you've met her.

Yes, she went to Disneyworld a few weeks ago.  She kinda sucks like that.

This is Shannon, a.k.a. SMO, a.k.a. Mom/Mama.

We're stupid close.  Granted, I did go through that phase in high school referring to her as Stalin because how dare she tell me to finish my history paper before going to see the Wayne's World 2 at the movies?!  Of course as an adult now, I know she did that as part of her "Don't Be Me" campaign.

Other than the Russian dictator reference, I also refer to her as Wonder Woman.  She is the strongest person I know.  Between the drama of being a teenage, unwed, mother in the early 1980s, balancing 3 jobs at one point to provide for us, and more recently, being a widow, I'm fairly confident she could WW a run for her money.

Mom also expresses herself a hell of a lot better than I do.  Papillon D'Amour is a blog she has been keeping since my step-father's death and it's incredibly moving.  Have some tissues on hand.

Monday, April 14, 2014

L: Lemon Squares

Peez, my great-grandmother (whom you'll hear about on April 18th), bakes the most wonderful things.  Breads, cakes, and her classics, Christmas cookies.  Well, "Christmas" in that she only makes them for Christmas.  Really, now that I have her recipes, I can make them whenever the hell I want.  But since I am all about tradition, no one gets Pecan Tassies or Crescents until December.

One of the cookies she made were Lemon Squares.  Though I'm sure many of you refer to them as Lemon Bars.  In the O'Regan household, it's squares, so suck it.

See?  Square.  SQUARE!

When I was in 5th grade, we had a dilemma at Christmas one year.  What came to be known as The Lemon Square Issue.  These were the days where my grandfather still drank, Peez (his mother) still hosted Christmas, and my uncle still lived in Chicago.  This was actually the last Christmas he was around for before he moved to New York and eventually Miami.

Mom and I arrive to Peez's, my uncle already there laughing his ass off with my grandfather and Peez freaking the hell out.  "What happened?" Mom asks.

"Your grandmother lost the lemon squares," Papa tells her.  Yes.  She lost them.  She made a massive tray of them and they just disappeared in her tiny house.  The five of us scour the whole house.  Back porch.  Garage.  Basement.  Front porch.  We almost pulled out the ladder to check the attic.  How in the hell do you lose Lemon Squares?

It became the joke of the day.  "We'll find the Lemon Squares next to Jimmy Hoffa," my uncle says.  Mom was outright ticked as those were her favorites.  Peez at one points pulls a handkerchief out of her sleeve to blow her nose (because apparently back in the day that's where women kept them, in their sleeve), and my grandfather grabs her arm, "Hey!  Here!  Check inside for Lemon Squares!"

Hours later, while opening presents (we have this on home movie), my grandfather walks into the front-room/fronchroom with a beer in one hand and a massive tray in the other.  It's the Lemon Squares.  "This is Peez's last Christmas present," he says to the camera.

"Where did you find them?!" Peez shouts.

"IN THE REFRIGERATOR!"

We all died.  First place we looked.... and by we, I mean Peez.  She's four-foot nothing and couldn't see over all the other food.


Okay, it's kind of one of those you-had-to-be-there moments.  But it's legendary.

Peez has not made the Lemon Squares since then.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K: Kite

Congratulations, you get to read two days worth of snippets from my childhood.

It will explain a lot of how I operate, I promise you.  Maybe.  We'll see.  They're entertaining at the very least.

Kites.  Like these things:

Yay for clip art.


At some point in 4th or 5th grade, a couple friends and I thought it would be a great idea to grab our kites and make use of them in a parking lot at the community center behind our houses.  Why parking lot?  Only place with no trees.  And actually, pretty sure there were no lights.  We were 10 years old, planning wasn't our strong suit.

It was my turn for my kite that I remember being some cross of a fighter jet and Sesame Street, Grover was on it or someone, whatever.  We weren't getting our kites very high as of course, the day you want to fly a god damn kite is the day the wind won't show up.

Mine took a nosedive and smashed onto the bumper of a parked car.  Friends headed over to remove the lodge kite when parked car became moving car.  Moving away car.  Friends give chase and what do I do?  Well I didn't want that asshat in the car to drive off with my Grover Kamikaze flying machine, so I did the next best thing while my friends ran after the car waving their arms in the air to the driver.  I held onto the kite string.

*pause for hilarious effect*

No, I was not dragged across the asphalt.  Though that totally would have made for a better story, right?!  The next worst thing happened, which was the kite string snapping right where I had it wrapped around the middle of my forefinger.  Tore right through the skin.  And it was one of those deep cuts where it takes like five minutes to bleed.

Kite retrieved, I pretty much turned into the 4-year-old I permanently am, certain I could see the bone, bolted home to my great-grandmother waving my finger in the air that it was going to fall off and needed to be set on ice immediately.

Awesome scar, though.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J: Jobs

No, not Steve.  Simmer down.

I appreciate what you accomplished, but PC FTW!

I'm talking employment.  Career.  Work.  The thing that brings money into our house regularly.

Being a college drop out, finding a job for myself was difficult.  I had a very good one for 4 years.  I was able to move out on my own, bought a condo, had a new car (see "S" on April 22nd), it was nice.  Between me taking that for granted and the economy taking a dive in 2008, I lost said nice job in early 2009, and life hasn't been the same.  I have been in and out of other jobs since.

Professional Organizer.  Floater at a law firm; I have zero experience in the field.  Receptionist.  Retail.  YMCA.  Car dealership.  The last being full-time, which is nice as I haven't had that since 2009.

But big decisions have been made between 2013 and through today.  I do want to be writing more.  I still have my WIP from NaNoWriMo to complete and ideally work on publishing.  I have other ideas in my head.  I want to be a writer by career, not just a hobby.  But with a 40 hour work week, it's difficult.

With Adam's blessing, meaning I-better-still-be-able-to-cover-my-share-of-the-bills, I'm on the Job Hunt again.  The plan: part-time.  No more than 29 hours a week.  Making enough to, like Adam "warned," the bills.  And specifically somewhere here in town to save on gas.  Right now I'm driving a good hour every day and filling my tank every week or so.

Long term, hell, if I can get paid enough to just write, perfect!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I: Irish!

If for some reason you haven't grasped this yet from reading my blog, I am of Irish heritage.

And Polish, but we're not discussing that today.

I love my heritage.  The good and the bad.  Yes, it's frustrating trying to get my name spelled properly with the apostrophe; I can't tell you how many times I seriously need to explain that the O stands for O'Regan, not Olivia or Odessa or Ophelia or Oprah or OhmygodIwillkickyouinthetibia.

And I will MAKE IT HURT!

I spent a good deal of my time volunteering at the Irish American Heritage Center when I was still in Chicago.  For any of you readers/followers who live in Chicago or the surrounding area, you must visit this wonderful place!  It's right off the Blue Line and I-94 right where it splits at the Kennedy and Edens, so you have no excuse as it's convenient as hell.  There's events every day, every weekend, and coming up is the annual Irish Fest that's in July.  So go there.  Now.  Like, right now.  Chances are the bar's open.  And the food is flippin' awesome.  Because potatoes.

Awesome side note having nothing to do with the letter I:
The day that I wrote this blog post, April 1st, Adam and I officially are engaged!  Just a glorious life event I felt should be shared.  Nope, not an April Fool's.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H: Humor

I like to think I'm funny.  Entertaining.  Maybe not really original, but as long as I make people laugh, I'm happy with that.

When I was 5 or 6 years old, my great-grandmother (she was my other mother while Mom worked 3 jobs) would be channel surfing in the evening and find PBS, stopping right there.  What was on?  Benny Hill.

Because that's exactly what a 5 or 6 year old should be watching.  Benny "women running around in their underwear" Hill.

Of course I had to share a picture of him in drag.

That was the start of my obsession with British TV/humor.  Faulty Towers, Are You Being Served?, and Monty Python all came in line after that.  Combine that with musicals from the 1940s and 1950s, Danny Kaye and Donald O'Connor, you can imagine where the hilarity went from there.

That dry and sarcastic tone is built into me, which I've learned since leaving Chicago, doesn't always go over well in small-town Michigan.

But Family Guy sure as hell does.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G: Gaming

I play video games.  Therefore, I am a gamer.

I'm not here to start a debate over sub-qualifications of what constitutes being a gamer, let alone that stupid "gamer girl" argument.  I have boobs and a vagina and right now South Park: The Stick of Truth is my obsession right now.  That's all there is to it.

I have always enjoyed video games.  I was also raised properly to know that also going outside and playing softball instead of Softball Simulator '98 was just as important.

If that was a real game, hilarious.

I still own my 8-bit NES, though sadly it doesn't work too well.  I'm even lucky enough to have the GOLD Adventure of Zelda game cartridge.  These days, we're a lovely house of PS3, Wii, 3DS, and PC gaming.  The only thing you won't see in my game library are first person shooters and sports games.... and scary games.  Slender?  To hell with that game.  I cried and screamed like a toddler at The Blair Witch Project, you think I'm gonna play crap like that?

Other big favorites of mine, past and present: Mario Party, The Sims, Age of Empires 2, World of Warcraft (see W in days to come), Batman: Arkham series, Dungeon Keeper 2, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Bros 3, and this you I highly recommend you Google for shits and giggles, Princess Tomato and the Salad Kingdom (it's so bad it's good).



On a final note, sticking with the letter G, here's a goat parkouring off his buddies:


Monday, April 7, 2014

F: FOOTBALL!!!

I'm not talking "football" like the rest of the world calls it.  I'm talking good old, 'Merican FOOTBALL!

I love it.  The saddest day of my life is the day after the Super Bowl.

My teams, you ask?

Bears all the way.  See the letter C.  I remember doing the Super Bowl Shuffle when I was 3-years-old (I really do.  Dancing on the coffee table with my best friend).  Butkis, Payton, and Perry were my favorites as a child.... I know, Butkis wasn't playing anymore by then, but I watched the crap out of My Two Dads.  Though when I think of the team currently.... and what the McCaskey family has done in the past few months... damnit, got another nosebleed.  Don't get me started.  Adam is a Lions fan.  I have no problem with the Lions.  They're the Chicago Cubs of football.  Now Green Bay.... my ex's family were Packer fans.  Note: my ex.


And then there's the magic and love that is Notre Dame.  It's a sickness, my fandom.  In a drunken stupor, my grandfather wrote a letter to Notre Dame back in the 1970s asking for tickets to a game, expressing his undying love of the team, school, and tradition.  They got him signed up for season tickets, 4 seats every home game and bowl game.  You can imagine how the story goes from there.  If I was smart I would share with you the numerous photos of 2-year-old Dara posing for photos in front of my grandfather's homemade ND collages, with Touchdown Jesus, and Number 1 Moses.

Adam and I are scheduling our wedding this fall to either coincide with ND's bye week or the ND vs. Michigan game.  Yes, Adam is a Michigan fan.  No, I have not harmed him yet.

Threatened to withhold sex?  Yes.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E: Eating

So what if I used a verb?

You're probably eating right now as you read this.

What are you eating?  May I have some?

Sorry.


Remember the re-make of Ocean's Eleven and the glory that was the trio of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney?  Brad Pitt's character, Rusty, it literally eating something in almost every.  Single.  Scene.



If that's Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie, that's reason# 684 for me to hump him.

That is pretty much my life... eating, not humping (or is it?).  I heart food.  And in all honesty I'm not that thrilled with food being my emotional go-to (other than beer, see letter B a couple days ago).

Beyond holidays, I will eat until I am too full to do anything else.  It's as if I can't teach myself to pay attention to where I'm not hungry anymore and I keep eating because it either a) tastes good or b) it's be a waste not to (because I can't figure a proper portion size to save my life/diet).

Adam and I have been doing very well eating better.  We cook at home more, rarely get fast food, and avoid some of that highly processed mess.  But still.  I'll have leftovers from dinner for lunch with a decent salad, and quickly go out on my lunch bread to Culver's for cheese curds because GOD DAMNIT DEEP FRIED CHEESE CURDS ARE MAGICAL.

Rusty would eat the crap out of those, hands down.

Friday, April 4, 2014

D: Dara!!

That's my name, don't wear it out.

Seriously, do not.


I'm not kidding.


My mom was about 9 years old watching the Mike Douglas Show and his musical guest was Neil Sedaka.  Let me pause a moment to point out that I'm talking about this Mike Douglas...

Clearly not Catherine Zeta-Jones' better half.

Point of reference for you: Tiger Woods was on his show as a child prodigy in golf and shot a few puts with James Stewart and Bob Hope.  The more you know.  Moving on.

For whatever reason, Neil Sedaka has his daughter appear on the show, and her name was Dara.  Mom fell in love with the name, and 8 years later when I popped out of her, Dara is what I got.

See also nicknames by "friends" of mine: Dara the Explorer, Daria (didn't mind that as I loved the cartoon), and Dar-Dar Binks..... I hate you, George Lucas.