Eep! NaNo!

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow!!  I think I am ready.  Pretty much.  I think.

Maybe.

This will be me by the 20th.

Hell.  It’s me now.  

However, I do have a plot outline… most of the way done.  It’s up to August and there’s a surprising twist in it.  I didn’t intend for it at all.

Check it out 😀

Nano plot outline:

Prologue: Masaru has the COO of Asian Commerce murdered.

December 2015

         

        Arrives home

        Christmas is over, wind down, pack up, intro to main characters

        Getting ready for trip

        End with party?

January 2016

        Sled dogs to Victoria Island, Nunavut to the Reindeer breeding ranch – Reindeer Games.  Flies from there to Buttonville Ontario.

        Gets news about COO during drive to Mississauga

        Allan Candies in Mississauga, Hasbro Toronto, Scholastic Canada in Markham.

         

February

        Masaru

        Chicago – Tootsie Roll Industries

        Hudson Ohio – Little Tikes

        East Aurora, NY –  Fisher Price

        Dinner with the wife in NYC

        NYC – Weinstein Books & Arthur A Levine Books

March

        West Chester, PA – Mars Chocolate

        Atlanta Georgia – Lil’ Monkeys Kid Playgrounds Headquarters

        New Orleans – Elmer’s Fine Foods (Chee Wee’s)

April

         

        Dallas – Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business

        Meets new COO, in Dead Cow Dumpster Saloon in Abilene, Texas.

        Nevada – Area 51, experimental sled testing

 

 

 

May

        Grand Canyon – beneath is a secret production facility extending  5 floors below Grand Canyon Village and extending in a curve around the southern rim, allows for construction, testing and living quarters/recreation areas.  Access points to the base of the canyon at varying levels for testing of ourdoor equipment. 

        Los Angeles – Apple exec meeting

        El Segundo – Mattel

        Malibu Beach – surfing

        Things start to go wrong in various places this month, almost entirely confined to the portion of the big 8 Ari has interest in

June

        Ari gets asked to give aid in Turkey.  Minor coup taking place with the aid of a UN supported paramilitary organization (mercenary).    Own plane from LA to NYC, commercial flight to Monaco, own plane from there (usually used by company to supply food to refugees and drought stricken countries) to Egypt where supplies are loaded.

        Does a drop over Ankara, Turkey, flies back to Jordan, takes a commercial flight from there to Mattel in Amstelveen, The Netherlands

        Billund, Denmark – Lego

        Hops from there to Germany to look at new adult products for naughty & nice adults

        London, England to visit publisher and oversee new book choices

July

        Seoul, South Korea to visit Samsung (in Samsung Town)

        Has new COO meet him in Seoul for personal tour of Asian Holdings, discusses her espionage

        Minato, Tokyo, Japan – Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine and Sony

         

August

        Meeting with the other gift givers and mythological creatures

        Organizes the release of Takara’s parents

         

 

Cool eh?  Not sure about “Asian Commerce” but it’ll do until I figure out what it is the COO should be chief of operations for.  Something to do with the Asian owned companies (Samsung, Sony etc…why do all the names start with S?).  Overseeing them.  

Takara is the spy Masaru, the bad guy, manages to thrust into the position of COO.  Some serious leverage on her. 

Speaking of characters, why don’t you meet the main ones?

Characters

 

Main character:

Santa’s real name is Ari Lykke (pronounced Ah-ree Loo-kuh).  The man is 6’4″ and kind of looks like Paul Sr.  With less mustache and a better attitude.  Ari is clean shaven.  He is blond.  Blue eyes.  The hair is cut close on the sides, little longer on top.  And he has big hands.  (I like big hands.)

Ari is pretty much like you’d expect Santa to be – funny, smart, compassionate and a loving husband.  He is a ruthless business man and a fair boss.  The Elves (yes, they exist) have paid holidays and benefits along with equal wages.    He is slow to anger and usually sees the reasons behind a person’s actions.  He DOES have the insight you want in a man who decides who has been naughty and nice.

Our Santa loves to surf!  He collects cars.  Loves cars. Has collected them since the first Model T rolled off the line.  In fact, he owned the first.  He drives all over the country in these cars, trading them every few states, as he drives around looking after his business interests.  He likes to travel commercial airlines when he travels around the world to look in on his interests in other countries.  He gets to meet people that way.  He may or may not have a knack for getting on flights with children-now-adults he likes or children on planes, period.

He has one sibling, someone who had been in the business with him until the late 19th Century.  The brother was not what you would want in Santa’s brother – he was selfish and hedonistic.  He toyed with the female elves (toyed! HA! no pun intended *giggles*), using them for sexual pleasure and whatnot.  Finally Ari had enough and dropped his brother in the New World to fend for himself.  That man lost his immortality but because his brother loves him, he is dying very slowly.  It’s been well over a century and he is still alive, though it’s getting close now.  All those women Hugh lives with in California will be devastated when he dies, I’m sure.

Ari’s wife was chosen for him for her personality traits but they have, over the centuries, become madly in love with each other.  Their children are the world’s children and they are content with themselves and their lives.  That contentment is reflected in the way Ari conducts Santa Claus Enterprises.

Ari’s Wife

Her name is Heidi Lykke.  She’s German.  Or, more accurately, Gaulish.

 

Tall, fair skinned, blonde with silvery highlights (some natural, some not).  Her eyes are a deep forest green.  She has high cheekbones, a lush mouth and straight nose.  She’s tall, reaching a height of 5’11 in bare feet.  She is fit but has curves, looks fantastic in a bikini or wet suit but her body is luxurious and soft.

 

Heidi is happy with her life.  She’d always known that she had more love than being a mother to a small few could manage.  And she needed more love than a little family could give her.  Now she has most of the world’s children to love and spoil and who love her back.   She travels the world with Ari though she only spends half the year with him.  Really, after a thirteen hundred years of marriage, some space is needed between husband and wife. 

 

Heidi is nearly endlessly patient and very creative.  She is the one who takes Ari’s ideas for toys to inspire imaginative minds and makes them something practical and doable.  She oversees the production of the toys they still make at the Pole and trusts Ari to take care of the external factories.  Where her husband collects cars, our Heidi collects motorcycles.  Racers, long distance riders, hogs… you name it, she loves it and probably has one.  One of her favourites is a cherry red 1942 Indian Chief with a sidecar.  It’s a show bike and she uses it for ride-for-kids charity rides. 

Mrs. Lykke is a philanthropist for children’s charities.  Health, schools, toys or literacy, Heidi has had a hand in them all over the world. 

Brief history of the Clauses: 

They have been married since approximately 573 A.D..  Then they were known as Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas and the world only ever saw  Mrs Claus after a Mr. James Rees snuck his way into the North Pole and subsequently wrote a book about what he saw.  Like any other couple they’ve had good years and bad years, (or, rather, good decades and bad ones), but their work has always brought them together.  They were put together by the Gods because of their love of children and their philanthropic natures. 

Their gifts of magic and insight are put up for review every century, as is their job as the lead gift givers of the world.  Every century they pass. 

They have huge responsibilities together and they manage their business well.  They manage their relationship with ease and panache.   Their love is deep and they make the effort to rejuvenate it every few decades. 

Together they are half the joy of Christmas.

 

 

Antagonist:

Masaru Miyagi is tall for a Japanese man, standing at 5’10″.  He is getting thick around the middle and when combined with the severe hair cut, the dark chocolate brown eyes and the mouth that only ever smiles if he thinks it’s an appropriate action, he is somewhat intimidating to the people who work under him and more than a few others in the toy manufacturing world.  The shark-like attitude is why he owns one of the largest companies in the world.

Masaru owns Namco Bandai Holdings Inc. and between the Japanese and US holdings he is extremely rich and yet very conservative in his spending.  He owns what he thinks a successful business man should own.  He is polite but ruthless and aggressive.  He owns and heads the largest company in Japan (second largest toy manufacturer in the world) not because he believes in the product but because he believes in the Yen and the almighty US dollar.

He has spies in every major toy/entertainment manufacturing company including S.C. Enterprises.  He discovered long ago that SCE either owns or has shares in almost every manufacturer of toys and electronics.  Masaru has decided that he wants the company. He wants SCE as part of his holdings.  He can’t afford it at its current value so he sets about trying to sabotage it and make at least part of it collapse from within.  It’s through one of those spies that he discovers what the ‘S.C’ stands for.

It changes Masaru’s tactics and goals.  And makes him darker as he gets more covetous.

The rest of the entertainment production world knows what SCE is but Masaru’s greed and internal darkness made him blind to it.

Secondary Characters

Spy:

Takara Fujioka, whose name means ‘treasure’, is a petite Japanese woman with dark hair halfway to her waist, the colour of a raven’s wing.  She has full lips often painted a subdued colour, wide, almond shaped eyes.  They are green, which set her apart from the entire population of her tiny town at the base of Mount Fuji. 

She has always been exceptionally smart and very good at whatever she set her mind to.  Her parents got the government interested in her when she was but 4 years old by thrusting her into the hands of gymnast and ballet dancer recruiters.  Takara worked her ass off, having been born with a natural competitive streak.  When she was about 8 years old she realized that doing better than everyone else earned her more rewards.  When she was 12 it hit her that knowledge equaled power, power equaled money and money equaled moving her family somewhere away from Narusawa, a town run by a Yakuza named Kasei. 

She has a knack for business, easily learned every aspect of business, inside and out, from accounting to hostile takeovers.

She is noticed by Masaru when she is a teenager and groomed to lead his company.  She is sent to SCE to learn about the company and find its weakness.  Takara doesn’t want to do it.  Masaru organizes a kidnapping of her parents and little sister.  Promises to take care of them as long as she is doing her job. 

Takara’s love and honour is bound in her parents, with whom she kept in touch with faithfully while she was in school.  She loves them like nothing else and has done her best to bring them honour and care for them.  It is her fear that puts her in the position of COO in SCE.

Head Elf/Personal Assistant

Ren Yutai is an Elf.  Contrary to popular opinion and those ridiculous Santa Clause movies, Ren is not 3’6”.  No, Ren is 6’3”.  He is slim, long of limb.  His hands are so long and the fingers so lean and graceful  that people who notice them are sometimes put in the mind of something otherworldly but they cannot place it.  Ren has pale skin but a head of hair the colour of nickel; not a nickel but nickel itself – somewhere between steel and gold.  His eyes are hazel with more gold than any other colour in them.

Ren is Ari’s personal assistant.  He knows the business as well as Ari does.  He travels everywhere with him, knows all of the secrets Ari & Heidi keep and the ones Ari keeps from Heidi (like the mercenary side of Ari).  He has a head for business and is super organized.  He keeps track of everything from Ari’s schedule to his vehicles to his anniversary to the production schedules at all their facilities.

He is easy going but very strict when it comes to things running on schedule.  He goes everywhere with Ari, sometimes traveling ahead to make sure everything is correct.  He loves to laugh, has a healthy sex life (the ladies love him) and is a fan of rock n roll.  His favourite was always Elvis but he keeps up with music and now loves 30 Seconds to Mars.  He enjoys the holidays to the fullest.  Ren identifies as, by geographic default, Canadian and that’s what it says on his passport and identification.  He is 532 years old and has been with Ari for 450 of those years.   He can drive, he can fly, he can run the dogs. 

He is useless when it comes to science, although he grasps the concepts, he cannot turn it into application to save his life.  And he intensely dislikes the tooth fairy.  He is not married, doesn’t intend to ever marry.  He does, however, have one child, a girl named Alejandra.  She is half human but with her father being an Elf, Alejandra has a life span half of that of a full-blood.  He is raising her, along with her mother, at the North Pole, where she can make friends among people who will live as long as she will.

I like them.  I know we’ve been over the Lykkes before, and Masaru, but that’s my full character list there.  You get what I’ve got.  😀  

I need to find Ari’s vehicles.  So far, I have a Twin Otter for the plane he’ll fly from the breeding ranch to Toronto.  A Harley Davidson FLH, probably a ’93 Electra-Glide Sport.  It’s a big, heavy bike, good for touring.  Also a Fiat 1100 “la normale”, a ’68 Chevelle convertible  and maybe a ’57 Bel Air wagon.  

And I have to get back to it.  I still need to find a second plane for the excursion into Turkey.

Have a GREAT Halloween folks and I hope all of you on the East Coast are warm, dry and safe.

Muah

Advertisements

Fall Macros

Good Sunday morning folks!

I’m sorry there haven’t been many blogs recently.  I’ve been busier than a one finned fish trying to swim a straight line.  

I have been trying to get a website started, although I am not sure I want to go with tripod.  I need a free hosting (for now) site where I can begin to build something I can sell books from and something I can use to display the books and whatever else I want to do with it. 

I now have bookplates!  (Examples of bookplates can be found here)  This means I can mail signatures to people. 😀  This makes me happy.

This week’s photos are about fall colours. They are macro shots and I have been experimenting with Photoshop again.  Wait until you see what I’ve done! (All pics start with the auto contrast.)

Striking isn’t it?

I found this balloon on the beach.  It certainly seems to be a statement on the end of the season.  In Photoshop I used the Auto Contrast and upped the magenta levels in the colour balance to enhance the pink as much as possible.  The result surprised me but I love it.

 

 

The Burning Bush

This is a Euonymus bush.  The leaves turn bright red and pink in the fall.  I had to trespass a little bit to get this picture but I couldn’t resist it.  As far as fall colours go, this is one of the most spectacular.  I used the colour balance to tint the red just a little deeper and make it just a touch more vibrant.

Japanese Maple

I loved the composition of this picture, the deep dark red against the pale sand and steely stones.  After the auto contrast I opened the Curves option and adjusted it until the red nearly glows against the background.

Ahh for this next one I think I will have to post the original first.   I learned a new technique – The Colour Splash Effect.   It’s that effect where  everything is black and white except for one item.  So here’s the original:

The original

I took the picture because one, I didn’t think a cardinal would ever be on the beach and two, I loved the colour contrast.  I originally intended to apply the colour splash effect to the balloon picture but something struck me about this one so I toyed with it.  Dawn, the lovely lady who did my cover, my facebook cover and my bookplates, found me this tutorial.  It was really simple to do but very time consuming.  And I discovered that on the blurry sections it just looks messy, not skillful.  Some trimming was required.   I also darkened the background considerably.  

Here is the finished product:

Ta-da!

Wonderful isn’t it?  I love the way it came out.  And you can see on the bottom right where the blurry sections look more messy than like any good technique.  It is possible that part of it is because it was my first time with it.  It took me a long time to get that just right.  And I see I still missed parts.  Oh well, it was my first attempt.  😀  Such a fun technique!

Grape leaf

On the way to the private beach there is a path with a stone wall on one side and  a chain link fence on the other.  Growing all along the chain link is a grape vine.  The thing that gets me about the vine is how it’s changing for fall.  At the entrance to the pathway we have this deep dark purple.  At the end, just before the stairs, it is still a rich, vibrant green.  The mid-range colour is almost a bubble gum pink.  I liked this colour.  I toyed with the brightness/contrast to achieve this particular version of the colour.  It is nearly as rich here as it is on the fence.

Now, the next three pictures are me toying with the hue and saturation.  The first is the original:

Simple

The composition is absurdly simple here.  A tiny shell, less than an inch long, shining against the sand.  I wanted to take this picture because when the sun hit the shell it turned into a pearlescent rainbow.  I loved it.  Sadly, by the time I got close enough, the sun had once again been covered by clouds.  I took the picture anyway.  Here there picture is treated with a simple auto contrast.

But I discovered the Hue/Saturation option.  I just had to play.  First, the hue change.  Be sure to pay attention to the bottom right corner too.

Purple!

Imagine my surprise when this is what happened as I moved the Hue into the negative.  This is at -100 and it’s absolutely brilliant.  I love all the shades of purple in the sand.  And the green in the shell is a lovely contrast.

Purdy, ain’t it

This is the same photo but with the saturation dragging into the positive.  This is saturation +80.  There are more shades of orange than I thought possible and the blue in the shell is a wonderful addition.  

Playing with Photoshop is a lot of fun but I do like prefer toying with the camera, compositions and perspectives.  I found something on my walk that never changes colours and offered a fantastic opportunity for perspective:

Long needle evergreen tree

I do like the focus here and the textures of the …um terminal bed I think it’s called… where all the needles are growing from.  The way this picture came out just pleased me no end.  

That’s it for me folks.  NaNo starts in *gasp*  three days and I still have the plot outline to do!  So much research.  I do have a beginning now.  Trying to decide if it’s the first chapter or the prologue.  I guess we’ll find out!

Have a great week!

Muah.

Landscapes

Good Saturday morning everyone!

I have been editing HW1 again.  When I opened my kindle version of the book I was horrified to see several mistakes.  I am nearly halfway through it now and it’s looking better.  I wanted to get rid of the mistakes before my Dad paid to have it printed. And yes, the new files will go up on the Kindle and Createspace sites.

Unfortunately this has put a dent in my NaNo prep.  *looks alarmed*  It’s only 12 days away!  I must figure out a schedule to do both.  Last few days have been full of pain too, makes it hard to concentrate.

On to the pictures!

I’ve been playing in photoshop again.  Pulled out some old photos and a couple new ones.  I managed to take one on the way home from my brother’s.  I’ll show that to you first.    I was playing with both light and colour this time, with some spectacular results.  😀  You’ll see why that makes me grin.

Let’s get it on!

This was a hole in the storm

I took this as we were moving because I loved the colour and the texture of the clouds.  In Photoshop I used auto levels but left the colours alone.  Then I cut it so that the extra sky above and the ground below was out.  The effect is of a panoramic photo but I didn’t take it that way.

The beach! Quelle surprise 😀

I took this one with the panoramic setting (and you can see the difference between this and the one above it) then tweaked the exposure and colour to bring out the blues and cut it to get just the sections of  beach, water and sky I wanted.  I wanted the water to be the focus and kind of layer the other two elements around it.  I took the photo because I was sitting on the beach trying to meditate.  I was watching the water and all I could think was, “That would make a GREAT picture.”  I took it and only then could I settle down.

This guy was lonely, I think.

He was the only one on the beach that day and he was heading for Peter & I to beg for food.  When we showed no inclination of having any he eventually wandered off.  I played with the colours and brightness and ended up with this kind of surreal quality.  …It’s almost creepy.

Black and white beauty

I set my camera lens on the edge of the log with the macro setting, aimed it down the length and took the shot.  In Photoshop I played with the auto levels – colour, brightness etc – but didn’t like anything that came up.  So I tried Grayscale and loved it immediately.

Which brings me to the next three photos.  Going to post the original first.  Then the results of playing with the Channel Mixer.  I took it off Monochrome and played with the RGB scales.  hehehe

A pebble’s eye view of the 3 inch waves rolling in. Taken with the landscape setting.

Water on Mars?  *laughs*  This was done by adding blue, weird but that’s how it worked.

This lovely colour was achieved by removing the red by almost half.

Weird how that worked eh?  I like them both.

That’s it for me folks!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Muah.

 

 

 

Awesomeness.

Just awesomeness.

Two things to show you today.  Both are exciting, the second has sent me spinning into a stratosphere of joy I’ll need help coming done from.

Shall we?

My new INK!

Freshly poked and stabbed with a needle gun here is my memorial tattoo at long last.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?  I am in love with it.  It looks better on my arm than it ever did on paper.  It’s healing nicely, looking fantastic.

Second:  *grins gleefully*

The first PRINT copy!

It’s frigging FANTASTIC!

I’m a little confused about Createspace’s use of double spacing in their printing of the book because it made the book twice as thick as it needed to be but the spacing is otherwise better than it appeared to want to be in the proof, for the most part.  It looks really good and I am thrilled.

Just had to share. 😀

 

Antagony

Antagony: Contest; opposition; antagonism

That’s certainly what my antagonist is going to do.  He is a conniving, calculating man, hiding it all behind a genial nature.

Masaru Miyagi is tall for a Japanese man, standing at 5’10”.  He is getting thick around the middle and when combined with the severe hair cut, the dark chocolate brown eyes and the mouth that only ever smiles if he thinks it’s an appropriate action, he is somewhat intimidating to the people who work under him and more than a few others in the toy manufacturing world.  The shark-like attitude is why he owns one of the largest companies in the world.

Masaru owns Namco Bandai Holdings Inc. and between the Japanese and US holdings he is extremely rich and yet very conservative in his spending.  He owns what he thinks a successful business man should own.  He is polite but ruthless and aggressive.  He owns and heads the largest company in Japan (second largest toy manufacturer in the world) not because he believes in the product but because he believes in the Yen and the almighty US dollar.

He has spies in every major toy/entertainment manufacturing company including S.C. Enterprises.  He discovered long ago that SCE either owns or has shares in almost every manufacturer of toys and electronics.  Masaru has decided that he wants the company. He wants SCE as part of his holdings.  He can’t afford it at its current value so he sets about trying to sabotage it and make at least part of it collapse from within.  It’s through one of those spies that he discovers what the ‘S.C’ stands for.

It changes Masaru’s tactics and goals.  And makes him darker as he gets more covetous.

And there we have my main antagonist.  There are minions, of course, but Masaru is the ultimate business man, not averse to resorting to dirty tactics.  He may or may not have ties to a mob.  

I think that I will have fun with this.  

And I think my next job is research hostile takeovers and industrial sabotage.  As soon as I figure out what my questions are.  😉

Macros and Photoshop

G’day eh!

Today is a day of recovery.  Unfortunately, it’s physical recovery and not file recovery.  I accidentally deleted every folder and file off my camera, including the photos I had photoshopped to present to you, and couldn’t get them back.  Frustration to the max.

I had to redo everything. Every nuance, every colour shift, every crop in a dozen pictures.   (Eshe, how you do a hundred at a time boggles the mind, respect to you, woman.) I did figure out how to do a couple of them better though. I found the Curves option under the Image tab. It allowed me to make colours more intense in some of the pictures. I toyed with the colour scales – adding more red here, more magenta there – and shifted between grayscale and CYMK, just to see.

For this one I used the auto contrast (actually, I tried that first on all of them) then I opened the Colour Balance and added more yellow.  I like the brightness of the yellow against the dull background.  It makes it pop.  Kind of like this next picture:

A snapdragon. Peter thinks it looks like velvet.

I think the snapdragon looks like it’s against a green screen of a garden bed.  Again this was auto contrast.  I opened the colour balance and added a little more red and magenta.  I also Sharpened it.  It’s still a little fuzzy around the edges but that adds a certain surreal quality.

And speaking of surreal…

A foot print the size of my thumb!

It’s the smallest print I’ve ever seen on the beach and that includes the gulls.  All I did to this one was the auto contrast.

A garden find

These mums are a deep, gorgeous red that makes me think of satin and blood.  I cropped the original photo to chop out the dead heads then toyed with the colour balance to deepen the red.  I think it came out beautifully.

Striking isn’t it?

All I did to edit this one was an auto contrast.  I loved this when I saw it.  I didn’t create the imagery, it was there, like all my other pictures. The colour of the feather mixed with the myriad of colours in the tiny pebbles making up the grains of sand placed just so made me want to capture it.  And I did so beautifully, if I may say so myself.  I was really rather surprised by it.

Another feather

I took this photo because the feather reminds me of a skeleton.  It’s like the Ghost of a Bird Past.  I love the way the light hit it.  It has kind of a silvery, oily sheen.  My only edits here were sharpen and auto contrast.  

In contrast to a ghost we have life desperately trying to survive:

She was scurrying across the sand. Or maybe it was a he…

Seemed like the perfect shot for a macro.  😀 I did the auto contrast and auto colour here.  I didn’t like what the auto colour did to the sand but I did like the way it made the ladybug pop so I left it and then opened the colour balance to add just a touch more red.

Two photos left!  One a beach find and one from my friend’s garden.

A leaf I found on the beach.

I loved the orange of it when I saw it and had to bring it out more.  I used the Curves function to deepen the overall colour and then specifically to bring the red out a little more.  I love the detail in this picture, the water carrying veins, the tiny crystals of sand.  It’s all so appealing.

And finally…

The last photo and the prettiest. 🙂

A wild rose found in my friend’s garden.  Beautiful isn’t it?  I used the Curve function to deepen all the colours on the full RGB scale.  It looked so wonderful I didn’t do anything else.  

That’s it for me this week folks!  Tomorrow I’m off to get my next tattoo.  Perhaps I’ll post a picture of the brand new thing on Monday.  

Have a great weekend!

Insanity, Heavenly Scents and Mrs Claus

I am making Thanksgiving dinner today for Peter, Callie, Ben and Dennis. Doing it all by myself (up until the gravy, then I’ll need a gravy stirrer, Ben will be up to the task I’m sure) and driving myself bonkers. So far I have pumpkin gingerbread muffins (and a loaf), pumpkin pie and apple brownies. The giblets are simmering for the gravy. Turkey is just beginning to scent the apartment and the cat’s nose is going wild.

Menu:

Rosemary garlic roasted turkey
Garlic mashed potatoes
Peas and carrots in herbed butter
Cranberry sauce
Gravy
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Brownies

I’ll need alcohol by that point so I’ll be having a little Smirnoff too I think lol And no, there’s no stuffing/dressing. I simply couldn’t make it this year, had no time what with the book release.  I have to make it from scratch because I have yet to find a ready made stuffing that is gluten, soy and corn free.

And yes, I’m a few days late for Thanksgiving.  Last weekend was busy for everyone so we put it off.  Well, I, the chef, put it off.

While I’m sitting here now and then, between bastings and before potato peeling, I thought I’d work up Mrs Claus.  Having an apartment smell like fall foods is no excuse not to work.

Right?

Sure.

 

[~*~*~*~*~Unintentional Time Travel~*~*~*~*~]

 

Okay folks, it’s Friday!  I got so damn busy yesterday I just couldn’t keep up with the blog too.  I have to say this though:  The turkey was moist and flavourful and the five pounds of mashed potatoes I made disappeared, all but one serving.  Poof.

So let’s talk about Mrs. Claus.

Her name is Heidi Lykke.  She’s German.  Or, more accurately, Gaulish. 

Tall, fair skinned, blonde with silvery highlights (some natural, some not).  Her eyes are a deep forest green.  She has high cheekbones, a lush mouth and straight nose.  She’s tall, reaching a height of 5’11 in bare feet.  She is fit but has curves, looks fantastic in a bikini or wet suit but her body is luxurious and soft.

Heidi is happy with her life.  She’d always known that she had more love than being a mother to a small few could manage.  And she needed more love than a little family could give her.  Now she has most of the world’s children to love and spoil and who love her back.   She travels the world with Ari though she only spends half the year with him.  Really, after a thirteen hundred years of marriage, some space is needed between husband and wife.  

Heidi is nearly endlessly patient and very creative.  She is the one who takes Ari’s ideas for toys to inspire imaginative minds and makes them something practical and doable.  She oversees the production of the toys they still make at the Pole and trusts Ari to take care of the external factories.  Where her husband collects cars, our Heidi collects motorcycles.  Racers, long distance riders, hogs… you name it, she loves it and probably has one.  One of her favourites is a cherry red 1942 Indian Chief with a sidecar.  It’s a show bike and she uses it for ride-for-kids charity rides.  

Mrs. Lykke is a philanthropist for children’s charities.  Health, schools, toys or literacy, Heidi has had a hand in them all over the world.  

Perhaps a brief history of the Clauses as a couple is necessary too.  

They have been married since approximately 573 A.D..  Then they were known as Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas and the world only ever saw  Mrs Claus after a Mr. James Rees snuck his way into the North Pole and subsequently wrote a book about what he saw.  Like any other couple they’ve had good years and bad years, (or, rather, good decades and bad ones), but their work has always brought them together.  They were put together by the Gods because of their love of children and their philanthropic natures.  

Their gifts of magic and insight are put up for review every century, as is their job as the lead gift givers of the world.  Every century they pass.  

They have huge responsibilities together and they manage their business well.  They manage their relationship with ease and panache.   Their love is deep and they make the effort to rejuvenate it every few decades.  

Together they are half the joy of Christmas.

That sums up my take on Santa and Mrs. Claus, what do you think?