Winning, canning, and donuts. Oh my?

Work work work work work.

With Black Friday safely under my belt and put away in the closet for 363 more shopping days, I am both relieved and exhausted. I went in at 4am, worked to 3pm, and then have worked every day since. I also work tomorrow. The insanity and greed of the day made me realize that I am absolutely on the right track making gifts this year. I have always been a lover of gift-giving, and I have always gone all out, so the decision to make gifts this year was difficult. But the decision has been made, and I think I need to follow through.

Following that line of thought, Eric and I got started on the bulk of our gift-making today.

Today we made salsa. I didn’t bother trying it, but I will take Eric’s word that it is super spicy. Considering the 3 cups of Jalapeno (with seeds!), I have no doubt that my body would both spontaneously combust and also rebel against me.
I found a recipe for (mostly) healthy tortilla chips, as well, so now I’m thinking we can send some folks chips and salsa for Christmas. Arizona folks, I’m looking in your direction.

We still have apple butter and cranberry-citrus jam to make. I want to make a complimentary item to go with these, too, and I was thinking of baking a big batch of biscotti. I think they would make a nice addition, and we can send complete snacks/meals to people.

Despite my knowing that making gifts is the right way to go, I have been feeling a little nervous. I am so afraid that people will not appreciate the thought and care and put into the gifts. This is in no way a reflection on my loved ones, but rather my own insecurities and insights on what I’ve seen at work. Consumerism is widespread, and I am finding it hard to shake its ridged hold.

But I will not falter!

Edit: I cannot believe I forgot to mention the first time I wrote this that I made donuts. Anyone who knows me knows that I love donuts, so much so that traveling for hours just to try a new donut shop was not unusual for me in Seattle. I drove made Eric drive 3 hours to Portland, just so we could go to Voodoo Doughnuts. Worth it. So, with that in mind, Eric and I bought a mini donut pan with some b-day money recently, and last night I used it. Delicious donuts. I didn’t galze or coat them in sugar; we just ate them fresh out of the oven, and they were pretty damn good. My next experiment is pumpkin donuts. BAM!

In other news, I validated my win for NaNoWriMo today! I am still writing, but I wanted to get it validated, so I can move on. I think this year I will actually buy a Winner’s Circle shirt, too. Hmmm…what was that I said about consumerism again?

And, just for good measure, here is another excerpt:

8 hours later, Kami couldn’t bring herself to stare at anything other than the dark wooden table under her head. The lights were too bright, and everyone just kept talking.

We have a few leads. Our main leads seem to come from the Americas.”

Kami looked up, one eye shut, “Central America, by any chance? I could use some tacos,” she muttered – half-slurred.

Mana looked over at her and chuckled, and Ròta shook her head slowly, not picking up on the sly comments, “North America. We have narrowed it down to the the States.”

Mary Elizabeth looked surprised herself, “The States? I’ve never been.”

Kami waved her index finger in the air, “I also have not been to the States. But I bet they still have tacos.”

Mana slid a mug over to her, “I don’t think they cure hangovers.”

Shows how little you know,” she mumbled into her arm.

Ròta looked at each of the Hybrids in turn, her features between curiosity and a frown. She felt somber, but her feelings were not mirrored in those around her, save perhaps Mary Elizabeth, who was looking increasingly tired and impatient. Kami was apathetic at best, and Mana was just along for the ride. She could only imagine what the group as a whole would be like once they found the fourth.

Her reverie was broken when Kami noisily slid her chair back from the table and pushed herself up to a generally standing position, “Let us away, then.”

Ròta hesitated, then, looking at Kami and Mana with a small level of reproach, “The portal here has been destroyed. There was an…ah…an unforeseen circumstance on the other side, and we are trying to determine the next best step. So you can use another portal until we figure out if it is safe to travel back-”

Perfect!” Kami suddenly pointed, “Doesn’t the story you told us have the four of us able to travel between the portals?”

Mary Elizabeth and Mana both leveled their gazes on the hungover wreck. Mary Elizabeth had been certain that Kami was ignoring almost everything that they had been told since their journey together began. Mana saw a spark of the adventuring spirit that bordered on the crazy that had drawn him to watch Kami’s career early on, and he realized, with a healthy dose of discomfort, that he would be willing to follow her on the deranged attempt.

Ròta hesitated again, this time unsure of what to do, “That is true, but none of those here know how to navigate, or-”

We’ll figure it out,” Kami had already started for the door, “and it’s dark in there, so that’s going to be great.”

The mercenary was on her way down the hallway, leaving the others to scramble after her. Mary Elizabeth was moving as fast as she could, calling after Kami, “Kami, while I appreciate your enthusiasm, no one knows how to move in between the portals.”

That’s because we haven’t figured it out. How hard can it be?”

Mana was walking, his strides long enough for him to keep up without moving hurriedly, “This coming from the woman who destroyed the rock that opened the portal on Earth because she couldn’t figure out how to open it.”

It worked!”

Ròta followed them all, not entirely sure that she wanted to dissuade the experiment. This would be a good test of her own hypothesis. However, she also wasn’t sure how to get them to where they needed to be. If nothing else, it was a good time to watch how they all worked together.

You don’t have to go, either of you,” Kami called over her shoulder, rounding the corner to the double doors that led into the portal room, “but I am going.”

Perhaps you can go and test it, then see if you can get back,” Ròta offered, hesitantly.

Mana gave the Myth a scathing look, “Are you kidding? You’d send your portal guard into the vortex alone?”

Ròta turned to him, “She did destroy the other side of the portal.”

Mary Elizabeth watched the argument, “That does seem to effectively end the threat of the Order finding it, then.”

And besides, don’t you want the same thing as the Order?” Mana offered.

Ròta looked to them, “I suppose she did, yes, and we don’t want the exact same thing as the Order.”

Kami stood at the base of the dais, ignoring the argument. The lights were bright; the sounds reverberated, and these people were driving her nuts. She stepped up the dais and lit a cigarette, frowning, “Not this one, too.”

Mana gestured at the woman, “If you want to try stopping her, by all means…”

Ròta studied them each, then sighed, relenting. She stepped up to Kami, “Here, let me show you.” She stretched out her palm, “You have to think about the planet you want to go to,” she muttered, and the black maw of the portal opened before her.

Kami pointed, “See? I didn’t break it.”

Mary Elizabeth stepped up behind them, “Perhaps I should stay…and…”

No,” Kami pointed, “You’re going. Live a little. You know more about this stuff than the rest of us, anyway. Come on. This will be fun.”

Mana gave Mary Elizabeth what he hoped was a reassuring pat on the shoulder, “I’ll watch out for you.”

She offered the man a smile, and the three of them gathered on the dais.