I’m two for two.

After reaching the 50,000 word goal for National Novel Writing Month in 2005, I did it again this year, hitting 50,737 words according to the NaNoWriMo validator.

And with two days left to spare!

Not quite the tour de force of 2005, where I crossed the 50,000 word mark a week early and ended up with 56,251 words by the end of the month.

The “novel”, such as it is, was a lot of fun to write but is still a complete mess. Sometimes a character will morph into another mid-chapter when I realize it’s really better suited for a different part of the book. There are huge gaps in the timeline, missing sections of the story, and all of that, so after the end of the month I’ll need to fire up my outliner and start making some structure out of the madness.

Not a bad show, though, especially given that I got behind in the early going until I mounted a steady comeback that took me over the top.

Three cheers for Boolie! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip … shhhhh, quiet now, let’s keep it down. Sammy’s sleeping on my lap and Ellie is snoring behind me.


Our cat Scout looks down from the cat seat by one of the big picture windows, her head tilted so that just one eye and one ear are visible, taken in November 2009

After testing out the flash I wanted a picture of Scout looking down from the window seat similar to scrunchy Sammy but she wouldn’t cooperate. As both the oldest of the pets and the one who has been with us the longest, she’s the most inured to my hijinks. I was laying on the hardwood looking up, that’s the ceiling to the right, the molding right above her, and the picture window to the left.

While I was at first disappointed I couldn’t get the picture I wanted, I was delighted when she tilted her head just so and I was able to slide a few inches and position her like an orca spyhopping above the waterline, a cat’s ear in place of an orca’s head. So what started in disappointment ended with one of my favorite pictures of Scout.

No flash for this picture, there wasn’t anything to bounce it off of anyway.

Window Seat

Our cat Scout looking out our big picture window on November 22, 2009. Original: _MG_1442.cr2

Another flash test with Scout, also bounced off the ceiling as fill-flash.

One of the things I like about my new camera is the battery system, which is both more accurate and more detailed about how much life is left in the battery. All of my previous cameras used the same battery system, which had three indicators:

  1. Your battery is full
  2. Your battery is about to die
  3. Your camera is shutting down

A slight exaggeration, but not by much. The new battery is one of the nice little touches to the 7D that doesn’t make the headlines.

The downside of course is that I can’t use the same batteries from my old cameras, and I found out this morning just how painful that could be. After visiting Ridgefield last weekend, I left the battery in the camera during the week so I could take pictures of the pets. Last night I put it in the charger but went to bed before it finished.

As you may have guessed by now, I got up before sunrise this morning to go back out to Ridgefield, arrived at the refuge and realized the 7D’s battery was still sitting in its charger. At home, 30 minutes away.


There’s a reason I get my camera gear together the night before I go hiking, a morning person I am not. On the plus side, I did bring my old Canon 10D along, so I wasn’t completely dead in the water. And water there was, it rained hard the entire time I was there.

It reminded me of a time years ago when I was in grad school and not long after I had gotten my first tripod. On a day hike in nearby West Virginia, I forgot my tripod and ended up missing a nice shot of a bat hanging in a tree. On my next trip, eager to avoid the same mistake, I checked, double-checked, and triple-checked that I packed the tripod before leaving.

Yet when I got to West Virginia, I realized I had brought the tripod, yet left the camera at home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our cat Scout sleeping on the window seat beside our picture window with fall colors in the background on November 22, 2009. Original: _MG_1413.cr2

I haven’t had much time for blogging or learning the new camera with NaNoWriMo going on this month (after a slow start I’m currently at 44,195 words and barring unforeseen mishaps should cross the 50,000 word finish line before Monday). I did make sure the hot shoe worked by hooking up my flash and using it as fill-flash on one of my favorite subjects, sleeping in front of our biggest picture window with a bit of fall color behind her.

I’m reminded of two things:

  1. How much I love my black-and-white cat
  2. How much I need to clean the window