Thursday, December 01, 2011

November Firsts: NaNoWriMo, Movember, and Maisie's

November has come and gone, and with it. I like to think of myself as somewhat adventurous (being "somewhat adventurous" meaning something similar to one who likes to take "calculated risks" but that is a topic for another time) and decided to try a couple of new ventures during the month.

The month of November has two special designations. First, it is National Novel Writing Month (or, NaNoWriMo for short). Participants in NaNoWriMo have the goal of writing 50,000 words of fiction in the month. You can have an outline, but cannot have already started on the draft. It is literally literary madness. The theory behind NaNoWriMo is that everybody has a book inside of them - I don't doubt that, although I think 50,000 in 30 days is a lofty goal. More like insane. There is no time for revisions - you just keep writing for the sake of writing.

I did try this a few years ago, and didn't get very far. I did not have a clear enough idea of the novel I wanted to write, and I just could not think up enough original material on the spot under such pressure.

Perhaps I was under the influence of some kind of mania, but this time I did it. And, I was finished by mid-month. I had a very detailed outline and much of the research done beforehand. I will indeed spend some time revising it - December is supposed to be the month designated to that - but I may prefer some more hindsight before I attempt to work my way through the pages.

November is also "Movember," when men grow moustaches to raise funds for men's health, in particular prostate cancer. The guys who take part are called "Mobros" and us women are left wondering, when we see a man with a moustache, if it is for real or if it is temporary just for Movember.

Women can take part too. We're called "Mosistas." Obviously, we don't grow moustaches (although I am sure there are some gals out there who can rock the facial hair - except I don't think many would quit plucking and waxing, even for a good cause, so a friend of mine recruited me for her team - Chicks Without Nicks. We are four women who committed not to shave our legs for the entire month of November. Our team raised a total of $88 with me being the leader at a whopping $68. We didn't do as well as we had hoped, but a lot of people take part in Movember so there was a lot of competition. And hey - the more, the better. That's $88 to men's cancer that would not have been donated otherwise.

Plus, it was a lot of fun trying to encourage my friends on Twitter and Facebook to donate. One of my Twitter friends and I even got into a "hairy legs contest," posting picture of our unshaven calves for all to see. To view my pics, check out my page at the Movember site here. Truth be told, it wasn't all that bad - I have probably gone just as long, if not longer, at this time of the year without shaving my legs without noticing. However, I was told that I had guts for posting those photos. I really didn't think so - some of the men out there cannot grow good moustaches, and some who do look like pervs or porn stars, and if they have the guts to walk around looking like that, then I can show some leg hair. It was a great cause, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

As November drew to a close, Christmas decorations and music started popping up all over the place. As a life-long resident of Edmonton, I have seen many, if not most, of the events and attractions the city has to offer. However, I have never seen this: Maisie's Magical Christmas House.

Located way in the north end at 9619 144 Avenue, the house is a veritable wonderland, full of decorations, multimedia presentations, and lights galore - including ones that flicker in time to music. I felt excited like a little child as I walked around the huge area - besides the house itself, there must be at least two extra lots. This is all the work of a family, the matriarch of whom passed away in 2007. It was Maisie's wish that people be happy - this house is her legacy.

No photos can do the house justice, but I tried here.

Also, here is a video tour of the house:

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