Jun 30, 2014

Misaunter Monday

misaunter ~ misadventure or mishap

Happy Canada Day tomorrow to all my fellow Canadians, and Happy Independence Day to all my American friends on Friday. Looks like you guys get the last laugh 'cause you're getting a proper holiday weekend. :-)

And most of all, Happy End of June! I gotta tell you, I am SO glad to see the last of this month. June may be busting out all over in the song, but the month was just a plain old bust as far as I was concerned.

But today marks the halfway point in the year, so I think maybe it's time to revisit my goals for the year to see how I'm doing. To refresh your (and my) memory, my goals for the year were (in no particular order):

1. Organize my days
2. Publish three books
3. Do more self-promotion
4. Submit short stories and poems on a regular basis
5. Find a writing schedule I can live with and stick to it
6. De-clutter
7. Catalogue my books
8. Exercise more
9. Start using up the wool stash in my craft closet
10. Read more and more of a variety

So . . . how am I doing so far?

1. Organize my days.
The purpose of this was to be more productive, and in that respect I think I'm doing well. I may not be more organized, but I'm definitely getting more accomplished, so I'll give myself a half checkmark here.

2. Publish three books.
I've got one under my belt, and the second one is getting there, so again I think I deserve half a checkmark. While I'm pretty sure the second one will be out before the end of the year, I have my doubts about the third one. But life can be tricksy, so you never know. ;-)

3. Do more self promotion.
Complete and utter fail so far. I'm not even going to try and justify myself here.

4. Submit short stories and poems on a regular basis
Yeah . . . have I mentioned what the road to hell is paved with? That's me in a nutshell. Full of good intentions.

5. Find a writing schedule I can live with and stick to it
Boy do I ever wish I could give myself a checkmark here. But alas, I cannot.

6. De-clutter
I've actually had moderate success with this one, just ask the Diabetes Association who sends a truck out into the wilds once every month or so to collect cast off clothes and household items. I think I deserve a whole checkmark here.

7. Catalogue my books
I have begun the Great Book Migration and organization, and that includes cataloguing as I go alone, which is why it's taking forever. So I only get half a mark here because I've just barely scratched the surface.

8. Exercise more
Okay, I deserve two checkmarks here. Several months ago I started working out with hand weights every day, and just recently I've added a daily ride on the stationary bike (I call it my daily 'read' because I read my Kindle while I ride). I haven't been losing any weight, but I've been losing inches.

9. Start using up the wool stash in my craft closet
I get a check mark here too. Even though I've had to buy yarn to supplement what I've been using, I have been using up the yarn from my stash. And I have the two afghans to prove it. :-)

10. Read more and more of a variety
Yeah, I think I deserve a checkmark here too. Even just looking at what I have in the queue on my Kindle, I have a variety. So many books, so little time to read them all. Must read faster!

Let's add them up. If we allow the two checkmarks for exercise more, then that's 6 1/2 out of 10. Not bad for the halfway point of the year. Don't you agree?

So . . . how're you doing on your goals for the year?

Jun 26, 2014

Sorry Folks

Due to a combination of unfortunate circumstances, there will be a delay in this week's installment of Earth.

Must be something going around because one of the serials by an author that I follow has missed not one, but both the installments this week (she publishes twice a week).

I will try to get my scene posted later today, but no promises. It might be tomorrow.

Sorry about that folks!

Jun 25, 2014

Of Plants and Planting . . .

Once upon a time there was a crazy person who shouldn't be allowed in dollar stores unsupervised. I don't know what she went in for originally, but she came home with this little paper cup that held a peat pellet and three gourd seeds. The idea was to re-hydrate the peat pellet, stick the seeds in it, and the seeds would grow. Much to the woman's surprise, that's what happened.

The above picture is what the seedling looked like the last time we saw it. Since then it has been watered regularly (as have all my plants, I'm happy to report) and it started growing like crazy. I even had to transplant it into a new pot. And here's what it looks like today:

I probably could have got a better shot of it if I'd taken it off the window ledge, but not only was it growing behind the valance, it was attaching itself to the valance, as well as the wandering jew hanging beside it. I know it can't stay in the window forever, so I'm going to find it a bigger pot and a trellis.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "why the heck doesn't she stick it outside where it belongs?" Fair question. It's because if I put it outside I'll forget to water it and then the little forest creatures will get it and I really want a gourd or two. We have pretty aggressive garden raiding forest creatures - just ask my neighbour with the huge garden - and I'm pretty sure they won't be able to resist the buds or budding gourds on my plant.

But wait, you say. If you have the plant inside, how are the bees going to be able to pollinate it for you? Yeah, that might be a problem. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I have a couple of options. I can try pollinating it myself - oh, c'mon. It's not that hard. Or I can stick it outside during the day and keep a sharp eye out for forest creatures. Think of it as a grown-up science experiment.

Why yes, I am crazy. You're only figuring that out now? ;-)

Okay. I also promised on Monday that I'd post pictures of the gardens I planted on the weekend. So here we go. First we have the front garden that took me three hours. Sorry the picture turned out so bright, but I took it on one of the few days we've had sun. At least it gives you an idea of the size of the garden.

I usually plant petunias in the front garden because they're bright and cheery and pretty low maintenance. All you have to do is dead head (pinch off the dead flowers) them every couple of days and they'll bloom all summer. Usually I have a few different colours in there, but this year I decided to go monochrome, which was just as well because we were late getting plants and pretty much all that was left was the pink.

On the deck we have the pedestal planter which you can't tell from the picture but is kinda falling apart. The hubby figures this will be the last year for it. And it actually has a formerly hanging plant in it, a multi-coloured profusion of miniature petunias that apparently don't need to be dead-headed to keep blooming. And in the planter below that, you can see the miniature rose I got from the bowling banquet in May. It really loves it outside and has started to get new buds on it.

Oh! And looking at this picture I just realized that there's something missing. I had a group of four, solar powered dragonflies that I had sitting in these planters last year. I wonder where they disappeared to?

Next we have Kelsey Park, so named for our border collie who's buried beneath the fountain. Again, the picture isn't the best because of the dappling effect of the light, but you get the idea. There are four different kinds of flowers, but the only one I can name are the snapdragons, which we have in memory of our kitty Panda, whose also buried in Kelsey Park. I'm not exactly sure why we have to have snapdragons for her, but the hubby insists. He also insisted on the small flowers around the edge of the garden because they looked like dice.

And finally we have the planter on the patio, that I pretty much filled with all the leftover plants. We'd bought three flats of petunias for the front, which I realized once I got going was about one flat too many. I managed to get two and a half in there and the rest are crowded together in the patio planter, along with the extra tall red tufted plants, a couple of snapdragons, and one of the smaller purpley plants. Oddly enough, I had no leftover dice plants.

And there you have it. My gardens for 2014. I didn't add any plants to the pond garden as I'm hoping the plants I put in there last year will spread a little more. No pictures of it 'cause it needs to be weeded. :-) And my long skinny rose garden isn't really doing much yet, although there are a few buds on the plants.

My houseplants are much happier since my spat of indoor gardening a couple of months ago. It's amazing what regular watering will do for them. My pineapple plant is growing, my aloe plants have new growth - heck, all of my plants have new growth. I even brought the miniature orchid the hubby gave me back to life.

Once I transfer the gourd to a bigger pot I want to start a sweet potato vine. I love vines. So I will keep you posted on my progress. :-D

Jun 23, 2014

Monopsychism Monday

monopsychism ~ belief that individuals have a single eternal soul

I gotta tell you, it's 1:30 a.m. as I'm writing this and my heart's not really in it. All I can think about is how tired I am and how much I want to go to bed. This might come as a surprise to anyone reading this who knows me. I normally stay up until two or three in the morning. But I had a busy weekend, and most of that busy was physical.

Saturday the hubby and I finally got a chance to buy some bedding plants for the gardens. I think I'll save the story for my Wednesday post 'cause there's not a lot new to report on the nook. Maybe to sweeten the pot I'll add a few pictures. You know how I like to take pictures. :-) Like . . . remember my little gourd plant? Wait until you see it now.

Sunday I got into baking cookies (after more gardening - filling the planters with plants). You may or may not recall that for the daughter's birthday I gave her the gift of a cookie of the month. Each month I make her a batch of cookies and this month's cookie was Soft Molasses Cookies. They made the house smell like gingerbread and they were so yummy I made myself a batch after supper. Then I made a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip that the hubby's been begging whining requesting.

You might, at this point, be wondering why I consider baking to be physical . . . I do it because my back tells me it is. I can only be on my feet for so long before my back starts bothering me, and I'd already tested its limits with all those plants.

Has anyone else noticed the abundance of birds lately? And not just the regular robins and starlings and mourning doves, but we've had a few baltimore orioles, and a couple of woodpecker type birds that we haven't been able to identify yet. And speaking of birds . . . the hubby and I were sitting on the deck taking a break and I saw a little chipmunk. Even though he disappeared, I went inside to get some peanuts in case he returned. I had the peanuts on the table in front of me, and looked up to see a blue jay up on the second story eaves trough. Next thing we know, he swooped down, nearly hitting the hubby before settling on top of the table's umbrella (which was down) and then casually dropped down to the table and helped himself to a peanut. He couldn't have been more than a foot away from me. Cheeky little devil.

The Great Book Migration is slow going, mostly because I'm cataloguing my books as I go. I started out intending to create a database in Microsoft Access, but since I first learned how to use the program I've upgraded and now it's pretty much incomprehensible. And then I thought about using an Excel spreadsheet, but my heart really wasn't in it. So then I went online and found a free database program and downloaded it. It allows me to assign my own categories and I can add a description if I want, and there are filters to apply for searches, and it even allows me to keep track of who I've leant a book to (should I be persuaded to do so). Anyway, it's a lot of fun and if you ever want to keep track of your books or movies or CDs, you can find it HERE.

And just to show you what a nice person I can be, I'm going to share my recipe for the molasses cookies. :-)

Soft Molasses Cookies

1/2 cup soft margarine
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup water

Cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Blend in molasses and egg. Combine the next 4 ingredients. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and add alternately with the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture. Blend well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with tin foil. Bake at 400 F for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes approximately 4 dozen.

Keep your eye on them if they're in there for more than 10 minutes. I don't know if it was the cookies or just me, but they seemed to go from not quite done to burnt on the bottom pretty quickly.

Jun 20, 2014

What I'm Reading

I appear to be slowing down with the reading. At the very least I'm able to control my reading impulses. ;-)

Electronic Books

I've been more or less single-minded about my electronic reading, which means one book at a time. Therefore, there was no progress on The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian, Mr. Love by Sally Mason, or Dark Love by Claudy Conn. I'm still leaving these ones listed because I will finish them. Eventually.

According to my Kindle, I'm about 71% of the way through Do Me, Do My Roots, by Eileen Rendahl. I'm actually enjoying this, although it seems to be more of a slice of life than anything else. All three of the sisters have been dating, with varying degrees of success, and I suspect I know how it's going to end but I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Tree Books

I still haven't gotten back to Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle. One of these days . . .

However, when I was at my daughter's babysitting her dog last week I couldn't help but notice a Charles de Lint book sitting on her bookcase, and it was one of the few I haven't read yet. It's called The Blue Girl and appears to be one of his young adult urban fantasies. I've only read a couple of pages of it so far, but I like what little I've read. Of course it's Charles de Lint so was there any doubt?


I read another few stories from Sword and Sorceress V, and I've only got a few more stories to go. Will I finish it this week? Who knows . . .

And unfortunately, I've finished Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint. I say unfortunately because it's done now. This is one of those books that's so vividly written that it draws you right in so you're not just reading it, you're participating in the story.

It centers around the life of Isabelle Copley, whose dreams appear to come true as she's invited to study under the master artist Vincent Rushkin. He helps her hone her skills and shares with her the magic that allows her to bring her paintings truly to life. But there's a dark side to Rushkin that Isabelle copes with in the way she deals with all of the bad things in her life - she reinvents her reality.

Of course there's far more to the story than that, but you'll have to read it yourself to find out. ;-)

Jun 18, 2014

Almost There

In the beginning, there was a rather large closet in my office that held a small desk and a wooden cabinet I stored my office supplies in. There was a rather large laser printer on top of this cabinet so I dubbed the whole thing my printing alcove. But then I got a new printer and I figured it was time to bring my printing out of the closet. This entailed re-arranging furniture, including unloading and reloading a couple of book cases. And then I decided, why not turn it into a reading nook?

You can read all about it HERE and the next steps HERE.

When last I reported about the progress of my reading nook, it looked something like this:

The shelves were in place and the frame for the seat was in place. Then we hit a slight snag when it came to closing in the bench. It should be noted at this point that with the exception of the strapping used to hold up the shelves, this entire project was made using recycled wood. The seat for the bench was cut from an old ping pong table cover for a pool table, and was apparently paint resistant. It took forever for the paint to dry.

But with the help of a dehumidifier and a fan, and plenty of patience, it did eventually dry. So the first thing was to close in the front of the bench:

And then we (and when I say "we" I mean "the hubby") discovered one slight hitch when it came to installing the top part of the bench. Because the edge of the top of the bench is to be used as the final shelf for books, the top goes across the entire width of the closet. And there was only one problem with that - the shelves were already in place and made it impossible to get the top in there in one piece, despite the fact there was a big piece cut out of the middle so I can use the inside of the bench for storage.

Removing the bottom couple of shelves was a bit of a pain, but doable, but the top still didn't fit because the strapping was in the way. The old ping pong table top is pretty inflexible, which makes it a great choice for a seat, but not so great for fitting it in place. So in the end it was cut in half and then nailed in place, and really, who's going to see it once the cushion is on there?

The cats are still a little put out by all the changes going on in my office, although you can hardly smell the paint any more. In fact, I hardly get any kitty visitors any more, unless it's close to meal time. However, Taz and Julius did check out the nook one day:

And so, for all intents and purposes, I no longer have any excuses not to start the Great Book Migration, whereupon I start filling the shelves. It was always in my mind that the nook will be perfect for all of my science fiction and fantasy books, both paperback and hardback. The reason for this genre and not some other is because many years ago most of what I read was science fiction and I acquired a rather large collection of books, mostly through the Science Fiction Book Club. But over the years I got away from the hard science fiction, and even a lot of the pure fantasy. This means the collection is more or less permanent so I won't be having to continually shift books around as I add or subtract from it.

Currently these books are spread throughout the house, so the first step will be gathering them all together.

Of course I can't just throw the books up onto the shelves, that would make it too easy. I'm going to be putting them into alphabetical order by author. And I'm also going to be creating a database so I know just which books I have, and which I'm missing.

What was I thinking??

Jun 16, 2014

Maleficent Monday

maleficent ~ doing evil or harm; harmfully malicious

Why yes, I did go see Maleficent last week. How did you guess? LOL And it was excellent, in case you were wondering. If you haven't seen it yet, you really should - Angelina Jolie was awesome.

So . . . remember how a couple of weeks ago I figured out the layout for my hexagon afghan? Well last week I started crocheting them together with a granny stitch. Rounds one through four went together perfectly, but when I got to round five I made it halfway around and realized I was somehow short a pair of hexagons. This didn't make sense. I consulted the picture I took last week and started counting and my count was correct. So then I tied the remaining hexagons in place but sure enough, there was a gap.

Not being one to believe my own eyes, I untied the hexes again and laid out everything on the dining room table figuring that maybe I needed to lay it flat before tying the hexes back on again. Again I had a gap. I might mention that at this point it was Friday the 13th.

Once again I untied the hexes and deciding I must have inadvertently messed up the ones that were crocheted in place, I removed them too. This involved much cursing and swearing because I'm working with black yarn and I tucked all the ends in and my eyes aren't so great anymore. Several hours later I was back to just the four rows crocheted together and once again I tried tying the fifth row in place. And once again I had a gap. Only this time I realized what the problem was:

Can you see what it is from the picture? This picture was taken after I teased, cut, and cursed the offending medallion out of the line-up. One of my hexagons had seven sides.


This afghan is now officially known as my Friday the 13th afghan. And here's a picture of it with row 5 tied back in place. Notice how it all fits perfectly now:

And remember my little squirrel buddy? Well, apparently he thinks I'm too slow when it comes to putting out the peanuts for him, so he's taken to "encouraging" me to move faster:

Yes, that's the screen for the deck door he's hanging off of. And yes, I yelled at him. Once I even threw a box of crackers at him. And no, he does not get peanuts when he climbs the screen.

The book nook is about 90% finished, to the point where I can start loading it up with books. I still need the bottom shelf before I can make the padding for the bench part, and I'll need a couple of throw cushions for my back, but it's usable. So you can look for the progress report on it Wednesday.

The Great Book Migration has begun; the nook will be holding all of my science fiction and fantasy books, both paperback and hardback. And so begins the arduous task of putting them in alphabetical order, and I fully intend to enter them into a database or spreadsheet as I go along. There's two reasons for this: first, I have a great many different series of books and it would be nice to know if there are any gaps in these series and which books I need to fill them up (and also whether or not I have a book by a specific author); and second, I love my books, they're important to me, and if we ever had a fire I'd want to replace them wherever possible. So once my book database is complete, I'll be giving a copy of it to the hubby to keep at his office.

And if all that isn't enough for you, Monday I went on a road trip and was shown an awesome used bookstore within easy driving distance, and Thursday I mastered the art of sewing a rolled hem on chiffon.

So . . . how was your week last week? :-)

Jun 13, 2014

What I'm Reading

On the one hand, I may need to learn to pace myself, but on the other hand, I have so many books on my Kindle that I really do need to step up my efforts to get them all read. :-D

Before I get into the books though. . . anybody else out there on Goodreads? I signed up a couple of years ago and I think it's a great way of keeping track of the amount of reading a person does. However, for one reason or another, I fell behind in entering the books I've finished into my account and now with the year half gone I'm wondering whether I should try and catch up (at least with the books I can remember reading), enter the current books, or just leave it until the new year. What do you think?

Electronic Books

Reading while riding the stationary bike has given my electronic reading a big boost. A little too big at times because I tend to keep reading once the ride is over. And furthermore *hangs head in shame* I have not been reading the books I already started.

Therefore, there was no progress on The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian, Mr. Love by Sally Mason, or Dark Love by Claudy Conn. I'm still leaving these ones listed because I will finish them. Eventually.

I finally finished the Darlings of Paranormal Romance collection. The final book was Keeper, by Tiffany Evans. I was actually enjoying it until it abruptly stopped so you'd have to buy the next book to find out what happens.

So . . . I didn't even have to think twice about deleting Darlings of Paranormal Romance from my Kindle. While the adult stories were somewhat interesting, they were for the most part poorly written, the exception being Tuesday's Child, by Dale Mayer, which I downloaded as a standalone. While the young adult offerings were better reads than the adult, all but one ended on a cliff hanger.

Now there are cliff hangers and there are cliff hangers. Sometimes a story is so big it needs to be told in segments that span more than one book. Each segment tells a piece of that bigger story and reaches a logical conclusion before moving on to the next segment that moves the bigger story forward. Are you following me? Think Lord of the Rings. Each book told a segment of the story as a whole. But these Y/A stories did not come to any kind of conclusion within their segment, they stopped abruptly in the midst of the action and as far as I'm concerned, it's just a ploy to get you to buy the next book.

Have I mentioned that cliff hangers are a pet peeve of mine? ;-)

After washing my hands of the Darlings, I was in the mood for something completely different, so I opened up Fashionably Dead, by Robyn Peterman. This is a hilarious story of a woman who goes to get hypnotized to stop smoking and ends up getting turned into a vampire. To make matters worse, she's saddled with a foul-mouthed guardian angel who looks like Oprah and a Faerie who looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger whose job it is to train her to fight in an upcoming battle against the forces of evil - namely her mother and her demon father. For a good time, go ahead and download it. It's free. :-)

I finished that one pretty quickly, and now I'm about halfway through Do Me, Do My Roots, by Eileen Rendahl. So far most of the action takes place during the monthly hair dye and munchies get together between three sisters. The story centers mostly around the youngest sister, Emily, who's been widowed for two years and is ready to get back into action.

Tree Books

I still haven't gotten back to Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle. One of these days . . .


I read another couple stories from Sword and Sorceress V, which puts me just over the halfway point. What can I say, this is a book to be savoured. ;-)

And I've kept up my interest in Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint. I've only got about a third to a quarter of it to go, but I'd like to take my time. It's just one of those stories you never want to end.

Jun 11, 2014


It's Wednesday. I was supposed to have a post ready for today, wasn't I?

Well, it's like this. The last couple of weeks I've been making progress reports on the conversion of the closet in my office into a reading nook. Only there hasn't been any progress since I last reported. The pieces for the seat were cut out and painted and we're still waiting for the paint to dry. I have no idea what's taking so long, but without the seat in place I can't even start loading books onto the shelves unless I want to stand on the frame, and I'm not sure I'm brave enough, or desperate enough, to do that. So hopefully the nook will be finished over the weekend.

In the meantime, I need something to post about today. And as I was sitting at the dining room table having my breakfast, I'm looking out into the backyard and I notice the chestnut tree at the back of the yard, and it only has a few blossoms on it. And I vaguely remember an old wives tale correlating the number of blossoms to the severity of the coming winter, and I thought that would make an interesting post, despite the fact it's going to require some research, which will make me even later than I am.

Too bad. It's piqued my interest now. :-)

Last year I'm pretty sure our chestnut tree was covered in blossoms and we all know what kind of winter we had. This year, either I missed them or there's only a smattering of blossoms. So it follows that we're going to have a mild winter. Guess only time will prove whether I'm right or wrong.

Anybody local out walking last night? Did you notice if there was any dew on the grass? There probably wasn't because it's raining today. This is an old wives tale I've stood by for ages. If there's no dew on the grass, it means it's going to rain.

Those are the only two I know personally, so now let's find a few others.

When the wind blows so that the leaves of the shivering aspen turn over, a storm's coming - I got this one from my aunt, and it makes sense to me because storms are so often accompanied by high winds.

When the cows are laying down in the field it will likely rain - I've heard of this one! And I often take note when driving by a herd of cows whether they're standing or laying down. :-)

"Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight." - yup, heard of this one too. There's scientific basis for this one - if the sky is red at sunset it means there's a high pressure system with dry air stirring dust particles in the air, causing the sky to look red. Since prevailing fronts usually move from west to east, the dry air is heading towards you. A red sky in the morning (in the East, where the sun rises) means that the dry air has already moved past you, and what follows behind is a low pressure system that carries moisture.

Here's one I've never heard of before, but also has science to back it up: "Rainbow in the morning, need for a warning." A rainbow in the west is the result of the rising sun's rays from the east striking moisture in the west. Most major storm fronts in the Northern Hemisphere travel west to east, and a rainbow in the west means moisture, which can mean rain is on its way. On the other hand, a rainbow in the east around sunset means that the rain is on its way out and you can look forward to sunny days.

Winds which blow from the east can indicate an approaching storm front; westerly winds mean good weather. Strong winds indicate high pressure differences, which can be a sign of advancing storm fronts.

If the smoke from your camp fire swirls and descends, you need to brace yourself. This effect is caused by low pressure, meaning rain is on the way.

Here's one that contradicts my chestnut blossom one: when the rowantree has a lot of berries in the autumn it means a mild winter; if there's only a few rowanberries, it means a severe winter.

To calculate the temperature in Fahrenheit, count a cricket’s chirps over fourteen seconds and add fourteen. Exact formulas vary, but this one is endorsed by the Old Farmer’s Almanac. And it pretty much works due to the cricket’s metabolism varying based on the weather.

Pine cone scales remain closed if the humidity is high, but open in dry air.

If there's a ring around the moon, it means snow (or rain) is on the way. This is another one that was proven scientifically. The ring effect is caused by thinly stretched cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are usually at the forefront of a storm movement and will arrive 12 to 24 hours before the rest of the storm.

Birds get very quiet right before it rains.

Turtles often search for higher ground when a large amount of rain is expected.

Some people swear they can predict rain based on their aches and pains. This could be due to a fall in barometric pressure, which causes blood vessels to dilate slightly, enabling a storm to affect everything from bones and joints to muscles and sinuses.

If swifts and swallows are flying low at dusk before they go home to roost, it's a sign of bad weather to come. The opposite is true if they're flying high.

So . . . did any of these look familiar? What are some of your favourite old wives tales concerning weather? I'm very curious to know. :-)

Jun 9, 2014

Morassic Monday

morassic ~ of, like or pertaining to a morass

Why do weekends never go as planned? I'm not saying I didn't get a bunch of stuff done, it's just I didn't get the stuff done that I intended to.

Saturday night I sat down with some colour pencils and graph paper, and tried to figure out the pattern for my green hexagon afghan. I had two different colour coded set-ups . . . and didn't like either of them.

So then I took my hexagons down to the rec room, and while the hubby and I watched reruns of Hawaii 5-0 on On Demand, I started laying out hexagons on the carpet. This is what I came up with:

It took a bit of work to get it in a pattern that uses the optimum number of hexagons, but I really like the look of it as a big hex. It looks even better now that I'm starting to join the hexagons with a black granny stitch. And of course it's going to end up bigger than it looks in the picture. Plus I'll have a few hexagons left over if I want to make a cushion to go with it. :-)

My 9-point star afghan isn't going to be quite as impressive in size (I posted a picture of it last week) and I'm just starting the last ball of that yarn. I'll be going to Michaels (craft supply store) later today so I might see if they have something that would go with all that orange and white.

I'm not sure what happened to Daphne's babies, but she was hanging out at our place all day yesterday, which I doubt she'd do if her eggs had hatched or were close to hatching. Did a fox or racoon get them? Was it just too cold? Did all the insecticides used in the neighbourhood affect the integrity of the eggs? Or was it something more sinister?

The neighbours who were feeing Daphne left around Wednesday to go on a three week vacation, leaving the neighbour (whose stone fireplace Daphne was nesting in) without anyone to keep watch. She's a nasty old biddy and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out she did something to the eggs.

In the meantime, as I said, Daphne spent her day at our place yesterday, sometimes in the pool, sometimes in the pond. Later in the day she was joined by six other mallards, all of whom wanted a piece of her (so to speak). She got so upset that she flew to the roof of the building over the neighbour's pool. And 'cause I knew you wouldn't believe me, I took a picture of her:

And here's a picture of Daphne with all her beaux, both joining her on the roof and waiting patiently below. Are these ducks weird or what? :-)

Not much progress to report on the reading nook. The wood for the bench part of the nook is almost ready to go - just waiting for the paint to dry, and with the damp weather we've been having that paint is taking its sweet time. *sigh*

So . . . I'm not sure if I'll have an update for the Wildcard Wednesday post or not. Guess you'll just have to come back and check it out for yourself. ;-)

Jun 6, 2014

What I'm Reading

I'm not sure where it came from, but apparently I found my reading mojo last week. In fact, there were a couple of times when I was reading when I should have been doing other things. ;-)

Electronic Books

I got over feeling guilty about the number of electronic books I have on the go. I did indeed add a ride on the stationary bike to my daily routine, and despite the fact the bike is in the music room, I like to read while I ride (the hubby usually has the music blaring when he rides). While it's easy to flip between tree books when reading, I find it's better with the electronic ones to just pick one and read it until it's done. So that's what I'm doing.

Therefore, there was no progress on The Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian, Mr. Love by Sally Mason, or Dark Love by Claudy Conn. I'm leaving these ones listed because they're next on my list and I don't want to forget about them, although it's been so long since I cracked any of them open that I may have to start them all from the beginning.

The Darlings of Paranormal Romance anthology is a collection of 12 novels and novellas. I'm about to start number 11 - the end is in sight. :-)

The first half of the collection was adult novels, the second half is young adult. I don't general read a lot of young adult, although I do indulge occasionally. I have to say that so far, with the exception Tuesday's Child, by Dale Mayer (that I mentioned last week) the young adult offerings have been better reads than the adult. Although if I have any complaint, it's that of the three YA books I've read so far, two have the story continued in the next book and the final two both have a Part I beside the title.

Last week I polished off Zombified, by Lyra McKen, which appears to be available only as part of the Darlings of Paranormal Romance anthology. It's an interesting twist on the zombie scenario with the story being told to us by 17-year-old Cassie as she slowly turns into one of the walking dead.

Next was Crush, by Chrissy Peebles. To be honest, it reads a lot like Twilight fan fiction, but the story held my attention right to the cliff-hanger ending.

And finally I read Vampire in Denial, by Dale Mayer. I really enjoyed this tale of a young vampire, who thinks she's some kind of a throwback, as she tries to rescue one of her human friends who was kidnapped to become part of a blood farm. The only disappointing part was the abrupt ending so that you're forced to buy the next book if you want to continue the story.

Tree Books

I still haven't gotten back to Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle, and I probably won't until I finish at least one of the other tree books I have on the go.


I read another couple stories from Sword and Sorceress V. Progress is still slow, but also still steady.

And my interest in Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint, was suddenly renewed. I went on a bit of a reading binge and went from just the first couple of chapters to well past the halfway mark. Part of it is the fact I really do like this book, but the other part is I want to finish it so I can lend it to a friend who might find it interesting. ;-

Jun 4, 2014

The Continuing Saga . . .

For those of you who are late to the story, You can find the beginning of the Great Closet Conversion HERE and the next steps HERE.

In a nutshell, my office is in what used to be the master bedroom of our house. And as such, it has a really big closet in it. When I took over this space as my office, I ripped the sliding doors off said closet, and put a desk and a cabinet in there to turn it into my printing/storage alcove.

Then I got the bright idea to turn the closet into a reading nook. You know, with shelves for books and a padded bench for sitting on.

I'm not sure, but I suspect this operation might turn into grounds for divorce. ;-)

So . . . part one of this project was essentially cleaning out the closet and part two was painting it. This week started out with putting up the shelves:

It looks simple enough, doesn't it? But I'm sure the hubby will be the first one to point out that it wasn't. This is an old house, and I don't know if it was due to settling over the years or if it was just built this way, but the walls of the closet are not even. As in, each of the shelves had to be custom cut to fit so there wouldn't be gaps on the ends.

So first the shelves were all cut to the same length, then painted, then trimmed to fit. And I really missed the boat here 'cause I didn't think to take a picture of them while they were propped up in the music room drying. It was like a big black table 'cause they were lined up side by side.

That pretty much took up all of Saturday.

The next stage in this painstaking process was installing the framework for the bench that's going in there:

The bench needs to be strong enough for me to stand on (so I can reach the upper shelves of books), hence the heavy frame work. And it will open up so I can use the inside of it for storage. The hubby was a little concerned about the height of the bench, it's higher than most chairs, but he's not the type to curl up in a chair. Trust me, it'll be awesome. :-)

Jun 2, 2014

Multanimous Monday

multanimous ~ having a many-sided mind

I think, although I may be mistaken, that the danger of frost has finally passed. :-)

Seriously though, this has been one cold, wet spring. Though the sun has been shining lately, up until yesterday the wind coming off the lake was still pretty cold. But yesterday I was able to have the deck door open and I didn't freeze to death, although I was still wearing my socks.

Skirts and sandals - that's the meaning of spring to me, when I transition from long pants and socks and shoes to skirts and sandals. So far there have only been a couple of days where it's been warm enough for sandals, and my skirts are still safely tucked away in my closet. Maybe later this week. ;-)

Last week got off to a bit of a rocky start but got better as the week progressed. I've been finding more time to read, and I finished writing a short story I've been working on for a while now. It's kind of a Halloween themed story and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it other than maybe include it in an anthology of other creepy stories.

I still haven't made up my mind about what I'm going to do with all those green hexagons I have, so in the meantime I started a new throw. Actually, I started one that was a 12-point star, decided it was too many points, ripped it out and started over making it 9-points instead. The yarn I'm using is both textured and fuzzy, in a variegated orange to white:

That's Dante photo-bombing, in case you were wondering. He likes to "help" crochet. And the orange is much oranger in the picture - in real life it looks more like orange sherbert. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it when it's finished - I've never been particularly fond of the colour orange.

The shelves are up in the reading nook . . . I was kind of hoping I'd be making the cushion and loading books into it by now, but that's okay. Having the nook done will mean it's time for the Great Book Migration and Reorganization and I'm not sure I'm ready for that. Speaking of which, I'll have to remember to take pictures of my current bookcases so I have before and after shots.

I've been toying with the idea of a small anthology of some of my darker flash fiction, so yesterday I was checking through my folders, ferreting out stories to be included in it. I found 13 stories that are pretty much good to go, and another three that just need some polishing. Of course when we're talking about dark tales, 13 sounds like a good number, don't you think? So maybe the three extras can wait for the next anthology. :-)

Have you ever noticed that the longer you're away from something the hard it is to get back to it? This week I'm going to get back to work on Lucky Dog if it kills me. And it just might. ;-)