Sep 29, 2014

Mythoclast Monday

mythoclast ~ destroyer of myths

You know, I came to a conclusion yesterday while I was cutting the lawns. It's not the cutting I hate, it's the lawns themselves. And the lawn mower. The back yard, even though it's bigger, isn't so bad. But the front yard is bumpy and pitted and you really don't notice it unless you're walking back and forth across it. It's gone beyond rolling to fix it. What it needs is a load of topsoil spread over it to smooth it out.

The lawn mower now . . . I swear this lawn mower was one of the first ones that ever ran on gasoline:

Okay, maybe not quite as old as the one in the picture, but it's pretty darn close. It's wobbly and rickety and held together with spit and a prayer. Even the hubby's having trouble starting it these days. But year after year it keeps hanging in there, despite all odds and oodles of neglect. You kind of gotta admire a machine that faithful, but that's not going to stop me from doing a happy dance on its grave when it finally does give up the ghost. ;-)

Now there's an interesting idea for a story . . . the ghost of an old lawn mower comes back and haunts the family that replaced it with a spiffy new one. Sort of like Stephen King's Christine, only on a smaller scale. LOL

Happiness would be a hover-mower. One that glides over the grass as it cuts. It would respond to your slightest touch - no more struggling and man-handling it to get it to turn. And it would have a push button start so you don't hurt something pulling on those stupid cords.

Somebody get right on that, 'kay?

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Last week was a pretty good week for getting stuff done, despite my extremely grumpy mood. I added another 5,000 words to Lucky Dog, got some editing done, finished knitting my fingerless gloves, and got another few rows added to the baby sweater.

I keep thinking the end is in sight with Lucky Dog, but every time I do the characters hare off on some other side trip. Right now Jessica is having an intense, but necessary, conversation with her dead mother. She really needs to just shut up and get back on track. ;-)

The fingerless gloves turned out perfect, which is saying something because I didn't use a pattern. Too bad the weather has turned warm so even first thing in the morning I don't need them. They were great for working on during TV time 'cause I didn't have to pay such close attention to what I was doing. Unlike the baby sweater I'm doing. I'm almost finished the main piece, then I just have to add the sleeves and do the booties and bonnet.

In the meantime, though she appreciates the effort I'm putting into the pink one, the daughter has requested a white one as well, just in case. Apparently the doctor who told them it's a girl is known for being wrong . . . about 50% of the time.

She's also put in a request for cowboy booties, which look simple enough to do, and there's even a crocheted cowboy hat to go with it.

Good thing the new season on television's started, I might have a chance at getting them all done before the baby comes. LOL

Sep 26, 2014

What I'm Reading

Once again it was pretty slim pickings on the reading front last week. I had a bunch of stuff that took me away from home which made it a little hard to squeeze some reading time in. But I did manage to buy a couple of books from a thrift store. ;-)

Electronic Books

I had every intention of paying some attention to George last week, I even had the opportunity. However, what I didn't have was any juice in his battery. But never fear! His battery is all charged up now and next week is a new week.

Tree Books

I haven't made much progress in Eyes Like Leaves, by Charles de Lint. Don't for a minute think I've lost interest in it, the truth is I just didn't have time.

One of the books I bought at the thrift store was The Anthology of Love and Romance, edited by Kate Alexander. It happened to be in the car when the battery in my Kindle died, so naturally I started reading it. It was published in 1994 and has some really, really, old stories.

This book has love stories by such names as Rudyard Kipling, O Henry, Charlotte Bronte, and Georgette Heyer. Like I said, old stories. ;-)

I'm actually finding it pretty interesting. Don't judge. :-P


I'm plugging away with Swords Against Darkness V, edited by Andrew Offutt, but it's been slow going. Once again, lack of time is the culprit here.

And that's pretty much it for the reading last week. I honestly don't know if next week will be any better, but one can only hope. ;-)

Sep 22, 2014

Muffineer Monday

muffineer ~ dish for keeping muffins hot

You know, I feel like I talk overmuch about the weather, but you have to admit it's been pretty darn interesting lately.

We had a couple of perfect fall days - sun was shining but it wasn't overly warm - followed by a couple of really cold days - to the point where I even turned the furnace on one morning to take the chill off - and these last couple of days have been downright muggy.

So last week when I said the cooler temperatures were here to stay? I lied. Or more specifically, the Weather Network lied. But then we tend to expect that kind of behavior from them, don't we? However, if they could be wrong about the cold weather being here to stay, maybe their predictions for the coming winter will be wrong as well.

*knock on wood*

As well as being a mixed bag weather-wise, last week was a bit of a mixed bag of accomplishments too. A little of this, a little of that . . . a couple of migraines . . .

I think my biggest accomplishment is my consistency with the words on Lucky Dog. I'm now up to 80,000 words, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because wow, that's a lot of words! And bad because whoa, that's a lot of words and a great many of them are going to have to be cut. But the end is near. Two more major scenes, but a whole lot of little stuff in between too. Will I finish this week? I have no idea. At this point I think I just keep writing so I won't have to start editing it. ;-)

I have another baby sweater about half done . . . this one is for my grandchild to be, due at the end of January. It's in optimistic pink and I will definitely be doing the booties as well as the hat to go with it. The daughter put in a request for a boob hat (also known as a breast beanie), but that is so not going to happen!

No. Just . . . no

In other news . . . I also got a little reading done, some editing, and some more books loaded into the nook. I have a large basket that I use for gathering the books that are going in there, and I figure if I even do one basket full a day, I should have the book part of the nook finished by the weekend. Then it just needs a few finishing touches and - cross your fingers - I'll be able to do my nook post next week.

The temperatures this week are supposed to be moderate and sunny, which will be perfect for giving the gardens a clean out in preparation for the coming winter.

Yeah, right. Even I don't believe that one. LOL

Sep 19, 2014

What I'm Reading

For anyone keeping track of such things, I never did get around to starting to get caught up on Goodreads. Okay, I totally forgot about it. Just one of the many things I need to leave a note to myself about.

Oh, here's a thought. Why don't I write out a note - red marker on white paper - and tack it to the cork board that runs the length of the bookcase that backs onto the far side of my desk? There. Done and done. :-)

Once again it was pretty slim pickings on the reading front last week. When I wasn't busy doing other things, I was too tired. A lame excuse, perhaps, but it's the only one I got.

Electronic Books

No electronic reading to speak of. Poor George. I joined a gym, so I'm not using the stationary bike at home any more, and I haven't been on any appointments to speak of where I need to wait. I'd better check to make sure his battery hasn't run down. And then maybe make an effort to dust him off once in awhile like, say, reading at breakfast or lunch.

Tree Books

I started reading Eyes Like Leaves, by the amazing Charles de Lint. Mr. de Lint is better known for his urban fantasy, but in the beginning he wrote mythic fantasy as well.

I actually bought this book a few years ago, but had a hard time getting into it. Lately I need to be in the right "mood" for mythic fantasy and after reading The Wood Wife, by Terri Windling, I found myself ready for Eyes Like Leaves at last.

It's reminiscent of a couple of his earlier works, The Harp of the Grey Rose, The Riddle of the Wren, and Into the Green. In fact the names of the two characters I've been introduced to so far sound familiar to me. This is not one of your quick reads. This is a book to be savoured and savour it I am. Which is another way of saying I'm not very far into it as yet and I refuse to be rushed. ;-)


I finished Swords Against Darkness IV, edited by Andrew J. Offutt, and have begun Swords Against Darkness V. It's more heroic fantasy than mythic, but fantasy none-the-less.

I appear to have gotten away from the science fiction and romance altogether in my reading lately, which is probably why I've been writing full steam ahead on my fantasy novel whilst having trouble with my sci/fi romance. Hmm. Something to think about.

Sep 17, 2014

On . . . New Poles . . .

Normally something as mundane as the neighbourhood getting new hydro poles (telephone poles, utility poles, call them what you will) wouldn't really be post-worthy, but for some reason the whole process fascinated me to the point where I even took pictures. That and it was noisy as all get out and I kept going to the window to see what they were doing.

It started a few weeks ago when men with cans of spray paint descended on the area and left their marks. There was blue for water, yellow for gas, and a mysterious pink one. After contemplating this for several days, I figured the pink marked the spot where we were getting new hydro poles.

My suspicions were confirmed when a few days later a truck deposited a pile of hydro poles in the circle of our crescent. Ha! I was right.

So about a week after that a truck came around for the first step, digging a hole for the new pole:

Actually, they dug two holes with their nifty machine. The second one was for the wire that braces the pole:

They dug the holes throughout the neighborhood over the course of two days.

The next step was planting the new poles. First, they used a baby digger (I forget what these machines are called) to drag the poles, one by one, from the pile to where they were going to be placed.

They used a cherry picker on a hydro truck to place the pole in the hole:

Then they back-filled the hole with gravel:

And the final step was planting the anchor for the bracing wire:

And . . . I didn't realize until I started writing this post last night that I didn't have a picture of the pole firmly in place. *sigh*

Oh, well. They still need to move the wires over from the old pole to the new one. Guess that'll be a post for another day. ;-)

Sep 15, 2014

Moriform Monday

moriform ~ shaped like a mulberry

Are you ready for Autumn?

The first couple of days last week were hot and humid, but by the end of the week I had an afghan on the bed and the windows were closed. Even the one in my office, and you know it's cold when I close that one. Fall is definitely on the way.

The hubby gave up the hope he'd get one last swim in and closed up the pool on the weekend. And the really funny part about that is, a couple of hours after he did so we heard a duck out in the back yard. Apparently Daphne approved of the tarp being on the pool. LOL

I checked with the Weather Network to see what the temperatures were going to be like this week - okay, I confess. I was checking to see if the hubby was justified in closing up the pool or if he was being a little premature. Turns out he was right. The cooler temperatures are here to stay.

Anyway, I couldn't help clicking on the Winter Preview while I was there, and I kind of wish I hadn't. While the east coast and the west coast are predicted to have above normal temperatures this winter, the central part - you know, the part I live smack dab in the middle of - is predicted to have below normal temperatures. *sigh*

In fact, the weather guy is saying the "pattern resembles last year." Really? The cold I can live with - I have lots of blankets and I enjoy being able to wear a sweater once in awhile. But I could really do without another ice storm. So could the tree in our front yard that never quite recovered from the one we had last year.

See that branch hanging beside the car? It never did spring back up quite like the rest of the branches. The hubby wanted to hack off a bunch of limbs - okay, maybe he might have suggested trimming it back - but I'm a notorious tree hugger and there were enough trees being desecrated in the neighborhood.

So . . . not being one to put a lot of faith in the Weather Network - sorry, but when they're telling me the rain has been ongoing for a couple of hours and it's dry outside, I tend to lose confidence in them - I checked the tried and true Farmer's Almanac.

It also predicted below normal temperatures for the long winter, as well as above normal snowfall. Just how far above normal are we talking? And may I request that this snow not fall on our driveway or sidewalk?

Okay, so the freezing rain may have shut things down for a few days. But at least we didn't have to shovel it, not like the snow.

Maybe it was a good thing I joined a gym after all. ;-)

Sep 12, 2014

What I'm Reading

Anybody out there use Goodreads?

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, in a nutshell Goodreads is sort of a reading/book lovers community. It's free to join, and once you set up an account you can use it to keep track of the books you've read and give reviews of them. You can even join in discussion forums for your favourite genres/authors.

Anywho, I've been a member for a couple of years now and although I started out remembering to list the books I've been reading on there at the beginning of the year I kind of fell off the wagon. Then my backlog got so big I figured, what's the point, and decided I'd just start fresh next year.

However, as an author myself, I know the importance of reviews, so in fairness to the books I've read and enjoyed I think it would behoove me to go back and start closing up the gap in my list. If I do a few every day, it shouldn't take me too, too long to catch up. And the nice thing about Goodreads is you can backdate your entries to when you actually finished a book, not making it seem like you finished twenty-seven books all at once. :-)

Electronic Books

No electronic reading to speak of, but I did download a few more free ones offered by Amazon through Pixel of Ink. I did have a wait in a doctor's office last week (which is where I usually get some electronic reading done) but I worked on some crocheting instead. Poor, neglected George. I'll have to see what I can do about the sorry state of my electronic reading this week.

Tree Books

No progress to report on Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle. Nor was there progress made on Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen.

However, I did finish Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was Neil Gaiman at his best. If you enjoyed Coraline and Neverwhere, you'll love this one. I don't know what else to say, other than I was sorry when it ended. It was one of those tales that you wish could go on forever.


I am about three-quarters of the way through Swords Against Darkness IV, edited by Andrew J. Offutt. Even more than the Sword and Sorceress series, this book brings home to me why I love the genre so much. I'm just about finished the longest story in the book, The Fane of the Grey Rose, by Charles de Lint who, as you know, is one of my all time favourite authors, and who went on to turn the story into a full-length novel, The Harp of the Grey Rose.

I also had the need/urge for some comfort reading - you ever have the urge to re-read an old favourite, just because it makes you feel good? In any case, my go-to book for comfort reading is The Wood Wife, by Terri Windling. It's urban fantasy, mystery, romance, and magic, all rolled into one. How could it not be one of my favourite books? I'm only about a third of the way through it because I'm only reading a little bit of it a day, just to make it last. :-)

So what are you reading these days?

Sep 10, 2014

On Journals and Journaling . . .

Do you keep a journal or a diary?

When I hear the word "diary" I think of one of those little pink notebooks you need a key to open, where teenaged girls pour their hearts out about what a heartthrob Bobby is. A journal has a much more grown up sound to it, don't you think?

According to my friend Dolly Garland, who's an authority on journaling, a diary is a report of what has happened during the day - where you ate, who you met, what you did - while a journal is of a more personal nature and includes thoughts and feelings and dreams.

So while my two sisters and I keep what we call journals, theirs are actually diaries because all they really do is list what they've been doing, kind of like a laundry list, while mine is a journal because I record what I've been doing, but also what I'm thinking, how it made me feel, and even the occasional rant or dream. Maybe that's why I'm the writer and they're not.

Hey! Here's a thought. If people who create art are artists, and people who play the piano are pianists, does this mean because I keep a journal I'm a journalist? LOL Sorry, I just couldn't resist. :-)

I've kept a journal for many years - okay, you know what I mean, not just one, but a series of them. Here's a picture of just a few of them:

The journal on the far right is my current one, and the purple one beside it is my favourite - you probably can't see by the photo but it's covered with quotations from Edgar Allen Poe. And the one with the peacock on it is the one I just finished using up. This has never happened to me before. Usually I use up one journal a year, and often there are a few (sometimes many) pages left in it at the end. Guess I've had a lot more to say this year. ;-)

As you can see, I like my journals to be pretty. That's pretty much my only criteria for one these days. Plus I seem to favour the oversized ones to the normal ones and they have to have lined paper in them. Some people prefer moleskin journals, some those rigid hard black ones with the word journal emblazoned across them in gold letters, and others just use a spiral bound notebook. As well, some people carry their journals with them wherever they go, some people have a special shelf for them and a special pen to write with, and some hide them away with the care a pirate has for his treasure.

I pretty much leave mine wherever I was when I was last writing in it (usually every other day or so) and as long as the pen has black ink I'm not all that picky. I used to think using a fountain pen to write in a leather-bound journal was utterly romantic, but leather-bound journals are expensive and the ink from any fountain pen I've ever used fades alarmingly over the years, not to mention it washes away pretty easily.

I used to keep several journals - one to write my dreams in, one for writing, one that was more like a diary - but I found it too hard to keep up with them all so now everything goes in just the one journal. And of course me being me, you know there are still exceptions to that.

See that little notebook looking journal with my initial on it? That was actually a failed experiment. The idea was to write one sentence a day for 365 days . . . or until the pages in the book were used up, whichever came first. For the first 20-25 days I dutifully wrote the first sentence that popped into my head, then I began to falter as it became harder to come up with a single sentence, and by day 40 I'd pretty much abandoned the project.

People journal for a variety of reasons. Maybe they're like me, owning a terrible memory, and just want to leave behind a record of their lives. I know one person who journalled her way through depression - a journal is a great way to have your say when there's no one around to listen. Perhaps you're facing a challenge and need an outlet for your hopes and fears. Maybe you're taking a trip; a journal can be a great way to tell about not just the places you've seen, but the way they made you feel, the dreams they inspired. And what about dreams? Sometimes dreams can give us an important insight to what's going on inside our heads. Why not write them down in a journal?

If you've ever thought of keeping a journal, I highly recommend it. You can learn a lot about yourself by journaling. And whether you keep a journal or are just thinking about keeping a journal, I highly recommend you check out Dolly's website, Kaizen Journaling. She offers a course in journaling, coaching, and a Beginner's Guide to get you started.

Sep 8, 2014

Mistigris Monday

mistigris ~ variation of poker where blank card can have any value

I don't know why Mondays seem to take me by surprise. I mean, it's not like they jump around or anything, they take place at the same time every week. Nevertheless, I'm sitting here at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday night, trying to get my post written, and I'm having a hard time remembering what all I did last week. Out of sight out of mind.

I remember it was insanely hot and humid, with a lot of overcast days, until Friday. Friday it rained and blessedly lowered the temperature, and the humidity. Normally I keep a journal, and then I can just refer back to it when I'm writing a letter or doing a blog post, but for some reason I didn't last week. Apparently I was in a bit of a funk or something. :-)

Here's where I was going to do a nice segue into being excited for the fall season on television, especially after weeks of endless repeats and really bad movies - Ghost Shark, Piranha DD, Abraham Lincoln versus Zombies (which was actually better than Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter). However, most of the shows I can't wait to see aren't starting until later this month or later.

Out of curiosity, I did a Google search (what did we ever do before Google?) and pretty much the only site that has the fall premiere schedule is TV Guide. Unfortunately, my cable company is in Canada and the TV Guide only shows the network listings: FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS . . .

While I did see with relief the return of shows like Grimm, Castle, Bones, Once Upon A Time, and Sleepy Hollow, the lineup didn't include shows from the channels I do a lot of my viewing on, namely Showcase and Space. Half the time I forget about the shows I like on Showcase in between seasons until they return. Shows like Haven, Covert Affairs, Lost Girl, and Justified. So it's going to be a bit of a crap shoot as to how my evenings are going to go.

I already know I'm going to have a conflict on Tuesday nights - The Flash is going to be on opposite NCIS. And NCIS Los Angeles has been moved to Monday nights opposite Castle. What network genius thought up that one? Obviously someone who doesn't like NCIS LA.

Guess it's time to call Cogeco to arrange for a PVR

And now, because I know you're dying to see it, here's the trailer for Abraham Lincoln versus Zombies. You can thank me later. :-D

Sep 3, 2014

Of Forgetfulness and Other Garbage . . .

Did you notice there Wildcard post last week?

Yeah . . . I kind of forgot all about it. And when I remembered I came up blank as to what to write about. It's still kind of blank in there. Plus, I'm writing this Tuesday night, which actually feels like Monday night when I don't have to worry about a blog post at all.


So I was whining complaining mentioning this to my friend Jamie and amongst other things she suggested catching up on some of the things I used to talk about on a regular basis.

This is a really good idea, but I'm not going to use it this week. Instead I'm going to talk about a subject that comes up every Monday night. Or in this case a Monday-like night. Namely, the garbage.

I don't know how things work where you are, but where I live the garbage and recycling go out once a week on the night before pick up - that is to say, Monday night. When there's a holiday Monday pick-up is moved to the following night.

Although the services our taxes pay for are supposed to include garbage pick up, we still have to buy garbage tags to place on the bags - no tag, no pick up. Plus we're limited to three bags per household (although we can have as many bags of recycling as we like). Normally we only put out one bag.

Anyway, a few years ago, my husband and his friend started calling Monday nights "garbage eve". I'm not sure which one came up with the name but either one can give you a long list of (imaginary) rituals that are observed, including fireworks.

I, for my part, wrote a song to commemorate the occasion. It's sung to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree":

Garbage Eve

O Garbage Eve! O Garbage Eve!
I hate thee with a passion;
O Garbage Eve! O Garbage Eve!
Where is the can for trashin’?

I hate you when the summer’s here,
But also when the winter’s near,
O Garbage Eve! O Garbage Eve!
I hate thee with a passion!

Okay, maybe it's not much of a song. But still, it's better than skipping my Wednesday post again, right? :-D

Sep 1, 2014

Metabiosis Monday

metabiosis ~ reliance of an organism on another for environment

Here we are, the last long weekend of the summer where we celebrate Labour Day by doing as little as possible. Or at the very least, as little labour as possible. This is the weekend to have fun!

I'd like to say that the timing of this post was in honour of it being a holiday weekend and everyone should have the chance to sleep in on a holiday weekend, but the truth is, I just plain forgot. :-)

But in case you're in need of excuses, I have two pretty good ones. First of all, it's been hot and muggy this weekend. And I'm talking really hot and muggy. It's driven me from my office (where I only have a fan) to the living room (where I have a fan and an air conditioner. But the problem with that (aside from the noise) is in the living room I have to have the lap top on my lap and the air conditioning doesn't quite compensate for this so I tend not to use my laptop in the living room if I don't have to on extremely hot days. So I wasn't on my laptop much/at all last night, otherwise I might have remembered my post

My second excuse is . . . we watched Piranha DD last night and it was so bad it made my brain turn to mush. I'm trying to think of something good to say about it but I'm coming up empty - unless you want to count the part at the very beginning where Gary Busey gets eaten. The action centers around a water park with an adult themed section, staffed by pole-dancing stripper lifeguards (double D gets in free!). And David Hasselhoff was in it as himself and unfortunately does not get eaten by any piranha.

Though I haven't made any progress on my nook, it's been seeing a lot of action lately. First we have Julius and Dante making themselves at home:

And then we have Taz and Dante. Taz is the usual occupant of my nook, and that is his usual spot. The trouble starts when Dante beats Taz to the nook and decides he wants to sleep on the bare cushion instead. And he does a great Gandalf impression if Taz tries to go around him to get to the blanket - you shall not pass! All he needs is a staff. ;-)

You can see the paltry few hard backs I've managed to catalogue and shelve. I really need to move "adding books" to my to-do list. If I was still making out my daily to-do list. I sort of fell off the wagon with that, as well as keeping up my food journal, my regular journal, and my exercising. But today is the start of a new week and a new month. Things can only get better, right?

If nothing else, the writing has been going very well lately. I've added four thousand words to Lucky Dog and over a thousand to Earth. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with Lucky Dog - Jessica's been rescued and now one of the main characters has to lose his hands and Ewan must die and then I'm pretty much finished book two of the Moonstone Chronicles. And no, that does not mean I'll be finished it this week, but by the end of the month for sure. :-) *knock on wood*

Another thing I managed to get done was the baby set I was working on. I messed up on the day my appointment was (earlier than I counted on) so I only managed to get the bonnet done, not the booties as well.

Just so you know, I've never done a bonnet before. I vaguely recall knitting booties for my daughter, but that was a long time ago and knitted, not crocheted. So when it came to finishing the bonnet, I had no idea how to attach the ties - the instructions were a little vague. So I ended up doing the same finishing as it called for at the neck of the sweater where you could thread the ribbon through. Anyway, here it is in all its glory:

And now, even though it's only 9:30 a.m., I'm leaving sweat marks on my lap top where my wrists are touching it. Time to relocate to a cooler location. Have a happy Labour Day! ;-)