Dec 31, 2009

Poetry Form of Trolaan

Trolaan is an interesting form created by Valerie Peterson Brown. It consists of four quatrains (a stanza of four lines, each line having a similar number of syllables). Each line of the quatrain begins with the same letter and the rhyme scheme is abab.

Starting with the second stanza you use the second letter of the first line of the first stanza to start each line of the second stanza.

On the third stanza you will use the second letter on the first line of the second stanza to begin each line of the third stanza.

On the fourth stanza you will use the second letter on the first line of the third stanza to begin each line of the fourth stanza.

My example turned out a little darker than I’d intended, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Fallen Angel

Cold wind snaking through the night
Cutting the air with a wicked knife;
Capering snowflakes, like a blight
Cover a world devoid of life.

Obsequious spirits dance and sway,
Oft cast shadows looming near,
Ousting warmth they seek to stay,
Oblivious to the dangers here.

Balefire moon shines high o’er head
Bewitching in its awesome light.
Beguiling ice is swiftly spread
Banishing dreams in a blaze of white.

Abandoned hopes lay scattered ‘round
Adorning landscapes bleak and sere;
Angel lost and gone to ground
Alone, betrayed by life and fear.

Dec 30, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

I'd like to take the credit for this, but I didn't write it, I just had it sitting in my files.

Twas the Month after Christmas

'Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house,
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste,
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).

I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared,
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared.

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese,
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt,
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt.

I said to myself, as I only can,
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"

So--away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished,
'Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie--not even a lick,
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.

I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore,
But isn't that what January is for?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot,
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

* * * * * * * * * *

Everyone should have a resolution or two, this year I decided to make some I might actually have a prayer of keeping:

1. Gain weight. At least 30 pounds.
2. Stop exercising. Waste of time.
3. Watch more TV. I've been missing some good stuff.
4. Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.
5. Take a vacation to someplace important: like, to see the largest ball of twine.
6. Get in a whole NEW rut!
7. Start being superstitious.
8. Personal goal: bring back disco.
9. Sleep more.
10. Include chocolate with every meal.

* * * * * * * * * *

At one time I resolved to no longer make resolutions. Instead I made the following affirmations for the New Year:

1. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.

2. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.

3. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.

4. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of wisdom and judgment.

5. I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and complain.

6. When someone hurts me, I know that forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit, but not nearly as rewarding.

7. I am at one with my duality.

8. Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves in knots.

9. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.

10. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so!"

11. A scapegoat is almost as good as a solution.

12. Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day in my underwear. Instead, I will move my computer into the bedroom.

13. I will no longer waste my time reliving the past; I will spend it worrying about the future.

14. The complete lack of evidence is the surest proof that the conspiracy is working.

15. Before I criticize a man, I walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot.

Dec 29, 2009

The Origins of New Years

Before we get to the trivia, I have an important announcement. Those who participated in the Kissing Day Blogfest last week had so much fun that Frankie Mallis is hosting the No Kiss Blogfest on Jan 2, 2010 over on her site Frankie Writes .

To participate, write a post about the No Kiss Blogfest to let everyone know you’re participating and that they should too. Then sign up by filling in the Mr. Linky over on Frankie’s blog. Like the kissing scene, the non-kissing scene can be one from your WIP, one you just wrote, or one from a book, movie or tv show, just so long as you post it on January 2, 2010. To see Frankie’s original post and to sign up, go HERE

New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay

There are many theories about the origin of the word Hogmanay. The Scandinavian word for the feast preceding Yule was "Hoggo-nott" while the Flemish words "hoog min dag" means "great love day". Hogmanay can also be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon, Haleg monath, Holy Month, or the Gaelic, oge maidne, new morning. But the most likely source seems to be the French. "Homme est né" or "Man is born" while in France the last day of the year when gifts were exchanged was "aguillaneuf" while in Normandy presents given at that time were "hoguignetes". Take your pick!

Historians believe that we inherited the celebration from the Vikings who paid even more attention to the passing of the shortest day. In Shetland, where the Viking influence was strongest, New Year is called Yules, from the Scandinavian word.

There are traditions before midnight such as cleaning the house on 31st December (including taking out the ashes from the fire in the days when coal fires were common). There is also the superstition to clear all your debts before "the bells" at midnight.

An integral part of the Hogmanay partying, which continues very much today, is to welcome friends and strangers, with warm hospitality and of course a kiss to wish everyone a Guid New Year. The underlying belief is to clear out the vestiges of the old year, have a clean break and welcome in a young, New Year on a happy note.

"First footing" (that is, the "first foot" in the house after midnight) is still common in Scotland. To ensure good luck for the house, the first foot should be male, dark (believed to be a throwback to the Viking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstep.

New Year’s Day

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

Although in the first centuries AD the Romans continued celebrating the new year, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism. But as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations. New Year's Day was observed as the Feast of Christ's Circumcision.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII instituted the Gregorian calendar still in use today, setting January 1 as New Year's Day.

Dec 28, 2009

Missing Monday - Almost

Not quite, but I almost missed posting today. Truth of the matter is, the holidays have me so turned around I forgot it was Monday.

So how was everyone's holiday? Lots of fun, or lots of stress? Enjoying family or annoying family? Wish it would never end, or can't wait for it to end?

I spent a lot of my time wishing I could be writing instead, and then when I did get some writing done I felt guilty because I should have been doing other things. I did a heck of a lot of reading as well, for which I felt no guilt at all. :-)

Last Monday I didn't really post any goals, so I don't have much to recap, other than the fact that we're halfway through the holidays and my sanity is still intact - more or less. This is in spite of cooking five individual game hens for Christmas Eve dinner, having to drive to every convenience store in town on Christmas Day to find something to use as filling for the pies I forgot I was supposed to take to the sister-in-law's, a bake-a-thon to get all my baking done, and driving to Hamilton and back to visit more family.

And I'd like to point out I did all this without my traditional Christmas snow. In fact, it poured rain on Christmas Day. Boxing Day there was water everywhere. And what is it doing today, now that it's too late? Snowing.

I lost my internet connection off my lap top briefly, but was able to fix it myself. And despite all that, I managed to do my Christmas trivia posts, a poetry post, my favorite holiday videos, and chapter 19 of the Space Opera. I think I even managed to comment on a few blogs here and there.

This Week's Goals

For tomorrow's random post I'm going to explore some New Year's traditions. If there's a lot of them I'll carry them over for Wednesday's post as well. Thursday will be the poetry form of Trolaan, and Friday, of course, will be another chapter of the Space Opera.

The rest of my time will be spent editing, figuring out how to program the phones we got for Christmas, and probably copious amounts of reading.

So how about you? Any big plans for the New Year? Anyone else off this week? Are you kicking back or catching up? Inquiring minds want to know! :-)

Dec 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I apologize if you've come here looking for the next installment of my Space Opera - it's been unavoidably delayed until at least tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite Christmas videos.

I didn't even realize there was a video for this one, it's truly a Christmas Classic.

I was disappointed I couldn't find a video of Nat King Cole singing this, but at least you get to hear his angelic voice.

This is a newer Christmas song, but another favorite.

And of course, what would Christmas be without my all time favorite, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Dec 24, 2009

The Form of Parody

A parody, in contemporary usage, is a work created to mock, comment on, or poke fun at an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation.

According to Aristotle, Hegemon of Thasos was the inventor of a kind of parody; by slightly altering the wording in well-known poems he transformed the sublime into the ridiculous. In ancient Greek literature, a parodia was a narrative poem imitating the style and prosody of epics "but treating light, satirical or mock-heroic subjects"

Roman writers explained parody as an imitation of one poet by another for humorous effect. In French Neoclassical literature, parody was also a type of poem where one work imitates the style of another for humorous effect.

To compose the parody poem you start by choosing a poem as a source of inspiration. The original work may be a classic or a contemporary piece. It is best to use poetry that is well known and that you love. Ideally, you should have parts of the original committed to memory.

Study the style and tone of the original. As you learn how to write a parody poem, you also learn a greater appreciation to the poetic devices found in the original. Make note of the rhyme and meter but also look out for other patterns in the language that makes the work unique.

Read examples of other parody poetry. Note how the parody imitates but uses the language to completely transform the text.

And now, my example:

A Visit From the Computer Tech

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, just the optical mouse;
The cords were all strung to the PC with care
In hopes the technician soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of interwebs danced in their heads;
The wife couldn’t take any more of this crap
So she went to bed while I took a nap.
When there on the screen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the keyboard I flew like a flash,
Grabbed up the mouse and gave it a bash.
The monitor gleamed with a brilliant blue glow
Seeming to mock me as I lowly moaned, “No!”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a security warning that made my eyes tear.
With an attack on my drivers, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment my computer was sick.
More rapid than eagles the popups they came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now Trojan, now Wormy, now BankerFox vixen!
A technician’s coming, my computer he’s fixin’.
By installing protection ,a blocker, a wall!
And then he’ll delete you, delete one and all!”
And then, in a twinkling, I heard it oncemore,
A van pulling up, then a knock on the door.
I opened the door with a feeling profound,
And into the house came the tech with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue from his head to his toe
And his jacket was covered with a sprinkling of snow.
A box full of tools was grasped in his hand
And he looked like an angel, come down to land.
His eyes, they were bloodshot, his face was unshaven
From his pocket he pulled a business card graven.
He was balding and old, and I think he had fleas,
And I said to him, “Sir, this way, if you please.”
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And in a few moments pulled the plug with a jerk.
“The mother board’s fried,” he said, shaking his head.
“And the rest of your hard drive looks like it’s dead.”
Then he packed up the tower and picked up his tools
“Gotta watch these old ‘puters, they’re stubborn as mules.”
He walked to his van, my computer in hand
And I had to admit, this did not go as planned.
And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, no more surfing to-night.”

Had I but known what the future held before I started my parody, I might have chosen The 12 Days of Christmas. Something along the lines of:

On the first day of Christmas my bad luck gave to me
a virus for my lap top PC.

Yes, that's right. My Precious is having problems again. I was halfway through writing the parody last night and started getting security pop-ups. And honestly, I have no idea where they came from this time. Anyway, I ran my spyware software and got rid of it all, but when I rebooted I had no internet connection. *sigh*

Is it just me, or does my luck with computers seem exceptionally bad?

Dec 23, 2009

A Few Christmas Origins, Part II

The Origin of Christmas Tree

Legend has it that in 722, the German Saint Boniface encountered some Pagans who were about to sacrifice a child at the base of a huge oak tree. He cut down the tree to prevent the sacrifice and a Fir tree grew up at the base of the oak. He then told everyone that this lovely evergreen, with its branches pointing to heaven, was a holy tree - the tree of the Christ child, and a symbol of His promise of eternal life.

Research, however, tells us a different tale. The ancient Pagans, Druids, Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews celebrated the Winter Solstice, (Dec. 21st) by bringing greenery into their homes to usher in a fertile time of planting and bountiful harvests. The evergreen tree represented eternal life and the promise of replenishment during the cold winter months.

Apples and other fruit were hung upon the tree to represent the plentiful food to come. Candles were lighted to symbolize the warmth and brightness of the sun. While the Christmas tree is generally associated with Christ, it predates this religious figure by many centuries.

Later, Germans hung wafers on the tree along with the apples to represent the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. In the Victorian era, the apples were replaced by red glass balls and candles and the representation signified both Adam and Eve along with the fire of life. The Christmas tree was also used to scare away evil forces for the new year.

After the beginning of the New Year, January 1, the Pagans would take the chopped decorated Christmas tree down and burn the "Yule" log in remembrance of the past year. They would rejoice in song and dance for the goals that had been completed and in jubilation for the coming of the Spring and life. Furthermore, New Year's resolutions were constructed at a later date from the Pagans setting of the goals.

From St.Nicholas to Santa Claus

Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 CE and later became Bishop of Myra. He died in 345 CE on December 6th. He was only named a saint in the 19th century.

In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy. There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, who used to fill children's stockings with her gifts. The Grandmother was ousted from her shrine at Bari, which became the center of the Nicholas cult. Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, December 6.

The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans. These groups worshipped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw. Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn. When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing.

In 1809, the novelist Washington Irving wrote a satire of Dutch culture entitled Knickerbocker History. The satire refers several times to the white bearded, flying-horse riding Saint Nicholas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus.

Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, read Knickerbocker History, and in 1822 he published a poem based on the character Santa Claus: Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.

In 1863, during the Civil War, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began a series of annual black-and-white drawings in Harper's Weekly, based on the descriptions found in the poem and Washington Irving's work. These drawings established a rotund Santa with flowing beard, fur garments, and an omnipresent clay pipe.

Nast's Santa supported the Union and President Lincoln believed this contributed to the Union troops' success by demoralizing Confederate soldiers. As Nast drew Santas until 1886, his work had considerable influence in forming the American Santa Claus. Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves, and his list of the good and bad children of the world. Along with appearance changes, the saint's name shifted to Santa Claus—a natural phonetic alteration from the German Sankt Niklaus.

In 1931, the Coca Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa. Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face. The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red. And Santa was born – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.

Dec 22, 2009

A Few Christmas Origins, Part I

I just couldn't resist the urge to do some research of some of our more popular Christmas traditions. It turned out longer than I anticipated, so I'm spreading it over the next two days. Today we have the origins of Christmas, and the traditions surrounding the use of mistletoe. Tomorrow will be the origins of the Christmas Tree and Santa Claus.

The Origin of Christmas

Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17 and 25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

The Origin of Mistletoe

Sometimes known as the golden bough, it was held sacred by both the Celtic Druids and the Norseman. It was also called Allheal and used in folk medicine to cure many ills. North American Indians used it for toothache, measles and dog bites. Today the plant is still used medicinally, though only in skilled hands.

Mistletoe was used by the Druid priesthood in a very special ceremony held five days after the New Moon following winter solstice. The Druid priests would cut mistletoe from a holy oak tree with a golden sickle. The branches had to be caught before they touched the ground.

The priest then divided the branches into many sprigs and distributed them to the people, who hung them over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. The folklore, and the magical powers of this plant, blossomed over the centuries A sprig placed in a baby's cradle would protect the child from faeries. Giving a sprig to the first cow calving after New Year would protect the entire herd. And so forth.

Now for the kissing part. Although many sources say that kissing under the mistletoe is a purely English custom, there's another explanation that extends back into Norse mythology.

The Norse god Baldur had a dream of his own death, which he told to his mother, Frigg. To keep this from happening, Frigg went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Baldur now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth.

Loki, the mischief making trickster god, was angered by Baldur's invulnerability. He changed himself into a woman and visited Frigg at her hall. There the woman asked Frigg how it was that Baldur could not be harmed. Frigg responded that she had taken oaths from all things. Then Frigg admitted that: "A shoot of wood grows west of Valhalla. It is called mistletoe, and it seemed too young for me to demand its oath."

Immediately after Frigg revealed this, the woman vanished. Loki then took hold of the mistletoe, broke it off and went to where the other Aesir were being entertained by Baldur’s invulnerability.

There, Loki went to Baldur’s brother Höðr, who was blind, offering to help him honour Baldur by shooting things at him. Höðr took the mistletoe from Loki and, following his directions, shot at Baldur. The mistletoe went directly through Baldur killing him.

The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the god. The demise of Baldur brought winter into the world.

Frigg's tears became the mistletoe's white berries. In the version of the story with a happy ending, Baldur is restored to life, and Frigg is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant--making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.

Dec 21, 2009

Miracle Monday

If I get through the holidays with my sanity intact, it’ll be a miracle! :-)

The posts this week will all be Christmas themed: random Christmas facts on Tuesday, Christmas videos on Wednesday, a holiday themed poem on Thursday . . . the only day that won’t have a Christmas theme is Friday, because Christmas just doesn’t really fit into my Space Opera.:-)

Today, however, is something a bit different. The wonderful Jamie over on The Variety Pages posted a link yesterday for the Official Kissing Day Blogfest.

To participate, just sign up on the original post with a link to your blog and post an excerpt from your current WIP, or write a new scene that spotlights a kiss or an "almost kiss". If you are not a writer, or are uncomfortable sharing your work online, post your favorite kissing scene or almost-kissing scene from any book or movie.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what everyone’s posted!

Mine is from a work in progress with the working title of Changeling. The couple in this scene were childhood sweethearts, but she’s got amnesia and doesn’t remember him. They’ve just recently met up again and are having a picnic on the shore - cooking some fish over an open fire.

“Listen,” Matt said. “Do you hear that?”

Octavia cocked her head and listened. “Is that–”

“Whale song,” he confirmed.

Together they listened to the undulating lament of one whale to another. Matt moved over so he was sitting down beside her.

“That’s the male, crying for his soul mate,” he murmured in her ear.

“Is she answering?”

“Not yet.”

The keening rose and fell again. Another voice joined in.

“There she is. She tried to play hard to get but there’s no denying true love.”

“That’s so beautiful,” she whispered.

“Yes, it truly is,” he answered, but he wasn’t talking about the whale song.

She turned to face him and went still at the look in his eyes. It was insane, they’d only known each other for a few days, but at the same time it was as though she’d known him forever.

He leaned slowly forward and she met him half way. He only meant it to be a gentle meeting of the lips, a kiss friends might share while caught up in the moment, but at the first touch of her lips beneath his, all his good intentions evaporated.

What few fears Octavia may have had fled as Matt kissed her. Her eyes fluttered closed; the whales, her problems, everything was forgotten as she gave herself up to his touch. It was like coming home at last.

His lips were gentle, at first, and then grew more demanding. With very little encouragement her mouth opened under his. When he deepened the kiss she sighed and melted against him. His hands stroked her face, like a blind man reading Braille; her own hands had a mind of their own, sliding up his arms and over his shoulders to tangle in his silky hair.

When they finally came up for air she found herself sitting in his lap, with no real idea of how she’d gotten there, arms twined around his neck. They were both breathing hard. She looked up at him with wide, luminous eyes.

With a groan Matt pulled her close again, burying his face in her hair. She smelled like flowers and sunlight. If they lived to be a thousand he would never get enough of her.

“I’m not going to apologize,” he told her in a muffled voice.

“Good,” she said. “I’d hate to think you didn’t mean it.”

He pulled back to look at her and was amazed to find her smiling.

“And here I thought I was taking advantage of you.”

She leaned forward and brushed her lips against his again. “You’ll just have to wait until next time.”

Her stomach chose that moment to rumble and he grinned at her look of chagrin. “It sounds to me like I’d better not let supper burn.”

Octavia blushed and moved reluctantly out of his lap to let him tend to the fish.

Dec 18, 2009


The Shadorma is a Spanish poetic form made up of a stanza of six lines (sestet) with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with a meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter. Little is known about this poetic style's origins and history but it is used by many modern poets today. This variation of the haiku, which is evident by its syllable pattern, can been seen in use in many writing venues.



Also, you can link multiple shadorma (shadormas? shadormae?) like in my example below:

Tis the Season

Christmas comes
Time to celebrate
With our friends
And our kin
It’s the season of giving
And sharing our hearts

Coloured lights
Brighten the pine tree
Standing guard
O’er the gifts
While the stockings hang empty
From the fireplace.

Snow begins
Drifting gently down
Winter’s gift
On this night
To celebrate the season
And lighten the dark.

Stars above
In the silent night
Sparkle bright
guide the way
For the weary travelers
To find their way home.

Dec 17, 2009

All Wrapped Up

Passion for Poetry will appear on Friday, and the next chapter of the Space Opera will appear on Saturday.

Don’t get all excited now, I’m not talking about having all my Christmas presents wrapped up, it’s time for the monthly AW Blog Chain and this month’s topic is the year end wrap up.

In many ways, the past year has been a real roller coaster ride for me. Sometimes it went slowly, sometimes it went fast; there were ups and downs and many unexpected twists and turns. I’m pretty sure you’d find most of the details uninteresting, but I’d like to share some of the highlights.

After 7 long years, the daughter finally finished with higher education. She has a BAH in Art History, a BA in Military History, and an MLS. We raised us one smart kid! Not only did she graduate, she had a job waiting for her as the town archivist, which meant she and the fiancé and their cats moved in with us.

The daughter and her fiancé (and their two cats) moved into their own apartment. Okay, this may not be a highlight to anyone else, but trust me, in this family it was a highlight! :-)

I started taking myself more seriously as a writer. To this end I instigated Creative Fridays, in a first step to putting myself more out there.

In the spirit of it being National Poetry Month, I took (and completed) the PAD challenge – write a poem a day for the month of April. Sort of like NaNo, only with poetry. The big difference is that there’s a chance of publication with this. The five best poems from each day will be included in an anthology – unfortunately, I’m still waiting for the results.

Two highlights for this month. First, I started back to school – I’m taking Business Management. So far I’m on track for honours, but then I haven’t taken my bookkeeping exams yet (Level I and Level II). I’ve discovered I actually enjoy Microsoft (Word, Access, PowerPoint, Excel) and my best mark so far has been in MS Project.
The second highlight was I joined a local poetry group – The Cobourg Poetry Workshop. The CPW has a members only meeting once a month in the upstairs of a local pub, and sponsors a poetry reading once a month at a local coffee shop that includes two guest poets and one poet from the group. I’ve been asked to read some of my work in August 2010. :-)

I started organizing my blog posts and setting goals. Sometimes I even managed to achieve my goals.

The daughter was married on the 4th of July. What else needs to be said?

I started my first ever serial to replace Creative Fridays (I was running out of creative stuff to post). I’m actually having a lot of fun with this.

Had a poem accepted for publication in a poetic horror anthology. This is to be a themed anthology and the poems are all based on a fictional scenario. Now that the excitement’s died down, all I can say is the publication wheel turns very slowly.

Hmmm. I don’t recall anything notable in October, except maybe my awe of everyone’s massive preparations for NaNoWriMo – like character sheets, plot outlines, story boards, maps . . .

Well duh, NaNoWriMo of course! But what you don’t know is that I almost didn’t do it this year. My story idea was kind of vague and my available writing time was about half what it was last year. I signed up anyway, prepared to fail. The way it went it kind of reminded me of the PAD challenge, I’d fall behind and then catch up with a burst of words, fall behind, then catch up. No one was more pleased (and surprised) than me when I won the challenge.

Along the way I made some awesome new friends via the internet and I can see a definite improvement in my writing. I’ve also started to take my writing more seriously than I ever have before. It’s not just a dream any more, it’s a goal.

Participants In The Chain
Lost Wanderer
Claire Crossdale
Ralph Pines
Please read those who went before me
Myself, Lady Cat
As well as those who come after
Forbidden Snowflake

Dec 16, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Yeah, I know I said you'd get vidoes today, but since yesterday was the last of the Sins/Virtues series I couldn't resist these when I stumbled across them. :-)


An atheist was spending a quiet day fishing when suddenly his boat was attacked by the Loch Ness monster. In one easy flip, the beast tossed him and his boat at least a hundred feet into the air. It then opened it's mouth waiting below to swallow them both.
As the man sailed head over heels and started to fall towards the open jaws of the ferocious beast he cried out, "Oh, my God! Help me!"
Suddenly, the scene froze in place and as the atheist hung in midair a booming voice came out of the clouds and said, "I thought you didn't believe in Me!"
"God, come on, give me a break!" the man pleaded, "Just seconds ago I didn't believe in the Loch Ness monster either!"
"Well," said God, "now that you are a believer you must understand that I won't work miracles to snatch you from certain death in the jaws of the monster, but I can change hearts. What would you have me do?"
The atheist thinks for a minute then says, "God, please have the Loch Ness Monster believe in You also."
God replies, "So be it." The scene starts in motion again with the atheist falling towards the ravenous jaws of the monster. The Loch Ness Monster folds his claws together and says, "Lord, bless this food You have so graciously provided....."


A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat.
"I'm the greatest hitter in the world," he announced.
Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed.
"Strike One!" he yelled.
Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!"
He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed.
"Strike Two!" he cried.
The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together.
He straightened his cap and said once more, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!"
Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed.
"Strike Three!"
"Wow!" he exclaimed. "I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"


The church service was under way and they pasted the collection plate. When the preacher saw a $100.00 bill in the collection plate, he stopped the service and announced, "Whoever put the $100.00 bill in the plate please stand up".
An old lady stood up and said, "I did".
The preacher told her, "Since you are so generous as to put that much money in the plate, I would like to let you pick out three hymns."
Excitedly, the old woman said, "Oh, Good! I'll take him, and him, and him."


Not too long ago I was awakened at 3 a.m. by a loud pounding on the door. After I had slowly come to my senses, I mustered the courage to go answer the door. There on my porch was a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, asking for a push.
"Not a chance" I said. "It's three o'clock in the morning!"
Frustrated at the sleep I just lost, I closed the door and returned to bed.
"Who was that?" asked my wife, as I crawled back under the covers.
"Just some drunk guy asking for a push," I answered.
"Did you help him?" she asked.
"No, I did not. It is three o'clock in the morning and pouring outside."
"Well, you have a short memory," my wife said. "Can't you remember about three months ago when we broke down and two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!"
She was right. So I got up, dressed, and went out into the pounding rain.
"Hello, are you still there?" I called out into the dark, almost hoping there would be no reply.
"Yes," a voice answered.
I sighed. "Do you still need a push?"
"Yes, please!"
"Where are you?" I asked.
"Over here, on the swing!"


Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious.
It seems the liquor store window was made of Plexiglass. The whole event was caught on videotape.


A man who smelled like a distillery flopped on a subway seat next to a priest. The man's tie was stained, his collar was plastered with red lipstick, and a half-empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading.
After a few minutes the disheveled guy turned to the priest and asked, "Shay, Father, what caushes arthritish?"
“Mister, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol and a contempt for your fellow man."
"Well, I'll be darned," the drunk muttered, returning to his paper.
Having second thoughts about his abrupt manner, the priest nudged the drunk and apologized. "I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?"
"Oh, I don't have it, Father. I was jusht reading here that the Pope does."


A defendant in a lawsuit involving large sums of money was saying to his lawyer, "If I lose this case, I'll be ruined."
"It's in the judge's hands, now," said the lawyer.
"Would it help if I sent the judge a box of cigars?" asked the defendant.
"Oh no!" said the lawyer, "That would definitely NOT be prudent. This judge is a stickler for ethical behavior. A stunt like that would prejudice him against you. He might even find you in contempt of the court. In fact, you shouldn't even smile at the judge."
Within the course of time, the judge rendered a decision in favor of the defendant. As the defendant left the courthouse, he said to his lawyer, "Thanks for the tip about the cigars. It worked."
I'm sure we would have lost the case if you'd sent them," said the lawyer.
"But I did send them," said the defendant.
"What?? You did?"
"Yes, That's how we won the case."
“I don't understand," said the lawyer.
"It's easy. I sent the cheapest cigars that I could find to the judge, but enclosed the plaintiff's business card..."

Dec 15, 2009

The Sin of Greed

Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Isaiah 56:11

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10

Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is the desire for material gain. "Avarice" is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal or treason (especially for personal gain), scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, or manipulation of authority.

It is similar to Gluttony and Envy, but gain rather than consumption or possession is key. Thomas Aquinas condemned Greed because "it is a sin directly against one's neighbor, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, inasmuch as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things."

Greed is self-serving. No one is ever greedy for something for someone else. Someone once asked a billionaire why he wanted more money when he was already rich, and he answered, "Because its there." No matter how much of anything a greedy person has, he has an insatiable appetite to want to more. Greed is covetousness, with covetousness being a foundation stone in all of the seven deadly sins.

There are at least three forms of greed:
1) an obsessive desire for ever more material goods and the attendant power.
2) a fearful need to store up surplus goods for a vaguely defined time of want.
3) a desire for more earthly goods for their own sake.

Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be boiled alive in oil. Bear in mind that it's the finest, most luxurious boiling oil that money can buy, but it's still boiling.

To avoid this fate, you must practice

the Heavenly Virtue of Charity

Charity covereth a multitude of sins Peter 4:8

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. 1 Corinthians 13:4

In Christian theology charity, or love (agapē), means an unlimited loving-kindness towards all others. The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it aptly: "Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God" (no. 1822).

Dec 14, 2009

Morose Monday

I’m cranky. Just thought I’d let you know that right off the bat. Between my sinuses and the crappy weather, I’ve had a lot of headaches and trouble sleeping, either of which will make me cranky. I’ve also been singularly unproductive and did I mention cranky?

Just call me Mrs. Scrooge.


Get laptop fix; backup documents; sin of Envy; poetry; Chapter 17 of Space Opera; editing.

My lap top is fixed . . . um . . . sorta. The IT guy at school got a pile of spyware and a few stubborn viruses off my Precious, so in that respect my lap top is fixed and working fine. However (and you have no idea how embarrassing to admit) I decided that my keyboard needed cleaning and in the process I somehow managed to . . . uh . . . well, the thing is . . . *sigh* my ‘b’ key no longer works properly.

I just can’t win for losing.

My documents are backed up. If you haven’t backed your documents up lately, do it now.

C’mon, I’ll wait.
What are you waiting for?

Okay, now where was I? Did my post on the Sin of Envy; introduced the poetry form of Tritina; and posted Chapter 17 of Space Opera.

Did no editing, per say, although I did dig out my first NaNo novel with every intention of diving head long into editing. Unfortunately I had something like 8 different documents with the novel’s title, which I was able to boil down to three separate beginnings. It does not help that I like all three of them - each has its good and bad points.

Goals for This Week:

This Tuesday is the last in my sin series, the Sin of Greed. At some point I’ll put some links to the whole series in the side bar.

I was toying with the idea of leaving off the whimsy for the next couple of weeks and posting Christmas videos instead. What the heck, it’s Christmas, right?

Thursday will be the Spanish poetry form of Shadorma.

Friday will be Chapter 18 of my Space Opera.

Also, I need to make a decision on which beginning to use for Driving Into Forever (my first NaNo). This has to be done before I can move on with editing it. The opening will determine the direction my female MC will take.

In the non-writing capacity, I need to get my Christmas tree up and my Christmas baking done. Yes, that’s right. I have neither done yet. You wanna make something out of it?? I was supposed to get the cookies started yesterday, but I just wasn’t in a baking mood. I blame the warm, drizzly weather. At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I did take a stab at making more Christmas tree ornaments - even I have to admit the coffee filter angels are cute. If I had a camera I’d take a picture for you, but since I don’t, here’s a LINK to the pattern.

Later this week I have to make a peanut butter cheesecake to take to school for the Christmas pot luck on Friday.

So, that’s my life a nutshell lately. How’s yours going?

Dec 10, 2009

Tritina Verse Form

The Tritina is a form of very recent vintage invented by poet Marie Ponsot. Essentially, it’s an abbreviated Sestina: instead of 6 six-line stanzas plus a three-line envoi we have 3 three-line-stanzas plus a one-line envoi. This makes it not only more reader friendly, but more writer friendly as well. :-)

Being modelled from the Sestina, there is no rhyme scheme, instead it comprises of three stanzas using the same three words in a Sestina like pattern, and a final line which uses the three words in the starting sequence:

The lines are grouped into three tercets and a concluding line. Thus a Tritina has 10 lines.

Lines may be of any length. Their length is usually consistent in a single poem.

The three words that end each of the lines of the first stanza are repeated in a different order at the end of lines in each of the subsequent two stanzas. This kind of recurrent pattern is "lexical repetition".

The repeated words are unrhymed.

The first line of each tercet after the first ends with the same word as the one that ended the last line of the tercet before it.

In the closing line, each of the three words are used.

The pattern of word-repetition is as follows, where the words that end the lines of the first tercet are represented by the numbers "1 2 3":

1 2 3 - End words of lines in first tercet.
3 1 2 - End words of lines in second tercet.
2 3 1 - End words of lines in third tercet.
(1 2 3) - Words contained in the final line.

I actually enjoyed this form so much I wrote two examples. The first is supposed to be funny, although I don’t find being without my lap top funny at all. And the second is a more serious example.

Ode to My Lap Top

I’m going quietly insane.
I’ve a problem with my lap top
and I need to get it fixed.

Why’s it not yet fixed?
The wait’s making me insane.
I’m lost without my lap top.

My life is on my lap top.
I need to get it fixed
or else I’ll go insane.

My insane lap top’s still not fixed!

Fantasy Writer

My hero is the stuff of dreams
a contrast to my villain’s dark.
I write romantic fantasy.

I weave a web of fantasy;
I see a future, in my dreams,
a shield against encroaching dark.

I yearn, sometimes to seize the dark,
at least within my fantasy,
but truly, only in my dreams.

Dreams filled with dark fantasy.

Dec 9, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Today's whimsy is dedicated to all you programmers out there. And you Poe fans too. :-)

No, I didn't write this and unfortunately the website I originally found this on is now defunct so I can't credit the genius who did come up with this. I've had this little gem kicking around for a long time though and thought it was time to share.

Poe on the PC

Once upon a midnight dreary,
Fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high
and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets.
Having reached the bottom line,
I took a floppy from the drawer.
Typing with a steady hand,
I then invoked the SAVE command;
But got instead a reprimand:
It read, “Abort, Retry, Ignore.”

Was this some occult illusion?
Some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices Solomon
had never faced before.
Carefully I weighed the options,
These three seemed to be the top ones,
Clearly, I must now adopt one:
Choose Abort, Retry, Ignore.

With my fingers pale and trembling,
Slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending,
hoping all would be restored.
Praying for some guarantee
Finally I pressed a key –
But on the screen what did I see?
Again: Abort, Retry, Ignore.

I tried to catch the chips off guard –
I pressed again, but twice as hard,
Luck was just not in the cards.
I saw what I had seen before.
Now I typed in desperation,
Trying random combinations.
Still there came the incantation:
Choose Abort, Retry, Ignore.

There I sat, distraught, exhausted,
By my own machine accosted.
Getting up I turned away
and paced across the office floor.
And then I saw an awful sight:
A bold and blinding flash of light –
A lightning bolt had cut the night
and shook me to my very core.
I saw the screen collapse and die.
“NO, NO, my database!” I cried.
I thought I heard a voice reply,
“You’ll see your data NEVERMORE!”

To this day I do not know
The place to which lost data goes.
I bet it goes to heaven where
the angels have it stored.
But as for productivity, well . . .
I fear that it goes straight to hell.
And that is the tale I have to tell.
Your choice:

Dec 8, 2009

The Sin of Envy

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. Proverbs 14:30

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. Job 5:2

For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. Genesis 26:14

Envy has been with us ever since Cain slew his brother Abel. Envy is the sin of the have-nots against the haves. That doesn't mean we have to be poor to be envious because the rich rarely know who they are. On the other hand, the poor know who the rich people are: they are the folks who have fifty percent more than we have. Poverty is a state of mind induced by our neighbour's new car. Envious people count other people's blessings instead of their own.

Envy is the only deadly sin that is also listed in the Ten Commandments:
Thou shall not covet thy neighbour's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to thy neighbour Exodus 20:17

Jealousy or envy causes one to become spiteful inside, and secretly wish ill-will towards another. That ill-will or spite is usually released through sarcasms, gossip, or remarks filled with spite in order to hurt the other person in an attempt to put them in their so-called place. Self-centered people manifesting envy usually try to glorify themselves because of their lack, and they do this through spite, anger, self-righteousness, gossip, etc.

Envy is the dislike felt toward another because they have a position, possession or quality one desires. You just want it, but you want it without wanting to pay the cost for it. It's a free-ride type of desire.

Dante defined Envy as "love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs." In Dante's Purgatory, the punishment for the envious is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire because they have gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low.

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Envy: "Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life... Charity rejoices in our neighbour's good, while envy grieves over it."

Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be put in freezing water.

If you wish to avoid this fate, you must practice:

The Virtue of Contentment

To do this, you must become moderate in your wishes. Contentment can come either from having more or wanting less. The contentment provided by the latter is seven times more durable than the former. We must learn to be satisfied with our lot even when we don't have a lot. In other words, always be content with what you have.

Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs! For if I grow rich, I may become content without God. And if I am too poor, I may steal Proverbs 30:8-9.

Dec 7, 2009

Managing Monday

Remember on Friday when I said it wasn’t that big a deal to use the desktop instead of the lap top? Well, I lied. It’s got a nice 17 inch screen, but it tends to hurt my eyes. Of course I suppose I could wear my glasses, but they’re in the living room and I’m down here. :-)

It’s also slow, slow, slow with most things. Like, anything to do with the internet. And did I mention I don’t have my beloved bookmarks on here?

My first thought on Saturday was, this will be the perfect opportunity to work on the database I want to design for my book collection. Only one problem, I don’t have any of the Microsoft programs on this machine. * sigh*

So what did I do all weekend? First thing I did, believe it or not, was clean the house. Then I caught up on my reading and made Christmas decorations. I started this tradition when our daughter was little - every year we’d made a new ornament for our tree and sometimes we’d even make extra to give to family and friends. So this year, my daughter’s first Christmas in a home of her own with her own tree, it seemed only natural that she’d want all handmade ornaments.

I gotta admit, it wasn’t as big a pain in the butt as I thought it would be. I actually had fun doing them. Well, except for painting the puzzle piece wreaths - how many coats of green paint does it take to cover one little wreath?. And gluing the hair on the paper ribbon angel for her tree topper - hot glue everywhere!. But the rest of it was fun. :-)

Goals for this Week

Get my lap top fixed! I talked to the IT guy at school and he thinks it’s just shareware and told me to bring it in Monday (which is today). So cross your fingers.

Back up my documents. As soon as I get my lap top back I am becoming a back up Nazi!

This week’s sin will be: the Sin of Envy. As in, I envy those of you with working lap tops. :-)

Thursday’s poetry form will be the one I was going to do last Thursday, only I don’t remember what the name of it was because all my information for it is on my lap top.

Friday, of course, will be Chapter 17 in the Space Opera.

I’ve also signed up for the December blog chain over on AW, but there’s such a long list this time I doubt my turn will come up this week. You never know, though.

I was thinking of leaving the editing of the Faery Heart until January, so in the meantime I’m going to be pulling out my first NaNo novel, which is way past due being gone over. I might even pull out one of my unfinished pieces and try . . . I don’t know . . . finishing it maybe. :-)

So how about you? Any big plans for the week? Are you all ready for Christmas?

Dec 3, 2009


Sorry folks, no poetry today. I had a computer crash last night while I was working on the poetry form for today. So instead I have this wonderful Meme that the wonderful Erica tagged me for. I, in turn, invite anybody who wishes to participate to put the Meme up on their blog and then link back here in the comments.

1. What's the last thing you wrote?
Aside from blog posts, it would have to be my NaNo novel.

What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
Way back in the stone age when I was in high school, I started writing a fantasy novel that used the Stonehenge as a portal to link Earth and Saturn. I still have this – mostly typed on a manual typewriter.

2. Write poetry?
Yes, at least once a week. Thursdays to be precise. Well, except for this Thursday.Check the links to the left.

3. Angsty poetry?
Not so much these days, but I’m sure I produced a lot of it in highschool.

4. Favorite genre of writing.
Romance! Paranormal romance, space romance, adventure romance . . . you get the idea.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created.
Hmmm. I’d have to say it would be Hannah, from my first NaNo novel. She was flat and boring and I just couldn’t seem to make her interesting. She was a real editing nightmare.

6. Best plot you've ever created?
They’re all great! Okay, if I had to pick just one, I’d pick the paranormal series I started that uses parallel dimensions.

7. Coolest plot twist you've ever created?
I’d have to think about that . . .
Maybe the one where my MC is going to have her first threesome and it turns out the men where more attracted to each other than her and she ends up on the floor beside the bed.

8. How often do you get writer's block?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block. There are times when I’m just not feeling the writing mojo, however, and I deal with it by just pushing through, or sometimes switching to a different project.

9. Write fan fiction?

10. Do you type or write by hand?
Mostly I type. I’ll make notes, sometimes write letters, or sometimes create poetry by hand, but for me, the greatest invention since the electric typewriter was the computer.

11. Do you save everything you write?
Yeah, pretty much. And again, the computer is a godsend when it comes to this. A computer file takes up a lot less space than a hardcopy.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you abandoned it?
Most definitely. I think this is both because I keep growing as a writer and the market keeps changing. Sometimes an idea that didn’t make sense years ago suddenly becomes viable.

13. What's your favourite thing you've ever written?
Yikes! This is a hard one. I don’t know that I could choose just one. Ask me again after I’ve started selling my fiction. :-)

14. What's everyone else's favourite story that you've written?
I don’t know about story, but my poetry seems to be well received.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
I’ve written lots of romance, but never teen romance, nor anything else really targeted for teens.

16. What's your favourite setting for your characters?
Apparently space, at least my last several stories have ended up in space.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Including poetry? A bunch.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
No awards but I’ve won a contest with my poetry and I was a finalist in the Writer’s of the Future contest for one of my early stories.

19. What are your five favourite words.
Serendipity, ethereal, corporeal, scudding, gossamer.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself.
If you look carefully, there’s probably a little bit of me in every character I’ve created, but mostly my characters have qualities or talents I wish I had.

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?
I subscribe to the character of the month club. :-) Okay, in truth they just come to me. Usually they start out being a name, maybe a vague, shadowy figure, and they start coming to life as I write about them.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Yes I do – I have some very interesting dreams sometimes.

23. Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
Happy or sad, it doesn’t matter to me when I’m reading, as long as there’s a definite ending. One of my pet peeves is a novel that ends on a cliff hanger. In writing, I’ll usually go for the HEA ending.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Yes I am.

25. Does music help you write?
Definitely. I usually prefer something instrumental or something I’ve listened to so many times it doesn’t break into my concentration.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.
First thing that popped into my head was from my NaNo, when the hero is about to crash:

Unfortunately, he had no time for prayers, he was too busy trying to keep the nose of the ship above water.

“Think like a duck,” he told himself, “Think like a duck.”

He didn’t really know how a duck thought much less how it landed on water and managed to stay afloat, but it sounded better than, “Oh, shit, I’m going to crash!”

Dec 2, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as Boating 5.0, AFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?



First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.HTML and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.

If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewellery 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1.

Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Farting and Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 ;program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck!
Tech Support

Dec 1, 2009

Book Chain

Once again I’m taking part in the AW book chain.

The book I chose this time is one I never get tired of reading, The Wood Wife, by Terry Windling.

At first glance, the Wood Wife is a murder mystery. Maggie Black inherits a house in Arizona from poet, Davis Cooper (who she has never met, yet has corresponded with for a number of years) after he’s found dead in a dry wash, his lungs full of water. Maggie, poet herself, leaves her cosmopolitan life-style behind to move into Cooper’s house to do a biography of him.

As she delves deeper into Cooper’s life, through the notes and letters he left behind, she finds the mystery only deepens. Did Cooper write another book of poetry, as she long suspected? And what was it that his deceased lover, surrealist painter Anna Naverra, experienced up on the mountain that changed her?

The vivid descriptions of the desert increase the sense of wonder when the magical creatures begin to appear, like Thumper, the jack rabbit girl, Crow, the man Maggie meets on the mountain, and the white stag, who leaves turquoise behind where his hooves strike the earth.

The characters are realistic and believable. We have Maggie herself, a writer and lapsed poet who lives an almost nomadic existence trying to escape life. Johnny Foxxe, a native of Tucson and one of Cooper’s neighbours, and whose origins are anything but ordinary. And there’s Dora del Rio, a young woman transplanted from the mid-west when she married her husband, a struggling artist who may be falling into the same trap that Anna had.

As Maggie unravels the mystery that is Cooper’s life, and death, she finds herself drawn into a world more strange than she ever imagined. Windling tells this tale in such a vivid, lyrical way that you can’t help being drawn in as well.

Please take the time to read the other links in the chain, you won't be sorry. Those who’ve gone before me are:

Lost Wanderer
Vein Glory

And last, but certainly not least, is:


The Sin of Gluttony

In the words of nineteenth-century Russian Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov:

Wise temperance of the stomach is a door to all the virtues. Restrain the stomach, and you will enter Paradise. But if you please and pamper your stomach, you will hurl yourself over the precipice of bodily impurity, into the fire of wrath and fury, you will coarsen and darken your mind, and in this way you will ruin your powers of attention and self-control, your sobriety and vigilance.

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Gluttony: Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire... leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists.

Gluttony is a serious sin because it enslaves the soul to the body, even though the soul, which is superior, is supposed to be in charge. Gluttons eat not for the sake of fueling their bodies or to participate in social gatherings; but rather they eat just for the sheer pleasure of consuming.

Gluttony contributes to lawlessness because gluttony is excess, and that excess indulges the self and leads to a lack of self-control. The time or activity that one spends glutting himself takes away time from other things, and brings forth a life of irresponsibility. In order to justify the time spent on whatever consumes him, the glutton can't be wrong because that might infringe on the freedom to do what he wants. Therefore, when things go awry, everyone else is responsible for the problems. The glutton has to fill himself with what he wants to do to satisfy self, and this is usually done at the expense of others.

Gluttony is the act of immoderate eating and/or drinking. It focuses on pleasure alone and finds it in food and drink. Enjoying a delicious dinner is not sinful, but eating to the point of hurting yourself (vomiting, or becoming obese) is sinful. Having an occasional drink to celebrate a holiday or festive occasion is not sinful, whereas drinking to the point of drunkenness is a sinful act.

Eating what you don’t even want just for the sake of eating is gluttony. Eating more than you want or need in order to prevent others from getting “your” share is also gluttony. Using alcohol to loosen inhibitions so you can rationalize sin is a form of gluttony which leads to other sins.

Your punishment in Hell will be:

You'll be force-fed rats, toads, and snakes.

And you were just worried about getting fat?

If after all that you're still considering hurling yourself off the precipice of bodily impurity, why not do it with some . . .


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Peanut Butter Chips
1/2 cup Hershey's Syrup

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan. In large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter. Add sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; mix into peanut butter mixture, blending well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Spread half of batter into prepared pan; spoon syrup over top. Carefully spread with remaining batter; swirl with metal spatula or knife for marbled effect. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. About 36 brownies.

See you in Hell! or Overeaters Anonymous

To overcome the sin of Gluttony, you must practice the:

Heavenly Virtue of Temperance

Deciding how much to eat and drink in advance, and not just “diving in” is a way to practice temperance. Temperance should be combined with periodic fasting and abstinence.

Religious fasting (such as the kind that overcomes gluttony) is not a starvation diet. In the church “fasting” means periodically reducing the amount of food you eat.

The church recommends periodic fasting of three smallish meals (two “less-than-half-of-a-regular-sized-meals” and one regular-sized meal) with no snacks in between. The church also recommends abstinence – avoiding meat or a favorite food altogether, when overcoming gluttony.