Oct 29, 2014

Of Power Outages and Superstitions . . .

This post is brought to you by the good people at Tim Horton's, who have provided me with a much need cup of tea and free wi-fi in my time of need. :-)

On my way home from the gym this morning, I suddenly realized I'd forgotten to schedule a post for today. Don't ask me why, but my days are all mixed up this week so I plumb forgot. So as I was driving I figured, no big deal, it's so close to Halloween I can just recycle one of my old All Hallows Eve posts and get it up there ASAP.

Only the light I'd left on when I left (because it's that grey out this morning) was off. So were the lights on the DVD play, the stove, and the microwave. Remember those hydro poles I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? Apparently they're switching the wires over today, which means no power until early afternoon. Good thing my lap top was charged up so I could get this post written before I hit the coffee shop so all I needed to do was post it.

The lengths I go to for my loyal followers. You're welcome! LOL

The following post was originally written in 2010, and contains a few Halloween facts as well as superstitions.

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Each year, hoards of crazed children dressed in costumes, converge on innocent neighborhoods, knocking on doors to get free candy or other goodies before going on to the next door to repeat the process. So just how did this tradition get started?

This tradition can be traced back more than 2,000 years to the Celtic belief that the spirits of the dead still remained present on our plane of existence, and required food and drink to be placated. Failing to leave out an offering was sure to invite the disgruntled spirits to cause mischief and ill fortune in retaliation. Later, people began dressing up as the spirits in order to receive these offerings of food, and playing practical jokes on those who did not furnish them.

In Ireland, there was a practice among the peasants of going door to door to collect money or food in preparation for the festival of St. Columbus Kill.

In England, the poor would go around to different households on All Souls Day (November 1) begging for food. They would be given "soul cakes" in exchange for the promise to pray for the family's dead relatives. This practice was known as "going a-souling".

In Scotland children, or guisers, would have to impress the occupants of the houses they visit with a song, trick, joke or dance in order to earn their treats.

Not too surprisingly, there are a lot of superstitions concerning Halloween:
- When you ring a bell on Halloween, it will cause evil spirits to fly away.
- The old Celtic custom was to light great bonfires on Halloween, and after these had burned out to make a circle of the ashes of each fire. Within this circle, and near the circumference, each member of the various families that had helped to make a fire would place a pebble. If, on the next day, any stone was displaced, or had been damaged, it was considered to be an indication that the one to whom the stone belonged would die within twelve months.
- If a bat flies into your house, beware! You may have some ghosts or spirits visiting.
- On Halloween night, if you see a bat flitting around early in the evening, then you'll have good weather the next day.
- If bats fly around your house on Halloween night 3 times, death is inevitable.
- If you hear footsteps trailing close behind you on Halloween night, do not to turn around to see who it is, for it may be Death himself. To look Death in the eye, according to ancient folklore, is a sure way to hasten your own demise.
- To cast a headless shadow or no shadow at all is still believed by many to be an omen of death in the course of the next year.
- A person born on Halloween can both see and talk to spirits.
- If you happen to see a spider on Halloween then the spirit of a loved one is watching over you.
- It was once believed that on Halloween, owls would dive down and eat the souls of anyone dying that night.
- People at one time believed that Satan was a nut-gatherer, so, on Halloween night, nuts were used as magic charms.

- A burning candle inside a jack-o-lantern keeps evil spirits and demons at bay.
- If a candle suddenly goes out by itself on Halloween, as though by breath or wind, it is believed that a ghost has come to call.
- Always burn new candles on Halloween to ensure the best of luck. It is not a good idea to burn Halloween candles at any other time of the year. It may bring bad luck or strange things will happen to you, over which you will have no control.
- Gazing into a flame of a candle on Halloween night will enable you to peer into the future.
- If a person lights a new orange colored candle at midnight on Halloween and lets it burn until sunrise, he or she will be the recipient of good luck.
- Girls who carry a lamp to a spring of water on this night can see their future husband in the reflection.

Oct 27, 2014

Mycology Monday

mycology ~ study of funguses

I'm tired. And furthermore, I'm tired of being tired. Especially since there's no good reason for being so tired. My blood sugar is mostly under control again, and I got some more B12 (that I was out of) and started taking it. I'm getting enough sleep, but my eyes just don't want to stay open.

Perhaps it's just the change in the weather, as one season moves to the next. Weather-wise last week was a strange mix of sunny, gloomy, windy, and rainy. Mostly windy. Maybe it was the wind making me tired. :-)

Other than writing, I can't recall getting much done last week. And even the writing was a bit of a struggle at times. But ironically, despite the excessive tiredness I was clear-headed and able to focus, and I give most of the credit to the omega 3 supplement I started taking. It actually helps with a lot of things, health wise. You should totally check it out.

I'm over the 100,000 word mark in Lucky Dog, the sequel to Magical Misfire. I'm sure once I'm done editing it'll be much less than that, but before I can start editing I have to finish it. I'm close, so close, but no cigar yet.

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, starts on Saturday. Are you ready? While it can be grueling, trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days, it can also be a lot of fun. If you haven't done it before, you should seriously give it a try this year.

I'm taking a chance this year. I've decided to try and recycle an idea I had several years ago, one I began and then abandoned because I had no idea what direction it should take. So in other words, instead of a brand new idea, I'm using one that is a confirmed failure.

And just to spice things up a bit, I'm also going to try and get a little pre-planning in, to see if it takes some of the pressure off. I probably should have started a little sooner than this week, but I've been pretty focused lately on getting at least one, maybe even both of my current drafts finished before NaNo.

Something else I'd like to try and get done this week is dusting off my Current Projects blog. I think the last post I made in there was in the spring. Poor little neglected blog. You deserve better than that. ;-)

If nothing else, I can use it to do my NaNo progress reports. I doubt I'll update it on a daily basis, but I can post excerpts there without having to clutter up my main blog here. I'll just have to remember to post links to this page for those of you who subscribe by email.

I have two bags of Halloween themed decorations for my nook, so even if I don't get the rest of my office cleaned up, I need to at least spiff up the nook enough to finally do my post about it. My gargoyle's head is up above the door, so I can consider the nook finished.

I might, if the spirit moves me, even get some outdoor decorating done. I used to have a couple of skeletons for outdoors, and a ghost for the tree in our front yard, and I'd put a CD player in the window of my office to play one of those spooky soundtracks, but we get so few kids it doesn't seem worth the effort. This year, with Halloween being on a Friday, I'm hoping for a better turnout.

After all, I'm just getting my blood sugar under control again, I don't need a lot of leftover candy. ;-)

What are you going to dress up as?

Oct 24, 2014

What I'm Reading

Yes, I know. I totally missed last week's post. But did you really need to see another post about how little I'm reading? You deserve better than that. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. :-)

I did get a little reading in last week, but only a little. It's not that I don't want to, it's more like when can I fit it in? Now that most of my prime time shows are starting their new seasons (as lame as an excuse as that is) if I'm going to do anything while watching TV it's going to be knitting or crocheting. And the rest of the time I've been focused on my writing. I have two drafts to finish before NaNo starts, and that's only a week away!

Electronic Books

Believe it or not, I actually did fire up George while I was waiting for my son-in-law to get off work one day. I don't know if it's because of the number of books I have stored on him, or because he's mad that I've been neglecting him lately, but he was a little slow waking up. And of course by the time I had a book all queued up and ready to read, I had to turn him off again. Maybe I'll make more of an effort with him this week. :-)

Tree Books

A little bit of progress on The Anthology of Love and Romance, edited by Kate Alexander. I read one whole story that seemed kind of straight-forward at the time - boy meets girl on a train, boy falls in love with girl - but then it got a little weird and a lot confusing. But the end I was really confused. Did she dump him? Did they live happily ever after in their little house? Was this all just his imagination brought about by the poem he read in the beginning? I'm thinking it was way too deep for my poor intellect.


I finished Swords Against Darkness V, edited by Andrew Offutt, and I'm a little sad that I did. No one seems to write heroic fantasy like that anymore, it's all about these big, long multi-volume epics.

Of course that's why I have so many books. When I can find something I like in the stores I just come home and find it on my shelves. And that's the beauty of reading so much. Often there'll be so much time passing since I read a book that I'll forget a lot of the details of it so it's kind of like reading it for the first time. And re-reading books is like re-watching a movie you enjoyed. There's always something to discover that you missed the first (or second or third) time you watched.

While I'd like to say I'll do better in the week ahead, I think we all know better than that. But I will make an honest effort to get my nook finished this weekend so that I can finally do my post about it. And it's been such a project I think I'll do an extended version of the post on its own page as well.

So . . . what about you? What have you been reading lately?

Oct 22, 2014

On My Weirdo Cats . . .

I don't know if it was the weather, which took a turn for the colder and gloomier last week or what, but my cats have been acting really weird lately. Not that they're exactly normal at the best of times, but lately they've been really strange. And it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the cycle of the moon either - the full moon was around the 8th and they were perfectly normal that week. And the new moon isn't until later this week.

Look at them laying there, all innocent looking . . . actually, two of them look kind of dead. But step too close to the spot I keep the treat jar and watch them spring to life.

Here they are doing their zombie impressions:

That picture was taken an hour before feeding time and they were making sure I didn't try and sneak off before they were fed. Normally they start gathering about an hour early, but last week they started lobbying for food an hour and half to two hours before it was time.

So let's take them one by one. We'll start with this guy:

His name is Julius, aka Sunny Bunny. He's the hubby's cat, although he'll purr for anyone, especially if they have treats. He's been spending a lot of time lately wandering around the house, meowing. As far as I can tell he's not meowing for any particular reason, he just seems to like the sound of his own voice. And he's taken to meowing before he goes up or down stairs, like he's announcing himself.

This guy is Dante:

Lately Dante likes to play with invisible toys. He'll be bouncing around like he's found a live mouse, only there's nothing there. He's always been the most aloof of my cats, but last week, especially right after supper (mine, not his), he's been demanding cuddles. On my lap, no less.

You have to understand, these cats are not cuddly cats. They never have been. I blame their mother, Panda (aka Pantaloons).

She was nuts. Totally crazy. She used to chase the boys around the house and tackle them, holding them down while she washed them furiously. And because she was there to raise her kittens, none of them really bonded with the humans of the house, so when she died at five, they were kind of cast adrift. It's only been the last couple of years that Dante has been letting me close enough to pat him, so him curling up on my lap is unheard of.

Now Taz, the boys' father, has always liked the occasional cuddle.

You'd think he'd have taken over after Panda crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but no, she had him too well trained. He was never allowed to have anything to do with his sons - no disciplining them or playing with them - nothing. Now he finds them rather intimidating and they seem to know it. While they don't pick on him or anything like that, they do like to follow him around and try and steal his favourite sleeping places. Good thing he has so many of them.

Lately he's been making a pest of himself. I can't eat at the table anymore because he'll be right in my face, demanding his share. And it's not like he really wants whatever it is I'm eating, it seems to be more the principle of the thing. And he's been pretty demanding when it comes to cuddle time too. We cuddle when he says so, even to the point of getting between me and my lap top. Since he never stays long, it's easier to just give in. Besides, that way I can keep the drool off my lap top. Yes, that's right. He drools when he wants pats. I've never had another cat that does that.

And finally, there's Romi:

Even though the boys are from the same litter, I always think of Julius as the youngest, Dante as the middle child, and Romi as the oldest. He was also Panda's favourite, so he was really at a loss when she died. The other two had formed tentative bonds with the humans of the house, but he never did. And having a lunatic for a mother makes it hard to relate to others. For instance, there are times when Romi will come to me, wanting pats. But Panda would show him affection and then suddenly bite him, so he grew up thinking this is normal. I will start to pat him, and even though he asked for the pats, he'll do his best to bite me.

And there you have them. My weirdo cats. All that's left is The End.

Oct 20, 2014

Macrural Monday

macrural ~ having a long tail

Another Monday. And a dreary one at that. I don't know about you, but for a short week last week it felt extremely long. I'll spare you the brutal details (you're welcome!) but suffice it to say I didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I'd hoped to.

And although I didn't get much writing done on the weekend, I did get a crap load of editing done, which was bad for the two books I want to get finished before NaNo but good for the author who received her book back last night.

Man, oh, man it was a good story! I can't wait until I'm able to announce its availability, which *knock wood* should be in time for Halloween. It starts with a woman on a date and ends with a . . .

C'mon, you didn't really think I was going to make it that easy for you, did you? It's full of suspense and drama and it makes you wonder what you'd do when pushed to the limits of your endurance and then one step beyond.

It's written by my buddy Alex Westhaven, and if you want to learn a little more about it, go HERE.

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So . . . originally the rest of this post was about my cats and how weird they've been lately. But it kept getting longer and longer, and when you added in pictures it was way too long for a Monday post. So I guess I have my Wildcard post written for Wednesday. :-)

I was really tired last night, and fighting what was bidding to be a bad headache, when I started this post. So I ended up going to bed before it was finished and took a couple of extra strength Advil. Surprisingly, it worked and I'm feeling much better this morning. And, so far the only thing I've kept from my original post is the title. LOL

I actually sat down and made myself a list this morning. Not like my old lists where I'd pad it with all the little things I have to do - I don't know who I was trying to impress - but a list of things that I'd like to get done today. Like finishing this week's scene for Earth early, and cleaning up my office.

One step at a time. First, I have to change out of my workout clothes and have a shower. I'm freezing! Maybe a cup of tea might be in order too. :-)

Let's hope this is a more productive week for us all!

Oct 15, 2014

On Finding Poetry . . .

My book nook is all but finished. I just need to sew up the cushion for my back, find a light source for inside it (because my hubby wants his clip on light back), and stash the boxes I have sitting all around my office in the bench. If I can get all that done by next Wednesday, maybe I'll do a post about it then. But in the meantime . . . I "found" a poem I'd like to share. :-)

This isn't a new poem, it's one I wrote a couple of years ago. Or maybe "wrote" isn't quite the correct word - I didn't write it so much as create it because it's a Found Poem. A Found Poem uses words and phrases from another source, generally some kind of everyday written material (e.g. headlines, lines from a television program, advertisements) but combines them in new ways.

A pure Found Poem (which is what mine is) consists entirely of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.

Writing a Found Poem is like an artist making a collage. You take bits and pieces that are pleasing to the eye and join them together to make something new and beautiful. It can really spark your creativity as you put together things you wouldn't normally think of as fitting.

There are all kinds of sources for Found Poetry: Newspaper or magazine articles, books, horoscopes, textbooks, letters, notes, spam e-mails - I even know a poet who created a beautiful Found Poem from graffiti.

I have not been able to discover what the etiquette is regarding citing the source for a Found Poem, however I “found” my poem in the introduction of the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

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The Wild Woman

We may have forgotten her names,
we may not answer when she calls ours,
but in our bones we know her,
we yearn toward her;
we know she belongs to us and we to her.

A sense of her comes through vision;
through sights of great beauty.
I have felt her when I see
what we call in the woodlands
a Jesus-God sunset.
I have felt her move in me
from seeing the fishermen
come up from the lake at dusk
with lanterns lit,
and also from seeing my newborn baby’s toes
all lined up like a row of sweet corn.
We see her where we see her,
which is everywhere.

She comes to us through sound as well;
through music which vibrates the sternum,
excites the heart;
it comes through the drum,
the whistle, the call, and the cry.
It comes through the written and the spoken word;
sometimes a word, a sentence or a poem or a story,
is so resonant, so right,
it causes us to remember,
at least for an instant,
what substance we are really made from,
and where is our true home.

The longing for her comes
when one happens across someone
who has secured this wildish relationship.
The longing comes
when one realizes one has given scant time
to the mystic cookfire
or to the dreamtime,
too little time to one’s own creative life,
one’s life work or one’s true loves.

We eventually must pursue the wildish nature.
Then we leap into that forest
or into the desert
or into the snow
and run hard,
our eyes scanning the ground,
our hearing sharply tuned,
searching under,
searching over,
searching for a clue,
a remnant,
a sign that she still lives,
that we have not lost our chance.

The Wild Woman has no name,
for she is so vast.

Oct 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanskgiving ~ Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

Seeing as it's Thanksgiving, therefore a holiday, I thought a little trivia might be in order. :-D

The Canadian Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the second Monday in October since 1931.

Algonquin Indians were among the first to harvest wild cranberries. They used them as food, medicine, and a symbol of peace.

The tradition of breaking the wishbone dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America.

While pumpkin pies are a staple of many North American Thanksgiving meals, the pies weren't popular in Thanksgiving dinners until the early nineteenth century, according to The Oxford Encylopedia of Food and Drink in America.

The cornucopia, often associated with Thanksgiving, is a symbol of abundance and nourishment. The horn-shaped container typically contains produce, flowers, nuts, or wealth in some form

Canadians purchased three million whole turkeys for Thanksgiving in 2011, according to the Turkey Farmers of Canada - about 32% of all whole turkeys sold during the year.

Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in Canada, except in P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated in Canada when English explorer Martin Frobisher held a feast in what is now Newfoundland to mark his safe arrival to the New World in 1578.

Oh, look. A quiz! Thanksgiving Quiz

And here's another one 'cause today's a holiday and you have nothing better to do. ;-) Happy Thanksgiving Quiz

But it's not just a holiday for Canadians. Our Yankee friends to the south get the day off too. They get to celebrate:

So just to be fair, I had to look up a little trivia about Columbus Day too.

Columbus Day has been celebrated nationwide since 1937. On a state level, Columbus Day was first celebrated in Colorado in 1906.

The day, as the name suggests, honors Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas.

Columbus landed in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492 with a crew of 90 people.

While the federal holiday is called Columbus Day in the United States, it is called Día de la Raza ("Day of the Race") in many Latin American countries.

Christopher Columbus wasn't the first European to find the Americas, as he set foot on islands in the Bahamas. Technically, Columbus never entered North America and never knew he discovered a continent.

The region is believed to have been discovered 500 years before Christopher Columbus' birth by Norse explorer Leif Erikson.

In the United states, four states do no recognize Columbus Day. Those states are Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and South Dakota. Instead, Hawaii celebrates Discoverers' Day, South Dakota celebrates the day as Native American Day and Oregon does not recognize or commemorate the day. Other states, like Nevada and Iowa, do not celebrate the day as an official holiday.

There is a movement to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. The city of Berkeley, in California, has been celebrating the day as such since 1992.

And what do you know . . . there's a quiz for it too!

Columbus Day Trivia Quiz

Christopher Columbus Day Trivia Quiz

No matter what holiday you're celebrating today, have a good one!

Oct 10, 2014

What I'm Reading

If it's possible, I did even less reading this week than I did last week. But you know what's going to happen? One of these days I'm going to suddenly pick up a book and then I'm just going to start reading to the exclusion of all else. 'Cause that's the way I roll. ;-)

Electronic Books


Tree Books

I finished the chapter I started a couple of weeks ago in Eyes Like Leaves, by Charles de Lint. I even moved its resting place to the dining room table so it was more "in my face", but it's a brand new book so I don't want to mess it up by reading while I'm eating.

No progress on The Anthology of Love and Romance, edited by Kate Alexander. While I found the first half of this book really interesting, the second half is kind of dragging because the stories are mostly excerpts from novels and some of them are really long. I like something a little shorter and snappier when I'm reading during meals.


I must have lied last week when I said I was about two thirds of the way through Swords Against Darkness V, edited by Andrew Offutt, because I'm about that far now and I did actually get some reading done on it. Still enjoying it too. :-)

So what have I been doing instead of reading? Writing, mostly. And when I haven't been writing I've been working on my book nook. AND I'm happy to report the book nook is pretty much done. All of my science fiction/fantasy books have been catalogued and moved into it. The only thing left now is the finishing touches, like hanging my gargoyle head above it, adding the cushions for my back, etc. With any luck I can finish it off this weekend and some time next week there'll be a full blown post about it. Then I can start re-reading all the books in it!

Happy reading!

Oct 8, 2014

On Diet, Exercise, and Being Healthy . . .

1) Rabbits hop all day, only eat vegetables, but only live 5 years
2) Whales swim all day, only eat fish, only drink water, but are fat
3) Tortoises do nothing energetic but live for 250 years
And you tell me to exercise? I don’t think so!

As you know, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, I suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. And while some days, when the blood sugar is high, it really does feel like suffering, there are also days when I feel like the universe did me a favour. I'm living a healthier lifestyle now than I've ever lived in my life and I feel better for it.

I won't lie to you, it was hard at first. Especially when it came to giving up things that I loved, like white bread - French bread, Italian bread, baguettes . . . I could have quite easily lived on bread, which was probably one of the biggest contributing factors to ending up diabetic. However, I have learned to love whole grain and multigrain breads, and to read labels to see what these breads are made of.

And while I didn't have to go completely sugar-free - I think that's pretty much impossible in this day and age - I do pay attention to the amount of sugar, or carbs, that's in the food I eat. My body can't tolerate sugar substitutes, like Aspartame or Sucralose, so mostly I just do without things with a lot of sugar, even my coffee. I used to be a die-hard double/double girl when it came to my coffee, now I'm just double cream and I'm even working on that.

Another thing I've had to cut back on is salt. It's always been a running joke in our family about what a big salt-aholic I am. But one of the dangers of diabetes is high blood pressure and even though my blood pressure is fine, they want to lower it. However, I've reacted badly to every blood pressure medication they've tried to give me. So bye, bye salt. I don't add salt to the food I cook, and the only thing I use it on now is a plain egg.

Here's the thing: once you get used to doing without these things, they stop tasting as appealing as you remember them to be. I couldn't find a loaf of whole wheat Italian bread to go with supper one night, so I used a white loaf instead. And of course being the one slicing it, I saved the end piece for myself as a treat. Only it wasn't much of a treat after all. I found it very bland tasting. And sugar in my coffee now? Yuck! Salt's another thing altogether. I doubt I'll ever get over my love affair with salt, but I'll never go back to the salt-aholic I was.

Hand in hand with healthy eating goes exercise. At first I was trying to do it on my own - riding the exercise bike and working out with hand weights. In the beginning, when I could really feel the difference it made, it was easy to motivate myself to get moving. But I'm lazy by nature, and it's all too easy for me to make excuses not to work out. I lost 30 pounds and then hit a plateau. And after about a month on that plateau I was getting a little discouraged. So I upped the amount of weights I was working with and ended up hurting myself to the point where I was forced to stop.

But I was not ready to give up. After losing that initial 30 pounds, my blood sugar was down to where the medication I was on was reduced. And then the blood sugar started to rise again. I've been working with a nutritionist who told me there wasn't really anything else I could do food wise, I'd have to increase my activity. My arms were still hurting from the hand weights, and the stationary bike was really unappealing, so I started checking out the local classes and gyms and ended up joining a circuit gym.

Why a circuit gym? I've never really been one for exercise groups or classes, besides which these classes were only held two or three times a week and I wanted something daily, and the other gyms in town were, quite frankly, a little intimidating. The circuit gym is bright and cheerful, with loud, funky music and a variety of machines. The machines are laid out in a circle and it doesn't matter where you step in when you start, just so long as you follow along. When you've done however many circuits you want to do, there's a jungle-gym like device were you do your cool down stretching. It's a great way to start my day.

So, has it helped? I've only been going for a month so far, but I've found my posture is better and my clothing is looser - I haven't lost any weight, but I've lost inches. And on the days my blood sugar isn't acting up, I'm more alert and I get more accomplished. So, yeah. It's helping.

Let's hear it for being healthier! :-D

Oct 6, 2014

Malism Monday

malism ~ the belief that the world is evil

Have you ever noticed that I seem to have a disproportionate amount of bad luck?

Friday this little red light that looks like a car battery lit up on the dashboard as I was driving to the gym. It came and went but disappeared each time so I just thought maybe the battery was cold or wet or something. Silly me.

When I was taking the hubby to work later, the light came on and stayed on. This was not good. And it stayed on pretty much the whole time I went to pick the son-in-law from work, which is the far side of town. I dropped him off and still had to go halfway across town to get to the car place, crossing my fingers the whole way so the car wouldn't die before I got there.

It didn't take the car guy long to determine that we needed a new alternator. Yikes! And it also meant they'd have to go searching for the part, so one of his minions gave me a ride home where I could think in comfort about all the errands I'd intended to run.

Late in the afternoon the car guy called with the extra bad news that they couldn't get the part until Monday. Have a nice weekend.

Meanwhile, hubby's stuck at work. Our car is a Ford Escape, which is technically a truck, and he need's the height of its seats because of his bum hip. Fortunately our daughter drives a Jeep, which is almost as good, but he was still somewhat at her mercy, although he did exert his fatherly influence to make sure she stopped at the liquor store for him. ;-)

But Friday is also the day I grocery shop, and we were low, if not completely out of, some of the things we depend on having. Important things, like coffee creamer. So Saturday, I got the brilliant idea of walking to the nearest grocery store to get a few supplies to tide us over. The walk to the store wasn't bad, but the walk home, with a bag of groceries in each hand, was a tad painful. Not, as you might be thinking in my legs or feet, but in my arms.

As you may recall, a couple of months ago I stopped working out with the weights because of pain in my thumbs, forearms, and left elbow. Well, apparently I wasn't as recovered from that as I thought because my thumbs are hurting and my left arm is not a happy camper.

However, Saturday was extremely windy and rainy, and I made it to the store and back with only a few drops of rain hitting me. So I guess it could have been worse. Maybe my luck isn't entirely bad, eh?

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

After two weeks of beautiful sunny, but cool, autumn weather, it appears autumn has turned on us with a vengeance. The weather turned cold and overcast, and the last few days has been windy on top of that.

How cold is it? It's cold enough that the windows are shut - even the one in the upstairs bedroom - and the furnace even came on one morning. It's socks and shoes weather. Jacket weather - you know, the jacket I left in the back of the car, which is still at the car place.

But it was a good week to stay in and get some writing done. There were many words written on Lucky Dog, and believe it or not I also did some writing ahead on Earth. There's a lot of major stuff that has to happen in both these stories, so the betting is open as to which I'll finish first.

No knitting or crocheting to report, and very little reading. I did get out one day and make an attempt at taming the wild mess the garden around the pond has become, and I pulled all the garlic chives that migrated from my neighbor's garden into my rose garden. And I actually made some progress on the book nook.

I've pretty much cleared out the upstairs bookcase and catalogued the books, but just when I thought I was done I started finding books in other parts of the house. So I added them in and there's still a few lurking about in places they shouldn't be. And now that I have them about 90% all in there, I'm noticing that there are a few oversized hardbacks that stick out like a sore thumb.

This is going to bug the crap out of me, so now I'm faced with the dilemma of what to do with them. Do I just put them altogether on a bottom shelf? an upper shelf? Or do I put them in another bookcase altogether, which kind of defeats the whole "all the science fiction and fantasy in the nook" thing. Although, I'm not putting my Neil Gaiman or Charles de Lint books in there . . .

Guess it's something else I'll have to consider. In the meantime, here's what the nook is shaping up to look like. The books that are lying on their sides are the ones that still need to be inserted in their rightful place - once the sleeping cat moves. ;-)

And just so you know, the tardiness of this post wasn't completely my fault. It's another grey day today and the internet was down for a while. Guess it serves me right for not getting this done last night. :-D

Oct 3, 2014

What I'm Reading

Wow. Honestly, I'm starting to think I should discontinue this segment of my blog. Or make it a monthly feature or something. I didn't even have the excuse of stuff taking me away from home last week. I just plain didn't get a lot of reading time in. Didn't buy any books either. LOL

Electronic Books

Nope. George's battery was all charged up and there he sat, looking at me accusingly from atop a pile of books on my desk. It's almost enough to make me start riding the stationary bike again, just to get some reading time in. Almost. ;-)

Tree Books

No progress to report in Eyes Like Leaves, by Charles de Lint. I want to get back to it, I really do. I just . . . didn't.

One of the few books I did manage to read some in was The Anthology of Love and Romance, edited by Kate Alexander. It sits on the dining room table and I work away at it during breakfast. Just one or two stories a day, but I've still manage to pass the halfway point. Did I mention it's a big book?


I'm still plugging away with Swords Against Darkness V, edited by Andrew Offutt, as well but it's been slow going. I'm about two thirds of the way through this one, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Sometimes a girl just needs a little thud and blunder in her life. ;-)

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.

Oct 1, 2014

On Poetry . . .

Wow. When I sat down to write this post I thought I'd be dashing off a quick explanation of my take on poetry, adding a poem, and that would be that. But then I started getting into this whole convoluted thing about writing poetry and this nice little Wildcard post was threatening to spiral out of control. So let's see if I can pare it down to the essentials.

Long before I wrote fiction, I wrote poetry. I think there's very few people who took English in high school who didn't. ;-)

I never really thought of myself as a poet - writing poetry came far too easily to me for that. And I have the reams of it to prove it. But I enjoyed writing poetry, and I enjoyed reading it, mainly the dead poets - modern poetry was not my thing, mostly because I didn't understand it. Furthermore, I still don't.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Poetry, to me, is like art. I either like it, or I don't. I don't try to interpret it or dissect it or figure out what the creator meant by it, it either appeals to me or . . . it doesn't.

So, what has all this got to do with my little tale? I was thinking about a poem I wrote in high school that got many, many compliments (and still does today), and how astonished I was that everyone thought it was directed at a boy I'd broken up with over the summer. I even had a couple of his friends come up to me and tell me point blank that he didn't want to get back together with me.

Here's the thing: it was just a poem. It came to me out of the blue. I wasn't thinking of anyone when I wrote it. It was just words on the paper.

I know you're probably expecting me to post that poem here, but I'm not. That's not the point of this little rant. The point was to share the poem that popped into my head while I was thinking about that other poem and people's reactions to it, and how I've never felt like a real poet.

Confusing? Yeah, maybe. But I didn't want to just post the poem without an explanation. :-)


like tongues of flame
scorch their way up
and out through my pen.
But that's not right.
A real poet would say:
"Burnished topaz, flaming amber, rarest ruby. . .
these ideas of mine spill forth
like hot lava
spewing from the volcano of my soul.
I stand upon the precipice,
my kinship to Athena intact.
Such incandescent brilliance
must be carved in precious stone
and preserved for all eternity."
That's what a real poet would say
to make it personal
all about them.
While I
hoard these pieces of myself
like a miser with his gold.
So what
does that make me?