Feb 27, 2015

Wreck This Journal - Week Two

If you missed the beginning of this series, you can find it HERE.

Nowhere in the instructions for this journal does it mention how often you're supposed to wreck a page, so I've actually only been working in it a couple of times a week. And although I'm trying to do these pages in order, I did miss one for this week's post. The instructions were to step on or jump up and down on the page, and I did do this, but because we've got so much snow my shoes were only wet, not dirty, so it didn't really show up well. So I'm going to try something else with it this week to post next week. :-D

So, first up, you can probably read the instructions on the page yourself, but they were to Pour, spill, drip, spit, fling your coffee here. So I dipped my fingers in my coffee and dribbled it over the pages, then I set my mug down on the pages where it left one satisfying ring and one kind of faint ring.

The other page I did instructed me to poke holes in it.

But honestly, that made for a boring page, so I decided to get a little creative and turned the holes into flowers.

Okay, so maybe I'm not a great artist, but at least it's a little more colourful. :-D

And that's it for this week. I'll be back next Wednesday with more wrecked pages from my journal.

Feb 25, 2015

Wreck This Journal Wednesday

Sorry folks, no post today. I'm sick.

Come back Friday for the Wreck This Journal Post

If I'm not feeling better by then I'll let you know where to send the flowers. ;-)

Feb 23, 2015

Madefy Monday

madefy ~ to moisten or make wet

I was sitting here last night trying to talk myself into doing this post (and trying to keep my eyes open at the same time) and then I remembered that I have an appointment in the morning. This meant that if I didn't have this post scheduled before I went to bed it wouldn't get done until almost noon.

So here I am. :-)

Last week was better than the week before, and the turning point seemed to come on Thursday. Thursday, for those of you who keep track of such things, was the Chinese New Year. I made up my mind that this year was going to be better than last year, and when it didn't start out that way I decided that my year wouldn't officially start until the Chinese one did. So maybe it was just co-incidence, but whatever. It works for me. :-)

As you know, I have cats. And they're a bunch of little weirdoes. How weird are they? They don't like boxes, they like caves. Specifically, they like caves made with a blanket draped over a chair.

The two biggest cave dwellers are Dante and Romi. Romi made his own cave by wriggling his way under the blanket I have over the futon in the workroom to keep the cat hair off, and he sleeps in it every day. Dante prefers a cave made with a throw over my recliner, but will grudgingly (for a couple of cat treats) use one made with the wing chair instead.

Now my husband's cat, Julius, has suddenly decided he likes caves as well, but only the ones Dante likes. I think he's doing it more to tick off his brother than anything else. Anyway, he beat Dante to the cave on the wing chair one night and was pretty smug about it. However, Dante learned passive aggressiveness from a master - his mother. Undeterred, he jumped up on the chair on the outside of the cave, and then sat on the lump under the afghan. And he stayed there until Julius gave up, then he moved in and went to sleep. If you look carefully, you can see Julius's nose sticking out of the cave.

Yesterday was almost a bad day, but purely self-inflicted. I started out in my office, thinking to clean it up so I might be motivated into getting some actual work done in it this week. But it was cold and the day was overcast, and then it started to snow . . .

But I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and started with something easy - shredding. I had a lot of shredding piled up, mostly all over my desk. I now have a large recycling bag full of shredded paper instead. :-)

While I was shredding I was also looking around my office. There wasn't a lot of stuff out of place, what was making it cluttered were the knick-knack collections all over the bookcases, and the overabundance of books. I really like my knick-knacks (except when it comes to dusting them) so that left my books.

After finishing the nook, I kind of slacked off on the whole book migration thing, so I decided it was time to start working on that. I'd start by moving some of my reference books upstairs to the giant bookcase in the upper hallway.

I've been putting this off because I keep thinking it's not going to be as convenient having these books upstairs. I like having them at my fingertips. Well, the Man, Myth, and Magic set can go up there because I have them in magazine format as well. And yes, I need them both. The hard copies are more convenient for looking weird stuff up, but the magazines have extra articles on the back covers. And the Planet Earth series from Time/Life can go up there because I've had these books for 20 years and I think I've only cracked two of them open in all that time.

I did have a before picture to show the semi-empty, dust covered bookcase, but you couldn't really see how badly it needed cleaning, so I'm just posting the after picture:

Obviously it's not done yet, but I've made a good start to it and hopefully it'll inspire me to clean up the bookcases in my office as well.

Feb 18, 2015

Wreck This Journal - Week One

As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I bought my daughter and I copies of Wreck This Journal for Valentine's Day. And then I decided to share the fun I have with mine on my Wednesday posts. So first, we'll start with a picture of the journal, just so we have a record of what it looks like as I start:

There's a lot of fun instructions inside this thing and one of the first things it tells you is that you don't have to follow the instructions in order.

I have to admit, since I only got this journal on the weekend, I haven't got very far in it. So far I've done this page:

and these pages:

And let me tell you, cracking the spine on this thing was not an easy task for me. First of all, it was the principle of the thing. I do not crack the spines of my books. Ever. I have books I've read that look like they're still brand new because their spines are intact.

The second reason this was not an easy task for me was . . . it was not an easy task. I don't know what they used to glue this book together, but it's pretty darned solid. But I did manage one good crack right down the middle. I may have shed a little tear when I did so. ;-)

I can't wait to see what the journal has in store for me this week!

Feb 16, 2015

Muscology Monday

muscology ~ the study of mosses

I can't say as I liked last week much. It had a lot of potential but seriously failed to live up to any of it.

And it doesn't help that between the snow and the excessive cold I'm starting to feel like Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining.

But instead of dwelling on all the bad things about last week and the things I didn't get done, I'm going to focus on what I did do.

I got a few more rows done on the catghan throw I'm doing for my daughter and I'm at about the halfway mark. It looks pretty enough that I'm kind of sorry I promised it to her. Of course I can always make myself one too, but I'm looking around my living room as I type this and can spot three throws as it is, with a big chunk of arctic fleece thrown over the back of one of the dining room chairs, waiting for a border to turn it into a blanket.

I got some writing done . . . not a lot, but some. And though I didn't get my Valentine's story done, I do have over 7,000 words written on it and now I have the year ahead to polish it up and maybe offer it as a free download next year.

I baked the dreaded Valentine's Day cookies - raspberry filled sugar cookies on a stick - that I have been baking every year since my daughter turned five. They're a royal pain in the butt to make and next year I'm teaching her how to make them herself - passing the torch, as it were.

One of my nieces started a Facebook page for a project called "Wreck This Journal". You may have seen these journals in your favourite brick and mortar book stores. If you haven't, here's what they look like:

This is not your typical journal. It's full of instructions like, "This page is for handprints or fingerprints. Get them dirty and press down" and "Do a really ugly drawing (use ugly subject matter: gum, poo, dead things, a badly drawn bird, mold, barf, crud)" and "Collect your pocket lint. Glue it here." And the instructions on the back tell you that when you're done, you're supposed to tape the journal closed and send it to yourself.

Anyway, it looked like a lot of fun, so I bought my daughter and I both one and I've decided that I'm going to post pictures of my journal on Wednesdays. I've been struggling with Wildcard posts for a while now, so this might be just the ticket. So Wildcard Wednesday is going to become Wreck This Journal Wednesday.

Now I just have to start wrecking this journal. LOL

Feb 11, 2015

On Mysterious Doors . . .

A couple of years ago, a friend and I were on a road trip when I happened to spy a red door hanging from a tree branch. Unfortunately, we didn't stop so I could take a picture of it, and I suspect we might have been slightly lost because I didn't see it on our way back. However, it was an image that stuck with me - this bright red door in the middle of nowhere.

And it got me thinking, if you stumbled across a door where no door had been/should be, would you walk through it?

Think about it. You have no idea where this door came from or where it might lead. If you passed through it, would you be able to return, or would you be stuck on the other side for the rest of your life? Would curiosity get the better of you? Or would you play it safe?

By a strange co-incidence, when I was searching for images of doors, I ran across the short story, The Door In The Wall, by H.G. Wells. If you haven't read this before, it's worth a look. It's the story of a man who ishaunted by a mysterious door in a wall that led to a beautiful garden. If you'd like a version to read on your e-reader, you can find one HERE. But if you don't mind reading on-line, it's just a short story and there's a PDF version to be found HERE.

In keeping with doors and what might lie behind them, I also found and interesting psychological piece that gives you ten different doors to choose from and what your choice reveals about you. Look at the picture first and pick out your door, then click on THIS LINK. The results may surprise you.

And finally, I found this video on YouTube, of the talking doors from the movie Labyrinth, which just goes to show that sometimes the obvious choice isn't always the right one.

Feb 9, 2015

Machinule Monday

machinule ~ tool used by surveyors to obtain right angle

In many ways, last week was a very up and down kind of week.

First, there was the weather. We had a bad snow storm on Monday, sun on Tuesday, a worse snowstorm on Wednesday, sun on Thursday, and then a series of mediocre storms (that were supposed to be worse than they were) the rest of the week. I got an extra workout on Wednesday shovelling snow.

And of course because the weather was up and down, my head was too. I suffered from a series of bad to very bad headaches last week which sometimes led to taking pain killers, which led to being extra tired and not getting stuff done, like Wednesday's wildcard post.

I did finish the crocheting I was doing for the baby shower I went to on the weekend. No pictures I'm afraid, 'cause I didn't like the way the afghan turned out. I blame Walmart. I picked up a ball of this incredibly soft yarn in a variegated pink/blue/yellow/white and started a baby blanket - just a simple granny square pattern. For some reason I thought I'd be able to do the whole thing out of one ball, but alas, it was not meant to be. I ran out of yarn and the blanket wasn't even half done.

So back to Walmart I went and of course there wasn't a trace of that particular colour combo of yarn. So I picked up a ball of white and a different ball of variegated. And I get it home and realized the new ball of variegated did not in any way go with the colours in the first ball. So back I went yet again and exchanged it for a ball of green/pink/white. I actually liked it better than the pink/blue/yellow/white, but of course there was only one ball of it, too. And there was no more white.

The afghan ended up white in the center, a wide band of the green variegated, a narrow band of white, a wide band of the pink/blue variegated, a narrow band of white, a narrow band of the green variegated and I finished with a single row of white in a single crochet. What it lacked in elegance it made up for with softness.

Writing wise I spent a lot of time working on a Valentine's story, which is turning out to be longer than I expected. If I can find my focus this week I might even get it finished in time for Valentine's Day.

Cross your fingers for me. :-D

After weeks of healthy eating, Friday night the hubby and I were in the mood for something bad for us, so we decided on poutine . . . sort of. Poutine, for those of you out there who are barbarians, is a Canadian delicacy made from French fries with gravy and cheese curds on it.

I've done Italian poutine before, where you use spaghetti sauce instead of gravy, but this time I decided to try something different. I wanted to create a Mexican poutine. Now to do it right, I should have covered my fries with hamburger done up with taco seasonings, the cheese-like product you dip your nachos in, sour cream, and green pepper. But I didn't have the taco filling or nacho cheese on hand.

What I did have was cheddar cheese, chili, sour cream, green onion, and bacon. So I guess mine was more like fries with "the works" than anything else, but they tasted incredible.

Now here's the part where I'd intended to post a picture of them, because I did take a moment to take one, however I seem to have misplaced the cord I need that connects my camera to a computer. I left it on my desk and it's nowhere to be found. And it's a different cord than any of the others I have access to, including my husband's camera which is made by the same company.

Apparently the ghost isn't done with me yet!

Feb 6, 2015

What I'm Reading

Sad to say, but I haven't got a lot of reading in lately. I've been busy doing other things, like editing and crocheting.

Electronic Books

I haven't given up on my electronic reading, honest! Though I haven't made it to the treadmill or exercise bike yet, for added incentive I was given a copy of Flame and Stone, Book One of the Dunning Manor series by Jamie DeBree. You can find out more about it in last week's post. But George is all charged up and ready to go and I can't wait to re-read it!

Tree Books

I'm a little further along in Horns, by Joe Hill. I don't know that I particularly like this book, but I paid full price for it and I'm curious to find out how Ig ended up with the horns. Those two things are just enough motivation to keep me going. Ig has discovered a couple of new abilities, and for some reason snakes are really attracted to him. So there's some interesting stuff going on. And it seems like his ex-friend Lee has a couple of abilities of his own, which make him impervious to Ig's influence.

A friend of mine passed along a copy of The Minister's Daughter by Julie Hearn. I haven't got very far in it but it appears to be part historical, set in the time of the Salem witch trials, and part fantasy. Should be an interesting read.


The reading is going slowly on The Fantastic Imagination II. This is not a book of light reading, this is high fantasy at its best and needs to be savoured.

So like I said, the reading has been a little on the light side lately. But the weather's been very wintery lately, cold and snowy and perfect for reading. So hopefully I'll be able to pick up the pace in the week ahead.

And also in the week ahead I'm hoping to update my Goodreads. I really need to do this before it gets ahead of me like it did last year.

So . . . what about you? Read any good books lately?

Feb 2, 2015

Morcellate Monday

morcellate ~ to divide into small portions

Although it might not have felt like it at the time - I started out the week being sick and ran into a couple of days where I was suffering from extreme tiredness - last week was a pretty good one. I got some writing in, I got some editing in, I even got some crocheting in. When all was said and done, I was left with a sense of accomplishment for the week.

One of the things I finished was a short story I'm going to submit to the Toronto Star Short Story Contest. It's a slice of life kind of thing, and quite frankly it isn't my usual fare, but it seemed just right for the contest. The contest is an annual thing. Stories have to be sent in by snail mail and every year I seem to remember after it's too late to get my story in. This will be the first year in ages that I have one ready in time so wish me luck.

Another thing I finished was the first draft of my on-line serial Earth. This has never happened with one of my serials before - having it done so far in advance. Normally the last installment is written the night before it's posted. By my calculations I have enough installments to keep the serial going until the end of March, which is a good thing because it gives me lots of time to re-think the ending, which turned out kind of cheesey. :-)

Anyone out there believe in ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night? Then pull up a chair, I have a story to tell you.

Canada Post occasionally puts out a series of special addition stamps and late in the fall they put out a series called Haunted Canada. I just happen to have a friend who collects stamps and much to my delight I was able to pick up a set for her. I thought it was even more appropriate 'cause one of her alter-egos writes horror.

Why I didn't send them right away I'll never know, but they sat there on my desk for ages until I figured I'd stick them in her Christmas card. Only when I went to get them, they'd disappeared. Vanished. Gone.

You have no idea the lengths I went to searching my office, but they were nowhere to be seen. I figured they'd appear as soon as I sent her Christmas card, and then her birthday card, but they haven't shown up yet.

After Christmas it was time to set up my new day planner, which I get from my husband. So I took the old one out of its cover and tossed it, and left the cover on my desk. He brought the new insert home but the cover had disappeared. Could not find it anywhere. So he brought me a new cover a couple of days later and meanwhile the insert disappeared. I kid you not, it is nowhere to be found in my office.

And then, just last week, I almost caught the ghost in the act. I went into my office to check on something and I was just in time to hear something slide down behind the bookcase. One of the three, six foot high bookcases. And just so you know, I had a witness this time - one of the cats heard it too 'cause he stopped washing himself and was staring at the bookcase too.

And the worst part is, I have no idea what could have fallen behind there. Most of the things on top of the bookcases are too big to fit behind them and the pictures/paintings I have are on the other end - and they're still there.

Just a couple of days ago, the hubby was also a witness to these ghostly goings on. He, too, heard the distinct sound of something sliding down behind the six foot high bookcase closest to the window. The only thing on top of that bookcase is a large clay fairy - no pictures or papers or books, nothing that could slide down.

So . . . anyone know a good exorcist?