Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Morning Meme

“If I want to be alone, some place I can write, I can read, I can pray, I can cry, I can do whatever I want - I go to the bathroom.” -- Alicia Keys



1. What’s the last thing you grab before you run out of the door in the morning? Are you pretty good at being on time? Or do you constantly run behind? If/when you’re late, what is usually the reason(s)?

The last thing I grab depends on what I'm doing. I wear a fanny pack, so that's strapped on long before I walk out the door. If I'm taking the dog, it's her leash. If I'm going to the library, it's a bag of books. If I'm headed to the post office, it's whatever I'm mailing. If... well, you get the idea.

And, I'm totally beyond anal about being on time somewhere, so 99% of the time I'm early. I hate being late. HATE IT.

2. What is the last thing you bought from a vending machine? Where were you? How much did you spend? Do you use vending machines very often?

Does it mean anything that I can't remember? The last place I worked in Denver had vending machines, and I know I bought stuff from them... but that was, oh, ten years ago. So, uh... I guess the answer is -- NO, I don't use them often.

OH... wait!! I bought a soda from in front of Walmart since I've lived here!! It was a Sam's Choice diet cola, and it cost $.25! Phew...

3. What does the hand-soap in your bathroom smell of? What color are your bathroom walls? What color are your guest towels? What sort of decor, or theme, do you have in your bathroom? (Post a picture if you dare!)

MY bathroom? I used Method grapefruit. In the downstairs bath, I have Method unscented. DH only uses bar soap, and his is Irish Spring or Coast. DD uses some fruity, foamy stuff she bought for herself.

My bathroom is Desert Rose... or, yanno... PINK. The shower curtain has flowers. My towels and mats are just solid pink. My accessories are brushed nickel.

See?



Sorry... these are old photos from when we redid the upstairs, and I'm too lazy to take more so you can see the curtain. You'll just have to imagine.

4. What three words do you think of when someone says ‘body’?

Some, any, and every... OH.... everybody ought to have a body! A body is the only way to go...

Sorry, flashed back to a song I used to know.

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So, hey... it rained all day yesterday. And more expected today. And tomorrow. I sure wish I could send it to my mom in California...

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DD found five new swallowtail pillars on her carrots. I said, no we can't bring them in -- there is NO WAY to keep carrot greens fresh. NO, NO, NO...

But, GAH, I feel like the wicked witch of the west.

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Did some writing on a short story I've been working on for a while... I'm at the climax and I want to finish it, I KNOW how I want it to end, but the *&%$ characters are fighting me. THEY want to do something different, and I don't wanna... ::kicks feet::

Still reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Man, oh man... now I want to make my own cheese. Seriously. So, yanno, I'm going to look into it some more. I know there are a few farms here in NH that sell raw milk. Cuz, after all, I don't have nearly enough to keep me busy.

Seriously, though... loving the book!

Finished my fiction book for review. It was STUPENDOUS... which is good, because the last book I ended up mailing to another reviewer cuz I just couldn't get into it, despite it having all the earmarks of a book I'd love.

Next up? Another book for review... I've been looking forward to this one for a while -- it's the follow up to another book I read a few months ago. Yay!

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You Are a Chocolate Shake



You are a total hedonist. You are drawn to pleasure.

You are an expressive, over the top person. You're naturally dramatic.

You're the type of person who always chooses quality over quantity.

Life's too short to not have optimal experiences. You're proud of being picky.



Huh... well... okay...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cookies

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand." -- Author Unknown

What better thing to do when you're trapped inside from MORE RAIN, and already bumming because the critters are eating your plants?

BAKE COOKIES!!

DD and I couldn't decide what kind sounded better and DH can't make decisions (no, really, I'm NOT JOKING), so we made...

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies
(yummies for the indecisive person)

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the peanut butter, water and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the rolled oats and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an unprepared cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cookies are lightly toasted on the edges. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks.

***Now...***

Because I never, never ever make a recipe exactly as written, here are the changes I made:

1. I doubled the peanut butter (and if you use chunky peanut butter, it's even better).

2. I omitted the water.

3. I used multi-grain flour (I finally ground the grain I have, so I used flour from brown rice, oat groats and quinoa -- it LOOKS white, so my DH will eat what I bake. He won't eat stuff from whole wheat, so I fool him. Muh-ha-ha...)

4. I cut the sugar in half.

5. And, because I doubled the peanut butter, I cut back on the butter and used 1/2 cup.

6. I also cooked them for 14 minutes.

They are YUMMY!!! Even DH ate four with a glass of milk... and yes, you will need something to drink, these are not light, fluffy cookies. They have substance.

Enjoy!

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Pillar Place 2008 update:

ALL of the dill pillars are now pupa's -- one of them, clearly not so bright, made its pupa on the dill stem. I don't think that stem is going to last 10 - 14 days, so I'm considering what to do. Stupid pillar...

All but the two tiny parsley pillars we have are pupa or on walkabout. One of those pillars made its pupa on a parsley stem -- BUT, unlike the dill, the parsley stem just gets brown and woody when it gets old (the parsley had bolted, so the stems are a good half inch or more in diameter). Still, clearly I don't have the brightest pillars in the world.

Our first pupa, Bubba, should be hatching into a butterfly this week. I sure hope the rain stops!!!

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You Are 76% Tortured Genius



You are smart. Brilliant in fact. And while it's a blessing, it's also a curse.

Your head is filled with everything - grand ideas, insufferable worries, and a good deal of angst.



Ya see... Ahm brilliant! *G*

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Finding the Bright Side... a Trip Thru My Garden

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. ~The Koran

I'm not a naturally sunny, positive, happy person... I have the tendency to focus on the negative, and have to make a conscious effort to find the good stuff.

So, today, when I found this:


That should have looked like this (notice that this one's flower buds were NOT eaten by deer):


And this:


That should have looked like this:


I wanted to cry and give up gardening for good. The deer have now gotten my flowers and parts of my garden, and the Cunning Voles of Doom have decimated what should have been a lush, mature garden this year. I'm fighting a losing battle.

So, after a bit of a pity party, I decided to go see what I still had!

I have milkweed blooming, and smelling so amazing, that I can smell it from several feet away!



I have delicate coral bells that the hummingbirds adore:


I have yellow flowers that I have no idea what they are (they were a three-time hand-me-down, and their name has been lost along the way... anyone?):


I have a California poppy just opening up, and reminding me of home:


And then there are my squash blossoms:


Which announce the coming fruit:


The clematis in full bloom on my mailbox:


The hardy yarrow and gallardia:


My favorite columbine:


And... of course... I simply need to look at my back yard and know that I am blessed:




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You Are a Carnation



You are down to earth and grounded.

You tend to be more traditional than trendy.

Your confidence gets you through anything.

People trust you and are very loyal to you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yesterday...

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet. ~Colette

Yesterday was a bit of a blur for me... after starting so poorly, things kept going downhill. Dakota, typically full of enough energy for three dogs, spent the entire morning sleeping. Finally, I went over and petted her, and when I got to a particular point on her abdomen, she flung her head around a shoved my hand away.

Aha. Called the vet, brought her in... she seems to have a kidney infection.

Then, at about five p.m. DD told me she felt nauseous. She and the dog laid down together on the couch for a bit, and then DD decided to go to bed. She's still sleeping!

In any case, nowhere to go but up!

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Got my final, final cover for "Kitchen Matches" yesterday. I can't wait until I can show you... unfortunately, my editor sent it to me for approval on her way out the door for a long weekend away, so it won't be today that I can share it. Soon...

Now, I just need to get something else done, polished and submitted.

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I need to stop looking at Fictionwise. It's demoralizing. Do you suppose people rate your stuff more brutally there because they are anonymous? Because they are pretty brutal. I don't think I write poorly, but in looking at how my stories and books are rated, apparently many of the Fictionwise readers do. I wonder how the ratings would change if they had to own them?

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It's been rainy and cool all week, but today that will all change. From highs in the 60s and 70s to a hot, sunny day in the 90s today. Whoo! My poor garden needs a little warmth before it rots, for crying out loud.

Everything but my peppers have blossoms or baby fruit. The one pepper DD put in her garden has a bloom though. Deer came and ate all the tops off of my potatoes, though, so I need to dump some milorganite down, and maybe hang soap. They got my pepper last year, and they love the tops of the tomato plants, too.

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Pillar Place 2008: Swallowtail is about midway done. All but one of the dill pillars is a pupa (or almost a pupa). And the parsley pillars are starting -- two are pupated, and a couple are about big enough. OTOH, we have a couple TINY ones on the parsley, too. I suspect we brought in eggs at some point, because these guys appeared out of nowhere on other pillars parsley (I try to keep them one to a plant, because they can get aggressive when they're big and hurt the smaller pillars) -- then we'd have Fight Club 2008: Swallowtail, and I don't want to go there.

In a couple weeks, we'll start the monarch egg hunt. I think we're going to leave the ones on OUR milkweed outside and concentrate on the field across from our library. The same field they wait to mow until the monarch pillars are at their most active and numerous. We hope to avoid the Pillarcide 2007 . We'll see. Obviously, we can't save them all.

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You Are a Crocodile



You are incredibly wise and knowledgeable.

In fact, your wisdom is so deep that it sometimes consumes you.



People are intrigued by you, but you find few people intriguing.

You are not a very social creature.



You are cunning. You enjoy deceiving people a little.

You are able to find balance in your life, and you can survive anything.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Late!

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness. ~Richard Carlson

I'm late, I'm late....

Dill pillars ran out of food. Again. Not pillars, PIGS. Had to run to SILs and get some more dill at the crack of dawn.

DH woke up at the same time as me. Wanted to gab. Now I am WAY BEHIND.

Then DH called on his way to work and talked on the phone for thirty more minutes. Who says men don't talk?

Broken links on website because I was trying to talk and upload pages at the same time. GAH.

When sanity returns, will post normal blog.

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You Are a Fork



You are truthful, direct, and straight forward.

People find your honesty to be a bit piercing at times.

You are driven and wildly ambitious.

You know what you want, and you take the most direct path to getting it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Quickie for Wednesday

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one. ~Erma Bombeck

Just thought that was funny :-)

And, the cliff notes version because I have a guest blogger, below -- please read and comment! Let's see...

Eye: better, but the skin is peeling off my eyelid, which is a little icky.

Sleep: Managed to "sleep in" until 4:20 !!

Pillar Place 2008: Three more pillars are on their pupa walkabout. Thank heavens. They are eating me out of house and home.

Reading: The same. Writing: The same.

My Garden: The milkweed is a bit perked up, despite massive amounts of rain and hail again yesterday. Also, my squash plants have baby squash on them, and the cucumbers and tomatoes all have blossoms!! yay!

That's it for now... go forth and read about writing with music (something I CAN NOT do, lol)...

Welcome Guest Blogger: Marguerite Arotin

Writing Soundtracks: Music To Type By

The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is that sometimes it helps to have that little extra something to set the mood. I know some of my fellow authors will hang pictures on their bulletin boards or desks. Some even burn candles with scents that match the scene they’re writing. As for me, I set the tone with music.

Now I know that music can distract some authors, or some will only listen to instrumental music because they fear the lyrics will work their way into their stories. As for me, I listen to whatever the mood or tone of my setting requires.

I recently completed the first draft of a WWII romance where big band music plays an integral role. My husband has a two disc CD set filled with stuff by Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller. You bet I had that playing in the background as I typed away.

My time-travel romance, One Enchanted Summer, is set in the summer of 1962 just before the big British musical invasion. Who started that invasion? As everyone knows, it was the one and only Beatles. Since the original lineup has a guest role in One Enchanted Summer, I listened to them sing “Love Me Do” while I typed away.

My first published tale- The Locktender’s Daughter, was set along the Ohio and Erie Canal and I found a great CD filled with canal folk songs that I listened to while I typed away. The music really helped me feel like I was sailing along on one of those old packet boats.

Like I said, I know music doesn’t work for everyone. But it works for me and I think I have enough soundtracks in my CD collection to help me set the mood for wherever my imagination takes me. Look through your CD collection and maybe you’ll find the same. Or if pictures or candles are what you need to set the mood, then that’s great too. The important thing is to find what works for, what gets you in the mood to set your scenes and type away.

Visit Marguerite at her
website or on Myspace. Marguerite has a time travel romance, "One Enchanted Summer", released today from the The Wild Rose Press. You can watch her trailer here:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tired Tuesday

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds. ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

I'm a very, very light sleeper... and that's just the pits. Worse, I'm a paranoid light sleeper (probably comes from having a VERY active imagination and reading too many serial killer books), so I refuse to take sleep aids, or even use ear plugs, because, yanno... a bad guy could break in, or there could be a fire, or..., or...

Last night, though, it knocked me on my behind and I'm very groggy today. Between DH coming home late (midnight), then eating (microwave beeps), and then coming to bed when he was done, then snoring, then the cat sneezing, and DH's pager beeping every 10 minutes or so (low battery... and I didn't know how to fix it)...and the newspaper delivery guy...

What about you? Light sleeper, or sleep like the dead?

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In Pillar Place 2008, we have five pupae, five more wanderers going to become pupa, about ten BIG bubbas that could take off on walkabout at any time, and three little guys pulling up the rear. DD wants to bring in the two she found outside. Um... no. No more swallowtails. At this point, any we find could conceivably be the ones who will overwinter as pupae and I don't want to store them in my basement again. No more pillars until the monarch arrive.

Speaking of which, we've had some pretty spectacular thunderstorms the past three days, complete with high winds, hail and HEAVY rain. It's all but decimated my milkweed. three of the buds broke off completely, and all of the stalks are bent over. Today is supposed to be fairly sunny, so we'll see if they perk up, but at this point, the stalks are weakened and I'll need to stake them up. I only hope the flower buds that are left will bloom... I've been looking forward to that since LAST year. Worse, if they don't, I won't have milkweed seeds to spread about.

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My eye is so much better today! Dr. Groovy? I DID use tea -- black, green and chamomile because I'd heard they all work and it makes for an awesome compress. The swelling is almost completely gone, and I only woke up a little goopy today. Yay!!

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What I'm reading: I'm reading the fiction book I got for review, and "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Can I tell you how much I am LOVING that book?? I've got a list of notes and websites and organizations I want to look into and I'm only about 40 pages into it. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

What I'm writing: Actually, I didn't write for me. Yesterday, I worked on critiquing someone else's stuff.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Morning Meme, Voles and a Sty

The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years. ~Thomas Jefferson


1. What are your children doing right now? If you don’t have children, what is your significant other/roommate/friend, etc. doing right now?

Sleeping. That goes for all of the above, including the dog and cat.

2. How many times a day do you look in a mirror? And be honest with us! WHY do you look? Is it a habit? Do you think you’re attractive? If you avoid looking into a mirror, why? Be honest with yourself!

It really depends. Not that often, I suppose... though the past few days I've done it more than usual because of an eye problem. I don't have time to look in the mirror... I barely have time to brush my teeth (at which time I do admit to looking in the mirror, unless I am walking around and multi-tasking).

3. What do you do/eat/say that makes your mother mentally cringe? What do your children/significant other do that makes YOU cringe?

Um... I have no idea. Mom--you want to chime in on this one? And for my DD? I think it's the screeching birdcalls she makes... mostly because I know that other people are thinking she's a little off center. And DH? Mixes his metaphors or misstates common sayings all the time (like saying, "I could care less"). Drives. Me. Nuts.

4. Which do you focus on more, eating less or exercising more? Do you think one is more important than the other? Do you have a weight loss system that works for you? How much exercise would you say you do in a day? A week? How active (overall) is your family? What sort of physical activities does your family like to do together?

I'm a lazy slug these days, but I don't eat less either!! Ha. I used to be quite active, but not so much any more. I think I got out of the habit when I moved to NH cuz the weather is so sucky most of the year and I can't get outside on a regular basis all year long. BUT, when I decide I want to lose weight? I love Weight Watchers.

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Dear heavens... the voles simply don't end!! Yes, after relocating the last one to the lake (about 5-6 miles away), I have another. This new hole popped up almost immediately, so I know it's not the same guy. I knew the weather would be horrible yesterday, so I didn't trap him. Setting out the trap for today, and have plans for another lake visit.

BOTHER.

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My eye... it's a good news, bad news kind of thing. I gabbed with my neighbor, who's a nurse, and she looked at my eye. Said it was NOT conjunctivitis (YAY!), but instead is a really, really bad sty (hence my eye nearly swelling closed). She suggested hot compresses, several times a day to draw it out.

It's definitely better, but still puffy and hurts like crazy. Still, it means I don't have to go to the doc (YAY again!) because this treatment seems to be working, and I can actually see the lumps (TWO of them because I don't do things by halves) on the inside of my eyelid.

Ow.

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Amy... milkweed is not a thistle. It's got these lovely pinkish flowers that smell a bit like roses mixed with lavender:



I made a concerted effort to grow it in my butterfly garden to help out with the diminishing number of Monarch butterflies, and it's taken off with a vengeance. Last year, I offered seeds to anyone who wanted them, and will do the same this year. If there are no takers, I just toss them in wild areas so that there will be plenty of munchies for the Monarchs.

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What I'm reading: Had to shove everything aside to do books for review. I have one I got in the mail (not naming it because I like to keep my review flower anonymous...) and several shorts I grabbed from our database. At LASR and WC, we recently lost several reviewers to health problems -- and we're desperately in need of more. Want to help???

What I'm writing: I worked on a short story for a bit today, but mostly I worked on building this coming week's pages for the LASR/WC website...

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Post With No Title

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
~William Shakespeare, Mid-Summer Night's Dream, 1595


Because I can't think of anything to title it, clever or otherwise...

Yesterday, I asked about falling in love with your heroes. Most folks said they did, every time. But Jen raised an interesting point when she said about her current project: My protag isn't like me and her love is for HER. He's great for her, and he'd irritate me, although there are aspects of both that I love.

That gave me pause, and made me think... after all, think of all the people you know who are madly in love with their spouses, but you couldn't begin to imagine also being in love with those men. We can't love everyone, right?

Which then leads me to wonder...when I write, are my heroines a reflection of me? Is that why I love all my heroes? Have I not taken chances with them? Have I not tried to stretch my wings and write what I don't know?

On the surface, my heroines are all different -- tall, short, red-hair, blonde, brunette, prissy, tomboys... but inside? Are they different? Do they like what I like? Think how I think? Feel what I feel?

Color me puzzled... and thinking.
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What I'm reading: Still reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. But non-fiction doesn't get to sit by itself on my nightstand. So I started Falling For You by Julie Ortolon, a book I won at Trish's blog. It's awfully cute! So far, so good...

What I'm writing: I worked on "The Hammer" -- a book I'm specifically gearing for HQ American. I read through what I've edited on "Playing House", but now...I'm stuck. I made a big plot change, and it's got me stymied. Do I take the cowards way out and change it back? Or do I struggle through?? Hmmm...

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My cat has been sneezing for three days. No discharge, her eyes are clear, her nose isn't running... just these cute little sneezes. I'm on the fence: do I or don't I take her to the vet? **sigh**

And me? I have conjunctivitis in my left eye. I kept trying to pretend I didn't... but yesterday it got to be pretty uncomfortable, and this morning, my eye is swollen and goopy. Oh. Joy. Still, being the cheapskate I am, I'm waiting until tomorrow to go to my regular doctor instead of using Urgent Care today because it's FAR more expensive, even with insurance. Hey, I've stuck it out this long...

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We lost another pillar yesterday -- this one was half-grown, and I'm not in the least bit certain why he died. OTOH, we have one pupa, one getting ready to pupate, and three that are big enough to take the long walk to butterfly-dom at any point. There are also SEVEN of the dill pillars that are close enough in size to make me nervous, so they'll get their own homes today.

Monarchs should be here in a few weeks. The milkweed is almost ready to bloom -- it smells so good when it does, and the flowers are just lovely. I can't wait!

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wax On, Wax Off

Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home. ~David Frost

DH and DD will be off boating today, so I'll be alone with the dogs and the pillars. I fully intend on getting some writing done in the relative peace and quiet. I'm just not sure WHAT I want to tackle...

Here's a question for romance writers: Do you fall in love with your heroes? I mean, I suppose we should... yes? If we want to make both our heroines and readers do the same.

What traits make you get all mushy? I've discovered lately that it's tenderness from a tough guy. **sigh**

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Vole hole alert! Vole hole alert! Whoop, whoop, whoop!! We have another vole...

Yes, folks, there is a new vole hole. I have the trap set, and I have plans for a drive with this one. After I dab him with red food coloring (great idea, Brandy, thanks!!).

Someday, I may be able to replant that garden...

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I watched "Karate Kid" last night... mostly out of the corner of my eye, but still. Dear heavens... could it have been any more cheesy? I remember LOVING that movie back in the day. LOL... I wonder what Ralph Macchio looks like now. I had to go look, and oddly, he looks about the same. But that girl beside him?? HIS DAUGHTER!!



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What I'm reading: So, I started "Exit Strategy" by Kelley Armstrong. I struggled with getting into it, and then wondered if it would end well. I admit to skimming and then peeking at the end. But I just didn't love it. I started "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. I was going to read "SOS, Marry Me" by Melissa McClone, but just couldn't do it without reading the first two books in the series. I thought I could, but... nope. So, I'm off to the UBS to get them since they aren't in the regular stores anymore, and I want instant gratification.

What I'm writing: Nothing yesterday. DH was home and puttering. DD was needy. Dd was psycho as always. Today? I have HIGH HOPES!!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Putting the "pill" in Caterpillar

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. ~Maya Angelou

I mentioned, yesterday, that I had two pillars ready to take a walkabout for pupa-hood. Black swallowtail are very good about staying on their food until they are ready to go through the change, and I knew two (Bubba and Bubs) were about there. If you don't contain them, they'll wander the house... OTOH, I really didn't want them to make their pupae in the community box, either.

I made Bubba a box of his own on Weds (they grow up and move out so quickly), and decided to wait until yesterday for Bubs. And then promptly forgot.

Last night, as the sun was setting, I checked on them. Bubs was on the floor of the dill pillar box, unable to climb the slick walls (it's plastic)... poor critter. So, quick like a bunny, I grabbed a nearby tissue box, pulled out the tissues and plopped him inside and then taped netting over the hole.

Poof! A pillar home. We are so scientific here.

Phew... got them covered. I decide to double check the (covered) parsley pillar box to make sure everyone has food, and that they're all still alive. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and found a pillar on the roof. And another on the wall.

Walkabout-ing.

Ack! They're too young! Too little! I'm not ready! I make the executive decision to use the Gladware-type boxes I was saving for the monarchs. It's not optimal, but I didn't have another tissue box handy.

Of course, then I'm in a panic. Clearly these pillars haven't read the Pillar Place 2008 Handbook on when to pupate. NOW I need to make certain everyone, regardless of size, lives in a box with a cover.

Luckily, I am a box packrat (you never know when you'll need just a certain sized box to mail something, after all). And thus, at about 8:30 last evening, all pillars were contained.

Cuz, yanno, I didn't have anything better to do. I must be out of my mind.

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No vole holes this morning... I'm whispering because I don't want to jinx myself. Shhh...

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I get to see Allie in July. Yep...excited!! WOOT! More on that later.

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What I'm reading: I've pulled out, but haven't cracked the cover of, "Exit Strategy" by Kelley Armstrong for my next read and will start it today.

What I'm writing: Between voles and pillars and puppies, I didn't touch my writing. I did, however, moodle. Thinking counts. *G*

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I'll check Blogthings regularly for new quizzes. If they have one, I'll do it here. That's my final answer. *G*

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lookie, Lookie

Lookie what I found!!! The Cunning Voles of Doom are no match for me!!



Is it weird that they all look different to me? The first one was small and gray. The second was larger, and gray. This one? He is small and has a TON of brown in his fur.

I know I've said it before, but MAN I hope he's the last... any thoughts on painting him without hurting him or me?

Booking It and Painting Rodents

When somebody tells you nothing is impossible, ask him to dribble a football. ~Author Unknown

First, a little Booking It Through Thursday:



Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

I tried to think of the folks whose books I'll auto-buy (or auto-order at the library, in the case of hard-back releases, which are a bit outside my book-buying budget), and what it was that tied them together. It wasn't genre, exactly (though I certainly tend to lean toward romance, I also like westerns, fantasy, thriller, horror, etc), or time period (I read contemporary and historical). Some of them write funny stories, some are deadly serious. What was it about these particular authors that brought me back faithfully, time and again?

Mostly, I decided it was a mix of two things: voice and 3-D characters.

Many years ago, I fell in love with the imaginary country of Valdemar. The first book I read that was set there was entitled "By The Sword", and -- despite being about a girl who becomes a mercenary (among other things) -- it was fairly quiet. And I loved every word. After I finished, I thought about why I decided to give the library back their copy and go buy one of my own (along with the entire series, eventually). And I came back to the fact that I loved the main character. I loved her. I knew her. She was my new best friend and I care what happened to her.

Mercedes Lackey is a master at creating rich, flawed, interesting characters and I own everything she's done.

Dean Koontz... another master at this and, especially in his last few books, he really delves into his characters, their flaws, their strengths. What makes them tick. How far they would go for a loved one...

If I care about the characters, I'll watch them hang wallpaper. But not even the most exciting plot will keep me turning pages if there are cookie-cutter, two-dimensional characters peopling the story.

What about you?
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The Cunning Voles of Doom are still living in my garden. A new hole appeared yesterday afternoon. My neighbor suggested I spray paint the next one I catch before I release it, just to make sure it isn't coming back. I'm not certain how I could spray paint one... but I'm considering some form of marking. I'm also considering a nice, long drive to the lake that's miles from here...

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What I'm reading: Finished "The Hollow" by Nora Roberts. I enjoyed this one far more than the first, which I find amusing... Mary was the exact opposite. Makes it clear to me that you can't please everyone with your writing! I've pulled out "Exit Strategy" by Kelley Armstrong for my next read and will start it today.

What I'm writing: I WROTE yesterday. I sort of drifted around, but I still did some writing and it felt GOOD. I took a look at The Possibility of Forever (Camilla's story) and decided I could probably manage to finish it with Jed still wounded and make it plausible. I still have to figure out how to work the dark moment without going into the rat's POV, but that's another story. I also picked up the story I began that I call "The Hammer". It's one I am gearing specifically for HQ American, but knowing my stubborn characters, they may veer off into a different direction entirely, despite all my attempts to keep them in line. I really, really like my secondary characters already. I think I love them more than my H/H... that may not be a good thing, LOL.

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No more pillar casualties yesterday! YAY! I am trying to figure out a way to move the bigger pillars into their own happy homes so I won't have to worry about bumping their chrysalis' in the main box. I have two pillars (DD calls them Bubba and Bubs) who are getting large enough to start wandering. **sigh**

Monarchs ARE easier. I can't wait for them to show up..

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What the House Test Says About You



You are happy with who you are, and you don't have an inflated sense of self importance. You do your own thing quietly. You don't take up a lot of space.

You can't stand community oriented people and annoying "buy local" campaigns. You prefer to live the best life possible, and that doesn't really involve many other people.

You are a calm, contemplative, and smart person. You take ideas very seriously.

You look attractive, but mostly because your rely on your natural good looks to get by.

You are moved by romance and love. You are optimistic about people, and you love hearing about happy endings.



Okay... that's probably about 50/50.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday Quickie!

And on the eighth day God said, "Okay, Murphy, you're in charge!" ~Author Unknown

A quickie, cuz... I have a guest blogger :-)

Amy asked if Dd = Dear dog or Damn dog. It depends on the hour... *G*

We lost three more pillars in Pillar Place yesterday. I've never had this kind of mortality rate before. Of course, I've never had 20+ pillars before. It's only the little bitty ones, and it makes me wonder if this kind of thing happens when they're outdoors, too. Could be, right? Survival of the fittest? After all, bugs lay 100's of eggs... if they all survived, we'd be overrun!

Still... it's rather sad.

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What I'm reading: Almost done with "The Hollow" by Nora Roberts. I really like it!! Now, ugh, the wait for the final book at which time, I'll have to reread the first two first.

What I'm writing: Nothing... my time is being spent judging all the short story entries for our LASR contest. I have plans to work on editing "Stiller Creek" by this weekend though.

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No quiz today. Sorry :-(

Welcome Guest Blogger: Victoria Pitts-Caine

Quiet
by Victoria Pitts-Caine

If you asked me what quiet meant, I would say, "The absence of sound." But, alas, not according to Webster: It is a calm, gentle, tranquil peace.

So if I take my philosophical self down the path of no sound at all, I can surmise that really never happens because there is always some sort of clatter somewhere. But if I take the writer me down that same path, I'm much more inclined to like what I find.

I like the soundlessness of me alone in the house. I like the shrouded deficiency of noise in the early morning of a foggy valley day. I like the nonexistent dearth in the car before I hit the radio button. During those times I plot, I summon, I contrive. I write without aide of a pen and paper or a keyboard and printer. Because it is quiet, I can also listen.

Sometimes I hear music. With the rise and fall of a symphony I can see the conductor encouraging the orchestra to bring out the sweetest notes to the crescendo of a piece. Similar to how I coax my characters to reach the zenith in a story. Other times I hear the blue waves swoosh against the sands on a coastal beach and believe I feel the salt-kissed wind on my face. I'll decide to give that sensation to the lonely heroine I'm creating.

There are other times when my mind plays a running video. I've always had a talent for retelling a movie I've seen with the greatest detail and I tend to keep little trivial items tucked away in some unknown drawer in my brain. When it is quiet, I can pull them out and watch the movie again or think about some idea that's been sparked at some point in my life and put away in that drawer for future use.

Now that takes me to another evident, easily misunderstood area in a writer's life, the clamor in my brain. At first I didn't hear them and really thought those who did were a little, you know, weird. But my stories are running around all the time begging to get out and my characters are telling me what to do with their lives when I put them into my stories.

I find the easiest way to invent a character or to talk with one I'm working with is to close my eyes and listen to them as I type their story. Most of my female characters have a little bit of me in them, so on occasion, we argue. I hear my characters tell me how they're going to solve their problems. The problems I introduced them to. I might just hear my heroine tell me, "It isn't fair you put that obstacle in my way but this is how I'm going to handle it -- you know on page forty-two when you have my heart broken by Mr. Right. Well, I'm going to just tell him off."

Okay. Now that's not the way I planned it, but it might work. I could go with that and I'll give it a try. If it doesn't solve the problem, I'll have another little chat with you later and I usually do.

My most interesting conversation with one of my characters came when I decided to do a sketch on him since I really didn't know who he was. I'd written him as a troubled young man with a colored past but I never really asked him what happened. We had a long session one day and he told me he was raised by alcoholic parents. When they were killed in an accident, he ran away before his grandfather could come for him. He thought he would be better off without family and soon realized at seventeen he couldn't make it on his own. He found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time during a robbery and was arrested. Unfortunately, he spent a great deal of his youth incarcerated. It wasn't until then that I could write him with the compassion I needed for him to be rescued.

The characters I hear most are of the female variety. They usually tell me what they want to look like or wear or who they'd like to meet. Many times their fears are either currently or have been my fears and we can relate. The male characters offer more of a challenge and I seem to have more pointed conversations with them asking questions and hoping for answers.

I don't think my brain is ever still. I used to think maybe, when I slept but then there's that dream thing which invents even more stories. Taking Webster's advice, I'll find a tranquil moment to have a calm inviting cup of tea and listen to the voices in my head.

You can visit Victoria at her website.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Update: The Cunning Voles of Doom

Thanks to Groovy for the snappy blog title *G*.

Lookie what I found today (not a good pic, sorry...):


And in his happy, new home:


Please, please let him be the last one.

Pretty Pictures

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. ~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

Look what bloomed in my garden recently:

Pretty poppies:



Pink Peonys:


Peppermint Portulaca:


Today's photos were brought to you by the letter "P".

*G*

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The weather here has been horrid... overcast (i.e. "buggy"), humid, rainy. It hasn't been conducive to getting outside at all. As a result, Dakota (or Dd, and I refer to her in IMs with friends) has been bouncing off the walls. Um, literally. She'll run and leap onto the couch with enough force that she ends up on the top of it with her legs splayed -- looking a bit like a spider on the wall. DH doesn't like her to tear around the house because of the wood floors, but when she's all hyped up, there is NO stopping her.

Please, please let the sun come out soon.

============================

We had our first casualty on Pillar Place 2008 -- we lost a little bitty pillar, possibly the smallest one we had. He just ... died. I found his little corpse lying on the box below his food. I know he didn't fall off accidentally, because they actually spin a smidge of webbing to hold on (discovered this when I tried to move a pillar to new food by picking it up instead of letting it crawl on it's own twelve feet).

DD insisted on burying the body (folks... this thing was *maybe* a 1/4" long) outside in her garden. I wouldn't be surprised to go out and find a little, bitty cross there, too.

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What I'm reading: I'm still reading "The Hollow" by Nora Roberts. I have to admit, the more I read it, the more I like it. I wonder how other folks feel? Have you read the first two books in this trilogy? Give me your .02 if you have!

What I'm writing: Nuthin. Gah.

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I think that the quizzes here may come to an end soon... there just aren't enough to keep from repeating. So, enjoy them while you can!




Your Attention Span is Medium



Your attention span is just about average.

You may think that you have a short attention span...

But being distracted is something most people struggle with.



The most important thing is that you're aware that your mind wanders.

If you find yourself daydreaming, you can usually snap out of it.

It may be tough to concentrate at times, but you can do it... if you want to!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday, Monday... finally

Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? ~Winnie the Pooh

It's FINALLY Monday. Last week may have been the longest week of my life. TGIM.

I was going to do the Monday Morning Meme today, but the Time Capsule question required too much thought, and I'm short on brain cells today. However, the gift card question? LOVE THEM. Love to give them, love to get them. In case you were wondering :-)

Let's see: Pillar Place questions from yesterday. The "white stuff" in the votive holders is napkins! Yes, we are highly technical and scientific here. Ha. I wrap the stems of whatever plant in napkins and stuff them in little votive holders and then fill the holders with water. I started using napkins because I didn't want the pillars to fall off accidentally for some reason and then drown -- but I had to keep the stems wet.

Yesterday, though I tried using wet floral foam in it's place. It takes something like ten napkins for each holder, and I change out the food every couple of days, an it got old, wrapping and unwrapping. This way I can just stick them in the little holes I've made. Easy peasy.

The dill didn't love the floral foam, and wilted almost immediately -- but after a few hours, it did perk up. I often wonder what the pillars think of their homes wilting and perking. Is it a little Pillar Place amusement park ride?

Today, I need to figure out homes WITH LIDS for them -- the dill is too tall to fit in the boxes I usually use. And, while swallowtail butterflies stay on their food while they're growing and don't travel (unlike Monarchs, who move from their food almost daily to shed their skin), when they're ready to make their pupae, they wander. We found this out the hard way our first year when we had to have a pillar hunt through the house after we'd left them without their lid too long.

======================

Didn't catch my vole yesterday. Did, however, catch a chipmunk! He barely fit in the trap. I guess they like apple slices, too, lol. And then, he pushed out of the cage before I had it aimed right for his release, and ran right into Dakota... yikes! He was almost dinner.

There are four new holes in the vole apartment complex. Bother. I did move what was left of my iris and liatris. That garden is all but empty. Still, I'd like to CATCH him before he moves on to another garden. At least, now, I know where my enemy is.

========================

What I'm reading: I'm still reading "The Hollow" by Nora Roberts. I'm actually rather enjoying it so far. It's ... different. Unusual. This trilogy, and her last (vampire) one are a little bit of a departure for her.

What I'm writing: Judy tells me I'll be getting the LASR story for this week to work on soon. I hope so... yanno... cuz Thursday is only a couple of days away. I also started thinking about Camilla again. I'm wondering if I need to find a different reason for Jed to stay, other than an injury, because that stupid injury thing is what keeps tripping me up. **sigh**

===========================




All American Kid



Popular but not plastic. Athletic but not a jock. Smart but not a brain.

You were well rounded and well liked in high school.



LOL... Okay. Actually, I did get along with everyone -- but I was a drama geek.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Welcome to Pillar Place 2008

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. ~Richard Bach

It's begun... and not in a small way.

DD's parsley plant was beginning to bolt, so I asked her to go out and cut it down. We'd dry the leaves and restock our own parsley, and she'd gain a bit of control over her garden again.

She came in with parsley all right.

And three swallowtail caterpillars.

Okay, I'm good with that. I pull out the containers, the napkins, the netted box. I'm ready.

Ha. Famous last words. As I'm getting those three put away... she comes back with another. And another. Now she's on a mission.

She finds nine on her parsley. Then decides to check the rue, dill and carrots. One on the rue. Phew ... I was worried. We have bushes and bushes of rue and the odds were good there would be a ton. None on the carrots. Phew again. Two on the dill. Well crud, that's not good. My dill plants are only just starting to come back and are about 2 inches tall -- nowhere near enough food for even ONE bug. Oh no... FOUR on the parsley plant next to the dill. We're up to eleven that will be eating parsley, and despite DDs fairly large plant, we're not going to have enough for them either.

What to do? Worse, they are on curly-leaf parsley. Last year, I discovered that they will not only eat the food they're hatched on, but the very specific type of food. I tried feeding flat leaf parsley bugs my curly parsley, and they'd have nothing to do with it.

We left the new bugs on their respective plants and went to the store. Not only did I need more food, but I needed more glass holders (I'm telling you what, I've decided monarchs are WAY easier than swallowtail). Go to Walmart and buy every last votive holder they have, as well as a dill plant. Go to Agway, and find (PHEW!) three curly leaf parsley plants of decent size. Still need more dill, so go to SILs house because she mentioned she had a bunch of dill coming up.

She did. LOTS. Unfortunately, she also had a BUNCH of swallowtail babies to go with the dill... and they were on the only plants that were small, sickly and far from the main group of healthy plants. They were also at the base of steps and would assuredly either starve or get stepped on. DD insisted we take them home.

So now, all told, inside the house we have TWENTY-FIVE (it was 26... don't ask) pillars. And there are still at least four more outside (DD begged to bring them in because it was going to rain... I stood firm -- guilty, but firm).

No, we didn't name them. We started but... get real. You think I can tell them all apart? With the possible exception of the only moderately large one we're calling "Bubba", they all look the same.

Welcome to Pillar Place 2008:





Here's Bubba:



==========================

I woke up today at 3 a.m. and wondered if I set my vole trap correctly. I laid there and thought, "Did I flip over the little metal whoosies that hold the trap shut?"

It's pouring down rain outside. It's dark. It's buggy. It's THREE-FREAKING-A.M. and I don't want to go check.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it... and never did get back to sleep well.

Does that happen to you? If you think of something in the middle of the night, will it bug you to the point you have to check ... or lay awake and wonder? Or, are you a worry-free kinda person, and can set it aside and nod right back off?

On a side note, it turns out I did set it correctly. All that worry for nothing!

Note: I also posted this at the LASR Yahoo group as part of the ongoing party (four prizes have been awarded so far) ...so if you're over there, you're not seeing things, lol.

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What I'm reading: I'm still reading "The Hollow" by Nora Roberts. Mary, I've only just started... I'm not sure what I think yet. I'm about 50 pages in. I didn't love "Blood Brothers" the first time I read it, but I really enjoyed it the second time. I wonder why?

What I'm writing: Well, I would be working on a short story written jointly with Judy for next week's LASR page. But, *ahem*, my writing partner hasn't gotten it to me yet. Hint. Hint.

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discover your dog breed @ quiz meme

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Vole Truth and A PARTY!

In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn

So... it seems our vole was NOT ALONE. I checked this morning when I put out my feeders (for those of you who don't know -- I pull in my bird feeders at night because we have a bear, or two, living in the woods behind our house) and two more of my mini-irises are toast, and there are two new holes next to their little brown corpses.

So...looks like re-planting plans are being put on hold. Today's schedule will include: 1. Moving as much of their food source as possible--so the irises and possibly the liatris will be dug up and relocated. 2. Setting the trap again and seeing what I catch.

Bother.

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There is a PARTY at the Long and the Short of It's Yahoo group this weekend!!! Woot! A boatload of autographed books, and LASR gear from Cafe Press will be given away. But you have to post to win. Come on by and join in the fun.

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I got to see the cover for my upcoming novella, "Kitchen Matches" yesterday. It gave me quite an "awwwww..." moment. It's a cute cover, and Micah and Cori look so good together.

**sigh**

I'll share it when I can. It hasn't been officially approved yet.

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What I'm reading: "The Hollow" by Nora Roberts. Finally. I wanted to re-read "Blood Brothers" first to refresh my memory.

What I'm writing: A short story written jointly with Judy for next week's LASR page. Darn that contest... we really shot ourselves in the foot because we got no new submissions outside of that. Not that I blame them -- a years worth of advertising is nothing to sneeze at.

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find your inner clothing style @ quizmeme.com

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Hug and SUCCESS!

Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism. ~Leo Buscaglia

Last week, amidst all the craziness that is website building, Anno awarded me some great blog awards.





They were much appreciated during a week where I seldom slept, didn't socialize and barely breathed. And, now, I'm finally remembering to say thanks.

Thanks, Anno.

I offer hugs to all of you who come everyday and visit. I really appreciate that you take the time :-)

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We have SUCCESS in the vole hunt! Woot!!

I'd pretty much given up ... the trap had been out for days, and I was just too darn lazy to go build a tunnel yesterday. In fact, the food was old, and I figured that today I'd need to rebait the trap or finally resort to poison (the thing made FIVE new holes yesterday!! And two were in the grass -- which would put DH over the edge, but thankfully he was gone yesterday).

This morning, I woke up and peeked out the window from the second floor. The trap looked like it had been sprung. I decided I probably caught a frog (my SIL called me the other day and told me that she'd caught -- and killed, because she's using REAL traps -- a toad in her mouse trap).

I grabbed the bird feeders to put them out, and checked the trap. There was something huddling in the corner, but I couldn't see what it was. I finished putting out the feeders, and then lifted up the trap.

The tiniest little gray ball of fur was smooshed as far into the corner of the trap as possible. A vole.

I admit to being a bit shocked, both at actually catching the thing AND at its size. It can't be more than 1 1/2" from stem to stern!! How did something so tiny do so much damage? He all but annihilated my garden. ALL my bulbs were gone, most of my tuberous plants were eaten... that's a LOT of food for such a tiny fellow.

So, it looks like a long hike into the woods is in order today. And, then I have to come back and fill in all his holes -- first by flooding them, and hoping it causes the dirt to cave in underground, and then by stuffing what I can full of dirt. The articles I read on vole removal all indicated that voles LOVE to find unoccupied homes and move in.

I don't want to do this again.

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The Keys to Your Heart



You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was insecure and in constant need of reassurance.

Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something that will confine you. You are afraid of marriage.

In this moment, you think of love as something you thirst for. You'll do anything for love, but you won't fall for it easily.



Don't tell my DH of almost 12 years that I'm afraid of marriage, okay?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yee Haw!

For those of you who didn't know, it's COWBOY month at The Wild Rose Press. Since I recently had my own cowboys story released ("A Change of Heart"), I invited my wonderful editor to come speak to y'all here about the Yellow Rose line at TWRP.

Stacy... you have the floor.

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What draws us to a Cowboy?

Cowboys are one of the original Alpha males. They are hard, solitary, driven by the law of the land, rugged, strong, and mysterious. Whew....sorry, hot from just thinking about them LOL.

But! Not all cowboys are Alpha—and that’s what I love about the modern day westerns. Beta cowboys, those hunky ranch-hands, good ol’ boy neighbors and smiling, Stetson wearing two-steppers are just as big and adding a wonderful variety to cowboy stories these days.

In the Yellow Rose Line of the Wild Rose Press we look for both of these heroes....and the women strong enough to corral their hearts. First and foremost, we want a good story with a strong romance.

Fresh ideas with interesting plots will capture our attention as well as good solid writing. From an editor’s point of view, I can’t express enough how important it is to have someone else look over your work and proof it for the simple things like spelling and grammar. The story could be great but may be hard to find amongst a poorly proofed manuscript.

Along with regular submission, we also have a special series that took off like a freshly branded bull! Wayback, Texas is a small town that hosts a rodeo every Saturday night and we’ve invited authors to write about the characters in this town. We’ve had some fantastic stories released already and a wonderful response—so much so that we had to create its own home at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waybacktexas/ so that we could list the details of the town for easy access to potential authors of this series. If you want to write for this series, the best thing to do is join this loop and then read the available stories to really get a feel for the town.

One of the unique things about The Wild Rose Press is that we offer short stories. Those short enough to read over a lunchtime break to those that only take an afternoon in the sunshine. Personally, I would love to see more short story submission here in the Yellow Rose line along with the longer pieces.

Best of all, if you’ve ever wanted to sample a cowboy...er a cowboy story LOL, we have a Free Read available right now on our website at The Wild Rose Press. Marry Me, Cowboy, is a fun little story that you can get...FOR FREE! Free cowboys....could there be anything better?

Thank you so much Marianne for letting me share your blog today! If anyone has any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll be popping back to answer them for you!

Stacy D. Holmes, Senior Editor, Yellow Rose, The Wild Rose Press

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Thanks for coming by, Stacy :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Um...

Rain! whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains. ~Henry Ward Beecher

My guest blogger for today was unable to appear due to an unexpected death in the family, so I'm a bit caught with my pants down...so to speak.

Worse, we had thunderstorms all night (which thankfully cooled it down -- the "real feel" yesterday was 109) and DD couldn't sleep, so I didn't get to sleep, either. My big concern, Dakota (and her first thunderstorm) turned out to be no worry at all, though she did "oof" twice with the thunder was REALLY loud.

Went out this a.m. to put out the bird feeders, and nearly stepped on a snake. Stupid thing...don't know why it was out. The sun wasn't really up, and it was a bit cool for him. He was quite sluggish, and he's lucky I was the one to find him, not DH. He's safely away for now. EDITED TO ADD: Dru asked what kind of snake, and where exactly was "safely away". He was just a little garter snake, about 18" long, and I carried him out to the woods, a ways back. My DH will kill any snake he sees without hesitation, and these little guys are harmless, so I try to encourage them to make their homes away from mine!

Still haven't caught the vole. I'm going to build a trail, of sorts, to the live trap today. He has two main holes, so I'm going to make only one route from both of them: into the trap. I hope it works.

Recorder lessons were okay -- DD loved them! BUT, we were in the second floor room of a local library and THERE WAS NO AIR CONDITIONING. Did I mention it was 109 degrees yesterday? Dear heavens. We go again tomorrow. Thankfully, the weather will be cooler. I thought I was going to melt away...

Someone on my Crea8Buzz page asked me about my summer writing goals. I got to thinking two things. 1. Am I supposed to have summer writing goals? and, 2. Summer for me, the heat aside, is pretty much the same as winter. That's one of the things about homeschooling and not working outside the home.

But, goals. Hmmm... How about just WRITING something.

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What Marianne Means



You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.

You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.

You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!



You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.
You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.
You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.
You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.
You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tail Wags

Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around. ~E.L. Konigsburg

When Dakota wags her tail in her sleep, what do you suppose she's dreaming about? Is she dreaming that her friend is coming up the street to play? That Daddy is home? That she has a chipmunk treed?

She's the most expressive dog I've ever seen, and her sleep is no different. She usually sleeps on her back and she dreams all the time: growling, barking, twitching. But my fave thing is her tail wags.

The website launch went well yesterday! Only a few broken links (thanks, Dru, for your email!!!) and one glitch -- the inability to return to the shared front door once you're on one site or the other (we're working on that).

I can't tell you how relieved I was. Phew.

=======================

I set a live trap for my vole last night. I just couldn't kill the bugger. The lady at Agway gave me a bit of a hard time about it, but ... I kept imagining him dying a long, painful and lingering death from poison, or finding his little corpse squished in a trap.

This morning... no vole and the trap is unsprung. If I don't catch him soon, DH is going to put his foot down and get poison himself.

C'mon little vole... climb into the nice trap.

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I'm trying to catch up on my backlog of blog posts. Holy cow, I opened up Google reader and I'm in triple digits!!! I visited a few folks last night, and I'm working on getting to you all one at a time... I've missed you!!

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DD is supposed to start recorder lessons today. They're being taught by a woman from a small, local homeschooling group. I just am not at all sure I'm going to be able to find where I'm supposed to go. I have a serious problem with my internal GPS -- zero sense of direction. It's a sad, sad thing and honestly often keeps me from taking trips to places I'd like to go to because I'm not altogether sure you wouldn't find my dried up bones years later, and miles from where I was supposed to be.

Wish me luck!

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BLUE

You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.


Find out your color at QuizMeme.com!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back To Normal

Accomplishing the impossible only means that the boss will add it to your regular duties. ~Doug Larson

Or as normal as I can be anyway...

Today is the day -- the big relaunch of The Long and the Short of It. Dear heavens. I am pooped. And, I am really tired of building webpages. But, aside from a few glitches that I will most assuredly stumble across, it is finished.

Phew.

NOW y'all can go look.

I started this morning EARLY... but with no internet connection. If you think I didn't panic (quietly), you'd be wrong. I rebooted the modem and wireless router, I rebooted my computer, I yelled to the coffee pot to brew faster and I crossed my fingers and toes.

Judy probably thinks I slept in. :-)

Finally at 4:27 a.m. the site went live.

I still have to build the redirect links into all the old pages, but that's easy-peasy.

And we're going to go back and build all this years reviews to host onsite, but there's no time crunch for that.

Here's a funny: Judy looked back in gmail chat to see when this whole LASR came to be, and she found this from me:

"Hey... I have an idea for a group blog -- doing simple reviews for some of the Wild Rose short stories and any other stories/books that tickle my fancy, but I'd love to have other folks participating... If I set things up, would you be interested in helping now and then? I thought I'd call it "The Long and the Short of it" or something"

And thus is a website born.

I'm still laughing over the "simple reviews" line... HAHAHA....almost as funny as the idea of Judy helping "now and then"... Ha....

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Today, I get to NOT work on the website. Much.

I am going to write... well, actually, I'm going to help Judy with something SHE wrote, while she (in turn) will be helping me with something I wrote. Wouldn't it be nice if we could effectively edit ourselves? But, ha. It just doesn't work that way.

I am going to get ant traps for our massive infestation of big, fat black ants. Ugh.

Speaking of which, I've discovered that Dakota has a bug (especially an ant) fetish. She will not suffer an ant to live! Ha. Actually, she tries to stare them down... I'll glance over and see her starting HARD at the ground, and nothing will get her attention... sure enough... an ant will be about 2 inches from her nose. She all but went through the screen door on Friday night because there was an ant on our deck. The nerve.

Yes, she's a strange dog. But she's cute. And we love her (most of the time...*G*).

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Dru asked if "One Love For Liv" will be available from BN.com -- it will be eventually. I don't think they upload preorders as early as Amazon.

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And, that's all I'm good for this morning... tomorrow, after my brain has rested, I may actually be able to write something interesting! LOL...

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You Should Try Ice Climbing



Cold, challenging, and downright scary

And there's no way the snow is breaking your fall



Um. No.