Friday, December 31, 2010

A Look Back: The Blog in Review

New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

I love to do this! The rules: post the first line of the first post for each month from your blog in 2010.

January 1, 2010:

Mary (who writes as MJ Frederick) is having a contest to celebrate her latest release, "Breaking Daylight" from Samhain Publishing.

WOW... was it a year ago? Time flies!! Hey, Mary, what's coming up for 2011?

February 1, 2010:

Just woke up at 6:15 a.m. -- and I had a PILE of stuff that was supposed to have been done early. My alarm didn't go off, and for once the cat didn't pester me.

Wow... that IS late for me, lol... I've been a slug the past couple of weeks though, so 6:15 is about typical. Come Monday, when I have to load up pages at the crack of dawn for LASR/WC, I'll be getting up early again. *yawn*

March 1, 2010:

I woke in the middle of the night to the sound of strong winds outside, and my heart nearly stopped. I imagine it'll take me awhile to believe that my electricity is on to stay (until the next storm!).

Ugh ... the last couple of years have been REALLY bad, power-outage-wise. I'm so glad that we haven't had one (yet) this year AND that we have our generator.

I also discussed the Olympic men's hockey game between USA and Canada. Would you believe I'd already forgotten the Olympics were this year? Sheesh...

April 1, 2010:

Once upon a time there was a hair. She was an average, everyday hair... the kind of hair you would brush off your clothes or vacuum up with a hundred other hairs. She was long and white and when she used to be part of a Papillon dog, she was beautiful.

HAHAHAHA.... a story to embarrass my daughter with :-)

May 1, 2010:

Yesterday flew by. DH went fishing, so DD asked if we could have a "girls" day. And she wanted to watch the first Star Wars ... you know, the FIRST one, the one made in 1977 (which I will never be able to refer to as "A New Hope". It will always be "Star Wars" to me).

Ah yes... showing the Star Wars movies to my DD for the first time! I was her age when "Star Wars" came out in 1977 ... of course I had to wait three years for "Empire" and another three years for "Return" -- I was in high school by then. She's a lucky duck, not having to wait so long to find out if Vader really was Luke's father ...

June 1, 2010:

I'm so incredibly glad I don't suffer from allergies, because the pollen lately has been nuts! A heavy layer of yellow coats everything, indoors and out.

We had the worst year for pollen this year, and I really am grateful I don't have allergies. Even so, it made housekeeping a little crazy with the lovely layer of yellow dust on everything!

July 1, 2010:

For some reason, I'm completely wiped out this morning. I feel like I haven't slept in weeks. So ... my brain isn't working *quite* right. Therefore, I give you:

Random Thoughts

Feel free to click the link to see what random thoughts I shared. By far the saddest was reading about Dakota's BFF, Mindy, being diagnosed with cancer. She's still with us, thankfully!, but we know it's just a matter of time...

August 1, 2010

I need a mental health day.

And with that ... I took the day off of blogging. That's a rather dull entry ... what was on August 2nd?

Well... my mental health day turned into "let's clean the house from top to bottom" day AND "let's work on all the last minute changes to the LASR/WC/Aurora anniversary party" day.

LOL... how typical. That post, though, has a pile of pictures of monarchs we released... I really enjoy Pillar Place.

September 1, 2010:

It's that time again ... the time when kids go back to school, and the time when -- if I take DD to run errands with me, she's asked, "Shouldn't you be in school?"

Ah ... the joy of homeschooling. This will be our last year, though, if all goes well. I'm actually beginning to be a little sad about it. I suspect it's going to be harder on me than on my daughter. *sigh*

Can I change my mind and keep her home?

October 1, 2010:

Yesterday, I watched that blasted radar -- checked it every 15 minutes and discovered that the storm had apparently decided to make a C around southern New Hampshire. They predicted the occasional shower, but mostly it would be clear.

So, we packed up the rain gear, some towels and a couple bottles of water, and we WENT!

Where did we go? To the Deerfield Fair! DD was so happy. Actually, the fair is one of the things that will be affected by her going to school -- we've always gone during the week because there are fewer people there, but we won't be able to next year. Of all the things that bother her about going to school, this is one of the biggest!

November 1, 2010:

Just in time for NaNoWriMo, I'm finally catching the cold that's been going around my house.

Ah ... NaNo. I had high hopes for NaNo this year, but my story really wasn't gelling. I still don't think I have the right heroine for Geoff, so that story is completely on the back burner right now until I have a brainstorm...

December 1, 2010:

I think my clock was missing a few hours yesterday -- because I sure didn't get anything done before it said it was bedtime. I have got to figure out how to better manage my time...

Story of my life. For Christmas, I asked for one of those watches like Hermione used in one of the Harry Potter books, so I could be two places at once, but I didn't get it. Bad Santa.

So ... how was YOUR year?


You Should Stay Home for New Year's Eve

By the time New Year's Eve comes around, you are usually exhausted. You just need to rest.

That doesn't mean you won't celebrate, but you'll definitely be toasting the new year in your own low key way.

You'll reflect on the year that's passed and make plans for the year to come.

And when the clock turns over at midnight, you'll be cheering along with anyone else. You'll just be in your pj's!

Actually, I'll probably be asleep...


Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Stove

If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit... ~Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe, letter to President Franklin Pierce



Now we just have to figure out how it all works and get it slowly seasoned because I hate heating with oil -- it's COLD in my house. Even the dog thinks so ... she's sleeping in little balls:

Also, we had a Christmas miracle:

The cat went up there BY HERSELF. I know, I was shocked, too!

Anything noteworthy in your neck of the woods?


You Have Grit

You can focus in on your goals and stay the course. It may be hard, but you get the task done.

You believe that it is important to finish what you start, even when you end up hating what you've chosen for yourself.

Keep up the good work. You understand that the good life is about accomplishments, not chasing every whimsical fancy you have.

Make sure to leave room for a little novelty in your life. You focus so intently that you sometimes ignore new possibilities.

Yeah ... that's about right.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Good Customer Service

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends. - JEFF BEZOS

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. - DONALD PORTER

Last summer, I wrote of the drama we had with my daughter's "floating" swim fin that she lost and we wanted a refund for. At the time, the manufacturer had promised not only a refund, but a replacement pair of fins that had been tested.

We waited, and waited. Followed up. Got an email back that basically said, "I'm sorry, I thought that had been processed. I'll do it now." and then waited and waited and followed up again. And again. Finally, after several months of waiting and following up, my DD received a Visa gift card in the mail in November for the cost of the fins. While she didn't receive the replacement pair, we're still satisfied with the outcome, if a bit dismayed it took so much nagging on our part.

I've decided, though, that I'm not going to sit back and let ourselves be "taken" by poorly made products. In November, DD bought the cutest little snowflake necklace from AC Moore. The snowflakes lit up and flashed. She'd planned on using it as the garland on her tiny artificial Christmas tree she puts in her room, so imagine our dismay when, one-by-one the snowflakes stopped lighting up over a matter of a week or so until only ONE was lit.

They were only $5 and we didn't have our receipt. Plus AC Moore is at the mall and it was the weekend after Thanksgiving -- no way I was going to battle the mall. So, I emailed them and included a picture of the necklace with its one flashing light. Told them I loved their store, and that we patronized them all the time (we do -- DD gets much of her jewelry supplies there) and was sad that they had such poor products in their store. I explained that my daughter had purchased it with her own money and that we didn't keep the receipt, but that I wanted to bring it to their attention.

Not only did they get back to me the same day, but they offered to send a gift card for refund. I'd heard that before (see above) but gave it a shot. I want you to know that the gift card arrived in a matter of a few days. AC Moore gets a bit two thumbs up from me.

Most recently, DD received a Rubik's Slide game from one of the ladies at our agility class (I think she's their mascot ... lol). She LOVED that game and the first night she had it she played it for hours. The next morning, she came downstairs in tears -- the control button wasn't working (the button that selects your game, gives you the solution you're trying for and controls the volume). We put in new batteries in case that might help. It didn't.

So ... she'd had it one day, and although she played it to death, she didn't drop it on the floor or into the bathtub. The game should hold up to a little playing. I have no idea where the woman got the game, obviously we didn't have a receipt for it, so off I went to the computer again. I emailed them and explained the situation concisely.

The following day, I received a response. They apologized, said that they stand behind their products and would send DD a new Rubik's Slide via Fed Ex. Though that was only a couple of days ago, and we haven't rec'd the toy yet, I still feel heartened by the response.

EDITED TO ADD: FedEx just dropped off her new Rubik's Slide. Good for TechnoSource -- two thumbs up.

Fact is, those folks have taken a bad situation (especially AC Moore, because we use them all the time and there is plenty of competition we could use instead) and made me and my DD feel warm and fuzzy.

Good customer service goes a long, long way.


Deep Down You Are Sensitive

You're the type of person who notices everything and forgets nothing. You are very in tune with the world.

You feel deeply, and sometimes the silliest things can effect you. You are easily brought to laughter or tears.

You don't show the world how fragile you are. You instead show people how insightful you can be.

You are good at anticipating what's going to happen in your life. You are often the first one to see what's coming.

I don't think I am sensitive, but most of the description fits...


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blown Away!

When snow falls, nature listens. ~Antoinette van Kleeff

I can NOT believe how windy it is! For a solid 36 hours we've had ridiculous winds. Gusts past 50 MPH, steady winds at 20 - 30 MPH. Totally nuts. So, even though the snow is past, I'm still afraid of losing power. Wonder how many trees have gone down? We didn't get anywhere near the snow they predicted. We probably ended up with just under a foot. I'm glad.

We spent the day at home yesterday. Just after noon the sun came out for a bit, so DH cleared the driveway and DD and Dakota went outside to play. DD has pretty much outgrown her snowsuit (WAH!) so that's on the list to buy. They didn't stay out too long, though DD managed to make a pretty decent sled trail. The dog came in first -- she was COLD. Poor puppy has no undercoat, so even though she had on a jacket, she was freezing.

Here she is, thawing out by the fire:

It takes a while to melt, because she gathers snowballs all over herself:

I stayed inside and reorganized my pantry so I could fit a few of my boxed appliances (like my yogurt maker and my grain grinder) and so I could fit the gift my DH made for me. A new MONSTER chopping board!

I helped glue the bits together, but he did the rest including spending most of the day sanding (you can't even begin to imagine the mess in the basement... oy). It's about 15" wide, 20" long and 4" thick! It weighs about 5 lbs. That sucker should last me until I die.

The hubs is off all week so, I'm not sure what's going on today. It's incredibly stressful for me -- I really need routine and schedules (I kept asking him last night: "What are we doing tomorrow?" over and over, to which he replied: "I don't know. Whatever." AHHHHHHH!!!). I suppose it's good for me, but I honestly can't wait until he's back at work and things are back to normal. Unfortunately, he's been called to Jury Duty on January 3rd, so it won't be back to work then, either.

I hope my nerves hold out!


Have a great day.


Your Vocabulary Score: A-

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!

You must be quite an erudite person.

Wonder what I missed?


Monday, December 27, 2010

So Far, So Good

Every winter,
When the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into a vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay -
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.
~Charles Kingsley

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but so far we haven't lost power. About halfway through the night, I got so antsy about it that I went downstairs, turned the light on under the microwave and laid on the couch. Every few minutes, I'd open my eyes to see if the light was still on.

It's still snowing a bit, though and VERY windy so it's not over yet. Still, I don't think we got anywhere near as much snow as they thought we would. Predictions of up to 22" were called for, but I'd say we got only about 6 - 7" (so far). The storm is sitting over us and swirling around a bit, but I can't imagine it has another 13 - 15" in it.

DH will be bummed, though. He wanted to get pounded with snow so that he could snowmobile out of our backyard (our yard actually hooks up with a snowmobile trail on the conservation land behind us) and it doesn't look like that will happen -- at least not yet. And, considering they're calling for a warm-up next week (they're saying Saturday will be in the mid-forties!) most of this snow will go away.

In any case, here's the view from the door of my garage:

DD is already polishing her sled. We have a pretty decent hill in our backyard and she's raring to go.


Your Life's Path is Magenta

You seek novelty and a full life. You love to experience as much as possible.

You believe it's important to never get stuck in a rut. You like to break out of patterns and routines.

You are a non-conformist. You like to surround yourself with beauty, but you may have a different idea of what's beautiful.

You see the good in others, and you want everyone to do their best - including you.

That is pretty much completely wrong...


Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After

Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail. ~Proverb

We had a long, busy day yesterday. DD said last night before bed: "I hate December 26th, because that means I have to wait another 364 days for Christmas again."

She, especially, had a good time because she had Christmas morning and some great gifts (one thing she was especially excited over were her glue gun sticks ... go figure) and then we had my SIL over for dinner with us, and then she got to play with her cousins for HOURS when we visited with my other in-laws.

The dog and cat enjoyed their Christmas, too. Breeann got a catnip bag (she's an old lady and doesn't play much anymore, but loves to drool over a catnip bag):

Dakota, while she enjoyed her actual gifts, preferred the unwrapping process most:

Here's a little proof (sorry it's so dark -- the video camera doesn't have a light and though it was plenty light in the room for us, it apparently wasn't for the camera. Also, you might want to turn the volume down -- DD is grunting and groaning over opening a gift that was apparently sealed shut with bionic tape):

We decided that next year, we'll just get her a roll of wrapping paper...

How was your Christmas?


In other news, we're apparently going to get whomped with snow tonight and tomorrow. Depending on who you listen to (and my DH has checked pretty much every weather site, station, etc. under the sun), we'll be getting upwards of a foot of snow by tomorrow. Accuweather is saying 13.8" as of this morning and the pretty picture on their forecast page for Monday simply says, "BLIZZARD".

I'll be honest -- that's the first time in eleven years I've seen "blizzard" on the weather page for our town. Yes, it does make me just a tad nervous. Thankfully we have our generator (so, YAY!, I'll be able to flush the potty -- who needs lights when you have a functional toilet?) but I wouldn't have internet, so if I don't post on Monday or Tuesday (or Wednesday), you'll know what happened.

DH is thrilled, though, because he's off all week and will be able to snowmobile (maybe even right out our backyard onto the trail).


You Are Creative

You see the world in interesting and unique ways. You are definitely a visionary.

You are constantly being inspired to create something new. You are a natural artist.

You see beauty in almost everything. You can appreciate people for who they truly are.

You are authentic and honest. You may be a bit quirky, but you never hide the real you.

Okay, mostly right ...


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!

(Yes, I blanked out DD's face... she doesn't really look like that).

Funny Pictures - Christmas Cats

Friday, December 24, 2010

'twas the Night

Isn't it funny that at Christmas something in you gets so lonely for - I don't know what exactly, but it's something that you don't mind so much not having at other times. ~Kate L. Bosher

Found this fun poem at Will Write for Coffee, L. S. Murphy's blog:

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the pages,
Not a character was stirring, not even the mages.
The stockings had fallen by the chimney, who cares,
I’ve got to revise this chapter about bears.

The children were buggered and snug in their beds
While visions of goblins danced in my head.
The hubby’s in bed, and I’m at my desk
To finally settle in and fix this whole mess.

When down in the kitchen, my coffee pot beeps,
I rush to fill my mug as my heart leaps.
The idea hits hard as I pour that black gold.
I have to get it down before it turns mold.

I stir in the sugar and mix in the cream
Hoping this fix isn’t just a dream.
Back at my computer, I retype the letters
Hoping against hope that the words are better.

Soon it’s midnight, then one, then two.
I’ve written and revised, that’s what I do.
I click on save, then back it up twice
And crawl into bed, my sleep sacrificed.

The alarm sounds early, and I’m at it again,
Must get work done before the festivities begin.
The hubby makes breakfast as I type away,
Then it’s all over. I’m done, HOORAY.

All through Christmas morning, I think of my book
The binding and cover, the way it will look
When it’s finally on the shelf of every store in town.
It’s just a dream I refuse to put down.

Maybe someday, my dream will come true.
Until it does, I’ll keep writing for you.
Merry Christmas to all, wherever your look,
Now get off your bums and go buy a BOOK!


Today, I will be taking Dakota to the dog park (oddly, my family frowned on the usual Saturday excursion this week) and then coming home and baking cranberry orange bread. DH is making noises about taking down one last tree (yes, there are a lot of trees in NH) so I may be stacking wood as well. On Christmas Eve. Woo.

What are your plans?


You Are Down to Earth

You prefer to celebrate the holidays in your own laid back way. You don't need a lot of glitz or glamour.

If you attend holiday parties, they tend to be a quiet affair. You are past being rowdy.

This time of year has deep meaning for you. It's fine if others don't share that meaning, but you're not about to turn your back on it.

You like to celebrate an old fashioned Christmas. All these new "traditions" give you a headache.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's a Dog's Life

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

Dakota has the life...

Eat, sleep, play, repeat. How do you suppose she can be comfortable like this?

It finally snowed here for the first time this year... DD is thrilled and it does look a lot like Christmas. It can stick around until the first of the year and then go away. K? (:::Insert laugh track here:::)

Today, I'm finally making sugar cookies. I cheated and bought dough (shhhh.... don't tell anyone). I don't like them (if I'm having sugar, it will be chocolate), they're a pain to make, and I'm running out of steam, so :::shrugs:::

What's your favorite Christmas cookie?


You Are Creative

You are open minded, flexible, and adventurous. You never quite know where you're going, and you like it that way.

You are hard working and live fast. You want to accomplish great things in your life.

You find that most tasks are more difficult than you anticipated. And you don't give up until the job is done.

You work hard for the material rewards you get in the end. You wouldn't have your job if it didn't pay you.

That's actually all pretty close... weird.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keyboard Abuse

The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. ~ Eric Porterfield

When I got my most recent laptop, my DH replaced the keyboard on my old one and it was given to my mom to replace her broken desktop. I didn't really think all that much about the keyboard being wrecked because it was a refurb and I figured it came that way.

Until the other day when my DH came over, looked at my computer and said, "You did it again."

I did?

I looked at the keyboard like I'd never seen it before.

Sure enough I did. I couldn't figure out how I'd dug a big chunk out of my "N" key.

How the heck did that happen? I did some typing and watched my hands, and it turns out that I use the tip of my fingernail to type the "N" (and the "M", but I must not use that letter as much).

Additionally, on my last keyboard, I'd worn off the letters on the "E" and the "S". So, I checked it out on the new one.

Yep, they're well on their way.

Sheesh ... Do I really pound that hard on my stuff? Anyone else have this problem?


You Are Merry Christmas

You are a traditionalist when it comes to the holidays, and you aren't going to be politically correct about it.

You celebrate Christmas, and you don't think there's any reason to hide it. Most other people celebrate it too.

You are content to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas." It doesn't have to be a religious thing.

"Happy Holidays" is just too generic for your taste. You aren't going to tone down your greeting for anyone.

Yep -- Merry Christmas, everyone!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let It Snow!

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. ~Oren Arnold

We finally had a little snow yesterday -- flurries, really, and it didn't leave much on the ground, but my DD is thrilled. Having grown up in California, I don't really require snow for Christmas, but my DD is born and raised here in New Hampshire, and the two go hand-in-hand. It's supposed to snow again today, so she should be in hog heaven.

Because we were expecting snow, I had to spend yesterday pulling all the cut wood out of the woods behind us and get it stacked. I moved 1 1/2 oak trees yesterday that were cut into 16" logs... one log at a time. They were about 100 yards down a hill, so I'd get one log, carry it uphill 100 yards, stack it and head back. There are too many other trees, bushes, stumps and rocks to drive anything down there to help haul, but I suppose the exercise was good for me. I walked slowly and carefully to avoid messing up my knee (any more than it already is), and got the job done in about two hours.

I complain about the work, but I sure do love the warmth during the winter.

Yesterday, Dru Ann asked: How difficult is it to remove the old one (wood stove) and hook up the new one?

Except for the fact that they weigh a TON (okay ... the old one weighs about 250 pounds, the new one weighs in at 450 pounds), it's not so hard. We have a regular fireplace that's been converted to use a wood stove, so it's a matter of putting on the adapter piece on the back of the new stove so that the pipe goes in the right direction, and popping it in. It'll take two or three nice, strong guys to lift it, but the actual install is pretty simple.

Today my big plan is to bake cookies. I'm making cherry, white chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies and sugar cookies (thankfully, I won't be tempted at all to eat them as I don't like either kind, lol -- there is a method to my madness). I wasn't going to make sugar cookies, but my DH asked for them very nicely Sunday.

I had two tiny gifts to mail out yesterday -- they were in little bitty padded envelopes and didn't weigh 10 ounces. I went to the post office and it was packed!! There must have been fifty people in line (WHY do so many people wait until the last minute?) and there was no way I was going to stand there for an hour. I love my relatives, but it just wasn't THAT important that these gifts went out. However, I remembered last year and went to the UPS Store. Sure enough, only THREE people were in line and they had two people working, so it took me about five minutes to get it done (the UPS Store mails regular mail, too).

So, YAY me!

Is your shopping done yet?


You Are Dumplings

You are cute, polite, and considerate. You are well known for your generosity, and you truly love to share.

You have a real style and presence about you. You know how to take the simplest thing and make it look chic.

You tend to order carefully and conservatively off the menu of life. Simplicity is your motto, and you don't like to take on too much at once.

You are the type of person who does one thing at a time, really immersing yourself in the moment. You detest multitasking.

HAHAHAHAHA.... this is so far wrong I nearly fell out of my chair: You detest multitasking.

Multitasking is my LIFE.


As an aside, I'm not a big fan of dumplings, either... just saying.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Contests and Pretties and Woodstoves (oh my)

Go and wake up your luck. - Persian Saying

First off, a couple of contests for you:

Via Judy, I discovered that A Novel Woman is giving away copies of "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. If you're a fan of hers or have always wanted to read "Outlander", then you should head on over and enter.

Mary shared with me a link to a big giveaway from Gotham Writers (including prizes like an iPad, a Kindle and a $50 GC).

LASR/WC are giving away a $50 Amazon or BN GC -and- a box of books during their Jingle Bell Blog Fest.

Why not enter and give yourself a Merry Christmas?


I added a bunch of new pieces on DD's website... I sure wish I could figure out how to showcase the pieces better because they are really stellar.

Here are a few:

I'm not usually into dangles, but I really LOVE these:

These are so incredibly pretty -- I couldn't figure out how to take a perfect picture of them to show what they really looked like:

I almost kept this for myself... I still might.

I have several more pieces to put up, but it's time consuming, so I only manage a few at a time ...


We're buying a new woodstove. Happy Christmas to us! We should be getting it some time after Christmas. I'm looking forward to having something just a little bit bigger than what we have now (fitting wood into our current stove can be challenging) and one with an external ash pan.

Here's what we're getting.

In anticipation, DH cut down three more trees yesterday and happily cut the logs 16" long instead of 12", lol...

I'm tired of moving wood. But I know I'll be pleased next winter when I'm nice and toasty warm.


You Are Playful and Adventurous

You're the type who can't sit still for too long. You get bored rather easily.

You love to travel, and when you don't have the time or money, you at least explore your hometown.

You tend to do things very differently during the holidays. You definitely have your own style.

You'll incorporate traditions that make sense to you, but your holidays are by no means traditional!

About 50/50...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Exhaustion = Great Ideas!

No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking. ~Voltaire

So ... yesterday I was a zombie. Okay, not literally (I know it wasn't literal because I had no craving for brains) but I had about 1/100 of my usual energy. I fell back on doing chores which are brainless (keeps me safe from any real zombies out there) and needed doing.

Washed my comforter (my dry clean only comforter that Patience pooped on yesterday) -- took three times, but I got out both the stain and the stink. I made dog food, swept and mopped the downstairs, did so many dishes, I'm pretty sure every dish in my house was touched, and a few other things I no longer remember (which isn't surprising since I was nearly unconscious during the entire day -- hope I don't end up poisoning the dog).

As a side note, Dakota was clearly as exhausted as I was because she barely moved all day. Didn't want to go out to play, didn't bring me toys, just stayed on the couch snoozing (except for the occasional food and potty break). She's actually still sleeping as I write this.

Last night around 8:00 when everything started getting a little blurry and I pretty much hit the wall, I got ready for bed. I tried reading for a bit, but my eyeballs were determined not to focus, so I turned off the light and closed them. My brain wasn't ready to shut down though, so began thinking about things until it grabbed hold of my fantasy and ran with it.

I'd managed to write about 100 words yesterday that made any sense, and of those, I'd done something I hadn't planned. There are these items that are important to the story ... and I'd sort of forgotten about them. Yesterday, I realized I had to do something with them, and did ... and THEN that small action actually gave me the way to defeat the Big Bad, something I was agonizing over. And my brain figured it out last night as I was dozing off.

Good brain.

Of course, I worried about forgetting it by morning, so kept replaying it over and over in my head. I even woke up once in the middle of the night, and thought about it. So, this morning I took some time and wrote it all down.

I'm excited. I wish I always had these kinds of brainstorms, but I'm really not willing to go through total exhaustion on a regular basis to see if it works.


You Are Sophisticated

You are a sentimental gift giver. You prefer to give gifts that have meaning, even if they aren't particularly useful.

You are spontaneous and impulsive. You tend to do things quickly, and you're quite impatient.

You are somewhat organized, but you always feel like you could be doing a bit better! You have high standards for yourself.

You love to dress up and take care of yourself. You get a lot of confidence from looking sharp.

This couldn't be more wrong...


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dakota = Good Dog!

If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around. ~Will Rogers

So .... things in the house are slowly getting back to normal. I'm completely exhausted but don't have time to rest -- I have a dozen things I wasn't able to do last evening because of our canine company, and ditto this morning.

This is Patience.

Understand: I like her. I really do. She's funny and sweet and she and Dakota are BFFs. But I never realized how much I require my dogs to behave until she visited.

She clearly has a completely different set of rules at her house. She counter surfs (I got down a loaf of bread this morning and then next thing I know -- she's got both paws ON the counter next to me!), she figures she can go anywhere (don't try telling her she can't get on a piece of furniture -- we have couches the pets can get on and one they can't, and even my CAT knows which is which) and do anything. She refuses to sit, lie down, stay or even come on command. She knows what they mean, but will only do them when she feels like it. She and I had a few battles-of-wills last night. I won, but only after much time and determination.

She wouldn't settle down to sleep, which I actually expected. She was "sleeping" with DD and Dakota was with me. DH ended up working most of the night, so was in the living room and got to watch the parade of people and dogs. Every 90 minutes, she wanted to go out. So: bed at 9, up at 10:30, up at midnight and so on. Every noise she heard, she barked. And, at 5:30 she was up for good.

We fed both dogs (separately, as Patience has some food aggression issues) and then walked them in the dark, in the cold, to try to get some wiggles out and let my poor DH sleep (he'd finally gone to bed around 3:30 a.m.).

At 7 a.m., we got dressed and ready to go to the dog park. At 7:15 a.m., as I was outside warming up the car, Patience pooped in three spots on my spare bed and all over the spare bedroom... there were 7-8 piles.

I nearly hit the roof. We'd been taking her out practically every hour ALL FREAKING NIGHT. I told DD to take her out to the car while I cleaned up. My DH, bless his heart, shampooed the carpet for me. My "dry clean only" bed comforter is in the wash (on delicate, cold, low spin) as we speak and I hope it doesn't get wrecked.

The utter chaos made me truly appreciate Dakota, though. Dakota who hasn't pottied in the house since the first week we had her, who sits, stays, comes on command. Who doesn't counter surf, steal food (even when it's down at her level), chase the cat or bark at every noise.

I expected some of that. But it nearly killed me.

Still, I was glad to help my friend. And I'd probably do it again -- but I might stock up on doggie downers. LOL...


You Are a Kindle

You are a true lover of books and a hardcore reader. You love to get lost in what you're reading.

Even though you like spending time online, you know that it can distract you from what you should be doing.

You are rather serious and down to earth. You don't give into frivolous notions.

If you will truly use a gadget, you'll buy it - but you don't buy anything just because it's the latest and greatest.

Yep -- though I prefer to be called a Nook.


No Posting ....

... until after the dog park.

"Sheer Exhaustion" doesn't come close to how I feel. But it's almost over.


Friday, December 17, 2010

This and That Thursday

If you teach your children nothing else, teach them the Golden Rule and "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey." ~Robert Brault

First: Public Service Announcement (actually, it's really a Private Service Announcement, but that sounds funny):

Are you following me? I've tried to find the time and go into all my followers blogs, but I'm sure I've missed some of you. If you're following me, leave me a comment with a link to your blog, and let me return the favor.

My pets apparently feel the need to hide their heads lately. The other night, this was Dakota:

Then, last night DD was invited to go Christmas light peeping and ran out the door. She'd whipped her jacket out of the closet, and knocked down my husbands windbreaker. I hadn't realized this until I heard the sound of material a few minutes later and looked over to find this:

The whole situation really upset Dakota. First, when she heard the sound of the cat moving around under the jacket, she was scared. I watched her growl and "tip-toe" into that room, stretching out her nose slowly to figure out what it was. When she realized it was the cat, she whined, sniffed, whined some more. Stared. Fussed. And finally decided she would lay there and wait until the cat decided to emerge.

She had a really long wait ... but I was amused. :-)


We're dogsitting Dakota's friend, Patience today. Patience is the dog we meet at the dog park every week. She's an eleven month old German Shepherd / Hound mix and is full of energy and not as well-trained as Dakota. I've been warned that she likes to steal food off the counters and occasionally potties in the house if you don't take her out quickly enough when she asks.

She also LOVES to wrestle with Dakota, which wouldn't be a problem if I had a fenced in yard, but I don't. And while I'll let Dakota off leash outside, I don't trust Patience's recall, so wouldn't be able to let her loose, too.

Additionally, she's used to sleeping in bed with her owner and there is NO WAY she and Dakota are both sleeping with my DH and I, so my DD is taking her. I'm not feeling overly positive about the whole thing, but it is only for one night and she's going back Saturday morning (thank heavens for the dog park -- I have a feeling we might be going VERY early).

It will be interesting to see how my cat does with a different dog in the house, too. Patience has several cats of her own, so she should be fine, but Breeann ... ? If it's a problem, I'll just lock the cat down in her room in the basement until Saturday morning. She goes in at night anyway, so it would only be a few extra hours and I don't want my poor old lady tormented by a big puppy who wants to play.

I sure hope I get at least a little sleep tonight!


You Are a Paperback Book

You are an avid reader, and you probably buy a lot of books. And nothing beats an inexpensive paperback you can carry around.

You read whatever you feel like reading. You aren't a snob, and you aren't ashamed of your tastes.

You always have a stack of books to get through, and it seems to be constantly multiplying.

You don't mind waiting for a book you want to come out in paperback. You have plenty to read in the meantime!

Yep -- that's me!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Dogs vs. Men

Not much to say today, so instead I give you:

Thirteen Reasons Dogs Are Better Than Men

1. Dogs do not have problems expressing affection in public.

2. Dogs miss you when you're gone.

3. Dogs feel guilty when they've done something wrong.

4. Dogs admit when they're jealous.

5. Dogs are very direct about wanting to go out.

6. Dogs do not play games with you-except fetch (and they never laugh at how you throw.)

7. Dogs don't spend Sunday afternoons watching football--unless you do.

8. Dogs don't notice when you've had a bad hair day.

9. Dogs don't demand to control the TV remote.

10. Dogs understand when you cry.

11. Dogs mean it when they kiss you.

12. Dogs love you more than they love anybody else.

13. You never have to wonder if your dog really loves you.


You Are Careful

You like to live an orderly, organized life. You thrive with structure.

You believe that change tends to bring problems, and you consider new changes cautiously.

You've figured out systems that work for you in life, and you rely on those systems for stability.

Some people may think you're uptight, but your routine allows you to worry less and live more.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd druther not. ~Mark Twain

I scheduled my knee surgery yesterday - January 26th. I can't begin to express how much I'm dreading having it done. Not only am I worried about general anesthesia (I know, I know 99.9% of the time all is well ... but what if I'm the 0.01%??), but the recovery time sucks (depending on whether he's going to drill into the right side of my knee or not, I'm looking at up to two weeks with NO weight bearing), and the whole thing is just incredibly inconvenient.

I suppose partly it's because I don't like being dependent on anyone, and I'll have to be. My entire house is stairs. The shower and bed is upstairs, the washer and dryer is in the basement. Yes, I'll have crutches, but ... crutches on the stairs? I won't be able to drive for a while ... ugh.

Maybe my knee will miraculously heal in the next five weeks.


Thanks for your input yesterday. I am just moving forward on the story and seeing how it goes. Once it's been beta read, I'll use that input to hopefully layer in my world-building as needed.

For now, I've changed the wallpaper on my desktop to reflect the story and am moving forward a little every day.


You Are Two Turtle Doves

For you, the holidays are a time for family, friends, and most importantly, the person you love.

You like to use this time of year to express your gratitude, admiration, and affection.

Your holiday wish is more love for everyone. You believe there's too much hate in the world.

You try to be easy on people, especially during the holidays. You try your best to keep the peace.

Hmm... about 75/25


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Was Featured ... Yesterday

Oy ... I can't believe I got my dates wrong!!

Jennifer Shirk and the Passionate Critters are having 12 Days of eBooks, and my day was yesterday.

Shame on me.

I'd love for you to vist my post right here... and, Jennifer, forgive my tardiness!



Trust that little voice in your head that says "Wouldn't it be interesting if..." And then do it. ~Duane Michals, "More Joy of Photography"

So, I've been working on my fantasy. I like it, which is a good thing. I really enjoy the characters, and the storyline but -- I think it needs more world-building.


Once upon a time, I downloaded a world building worksheet from Holly Lisle's site (if you haven't been there, you should check it out. Check out Forward Motion for Writers, too). It's a fabulous form, but VERY extensive and I have to admit it hurts my head a little. She has this mini-workshop on World Building, too.

I *think* for now I'm just going to move ahead and finish the first draft, but I hate how I can't stop thinking that I need to world build more keeps poking me in the brain. It's distracting and annoying.

It makes me remember why I tend to stick to contemporary romance. It's easier. In the few historical romance stories I've written, I would get hung up on details (How did a car start in 1940?) and they'd take forever to write. I couldn't stand the thought of messing something up!

At least with a fantasy world, I can't be wrong. Someone can't tell me that such-and-such didn't exist then, or that so-and-so wouldn't dress that way.

Still... what a pain.

Those of you who write Science Fiction or Fantasy, how do YOU do your world-building? And for folks who are readers of the genre, how important is intensive world building to your enjoyment of the story?


You Would Be a Logical Doctor

You are a very rational person, and it's nearly impossible for you to be swayed by emotions.

As a doctor, you would let logic be your guide. And with it, you'd find some ingenious remedies and cures.

You are a natural problem solver. And you never give up until the problem is solved.

You would be well suited to being a neurologist, pathologist, or oncologist.

Just call me Spock!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Family Day

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Yesterday I took off the computer -- mostly. I had a few things that needed doing, but I decided to hang with the family primarily. DD and I went shopping for a few things she needed to make some jewelry, went by Tractor Supply Co (who had so nicely given me coupons for the pet food I use) and then home where I told DD we could do a puzzle.

We did a 500 piece puzzle in a couple of hours, and then she asked to play Scrabble. I played, but I admit to getting frustrated because her brain just can't seem to make more than four letter words and the board gets incredibly bogged down. Still, it's a good vocab builder, so I suffered, lol.

DH mostly sat on the couch, found Christmas music on his computer to play (via YouTube mostly) for us and made snarky comments. It's his lot in life.

Today, we might go see "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" -- DD and I have both been going a little crazy to see it. It looks great, though it clearly doesn't follow the book since the White Witch is once again in it. Even so, I'm hoping it will be good. The previews look promising -- and I want to support it so that they'll continue making the movies.

I need to bake up more dog cookies, too. And I might even go whole hog and make some people cookies as well, for the humans in our agility class. We'll see.

How was your weekend? Do anything fun?


You Are Cherry Pie

You are a total sweetheart, but you also have a tart side to you as well. You can't help but be a little naughty.

During the holidays, you try to lighten the mood and keep things fun. You think that the holidays should be a time of joy... not stress.

Your ideal holiday has lot of laughter and good times. You definitely prefer a holiday with zero drama.

You believe that people often forget that holidays are for celebrating. You try to make every holiday event a bit of a party.

That's about right...


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Cookies are made of butter and love. ~Norwegian Proverb

Is it weird that I haven't baked any Christmas goodies for humans yet, but that I spent a couple hours yesterday baking cookies for dogs?

Of course, when you have a dog like this, who could resist spoiling her?

Smiling for camera:

We made the cookies using pureed spinach for the green ones and tomato paste for the red ones. It made them a little chewy, but Dakota doesn't seem to mind. I might make one more batch of plain ones to add to the mix. They're for our agility class and I don't think we have enough as is.

Have you done any baking (for humans or otherwise)? Got any recipes you'd like to share?


You Are Snowshoeing

You like your thrills as much as the next person, but your thrills tend to be more mental than physical.

You find thinking and playing with ideas to be exciting enough. And you don't have to risk injury to do it.

You aren't afraid of hard work. In fact, you know that doing your absolute best has its rewards.

You take good care of yourself and those you love. You value your health and stability.

This is exactly 100% right on.