Thursday, September 30, 2010

So Sad I Have To Laugh

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran

You ever have things happen that are so frustrating and upsetting that you have to find time to laugh?

We have this:

Do you see the "flood watch until Friday 4 p.m." on there? Yeah, so not going to the fair on Friday either. Saturday will be nice, but will be an absolute ZOO. Last time I went on a Saturday, I was miserable. Hardly any room to move, or walk; long lines for rides, nowhere to sit.

DD cried herself to sleep last night.

I'm not sure what we'll do at this point. And it makes me terribly sad.

So ... I watched a few Geico commercials, because HA they always make me smile:

Though I have to admit this is one of my favorite commercials EVER:

What can you recommend to make me smile today?


You Are a Golden Delicious Apple

You have a glow to you, and you are naturally attractive. You know how to highlight your good points.

Beneath that shining exterior is a sensitive soul. You are more thin skinned that people realize.

You prefer others to be gentle with you. You need to be handled with care.

You may be fragile, but you're also tough deep down. You're firm enough to stand up for what you believe in.

Um .... 50/50 I guess. And I really hate golden delicious apples. They're mushy. Blech.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Knees and Rain and Grogs... oh my

The only sure thing about luck is that it will change. ~Wilson Mizner

Thanks for all your well-wishes yesterday. Today, I'm going to get a knee brace (thanks, Charity) and I think that should make me well enough to go to the fair (as long as I'm not stupid). Of course, now they're calling for rain on both Thursday and Friday (the days we go because it's not so busy). I swear, if it's not one thing, it's another!

In other news, a couple months ago, I was contacted by Marianne Stephens about a group blog (grog?) she was starting that would be populated by authors named Marianne (and every variant thereof). She asked if I'd like to join -- I'd only have to blog once a month.

I decided to go for it. The blog -- called All Day, All Night officially starts on October 1st and we're running a contest starting now through the end of October (it includes Godiva Chocolate, so how can you go wrong?). All you have to do is follow us to get an entry -- though comments on the posts through October give you more. I'll be blogging on the eleventh every month. Wish me luck!


You Should Stay Away From Brown

You are a worldly and cosmopolitan person. You consider yourself openminded and nonjudgmental.

You are very witty, and you're willing to make light of anything. You are proud of your sense of humor.

The color brown sometimes represents a lack of sophistication and humor. What a bummer!

Brown can also be a heavy color, and you're just too light hearted for its weight.

I actually like brown, that rich, chocolate brown ... I have several items of clothing in that color. Uh oh. ;-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Walking Today

Health is like munny, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it. ~Josh Billings

funny dog pictures-Do I look like I want to go on a walk?

More than a month ago, I hurt my knee. I don't know how -- I woke up one morning and I couldn't straighten it. It was locked in place and screaming pain would shoot through it when I tried. It took me more than half an hour, lots of tears and finally just DOING it (like ripping a bandaid off) to get my leg uncrooked. But something happened to it and it hasn't been right since.

It took a couple weeks of wrapping it and babying it until it felt *mostly* healed. I'd still get a twinge if I tried to squat or kneel, but I could walk, run agility and more with no issues.

Until Sunday. Sunday, during a walk, I felt something ... move. It didn't hurt then, but I knew something had happened and sure enough as the day progressed, the pain began. It's not unbearable, but it is uncomfortable.

The worst part is this: The Deerfield Fair is this weekend.

I don't know if you remember, but last year for the fair I was sick.

DD loves the fair more than she loves Christmas. She talks about it all year long, marks off her calendar for it, saves up money to spend at it. It is, without a doubt, her favorite day of the year.

It requires a LOT of walking. And standing. And I hurt my knee.

I swear, I'm cursed. I can't remember the last time we went to the fair when the weather was pretty and I wasn't hurt or sick. It's ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm babying my knee again for the week and if I have to, I'll use crutches to go. Because, I'm not disappointing my DD. But MAN does it make me angry... *sigh*


You Appreciate All of Life's Moments

You are a great compromiser. You can deal with personalities of every flavor, and you're good at making sure each person has a say.

You have a very balanced personality. You know how to moderate yourself when you are feeling extreme.

You love everything about life, including the sadder and darker parts. You appreciate every emotion.

You are energetic and downright hyper. All sorts of ideas and opportunities excite you.

Not so much....


Monday, September 27, 2010

Join Me For a Walk?

October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter. ~Nova Bair

I try to walk every day. We live in a fairly quiet rural neighborhood, with lots of streets winding around. I can take a different route every day if I want. I really enjoy looking at the sights. Join me? I pulled out the cell phone yesterday and took some pictures.

Signs of fall are everywhere. I really enjoy the scenery on my daily walks. On our street, we have this really amazing oak tree that boggles my mind. It's big, it's sturdy, it's leaning:

It's been like that forever, and at the base you can see where it's grown a wider "foot" to help it keep its balance.

Acorns are scattered everywhere as well. Folklore holds that when the squirrels don't collect all the acorns, it's going to be a mild winter. If that's the truth, it's going to be swimsuit weather in December. I mean .. really. Check it out:

I love the little hints of color that have begun. Soon, the leaves will be in their full glory (and carloads of tourists will be on the road):

There are still some gorgeous wildflowers growing because we haven't had our first frost yet (it's LATE this year). It's nice that we still have pretties to look at when we walk:

On one of the streets we take, the homeowners have this gorgeous bush .... I don't know what it is, but I LOVE the little berry-shaped "flowers" on it. If I knew, I'd probably get myself one:

Thanks for joining me on my walk. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!


You Are Modest

You live a pretty quiet and traditional life. You don't need much to be happy.

You find contentment where others find angst. You are grateful for all that's right in your life.

Your happiest times are spent with those you love. You don't have to be doing anything special, being with them is special enough.

You aren't really searching in life. You've figured out who you are, and you accept yourself completely.

That's about right.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Joys of Milkweed

What is a weed? I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions. For me, a weed is a plant out of place. ~Donald Culross Peattie

Our milkweed is nearly dead now, and the seed pods are beginning to burst -- sending forth their fluff with one tiny seed attached to each. I've only had one taker on the seeds I've offered (enjoy them, Andy!) and I still have literally thousands more that I'm harvesting this year. In case you don't think that helping the nearly endangered monarch is enough reason to grow your own patch (I have common milkweed, which is native to the entire USA), then let me give you more reasons.

While we collect the seeds we are also collecting the fluff. Why? Did you know: In World War II, schoolchildren across the Midwest collected thousands of pounds of milkweed fluff to stuff life preservers for the armed forces in the Pacific, because kapok, the normal material used for this purpose, came from Japanese-occupied Indonesia and was unavailable. (Source)

Mature seed pods contain quite large quantities of floss. This is a lovely white silky material with a number of applications. It can be used as a kapok substitute for stuffing soft toys etc, and being very water repellent, it has been used in life preservers where its buoyancy can keep a person afloat for days. Although difficult to spin on its own, it can be mixed with other fibres to make cloth and it has also been used for making candle wicks. (Source)

DD is keeping hers until we have enough to stuff a small pillow. It's actually fairly easy to collect if you get the seed pods before they open. You hold the tip of the fluff, and gently slide the seeds right off.

Still not convinced? Did you know that you can eat Milkweed? Yes, apparently you can. I'm thinking I'll give it a try next spring -- use the ones that grown in my lawn that I'm pulling up anyway and see. Here's a few things I've found:

It provides edible shoots (like asparagus), flower bud clusters (like broccoli), and immature pods (like okra). The soft silk inside the immature pods is a unique food, and the flowers are also edible. Milkweed conveniently provides one or more edible parts from late spring until late summer, making it one of the most useful wild greens to learn. (Source)

I have also found indications that you can use the oil in soaps, the stems as a twine replacement and that it might even cure warts! I know the flowers are beautifully scented and provide weeks of just amazing perfume as well.

Understand that milkweed is an aggressive crop and will spread and grow if it likes where it's living, so you need a bit of space for it. But if you HAVE space, I highly encourage you to make a place for it. I have seeds if you'd like them -- just email me. What I don't share, I'll be sprinkling around the conservation land behind my house, so they won't go to waste -- but I'd sure love to start a milkweed revolution!


You Are a Wii

You could be described as playful and fun loving. You enjoy video games, but you don't take them too seriously.

You love to be active, and you're open to doing almost anything. You are a good sport and enjoy all sorts of games.

You are smart and resourceful. You know how to enjoy yourself, and you're put others at ease.

You are very social, and you are quite charming. People love being around you - and playing games with you.

About 75% right... wish I HAD a Wii instead of being one. ;-)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

To Do or Not To Do: NaNoWriMo

Some persons are very decisive when it comes to avoiding decisions. ~Brendan Francis

The question has been posed to me by a few people of late. As the sun starts to wane, and the temperatures drop, minds (at least writers' minds) turn to one thing: NaNoWriMo.

I love NaNo. I do ... and the first three years, I won it. My novel "One Love for Liv" was a NaNoWriMo win. I had another WIP that I loved, and lost when my computer crashed a few years back (:::pauses a moment in loving memory:::). I think NaNo really challenges you to just WRITE. It's like a month long Write Or Die, because, unless you're abnormal, you simply don't have time to go back and edit... it's all about moving forward.

That said, I just don't know if it's realistic to think I can do NaNo this year. School is WAY harder (and DD is needing a LOT more prodding to keep focused), life over at LASR/WC/Aurora is busier than ever, not to mention Goddess Fish. Do I have the time? Or am I setting myself up to fail?

It's a conundrum.

So, my answer for now is: Maybe. And if I do, I might break the rules and work on something I've already started -- I'm leaning toward "A Jewel for Geoff" the "Liv" sequel. I'm not far into it, and it needs a complete overhaul, so it's *like* starting on something new.

Do I want to do NaNo? YES. Will I? I don't know. I hope so. If I do, it's going to require some pretty massive sacrifices on my end, mostly sleep, and more dedication to working hard during every waking hour.

I'm tired already.

When we get a little closer, I'll make a definite decision.

Anyone out there planning on doing NaNo this year? Why or why not?


You Should Eat

It's likely that you've been going through a hard time, and you need to rest and refuel.

You could do with some nourishment, and not just the caloric kind. It's time to take care of yourself.

You find happiness when you put your own needs first. You deserve the best, and you should be pampered more.

Relax, indulge, and allow yourself to feel totally full. You've earned it.

LOL... I have been hungry for two weeks -- how did they know?


Friday, September 24, 2010

Dogs On a Sugar High

"It (sugar) ought to be against the law - and white bread also."--Dr Kelley DDS

Dakota had a lovely birthday. We bought these gourmet "dog" cookies (I use quotes because, though these were sold as dog treats, they were made from human grade ingredients and were simply shortbread cookies topped with various dog-safe sprinkles, or dipped in carob) and brought them to class to share. The dogs LOVED them, and most of the dogs that attend class are owned by folks who use all-natural, no bad stuff in is dog food and treats, so these dogs didn't get junk food regularly.

It showed.

Especially in the second class, the dogs were crazy in the beginning, bouncing off the walls, going off course, not listening ... but only in the first 2/3 of class. Then, all of a sudden, their sugar high crashed. At the end, it was as though no dog had any energy to do things. It was SO funny.

In any case, Dakota's friend Maxie brought in party hats (okay, I'll admit, it was Maxie's mom) and a good time was had by all.

Last night at beginning agility, I played "Let's push the mastiff over the dog walk, but don't let him see me because then he'll get nasty" game. He had two owners working him last night, but they're both ladies about 5'3" tall and he's a BIG dog. He's fallen off the dog walk before, which is what set him back, so we didn't want it to happen again, but he doesn't like other people touching him. So... I stayed in the back and pushed his butt as well as held him when he leaned (holy hundred pounds, Batman) and tried to stay hidden and out of his line of sight.

It was interesting, but we managed to get him over the dog walk three times. I was sweating at the end ... who needs a gym. Just push a 120 lb dog across a piece of equipment he doesn't want to go across.

This is a dog walk:


DH's car is DONE!!! Finally. He finished it last night -- and it looks fabulous. He did an amazing job. He's really quite proud of himself (as he should be), but WOW was it a ton of work. He said he wouldn't mind doing something like that again some time .... but not any time real soon. LOL...

I'm just glad it's finished. Maybe now I'll get some sleep.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome Guest: Clare Austin

We interrupt our regularly scheduled ramble from me to visit with Clare Austin, author of "Hot Flash", her recently released novel from The Wild Rose Press. Clare is here on her tour via Goddess Fish Promotions and will be giving away the winner's choice of a "Hot Flash" coffee mug or T-shirt to one lucky commenter, so please leave her a note in the comments when you're done reading what she has to say.

Clare... take it away!

Thank you for having me on your blog today.

Hot Flash is a contemporary romantic women’s fiction. The hero is an Irishman, Brandon Sullivan and the heroine is Kate Aiello, first generation Italian-American. I love the combination: “Italian attitude and Irish temper.” It is a tender love story about second chances with a touch of humor to help us all remember to keep perspective.

This was a fun and challenging book to write. It was my third novel in a year and I needed a compelling theme. Horses, competition, danger, and the blending of cultures…I understand these things first hand. Loss, despair, yearning for a second chance to find happiness…we all have history we can pull up to spark our empathy for characters like Brandon and Kate.

I have ridden horses since as far back as I can remember and for many years I competed in the sport of Three Day Eventing. I used this as a background for Hot Flash for many reasons, but one was simply because it is a world I understand. Besides, who can resist a man with a nice bum wearing riding breeches? I couldn’t lose.

As far as heroes and heroines being less attractive with age. This is a commonly held misunderstanding that was my pleasure to correct. Brandon knows how to make Kate feel like the beautiful woman she truly is. He isn’t inclined to rush her and he cares about what she needs and likes in bed. I don’t know about all the readers out there, but, for me, there is something extra sexy about a man who can rock my world and still knows how to cuddle.

Both Brandon and Kate are mature adults, with grown children, parents, siblings and a complex past. They have experienced love, commitment and loyalty in very different ways. They have disparate life goals as well as flaws and insecurities. How does one start over? It’s not that easy to get naked, literally or figuratively. Don’t expect the family to make it a smooth transition or the cultural differences to fade because love is present. These are some of the barriers I wanted to explore in my novel.

I wrote Hot Flash for all the women who feel as Kate does……

It was impossible to grasp the fact that she was old, washed up, or that her life was over in any sense. She felt alive, young and physically unchanged by the years. It comes so gradually, she decided. It’s not like you wake up one day and your face is full of wrinkles and your butt has sagged to the backs of your knees. The metamorphosis from young woman to wizened crone snuck up on you while you were busy living life.

It seemed to Kate that women were meant to be like flowers: beautiful, growing, blooming, reproducing other lovely flora and then fading, and blowing away, as ephemeral as a dandelion on the wind. She wasn’t ready for that. She wanted to continue flourishing, even if she had to do it alone.

With Hot Flash my goal was to write a triumphant story of challenges, new strength, and a deeper appreciation for the value of a mature love relationship. I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for dropping by this blog today.

My books are available in paperback and digital formats from most online booksellers.

Autographed copies of Butterfly, Angel’s Share and Hot Flash may be purchased from by PayPal or by contacting

Please go to for updates on my current projects, appearances, and the occasional random thought.

Hungry for a little more? Here's the blurb and excerpt for Hot Flash:

Kate Aiello has spent her entire life trying to please others—her three brothers, her Italian mamma and her husband of twenty-five years. It isn’t insult enough she is turning fifty, and left at the side of life’s road by her philandering husband. Now she has to contend with her body’s betrayal…hot flashes!

The plain truth hits her with each thermostatic aberration—she has never been first in anyone’s life, including her own.

Brandon Sullivan has been on a downward spiral since the death of his beloved wife. Now he is a man desperate to save himself from impending financial ruin, loss of his farm and his life’s dream. He needs to get into the winner’s circle by spring or he’ll be just another poor, landless Irishmen downing his pints and bragging about the good ol’ days.

Sparks fly when Italian attitude meets Irish temper. Add two big crazy families, a barn full of horses and one woman’s menopausal hot flashes and the probability for combustion increases exponentially.

What will Kate and Brandon risk for a second chance at love?


“So, Katie, tell me…why riding lessons?”

“It’s Kate.” She corrected him.

“What?” He looked genuinely confused.

“Kate…my name…it’s Kate, not Katie.” She wasn’t sure why it bothered her he liked to call her that. Maybe it felt a little too personal. Jeffrey had never called her anything but Catherine.

“Ah and why not? Katie suits you well, a good name for a beautiful woman.”

Nervous laughter welled up in her. “You have that ‘charming Irishman’ thing down to a fine science don’t you? Go ahead, call me anything you want.” Obviously, the man had his own opinions. It was most likely fruitless to try and correct him. She should have resented it, but his arrogance fit him like those breeches he wore. From another man, his attitude would have felt patronizing, but coming from him it was...well…titillating.

He said nothing, just looked directly into her eyes and smiled a slow, lazy grin that made Kate shiver deep in her bones.


Remember ... leave a comment to be entered in her contest! Thanks, Clare, for joining us today.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Dakota!

I can't believe I forgot ... Dakota turns THREE YEARS OLD today. Holy cow, does time fly!

From this:

To this:

Dakota, you weren't the dog I expected, but you're the perfect dog for us. I'm so glad you leaped out of that kennel first :-)

We love you Booger Butt, Fur Face, Dork Dog ... here's to many more years with you.


Dog Sports

The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can't get there, is the meanest feeling in the world. ~Edgar Watson Howe

The painting job is STILL going on, and I'm going to perish from lack of sleep if it continues... the guy who's helping us showed up around 5:00 to start wet-sanding the paint and ... whoops! ... not enough clear coat on the hood meant the sander went right through to the paint.

So, it needs another few coats of clear. Those were applied last night, late. It wouldn't be such a big deal if my bedroom wasn't over the garage, but sleeping through an air compressor being used is pretty near impossible. At least for me.


Of couse this was the night Dakota decided she had to get up at 2 a.m. to go potty as well ... so I'm tired. Hence the babbling. :-)

I found another agility class that is held during the day by a local dog gym that is seriously competitive. They host AKC agility matches at least twice a year, and the focus of their classes is to bring your dog up to par for competition. While we love our regular agility class, the instructor is VERY clear that it's a "Fun with Agility" class and not super competitive. Since DD wants to compete, we need to look into reaching that goal. So... I'm going to give up eating in order to pay for the new class and we'll hopefully start that in October.

Maybe Dakota will be this good someday?

This gym also has Rally-O and Fly Ball classes, both of which look like fun, too.

They're actually pushing a lever and catching a ball that flys out there at the stop at the end of the first set of jumps. Amazing and SO fast.

I'm telling you, this dog sports thing is addictive.


You Are a Black Eyed Pea

You are a naturally energetic person, and you've always done things in your own, wacky way.

You know that you'll never fit in perfectly, and you never really even tried.

Most people consider you to be extremely lucky. You may find friends hanging around you hoping that your luck will rub off a little.

You've done well for yourself in life. You know how to thrive, and you're good at keeping pests away.

That's me... doing things in my own, wacky way!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Autumn!

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

There's going to be one unhappy chipmunk this winter. Apparently one little rodent buried a cherry tomato as part of his winter store. Sadly for him, this is one bit of food that won't be around for him come December. Instead, I have this:

Yes folks, there are tomato plants growing near my front steps and in my creeping phlox. LOL..... I only wish they'd have time to produce something before our first frost, but that's not going to happen.

I expect the first frost to happen soon. It's been getting down into the 30s at night and the leaves outside are beginning to change. It always makes me a little sad, especially when I lose all my annuals to the cold. I know that many folks appreciate the change in seasons, but if I had it my way, winter would be abolished. I could handle three seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall ....oh look, here's spring again! But winter and I do not get along.

What's your favorite season? Why?


You Are Low Key and Relaxed

You are a energetic, warm, optimistic person. You approach everything with a lot of enthusiasm.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.

You find love to be the most comforting thing in the world. You feel at peace when you're with your loved ones.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.

Except for the optimistic part, this is pretty close.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Honey-Do Project

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph. ~Author Unknown

Oy ... still tired today. My DH is working on this MASSIVE project: repainting his car. You see, after I smashed MY car and had it fixed, he got a quote for his. It has little pit marks all over the hood, roof and trunk (maybe it was in a hailstorm?) and there were signs of rust (:::cue sounds of doom here:::). It didn't *look* all that bad, but once the rust starts out here, it eats cars alive. And DH likes his car.

Still... their quote -- $4000 -- was a little more than we could stomach. So, being DH, he decided to research it and do it himself. After all, he watches all those car restoration shows on TV... how hard could it be?

Determined to do it right he researched and bought the proper equipment (a paint gun, a respirator, some attachments for his air compressor, etc) and made the acquaintance of a guy who does this kind of thing on the side, who agreed to come help for the price of some beer and pizza.

He even went as far as to build a paint booth in our garage.

So for the past three weeks he's been filling and sanding and priming and then, yesterday, he did the painting. Only ... the gun the guy who came by to help brought over didn't work very well and dripped paint, so DH has to redo the hood. So... he took today off to finish it.

In any case, we're still out a lot of money for all this stuff, but nowhere NEAR the $4000 we were quoted. Clearly it's mostly a labor charge, and after seeing the blisters on my DH's hands after spending about ten hours with the sander, I can understand why.

What kinds of projects have you or your significant other undertaken that seem like a little TOO much? Were they finished?


You Are an Appaloosa Horse

You are extremely independent and even a little stubborn. You always do your own thing.

You have an amazing endurance, and you can soldier on through almost anything. You're one tough cookie.

You are quite intelligent and resourceful. You enjoy solving problems, and you've definitely got some street smarts.

You work hard and never give up. You are loyal and reliable... you always get the job done.

That's about right ... and of all our horses we had when I was little, our Appaloosa was the best. Mom, remember Hombre?


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Movie Night

“An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing.” - Samuel Smiles

I'm exhausted today... so I'll leave you with the trailer of the DVD DD and I watched last night as part of our girls' night (DH was away for the evening):

And one for the movie we're looking forward to:

Any movies you're looking forward to?


You Are a Spring Tree

You believe in fresh starts, and you're constantly reinventing yourself.

You'd like to think that people can change, and you know it's dangerous to become too stuck in your ways.

Every so often, you try to branch out and do something new. You love to play and experiment.

The world is full of possibilities, and you embrace them fully. Life is all about growth.

ABout 50/50...


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Good Morning!

Albert Einstein, who discovered that a tiny amount of mass is equal to a huge amount of energy, which explains why, as Einstein himself so eloquently put it in a famous 1939 speech to the Physics Department at Princeton, "You have to exercise for a week to work off the thigh fat from a single Snickers." ~Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns 50

Dakota woke me up before the crack of dawn today -- sort of a good news / bad news thing. Good: I'm getting stuff done! Bad: I'm SO tired.

My title gave me an earworm .... let me share *G*:

Day two of Weight Watchers was MUCH easier (for me, anyway -- DD had a harder time). My best WW friend? Salsa. It's zero points and I use it on everything. I use it as salad dressing, I put it in my food. Mmmm.... I do love salsa.

DD got an eye-opener at the bread store, though. We brought our points calculator, and she used it on bagels and donuts. ONE donut is 8 points (considering we get approximately 20 per day, that gives you an idea of just how bad it is). It's been giving us a lot of chances to talk about what is healthy and what isn't, what nutrients are less good for your body (like fat -- you need SOME healthy fat every day, but not too much) and which ones are best.


Note to my Nook: I really hate it when you run out of charge in the last twenty pages of a suspense novel. Really. Just saying. Conveniently, though, I can plug it in an read it if I must.

Still, I LOVE the free eBooks. I have a ton, and yesterday got "Scandal Sheet" by Gemma Holiday (thanks, Tori) for nuthin'. Smart folks giving away the first book in a series. I'm a sucker for a good series.


And now, I'm off to write. Did things backward today since I was up early. Wish me luck!


You Are Deep

You try to observe the world rather than judge it. You feel like you are here to learn.

You see every side to people. You know that things are complicated and nuanced.

You have trouble getting along with people who are flippant or silly. You crave substance.

You connect best with philosophical, thoughtful types. Your friends care about ideas.

Maybe 50/50?


Friday, September 17, 2010


I'm trying to eat better. And, I do feel wise after drinking tea. After eating vegetables, I just feel hungry. ~Carrie Latet

Overslept this morning -- I knew it was bound to happen as I've been exhausted the past week and eventually my body says, "Okay, enough of this." I woke up at 6:10 which is REALLY late for me. But I do feel a little better today.

DD and I started on Weight Watchers yesterday. I need to drop 15 - 20 lbs, and she could benefit from losing at least 5 (or else holding steady until she grows into what's there). The biggest thing I want her to get out of this is the knowledge of just what is actually IN food (like 16 grams of fat in a tablespoon of peanut butter) and the ability to make wise choices when it comes to meals and snacks.

When I was her age, I was skinny, skinny, skinny. But I also lived on a huge piece of property, had no electricity (ergo no TV, etc) and personal computers hadn't been invented. The only video game was Pong. I actually had to walk a couple miles to the bus stop every day. We had P.E. daily, plus THREE recesses where we played jump rope or dodge ball, etc. I was on track, volleyball and basketball teams. I had a pony to ride. In other words, I was VERY active.

Additionally, we grew or raised much of our own food. My mom cooked nearly everything from scratch, using whole grains for bread products. We had WHOLE oat oatmeal that didn't come from a packet, used goats milk from our goat. I was healthy and it was easy to be that way.

Now? Not so much. It's a different world, and I need to teach her how to live in it in as healthy a way as possible. She doesn't get as much exercise as I'd like, in part due to the fact that I hurt my knee a few weeks ago and have been very restricted in activities, so our walks and bike rides have dwindled.

Still, we'll get there. Despite much grumbling from both of us, we made it through yesterday and hopefully we'll do okay today. DH is home, and he's a junk food junkie, so it makes it tough to be smart when he's around. Here's hoping!


Wrote just over 500 words again today. The timer is working. I might start using it twice a day instead of just once, since I really need to be getting 1000 words down for the next few days to meet my goal.


You Are a Giraffe Print

You are a graceful and classy person. You are flexible enough to fit in with any crowd.

You are very down to earth and responsible. You always see what's coming, and you are prepared for it.

You may not look like the strongest creature in the world, but you are secretly incredibly tough.

You have an amazing survival instinct, and your endurance is unmatched. People should never test you!

That's about 75% right.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Giving Thanks

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

It was so wonderful to hear happy news yesterday! I guess happy stuff doesn't garner ratings, but I know it's out there. I used to visit this one website that had only happy news, but they started charging to access it. That wasn't happy news.

My happy news from yesterday was that I clearly had an angel sitting on my shoulder. We were taking the back roads to the store yesterday when I approached this one stop light at this funky intersection -- if you miss the light, you have to wait FOREVER for it to turn green again because no two sides can go at the same time. The light turned yellow as I approached and I was going 30 MPH or so ... I normally would have gone ahead and gone through it for a couple reasons. One, I don't like waiting the eternity for it to turn green again. Two, I'd have to slam on my brakes to stop, and the dog would probably fall (can't exactly tell her to hold on).

In any case, I still decided to slam on the brakes. The dog DID go sliding (though she puts on her "sitting brakes" -- and sits down whenever the car stops suddenly) and I barely stopped in the right spot, but just as I came to a halt, another car totally ran the red light going the other way (my light was still yellow, so his light HAD to have been red). It's a weird light on that side, hard to see unless you know it's there and I figure he just didn't even see it. If I had gone ahead and gone through my light, he would have broadsided my car on DD's side. At the very least, she would have been badly hurt. At most, she would have been killed. The other driver was going easily 35 - 40 MPH.

So, today I am grateful we are all in one piece.


I wrote this morning again. Got a little over 500 words. It's fun. Here's the last of what I wrote:

“You’re welcome, Miz ...?”


“Really? Should I kiss your hand or curtsey or something?”


You Are Welcoming

You have a fun personality. You enjoy life to the fullest, and you have a good group of friends.

You are always looking to add a little more authenticity to your life. You prefer things and people that are real.

People can count on you to be generous and optimistic. You give back to your friends, family, and community.

People don't realize that you're much more spontaneous than you seem. You don't get too hung up with responsibilities.

About 50% right.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Little Good News?

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. ~Mark Twain

I tend to get most of my news from the internet -- I don't watch the news for two reasons: first, mostly it's just a bunch of stuff I don't want to hear about (I have little or no interest in Hollywood news) and second, most of it is stuff I don't need DD watching or listening to (not because she can't know about it -- but they have graphic, gratuitous pix, etc.).

In any case, I thoroughly depressed myself yesterday. It was all so bleak -- murder, rape, theft, political bashing, children hurt, natural disasters. I just couldn't stand it.

I invited folks on Facebook to share GOOD news with me, and today I do the same thing here.

I've posted "A Little Good News" by Anne Murray (and the Indigo Girls) below. It's fascinating how little has changed in thirty years...

So share your good news with me. Nothing is too small. Me? DD got through the entire day of school yesterday without complaining. That's GREAT news!

Your turn.


You Are a Frappucino

You are a ton of fun, and you're very energetic. You won't be slowed down by anyone.

You are a social butterfly and that's where you focus all your energy. You hate to work, unless your friends are there too.

You are popular, and you know how to make friends with anyone. You're very adaptable.

You are a natural social organizer, and you're good at making sure a group of friends has fun.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010


"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." — Calvin Coolidge

Today is primary day in New Hampshire (and six other states + D.C.): -- if you live here: go vote. If you aren't sure when the primaries are held in your state, go here for information.

Just a friendly reminder to exercise your civic duty :-)

DD did better yesterday with school. She's still behind, but her attitude improved some, so I can deal with the rest. It's the "Maybe I'll get hit by a car so I don't have to do my homework." thing that was making me crazy.

We'll see how today goes. Since we have to go vote, I'm also going to run to the post office, dump and library -- and that will cut in to her school day. I'll have her bring some work with her in the car, though, so it should help.


I've gotten behind on writing the past few days. Didn't write a word F/S/S -- but did manage about 500 words this morning. I need to do twice that for a few days to catch up to my goal. I have been "moodling" it though, and have scene ideas for the next several scenes, so writing (when I do it) should be fairly smooth.


Still camera shopping and am determined to buy something in the next few weeks. For those of you who take pictures -- remind me again what kind of camera you have and what you do and don't like about it. Maybe mention what you'd buy in a perfect world.

What I want is a simple, "point and shoot" camera (with a fairly high pixel resolution) that takes good close-ups. While I won't say price is no object, I am willing to pay a little more for a higher quality item.

So ... please, leave suggestions in comments!


You Should Sing in the Car

You may not be ready for your big stage debut, but you're a decent singer.

You can carry a tune, and you should be proud to have others here you sing.

Whenever a favorite song comes on the radio, crank it up and start singing.

Whether you're alone or with friends, belt it out. Singing is an awesome release.

I sing all over the place: in the car, in the store, in the house. It's a great way to embarrass my kid. :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mother and Teacher ISO Patience

Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off. ~Author Unknown

Since I post daily, when I don't post I get emails from folks... "Are you okay?" So, today I'm posting to let you know I'm okay.

DD is really REALLY struggling with school. Her attitude is poor, her emotions are all over the place, and today I will be spending as a mom and teacher and not much else. And, on that note, I'm going to go be a mom and make breakfast for her. THEN, I'll be her teacher and discuss why she's behind on her homework already.

Fun times will be had by all. ;-)

Hope you have a wonderful Monday.


You Are Soap Bubbles

You are free spirited and a heck of a lot of fun. You refuse to act your age.

You can always find a chance to play a little. You bring whimsy to an otherwise boring day.

It drives you crazy to be cooped up inside for too long. You need to be outdoors to be able to breathe.

It's likely that you crave a nontraditional life. You have to do things your own way!

Hmmm... about 50/50 ...


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cooking Commences

"You will never get out of pot or pan anything fundamentally better than what went into it. Cooking is not alchemy; there is no magic in the pot." - Martha McCulloch-Williams, Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South

We have a family gathering today -- and we have to leave shortly for the first part (a baptism at 8 a.m.!! YIKES!) so this will be quick.

I saw a monarch yesterday. First one I've seen in more than a month. I waved.

I did a lot of cooking this weekend. I was VERY frustrated while trying to find recipes. When I googled "cooking tomato sauce from scratch" the first recipe I found started with a can of crushed tomatoes. Really? :::shakes head:::

I made lazy man's tomato sauce yesterday from the last tomatoes from our garden. I cored them and then cut them up and pureed them, seeds, skins and all! Then simmered with plenty of garlic and fresh herbs (marjoram, thyme and oregano) from the garden for several hours. As long as you don't mind seeds in your sauce (and I don't), it worked out fine -- with none of the blanching and peeling involved.

I made corn chowder from corn on the cob we bought, too. I've never grated corn before, but the recipe called for half the corn to be grated to make a juicy, pulpy addition to the soup (you'll find most not-from-scratch recipes call for cans of creamed corn, which is rather the same thing). It was fabulous soup -- best I've had. NOTHING beats fresh sweet corn. We bought from a local grower so it was really, really fresh.

And, yes, I completely forgot to take pix to post all this on the H&H blog. I'm bad.


You Are Passionate

You feel very intensely, and you are definitely driven by your emotions.

When confronted with something new, you tend to love it or hate it right away. There is no in between for you!

You always know how you feel, and you have no problem letting everyone else know too.

You are honest - probably to a fault. It's impossible for you to hold back.

That's pretty dang close to correct!!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Small Rant About Drama

A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. ~George Santayana

Oh, the drama!

My DD is really struggling with school this year (already). She's being asked to do more, to work harder, to spend a little more time. It's junior high -- that's the way it is, and it's not going to get any easier (... let me tell you about college, little girl...)

But yesterday was FULL of drama. You see, my DH has Fridays off. He works almost 50 miles away, so his commute is horrendous (never mind the miles, he also hits pretty major traffic, so spends anywhere from an hour to three hours one way on the road). His boss has opted to let him work four day work weeks (LONG days ... I pretty much don't see him M - Th) to help with the burn-out.

Last year, we took Fridays off of school. It's just hard to do school with DH home because he seems to think that because HE is off work, we are, too. This year, we're doing every other Friday because her Tuesdays are going to be pretty much shot (she has an art class and a standing "play date" with a friend) -- she'll be able to do about half her day's work, so Friday will be her day to catch up.

Yesterday, she seemed to think that since I was doing fun chores (cooking, mostly) or taking walks with the neighbor and her dog, that SHE should be able to, too. DH was home, and it adds an odd dynamic where our routine is hard to keep to (he also asks me to do odd errands, etc., and DD always wants to go -- and is distraught if she has to stay home).

Drama, drama, drama.

Yesterday, if I'd heard "I HATE SCHOOL." one more time, I was going to lose my mind.

So, for those of you (not YOU, you.... cuz I know the "you" who read regularly don't think this) who think homeschooling is easy, think again.

OH -- and to the employee at the post office who, when we were discussing all the numerous school vacations public school has, turned to my daughter and said, "Yeah, but you have EVERY day off." -- let me see you deal with motivating your child to work every single day. Because, instead of having "every day off", she has nearly every day ON.

:::::breathes deep::::::

I have a feeling this is going to be a VERY long school year.


Your Brain is Young

No matter what your actual age is, you've done a good job keeping your brain young.

You know that the key to a healthy brain is exercising it, and that's something you just do naturally.

You're the type of person who is curious about everything, and your curiosity makes your brain healthy.

Keep reading, learning, and engaging with the world. You've figured out the secrets to being mentally sharp.

...You've figured out the secrets to being mentally sharp ....

Then why do I STILL walk into a room and forget why I'm there?


Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun At Agility

The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go. ~ Winston Churchill

Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on. ~ Colette

Had an interesting time helping at beginning agility last night. We have a new group of dogs (none that are dog aggressive, thankfully!) that are great, and we have one intermediate dog who's there to work on his see saw -- he's a Bull Mastiff (for those of you who don't know what that is, Mastiffs are one of the giant breeds, and pretty much the heaviest breed of dog, averaging about 125 lbs -- though some males are larger). This dog has trust issues with people and he had a bad experience on the see saw one, so has been refusing to put even one paw on it.

Last night the instructor was having me work with him while she ran the class. Though I have no fear of dogs, I have a healthy respect for the breeds who can eat me. So things got a little interesting when he started getting stressed. Thankfully, I know how to read the signs ... and when he froze and tensed and wouldn't take a treat from me any more, I backed up. From that point on, though, any time I got close, he'd growl. He really didn't like me anymore -- associated me with the scary see saw, I think, so that left it all up to the owner to work with him and she's not a big lady.

Later, as I was working with the other dogs in the class, my job was to block the chute opening so the dogs couldn't come out and could ONLY continue down the chute to their owner. One little guy (a shih tzu) popped out of the opening and I grabbed him to stop him from running off... he didn't like that at all and growled ferociously.

His bad luck to do it after I'd been working with a mastiff -- after being growled at by a dog nearly my own size, a ten pound ball of fluff wasn't really that scary.

Anyway, it was the first time I'd had issues with any of the dogs. It made DD a little nervous, though. But if she really intends to work with dogs, she needs to see that there are some who aren't going to be super friendly. That's the kind of animal folks are going to need a trainer for most of all.

I'll say it again, though: there are no bad dogs (or bad breeds) only bad owners. Puppies aren't born aggressive or mean, they're made that way. Some breeds have a tendency to be more dominant than others, some are typically more shy -- both attributes can lead to aggression if not handled correctly.

People have a tendency to not investigate breeds thoroughly before getting a dog. "It's so cute!" isn't a reason to get a puppy.


You Are Blue

You are detail oriented and focused. You enjoy keeping your life in order.

You are a perfectionist, and you tend to take your time with tasks. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

It's hard for you to deal with dramatic, flippant, and silly people. You value maturity.

You are a good listener and you expect others to be the same. You expect to be taken seriously.



Thursday, September 09, 2010

Captain's Log: 9/9/10

Mirrors should think longer before they reflect. ~Jean Cocteau

So ... just for grins, I decided to record my blog this morning. I have to have the camera plugged in to work, so it limited where I could sit. It's stacked up on top of a pile of books to be high enough, and I was a little worried it would slide off!

I find that I OPEN MY EYES REALLY WIDE a lot (wow... look at those whites!) and press my lips together when I'm thinking (which then creates a smacking noise the next time I talk).

Guess I wouldn't make a good news anchor?

Anyway, here it is ... me. Be gentle.


The Meaning of Your Life is Joy

The purpose of your life is simple: to live it to the fullest.

You believe that happiness is a choice, and being happy isn't that hard to figure out.

Too many people struggle in their lives. You think they should just let go and enjoy what they've been given.

It's easy to find misery, but it's difficult to find happiness. You know that all the happiness you need comes from within.