Thursday, March 31, 2011


Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I have a confession to make: I'm not a super happy, "up" person. I'm focused, driven, a little obsessive and tend to have a "glass half empty" mentality (though I always think I can figure a way out to fill that sucker up if I work hard enough). I'm not touchy-feely, which makes it hard for my daughter and I, because SHE is a clingy, huggy child who has to squeeze me fifty times a day and will shout "I love you!" from the top of the stairs for no reason. I sometimes wear blinders, and don't always see ways that people might need help.

Despite all those things, I do *try* to be a nice, thoughtful person. I'm a bit self-absorbed, so I don't always succeed. But I like people. I talk to everyone: cashiers, the lady in the same grocery aisle, the guy sitting in the doctor's office. At beginning agility class, I try to make a point of petting all the dogs, and finding their good attributes (some are in there for behavioral problems, so occasionally I have to really dig), and encouraging their owners.

I know I miss chances to help people. But I always tell DD, you never know what difference even just a smile might make to someone. She's painfully shy (hopefully going to school next year will help her learn how to overcome that), and can't always think of things to say, but her heart is HUGE, so I'm sure that will come with time.

The reason I bring all this up is because we seldom realize how much a single act might change a life. My post yesterday was there because I truly did feel sorry for that woman, and hoped sharing her meltdown might help others to see why they shouldn't react in the same way.

This morning, I randomly clicked on an author banner for Liana Laverentz and stumbled across this page on her site. Amongst all the links she shares was one about a cab driver and the night he gave an elderly woman a ride to hospice. I encourage you to read it. You might also take a look around the site a bit for other touching stories.

And remember, small acts make a big difference. Who have you smiled at today?


For authors: Samhain Publishing is having a special call-out for short stories about people with superpowers.

From their submissions page:

It’s up, up and away we go, to a world of superheroes and supervillains, where heroes and/or heroines with special abilities and crime-fighting prowess protect the public…and fall in love.

I’m very happy to announce an open call for submissions for a new, yet-to-be-titled spring 2012 superhero romance anthology.


You Are Productive

You like to stay busy. You believe that there's nothing worse than idle hands.

You can handle multiple projects and are always ready for another one. You love to multitask.

You are happy to brainstorm, innovate, and think outside the box. You are are groundbreaking in your approach.

You see the big picture. Details are important to you, but you don't get bogged down in them.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Word on Negative Reviews

There's more to the truth than just the facts. ~Author Unknown

So yesterday, comments by an author who completely self-destructed online due to what she perceived to be a negative review (I read it ... it wasn't that negative) went viral. Be warned, if you read this, when she runs out of ways to argue, she just drops the F-Bomb...

The blog owner finally shut off comments (after 300+) but what's mind-boggling about the whole thing (and this is something we see far too often on the Internet now) is that the author simply didn't think twice before hitting send. And, as a result, she alienated thousands of potential readers.

I saw a comment elsewhere that she's now garnered hundreds of negative reviews on Amazon, and this person said that the author must be laughing up her sleeve because that many people bought her book. Sorry, commenter, you don't have to buy a book to leave a review on Amazon.

She even had a coffee mug created in her "honor".

My point in sharing all of this is simply this: authors will get negative reviews. It's the nature of the beast. From Jane Austen to Louis L'Amour to Stephen King, all authors get negative reviews. Period. It's how one deals with them that makes the difference.

The owner of the blog (above) actually has a post about negative reviews that I think is very well written.

EHow has articles on it.

I found other article about the subject here and here . I'm sure there are more.

How have I handled it in the past? I've thanked the reviewer for taking the time to review my book (when it's been possible to thank the reviewer -- as a side note, I really hate sites like Fictionwise that don't allow space for reviews ... the biggest benefit to a negative review is finding out what someone didn't like) and moved on.

I'm a super critical reader. I like only about half the books I pick up, and I love only a few. I understand how one person's opinion can differ wildly from another's.

Bad reviews are a fact of life. If you're going to be an author, get a thick skin or get out of the business.

I feel sorry for the author, above. She's going to have a rough time getting past this debacle.


We're quiz free today ... the one today was stupid.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Micro Management

"Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear—and doubt. - H.A. Dorfman, The Mental ABCs of Pitching

DD did much better yesterday at school... I'm finding that she's NOT a self-starter and isn't self-motivated at all (which is frustrating for me, since I'm self-motivated to the extreme). She is thriving on having me micromanage every second of her day, while it's making me a little crazy. I want to be able to say, "Here's what you need to accomplish today -- go do it." and not "For the next fifteen minutes, I want you to work on XX and then next, pick up XX and read for ten minutes." Just goes to prove that our kids aren't mini-me's.

In any case, I got very little done yesterday outside of hovering over DD...

I ran to our local Tractor Supply Company yesterday to grab a couple things. They let us bring the dog inside (they have dog cookies at checkout ... Dakota doesn't understand why we have to shop before we get cookies. I always have to drag her past the clerk because otherwise, she runs in and plops down in a sit, drooling) and currently they carry live chicks and bunnies. Dakota is mostly puzzled by the chicks -- they're being kept in big, metal horse troughs and she peers at them. She LOVES the bunnies though and oddly enough, they seem to love her back. Yesterday, she stuck her nose through the wire cage and two of the bunnies hopped over and touched noses with her. There was no drama, no barking or fussing, just a little doggie / bunny bonding. It was very cute.

I wish DH would let me have chickens. And bunnies. And maybe a goat. *sigh*

I admit to being greatly jealous of Maria Zannini.


You Are a Bicycle

You are an extremely independent person. You have some loner tendencies - and you're totally okay with that.

You are an action-oriented doer. It drives you crazy to just sit around and ruminate.

You are a risk taker. You believe in seizing each moment and just getting out there to do your thing.

You are focused on living in the present. No one knows what's coming tomorrow, so you're going to enjoy today.

LOL... this is pretty much right on -- except I think about the future. A lot.


Monday, March 28, 2011

My Weekend

Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest. ~Karen Savage and Patricia Adams, The Good Stepmother

Loooong weekend this weekend. DD and I had a bit of a struggle last week about her schooling and I put my foot down about some things. She's facing loss of privileges due to her lack of desire to actually do the work required of her, so this weekend was full of more conflict as I required her to do some studying and work to prepare her for tests she has today. There was much drama. She's a sensitive, emotional girl and I can tell the teen years are going to be ... interesting.

The weather wasn't exactly the best, either -- it LOOKED beautiful: sunny and clear. But it was cold (in the low thirties) and VERY windy, making it unbearable to be out in it for very long. I'm getting so itchy for spring, for going outside and puttering, for walking the dog and such that it was sheer agony to be indoors. But every time I ventured out, I froze my can.

There was humor and fun, too. I got another of DD's notes one afternoon (I'd run out for a quick errand and returned to this):

She was a bit fascinated by a spider we have living in our front door area (there are a few little "cracks" in the jamb around the storm door and he's hanging out there -- but ventured into public to soak up some sun).

She also made a little jewelry and I uploaded it to her store. I especially like the turquoise-like stones (it's howlite, a substitute for turquoise) she used for these:

And even better? I managed to get a little writing done -- a couple thousand words in total. I have to finish the scene I'm one (it's nearly done) and then write the final scene (it's started) and my first draft is complete. Then I need to do a quick edit and send it to one or two people for an eyeball to see if it works.

It'll be good to submit something again.

How was your weekend? Anything exciting? I know Melissa McClone got a RITA nomination for her book, "Christmas Magic on the Mountain". Who else has something to share?


You Are Carefree Like Summer

You are open to the world and whatever it has to offer. You are comfortable with and really appreciate freedom.

You try to keep things flexible because you're always picking a new path. You have changeable moods.

You don't like to stick to a routine, and you prefer a lifestyle where the rules are flexible.

You have a sharp and lively intelligence. Your mind is active and often restless.

About 60% correct.


Friday, March 25, 2011

GOOD Reading

Books are delightful society. If you go into a room and find it full of books - even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome. ~William Ewart Gladstone

After the post yesterday, and its comments, I need to clarify a few things. Many small press stories are quite good (Samhain Publishing, especially, has quality stories -- though they're leaning toward releasing almost all erotica anymore, which is disappointing). My complaint is that it's really hit or miss, and I'm certain that's due to two things: the age of the press (the newer they are, the more likely they are to accept things other, more established presses won't) and editor quality (since it's up to each individual editor what they contract, some may have less experience than others and aren't as well trained).

So, in the interest of being fair, here are some great small press books and stories I've read:

Ashley Drake, Zombie Hunter: A Plague on All Houses by Dana Fredsti -- from Ravenous Romance -- I haven't jumped on the zombie bandwagon, and have to admit that mostly they gross me out (as they should, really) but this book was not only well written and edited, but had a unique story and a fabulous main character. The romance was secondary to the rest of the plot, but was still sweet (and hot) and I absolutely adored the hero. I can't wait for the author to write more in this series (though, be assured that this book ended and doesn't really leave you hanging).

Verifiable Intelligence by Kaitlin Maitland -- Red Rose Publishing -- This is a romantic suspense with two anti-hero protagonists. It's a heart pounding, edge of your seat adventure with some steamy romance tossed in. I admit that the ending left me a little confused... not dissatisfied, mind you, I'm just not certain I completely understood the punishment exacted on the bad guys. Still, I love characters a little outside the norm and an exciting story, and this book had both.

The entire Sullivan Brothers series by K. M. Daughters -- The Wild Rose Press -- I've read them all and enjoyed each one, mostly for the amazing and large, realistic secondary cast of characters in the books. More romance than suspense, these are just plain good books.

Don’t Look Back by M.J. Fredrick -- The Wild Rose Press -- a romantic suspense novel that's a little dark, very hot and amazingly good. Truthfully, I like everything I've read by this author and she's published by several small presses.

Out of Time by Pauline Baird Jones -- L&L Dreamspell -- a unique time travel romance that takes place in WWII (one of my favorite eras). Lots of emotion, lots of fun, lots of excitement.

There are plenty more winners, but I don't want to bore you. I just wanted to say that while there are some piles of poo from small presses, there are also the diamonds. Which is why I keep giving them a try.


You Are Tag

You are high energy and high strung. You need to move - quickly if possible.

You are into thrills, and there's something exciting about being a little scared.

You are assertive and even a bit competitive. You like to give it all you've got.

No matter whether you lose or win, you're always a good sport. You're just having fun playing the game!

Not so into thrills, but the rest is pretty close.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frustrating Reading

The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness. ~Holbrook Jackson

So lately, I've really been trying to support smaller presses and ePresses. But, I gotta tell you, I haven't been overly impressed (well, except for Carina Press -- everything I've read from them so far has been great!).

These are the things I've seen from other small presses who shall remain nameless:

* A short story that spent at least the first seven pages describing the town in which the heroine worked. I say "at least", because after seven pages I gave up and deleted the book off my Nook.

* A short, paranormal story that spent at least the first ten pages using odd, short vignettes to tell what might be going on (I say "might" because even the heroine thought she might be dreaming). They were about 300 words long, hopped around in time and were so confusing they frustrated me. And again, I say "at least" the first ten pages, because after ten I gave up and deleted it from my Nook.

* A short paranormal story wherein the heroine falls in love with the hero (who's a ghost, yet oddly corporeal in that he can do things like carry wood, cook meals and start a fire) before she even carries on a complete conversation with him. I'll be honest, when I saw the words, "She was in love." I shut the document and deleted it from my Nook. That wasn't the only issue, but I'd managed to put aside the rest to see if the story ever got better. It didn't, and the love thing was the straw that broke the camel's back.

* A short cozy mystery where the heroine sees a man -- one she proclaimed "a good friend" but who had apparently died five years earlier -- in a public venue. He sees her and runs off. She does nothing. Goes home. Goes to bed. Gets up the next morning and goes to work. The only thought pertaining to the fact that her "good friend" had come back from the dead was that it wasn't her business. Maybe it's me, but I found that so incredibly unrealistic that I ... yes... closed the document and deleted it from my Nook.

These were from four different publishers, two of whom I have good author friends published with. It makes me crazy, because I KNOW there are good stories from small presses out there, but to have to shovel through so much crap is both annoying and costly. I have one more story from a small press on my Nook to start. I found reviews on this one, though, from sites I respect including Dear Author, who gave it an A-. I have high hopes.

Who has stories from small presses they can recommend to me? I've been on a romantic suspense and parormal romance kick lately (but please no shifter stories where the H/H are "mates" and destined to be together... that trope drives me wonky).


You Are Old Fashioned

You are a quiet and peaceful person. You always think before you talk.

You are reserved about expressing your true self. You need to know someone a long time before you open up.

You are highly principled in your actions. You have an ethical code that you live by.

You are thought to be a perfectionist. You hold yourself to high standards.

HAHAHAHA... that's SO right, except for the "peaceful" part. All that from a door?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Not) Spring Weather

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. ~Patrick Young

Not much to say today because we haven't done much! Yesterday was supposed to have been sunny and warm -- I had high hopes that much of the snow we'd received would melt. It was sunny for about fifteen minutes. The rest of the day was overcast and windy.

I realize that weather prediction much be difficult, but I'd sure love a job where I could be wrong more than half the time and still get paid.

Today is supposed to be cloudy and cool and tonight into tomorrow they're predicting upwards of 4" of snow again.

:::grumble grumble:::

I almost wish we hadn't been teased with such beautiful weather last week. All the walking and outdoor time is making me itch something fierce for a real spring.

I did buy flower seeds yesterday -- I couldn't help myself. I got:


Straw Flowers:

Cactus Flower Zinnia:

And Bachelor Buttons:

Even though I intend on using most of my flower garden space for colorful veggies, I just couldn't resist SOME flowers ...

Now if only spring would cooperate.


You Are Down to Earth

You are a sincere and truly nice person. When you're kind to people, you mean it.

You strive to build close relationships. You can bring stability and support to the lives of others.

You are predictable, stable, and consistent. You take pride in being able to be counted on.

You are a team player, and you enjoy pitching in to do your part. You are a very social creature.

I'm not terrifically social, but otherwise this is about right.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring in New England

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. ~Doug Larson

Taken this morning:

My lovely crocuses:

Yes, I gave them a little greenhouse, so the flowers wouldn't die. I want THIS to be there when it melts:

Those are DD's artsy pix of our flowers :-)

In other news, I got a shot in the arm yesterday re: my writing. Got a fan note on "Kitchen Matches" which basically demanded the sequel (Cori has a pile of brothers who need their stories told!!), so I sat and wrote some more. It's SO close to being done, I need to just sit my butt down and get it finished. I know what's going to happen, I just need to get the words down.

If I hunker down and get 'er done, I could easily have it finished this week. Just need to practice:

That's "Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard" for you non-writers out there...


Have a great day!


You Are a Newspaper

You enjoy order and structure. You don't like it when things change much from day to day.

You are primarily concerned with the present. You don't like to speculate about the future.

You are straightforward and honest. You pride yourself on being easy to read.

You are a people person. You wish you could connect with every single person in the world.

Except for the last line, it's totally right!


Monday, March 21, 2011


It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens

We had a gorgeous weekend this weekend: sunny and relatively warm. We took lots of walks, and just enjoyed the coming spring. The front of my house gets full sun all day long, and really just COOKS, so my bulbs there tend to come up a bit early. Yesterday, I got to enjoy this:

I'm just going to pretend that they're not calling for three inches of snow today. I'm going to pretend that our radar loop does NOT look like this:

In other news, Dakota has decided that she is no longer going to be a doormat, at least not when she's on leash. Every time we walked her this weekend, if we saw another dog she would wait until we were fairly close and then throw herself to the end of her leash and bark viciously.

This is no way for an AKC Good Citizen to behave and I'm really upset with her. With one exception, the other dogs were calm and good and did nothing to encourage her behavior. She's in BIG trouble. I can't have a dog who behaves that way, so she's going to have to go through some serious attitude adjustments. It's true that many dogs act different on-leash than off, and this is true of her -- she's still fine running around at the dog park, etc., but this could be the beginning of a problem. So it's back to the drawing board for her. Bad dog.

How was your weekend?


You Are Kind

You have a broad perspective on life. You are very understanding and forgiving.

You prefer a quiet, peaceful existence. You don't like noise in your head - or in the world around you.

For you, there's no such thing as too much calm. Having time to think is a gift that you treasure.

Not even close,except maybe the "time to think" part.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Visited

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Yesterday was gorgeous, and I spent as much time as I could outside (which, considering how packed my schedule was, wasn't THAT much -- oh well). The snow is receding off the lawn like a balding man (I remember watching the comedian, Gallagher once when he said his hair was slipping down his head ... and that one day he expected to wake up and find it in the middle of his back). We still have quite a bit of snow, especially where the sun doesn't hit or where it was plowed, but I can also see quite a bit of smooshed, gray-green lawn. :-)

I get a weekly tip from Holly Lisle in my inbox on Friday mornings, and today she wants us to ask ourselves WHY WE WRITE. The email is much longer than this little bit I'm going to post (and if you click through to her site, you can sign up for her weekly email, too), but it was interesting. So, for all you writers out there:

You want to write. So far, so good.

Somewhere inside you, you WANT, you DESIRE, you YEARN---
you have a huge, compelling, driving NEED to do this thing
that is NOT an easy, simple, or straightforward thing.

You have this mountain you must climb.

And you need to know WHY.

So ask yourself:

"What do I hope to get out of my writing?"

Answer this question just for yourself, alone, as nakedly, honestly, bluntly, warts-and-all humanly as you can, because lying to yourself is the pure path to misery and to never getting what you want out of your life, and to never being WHO you want to be.

This is not an easy question, but knowing the answer is a gift only you can give yourself.

You don't need to tell me why in the comments -- this is a pretty private thing, but I think it's a good, valid question.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


You Are Bamboo

You are a very independent and unpredictable person. You do things your way, and you never know what turn your life will take.

You are very intellectual and logical. You try to think things through carefully, in steps.
Sometimes it seems like you are unemotional, but you try to have your emotions work for you instead of against you.

Those who know you best know who loyal, compassionate, and supportive you are. You are a very admirable person.

That's actually pretty darn close to correct. :::shivers:::


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top O' The Morning!

St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time - a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic. ~Adrienne Cook

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Are you wearing green? If not, consider yourself pinched. I was going to embed a video from "Finnian's Rainbow" -- but all the good ones have the embedding disabled (WHY do people do that??). But just imagine Petula Clark and Fred Astaire here.

I have TWO tomatoes on my inside plant. I'm so tickled. My pollination technique must be hit or miss, though because I'm about 1/3 fruit, 2/3 dead blossom and no fruit. Even so, this has been an interesting experiment. I know that a vegetable plant needs a certain amount of sunlight to produce fruit -- "amount" in length of time (a certain amount of hours), so in the winter they won't make fruit without use of a grow light. As soon as it started getting lighter longer here, though, in a noticeable way, the plants started popping out blossoms. Fascinating.

It POURED rain yesterday once it warmed up (thank heavens it wasn't snow, we'd have had two feet) and melted quite a bit more snow. It's supposed to be almost 60 degrees on Friday, so at this rate we may be snow free by April! It's incredible how quickly it melts.

I have high hopes for an early spring -- and would sure love to plant my garden by the end of April (the cold crops at least). :::fingers crossed:::

How about you? Are you loving spring?


You Should Ride in a White limo

You are a down-to-earth and friendly person. You love to socialize, and you like having a big crew.

You are a natural leader and organizer. You thrive with structure.

You believe that life has a purpose. Part of what makes life meaningful for you is bonding with other people.

You are naturally altruistic. You are a warm-hearted and sympathetic person.

About 50/50


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If It's Snowing, It Must Be Wednesday

Fly fishing for trout is like raising children. You never know what's going to happen next. - Jimmy D. Moore

It's snowing this morning. Not a lot, but it was supposed to be rain last I looked. I jinxed it by putting DD's swings back on her swingset yesterday afternoon because it was so warm and sunny. I even started scooping dog poop from the exposed spots on the lawn -- that is the true meaning of spring. *G*

Dakota went into the vet yesterday and FINALLY got her shots, including the one for kennel cough, so she's finally able to go back to her agility class. YAY! She's really suffered from no doggie interaction, no agility, no dog park. She's a very social dog, and it really impacted her.

Got a bit more done on "Now and Forever". For those of you who've read "Kitchen Matches", this next story is Cori's oldest brother, Zach's story. I also have about half of the next brother's story done (Working title: Drive Me Crazy). That one is about Nick. I only have one other unmarried brother after that... It's fun to write about the same characters. It's a bit like visiting friends.

Yesterday, DD went to a friend's house. She went while I was at the vet with Dakota -- and I told her to leave me a note with an X if she was picked up by her friend (and not, yanno, kidnapped ... yeah, I have a vivid imagination). This is what I came home to:

Yes, the X is there -- but also a ransom demand: "If you want to see me again, you must make mashed potatoes".

She cracks me up. And, yes, I made them -- but only because I'd planned to anyway.

I love my DD.


You Are Rational

You are a very meticulous and organized person. You strive toward minimalism as much as possible.

You are both fussy and discriminating. You find yourself attracted to the simpler choice.

You are a very wholesome person. You have your own set of ethics, and morality matters to you.

Well put-together and elegant, you sometimes seem standoffish. You aren't a snob, but you do have high standards for yourself.

That's pretty close to right on... weird.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What a Character!

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. -- E.L. Doctorow

So, yesterday I was reading our Whipped Cream Author Spotlight post from Mysti Holiday -- it's "Ten Things You May Not Know About Mysti" -- and had a bit of an epiphany, partly from the post and partly from the comments.

Most of the commenters shared something about themselves that was similar but different than something Mysti shared. Not surprising, really, since we're all different. But ... wouldn't it be interesting to do a "Ten Things You May Not Know About (insert character name here)"? Sometimes I think we forget to round out our characters, especially when we write short stories. We forget to give them quirks, or habits, or fears.

I think I'm going to go back and do just that for my characters in all my WIPs. Not only will it make them more real, it'll probably get the juices flowing for new scene ideas because I'll want to incorporate those things. Right?


In other news, and my Facebook friends already know this, we heard back from DD's new school. She not only aced her assessment tests, but the teachers found her confident and unafraid to speak her thoughts. She apparently fits in well with the current 7th grade, in both temperament and academically and is cleared to start 8th grade in the fall. Yay!


You Are a Mirror

You are a very private person. You need your alone time to introspect and recharge.

You don't mind being around others, but you prefer to spend the bulk of your time by yourself.

You are a slow and critical thinker. You need to mull things over for a long time.

You hold yourself accountable for your actions. You are constantly evaluating your life and trying to improve.

Yep .. that's about right.


Monday, March 14, 2011

I Dislike DST

I hate DST. It's a puzzlement why we even observe it anymore -- though at the rate they're going (moving it earlier in spring and later in fall), it's going to meet in the middle anyway and then maybe we'll stop this nonsense.

Yet another reason to move to Arizona.

The weekend was pretty quiet. We didn't do much of anything. DH caught up on sleep (he misses A LOT during the week) and mostly just lazed around, something he seldom does. I did work on the website and cleaned house (organized the pantry, cleaned the school/craft room, washed our throw rugs) because maybe if I *do* spring cleaning, spring will come.

On my little indoor tomato plant (which I keep in our spare bedroom, Maria, because it gets the most sunlight in the winter), I have one little tomato. None of the other blossoms made fruit (yet) but I'm still excited for my one. I hope it survives! At least there won't be chipmunks around to eat it.

The snow is melting at a furious pace. About 1/4 of my lawn is actually exposed. Of course, the front of my house COOKS -- it get full sun all day (which makes life interesting in the summer) so I think my snow is melting a bit faster than most, at least out front.

I'm so itching for nicer weather.

I got a little writing done on "Now and Forever" (Maria Zannini reminded me that I hadn't been referring to it by title) the sequel to "Kitchen Matches". Not as much as I would have liked, since a direct result of DH lazing around meant he was home and wanted to interact with me.

Ah well... today is another day.


Your Inner Fruit Flavor is Pear

You are an idealistic soul. You're the type of person who still believes in changing the world.

You are compassionate and generous. You get joy from giving to others.

You feel deeply and freely. You don't put bounds or limitations on your thoughts.

You have a vivid imagination, and it's so deep that it's hard to express with words.

I'm not sure that's altogether me -- makes me sound WAY nicer than I am.


Friday, March 11, 2011

The Day After School

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. - Abraham Lincoln

First, before I forget (because I did last month!), it's my day to blog at "All Day, All Night Romance Divas - the Mariannes". I'd love to have some company.

Also, yesterday I was interviewed at The Writer's Life (wearing my review site owner hat) and wouldn't mind input there, too -- I'm always interested in what readers and writers think about reviews.

Now ... moving on.

DD did her shadow day yesterday. She was VERY nervous, but stoic and hopeful. It was a half day at the school yesterday, so she only stayed until 11:30, but when I picked her up she was smiling. She'd had a great time. The kids were nice (mostly - there were a couple of girls who she said were "in a clique" and wouldn't hang out with the rest of them ... to which I answered, that she'd face that kind of thing her whole life), the teachers were nice, and she was amazed that they were learning stuff she'd already learned. The curriculum we use has a reputation of being ahead of most grades, so that doesn't surprise me. She took two assessment tests (math and English) and we're waiting to hear back on those. THEY are what will determine if she'll be going into eighth grade next year or not.

DD started school a year early (she was four when I started her on kindergarten). At three, she slapped a book down in front of me and said, "I CAN'T READ THIS." She was incredibly frustrated about that, so I taught her to read at three y.o., so by four she was bored and wanted to learn.

As a result, she's a year younger than everyone else, and administrators tend to assume she'd not ready for the grade she's in. They're wrong -- she consistently scores at the highest end of the scale on her annual assessment test -- but it means we have to fight for her to be in the correct grade.

She really doesn't want to be held back a year. And I really don't want her to be. I skipped a grade and was seventeen when I graduated high school. Aside from being frustrated that I couldn't get my license when all my friends did, I don't think it scarred me.

I started writing one of my "add in" scenes for the "Kitchen Matches" sequel. So fun! Once that's done, and I finish the final scene, all it'll need is a once over by a couple folks and I'll actually be submitting something again. It's been a long, long time...


You Eat Like a Typical Woman

You tend to gravitate toward foods that are lighter and healthier.

You are an adventurous eater, and you're always interested in learning how to cook new things.

Like the majority of women, you tend to snack throughout the day and avoid big meals.

You prefer the little of everything approach. You don't want to be weighted down by your food.

It's true...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Things

None, but people of strong passion are capable of rising to greatness. - Comte de Mirabeau

Sorry for the break yesterday, but I couldn't face doing much of anything. I've been a bit stressed for many reasons, some of which I won't talk about here. It's caused me to not sleep well, again, and after not sleeping well for a while, I get odd symptoms: dizzy, shakes, nausea, headache. Yesterday was one of those days.

I was in bed at 8:00 last night, but still only slept in fits. Up at 4:00 because DD has her shadow day today (NO SNOW, thankfully ... they were saying it was going to snow and I had visions of another reschedule) and I have stuff that needs doing before we leave.

We sort of had agility last night, though I left Dakota at home again. She's feeling better -- she never got all that sick -- but the vet won't vaccinate her until she's two weeks past her last symptoms (which would be Monday next). So, she'll miss beginning class tonight as well. Last night, DD ran another dog that was being boarded there instead. It's been convenient that the past two weeks that our dog has been out, there have been other dogs for her to run.

I suspect DD will eventually get into a profession that deals with animals. She probably knows more about training dogs than most adults at this point, since our agility instructor is also a trainer and has really taken DD under her wing. If we still live here in another couple years when DD is looking for a job, I'd be willing to bet she goes to work there. She talks about being a dog trainer or a vet tech for a living. She doesn't want to be a vet -- "I don't want to do surgery" -- but that may change. Who knows?

In other news, my tomato plant that had blossoms now has one itty bitty tomato on it. For pollinating, I just brushed the flowers over one another and I guess it worked, at least in one case. I imagine that there are female and male blossoms on a tomato plant, just like there are on squash plants, so I assume not all flowers will make fruit anyway. The plants are crazy with little flower buds, though, so I may have a bumper crop nice and early this year!

DH mentioned building me a greenhouse, too ... we'll see if that pans out. Would be nice to extend the growing season out here a bit.

I'm itching to put in my garden. Sadly, it's still buried in snow...


Your Soulmate is Reserved

Substance matters to you, and you're not really drawn to flashy or overly outgoing people.

You're looking for a partner who will last a lifetime, and your soulmate is equally serious about love.

You aren't a romantic, but you don't mind a partner who is. In fact, you sort of prefer it.

You've got your feet firmly planted on the ground, and you would like someone to get you up in the clouds occasionally!

Sounds good ... maybe I should mention that "you'd like a romantic partner" thing to my DH? He could use a nudge. *G*


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Be back tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Now and Forever ... in Pictures!

The photograph itself doesn't interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality. ~Henri Cartier Bresson

So, I realized yesterday that I hadn't made a collage for "Now and Forever"! I was horrified, and so sat down to do so. I discovered one thing: it's pretty much impossible to locate a sweet-looking (as opposed to mostly naked and provocatively posted) chubby ... voluptuous blonde woman. Mena, my heroine, has curves. I didn't want a model who looked like a death camp survivor.

In any case, here's what I came up with (Gram should be older and thinner ... but for some reason, I couldn't find REALLY old, skinny women either):

The cool thing was, while making the collage, I saw a picture that gave me an idea for another scene! YAY.


DD's been rescheduled for her "shadow day" at that school we're going to try to get her enrolled in next year. It's THIS Thursday. She's actually excited about it -- more excited than nervous, so I'm very happy.

I'll probably be a wreck on Thursday, but for now ... happy.


You Are Opaque Pantyhose

You are a practical person. You don't have any room for fluff in your life.

You are a creative problem solver. You've figured out what works for you, and you just go with that.

You are original and independent without trying to be. You just seem to pick paths that are less traveled.

You are brainy and you love difficult intellectual challenges. You don't have patience for your time being wasted.

Well... that pretty much NAILED me. It's a little eerie...


Monday, March 07, 2011

Snow Melt and Strange Fruit

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"

It rained most of the weekend, and what amazes me is how quickly the snow melts. We've lost probably half of what we had out there in just two days. In fact, the gardens in front of my house are completely open and I have daffodils popping up (which, despite my joy in the potential of spring, is not a good thing -- it's too early and they might get hit by more snow or a hard frost).

DD is sad -- she had a complete town in our front yard. She'd been using a square plastic container and making snow bricks for walls, she'd shoveled out roads and even had a huge cave. That's all gone now.

I'm sad for her, but I'm not sad.

Yesterday I bought a fruit I've been looking at the last several times I've been at the grocery store. I've never been able to find a name for it. The sticker only says "Caribbean Red" on it, and even the lady at the checkout said it just comes up "melon" on the register. It looks like a papaya on steroids, and tastes a bit like a cross between a catalope and a papaya (neither of which I'm overly fond of, so DD gets to eat it). Anyone know what this is?

The seeds are soft and squishy and remind me of fish eggs. DD is drying some and then wants to plant them to see if they grow.

Okay ... I just took some time to research it on the 'net and found Melissa's Produce which tells me it's a papaya. Alrighty then.

I actually managed to do a little writing this weekend. I've figured out what needs to happen in "Now and Forever" (the Kitchen Matches sequel). It means going back and adding some scenes, but then I'm done. Yay me.

Today, I'm just grateful it's Monday.

How was your weekend?


You Are Business

You are a born leader. You are a visionary, even if you don't have a vision yet.

You are both a problem solver and a number cruncher. You can think big or think small.

You are a natural entrepreneur. Building something other people like brings meaning to your life.

You have a competitive streak and are driven by money. You'd like to get rich... and to help other people get rich as well!



Friday, March 04, 2011

Local Love

At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind. -- Michael Pollan

First off, a little blog business: I've picked up a couple new followers -- but no new comments were posted, so if I'm not following your blog and you follow mine, would you comment here please so I can rectify that?

Thanks :-)

So, we went to our local "New Hampshire Store" yesterday -- not the real name, but what we call it. It's basically a shed with refrigerators inside and heat. They stock only local foods and I just completely enjoy going there. Yesterday I got some veggies (grown in a greenhouse in Maine), hamburger (grass fed, grain finished on a ranch in Louden, NH), organic amaranth and quinoa from a farm in New Boston, NH and shrimp from off the boat in Rye, NH.

I'd directed one of my agility friends there -- we'd been discussing food, and I could tell she felt the same as I did about local foods. She went in and had loads of fun, but had seen the unique jams they had (garlic jelly, pepper jelly, etc) and asked the lady if the person who made the jellies had tomato jelly.

So the owner called.

The lady who makes the preserves said she'd be happy to make some, but would need to wait until tomatoes were in season in the summer for best flavor.

How cool is that? Can't get that kind of service from your chain grocery store.

I might have to try making tomato jam this year. Just for something new.

In other news, at beginning agility last night one of the other dogs came in with kennel cough (yes, CAME IN, which really annoyed me). The owner said he got it the same weekend as Dakota, so I have to assume they got it from the same place. Probably from someone WHO BROUGHT THEIR SICK DOG IN EVEN THOUGH THEY KNEW IT WAS SICK.


The instructor didn't make her leave, but did advise everyone that the dog had kennel cough so they could choose to stay or not. I would have asked her to go home.

Today is cold. Really cold. Like negative numbers cold. It's going to warm up a little one the sun is really up, but right now it's brutal. I hated making poor Dakota go outside to do her business.

Come on spring.


You Are Balanced

You are an expansive and open-minded person. You want to experience the world without judgment.

You are energetic to the point of being athletic and sporty. You like to move!

You have a good sense of humor. You are easily amused, and others find you to be quite amusing.

You are optimistic and always expect the best. You put misfortune in perspective.

HA - only about 25% right. But I do love teal.


Thursday, March 03, 2011


Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. ~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You

So, we went to agility last night without Dakota. It was very strange ... and I felt a bit lost since it was DD running the other dog last night. I sat for two hours with little to do. Tonight we help with beginning agility, and once again have to leave the dog behind. Poor puppy.

A funny though: the lady bringing the dog DD was running brought her own dog in as well, funniest looking thing I've ever seen. I asked what he was and she told me to guess. I said, "Lab / Corgi." because he probably weighed 25 lbs, was the color of a yellow lab with a big head and had the shortest legs.

She said, "Nope. Pit Bull / Dachshund."

I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one... that took some serious determination (and I really, really hope the the Pit Bull was the mama).

Spring is definitely on its way here -- we're having ADD weather: it's warm, it's cold, it rains, it snows. Yesterday we had it all in one day. Started out clear and warm (for us ... in the 40s), then the wind kicked in, brought in a cold front that included a pretty decent snow squall. Today it's freezing, with highs expected in the teens, but this weekend they're saying it'll be almost 50.

:::shakes head:::

The "joys" of the northeast.

I am planning my garden though. I want to have more room this year, and was thinking about expanding my garden -- but opted not to. Digging anywhere here is a massive undertaking... they don't call it the Granite State for nothing. Instead, I've decided that I'm going to use my annual flower beds and plant pretty veggies. So far I've gotten suggestions for decorative kale (which is also edible), rainbow Swiss chard, eggplant, scarlet runner beans, and banana peppers. I need stuff that won't take up TOO much room, but still looks nice and we can eat it. Anyone have more ideas?


You Should Have a Pink Laptop

You are disciplined and organized. You know what you want, and you know how to go after it.

You are very prudent. You think carefully before you act. You're a big believer in sleeping on decisions.

Because you are quiet and sweet, others tend to underestimate your abilities.

You are strong and a force to be reckoned with. You are one of the most determined people around.

Except for this: Because you are quiet and sweet..." it's pretty close to right. I've been called a lot of things, but quiet and sweet aren't two of them.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Smart Dogs and Weird Dreams

Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents. ~Peter Mere Latham

I dreamed last night that I was running my daughter in agility. There were hurdles and obstacles all around a room, only the hurdles were too high and she kept knocking them over.

Freud would probably have a field day with me.

Tonight is agility night, and we have to go because DD promised to run another woman's dog while she was on vacation. This means I have to leave my dog behind and go to agility without her. I already feel terrible and don't even want to think about the look on her face when we shut the door and drive off without her. It's almost as if we're committing doggie adultery.

Speaking of Dakota, she's on antibiotics and hates the pills. They're pretty small, so I've tried hiding them in bits of food, but last time she had pills she bit into one in the middle of a chunk of meat and now suspects anything I give her. So the last two days, I've just been sticking them down her throat and using a liquid syringe to give her a little water to make her swallow.

The result of that? As soon as I open the cupboard with the pills, she hides. Never mind that I have her food (she gets the pills at her meals), never mind I bought her roast beef, never mind any of that. The cupboard opens, she leaves.

There are days I hate smart dogs.

So, now I'm going to have to remember to get her pills out in the middle of the day... just leave it sitting out somewhere an hour or so before her meals. Though I'm a little afraid she's just going to eventually stop eating.

I had a friend whose dog wouldn't take pills for anything, until her mom accidentally dropped one on the floor and the dog pounced and swallowed before she could pick it up. From the moment on, her mom would pretend to be making some meal at the counter and then "accidentally" drop her meds on the floor. Worked every time.

See -- dumb dogs rock.


You Are Silver

You are down to earth and unpretentious. You don't feel like you need to show off, and you're very secure with your place in the world.

You are understated and elegant. You carry yourself with poise, and you're more known for what you don't do than what you do.

You can fit in anywhere from a country western bar to a black tie gala. You are adaptable and adventurous.

You are blind to social class and background. You see people as who they are ... not as where they came from or how much money they have.

Not sure about the elegant part, but the rest is pretty right on.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

This and That

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

So, Dakota went to the doggy doc yesterday and definitely has kennel cough. It's a mild case (her tonsils are inflames and her lymph nodes are swollen, but it's not in her chest and lungs), but she still has to be kept away from other dogs for ten days. I don't know who's going to be more upset by this, her or me. I really depend on her playtime with other dogs to get her wiggles out. Walks with me are fun, but not exactly as stimulating as playtime. Oh well, it is what it is.

We had ice yesterday morning and then rain the rest of the day. We did lose power for a millisecond -- just long enough to make me have to reset all the clocks in the house and to freak DD out. She was watching her school DVD and had just hit the pause button on the remote when the power shut off. She thought SHE had done something! LOL...

Speaking of DD, she's been experimenting with wire-wrapping on her jewelry. Her first tries weren't very good, but I think she's getting much better. Check it out:

Those earrings are actually listed on her site (you can click on the photo to see more pictures). This necklace isn't yet -- I just took the pix yesterday, but I thought she did a great job (she even wire-wrapped the "eye" loop):

She's also starting to experiment with creating her own "findings" -- the earring wires, head pins, eye pins, etc. We need to invest in some more tools, but we're waiting until her business picks up again. She's donating three sets to the Brenda Novak auction, and I'm trying to think of ways to get the DistinctivelyDD name out there. All suggestions welcome :-)


You Are Chocolate Syrup

You are both powerful and vulnerable. People are drawn to your delicious contradictions.

You are patient and loyal, but you can also be determined and sensuous.

You get yourself into sticky situations at times, but you have the grace to recover beautifully.

You can be passionate to the point of being possessive. You come on strong.

About 75% right...