Friday, April 29, 2011

Copying is the New Writing

When a man lies, he murders some part of the world. ~Rospo Pallenberg and John Boorman, Excalibur, based on Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory

My week is almost over... can we all say HALLALUJAH!!?!!

DH is feeling pretty dang good, to the point where he is making noises about playing hockey tonight (or at least skating in the warm-ups). I told him what I thought of that idea, but we all know how well he listens...

Weatherwise, we're going to have an amazing weekend. I imagine I won't be on the computer as much as I should and it might even mean the inaugural fishing trip on the boat.

On the writing / publishing front, one of Samhain's authors, J. L. Langley, was plagiarized recently. Thankfully, it was caught and reported and the other publisher removed the work immediately. While reading the comments on Teddy Pig's blog, I saw a publisher comment that they had to pull 30 books from an author because they discovered that at least one of the books was plagiarized, and so couldn't assume the others weren't as well.

What are people thinking? It's a bit mind-boggling, especially when they opt to copy a well known author (and J. L. Langley is well known in her genre). Reminds me of when Janet Dailey (who was formerly one of my favorite authors of all time, but who I will not touch with a 40 foot pole now) copied several works by Nora Roberts. NORA ROBERTS.

Frustrating to say the least. Especially since Janet Dailey actually got a new contract from Kensington AFTER all this happened.

:::shakes it off:::

For now, I shall enjoy my weekend, and hope that Monday comes quickly. I'm ready for a return to routine.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend -- who has big plans?


You Are Spring

You can't help but be influenced by the world around you. You are open to change and growth.

You are optimistic and trusting. You expect the best from people and usually get it.

You are autonomous and fulfilled. You know how to make yourself happy.

You are sweet and angelic. You try your best to never harm or hurt others in any way.

Um ... no. While I DO love spring, the description of me is so far off as to be laughable.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go. ~Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe

It was gorgeous here yesterday! And nice this morning. Thunderstorms expected later, but then the weekend should be STUPENDOUS. AND... I checked the long range forecast and they don't think it's going to freeze again!! I could tempt fate and put in some of my "soft" crops... I'm giving some serious thought to it. :::shivers with anticipation:::

I really love gardening. I love eating fresh veggies even more. There is NOTHING like the taste of a garden-ripe tomato warm from the summer garden. Mmmmm.....

I saw my first bat last night, too. It's amazing how loud they are with their chatter when they fly. The bugs are out (the male blackflies have appeared... yuck... meaning the females -- the ones who BITE -- will be out in a week or so) so I was pleased to see the bat. I'd like to put up bat houses in my back yard, but DH has a "thing" about bats.

The wildlife is active though. The deer have been back through, eating down all my tender spring plants. My bachelor buttons, asiatic lillies and tulips have been eaten down to the nubs. Part of this is my fault: I haven't put out the milorganite yet (that's on my list for tomorrow morning after the rains this afternoon). And the other morning, just as the sky was getting light and I had the dog outside, there was a wild turkey gobbling loudly out back. I have a love/hate relationship with our wildlife... I do love having them around, but wish they'd leave my plants alone.

How are you enjoying spring?


You Are Iced Coffee

You are witty, flirty, and fun. People love to be around you and your energy.

You need change in order to feel alive. You are very dynamic and interesting.

There's so much you want to try. There's so much you want to experience.

You are always expanding your mind in some cool way. You are open to and curious about the world.

About 65% right. :-)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Rambling

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people. ~Elizabeth Berry

So ... the hubs went to the doctor yesterday. We had to wait almost 45 mins (this drives me a little crazy -- if they make an appointment, we shouldn't have to wait. They should build in padding around them or something because it's just plain rude and inconsiderate), during which time he nearly got up an left.

He finally went in to the doc and then came out with a smirk. Uh oh...

Yep -- doc says it's only a bad sprain. She advised rest and elevation. She offered an inflatable cast, which he declined and she even said he was cleared for hockey in two weeks. He felt very vindicated and poo-poo'd my overreaction.

I'm glad it's nothing worse, but this will make it THAT much harder to get him to the doctor the next time something happens. Oh well...

He came home, and told his boss who immediately ordered him to work from home all week.

While I agree it's probably best, it really makes things tough around here. We'll see how much hair I pull out before next Monday...

I had a couple comments yesterday about making pickles. Jennifer Shirk mentioned wishing she knew how to make her own pickles and Ceri Hebert (the one to blame for getting me watching the "Extreme Couponing" show) said she might plant cucumbers to do her own.

First: making pickles is ridiculously easy. I used to grow my own dill, etc., but now I'm lazy and buy the seasoning packs. You use that plus salt to make your brine. You put the cucumbers into the jar, pour brine over the top and hot pack them. Poof... done.

Second: I learned from my first year making pickles that the best ones for eating (the long, skinny "burpless" kind, IMHO) are not good for making pickles (they get REALLY mushy). So I'll be planting two kinds of cucs this year: the burpless for eating fresh and the pickling cucumbers for making my pickles.

Sadly, my DH has decided he prefers store bought sweet relish over my homemade and I don't eat the stuff, so I have about ten jars that just sit there ... I'd give it away, but I want my jars! LOL... I'll figure something out some day.

Canned fruit and jam is also super easy to make, especially applesauce which I plan to make in massive quantities this year. I'll try to document it all on the Healthful & Homemade blog later in the summer.

Happy Wednesday!


You Are Growth Oriented

You maintain your focus on your goals. No matter what, you're not going to let life distract you.

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

You are amazingly energetic. You don't just get second winds - you get third and fourth winds.

You always have a piece of advice or wisdom to share. You've learned a lot during your life.

HAHAHAHAHA... it's actually pretty darn close.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DH Update and My Stockpile

"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." — John F. Kennedy

In the "good news, bad news" corner -- DH went to work yesterday (against my suggestions ... but since when do DH's listen to their wives? *sigh*) and was in so much pain by the time he got to his desk (that's the bad news, in case you wondered) decided that maybe he should have a medical professional look at his foot/ankle (and that's the good news).

So, he's home today, with an doctor's appointment. I swear, there are days I want to deck the man. And ... he's already starting to qualify everything: "I won't wear a cast. I won't go to PT." Oy...



A few days ago when I discussed couponing, several folks mentioned that they felt the extreme couponers were hoarders. I've heard the term "neat hoarders" used to describe them as well. Aside from the ones who have enough deodorant to last the average person 230 years, I disagree. Most of those folks have families, some of them quite large (like the mother of ten). It doesn't take long at all to go through insane amounts of food and sundries when you're dealing with that many people. Additionally, at least half the people showcased give away much of what they get for free to food pantries, other family members and one man gives to the care packages for soldiers overseas.

I have a stockpile myself... though nowhere near as large because it's expensive to maintain -- which is why I'm excited to try to do a bit more couponing when I can. I was raised to have a year's supply of food on hand, and told that if you don't have real storage for it, then you put it wherever you can: under the bed, etc.

Again, I don't consider that hoarding. When we got hit by a blizzard in Colorado in 1997, we were buried under about 8' of snow. Oddly, Colorado isn't really prepared for that -- the snow there (at least in Colorado Springs) tends to fall and then melt. We seldom even shoveled, and they had *maybe* one plow for the entire city.

They didn't plow our road for three days.

Our neighbors ran of of food like milk, bread, etc. Ran. Out.

That's ridiculous.

I'm hoping to at least double the size of my stockpile over the next few months, plus I intend to do a lot more canning this year, even if I have to BUY fruits and veggies when they go on sale to do it. In the meantime, let me share.

This set of shelves has my beans (plain, refried and baked) and tuna, juice, canned fruit (which I hope to do myself this year), Gatorade for DH, homemade jam, natural peanut butter and pumpkin.

Next comes my canned tomatoes (which I hope to do myself this year), spaghetti sauce, canned veggies, and cold cereal (plus rolled oats that I use to make granola):

The next is my condiments and pasta shelf. There are homemade pickles and pickle relish (I'm almost out of pickles, so will definitely be making those this year -- it's SO easy to make pickles), various condiments like mayo, dressings, BBQ sauces, etc., and my pasta (the Ramen is for DH):

And the box on that middle shelf is for my dried beans,peas and brown rice:

I look at that and tell myself that it's not enough. It's NOT. Worse, my paper goods are lacking. I probably only have 6 rolls of paper towels and about 50 rolls of toilet paper -- nowhere near enough what I'd like to have on hand.

Am I a hoarder? I don't think so. I'm practical and prepared.


You Are Determined

You are a very passionate person. You know what you want out of life, and nothing is going to stop you.

You stay energetic and motivated. There's so much that you want to get accomplished.

You are outdoorsy and nature oriented. All sorts of outdoor activities appeal to you.

At the end of a hard day, you enjoy a little luxury. You like to spoil yourself.

That's about 75% right.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Weather, Woes and WingDings

A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. ~Author Unknown

So ... we had an eventful weekend (there is an ancient curse: "May you live in interesting times." ... someone must have chanted that over us).

It snowed here on Saturday. SNOWED. A lot. We got a couple inches accumulation through the day. But then, nearing evening, it warmed and turned to rain. But morning, the snow was gone and it was WARM. Really warm. Warm enough to open the house. We had a good 20 degree change in the temps. Spring in New England is so weird...

Friday, DH went to play hockey like always -- I've always wished him well by telling him not to do all the things he's done before: "Have fun. Don't take a skate blade to the face or a puck anywhere." He has a scar on his chin from a blade slice that required 6 stitches and took a puck in the ankle about six months ago -- which doesn't sound THAT bad until you realize that a solid, hard object traveling upwards of 60+ MPH hit him. He could barely walk for a week and didn't play hockey for almost a month. Now I have something else to add...

Friday night, I went to bed (he plays until the wee hours occasionally) and fell asleep. Next thing I know, the bedroom door opens. I sit up, see no one. Then I hear DH's voice, "Don't we have crutches?" I adjust my gaze downward and there he is on the floor.

Seems he'd been skating full speed down the ice, was approaching the boards and went to do a "hockey stop" -- where you cock your skates to the side a bit. He's done it fine thousands of times, but for whatever reason, this time his feet went out from under him and he slammed, foot-first, into the boards. Going ... what? 30 MPH? More?

:::shakes head:::

Yes, he drove himself home. Yes, he crawled up the stairs. No, he hasn't gone to the doctor (and he's too big for me to force). We *think* it's badly sprained. He can walk on it ... sort of. He can move it up and down, but not side-to-side and wiggle his toes. It's badly swollen, but not bruised (except for lines of bruising down the base of his foot... I wonder if that's from his skate?).

Made for a fun, fun weekend.

DD turned twelve on Sunday -- I told her the whole world was celebrating her birthday. *G*

Except for having a grouchy, injured father around she had a good time. I got her two model horses, and she also got a Michaels GC, some clothes, a watch, notecards with a seal and sealing wax (she LOVED this!) and, of course, some cold, hard cash.

We went to the in-laws for Easter and she got to play with her cousins, which she LOVED. All in all, a good day for her.

I can't believe she's TWELVE.

And, as proof that spring is finally here:

Yes, I painted my toenails. *G*

How was your weekend?


You Are a Green Peep

You have a restless spirit, and it keeps you curious about the world.

Everything is up in the air for you. You just go where the wind takes you.

You see things how they are, and luckily, things are pretty great. You are an optimistic realist.

You need to understand what's going on with someone before you can truly empathize with them.

Peeps are just nasty ... :::shudders::: ... but this quiz is pretty close to right.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting the Shakes to Save

I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living. ~John D. Rockefeller

Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift? ~Cicero

I'm already getting a little fixated on the challenge of couponing, so I can see how some of those ladies (and gents) on the Extreme Couponing show can get so crazy. Last night, I heard the "thump" of our once a week local paper being delivered. I was already in my jammies, but I very nearly ran out to grab it so I could read the store circulars and see if I had any coupons to make stuff free or nearly free. I resisted, but just barely. Still, it was on my mind enough that I dreamed about coupon shopping last night.

Yesterday, I found a deal at one of the coupons/deals sites I 'like' on Facebook, promising free after coupon Reach toothbrushes at CVS. I went in with my coupons, but their sale price didn't match that of the site's, so I left empty-handed.

I did, however, get a free-after-rebate bag of The World's Best Cat Litter ($9.99 savings!), so my day wasn't a total loss.

Seriously folks, I'm jonesing for my Sunday paper... I can't WAIT to see the coupon flyers. It's a little scary.

As a side note, though: Lowe's is giving away a small tree to any customer on Saturday, 4/23 in honor of Earth Day and also (at least in my neck of the woods) has their tomato and pepper plants on sale, 2 packs/$1!! It's WAY too early to plant those here, but I can buy them and keep them in my spare bedroom for a couple of weeks.


I need to add a couple more scenes to "Now and Forever" to make the fall into love a bit more realistic for my couple. I'm not sure what I'm going to add or where. I've been thinking about it over the last couple of days. I just know it needs doing. AND the end needs fixing, which I already knew, but again... I'm not entirely certain how I want that fixed. I prefer to end my stories so the reader goes, "Awwwwwwwwwww...." when they finish, and I haven't found that "Awwwwwwww" ending yet.



You Are a Blueberry Smoothie

You have an intricate and accurate memory. In fact, you wish you were able to forget some things.

You aren't one to stick out in a crowd. You're content to hang back and observe.

Whenever someone you love feels a certain way, you can't help but feel that way too.

You don't like to see anyone feeling discomfort or pain. You want to make everyone around you as happy as possible.

About 75% right.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alive and Well

funny pictures - you spelt it rong
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I was admonished by my mom this morning for posting nothing. She was worried and said others might be, too... So, I'm here. I just really had nothing to say. Totally blank.

Alive, well and ... blank.

Hopefully I'll have words tomorrow.


You Are Blessed

You believe that everyone should be given space to do their own thing. You certainly need it!

You have no desire to lead or follow. Anyone is welcome to join you on your journey for a while.

You are shy at first but talkative with people you know extremely well. You open up over time.

You are naturally quite spiritual. You see the bigger picture and where you fit in.

About 75% right.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Harvest!!

It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional. ~Robert Brault

My first garden harvest occurred last night. Yep, that's right, we actually had a vegetable to pick! Remember the tomato plants the chipmunks planted for me in the fall that I brought inside to see if they'd survive?

Look what they gave me:

I know ... one little cherry tomato isn't that impressive, but it was still exciting! Maybe it'll look more impressive close up?

Or from a different angle and different lighting?

In any case, it's a start. DD wanted to split it. Yes, really. The thing was about the width of a quarter... lol...

Speaking of DD, she's now addicted to the show, "Extreme Couponing". We're plotting our shopping strategies and learning where to download printable coupons. I've "liked" several couponing and deals pages on Facebook, and once I finally wrap my brain around how to do this (I'm working on organizing the coupons right now, and deciding whether I want to start a spreadsheet of what coupons I have, how many of each and when they expire) I'm going to be a crazy shopping mama! We do need to figure out how to balance healthy foods with couponing, though, which is no easy task... but I think it's possible.

Because, yanno, I had nothing else to do to keep me busy.


You Are a Basic T-shirt

You are a very humble, low maintenance person. You find contentment easily.

You are easy-going and very social. You like being around other people more than anything else.

Some may accuse you of being lazy, but you just don't work any harder than you need to.

You are happiest when things are kept casual. You think formality is a lot of unnecessary fuss.

And ... almost completely wrong! LOL....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where Did Monday Go?

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once. ~Jennifer Yane

So... I pretty much spent my day sleep-walking yesterday. The night before I'd not been able to sleep well (after the first couple hours -- I CRASHED from about 9:30 - 1:00). Woke up and started thinking about our restaurant bill from the Sunday dinner (DH surprised us and took us out for our bi-annual seafood dinner, lol). It wasn't adding up in my head until I finally just got up and found the receipt.

And then, of course, I was so awake I tossed and turned. So -- I spent the day in a fog, compounded by having a TON of work and some other personal stressors that I won't go into here. Made me a little spacey and cranky. Enough so my DD came downstairs at one point sobbing. "I hate when you're cranky."

I dread the day when she finally goes through puberty -- she's so unbelievably emotional already that I picture her just crying her way through every period.

Anyway, I managed more than four hours of sleep last night, but have out-of-the-house errands planned for much of the day, which puts a wrench in my ability to catch up on work and have DD get her schooling done.

I'm amused when folks assume that, just because I'm *home* that I'm endlessly available to do stuff. Um, homeSCHOOL is just school at home. It doesn't do itself.

And so, thus are the Days of my Life ("like sands through the hourglass...." -- does that show even say that anymore or have they updated themselves to be more mod?).

BTW, I'm trying to visit everyone. I know I say that all the time, and I keep thinking that life will settle down a bit, but no such luck. I WISH I had five minutes to be bored. I'm never bored anymore... but you're all in my reader and I'll get there when I can take a breath.

Have a great Tuesday.


You Are Successful

You are efficient and streamlined. You're always ready to get down to business.

You are goal-oriented. You set goals often, and you almost always meet them.

You are gracious, charming, and downright nice. You truly like other people.

You are authentic and real. When in doubt, you choose to be truthful - even when it hurts.

About 75% right.


Monday, April 18, 2011

The Weekend in Reviews (and Pictures)

The only reason why we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend. ~Chuck Palahniuk

We had a really gorgeous weekend (well... it rained Saturday evening into Sunday morning, but we needed it). I didn't do a lot of gardening, but I did do a lot of walking. Thought I might have overdone it yesterday (had some knee pain) but as soon as I stopped and sat, it went away and it feels fine this morning. YAY.

Lots of bulbs are blooming here -- wish they were thicker, but we're still recovering from the Cunning Voles of Doom from a couple years ago.

We have grape hyacinths

My photo:

DD's artsy-fartsy photo:


My photo:

DD's artsy-fartsy photo:

And these purply-blue things that I don't know what they are

My photo:

DD's artsy-fartsy photo:

I also found the way to alleviate her pack-ratish tendencies: pay her to discard. Yep! I paid her $1 / bag -- to give away or throw away. Also, for books she no longer wants, the donated ones she earns $$, the good ones that go to the UBS I buy her credit, and then her reading books from her homeschool curriculum will go online at eBay and we split the profit (I get some for my time ... I hate listing on eBay).

She wants to start collecting Breyer Traditional sized model horses (she's been doing the Classic size), but they're significantly more expensive, so she's trying to earn money wherever she can.

And her room is getting cleaner by the hour. :-D

How was your weekend?


You Are a Black Leather Jacket

You are a simply happy person. You feel fortunate to have so much light and laughter in your life.

You are sometimes unprepared, and you're fine with that. You prefer to remain open and flexible.

You know how to have a good time. You have something to smile about every day.

You are good at getting people to let loose. You are the fun one in your group.

This is so far from correct it's amazing ...


Friday, April 15, 2011

(Over)thinking Things Through

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

It's amazing how one comment can derail your writing. I've had it happen dozens of times, with dozens of stories, and it's occasionally a small thing that I then fixate on and can't get past.

I used to belong to a crit group where I was the only romance author -- the rest were either literary authors or mystery authors (without romantic elements). Two of the group were men.

While I credit a great deal of my growth as an author to them, and truly miss being part of the group, it also messed with my mind on a regular basis. Genre fiction is completely different than literary fiction, so frequently the crits, at least when they pertained to plot, weren't really applicable. Still, I'd grab hold of something they said and gnaw on it like a starving dog with a bone.

Overthink much?

It's happening again with a couple of my stories that have gone out for crits. And, while thinking through things isn't a bad thing necessarily, it can be if it keeps you from moving forward.

So, after gnawing on a couple of things lately, I think I'm going to have to go with my gut. Move forward and hope that my gut is right. But it's going to be something I worry about from here on out ... and heaven help me if (assuming it's published) a reviewer nit-picks any of those things I've spent the last few days agonizing about and second-guessing.


In any case, I'm waiting on one more set of crits for "Now and Forever" so I can finish up my edits and move one step closer to submission. After that will come the Dreaded Synopsis.


In other news, I think I'm planting my chard and spinach seeds this weekend... spinach in the pots and chard in my front flower garden. I think I have most of my perennials popped up enough that I know where things are now, so it should be safe.

Yay spring!

And, check out a few of the earrings I'll be putting up on DistinctivelyDD today -- DD's into dangles lately:


You Are Dramatic

Witty and talkative, you entertain with your stories and gossip. You know how to delight a crowd.

No matter what, you're the life of the party or conversation. And you like to be talked about.

You enjoy the honeymoon phase of friendships and relationships, but after that it's hard for you to stick around.

Life is too short to be bored! When you get in a rut, you immediately shake things up.

Uh.. no. That's so not me. I just like chocolate...


Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Question, Wildlife and Dogs

Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable. ~Plato

I'm doing a random poll today ... okay, I admit it's not THAT random, but still.

Do you think it's believable that grown men in their 20s and early 30s, siblings from a blue collar family, would still rough house? Would you find it odd to see one tackle the other and wrestle on the front lawn? This is outside of physical sports (like football and hockey) where you would expect it.

I'm curious to hear your response.


My battle with wildlife in my gardens has already begun. Around my well pump I have piles of spring bulbs, mostly daffodils and tulips. Two days ago, I went to check them out and found deer prints in the soil and ALL My tulips eaten down to nubs.


And so it begins.

Lest I forget that we do live out in the wild, last night upon our return home from agility class (it was dark) we returned to a moose in our yard. Moose are really, really, really big. Truthfully, unless you've seen one IRL, you can't begin to understand how huge they are.

More, they have pretty much no fear, not of people, cars, dogs... so you sit and watch them stroll away.

They are truly amazing. We haven't had a moose in my yard (that I've seen anyway) for many, many years. I honestly hope we don't again. They're quite intimidating.


A recipe for disaster: last night as the agility classes were turning over (advanced goes out one door, intermediate comes in another) two of our "reactive" dogs decided to ... um.... react.

One is a pit bull who loves people, likes about half the dogs she knows, but has zero tolerance for other alpha females. Her owner is about 5'2" and the dog is about 70 lbs of solid muscle.

The other is a lab mix, ditto the above. Loves people (in fact one of her favorite people is my DD ... the dog cries when she sees her), tolerates many dogs, but has no tolerance for any kind of bad behavior on the part of other dogs. Her owner is fairly tall (about 5'6") but very slim and the dog is about 90 lbs of solid muscle.

They saw each other, coming and going last night. The pit recognized an alpha female and starting barking, the lab was having none of that and responded in kind. Both dogs dug in and headed for each other, dragging their owners... oh boy. I happened to be close enough to the lab (who I trust completely not to tag me ... I don't know the pit that well, she's pretty new to class), so I grabbed hold of her and helped drag her away. But WOW! It was incredibly intense.

The dogs were all wound up yesterday. I suspect it was because of the rain... they hadn't been able to get their wiggles out during the day. It made for a very interesting class. The busy dogs were busier, the cranky dogs were crankier, the goofy dogs were goofier. Wonder what tonight at the beginning class will hold (aside from me having to push a 80 lb timid Doberman over the walk-it)?

I really do love dogs.


You Are Regular

You are lively and energetic. You are constantly seeking the new challenges.

You are easily inspired and are always coming up with new ideas. You have a lot of enthusiasm.

You stay adaptable and flexible. You want to be agile and ready for anything.

You are a rule breaker to the extreme. You get a thrill from pushing boundaries and breaking taboos.

About 75% right ...


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quackie's Return

“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” - Orson Welles

We drove past our neighboring pond yesterday and, though it's still partly frozen, it has an occupant: Quackie is back.

I have mixed feelings about Quackie's return. I admit to enjoying watching him paddle around and just be a duck, but as noted in my post (linked above to his name -- do give it a read), he's alone and it breaks my heart.

Do I go knock on those people's door and offer to get them more ducks? Do I hope Quackie finds his own mate -- or at least some wild mallard friends? Other waterfowl stop by occasionally on their trips to wherever: Canadian geese, mallards and the occasional heron. But they don't stay. And when they ARE there, Quackie hangs out with them and just seems so happy.

He needs a flock. Birds aren't meant to be alone.

I hope this is the year Quackie gets his HEA.


You Are a Green Cell Phone

You are down to earth, calm, and practical. You are content with your life.

You don't need the latest and greatest toys. In fact, you've sometimes wondered if we're too dependent on cell phones these days.

You are happiest when you're out in nature or at home doing simple tasks. Your inner peace really glows.

You are community minded and socially aware. You know that it's not just all about you.

That's about right.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

A dream has power to poison sleep. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Mutability"

I'm totally blank this morning -- random and a bit tired. Have been having odd dreams (which is the norm for me, really), like the one about the giant tomato plant ("Feed me, Seymore!") that was covered with green tomatoes, but all the tomatoes had wasp eggs on them (the white wasp eggs that are usually on the tomato worms).

In the dream I was facing not only pruning the plant (and it didn't want to be pruned), but washing off every single tomato, carefully so it wouldn't fall off the plant.

I've also had my waiting tables dream -- one I usually have when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I was a good waitress... I'm not bragging, I really was -- but in my dream, I have so many tables I can't keep up, and I forget things and my customers aren't taken care of. It's incredibly stressful and I wake up exhausted.

I could really get into having a night's sleep where I just SLEEP and wake up rested. *sigh*

Do you have vivid dreams?


You Are Focused

You refuse to give in when you're set on accomplishing your goal. You are ambitious.

You don't mind putting in the hours, especially if the payoff is good.

You are a loner and prefer to keep to yourself. You love solitude.

A bit shy and introverted, you tend to stay quiet - even if you're feeling social.

About 90% right.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Oh! I'm Blogging ...

... at the Marianne's blog today.

Come by and keep me company -- I'm talking about why I read romance.

My Weekend Recap

Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

Busy weekend.

It was gorgeous out, so I spent most of the time clearing billions of leaves from my gardens. And, no, I'm not exaggerating. DH decided to de-thatch the lawn last evening, so there was much raking involved... though it made for lots of "homemade straw" to use as mulch in my veggie garden when I can finally plant (probably another month).

We walked a lot, too, and my knee held up. So far, so good! I still can't kneel on it, or squat without pain, but I can bend it almost full range, and walking is a breeze. Baby steps.

I'd planned on planting my cold crops, but didn't get a chance. Maybe today (it's going to be in the 70s) -- we'll see. The temps are going to drop again tomorrow, so if I want to get out and do stuff today is the day.

In the "cute notes from DD" file, I've added this:

And in the "public grammar errors" file, I've added this (it really irritated me -- who knows why this is wrong?):

I got one set of edits back on "Now and Forever" but haven't had a chance to go through them yet (the curiosity is killing me). In the "good news" column, she said she laughed through much of it, so that's a start!

That was my weekend... how was yours?


You Are a Pink Martini

You're eager to lend a sympathetic ear and likely to develop a deep connection with people.

You are an idealistic and romantic person. You have a very clear idea of how you'd like the world to be.

It hurts you to see anyone or anything in pain. You are thin-skinned and empathetic.

You are very sensitive. You tend to get easily hurt, and you have learned to protect your heart.

Um .... not so much. It's maybe 25% right. Maybe. Partly because I couldn't answer the way I would on some... like the "skiing" question. They didn't have, "I wouldn't be caught dead on a ski slope." ::shrugs::


Friday, April 08, 2011

I'm Stylish!

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him. ~Leo Aikman

Dru Ann gave me an award!

I don't feel particularly stylish (I say, sitting here in my jammies!), but thanks, Dru!

The rules for accepting this award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award on

Now ... I'm trying to think of seven things y'all don't know about me that are kosher to share in public. *G*


1. I eat cooked spinach with mayonnaise... which is especially odd because I don't really LIKE mayo. I never put it on my sandwiches, etc., but spinach and artichokes cry out for mayo. Listen to them next time ... I swear you'll hear: "Eat me with mayo."

2. I'm always cold. Unless it's 110 degrees out with humidity, I'm shivering. I wear flannels to bed every night, even in June. My doc says it's partly due to having low blood pressure, so there's not much I can do (save eat LOTS of salt... *G*). DD, OTOH, is always warm. I've stopped buying her winter clothes: long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, etc. She never wears them. Made for interesting times when she was a baby, because the doc always said to dress her how I would dress, so there were occasions I'd look at her and her face would be beet red with sweat rolling down while I was shivering. Poor kidlet.

3. I know how to milk goats. I had goats growing up, showed and raised goats for 4H, briefly. I wish I had a goat now, but DH says no. *sigh*

4. I don't drink milk. I don't LIKE milk. I like milk products: yogurt, cheese, ice cream. But I can't stand the taste of milk. :::shudders::: This is something that distresses both my DH and my DD's doctor. DH because he was raised to think that "milk does a body good" and my DD's doctor because I never gave her milk to drink and they were sure she wasn't getting enough calcium. First: she and I both take supplements. Second: there are plenty of other foods that contain calcium (and, in fact, your body absorbs less calcium from milk than it does from vegetable sources). Occasionally, I use the bone meal I buy for Dakota's food (don't worry -- it's human grade) in food that I cook. I'd be willing to bet I know more about food and nutrition than DD's doc...

5. I'm a study in opposites: I love to talk to people and spend time with them, but I also NEED time alone. When I'm out, I gab with anyone and everyone. I know most of the clerks at the stores I go to regularly, for instance, and enjoy chatting. But if I don't get enough time away from people I start acting like a grizzly bear with a prickle in its paw.

6. I hate camping. I think it can be traced back to when I was younger and we "got back to nature". We lived out in the boonies with no electricity, no running water, no phone ... and initially, no house. We slept in a tent until we finally got a little bitty trailer and my step-dad built a shed for us kids to live in. Our "running" water was a hose he ran from the spring up the hill from us down into the trailer. We used an outhouse, showered with an army shower in the summer and spit baths in the winter. I did my homework by kerosene lamp and once set my pillow on fire when it fell on the little gas heater by my bed. So, yeah ... camping isn't any fun for me. I got it all out of my system back then.

7. I don't understand most womens' attraction to fancy shoes, purses and other accessories. I see posts on Facebook and on blogs, etc. about "I have to have these shoes!" and a picture of 6" stilettos and all I can think is: give me my sneakers any day. I carry a fanny pack -- one I've had for years. I own maybe eight pairs of shoes, and only two are "dress" -- both flats.

I'm passing on the award to:

Angelina Rain (someone who LIKES camping!)

Maria Zannini (whose husband lets her have chickens and goats)

MJ Fredrick (who stays warm down in TX)

Liz Fichera (a desert dweller ... lucky girl)

Let me know when you post so I can come see what you say about yourselves!


You Are Old Navy

You are a wholesome person. You live a low-key, low drama, and healthy life.

You are emotionally stable. You understand what matters most, and you prioritize well.

You know where you're going in life... and why you're going there. Social pressure doesn't get to you.

You are dependable and trustworthy. Your friends know that you're solid and true.



Thursday, April 07, 2011

This and That Thursday

Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox

First, let me address a couple questions / comments from yesterday.

Angelina, I used the word "fired" from Samhain for lack of a better one. Basically, any author who hadn't been contracted by them in two years was told that they had to go through the slush pile again. I suspect this one an effort to free up their editors a little. Don't know -- I do know that a BUNCH of authors were affected. They aren't saying I can't ever go there again, they're just saying I can't go through my editor. Truthfully, I'm not that concerned. The editor they had me with had never actually edited for me before... I went through a bunch of editors there as mine kept leaving and I was reassigned. This might be a blessing, truly, as my previously assigned editor kept saying she was looking for GLBT erotica most, and that is certainly not what I'm writing. Maybe I'll find a better match this way.

Brandy and Dru, I might submit other places besides Samhain. I'd like to keep the series together but they might not want the story. I have a few other publishers in mind as well, which is always a good thing, but I'll go to Samhain first. I have another story I'm working on that isn't part of that series that I may submit elsewhere first.

In other news, my manuscript went off to two people yesterday. This is always the hard part, especially since I really hadn't sent this out in pieces first. Way back when I actually was part of an organized crit group, I'd usually have had the story critiqued in chapterlong bites first, so doing it this way is a little nervewracking.

We had a gorgeous, sunny -- though incredibly windy and cold -- day yesterday, and it looks like we're having another one today. Maybe I'll have a chance to get outside soon and clear out all the leaves and such from my gardens. I did it a little bit in the places I know I have daffodils, so they could grow (they're about 6" tall and have buds now, yay!), but there's a lot more work to be done. It's also about time to plant seeds for my annuals and my veggies. I should be able to put in my "cold" crops like peas and spinach in the next couple of weeks, and then mid-to-end of May I can put in everything else.

I love warm weather. I really with DH wasn't so attached to snowy winters...


You Are Reflective

You don't expect perfection. You accept yourself, flaws and all. You are good enough!

You are proud of what you know how to do. And you know that you're improving every day.

You tend to keep good news to yourself... or only share it with a few very close to you.

You are self-sufficient and don't need many friends to live a happy life. You are very private.

Mostly right.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011


"One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating." --- Niyi Osundare

So ... those of you on Facebook know this, but I finally finished the first draft of "Now and Forever", the "Kitchen Matches" sequel. I'm relieved. It's been weighing on me and, to be honest, I probably shouldn't have taken the time because I'm SO backed up on other work (like six book videos I need to make), but it was like an itch ... and it kept getting worse and worse until it was almost painful, so I had to scratch it.

I'm going to give the first draft the once over and then send it to a couple of victims volunteers who've offered their eyeballs. Then... it's time to submit. Since Samhain "fired" me because it's been more than two years since I contracted anything with them, I no longer have an editor there and have to go back through the slush pile. Blech. Oh well... maybe that'll keep me writing so it doesn't happen again.

I'll be tackling the next sequel to "Kitchen Matches", currently titled "Drive Me Crazy" which is about half done already. Then? I have no idea what I'll work on (though there IS one more Weathers brother who is unattached).

My DD has finally decided she likes model horses. It was a passion of mine growing up, and even into adulthood. I collected them, I showed them, etc. I still have all my horses and dragged them out of DD to take a look at. They're shelved now -- they're old and pretty valuable because of their age and nearly perfect condition -- but I told her if she decides to show them, she can use mine, too. Her birthday is coming up and all she wants is horses and model horse stuff (jumps, barns, tack).

I wonder if she'll finally start reading all my horse books, too? Of course, at her age I also owned a real live horse, so I was probably a bit more crazy than she is!


You Are Art

You are a vibrant person who can't help but leave a mark on the world. You want to create something amazing.

Your dreams (and daydreams) are active and colorful. Anything and everything can be art for you.

You are an active and impulsive person. You love to work with your hands and make beautiful things.

You are easily inspired, and your flame burns brightly. You definitely have an artist's temperament.


I never took art in school. I *wanted* to be an artist, but didn't have that special something that made what I did amazing. So I write instead. :-)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Driving in Massachusetts

It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road. ~Author Unknown

I had to do something yesterday that I haven't done in ... ten years? Drive into Massachusetts.


The last time I drove past exit one (I admit to going into Tyngsboro to visit Trader Joe's, but that's barely across the border) was when I had a friend visit who wanted to see Boston. Lest you think I drove into Boston, let me disabuse you of that notion. I drove into Andover where there is a "T" station and we took the "T" into town.

I like Boston. I completely enjoyed walking the Freedom Trail and visiting various places. I don't like driving in Boston. Not only are the people plumb crazy down there, but the highways are confusing and the traffic is bad no matter what time of day. I'd love to take DD down to visit the Museum of Science or Franklin Park Zoo, but I can't face the drive.

Yesterday, though, my SIL was dropping off her vehicle to get a moon roof put in and needed someone to drive her home. This place didn't have a key drop, so she had to go during the day, which dramatically limited the number of people who could help. She wasn't going to Boston, or I would have had to draw the line. Even so, I was terrifically stressed by the idea.

Thankfully, we made it there and back in one piece (obviously), but holy cow -- I've gotten spoiled living in small town New Hampshire. At two in the afternoon we STILL hit places with bumper-to-bumper traffic. I nearly pulled over and kissed the "Welcome to New Hampshire (Bienvenue!)" sign when crossed the border.

It's good to be home to rural-ish New Hampshire.

Do you like driving in the city?


You Are Reasonable

You have a strong sense of responsibility. You always want to do the right thing, no matter the context.

You are orderly and organized. You appreciate the stability routine brings to your life.

You are simply a good person. You have high standards you uphold, but you don't boast about your morals.

You expect a lot of yourself, but you're tolerant of others. You know that no one can be perfect.

That's actually pretty close ... maybe 90% right. Huh. All that from a color.


Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday Meandering

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso

We had a pretty decent weekend... fairly quiet, which is always a good thing. DD had her art show last week. I wasn't impressed with the projects this time, but the class is for a wide range of ages and this time it included some very young kidlets, so the projects were not as complicated.

I did like the idea behind this handprint:

But her mosaic wasn't as difficult as last time:

And then there was this odd modernistic collage:

And a study of complimentary colors:

Still, she had fun so I suppose that's what matters -- not turning her into the next Monet.


I read an excerpt of a book last week that nearly made me cry. The premise sounded interesting, but the writing was so poorly done and edited that, considering the excerpt was supposed to intrigue me and cause me to buy the book, it failed and also made me want to slap the editor first, then the author.

It went something like this, in part:

Martha ran down the trail. Martha loved to run in the mornings. It was pretty, and clear and the air was fresh. Mornings were her favorite part of the day. She was so involved in her enjoyment she didn't see the knife flash down. She didn't see it cut her throat, or the enjoyment on the face of the man who attacked her.

Sadly, I'm not exaggerating.

Those of you who are readers only were probably a bit bored. Those of you who are also writers should see several errors in this finished product.

First, it's all "telling". Apparently this author missed the lesson on "show don't tell".

Second, it slips from third person POV (Martha's) into some odd omniscient narrative, which is a no-no. Head-hopping isn't great IMHO, but in this one we don't have a second head we hop into ... we just get told what's happening by the author. If Martha "didn't see" what was going on, she couldn't relay it to us.

I nearly screamed in frustration. First, this author should have done her homework. But in the absence of that, her editor should have either NOT contracted this work or TAUGHT her the correct way to write this. Shame on both of them.

Something like this is how it should have looked for publication (I'm writing this off the cuff, so it's not perfect):

Martha's feet thumped the dirt as she ran. She filled her lungs with the crisp, cool morning air and smiled as she made her way down the winding path. Was there anything better than a morning jog through the woods? She didn't think so.

A snap of a twig was the only warning she got before the knife swung down and sliced the tender skin below her chin. The pain burned and she stumbled on the path, grabbing her throat with one hand in an attempt to stop the blood pouring from the wound. The last thing she saw as she fell was the look of glee on her attackers face.

It's a shame. Truth is, a good editor is the best thing any writer can have.


You Are a Kiwi

You're a very outgoing person. You start each day excited about the people you'll see and meet.

You're the type of person who's just comfortable around others. You are a very social creature.

You are quite opinionated. You can't help but have a view on everything, and you don't mind sharing it!

You are prepared for whatever comes your way in life. You plan for the worst and expect the best.

The first part, not so much, but the second half is right on.


Friday, April 01, 2011

Spring in New England

First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus -
Crocus. ~Lilja Rogers

We "welcomed" a nor'easter to our neck of the woods last night. Predictions were 6 - 12" of snow. I wish I could say I was playing an April Fool's joke on you, but ... no.

This was what I was enjoying just yesterday:

And this was my yard yesterday:

I stuck the camera out the back door this morning. Here's my backyard today:

I admit, the trees are pretty when they're covered in snow:

To give you an idea of how much has fallen, check out the piles on my railing:

And it's still coming down. Whee.

How's spring in your area? Have a great weekend!


Sorry ... another stupid quiz today. Hopefully next week's quizzes will be better!