Welcome to Weird Weekend

Source: http://sheldoncooper.org/

When I was in grade school, I was the weird one.  Were you?  I was the one who read too much, asked the questions that made the teacher stammer, and was always out of step with what was hip or cool because I was too busy thinking up new stories, wondering which superpower I’d most like to have, or watching a spider spin a web.  I pondered if there really were aliens, or gods, or ghosts like the ones I read about in books, or saw chasing me down my upstairs hallway.

Did I mention I read way too much?  Is there such a thing?  I was reading Robert Heinlein and Anne McCaffrey when most girls my age were reading Nancy Drew or Judy Blume.  Robert E. Howard’s Conan and random copies of John Norman’s Gor series also found their way into my collection at an early age.  I’m grateful my parents never really knew just what was between those pages.  I loved the show ‘In Search Of’ hosted by Leonard Nimoy.  I was fascinated by ancient myths, and the legend of Atlantis.

 

 

 

Today, my interests find multiple outlets, and since writing is one of them, I’d love to share with you on the weekends, some of the things I love most about the supernatural, paranormal and extraterrestrial.

The paranormal is a close, personal friend.  As a psychopomp I help release earthbound spirits, as a Reiki Master-Teacher I offer energetic healings to my friends, family and loved ones.  I really enjoyed sharing these experiences through this blog, and loved reading your remarks and comments.  Like my dog-training Wednesdays, though, my paranormal postings need some expansion, hence the Weird Weekend.

Today let me introduce you to two favorites of mine in the book world:

Graham Hancock, author of Supernatural:  Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, Fingerprints of the Gods, The Message of the Sphinx and many more.  I really enjoy Graham’s writings; thought provoking, challenging and controversial, he also hits on my beloved topics of ancient civilizations, other dimensions and realms, and so much else!  If you’ve ever wondered if there might be something to the old legends of Atlantis, or floods.  If you’ve puzzled over the remnants of what seem to be anomalously high tech ruins such as the pyramids, or the lost cultures of Central and South America, then you will want to read Graham Hancock.  He proposes that an unknown, advanced civilization flourished ages ago, at the end of the last ice age, and then backs it up with solid, scientific evidence.  I’ve never been disappointed in one of his books.

 

Tiwanaku, Bolivia. Those temple steps are 30 feet wide, each one a solid piece of rock. Source: http://www.crystalinks.com/tiwanaku.html

 

In the fiction realm, if you don’t know her already, let me introduce you to Jacqueline Carey.     From the first pages of Kushiel’s Dart, I was hooked.  Lush and decadent, reading one of Ms. Carey’s novels is like sinking into a vast, intoxicating cloud.  Vivid imagery, rich characters and beautifully intricate plots will lure you in and never let you go.  Her main character, Phedre no Delaunay is sold into a pleasure house at the age of 5, and rises to become friend and advisor to her queen as well as one of the most celebrated courtesans of the realm.  Do you like your fantasy richly detailed and extra spicy?  You will want to check out Jacqueline Carey.

No blog exploring the paranormal would be complete without mentioning Coast to Coast AM hosted by George Noory.  George Knapp, Ian Punnett and John B. Wells also host through the month.  If it’s weird, you’ll hear about it on Coast to Coast.  Often times, they’ll break news that I won’t hear on my local stations for days, or even weeks later.  Colony Collapse Disorder in bees?    Heard about it on C to C.  Aliens?  Did you want to talk about Roswell?  Or Rendlesham Forest?  Just keep listening and you’ll eventually hear it all.  Conspiracy theories?  The Face on Mars?  Jim Marrs and Richard C. Hoagland are frequent guests.

I am geeky enough that I download the podcasts to listen at my leisure.  I even managed to make it on to the annual Ghost to Ghost Halloween show last year, telling about one of my ghostly encounters.

Are you looking for something out of the ordinary?  Are you interested in things most people claim could never be?  Tell me what you want to know about, let me know what fascinates you about the supernatural.  What have you heard go bump in the night?

Welcome To Wild Wednesday

Usually on Wednesday I post dog-training articles.  Lately though I’ve been including posts on my growing chickens and spring gardening and I’ve been considering including some of my animal training stories from my zoo days.

The dog-training themed Wednesday posts needed some expansion, and thus the inspiration for Wild Wednesday.  If it’s about animals, animal training or the environment, I’ll be writing about it.

Dark Brahma chick
Two week old egg-layers

The chicks are chicks no longer, and the garden is growing along.  The fuzzy little balls of fluff now more closely resemble the dinosaurs they’re related to, with a crazy mix of real feathers, old down and bare skin.  Scaly, too long legs and protruding eyes make them ugly cute.  When I watch them establishing their pecking order, flapping their tiny wings and bobbing and weaving, facing off with their sisters, I can’t help but think of their extinct relatives.  It makes me wonder just how old the behavior rituals I’m watching really are.

The Cornish Crosses, also 2 weeks old.

 

The Cornish Crosses on 4/25/12

 

 

We’ve separated the meat birds from the egg-layers, and moved them into the outdoor pen.  It doesn’t matter how many articles I read about the incredible growth of these Cornish crosses, I am amazed at how big they are.  At just a few days over a month old they are more than double the size of the egg-layers hatched the same day.  They have blossomed too, being able to scratch in the dirt, eat grass and bugs and in general, act like chickens, has them bobbing and wing-flapping like their smaller sisters.

 

A Partridge Rock 4/25/12

 

Dark Brahma 4/25/12

We’ve been graced here in the Northwest with some glorious spring weather lately, in a much appreciated pattern; beautiful, warm, sunny weekends, with off-and-on showers during the week.  In Seattle?  I know, right?  Shocking!  Seems we’re getting the benefit of the climate change train at this point in time.

I added some pretty to the temporary herb garden.  Love me some pansies, dahlias, and gerbera daises.  I’m loving the location, but I’m not so sure the plants will.  I know it’s still early, but they’re not getting sun until about 1:00 p.m.  That’ll change I know, just not sure if it’s going to be full enough sun for herbs or flowers.

 

I am helpless against herbs and veggie starts, and, okay, plants, at a nursery, but I also really enjoy starting seeds.  It is so reinforcing to watch those baby plants poke out of the soil.  I swear last weekend I watched the things grow; checked them in the morning and they were barely nosing above ground, checked them in the evening and there were two proud leaves spreading toward the light on almost all of my carefully prepped soil.  Look at them now, just a week after breaking ground.

I also went through a bunch of old pics, and scanned a few in.  Here’s me, with an old friend; Akela helped inspire my first novel.  Don’t worry, I’ll be filling you in on that too in the near future.

Are you a seasoned gardener or a newbie?  Are you looking for animal training tips?  Do you just plain love animals like I do?  Do you long for fresh eggs, and the delicious taste of fresh fruit and veggies out of your own yard, but are afraid to take the huge step of keeping your own chickens or starting your own garden?  Then come on in!  Drop me a note, let me know your thoughts and ideas.  I really love hearing from all of you!

 

Please keep in mind that all pictures are under copyright to me, and except for Akela’s pic were taken by me.  I request that you ask before using.  Thank you!

My Oldest Friends

Do you re-read books?  I do.  They’re like old friends that I visit with from time to time.  The words run across the page, filling my mind with welcome, familiar images, but it’s the emotions they evoke that really capture me, and bring me back again and again.

Lately I’ve been reading and re-reading some of my favorite books for research.  Jane Austen, Robert Heinlein and Edgar Rice Burroughs have all been in the rotation.  Recently, I needed some insights into character dialogue, so I went to one who excelled at witty banter between clever and believable characters, Georgette Heyer.

Are you familiar with Georgette Heyer?  If you write romance or read romance you need to check out her Regency novels.   Blazoned across the top of each tattered copy I own, ‘Hers set the style for all the rest.’  It’s true!  Georgette led me to Jane Austen, and every other Regency romance is measured against their standards.

Since she was writing in the 1920’s, her language may seem stilted or difficult to follow to more modern readers.  Some of her sentences become very involved, and as familiar as they are, I find myself having to go over them once or twice to get the gist of what she’s saying.  But that is their charm, and what draws you in.  She takes you into the world of fashionable London during the reign of the Prince Regent.  From 1811 – 1820, or 1795 – 1837, depending on how you’re slicing it, the Regency period in England is the transition between the Georgian and Victorian eras.  When you read Georgette Heyer, you sink into this lost era, the one that brought us Lord Byron and Mary Shelley.

If you want character development, clever twists, and just plain fun, you cannot do better than to read Bath Tangle, the one I just finished tonight.  Lover’s triangles, high society, and the lovingly detailed backdrop of Bath, England are blended together charmingly in this frothy romp.

I was looking for arguments, conflicts and fiery exchanges between characters that are desperately in love with each other and trying just as desperately not to show it.  Through Lady Serena Carlow and the Marquis of Rotherham, Ms. Heyer dishes up some delightfully spicy fights.  Plenty of flame and passion, yet these characters…wait I don’t want to spoil it!  Read it and let me know what you think.

My old friends inspire me to be a better writer.  I try and write the kind of stories I want to read, and to recapture that sense of wonder I spend time with those stories that have moved me, elated me, made me cry, and made me laugh.  I find there are no better teachers.

Do you re-read old favorites?  Or go through books once, and then never look back?  What writers have inspired you?

Spring Gardening

I’ve been busy NOT writing.  At first, I was stressing, because I wasn’t doing it ALL!  You know, 10 pages a day on the WIP, blogging multiple times a week, social media socializing, AND raising a bunch of baby chickens, getting my garden started, plus that little day job and keeping the house running, keeping Hub happy.  Does the list ever end?  What’s a multi-tasking, writer/Reiki Master-Teacher/blogger supposed to do?

I went to play outside.

Here’s some of the planting I did:

It doesn’t look like much now.  But that green mist on the left is actually two rows of carrots.  The skinny green spires are onions, and I’ve sown more carrot seeds on the right.  Those are still under a cold frame at night.  Behind them are garlic, some spinach and lettuce seedlings.  At the far back, bush and pole beans.  So Yummy!

 

 

I’m toying with the idea of putting in an herb garden.  One of those that’s just packed with plants, no stuffy borders, just the plants making a showy display.  So I’m experimenting with the spot I’m thinking of, and I put in a bunch of herbs in pots to see how they do.

 

Yeah, I’m dangerous in a nursery.  I have to avoid them or I just end up with more plants.

My garden just was too tempting to resist.  I find gardening rewarding on so many levels; first, I’m out getting exercise, always a plus!  It’s also a very meditative and spiritual practice; it helps connect me to the earth and the seasonal cycles by planting and nurturing growing things.  I love watching them grow.  It helps keep me grounded, and I always offer Reiki to my garden and chickens when I’m out there.  Some of my best insights, and writing inspiration have come to me while I was out in my garden.  Today was gloriously sunny and gorgeous, I even had to put on sunscreen! My chickens were loving the sun too!

No, they’re not dead, they’re dust-bathing!  They have a grand time flinging the dry, loose dirt over themselves, and they kind of coo with pleasure while they’re doing it.

Hub and I also put the baby chickens outside for the first time.  They learned about sunshine, and grass, dirt and rocks, and bugs.  Now they’re all sacked out, tired and happy.

 

Hard to believe these dinosaur looking birds were once these tiny balls of fluff!

 

Hey, I managed to get some writing done after all!  I love weekends like this!

How did your weekend go?  Were you enjoying the sun?  Running around with friends?  Hanging out with your kids?  Hope that it was awesome!

 

 

Eleven Questions

Just when I was needing some inspiration for getting back into my blog, I was tagged by the talented Rachel Funk Heller for the Eleven Questions Game.  You will definitely want to check out her blog and read the answers to her eleven questions.  Here’s her answer to number 4; I want to be at this dinner:

“4. You can invite any three people in the world for a dinner–anyone alive. Who are your guests?
Bill Moyers, Rachel Maddow, and Sting”

Here’s how the game is played:

1.    You must post the rules. 
2.    Answer the questions on your blog. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3.    Tag eleven people and link to them.
4.    Let them know you’ve tagged them

So, here’s what you’ve all been wanting to know about me:

What is your favorite cruciferous vegetable?  None.  Really, I am not a fan of broccoli, cauliflower, etc. and so don’t eat them.  I even tried broccoli sprouts once, thinking to get the health advantages, and had to feed the bitter things to my hens.  And they weren’t thrilled with them either.

At what age did you realize Santa Claus, might not be real?  I was under the age of 10 because by then I was desperately in love with Han Solo and Santa was definitely a kid thing.  I don’t remember though if I was 8 or 9 when I realized that Santa used the same wrapping paper as Mom.  Hmmmmm.

Where is the worst place you have ever made whoopee?  In a very prickly thicket, with only a thin blanket on the ground.  Ex-boyfriend thought it was ‘romantic’ to do it outdoors.  Sure, fine, but fewer sticks underneath would’ve made it a lot more comfortable.

What is your favorite rodent?  Rats.  Really, I’ve had multiple pet rats.  They are very affectionate if raised right, and highly trainable.  Pet rats come in lots of varieties and color schemes.  I mean come on…isn’t that cute?

 

List your five favorite letters of the alphabet.  In no particular order:  H, I, J, K, and L.

If you could be a Spice Girl, which one would you be?  Probably Sporty Spice, I would love to be able to do backflips.

If you were a super hero, what is your super hero name and your special power?  My special power would be talking to animals, and my name would be Chatterbox.  I would wander the streets chatting up the pets of your favorite celebrities and then blog about all their deepest and darkest secrets.

What is your Drag Queen name? Take the name of your first pet, and the name of the first street you lived on.  Inky Regatta, which conjures up all sorts of images.  Hmm, I feel a new character coming on…

Boxers or Briefs?  Boxers all the way.

You’ve just made an embarrassing fast dash into an elevator car, after you make it and the door closes, you are panting and out of breath, you look up and there is your favorite celebrity of all time: what do you say?  “Quick Han Solo, tell me again what a scoundrel you are!”  You notice that’s the second time I’ve mentioned him?

What is your favorite Halloween costume of all time?  The chain mail bikini a very old friend made for me one year, worn over my leather bikini, with a swirling cape and trusty sword at my side.  Then I wore it to a Renaissance Faire the next year.  Oh, what fun that weekend was!

So now it’s my turn!  I get to ask the questions, here’s what I want to know about all of you!

Dream vacation anywhere, and I mean anywhere; here on earth, out in the cosmos, favorite fantasy realm or time period, and why?

When did you first realize you were a writer?

How would you like to reach bestselling author status:  traditional publishing, with agent, editor and one of the big 6?  Or go it alone, a-la Amanda Hocking style, self-published all the way?  (If you are already there, which route did you take, and how’d that go for you?)

Last movie you saw, and what’d you think?

You can no longer write!  Gasp!  How do you express your creativity now?

If you could wave a magic wand and fix just one thing, anything you like, be it pollution, politics, or maybe just the way your hair frizzes when there’s too much humidity, what would it be and why?

Is there life after death?  Do you want there to be?

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Who’s on your list?  You know, the exception list, as in:  “Honey, yeah, Han Solo just called and he’s good to go.  You know he’s on my list.”  (Ok, so he’s my favorite example)

You can take a trip, and find out 100% absolutely without a doubt that there is a God, but the process of finding out takes a couple weeks, and involves some risk and personal physical sacrifice and pain.  Would you take the trip?

What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a kid?

Inquiring minds want to know:

Emma Burcart 

Pat O’Dea Rosen

Coleen Patrick

Alica McKenna Johnson

Louise Behiel

Jansen Schmidt

Kara P. Flathouse

Jessica O’Neal

August McLaughlin

Diana Murdock

Deborah J. Hughes  

I look forward to reading all of your answers!  Happy Easter to all, may your day be filled with love, joy and the blessings of your family.

And because I just couldn’t resist:

 

 

It’s So Good To Be Back!

 

Yeah, remember that song, Sister Golden Hair by America?  I always loved this line:

“I’ve been one poor correspondent, and I’ve been too, too hard to find,  but it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind.”

As the song says, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about all of you out there, blog followers, and fellow WANA’ers.  I will be catching up and getting back in the round of reading, following, blogging and tweeting away this week.

Some of the time I was dealing with life issues, some of it I was helping some friends through a few crises, some of it was my own body needing some down time, and demanding it by catching cold.

Mostly though, I needed to step away from writing.  Part of that was my own process in writing my WIP, but I also had a breakdown in my faith in myself.  How many of you out there have had that moment of questioning:  “Is this really worth it?  Can I really make this writing thing work?”

The short answer is yes.  No, I’m not getting paid yet, but in the round of distractions that kept me from the computer, I kept finding my thoughts straying to, ‘oh, I should write that down’, or, ‘that’d make a great blog post.’  I found the direction I needed for the major conflict in my WIP.  I found that even though the words slow down for a while, they always come back.

I recently read an article that said our best solutions come from our unconscious.  When we ‘let go’ of an issue or problem that is bothering us, it frees our subconscious mind to put its supercomputing powers to work.  I have had plenty to take my mind off my writing angst.

What distractions?  I have 26 of them to be exact; chicks arrived!  A little over a week ago, Hub went to the post office and collected our order of chicks.  Yes, post office, they came through the mail from McMurray Hatchery.  And yes, they do just fine without food or water for the trip.  They still have a remnant of yolk sac that provides them with enough nutrition and hydration, so they do not need to eat or drink for the first three days.  This adaptation allows mama chicken to hatch all her eggs, which can take a few days, and then she takes them out of the nest to get food.  It also allows hatcheries to ship live chicks via priority mail.

They have been a handful to care for!  Feeding and watering twice a day, changing their litter, plus all my other animal and people chores meant I fell asleep as soon as I was done eating dinner, at 8:30.  It’s a good thing most of them won’t be around for very long, the 16 meat birds will be ready for the freezer in 2 months.  The 10 egg-layers are going to be the only permanent residents.  Here’s some pics of the little darlings.  They’ve grown amazingly fast just in the first week.

 

 

Check out my feathery feet!

 

We are chicks with 'tude!

 

I’ve also started my garden for the year.  Hub built me my first cold frame:

 

Grow!  Grow!

 

There is sits, with carrots, lettuce and spinach seeds safely tucked underneath and, hopefully, germinating.  This weekend I’ll work on getting my tomatoes, beans, peas and corn going.  I might try peppers too.  Those seeds I’ll start inside though, too cold still for those tender things outside.

 

So hello again to all my friends out there in the CyberWorld!  It’s pretty fast paced out there I know, hope you all remember me.  If not, I’ll remind you!  I’m looking forward to catching up on all of your blogs too!