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Weird Weekend – Kreativ Blogging In The Zombie Apocalypse

Emma Meade  has nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award.  Many thanks to Emma, who shares with me a love of things paranormal.  Emma offers up reviews of books, movies and television shows with a paranormal slant.  So many I couldn’t begin to catch up.  Be sure to check out her blog, especially if you’re looking for your next good read or celluloid adventure.

The rules of the Kreativ Blog award are:  You must thank your nominator and link back to her page, tell your readers seven things about yourself, then nominate seven other bloggers.  Share that blogging love!

Since it is Weird Weekend, I thought I’d share with you some of my weirder experiences:

1.  I used to work in an upscale lingerie and sex toy boutique; entertaining and educational all at once.  I’ll never forget the guy who disappeared into the dressing room to try on women’s latex bondage wear.  He came crawling out on all fours, paused in front of the mirror, patted his behind and asked,  “Do you think my mistress will punish me when she sees me in this?”

2.  I talk to the dead; always have.  Scan back to some of my earliest blog postings.  If you like the scary side, read about this London ghost  but the dead do have a sense of humor, like the one that lived in the house I grew up in.

3.  I am sort of, not really, kinda prepping for the zombie apocalypse.  No walkers are making it into my neighborhood, and my neighbors share my dislike for the undead.

4.  I follow conspiracy theories.  I don’t believe every conspiracy theory, but I enjoy reading about them, and following the author’s research and documentation.  Some of my favorites:  Roswell – I think a UFO really did crash there.  UFO’s in general, abduction phenomena, crop circles, love it!  Remote viewing and the military – Men Who Stare At Goats is watered down, but yeah, I think this one is plausible too.  Not a conspiracy, but Bigfoot, he’s practically a neighbor here in the Pacific Northwest.  Friends of mine swear that they heard one on a motorcycle trip; for a half an hour they could hear it howling and moving about on the side of a mountain.  I believe them!

5.  I’ve had two sort–of near-death experiences.  The first one still vivid to me:  I had multiple high fevers when I was very young.  During one of them, I found myself floating near the ceiling, looking down on my body, lying on the couch.  My mother was kneeling next to me, and her head was down on her arms.  I realized she was crying, and then pop!  I was back in.  The second one, I fell into an empty pool when I worked at the zoo, and was knocked unconscious.  Days later, after the concussion and general fuzziness started to fade, I had this urgency of needing to get out of Southern California, that I had other things I needed to do in this life.  Within months, I’d quit the job I loved and moved to Seattle.  Within a year, I was in nursing school, and within two years, I met the love of my life, now my husband.  It was the start of a spiritual journey that is still unfolding.

6.  I have found that if you tell the universe what you want, she will provide it.  But be careful what you wish for.  Found that out once when dating an ex-Navy SEAL.

7.  I have found that if you approach what angers or scares you with compassion and an honest attempt at understanding, it can effect change not just in you, but also in what you are confronting.

Now, I pass on the Kreativ Blogging Award to these wonderful writers.  Please visit their blogs and say hi:

Tameri Etherton

Melinda VanLone

Lena Corazon

Jansen Schmidt

Susie Lindau

Alicia and Roy Street

Samantha Warren  

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Wild Wednesday – Taming The Wild Garden

A gardener’s work is never done, but even if you let things slide you can still reclaim what you’ve neglected.  I certainly neglected a corner of my garden.  It looked awful; scruffy and overgrown with weeds and grass.

This is half-way tamed.

See how long and luxurious that grass is back behind my grape and trellis?  Now picture that grass spreading all the way across the rest of the picture, surrounding the grapes and filling in wherever there’s dirt.  That’s what I started with, this is about half-way done with getting rid of the grass and weeds.

Have you ever pulled out a thick carpet of healthy grass by hand?  It’s not easy, I definitely got my workout today!  But what to do with all that grass?

Wild Wednesday Chicken Tip:

You can feed your weeds to your chickens, as long as you haven’t used any pesticides or weedkiller around them.  Hub and I call it ‘giving them some chicken salad.’  Okay, maybe that’s only funny to us.  Anyway, chickens love dandelions and grass, luckily two things I have in abundance.  They best part is you don’t even have to knock all the dirt off the roots, they love to scratch through it for bugs!

Araucana chick playing queen of the hill.

It took me all day, but I managed to transform my cluttered, scruffy neglected garden corner into this:

I had stared at that corner for weeks thinking, I gotta do something about that, but wasn’t sure what.  Aside from the obvious need to remove the overgrown sea of grass, I wanted to make it a useable space, but I didn’t know what I wanted there.  I was dealing with other projects, and because I wasn’t ready to do anything with the raised bed in that part of the garden either, I just sort of shrugged my shoulders at it.

As I tugged on grass, sifted the rocks out of the dirt, and carried each and every one of those pavers, it occurred to me that gardening is good for a number of things.

It teaches me that it’s okay to prioritize things.  That corner could have grown quietly for another week or two if need be, and had gone to the wild side while I took care of more critical projects.  Did the heavens fall from my neglect?  Heavens no!  One of the best lessons I ever learned was that perfection is not necessary.  I learned to let go of the obsessive perfectionism of my youth, and it’s done wonders for my stress level.

It keeps me active and physically fit.

It gets me outside, closer to nature.  I’ve learned to appreciate the movements of the seasons, and it gives me a deep sense of spiritual satisfaction to take my garden through the yearly cycle.  Gardening is a very spiritual experience for me, the physical activity is fairly routine, and this frees my mind to practice certain meditative techniques.

I take time to appreciate the beauty surrounding me, and say a little prayer of gratitude.  Does that sound cheesy?  Take a few moments with the flowers in my garden and see if you still feel the same.

I’m kind of into purple and pink, and it shows in a lot of my flower choices.

Gardening also teaches me patience.  Somethings are really worth the wait, the time and the care you put into them.  Even if you don’t get immediate dividends, the waiting itself can be a positive experience.

For example, I started an asparagus bed.

That’s not very exciting at all, is it?  Asparagus is best started as a crown, every little mound there contains one of these little beauties:

Kind looks like one of those face-hugger beasties from Alien, doesn’t it?  I’m lucky to live in a place where asparagus will grow like a weed…once it’s established, which is the tricky part.  You can see I’ve dug down (well to be honest, loving Hub dug the bed for me) made little mounds and lovingly placed each crown on it’s own little pillow of dirt and compost.

Cover them up, water and watch them put up little spears, adding more dirt as they grow upwards until the whole bed is filled in at the end of summer.  I’ll watch them put up little spears, which will turn into little ferny things, waiting for the bed to establish itself.  During that time, I’ll still have to maintain them, keeping their bed weed-free and watered.  I’ll do this for the next three years, only then can I enjoy my delicious, home-grown asparagus.  No, that’s not a typo…three years until I can harvest.  Once that bed is established though, it will produce for up to 30 years.  It’s a good thing Hub and I love asparagus, huh?

One of the best things my garden has taught me, is the value of delayed gratification.  It’s helped me develop my patience and, as odd as it sounds, an appreciation for waiting.  Think about that.  We all spend, or waste, time waiting…in line, at a stoplight.  Do you spend your time building your irritation, and focusing on how tense you are?  What if instead you gave yourself permission to let go of your anger and frustration?  Give yourself permission to take one or two deep breaths, and relax.  Focus on something you’re grateful for…your kids, your husband, your dog, your health, the list goes on, instead of concentrating on how angry you are to be sitting in traffic.

Try this a few times and see if it doesn’t put you in a better frame of mind.  I’m really curious to hear how it works for you!  Please drop me a comment and tell me if you found sitting at stoplights or standing in line a little more bearable if you take a few seconds to breathe, and relax.

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Wild Wednesday – How To Raise Chickens In The City

What You Need To Raise Chickens

 

1 month old Araucana pullet

 

At work, I am affectionately (I think!) known as the Crazy Chicken Lady.  Not many people raise their own meat and egg-producers, and as someone pointed out, “You know, they sell eggs and chicken at the grocery store, you don’t need to go to all this work.”  Yeah, I did know, thanks!  I raise chickens because I really enjoy knowing that some of the food my family and I eat is raised, and killed ethically, treated humanely and that I provide them with the best life possible while they are with me.

But that’s not the only reason…chickens are fun, they give you eggs, they’ll rid your garden of pests, and they’ll eat your weeds.  With the right handling they can even be affectionate.  Really!  Okay, I also know not everyone wants to commit to this level of urban farming, and no worries, it’s not for everyone.

One of my Dark Brahma’s looking like a baby pterodactyl. Complete with ‘prey’ in her beak!

However…if you’ve ever thought you might like to try your hand at chicken ranching in the city, go for it!  I’ll bet you find it’s easier and more rewarding than you thought.  Here’s what you need:

 

  1. Some chickens
  2. A safe place for the chickens to sleep and lay eggs
  3. A safe place for the chickens to spend the day
  4. Chicken food
  5. Water

 

See?  Simple, but, of course there is also the time commitment factor.  Expect to spend some time every day with your flock, feeding, watering, gathering eggs and cleaning their pen.  It’s important to get to know your birds, so spend some time observing their behavior and how they interact.  If you know how your girls act normally you’ll be able to quickly spot if one starts to exhibit signs of stress or illness.  On workdays, I take between 5 and 10 minutes in the morning to let the girls out and make sure feed and water is full for the day.  I take 15 minutes or so in the evening after work to check each one, gather eggs, top off water and food, and close them in for the night.  Weekends and days off I move them to different pens for variety, clean pens and scrub feeders and waterers.

Where do you get your chickens?  I ordered mine from McMurray Hatchery but most feed stores will have live chicks in the spring, or you can search online through places like Craig’s List or even the newspaper will likely have a pet or livestock section.

 

Chicks Or Older Girls?

Ball of fluff?

Or teenager?

This is entirely up to you.  Chicks are fragile and require extra care, can die easily and often without warning or sign of sickness, but they will be the least expensive option.  For best success you should keep them indoors, in a draft-proof pen (I used a large cardboard box) and a heat lamp is a must.  They won’t start to lay until they’re around 4 months old, so you’ll have to be patient, but you’ll get the most eggs out of a bird in her first year or so; after about 2 years, egg production drops off.  Pullets (hens under 1 year) or hens will be anywhere from $8 to $20 per bird, but less likely to die on you spontaneously.  You’ll have the instant gratification eggs almost immediately, but if you buy older girls, you may have slower egg production.  You might consider this a bonus if it’s just you or one other person and you don’t know what you’d do with a bunch of extra eggs.  I just sold my 2 ½ year old hens, 4 of them, to a family that wanted to try chickens but didn’t want to bother with chicks this year.

 

Where Chickens Come Home to Roost

Literally. This is where my chickens roost at night to sleep.

Hens need a henhouse; someplace they can sleep at night, with nest boxes for egg laying.  A henhouse needs to be secure from predators; things like foxes, coyotes, cats, raccoons and even rats love to find henhouses with easy access.  Chickens shut down in the dark.  Their eyesight is poor at night and they know that lots of things out there in the dark like to eat them, so their instinct is to find a safe place to roost when the sun goes down and not move until morning.  If a night-roaming predator makes it into your henhouse, your girls will not have a chance, and the predator will have an easy meal.

Nest boxes should be big enough that your hens can stand up, 12” x 12” x 12” should do.  Make them easy to access for egg collection and cleaning.

Chickens also need some land they can forage around in during the day, but you still need to protect them from wandering predators.  Cats, hawks, roaming dogs are all a danger to your flock.

There are plenty of online chicken supply sites.  Check out places like My Pet Chicken, Omlet, or Backyard Chickens for more information on breeds, chicken coops for sale, plans to build your own coop, feed and equipment.  A plethora of chicken information is available to you.

You should check your local laws regarding keeping chickens in your town.  Some have limits on how many birds you can keep, and many prohibit roosters.  You also want to be a good neighbor; let yours know you plan to add chickens to your yard.  Generally, free eggs help smooth things over.

Luxury! An indoor henhouse, no standing in the rain and snow to clean!

This is my henhouse.  It’s in my garage, so my hens are doubly protected from the elements.  It also means I can clean it in the coldest and wettest seasons and still stay dry.  The nest boxes are on the left, the perches are on the right, and there is a door cut into the garage wall that gives them access to their enclosed run.  The run is roofed over with chicken wire, and it runs on two sides of the garage, giving the girls plenty of room to roam.  They are safely enclosed in the run, and I don’t worry that the neighborhood cats are stalking my hens while I’m at work.  I’ve never,  ***knocks on wood***, lost a bird to predation.  Also, I have two other pens that I can rotate my flock to during the day to give them some variety and a change of scene.

Easy access to nestboxes, and perches.

 

Note how the door to the outdoor run is blocked with the metal bar to prevent any predators from pushing into the henhouse at night.

The litter tray pulls out, making cleaning easy.

 

Feeding.  There are lots, and lots, and lots of commercially available chicken feeds out there.  I give my girls a locally milled, non-GMO, organic feed, but your local feed store should have a good selection or be able to answer any questions.  You can also give your chickens scraps:  left over greens or fruit, plain yoghurt or cottage cheese.  They love to hunt for bugs; if you turn them loose in your yard to forage they will help control pests.  However, if you have delicate or valuable plants, you will want to protect them from scratching chickens.  Laying hens need extra calcium for making shells, be sure to provide plenty of oyster shell (again available at feed stores).  I just fill up a feeder and leave it to the hens to eat it when they need it.  I figure they know better than I when they need more calcium.

Hens drink more water than you think.  Provide them with plenty of fresh water daily.

Enjoy those fresh, delicious and good-for-you eggs!  Read here about why your eggs will be healthier than those produced by factory farm chickens.  Yes, there is a difference!

Have you raised chickens?  What are some of your favorite breeds?  Do you long for some little cluckers of your own?  What else do you think you’d need to make your fowl fancies come true?

I always enjoy reading your comments!  Thank you for stopping by and please share your thoughts with me.

All pictures are taken by and under copyright to me.  Please ask permission before using. Thank you!

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Weird Weekend – Vampires, Werewolves, and Bestsellers, Oh My!

So I’ve got to work on the consistency thing, but it seems that for the first time in a long time I’ve bitten off way more than I can chew.  Getting the garden going, managing feeding, watering and cleaning up after 29 chickens takes up the little time I have after work.  I found myself falling asleep at my computer!

But with the weekend comes extra sleep and some free time, so here is my next Weird Weekend installment.

Source: http://www.dvd-ppt-slideshow.com/blog/get-free-twilight-saga-new-moon-powerpoint-backgroundstemplates/

On my breaks at work, I’ve been reading New Moon.  I’m sure this will cause legions of girls to hate me…but I was not impressed with Twilight, and didn’t get its appeal.  There must be far too many years between me and my angst-ridden teens.  And while I was deep in their throes, yes, I fantasized about odd things, but nothing about snuggling up to an icy cold, sparkly dead guy sounded awesome then or now.  So I mostly yawned through the pages, irritated by Bella perpetual klutziness and self-deprecation and Edward’s arrogance and obsession.

I picked up Twilight in the spirit of research.  I’ve written my own urban fantasy novel about werewolves, and for the two years I was constructing my own world, I avoided the genre.  I’m a hardcore geek, former RPG’er, and life-long sci-fi fantasy reader, watcher, but by the time I came up for air and looked around, I was astonished by the sheer volume of choices out there.  It is staggering, and I decided to start with this vampire/werewolf series, and try to figure out what was Twilight’s ‘IT’ factor?

Is this hot, or not? Source: http://digitalcitizen.ca/2009/12/30/twilight-and-new-moon-wallpapers-1024-x-768-pixels-part-1/edward-cullen-poster-1024×768/

I finished Twilight a few months ago and was baffled by ‘IT.’  A friend told me that the devotion Edward had for Bella was the hook for her, “I just wish I could find someone to love me like that.”  To me, a stalker-ish dead guy with control issues is not sexy, it’s scary.  To tell the truth, I found his character unlikeable, and Bella irritating.  I was somewhere between 30 and 50 pages into New Moon when I realized ‘IT.’

I guess I am on Team Jacob, because he is so much Edward’s complete opposite; Stephanie Meyer emphasizes his warmth and Bella calls him the ‘sun.’  I never understood Bella’s attraction to Edward, but Jacob is another story!  And somewhere in Bella’s mental maunderings I began to hear echoes of my 16-year-old self.  I realized that if I were 16 right now, I would be devouring these books whole again and again.  I wouldn’t have been into Edward, but I would have been all about Jacob.  I too, would memorize every word, and treasure them up like gems.  I was in a fair way to disliking the series, and somehow Stephanie Meyers managed to connect me to a person I thought I’d left far behind, my teenage self.  I got ‘IT’!  In Bella’s self-talk I could hear echoes of the young girl I was, sifting through every word said and expression change.  What teenage girl has not thought that she was nothing special?  Not pretty enough, not graceful, and always managing to say or do the wrong thing?  Bella does all that and more and yet she still manages to get two (well, ONE, in my opinion) awesome, not to mention legendary guys to fall for her.  How can that not cause hearts and minds to race, and imagine, just for a little while that you are that one, who, as my friend said, is so utterly loved?   I even felt a little guilty that a declaration of devotion from a teen pre-werewolf could make my heart beat a little faster.  I guess shapeshifters are just my thing.

Source: http://www.fanpop.com/spots/twilight-series/images/17273251/title/jacob-black-wolf-wallpaper

What about you?  Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?  Do you get ‘IT’ or do you not understand the appeal of these books?

Paranormal, Spirituality

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?

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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!

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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?

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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:

 

 

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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!

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A Brief Pause

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  A cold had me down and away from the computer.  Now I have tons of housework to catch up on….ugh.  Makes me want to just crawl back into bed again.  But, up and at ’em, and still the writing must wait.  But, until I can get back to my regularly scheduled programming, please enjoy the following YouTube selections.

Something I will be whole and healthy for; the premier of John Carter.  I think I spent more mental time on Barsoom than almost any other literary world, except maybe Pern.  I LOVED these books, and always wanted a banth.  Please enjoy these clips, I know I did.  Now, all I can do is wait for Friday.

 

 

 

 

More to come soon, on John Carter, on dog training, and of course on the paranormal!