Oct 20, 2014

Macrural Monday

macrural ~ having a long tail

Another Monday. And a dreary one at that. I don't know about you, but for a short week last week it felt extremely long. I'll spare you the brutal details (you're welcome!) but suffice it to say I didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I'd hoped to.

And although I didn't get much writing done on the weekend, I did get a crap load of editing done, which was bad for the two books I want to get finished before NaNo but good for the author who received her book back last night.

Man, oh, man it was a good story! I can't wait until I'm able to announce its availability, which *knock wood* should be in time for Halloween. It starts with a woman on a date and ends with a . . .

C'mon, you didn't really think I was going to make it that easy for you, did you? It's full of suspense and drama and it makes you wonder what you'd do when pushed to the limits of your endurance and then one step beyond.

It's written by my buddy Alex Westhaven, and if you want to learn a little more about it, go HERE.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


So . . . originally the rest of this post was about my cats and how weird they've been lately. But it kept getting longer and longer, and when you added in pictures it was way too long for a Monday post. So I guess I have my Wildcard post written for Wednesday. :-)

I was really tired last night, and fighting what was bidding to be a bad headache, when I started this post. So I ended up going to bed before it was finished and took a couple of extra strength Advil. Surprisingly, it worked and I'm feeling much better this morning. And, so far the only thing I've kept from my original post is the title. LOL

I actually sat down and made myself a list this morning. Not like my old lists where I'd pad it with all the little things I have to do - I don't know who I was trying to impress - but a list of things that I'd like to get done today. Like finishing this week's scene for Earth early, and cleaning up my office.

One step at a time. First, I have to change out of my workout clothes and have a shower. I'm freezing! Maybe a cup of tea might be in order too. :-)

Let's hope this is a more productive week for us all!

Oct 16, 2014

Earth - Chapter Forty-four


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~



It was still morning. Had nothing happened during Chloe's shift at the mine she would have been home for supper the day before, but she'd been trapped by the mine cave-in for hours and dawn had just been pinking the sky when they were released.

Zephryn looked up from the note in his hand, taking in her slumped shoulders and the lines of fatigue on her face.

"Look," he said. "This dinner is hours away. Why don't you get cleaned up while I fix us something to eat, then you should have a rest for a while."

"I would like to get cleaned up," she admitted. "But I don't think I could eat anything." There was a gurgling noise from her mid-section and she flushed. "Well, maybe just a bite or two."

He chuckled, though he felt anything but light hearted, and hugged her to him, then gave her a gentle push towards the bathroom. Catching sight of himself in the mirror above her dresser, he grimaced at the dust and dirt left on him from the wind and cleaned up as best he could in the kitchen sink. It would have to do.

By the time Chloe reappeared, he had a light salad cobbled together from vegetables that Granny had brought from her garden, and a piece of fish he'd found in the ice box simmering in a creamy sauce. Her eyes lit up when she saw the food.

"It looks good enough to eat," she told him.

"That's the idea."

After a few bites she hummed with pleasure. "You're spoiling me - I could get used to this."

"Good," he said. "I think you need a little spoiling."

"Zephryn, I--"

"No," he shook his head. "No serious talk. Serious can come later. Let's just enjoy our meal and then you get some rest."

"But--"

"We'll talk, I promise. But later."

"Fine," she said with a sigh, then deliberately changed the subject. "Tell me about Ardraci."

"I wasn't there long, you understand, but what I saw of it was beautiful. It was . . . " He looked away as he thought about it for a moment. "If you took a colony of artists and let them design a world, I don't think they'd be able to come up with anything more breath-taking. The buildings are tall spires or rounded domes, which shouldn't work well together but somehow do. There are gardens everywhere, with waterfalls and fountains. There's little industry so the air is fresh and pure."

"It sounds like a paradise."

"It is," he said, looking back at her with a self-depreciating grin. "Which is why it was so hard for those of us raised in the compound to adapt easily to it. Our world was grey and sterile and suddenly there's this explosion of colour and space."

"It must have presented quite the challenge."

His grin broadened. "The earth elementals are the ones who adapted the easiest."

She laughed. "But of course!" Shaking her head, she said. "I must confess I find it difficult to think of myself as an elemental," she stumbled over the word. "I'm still just a miner, albeit a miner with an unusual gift." Her statement was punctuated with a yawn.

"A tired miner with an unusual gift," he said, laughing along with her. "Go get some rest. I'll clean this up."

Nodding, Chloe rose from the table. She took two steps towards her bedroom and then turned.

"Zephryn?"

He looked up from the act of gathering up the plates.

"Could you come with me?" She looked almost embarrassed as she added, "I . . . I don't want to be alone."

"Of course! Now that I've eaten, I think I could use a rest too."

Leaving the dishes, he was by her side in two strides and took her hand. Kissing her knuckles he took charge, leading her to the bedroom. There was just barely enough room for them both on her bed. He lay with his back to the wall and held her back to his front, one arm across her waist to hold her in place.

"This is nice," she said sleepily.

"I could get used to this," he whispered, kissing the top of her head.

There was no reply as her breathing evened out and she slept. Zephryn thought nothing had ever felt so right as he held her in his arms, and at last he, too, slept.

Oct 15, 2014

On Finding Poetry . . .

My book nook is all but finished. I just need to sew up the cushion for my back, find a light source for inside it (because my hubby wants his clip on light back), and stash the boxes I have sitting all around my office in the bench. If I can get all that done by next Wednesday, maybe I'll do a post about it then. But in the meantime . . . I "found" a poem I'd like to share. :-)

This isn't a new poem, it's one I wrote a couple of years ago. Or maybe "wrote" isn't quite the correct word - I didn't write it so much as create it because it's a Found Poem. A Found Poem uses words and phrases from another source, generally some kind of everyday written material (e.g. headlines, lines from a television program, advertisements) but combines them in new ways.

A pure Found Poem (which is what mine is) consists entirely of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.

Writing a Found Poem is like an artist making a collage. You take bits and pieces that are pleasing to the eye and join them together to make something new and beautiful. It can really spark your creativity as you put together things you wouldn't normally think of as fitting.

There are all kinds of sources for Found Poetry: Newspaper or magazine articles, books, horoscopes, textbooks, letters, notes, spam e-mails - I even know a poet who created a beautiful Found Poem from graffiti.

I have not been able to discover what the etiquette is regarding citing the source for a Found Poem, however I “found” my poem in the introduction of the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The Wild Woman

We may have forgotten her names,
we may not answer when she calls ours,
but in our bones we know her,
we yearn toward her;
we know she belongs to us and we to her.

A sense of her comes through vision;
through sights of great beauty.
I have felt her when I see
what we call in the woodlands
a Jesus-God sunset.
I have felt her move in me
from seeing the fishermen
come up from the lake at dusk
with lanterns lit,
and also from seeing my newborn baby’s toes
all lined up like a row of sweet corn.
We see her where we see her,
which is everywhere.

She comes to us through sound as well;
through music which vibrates the sternum,
excites the heart;
it comes through the drum,
the whistle, the call, and the cry.
It comes through the written and the spoken word;
sometimes a word, a sentence or a poem or a story,
is so resonant, so right,
it causes us to remember,
at least for an instant,
what substance we are really made from,
and where is our true home.

The longing for her comes
when one happens across someone
who has secured this wildish relationship.
The longing comes
when one realizes one has given scant time
to the mystic cookfire
or to the dreamtime,
too little time to one’s own creative life,
one’s life work or one’s true loves.

We eventually must pursue the wildish nature.
Then we leap into that forest
or into the desert
or into the snow
and run hard,
our eyes scanning the ground,
our hearing sharply tuned,
searching under,
searching over,
searching for a clue,
a remnant,
a sign that she still lives,
that we have not lost our chance.

The Wild Woman has no name,
for she is so vast.

Oct 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanskgiving ~ Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.



Seeing as it's Thanksgiving, therefore a holiday, I thought a little trivia might be in order. :-D

The Canadian Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the second Monday in October since 1931.

Algonquin Indians were among the first to harvest wild cranberries. They used them as food, medicine, and a symbol of peace.

The tradition of breaking the wishbone dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America.

While pumpkin pies are a staple of many North American Thanksgiving meals, the pies weren't popular in Thanksgiving dinners until the early nineteenth century, according to The Oxford Encylopedia of Food and Drink in America.

The cornucopia, often associated with Thanksgiving, is a symbol of abundance and nourishment. The horn-shaped container typically contains produce, flowers, nuts, or wealth in some form

Canadians purchased three million whole turkeys for Thanksgiving in 2011, according to the Turkey Farmers of Canada - about 32% of all whole turkeys sold during the year.

Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in Canada, except in P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated in Canada when English explorer Martin Frobisher held a feast in what is now Newfoundland to mark his safe arrival to the New World in 1578.

Oh, look. A quiz! Thanksgiving Quiz

And here's another one 'cause today's a holiday and you have nothing better to do. ;-) Happy Thanksgiving Quiz

But it's not just a holiday for Canadians. Our Yankee friends to the south get the day off too. They get to celebrate:



So just to be fair, I had to look up a little trivia about Columbus Day too.

Columbus Day has been celebrated nationwide since 1937. On a state level, Columbus Day was first celebrated in Colorado in 1906.

The day, as the name suggests, honors Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas.

Columbus landed in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492 with a crew of 90 people.

While the federal holiday is called Columbus Day in the United States, it is called Día de la Raza ("Day of the Race") in many Latin American countries.

Christopher Columbus wasn't the first European to find the Americas, as he set foot on islands in the Bahamas. Technically, Columbus never entered North America and never knew he discovered a continent.

The region is believed to have been discovered 500 years before Christopher Columbus' birth by Norse explorer Leif Erikson.

In the United states, four states do no recognize Columbus Day. Those states are Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and South Dakota. Instead, Hawaii celebrates Discoverers' Day, South Dakota celebrates the day as Native American Day and Oregon does not recognize or commemorate the day. Other states, like Nevada and Iowa, do not celebrate the day as an official holiday.

There is a movement to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. The city of Berkeley, in California, has been celebrating the day as such since 1992.

And what do you know . . . there's a quiz for it too!

Columbus Day Trivia Quiz

Christopher Columbus Day Trivia Quiz

No matter what holiday you're celebrating today, have a good one!

Oct 10, 2014

What I'm Reading




If it's possible, I did even less reading this week than I did last week. But you know what's going to happen? One of these days I'm going to suddenly pick up a book and then I'm just going to start reading to the exclusion of all else. 'Cause that's the way I roll. ;-)

Electronic Books

Nope.

Tree Books

I finished the chapter I started a couple of weeks ago in Eyes Like Leaves, by Charles de Lint. I even moved its resting place to the dining room table so it was more "in my face", but it's a brand new book so I don't want to mess it up by reading while I'm eating.

No progress on The Anthology of Love and Romance, edited by Kate Alexander. While I found the first half of this book really interesting, the second half is kind of dragging because the stories are mostly excerpts from novels and some of them are really long. I like something a little shorter and snappier when I'm reading during meals.

Re-Reads

I must have lied last week when I said I was about two thirds of the way through Swords Against Darkness V, edited by Andrew Offutt, because I'm about that far now and I did actually get some reading done on it. Still enjoying it too. :-)

So what have I been doing instead of reading? Writing, mostly. And when I haven't been writing I've been working on my book nook. AND I'm happy to report the book nook is pretty much done. All of my science fiction/fantasy books have been catalogued and moved into it. The only thing left now is the finishing touches, like hanging my gargoyle head above it, adding the cushions for my back, etc. With any luck I can finish it off this weekend and some time next week there'll be a full blown post about it. Then I can start re-reading all the books in it!




Happy reading!

Oct 9, 2014

Earth - Chapter Forty-three


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~



Zephryn could feel Chloe's withdrawl, even before she tried to take her hands back. He quickly brought his other hand around, sandwiching hers between his.

"It's not what you think," he told her. "His name is Da'nat and he's part watchdog, part partner, and we're working on being friends. He's an Illezie, and on Ardraci it's considered quite an honour when an Illezie attaches themselves to you and they're not like us and they're a little secretive and. . ." He realized he was babbling and tried to stem the flow of words. "I'm sorry."

"Why didn't you tell me about him before?"

He took it as a good sign that she left her hands where they were. "He asked me not to, when I first woke up here. It wasn't an unusual request coming from him, the Illezie really don't like interacting with any non-Ardraci, and I didn't think we were going to be here that long. Then later . . . well, things started happening and I just never got the chance."

She nodded, but he wasn't reassured.

"Say something," he asked.

Chloe gave him a searching glance. "Is there anything else you're keeping from me?"

"No."

"This . . . Da'nat, you said his name was?"

Zephryn nodded.

"Will he help get my mother back?"

"I don't know," he said honestly. "He didn't stop me from coming back to you, and he told me to bring both you and your mother back to the ship. But I don't know if he can do more than that. Like I said, the Illezie aren't like us."

It was her turn to nod. "Is it safe to assume that he made any repairs necessary to your ship?"

"I . . ." To his chagrin, Zephryn realized he never thought to check. He reached out with his mind.

Da'nat? Are you there?

I am here.


There was something odd about the voice in his head. If Zephryn didn't know better, he'd say the Illezie sounded stressed. Is everything all right?

Do not concern yourself with me. You must focus on the task at hand. I cannot help you in what you must do.

I kind of figured that. But what about the ship? Will we be able to take off when we reach it?

I was able to make the necessary repairs,
Da'nat said. The ship is fully functional.

Okay. Great. Look, there's a slight problem--

Tierra is missing.


Somehow Zephryn wasn't surprised Da'nat already knew this. Can you tell me where she is?

There was a slight pause before Da'nat answered. I regret, I cannot.

We have to find her.

I understand.

We'll be there as soon as we can,
Zephryn told him. Just have the ship ready.

I'll be waiting.


The conversation had only taken a moment or two, but when Zephryn came back to himself it was to find Chloe staring at him with a concerned look on her face.

"What?"

"Where did you go?" she asked.

He flushed slightly. "Sorry. I was speaking to Da'nat, mind to mind."

"Mind to mind?"

"Yes, it's . . . it's hard to explain. Normally he's the one that initiates contact, but if I focus I can send my thoughts to him. I was asking him about the ship." As explanations he thought it fell a little short, but she seemed to accept it.

"Oh. And is the ship in working order?"

"Yes, we're good to go."

She hesitated a second, then asked, "Can . . . can he help us get my mother back?"

"I'm sorry, no."

When she withdrew her hands from between his, he felt a keen sense of loss, as though she was pulling away. "The first thing we need to figure out is where Gannon would be holding her."

"The infirmary would be too obvious a choice," Chloe said. "I don't--"

There was a sharp rapping at the front door. She paled and clutched at his arm. "I have to get that."

"I know. I'll be right here. If there's the slightest danger . . ."

She made a poor attempt at a reassuring smile. "I'll yell for you to use your wind to push them outside again."

When he looked at her in surprise, she gave a short laugh. "Once they're outside I can open the ground up under them."

The rapping noise was repeated, a little more forcefully. Chloe gave his arm a squeeze and then got up to see who it was. Zephryn got up as well, stationing himself by the door so he could listen in case there was trouble.

Chloe wasn't gone long. When she came back she was wearing a puzzled frown and holding a white paper, folded and sealed.

"It was just a miner delivering this," she said, waving the paper.

"What is it?"

She broke open the seal, frown deepening as she read what was written on it. Without saying a word, she handed it to Zephryn.

It was from Gannon, an invitation to dinner to discuss the terms of her mother's release.

Oct 8, 2014

On Diet, Exercise, and Being Healthy . . .



1) Rabbits hop all day, only eat vegetables, but only live 5 years
2) Whales swim all day, only eat fish, only drink water, but are fat
3) Tortoises do nothing energetic but live for 250 years
And you tell me to exercise? I don’t think so!
-Unknown

As you know, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, I suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. And while some days, when the blood sugar is high, it really does feel like suffering, there are also days when I feel like the universe did me a favour. I'm living a healthier lifestyle now than I've ever lived in my life and I feel better for it.

I won't lie to you, it was hard at first. Especially when it came to giving up things that I loved, like white bread - French bread, Italian bread, baguettes . . . I could have quite easily lived on bread, which was probably one of the biggest contributing factors to ending up diabetic. However, I have learned to love whole grain and multigrain breads, and to read labels to see what these breads are made of.

And while I didn't have to go completely sugar-free - I think that's pretty much impossible in this day and age - I do pay attention to the amount of sugar, or carbs, that's in the food I eat. My body can't tolerate sugar substitutes, like Aspartame or Sucralose, so mostly I just do without things with a lot of sugar, even my coffee. I used to be a die-hard double/double girl when it came to my coffee, now I'm just double cream and I'm even working on that.

Another thing I've had to cut back on is salt. It's always been a running joke in our family about what a big salt-aholic I am. But one of the dangers of diabetes is high blood pressure and even though my blood pressure is fine, they want to lower it. However, I've reacted badly to every blood pressure medication they've tried to give me. So bye, bye salt. I don't add salt to the food I cook, and the only thing I use it on now is a plain egg.

Here's the thing: once you get used to doing without these things, they stop tasting as appealing as you remember them to be. I couldn't find a loaf of whole wheat Italian bread to go with supper one night, so I used a white loaf instead. And of course being the one slicing it, I saved the end piece for myself as a treat. Only it wasn't much of a treat after all. I found it very bland tasting. And sugar in my coffee now? Yuck! Salt's another thing altogether. I doubt I'll ever get over my love affair with salt, but I'll never go back to the salt-aholic I was.

Hand in hand with healthy eating goes exercise. At first I was trying to do it on my own - riding the exercise bike and working out with hand weights. In the beginning, when I could really feel the difference it made, it was easy to motivate myself to get moving. But I'm lazy by nature, and it's all too easy for me to make excuses not to work out. I lost 30 pounds and then hit a plateau. And after about a month on that plateau I was getting a little discouraged. So I upped the amount of weights I was working with and ended up hurting myself to the point where I was forced to stop.

But I was not ready to give up. After losing that initial 30 pounds, my blood sugar was down to where the medication I was on was reduced. And then the blood sugar started to rise again. I've been working with a nutritionist who told me there wasn't really anything else I could do food wise, I'd have to increase my activity. My arms were still hurting from the hand weights, and the stationary bike was really unappealing, so I started checking out the local classes and gyms and ended up joining a circuit gym.

Why a circuit gym? I've never really been one for exercise groups or classes, besides which these classes were only held two or three times a week and I wanted something daily, and the other gyms in town were, quite frankly, a little intimidating. The circuit gym is bright and cheerful, with loud, funky music and a variety of machines. The machines are laid out in a circle and it doesn't matter where you step in when you start, just so long as you follow along. When you've done however many circuits you want to do, there's a jungle-gym like device were you do your cool down stretching. It's a great way to start my day.

So, has it helped? I've only been going for a month so far, but I've found my posture is better and my clothing is looser - I haven't lost any weight, but I've lost inches. And on the days my blood sugar isn't acting up, I'm more alert and I get more accomplished. So, yeah. It's helping.

Let's hear it for being healthier! :-D