Aug 24, 2015

Morphotic Monday

morphotic ~ of, like or pertaining to formation or development

Once again I came to another Sunday night whereupon it was time to start today's blog post, and once again the idea well came up dry.

So I decided to sleep on it, hoping I'd be struck with inspiration once the sun came up. Only I wasn't. Perhaps part of the reason for this was I'm still waiting for the sun to actually come up. It was so dark when I awoke I had to put the lights on. I was actually a little relieved when we got a couple of spats of rain -- it's too soon for the days to be so short!

Still no ideas were forthcoming, so I continued my morning routine, namely, I fed the cats and went to the gym.

As most of you know, I've been going to Curves for almost a year now. My optimum time is first thing in the morning, before my body is awake enough to realize what I'm doing to it. So I went to Curves this morning hoping to stumble across some inspiration there.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Curves ... it's for women only and it's a circuit gym, which means it has about 15 machines arranged in a circle with a rest station in between. You only spend about 30 seconds on a machine before moving on the a rest station where you jog in place for 30 seconds before moving onto the next machine.

This is overseen by a coach/instructor who keeps a weather-eye on us to make sure we're using the machines properly, and instructs any newcomers on how to use the machines. If it's not busy, sometimes they'll even join in the "fun". Sometimes the fun includes gossiping about a wide range of topics, but that's not where the inspiration for this post came from today.

Each coach/instructor, there are about five different ones, has her own playlist when it comes to music. Let's face it, exercise always goes down easier with a few tunes, right? Sometimes you can tell who's working just by the music that's playing.

Well, today's instructor ... remember the disco era? When they'd take a perfectly good song and add a disco beat to it, thereby ruining the song forever? Today's instructor tapped into a playlist that was pretty much nothing but disco-fied songs.

It was like that horrifying record, Stars on 45 or even worse *shudder* Stars on Long Play. Some of the songs leant themselves very well to the disco beat, but then we segued into show tunes and I felt a chill that had nothing to do with the air conditioning in there.

They put ... I still can't believe it ... they gave The Phantom of the Opera a disco beat! Oh, the humanity!

My ears will never be the same.

Aug 17, 2015

Mizmaze Monday

mizmaze ~ labyrinth; bewilderment

Lately I've been whining complaining discussing some of the challenges of working from home, and something I haven't mentioned yet is that when you work from home you tend to work longer hours. There's no clock to punch, no one to tell you to take a break, no reason you can't use the weekends to catch up if you fall behind during the week.

I mentioned that I've begun babysitting recently. It's only about three hours a day during the week days, but it's right in the middle of my day so I need to make up the time, if possible without sacrificing things like my writing or reading time.

Well most of the reading I've been doing lately is while I ride the exercise bike, and since I'm not about to stop doing that my reading time is safe. My writing time however ... When I started the transcribing project it wasn't much of a problem because despite my best intentions I never got much writing done during the day. So I transcribed during the day and wrote in the evenings.

Now, however, I'm going back down to my office after supper at night to get another hour or two of transcribing in, and I'm also working on weekends. Which, unfortunately, means less time for writing. However, I am learning to make better use of what time I have for writing.

I have to admit that a lot of my writing in the evenings consists of checking Facebook and playing games, with the actual writing being done in a mad dash an hour or so before bed. Enter the best friend a writer can have, the Alphasmart Neo.

Back in January (I think) I treated myself to a refurbished Neo. It's basically an electronic keyboard - no games, no bells, no whistles, no internet connection. The tiny built-in screen shows up to four lines of type at one time, which encourages you to just keep going and not look back. It's lightweight and runs on three triple A batteries. I've been using mine a lot and I still have over eighty percent battery life left. It will store up to eight different documents and when you're done for the day you just plug it into your computer and watch it transfer your pearls of wisdom.

I can take it with me when I baby sit on the off chance I can get a few words in, even if it's just a letter or an email - it still saves me having to do it later. But the biggest boon is my night-time writing. I can sit in front of the TV and write during my favourite shows - no temptation to play games or surf. And as a bonus - it doesn't generate any heat, so I can have it on my lap in this weather and not melt.

But lest you think all I do is work, while I do work on Saturdays now where I didn't before, I give myself a time limit. And after a particularly stressful week I declared Sundays my day of rest. Of course it didn't work out that way last Sunday - I ended up spending the better part of my day in the kitchen doing prep work for supper, which I tend to make fancier than needs be.

But yesterday I seemed to have a better handle on things. The supper I planned had very little prep work to it leaving my day mostly free. I got a bunch of words in during the morning, surfed for pictures for the cover for Lucky Dog in the afternoon, finding the perfect picture I might add, and got some more words written in the evening. I even had supper made on time, for a change.

All in all, it was a pretty awesome day. Now I just have to get through the rest of the week. LOL

Aug 10, 2015

Magnanerie Monday

magnanerie ~ art of raising silkworms

You might have noticed I'm a little late with this post.

Normally I write these posts on Sunday night. But I had a busy day Sunday, and in the evening I started searching for stock photos for the cover for Lucky Dog. Have you ever tried searching for stock photos? And it wasn't just one photo, I was looking for three of them.

There are hundreds of places from which you can buy stock photos, and each of these places has thousands of photos. Like doing a Google search, doing a stock photo search requires careful wording, otherwise you don't know what you might end up with.

Anyway, I got so caught up in the search that time got away from me and before I knew it, it was time for bed. Now I could have stayed up to write the post, but sleep has been a real issue for me lately and I figured I could just do it in the morning.

What I hadn't counted on was the day from hell. One disaster after another but I'll spare you the gruesome details. You can thank me later. ;-) All I'll say is that today is just about over and tomorrow is a new day. And that it goes hand in hand with all the changes going on lately.

I don't like change.

There, I said it.

I once worked at a place where the motto was, "The only thing constant is change." I hated it. It didn't start out that way, the company was actually a great place to work. But then the owner got greedy and started making these deals and the company changed hands, and the HR woman came up with that cutesy little phrase, which didn't endear her to anyone - of course no one liked her anyway, but that's beside the point. And I think I'm getting a little off track here.

I believe I mentioned before that I like my little routines, and how much I dislike anything that upsets them, and lately life has been one big disruption after another.

Every time I just get settled into a new routine, something comes along to disrupt it and it throws me into a tail spin. And every time it happens it takes me longer to settle in again. And it's really starting to tick me off.

All I ask for is a handful of uneventful days so I can figure out my latest new routine.

C'mon, universe. Time to cut me some slack!

Aug 3, 2015

Microphytology Monday

microphytology ~ study of very small plant life

Happy Simcoe Day. Or Civic Holiday. Or, as some of the locals have been lobbying for it to be, Happy James Cockburn Day. It's not a statutory holiday, but people generally have the day off ... unless you're unfortunate enough to work in retail because while the Post Office and other government agencies are closed, stores are open.

To celebrate the long weekend, our town closes off the main street for a huge, three day sidewalk sale. It's pretty much like a two-block, over priced yard sale. The stores put out all the stuff they couldn't sell over the last few years, but don't lower their prices enough to encourage people to buy.

There's also music and a sand sculpture competition down on the beach. The competition is pretty cool and attracts people from all over. I'm sure there's other stuff going on as well, but I wouldn't know. I tend to keep to my cave during these public displays of madness. ;-)

The competition ended on Sunday afternoon, and Sunday night we had some torrential rain storms sweep through, so I don't imagine there's much of the sand sculptures left. If the rain didn't get them, I'm sure the extremely high winds did.

Last week was a bit of a scorcher. Okay, it was a lot of a scorcher. I have to chuckle at the weather network. They can never make up their mind as to whether or not it's going to rain, and they seriously underestimate the temperature. They did declare an excessive heat warning for our area, but their temperatures were in the high 20s C (high 70s, low 80s F). Someone local on Facebook put a thermometer outside in the sun on one of those days, and the temperature registered 45 C (115 F). I think the truth lies somewhere in between.

I don't handle excessive heat any better than I do too much overcast/grey weather, so last week was not particularly productive. Again. But I decided on the weekend that I'm just going to have to suck it up. August is just starting and I'm sure the heat is going to extend into September, and I can't afford to keep wasting time like I've been doing. Life is too short.

The week ahead is going to be ... challenging. After much searching, the daughter finally found a job. That's the good news. The bad news is, her hours and her husband's hours over lap so they need someone to baby sit during the day. Namely, me.

On the one hand, I get to spend time with the granddaughter every day. On the other hand, I've already fallen behind in the transcribing and a three hour chunk out of my day isn't going to help matters. So again, no more wasting time, and I'll have to re-arrange my schedule to fit all the other stuff I do around the baby sitting. Easy peasy.

Bye, bye, mindless games. ;-)

Jul 27, 2015

Mundungus Monday

mundungus ~ foul-smelling tobacco

So ... the weekend did not go as I had planned, but then when does it ever?

See, a while back I started writing the first book of a new trilogy. It's kind of cool really, the three books are connected by a common event that takes place at the very beginning of each one, but then the three stories are very different from that point on. Then, at the very end, there'll be a short story (included in all three of them) that connects them back up.

Anyway, I'm about halfway through the first book and the time line really isn't working. Things that should be happening faster are going too slowly, and things that should be happening slowly are happening too fast. At first I thought I could just push through it and fix it later, but I think I'm only making matters worse. Hence the need to fix it.

So I was sitting at my lap top Saturday morning, checking my email and Facebook before I got down to work ... and I got distracted. Big surprise there, eh? Someone posted one of those smarmy inspirational messages embedded in a picture, and it made me think of one of my nieces who's having a rough time right now, and I thought it might be nice to print off a bunch of these smarmy pictures and put them in a little album to send to her to cheer her up.

And there I was, merrily searching for and saving these inspirational messages, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter ... oops, wrong story. Had the sound been on for my lap top though, I'm sure I would have heard all kinds of bells and whistles, but as it was, a bunch of security windows popped up and then I got a message that my security had been compromised and my personal information was in danger of being hacked.

So I did what any right thinking person would do - went into full panic mode and shut my lap top off.

Or at least I tried to. Problem was, Microsoft had 17 updates it wanted to install first. We'll get back to that in a moment, the salient point here is that it took 1 1/2 hours to shut down. The internet has to be turned on manually when I start up the lap top, and I figured I really should do a virus scan before I connect to the internet, just in case.

It took 3 1/2 hours to complete, and it didn't find anything. And then I couldn't remember the last time I backed up my system and figured it might be a good idea to do so and that pretty much took the rest of Saturday.

Now, back to this Microsoft thing.

An hour and a half seems kind of excessive when it comes to shutting things down, and that wasn't the first time it'd happened lately either. Earlier in the week I'd whined complained mentioned to a friend about how I was having problems with Microsoft Word, enough so that I was thinking of trying to re-install the program, and she told me a lot of people were having the same problem because of all the updates Microsoft was flooding us with in preparation for the launch of Windows 10.

Colour me unamused!

One of my pet peeves with Microsoft is how they're continually changing their programs and we're forced to continually upgrade. It's just not right. At the very least we should be offered a discount for the latest version of a program we've already spent a great deal of money on, but we're not.

And the really irritating part is, half the time the new versions don't even work right. Anyone remember Windows Vista? And heaven forbid you should have to get a new computer because you won't be getting it with one of the older versions of Windows that actually work. No, you'll get the latest version whether you want it or not.

I don't know about you, but I'll be taking very good care of my lap top with its Windows 7 and its Microsoft Office 7.

And when it does go, maybe I'll be taking a bite out of Apple instead.

Jul 20, 2015

Metaphysis Monday

metaphysis ~ change in form; metamorphosis

Well, I'm finally on the new medication, and not a moment too soon. Last week the tiredness and lack of focus reached epic proportions. It was very frustrating. But I saw the nurse practitioner on Friday and the first thing she told me was my blood sugar was up. Gee, do you think?

But it meant she had a green light to prescribe the new medication and went over all the side effects with me. Several of them are the same as I experience with Diabetes anyway and so far I haven't really experienced any others, but I'm starting out on a low dose so that may change next month when they put me on the full dose. And many people don't experience any side effects at all, so maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones.

In the meantime, even after only two doses my glucose level has come down. I'm hoping it'll continue to come down so I can be back to normal. Well, as normal as I ever am. ;-)

Summer has definitely arrived. We've even had the air conditioners on a couple of times. And yesterday it was so hot I skipped my workout on the bike. I didn't know if I was feeling slightly queasy from the new medication or the heat, but it seemed like a good excuse to be lazy.

After a cool week last week we had a jump in temperature early Saturday morning and it's supposed to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Heat I'm okay with, it's the humidity that bothers me and it's been very damp here.

And apparently the magic bubble that protects our town from snow in the winter is also protecting us from the thunderstorms we should be having with these wild fluctuations in temperature. But no, I watched the radar images on the Weather Network and the storms pass north of us and south of us but leave a swath in the middle where we are. Not fair!

Sad to say my coyote friends seem to have moved on. We've only heard them once in the last several days and at suppertime last night we saw some black squirrels playing chase out by the pond. The squirrels had been making themselves scarce the last few weeks. We could have days go by without seeing one. I saw a couple of grey squirrels yesterday too. They wouldn't be so brave if the coyotes were still around.

And another sign the coyotes have gone was these little guys:

It's been a long time since a rabbit ventured into our backyard. But believe it or not, I've never seen two at once. These guys must be young still because they were having a ball playing chase and hopping straight up into the air. Of course then one of them had to spoil it all by helping himself to the buds off one of my roses, but they slipped under the fence into my next door neighbour's garden like it was a story from Peter Cottontail.

This week is probably not going to be a productive one, but it will be busy.

First we have my sister coming to visit today, and spending the night. She may or may not be accompanied by a couple of her grandkids. We're supposed to go to the movies tonight and then she's leaving on Tuesday.

Then Wednesday is an even I'm sure everyone has been looking forward to. The premiere of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

Space Channel has been running all kinds of shark movies, including the Mega Shark series. And in a scene that could have been taken right from Jaws, just a couple of days ago a surfer was attacked by a great white shark. Because this was part of a competition, they whole thing was caught on tape. You can see the video and read the article HERE.

Thursday I'm taking the day off (whether I deserve it or not) and heading off to the casino. Just one of those things I gotta do. ;-)

And then, to nicely round off my week, on Saturday night we have a new disaster of a movie, Lavalantula!

Can't wait until Saturday to see this gem? No problem! Just got to YouTube and type Lavalantula in the search bar and you'll get several options for the entire movie.

You can thank me later. ;-)

Jul 17, 2015

What I'm Reading

I've definitely stopped binging on the books. As fun as it is, I can't keep it up forever - real life has a way of intruding. ;-)

Electronic Books

You know, I really have to start writing down the names of the books as I start reading them on the Kindle. My memory is sketchy at best and I don't keep them unless I really, really think I might read them again. So then, when it comes time to do this post I can't remember what I've read.

So I read a short book that I thought was a Y/A and turned out the point of the story was for the main character to hook up with her stepbrother. Then I read about two pages of what I thought was erotica but turned out to be bad porn. Next was a period piece called Under the Mistletoe (I think) which was actually quite good, followed by a vampire story that really wasn't.

Meanwhile I finished The Zombie, the Cat, and Barack Obama by Christopher Antony Meade. It wasn't exactly bad, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. It was a little wordy, like it was trying too hard, and some of the parts that were supposed to be funny ... weren't. You know how sometimes you watch a movie that's so bad it's good? This wasn't like that.

Currently I'm reading book one of a two book set called The Last Sunset by Frank Montgomery. It's a science fiction set in 2040, about a lawyer named Darius who would do anything to get his wife and unborn child off the planet before a meteor hits the Earth. He succeeds in getting her a seat on one of the shuttles headed for the moon base, but he could only get one ticket so he stays behind. He takes refuge in a mini bus filled with supplies that he parks in an underground parking structure when the meteor hits. I've just got to the part where he ventures out of the shelter for the first time in two weeks. I normally like disaster books, but this one is kind of ... meh. Maybe it's because I can't quite like the main character, Darius, who's somewhat of a shifty lawyer. But I'll probably keep reading, for a while at least, to see if he redeems himself.

Tree Books

Slowed right down to a crawl here.

I've been slowly plugging away at From the Dark by Michele Hauf. I'm still not very far into it, but I do like the two main characters and the way they interact with each other. It'll be interesting to see what happens when he finds out she's a witch and she finds out he's a vampire. :-)


I have finished exactly one story in Liavek, edited by Will Shetterly and Emma Bull. This is a swords and sorcery fantasy with the stories taking place in the exotic city of Liavek, which is the central theme that ties them all together.

So ... what have you been reading lately?