Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's Going to my Head...

I've got a new title,... an aristocratic title!
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Noble Excellency Wylie the Fiendish of Midhoop St Giggleswich
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Destiny by Design: Status SOLD!!!! wooooohooooo

JUST this minute got an email from dream editor at dream publisher. Destiny by Design is SOLD and I'm completely out of breath from doing my happy dance around all three floors of the house. *panting*
I'd like to say it was worth the wait, but these past few weeks have been hard. Really hard. I find the waiting game cripples me and I just can't seem to move on to other works. Yes - I can do the children's stories, the TRW newsletter, my course assignments, blogging,... but not the romance. Go figure.
Oh - and the dream publisher, incase anyone was wondering, is Ellora's Cave. Why are they the dream pub? Because they've a stellar reputation and they're recognized by the RWA, which I feel works in my favor when I finally complete my novel (which isn't erotica, but romance). I could be totally wrong, but I think it gives me a bit more credibility as a writer.
This marks my third publication success (two shorts and this novella), so I'm finally beginning to feel like a writer and not so much a wanna-be (nodding to you, TL! *wink*).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

101 Posts and Other Random Thoughts

Today is my 101st post. If only I could show this much dedication to my novel...

Blogger hates me today. I've been trying to post my Thursday 13 since this morning and have been encountering serious formatting problems. Okay -- it's probably my fault, but it's so much easier to blame blogger! I originally 13'd about my 2007 resolutions but that dratted blogger (which I privately call 'booger') gave me such a hassle I decided to change up my topic and start again. But this is good. It gives me a whole extra week to think about how I'm going to make '07 ROCK!

I have a cut on the pad of my index finger that makes typing slow and painful. I'm trying to find words that don't require a Y, U, H,J, N, or M (ouch!). This is what happens when you try to manually remove green peppers from a food chopper (doh!).

We had a terrific Christmas, (thanks for asking), -- very spoiled, but very appreciative. Santa brought me a foot spa (ahhhh...), the new Michael Crighton book - 'NEXT', beautiful scented candles, gift certificates galore and... wait for it... drum role.... A GOAT!!!
Thanks World Vision, for setting up an amazing program. I shall shop your catalogue often.

On the down side, we had NO SNOW! Phooey on a green/brown Christmas.
This is Canada, in December, for crissakes! What are we doing to our planet? I haven't yet needed to put the lining in my leather jacket and the kids' tobaggan's aren't even out of storage. Oh well, at least we don't have hurricanes to contend with! And you know I'd be bitching if I had to shovel :)

Thursday Thirteen #2

Thursday Thirteen: My 13 Fave Books

  1. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown – scoff if you must, but 40 million people worldwide can’t be wrong.
  2. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – a story within a story, within a story. Very cool.
  3. Cane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer – one of the first ‘grown-up’ books I ever read that left me with a ‘wow, reading is the coolest thing in the world’ feeling.
  4. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – still amazed at how an American male author could get into the head of a 8 year old Japanese girl. That’s talent.
  5. Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux – cry every time
  6. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane – complete and total mind-fuck. Makes you want to start again at the beginning.
  7. Tie: Bourne Identity and The Parsifal Mosaic by Robert Ludlum – excellent, twisted spy thrillers. RIP Mr. Ludlum, you are missed.
  8. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner—1971 Nobel Prize winning book. I can’t say any more.
  9. Tie: The General’s Daughter and The Charm School by Nelson DeMille—but really, anything by DeMille is captivating. These two were just two shining examples.
  10. Lord of the Flies by William Golding—stayed with me a long time after reading it. First time I questioned the human psyche and what we’re capable of given the circumstances.
  11. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery—fave childhood books.
  12. Harry Potter & the … by JK Rowling—fave childhood books read as an adult.
  13. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury—shining example of Bradbury’s talents and my first encounter with the concept of censorship. Makes you think…
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. ThommaLyn 2.Christine 3.Amy

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Legend of Mistletoe

Merry Christmas!
In the spirit of the holiday season, I'm posting this little legend surrounding the origins of kissing under the mistletoe:

Mystical power of mistletoe and the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe owe itself to the legend of Goddess Frigga and her son Balder. Frigga was the Goddess of Love and her son, Balder, was the God of the Summer Sun. Once, Balder dreamt of his death. He was worried and told his mother about the strange dream. Frigga was worried not only for the life of her son but also for the life on Earth because she knew that without Balder, all life on Earth would come to an end. Thus, she did her utmost to avoid such a mishap and went everywhere and to every being in air, water, fire and earth to extract a promise that they would never harm her son. She was promised safety of her son by every animal and plant under and above the Earth.

However, Loki, the God of Evil, who was the enemy of Balder and always had evil designs in his mind, was aware that there was one plant that Frigga had overlooked. It grew on apple and oak trees and was known as Mistletoe. Thus, Loki made an arrow and placed Mistletoe at its tip. He then beguiled the blind brother of Balder known as Hoder, the God of Winter, and made him shoot this arrow at Balder. Balder immediately was poisoned and died. Everybody was worried as the Earth turned cold and life became dreary. Every creature tried to bring Balder back to life for three days but it was finally Frigga who managed to revive her son with the help of Mistletoe. Her tears on the plant became pearly white berries and she blessed the plant anyone who stands under the mistletoe plant would never be harmed and would be entitled to a kiss as a token of love.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Slow Day

Just not up to speed today. I stayed up past midnight watching the final 3 episodes of Dexter. Cool show! Hubby and I had a Dexter marathon - we watched all 11 episodes in 3 days. Who would figure I'd get totally charmed by a serial killer. The writing is right-on (told you I'm slow), it's well-paced, not too over-the-top (but there are moments) and just sensible enough to make it all seem less grusome than it could/probably should be. I was looking forward to falling into bed, but by the time my head found the pillow, all I could think about was the bloody (no, it's not a pun) season finale cliff hanger.
Heard the clock strike one.
Fell asleep at some point, only to be awoken by a niggly tickle in my throat that had me in coughing fits. Tired as I was, I struggled to the loo for a drink of water and a throat losenge.
Heard the clock strike two.
Sweetness (aka 2 1/2 yr old son) called out for me, "Mommy! Want to come in your bed. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy....."
Desperate to sleep, I pulled him in to bed with me and the little charmer kept putting his drooly little hands on my cheeks and saying "Mommy, my love you, all the world and pussa-world."
Heard the clock stike four.
"Mommy, my love you..."
Okay, it was heart-melting cute the first 17 times, but it grew old and annoying by 4:22am.
Heard the clock strike five.
"Mommy, me go down-tairs."
"Mommy, my love you."
"Mommy, me watch tv."
"My want milk."
Sweetness remained wide awake until just after 6am.
The Alarm (also known as 7 year old son) woke me up at 7:30. "Mom, can I have some chocolate milk?" Grrrr
Who's keeping track? My limited math shows approx 4 hours of sleep. Which is about what I've been getting on average for the past 4 nights.
Very slow day.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #1: Best Television Shows of My Time

  1. Dallas – most popular night-time soap, spawned numerous others, and was responsible for the most famous cliffhanger ever – Who Shot JR?
  2. House – arguably one of the best characters on television. Dr. House says what we all wish we could: The Truth.
  3. Nip/Tuck – enveloping pushing drama that leaves you saying “Did they really just do that/go there?” Terrific acting, deep, well-thought out stories and great cast of characters.
  4. The Sopranos – gave life to cable series. Ground breaking, envelope pushing, and all the other clich├ęs. Great writing, great acting, excellent multi-layered story lines. Represents a gritty reality that reality tv could never be!
  5. Seinfeld – still laughing at the reruns!!
  6. Murphy Brown – in the bleak landscape that sitcomdom was, Murphy was an intelligent breath of fresh air.
  7. Jeopardy – the one show with the ability to humble me into silence. And come on, who doesn’t love Alex?
  8. Friends – still laughing at the reruns!!
  9. ER – it hasn’t been around for 12 seasons for nuthin’
  10. Lost – is there any other show in network television that has us more puzzled, frustrated and buzzing about purgatory, time travel, science experiment, etc.
  11. Happy Days – Ah, the days of innocence, Mr. C, The Fonz, Joanie and Chachi. But seriously, we got the term ‘jump the shark’ from this very timeless show. And didn’t we all really wish our own high-school experience would be all about lettermen sweaters and hanging out at Al’s?
  12. M*A*S*H* - For the first time, a hard look at life for wartime medics. Funny yet sad, poignant but entertaining. And I really wanted to put the neat asterisks between the letters. Suicide is painless!
  13. Star Trek – admittedly, I was never a devoted fan, though I watched the originals as a kid. But no other television series has spawned as many knock-offs, movies, re-make’s, conferences, toys, blah blah blah.

That was hard. I left off a few because it’s Thursday 13, not Thursday 17. Notice, I titled it ‘Best TV Shows of MY time’. There were many classics, ground-breakers, etc, I could have added, but these are the ones that I found most entertaining and meaningful.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today's Rant

Today in ‘Things That Irk Me’ I’ll focus on Paris Hilton. Why, dear God, does this woman keep showing up on news sites, entertainment blogs, etc…

Why does her name frequently come up on my ‘Top Three News Stories’ or ‘Most Viewed News Stories’ on my Yahoo news? Isn’t the war in the Iraq/Afghanistan, ethnic cleansing in Darfur, global warming and the Ipswich Ripper exciting enough? Does Paris’s pantyless habits, partying, bad singing and feud with Lindsay Lohan affect the world somehow and I’m just not getting it?

Tina Fey (30 Rock, and former head writer on SNL), who has won my undying respect, should get some headlines for outing the celebutante as the dumb-ass she is:

"She's a piece of sh-t. The people at SNL were like maybe she'll be fun, maybe she won't take herself so seriously. She takes herself so seriously! She's unbelievably dumb and so proud of how dumb she is. She looks like a tranny up close."

Yeah Tina, for telling the truth!! Maybe some of those poor 13 year old Paris-wannabees will listen to the screenplay writer of the hilarious ‘Mean Girls’ movie. We can hope, anyway!

Tina also had this to say about Paris:

"She wanted to make fun of all the girls she hates. She was like 'I want to play Jessica Simpson, I hate her.' She would come in the room and say, 'You should do a show about Jessica Simpson because she's fat.'"

Times like this I'm extremely grateful that I don't have a girl child because if this is the type of roll models they're being offered... *insert shiver* we are f*&ked. Betty Freidan is, I'm sure, turning in her luke-warm grave.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

All is right in the world again.

Okay - so Christmas is Monday coming. I'm fine with that now.
See? Takes me a while, but I adjust. ;D
And all is right in the world again. Super-hubby managed to get the gold garland on the tree without interupting the perfect placement of the baubles, and I found my red/gold wire ribbon to adorn the faux-pine garlands on the banister. Ahhhh.... I can relax again and enjoy the holidays.
Wait a minute - the house still needs major cleaning!! Oh, crap. Gotta go...

Who moved Christmas?

I'm in a tizzy. A frazzle. A PICKLED-TRAZZLE!!
For some inexplicable reason, I thought that Christmas was next Thursday.
NOPE -- It's Monday!!
I was counting on my Sweetness-free time (Sweetness, aka son#2, goes to his sitter on Mon/Tues mornings) to run around and do the last minute things - like shopping for Xmas dinner items, stocking stuffers, etc. To paraphrase the freshly departed Frank Romano, "HOLY CRAP!"
I'm a flexible sort of person, but I don't do quick change well. It'll take a couple of hours for my mind to grasp the situation, reschedule my to-do list, wrap my organizational & time-management skills around this self-inflicted SNAFU.
In addition - I forgot to put the garland on the Christmas Tree. It must go on right after the lights because if you do it at the end, you cover all the pretty baubles. My oversite disturbs me to the point that I don't want to even look at the sad, undressed tree (as perfect as it is), but am too lazy to de-ball it in order to apply the gold fuzzy garlands. And I can't find the beautiful ribbon I bought last year to decorate the pine garlands on the banisters. AND, we accidentally used the indoor, thick, studded-with-faux-pinecones garland on the pillar outside which left us with the cheap, thin, fakish, Walmart pine garlands for the banisters. It just looks sad.
Could this get any worse?
Yes, it could. Last year I accidently cooked the turkey upside down. Couldn't figure out why the bloody bird looked so deformed whilst cooking. When I went to slice into the breast, I immediately hit bone and thought I got a Kate Moss turkey!! It eventually dawned on me that I was slicing into the back - hence no meat. I was so embarrassed, it almost ruined my whole day. Luckily, my killer sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows - YUK!) saved the meal.
This year I'm serving ham. There's no top and bottom, is there? Oh hell, maybe I'll order Chinese.

Monday, December 18, 2006

On My Desk

Why can't I get any work done! I sit down at my computer with very good intentions but am not producing ANYTHING. Why? WHY?
The answer came while looking for a paper clip: It's because my desk is a mess. Full of distractions!! How can I open/begin/continue my pirate story when I'm surrounded by all of this junk?!
I'm going to share, then clean. Here it is -- The Things On My Desk:

  1. empty Tim Hortons coffee cup (medium double/double with a Holiday Spice flavour shot. Mmmm)
  2. empty Diet Pepsi glass
  3. bottle of weight reduction vitamins (not working, btw)
  4. empty water bottle
  5. latest edition of romANTICS to be sent then filed
  6. my son's Learn To Skate registration form
  7. both sons Social Insurance Number registration forms (dated April 28/06 and still not sent!!)
  8. four bills to pay
  9. box of birthday cards not yet repacked and put away from last Friday
  10. empty tube of Vaseline Intensive Care - Problem Skin Threrapy for chapped, dry hands
  11. stack of my kid's game CD's
  12. iPod that needs recharging
  13. card from Heather that needs replying too (sitting here since October)
  14. brown satin bra (took it off last month while writing 'cause the underwire was bothering me and haven't put it away)
  15. 8 recipe cards with scribbled notes - quotes, reminders, story ideas, email address, etc...
  16. latest bank statement
  17. pile of US stamps - fell out of envelope
  18. a crumpled napkin containing my breakfast orange peels
  19. latest bank statement reminding me how poor I am
  20. the gold chain I've been looking for since September
  21. my cat

What's on YOUR desk?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

To Each His Own

Yesterday's meme, created by moi, was a bit of silly fun, but what I enjoyed most was what other blogger's answered. The lists from Amy, T.L. (Christine, I'm waiting) and I are so vastly different, I was amazed.
You know what I find interesting... how three writers can have such vastly different favorites. It's wonderful - the diversity - and goes to show that there MUST be room for all types of authors in every different genre imagined (and unimagined!); that different books speak to us in different ways at different times in our lives. (wow - for a writer, you'd think I could come up with a different word for 'different') Anyway - back to my point:
I wonder, for instance, if Anne Shirley would still make my list of favorite characters if I were to read Anne of Green Gables again as an adult. I listed Anne, having read that series of books when I was about 8 or 9.
Would Memoirs of a Geisha or Knight in Shining Armor mean as much to me in an emotional sense today as they did five and fifteen years ago.
As a writer, would I now look for deeper meaing, find fault with grammatical style, plot points, narrative and dialogue tags?

This poses another question: What makes a classic, 'a classic'? Does it stand the test of time, appeal to broad audiences, brag perfect structure? Will The DaVinci Code, despite it's faults, be considered a classic one day based on sales and mass appeal alone, or will the copycats have diluted it's power?

Funny how TL, Amy and I, all who write/wrote romances, haven't really identified any of the 'romance classics' (in the vein of Wuthering Heights, or anything by Daniel Steele or Queen Nora) among our favorites, or our favorite authors. Curious, this.

Any feedback?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Countdown from SIX meme

Where do these meme's come from? I've been wondering. Someone must be sitting around with nothing to do...
So I had some time on my hands this morning and came up with my own. Here it is and I'm tagging TL, Christine & Amy. Can I do that with my own meme???

SIX - List 6 all-time favorite books:

  1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  2. DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
  3. Harry Potter – all of them!
  4. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
  5. A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

FIVE - last 5 books read:

  1. Wildfire by Nelson Demille
  2. Northwolf by MA Everaux
  3. No Second Chance by Harlan Coben
  4. Occam’s Razors by TL Grindstaff
  5. The Claiming of Moira Shine by MA Everaux

FOUR – list 4 favorite authors:

  1. Nelson DeMille
  2. Margaret Atwood
  3. Michael Crighton
  4. Harlen Coben & Minette Walters (I'm cheating, but it's my meme so I can if I want to ;D)

THREE - favorite literary characters (male & female if you like):

  1. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones' Diary & Jason Bourne from The Bourne Identity (book, not movie)
  2. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables & Robin Hood
  3. Scarlett O'Hara & Mr. Darcy

TWO – share 2 of your writing rituals:

  1. Quiet. Can’t write with background noise. Call me difficult. And don’t disturb me or I’ll bite.
  2. Diet Pepsi by my right hand.

ONE – share 1 of your favorite quotes on reading/writing:

  1. P.J. O’Rourke: “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” Cracks me up!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stealing from Amy's Blog - here are my fave Christmas Songs:

Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt, meoooow!
4. Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer - the Gene Autry classic version
3. Tie between White Christmas - Bing Crosby & The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole.
2. O Holy Night - don't care who sings it, I love it.
1. Do They Know It's Christmas - always, always break down during Bono's impassioned line "tonight, thank God, it's them instead of you" - goodness, I'm choking up just typing it. Everyone reading this - go buy a goat!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tagged by Christine - FOURS

I was tagged by fellow blogger Christine. Here are my FOUR'S:

Four jobs I've had:
1. Bowling alley counter clerk
2. Front Office Manager, Elbow Beach Hotel, Bermuda
3. Development Officer for the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo
4. Mother/Writer (current)

Four places I've lived:
1. Thunder Bay, ON
2. Toronto, ON
3. Bermuda
4. Newmarket, ON

Four favorite foods:
1. Indian
2. Fresh tuna steaks on the Barbie
3. Cadbury’s Dairymilk Chocolate
4. Wahoo, but only at the Blackhorse Tavern in Bermuda

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. The Red Violin
2. Moulin Rouge
3. Legends of the Fall
4. An Affair to Remember (I cry every time)

Four TV shows I enjoy:
1. Nip/Tuck
2. Sopranos
3. House
4. Lost

Four places I've traveled:
1. Western Europe – England, Scotland, France, Italy, Switzerland, etc...
2. Alaska
3. Canada – from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back again.
4. Caribbean & Mexico – too many islands to name individually

Four places I'd like to visit:
1. Greece
2. Russia
3. Iceland
4. Mars

Four websites I go to daily:
1. TMZ or DListed (because I need celebrity gossip)
2. Blogs: Tennessee Text Wrestling, Amy’s, Christine’s, Romancing the Blog…
3. For Better or For Worse - Comic Strip
4. Yahoo News

I'm tagging T.L.!

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm totally getting into the Christmas season, though what little snow we had melted in the rain last night. It's just not right having temps warm enough to melt snow, revealing the GREEN grass underneath. It's absolutely f%#ked-up to be able to walk around jacket-less in the middle of a Canadian December!!
Al Gore - I'm listening, dude!

Got our Christmas tree yesterday and it's perfect. Absolutely the finest most asymetrical tree I've ever seen. Shame it had to be cut down, really. I'll post a pic once it's trimmed, though it's so dang flawless I almost don't want to decorate it!

I'm working on assignment one for my children's lit course. I have to write a story based on a picture (one of a few choices they offered) of bears in a bathtub. I've decided to go with 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears II: Revenge of the Bears". It will be a picture book for 3-5 year olds.
Hmmm.... I may have to change the title.

The pirate story is up to a whopping 479 words! Just 9,500 more to go. Needless to say, I have NO IDEA where I'm going with it. I've changed my mind on the plot so many times that I've actually gone backwards in productivity. Is there a word to describe this? T.L.? You're good with words.

Good News/Bad News -- I sent a query off to an agent (kid lit) and got a request for full manuscript. Then I went on Absolute Write and found out they're a bunch of scammers. OUCH! Just as I was about to run for the hills, I rec'd an email from them saying they want to represent me. DOUBLE OUCH!! Better lace up my sneakers. Meanwhile, I'd sent a query to another agent (this one, legitimate) and rec'd a request for full ms today. Yipee! I'm used to getting rejections in the query phase, so this is a very positive step, even if it goes no further.

Two weeks have dragged by and I still haven't heard from Dream Editor at Dream Publishers re 'Destiny By Design'. She said she was swamped and it would be two weeks minimum before she'd get back to me, but despite her warning, I've begun the obsessive habit of hitting my 'check mail' button. My finger is starting to blister.

Hey - I've just found these label thingies. Cool!

What Kind of Thinker Are YOU?

It's quiz day!
Actually, it's a regular Manic Monday and I've got lists of things to do so I'm copping-out with a silly 2-minute quiz. What kind of thinker are you? I'm an experimenter! Ooooh, make me sound all smart and scientific. Nothing could be further from the truth *LOL*!

Your Dominant Thinking Style: Experimenting

You're all about looking at the facts, and you could always use more of them.
You see life as your lab - and you're always trying out new things, people, and ideas.

The master of mix and match, you're always coming up with unique combinations.
You are good at getting a group to reach consensus.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I'm addicted to PostSecret. Have you seen it? People anonymously send in their deepest, darkest secrets to some dude named Frank, who posts it on the internet for the world to see. The secrets change every Sunday -- I now check the site before the Costco ritual!
Some of the secrets are so sad, I wish I could reach out and touch these troubled souls, while some make my laugh my ass off. It's a different mixed bag every week. Check it out.

Crazy weekend. Hate to say it, but I'm glad tomorrow's Monday. My oldest son had his birthday party on Friday night. I had 10 seven-year-olds running around a bowling alley for two hours. Normally this wouldn't be a bad thing, but Friday night is 'Glow-Bowl' which means they turn of all of the lights except for the black lights and strobes. A little hard to catch these little monsters in the dark! And did I mention the blaring rock music??
Wonder if Costco does birthday parties...

I'm so tired, my eyes are burning. I need to sleep, but I so love the quiet of the late-night, I'm fighting it like my 2 year-old fights peas. 'Course I'll regret it in the morning. Much like I regret not going to bed until 4am last night.
But alas - I've caught up reading my regular blogs (and plan to steal a few of those interesing memes for my post tomorrow), tried to post coherent comments on a few (just to let them know I'm around), checked my lottery tickets (yup, still poor), wrote my to-do list for the morning and now will say -

PS - what the hell is a 'meme' anyway? Is it pronounced 'mem', or 'meem', or 'me-me'? Dumb word. Not going to make our list, TL.

PSS - couldn't find a picture of burning eyeballs so I put up my cat - Mortimer Tea Flash. (don't ask)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Come on in! It's safe!!

My buddy TL switched over to Blogger Beta, after having tested it with a secondary blog. Good thinking, I thought. Always a good to do trials, test the proverbial waters...
I, on the other hand, have no idea what Blogger Beta is, what it means, and why she changed over. But she's a smart one, that TL, so I thought - if she's switching, then damn it, so am I.
Perhaps I was a lemming in a previous life?
I went to the Blogger dashboard, and read "switch to beta by blawwaaaaahe;slkje;ljggggsdkllskdfja' -- that's how much sense it made to me, anyway. Perhaps being 1:17am didn't help. --
So I dutifully followed a few links, put in my email and password when it asked and voila!, 2 minutes later and I'm now on something I know nothing about. Why am I here, TL?
The doom message was very adamant about not being able to get back once you switched over. You'd think this would have frightened me. Nope. (probably will in the morning when I can't find my blog!)

Come on my fellow bloggies!! Unite with TL and me. Come over to the dark side...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This is NOT a book review site, blah, blah, blah...

Just put down Nelson DeMille's latest, 'Wildfire'. It's kept me up well past midnight these three nights running so in a sense I'm glad to be done. On the other hand, knowing there'll be another 1 or 2 year wait for his next book has me in the dumps.
Mr. DeMille has featured hero, John Corey, in his last four books and as a general rule, I don't enjoy carry-over characters if they've appeared in two or more books. This poses two problems for me: 1 - I hate starting in the middle, so if I know a character has been around for awhile, I won't pick up the 'latest' until I've read the author's previous works - as I did with Anita Blake, Laurell K Hamilton's main heroine, and 2 - if I did, perchance, start in the middle, I find the author's references to previous cases and situations distracting.
Here's the thing: I love John Corey. He's about as alpha as a male can be, but because it's written in the first person, most of his macho, bad-boy attitude is in his head. And his sarcastic wit would make Hugh Laurie's 'House' proud.
Back to the book. Remember the Cold War mentality: if they send nukes our way, we'll launch ours too, so we're both destroyed? Well, this latest caper concerns a US government iniative called Wildfire and basically states that if Islamic fundamentalists blow up a US city, the US gov't will retaliate by sending nuclear warheads towards every muslim country across the ocean. This ensures that the muslim countries police each other and keep their terrorists in check. Interesting premise. Is it true? John Corey, a member of the Anti-Terrorist Task Force has to stop an American billionaire before he ... OOPS! I can't go any farther because A) I would spoil the twisted plot and B) this is not a book review site!
I'm not one normally consumed with conspiracy theories (well, not really), but Mr. DeMille weaves so much fact into his fiction that one often wonders where the line really is. He does an incredible amount of research for all of his books making them all seem plausible, if not down right scary.
Read this book. No, wait. Read 'Plum Island', 'Lion's Game', 'Night Fall', then this book :)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ho, Ho, Ho (nope, not about Britney or Paris!)

I have officially finished my Christmas shopping! Woo-hoo!!
Now y'all can stop shaking your head in wonder and amazement at my efficiency and forward planning because I did most of my shopping on-line.
My mother is getting a goat, my big sister gets 2 chickens and a rooster. Other relatives will be receiving rabbits, pigs and turkeys.

Thanks to World Vision, each of my family members is getting a farm animal or animals, donated in their name, to a needy family or village in a developing country. Along with the animal, they're given feed and appropriate guidance in animal husbandry.
In many cases, like with the rabbits, chickens and pigs, it offers the recipient a chance to start their own business - breeding and selling - then can use the money for clothes, food and education for their own family.
It's an amazing program, and perfect for my 'peeps' who truly have everything. EVERYTHING. My family is blessed with not-wanting-for-anything and any trinket or article of clothing I offered would be lost in their abundance of 'stuff'. Me included, btw.
I hope someone gets me a sheep!!

On a perfectly selfish note, the gifts are tax-deductable, and aside from the kid's toys and other little do-dads, I don't have a lot to wrap/bow/post, and I feel really really good about helping those who really need it.
If you like this idea - click the link above. Canadians have a different site: World Vision Canada
In addition to farm animals, you can also supply classrooms with much-needed materials, pay for antibiotics and immunizations and send care-packs to kids that include clothes, shoes and a toy for about $10 a pop. Not a bad deal!

~ Wylie the Benevolent

I'm Feelin' Orange!

Decided to go with a new look - what do you think?
I was searching for a cleaner looking page, but the templates on blogger are limited. I've always been a fan of orange, though it will undoubtably begin to wear out my eyes by February.

A little about the color orange (from my research on color psychology for my novella
Destiny By Design): Orange combines the energy of red (but not the aggression) and the happiness of yellow. It represents enthusiasm, joy, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement and stimulation. It's a hot color - think sun and the tropics! Orange produces an invigorating effect, stimulates mental activity and inceases oxygen supply to the brain. It's citrusy, ao associated with healthy food and can stimulate the appetite. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.
Here endeth the lesson. Now go paint something ORANGE!

Monday, December 04, 2006

29 with 11 years experience

DELIGHTED with my 29th+ birthday. It began with coffee and presents brought to me in bed. Sweetness and Light (aka my two boys) 'helped' me open the many, many generous prezzies: a gorgeous book on the life and works of Leonardo DaVinci (to match the Michaelangelo I rec'd last year), a new computer mouse, Nelson DeMille's latest - in hardcover!!, a waffle iron, a new red purse (actually, it's more burgandy and I love it), and... the grand prize: an overnight at a posh Toronto hotel, a day at a spa and a show! I'm so spoiled *cheshire cat grin*. The perfect day finished with a family dinner at Swiss Chalet (my kids like it, it's fast and it's NOT MacDonald's - hooray!) In other present news: my sister sent a huge box full of treasures and my mother paid for my writing course. It couldn't have been better.
Well, I didn't win the lottery that night, so I guess it could have...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No Second Chance, by Harlen Coben

You know I don't do book reviews... there are sites excellent at that sort of thing (continue disclaimer...)
Every time I pick up one of Mr. Coben's novels, I miss a night of sleep. My goodness but his books are un-put-downable!
'No Second Chance' is about a doctor who wakes up in the hospital to find he'd been shot and left for dead, his wife is dead and his six-month old daughter is missing.
Non-stop action and intrigue; the twists and turns keep coming and just when you think you've nailed it, bam!, Mr. Coben throws another curve at you. 'No Second Chance' was almost as good as the first of book of his that I read - 'Gone for Good'. I recommend both. (Though personally, I'm not as enthused about his 'Myron Bolitar' series. Still good reads, but I wasn't compelled to run out and buy another.)

One of my absolute all-time fave authors, Nelson DeMille, has a new book out. He's one of two or three authors for whom I'll shell out the $$ for a hardcover, but this time I don't have to because 'Wild Fire' was waiting for me when I awoke (a year older) this morning, wrapped in pretty paper and a bow. Thanks kids!!!!

Tagged: My answers about blogging

I was tagged by TL - so here are my thoughts on blogging:

1 Do you like the look and the contents of your blog?
Nope, absolutely not, but I’m a victim of computer-dumbness and therefore a slave to Blogger templates.

2 Does your family know about your blog?
Yes, but none of them read it, except my hubby (sometimes)! My mother is in her 80’s and still hasn’t figured out the microwave so a computer isn’t a feature in her house, my in-laws are too busy for nonsense like this
, and my sister barely knows how to work email.

3 Can you tell your friends about your blog? Do you consider it a private thing?
I tell some of my friends. Some read it, some don’t. Some just aren’t in to the whole blog thing!

4 Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog? or you try to discover new blogs? Yes – I absolutely check out the blogs of commenters and I like to follow links on the blogs I read so I get all over the place!

5 Did your blog positively affect your mind? Give an example.
Yes, yes, yes!!! At the very least, it gets me writing, which is a good thing -- because I don’t always have the time and/or focus to work on my wip (like now – just sitting down for a few moments before Sweetness wakes from his nap). It’s also cathartic in some ways to just ramble about all things good, bad, beautiful and ugly.

6 What does the number of visitors to your blog mean? Do you use a traffic counter?
I don’t use a traffic counter and only have the ‘view profile’ feature to see how many folks have checked me out. Do I care? Not really… see answer #5.

7 Do you imagine how other bloggers look like?
Yes! But most bloggers are generous with pics on their profiles. Unlike me…

8 Do you think blogging has any real benefit?
Refer to answer #5. And… for others with solitary professions, like writers, it’s a great way to stay sane, share ideas and trade secrets, support each other and make friends *waving at TL!*

9 Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone community separated from the real world?
I hope so! The wonderful thing about the blogosphere is you get to choose what sites you want to read, choose whom to connect to, and socialize with those with similar ideas/interests – unlike other social situations like a work atmosphere, or family.

10 Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?
I don’t avoid them, but I don’t seek them out. I get my political and world news both from internet news sites and print media. That said, if I ever stumble upon a political site that is aligned with my ideals (and sense of sarcasm), I’ll visit often.

11 Do you think that criticizing your blog is useful?
Criticize my blog? I’m too busy criticizing my writing, my husband and my thighs!

12 Have you ever thought about what would happen to your blog in case you died?
Hmmm,… I’d better amend my will. I’d hate to cause a rift in my family.

13 Which blogger had the greatest impression on you?
I was intimidated by the blogosphere because I’d been reading only ‘topical’ blogs and couldn’t decide what subject mine should be about. There are lots of great book and movie review sites, writing tip sites, blah, blah, blah… Until I found TL’s Tennessee Text Wrestling. TL showed through example that you can have a blog about everything (in her case hawgs, writing, cats, science, etc…) I found I enjoyed reading snippets of her life and thought, ‘Hey – I could do this!’, so my blog is an eclectic mix of important nonsense.

14 Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?
Aha! This is a trick question…. My site is as unique as I am. (okay… and I copy TL and Amy a lot)

15 Name a song you want to listen to?
At this moment, “Happy Birthday”

Friday, December 01, 2006

Drama Strikes Housewifedom

My minivan was in the shop the other day, so when we got the call that it was ready to be collected, my hubby, Baby Sweetness and I jumped in the car and headed to the Dodge dealership. We parked right in front of the building, with the nose of the car pointing towards the busy street (this is important). Hubby and I both got out of the car - he to go to the minivan, and me to get into the driver's seat. We pass each other at the trunk and hear a distinctive 'click'. Baby Sweetness hit the autolock button with Daddy and Mommy on the outside of the running car.
Panic ensued... two mechanics from the Dodge dealship quickly came, one with a slimjim. A crowd gathered as we tried to coax Sweetness to hit the button, UP, but alas, Sweetness, who was in a car seat, couldn't reach it to press up hard enough. It was only the angle that allowed him press DOWN in the first place. Sweetness's muffled voice kept saying, 'Me want to come out now'. He was getting upset, I was very upset (but trying to remain as calm as possible) and the Dodge dude wasn't having any luck with the slimjim. Some small part of me was comforted in knowing that a thief would have an equally difficult time!
Hubby managed to coax Sweetness out of his seatbelt, which was wrapped around him and the thought of him getting strangled with it was a reality at this point. He started getting upset, almost crying as his bulky jacket kept getting caught so he couldn't slip the belt over his head. EEKKS! When he does manage to wangle out, he goes right for the front, driver's seat. Now I'm completely freaking out (see comment above about the car facing a busy intersection). Dopey mechanic says - 'Don't worry, he won't be able to turn the key in the ignition'. I casually informed him that THE CAR WAS RUNNING! Duh. This was the man working on my minivan?? That explains a lot.
Hubby went around to the passenger window and coaxed Sweetness over to him. Standing on the seat, he laid his chubby little hand on the passenger door and depressed the window mechanism. YEAH!! Crowd clapping, baby smiling, heart restarting, Sweetness yelling "My did it! My press buttons!"
Me thinking - I SO need to blog about this!