Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Updates: Words & Weight


I actually wrote my full goal of 1750 in the fic this week. Got that finished on Monday night, during a sprint with some of my Gateworld pals. Unfortunately, yesterday was a bit of insanity—a busy, choppy schedule, followed by a guest who stayed a bit later than we would have liked, but he’s a nice boy and didn’t want to go home. Nothing bad, just he’s the only male in a housefull of women, and here, it’s more fun, with his “brothers” and substitute “father” to hang out with. I really think the boy does think of us as his second family and we think of him as one of our kids, too. If it wasn’t a school night, I would have had him stay over, the poor dear.

At any rate, I finished my 250 words/day challenge this week, so, YAY! I also made up a quick Excel spreadsheet to hand to everyone that wants one at our RWA meeting, so that we can keep track of our word count. And I've gotten my blogs together with little to no trouble this week, so I feel mighty accomplished. The nice thing is that I also am seeing the next scene in my head, so at least I know where I’m going with it.

Writing prompt: A narcoleptic couple walks into a bar… Okay, sounds more like the start of a joke, but can you write 500 words on it? Better yet, use the gimme word from this week.

Word: Somnolent—drowsy, sleepy. From the Latin Somnus, which means to sleep.

Unfortunately, I did not do the prompt myself last week, although I did have ideas for it—just flat ran out of time/energy. I started to write some this morning and am already up to 440 words, and it seems like it’s only just started. I’m going to try to finish it today and post it on my WP blog later. Will throw in an update when I do finish.


A new low! I am now at 201 even!

Yay, me! Two weeks to go before Valentine’s Day and I am only 1.2 pounds away from my goal for that day. Hubby & I will be going out to lunch that day or the following one to celebrate. It’ll be nice to be able to splurge and not go back over 200. Keep your fingers crossed—we’re going to the Olive Garden, which is one of my favorite restaurants, and pasta & bread are my weight-loss Kryptonite. But I love their food and we deserve the treat.

Food: Hubby found a recipe for oatmeal-banana “cookies”. It’s okay, but could do with some cinnamon or something. That’s the whole recipe—oatmeal and bananas, bake at 350º until the edges brown up. I’m going to try some baked apples later today, as writing Monday’s blog gave me an apple craving. Thinking of going out to get a whole bag of apples and make some homemade applesauce like Gramma used to make.

Exercise: I’ve mixed up the workout a bit this week. I don’t remember why I didn’t work out on Saturday, but I skipped Sunday, as well. It actually made me think that I ought to mix things up and take a day off now and again. With that in mind, I decided to keep the treadmill the same, but on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I will work my core and lower body; on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I will work my core and upper body. I am going to take Sundays off from now on. I’ve added some donkey kicks to shape up my ass. Literally.

I am now getting to the point where I will have to purchase new pants and shorts, or get a belt or two (which I hate wearing), or get them all taken in. My skort this morning:

Look at all that extra room! My bath towel can now not only be wrapped around my body, but will stay up for short periods of time when I tuck it in. Hubby and I can now get our arms around each other and lock fingers again. It makes me wonder what this weight loss is going to do for our love life—with more energy and sexier bodies, I may be doing a lot of what my Kiwi friend calls, “research”.

Total weight loss to date: 17.6 pounds from my actual start point, although I'm not unhappy with the weight loss showing on My Fitness Pal.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mysterious Monday: Tree Magic, Apple tree style

Photo credit: iMaffo / / CC BY

In magic, trees play an integral part—their wood, their fruit, leaves, and/or blossoms are all put to various uses. Most of us with any exposure to magic, even through Harry Potter, know of the importance of trees and have heard of wands made from ash or oak. But did you know that other trees are associated with magic, as well?

As I was looking through the list of magical trees, one in particular caught my attention. I grew up in New Hampshire, where apple trees were nearly as common as grass. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember hearing that apples were the witch’s fruit—not only were they associated with evil for supposedly being the lure that Eve used on Adam to tempt him to naughtiness (yeah, right—like her being naked had nothing to do with it!), but also, if you cut an apple in half crosswise instead of top to bottom, the seeds are exposed in a star-like formation. It’s no wonder that the apple tree is associated with evil in the Christian theology, particularly when one examines how important it was to the ancient pagans. For example, apples are very important in the feasts of Samhain and Mabon, two of the harvest festivals.

Samhain is one of the four major feasts (or Greater Sabbats), a celebration of our dead ancestors, associated today with Halloween. Apples were often seen as the proper food to serve the spirits of the deceased, and were buried in the ground to feed the dead. Mabon is the time of the autumnal equinox, a time that is neither high summer nor full autumn, thus making it a magical time. Mabon is celebrated between the 21st and 24th of September; the apple tree is associated with the tenth month of the Celtic Tree Calendar, which begins on the 2nd of September and ends on the 29th.

But apples are not just all about pagansapples are good for your health; I’m sure we have all heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples can be ingested in many forms—raw, baked, fried, grilled, as a juice or made into a sauce or baked into something else. They are good to cure a wide range of ills, from constipation to mild depression, but as we all know, it’s the skin of the apple that contains most of the nutrients. Remember, though, I’m not a doctor, so any “cures” you see on my blog are either things that I have heard or read or experienced myself; they might not work for you. On a cool side note, eating an apple was said to allow one to transport to the “other realm”, usually the land of the fae. This could just be because, like many fruits that could be made into an alcoholic drink, apples were seen to be a fruit of the gods. Just something to think about the next time you're drinking hard cider.

The apple tree is symbolic of love, trust, and health, and its stones are the emerald and the rose quartz. Emerald is a stone of health, while rose quartz is often called the “love stone”.  Emeralds promote calming, harmony & balance, and are said to bring truthfulness and love, as well as filling one with positive energy. Rose quartz is associated with love of all sorts, from platonic to romantic, and is said to have the ability to heal a broken heart, as well as promoting calmness and tranquility.

To have these two stones as the representatives of the apple tree, which is associated with travel to the otherworld, was just too much coincidence for me; for those who don’t know, my WIP, Quantum Kiss, is a love story where the hero and heroine are from parallel worlds. They are also both living in the northeastern United States, an area that has long been associated with apples and apple trees; who doesn’t love to go to apple harvest celebrations in that area? I no longer live in the northeast, but I think I may go out tomorrow and get myself a bunch of apples—see if they help me with my weight loss and keep me calm for a meeting with my big "boss" tomorrow (knock wood, the love life's doing all right).

Photo credit: iMaffo / / CC BY

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five For Friday: Favorite Foods/Pasta

Holy alliteration, Batman! This one was hubby’s idea, probably due to the fact that we are both in process of losing weight and food is nearly constantly on our minds. So, in no particular order, five of my favorite pasta dishes:

Image by "dusky" on

1.  Macaroni & cheese—Mom used to make this every Monday night, with hot dogs on the side. She made it from scratch, making her own rue and everything. It was AWESOME! Now, Gramma used to make it with the hot dogs IN the casserole, but I just don’t care for that. My oldest boy loves it, as that used to be dinner in our younger & broker days; we’d buy a pack of hot dogs for 75 cents and get a care package from one of our parents with Kraft or store brand boxed mac & cheese, and—voila!—dinner for my two boys on nights when I worked. When we could afford it and up until the last few years, I also made it from scratch; now I make it from Velveeta, which is just as yummy and less work.

2.  Fettuccine Alfredo—This is the meal I order every time hubby & I go to the Olive Garden. At home, I use the Great Value sauce. At Olive Garden, I get the Seafood Alfredo. If this was lower calories or without them at all, I’d probably eat it nearly every day. I’ve only ever had one bad fettuccine alfredo, and I am sorry to say that it was in the beautiful state of my birth, New Hampshire, at a little Mom & Pop restaurant.

3.  Tuna Casserole—Mom used to make this from scratch, too. At my house, I sometimes bake it, sometimes not. My hubby & I are the only ones that like it baked, and when I do throw it in the oven, I’ll add peas. My youngest boy is absolutely nuts about it, even though he doesn’t like mushrooms; the oldest one is sick to death of it. This is another one of those things that I could easily eat all the time.

4.  Lasagna—I make this every Christmas as a “I bake, you eat when you want it” meal. We usually have some Italian or French bread (the soft variety) with it, as well as a nice crisp salad. I love a properly done lasagna and mine is quite the hit. I don’t do veggie/vegan lasagna—I like my meat. Take that any way you want to.

5.  Chicken Parmesan—okay, not really an entirely pasta meal, but meh—it’s my blog, I’ll do as I like. At home, we do a cheap version of this, with Tyson chicken patties and serve it with rotini noodles. I love the flavor combination when the sauce seeps into the chicken, and with melted mozzarella on top. Oy!

So, do you hate me now? Are you going to run out to your local Italian restaurant and load up on the carbs tonight? See you on the treadmill tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Words & Weight


Good news/bad news. The good news is that I did complete one sprint this week, despite winding up doing it alone. I wrote 303 words in Quantum Kiss that night before sleep jumped on my eyelids and pulled them shut. If you count the prompt, the sprint, and my blog entries, I actually did make word count (total of 2824), but as I said, I want to count my wins with only the fiction writing. Oh! But I also wrote 468 words in a fan fiction one shot for a friend’s birthday, bringing my fic total to 771, my total total to 3292. 

I have to admit that getting the tax information together for my sales business, which is what pays the bills right now, has taken up a lot of my time. One of these years, I’m going to get smart and take it in small bites throughout the year, staying on top of it, instead of all at once when the year is over. Or so I claim and have done for many years now.

Tuesday night I spent going through garbage bags because my son decided to clean his room. Luckily, critters tore the bags and upon inspection, while trying to get the old bags into new ones so the garbage wouldn’t be scattered everywhere, I found one of a pair of my shoes that I’ve been looking for for many months. So, he and I spent the bulk of Tuesday night actually sorting through the garbage, where we found a can opener, some games and DVDs, chargers for electronics, books, book-end, and all manner of interesting things, including the other shoe. By the time I was done with that and with getting him to do his homework and chores, I was so danged mad I couldn’t have written anything except scenes of death and destruction, and even then, he kept interrupting me, so it became impossible. Today, he has to finish cleaning his room, and later he has an hour and a half of karate, so I am planning on using the karate time to get some writing done.


Now for the prompt/vocab section:

Last week's prompt was: A woman wakes up in Heaven's waiting room, but St. Peter is not who she thought he would be.

The challenge was to write 500 words based on the prompt, and using the vocab word, gloaming.

Did any of you try it? Here’s mine, thrown together during the sprint, on my poor, neglected WordPress blog.

So here’s a cool word for this week: Erudite—knowledgeable. Possessing a keen intelligence. Mostly this deals with people who are scholarly, not necessarily with those who are street smart (which are often two separate intelligences that simply do not mix).

Prompt: A virgin from a poor village is sacrificed to a monster, but her fate is not what she expected.

Challenge: Write 500 words and use the vocabulary word in the passage.


Well, after gaining back less than a pound and fighting the cravings that my monthly (non-affectionately known as “Aunt Flo”) brought with it, I have not only managed to lose that extra pound, but I am currently at 202.4! Woo hoo! The past two days, I have spent an hour on the treadmill each morning on top of my calisthenics. Oh! And I can hold the push-up position for 30 seconds now, in good form, which my teen says is better than many of his cadets. This despite breaking my two little toes on my left foot.

Next week, I plan to be down to 201.something. I would really like to be in the 100s by Valentine’s Day. I can do it, so long as I don’t max out. Beginning in February, I will be adding a bit to the calisthenics portion and probably upping the treadmill to 45 or 50 minutes every morning, along with 20 minutes on a lower setting in the evening. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mysterious Monday: The White Hart

When you think of white stags, what do you think of? Do you think, “Yum! Venison.” Or do you think of Arthurian legends where the white stag was a symbol of good fortune? For me, I think of other worlds, of the world beyond the veil, glimpsed at the times of year when that veil shimmers away to almost nothing. I think of the two times every day when the same occurs to a lesser extent—dawn and dusk. I think of magic and purity and love and fortune.

In the ancient world, the white hart, or male deer, did a full one-eighty. To the ancient Celts, sighting one of these “magical” beings represented misfortune; somehow, over the years, that viewpoint turned completely around. Put yourself in the boots of one of Arthur’s knights, out riding one foggy evening. There, at the edge of the dark, dangerous forest, with the mist curling about his body in soft tendrils, stands a magnificent stag. But this is not just any stag—this one’s coat gleams in the dying sun, the white hair a stark contrast to his nearly invisible brothers and sisters. Being a good Christian, you would cross yourself against such an obviously supernatural creature before putting spurs to your nervous steed and galloping to the nearest shelter for the night.

I have always loved that mental image—of the white stag standing at the edge of the forest, head held high despite the heavy weight of his antlers, nostrils flaring as he scents the air for danger, liquid black eyes alert. Perhaps that is why my character in Quantum Kiss decided he wanted his name to be Hart, despite the fact that he gets teased about it on a pretty regular basis, and has to explain that it’s H-A-R-T, not H-E-A-R-T. Hart is strong, intelligent, otherworldly and yet not, beautiful in a masculine way, and every bit as unique as his fair namesake. The more he reveals himself to me, the more I am glad that I listened to him and gave him this unusual name.

In Quantum Kiss, it is a white stag that causes the initial car crash that leads my Hart to the alternate reality where he will meet his love. I wanted to add this touch of mythology to the story, which blends the scientific and the natural, all with a supernatural thread woven throughout. Hart’s stag will play an important role in the story, as a sort of link between nature and science. Keep track of my progress by watching the counter on the right and reading my Wednesday blogs.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Five for Friday: Favorite places I’ve been.

Sorry this is running a little late. Remember my Mysterious Monday and those lovely people I produced who take my time hostage? Well, once again, I let them. School was out today and I wound up running them all over God's creation, starting my day off super late and without breakfast or exercise.

At any rate, I had a great idea. Well, I liked it, anyway, and I hope you do, too. Fridays can become “Five for” Fridays, where I’ll list five things and explain a bit about why they’re on that list. This week, I’m going to list five places that I’ve been that I would revisit in a heartbeat. This is not necessarily the top five, but the five I thought of this week.

1.  Lake Tahoe has to be #1 on my list. When my husband was a lowly little E1 Airman, fresh out of his initial training for his MOS (Method of Service, in his case, lab tech), I flew out to California to visit him. He was stationed at Edwards AFB; I stayed at a motel in town. He got leave to take me for a trip to Lake Tahoe and I thought it sounded like a great idea. We drove up and up into the mountains before stopping at a little park by the lake itself. I was enjoying the view and “flirting” with a little girl when I saw her mom, who had been smiling at me, gasp and grin. I was befuddled and turned to my handsome airman to ask him what was going on. When I turned, I was face to face with a diamond ring in a ring box, all held in the hand of my now-husband.

2.  Bar Harbor, Maine is very likely second on this list. I was born just south of Maine and raised most of my life in New England, so the entire region owns my soul. Why this particular beautiful area out of all the beautiful areas of that region? When I was around 20 years old, I took a trip, driving up Route1 from Connecticut to Maine. I saw many beautiful, historic sites. In Bar Harbor, I discovered not only an extraordinary, quaint little village, but also the most breath-takingly rugged terrain I had thus far encountered. In those days, I hiked often, and while in Bar Harbor, I was determined to do some climbing. I wandered about the often sheer rocky faces of the bay, enjoying the sense of freedom and the power of the waves as they collided, crashing and frothing on the rocks a hundred feet below me. I will never forget the raw beauty of that place and, despite the harsh winters, I would very likely move there permanently if I won the lottery.

3.  Denver, Colorado is where I finished my BA in English by participating in a publishing course. My first sight of the Rocky Mountains as I drove across the plains of Nebraska haunts my dreams to this day. If I was so overwhelmed, and coming from the mountainous northeast of the U.S., I can only imagine the awe of those first pioneers as they spotted the peaks in the far distance with the clouds draped over them like a bride’s veil. In Denver, I put myself to the test: I drove my poor 4 cylinder car up the mountain, despite the honking of the more powerful vehicles behind me. I hiked up a mountain trail with a group, carefully keeping watch for bears and mountain lions, and ran like Hell back down it when the thunderstorms moved in with the speed of angry warriors. I discovered a new phenomenon in a bookstore called The Tattered Cover—couches and coffee being served in a bookstore! This bookstore also made it to the top of my favorite places list by offering multiple floors and a stock of books that included many different Native American languages as well as Irish, Scottish, and other Celtic languages. I visited a silver mine and drank hot chocolate with Baileys for the first time; it is my favorite drink now when the weather outside is frightful.

4.  Valley Forge, Pennsylvania is where hubby and I used to take the children to get out of the city when we lived in south Jersey. Valley Forge was a place that was alive with the past. You could peer into shelters much like the ones the luckiest of our brave soldiers holed up in for that terrible winter of 1777-1778. The valley itself is quite beautiful, especially after the concrete of the cities of South Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. I love places like this, where the history fairly oozes from every blade of grass, where you can look at the trees and realize that your forefathers may have looked upon or sat under or leaned against, these very same trees. Oh, sure, that’s true of most anywhere that there are trees of any real size and age, but in a place like Valley Forge, that idea really hits you.

5.  Cheshire, Connecticut is the place I called home for many years, and still do. I was not born there, my family is not from there, but I did live there from my thirteenth year until I left at the age of twenty-seven to move to Texas with my new hubby. Cheshire is one of those small New England towns that one thinks of when one thinks of small New England towns. Small shops are located in strip malls along “main roads” that only recently acquired two lanes for one driving direction (and then, not for more than a mile or so). The town green is located in front of the most picturesque Protestant church and each year, an enormous evergreen tree is decorated there to celebrate Christmas (it’s a Christmas tree, not a “holiday” tree—lol). The town has grown, boasting two major grocery stores, numerous gas stations, and even a McDonald’s and a Subway. My favorite place in town is the coffee shop; before I ordered a modem for my parents’ house and installed it, that shop was where I used to go to conduct business, check emails, and post stories to They played non-intrusive music, and served coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and an assortment of cool drinks, bakery items and small sandwiches. In the winter, a fire was lit in the fireplace. I dream of moving someplace with four seasons and opening a place like that.

Well, there are my Five for Friday this week; I seem to be on a historical bent. What do you think? Do you like this idea? What do you think of my five this week? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Check In

Last Wednesday, by the time I went to bed, I had the flu, good and solid. For the next three days, I had no energy outside of that required to do the most basic things—running the few errands that could not be put off, washing dishes, that sort of thing. My brain could not even begin to build any fantasy worlds or scenes; in fact, I spent the whole time watching Battlestar Galactica and playing cards on the laptop when I wasn’t sleeping. Most foods tasted awful to me, so I wound up snacking and eating a lot of bread and pasta (the only things that didn’t make me want to hurl) rather than really eating properly. With that in mind, here are my reports for the week:


My muse has been coming to me in the middle of the night lately, bearing a notebook, a pen, and a flashlight.  Despite that, between Sunday and Monday nights and a bit of this morning, I was able to get in a total of 1088 for the week, which is just 662 shy of the weekly 1750 that is my 250/day fiction writing goal. All of those words were in Quantum Kiss, which is now up to a total of 15,489 words. I was able to add to the notes for that world, as well as getting started on character profiles; those numbers are not included in my word count.

I have discovered that I will need to have some sort of organization if I’m to write a novel, as opposed to my seat-of-the-pants writing with fan fiction, where everyone knows what most of the characters look like and how they act, and all I have is one or two original characters to put in. The character worksheets provided to members on Savvy Authors (see “My Hang-outs”) are a great way to do that. I can keep an online copy, saved to my Sky Drive, as well as a hard copy. The nice thing about the worksheets is that I am forced to think beyond the physical attributes to their quirks and what makes them tick.

As I mentioned last week, I’m going to stop putting in a weather section unless something totally newsworthy, like a hurricane or snow (which would be totally newsworthy in Orlando!) happens. Instead, I know some of you really liked having a writing prompt, so I’m going to include one writing prompt and one new word (new to me) each week. Sometimes, I may just put in a word or words that I am familiar with but that are not used anymore like they were in the olden days when I was growing up and dinosaurs still roamed the earth.  

Writing prompt: A woman wakes up in Heaven’s waiting room, but St. Peter is not who she thought he would be.

Now, what word should I start off with? So many to choose from! Back in the days when bookstores were aplenty and books were made of paper and not binary code, I used to enjoy vocabulary books. I know, I know—GEEK! Yup, and proud of it. The University of Chicago used to come out with these little pamphlets where you could test your knowledge of vocabulary, much as the Reader’s Digest does (did?).

Since I am a random person (which drives the orderly Virgo in me absolutely bonkers), I am going to choose one of my favorite words—gloaming. I love that word; it just sounds so mysterious. Gloaming. Know what it means? Go to the head of the class, you get ten extra minutes of recess. The gloaming is the time between full day and darkness, also known as twilight or dusk. Gloaming can be used to describe that time between dark and full light in the morning, but is more commonly used for the evening hours. The gloaming has often been associated with magic, as it is a transitional time of day, a time that is neither day nor night, a time when the veil between the worlds is at its weakest.

Challenge: Use the word “gloaming” in the writer’s prompt. Write at least 500 words.


Well, boys and girls, as I mentioned above, I was down with the flu for three full days, not counting last Wednesday, when I was just “feeling blah”. I was also unable to exercise for five days in a row (didn’t want to push it on Sunday morning & on Monday, the air conditioning man had to stop by—yes, again, and yes, to fix something on our six month old air conditioning unit). Despite those challenges, and despite eating all those carbs this week, I managed to lose another full pound! I am now a nearly-svelte (shoulda used that word!) 204.8. The “skinny shorts” that were painful to even try to put on a month ago (couldn’t even get them over my hips) are currently residing comfortably on my body. I can move and I can breathe, and I don’t feel like I’m cheating on my husband by wearing them (think about it for a minuteoh, you got it! TMI? ). My goal, assuming there are no new bouts of the flu, is to be back into the 100s, even if it’s 199.8, by Valentine’s Day at the latest.

My calorie count was rather high yesterday and I did snack late last night (I was having late night chocolate cravings), so I spent an extra 20 minutes (on low speed—2.6) on the treadmill this morning; I was only able to do that because my older boy had to be to school early for inspection for his military class, but it was nice to be able to do. I have decided also to incorporate at least one “high calorie” day each week, where I am eating closer to the number of calories I need to for very slow weight loss. Hubby figured that out to be around 1573 calories, which is 70% of what I need to maintain my weight. Most days, I try to keep the calories to 1200-1299. See you all next week (come on, 203.anything)!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mysterious Monday: Standing Stones

Who here hasn’t heard of Stonehenge? If you’re past the age of 18 and haven’t heard of it, raise your hand so I can slap the back of your head (not an NCIS reference—I was doing this to dissuade moronic behavior long before Mark Harmon did it on the screen). Most adults have heard of Stonehenge, unless they’ve been living under a rock somewhere NOT on the Salisbury Plain. But did you know that Stonehenge is only the most famous of a group whose members number into the thousands?

Photo by mottie33, found at the Stock Exchange

There are mysteries aplenty surrounding these stone circles—who built them? When were they built? How were they built and to what purpose?

Research suggests that from the early Neolithic Age on into the Bronze Age, man was erecting these circles all over Europe and the British Isles. Since the Bronze Age predates the Roman Empire by thousands of years, whoever built these was not only at least as advanced as the people that most of us consider to be one of the most “modern” of the early peoples, but they may have even had more “technology” than the Romans. So who was it? Was it aliens? Was it giants? Nephalim or their daddies, the angels? Ancient gods perhaps? Or was it just a group of ingenious ancestors? Or a neat-freak glacier, arranging the large bits of stone it left behind as it receded back to the Arctic Circle?

The burning question of why remains floating in the air, too. At most archaeological sites, one can expect to find pottery, jewelry, bones—signs of occupation. Any of these signs found at the stone circles is from later peoples, not from the builders. So what was the purpose of these circles? Were they landing beacons for ancient aliens? Places of worship for our ancestors? Super-computer calendars that kept track of the weather for an agrarian society? Or were our great-great-great-(keep going) grandparents messing with their descendents? “Watch this. We’ll put up a big circle of stones. It’ll drive ‘em nuts trying to figure out why. Hehehe. ‘Borrow’ my ox, will you, and bring it back exhausted?”

That’s one heck of a prank, though. How could humans who used stone and relatively soft metals have cut and transported and shaped these enormous stones into circles? The stones of Stonehenge weigh between a light 4 tons all the way up to 40 tons. Think of this as some guy in an animal pelt with a stone ax trying to move an average sized pick-up truck that’s been compacted--and that's the smallest one. Sure, the fella’s not going to move it on his own—he’s going to drag his pals in with promises of pizza and beer—but still… When you consider the average male was anywhere from an average of 5’3” to 5’6”, that’s quite a feat.

It amazes me how every time I read an article about any of these circles, I am left with more questions than answers. Why are they found predominantly in Europe and the British Isles? And did the same people who built these European and British circles build the scattered ones found in other parts of the world? Was it the ancient Celts or perhaps the survivors of Atlantis?

What do you think? Have you ever seen one of these circles up close and in person? Is it on your “must travel to” list? Personally, I have never seen Stonehenge, although I visited England for a short time (literally was there for like three days visiting my then-fiancé, who refused to drive me there as it was “too far away” from his flat outside London).    

Friday, January 11, 2013

Do you know what today is?

For the next few posts, Fridays will be unthemed. I was going to continue Photo Friday, but with last week’s post, you can likely understand if that goes by the wayside. I thought about advertising contests and conventions—and might still—but on thinking about other ideas, I began wondering if today was a holiday somewhere. As it turns out, it is a holiday, and that holiday made me a bit nostalgic, for today is Milk Day.

What, you may ask, is milk day, and how have we sunk so low in reaching for a celebration that we celebrate milk? As it turns out, today is the 135th anniversary of the first day that milk was delivered to homes in those lovely glass bottles. By the way, if you want this one, you can "Buy it now" on Ebay for only $64.95--I shoulda kept Mom and Dad's old bottles. 

I remember having the milkman come a few times a week to our home in New Hampshire when I was a child. We had one of those tin crates with a lid outside on our lean-to porch. Mom would leave the quart bottles out for exchanging, with a note if she needed more than our “usual” amount. Once a week, if I’m not mistaken, she would leave the money out for our payment. When we took trips, she would call them or leave them a note in the box to ask them to suspend delivery, and on our way home, we would stop at the dairy farm to get enough to hold us over until the next delivery. He might have brought us eggs, too, but I honestly can’t remember.

I miss those days—the trust we had in our fellow man (leaving money and/or products on our front porch). I definitely miss how simple life was. There was no internet, no million channels of TV to choose from, no cell phones or texting. Things took longer, but I think we appreciated them more. Maybe I’m just seeing the past through rose-colored glasses or am growing nostalgic in my old age. Maybe it’s Gramma’s voice whispering in my ear, one of her colorful little colloquialisms—“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get”. In this day and age, we scurry like rats fleeing a sinking ship as we bustle from one important thing to another. Maybe it’s post-Christmas burnout or pre-tax anxiety, but I just want to slow down, to take things easy. The walk down the milky memory lane added fuel to my fire, I guess.

How about you? Do you remember the milk man? Do you ever miss those days when life seemed simpler?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday Check In: Gaining and Losing and Staying the Same


Woo hoo! Whadya know? This writer actually can write. I didn’t get a whole lot done this week, but I did write. I left the RWA meeting early, with a headache that cleared later that evening. On Sunday, I sponsored a writing sprint with some of my Gateworld pals, during which I re-read what I had written so far in Quantum Kiss, which had been untouched since June. Monday, I was in another sprint on Gateworld, during which, now that I remembered what was going on, I was able to write just over 780 words. Last night, I was nauseous and so I only managed a little over 300 words. All said and done, between QK and the blogs, I have written right around 2800 words this week. Today, I am still fighting this stupid flu, but the plan is to continue writing a bit more this evening. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the usual sprint time of 9 pm that I keep with my Gateworld pals. I am definitely glad to see some progress being made on Quantum Kiss. Mind, that story was supposed to be complete already, but best laid plans and all…

I’ve also suggested to my RWA group to continue a tradition they had of 250/day. Whether they decide to join me or not, that is my personal goal for this year.


More woo hoo! I am now down to the stunning weight of 205.8, which is down 2 pounds from last week and around 13 pounds overall (the counter from MyFitnessPal is off because I started that when I was already down by a few pounds. I’ve been keeping my calorie count to around 1200 per day. I’m going to let that count go up to 1450 or so—I should still be able to lose weight, but I don’t want my body going into starvation mode or anything and leveling out. I’m already exercising as much as I want to. I doubt I will get that many calories today, as the flu is making me not hungry at all.


Two days ago, it was nice enough to have the A/C off; now it’s back to being just on the edge of uncomfortable without it. Next week we’re supposed to get some rain at the end of the week. We need it so badly. I hope it rains every day—I know, I know, some different from last week lamenting the possibility of rain for the outdoor graduation. It is just so hot and so dry lately. Come summer (ie: now), I may be removing the weather portion of this check-in, since it stays pretty much the same from here on out—hot and (hopefully) rainy. I’ll only put this section in when something weird happens, like the all-night thunderstorm or the hurricane watch or whatever.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mysterious Monday: Elusive Time

“If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do…”

Well, Jim Croce is a bit more romantic than I am. I’d spend some time sleeping, some time having fun with my family, some time writing, some time promoting, etc. With the New Year, many of us have made resolutions; some refuse to make resolutions, calling them too nebulous, and instead make goals. I’ve made both, but without finding time to put the work to action, neither resolutions nor goals will come to fruition. 

The key to this is “finding” time. We cannot “make” time, nor can we capture it in a bottle. I decided to take a good hard look at my schedule and figure out what was happening to my time. (Gonna do that with the finances with hubby—SHHH! Don’t tell him!)

First of all, I have to stop letting the time thieves rob me.

Criminal #1: My eldest son. For some reason, E can get up at oh-dark-thirty while at a training and be where he needs to be when he needs to be there. When I tell him we need to leave by 6:30 so that I can get back in time to exercise before getting his brother up, this becomes a problem. I shall have to contact his commanding officers and find out what it is that they do to get him in gear. Some days, when I go to pick him up at the school, I have waited in excess of 30 minutes for him as he gets caught up in a meeting or some such thing. Add to that, for some reason, I have to ask him to do things numerous times to get them done.

Criminal #2: My youngest son. Waking him up has been a problem since he was born. For a child who never napped, he can sure sleep. Waking him begins with “J, time to get up!” His response is a pitiful, “Can I have 5 minutes?” Five minutes later, I’m back and for the next five to ten minutes I am pushing, pulling and prodding him (verbally—he’s too heavy for me to lift nowadays) out of bed. He also needs to be told more than once to complete tasks.

Criminal #3: Disorganization. Disorganization leads me to making 4 or more trips to the store every week. It leads to looking for things that should be to hand, which wastes up to 30 minutes each occurrence.

Criminal #4: Computer games/internet. For this, I need to simply turn off the internet when I write or hang out with my family or sleep. I have thought that it might be a good idea to limit my internet time and use a timer. Using a timer has helped in other areas. I’ll set the timer for 30 minutes and during that time, I’ll do only housework or only work-related work or only writing or whatever.

Long and short of it is that we all have only 24 hours in a day. I will never be one of those super-organized, Aviance women who can do it all. If you are one of those “I juggle work, college, kids, hubby (or single mothering), volunteerism, homemade dinners, bake sale fundraisers, AND still have time to write 5K a day, all with a cheerful smile and a spotless home” sort of women, please go away now. You are too perfect to read my imperfect blog. 

My major resolution is to find more time from what I waste; my main goal is to write the 250 words per day that I’ve spoken of. But if I find a bottle filled with time, I won’t let you know. It’ll be mine, all MINE! Mwa ha ha! (Can you tell I don’t get much sleep?)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Photo Friday: How NOT to take photos

  1. If using a now old-fashioned film camera, film MUST BE INSERTED into the camera in order for it to work. I had to learn this lesson twice—I’m smart, not necessarily bright sometimes, though. I thought that digital would be my savior when it came to keeping me from mistakes of this magnitude. I was wrong.
  2. When using a high-end camera with a lens, one must remove the lens cap for proper photo taking.
  3. When taking photos with a digital camera, one must be sure that the little card thingy (yes, that’s what I call it—don’t judge) is NOT FULL.

Lesson 1, A: Learned on a cross-country road trip when I was 22 or so. Took lots of great photos of the Mississippi River and that area. Too bad they did not get saved to film.

Lesson 1, B: Learned at Lake Tahoe, on the trip where my now-hubby proposed to me. What a beautiful lake and such a pretty park where he proposed. It's a shame they’re only in my memories now.

Lesson 2: Our last month living in New Jersey, before moving back to Florida, there was a huge snow storm (the President’s Day Blizzard). The kids, knowing that this was their last chance to play in snow, took advantage. I got a really cute shot of my 2 year old in his snow suit, hiding in a little snow cave he and his brother had made. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover that I’d forgotten to remove the lens cover until later on.

Lesson 3: We left out of here yesterday morning, bright and early. I was all proud of myself for having not one, but two, cameras ready to go—batteries fully charged, card thingy in the big one. We arrived at the graduation just over an hour before graduation and get great seats right up front. Hubby decided that it was too early and we trotted off to get some McBreakfast. By the time we got back, it was standing room only (outside). **sigh**

I managed to finagle my way up front and started taking video with my Flip camera, but it was just not powerful enough to get details. My younger boy had the big camera and he told me that it wasn’t showing the pics he had taken. I took it and it seemed to work fine, except for not displaying the pics, so I shrugged and decided I’d figure it out later; for now, I had pics to take. I video taped four speeches and the teen’s friend (my 3rd child for the rest of the week while his mom is out of town) receiving the award for Honor Cadet for his company. I shot photos of the boys with their C.O. and the C.O. of E’s SERE training.

I got home and downloaded the pics, and—nothing. Turned out the card was full. Luckily, hubby had taken a couple of pics of the boys with the SERE commander with his smart phone, or we’d have nothing usable. I told him that next time, he’s in charge of the photography.

Here’s what I got on my phone (faces of the kids have all been whited out for their privacy):

Seabag Inspection

Seabag Inspection

Here’s photos taken by one of the staff on a field trip to the SEAL museum in Ft. Pierce:


He likes him some weaponry!

Here’s what hubby got (again, face whited out for privacy):

So, not a total loss, but I do wish I was more photo-savvy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Triple W Check In: Not a good start to the year

This entry is going to be short and sweet. Well, short anyway. It’s been a long, exhausting week; with the holidays over, work is demanding more and more of my attention until we all get back on track and back into the groove.


Zip, zero, zilch, nada, and however many other ways you can say, “none”. No editing even, nor fan fiction. Nothing outside of the blogs, but then I’ve been fighting a cold and allergies combined, which has left me exhausted, with sore eyes, to the point where having my eyes open has been a trial some days. This Saturday, I will be at my RWA meeting, and we usually keep the room for a few hours after the meeting, so, barring extreme migraine or eye soreness, I should be staying to write. The girl who made me an avi, sig, wall-paper, and book cover for “Quantum Kiss” has inspired me to pick that story up again, and it’s really calling to me. With the Nephalim story on a (possibly temporary) block, QK is needing my love.


No huge loss this week, but at least there was a loss. I went down to 207.8. I seem to have reached a small plateau, but then, I also haven’t been keeping track of my calories in the past couple of weeks. I started back yesterday with tracking the calories, and got “yelled at” by my program for only taking in 1115 calories. I also upped my exercise a hair, now doing 15 of all of the weight lifting exercises, as well as 15 windmills and 15 leg lifts. Treadmill time is 40 minutes on a 2.0 incline, varying speeds from 2.6 to 3.6. The kids go back to school next week and I only hope I can keep up the exercise in the morning.


Rain: (noun). Water that falls from the sky, but only during outdoor graduations, weddings, and other celebrations, or when you’re leaving the grocery store with a cartload and you’re parked at the far end of the parking lot. Rarely falls when you’re asleep, unless accompanied by loud booms of thunder and bright cracks of lightning.

No rain, no bad heat in the past week. Nights have been down in the 50s or so, days up in the 70s. Tomorrow, my oldest son graduates from POLA (Petty Officer Leadership Academy); the graduation is outside. We are planning to do fireworks with him later in the evening, since he missed out on New Year’s Eve celebrations by being at the training. Naturally, they are forecasting rain tomorrow. Hence the definition.

I should have pictures this Friday of the graduation and my handsome young Seaman. Sorry there were no pictures last week—see the part about fighting a cold/allergies at once. I’m going now to put eyedrops in my eyes and hope that eases the pain.