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April 21st, 2017

AO3 Statistics Meme

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I have 97 stories, adding up to 439,838 words. All together, they've received 170,762 hits.

Top Five by Hits:

1. I Never, Criminal Minds, Morgan/Reid, 2009, 2,627 words, 17,196 hits.
2. Good Reason to be Late, Criminal Minds, 2009, Morgan/Reid, 526 words, 6,262 hits.
3. An Excuse to Get Hurt, Criminal Minds, 2009, Morgan/Reid, 4,360 words, 5,321 hits. (A rare dark-ish fic from me.)
4. Life is Good, Criminal Minds, 2009, Reid/Rossi, 1,213 words, 4,827 hits.
5. Not So Alone, Criminal Minds, 2009, Hotch/Reid and Rossi/Prentiss, 2,263 words, 3,925 hits. Part one of a season-long series of episode coda fics.

The conclusion I draw from this: People will always love Morgan/Reid best. Also, I was a crazy multi-shipper for Criminal Minds.

Top Five by Kudos:

1. I Never, Criminal Minds, Morgan/Reid, 2009, 2,627 words, 1,424 kudos.
2. Good Reason to be Late, Criminal Minds, 2009, Morgan/Reid, 526 words, 280 kudos.
3. An Excuse to Get Hurt, Criminal Minds, 2009, Morgan/Reid, 4,360 words, 190 kudos.
4. Role Reversal, Criminal Minds, 2010, Hotch/Reid, 1,090 words, 185 kudos.
5. Life is Good, Criminal Minds, 2009, Reid/Rossi, 1,213 words, 4,827 hits.

The conclusion I draw from this: Spencer Reid really is the Criminal Minds fandom's little black dress. He looks good on everyone.

Top Five by Bookmarks:

1. I Never, Criminal Minds, Morgan/Reid, 2009, 2,627 words, 258 bookmarks.
2. Life is Good, Criminal Minds, 2009, Reid/Rossi, 1,213 words, 42 bookmarks.
3. Good Reason to be Late, Criminal Minds, 2009, Morgan/Reid, 526 words, 35 bookmarks.
4. Alpha Male Syndrome, Criminal Minds, 2009, Morgan/Rossi, 22,775 words, 23 bookmarks.
5. An Excuse to Get Hurt, Criminal Minds, 2009, Morgan/Reid, 4,360 words, 33 bookmarks.

The conclusion I draw from this: My Morgan/Rossi Big Bang fic made a surprising appearance here. I guess that means there are so few Morgan/Rossi fics that people like coming back to reread this one? :D

I just have to say, where the heck are all the Harry Potter fans on AO3? My most popular HP fic is
A Life of Obscurity, which was a 21,096-word Snupin Santa fic. It has 1,499 hits, 70 kudos, 5 comment threads, and 24 bookmarks.

I wonder if this is a result of the ways fandom has changed over the years. My HP fandom involvement was almost entirely on FictionAlley and LiveJournal, and of course, starting in 2007 LJ started going downhill, and I started porting fic over to AO3. I...honestly don't remember what happened with FictionAlley, though it seems like there was some drama that led to people moving to AO3?

My poor little The 100 fanfics get very little attention--probably because I'm such a fringe-shipper. Not many people looking for Bellamy/Jackson or Bellamy/Monty slash out there, I guess. :D

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April 17th, 2017

Monday's accomplishments

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I'm pushing up against a couple of deadlines, so of course today I had to clean out my closet.


In my own defense, I made a lot of progress against one of the deadlines this morning. I was multi-tasking by running laundry while working, and I made the mistake of stepping into my closet. It's been bothering me for weeks now, and with the Tiny Wardrobe Tour lecture coming up in a week, I just couldn't take it anymore. I pulled everything out of the closet, switched winter clothes for spring/summer clothes, vacuumed, KonMaried the closet clothes (not the dresser clothes, those will have to wait until next weekend), and rearranged the closet a bit.

It's a large closet. I've considered setting up a tiny desk and sound system in there to write. I definitely plan to use it as a sound studio when I get around to recording my audiobooks.

Anyway, it is now a pleasure to step into the closet, and I have perhaps 50 pieces of clothing hanging in it, and now I have one last hour to work on the writing deadline before I need to go to bed. Also, my back is killing me.

Boss is out for the next two weeks, which means our staff is effectively down by a third. There are four of us who work there, but one doesn't do any public stuff if she can help it (and who can blame her, it isn't part of her job description). So I'm working extra hours this week and next, which will be lovely for my bank account but not so lovely for my writing and Etsy time.

Tried a recipe from [personal profile] angelofthenorth tonight--the Sweet Potato and Pepper Soup was delicious!

Tomorrow I start the work week, and hopefully finish one of my two deadline projects.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

April 14th, 2017

Hello new DW friends!

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Time to jump-start my DW account! I'm making the move. *sigh* I miss the good old days of LJ, but those days have been gone for so long now. The problem is, my friends didn't move en-mass to any one location, so I have a bunch on Facebook (bane of my existence), some on Tumblr, some on Twitter, and some here at DreamWidth. I guess it's time to make some more friends! :D

I'm not very good at regular journaling anymore, but I'm going to try to default to DW instead of FB. Fandom was always a huge part of my LJ existence, and I know that's partly why I've dropped off the regular posting. I'm not active in Harry Potter fandom or Criminal Minds fandom anymore. I'm only semi-active in The 100 fandom, and that's more writing fic than reading it. And since I'm neither a Clexa stan nor a Bellarke shipper (I'm a slasher and fringe-shipper), I tend to avoid that fandom on Tumblr.


Hello to any new DW friends! I'm a huge nut for Tolkien's writing, I also love Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion books, Narnia, Prydain, The Dark is Rising, Robin McKinley's books... I'm trying to read a bunch of #OwnVoices books this year, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, but I also love YA books. I'm a casual gamer--I play Skyrim and World of Warcraft, and also have an in-person Pathfinder group that plays monthly. I'm pretty much a "hit-it-hard-with-a-sword" kind of gamer.

I have three cats: Eowyn, Strider, and Eustace Clarence Scrubb (who probably doesn't deserve that). I'm 40, I'm single and was terribly relieved last year when I realized I'm not weird, I'm just aromantic. I enjoy romance in fiction, but am allergic to it in real life. Ew.

I work at a museum and love it, even though it means I'm broke most of the time. I'm also an indie author and have published epic and urban fantasy, and am currently at work on the next in my epic series. I also have a story coming out in a specfic anthology about horses later this summer.

I grew up evangelical and Republican but I got better. I now refer to myself as a red-letter Christian, in that I believe Christianity is meant to be a true reflection of what Jesus said and did--love your neighbor, feed the hungry, care for the sick, help the poor, etc. I have lots of friends who are not Christians, and I think those friends have made me a better person as well as (hopefully) a way less annoying Christian. :D

I'm a huge history nerd, particularly medieval studies and the US Civil War. I love hiking and bird watching. I dabble in nature photography. I still like Pokemon Go even though I never played the older versions.

I grew up in Indiana, and yes, we do call ourselves Hoosiers. Not all of us are Mike Pence fans, either. I aspire to live somewhere without winter, hopefully Austin, Texas.

Oh yeah, and I'm an expressive, so despite being an introvert, I tend to just throw my opinions and feelings out there for people. Congratulations, you may now know more about me than you wanted to! :D

Now I need to go buy a paid DW account and port over all the icons I'm used to having. LOL

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

January 1st, 2013

2013 Reading List

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So last year I read 64 books, 7 of them non-fiction. I can't seem to break that 10 non-fiction books barrier. Maybe this year. Of course, I did read a lot of white papers for work, and some of them were almost book-length. And I have been working my way through another non-fiction book for work, but I haven't finished it yet. Oh well.

2013 Reading List
  1. The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson
  2. The Far West - Patricia C. Wrede
  3. The Hero of Ages - Brandon Sanderson
  4. Social Media 101 - Chris Brogan *
  5. Kitty Steals the Show - Carrie Vaughn
  6. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  7. On Writing - Stephen King *
  8. Keeping the Castle - Patrice Kindl
  9. Dark and Stormy Knights - ed by P.N. Elrod
  10. Libriomancer - Jim C. Hines
  11. A Million Suns - Beth Revis
  12. The Last Knight - Hilari Bell
  13. Rogue's Home - Hilari Bell
  14. Player's Ruse - Hilari Bell
  15. The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater
  16. Rebel Heart - Moira Young
  17. Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism - Carl Medearis *
  18. Cinder - Marissa Meyer
  19. The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis †
  20. The 100 Thing Challenge - Dave Bruno *
  21. The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis †
  22. Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said? - Shane Claiborne & Tony Campolo *
  23. Song of the Beast - Carol Berg
  24. Elantris - Brandon Sanderson

* - non-fiction
† - reread

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

October 24th, 2012

I will be so glad to see November 7

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Wow, hi LJ! *dusts off blog* How is everyone doing? I have been focused so much on work and novel and SWC blog that I have been almost entirely absent here.

I love my job. Every single day I go to work and feel like I have made a difference to my coworkers and employer, and that I have given an excellent experience to our visitors. I don't think there's any way I wouldn't like a job where the mission statement was to "celebrate and renew belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture." And one of these days, I'll even finish reading Ben-Hur.

About three weeks ago I swore off Facebook until the election was over. Too much vitriol from either side of the aisle, and frankly I was tired of losing respect for people I had always liked. Tonight I took a cool quiz at and, to no great surprise, learned that I side 76% with Barack Obama. (What surprised me more was that I actually agreed with Mitt Romney about...well, um, anything.) The website had sharing links, so I took a deep breath, bit the bullet and outed myself on Facebook as someone who's voting Democrat this year.

Of course, now I'm too cowardly to go read my friends feed, with its three lonely liberals. Ah, the loneliness of being a moderate. You may get to poke fun at both ends of the political spectrum, but you also have twice the number of people pissed off at you. *G*

Because of a request one of my beta-readers made, I've been spending my writing time this week working on an episode in the backstory of five characters. It's not something that will appear in the novel, except as each of those five people remember it from their various POVs. But the more I work on it, the more I love it, and I'm gaining all sorts of new understanding of these characters I've been living with 22 years now. Well, most of them. Poor Ranulf, he didn't show up until draft 3, I think. *G* Anyway, it's fun.

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I made a miserable attempt at Camp NaNo this summer, which consisted of me signing up for it and promptly refusing to write for nearly two weeks straight. That led to some consideration of my novel-writing process, and I decided that, while NaNoWriMo is awesomely fun, I have learned all that it has to teach me at the present, and I really want to concentrate on finishing my current novel revision. So I'm setting NaNo aside for 2012. I may go back to it in future years, but not this year. NaNo taught me how to plot a novel, and NaNo gave me characters like Zeva and Edmund and Fithian, and I will forever be grateful that I discovered NaNoWriMo. But this year, it isn't in the cards.

In other news, still looking for a second part-time job. Retail and waitressing are out, unfortunately, because as much as I love my job, it requires a lot of energy for someone who is an introvert. I think adding a second job that requires too much interaction with the general public would make me a wreck. And in the meantime, I'm squeaking by financially. I had to borrow $10 from my dad until payday on Friday, but since that $10 is going to keep his and mom's cell phones working along with my own, I think that's okay. And one of these days I'll get around to selling my Gaiam balance ball chair and that Boonton ware I inherited from Gedna and have no use for.

A while ago Eowyn brought me a present, in the form of a not-quite-dead mouse. I'm not afraid of mice, but I don't particularly want them in my bed, so I carried her back downstairs (mouse firmly in her jaws) and put her in a large box. She proceeded to kill the mouse and jump out of the box, leaving the mouse behind to feed me, I guess. I think she's getting the hang of this hunting thing. :)

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

September 11th, 2012

A decade

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Wow. I just realized that today marks my 10th anniversary of my LJ. What's awesome is that means I have known some of you all for ten years now. Not many--my friends list has changed so much over the past decade--but a few! LJ is a lot different than it was when I first joined. Not only the company and service it provides, but also the culture here and how everyone uses LJ. I know mine has become mostly a real-life journal, instead of fannish, and that seems to be the case for a lot of my friends. And some of the friends I first met on LJ, I actually interact with more on Facebook, or the phone or text messages.

Still, I love my LJ friends, and I hope none of you go away. While I crosspost from Dreamwidth these days, I really am still more active reading-wise at LiveJournal.

I'm posting with this icon because I think it's the oldest one I still have.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

August 31st, 2012

Kitties and tropical storms and stupid things that break

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Well, we're expecting what's left of Isaac to hit any minute, if you listen to the news. Early predictions were that Isaac could "erase" the drought in some parts of Indiana. Way too late for the corn crops, of course, and every projection I've heard since has lowered the expected rainfall. Not that I mind. We could use the rain, but we've already had more in August than in May through July, and even though I mowed the grass a week ago, it needs it again. And Dad broke the mower yesterday.


Seriously, what does it take to get a break around here? Or, um, a nonbreak?

The Cub Cadet has been broken since May, and we haven't fixed it because the Snapper was running fine, and we didn't have the money to fix the Cadet. But the mower Dad broke? Of course--the Snapper. So we dropped the Cadet off at the service place today, which means I'll have a non-zero-turn mower I have to use for the rest of the season. Ugh. But at least it has a drink holder. *snort*

Speaking of breaks...

My PC is still giving me fits. It behaved itself for about two weeks, making me think my problem was fixed. Then this morning it froze in the middle of doing something, and I had to power it down with the button. When I restarted it this afternoon, I had to go through three hard reboots before it settled down to actually work. Urgh.

Took the kitties to the vet for their shots this Monday. Strider embarrassed the hell out of me. The assistant weighed him and he was fine. Then Dr. Jon listened to his heartbeat and checked his ears, and he was not pleased about that. When Dr. Jon gripped his head to look in his eyes and mouth, Strider flipped out. He hissed and growled and came off that exam table like he had a rocket under his butt. Jumped to the windowsill, where Eowyn was waiting patiently for her turn, and landed on her, then almost climbed the window shade before dropping down under my feet. I tried to grab him, which earned me a nasty stripe across the back of my hand, then Dr. Jon told me to let him go. Strider stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by four people and a very unhappy sister, and slunk off under the sink, where he growled and hissed copiously for quite a while.

I was SO SHOCKED. He has never behaved like that in his life! It was worse than one of Merlin's freakouts in volume, though he didn't actually bite anyone, and I'm not sure he intentionally swiped me. But he was very loud about warning everyone off, that's for sure. He hid under the sink while Dr. Jon ignored him and did Eowyn's exam. She wasn't pleased, but she behaved herself very well. I think she was more shaken up about Strider than the exam or shots. Dr. Jon had to get The Net, which he used to capture Strider and (mostly) immobilize him, so he could give him the two shots. And then we realized that Strider had pooped on the floor. >.<

Neither of the kitties like car rides, but I'd held Strider on the way to the vet, and he'd been completely content once he could see out the window and everything. He didn't get that privilege on the way home. Strider got put in the backseat of the car, carrier draped with a towel, while I rode in the front seat and held Eowyn in my lap. Strider let out a couple of growls, but calmed down pretty quickly. When we were about two miles from home, Eowyn started panting really bad, which panicked me a little. We got a little water in her, but she wasn't really thirsty. Once I pointed the A/C vents right at her, though, she started doing better. I got her inside ASAP and made sure she was okay.

The funny thing is, we left Strider's carrier on the floor in the garage for a minute while I settled Eowyn. (I was planning to isolate him if he didn't behave.) Eowyn walked around meowing as I carried his box up the stairs. He was acting just fine, so I let him out. Eowyn went up to him, sniffed him, and stopped meowing. I think she thought I had left him at the vet!

They were both lethargic and not very hungry for the first day after the shots. Eowyn snuggled up on my lap every single chance she got. In fact, Monday night I slept on my back in one position all night, because she was lying on my stomach when I went to sleep, and she was lying on my lap when I woke up, and my back freaking killed me. LOL Strider was very sleep and a little subdued all Tuesday, and it took Eowyn several hours to forgive him for jumping on her. I know he'd taken a chunk of her belly fur off, because I had to pull it off his back claw when he came out of his cage.

They're both fine now, and adorable and well-behaved as ever. They're getting along fine now, too.

I'm sort of terrified of taking him to the vet next time, though. I think I'm going to schedule them for different days, so he can't, at least, traumatize her again next time.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

August 15th, 2012

Random things

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I have changed my LJ layout. I'd love to apply that to DW as well, but I can't be arsed to work out if it's possible. :P ETA: Not only is it possible, it isn't as difficult as I'd feared. And actually I decided the layout I made for Innerslytherin was more appropriate for my writing LJ, so that's where I put it. This layout is by [profile] scholarslayouts.

So far it has rained more in August in Indiana than it did in May, June, and July all put together. This is nice for our yard and garden, but I fear it's too late for the corn crops. Soybeans might yet be all right. The resurgence of my allergies has proven that there is, in fact, a connection between how much rain we have and how allergic I am. This reinforces my goal to move to the desert at some point in my life.

I have written a whopping 1583 words in August. >.<

I would really love to put some of my old writing together in a document to sell for a couple bucks on Smashwords. The dilemma is that I don't want to self-publish the things for which I would like to pursue traditional publishing. So I want to self-publish old old writing. So the writing is quite possible (probably) sub-par. But I don't want to take the time (away from my fantasy novel rewrite) necessary to even read it and decide if it's shite. Anyone feel like doing that for me? LOL

My sciatica is acting up again. I'm taking Advil intermittently for it, and I've explored yoga, but I honestly don't have the patience/discipline/whatever to make myself do the yoga every day, so I have yet to see benefits for that. But at the moment my right leg is tingly and my right butt cheek hurts like a bitch, which means I've been sitting at the computer too long and need to do some stretching. I'll walk out to the mailbox as soon as I hit post.

This is Mom's first day back at work. I intended to use the empty house to my advantage, but instead I am sitting here not being productive. Argh.

I got a Starbucks card yesterday. Damn those green coffee lime refreshers!

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

August 13th, 2012

Things going on

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So I love my job. Seriously love it. I GET to go to work every Friday and Saturday, and it is awesome. The more I learn about Lew Wallace, the more I adore the man. And it's so much fun to share that love with people who come to the Study.

I am, however, not making a lot of money. As in, hardly any. So I am still hoping that another historic location in town will get in touch with me regarding some part time work.

In have changed my mind about Camp NaNoWriMo and dropped out. As soon as I signed up, I think I got this mental block. As soon as I deleted my profile, I got unblocked. I think I may have come to the end of NaNo's usefulness to me. It's fun, but honestly, I have to find the motivation to write within myself, and I have been, and I no longer seem to need the camaraderie of NaNo to keep my word count up.

Except that I have backslid a great deal this month. Of course, Mom goes back to school this Wednesday, so I am trying to enjoy all the hanging out time and all the accomplishing projects time that we have left. Today we hiked a little over four miles at our local state park. It was awesome.

We saw a yellow-billed cuckoo today. First one we've seen there in years. We saw a cuckoo in Trinidad (a squirrel cuckoo, I think), but it's neat to see the local one. :) Our cuckoos don't really say "cuckoo" though. There's a little "coo coo coo" noise, but the awesome one is the "c-c-c-c-couwl couwl!" It's a fun bird to listen to.

Eowyn has caught five mice in the past four days. Friday night she caught one and we threw it way out in the yard. Saturday night she caught one and brought it upstairs to me. I was at the computer when she jumped on the bed and I realized what she had in her mouth. I carried her back downstairs, mouse still in her mouth, and ended up taking the mouse outside. Then Sunday she wasn't downstairs for two minutes before she had her first mouse. I felt bad for taking them away from her, so I put her and the mouse in a big box and let her play with it for a while. Then Strider jumped in the box, took the mouse, jumped out, and ran for the upstairs. I had to chase him and take the mouse away. These wretched, adorable creatures. They must really want to feed me mice. >.< Eowyn caught another mouse 15 minutes later, but it got away down a hole to the crawlspace. Then about an hour later, we heard growling from the area of the stairs. Eown had caught a mouse, was holding it in her mouth, and was growling around it at her brother to keep him from stealing her mouse!

She doesn't seem to know what to do with them once she catches them though. I let her play with that one until she seemed bored, but the mouse wasn't badly hurt when she was through with it. I carried it well out into the field and dropped it in the beans. Hopefully now that Mom and I sealed up the hole to the crawlspace, the mice won't get back into the house. :P

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August 2nd, 2012

Insanity, thy name is me (AKA Camp NaNoWriMo)

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Just signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. No idea why, except that, hey, I wrote 32K last month, so I ought to be able to write 50K this month, right? Especially since my goal is to finish the original novel revision by August 30.

Let's hope, anyway.

Also, I'm signed up as a sponsored camper, so if I raise $50 in donations I get a nifty pen, and if I raise $100 in donations I get a nifty poster. So if y'all are so inclined to sponsor me, please click below.

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June 16th, 2012

Update on my lovely second-degree burn

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Though apparently they are calling them partial-tissue-thickness these days, or something like that.

Anyway. The lovely Resolucidity has been offering her expert opinion via photo messages and text, but there is only so much nursing that can be done long distance. *G* Since I haven't had a burn like this in my life, I finally decided today to go to urgent care, just for my own peace of mind, if nothing else. I ended up seeing the guy who is my dad's now doctor, so that was a plus. In many ways, because DAMN that guy is cute. Also probably 12, but cute. (Disclaimer: 12 is an exaggeration based on how young he looked in comparison to how old I feel; I am not attracted to 12-year-olds.)

Anyway. The doc said that I have been taking good care of it, doing everything right, except for the fact that I only realized two nights ago that the Neosporin I was putting on has been expired for two years. *headdesk* He also said it didn't matter that I had waited a week to come in, because the first few days would have been a "wait and see" scenario anyway. He was at first concerned that the middle part of the burn might be third-degree or full-tissue-thickness, but was relieved when I said that it is tender to the touch. No nerve damage, in his opinion. So good news all around, basically.

He gave me a prescription for an ointment that works to enzymatically debride the necrotic tissue from the eschar, which is basically fancy doctor words for a dead-flesh-eating-ointment. So I guess I have a thin layer of zombie medicine on my leg right now. He said to mix that with some (NON-expired) Bacitracin and keep the wound covered at night and when I am out and about, and that my healing will be measured in weeks, rather than in days. But in general, that's pretty good news. And $96 wasn't too much to pay for peace of mind and knowing I won't need skin grafts or anything. Of course, the Santyl (sp?) ointment was another $103 (OMG) but again, worth it just to be able to say I have dead-flesh-eating-ointment on my leg. :P

So anyway, just so you all know, my leg is not going to fall off, and I am out doing yard work again, but staying well away from mufflers and other hot objects.

This entry was originally posted at Comment here or comment there using OpenID.

June 11th, 2012

Yard Work HURTS

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So Friday was the day Mom and I planned to do some work on our trail. She's been out of school for about a week now, and we've been working our way through gardening and yard projects over the past week, with Wednesday off for hiking. And Friday was my day. We have about 3.5 acres very far out in the country, and on one corner of our property, we let progression take its course. We stopped mowing for about 5 or 10 years, and in that time, a lot of little trees grew up. Unfortunately poison ivy did too, but we're working on that. Anyway, several years ago, we cut a trail through that little woodlot, from near the mailbox curving around to the very front part of the front yard.

Side story - last week, there was a deer in the front yard, and I grabbed the camera to snap a couple of pictures. We see deer all the time, but we never get tired of them--though we do get a bit exasperated when they eat the garden or important trees! Anyway, the deer saw me coming and ducked down into the trail. Mom and I decided to hurry up and see if the deer was still on the trail, because we thought it would be a neat picture. She went around the outside of the woodlot and I went along the trail. The deer was nowhere to be found! Not on the longer trail or the little connecting trail, not running across the field, not anywhere I could see hiding in the underbrush... Then apparently, Mom went around the opposite direction from how I was going, and suddenly she couldn't find me either. She thought I'd vanished!

Me, I'm just cranky that apparently our trail has a door into Narnia, and I go on that trail all the time, but I've never made it to Narnia. *grumps*

Anyway, Friday I was apparently feeling extra klutzy. Earlier this week, while mowing, I drove an autumn olive brancy into my knee and scratched it all up, then later was attacked by a tulip tree that didn't think I had enough scratches on that knee. Then while we were working on the trail, we hitched a wagon to the mower (not a little red wagon, but a proper hitchy-type wagon). While trimming tree branches and such, I took a step back, hit my calf hard on the hitch, and fell over backwards, scraping my elbow on the way down. I was terrified I was falling into poison ivy, but fortunately the spot where I landed was clear.

As I was getting up, Mom said, "Be careful of the muffler! Don't burn yourself!"

Clever as I am, I replied, "In all the years I've been mowing this yard, I've never once burned myself on that muffler."

Famous. Last. Words.

Two wagon-loads later, we were almost finished with the trail and ready to move out into the open areas to do the sides of the woodlot. That adds just a little more tragedy to the story, because it was only the close quarters along the trail that caused my downfall. I was trying to get between the equipment and a rather large hickory tree. Squeezed between them, paused to look at something, and a couple seconds later let out an ear-splitting shriek as I realized that my leg was melting off.

Yes, I had pressed my calf (the same one I bruised earlier) against the muffler. I looked down and had a five-and-a-half inch streak of bright red running up my calf. We didn't have water, of course--we were drinking Gatoride-like stuff, and I thought the sodium and such would hurt if I poured it on the skin. So I sprinted to the house and stuck my leg in the sink. Which, let me tell you, is an incredibly awkward pose, even though the vanity is pretty big.

I've been fortunate, though, that taking 800mg of ibuprofen whenever it starts hurting (which is sometimes 6 hours and sometimes longer) has kept the pain to a minimum, except when changing the dressing. Showering was especially not fun. Anyway, tonight I'm venturing to sleep without a bandage on it. It's healing pretty well, but I'm worried about the cats, especially Eowyn, because she has a habit of curling up against my legs, especially my calves. I may end up shutting the cats out of the bedroom when I go to sleep. :(

For the curious, I have a picture of the trail and two pictures of the burn behind the cut.

Large photos - Pretty scenery and then some graphic wounds. Yippee. )

In the meantime, I totally feel guilty for subjecting my protagonist to hot irons when he's being tortured by the bad guys. Then again, he has a blood-drinking sword that will heal him. I am not so fortunate.

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May 25th, 2012

Dear World of People Smarter Than I Am...

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Will someone please explain why it is that, if caffeine is a diuretic, I always pee waaaaaaaaay more on the days when I'm drinking 24 oz of Coke and 32 oz of water, than when I'm drinking 48 oz of Coke? Because frankly I'm starting to doubt what people say about caffeine. :P

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May 17th, 2012

Criminal Minds finale reaction

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Read more... )

* On a semi-related note, anyone feel like going to Madison, Indiana, with me this Saturday? OtR is playing at the Ohio River Valley Folk Festival.

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May 13th, 2012

Mother's Day

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Had a pretty nice Mother's Day, and Mom says she did too. She woke up with a migraine, and Dad and I both woke up with a headache. Weird. But anyway, skipped church, slept in, and had a casual lunch. Then Mom and I headed to town. We stopped by the library, where I picked up a couple of books about Linux, and then headed to our nearest state park, Prophetstown.

We've always been a bit disappointed by the park, mostly because there's not much in the way of hiking. It's a prairie habitat park, with some river flood plain. Not a lot of trees, and very flat. But they did a very nice job making it a family-friendly park, with miles of paved bike trails and several nice playgrounds and picnic shelters. It's just not a great place for gung-ho hikers the way we are.

Today, though, we were pleasantly surprised by some changes to the park. They've expanded a trail into some woodlands, so we were able to see some new parts of the park. The new trail goes down along a small stream and boggy area. At the furthest developed part of the park, there's a nice viewing platform over the slough. Between that and our hiking in the prairie area, we were able to add some lifelist birds today.

We did a day-trip up to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Friday (and one last Friday as well--they're taking off scheduled snow days at her work) and this past Friday I saw a Common Yellowthroat, but Mom didn't. Today, she got a very good look at one, so she was able to add that.

We also saw a Great Crested Flycatcher, which I have been wanting to see for a while now. Gorgeous yellow belly and cinnamon-colored wings and tail, with a gray crest. He gave us a very good look and did some hawking for bugs while we watched him. We also saw a couple Brown Thrashers and a Gray Catbird, both of which we have at home, but love to see anyway. There were Eastern Bluebirds flying around. We've had a couple of those at home too, but we never seem to get them to stick around. This weekend we put up a second bluebird box (the wren moved into the first one we have) and are hoping the pair will nest here this year.

Other birds we saw were American Redstart (both male and female), and a pair of Dickcissels. They are striking birds. At first we thought they were a type of sparrow with yellow on the head, but then they turned and we saw they were bright yellow underneath with a black bib. Gorgeous little things, and I got some very good shots with the long lens, I think. We also saw an Eastern Meadowlark, Indigo Buntings, Mallards, a Great Blue Heron, and a bird we're tentatively calling a sandpiper. We're wavering between Solitary Sandpiper and Spotted Sandpiper, but until I get the pictures downloaded to the computer and we can compare them, we won't know for sure.

Then our last bird, after we left the park and were driving back towards town, was a gorgeous adult Bald Eagle that flew right over our car. That was exciting! We know they're growing in number and even had one in our own back yard once this winter, but it's never any less exciting to see one. It's good to have such proof they're coming back so strong from the DDT crisis back in the 70s and 80s.

Over the past two weeks, I've added probably a dozen birds to my life list, including five migratory warblers. I honestly think our trip to Trinidad & Tobago taught us to be better birders. We're more willing to take the time to really get an identification. I'm doing a better job at learning to bird by ear (though for whatever reason the Northern Cardinal fools me a LOT). My Audubon iPhone app has really helped, too. I still use my books to flip through for a tentative identification, but what really nails it for me is being able to listen to the bird calls on the app and compare them to what we're hearing. Seeing witchety-witchety-witchety in the bird book is one thing. Knowing for sure you're hearing it is another (the Common Yellowthroat, for instance, says witchety, but I think the American Redstart's teacher-teacher-teacher also sort of sounds like it.)

Anyway, we finished up with ice cream from Coldstone Creamery, and then came home to watch the Baskerville episode of Sherlock on PBS. A pretty good day, for sure!

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May 10th, 2012

Xubuntu = love

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I've had an Acer AspireOne D260 netbook for two and a half years, and it came with Windows 7 Starter Edition preinstalled. The netbook has 1GB of memory and a 1.66 GHz processor, but it was never quite enough enough to handle the load of web surfing and Microsoft Word. I took the netbook on our trip to Trinidad and Tobago, and it was adequate for downloading pictures and uploading them to Tumblr, but not truly satisfactory.

Recently, I've had a horrible time making myself sit down at my desktop computer to work on revising the novel. I have an iPad that's okay for actual writing, but horrible for editing and revision. I haven't found a writing app that doesn't mess up the formatting in Word. Not even QuickOffice, which ought to be perfect. But it turns tabs into spaces instead. So annoying.

Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and installed Xubuntu Linux on my netbook. It's like having a brand new computer all over again! I can't quite figure out how to make it as pretty as I would like (I know, I know) but considering the fact that my real complaint with the netbook was that it has always run painfully slow, even while only word processing...

I've decided I love Xubuntu. :)

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May 1st, 2012

Kitty Play Tower Pictures

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A couple of people expressed interest in seeing the kitty play tower, so here are some pictures. :)

Some details I shall mention beforehand:
- I was building this out of lumber scraps I already had in the garage. Leftovers from other projects, etc. So it's a little irregular in size and material. *G*
- Dimensions are roughly 35" wide by 27" deep by 4' tall, basically because I had an old table-top that could serve as the base and was 35"x27". I had two 2x4s I could use as the corner posts, and they were 8' long, so I cut them in half for a 4' height.
- I had originally planned to use 4x4s for the corners, but 2x4s work fine.

Clickable thumbnails behind the cut )

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April 29th, 2012

Dear allergies, please stop trying to kill me.

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This past week I have spent almost every waking moment struggling to breathe through both nostrils and not sneeze more than once per minute. I noticed yesterday that the honey locusts are blooming. Bloody trees are gorgeous, but they are responsible for my current misery. I take Zyrtec and Nasonex on a regular basis anyway, and this week I've been alternating between Benadryl, Mucinex, and Excedrin PM (it has Diphenhydramine HCl in it same as Benadryl). The few times I could actually breathe, I had that awful hot, dry, tight feeling in my sinuses that makes my head ache.

Okay, enough whining.

I've been picking radishes by the double handful this week. I've decided the Sparklers are a keeper. The Crimson Giants aren't quite as nice, but they are giant. I ought to go see if the farmer's market is running yet this year. I could probably make some cash.

Last weekend our Cub Cadet broke. Again. Same stupid plastic fan that broke last year. Wait, let me clarify--same stupid EIGHTY DOLLAR plastic fan that broke last year. We bought a Cub because they're supposed to be quality mowers! Plus our Snapper and Craftsman mowers haven't been all that great, and the John Deere they used at the church was AWFUL. So earlier this week, since I was allergically miserable anyway, I got out the 20-year-old Briggs-Stratton push mower. I have to prop it against the concrete step to get it started, since whoever invented push mowers was obviously a man with biceps the size of AHHHNAAAALD. But I got about half the front yard done. We have over 3 acres. The first two years we lived here, we didn't have anything but that push mower. I was also 20 years younger. LOL My arms and hands have hurt all week.

Today Mom and I decided to finally build the kitty play tower that Dad has been promising to build for eight months. :P We did a bang-up job...once he finally deigned to help us. Before that, I swear, it was like Laurel & Hardy with power tools. What's sad is I have pretty decent building skills, but my measuring and engineering skills leave a lot to be desired. Also, I frequently forget that old maxim: "Measure twice, cut once."


All the same, the kitties seem to like it. I put curtains on the bottom floor because Eowyn likes to hang out in the dresses in my closet. I put holes in one of the walls because they like to reach through and around things while playing. I put in a little hidey-hole under a ramp to the third floor. The fourth floor is a big viewing platform for the window. I still need to get rope to glue to the posts and the ramp, and a piece of carpeting or fleece to tack on the top level so it will be comfy for lounging. They seem to like it, though.

I'm starting to question whether Eowyn or Strider is the dominant kitty. I used to think it was Strider, and I thought Eowyn was getting fat because she binged. But lately I've noticed she actually initiates most of the fights, and ALL of the licking-battles that turn into biting sometimes and cuddling other times. She is a truly prodigious size now. I need to get her to see Doctor Jon so I can get his input on this weight thing.

It might have to do with the spiders. She has killed and eaten two spiders this week, and tonight she killed a GIGANTIC spider. I didn't let her eat that one, because I was afraid it would crunch. But I had to get Mom to take it away from her, because every time I tried to pick her up, she grabbed it in her mouth first. Eek!

I'm typing all this without my right thumb, which is actually really annoying. Didn't realize how often I use it, but I obviously hit the space bar with my thumb most of the time. I was holding Strider and about to do a traumatic ear cleaning, and then Eowyn jumped into a box she plays in, saw something scary (a few of her toys) and jumped out immediately and violently. Scared Strider, who struggled to get away and ripped a two-inch gash in my thumb that instantly started bleeding and wouldn't stop.

Anyway. That's what I'm up to these days. That and slooooooooowly working on my novel, and failing to find a new job because I'm not applying myself hard enough. Or know what I want to do. Or anything.

So how are all of you?

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April 17th, 2012


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Larch with dragon core, twelve and a half inches, surprisingly swishy...

...a black cat for a pet...




This...this can't be happening.

My world is crumbling... )

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April 1st, 2012

Question for traveling types

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About to head off for a quick trip to the south to see Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Mom and I got a vacation in January, but Dad didn't get one, and he's itching for a Civil War fix. *G*

Problem is, I'm working hard on learning to travel light, and I'm already taking the novel revision along with me. So do I pack my biggish dedicated travel journal, which I only started using last year, and didn't take to Trinidad & Tobago since I was traveling light there? I have BIG handwriting, so I can't use a tiny little notebook. But Junior size would be okay, and take up less room than my oddly-shaped 9x8x1 inch vacation journal. *sigh*

So anyway, that got me wondering about what other people do for travel journals.

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March 16th, 2012

Random post of randomness

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1. I got a new desk chair today. Huzzah! It seems impossible to find cheap rolling task chairs with no arms. The ones I could find were either available only online (I want to sit in it first, TYVM) or $70, and no way am I going to pay that much for a chair at this point in my financials. But the Gaiam ball chair just wasn't doing it for me. I think if I could make myself sit in it properly, it would be okay, but I tend to straddle it more than actually sitting, and it was putting my sciatica-ridden hip even further out of whack. But I stopped at the local Staples on a whim today and found a task chair on clearance for $27! Woohoo!

2. If anyone is interested in buying said Gaiam ball chair, I'm taking offers. *G* I can keep using it as an exercise ball, but it's just taking up space, and if someone is hankering to try it, I have one for cheap.

3. Have been working on the novel rewrite. Open submissions at a small press that interests me starts on April 16, so I'm doing what amounts to a double-NaNo from March 13 - April 15 or so. Double, because the novel is going to be at least 100,000 words. If I'm lucky. The last draft clocked in somewhere around 200K, which is just too damn long for a debut novel. Fortunately it also featured much Pointless Walking (TM) and since I don't want people to call this "the next Belgariad!!!" I need to cut some of the walking out anyway.

4. Working on the novel was difficult to make myself do, when sitting at the desk wasn't very comfortable. Hence a great deal of my excitement at finding a cheap and appropriate chair.

5. I also bought Mom lots of seeds for her garden today. Can't believe it's been in the 80s all week. In MARCH. Geez, if this is how the spring starts, I am worried about how hot the summer will be. Last year the summer was insufferable and we broke a record for days over 100 or something like that. I would really prefer to stay in the low 90s if possible.

6. I got a coupon off a case of Dr Pepper 10, so I went ahead and bought it. Now I am torn, because their commercials offend me, but it really does taste good. I bought a case of Diet Dr Pepper to see if it tastes as good as I remember.

7. I read a novel recently published by a casual friend of mine. As in, a real publisher, a real novel, with advances and royalties and everything. And...I hate to say it, but the novel mostly sucked. I reeeeally wanted to like it. Fortunately she's a casual friend, really just on Facebook terms. So maybe if I don't mention having read it, she won't ask what I thought? :/

8. Had Little Caesar's for supper. Mmm. Happiness for $5.

9. Okay, there is no #9. I just wanted to keep listing.

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March 10th, 2012


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I like being single. I really do. I prefer being single.

But still... That moment when you learn that a truly wonderful man who could have been yours...that just wasn't quite the right man for you...but who you still has a girlfriend who posts on Facebook that she loves him?

It still stings. A lot. Because if I were just a little less independent-minded and solitary? That could have been me.


Still, I haven't seen him this happy in a long time. So I'm glad for him. I'm just a little bit sad for myself, even if it was my decision to end it.

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January 26th, 2012

Back in the cold again

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Well, I'm home, and I'm finally starting to feel recovered from my trip. LOL We had a lot more relaxing time while we were on Tobago, but then we had a 20-hour day of traveling home, flying from Piarco (Port of Spain) to Miami-Dade, seven hour layover at Miami with a last-minute gate change, Miami-Dade to Chicago-O'Hare, then to Indy. We got up around 4:30 to get Piarco in time for check-in and some duty-free shopping (hurrah, two bottles of rum for less than the price of a single bottle in the US). At Miami we had plenty of time to go through a painless passport processing and customs, though it was fun trying to repack one of our checked bags to hold two bottles of rum and one bottle of rum punch. LOL But we did it, and then had plenty of time to kill at Miami. We arrived early in Chicago, so we had about two hours to kill there before our flight to Indy. Thank God Dad was waiting at the gate for us when we got home. I think I would have cried if I'd had to drive home at the end of that day of traveling!

The day after we got home, we were hit with about 3 inches of snow. Bleh. Then over the weekend we had thunderstorms and yesterday it was almost 50. Today we had sleet and snow and then sleet again. No kidding. Seriously, I miss the Caribbean. I've got to find a way to vacation in Tobago more often. In the meantime I've been listening to a lot of soca music and trying to make myself believe it's not bloody cold outside.

By the way, anyone know how to repair a piece of bamboo? I brought home a bamboo pencil holder with a hummingbird and the word Tobago carved on it. Gorgeous little thing, but it spontaneously cracked all the way from top to bottom. I imagine because it's ridiculously humid in Tobago and ridiculously dry in Indiana. :( I just wish it had split down the empty portion, instead of right through the middle of the hummingbird. :(

I haven't heard back from the university. Since they wanted to do second interviews during the two days after I returned from Tobago, and start the new hire this week, I am assuming that means I didn't get picked. I'm not heart-broken over it. Secretary III isn't the best-paying position in the world there, and I've applied for a lot of other clerical positions there. I've also applied repeatedly for Writer-Editor positions, and it's annoying me that I am consistently being passed over for those. How many technical writers can there be in north central Indiana who want to work at the university? And why won't the university give the creative writer a shot? *pouts*

The kitties were pleased to see me return home. Eowyn is, if possible, snugglier than ever. She is also, if possible, fatter than ever. It's not that I object to her being a bit plump, but she is positively obese. That can't be healthy. I'm thinking about scheduling her to see Dr. Jon and get his opinion. She gets quite a bit of exercise when I play with her, and she has never even tasted canned cat food, let alone people food. But I do believe Strider is the dominant cat, and I've seen Eowyn defer to him if he wants to eat at one of the food dishes first. I wonder if that makes her overeat when she does eat. I just hate to have to go to feeding times, since I've always just given my cats free access to the dry food dishes so they can eat when they are hungry. It's the most convenient thing for someone who (when employed) is usually away from the house 8-10 hours at a stretch. I suspect Strider has stayed so lean because he never sits still except when he's asleep. When awake, he's incredibly fidgety, and he's better at entertaining himself than Eowyn is. Anything sparkly and he will chase it, whereas she pretty much restricts herself to strings, which require a human at the other end. She makes an occasional foray into feathered toys, but more often than not, that means chewing on feathered hair clips or dream catchers, which displeases Mommy, for some reason. :P

Mom and I are still posting stuff from our trip over at our Tumblr. She is typing up her journal of the trip. I only wrote a journal for two bloody days, proving once again that I am a crap diarist. *sigh* I also haven't written a thing since we got back. I have a short story idea niggling in the back of my mind, but I haven't put anything down on paper but a couple of concepts.

I can't seem to find any recipes for roti that look like the roti we ate at Asa Wright. It makes me incredibly sad, because I thought it was delicious, especially with the split pea soup over it. I wanted to make some of that for the TNT party we're going to have to show our pictures and whatnot to the family. :/

In other news, since coming home, I've decided I adore the new Sherlock, which shocks me. I've also become addicted to Hart of Dixie, though I can't decide what couple to root for. So many love triangles! And I think I am caught up on Criminal Minds, but my computer's DVR crapped out on me while we were on vacation, so I am not sure. There was "Bittersweet Science", then "True Genius" while I was on vacation, and then tonight's "Unknown Subject", right?

Anyway, I think that's about it for now. Anything exciting happen in your world while I was gone?

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January 15th, 2012

Posting from Piarco International Airport

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We're sitting in our gate waiting to board our 20-minute flight to Tobago. We're on a 50-seat prop plane, which Mom is looking forward to since she's never flown on a prop. The Caribbean Airlines planes are very pretty with the lettering in purple and a flower and hummingbird on the tail.

Yesterday we had a guided hike at Asa Wright in the morning. Then we did some more hiking on our own. In the afternoon we had a different tour guide, Harry from Germany, pick us up and drive us through Arima and Tunapuna to the Pax Guesthouse. We had tea and finally got a closer look at the Orange-winged Parrots, which was exciting. We also saw a Yellow Oriole, which was another new bird.

Last night there was a night walk along the drive at Asa Wright. We saw several land crabs, a Great Antshrike, and TARANTULAS. OMG *shudders* and yet I was strangely fascinated.

This morning we're on our way to Speyside, Tobago, where I am really desperately hoping to be able to sit and relax on the beach. I know we have a waterfall and rain forest to visit, and a glass-bottom boat ride to Little Tobago Island, but I am in some desperate need of down time, and the beach sounds awesome. Especially since I am not a natural extrovert, so I've spent a lot of time feeling like I have to be up or on for all the people around us.

Looks like they're going to start boarding, so signing off for now. Keep good! :D

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January 12th, 2012

Posting from Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad

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Our first full day in Trinidad. We got into Port of Spain just after midnight, following a long flight with lots of turbulence. We saw some amazing lightning pretty close. We were exhausted from all the travel, so we crashed at our hotel near the airport. This morning at 9, our guide Emille picked us up and we set out for Asa Wright.

The Americans built the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway back in WWII when we had an airbase here. So far it seems to be the last good road between Port of Spain and Asa Wright. The nature centre is located up in the mountains on a very narrow little road that is mostly paved and mostly potholed. There's a huge quarry in the mountainside, so the big trucks tear the road up. After a narrow and tortuous hour of riding, honking the horn while approaching every blind curve, we got to our destination.

Asa Wright Nature Centre is wonderful. It's a throwback to the colonial era, originally owned by a German but sold by him before it could be seized during WWI. The land was a cocoa plantation when Asa Wright and her husband bought it. They originally tried to keep the plantation running, but her husband died and Asa decided to turn it into a nature preserve. And she did a wonderful job.

The main house has a huge veranda were birds all but fly up and shake your hand. I've posted a lot of pictures at our trip Tumblr using my creaky netbook and the centre's creaky wireless. (I'm just grateful there's any internet at all!)

The cuisine here is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine, so the kitchen smells of curry. We had a lovely lunch that included pumpkin fritters, which OMG I have to learn how to make those. There was serve-yourself tea at 4 on the veranda, complimentary rum punch at 6 on the veranda, and dinner at 7. In between times, we hiked a couple of trails and spent a lot of time chatting with all the nature guides on the veranda.

Mom and I saw about 20 life-list birds today, including several species of hummingbird and the amazing and entertaining Crested Oropendula. We saw agoutis and some very large lizards, and I was horrified by one very large spider, fortunately far away from our cottage. A baby fer de lance was spotted by guides this afternoon, but we were nowhere near it.

I am just waiting for the internet to load all my stuff to Tumblr so I can crash. I am exhausted in the best way possible. :D

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January 1st, 2012

2012 Reading List

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I always try to make my first post of the year my reading list for the year, so I can find it easily. Last year I read 77 books, 10 of which were nonfiction. I'm going to try to make that 15 nonfiction in the coming year.

2012 Reading List
  1. The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting
  2. Kitty's Greatest Hits - Carrie Vaughn
  3. Chalice - Robin McKinley
  4. Phoenix Dance - Dia Calhoun
  5. Dragon Age: The Calling - David Gaider
  6. A Long Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan
  7. The Ghost and the Goth - Stacey Kade
  8. Beauty - Robin McKinley
  9. Desires of the Dead - Kimberly Derting
  10. The Candidates - Inara Scott
  11. Star Crossed - Elizabeth C. Bunce (REALLY GOOD)
  12. The Urban Fantasy Anthology - ed. Peter S. Beagle & Joe R. Lansdale (I am totally counting this a read, even though I stopped reading two of the stories halfway through because of disgusting misogyny in one and disgusting blasphemy in the other.)
  13. Blackveil - Kristen Britain (will someone please read the sequel when it comes out and just tell me what happens? I am sick of reading spoiled whiny characters and poorly edited writing just to find out if Zachary and Karigan ever bloody get together.)
  14. Liar's Moon - Elizabeth C. Bunce
  15. Forever - Maggie Stiefvater
  16. A Matter of Profit - Hilari Bell (EVERY BOOK I have read by Hilari Bell has been amazingly insightful and unique. I will always read this woman's books.)
  17. Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots - Abby McDonald
  18. Down These Strange Streets - ed by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
  19. Carpathia - Matt Forbeck
  20. Thirteenth Child - Patricia C. Wrede
  21. Blood Red Road - Moira Young (GO READ THIS RIGHT NOW!)
  22. Honor's Paradox - P.C. Hodgell
  23. Under Attack - Hannah Jayne
  24. The Grimm Legacy - Polly Schumann
  25. Echoes of Betrayal - Elizabeth Moon
  26. Delirium - Lauren Oliver
  27. Across the Universe - Beth Revis
  28. Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community - Andrew Marin*
  29. Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity - Adam Hamilton*
  30. Armed and Magical - Lisa Shearin
  31. The Trouble With Demons - Lisa Shearin
  32. Bewitched and Betrayed - Lisa Shearin
  33. Con and Conjure - Lisa Shearin
  34. Love Wins - Rob Bell* (? Do I call this nonfiction when I think his theology is shaky?)
  35. Welcome to Bordertown - ed. by Holly Black & Ellen Kushner
  36. The Five Love Languages for Singles - Gary Chapman*
  37. Gabriel: Zero Point - Steve Umstead
  38. Surrender None - Elizabeth Moon
  39. Insurgent - Veronica Roth
  40. A Bride's Story 2 - Kaoru Mori
  41. The Sword & the Pen: A Life of Lew Wallace - Ray E. Boomhower*
  42. Grave Memory - Kalayna Price
  43. The Sleeping Doll - Jeffery Deaver
  44. The Boy from the O - Sandy Kendall
  45. Sisters Red - Jackson Pearce
  46. Once Was Lost - Sara Zarr
  47. Greatshadow - James Maxey
  48. The Explosionist - Jenny Davidson
  49. The Love Talker - Elizabeth Peters
  50. The Bride's Baby - Liz Fielding
  51. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity - David Allen*
  52. Cold Magic - Kate Elliott
  53. Deerskin - Robin McKinley
  54. A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master - Rachel Held Evans*
  55. The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin
  56. She Loves You, She Loves You Not... - Julie Anne Peters
  57. The Third Gate - Lincoln Child
  58. Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver
  59. Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
  60. Haiku for the Single Girl - Beth Griffenhagen*
  61. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (I realize this is a NYT Bestseller, but it irked me to no end that they seem to think live ammunition is used in Civil War reenactments. Um, no, dipshits, that would NEVER happen, unless y'all in the south take it WAY more seriously than we Northerners. Sheesh.)
  62. Till We Have Face - C.S. Lewis
  63. Across the Great Barrier - Patricia Wrede
  64. Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson

* nonfiction

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December 31st, 2011

My 2011 Fanfic Roundup is Pathetic

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Russian Roulette - PG-13 - WC: 635 - Gen - Emily, in DC, after Louisiana

Drabble - Rossi/Prentiss

First Love and Second Chances - PG - WC: 1100 - Prentiss, Rossi - Emily wonders about second chances.

Where Wolves Fear to Prey (2/?) - R - WC: 2,578 - Rossi/Prentiss - AU. A wolf pack doesn't gain members painlessly. The BAU team is no exception...but David Rossi isn't quite what Emily Prentiss expected.

Wow. I know I said I was going on fandom hiatus, but this list of fics really kind of sucks. So let's throw in my original writing too.

I revised about 35,000 words of one novel, and I wrote about 50,000 words of a new novel for NaNoWriMo.

Also, I read 77 books this year, which is not as many as last year, but 10 of those were non-fiction, which is better than last year.

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2011 Year in Review (First post of the month)

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The first lines meme for 2011.

January: My 2010 Reading List had 105 books on it, 7 of those (I believe) non-fiction.

February: So last week I spent three days with a stomach bug, so I stayed home Wednesday through Friday.

March: I live in Indiana.

April: So many things I was going to do tonight, including getting feedback to someone, writing a scene, maybe some laundry...and five hours later I've watched the first two discs of Six Feet Under but haven't accomplished anything else.

May: A friend of my mom's is looking for a book.

June: I am currently researching something that, if my suspicions are correct, is going to cost my company about $13,000.

July: Posting this here for a couple of people who have taken the precaution of deleting G+ for the time being. (Seriously: I didn't post until July 25? I knew this was a crazy summer, but wow.)

August: Ganked from a lot of my friends, here's the NPR's Most Popular Sci-Fi & Fantasy novels meme.

September: I'm still sort of overwhelmed at the amount of poop two small but growing cats produce.

October: Happy fucking birthday to me.

November: I quit my job on the 24th.

December: Yesterday was a good day.

Wow, that leaves out so much. Like Merlin dying and my trip out west and getting two new kittens and the migraines and the job trouble and the financial trouble and quitting after being made part-time and Mom winning the trip to Trinidad & Tobago and winning NaNoWriMo and fighting the company for my unemployment and winning the unemployment appeal and spraining my ankle.

Whew. Just typing that makes me tired. What a crazy year. Here's hoping 2012 is better career-wise for me.

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December 29th, 2011

Ouch, Part Two

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Well, the ankle isn't broken. I have a bizarre small purplish swollen bit on the right side, but it's otherwise not swollen at all, maybe because I got ice on it right away and kept it on there for a good while, and kept doing the 20-on-40-off all evening. Slept with it elevated too. But this morning when I got up to let the dogs out and feed the horses, it hurt like a bitch. Since I had that bizarre purplish bit and it hurt so bad, I decided to go ahead to the urgent care. The exam portion was only $72 (I think they gave me a break since I didn't have insurance, but I know I also got 10% for paying in full today). The x-rays, I don't know how much they'll be yet, but I have a while to find out, because they have to bill me.

Anyway, Dr. Hatcher (I love him) says it's just a sprain, and they gave me an air splint to wear. I explained I had horses to feed and he said that was fine, but to watch my footing in the barn because uneven ground can cause a second injury (believe me, I knew that already! Feeding this morning was a bitch). Then I told him about going to Trinidad and Tobago in a couple of weeks, and he said it should be all healed up by then. I love him. He's got the best bedside manner of any doctor I've ever known, and he's never condescending or patronizing. He takes people seriously even if they don't have a medical degree. *G*

So the orders are to keep off it as much as possible, but he said it will be healed up just fine for our trip. I can deal with the pain as long as I know I'm not damaging it worse if I have to put weight on it. So there we go.

Now if only I could figure out this blasted camera. I've been doing intensive experimenting, using both the Nikon manual and my National Geographic Photography Field Guide (and [community profile] shutterspeed and [community profile] photofriends. So far I still can't get the extreme closeups that I want to know how to do. But at least I've figured out how to change the shutter speed and aperture, which I wasn't very good at before.

I've started a tumblr for my personal stuff at but so far I haven't decided on a name for Jan & Steph's trip to Trinidad & Tobago. Any suggestions? :D

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December 28th, 2011

Ranch life. Ouch.

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Since Boxing Day I've been house-sitting for a friend of my mom's. I feel pretty lucky to be doing it, too. She and her husband have a small ranch and farm near us. I'm responsible for taking care of Woodrow (the corgi) and Rooster (the gigantic greyhound), four horses, and about sixteen barn cats, as well as one semi-house cat that thinks she's a dog. The neighbor is taking care of feeding the hundred or so head of cattle (thank God). I'm having a blast. This house reminds me of the lodges I've stayed at out west. Entirely log construction, inside and outside, gorgeous wood floors, wood furniture that the husband made himself...Wonderful.

I've had a couple of little issues, like not being able to get the central heating to work (it was like 57 degrees in here the first day, and 54 yesterday), and then failing to get a proper fire laid in the fireplace last night. But fortunately after the fire smoked itself out for the second time (I don't have problems with campfires, so I'm not sure what's wrong), I went and fiddled with the furnace, and the central heating started working.

But today the real problem hit. Woodrow and Rooster informed me loudly that someone was here. (They were lying, it was just the construction crew coming back from lunch.) But I didn't realize they were wrong, so I went downstairs to see who it was. And I missed the last step.

I landed with my foot at a ninety-degree angle to the floor. I can't remember the last time something hurt so much. I sat there whimpering for a little bit, then made it over to the freezer and got ice on it. But I couldn't get hold of my mom (who is on Christmas break from school) for a while, and being out in the ass-end of nowhere (which I usually love) means I can't just hop in the car and drive to CVS for an Ace bandage really quickly. Not that I could really drive anywhere, because I have a manual transmission, which requires the use of both feet, not just one. I could probably manage gas and brake left-footed, but not gas and brake AND clutch.


I did manage to get hold of Mom about an hour and a half ago, and she's supposed to be bringing an Ace bandage when she gets done running errands in town. But I can't figure out what all she was planning to do before coming here. *sigh* I could limp out and ask the construction guys to run me into town, but as nice as I'm sure they are, I don't generally get into trucks with strange men. And I could call the neighbor who's feeding the cattle, but honestly this seems a little minor to trouble him over, since I know Mom will get here eventually.

I did take 1500 miligrams of ibuprofen, and I've eaten, and I scooted up the steps on my butt so I have the netbook. Putting weight on it doesn't actually hurt, but putting weight and then having any sort of shift of that weight bites deep. Good thing, though, because I had to take the dogs out about half an hour ago. They just couldn't wait any longer.

I haven't looked at it yet. I have thick wool socks on that I think are providing some compression, and are definitely providing insulation against the ice.

Randomly, it's really hard to get barn boots off when one of your ankles doesn't work properly.

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December 23rd, 2011

Calling all photographers and artists

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Since Mom and I are going to TNT in January, I want to get a blog set up where we can easily post some of the thousands of pictures we will take. I'm going to have the netbook along to get pictures off the DSLR and will hopefully have plentiful web access, but I don't want to spend a huge amount of vacation time online. So any photographers or artists who have online galleries, etc., can you please respond?

NOTE: I want Mom to be able to upload stuff as well as doing it myself. She keeps a nature blog and I want to find a way for her to post pictures easily all the time.

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December 21st, 2011

Real Life Update

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First of all, I apologize for comments and emails I haven't responded to. I confess, I have spent some time being utterly depressed, and some time being utterly busy, and some time being frankly lazy. But I am going to try to catch up over the next little while.

So last week I had my telephone hearing about whether or not I was eligible for unemployment benefits. It was unpleasant and by the end of that day I had managed to stress myself into a headache bad enough I nearly took a migraine pill. Fortunately the next day I felt better physically, and despite occasional fretting about whether or not I said the right things, I managed mostly to put it in God's hands and stop worrying.

Yesterday I got a letter from the state, informing me that the judgment was in my favor and I was eligible. And it turns out what the HR person from the former employer said worked against her, and the state feels the company treated me badly. It's so nice to receive financial validation in that way, and it means I can stop applying for dingy $10/hour secretarial positions at the university and start applying only for the jobs I really want to have.

On a new note, here is something I didn't post about at first because we weren't sure it was real, and then because we weren't sure how it would work out, but now the arrangements are made, so I feel comfortable posting about it. In January, my mom and I are going to Trinidad and Tobago for a week-long birding trip! She randomly entered a contest with a birding magazine she reads, and at first we thought the award email was a scam, but then her name showed up on the magazine's website, and then she started getting calls from the magazine and the travel people arranging the trip, so it's real! Our flights are booked, our suitcases bought, and we're very excited.

Incidentally, we have something like a 6-hour layover in Miami on our way home, so if anyone is in the area and feels like coming to the airport to get us, we could hang out for a few hours. :D

I'm doing handmade gifts for Christmas this year, but sadly they are not in the mail yet, so no one will get Christmas from me until after Christmas. I suck horribly at getting to the post office. :(

Also, the first trailer and wallpaper and movie poster for Part 1 of The Hobbit movie is out! I am so freaking excited! See them here. Part 1 is out in a little less than a year, and Part 2 follows a year later. *flails*

August 12th, 2011

NPR's 100 Most Popular Science Fiction & Fantasy novels

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Ganked from a lot of my friends, here's the NPR's Most Popular Sci-Fi & Fantasy novels meme. I voted, and of course am outraged that some of my favorites didn't place very high (or even make the list. WTF where is Paks?!) but I'm pleased that I've read a bunch of these, and today I started the highest ranked book that I hadn't read yet and have always meant to.

I'm cheating. I'm going to bold things I've either read all the way or read all I plan to. I'm going to italicize those I plan to read. I'm going to strike through the occasional Never in my life shall I read this book.

Also, I would like to say that I already did this meme once, because I printed off the list as soon as it was released on the website, and marked all the books I'd read.

Read more... )

Wow, I thought I was at 36. Forgot about Xanth. A lot of these books have been on my to-read-someday list anyway (like Dune), but so many good new books come out every year I hadn't gotten around to a lot of them. I also read much more heavily on the fantasy side than on the science fiction side, and I'm incredibly disappointed that the Coldfire Trilogy by CS Friedman and the Company Wars books by CJ Cherryh didn't make this list. I know Coldfire is science fantasy more than science fiction, but still. *grumps*

July 25th, 2011

A partial response to the brouhaha about real names on G+

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Posting this here for a couple of people who have taken the precaution of deleting G+ for the time being.

Apparently this Robert Scoble guy who posted this is famous, but as I am only a geek and not a programmer, I had never heard of him. Anyway, here is what he says he was told re: the real names issue at G+.

January 18th, 2011

Queensland Flood Relief auction

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Since I added to my offerings, I have a few things to say about the Queensland Flood Relief auction:

- Every $1 AUD (Australian Dollars, which are about 1=1 with US Dollars now) will get you 100 words of fic, written to your specifications, within certain limits.
- There is NO WORD LIMIT for the top bidder; three bidders after the top bidder are limited to 20k words each.
- I'd prefer to write in the Criminal Minds fandom, but I'll also take bids for Due South and Dark is Rising.
- If you know me from the Harry Potter fandom and are at all interested in the end of the Redemption series, I'll take bids specifically for finishing Redemption.
- If you want Tolkien fic, I'll write about Eowyn. I don't actually write LotR fic, but for this, I will.

Pairings I will write:
-Criminal Minds: Rossi/Prentiss, Rossi/Hotch, Morgan/Prentiss, Hotch/JJ, Rossi/Morgan, Hotch/Reid, Morgan/Reid, and canon pairings. I don't believe in shipping Gideon or Strauss, because ew, so I won't write those. I don't write femslash or Morgan/Garcia.
-Due South:, RayK/Fraser.
-Dark if Rising: well, I prefer Jane pairings, honestly, but I also love Will/Bran, and I confess, I love Will/Barney, though I've rarely seen it. Simon/Bran would be interesting but if you're bidding on me, you should get something I know for sure I can do, yeah? ;)

- Bidding ends 23 January at 11:59 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings time.

January 12th, 2011

Who'll Come a Waltzing Matilda With Me?

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Every $1 AUD (donated to the causes listed on her post) buys you 100 words, with no limit on the top bidder.

* Where the value for words = words in the Criminal Minds fandom

December 31st, 2010

I just wrote AU CM fic.

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Title: Where Wolves Fear to Prey
Author: [personal profile] innerslytherin
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Rossi/Prentiss
Word Count: 2,900
Written For: [personal profile] amichevole
Summary: AU. A wolf pack doesn't gain new members painlessly.  The BAU team is no exception...but David Rossi isn't quite what Emily Prentiss expected.
Notes: I'm super sorry I didn't get this posted until Dec 31 here, because I forgot that would be January 1 for you!  :(  I hope this is something like you wanted.  I've never written anything like this before in a "real world" fandom, but I did my best for you!
Notes 2: I can't believe I wrote this.  And I loved writing it.  But it's unbetaed, so if you find a mistake, please point it out.

( Where Wolves Fear to Prey )

[info]cm_exchange's last day for a year...

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...and I don't know whether to cry or cheer. LOL Every year I love doing this, and every year I'm traumatized by doing this. But then again, every year I come back for more. *G* [info]resolucidity was a Godsend this year to me and [info]severity_softly, no question. With our largest participation ever, there were a lot more types of requests, and the Rossi/Prentiss corner of fandom really made itself felt this year (*cheers*), and I feel it overall went really well.

We've still got a little while before reveals are done. I would encourage any of you who haven't kept up on reading (as I freely admit I haven't!) to use this long holiday weekend to cram it in before you know who wrote the fics. Trust me, it adds a whole new level, and I honestly love seeing what people comment on my fic without knowing it was me who wrote it. :)

Since I've got just about all my various holiday exchange things done (only one more fic to tone and post), I'm going through today and commenting on all the things I was able to skim but not really enjoy and comment on while I was busy posting them. It's fun. :)

December 7th, 2010

Had a long post all typed up

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And of course I managed to delete it. First time that's happened with Semagic. Go me. So in brief, here's stuff that's going on:

  • The [profile] cmrossiprentiss Advent Calendar - I posted fic today called The Most Profound Gifts. We've got posting lined up for every single day of the month.
  • The [profile] cm_exchange posting - all pairings and both art & fic, and there are some fabulous gifts already posted over there!
  • Dentist today - tiny cavity filling, which meant a shot. Ugh. Hate shots in the mouth despite numerous tattoos, piercings, and not being afraid of regular shots.
  • Cataclysm released today. I spent hours replacing the power supply unit and video card on Sunday. Shouldn't have taken hours, but it did, because power supplies are bitches. It had nothing to do with me being an impatient dumbass, so shut up.
  • Speaking of Cataclysm, Dad bought it for me for Christmas. Not sure if I'm getting it now or having to wait three weeks. *grumbles*
  • Headache. Ow.
  • We're supposed to get a nasty snowstorm this weekend in two waves. Frankly I thought the four-five inches we got all day this past Saturday was bad enough. I hate getting out and driving in winter.
  • I'm trying to make my mom's Gateway (ugh) laptop run again. Last night backed up the hard drive. Tonight running System Recovery...and not having much luck. Damn Gateway.
  • Bought a new chair for my computer desk. It's a Gaiam BalanceBall Chair. I'm afraid I overinflated it, but I'm going to wait and see how it is tomorrow. I've already let air out twice. Also, my back hurts. But I hear that's supposed to happen at first. Maybe. At least it was a cosmetically damaged piece so half price. LOL
  • Won NaNoWriMo but haven't actually finished the novel yet. I stopped after validating and haven't gotten the momentum back yet.

[Large] pictures of the new chair and computer upgrade, because I am geeky like that )

And yes, that is a glowing blue LED at the back of the PSU on the CPU, TYVM. *G*

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November 28th, 2010

A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss)

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Wow. Just found this song accidentally when I was searching for something else, and wow. I know I got the iTunes Holiday Sampler last year, but for whatever reason the song didn't resonate with me last year the way it did today. And wow.

Video behind cut )

This belongs on my list of sad/wistful/angsty holiday/winter songs.

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August 8th, 2010

Go me!

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I honestly can't believe everything I've accomplished this weekend. I think either the Zoloft kicked in or I kicked my own ass into gear. Things I've done since Friday evening:
  • Went through both closets and four of my five dresser drawers and got rid of three trashbags full of clothes. Dad dropped them off at Trinity Mission for me yesterday.
  • Three loads of laundry
  • Got all my exercise clothes washed and loaded into my gym bag.
  • Biked several miles on the West Lafayette park system's bike trails with Mom.
  • Hiked at Celery Bog and saw a green heron, a kingfisher, and lots of the usual waterfowl.
  • Got my night-elf warrior up to level 37 and fished in the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza. Didn't win though.
  • Started working on new graphics for this year's [profile] cm_exchange--which will be opening for sign-ups this month!
  • Cleaned off my desk.
  • Found DVD #1 of North and South (BBC one) and the padlock I spent 20 minutes looking for yesterday.
  • Balanced my checkbook and paid all my bills--and even had money left over!
  • Revised 1500 words of my original novel, including writing a brand new scene with elements of two of the old scenes.
  • Rediscovered my recliner.

And now I'm off to bed by 10:30! One of these days I'll manage to get my bedtime moved back to 9:30 on work nights, but 10:30 is pretty good! G'night, all!

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July 5th, 2010

My Girl, Rossi/Prentiss, PG

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Title: My Girl
Author: [info]innerslytherin
Rating: PG
WC: 4,821
Pairing: Rossi/Prentiss
Summary: Emily thought the teenage years were supposed to be a challenge. Apparently no one informed one precocious eleven-year-old.
Prompt: Written for the [info]cmrossiprentiss Family Picnic Summer 2010 ficathon. My prompt was Dave & Emily's daughter.
Note: Thank you to [info]smacky30, who has twice now dropped everything for a last-minute beta. Thanks also to [info]astraea36 for providing early input about being the mother of an eleven-year-old girl.

My Girl )

May 23rd, 2010

Fic: A Family Way, Rossi/Prentiss, PG

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Happy birthday, [profile] mingsmommy!!!!

Title: A Family Way
Pairing: Rossi/Prentiss
Rating: PG
WC: 3450
Summary: Dave thought his life was complete. Emily had other ideas.
Notes: Written in honor of the fabulous [profile] mingsmommy's birthday. Thank you very much to [profile] smacky30 for preliminary beta and hand-holding and to [profile] resolucidity for giving it a final polish.

A Family Way )

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May 13th, 2010

The Fifth Year Series: Coming Clean, Rossi/Prentiss & Hotch/Reid, PG

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I promise this is the last time I'll spam y'all's flist tonight. I won't even cross-post this anywhere but [profile] cmrossiprentiss tonight. ;)

Title: Coming Clean
Pairings: Rossi/Prentiss & Hotch/Reid
Rating: PG
WC: 1600
Summary: Emily gets tired of keeping secrets. Spencer and Hotch have to share a bed. And occasionally love is the only comfort there is.
NOTES: Thanks to [profile] resolucidity for the beta. Spoilers for "Exit Wounds".

Series: The Fifth Year - a series of Season Five episode tags
1. Not So Alone, 2. Weeping Endures for a Night, 3. The Blink of an Eye, 4. Trust and Regret, 5. Something Pretty Wonderful, 6. Hope and Bourbon, 7. Shaking Things Up, 8. Cementing, 9. Life Goes On, 10. Reeling, 11. About Last Friday, 12. Past Motivations, 13. Taking the Plunge, 14. Plummeting, 15. Moments of Respite, 16. Kind of a Romantic Tale, 17. Transgressions, 18. Show Me a Hero, 19. A Gentle Place, 20. Objectivity and Companionship, 21. What Passes for Normal, 22 Extracurricular Reading, 23. Strange Little Families

Coming Clean )

Fic: Doubling Up, Hotch/Rossi, PG

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Title: Doubling Up
Pairing: Hotch/Rossi
WC: 1020
Rating: PG
Summary: No one questioned what Dave's sleeping arrangements would be.
Notes: Written for [info]sheryden, who wanted this ficced. :D Thanks to [info]severity_softly for the beta.

Doubling Up )

April 14th, 2010

The Fifth Year Series: What Passes for Normal, Rossi/Prentiss & Hotch/Reid, PG

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I almost didn't write an episode tag for this one, because I have a hard time considering it canon. But somehow I couldn't resist the challenge of fixing it. So here goes:

Title: What Passes for Normal
Pairing: Rossi/Prentiss and Hotch/Reid
Rating: PG
WC: 925
Summary: After returning home from San Francisco, our favorite couples try to get back to what passes for normal.
Notes: Thanks to [profile] resolucidity for the beta. Spoilers for "The Fight". If you liked the concept of the spinoff, you might want to skip this installment.

Series: The Fifth Year - a series of Season Five episode tags
1. Not So Alone, 2. Weeping Endures for a Night, 3. The Blink of an Eye, 4. Trust and Regret, 5. Something Pretty Wonderful, 6. Hope and Bourbon, 7. Shaking Things Up, 8. Cementing, 9. Life Goes On, 10. Reeling, 11. About Last Friday, 12. Past Motivations, 13. Taking the Plunge, 14. Plummeting, 15. Moments of Respite, 16. Kind of a Romantic Tale, 17. Transgressions, 18. Show Me a Hero, 19. A Gentle Place, 20. Objectivity and Companionship

21. What Passes for Normal )

April 12th, 2010

Dancing with glee!

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I just got my copy of The King Commands in the mail! I am bouncing up and down with glee and so utterly thrilled to finally see it in print! Hurray for [profile] megburden! My parents are both already fighting over who gets to read it next. :D

If the fantasy fans on my flist aren't familiar with [profile] megburden's work, you should be. She has an incredibly compelling set of characters, and the sense of place in her novels is fantastic. Northlander introduces Ellin and The King Commands continues her story.

Those of you who are Stargate fans should acquaint yourself with her writing too, because she is one of the collaborators in a six-book set of official tie-in novels that are going to be released starting later this year. I'm sure those of you interested in keeping the gate open will want to read her other work as well.

I've been privileged to call [profile] megburden a friend for...well, almost as long as I've been on LJ, I think. She's a wonderful and inspiring human being, and I'm lucky to know her. But that's not why I'm saying nice things about her book. I'm saying nice things about her book because she is also an extremely talented writer. I love her characters, I love the little glimpses I've gotten behind the scenes, and I love the setting of her novels.

Okay, now leave me alone, because I have to go read! :D

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April 10th, 2010

Home again, home again

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Just got home from vacation a couple of hours ago. Doing laundry and avoiding looking at the unpacking mess on my bed. Clearly I don't have the BAU ready-bag mentality. I wonder if I would ever get good at that, being ready to leave in a moment's notice and have everything I needed.

It was lots of fun and began with visiting Monocacy where my hometown hero General Lew Wallace (better known as the author of Ben Hur, Governor of New Mexico territory, and US Ambassador to Turkey), saved the Union. It also included climbing Maryland Heights at Harper's Ferry in 90+ temperatures, horseback riding on the battlefield at Gettysburg, walking along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, driving the National Road (US 40), and a quick stop at Fort Necessity, where George Washington basically started the French and Indian War by accident.

I picked up at least half a dozen stamps for my National Parks passport, and I got a sunburn and sore shins and a sore butt. Also I had to buy two pairs of shorts because I only packed one pair, because who the heck thought it was going to be in the 90s in April in the mountains? Then I was freezing yesterday because it was SNOWING at Fort Necessity and my jeans smelled so strongly of horse that I couldn't really wear them again. LOL

We also visited Adams County Winery in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania, after looking at the websites of Fauquier and Loudon County wineries from the Virginia Wine Country. Any winery that a) doesn't list its wine prices, or b) charges a tasting fee, got nixed from my list, and we quickly decided that Virginia Wine Country was too hoity-toity for us. We found Adams County by accident and came home with seven bottles of wine. Yes, seven. I also tried on a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses at the Gettysburg outlet mall and...quickly sacrificed a large portion of my rather tiny vacation budget to buy them.

I did manage to catch the Criminal Minds Lousy CM Spinoff episode on Wednesday, and Supernatural on Thursday. My poor parents were totally lost with SPN, and both thought the CM spinoff as bad as I did. And now I'm glad to be home and my kitty is snuggly enough that he must have forgiven me already for being gone, and it's back in the 70s, which is acceptable weather for early-to-mid-April. But I really don't want to go to work on Monday.

So what has been going on with all of you? I tried to keep up on things, but the spotty nature of reading LJ on the BlackBerry and having a very weak wifi signal at the hotel (combined with being so exhausted I didn't bother turning on the computer a couple of evenings), made that difficult.

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March 25th, 2010

Book Review: Spare Parts

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I just finished reading Spare Parts: A Marine Reservist's Journey from Campus to Combat in 38 Days by Buzz Williams.

I've been reading more non-fiction over the past couple of years, but this one stands out because it's about "my" war. Every generation, I think, has a war that shapes them in some way. For me it was Desert Storm. THE Gulf War, as I've been known to call it. I was a freshman in high school and my best friend's brother was posted on the USS Saratoga, which carried F-14 Tomcats and F/A-18 Hornets that would be involved heavily in the air action of the war. At that point in my life I was yearning to be a military pilot, though since my eyesight is so bad I knew I would be limited to helos. (Side note: the only reason I didn't end up in the Air Force is because I'm a snob; my senior year in high school I had ROTC papers, but they didn't at that time want Communications majors, so I didn't sign up, because I was damned if I would be an enlisted man. Yes, seriously.)

So anyway. Desert Storm was "my" war. I remember the controversy, I remember the protesters, and I remember that my school was covered in student-made anti-Iraq propaganda. Not only that, but the current war in Iraq would have literally been my war if I had gone through with my ROTC intentions, so desert warfare has always interested me. So when the parents and I were at the armor museum at Fort Knox and I saw this book (and an autographed copy at that), I knew I had to pick it up.

Williams' writing is full of attitude but very genuine as he recounts his time as a reservist and the conflicting emotions he felt about being a Marine and eventually being called up to war. He doesn't talk about strategy and tactics. He doesn't talk about the reasons for the war. In fact at one point he relates that an officer informs his company that they are going to Iraq because the officer told them to, and they will stay as long as the officer wants them to stay. To be a Marine is not to question why you fight. To be a Marine is to fight.

He addresses the dichotomy of being a soldier one weekend a month, the struggle he had adjusting back to civilian life after boot camp at Parris Island, as well as how spending Christmas with his family just before deploying to Saudi Arabia actually made this harder for him. He talks openly about how inept his company was in some respects, and it's obvious that the lack of training they were given before their deployment weighed heavily on him.

Williams also displays a sense of humor in some of the stories he relates, so the book doesn't come across either as a diatribe or a paeon to warfare. But reading it, you're never spared the idea that Marines are killers. Period. It was a lesson drilled into the recruits on their first day by their drill instructor, and it's an idea he comes back to more than once. At the same time, he talks about the Marine Corps giving him direction and teaching him how to be a "respectful boyfriend, disciplined student, and productive employee". He's still very much connected to his own identity as a Marine, even though he became a civilian in 1995. And though he very clearly appreciates the Marines, he doesn't dodge the more difficult topics, such as deficiency in training and the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that so many veterans suffer.

The writing style is friendly and approachable, more like you're sitting at the table with a beer in hand, listening to "Master Gunner Weeams" tell his stories. I burned through this book in a few days, and it was nice to get a little update, in the epilogue, on the lives of several key figures in the book. For a man who is not too much my senior, who fought in the war that in many ways shaped both my generation and the one that followed, Williams has turned out a fantastic commentary on the life of a Marine Light Armored Vehicle crewman during Desert Storm.

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March 16th, 2010

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1. I need a young woman with black hair (or very dark brown) to visualize a character I'm writing. I've ruled out the usual suspects of Beckinsale, McAdams, the Deschanel sisters, Dennigs, Glau,, I went through so many pages of Google images. I just can't find quite the right woman. Suggestions?

2. Anyone here know much about web hosting and Wordpress? :/ I made an impulse purchase to try to get a webpage set up, even though I'm not 100% sure I want to use Wordpress to do it (fortunately WP is free, but still...) I've got the domain name registered and I've got the webhosting...and for the life of me I can't work out how to connect the two. I've done this once before. I ought to remember. But that was sooo many years ago. I have no memory of how to do this.

3. Anyone out there actually like DST? It's a pain in my ass. I wish Indiana had held out.

4. Happy late Ides of March and early St. Patrick's Day. :D
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