Thursday, December 31, 2009

Peter's Home!!!

I can hardly tell you how exciting it is to have my brother home again! In many ways he's the same, and in other ways he's different. Take the above picture, he learned to play guitar while he was gone! We had fun listening to him this morning.

Last night we went and met him at the air port. The family, and two of his best friends were there. Then, one of his other best friends met us at the house. It was great! We heard lots of stories last night, and then I went back over there for awhile this morning for breakfast. We're headed back over there in a little bit for our "Christmas dinner." We postponed it until he was home.

His accent has changed! Still has a bit of a country twang too it, but there are definite differences. And he slips into Nepalese a lot - which is entertaining! He's taught us a few words. I don't know how to spell any of them so I won't try, but I learned the words for "what can you do?" "good morning" "hello/good-bye" in the traditional Christian manner, older brother, younger brother, and older sister! You know me - I love stuff like that!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Trip and a Homecoming

Gordon and I had a pretty good trip up north to visit my Granny. I had my camera with me - but I forgot to take any pictures. Silly me eh? The trip was both really good and really hard at the same time, and on so many levels that it's hard to even think of where to begin! There's a lot I don't want to share because it's simply too personal. I will say that there were some really nice moments with my Granny that I think I will always treasure and hold onto. I'm really glad, even though it hurts to see her so weak and struggling, that I went.

On a brighter note - Peter comes home today! My baby brother has been over seas for two years and I can hardly wait to see him again! We're all bouncing with excitement today :) Gee...I wonder why?

What's In a Name?

Ok - I amaze myself with my geekiness sometimes - and the great part is that I know that many of my friends are even geekier than I am! This post was inspired by my dear Elf-sister Meri, and I'm looking forward to seeing what my PSS thinks about this too :P She'll probably tell me she's heard of this web-site long ago...

What web-site do I speak of? It's called "the Council of Elrond." It's an incredible resource for any serious fan of Tolkien and I'm going to have to book mark it and make myself walk away so I can get other things done today. *sigh*

Now - what is in a name? One of the fun resources that this web-site has is a name finder, where you can find your name in the two main elvish languages (Sindarin and Quenya), or in Rohirric (the language of Rohan). You'll need to use the root of your name, so Mandy become Amanda, and I used my real name (Ruth) instead of the nickname most people know me by (Ruthie). So here's my names! My middle name is "Mae" which pulled up some interesting Gaelic forms. I'll show you both that and the alternate spelling of my middle name "May."


1. friend. Sindarin: Mellon; fem. Meldis
2. vision of beauty. Sindarin: Bainoth 'beautiful apparition';
Bainthiad, Thiadvain 'beautiful appearance

"Maegwyn, Meagwen"
1. "star", "shining". Sindarin: (star) Êl, Gil; (shining) Silad
2. Gaelic: "sea keeper". Sindarin: (sea-guard) Aerdirith, Gaerdirith, Tirithaer

Irish: joy. Sindarin: Gell, Glass; (joyous person) Gelir; fem. Gelleth Glasseth, Gelireth

English: from a name of a month. Sindarin: Lothron


Hebrew; "Friend"
Quenya: f. Meldë, Nildë

"Maegwyn, Maegwen"
1. Celtic; 'star,' Quenya: Tinwë, Eleniel
2. Celtic; 'shining,' Quenya: Callallë
3.Gaelic; 'sea keeper', Quenya: Eärendildë

"May (Maj, Mai)"
English; 'the month of May'
Quenya: Lótessë, Lótessiel


Biblical meaning 'friend, friendly.' Rohirric: Frëond, Wine, Blíae

Not found

Not found

Now to complete the geekiness....

If I was speaking Sindarin I would choose my name to be: Bainoth Aerdirith

If I was speaking Quenya I would choose my name to be: Meldë Eleniel

And lastly, if I was speaking Rohirric I would go by: Blíae

Monday, December 28, 2009

Writing ADD #1

If you know me from one the on-line art/craft world, then you've seen my (usually) weekly Crafty ADD posts. What you may not know is that I've been writing for almost as long, if not longer, than I've been crafting. One of these days I'll write up that story, but for now, suffice it say, I love to write! I even have a book I started about two years ago, but I had to take a break from writing earlier this year when my migraines got really bad. I can write through a lot, but migraines just are NOT conducive to writing creativity.

The good news is that my migraines have been getting a lot better over the last month, and with them, my passion to write has been returning. My original plan was to just start focusing more on writing after the Christmas insanity was over, but then I got inspired. I spent an afternoon talking with one of my close friends/sisters about writing, and went home with lots of ideas in my head! So the next day I started working on writing again, and when I tried to go to sleep after writing I came up with a plan.

I'm going to have a writing goal of 5,000 words a week. I figure that's an average of 1,000 words a day, with two days "off" for not feeling good or simply being too busy. As this week has already proved, I'm sure there will be some days I go over 1,000 and some days where I write less, but I reached my goal this week! So here's my report :)

~ Book Review - 581
~ Memoir - 505
~ Day's total - 1086
As you can see - I'm counting my book reviews as part of my writing goals! It's one of the few writing things I did manage to stay consistent on while the migraines were so bad! I also started working on a memoir piece about spending time with my Granny. That one is hard to work on, so I haven't managed to make myself work on it since :P

~ Book Review - 248
~ Short fiction - 375
~ Day's total - 623
On Tuesday I had written up a short book review (children's book) and never gotten around to anything else with the busyness of the day and not really feeling good. I had planned on writing more, it just hadn't happened. Then, as I was following asleep, a short sketch presented itself in my brain! So I got up and worked on it. I don't know yet if I'm going to expand into anything work sharing, but it was fun to work on, and more importantly, it gave me more words written for the day!

~ Book Review - 500
~ Character Sketch - 1214
~ Day's total - 1714
Wednesday was my big writing day of the week, which is ironic, because I had a lot to get done that day! Anyway, I'm going to be playing a game of D&D with one of my close on-line friends, and we've started creating our characters. I'm doing a character sketch to get a better "feel" for my character, and since we aren't using any sort of established history, it also gives me the chance to help her write the history of our "world!" I"m having a lot of fun with that as I'm sure you can imagine!

~ Book Review - 322
~ Day's Total - 322
Thursday I was really tired and worn out from hosting a game night the night before, but I still got a book review written! So that's something at least, and like I said, I figured I'd have "off" days.

~ Character Sketch - 422
~ Day's Total - 422
Yes, I even got some writing done on Christmas day! We had a great day with my hubbies family, came home and slept for awhile, and after I woke up I got a little bit more work done on some crafty things, and some work on my Character Sketch.

~ Book Review - 409
~ Day's Total - 409
I was really tired again on Saturday, so I mostly rested up from the holiday festivities, but I got another book review written! I'm was quite motivated this week by the BIG pile of back logged book reviews I had accumulated.

~ Opinion Piece - 436
~ Worked on database for Jemnath
~ Day's Total - 436
Sunday (yesterday) we left for a short road trip up to visit my Granny. Since my brother was driving, and doesn't wake up anywhere near as early as I do, I spent some time working on creating a database for my book, Jemnath. It's something I'd been wanting to do before I was forced to stop working on it, and I figure it will help me re-familiarize myself with the story. I'm creating separate files for characters, landmarks, creatures, and plants (it's a fantasy). I also ended up writing a opinion piece (that I'll be sharing soon) on a very random topic! I hand wrote it that day when we had some down time in between visiting Granny, dinner, and more visiting, and then typed it up today.

~ Book Reviews: 5
~ Memoir - in progress
~ Short Fiction - In progress
~ Character Sketch - In progress
~ Opinion Piece - needs editing
~ Jemnath Database - started
~ Week's Total - 5012
Can you see why I'm calling this writing ADD? I jump all over the place! I have a file where I'm keeping track of everything I have in progress, and when I last worked on it, so hopefully that will help me actually finish things!

Oh yes, and for any one who's wondering, my story Aria's Quest is coming back this week!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Taking A Trip

I'm so excited! Assuming nothing goes wrong between now and then - Gordon and I are driving up tomorrow to go see Granny :D Now granted, this is MY life were talking about, so any number of things could go wrong, but I'm doubting anything is actually going to prevent us from leaving. It's going to be hard to see Granny so sick, but I'd rather get to see her and be with her and deal with it than sit here not having gotten to give her a hug or anything. So if I'm around even LESS in the next few days - you know why - I'm on the road!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

To you and yours Merry Christmas!

This has been one of my favorites for years now.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Matchless by Gregory Maguire

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You learn something new every day. Something I didn't know until recently is that NPR (National Public Radio) asks a different author each year to write a Christmas story that is then read out over the airwaves. In 2008 that author was Gregory Maguire. He chose to write "Matchless," which is (as it says on the front of the book) "An Illumination of Hans Christian Andersen's' Classic, 'The Little Match Girl.'"

While I'm familiar with many of Hans Christian Andersen's works, the story of "The Little Match Girl" is not one of the ones that I know. Maguire's story is written in 4 small sections, and according to the author's note at the back off the book, section 2 is written very close to the original story, with only a few small modifications to fit the rest of the story he had written. The one he specifically points out is that the original story took place at New Years time and he moved the story to Christmas.

Maguire's story actually does not focus on the Matchstick Girl, although she plays an important roll. Instead we get to know a boy named Frederik who lives alone with his mother, who is a seamstress for the Queen. Despite the fact the Queen frequently ripped the hems of her dresses, Fredrik and his Mom were painfully poor, and they often found themselves short on food and warmth. Fredrik would go out and hunt for dead fish that had washed up on the shore, and they would make their meals from this poor offering. When there were no fish to be seen he would often look for little bits of pretty objects that he could use to create a little make believe town in his attic bedroom.

Through a twist of fate the lives of the Matchstick girl and Fredrik become intertwined. How that happens, and what the ending is, you'll have to read for yourself!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

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"The Light Fantastic" is the second of the Discworld novels and it continues the story of Rincewind, the magician, and Two Flower, the first ever tourist. When we last saw them they were falling off the edge of the world, a situation that most wouldn't survive, but not these two! The spell inside Rincewind's head is apparently too valuable to be lost, and they are saved magically.

The disc itself is in danger this time. There is a large red star in the sky, and it's growing larger day by day. The magicians have figured out that the only way to protect the disc world involves the spell that's in Rincewind's mind, and now they are searching for him. Unfortunately so are others, and Rincewind and Two Flower are on the run!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Golem in the Gears by Piers Anthony

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I've been looking forward to getting to "Golem in the Gears" as I read through the Xanth books. I knew from reading some of his author's comments at the back of his books that this was the first book he wrote using a computer! Piers Anthony had said in those notes that the computer managed to work it's way into the book, and I was curious to see how that worked out.

"Golem in the Gears" stars Grundy Golem, the little Golem that was transformed awhile ago into a living being. He's still quiet small though, and he's struggled with his feeling of self worth. Now he has a chance to prove his worth by going on a quest for the princess.

Traveling in Xanth is always an adventure, and fortunately Grundy doesn't have to go alone. He travels with the monster from under the Princess's bed as his stead, and eventually meets up with Rapunzel. Rapunzel is part elf, and she's able to change her size. She likes being his size, admires what he's doing, and begins to fall for him. Can a golem find love?

And yes, they do encounter the computer, and a battle of wits ensues!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Treatment Starts

Mom and Dad came home from Seattle Saturday afternoon. It was time for Dad to get a break, and I think it was really good for him to have a little bit of time back home before he went back up north to be with his brothers and Granny. I went over to Mom and Dad's yesterday so I could see both of them. I've been talking a lot with Mom through all of this, but I'd only talked to Dad very briefly. I'm glad I went yesterday - because today he ended up heading back up!

It was good to get to talk to Mom and Dad face to face about everything. Getting things over the phone works, but face to face tends to work better over all, especially with Dad. The hard part though was when I finally asked if the doctors were talking time frames yet. They are still being pretty vague, but Mom finally asked "are we talking weeks, months, years?" and the doctor told her were talking months. That's hard to cope with, but at least its better than weeks!

Like I said, Dad headed back up today. Granny got her first of 10 radiation treatments today (no clue how it went) and then my Uncles were driving her from the Seattle hospital to a skilled nursing center back in her home area. I don't know how that went - I'm sure I'll hear more tomorrow though!

Right now we have no idea if Mom and Dad will be home for Christmas. There are soooo many variables! If Dad feels like he needs to be up there than Mom will go back up to join him. It doesn't really bother me because we weren't really planning on doing any big Christmas stuff until after Peter gets home on the 30th anyway.

I'm hoping to go up and see Granny next weekend. Leaving either Saturday or Sunday. It will probably be a two day trip. Since she's back close to her home it'll be a 4 or 5 hour drive, and I'm just not up to riding in a car that long both ways in one day! Right now it looks like the trip will be Gordon and I. He's not really close to Granny, but he likes road trips, and Mo really doesn't. So, since Gordon's willing, we figure it'll be a more entertaining trip if Gordon and I go :) I'll miss Mo, but that's ok.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum

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"Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz" was written after Baum received numerous letters requesting more stories with Dorothy, and wondering whatever happened to the Wizard. Baum had a soft spot for the precious children who read his books, so he had to answer their questions! In fact in his introduction Baum wrote, "To have pleased you, to have interested you, to have won your friendship, and perhaps your love, through my stories, is to my mind a great an achievement as to become President of the United States." Isn't that sweet?

In "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz" Dorothy finds herself on another adventure when the earth opens up literally right in front of her! Because of a massive earth quake Dorothy, her kitten Eureka, Zeb the farm boy, and the cab horse Jim, all find themselves in a strange land in the center of the earth. Dorothy handles these developments fairly well, she's been on some incredible adventures after all, but it takes Zeb a little longer to adjust!

The first land that Dorothy and Zeb find themselves in is inhabited by vegetable people. They grow on plants and find themselves distrustful of the "meat people." The wizard soon shows up and it turns out that he was trapped beneath the earth as well. He joins their group and soon they find themselves having to run for their lives!

Baum creates a number of fascinating lands in this book. Each of them strange and incredible. Eventually Dorothy finds herself back in Oz and reunited with her old friends! It's fun book, great to read to your kids, or just when you want to revisit your childhood.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Latest News

Mom went up to Seattle yesterday to see Granny and be with Dad. The latest news is that Granny has both brain cancer and lung cancer. Apparently her lung cancer is stage 4, which means its really advanced and there is no cure. They aren't talking "this many months/years" yet, and Mom and I think its because they want to see how she responds to treatments before they start estimating things.

The good news is that there are some treatments they can do to help the brain cancer and improve her quality of life for whatever time she has left. She'll be doing radiation therapy and maybe some chemo. It also looks like she will probably be having to move into an assisted living facility of some sort. Which will be hard, but if it means she gets the best care, that's a good thing!

This continues to be an emotional ride for all of us. I've cried a few times this week, but I'm getting through it and so is everyone else as far as I know. Mo's been a sweet heart and he's being very supportive. He even let me go buy us some ice-cream :P But I'm being a good girl and only eating small portions! Actually, I'm a REALLY good girl, I got the 1/2 fat ice-cream made with Splenda AND I'm eating small portions! Plus I got Mo his own ice-cream so he won't have to eat my "splenda junk" as he calls it.

Some days and moments are harder than others, but that's normal for stuff like this, and all we can do is take it one day at a time and handle it all as best as we can.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

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"Bone Crossed" is the 4th book in the Mercy Thompson series, and unfortunately the next book doesn't come out until March 30th, 2010! I have to wait! The good news is she has a companion series, Alpha and Omega, so I just ordered the first book in that series to read.

In "Bone Crossed" Mercy deals with the ramifications of her actions in previous books. She shows up at her shop one morning to find that it's been covered in graffiti. Some of it is rather harmless, but her door also has magically painted crossed bones on it, and she discovers they are a message from the Vampire Queen Marsalia. It's a sign to show that she has earned disfavor with the Queen, and any one who feels like taking her out has permission.

On top of that, an old acquaintance of Mercy's shows up asking for her help with a ghost. When Mercy investigates she finds the situation to be far more difficult than she would have suspected. Not to mention there is an adorable 10 year old boy who wraps himself around her heart.

There is also an ancient vampire making life even more complicated, but that's what we've come to expect from Mercy! On an interesting side note, she runs into a fae in this book who suggests that her coyote nature is carrying a little bit of "grandfather coyotes" chaos. It certainly explains why so many things happen to her!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Christmas Miracle :D

Miracles do happen! Kat went to the neurologist yesterday (on a random note, it's MY neurologist, which we think is awesome) and the did a bunch more scans on her brain. Guess what? Her tumor is GONE. They can see where the tumor was, there's an indent on the artery and everything, but the tumor itself is gone! We're all in shock again - but this time its good shock!

They are going to do more scans in about a week just to make sure everything is healing fine, but that's mostly to make sure that the swelling goes down. They'll continue to monitor her for awhile to make sure that nothing comes back. Yippee!!!

We don't have much more news on my Granny. They did move her to Seattle yesterday instead of having her go home for a few days, but that's probably good because we'll get answers quicker ya know? I know they did a bunch of tests yesterday - but we're still waiting for results.

On the home front....did I mention I hurt my ribs? Well, I had a really severe asthma attack on Friday and I thought that I had just coughed a few things out of place, that happens from time to time, it hurts, but I go to see the chiropractor and it gets better in a day or two.

Well, it was hurting pretty bad, but I was trying not to let that worry me. What did worry me was that when I roll over at night or when I stretch I can feel it popping. That's NOT normal. So I made to an appointment to see my chiropractor as soon as possible - that meant yesterday afternoon.

The good news is she's pretty positive I didn't break anything - but I DID manage to sprain my rib. By coughing! Isn't that impressive and crazy all at the same time? She said the popping means I strained and/or tore the ligaments around the rib, and there's a chance I tore the cartilage as well. She said its not really worth going in and getting an x-ray because the treatment is exactly the same either way - wrap my ribs and try not to cough for the next 6 weeks. Yah - that'll be interesting with my asthma.... Oh well - I'll get through this just like everything else. And besides, I have the news that Kat's tumor is GONE to keep me going!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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I was absolutely enthralled by "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman! It's not often I read a book in one sitting any more, I get too distracted by my crafty projects, but this is one that I sat down and just read straight through. I even tried to put it down once, but I was too curious to see what happened next!

"The Graveyard Book" has a unique premise. A very small boy manages to escape being murdered with the rest of his family when he climbs out of his crib and toddles into a graveyard. The murder tries to pursue him, but his mother's ghost persuades a kind old lady ghost to protect him. Soon, the baby boy has been adopted by an old couple of ghosts, and the rest of the graveyard!

Can you imagine growing up in a graveyard? Your only friends are dead, your teachers are dead, and you learn to read and write off of gravestones? Despite this strange upbringing Bod (short for Nobody), grows up to be a fairly well-adjusted, if a little strange, boy. The story of why his family was murdered, how Bod eventually integrates with the "normal" world, and everything else, makes for a fascinating story that you won't want to put down either!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Update on my Granny

The news on my Granny is that... well... we won't know much until later in the week. She has a lesion on her brain - which means that unlike a tumor it's flat - so it doesn't take up as much space I guess. It's about the size of a golf ball. She also has some compressed vertebrae from her fall. She needs to stay in the hospital for a few more days to recover from being dehydrated and then she'll go home for a couple days. My Dad's going to take care of her while she's at home.

She'll be going to a hospital in Seattle soon after she goes home. How soon, I'm not sure. They are trying to find the best place for her right now.

It's been a long week for me - trying to deal with all of this. I'm also still trying to wrap my mind around my close friend having a brain tumor, and dealing with both at once has me in overload mode! The doctor my friend saw doesn't think her tumor is operable at all - and we're all hoping she can get a better diagnosis/opinion while she's home for Christmas.

The good news, on my end at least, is that I'm handling it better than I would have a few short months ago. I AM having physical side-effects, but I'm hanging there, I could be a lot worse than I am right now. I did have a really severe asthma attack Friday night, so we raised my prednisone to help fight that.

Moses, my dear geeky husband, downloaded a MMORPG for me that he's been playing. So I've spent a bunch of time over the last two days playing that. I'm kinda going back and forth between playing and crafting. It helps keep me from focusing on all the bad stuff that is going on.

Why is all this happening at Christmas?

This isn't the first time I've dealt with a lot of trauma at Christmas - and I'm trying hard not to think about what happened before....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

DS9 - Season 5

There are so many things that happen in season 5 that I hardly know where to begin! I remembered a lot more of these episodes than I did the earlier ones, but then again, I was a lot older when these aired than I was when season 1 aired! So I probably saw more of them, and I know that several of these episodes were frequently replayed as well.

Season 5 has some entertaining love stories. Quark tries to woo his Klingon ex-wife, the O'Brien's and Kira have some interesting dynamics in the their relationships as Kira carries their baby, Quark's Mom starts dating the Grand Nagus, and even Odo has a romantic interest in one episode! Of course the best romance, in my opinion, is the developing relationship between Worf and Dax. By the end of the third episode they have finally moved beyond friendship to passionate love (involving many broken bones and bruises), and we get to watch them date over the rest of the season!

We also have what is probably the most famous episode of the entire show in this season, "Trials and Tribble-ations." This was the 100th episode for DS9 and the writers wanted to do something special. They had several different (and fun!) ideas, but the one they went with was an excellent choice!

In "Trials and Tribble-ations" the crew gets sent back in time to the Tribble episode from the original series. They did a great job at blending in the new scenes with out compromising the integrity of the original story. It was a lot of fun to see the cast of DS9 running around in uniforms from the original series!

There are many more things I could talk about from this season, but it would make this a really long post! By the end of the season many things have changed. We learn that Bashir is genetically altered, Odo regains his changeling form, and the battle with the Dominion officially starts!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wow - Trying to Process

I don't know if you saw my post earlier this week about "If it's Not One Thing..." Well..

It seems my week of bad news was no where near an end. My Granny (Dad's Mom) is in the hospital. My Aunt got worried when she couldn't get ahold of her and sent my Uncle who leaves near her to check on her. He found her in bed - she'd fallen and hurt her back, not told anyone, and had been in bed for two days with out getting herself any food or water. Well of course my Uncle made her go to the hospital.

Well she compressed vertabrae - and as far as she knows right now that's all. She's so drugged up whe's not questioning that they are keeping her in the hospital. But that's not all that's wrong...

The reason she fell in the first place? She was dizzy because she has a brain tumor. We don't know much yet about prognosis or anything. We'll probably learn more tomorrow. We just know its a fairly large tumor.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sovay by Celia Reese

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I picked up "Sovay" after reading a review on "Nayu's Reading Corner." She writes great reviews (better than mine!) so if you love books check out her blog!

"Sovay" is a young adult book set in the time of the French Revolution. Sovay is a young woman who doesn't exactly fit into the normal role for young women as defined by society at the time. For example, when she finds out her fiance is cheating on her she confronts him by dressing up as a highway man and robbing his couch as he rides into town! This is just the first of many things she does that most young women wouldn't have done.

If you like historical fiction, and you enjoy reading about women who defy the traditional roles, than you'll really enjoy this book. I've always enjoyed reading about history, but I prefer historical fiction over a text book. I'm not big on the dry facts and details, I'd rather learn about how people lived, and how the events affected their lives.

The only problem I had with the book was I had a tendency to switch the name "Sovay" to "Savoy" in my head. Annoying, but not as if it's something that would really bother people other than me! I love being dyslexic :) The Savoy Ballroom is famous for the role it played in the evolution of swing dancing, so as a former swing dancer, it was really hard for me to keep her name straight!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dark Tide I: Onslaught by Michael A Stackpole

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"Dark Tide I: Onslaught" continues the story of the New Jedi Order and their fight against the Yuuzhan Vong. They fought off the initial invasion, but now it's time to prepare for what's to come. Leia attempts to convince the Council of the danger they are in while Luke uses his Jedi to investigate.

There are several different story lines running through this book. All are intertwined, but we get to follow various members of the Jedi and the Skywalker family as they battle this new menace. In particular I enjoyed following the adventures of Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin Solo. Some time ago I read the young adult series about them, and I'm really enjoying watching them continue to grow and develop.

Anakin is struggling with guilt, thinking he is responsible for Chewie's death, but Luke sends him with Mara to protect her as she recuperates. During his time with Mara he will learn a lot about his own limits, both personally and with the force. Anakin also begins to move beyond his grief and guilt.

Jaina also grows a lot as she is given the opportunity to join the infamous Rogue Squadron!

Jacen continues to struggle with his philosophical differences with Luke. He thinks that he needs to go off on his own to mediate and connect with the Force, but Luke convinces him that he is needed right now to help the other Jedi. Jacen agrees to help, and along the way he learns a lot about himself, his beliefs, and what it means to truly be a jedi.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If It's Not One Thing...

...It's another right? At least that's the way my life seems to go! I kinda got knocked off of my normal routine this weekend after receiving one piece of bad news after another. Out of my closest friends... one has a mother in law in the hospital and very sick, and another's parents are getting divorced, and yet another one has learned that she has a brain tumor. I was handling it all fine up until the very last bit. Both of the first pieces of news - while difficult - were not entirely unexpected. The last piece of news through me for a loop though.

I think I'm getting better at handling stress though. I didn't have a super-serious asthma attack, and while I've had some migraines that could be as a result of the stress, they haven't been super severe either. Once I got the last bit of bad news I stopped trying to get anything accomplished and took some time to pamper myself. Took a nice long soaking bath, had some comfort food (but not too much), and spent a long time reading and then crafting. It worked :)

The only problem is, once I started feeling better emotionally? I started feeling sick. I don't know what's wrong, just that I'm really tired and my tummy is upset. *sigh* So I've spent most of the last two days sleeping and not done much more than that.

So here's some good news! Or at least interesting... We bought a scale this weekend because since I've been getting stronger I want to be more active about trying to lose weight. At first I was just going off of my frequent weigh-in's at the doctors office, but since a good amount of time has passed and this "getting stronger" trend has continued, we decided to buy a scale so I could keep track in a less haphazard manner. Buying one was a whole adventure in and of itself because the first one I bought was broken and it tried to say I weighed over 300 lbs. LOL

Once I returned the original scale and got one that worked, I confirmed that I haven't really lost any weight recently, but I have tracked my inches and stuff and I've lost some inches! Well. Kinda. I lost inches on my stomach and abs, and gained it on my hips and thighs. Taking my measurements I was like "yay! Yay! boo...what???" I retook them and my first measurements was right. I've got a theory though. In the last two weeks I've done a lot more walking around (running errands and such) and I've done a lot more trips up and down my theory is that I lost some fat in my tummy area and gained some muscle in my hips and legs. I'll take it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Pongwiffy" by Kaye Umansky

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How can you NOT read a book that has written across the top of the cover "Who looks like a witch and smells like a ditch?" The answer is the title - "Pongwiffy!" (note, I couldn't find the cover that matched what I read when I did an image search) Pongwiffy is indeed a witch, and she does have a decided pong about her that makes most people want to run after the slightly wif. But don't worry, you'll fall in love with her anyway.

"Pongwiffy" is a fun children's book about a witch, her hamster familiar, and the hilarious situations they get into! There are several distinct stories broken up through out this book, so if your the type that likes to read to your children at bed time, this book is perfect for you!

I will say, though, I'm not really sure what values your children will learn from this book. It's great for some laughs though! And who doesn't need some laughter in their childhood?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Map of Bones by James Rollins

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"Map of Bones" is the second book in the Sigma Force series by James Rollins. The Sigma Force is a special group of operatives in the US government that specialize in getting in and out nasty situations, typically with ancient artifacts. Well, at least they do in the books I've read so far!

"Map of Bones" starts out with a horrific massacre during a midnight mass in Germany. It turns out that the massacre had multiple purposes. One, to distract from the theft of the bones in the reliquary. Two, to thumb the noses of thieves at the Catholic church. And three, as a grisly scientific experiment.

This begins a race across Europe to catch the thieves, who are a part of something called the Dragon Court. Two operatives of Sigma Force team up with a member of the Italian police force, and her uncle, who works in the Vatican. It takes all of their specialized knowledge, and a good bit of luck, to figure it all out as they track down clues that were originally left in the 13th century.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday Traditions

Today's post is for the Etsy Bloggers Carnival this week :) The theme is holiday traditions! So here are mine :)

One of the fun things about getting married is that you get to combine families and family traditions! Sometimes this blending is an easy process, sometimes it's a difficult thing to do, we've been blessed in that so far it's been an easy process! We're lucky though, our families get along great together, and so far we're the only one's married.

Christmas actually works out fantastic for us. My Mom's family on her Dad's side is from Cuba and in Cuba it's traditional to do the big celebration on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day is spent at home as a more intimate time with the family. So what we've done since we've gotten married is we celebrate on Christmas Eve with my family, go back over there for breakfast on Christmas day so we actually see them on Christmas, and then spend the rest of the day with Mo's family. They usually have a great party at their house in the afternoon with the extended family.

It makes for a fun holiday and not too much pressure! Now when one of our brothers get married, things might get more complicated. For now though, all the holidays are easy! Doesn't hurt that we both have great families :)

We are doing things slightly different this year though. My brother has been over seas for the last two years and he comes home on the 30th! So we're skipping the party on Christmas Eve, we'll still do breakfast with my parents Christmas morning, and then our big Christmas celebration with our family will be when my brother is home to celebrate with us! I can hardly wait to see him!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Migraine Monsters Strike Again!

It's been a rough week. We're transitioning medications and the doctor has told me I have to pick two days out of the week and those are the only days out the week I'm allowed to treat my migraine. Because if you treat your migraines too often you start to suffer from medication overs use withdrawal headaches. *sigh* So basically I have to look at my schedule each week and pick which two days are the most important to me and I don't treat my migraines unless they fall on or after those days.

This week, being my time of the month, means LOTS of migraines, so pretty much my entire week got eaten up by the silly migraine monsters! I had my bi-weekly xolair shot today and I have a filling to get tomorrow, so I've been holding out for these two days. At least it means I'm functioning today! Even if half the day did get eaten up at the doctors office...

The good news is that I'll be done tapering off the last daily medication for migraines that we tried by the middle of next week and be starting the new one. Hopefully that will mean that the "only treat twice a week" rule will be less of a problem because I'll be having fewer migraines!

I've been having a really hard time this last week not getting super frustrated about the migraines and being stuck on the couch. I mean, I'd hate it anyway, but at Christmas time? I have presents to make and this is the prime time of year for my business so I hate not being able to invest the time in it. *sigh* Oh well. Teaches me patience I guess.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meet baby Annika

My cousin had her baby today! Meet Annika Andersen :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary

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Poems by Julie Larios, Illustrated by Julie Paschkis

I first came across the team of Larios and Paschkis in the book "Imaginary Menagerie," and I immediately knew I wanted to find more books by them! "Yellow Elephant" met all my hopes and dreams. Where "Imaginary Menagerie" was about fanciful creatures, this book focuses on real creatures, but each one is highlighted with a particular color.

My favorite, of course, is the purple puppy:


Purple ball for the puppy.
He's feeling pretty nippy.
Needs to run, maybe.
Chases purple birds
and furry squirrels -
he's zigging, they're zagging.
Puppy tail wags.
Now he drinks cool water
with his purple tongue

This is a great book to read aloud with your children. The poems are simple and cute. You can use this book to teach them some of their animals, and to help them learn their colors as well! And, of course, to introduce them to fantastic and varied world of poetry.

One last interesting piece of information. I read the back cover of the book and discovered that this writing/illustrating team is based in Seattle, Washington. That's just 3 hours away from me! How fun is that?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley

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"Dragonhaven" by Robin McKinley is the story of a young boy who has grown up in a rather unusual situation. He lives on a dragon preserve! There aren't very many dragons left in the world, so there have been several preserves created, and Jake's Dad runs one.

Jake has also been rather sheltered, not only does he live on a preserve far away from normal civilization, his Dad tends to over protect him because his mother died a few years ago. But, finally, Jake gets permission to go out on his first over night trek into the preserve. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes. Jake comes across a dead dragon mother, the poacher that killed her, and her dead babies. But wait, one of the babies isn't dead! And that's how Jake becomes a dinosaur Mom.

The story is written entirely from Jake's perspective, and that can be quite interesting at times! I'm not sure how McKinley managed to get inside the head of a teenage boy, but I think she did a really good job. Watching Jake and the dragonlet grow together is a lot of fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Muddling Through This Thing We Call Life

There's been a lot going on this last week, and I figured it was about time I updated everyone! It's been awhile since I've updated on my medical stuff anyway I think...

This week all my appointments seemed to pile up on top of each other. I'm not sure how that happened, but it did! The first was my bi-weekly xolair shot that took up all of my Tuesday morning. Now that Jack is no where near as portable I just took my slightly defunct mp3 player and my knitting. Um, yah, apparently I was tired. I fell asleep. That was at the START of my week.

Wednesday I saw my regular physician to talk to him about my blood sugar levels and my hair. We're going to try and see if we can get the insurance to pay for me to go talk with a dietitian because things are just getting way to complicated and its hard to balance my blood sugar, keep on a low sodium diet, and everything else I have to keep track of.... I also asked for another fasting blood test to make sure I'm not getting any closer to actual diabetes instead of just pre-diabetes like I've been at.

Hair. Ok, this is a tough one. I knew I'd lost some hair volume over the last year or so but I hadn't really thought much of it because I had a LOT of hair and I know people do that sometimes right? Well the other day Mom mentioned it, and then I realized just how much I'd lost. Um, I've lost over half the volume of my hair. I talked to my doctor about it and it's probably from the steroids I'm on for my asthma that are keeping out of the hospital. I'm going to go see a dermatologist, but it sounds like there's not much we can do about it. Joy 'eh?

Wednesday I also did an ultrasound. No, I'm not pregnant, it was to check up on my kidneys and bladder. Follow up on the kidney stones I had in Sept. I won't go into details so I don't gross you out, but I've now seen the majority of the organs in my body on one type of scan or another!

Thursday morning I saw my urologist to find out what they found on the ultrasound and what they learned from some other tests they had previously done on me. Good news is my kidneys and bladder are fine. Bad news is that, from my tests, he would normally tell me to take less calcium and eat less protein to avoid kidney stones in the future. The problem with that is that I have osteopenia (the stage before osteoperosis) so I have to be on a high level of calcium to prevent that from progressing. As for the less protein? Well, when my regular doc and I were talking about my blood sugar one of the things he told me was less carbs and more protein! So we decided there wasn't much we could do there. Pretty much the only things we could come up with that were constructive were continue to work on watching my sodium intake and drink LOTS of water. Oh, and pray that I don't get too many more kidney stones :P

Immediately following that appointment I saw my neurologist (I TOLD you these were all stacked up didn't I?). We're taking me off the medication that I was on because it wasn't working, and we're going to put me on a new one as soon as I've worked off of this one. It's a seizure medication and a little scary because it's got a lot of potential side-effects and I've already got enough to deal with! On the other hand - I also need to function and daily migraines do not lend them selves to that.

In the mean time, I've gotten to the point where I'm having so many migraines and I've had to treat them so frequently that I'm now probably having medication overdose migraines in addition to my normal migraines. Loverly eh? Well, to get rid of those he gave me a 7 day course of treatment that's supposed to get rid of the overdose headaches - but in the mean time I can't take ANYTHING for my migraines. That was like an invitation for the migraine monster to come in and play. The last three days have been miserable. I'm really hoping he's right and it'll be worth it when this week is over with...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Doors of His Face the Lamps of His Mouth by Roger Zelazny

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"The Doors of His Face the Lamps of His Mouth" is a collection of short stories by Roger Zelazny. As with any series of stories, there were some that I liked more than others. However, the one advantage that this has over other anthologies, is that it only has one author, and I tend to like his work! So even with the one's that I wasn't as thrilled with, they we're still pretty good stories.

There are 17 stories in this collection. Some of them are very short, and some are pretty long! My favorites were "A Museum Piece" and "The Graveyard Heart." The first one simply entertained me, and the second one had a fascinating premise to it! We've all heard stories about putting people into a sort of cold sleep - or stasis right? Well what if, instead of doing that to travel between stars or something similar, people went into cold sleep just so they could periodically come out and party? And never be younger? Eternal youth, essentially, while the world around you stares and wonders. It was a pretty interesting story, especially because it's of course much deeper than what I just shared!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm a Dork! And that's why you LOVE me :D

I love the fact that I'm finally getting strong enough that not only can I cook on a regular basis again...I can cook meals that have milk based ingredients in them! Woohoo! I've never made hamburger stroganoff for Mo before because I got sick so quickly after we got married, so I was a little nervous (you never know what he'll think) and to my delight - liked it! So did my dear friend La who came over last night :) Of course I didn't remember to pull the camera back out AFTER she got there. *rolls eyes* Here's dinner pictures though :)

The Main Course

The Sexy Cook

The Health Food

The Hubby is His Normal Spot

Monday, November 16, 2009

Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee

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"Black Unicorn" is part of a series of books called "Dragonflight." Each book in the Dragonflight series is written by a different author, and dedicated to one of the major themes in fantasy. This one, obviously, deals with unicorns!

"Black Unicorn" takes a rather different approach than most to the subject of unicorns. A young girl named Tanaquil lives in in the desert with her mother, and a few servants. Her mother is a sorceress, and that can cause some rather strange circumstances at times! The tap sometimes produces flowers instead of water, random objects come to life, and some of the creatures around the castle gain extra intelligence.

One of these creatures is called a peeve, and it has fascination for bones. One day it brings a sparkly bone to Tanaquil, and she becomes utterly fascinated by it. Together the two of them search for the rest of the skeleton, unbury it, and then Tanaquil assembles it to show it's original form, a unicorn.

Through a series of entertaining circumstances, the unicorn comes back to life, and that's when things get REALLY interesting!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tacos, Butts, and the Corpse Bride

Last night I had a fantastic girls night with some of my SISTAH's! Well...and we let Gordon come along for awhile... The only proof that Gordon was that he took the only two pictures that I have! There are two more blurry pictures on facebook, but they are just of Bethie's new hair do. Anyway....

Kat, our beloved sister of the heart (and my super-secret girlfriend, don't try to figure it out, you'll get a headache) moved this fall to live at the beach and go to Bible college. I haven't gotten to see her since! We've chatted (mostly via facebook and texts) but I hadn't SEEN her! Well...she came into town AND I was feeling good so we had a girls night! And since we are super nice we let Gordon come for dinner cuz he luvs her to death as a sister too.

Here we ladies are hard at work.
Kat's on the left de-tailing shrimp.
I'm in the middle, I think I'm grating cheese at the point.
Bethie's on the right making the Lime sauce :)

Once the prep work was done and it was down to cooking up the shrimp, Kat curled up on the floor. We never did figure out why she had a sudden desire to snuggle Bethie's leg, but it was adorable so Gordon took a picture! We also never figured out why he only took butt shots (not normal) last night. I WAS planning on having him take a pic of us three girls smiling for the camera but some how it never happened...

We kicked Gordon out after dinner so we could just be girls...and we ended up curling up to watch the Corpse Bride! Love that movie :) Bethie dressed up at the Corpse Bride for Halloween this year and was absolutely loverly!

Good times we're had by all - although I think we may have traumatized Gordon just a wee bit...

And the best part? I'm a wee bit tired today...but I'm still feeling good and I was out all evening after a long day of working around the house, on business stuff, and running errands! *happy dance* I'm getting stronger and healthier!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mommy got an Xbox!

My Mommy got an Xbox! Nooo...silly...not the Gaming system. What would my MOM do with that??? Let's get real here people. No, she' got a 2006 Scion XB - which we are calling an X-Box because it looks like a box and the initials make it appropriate :P

Mommy and I outside my Apt

Side view outside my Parents House.
Isn't it Perty? (color, not style)

As you all should know by now, my Mom is super-duper talented, and I already know what I'm getting for my birthday! Why? Because she needs to fit it to me! LOL Here's my loverly purple sweater in progress :) It's farther along than this, should be done by my birthday in two weeks, bu this is the most recent pic I have. I'm so excited! As soon as its done I'll get a modeling picture for you :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

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Did you know that magic has a color? That's right! It's called "octarine" and the wizard Rincewind has always thought it looked kind of orangish-purple.

"The Colour of Magic" is the first book that Terry Pratchett wrote in his now famous Disc-world. It's not the best of his books, but if you want to start at the beginning, this is where you should go! It's broken up into four semi-independent segments; The colour of magic, the sending of eight, the lure of the wyrm, and close to the edge.

In each of the segments we follow the story of Two Flower and Rincewind as they travel around Discworld. In the first segment, the colour of magic, we meet the tourist Two Flower, the bumbling magician Rincewind, and begin to learn about how life on Discworld functions. In the second segment, the sending of eight, we learn a little bit more about the gods of Discworld, as well as the heroes. In the lure of the wyrm we see just how crazy magic can make things, and we have some fun battles with dragons! In close to the edge we learn about what life is like on the edge of discworld, and our two companions find themselves in perhaps the most dangerous fix of them all!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

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"Iron Kissed" is the third book in the "Mercy Thompson" series. Mercy is a walker, one of the rare people who can change their form between human and, in her case, coyote. She also was raised by werewolves, is friends with members of the fae, occasionally helps out vampires, and can talk to ghosts. The world that Mercy lives in is different from the one that you and I live in. In most ways its the same, but the fae have come out into the open, as have (more recently) the werewolves.

There are many different stories out there about the fae, and many of them are false or hold only a small portion of truth, but one of the one's that is true is that most of the fae can not handle the touch of iron. One of Mercy's friends is different though, he is "iron kissed" and not only can handle the touch of iron, he has an affinity for it. In fact, Zee was the original owner of the shop that Mercy now runs.

Now there's trouble among the fae and Zee's the one that has been designated to take the fall. Mercy, of course, doesn't take too kindly to this idea and begins looking into solving the crime. This pits her against some powerful fae, but Mercy always has some tricks up her sleeve, and of course she has some powerful friends of her own.

Zee tries to stop Mercy from interfering. It's not so much that he likes the idea of being the fall guy, it's more that he knows that there are some incredibly powerful forces involved, and he doesn't think Mercy is going to be able to stand up to them. Mercy is stubborn though, and when it comes to her friends, very little can keep her from giving her 100% to help them! She does find herself in quite a bit of hot water before the book is over, but in true Mercy fashion, she also finds a way out of it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In my Natural Environment

I confess, I am a crafting addict. There's no way around this truth, it's just the way it is! I usually don't take my beads along with me because the bead weaving is too easy to make a mess with. Well, I take it along to things like craft fairs, but not doctors offices where I'm going to be getting up and down, nope, that's what I take my fiber arts projects along on!

What was I doing in the doctors office this time? I'll give you a hint...look what I'm doing with the doctors stool... yah, I sprained my ankle again. I swear I wasn't doing anything I shouldn't have been either! Just walking down a flight of stairs. Not rushing either. And, fortunately, holding on to the handrail so I didn't go pitching headlong when I rolled my ankle.

I did go see the doc yesterday. Just as I thought, it's nothing serious. Just painful and making me sick to my stomach. Keeping it elevated and icing it :) I'm sure I'll be back to normal in the next few days! Hope you all are doing better than I am :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Jack Saga

As many of my friends already know, Jack, my dear laptop, has had a rough week. You see, I accidentally baptized him on Thursday. Now I believe in baptism in as Christian, but baptism for laptops...NOT a good idea!

It wasn't an intentional baptism though. I was having a rough day and I sat down too fast at my desk, slammed my knee into the leg, and over went my cup of water, right onto Jack. I grabbed it before the whole thing spilled, but it was full, so Jack still got half a cup of water all over the keyboard.

We let Jack dry out over night and then tried to turn him on. He turned on just fine, but we quickly realized that there was a short in the keyboard. We tried taking him into a repair shop, but it was going to cost an arm and a leg, way more than we can afford! So we took Jack to the Stickney men ICU and Mo and his Dad pulled him apart to figure out exactly what was going on.

It is definitely just the keyboard that's messed up, and the keyboard is terminal. We've looked to see if we can find a supplier in the US, but so far no dice. And the European suppliers want $50 to ship the keyboards here! So for now, I have a USB key board hooked up to Jack, and I'm good to go. Doesn't he look brave yet pathetic?

Yes, my desk is a total mess. Things tend to be a bit of a mess...I'm just too good at getting distracted! I try to clean up about once a week - but these last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic and I've kinda fallen behind... Once this bazaar weekend is over I plan on doing a massive overhaul of my desks :) Yes, I said desks plural. This is my work desk with my laptop and a lot of my beads, (it's a card table), I have an entire card table behind me with MORE bead stuff, tools, projects in progress, items waiting to be posted...

Ok. I'll let you go about your day and quit boring you :P

Edit: I forgot to add - the only nice thing about using a USB keyboard is that I now have a 10 key number pad again, which I've missed while having laptops for the last few years! I also get to put Jack up on top of bead box so the screen is at a better height for viewing which means that it's easier to remember to keep good posture which is good for my back!