Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud

When I first started reading "The Golem's Eye" I was a little disappointed. One of my favorite things about the previous book in the series, "The Amulet of Samarkand," was that the djinni Bartimaeus did quit a bit of the narration. Well, Bartimaeus still makes his presence known in this book, but it's not a constant as in the previous book.

I soon got over my disappointment though. The reason Bartimaeus doesn't talk as much in this book is that we spend quite a bit of time getting to know Kitty. Kitty is a commoner with a natural resistance to magic. Because of this talent, she ends up joining the resistance against the magicians, in fact this is why we first met her in the last book! Now we get to learn more about how she ended up in that life and who she is as a person.

There are also a lot of magical hi jinks to keep you intrigued and laughing the whole way through. Golem's, explosions, yellow faces, and much, much more! I really enjoyed this book and I hope you will too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Photo Time!

Ok, so these are from our Phoenix trip two weeks ago, but I never got them up last week and I didn't really take any photos this week! (bad me) So here's a montage from our trip to visit my hubbies family in Phoenix. Enjoy!

Go Here to find out more info about each photo.

Don't worry - Aria's Quest will be published this week! I'm working on it right now so it can go up tomorrow :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Adventures in Getting Stronger

A few weeks ago I started going on walks in the morning. My migraines are finally at least semi-under control, and my asthma is getting better again as well since that stress is decreasing, so it was time to start trying to get into shape! It's been a long year battling with my health, and as a result I'm very out of shape and overweight. I figured walks were the best way to start. Low impact and all that :)

I was doing really good, walking almost every day, and then a cold and our trip to Pheonix set me back. I was determined not to give up though! As soon as I could I pushed myself to work on things around the house, and then once I was recovered enough, to start walking again. I've been able to go walking the last few days, and it feels great!

Today I made it to my goal of walking 1/2 hr :) Woohoo! Plus, I walked down to Winco, so I was able to pick up a couple grocery's w/out spending any gas :) That made me pretty happy too! The doctor told me he wants me walking 1/2hr a day, so I've reached that goal!

So what's next? On days that I still have even a small amount of stamina left in the evenings I'm going to start working in a few simple stretches and aerobic exercises. I started last night, and it was daunting how much harder they were than they used to be, but I'm just going to start small and work up!

The other thing I'm working really hard on improving is my diet. I was already doing "ok" with it, or at least a LOT better than in the past! But with the news that my kidney's are going south slowly, the doctor has told me that I need to start eating like I'm a diabetic. I found this information really overwhelming...but I've got a plan and I'm working through it slowly.

Being a cheap-skate (ok, broke) I ordered some books on eating with Diabetes from the Library. I'm starting by going through "Diabetes Cookbook for Dummies." I love the "for Dummies" books! Not trying to comment on my intelligence, but I've found that in general they make things easy to understand, and there's enough humor to help relieve my tension.

I've worked through the first two chapters so far and I'm learning a lot! It's still a little overwhelming, but I'm taking it slow and absorbing it bit by bit. I'm also writing down what I eat in a food journal. I'm not going to worry too much about specific caloric goals until I have a better grasp on what I should be doing, but this will give me something to look at when I'm ready for that, and help me have a realistic view of what I'm actually eating.

Oh! And I took my weight and all my measurements. No, I won't tell you :P I WILL tell you if I lose inches or weight though :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Contest Time!

No, I'm not running a contest, but I DO want to tell you about an awesome contest going on at a blog that I visit all the time! Nonfiction Lover is written by Hava, a librarian with a great sense of humor. Not only does she do detailed nonfiction book reviews, she also tells wonderful stories about life in the library! I love reading her stories :)

So what can you win?

** 2,000 EntreCard credits
** Simplexity by Jeffrey Kluger
(Book review here)
** Before the Scalpel by Panchali Dhar, MD (Book review here)
** $5 gift card to Starbucks
** $5 gift card to Barnes and Noble

For all the contest details check out this post on Hava's site. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thief of Lives by Barb and J.C. Hendee

"Thief of Lives" is the sequel to "Dhampir." As we rejoin Magiere (the Dhampir, half-human and half-vampire), her partner Leesil (half-elf, half-human), and their faithful wolfish dog Chap, the trio are struggling to remake their lives in the aftermath of their battle with the vampires nesting in Miiska. Actually, the whole town is still reeling. It's been a few months, but it takes time to recover from major buildings being burned, and especially the loss of loved one's.

Leesil is handling everything better than Magiere. He hurts, but he's willing to face the fact that they are likely to be called on again to hunt vampires. So he goes into training, slipping away silently each morning, and works out in the forest.

Magiere goes about her days haunted by the memories of what happened, and the changes that have been going on in her own body. She's not ready to redefine who she is, but to accept the reality that she is a dhampir, she's going to have to. Consequently she's caught by surprise when the leaders of the village come to her with a letter from the capital city of Bela requesting her services as a vampire slayer. Fortunately, Leesil is able to talk some sense into her!

As they travel to Bela, and hunt the vampires they find there, our heroines are also on a journey of discovery about themselves. In this book we learn more about Leesil's background, as does he. Chap's true nature is revealed. And, Magiere finally begins to come to terms with her birth heritage.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For Love of Evil by Piers Anthony

Did you read my review on the "Incarnations of Immortality" series by Piers Anthony? Well, I wrote that review thinking I had just finished reading the final book, and some awesome readers told me I was wrong! There were more! I started dancing in my seat and headed straight to my libraries web-site to reserve the next one, "For the Love of Evil."

I'll admit though, I didn't actually enjoy this book as much as I did some of the other books. In large part I suppose because the main character is Parry, who becomes the Incarnation of Evil, ie Satan. It was interesting though. In a way the book got repetitive because telling Parry's story necessitated revisiting many events in the first five books. To attempt to avoid the book getting overly repetitive Piers Anthony attempted to write those scenes from a different perspective, or with insight that we didn't have before, and I think he did a pretty good job.

I did find it really fascinating to understand Parry's motivation behind his actions in the events of "Being a Green Mother." I think that was my favorite part of the book!

I'm curious to see what the next book, "And Eternity," has in store. Piers Anthony is an agnostic, which means he doesn't believe you can prove or disprove the existence of God. Which means that this book, which I'm presuming deals with the Incarnation of Good, ie God, should be pretty interesting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thinking and Hoping to Grow

I've been thinking lately about the ways I approach my business and my blogging. Well, honestly, I do that a lot! My latest musings is realizing that I haven't been doing a very good job at building relationships in the bloggy world. Oh sure I use entrecard, and I HAVE made some connections with some awesome bloggers! But I still fall short. How? I don't do a great job at replying to my comments. What you say warms my heart and encourages me, but I rarely let you guys know that.

So my new goal is to try to respond to your comments as much as I can :) I'm sure there will be times I miss responding because I'm too sick, or because I can't figure how to respond to a smiley face, but I really do want to get to know my readers better! I look forward to talking to you :)

Oh yes, and for all you who are following my Aria's Quest story, I'm taking a short break from it this week. Too much going on last week and too much I'm thinking through. I'll be back on track next week!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Behind These Prison Bars

No, I'm not really locked up in prison, I've never done anything that bad, but some days it feels like I live in a prison just the same.

My list of health problems keeps growing longer, thanks largely to the fact that I'm on steroids for my asthma, and it keeps getting harder and harder to manage. Here's the current list:

Severe, chronic asthma
Chronic Depression
Chronic Back pain
GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
High Blood Pressure
History of borderline Hypo-Glycemia
Severe Food and Environmental Allergies
Accelerated Heart Rate
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Sleep apnea
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Kidney issues (I don’t have a name for it)

Treating all of these issues takes a three pronged approach. Medication, diet, and exercise. Sometimes I wonder if I get my migraine just from trying to keep it all straight! Each of these approaches has it's own complications as well.

Exercise is the hardest one. Every doctor tells me I need to get regular exercise, but can you imagine how hard that is when your regularly struggling to breath, have a severe migraine, or just plain worn out because your anemic? I was starting to be able to at least go for walks regularly before we went to Phoenix, but my body is taking it's own sweet time recovering from that trip so I haven't been able to get back in that routine yet.

Medication is a daily chore for me. Between all the medications, and the vitamins the doctors have told me I have to take, I end up taking about 30 pills a day. Yes, I said 30, that wasn't a typo. I have two pill boxes, one for morning and for the evening, and I sit down once a week to fill them all up. Usually takes me about half an hour. Often it involves making a note that I'm out of X medicine/vitamin and making plans to go get them.

Taking the medications is a whole other issue. Because of the GERD issues, and because I messed up my stomach with an intestinal parasite at age 17, I have to be very careful how I take my medication. Juice is necessary to help keep me from gaggin on the taste, and I need to have a full stomach. Often, in the mornings, I have to eat some before I take my pills and then eat something after I take them to keep from tasting them for the rest of the morning!

Then we have diet issues. Because of the severity of my asthma I'm not allowed to have any milk. Food allergies rule out another portion of the food world. Low sodium because of my blood pressure. No nitrates (a common meat preservative) because of migraines. No caffiene because of both migrianes and heart rate. I've also been trying to eat a semi-diabetic type diet because of the blood sugar issues (which the steroids exaserbate), but I just found out that's not enough!

Apparently my kidneys are leaking protein. Now, usually, this is related to diabetes, but it can be caused by other factors. My doctor is pretty sure that it's being caused my dependance on steroids. But we can't just stop the steroids because then I'd end up in ER fighting for my life trying to breath!

Here's the rub - the medication that would be best for helping my kidneys is apparently dangerous for people with severe asthma and allergeis. IE - me. So the next step is a visit to my allergist to have me tested to see if I can even think about taking the kidney medication. If I can't, then the only way to treat it might be my diet.

Until I'm on the medication, and probably after as well, this means I get to eat as much like a diabetic as possible. I can't just eat a "kinda" diabetic diet, nope, I need to go hard core. Apparently this will help reduce the stress on my kidneys by lowering the amount of sugars my body is processing and helping to keep my blood pressure lower.

Can you see why I feel like I'm trapped in a prison?

Some days the fight just feels like way to much. But I can't give up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony

"A Spell for Chameleon" is the first book in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. I started this series out of order, picking up "Ogre, Ogre," and quickly decided I needed to go back to the beginning! I wasn't disappointed either.

In this book we get to begin exploring Xanth alongside Bink as he seeks out the Good Magician Humfrey in an effort to discover whether or not he has any magical ability. This is a question of vital importance to Bink, because he'll be exiled on his next birthday unless he can demonstrate a magical talent. That's the law in Xanth. Unfortunately he's never shown even the slightest hint of a magical ability!

Along the way Bink meets quiet a few interesting characters, examines who he is, travels to Mundania, and ponders the nature of Xanth and magic. The book is also full of crazy creatures, hilarious puns, and some good old fashioned fun!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Aria's Quest - Robyn

To read the rest of the story go here.

Section 2
Part 1

Despite the wide range of advice Aria had received at her going away party, the one thing that every fairy had recommended was that she introduce herself to the local magical beings as soon as she arrived. Many fairies and other creatures had adapted to life in the cities, strange though it seemed to those who followed the old ways, and they would be able to help guide her on her quest. They would also help be able to help her with mundane things like finding a place to stay.

Finding a host family was really the first part of the challenge. Many young fairies stuck with their own kind, already unnerved by all the strangeness in the city, but many other creatures we’re willing to host a young fairy. Aria’s brother Daffyd had chosen to stay with a family of goblins, and he claimed that the experience had broadened his view of the world. Aria wasn’t sure she wanted to stay with goblins though, the stories Daffyd had told of their eating habits had been vivid, and Aria didn’t think she would be able to stomach it. She was willing to try new experiences though.

The buildings in the city were just as tall and strange as Aria remembered. She flew along, peering into windows, and looking for signs of a helpful face to help her find a local park. The greatest concentration of magical beings would be there, where the connection to the earth’s magic was strongest, and that’s where she was likely to find the most help.

Aria paused to look through the windows of a building full of clothing. There we’re long shelves piled high with clothing, and metal trees with shirts and dresses hanging off them like over-sized leaves. She’d never seen anything like this on her last trip to the city! They’d flown in high and gone straight to one of the parks, never venturing very far from the familiarity of the trees. Lost in wonder, Aria never noticed the fairy that was watching her until he spoke.

“Hey there. New in town are you?” He said in a jaunty voice.

Whirling around Aria found herself looking at a young fairy, looking to be about her age, with eyes that sparkled in the sun and streaks of blue in his jet black hair. Caught of guard she stuttered a little as she responded, “Y-y-y-yes. That is. I’ve been here before, but it was just a short trip.”

“On your own then on this trip?” He asked.


“You’d be on your quest then right?”

“Is it that obvious?” Aria asked wryly.

“Well let’s see, you’re dressed like you came straight from the woods,” with this Aria looked down at herself and wondered what was wrong with her clothes, “and you’ve obviously never seen a department store before. So yes, I’d say it’s pretty obvious.

“I guess your right.” Aria said a little self-depreciatingly. “Well, um, would mind guiding me to a nearby park?”

“I could, but that’s not where the fun’s at.”

“I’m not here for fun; I’m here on my quest.”

“Yeah, I know, but if you want the people who can help you the most, you’ll come with me. Name’s Robyn by the way.”

“I’m Aria.” She thought for a minute. Staring at him and quite frankly evaluating what she saw. He was a bit of rogue, that was obvious from his grin, but he seemed to sincerely believe that her best chances were with him. Oh well, it couldn’t hurt to go with him for a little while, if it didn’t work out she could still look for a park. “Alright. Where are we going then?”

“You’ll see when we get there. “ Robyn replied with a grin, and as he started flying backwards. “Come on!”

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Photos of the week!

I didn't have as many photos this week...so it's just a small photo mosaic! Next week's should be big though because...I'm writing this post ahead of time...I'm actually in Arizona right now! Hopefully I'm taking a lot of pictures so you should see a lot of pictures! Click on the photo below if you want to know what the photos represent.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Any fan of the Harry Potter series will have heard Hermione and the others talk about Beedle the Bard and the many tales he told. Well, J.K. Rowling decided to formally record some of those for us in this cute little book, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." It's a quick read, but a lot of fun.

Not only did I really enjoy reading the stories, which are like our fairy tales - only for wizarding children, I had a lot of fun reading the Commentary by Professor Dumbledore. Not only does it provide a lot of insight in the wizarding communities response to the stories, the footnotes to his commentary cracked me up!

Fans of the Potter series will definitely recognize the last story, "The Tale of Three brothers." I can't remember though if any of the other stories appear in the Potter series. I tend to have a sketchy memory for details. I could blame it on the large number of books I read, but I have friends who read just as many and more and they remember the stories much better than I do! So I guess I just have a poor memory for story details. That's fine with me though, because it just makes re-reading books that much better!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

"The Battle of the Labyrinth" is the last book printed to date in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series, and I can hardly wait for the fifth and final book to come out!

Book four starts out with Percy attending Freshman orientation at the school his Mom's boyfriend works at. No big deal right? Wrong! The very first chapter is titled, "I Battle the Cheerleading Squad." He's soon running from the scene as fast as he can, hoping to avoid taking the blame for yet another mess!

Meanwhile, back at Camp Half-blood, the danger is ramping up. Kronos's army plans to invade the camp before they attempt to take over Olympians, and again it will fall to Percy and his friends to save the day.

This time Percy and his friends find themselves struggling to make their way through the Labyrinth. That's right, the ancient Greek myth of the labyrinth is actually represented by a real place, and it's under the United States! The labyrinth is a confusing and dangerous place. Logic won't get you through it, bravery will help, and your lucky if you don't lose your mind.

How will Percy and his friends conquer this challenge? Read the book to find out!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring is Coming!

This weeks etsy bloggers carnival is all about Spring! Interested in etsy and the bloggers? Check us out here.

I'm not a super-huge fan of spring except for one thing - it leads to summer! Ok, there are a few other things I like about spring...I'll admit it. I do like the pretty flowers! As I've been going on walks in the mornings I've been looking for any early flowers I can find and taking pictures of them :) Like te pretty purple flowers in the picture above.

The problem with flowers is that, while their pretty, they make me sneeze. So in general spring can get a little annoying. BUT it means that the cold is going away and the sun is coming again! And I LOVE the sun!

So those are my non-poetic thoughts about Spring. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

"The Amulet of Samarkand" is book one in the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. This is a childrens/young adults book, but I thought it was a great read anyway! I've found that I'm enjoying going and reading some of the new young adult books that are out there. It's so much fun! I think they have a better selection of the type of books that I like now than they did when I was young. Ah well, I'll always be young at heart, so I'll keep reading them!

In "The Amulet of Samarkand" we meet a young magician named Nathaniel. Nathaniel has a burning desire for revenge, and that has driven him to study many things with out the knowledge of the magician he studies under. Now he feels he's ready to take his revenge, and so he summons up Bartimaeus, a 5,000 year old Djinni. His revenge doesn't quite go as planned and he spends most of the book scrambling to figure out what to do next!

The book alternates between narrative that's focused more on Nathanial, and seeing the world through the eyes of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus has very definite opinions about magicians, other djinni and spirits, and just about everything he comes in contact with! I enjoyed the parts of the book told from his point of view the most because I laughed my way through all of them!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Aria's Quest - Traveling

To read the beginning of this story go here.

Section 1
The Beginning
Part 5

Aria woke the next morning with Eiowinn’s words still ringing in her head, but she soon forgot them as she realized that it was time for her to leave! Trembling with excitement she washed her face, combed her hair, and grabbed her pack. Her older brother Daffyd had helped her prioritize and maximize the space in her pack her pack earlier that week. It was a little heavy, but in her excitement she really didn’t care!

Breakfast was a teary-eyed, but simple, affair. The whole family had gathered back at the house, even the older one’s who had their own homes and families now, and everyone wanted to give Aria one last hug. It would have been easy for breakfast to drag on all morning, but they all knew that she had a long enough journey ahead of her and no one wanted to delay her.

Even though Aria was a fast flyer, the trip into the city would take her around three days. She’d been there once before, on a trip when she was still a student, but this was her first time going there on her own! It was comforting that she had some idea what to expect, but it was also a little overwhelming.

She remembered the city being big, and strange. There were trees, but they were small and spaced out and surrounded by concrete. Some of the buildings were taller than any tree in the forest. She couldn’t really understand why humans wanted to live in those cold, impersonal, buildings, but they were everywhere.

As she flew Aria’s mind soon turned to thinking through her quest. She needed to find a human in the city and somehow help them improve their life. It sounded easy enough, but she had heard enough stories to know that it could be much more challenging than it sounded. Human’s are stubborn creatures, set in their ways, and slow to change. Many times they’d rather continue doing something that was bad for them than go through the effort to change.

There were really no rules about how you went about your quest. Some fairies chose to work secretly, never revealing themselves to the person they were helping, while others made friends with “their” humans. The fairies who chose to work in secret would say that it was easier than finding a person who needed help and was wiling to accept the existence of fairies, but Aria couldn’t imagine operating that way. She figured that you were handicapping yourself if you never interacted with the human you were helping. The power of persuasion is strong, and if you can’t talk to them, how can you use it?

That meant she’d have to locate a true believer, someone who would acknowledge her existence, and for that she figured she’d look for an Irish pub. She knew there were a few in the city, and after all, the Irish were known for believing in the wee folk! Hopefully that part of her quest wouldn’t be that hard, although with Eiowinn’s warning that her quest would be harder than normal, who knew?

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Titans Curse by Rick Riordan

"The Titan's Curse" is book 3 in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. If you missed my reviews on the first two books you kind find them here.

In "The Titan's Curse" Percy finds himself heading off to try and rescue two new half-bloods that his friend Grover has found. Soon their setting off on yet another quest, this time in the company of a Hunter, and it's the most challenging one yet.

Before they set off on their quest the oracle tells them:
"Five shall go west to the goddess in chains,
one shall be lost in the land without rain,
The bane of Olympus shows the trail,
Campers and hunters combined prevail,
The Titan's curse must one withstand,
And one shall perish by a parent's hand."

A grim sign to start out under, but start out they do, and you'll have a lot of fun finding out what this omen means!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Photo week!

See - I TOLD you I'd take more pictures when I started feeling better! One of my blogger friends, Whimsy Love, does a photo mosaic for most weeks. I love seeing them, that's why I did the one I did for February! So I decided I'll do one in wrap up whenever I have enough photos. Ideally - weekly. But hey, we know my life, if things get bad again I'll do every two weeks or once a month. I'm not going to pressure myself with this - just have fun! I hope you do to :)

Want to know more about the pictures? Click on the photo below to get a brief explanation for each :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Revenge of the Nerds

My brother sent me this youtube this morning. My brother can be rather geeky/nerdy (so can I) so it cracked me up! Not to mention I'm a dancer...and I've been teaching him to dance because he's going to his first ever swing dance this afternoon with some friends of his! So for your enjoyment...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fun Times :)

It's been a fun week! Why? Well I actually seem to be getting better! Woohoo! It's certainly taken long enough. I've taken enough pills, seen enough doctors, tried enough things, you'd think I'd be getting better by now! LOL One of these days I should take a picture of my box of pills just to scare all of you :P

Anway, the deciding factor for solving my migraines seems to be taking nitrates out of my diet. What are nitrates? It's a food additive that's added to processed meats to help preserve them and enhance flavor. So many lunch meats, sausages, and things like that are now off limits. I can still eat things like hamburger, baked chicken, fish... So I'm not completely out of options. And there IS one store in the area where I can find lunch meats without nitrates :) So it's a bit inconvienant (especially because I have blood sugar issues) but it's not too bad. Especially because cutting them out of my diet got me off the couch and enjoying life again!

So what have I done? I got to go to my "niece's" birthday party! She's one year old :) Man how time flys. It feels like it was just yesterday when John was calling to tell me Becca was going into the hospital, and then the call that she was actually hear! My little Alexandra Rose :) This isn't a great pic - but you have John, Me, Becca, and baby Alex :)

And yes, I was knitting at the party. So what? My food was done, baby was eating, and it was something to do with my hands! It amused John to no end :P

LOVE this pic :) John was showing Alex pictures of herself and she was giddy with excitement!

The other fun thing I've been doing this week is going for walks! I've been wanting to start exercising but not had the health to do it. Now that I'm not stuck on my back, and breathing usually, I can start doing that slowly! So I'm starting by just regular old walking. It's not high stress, so it's a good starting point. I saw this earlier in the week and it amused me :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee

"Dhampir" is a vampire novel, the first in a series, and I'm slowly working through the rest! The word "dhampir" designates the child of a vampire and a mortal. Apparently the vampires are able to sire children for a short while after their change. At the beginning of the book Magiere has no idea that she's a dhampir, or that such beings even exist. She doesn't even really believe in vampires, although she and her companion pretend to be vampire slayers to prey on the superstitious villagers through out the land.

Then Magiere crosses paths with her first real vampire, and her world begins to shift. She had been planning on settling down, giving up the vampire hunting scam, and she decides that it's time. Her partner, Leesil, reluctantly goes along with her and they settle down in a small fishing town to run a bar. Magiere try's to forget her strange encounter with a vampire, and that she killed it, but they soon get caught up in the struggle to survive as they realize that there is a nest of vampires in their little village. A nest of vampires that believes she is a real vampire hunter and immediately try's to kill her.

While I've read quite a bit in the fantasy genre, I've never read very many vampire books before. I'll admit it, I do get squeamish! I've been fascinated by them, but I prefer to read the books that aren't absolutely saturated in blood. I really enjoyed this book because, while it does feature vampires in all their blood thirstiness, there is a lot more to the story than merely killing. Magiere and Leesil are both complex characters that struggle and grow through out the story. I've started reading the next book in the series and I'm really curious to see where the author is going to take them as people as they grow and change through the books.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What is that???

Now, to fully appreciate the story I'm about to tell you, you need to know something about me. I'm one of those people who like's waking up gently. A clock radio is fine, my husband gentle shaking my shoulder is fine, waking up on my own is fine. What does not work well is anything that startles me awake. So loud noises in general are out. My husbands beeping alarm makes me want to scream. If you wake me up suddenly, be prepared to face one grumpy Ruthie!

Last night I was sound asleep, kept firmly there by my sleeping pills, and exhausted anyway from a long day. Suddenly a loud noise broke into my comfortable rest, and I frantically began looking to shut it off. Even though it didn't sound like my husbands alarm, that was my first thought, because what other loud noise would wake me up? I knew it wasn't the fire alarm. Finally, as my pummeling of the alarm clock produced no silence, I realized I should check my air purifier.

Now remember, I was grumpy and frantic, so what did I do? I threw myself out of bed and started hitting at the air purifier until I found the off switch.

Silence followed. Blissful silence. I simple collapsed stretched out on the floor, not wanting to move, and more than a little disorientated.

That's when I heard my husband laughing.

My dear hubby is a night owl. On the nights he doesn't have an early class it's not uncommon for him to be up until 2 or 3 in the morning. So when I was scared awake at 1 am he was wide awake in the other room.

Apparently he heard the noise and came in just in time to see me assaulting the poor air purifier. I can only imagine the picture I made! I don't blame him one bit for laughing.

Being a good husband he did stop laughing long enough to ask me what was wrong, I told him briefly before I realized that A: I'm a woman and B: that meant I needed to pee! I hate that it's the first thing I do whenever I wake up...

Anyway, I stumbled back from the bathroom and collapsed on my bare bed and started and my husband playing with the air purifier. He came to the conclusion that it was dead right as I finally noticed that my covers were all missing. I was groggy remember? I commented on my blankies being gone (I sound like a little kid when I'm sleepy) and he started laughing again. Apparently in my lunge for the air purifier I managed to strip the bed! Go me!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Aria's Quest - Saying Goodbye

Welcome to my serial fiction - Aria's Quest! If this is your first time to my blog, be sure to read the back story. You can find it here.

Section 1
The Beginning
Part 4
Saying Goodbye

Smoothing her hair into place one last time, Aria took a deep breathe, and walked out into the clearing. For a moment all she could do was stare. This wasn’t the first leave-taking party she’d attended, but this was the first time the party had ever been for her! Normally she loved the atmosphere, the crowd of fairies flying around, and all the beautiful decorations. Today it made her feel a little sick.

This was the moment she’d been waiting for, seeking for, and yet the reality of it was overwhelming. She knew these parties had two purposes. Everyone said it was to wish the quest-taker good luck, but they also all knew this could be the last time they saw her. She might never come back.

With a shake of her head Aria banished the dreary and frightening thoughts from her head. This was her party and she was going to enjoy it!

The rest of the party passed in a blur. Since completing your quest was a requirement to being accepted as an adult in the woodland fairy community, many of the fairies were reminiscing about their quests, and of course they just had to tell her their stories! Fortunately Aria loved listening to tales, but after awhile they all started to blend together. Of course that also could have been a result of the honeyed wine that was flowing freely. All this attention was a heady feeling, and Aria wisely switched to drinking a fruit punch. She was used to being well liked and having friends, but popular was never a word that would have been applied to her.

The sky drew dark as night approached, but the party was no where near over! All fairies love a chance to celebrate, and Aria’s woodland tribe was no different. As the sky darkened they turned on brightly colored lights, and the musicians brought out their instruments. If Aria had been feeling a little light-headed before from the honeyed wine, she now was even more so from been twirled about! As the quest-taker she was the center of attention, and every fairy wanted a chance to dance with her.

Finally, as the hour truly grew late, the fairies began to take their leave. Each one came by to briefly embrace Aria, or give her a kiss on the cheek, or even both. More than once Aria’s eyes overflowed with tears as her closest friends said their good-byes. It would be months, maybe even years, before she saw them again!

Aria had just finished drying her eyes yet again when she saw Eiowinn approaching her. She stood up a little straighter and greeted Eiowinn with a smile and a slight bow.

“None of that child, soon we shall be equals, adults both of us.” Eiowinn said with a gentle smile.

“I may soon be counted as an adult Eiowinn, but I have years to go before I can be said to even approach your learning and wisdom.” Aria responded, in awe that the great Eiowinn would use the word “equals” when talking to her!

“Thank you my dear. You show great promise Aria. Never doubt yourself, or your ability to think. The task ahead of you will be hard, I think harder for you than for most, but don’t give up. You’re being tested for a reason, and the rewards will be great.”

“Tested? What do you mean?” Aria looked at Eiowinn with searching eyes. “I don’t understand.”

“That’s all I can say m’dear. As you know, I can only see into the future dimly. I know that your quest will be challenging, and I know you have great potential. Do not give up, and I look forward to your return.” With this Eiowinn gave Aria a kiss on the cheek and departed.

Aria talked to many more fairies before the night was over, but it was Eiowinn’s words that stuck in her head as she fell asleep that night. Tested? What was she facing?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Looking back at February

This month was frustrating for me on many levels, with the migraines and all, but I did accomplish some things! For instance, this month saw the opening of my first ever serial story! Woohoo! If you missed any of it - here are some links to go back and check it out :)

Aria's Quest - The Counsel's Decision
Aria's Quest - The Gem

And if your anxiously awaiting the next segment - don't worry! I was too out of it to work on it this weekend, but I've spent some time on the story today and plan to publish it tomorrow :)

One of the things I've tried to work on, especially the second half of the month, was improving the quality of my book reviews. I still have a long ways to go, but hopefully you agree there's been some improvement! One thing that made me feel all warm and tingly inside this month was to hear that one of my readers went out and bought one of the books I reviewed! Yippee! Here's the reviews for this month:

Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Ogre, Ogre by Piers Anthony
Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint
Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind
The Little Country by Charles de Lint
The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

The only good thing about all the migraines this last month is that it's given me tons of time to read! I actually have several reviews written and waiting to be posted, and a stack of books I need to write reviews on! It's a nice problem to have. My husband thinks I'm crazy, but then again he hates writing while I love it!

Oh and did I mention I also have a pile of books waiting for me to read? What could make a girl happier?

Last thing to wrap up this month - I'd like to say a big thank you to all my entrecard droppers - here's the list of the top droppers for the month!

Stroll Through Story Land
Rocket Scientist
Rants, Thoughts, and Other Things
Spicybugz World
Rose Works Jewelry Blog
The Way I See It
Spotted Cow Soaps
Cheese and Chocolate

And yes, for those of you awesome people who read both my blogs, my other blog did make my top dropper list for this blog! Silly yet fun huh?

I seem to be getting some better migraine-wise, I'll update you guys in a few days when I've figured out if this really is a solution, or if I'm just having a fluke couple of good days :P

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Knitting and photos :)

One of my personal goals has been to take more pictures of random things in my life. Well - I did better this month than last month - but I still only have pictures for about half of the days! Oh well - better luck next month? I blame my migraines for my lack of photo taking inspiration. It's hard to think of things to take photos of, or to care about taking photos, when your head is pounding away. The mosaic below is made of pictures from my Flickr set "February '09 in photos." Go to the set if you want to hear more of the stories behind them!

The last photo I took last month, the one for February 27th, was a shot of the scarf I'm working on. It's my second ever knitting project and I'm having a lot of fun with it! But their's more to it than that...I have a story with this scarf now!

I had a couple of doctors appointments on Friday that my Mom drove me to. I had no clue what to expect from the first appointment, so I purposely had set it early, to make sure we'd have enough time to drive out to Beaverton to see the Natureopath I go to. Well, we had enough time alright, we got there over an hour early! Not a problem though. Mom and I have spent enough time in doctors office that we are always prepared. She had a mobious shawl she was crotcheting, and I my scarf to work on. So we settled down, started chatting, and let our fingers fly.

Before long Dr. Wager's next patient came in. Now, to understand this, you need to realize that Dr. Wager is a sole physician practice, their's no one else in her office, not even a receptionist! So the first thing this poor man thought when he saw me and Mom was that he'd shown up at the wrong appointment time. We quickly reassured him that we were just early, and began chatting. He was a nice guy, and we had a lot of fun until it was time for his appointment.

About a half hour later another gentleman came in and sat down. We quickly assured him that we were early before he could get worried like the other gentleman, and he sat down and settled into wait. After a few minutes he looked at us and asked, "Is one of you left handed?"

"No," we responded in unison, very puzzled as to why he would think one of us was left handed.

"Well it's just that it looks like you guys are doing that differently."

It's a good thing the poor guy had a great sense of humor, because as nice as we try to be, my Mom and I couldn't help but laugh! We explained to him that it was because we were doing very different crafts, and he laughed along with us. It kept me chuckling though for awhile :) So that's why my knitting became my picture of the day!