Monday, August 31, 2009

Gods in Alabama by Joshylin Jackson

Buy it Now!

I ordered "Gods in Alabama" by Joshylin Jackson after receiving a free copy of her book "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming." Her writing isn't my typical genre of reading, but I also enjoy drama, and her writing style entertains me! So I'm branching out.

The book opens with, "There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus." This line launches us into a book that explores many topics, including how we idolize many different things in our lives. Arlene Fleet grew up in Alabama, so she knows all about the things worshiped down there, and she's vowed to never go back.

Just why she's made this vow (along with promising to never lie or fornicate) is a story that is fascinating. Jackson uses flash backs and the story slowly unravels over time as Arlene is forced to break her promise, and go back to Alabama. She doesn't go alone though, no, she brings along her black fiance, something that stirs up even more trouble in her crazy family!

I found the way this story unfolded to be fascinating. Jackson switches back and forth between the past and present, dropping hints and pieces along the way, and you start to piece together the whole picture. You never really understand everything until the end though, and I think that's the beauty of her writing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fighting Through Disappointment

Yesterday I got a letter informing me that my application for disability has been denied. I knew that it was possible that this would happen, but it still hurt. The government has a tendancy to deny everyone on their first applicaton, to weed out those who are really serious and those who just want some free money, so I know it's not personal, but it still hurts.

It doesn't help that this is coming after a long hard week of dealing with kidney stones! I'm already run down emotionally and physically from that. Plus my brother got some bad news two days ago, that left me upset. Add it all together and I'm a bit of wreck now!

Don't worry, I'm hanging in there. I plan on reapplying and hopefully this time my case will be granted. If I seem a little quiet for a day or two, that's just me working through the emotions.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Better Off Undead edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Daniel M. Hoyt

Buy It Now

"Better off Undead" is an anthology with an interesting premise. Many people are used to thinking of the undead as creepy and horrifying, but what if life as an undead was actually better for some than their lives as a warm human had been? That was the challenge that was placed before these writers. Not all the stories were superb in my opinion, but many of them were quite entertaining!

The book is divided into four sections. "Afterlife" deals with those who have died, find themselves in the afterlife, and now have some rather interesting adventures. "Spirit" deals with ghosts and haunting's. "Flesh" deals with zombies and revenants. And lastly, "Undead" deals with vampires, that which we originally and traditionally think of as undead.

It was interesting to see some authors I'm familiar with in this anthology. Especially because I'm more familiar with them as science fiction authors! I always love to see writers working in a different genre.

As always with an anthology, it's hard to pick out my favorite stories to talk about. Two of my favorites from this one were "Genius Loci" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and "Two All Beef Patties" by Jay Lake. I think these two stick out in my mind because they both have great endings!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dragon on a Pedestal by Piers Anthony

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"Dragon on a Pedestal" continues the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. King Dor and Queen Irene have been married for a little while now and have a cute little three year old girl named Ivy. Irene has a frightening vision that tells her Ivy is going to be in great danger, and then Ivy manages to get lost! Of course this makes Irene frantic, and she sets off to find her daughter while King Dor stays behind to keep the kingdom together.

Ivy knows she's lost, but she's quite smart for her age, and having a blast! Her magical talent involves the enhancement of other people and animals. In fact, the more she believes in them, the more what she believes come true! Because of this talent she's able to make some unusual friendships, and over come obstacles that would have defeated those with a lesser talent.

Things come to a crisis point though when an invasion of Wiggles is found in Xanth. Irene is frantic to get to her daughter before anything bad happens, but Ivy and her new friends are the only one's who will be able to stop the Wiggles! Can the people and creatures of Xanth come together to face this threat? Will Ivy be safe? Read the book to find out!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day by Day

First, just wanted to let you know that Aria's Quest will not be published this week. At least, I don't think it will. I'm too exhausted and drugged up from the kidney stone to write properly!

The update on the kidney stone is that it's still very much a pain in the back! I did go to the doctor today to do a follow up and see if there was anything else that could be done. He pretty much said that I need to keep doing what I'm doing. Drinking lots of both water and cranberry juice, and being as active as I'm able. The only new thing he told me was that I should be using a heating pad a couple of times a day. So I'll start doing that! Except it's really hot right now so I'm going to wait until later tonight.

The alternatives to waiting are typically that they do some short of ultrasound therapy to break up the stone. Apparently the stone I have is too small though, and it would just damage the side of the uretha more. So it's not really an option for me.

I am trying to do things, but when the pain gets too intense I'm stuck in front of the computer or tv, or reading. Sometimes it's hard to do any of those! The irony is I'm supposed to move around, but that tends to trigger the pain. Oh well. I'll get through this just like have everything else! Thanks for your patience with me :)

On the amusing side...

Two things amusing from all of this. One, Moses was rubbing my belly a couple nights ago and giving my bladder a pep talk about passing the stone :P I thought it was pretty adorable! And he's being really sweet and doing everything he can to support me through this.

The other amusing thing is I'm having to pee into this plastic collector (looks kind like an inverted hat, so we call it the pee hat) because we are supposed to try and catch the stone. Well the pee hat has oz marks on it. I'm peeing soooooo much! I actually peed 32 ounces when I woke up this morning!

Ok, I know, to much information, but I have to take my amusement where I can get it!

Update: 15 minutes after typing this I peed out a stone. Well, I must have more than one that the doctor didn't see, because I still have a large amount of pain where the stone was! Grrr...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School - Etsy Bloggers Carnival

One of the options for the current Etsy Bloggers Carnival is to talk about Back to School and what it means to you. Oh my does that open up a barrel of monkey's in my brain! But first, isn't that messenger bag cute? If I were going back to school I'd custom order one in Purple, Black, and White embroidery.

Back to school time is hard for me in many ways. I actually enjoy school, I love learning, and while there are parts I don't like (I'm not totally insane), and I wish I could be one of those returning to school right now. It hurts that my health problems prevented me from finishing my bachelors degree, and that I may not ever be able to go back.

On the other hand, there are also things to be excited about with back to school season. Last school year my health was still so severe that we very rarely left me home alone. My asthma attacks were bad enough that leaving me alone was risking my life. I'm no longer having attacks that severe very often, so I can be alone! One of my big goals for this school year was to be able to be home alone while Mo was at school and I've achieved that goal!

I'm also glad simply that Mo is back in school. He wasn't able to find a job this summer so he's been at loose ends. I know he doesn't really like being in school, but it's good for him. It's nice to see him busy again, and of course I'm enjoying having the house to myself some! Now if I could just pass this stupid kidney stone so that I'm not in pain...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Judgement of Tears, Anno Dracula 1959 by Kim Newman

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"Judgement of Tears" is apparently several books in to the "Anno Dracula" series by Kim Newman. When I went to look it up at my library (on a friends recommendation) my library only carried this book in the series, so I didn't realize I wasn't getting the first book, whose title is simply "Anno Dracula." I have that one on order now through the Interlibrary Loan system.

I wouldn't recommend reading the series out of order. I have a fair idea of what goes on before this book from reading this book. However, based on reading this one book, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series!

The Anno Dracula series is based of the concept of what the world would be like if Dracula wasn't vanquished, if the Stoker book was merely a dream of what could have been, and if vampires became a part of society.

In "Judgement of Tears" we follow Kate's story. She's a vampire that a warm blood like your or me can identify with. She gets jealous, wears glasses, and has many of those "human" foibles that make a character seem more real. (Yes, they explain the glasses)

Kate finds herself in Rome as Dracula prepares for yet another huge public wedding. Things aren't all flowers and rings though, somebody who's been named the "Bloody Baron" is going around and killing the elder vampires. Then Kate learns there may be an even older power behind this bloody work...

Monday, August 24, 2009


Well, I've dealt with a bunch of health problems in my short life, and now I've got another one to add to the list! I have a kidney stone. Oh my goodness, I don't think I've ever been in that much pain in my entire life! And I've hurt myself pretty bad before.

It started yesterday in the early afternoon. At first I assumed that I bladder infection and it was affecting my kidneys. I was pretty positive that it wasn't simply back pain because it didn't really feel "right" for a pulled muscle, and I hadn't done anything to pull a muscle, and it went away after awhile. Then, last night, it came back with a vengence!

I won't give you too many gory details, but when I started throwing up from the pain, and could barely stop crying, we decided it was time for me to go to the hospital. It took about an hour and a half before the doctor was able to see me and proscribe pain meds. Oh my goodness! It felt MUCH longer than that. Especially since the first dose of anti-nausea medicine didn't exactly work...

After some tests it turns out I do have a bladder infection (I had just been assuming before), and a kidney stone. It's about 3mm. Which apparently isn't that big, but believe me, it's enough to cause a TON of pain!

Today hasn't been too bad. I can feel the effects of the infection in that I'm extra tired and achy, but I was still able to go for a walk this morning. Mo started back at school this morning so Mom took the day off work so there would be someone here if things get worse. I was glad she was here too! When the pain did start this morning it was nice to have someone else get me a glass of water and the pain meds. Which worked their magic! Left me feeling a bit loopy, but I'm not in agony, so I don't mind!

Now I'm just hoping and praying that the stone passes quickly. Not much else I can do. They've got me pumped full of meds and I'm drinking lots of water and cranberry juice!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Easily Distracted!

I had a great day yesterday! It was a girls day :) First Mom and I went out to a doctors appointment (nothing big), then we went shopping and found some items I've really been needing, and then we hit the craft stores! Some of what we got was just little odds and ends we needed for different projects, but I also got this:

well, I got the yarn at least, I already had the pattern book. See the blanket on the right? I'm making that for my cousin who's having a baby in December :D I'm really excited!

This van was parked across from us. I thought it looked interesting so I snapped a picture.

Of course I didn't remember to snap any pictures the REST of the day when I was hanging out with the girls! Silly Ruthie...

Dad and Gordon are both out of town right now so Mom has the house to her self. So the two of us hosted a Mother/Daughter night :) We had my evil twin (Bethie), her Mama, and our friend Kat over. Kat's Mom to be around, so both Bethie's Mama and my Mama have "adopted" Kat as their daughter :)

We talked, laughed, talked, laughed some more, watched the musical "High Society," and had a delicious burrito dinner :) It was a lot of fun! Exhausting though. But hey, that was more than worth it!

Oh, and as for the title of this post, my evil twin was wearing a shirt that said "Easily Distracted," and we all thought it was funny because it's so true! Of her...of me...of Kat...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Night Mare by Piers Anthony

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You have got to love the tag-line for the book "Night Mare!" "The danger to Xanth was so great that only a night mare could offer hope!" Night Mare's in a Xanth are a little different than what we are used to here in our Mundane existence. In Xanth, things tend to be more literal, and Night Mare's are actual Mare's who's job it is to deliver the bad dreams to the citizens of Xanth.

One Night Mare, Mare Imbrium, has been given a special mission. Normally the Night Mare's can't go out during the day, but because she has half a soul (see the book "Ogre, Ogre) the Night Stallion is able to give her special dispensation. Now she has a special message for the King of Xanth, and she is destined to become a liaison between him and the Night Stallion.

The people and government of Xanth undergo a lot of changes in this book, but they are for the better! I really enjoyed reading it and I look forward to seeing where Piers Anthony takes us next.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aria's Quest - So Tell Me?

Hi! Welcome to my story - Aria's Quest. If your just joining in here's what you need to know:

Aria is a Woodland fairy on a quest in the city. She must find a human and find a way to make their lives better. Aria found a guy named Joey, who she has become friends with, and Joey has a big problem. His sister, Molly, is missing. Right now they are setting the foundation so Aria will know the information she needs to be able to help him find Molly.

If you want to read the back story just follow this link: Aria's Quest

Section 4
Searching for Molly
Part 1
So Tell Me?

“Ok, where do we start?” Joey asked with his bravest look.

“Why don’t you tell me more about Molly.” Aria gently replied.

“Molly was always full of life. You’d really like her. She’s two years younger than me, and we were always really close. She had a vivid imagination, and when we’d play up the woods she’d come up with the craziest stories for us to act out! Sometimes we’d be stranded on a desert island, other times we’d fight goblins, and some times we’d search for buried treasure. Her descriptions were always so real that sometimes she almost had me believing we’d found some treasure!

No matter what we played, I was always the strong one, protecting her. Molly usually chose the more dramatic roles like princess, gypsy, fairy, or anything she thought might be sound exciting. Our play resembled real life in that way. She, the imaginative and exotic; and I the older brother, down to earth but fiercely protective.

Not that Molly really needed that much protecting. We lived a simple life like I said, out on the edge of a small town, and our parents were always good to us. So our home life was good, but sometimes Molly got picked on at school. She was too different, her imagination too big, for our little town. That’s when I’d protect her. Didn’t get in too many fist fights for her, I guess after the first couple I had proved I was willing to stand up for her, and most of the time they didn’t think it was worth the busted lip.” Joey trailed off after that, a little lost in his memories.

Aria let him think for a bit and then prompted him, “Why did Molly come to the city for school?”

“We had a teacher in High School, Mrs. Dutsch, and she always thought Molly had real potential. She encouraged her to explore art and drama more, and then helped her get a scholarship to a university with a good arts program. It was perfect for her!”

“Why didn’t you go to school here too?” Aria asked, not knowing much about human schooling, and very curious.

“Aww…I didn’t really need any of that higher education stuff. There was never anything special about me like there was about Molly. I had myself a good job working at the local mechanic shop, and that was more than enough for me.”

“What’s a mechanic shop?”

“It’s where people take their cars to get fixed.”

“Did you like it?”

“I loved it!”

“Then why don’t you do that here in the city? Why take care of the church?”

“This job gave me more freedom. More time to search for Molly.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hullabaloo Update!

Well, the good news is, apparently no one was hurt in last nights fire! That's great to hear :D For once I'm greatful to the local news service - or I'd have no clue :P Here's the article from the Columbian's web-site:

"About 35 firefighters rushed to the Concord Arms apartments at 1712 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. on Tuesday night and arrived to find a ground-floor apartment engulfed in flames that were burning into a second-floor apartment.

No one was reported injured in the fire, which sent up thick, brown smoke that could be seen from a mile away as winds blew its acrid smell to the east toward nearby Fort Vancouver Way.

More than a hundred people including small children, who live nearby watched as firefighters from the Vancouver Fire Department, Fire District 6 and Portland battled the blaze.

Firefighters also climbed onto the roof with ladders and used power saws to cut a hole to expose the building's attic, where flames also were burning.

Called at 8:08 p.m. to the fire on the north side of Fourth Plain, commanders immediately called for a second alarm, bringing more firefighters and engines.

One truck parked on Fourth Plain extended its ladder toward the fire. Vancouver police blocked traffic from the boulevard.

Crews went inside the apartments and found no one inside, said Vancouver Firefighter-spokesman Jim Flaherty.

There also was concern that flames might spread to nearby two-story apartment buildings; one, to the east, was only about 50 to 60 feet from the burning building, with a large tree in between.

But the firefighters, some who used up two or three air bottles, contained the fire to one building, which had 13 units. At least four units were damaged.

"That was just good work by those firefighters, to hold it where they did," Flaherty said. "There was a lot of fire and a lot of work to do."

The fire was under control about 8:50 p.m., Flaherty said. Other fire departments staffed Vancouver and District 6 stations in case of another emergency."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I was curled up on the couch reading a book (as you know I do quite often), and I heard sirens. I hear sirens rather frequently considering we live just outside downtown, so at first I ignored them. Then I heard the unmistakable sounds of a firetruck slowing down and staying nearby. That got my attention. Where my couch sits I can see out over our patio, so I watched as flashing lights went by, and then as more and more flashing lights showed up!

"Moses, there's something going on," I called over my shoulder as I went out on the patio to see better. Neighbors were running for the street, both from our complex and the one across the fence. We live on the second floor, and there was a gal standing down on the sidewalk talking to some guy, telling him to hurry up at get down there. When she got off the phone I hollared down to find out what was going on.

Apparently the apartment complex two over from us and up the hill caught fire. I don't know much other than that. The girl told us that peopel were racing out of the building holding their belongings and that a tree outside the complex had caught fire as well!

Since I have severe asthma, Moses and I closed up all the windows, and we've been staying inside. I couldn't smell any smoke when I was outside, and I'm still breathing fine, so don't worry!

I'm not at all worried about our apartment. The wind is blowing towards the fire, not towards us, and it's uphill from us as well. Plus I spent more time on the couch reading, and neighbor watching. It's been about 45 minutes since everything started and I've seen plenty of people come back from fire watching looking calm.

I plan on looking it up in the local news sites in the morning to see if I can get more info!

The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint

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This was my second time reading through "The Blue Girl" by Charles de Lint, and I enjoyed it just as much the second time as I did the first! This is one of his books geared more for young adults, and it is also the winner of the World Fantasy Award.

In this book we meet two very different girls, Imogene and Maxine. Imogene isn't afraid to be different, and she has a past to prove it. You can generally find her dressed in punkish clothes, often with her tattoo's showing, and doing who knows what else to look fun and funky! Maxine lives an extremely sheltered life because of an overprotective mother and her clothes can only be described as "proper" which equates to "boring."

These unlikely pair of girls become best friends after Imogene moves into the area. Slowly they begin to influence each other. Imogene helps Maxine to loosen up a little bit, and to eventually break free from some of her mother's restraints. Maxine, in turn, teaches Imogene the value of studying, and helps to teach her some other values as well.

There's a twist though, the school is haunted by a boy named Adrian, and he becomes friends with Imogene. The school also holds a handful of fairies, and Imogene refuses to believe Adrian that their real. So the fairies set off to prove their existence to Imogene, and in the process accidentally bring her into the focus of some extremely nasty other world characters!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Wolf At the Door - and Other Retold Fairy Tales

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Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

I've recently found a new love in the fantasy world - and that's anthologies of short stories! I enjoy them for many reasons, the top two being because I find new authors this way, and because it encourages me to stretch my own wings as a writer. Much more so than reading full length books because I feel like, at this point in time, the short story format is something I'm much more able to write.

"A Wolf in the Door" provides a bunch of stories inspired by traditional fairy tales, but written with new twists! Most of them will be familiar to the average reader, and some of them come from the traditions of other cultures that you may not be as familiar with. There are 13 different stories in this book and I enjoyed each and every one of them!

I'm not sure I can pick out a favorite from this anthology. I love traditional stories that I grew up on, and I've always loved it when people "play" with giving old stories new twists. So I simply loved this book!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Gris Grimly

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This is a great children's book, if you don't mind exposing your children to a bit of the macabre! Since that tends to be my bent, I would show this to my kids, if I ever have any that is. Maybe not when their really young though. The best way to describe this book is to share with you the introduction:

"A piratical ghost story in thirteen ingenious but potentially disturbing rhyming couplets, originally conceived as a confection both to amuse and entertain by Mr. Neil Gaiman, scrivener, and then doodled, elaborated upon, illustrated, and beaten soundly by Mr. Gris Grimly, etcher and illuminator, featuring two brave children, their diminutive but no less courageous gazelle, and a large number of extremely dangerous trolls, monsters, bugbears, creatures, and other such nastiness, many of which have perfectly disgusting eating habits and ought not, under any circumstances, be encouraged."

It's a short book, but with the illustrations you'll find yourself staring at it for a long time!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Caffeine Prayer

I was going through some random stuff that had gotten left at my parents house from when I moved out. No - that jobs not done. *shamed look* But that's not what this post is about! I found a sheet of paper that I printed years ago when I had my first apartment, and that I had posted in my kitchen. It soooo describes who I used to be! Sadly, health problems prevent me from drinking caffeine these days...and I miss it!

Caffeine Prayer
Caffeine is my sheperd, I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake in green pastures.
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses.
It restoreth my buzz.
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,
I will fear no Equal.
For thou art with me; thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me.
Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of Juan Valdez.
Thou anointest my day with pep; my mug runneth over.
Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of Folger's forever.
(Author unknown)

Heck - it may be decaf - but I think I need to go make some coffee for me and the hubby now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Aria's Quest - Talking to Joey

Hi! Welcome to my story - Aria's Quest. If your just joining in here's what you need to know:

Aria is a Woodland fairy on a quest in the city. She must find a human and find a way to make their lives better. Aria found a guy named Joey, who she has become friends with, and Joey has a big problem. His sister, Molly, is missing. So Aria has decided to try and help him find his sister.

If you want to read the back story just follow this link: Aria's Quest
Section 4
Searching for Molly
Part 1
Talking to Joey

Aria had made up her mind to try and help Joey find Molly, but actually bringing the topic up was hard. So, at first, she just listened as he talked about some of his roommate’s crazy antics from the night before. Finally, Joey noticed how quite she was being, and asked, “So what’s going on with you today? You’re not really talking much. Did something happen last night? Did I say something?”

“No, nothing happened last night.” Aria sighed and the quickly continued when she saw that he was worried he’d done something, “And it’s not really anything you did, or rather it is, but it’s not anything bad!”

Now the look on Joey’s face was confusion, “You’re not making much sense. I said or did something that has you upset but it’s not bad?”

“Well, yeah. This is going to be hard to explain, so just be patient with me ok?”

“Ok.” Joey leaned on his broom and gave her his full attention.

Aria took a deep breath and started in on her story, “I never told you why I came to the city. It was more than just wanting to get away from my family, or wanting to see the sites, I’m on a quest. It’s something that every woodland fairy goes through as a rite of passage to becoming recognized as an adult in the community.”

“What type of quest?”

“Well that changes a little for each fairy. Our main goal is we have to find a human in the city, and find a way to improve their life.” Aria paused there, not sure what to say next, how to bring up Molly. Joey was quiet at first too. Finally he asked the obvious question.

“So does that mean you plan on ‘improving’ my life some way?” Joey looked a little bemused.

“Sort of. I want to help you find Molly.”

Joey grew really serious when he heard that. “Do you really think you can?”

“I don’t know for sure.” Aria replied honestly. “But I do know that I have connections that you don’t have, and I want to try! I can’t promise anything though, well, other than that I’ll give it my best effort.”

Joey went back to sweeping with a look of concentration on his face. Aria just watched, knowing he needed time to process, and hoping that she hadn’t alienated him. Finally, when he’d finished cleaning the room he turned back to Aria and said, “Ok, where do we start?”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Survived!

Ok, first, I want to update you guys really quick on my friend Kat's Dad. As you may remember he was in a bad fall that resulted in 14 broken ribs. Ouch! I hadn't been able to get much of an update beyond "he's doing ok" from my friend Kat in about a week, life was just too crazy for us to connect beyond text messages, but I saw her night before last and we got to talk more :) Her Dad is healing up well. He's been able to get out of the house and be a little mobile. Went to church on Sunday and was able to go to the movies with Kat. He's still in a lot of pain and has a long ways to go, but at least he's able to do some!

Now to me...

As many of my friends already know, I had to have a psych eval as part of my disability application process. To be honest, the whole concept freaked me out. I tried really hard not to let it get to me, but it did. I know it's just routine, but appointments with new doctors, especially one's who's eval is going to mean a lot to my future, scare me.

The appointment itself went fine. I was exhusted afterwards though! I had to go over everything that has happened in the last few years, and a lot of what's happened over the course of my life time. It was emotionally draining. I ended up with a really bad migraine that evening as a result...

But hey, I survived it! It's over - and now it's time to just wait for the next step in this whole process. I don't know how long it'll be until I hear more. The next thing I hear might be their decision, or it could be a request for more info, you never know!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Night at the Museum 2

Last night I went and saw "Night at the Museum 2" with my brother, and

we had a lot of fun! If you enjoyed the first movie, you'll probably

really enjoy this movie! I'm always a little leery when I go to see a

sequel, so many of them are done poorly, but this is one time where

they did a good job.

Without giving away any spoilers, the plot of the movie is that our

friends from the Museum of Natural History are being put in deep

storage beneath the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Now ordinarily that

would just be sad, but one the monkey's makes sure that the tablet

that brings them to life goes with them, which means that all the

other items in the Smithsonian are coming to life! Since this the

largest museum in the world, that means a world of chaos!

There are some great one liners in this movie, and some fun new

characters, including an appearance by Oscar the Grouch and Darth

Vader! There are some places where you have to completely ignore

logic, but if you go into the movie willing to suspend belief, you'll

be fine. I tend to notice those anyway, and I enjoyed the movie

despite them!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest

Buy it Now!

Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Decorations by Charles Vess

In "The Green Man: Tale from the Mythic Forest" we find a collection of stories all surrounding the legendary figure of the Green Man. The Green Man is a figure that has been seen through out mythic history in one form or another. He has been seen across many cultures, and there is even an appearance of a Green Woman from time to time. The authors in this anthology were challenged to write their own Green Men stories, stories rooted deep in the woods, and they rose to the challenge magnificently.

Some of these stories (and there are a few poems as well) feature a more traditional representation of the Green Man. Others take the concept, and dream it in an entirely different direction! I certainly found my imagination stimulated as read this variety of stories.

One thing that I found pretty interesting was the story by Charles de Lint called "Somewhere in My Mind There is a Painting Box." It continues the story of a girl named Lily that I first met in his children's book, "A Circle of Cats." It's sheer coincidence that I read the other book first, but it was a lot of fun to explore more of her character in a longer story!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Crazy Hair by Neil Gaimen and Illustrated by Dave McKean

Buy it Now!

Neil Gaiman is an other I love because of his inventive mind and the colorful pictures that he paints with his words! When you combine that with a great illustrator in a children's book, you've got a fun work of art, that you and your children can cherish for years to come. This time Gaiman pairs up with Dave McKean for a fun and wild ride in "Crazy Hair."

"Crazy Hair" is about a girl who meets a man with hair that can only be called crazy, and that might be an understatement. He describes to her the many things that live in his hair, and she attempts to tame his hair. At first it seems that she will be successful, but then she gets sucked into the hair! She has a lot of fun in there and you will have a lot of fun going with her.

The illustrations in this book are abstract, but it is still very clear what you are viewing. I had a lot of fun looking through them! This book would be a great jumping off point for many discussions with your child about both imagination and art.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Moving is a Mess!

The last pictures I showed was of my "blank slate." Well, the problem with moving is that before you can make the blank slate pretty, all the "crap" has to get piled in! So here's the couple of shots I got on the day of the move! I kinda forgot about taking pictures for the most part. Because of that I don't have any pics of everyone hard at work...

The bedroom mess.

The bedroom mess part 2.

Tons of boxes in the living room!

The Cuddle Rocker and the Futon in the living room.

I think I told the story of the cuddle rocker? Someone who was moving out gave it to us! I love it :) Kinda ugly - but comfortable - and that's the important part! To the right of the picture you can see mattress for the futon. We gave it back to its original owner, but it took a few days before she was able to pick it up. Which meant it was a few days before we could arrange the living room because it took up a bunch of space! That's ok - we had plenty to keep us busy :) It's all pretty and arranged now! I'll get pictures of the apartment set up sometime next week :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

Buy it Now!

I was lucky enough to win a copy of "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming" from a fellow blogger. It's not what I typically read, it's not my typical fantasy or sci-fi. Nope, it's a ghost story with quite a bit of relational and psychological drama thrown in! I happen to eat up drama, so I loved this book!

Laurel Gray Hawthorne has built for herself a wonderful life. She has a husband, a beautiful daughter, and they live in a quite suburban neighborhood where no one really rocks the boat. But Laurel has a secret that even her husband doesn't know. She has what's commonly called "the sight" and grew up seeing ghosts.

Laurel hasn't seen a ghost in a long time though. The neighborhood is too new, and she's firmly locked away that part of her past into a dark part of her memory. That is, until the ghost of her daughters best friend appears in her bedroom, beckons her to the window, and points out the girls own freshly dead body in Laurel's pool.

The drama unfolds quickly from there as things Laurel had neatly packed away in her memory come rushing back into her life.

One thing that was fascinating about this book is that there are several threads that weave in and out through the book. The unfold slowly and there were a lot of things that managed to catch me by surprise! The ghosts do play a big role, as does Laurel's dysfunctional family, neighborhood secrets, and finally, what lead to the dead body in the pool.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Blank Canvas

Moving is crazy, exhausting, and annoying. But the cool part is that you get to start with a blank canvas! Here's mine :)

Living room - complete with patio, brother (in the hat), and Hubby.

Kitchen. Small but with plenty of storage!

Bedroom - shot 1

Bedroom - shot 2 (nice closet eh?)

Massive storage closet!

Tiny Little Bathroom.

More apartment shots coming soon!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Aria's Quest - Pondering

Hi! Welcome to my story - Aria's Quest. If your just joining in here's what you need to know:

Aria is a Woodland fairy on a quest in the city. She must find a human and find a way to make their lives better. Aria decided this would be easiest if she found a true believer, someone who already believed in fairies that she could easily converse with, and so the first part of her time in the city was taken up searching for one of those. She's finally found a true believer and now she's getting to know him and trying to figure out how she can help him.

If you want to read the back story just follow this link: Aria's Quest
Section 4
Getting to Know Each Other
Part 4

Aria was quiet when she got back to the apartment that night. Joey certainly had a big problem, with his sister being missing, and she was sure that finding Molly would improve his life and qualify for her quest, but what if she couldn’t do it? Joey had been in the city for a year now, and he said he’d found no trace of what happened to her. They hadn’t talked about it for very long, but long enough for Aria to know that Joey was at the point of giving up.

For the first time on her quest Aria was truly worried. She had grown fond of Joey quickly, and she would hate to get his hopes up only to have them crushed. On the other hand, how could she not try and help him? Being part of the magical world she doubtlessly had resources that he didn’t have access to. Maybe she’d be able to find leads he never could have stumbled on. Aria was sure that Robin would have contacts that could help.

Aria didn’t sleep well that night. She knew that helping Joey find Molly was the right thing to do, but she was still worried about not succeeding. That next morning she did a flying stumble into the kitchen, much earlier than normal, and collapsed down on the table.

“What’s wrong deary?” Gina asked. “You’re never up this early, and your drooping! Let me get you some coffee.”

“Thanks Gina. I’m just a little overwhelmed and I didn’t sleep well.”

“What’s going on honey? You were really quite last night too.”

“Well, you know my quest? And Joey? I figured out what he needs help with, and I’m a little scared that I won’t be able to do it.” She gave Gina a brief smile as Gina put a steaming cup of coffee down next to her, “Thanks. His sister is missing and has been for about a year. Her name is Molly. I really want to help him find her, but I’m worried that I’ll just get his hopes up and fail. I mean, this is something HUGE. It’s not like I’m helping him learn a new skill or something, this is his family, and if we don’t find her…” Aria trailed off, worry written all over her face.

Gina was quite for a minute. “Well honey, your right, if you don’t succeed it’ll be really hard, but sometimes the things that are the most worth it carry the highest prices for failure.”

“I guess that’s true. I am going to try. I’m just a little overwhelmed. This seems so much bigger than what some of my brothers and sisters had to do on their quests!”

“Don’t compare yourself to them. We each have our own destinies, and it appears that yours is wrapped up with Joey and Molly. Maybe you’ll find it easier than you thought. Or maybe you would have found their tasks harder than they sounded. Either way it doesn’t really matter. You have your task, now it’s time to perform it to the best of your ability.”

Aria gave Gina a smile. “Thanks. That helps a lot.” She took a deep breath, “Can I help you get breakfast ready for Darryl and everyone? It’s still too early for me to go meet Joey and with these butterflies in my stomach I should probably make sure I’ve eaten something first!”

“Of course deary. I’m always glad for the help!”

Monday, August 3, 2009

Looking at July

July was a busy month for me, first packing, and then moving! But I still managed to get some things done on this blog :) I still have a bunch of unpacking to do (pictures soon!), and then some catching up on various things, so there are no big plans for this blog this month. Maybe next month :D For now, I'll just endeavour to keep on going on! Now to see what I did this last month...

Personal Stuff:

My Writings:

Book Reviews:

Movie Reviews:

Wow - I didn't realize I only got Aria's Quest published twice last month >_> Oops! But hey, I was moving, so you'll forgive me right? I'll do better this month! I hope...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaimen and Charles Vess

"Blueberry Girl" by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Wes is a cute children's book that he wrote "for Tori, and for Tash, when she was only a bump and a due date." It's a beautiful written blessing and wish for a young girl to grow up as to be a beautiful woman. That she would have all the wonderful adventures in her life. And much, much more! If I ever have a little girl this is a book I would love to own and too read over and over!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July's Contest Winner!

July's contest winner is Splendid Little Stars! You can find her blog here and her shop here. She's always been a great support to me - and I'm really going to enjoy seeing what she picks out with her $10 gift certificate!

Here's the fun figures :)
Top Commentator: This month - 11, Last month - 16
Total Commentators: This month - 24, Last month 29
Total Comments: This month - 78, Last month - 108

So my numbers are down - but considering I moved this month - I don't care!