Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bird sighting at the park!

There is a little park right in the middle of our town that was built in just the last few years. There's a fancy fountain, a grassy amphitheater, and a small Japanese style garden. Hubby and I went for a walk there the other day and I had to go back with my camera because of the killdeer. I've never been this close to a distressed bird before! I've heard of the broken wing act to lure possible predators away from a nest, but this little gal acted and re-enacted it right at my feet! I've checked back and the eggs haven't hatched yet.

This mama killdeer practically attacked my feet! Posted by Picasa

She's cheeping away in distress. Posted by Picasa

Doing the broken wing dance. Posted by Picasa

All to protect her nest which is just inches from the path. Posted by Picasa

Web of Lies

Writing these occasional book reviews has been a challenging adventure for me. Not so much the writing, but the reading...

I received Web of Lies about a week ago. Most of the books I've talked about have been firsts by their authors. Not so this one. If I've counted correctly, this is the ninth title by author Brandilyn Collins,and the fourth book in her Hidden Faces series about a forensic artist, Annie Kingston.

Between Annie (who witnessed a fatal shooting) and a woman named Chelsea Adams (who is known nationally for her visions of murders which are sent to her by God), clues must be unraveled to stop a bizarre killer who uses poisonous spiders as a weapon. The real question is: are Chelsea's visions of the past, the present...or the future?

I read this book a lot faster than I'd intended to for some odd reason. :P And I sincerely hope no spiders are wandering around my bedroom tonight. If you like suspenseful books, you might want to give Brandilyn Collins a try. I'm pretty sure they don't all have spiders in them.

Could somebody send me a fantasy to review soon, please? Something other than brain-chilling suspense? Thank you.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Writerisms and other Siins

Mar passed on this link to an article by C. J. Cherryh on Writerisms and other Sins. Good information on writing well...with a veneer of humor. Go read; it's short.

Monday, April 24, 2006

You may congratulate me now

We won't be talking about False Perceptions again for a few months. Today I finished the read-through, did the final spell-check, and emailed the thing out to readers. I wash my hands off it for now. Whew.

At the moment I have no idea if it is any good. Time--and distance--will tell.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Exercise with Val...again

It was a lovely sunny spring day so hubby and I decided a bike ride was in order after church. We loaded the bikes into the back of the truck so we could ride along the dikes. I was really impressed with how good it felt.

Along the dike with the river to the left, the lake to the right. Posted by Picasa

Here's the river. Posted by Picasa

I'd borrowed my father-in-law's bike, which is structured to be easier on the back and neck. Posted by Picasa

Unfortunately, not two minutes after hubby took that photo of me, he broke the chain on his bike and wound up walking back to the truck, about 2 or 3 miles. Not the workout he was looking for! Or me, either.

Friday, April 21, 2006

the never-ending story

I'm not sure why I assumed I could read through the entire 105K of False Perceptions in a day or two, cleaning up minor edits as I went. Two full days in and I have completed chapter 22 of 34. Sigh.

I have found some tremendously interesting things. I'm still killing off commas left, right, and center. I'm guessing I'm down to 20% of the original ones. Probably I've eliminated some useful ones. Grr.

Unclear pronouns have surfaced as well. What *she* are we talking about in this paragraph? How come I never noticed that I used the same descriptive word four times in two paragraphs? And best of all was discovering someone scramblinging for something. Gotta love it.

So, my patiently waiting readers. A few more days. This little whip-through pass appears to be a vital one!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Turning over a new leaf

Yeah right. It's been an entire week since I've blogged...again. I didn't even tell you all that I was going to be away for five days. Guess what? I was away for five days.

I had a great time visiting my daughter and son-in-law. Hubby was there for a couple of days as well but had to go back to work before I did. So we had our time of big city shopping and our time of visiting and movies and web-designing and all the fun stuff. Believe it or not my hubby is more game for the shopping than my daughter is! We each bought a new pair of hikers and I also got new cross-trainers...both were very necessary. Now I will have happy feet for a couple years again.

It was a nice change doing my early morning walk/run in the park near their house. It's big enough to have a pond that the city stocks with fish and a disk-golf course. There were fisherfolks and joggers and dog-walkers and cyclists and roller-bladers and no cars! So that was fun. I met back up with hubby on the way back home (where he works is about half way from my daughter's house to home) and we drove home together last night. He's gone back up for his two night shifts now.

In the past week we have had four more calves. Two were born on the tenth...happy and healthy. One on the eleventh was stillborn. Hubby wasn't home (of course...) so our neighbor came over and oversaw the maternity ward for the evening. The calf had to be pulled. And yesterday we had another live birth. So 17 births and 13 calves for the year. I've lost track of the male female ratio. It's written down at home, but...I'm not there.

I learned a lot of Photoshop and ImageReady tricks over the weekend that I'll be putting to good use with my daughter continuing to hold my hand. As soon as I have something worth showing off I'll post a link. Meanwhile it is morphing every which direction yet and many of the links don't work. Be patient. Time will come.

I've taken today to work on the web project with Maripat, but tomorrow I'm back at the writing and critting end of the job. No point in having a website if I never sell anything. Can't sell it if I don't finish it...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I just wrote THE END on the second revision of False Perceptions. Insert huge sigh of relief here. I have been working on this quite steadily for three months and I will be really glad to open a different file for awhile. Thanks muchly to Mar, Lisa and Debbie for the previous critique that led to all this work! I figure on letting it sit for a week and then doing a read through to check for glaring mistake type stuff before emailing it out to the folks who've volunteered for the next round. The novel grew from 93K to 105K which puts it in a really good range I'm thinking.

Now it's back to the novel I'm critting for Maripat, the classes I'm taking at Barnes & Noble, the 2yn class at Forward Motion (I'm behind...) that I can start a new revision and a new crit on May first. Yay for new beginnings!!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Black Bean Soup

I invented this recipe myself a couple of years ago because I couldn't find one that I really liked. It had to be incredibly healthy and it had to use ingredients easy to keep around. I'm not wild about cilantro and I don't like handling hot peppers. This one fits the bill.

A tip about fresh ginger: It is unrelated to powdered and is well worth keeping around. But I would hardly ever use it! I can hear that mumble from here! Cut it in half, bag it securely, and huck it in your fridge freezer door. When a recipe calls for fresh ginger, grate a little off. Don't worry about the peel; you won't get enough of it in to care about it. It grates like a charm, even frozen. I have a little micro-plane that I use for ginger and fresh garlic as well as for orange or lemon zest.

On to the recipe: just chuck it all in a big pot and simmer till done. (makes about 6 cups)

1 pint canned tomatoes
1 pint black beans
1 carrot, grated
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (or grated, of course...)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
8 drops tobasco
salt to taste
Add water if needed for desired thickness.

This works out to about 115 calories per cup, but not a single calorie is wasted. In the world of the GI Diet, everything in it is a Green Light Food. Green light means--as in traffic--go ahead. (Yellow is caution and Red is *don't go there*.)

The basic idea of the GI Diet is that the guy has rated foods by the Glycemic Index--how fast the food will burn up in your system. I've been following it pretty completely for the past three weeks (but keeping my very Red Light morning mocha!). A couple of the ingredients in my morning shake are Yellow Light, but I decided to keep them anyway because they are both fruit. Keeping my fruit and veggie count high is important in my new little world.

Oh, you want my breakfast recipe too? Kay, here we go.

1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in 1 cup of water with a sprinkle of salt.

The shake consists of 1 banana, 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, 3 ounces tofu, and enough skim milk to come to the 2 cup line. Blend. I pour some of this over my oatmeal and drink the rest. I have gotten used to the not-overly-sweet aspect of it, but even the unsweetened pineapple adds a reasonable bit of sweetness to it.

This breakfast holds me up for four hours, no problem.

I'd like to hear from you if you find these recipes/tips tasty or interesting. I'm not sure why I'm posting them right now, but it seems somebody out there may be looking for a healthy eating tip or two.

I'd sure recommend giving the GI Diet a try. For the first time in my life I am losing weight (six pounds-ish to date over three weeks). I'm also doing a Curves workout three times a week and doing the forty minute walk/run the other four mornings. I'm feeling healthier and stronger and my shoulder and neck don't seem to be reacting too negatively (nothing that doesn't simmer back down, anyway.)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Yard work

Good help is hard to find. Although I must admit to enjoying the company of the Puff-Cat outside, he is a lot of trouble. When not attacking the rake head on, he dive-bombs through the leaves and dead grass I've already pulled together sending it flying every direction. The other three cats watched from the shade of the wheelbarrow but refused to hang around after I'd gone in for the camera. Puff? He won't leave me along. He's a people addict.

Puff the Magic Kitty Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Choose your own Adventure

I tie on my cross-trainers and head south down the driveway. Which direction will I go?

Heading down the driveway Posted by Picasa

I look right. I want a longer walk today. The road west deadends in only 3/4 of a mile.

West another day... Posted by Picasa

East it is. But almost immediately I have to choose north or south.

Will it be north or south? Posted by Picasa

South is in the sunshine. Sounds good.

Heading south Posted by Picasa

Keep to the left facing traffic for one mile.

Time to turn around Posted by Picasa

Now the ditch is on my side of the road and I can watch out for my buddy the muskrat.

The muskrat! Posted by Picasa

Right on cue! There he is. Here is his favorite place to lose me:

The marsh in the ditch Posted by Picasa

Time to turn back down our road.

Back on our road Posted by Picasa

Almost home. Our house is the barn-shaped one on the right.

The farm Posted by Picasa

We've been gone about forty minutes. Hope you enjoyed the walk!