Friday, April 30, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Spock Comes Home

Leonard Nimoy, Vulcan, Alberta, April 23, 2010.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Twofer Tuesday - A Busy Week

I've made a bit of headway. I try to put down at least 750 words a day on the WIP. It's a manageable amount and some progress gets made. I thought I was going to do twice that amount, but discovered I was being a bit ambitious.
There's gardening to get at, and ordinary household matters as well.

Also, last week I was called away on important business

which prevented me from writing for a few days.
I did manage to get some reading and writing done, though.

Two lines I read:
"The gentleman gave Bekka a polite half-bow, stepped sideways into the shadows, and vanished. The adepts do it better, Bekka told herself."

-The Price of the Stars, by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald (Tor, 1992)
From my current WIP Dead Broke:

"It was a funny swirling happy feeling in that part of me where the heart had been. The one that got shattered by the bullet."

Thanks for coming by. I appreciate your interest.
For more or to get in on the fun, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gratitude Monday - Live Long and Prosper Edition

On the bridge at the Vulcan Tourism and Trek Station.

My friend Sylvia and I went to Vulcan last week to see Mr. Spock come home.
We had a two-day road trip, we drank Romulan Ale --it's most refreshing--and we took many, many pictures.
I am grateful to have had the chance to see Leonard Nimoy in person, grateful that Sylvia suggested it, grateful for the fun, and most of all, I am grateful for the time I spent with my best friend.
Live Long and Prosper.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Dizzying Heights

Looking down to the Bighorn River from the viewpoint at Crescent Falls.
This scene is south of the falls and marks the start of a hike in for those feeling adventurous. It's another mile or so drive to the campground at the falls proper.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Up With Rhubarb

You'll be pie some day, my sprouts.

The rhubarb is up in my garden.
It's a sign of new life and the renewal of the earth each spring.
These plants are colorful and stubborn and come back no matter what I do, or don't do, to them.
It's awfully dry this spring and that's worrisome for a wide spectrum of reasons, but mostly it means the produce will be hot to the taste, and bitter or sour.
Rhubarb is a mouth-puckerer to begin with. It needs no help from nature. If this dry weather continues I'll have to water the rhubarb.
It's worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sod Busting For the Soul

A bit more garden patch.

Playing in the dirt is good for the soul. So is gardening. I'm combining the two and making my garden patch a wee bit bigger this year. This means digging up some lawn and busting clumps of grass- tight soil.
It's fun.
Maybe fun isn't the right word. It's makes me feel good to do it. It's easy to see that something's being accomplished, it's good, physical labour, and it leaves my mind free.
I opened up a patch that's maybe three feet by four feet on Monday. I'll need to do more, but I wasn't about to do anything that would make my heart all fussy.
Yesterday I started chopping at the great clumps of soil. This is most satisfying.
Thinking pleasant thoughts is no good when you've got a sharp instrument in your hand and you're bent on destruction. Nothing gets done.
Rather than concentrate on any one thing I let my mind go. In fact, I let it so loose I was quite mindless for the whole 45 minutes or so that I was working.
It was wonderful.
I felt the sun and wind and the fresh air. I smelled the good, clean smell of the soil. I saw new life poking out even as I was destroying it.
It was destruction for the ultimate goal of building up, and that's as good a renewal as any.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Twofer Tuesday- Dead and Undead Edition

After a few false starts I finally got going on my current WIP. I've been good, too. I write in the mornings and then edit my third manuscript in the afternoons.
In fairness, I usually only edit one chapter a day. I find the mistakes, or some of them anyway, and get the corrections done right then and there. I thought I'd try it this way for a change and see if it made a difference.
So far it's added to the feelings of accomplishment.
This getting things done business has opened up time for me. I'm often done by early afternoon at the latest and that means I can get outside work done. I've collected the garbage that blows into the yard and the cigarette butts deliberately flicked in by our thoughtful neighbors.
I'm enlarging the garden this year and that means digging. It's good to move around after staring at the computer all morning.

I've had a chance to get some reading done, too.
The two lines I've read are from Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore. (Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2008):

" 'Please,' Tommy begged, 'I'll sign anything, but they have to deliver it right now. Okay?'
Lloyd pumped Tommy's hand to start the flow of cash. 'Welcome to better living through frozen food. ' "
My contribution to the cause from my current WIP, Dead Broke:

" 'How can I be sure this is the afterlife I've heard so much about?'
'Oh, sweetie. It ain't.' "
Thanks for stopping by.
For more, or to get in on the fun, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- Can You See The Difference?

Of course you can!

Several weeks ago I found myself on the receiving end of a minor rear-ender. It was icy, my brakes failed, and the gentleman behind me bumped into me. It was a low speed affair.
He cussed me out briefly while admitting my brake lights were on and turn signal engaged, then changed his tune and we got matters sorted out.

I got a few estimates and thought about getting the work done. I'll want to sell said vehicle someday and this sort of thing torques down the value. I let it go a few weeks as there was no hurry.
My husband decided recently that he could fix it for me so he made a quick trip to Canadian Tire for the materials, ordered the matching paint, and set about the work.

It's as good as done. All it needs is some clear coat protector which is on the way.
I am grateful for a number of things. It was a minor accident from which all parties drove away, damage was minimal and cheap to fix ourselves, and my husband cared enough to do it and to do a darned fine job of it.

Two things you may want answered:

The border around the license plate was put on upside down at the dealership when I got the car eight years ago. My husband put it on properly when he put the plate back on the other day.
The vanity plate is because I was a reporter for 20 years.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- To The Tower

The viewing tower on a sugar cane plantation in Cuba.
David Cranmer and Laurie Powers have posted photos I'm sure you'll enjoy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rationing Not So Rational

A ration store in Cuba.

Food is rationed in Cuba. That in itself takes a visitor a while to get used to. The government knows how many people live in your home, and because of the rules of rationing, it knows if you've been in to get your allotment.
While this carries the appearance of fairness in that everyone is entitled to the same amount, it is silly.
Because once a store is out of an allotment that is it for the month. If you run out of something you simply can't run down to the corner store. Even if you could, the store is probably out of it, too.
One the good side I saw relatively little junk food.
A fellow tourist had some popcorn which he said was salty. I saw some other corn snacks, chocolate bars, pop was commonly available, and so was ice cream. It wasn't particularly good ice cream and many places were out of the better, more edible versions of it. Once the monthly allotment is gone, it is gone.
Restaurant had choices on the menu, but more often than not only a few things would be available.
I think there could easily be enough food for everyone as they wanted it, and I am quite certain the land could be put to better use.
How a foreign land is run is not my business. It's their call, not mine. But if I could say something I'd tell the Cuban government to butt out, stop micromanaging daily life, and let the people have a say in how they feed themselves.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Your Monthy Reminder

It's new moon today, and you know what that means.
Dust off you chequebooks, fire up a pen, and write yourself an abundance cheque.
The new moon is at 6:29 a.m. MDT. Figure it out for your time zone and know that you have until that time tomorrow to get it done.

Take a fresh cheque or make one up on a piece of paper. The Universe is happy either way.
Make it payable to yoursel. Write "Paid In Full" in the areas devoted to amount.
Sign it "The Law of Abundance."
Ignore the date area.
Put it away and go about your business.

Please remember that abundance comes in many forms. You might be blessed with more work, be given more food, or any one of a number of things. You might have to twist your usual view to understand that it is abundance, but it is.

Enjoy it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Twofer Tuesday - Salvage Mode

I was thrilled to win a copy of Invisible Boy from the Women of Mystery.
It arrived Monday by courier and I got to sign for it. Signing for stuff makes me feel important.
It's hardcover and it feels good in my hands.
I had a look inside and can't wait to get to it. It's on the TBR pile for now, but I think I'll be getting to it sooner rather than later.
From what I've read, I believe I am in for a treat.

Here are the first two lines of Invisible Boy, Cornelia Read (Grand Central Publishing, 2010)
"So here's what I love about New York City: if someone acts like a dumb asshole and you call them on acting like a dumb asshole, the bystanders are happy about it.
Anywhere else I've ever lived they just think I'm a bitch."

I started something last week in the hopes that writing it would help the idea to solidify. Instead I've gotten about 3,000 words in and have realized most of them will have to be scrapped.
Such is life.
Meanwhile I have two sentences I'm fond of and I will make every effort to find them a good home.
From my current WIP Dead Broke:

"It was a calf-length second skin of a red dress topped with a smile. Her eyes met his and the smile broadened."

Thank you for reading me.
For more, or to get in on the fun, please see the Women of Mystery.

Gratitude Monday - I Can Read

I can read.
I am a happy about it.
Reading means worlds open up to me that might not if I didn't know what all those weird squiggles on the page meant.
I can lose myself in a book, communicate with friends and relatives online, and read a note from my husband telling me where he went while I was out.
Without reading it is unlikely I could write. I could dictate stories for others to put on paper or computer file, but I would never see for myself what I said and neither could I check the accuracy of what was written for me.
We often forget to acknowledge our basic skills. We may not need reading to survive, but it does help considerably.
It is something to build on, to use to our advantage, and to enjoy.
It's right under our very noses all the time and I've been taking it for granted.
Today I'd like to rectify that.
I can read, and I am grateful for the skill.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Scruffers

A happy pooch in Trinidad de Cuba.

This poor little hot dog was amusing himself by wandering back and forth rubbing his sides along a short stretch of cement in the noonday sun.
He seemed happy enough although the look may be deceptive.
Whether he was a stray or owned I don't know, but Scruffers was certainly itchy.
Both Laurie Powers and David Cranmer have their photos up. Check them out. I think you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Senor Marti

Celebrating Jose Marti's birthday in Trinidad de Cuba.

Jose Marti is a national hero in Cuba. He is one of the most revered ones, perhaps even more than Che Guevara, and that's saying a lot.
We were blessed to be in the country on his birthday. It's a national holiday and in Trinidad De Cuba there was a parade and even more music than usual.

Later on in Santiago De Cuba we visited the cemetery which houses his mausoleum. Every half hour of every day beginning at 10 a.m. an honour guard marches to his mausoleum and back. I've forgotten how long into the evening it lasts.

Among his other accomplishments he was a poet. The song Guantanamera contains some lyrics by Marti.

It's one thing to be told about a country's hero, it's a much more layered and lasting event to see his life reflected in the celebrations of his country.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Cuban Newman

We were hiking along a field of sweet potatoes toward some Mogotes at Vinales, Cuba, when we found this gentleman.
Our guide introduced us to the local "Paul Newman" and we spent a few minutes with him, staring into his blue eyes.
Yes, the resemblance is there, but I assured this man he was much better looking.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Twofer Tuesday- Hard Copy Waiting

I ran out a hard copy of A Fly on the Wall yesterday. Initial corrections were completed on Sunday and I thought I may as well get it printed out. I wrote in Courier New 12, but printed it out in Times New Roman 11 to give my poor, long-suffering eyes a new view of it. That and a few days rest will make it seem fresh, at least at this stage.
Usually I stick to the obvious errors and wait for the editing-proper cycle to get big stuff done. This time was different.
I read Twilight (Stephenie Meyer, Little, Brown and C0mpany, copyright 2005) last week to see what all the fuss was about. I realized partway through I was doing something she'd been criticized for.
I'd been tossing in weak and pointless non-restrictive adjective clauses. I thought they were charming and part of the voice.
Her clauses got her a book contract. Mine had to go.
As ruthless as I was, some still remain. Perhaps a few will be spared.
Meanwhile, I am lost. My creative self is off having an after-work beer while my editing self is too busy sticking its tongue out at me to be of any use.
That leaves reading --and the last resort of housework--to keep me occupied while I wonder what I'll write next. I have an idea for another book, but it refuses to make itself fully known.

Fortunately I've been topping up the TBR pile even as I'm trying to trim it.
The other day I started reading a book about Aristotle and how he came to teach the young Alexander.
Here are two sentences from The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon (Vintage Canada, copyright 2009)

"I follow my nephew's finger and see the city on the marshy plain below us, bigger than I remember, more sprawling. The rains is thinning, spitting and spatting now, under a suddenly lucid gold-grey sky."
And from A Fly on the Wall:

"You know, Dottie, that's exactly what this young man did. We're ancient history, legends, mythical almost. We're Sasquatches to him and he's put a mirror up to us."
Thanks everyone. I appreciate your interest.
For more or to get in on the fun, please see the Women of Mystery.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gratitude Monday --They're Back, and They're Pretty

The bluebirds are back on the Kootenay Plains. We suspected they might be so we went looking a week ago yesterday.
We were rewarded, and I am grateful to see them once again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- The Santeria's Courtyard

We got to spend some time with a Santeria priest in Cuba one morning. Along with learning about his religion, we got to see this view out of the sanctuary.

ETA: I'm tickled to say that David Cranmer has decided to post his own Photo-Finish Friday, and Laurie Powers will be getting in on the fun later on today.
Check 'em out. I think you'll be pleased.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sound the Trumpeters

Trumpeter Swans grace a small lake west of Rocky. Photo by Mike Mayrl

On our way home on Sunday we caught sight of some Trumpeter Swans. They were on the lake at Beaverdam campground, the same place we'd had our smokie roast earlier that day.
There were several swans as well as several Canada Geese taking advantage of the open water. It was a wonderful sight to behold. I took a few pics from the road, but I was lazy so Mike took my camera and went to the water's edge to get some better photos.
Geese are here all summer, but the swans only stop along here on their way to their northern breeding grounds.
We were lucky to see them.
Thank you, Trumpeters.