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This is the most beautiful horse I have ever seen.

This horse will appear in one of my stories, somewhere. It's meant to belong to either Aerden or Paul. Or maybe Tarran or Myradin.

Chia Seeds

Diet Soda

Healthy Fast-Food

Peanut Butter


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Yesterday I came across an exercise that is supposed to be an indicator of your life expectancy. I'm not sure if the exercise has any validity at all, but I couldn't do it unaided. I have noticed for a while that my balance and leg strength are not what they used to be, so I've decided to do something about that. I'm going to start an exercise regimen that I can do at home to strengthen my legs and back.

Strength Training Exercises for Older Adulst


Life-Expectancy Test I'm thinking I won't be able to do this at all.

Peanut Butter Sniff Test to detect early stage of Alzhimer's disease.

Graphology article - Surprisingly thorough for this type of article. I was impressed. All the major bases were covered.

Soul Cake Recipe


Choral Music Workshop

I auditioned for the Lighthouse of Houston Choral Workshop today and was accepted. I'm not quite sure what section I will be singing in. The choral director said that, since I am able to sing harmony, he might put me among the altos to do that. That will be weird, as I've never sung alto. He is okay with me needing to miss the occasional Thursday practice for Eastern Star.

This choral music workshop is being done in partnership with American Festival for the Arts in Schools, and the choral director is a university music professor.

The first piece we will learn is "Dona Nobis Pacem." In some ways it is snoozeville; in other ways fun, as it is a 3-part harmony sung as a round. It's quite lovely, and I look forward to singing it. Just because something has a simple melody doesn't mean it is necessarily easy to sing or doesn't have subtleties to it that can make or break it. The way I see it, since I already know it like the back of my hand, I might be able to simply take a group of people who will sing the same part as I, and teach it to them if they don't already know it. I can play the piano enough for that.

I also think this choral director is smart to start us out with something that is simple but has its own kind of complexity, just to see how well we all work together.


This is exactly what I've been looking for--a Bajoran earring that looks as if someone who survived the Cardassian Occupation and is used to dressing like a slave or a Resistance fighter would have worn it.

Bajoran earring

A lot of the ones I see are pretty but too beautiful for an Occupation survivor.

Eight Things... By Benjamin Hardy

1. Get a healthy 7+ hours of sleep.
2. Prayer and meditation to facilitate clarity and abundance.
3. Hard physical activity.
4. Consume 30 grams of protein.
5. Take a cold shower.
6. Listen to or read uplifting content.
7. Review your life vision.
8. Do at least one thing towards long-term goals.

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I'm going to eat at Ziziki's Greek Restaurant tonight in Dallas. Looking forward to it, as I've never been there before, and I love Greek food. I hope they serve pastichio.

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St. Vitreous' School for Boys on Storium.

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From Tripod. Text posted here because I could not link to the actual page, but I needed to be able to retrieve the information; the URL address stopped at www.tripod.com.

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The ideas on this site are brilliant!

Life Hacks

There are many useful ideas here.

Current Mood: in awe

(I shamelessly stole this off of Facebook.)

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps - Be sure to click on the word Share to save this to your wall.

1 lb. zucchini or squash (about 2 medium-sized)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan (heaping)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
... 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.

Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.

In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

Place rounds in parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere. The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.

Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.

Bake for about 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. (There is no need to flip them during baking -- they crisp up on both sides as is.)


I posted the following paragraph on Facebook in response to a graphic with the caption, "Water is a human right." I disagreed with that statement.

Mm...No, it isn't. None of us have any rights, really, except the ones we are willing to fight for, for ourselves and others. To me, the idea of 'rights' is an illusion created by law. What we call 'rights' are simply the way we would ideally like the world to be. I don't believe they are inherent, no matter what pretty things we might quote as a matter of politics. If we don't earn it ourselves, or if someone didn't earn it on our behalf, then we don't possess it, and we don't have a 'right' to it.

We have no rights to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness except insofar as we are willing and prepared to defend them every moment of every day. Any so-called right that we vote for ourselves we can also vote to deprive ourselves of.

So I'm thinking, this commercial will proceed as follows:

Grumpy Cat: "I tried Little Friskies once....It was awful!"

Because, seriously, will we believe it's Grumpy Cat if the commercial doesn't go that way?

But on the other hand, a good commercial ought to surprise and delight us. So I still think Grumpy Cat should never ever admit to liking Friskies cat food, but we should somehow get the idea that she does, grudgingly, enjoy it, thought she will never let on to it.

I hope, since the people who secured the contract presumably 'get' what Grumpy Cat is all about, that they'll know how the humor should go. I'm looking forward to seeing this.

My Eye-Stroll Donation Page

On November 10, 2012, I will participate in a 5K walk at the Houston Zoo to benefit the Prevent Blindness Foundation. I would like to ask for your help in raising money to fund research that helps find treatments or cures for various diseases of the eyes.

I figure, since I did the 'Run for the Rose' 5K walk to raise money for brain cancer research last spring, I could certainly do another such event when the weather is likely to be cooler. I'm in a team with other co-workers from my office.

Many, many thanks to any of you who would care to donate and work with me for this.

Current Mood: calmready

Movies: Well, Mark and I survived seeing The Dark Knight Rises, and we enjoyed it very much. It's reminiscent of the French Reign of Terror, except that Bane, the guy in charge of the Reign is a complete nutjob. I think his creators wanted a sort of Darth Vader ambiance to him.

Social Networks: I've been posting more than usual on Facebook lately, because that seems to be where a kit if nt fruebds are posting, nowadays. I much prefer LiveJournal, though, and I will continue using LJ

Writing: I'm working on a story called "Mirrors" with my friend Chris. It's a YA piece that starts in the real world and then involves fantasy settings later on. I'll keep you posted. I'm also working on the outline for Hand of Vengeance.

Life: I'm trying to decide if I feel ambitious enough to clean house today. I'm thinking, Not really, but I don't want to just waste the day, either. So I'll do something that gets clutter out of the house and straightens it u a bit. The living room and front hall, which I did get cleaned out, still look beautiful, and I could cry with happiness about that.

Music: I figured out how to correct the sound settings on my computer, so I'm able to listen to YouTube videos again. I've been listening to Pat Benatar's song, "Invincible" a lot lately, but my intent is to eventually resume listening to operatic arias so I can learn then. At the top of my list are "Je dis que rien ne m'epouvante" and "V'adoro pupille."


I decided to unfriend someone on Facebook today, and there's a second person I'm probably also going to unfriend. I decided to do this when I looked at my wall and saw that most of the postings were from these two women who apparently have nothing to do all day but post snarky political pictures and comments on Facebook.

It doesn't matter to me what people's political beliefs are. We have freedom of speech as a basic right in this country, and it would be a dull world if everyone perfectly agreed with each other; I just don't want everything else that I want to look at crowded out by political crap.

If it were intelligent, well-written, well thought-out political thinking, like the sorts of things vdansk writes, I'd love to read it, even if I disagreed with it. But it's not. It's mean-spirited, scornful, derisive, and divisive. I don't see why I should have to spend my time reading crap that compares people of one political faction to zombies, for example.

I don't think either of the ladies I am thinking of are on LJ, but if you are--It wasn't because I dislike you; I just don't want to read the politicking. A little bit every once in a while would have been fine, but so much of it with nothing else--not fine.

I spent all day today writing on stories and reading back-posts in my musevoices journal. I have ideas for nine novels in that journal. They are:

  • The Boy from the Sea
  • The Curse of Avriet
  • The Devil's Due
  • Ealdru
  • The Hand of Vengeance
  • Lightborn
  • Mindsorter
  • The Twice-Failed Quest
  • Vendetta

Unfortunately, none of them are complete. I have very tantalizing beginnings, a couple that I wrote extensively on for NaNoWriMo but never finished. This is exactly the wrong kind of situation for me to be in, with the ADD. I have nine choices, and I can't make up my mind which to work on; I keep flitting from idea to idea. I even have more story ideas than this, if I'm willing to throw in an additional dark fantasy (Dakmir) and the Paul Graves fan fiction.

This is appalling; I didn't realize I had so many possible stories to work on, and none of them completed, none of them properly plotted out.

I'd love to do more with Boy from the Sea, but I'm not sure what, aside from the original idea of exiled prince caring for an orphaned, foreign prince and trying to hide the boy from the exile's brother.

The Curse of Avriet I feel like I'm shying away from because of the nature of the curse. The purpose of the curse is to corrupt a kingdom's people in every way possible. That gets into some stuff that is not PG-rated, and I do want to sell these books to mainstream readers.

I still totally love The Devil's Due. :) I just need to map out the plot.

The Premise for Ealdru is changing from what it originally was. I don't like the murder mystery idea that I had for it. I still want to write Aerden and Linorre in it, but the plot needs to be something else.

I'm working on The Hand of Vengeance currently, but I don't work on it every night, and that bothers me because it's not very disciplined. Despite the lack of self-discipline, I love this story.

Lightborn happens in the far past of Vendetta. They and Ealdru are in the 'Lost Ships' universe.

Mindsorter is on the back burner while I concentrate on Hand of Vengeance. I think I need to do a lot more worldbuilding for it.

I adore The Twice-Failed Quest mainly because I love the romance between Senara and Rinavek, so I am rooting for my three questors to succeed. But it is a very twisted, sad romance. At the moment, though, I have no idea how to save Rinavek and Senara. None.

Vendetta is not much in my mental radar at the moment, but I'm pretty confident that, once I turn my attention back to it, the spark will re-kindle.

I've got to figure out a system for working on these. I do not want to be someone who could have been a writer.

Mark and I got back from a short trip to Colorado Springs Saturday afternoon. We went there to spend some time with Mark's family and to attend our niece Amanda's wedding and the graduation of her fiance, Bryan, from the Air Force Academy. It was a lovely trip!

I'd never seen my BIL Scott's home before. He lives in a house with oddly-shaped windows, where you can see Pike's Peak from the kitchen window. I love their house.

(To be continued. Got to go to bed now.)

Happy Beltane!

I've been home today for the second day in a row with a nasty UTI. I know it's nasty because it's taken three doses of antibiotic to make a dent. Usually, I see improvement in one dose. Anyway, after feeling like a truck ran over me since Saturday, I'm now improved to the point of feeling drained but able to breathe without panting and without the pain in my abdomen. Not fun.

I used the time to buy a Kindle copy of Kim Weiland's book, Outlining Your Novel. I've always thought outlines were useful, but when I would set down to create them, they'd never go anywhere, or I'd get distracted by something else and wind up not finishing it. Weiland gives an estimate of how long it takes to write a good novel outline (For her, it's 3 months.), and she gives useful tips on how to organize the planning of a novel. I've created a Novel Organization Template in my musevoices journal and have started two, one for Mindsorter and one for The Hand of Vengeance.

I haven't really progressed with either of these stories, and it's because I don't have a clear roadmap--at least for Mindsorter. For Hand of Vengeance, I'm using my characters and original plot idea from the Imperial Secrets RPG that I used to be in. I swear, that game could have been a series of novels in itself, and if no one else is writing their part of it, then, by God, I will. Something as beautiful and richly detailed as that game cannot be allowed to just die. It would be a sin.

In Pern, I'm co-writing a StarRise story with gypsy_anna and need to finish another story I was co-writing with her.

Speaking of Pern--Dave--Do you think we might get some Aerden and D'vor story action going on? I miss Aerden's best friend and his water-happy dragon. :D

Yes, you heard that right. I have found a fictional character (aside from Voldemort) who alarms Paul Graves.

The character is Rumail Deslucido from the Darkover novel, The Fall of Neskaya.

There's a scene in the opening chapters of that book in which Rumail, under the guise of assessing a boy named Coryn Leynier for a type of sickness that strikes Darkoven telepaths at puberty, does something else to him.

It involves making a midline incision in Coryn's astral body and inserting astral images of a handkerchief belonging to Coryn's mother, a strand of Coryn's hair, and a strand of Rumail's own hair, in Coryn's astral body cavity and then 'suturing' him up.

When I finished reading the scene, I thought, "Well, that was different." The little Paul in my head was whinging. "What is he doing? Why is he doing that? I do not like this at all!"

It looks to me as if Rumail is devising a way to exercise control over Coryn, but why? Judging from the chapter I'm now reading, I am about to find out.

*happy sigh* It's always fun when Paul is disturbed. :) *cackles evilly*

Little-known factoid about Paul--I based his use of legilimency on Darkover's use of the Overworld, because it makes more sense to me than the way Rowling does telepathy.

I finished Mockingjay, the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy, today. I was quite pleased with the ending. My friend gypsy_anna thinks the ending is rushed, but I am fine with it. To any teenagers disappointed that it wasn't a wildly romantic ending, all I can say is, Katniss was too messed up during most of the third book for wild romance to be even remotely realistic. This was a believable ending to her story.

But I am still not happy about the sentence fragments. *grins*

Next book: The Fall of Neskaya. My Kindle is a wonderful thing!

I decided to read the Hunger Games trilogy a couple of weeks ago when Mark and I went to see the movie. I'd heard that it was a very popular young adult series, but I'd never heard of it before, had no idea what it was about. I started reading up on the series in preparation for seeing the Hunger Games movie. Then I downloaded the books to my Kindle and started reading.

I have to say, Suzanne Collins tells a gripping story. I was riveted from page 1 and have remained so through the remaining two books. I'm on the third book, Mockingjay, now.

But the more of the books I have read, the more I am wondering how much of what I've always been told about the publishing industry is true.

I have always been told that, when you submit a book for publication, the mechanics--grammar, etc.--had better be perfect, or that will essentially be used as an excuse to decline your book unless the story is truly superior. Now, as I said, Collins has written a cracking good story.

Her books, however, are riddled with sentence fragments to a degree that is painful for me to read. Granted, she uses them only when Katniss is thinking--but they annoy me to no end because they could as easily be written as complete sentences; all Collins would have to do is insert dashes instead of periods in a few places, and she'd have complete sentences.

To me, that's not when you use a fragment. You use a fragment in dialogue, because that's how people speak. Perhaps you also use them to show stream-of-consciousness thinking, if you can do so without confusing the reader. You don't use fragments when you could just as easily use complete sentences.

I also think that the opening chapters of Mockingjay suffer because Collins doesn't use the first person point of view well. The opening chapters, in which Katniss describes District 13, suffer from a big dose of 'Tell, don't show.' The whole point of having a first person point of view is to give a book immediacy. I don't want to be told that everyone in District 13 wears the same color and style of clothing. I want to feel, in her first encounter with District 13's people, Katniss' shock at how drab and utilitarian their way of life is. I want to taste the boring food, walk around living quarters that look like everyone else's...something instead of just being told about it.

So my question is, how did The Hunger Games get accepted for publication in the first place, and why wasn't it reamed by a proofreader immediately? Collins was a bestselling author before the Katniss books; she has a whole other series that she wrote before Katniss' story. Is it just that the rules for established, bestselling authors are more lenient than those for unpublished authors? Well--yes, they are. But seriously, that many sentence fragments?!

What is this supposed to teach the teenagers reading these books? The message I'm getting is that grammar need not be bothered with. It's as if successful authors become like Gregory House--it doesn't matter what rules they break, as long as the patient lives--or the book sells. It is very difficult to argue for the importance of maintaining good grammar in the face of a book series that has earned $50 million.

I don't want to write like that--ever. I don't want to be sloppy--not about the story, the characters, or the mechanics. I want my editor, should I ever get one, to help me make my novels the best they can possibly be in all respects. I don't ever want to get so famous that editors start to think they don't have to bother correcting me because anything I write will sell.

Okay, actually, I would love to be that successful a writer, but anyway...

I'm sorry for sounding so grouchy and resentful. Frankly, I know that, for all my good grammar, Collins could probably write and plot rings around me; she really is brilliant at storytelling and use of her characters. But it's still frustrating to see so many blatant sentence fragments in print. There is a part of me that is just deeply offended by that.

Current Mood: pensiveperplexed

The ONTD (Oh No They Didn't) Community is discussing various fiction authors' opinions about the writing of fan fiction today. I'm not a member of the community, so I couldn't post there, but here are my feelings.

First off, I do write the occasional Harry Potter fan fiction story and the more frequent Pern one, so I can't exactly oppose it without being a hypocrite.

If I were a professionally-published author, it would disturb me greatly if fans wrote stories featuring my characters without my permission. There are some genres of fan fiction that I would be very offended to find my characters being used in.

I prefer Anne McCaffrey's approach: Use of my settings would be fine, but use of any of my characters would not at all be permitted. Only certain very close friends of mine, who have known me for years, would have permission to write my characters...That would be Viv, Anna, Hope, Dave, Suse, and Tricia. And there are only specific characters whom each of those friends would be appropriate for.

Except for Dave...I don't think Dave has ever read anything about my character Paul Graves, but I suspect he'd figure him out very quickly and would probably write him way better than I do. :)

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

What are you wary about today?

Armed Romans in the Senate.

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