Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Stained Glass

I went to Montfort L'Amoury yesterday and took pictures of the church. The windows are classified as historical monuments. They were donated to the church by wealthy patrons starting around 1400. The windows were made in Italy and carefully transported to the church. As you walk around the church you can see nearly 400 years of stained glass window-making as the windows were horribly expensive and added one by one.
Here is the first window, and down at the bottom you can see a family praying. They are the donors of this window - added for posterity. (In most all the windows the donors are present - either as a character in the scene or at the bottom pictured in prayer. To recognise them, look for the figures in black - as black was the most expensive color to make, and only the very wealthy could afford it.)

Monday, May 29, 2006


I just finished reading Marley and Me, and it was the cutest book Evah!! I've had Labradors all my life - so they are near and dear to my heart. Marley's antics are so typically Lab that it should be required reading for anyone thinking about getting a Lab.
Here are some of the things my Labs have done:
Chewed rugs, chair rungs, a wicker chair (the whole thing reduced to matchstick-size overnight) the TV control, & any food within reach, including a whole platter of frozen shrimp left on the table to thaw.
Ripped the handle clean off the front door (fear of thunderstorms) I left my dog alone when I went shopping and there was a storm. She literally tore the front door apart to get out of the house. She ran to my neighbor's house and crashed through his screen door to hide under his lags (he was in his dining room - startled him, as you can imagine.)
This same dog: One day a summer thunderstorm hit and my sons were still out in the yard - she went out to get them to bring them back inside where it was safe. I can still see her, practically crawling out to them, her tail tucked between her trembling legs, pushing them with her nose towards the house, whining with terror.
This same dog (her name was Fudge): when my daughter was born she would lie in front of the baby stroller. If anyone came near, she would lift her lips without a sound, showing her sharp teeth. If the person insisted on coming a step closer, a loud growl would sound deep in her throat. NO one ever took another step closer. I could leave my daughter in her stroller and feel she was perfectly safe.
When I was a baby we had two yellow Labs, Cain and Abel. Cain died, and Abel lay on his grave and would not eat. He let himself die as well.
I have another Lab called Rusty now. She loves Everyone. She is not a guard dog. She never barks - ever. She is, without a doubt, the sweetest Lab I've ever known. All she wants to do is eat, lol. She loves to play, and her favorite game is sliding down the hill in the snow like an otter. She runs, leaps into the air, and slides down the hill on her belly.
I love Labs.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Let's get Political

My grandmother was from Cuba. She actually left long before Castro came into power. She never had a bad word to say against him, in fact, she thought that he had the right ideas, if not the right methods.
Right now here's what I think. Noam CHOMSKY is spot on, and Otto REICH is smoking crack. The article is here!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Desk

Nadia posted about her messy desk today. Aren't all desks messy?
I thought it would be funny to make a list of everything on my desk from left to right.

My daughter's vaccination booklet
An atlas and road map of France
An empty leather card case & a watch that doesn't work
A folded red paper with an old grocery list on it (starts with Nutella...)
My phone book, two perscriptions, a bank statement (make that 2) and my address book in a sloppy pile.
Roger's Thesarus, open to scare-scholar
A bottle of pink nail polish
A yellow wind-up chick that goes hop-hop-hop-hop!
A black pen
A nail file
A rubber band
My printer, my keyboard, the computer screen
A package of tissues
Two calendars (both huge, both on my right, both serving as notepads)
My camera
A wicker basket full of junk. (Junk - pens, cards, a CD, my UBS cord, stamps, and a measuring tape.)
A Christmas card.
A nail cutter
My speaker (only one works) & headphones
2 glasses cases.

Let's Slam Scam

(And get rid of Spam while we're dreaming...)

Some of you know I was scammed by an agent years ago when I was just starting to write. It was before e-books took off, before the internet was just an interesting place...(I'm dating myself but who cares...) You were told by most reputable publishers to get an agent. I sent my manuscript in to a Publisher who was listed in the Writer's handbook. The Publisher wrote my back saying he'd love to represent me - but he needed an agent to negotiate...and he had just the fellow. To make a long story short, I wasted one year and 200 dollars on a fake agent. When I finally cottoned on, I sent a letter to the editor of Writer's Handbook and had both listings removed (they also sent me a free handbook the next year.)

And now it seems more scam agents are appearing. Here, thanks to Ann and Victoria on Writer Beware, is a list of the 20 worst agents in town. Read it and stay well away from them.

the 20 Worst Agents:

* The Abacus Group Literary Agency
* Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
* Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
* Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
* Benedict & Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
* Sherwood Broome, Inc.
* Desert Rose Literary Agency
* Arthur Fleming Associates
* Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
* Brock Gannon Literary Agency
* Harris Literary Agency
* The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:
Children's Literary Agency
Christian Literary Agency
New York Literary Agency
Poets Literary Agency
The Screenplay Agency
Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency)
Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
* Martin-McLean Literary Associates
* Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
* B.K. Nelson, Inc.
* The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
* Michele Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency and Simply Nonfiction)
* Southeast Literary Agency
* Mark Sullivan Associates
* West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Disappearing Covers & a Mysterious Spring

I suppose there is a reason for it although I can't come up with anything logical. On Amazon my book covers are disappearing one by one, replaced by 'Image Not Available' signs that look sort of sad and empty.
Being a resourceful sort of person, (my hero, McGyver) I uploaded some new pictures so customers can see the cover. I also e-mailed Amazon, and if anyone has ever done that they know that it's like writing a letter, opening the window, and tossing it outside with the hopes that someone from Amazon who can actually Do something will pick it up off the ground.

A Mysterious Spring
Here is a photo of the Nymphorium near my house. It was built on the site of a sacred spring and stream. (The druids worshipped running water.) The Romans arrived, conquered Gaul, and made the sacred spring into a nymphorium - that is, a temple dedicated to the worship of a nymph. This temple datesd from about the year 100 AD.
Whenever I drive by it, my radio stops. It is impossible to get any station in this area. Very mysterious.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Letters from Kenya

"Dear Madame,
How are you? I hope you are fine, healthy, and staying well. Here in Kenya I am very fine and working hard to achieve my goal in education. Receive greetings from my parents and more greetings from our first born sister who is to join Maseno University this year in August to persue a Bachelor of Education degree in science.
Madame, my family has requested me to ask you to vist us in Kenya. They are yearning to meet you one day. Madame, please visit us and see how life is in Kenya..."

I was so touched by this letter. I adore the two boys in Kenya I am helping put through school. Both write me lovely letters, but this was the first time one asked me to visit. Here's how I became a sponsor for two boys in Kenya:
I was fortunate to 'meet' Patricia Crossley through our mutual Yahoo authors' group. She posted amazing accounts of her life as a missionary in Africa. When she mentioned that some children didn't have enough money to pay for education, I jumped at the chance to help. Education has always been, in my mind, a way out of the spiral of poverty.

Unfortunately, the World Bank does not agree. In fact, the World Bank imposes low wages and job freezes on poor countries around the world. This just in from the Guardian UK:

"...There is a large reservoir of unemployed nurses but the Kenyan government claims it is gripped by a recruitment freeze imposed by the conditions of the IMF/World Bank aid packages designed to force African countries to slim their bloated civil services."

Mexico's illegal immigrants are fleeing the same sort of low wage imposition, and the governments of these countries are held hostage by this unofficial, unelected, uncontrollable power of the World Bank that is forcing millions of people deeper into poverty. The news is depressing enough - but I happen to know two young men in Kenya who are pinning their hopes and dreams on a good education. If the world bank does not rethink it's loans and its programs, particularly the structual adjustment program loans (SAP's) and stop strangling developing countries by imposing a 2$ a day wage level, these people will never have a decent life. (Yes, you read that right - 2$ a day.) Most countries would do well if they could eliminate corruption in their governments, pay back the loans, and put the money from their natural resources back into their own country - as Venezuela has. In 1997, 42% of the population in Venezuela was unemployed (see:'IMF%2FWorld%20Bank%20aid%20packages' ) and more than 80% lived in poverty. Today, thanks to a socialist government, the debt to the WB was paid off, wages raised, schools opened, and health care and education made free to everyone.
It's a terrible thing to let education and dreams go to waste. I hope my two friends in Kenya will have a chance to use their education to the fullest.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Somebody Saaaaave Me!!!

No, just love that song.
I'm watching...Smallville - what else?
Cute guys & girls, honest hard working farmers, snappy come-backs and lots of lip gloss.
I can deal with everything, even the sappy storyline - but I really, really wish they would lay off the lipgloss.
Save me from those shiny lips. It looks so bizarre. Whenever I think of Smallville I thinkg 'too much lipgloss.
And too many crying jags for Lana.
Does that poor character never get a whole episode where she doesn't cry once? Remember when your kids were small - one, two, three years old, and there was never a day without tears? The smallest thing could start a storm of tears or a sad face, or a sob, or a full blown crying tantrum. Well - that's what I feel about Lana. In every episode she is either crying or about to cry. Her eyes fill with tears and her lip-glossed lips tremble...And I usually switch chanels around then. I don't think I've seen an entire episode of Smallville.
And she's about to cry again. Excuse me while I switch to Eurovision.
(Better? I'm not sure...)

And on an even more sinister note - I got this from my local chapter of SWCBI -

From the CCBC Moderator: I'm sharing this open letter from Patricia Polacco because it raises
chilling questions about intellectual freedom. Many of you heard
Polocco speak at the ALSC preconference last year and will recall
that she was very critical of NCLB.
Urgent Notice....

To All Educators, Librarians, and Media Specialists
Regarding the cancellation of my appearance at the IRA
in Chicago for May 2 and 3, 2006

A few months ago I was approached by The Buchanan
Associates in Dublin, OH to appear at the
International Reading Association Conference in
Chicago on May 2 and 3, 2006. I was to be part of 5
events. Speeches, 'meet and greet' and book signings.

I was happy to accept the invitation which, I assumed,
was coming from the I.R.A. and my publisher. It is
always such an honor for me to speak and interact with
teachers and librarians from around the country.

But, then, a very disturbing turn of events
transpired. My staff started receiving phone calls and
emails from this firm in Ohio requesting that I
furnish them with a detailed written outline of what I
intended to include in my speeches. I assumed, of
course, that this was asked so that a synopsis of my
content could be included in a printed brochure
furnished to the conferees.

You can imagine my astonishment when I finally called
this firm and learned that this was not the reason.
They requested my written outline because their
'client' wanted to make sure that I would not discuss
my deep concern about NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND well as my concern that there is a link
between this mandate and the SRA/McGraw Hill Company
who manufactures, prints, and profits from the sale of
these tests to school systems all over our country.

It was then that I closely reviewed all if the emails
(I had not up until this time because I had been doing
school visits and was not home until now) I then
realized that the "client" that this firm referred to,
but never names, was indeed, SRA/McGraw Hill! I also
learned from the Officials of the IRA that SRA/McGraw
Hill was indeed sponsoring the event that I had been
invited to. I was shocked!

This "firm" insisted that my speech be "upbeat,
non-controversial, and non-political"...I countered
with the fact that the plight of the American teacher
is far from "upbeat" and they are caught in the vice
grip of the most controversial and political LIE that
has ever been perpetrated on the American teacher.

I was also quite mystified as to why SRA/McGraw Hill
would even select ME and invite me to be a part of
their program knowing how strongly I feel about this
entire situation.

My speeches certainly do inspire teachers...I truly
believe they are among the last hero's we have in our
country...but I always mention the destructive path
that is laying wasted to our schools and that is the
No Child Left Behind Mandate!

I did mention to them that I considered this broaching
"censorship" and a violation of my freedom of speech.

Finally, after receiving numerous emails from this
'firm' that got more and more 'insistences'...I
finally sent them a written refusal to alter my
speeches in any way, Certainly I can moderate their
length, but I refused to alter the content. I made
them aware if they truly had a problem with this, then
they could "un-invite" me to be part of their event.

Needless to sat, SRA/McGraw Hill cancelled my programs
within the hour!

My main concern here, is that I very much fear the
conferees will be led to believe that it is I who
cancelled this event. The cancellation was the choice
of SRA/McGraw Hill and was generated by a blatant
attempt to CENSOR my remarks and the content of what I
say to teachers, which is a clear infringement of my
constitutional right to freedom of speech. I pride
myself on being an advocate for America's teachers as
well as being one of the most reliable speakers at
conferences in our country.

My lawyers and I have set a formal request to
SRA/McGraw Hill through their representative, The
Buchanan Associates in Dublin, Ohio, to post the
following signs outside of each venue at the
conference where I am scheduled to speak.


Call anyone you know that was either going to attend
my events, or that did and were disappointed and tell
them why this happened.

I am very disturbed by this on may levels. It seems
that we Americans are losing, by leaps and bounds, our
constitution "guaranteed" rights.

I am insulted and very offended not only on my own
behalf, but also because of these various
organizations that seek to profi from the misery for
our teachers and school children. Profits and money
seem to matter much more that truly making changes to
our educational systems that would truly help our
children. I have to admit that I have a certain amount
of pride in taking this stand on your behalf.

Yours faithfully,
Patricia Polacco

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The letter / Bridging the Gap

When I was 12 I went to live in the Virgin Islands. I came back to NY every summer to stay with my dad and see my friends. They wrote me regularly to let me know what was happening. Letters from 12 year olds aren't very exciting. Most were: Hi there, how are you? I am fine. We went to the lake last weekend and Josh caught ten fish. Love Sara. I was glad to get them, but they were horribly impersonal and made the distance between us seem immense.
One day Jay wrote me.
Guess what happened? Tommy was in chemistry class and he blew up the lab!!!!!
He mixed the wrong ingredients and it made an explosion. There was glass everywhere. They evacuated the whole school. Then the ambulence came and took away twenty kids to the hospital for burns and glass cuts.
Just kidding. Nothing is happening here. It's really boring.
Love Jay.

I was flabergasted. A letter that was cool. It was all made up, but it was funny. It made me feel connected to Jay and his brother Tommy. My sister and I passed the letter back and forth until it fell apart. I was in seventh grade. I thought about writing funny stories that people would pass back and forth. I wanted to breach the distance between me and my friends, and who knows - between me and other people. Between me and everyone!
Is that what makes someone write? That need to bridge the gap?


I wasn't going to blog about this because I have a really short attention span and I've already put that horrid book behind me. (It's about thirteen feet behind me under the cabinet in the kitchen garbage, as a matter of fact...)
But I was looking at my response and it hit me that I read Lolita (I even saw the movie) and that story did not revolt me like the one I just read. I had to wonder why. I think it's because the narrator of Lolita was so twisted and sick that you KNEW that he Knew he was doing something wrong. The story ends with Lolita married and pregnant - and living a normal, normal life with someone else - and with Humbert dying in prison for having murdered the man who took Lolita away from him.
Somehow, Lolita remained untouched by the narrator's debauchery and illness. And the author didn't try to sully Lolita, as the author in Turning Angel did to the young characters in his book. In Turning Angel, all the kids were either drug addicts, sex fiends, or saints...
So how did the author of Lolita carry this off? Because he shows that it's sick. He shows the harm and pain the affair causes. He even has the narrator admitting how hateful and monstrous he is - and he Never once tries to justify the sickness.
In Lolita, the sickness is held up like a mirror through the whole book - and the relationship becomes a symbol of good and bad, innocence and debauchery. Turning Angel tries to justify a man of 42 falling in love with and getting a 17 yr. old girl pregnant by having everyone else be the sick ones, (including the poor wfe and exchange student) while the lovers are the normal ones.

Anyhow, this is not a funny post.
I'll try to do better tomorrow when I blog about how inspiring Bush-onomics have been to my life as a multi-billionaire.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This and That

This and That

First of all - thanks to Sue - my incredible crit partner - for taking the time to go over 'May Day!' and help me polish it up. THANK YOU!!!
And now on to our regularly scheduled program...

I called my doctor last night after another bout of dizziness, and he checked my allergy medication and said we have to change it. I hope the next one will just make me sleepy and not dizzy. If I have a choice between being one of the Seven Dwarves, I guess it would be Sleepy and not Dizzy, Dopey, or Sneezy - - which is what I am before the medication, lol. Let's also mention Stuffy and Deafy (my ears get stuffed up when I get hay fever, lol) And Cranky - (lack of sleep will do that to even the nicest dwarf...)

I was over at Miss Snark's blog and someone asked her if perseverance was important. Miss Snark gave a wonderfully snarky reply - but the bottom line is YES - perseverance is important. YOu rarely get anywhere with talent alone, it takes hard work and practice, practice, practice to be able to show that talent. Writers have it both easy and hard...Some of us get that lucky break, others have to really work at it - but Most of the time hard work and talent together are rewarded.

That said, I just read another book that was SO BAD I don't know why or how it was published. Called 'Turning Angel' - it is the wet-dream of some GUY author about a lawyer (it's a thriller) whose best friend (a doctor) is accused ot murdering his 17 year old lover. (Yes, you read that right. He's 42 - she's 17.)
But (the doctor claims) they were IN LOVE! The book is so pathetic that I had to read it to make sure that my first instinct was correct in that: (I guessed everything right, BTW)
The wife did it (of course she did - the frigid, nasty, surgically enhanced bitch.
The exchange student was on drugs and didn't help the girl when he found her in the water (of course he was on drugs - he wasn't a WASP - he was from Eastern Europe wherever that is...And the author got so many things mixed up about HIS home country I was astounded.)
The black chief of police got everything wrong and threw the wrong man in prison. (Of course - he was black - what do you expect?)
The Asians were the drug lords. (Well...D'oh! Who else deals drugs in the US?)
So...The entire book was one predictable mess. I HATED it. I hate when a man claims he loves a women 25 years his junior and claims his wife and he have had an 'empty marriage' for ten years...And then he adds he has a 9 year old son...Math anyone? Decency? Morals?
Oh Argh.
The whole book reeked of a man who has the hots for his babysitter and played a big 'What If' scenario in his head. The only thing he got right was that his wife became a murderer, but in real life, she would have killed him, not the pregnant 17 year old lover. (She would have turned her over to social services instead of pushing her into a river.)
So here's what I say to you, Mr. Greg ILES. Your book Sucked. It sucked so badly I had to blog about it with the title and your name so other people didn't get suckered in by the cool cover (covers can LIE folks) and the fact you're a 'New York Times' best selling author. All I can say is there are a lot more pedophile reviewers out there than I thought. Oh - and the worse thing? This guy can write. He writes beautifully. He really writes well - what a waste. I swear - his hormones got the better of him on this one.
Stop spying on your babysitter you Lecher!
Book Grade : F
OK - end of rant.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Just Lazy!

Well, my allergy medicine is still making me sleepy, so I have been Lazy!
The dogs are right with me - sleeping all day on the top of the stairs.
Today is my hubby's birthday - so I'm taking him to a Japanese restaurant - if I can stay awake that is!
I will try to be more productive tomorrow.

All I did was edits for May!
(May Day!, Mayhem, Mayhem at MUCI, Bart and Mayhem...)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

We were lucky to have four babies born in our family in 2005! Kelsey, Abigail, Mathias, and Lindy made their appearences from September to February! Welcome babies, and Happy Mother's Day to Rhonda, Sara, Laetitia, and Kristie!

I celebrated by making a picnic lunch for my daughter and her friend and dropping them off at the pony club for the afternoon, then settling down to read 'We have to Talk about Kevin' - OK - a strange choice for a Mother's Day read, but I just got in in the mail and had to peek. Was I the only person who SNICKERED through the whole thing? It was so rambling, so pointless, and so wallowing in emotion from afar (how did the author manage to bore me with a story about a psycopath?) I remember reading that this author had never had any kids, and maybe that's the reason. The passion you feel is missing - unless I'm missing the point, and the narrator is the psycopath - being so far removed from emotion herself.
Soooooo - I skipped and skimmed and read the last few pages then Snickered, and had to go back and read a bit more to see if I could stir up any kind of interest, but could not. The author made murder and mayhem boring. Is that literature? I seem to remember the book got really good reviews too - probably from people who'd never had kids and were patting themselved on the back...

Mother's Day - Happy Mother's Day to my MOM!

"What the child says, he has heard at home." - African Proverb

"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." - George Washington (1732-1799)

"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother." - Lin Yutang

"Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all." - Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom." - Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

"By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1907- )

"God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers." - Jewish proverb

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." - Honore' de Balzac (1799-1850)

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother." - Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." - Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." - Author Unknown

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavour by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." - Washington Irving (1783-1859)

(and a few of my favorites:)

W. Somerset Maugham:
Few misfortunes can befall a boy which brings worse consequences than to have a really affectionate mother.

Florida Scott-Maxwell:
No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Still no Title

My WIP is done - sent off to crit partners - will need about 3,000 more words to it, I think, to really make it perfect. But I had to write 'The End' on it, as I got another job for 8 drawings for a polo book.
But my book still has no title!
This is the first time I've finished a book and still had no name for it. Usually I come up with something before typing 'The End'.
The first book in the series is called 'Jack's Back' (working title, but I really like it and hope it stays)
This story is about May, the vampire killer. She's small, smart, and deadly, and she takes life very seriously having been killed once before by a mob of rogue vamps. She's MUCI's(*Mutant and Undead Criminal Investigation*) best man, er, woman, for catching and killing rogue vampires, so when two kids show up with all the signs of having been killed by a rogue, May gets the case. Clues lead straight to a certain Bartholomew Aelfrith, a vampire, whose sense of humor and tall blond good looks are enough to convince May he needs killing...even if he's not the killer. If he makes one more joke about her chop-sticks, she's going to stab him through the heart with one. The problem is, Bartholomew is probably the only person who can catch the real killer, so May has to put up with his insouciance and his wise-cracks...and his penchant for picking up strays of all kinds. But if he says, "I've got a plan" one more time, she's going to scream.

Any ideas at all for a title?????

I'm open to suggestions!

Friday, May 12, 2006


Well, yes dahling, I just knew it!

Katharine Hepburn
You scored 11% grit, 28% wit, 57% flair, and 14% class!
You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the Classic Leading Man Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 6% on grit

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on wit

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on flair

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 6% on class
Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

I finished my WIP and sent it off to my two favorite critique partners, now I'm relaxing for today. This weekend I have 8 drawings to do for a book - I have to buy some paper today and some good ink pens. My son took mine and used them up with his Japanese drawings (I don't mind, he did some beautiful ones)
So, Catherine here signing off!
92% higher on flair. I do Love that!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Killing me Softly

I love this song...

Anyhow, I'm about dead, lol. Today I woke up and it was SUNNY - which meant I had to mow the lawn, so my son and I took two hours this afternoon and ATTACKED, MOWED, and WEED WHACKED. I might not have been so tired if I hadn't been to gym already this morning. The garden looks terrifc though - my son and I make a good team.
I grabbed some nettles by accident though, and my fingers still tingle. They are potent in the spring. Ouch.
Two cars have had their tires removed this week in the village. Very strange - it's so quiet here. But it's certainly not funny for the car owners.
Other news - the 8th of May came and went - the ceremony for the end of WWII here in France. We gathered at the war memorial where the mayor gave a speech thanking the veterens and they played the national anthem on a cassette player in the back of a jeep. LOL.

Afterwards we went to the cemetary where five English aviators and one Australian aviator are buried. You have to realize that during the war here, the Germans had forbidden the villages to bury any enemy soldiers, so when the plane crashed, the villagers all ran to help out, to carry the bodies away from the crash, and to gather what identification they could before the Germans came. There are still people in this village who remember the plane crash. Farmer Duval, for example, was only seventeen at the time, and he told me he was the first to arrive because he had his bike. Madame Lemarié was a young girl, and she remembers the crash and subsequent events well. There was one survivor - a photographer, who had managed to bail out when the plane was shot down. They hid him, then helped smuggle him back to England.
Last year, one of the aviator's family came to visit his grace (they'd never been over here - they found the grave completely by accident on the internet, through a blog...) It was one of the English aviator's brother. Lynn, an English woman who lives in the village, organized lunch for them and I went along to help her out. It was very moving. They were impressed by how neatly the villagers kept the graves. But you see, these soldiers are part of the villagers' memories. WWII might be something in the past for us, but they lived through it and it still stirs strong emotions. Madame Lemarié had tears on her cheeks when she met the English pilot's brother...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A hole in the sky

"There's a hole in the sky so the heavens can cry down on me..."

It's raining, in case you haven't guessed. A big clap of thunder woke me up last night, and then it poured. This morning the grass and flowers were all sodden and the leaves sagging from the weight of raindrops. The sky is the color of lead.

A bird flew into the house - I left a window open to air the rooms out a bit. Maybe he wanted to come in out of the rain! He left right away - I guess he didn't like Auguste barking at him. Auguste was Very upset that a bird dared come into the house. It might have been a barn swallow - they build their nests in barns under the rafters.
My daughter found a nest one day that a cat had knocked down. The mother bird was just a pile of feathers - nothing left. The babies somehow survived the fall and my daughter gathered them up (there were three of them - tiny, almost bald, ugly things with gaping yellow mouths and wild eyes) We shoved some bread soaked in milk down their gullets, and then wondered what to do with them. The babies, stuffed full, hiccoughed softly, blew bubbles of milk, and fell asleep.
My daughter and I went back to the stables to search for another nest. We found one that I could reach with a step ladder - & there were already three babies in it. I started to slip the orphans into the nest, one by one, when I noticed the mother swallow not four feet away from me. She was sound asleep, her head tucked under her wing. Thank goodness my daugther and I hadn't been talking or making noise. We finished and tip-toed away. For a day we stayed clear, not daring to hope. Two days later we went to the stall and looked up. Mother and father swallow were busy feeding their brood - of 6 baby birds! They hadn't noticed the additions - or didn't care. Our three orphans survived!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Beautiful Fairy Tale

Once upon a time,
in a land far away,
a beautiful, independent,
self-assured princess
happened upon a frog as she sat,
contemplating ecological issues
on the shores of an unpolluted pond
in a verdant meadow near her castle.
The frog hopped into the princess' lap
and said: Elegant Lady,
I was once a handsome prince,
until an evil witch cast a spell upon me.
One kiss from you, however,
and I will turn back
into the dapper, young prince that I am
and then, my sweet, we can marry
and setup housekeeping in your castle with my mother,
where you can prepare my meals,
clean my clothes, bear my children,
and forever feel grateful and happy doing so.
That night, as the princess dined sumptuously
on a repast of lightly sautéed frog legs
seasoned in a white wine with onion cream sauce,
she chuckled and thought to herself:

I don't fucking think so.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Queen of Procrastination

I took this test and was a little upset at the results. I went back and redid it three times, trying to figure out if I could change it. Why? I didn't like the way they describe me as 'my brain fell out!' How insulting!! I tried to be more judgemental in the test, but to tell the truth, the only things I get judgemental about were the questions about sex and marriage - I think people should be more or less the same age and monogamy is the only way for me (at least for me). My brain has not fallen out. I simply refuse to judge people. Is that bad???

You Are 80% Open Minded

You are so open minded that your brain may have fallen out!

Well, not really. But you may be confused on where you stand.

You don't have a judgemental bone in your body, and you're very accepting.

You enjoy the best of every life philosophy, even if you sometimes contradict yourself.

Anyhow, I started "Wicked" and LOVED it - am halfway done already and am looking forward to tonight when I can sit down and read!
I also read "Dark Wind" by Clive Cussler (I bought it for my hubby but had to read it first) It is full of the usual Dirk Pitt adventure and Clive Cussler writing. But I'm not complaining - he writes a cracking story. I can get over the opaline green eyes (I started counting how many times he wrote that and lost track by chapter eleven, lol.) But it's true - people do forget this sort of thing. And the girl friends are predictably both independent and completely reliant on the MAN. It's men's fiction at its best - my husband Loves Clive Cussler. I love Dirk Pitt! LOL.
As soon as I finish Wicked, I'm starting "Keep me Forever" by Rosemary Laurey. Vampires and witches and shapeshifters...Oh my!
Well, I should maybe get back to work on my own book that is just about done - I set myself a May deadline and it's May, so I have three weeks to
Yes, the Queen of procrastination is Moi.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A sad story, a truck, and a little old lady.

I was over at Dakota's blog and read the saddest story - it was so sad I coldn't even post a comment. But I really sympathised about the main rant she was ranting about (the sad story was back story) - she was ranting about people asking for money (for worthy causes) aggressively and in the wrong place. And I have to admit, there is a time and a place for everything.

One day, for example, I was in an automobile accident (nothing serious) and I parked in a church parking lot to get the insurance straightened out with the truck that hit me (he'd already tried to drive away but I literally jumped out of my car and stood in front of him - so I was mucho upsetto.) And while he's screaming at me, and I'm writing his license-plate number down and every other number and address I could see on the truck because he's not getting out of the cab, this poor little old lady comes over from the church and shoves a wooden box under my nose and says, "Give to the Poor!"

I'm not hard-hearted. I'm one of those people who give money to every begger she sees, I pick up hitch hikers, I send checks to the Red Cross, the Hurricane fund, the tidal wave name it. But a truck had just broadsided me and had tried to run away, and I was fuming. The driver was telling me it wasn't his fault - he hadn't seen me and didn't know he'd even hit me (he was switching lanes when he shouldn't have been, the idiot) my cousin and daughter were in the car - my daughter (6) was hysterically crying. My door and window were a crumpled mess, my hand was cut where the window had exploded and I'd put my hand up instinctively...and this lady was shaking a box under my nose and asking me to give to the poor. I said "Lady, not right now," ...and she started to argue with me!

I think she must still be praying for my soul. I have never, ever sworn at a little old lady, but I did this time. (I can't even write what I told her, I'm too ashamed. Let's just say it involved the box and would have been extremely painful...)
My daughter stopped crying to hear what I was saying, my cousin, whose father is in the army, turned bright red, and after that the truck driver meekly got out of his cab and gave me his license to copy.

So let this be a lesson to you - if you have to collect money, don't do it to someone who's just been in a car accident and whose temper may be a just teeny bit frayed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A conference in Wiesbaden

Here is a view from the conference hotel window:

I had a great time - I got back yesterday and hugged my kids, noticed the house was clean and took them out to dinner to say thanks for mowing the lawn and cleaning the house while I was gone.

The conference was a lot of fun. I met some wonderful readers and writers. Rosemary Laurey was there and she is terrific. We gave a workshop on vampires and had a great time. I got her fourth book in the series and I am Loving it. (Keep me Forever) I also discovered Sherrilyn Kenyon (I don't know What took me so long - I love vampires and Greek myths, this was too good to be true! I am now a fan girl! LOL - it also helps that she's sweet and funny!)
My roommate was nice and didn't snore, and we had fun going out for beer at night at a Viking Bar!

There was some good advice for aspiring authors and a workshop on mangas given by yours truly - some truly stupendous manga authors and illustrators showed up so we had a really great time.
But the best thing I did was going to a Spa for an afternoon - it was lovely! Wiesbaden is built on hot springs, was a Roman outpost, and has a beautiful thermal spa right near the conference hotel. :-)
Well, I'll try to write a more coherent report when I've had a decent night's sleep!
Right now I have to go see what the puppy is up to!