Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Places you're gonna Wanna Visit!

Some great free places I’ve discovered with sage advice to make life easier, and cool stuff to make it more fun.


When housework gets to the CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) stage:

Change your life in 10 minutes a day:

Quizzes to help you understand yourself better:


Puzzles, you pick from pages of beautiful pictures, and the cut of the puzzle. Hours of fun:

Expand your vocabulary and help defeat hunger with just a click:

Furry, funny, two of my favorite sites:


Maybe these don’t appeal to you. Are there other places you like better? Have you ever put random words in Google just to see where the search leads? Do you think people spend too much time on the internet?

I'm moving soon. Get a preview of my brand new Word Press blog:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Painting Sarah: A Portrait of Autism...

Normally, I go for funny on Fridays, but I happened on a video that I just had to share with you.

A couple of days ago, I read Carrie Spencer's blog,  and was blown away by the video she posted. So blown away that I didn't stop with just the one video. I watched several of the amazingly talented Chris Scalf's   videos. And then I happened on the one I'm posting here.

This video is not only one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen, somehow this father manages to capture the autism of his beautiful little girl. How do I know? My grandson is autistic. And yeah, I see him in Sarah. Autism isn’t pretty, but these kids are magical. And somehow Mr. Scalf has captured that magic in his work. 

lDid you know autism affects 1 in 110 children? Do you know anyone with autism? Are you surprised how much the picture resembles a photograph? Awesome huh?

Next Friday, we'll get back to the funny stuff.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Free Brain Food

Anybody who’s ever happened onto this blog probably knows I’m a nerd. Can’t help it. I love learning. And what’s the problem with that? Learning throughout life is a great way to sharpen the mind and increase enjoyment of the world around us. There are thousands of opportunities out there, books, classes, and even free online lectures. You won’t get a degree (but that too is available online these days), but these sites offer a lot if you don’t need the letters after your name.

Disclaimer: I haven’t actually taken (listened to?) any of the courses at these sites, but I have poked around on the sites more than once, and they seem to have good content and easy, free access. There are several courses I’d like to try. As soon as I get my current manuscript polished, I’m going to try one (or more) of these. Why not?

I love the name of this site, and there are a couple of courses I’m going to get into at the first opportunity:

These two also look very interesting:

I’ve heard many good things about the BBC languages site:

Did you know about these websites? Have you ever taken an online course (for credit or not)? Have you ever investigated furthering your education online?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Who's In Charge Here?

copyright Cheryel Hutton 

Cheryel can’t be here today. I tied her up in the closet she had something she had to attend to. Who am I? I’m Quill, Cheryel’s muse. I usually hang out as a dragon, but I’m taking the form of a woman to type this (I make too many mistakes using my claws). I’m here to tell the world Cheryel’s secret problem: she doesn’t type fast enough!

I seriously do not understand. I’m sending her characters and stories, and she keeps shoving them aside. What does she mean she has to polish the last one first? If she’d typed them properly she wouldn’t have this problem. And there’s the one about she has too many stories in her head already. Well, if she’d type faster, she wouldn’t have that problem either. And the worst is needing to spend time with her “family.” Now really, why does she need anybody else when she has all the people I pull into her head.

Right now, she’s finally finishing work on the romantic suspense I gave her over a year ago. It took her forever to even start writing it. And she took time out to write a shorter story, but goodness! How long does it take? I have a vampire story I want her to write, and a couple of funny ones, and there’s another romantic suspense that stars characters from her very first manuscript, the one she screwed up so badly that no one will ever see it. At least I hope not.

Yikes! I think she’s getting loose, I mean it’s about time for her to get home. Now don’t tell her I wrote this. Promise?

Writers: Go write!
Non-writers: Do whatever it is you do.

Friday, September 16, 2011

And They're off!

Breaking news: The dog and cat conflict has started. Battle one was noted late yesterday. And it was...cute?

Here's the video:

Do you think the dogs or cats will win? Which is the cutest? Don't you wish humans dealt with disagreements like this?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

10 Random Facts About Me

In July and August, I took a Blogging for Brand class from the amazing Kristen Lamb. I’ve never been part of a group quite like this one. We emerged from the class being much more than classmates. We’re more like a family. We even have our own twitter hashtag #wana711. You are all welcome to come and play.

My wana711 sisters Kate MacNicol  and Linda Burke tagged me to play the 10 random facts game. Tameri Etherton also asked to tag me, but gave up on me and tagged someone else. I don’t blame her, I’ve been very slow lately. But I want to mention her anyway. I feel really bad that I’m only now getting around to doing this blog.

Now the 10 random facts about me:

1.       Due to a birth defect (Tetralogy of Fallot), I had open-heart surgery when I was 3, 9, and the complete repair when I was 20.

2.       I have two beautiful, grown, daughters.

3.       I will have been married to my husband for 12 years in November.

4.       My husband and I have two dachshunds now, but in the past my children and I have had dogs, cats, a chinchilla, iguanas, rabbits, mice, and ferrets. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting some varmints. Did I mention I love animals? They tend to love me too. Just ask the people who’s animals took a liking to me when they didn’t like anybody else. Odd, really. I believe it’s my Native American genes.

5.       I used to be an RN. Health reasons forced me to quit several years back.

6.       I have a hard time saying any one thing is my favorite. For instance, my favorite colors are purple, blue, and red—it all depends on the shade.

7.       I love music. My favorite is classical, but I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. Especially 80’s pop and classic rock. Truth is, there aren’t many pieces of music that I don’t like.

8.       My favorite current TV shows (remember my problem choosing only one) are Bones, Dr. Who, and Criminal Minds. Second place goes to Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, The Glades, and CSI (all three, but esp. original and NY).

9.       I’m a science nerd. I love reading books about early humans, dinosaurs, and other science topics. I also buy used science textbooks and skim them when I have a minute. Story ideas have come from this odd behavior.

10.   I know American Sign Language well enough to have basic conversations. I know some German, and I’m working on learning Spanish. 
The game requires me to tag four more people, who post their own ten random facts and tag others. I must apologize, I only sort of have 4:  Donna NewtonRiver The Beagle, who's mom and blog assistant is the amazing writer Stephanie Lilley, and Jody Wallace--who is declining the pleasure of tagging others. I'm letting her get away with this because she's a fellow Tennessee author, and she has some really cool cat (and book) videos on her website.

HHave a great rest of the week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is It My Turn Now?

Most romance writers—and readers—are women. Women have a tendency to put their own needs and desires behind that of other people. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; it’s a built-in instinct that probably has contributed a lot to our species survival and accomplishments. A person, male or female, can do worse than caring about other people. However, the instinct to put everyone’s needs and desires above our own can be a liability when we try to build something for ourselves. Like a writing career, for instance.

Women who are trying to build a writing career are working from home, doing tasks that require hours alone with her computer. They tend to be interrupted. A lot. This, obviously, can make it difficult to get a career going. And it isn’t just women writers who feel the pinch. Women who go back to school, who start other businesses from home, who bring home work from their offices at night. We as women have a tendency to keep ourselves available to our families and friends. We tend to allow the interruptions, in part because we feel guilty about spending time alone with our computers, books, paperwork, etc.

I’m not saying men don’t have these issues also. It just seems that men in general have less difficulty shutting the door and ignoring what’s going on outside. They seem to be less likely to feel guilty about the time spent too. It seems women have more of a problem carving out their own spaces in time to do what’s important to them.

So what’s the answer? I believe each person must find her own personal path. Just as no one writing method works for every writer, no one technique works for every person trying to find the right balance between caring for others and caring for herself. Personally, I’m amazed at the number of writers who manage to become successes with small children at home. Writers like Nora Roberts, Heather Graham, Allison Brennan, and others. Nora Roberts, who sons are now grown, says that when her children were young she taught them that when she was writing not to bother her unless there was blood or smoke. Maybe we could all take a lesson from this. Our families and friends are capable of caring for themselves. Yes, it’s a good thing to care deeply for others, but we also need to allow others their own spaces. We need to let others learn independence. And we need to take care of ourselves.

Do you think women are more likely to have difficulty in carving out space and time for their own needs and desires? How do you deal with this issue? Are you guilty of giving up your desires to cater to others?

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On this 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers, let’s remember those who were injured or killed. Then let us extend that sentiment and remember all the other victims of terrorism. The thousands of victims from all over the world. To all of them, and their families, let’s extend our heartfelt sympathy.

And let us hope and pray that very soon we will learn to live together on our little blue ball, and that we will learn that disagreeing with the way a person lives is no reason to hurt or kill them. We are each one of us different, each of the billions of occupants of this planet, no two are the same. Let us celebrate that difference, and not hate each other because of it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cat Reads! Stop The Presses!

Kitty takes time from conflict preparations to catch up on her reading. Or is she learning how to attack dogs?
Either way, she's cute!

Have you seen a cat read before? Do you think this is for real? Do you like cute videos?

Have a wonderful Weekend!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Procrastination or Hoarding?

We got a new clothes dryer today. This forced us to clean stuff off and around the old one. That cleaning unearthed a couple of treasures—and a lot of junk. Oy!
The purging we had to do reminded me, again, of how much smaller this duplex is than the one we had before. Which was smaller than the one before, which was much smaller…well you get the picture. The reality is that we have too much stuff.

I cringe when I see previews of TV shows or news stories about hoarders. I did a gig as a home health nurse a few years back, and I was actually inside a house that could be on one of those shows. The one thing video can’t convey is the stench. It really is awful. I see video of a place like that, and I feel a little better about myself. I’m not that bad, I think smugly. But setting here at my writing desk, I see the clutter around me, and I know there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. But can I do what needs doing.

I could offer up excuses. My husband uses a wheelchair, I have chronic medical problems. I’ve been getting a lot of writing and writing related stuff done. There just plain aren’t enough hours in the day. The truth is most of the problem is plain old procrastination.

This actually is good news. I can’t control my health, or what my husband can/will or can’t/won’t do. I can work on the procrastination. I wrote about procrastination Monday, so I should be well on my way to achieving great things.

But I procrastinated.

Have a productive hump day and a wonderful rest of the week!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Fear and Longiing

Last week I blogged about procrastination—with videos. I thought it would be an easy, fun way to get my Wednesday blogging done. Thing is, I learned something about myself.

To review: According to one of the videos I posted, there are three types of procrastinators. 1. Relaxed. This is the most common type, and is mostly avoidance of hard work. 2. Genius. This type of person waits until the last minute because they know they can. The result might not be great, but it’s passable. 3. Avoidance. This type has good intentions, but tends not to follow through. They are not good at time management and frequently become overwhelmed. Basically, they avoid because they’re apprehensive.

I’ve been guilty all three types of procrastination, but I firmly believe I’m primarily #3. I avoid and hope the issue will go away. Sometimes it actually works, but most of the time I’m just overwhelmed and behind. I don’t know if this is part of the pattern, but I tend to take on more than I can possibly do, then feel like a failure when I don’t meet my own, impossible, goals.

I really do mean well, I intend to do what I say I’m going to do—what I want to do. Thing is, I worry too much. OK, I’ll admit it. I’m scared. Scared of success? Failure? Don’t know. Just scared. Afraid of making a mistake, I guess. If I don’t try, I won’t have to face success or failure.

Now that I’m aware of the reasons behind my procrastination problem. I’m hoping to find ways to defeat my procrastinating ways.

Have a good week, and I hope the weather is good where you are.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Dancers Wear Fur

Blithely unaware of the strained relations and impending war between cats and dogs, chimpanzees continue to rehearse for the first presentation of the Simian Dance Company.

must point out here that the title of the video is “Dancing Monkeys.” However, these are not monkeys, they are apes. The easy way to remember is that monkeys have tails, apes don’t.
Chimpanzees are our closest relatives with less than 2% difference in our genetic codes
And yes, I too was surprised how well they could dance.

Do you like to dance? Have you ever danced with an ape? Would you like to? How about a zebra?

Have a wonderful weekend!