Thursday, May 31, 2012

Still Looking

For my peaceful place.  Things came to a head yesterday for one part of the craziness and it wasn't nearly as bad I I'd expected.  Another part isn't close to being closed, so there's that to still angst over.  :shrug:  I'm motoring along like always.  And hey, my brain hasn't exploded yet, so that's something.  Right?

In the meantime, I'm taking the night off.  Here's another pic for you to enjoy, though...

I say the avocets were having a footrace and the bird on the right decided to cheat.  What d'ya think?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finding A Peaceful Place

Things around here are kinda crazy right now.  Personally, I'd like to go hide out at Mom's house for a month.  She's got a spare bed and she's the most relaxed person I know.  Total stress free human being.  Hell, even her heart attack a while back wasn't stress induced.  Of course, running away and hiding doesn't help.  Everything you want to escape is still there when you get back.  And you always have to go back eventually.

Yesterday I took off from the house for a little while.  I went for a walk and took the camera.  I didn't go very far.  I just walked the alleyways near the house, snapping pics of whatever caught my eye.  The above pic was a couple blocks from here and it's not of anything special, but it just looked so serene.  A peaceful place to escape to without actually leaving.

Another peaceful place I escaped to yesterday was into my novel.  I shut the world away into a little box and typed.  Sure, the writing itself wasn't serene or peaceful, but just being able to get away - even if I never actually left - helped.  Plus, I got 3000 words out last night, which always makes me feel good.

Where do you go when you want to run away but you can't actually leave?  Do you take a walk or can you escape into a book you're either reading or writing?  Do peaceful pictures help?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day, here's an awesome video of the Marine Corps Marching Band doing Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever.

Take today to remember those who gave their lives fighting for what they believed in - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Picture Pause - Bird 'Tude

We all know cats have attitude, but did you know birds can give you attitude, too?  This is a Western Kingbird, and yeah, he's giving me the 'tude.  But hey, as long as he's eating all the moths his little belly can hold, he can give me whatever attitude he wants.

(Of course, it could be giving me 'tude because I keep calling it a him and it's really a her.  If so, she needs to cut me some slack.  It's hard to tell with some birds.)

Have a great Memorial Day weekend if you're here in the states.  Otherwise, just have a great weekend.  ;o)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Talks Too Much

Years ago I was flipping through some stuff my mother had saved from my childhood.  In the box was a stack of old report cards.  I wasn't the best student in the world, but even with that, I got mostly As and Bs.  Not really remarkable.  What was remarkable were the constant notations of 'Talks too much' - every term for damn near every grade.

I don't remember a lot of my childhood.  I think I vaguely remember being told to be quiet on at least a few occasions.  (Or it could just be a memory of a memory of someone else telling me about it.)  I know my mother tells the story of when I was small and she asked me why I wouldn't be quiet.  My reply "I was born to talk". 

Thinking about all of this now, it makes me wonder if all of that has carried to now.  You can't actually hear me on the internet, but I'm still out here talking.  I comment on blogs and Facebook.  I write this blog.  I tweet - albeit sporadically.  And looking back at those long ago teacher comments, I wonder if perhaps I might talk too much.

Sometimes when I comment on another person's blog, I look up at the other comments and note those are like a line, maybe two, while my comment is a couple paragraphs.  That's when the elementary school teachers invade my brain.  "You're doing it again.  You're talking too much.  No one's going to like you if you don't stop talking so much."

:shrug:  If they only knew.

So, I'm a chatterbox.  It's who I am.  I'm the daughter of a consummate salesman and the youngest of five children.  If I didn't talk so much I would've never been heard.  And really, how much is 'too much'?  I'm guessing the poor sap who gets stuck behind me in line at the grocery store probably thinks I talk too much.  (Yeah, I can easily turn a quick stop at the store into a fifteen minute conversation.)  I try to be considerate of those around me, but... well... that's not always possible.

I need to just accept who I am and stop worrying so damn much.  Ya know what I mean?  So what if my comments are way longer than everyone else's.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if the comments I'm leaving on your blog are too damn long, now's your chance to speak up.  I'll try to honor your wishes.  I may not always succeed because hey, I'm still that little girl who talks too much.


Now it's your turn to fess up: What was the most frequent comment on your old report cards?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Picture Pause - Fly on White Iris

I don't know if you can see it on there, but there's a housefly on the white iris.  I didn't plan it.  Hell, I didn't even know it was there until I downloaded the pics and looked closely.  Without the damn bug, this would be a frame-able shot.  With the bug, it's just a curiosity.

Unlike this shot, where I aimed for the bee. 

I'm not a fan of bugs in general, but I think that one is worth taking a picture of - especially since its color offsets so nicely against the purple flower.  Green bee = pretty.  Housefly = gross.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Playtime is Over

This morning on Jeffe Kennedy's blog post Doggedness, Stick-to-it-iveness and Perseverance she mentions an encounter with a three year old - Betsy - and something the little girl said that's now stuck in my brain.  “I *was* having fun, but I’m not having fun anymore!”

I think Jeffe talked about it in reference to trying to find the fun when all it feels like you're doing is working, but it hit me a little different.  For me, I keep wondering if I haven't been playing Betsy for months now.

I think I might be sitting around pouting because I'm not having fun anymore.   :stomps one foot in disgust:  And I wanna be having fun.  Dang it.

Oh puleeze.

Nobody said any of this was going to be fun.  And I'm way too old to throw a pout-fest when it's not so much fun.  This is my frickin' job.  Sure, I'd like if it was fun all the time, but the reality of it is that it's work - sometimes damn hard work.  If I wanted it to be fun all the time, I'd just sit here writing and never bother to edit.  I'd never bother to try and get my work into some publishable shape.  I'd just write and write, like I did when I was a little girl.

Heh, maybe that's why I have so many manuscripts I never really finished.  I wasn't willing to put forth the effort, and now I've got so much work to do it seems insurmountable.  (But that's a theory for another day.)

Needless to say, my inner Betsy needs to take a nap.  Or sit in a time-out for a few weeks so I can get some genuine, totally un-fun work done.  Playtime is over, little girl.

So, regardless of whether this is supposed to be my day to relax or whether I have other more fun things to do, I need to spend some serious time doing serious things.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Got Nuthin'

Seriously.  I'm tapped out.  I griped about it the other day on Twitter (and as such, Facebook), but I really do hope this is rock bottom.  Because, ya know, I feel all dessicated inside.  Dry.  Dusty.  Empty of words.  If you press your ear to my head, you'll hear the whistling wind.  If you looked in my ear, you might see tumbleweeds. 

I know what I probably need to do is just chain myself to this damn chair, quit whining, and write.  Sounds good in theory.  Too bad reality has too much going on for me right now to devote any good block of time to figuring my way out of the wasteland.  Maybe this weekend I'll have a break long enough to tear through the dam.

Ever been in this place?  How'd you find your way out? 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I hope you all have a lovely day with your moms or your children or your step-children or your furbabies or ... 

Oh, what the heck...  Just have a wonderful day with whoever you care about.  Today's all about the love.  And pie.  Gotta have pie.  ;o)


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Stuff and a Winner

We had 13 comments for the big drawing - 6 from the original post and 7 from the Last Chance post.  Thank you all for throwing your hats into the ring.  You are all dipped in Awesomesauce.  Too bad even though I wish all of you could win, there can be only one.  The Custom Random Number Generator at tells me that the winning comment is  #7 - the first comment on the Thursday 5/10 post.

Congratulations, JB Lynn, your 'Swaglicious' comment got you the awesome Swagness.  Thanks for being a loyal follower of The Writing Spectacle.  Email me with your snail mail address and I'll get your stuff out on Monday.

Now, on to other news... Well, I don't really have much.  I drove up to Fort Collins to rescue the kid (and the remainder of her belongings) from college.  And of course, all the dollies were taken, so we carted everything by hand from her 7th floor room out to the parking lot.  4 trips... well 4.5 since she carted one load while I cleaned.

It doesn't look that bad going from the red dot to the green dot and back, but trust me.  It was a haul - especially carrying the microwave.  Ugh.  At least we weren't like the guy we shared an elevator with who was carrying a mini-fridge out.  That would've killed me.

In other good news, I saw a bald eagle yesterday.  He was hanging out on a pole alongside the road.  Shocked the crap out of me.  I mean, I know there are eagles somewhere in this state, but I never thought I'd see one in the farmlands.  The mountains, maybe, but never the flat scrubby part of Colorado.  He must've been lost or something.

So, what's on your radar these days?  Kids getting out of school?  Plans for summer?  What has you so tired lately?

And let's all give JB a round of applause.  Congratulations, JB.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Last Chance for Swag

Okay, I probably should've known better than to run a contest - because they never do well here at The Writing Spectacle - but I did throw one out there to celebrate reaching 30K pageviews on this blog.  If you haven't entered yet, you have until tonight.  And if you never do enter, here's what you're missing:

- a nifty plastic bookmark / keychain with a kick-ass message (I bought extras for myself and the Kid, I liked them so much)
- a couple trendy notepads - with cute sayings
- a totally cool purple & black metallic notepad holder with its own tiny pen  (gotta love the tiny pen)

So, if you haven't commented over there, comment here.  And as a special thanks for the people who commented on Thursday's post, if they comment here, too, they get an extra chance at the goodies.

Hey, it's my contest - I can stretch the rules if I want to.  (And no, running over to Thursday's post and commenting now won't get you anything special.  This only applies to comments made prior to now.)

Y'all have until midnight tonight.  Since I'm going to be out of town tomorrow, I'll post the winner either tomorrow night or Saturday.

Thanks again for stopping by.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Patience Pays Off

Okay, so I'm a bird nerd.  I love watching birds, looking for birds, adding new species to my life list.  (Oddly, don't like parrots - but that's a story for another day.)  A week or two ago, I was driving past a nearby lake and saw a big bird I didn't recognize.  I mean, I thought it was a cormorant, but there are several species and I couldn't be sure.  So I sped home to grab my camera.  Sure enough, the feathery bugger was nowhere to be found when I got back.  Here and there since, I've been taking the camera over to the locale to try and catch said feathery bugger.  No luck.  I caught part of him flying away once, but other than that, nada.

This morning I was in a particularly foul mood (no pun intended), and since I couldn't get ahold of my mom to vent it out, I grabbed the camera.  I got some really nice flower shots and a few good duck shots, but the cormorant was nowhere to be seen.  Shrugging it off, I got ready to go to my other favorite place to bird.  If the cormorant wasn't going to show, I could probably catch an American Avocet or some other nifty bird.

As I got close to my car, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  Something big was landing.  Probably just a Canada Goose or some such common bird.

Lo and behold, it was the elusive frickin' cormorant.  And of course, it was in the middle of the lake, with the sun at an odd angle for taking pics.  So I walked around the lake and used my zoom to get some middlin' shots.  Several times when I went to take the pic, the damn bird dove under the water.   I took as good a shots as I could and then headed for the car.  At this point, the cormorant took off.  He circled the lake and my head several times, flying just fast enough to make it really hard to get a pic.

Finally, he took pity on me.  He landed in a tree.  On the opposite side of the lake from where I was standing - he couldn't make it easy for me - but he stayed in that tree until I got right up underneath him.  And took this:

Pretty damn cool, huh?  I left there feeling pretty good about life in general.  Went over to my other birding spot and got a shot of four little Phalaropes getting chased off by a bully Avocet.  Good birding day.  It sure changed my crappy mood, let me tell you.

And it served as a reminder.  Patience pays off. 

Which reminds me.  If you haven't entered last Thursday's contest, head on over there.  I mean, I'd love for one of the people who have already entered to win, but the more the merrier.  You have until this coming Thursday (5/10) to comment.  Still haven't decided on a prize, but I've got some ideas.  Swag acquired.  Whoever wins is gonna love it.  So enter while you still can.  ;o)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Picture Pause - Hungry Little Squirrel

You can't really tell from the pic, because there's really nothing for perspective, but he's a pretty small squirrel.  In fact, I think this little guy is probably the first of this year's litters.  All together now...


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just Meh

I picked up this book a few weeks ago (whose title and author shall remain nameless).  It had all the earmarks of being something I'd love.  First off, it's a suspense.  Second, it's near-future - which I love.  Plus, it has big ideas that I'm sympathetic toward (as opposed to big ideas that make me want to gag).

I tried to read it.  I slogged through 211 pages for petesakes.  And that took me 2 weeks.  Meanwhile my TBR pile was growing and beginning to get a mite testy that it was being neglected.  Yesterday, I made myself pick the damn thing up again.  I read two pages before putting it back down again.  At that point, I admitted defeat.

You know me - I hate not finishing a book I put so much time and effort (and money - since it was a hardcover) into.  That's part of the reason why I tried so hard to finish this damn thing.  I wanted to love it. In the end, though, I just didn't.  And here's the thing.  I didn't hate it either.  It was just 'meh'.

And I can't put my finger on exactly why it was just meh.

Maybe it was that the characters felt flat to me.  Maybe it was that early on, I could see where the story was going.  Maybe it was that I had such hopes for this novel that I oversold it to myself and then it under-delivered.  :shrug:

I kept reading, hoping the characters would do something to make me love them or hate them or feel something for them.  I read on praying to the reading gods that the author would do something unexpected to make the story sing.  I pushed ahead dreaming that the story would live up to my expectations.  And I wasted two weeks and 211 pages doing it.

Today I'll be moving on.  I have a whole piles of works by awesome authors I know won't disappoint me.  Hell, the new Allison Brennan alone should pull me out of the malaise this book put me into.  If that doesn't work, I have Kevin Hearne, Laura Griffin, Nancy Holzner, Gini Koch, Justin Gustainis, Monica McCarty, David Farland - to name a few - to brighten my spirits.

Unless it wasn't that author and it was me.  Gack, what a depressing thought.

What about you?  Ever read a book that was 'just meh'?  How long do you usually last before you give up on a story?

And don't forget to enter my 30,000 Pageviews Contest.  You have until the 10th.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Unexpected Milestone and a Contest

I rolled over 30 thousand page views this morning!  Thank you all for your support.  In honor of this milestone that I didn't even know I was close to reaching, I think I'll have a drawing.  Leave a comment on this post - one per person, please - and I'll throw all the names into a drawing next Thursday (5/10/12).  Whoever wins will get... Oh hell, something fun and quirky*.

* Since I just thought this up on the fly, I haven't a clue as to what exactly I'm going to mail.  Probably something that'll fit in a Priority Mail flat rate box.  Which pretty much leaves this to U.S. residents only - unless I get a wild hair to ship up to Canada or elsewhere overseas.  You never know, so comment away.  =o)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I have a lot of personal things going on right now - not all of which I'm at liberty to discuss, and a couple I wouldn't want to throw out into the world wide web anyway.  So, here's some randomosity for y'all...

If you didn't see me say this on Facebook yesterday, I managed to trace my ancestry back to the Mayflower (1620 for those like me who couldn't remember exactly when that ship landed).  John Howland came over by himself and Elizabeth Tilley came over with her parents.  They got married here and in 1623 had Desire Howland - my first relative of that branch born on North American soil.  Of course, both of Elizabeth's parents died in 1621, so they didn't get to meet Desire, but Pilgrim life was hard.  And sadly, Elizabeth also outlived Desire by 3 years.

I also found another Native American in the tree yesterday.  I traced back to a guy named Moses who married a gal named Massey.  Her surname was listed as 'White' in one place, and 'White Cherokee' in another and finally as Arnet.  When I searched the 'Arnet', I found her parents listed as 'White Cherokee' and 'Mourning Flowers'.  Mourning Flowers... how's that for a cheery thing to name your child?

In non-heritage news...

Ever just be writing along and realize somehow your character's day just got really short?  I mean, at the beginning of the chapter it was morning, and she finds out she's got to rush off somewhere, but in the short span of time it takes her to get there, night has already fallen.  Derp. 

Peanut butter mixed with caramel ice cream syrup makes a great dip for apples and bananas.

Jett's chocolate covered mini-marshmallows are not as good as they sound.  Somehow the process of mass producing them makes them all chewy and gross.

A butterfly can sit perfectly still on a dandelion for several minutes, but the second you go for your camera, it flies away.  This leads me to believe the butterflies around here are camera shy.

When you hear rushing water in the dark, don't assume your one neighbor is filling his pool.  Could be that the other neighbor is accidentally flooding his crawl space.  Oops.

What random things do you have for me this morning?