Thursday, March 21, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching - March 21st 2019 #Reviews

It's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during this past week.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Don't forget: I read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.


Here's what I read this week:

Secret of the Cannon RoomSecret of the Cannon Room by Steven Allan Pease
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment of the series. I love the characters, and was glad to join them on the next stage of their adventure. The plot is exciting and action-packed, holding your attention from start to finish. Also, I was pleased to see the improvements in the author's writing compared to the earlier books in the series.

Majipoor Chronicles (Lord Valentine, #2)Majipoor Chronicles by Robert Silverberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an excellent collection of stories, which are woven together beautifully, and wonderfully written. Though I was initially disappointed that it wasn't actually a continuation of the story from the first book, that disappointment quickly disappeared, and I got swept up in the enjoyment of learning more about the world, and the various races that inhabit it.

As for what I've been watching:

I did actually watch stuff this week, though I have no reviews for you, since what I watched was mainly just old episodes of shows I enjoy on TV. A couple were cartoons... I found "Tom And Jerry" with audio description, which was kind of cool... The others I watched were old episodes of "Friends" and "Big Bang Theory" mostly, with a few episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" thrown in. Oh, and I caught the end of "Homeward Bound" one day too... Love that movie! Basically, what I watched this week was whatever I found on TV that I felt like watching whenever I was in the living room for long enough to make it worth seeing what was on TV. That means I was usually watching the shows while playing ball with Lilie, hanging out with Joshua and Mollie, or doing some combination of those things. Hey, at least I watched something this week. *wink*

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

#WriterWednesday - March 20th 2019

My Magical Chapters Trilogy books are up for audition for a new narrator on ACX. The narrator I'd had originally lined up is no longer able to complete the projects, due to unavoidable changes in her circumstances, so we agreed it would be best to dissolve the contracts. If you're a female narrator who wants to narrate some fairy tale style children's fantasy books, and you're on ACX, feel free to look them up and submit an audition.

I'll soon need to decide between those who have auditioned. If you also find yourself needing to choose a narrator for the audio version of one of your books, check out these tips for choosing your audiobook voice. If you're interested: regardless of view point, my preference for the narrator's gender is based on the gender of the main character. In my Magical Chapters Trilogy, for example, the main characters are Paige, Daisy, and Luke. Since two of the three are female, the first and third books focus on Paige (the second one is officially more Daisy and Luke's story, though Paige is a big part of it, especially towards the end) and I want to use the same narrator for all three, I'm only asking for auditions from female narrators.

Anyway, in other news: during the past week, I finally got to do some writing again. I managed to write a couple of poems, and do a little work on the adventure story I've been trying on and off to write for some time now. It wasn't much, but it was more than I've been able to do in a while, and it felt good to be able to do as much as I did.

I'm not complaining about not having been able to work on my writing for a while. Sometimes you have to make writing your priority, and other times life has to be the priority. Recently, life has had to be the priority for me. Whatever the case is in your own situation, instead of complaining about your sacrifices, be proud of them.

No matter how you choose to juggle everything you want and need to get done, if you're trying to get a job that involves writing, and someone tells you, "You're a great writer, but..." chances are they mean it. Pay attention to what comes after the, "But," and realize that sometimes the reason they're not hiring you isn't personal. Also, remember that your ultimate writing goal doesn't have to match what you want to do with your life.

Still feeling anxious about how things are going with your writing? Take a look at this post about why journaling might be the key to overcoming your writing fears. Maybe it will help. If nothing else, you can use the writing prompts towards the end of the post if you're struggling with writers' block.

Whether you journal or not, if you have a blog, or intend writing posts to have on the blogs of others, here are some tips for writing strong web content.

Speaking of blogs: if you're a blogger - regardless of the platform you use - check out these ways to stay inspired and avoid blogger burnout, especially if you're looking for ways to breathe new life in to your blog.

No matter what you write, you need to take care of yourself, and make sure you get enough sleep. Or try to anyhow. You won't write your best stuff when you're tired, and that's OK. But if you can remember to get enough sleep, and avoid being tired as a rule, that would be even better.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

#Storms By The #Ocean, Medical Mutterings, #Baking, And Phone Upgrades

The above video is what it looked and sounded like when looking out of our living room window towards the ocean last Tuesday. The whistling sound is caused by the wind. It got worse and started raining shortly after that clip was done. Needless to say, the plans of the repair guys to be up on the roof doing more work that day were changed. The guy in charge came to make sure the skylight was secure, but wasn't about to do more than that. Quite frankly, we didn't blame him for not wanting to do the outside jobs in that weather. He promised to come back the first day it was safe, which was fair enough as far as we were concerned. Although, I don't know why they didn't just do the inside jobs while the weather wouldn't allow for them to be doing the outside jobs. Either way, I spent the day listening to the stormy weather and rough ocean, while alternating between playing with Lilie and doing things I both needed and wanted to do around the house. Well, that and resting some, since I'm still not 100% recovered. Pretty close though from my point of view, since I'm doing loads better, and don't hurt so much any more.

The weather wasn't quite as bad on Wednesday, but it was still pretty rough, so the repair guys still didn't come. Mostly that means it ended up another day like Tuesday had been, except I randomly decided I wanted to bake cookies. There's a sign I'm doing better right there... I haven't done much baking in the past couple of years, because I haven't really felt up to it. Anyway, I made some chocolate cinnamon cookies. Well, with some help from Kelly, since he had to reach up to get things down from the cupboards, and bend down to deal with the oven for me, since I'm still meant to be avoiding too much bending and stretching. Either way, chocolate cinnamon cookies were baked, and we enjoyed eating them afterwards. Kelly was pleased to have me baking cookies, and said the only way they could have been better is if they were brownies. Given his love of a good brownie, I took it as a compliment. No. I don't have photos of the cookies. I only made a small batch, and we'd eaten them before I thought about it.

Most of the rest of the week continued in the same manner. I didn't do any more baking, but the storms of various intensity prevented the workmen from coming to finish the roof and fix the skylight until yesterday, when the sun finally decided to return. Well, the sun actually returned on Sunday - rather appropriately - but they don't work on weekends if they can help it. As I said, I'm not sure why they didn't just come do the inside jobs while the weather was stopping them from doing the outside ones. It wasn't my choice to make though. If it had been, that's what they'd have done. But there you go.

Anyway, the not knowing what would happen each day until we got up and saw what the weather was doing made it even more difficult to plan what we'd be doing each day than it usually is for us, which was a bit frustrating. OK. A lot frustrating. Not that we usually have everything planned out, but we generally at least have tentative plans, and the result of the weather situation was that the tentative plans I'd had for the week went out of the window. Although, I did somehow end up being quite productive regardless, and I managed to cross lots of little tasks - both online and offline ones - off my to-do list, which is a good thing.

I made another attempt to get the bin of used needles sat on our kitchen counter picked up. I'm talking about the ones from the shots I had to have for the first week I was home. Yeah, we still have those. The council keeps insisting they don't have the paperwork to approve the pick-up, despite the hospital having done the paperwork twice already. Well, three times if you count the one they did for me again yesterday. The hospital would just take them and dispose of them for us, except they apparently aren't allowed to do that any more. Kelly did take them in, because they thought they could, and were going to. But apparently they're not lisenced to any more or something, because the nurse was told she wasn't allowed to accept them when she went to do so, and Kelly ended up bringing them back home. So we're still trying to get them picked up and disposed of. Bearing in mind, it's now almost six weeks since I had my surgery, which makes it about four weeks we've been trying to arrange for these used needles to be picked up now. It's the council causing the problem. I know for a fact the hospital has filed the paperwork. Anyway, let's hope the council actually agree they have the paperwork that approves the pick-up this time.

The other thing I sorted was upgrades for both phones. By which I mean, the home phone and internet, and my mobile phone. I needed to do the mobile badly, since - as I told the guy from the company when he finished his professional greeting, and asked me how he could help me - "My phone is dying, and I want a new one before it finishes the job." Yes, I actually said that. Anyway, while I was thinking about phones, I figured I'd get the internet upgraded too, since they've been offering a newer modem for a while, and we only hadn't accepted it because we were going to worry about it when we moved, and then we didn't move, and I kept not getting around to calling them back. It's different companies, but I figured I'd call both while I was thinking about it. Anyway, in both cases it's just newer versions of what I already had. Same companies, newer models of the same equipment really, and pretty much the same contract details. Although, I do have more internet data with my mobile now. Both the modem and the new phone should be here Friday or before. Oh, by the way, for those who might be wondering: my new phone is going to be an iPhone 6S. A silver one. Yes, I know that's not the most up to date version of an iPhone. However, it's a lot more up to date than the iPhone 4S I've been using, and it's what my brother, Carl, upgraded to a few months ago, so I know from him it's a good phone (both in general, and in terms of accessability for the visually impaired). I figure if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me, especially since it was him who provided me with the iPhone 4S, which has served me well for more than three years now, despite having been his for more than a year before that. Plus, I've heard stuff about some of the newer models not being so great in terms of accessability, so wanted to play it safe with getting one I know someone else who's blind is using just fine.

Other than that, I worked on some of my own writing, helped Kelly with some write-ups for one of his characters for a roleplaying game he's involved with, gave Joshua and Mollie some attention, played several hundred games of fetch with Lilie, helped out a little with what Kelly would let me help with around here, and took naps whenever I needed them. So, the week may not have gone quite to plan, but it was a productive one, and a reasonably good one. I hope your week was as good, if not better.

Monday, March 18, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Quotes For March 18th 2019

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.
~Paulo Coelho

If you don’t want anyone to know, don’t do it.
~Ancient Chinese proverb

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!
~Dr. Seuss

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.
~Frank Zappa

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
~Elie Wiesel

Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
~Lady Bird Johnson

Friday, March 15, 2019

#FurkidFriday: Joshua The #Degu Celebrates Turning Six

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu.

Last Saturday (March 9th) I had one of those birthday things. I'm now six years old. That's a big number. Here's a photo the human caretakers took of me on the morning of my birthday:

The human caretakers got me this toy:

It's a great toy. It's got coconut shell, grass, and wood involved in it, all of which I love. But I wouldn't play with it. At least, not until I got my morning Shreddie. The Mummy human kept trying to show it to me, but I just kept waiting for my Shreddie. After I'd had that, I went to check the toy out, and had a great time playing with it. In fact, here are a couple of photos of me doing just that:

Don't get me wrong, I love birthdays. Who doesn't? But I also love Shreddies, and I wasn't about to skip getting mine. Not even if it was for a birthday present. Hey, a degu's got to eat, after all, birthday or not.

Squeak soon,

Thursday, March 14, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching - March 14th 2019 #Reviews

It's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during this past week.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Don't forget: I read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.


Here's what I read this week:

Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files, #8)Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love the books in this series! Harry is an excellent and often entertaining character, and the other characters are well-rounded and interesting too. Also, the worldbuilding is wonderful. It's been the case for all the previous books in this series, and was the case for this one too. The story grabs you from the start, and holds you captibe while taking you on an action-packed emotional rollercoaster ride, which will have you laughing out loud one minute, and crying tears of frustration the next. At least, it did that for me.

White Night (The Dresden Files, #9)White Night by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Awesome book! I thought the previous ones were gripping reads, but this one... WOW! If I hadn't kept needing to sleep, I'd have ended up reading it in one sitting, because it was just so hard to put down.

As for what I've been watching:

Yeah... You can just skip this part if you like. I almost didn't even bother writing it. I got nothing watched again this week. No movies, and no TV shows - new to me or otherwise.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

#WriterWednesday - March 13th 2019

Make yourself comfortable, because I've been very productive this past week. Not with writing - despite my story's pleas for me to come spend time with it - but with sorting that huge stack of eMails and post notifications that were waiting for me to deal with them. This means I have quite a few posts and articles to share with you today. I'm proud of me for managing to get caught up. I gave myself March to do that, and actually managed to do it before we got half way through the month. And, yes, I did step away from the computer when I started to hurt, and rest when I needed to. I do feel a bit guilty for ignoring my writing in favour of dealing with everything else, but it was a concious decission, and I am glad I did it the way I did, especially since it's easier to get back in to reading something if you have to stop than it is to get back in to the flow of writing something. Now I'm able to sit at the computer comfortably for longer, and have caught up on things, perhaps I can get some writing done?

It's normal to feel a bit guilty when you don't get your writing time in though. I mean, every writer feels guilty sometimes when they don't write. If you're feeling that way right now too, here's how to deal with it. You're not alone! Besides, there is a time to write, and a time to not write. For example, sometimes your plan to just write on the plane (or whatever your backup plan was) can't work out for a valid reason. If that's the case, figure out why, and see what you can do for the future. But don't waste time feeling guilty about it. I'll try not to waste time feeling guilty too.

Have you forgotten to have fun writing? Then make it fun again!

Do you ever feel like you're not making any progress at all? Yeah, me too sometimes. But look at what you've achieved, and break what you still need to get done in to smaller chunks. It helps. Really. It does. Honest. Baby steps really is the way to get big projects done, and helps with solving the 'focussing problem' most writers don't realize they have.

By the way, are you overthinking everything you try writing? Just stop it. Yeah, I know that's easier said than done. But figure out how to do it anyhow. After all, it's one of the reasons why so many beginning writers never become successful - though not the only reason, of course. Having said that, here's why you should give yourself permission to quit, if you find writing really isn't what you want to be doing any more.

If it's not that you want to quit, but that you're just afraid of failing, here's how to write something knowing you might fail. Also, read this right now if you have no idea what you're doing.

Oh, and if you're worried you have nothing new and unique to say, don't be. Just find your own way to say it, even if others have said it already. Don't let that be your reason to quit. Just keep writing whatever it is you love to write.

So, let's assume you do want to keep writing. With that in mind, you're going to want to define success for you - the post I just linked to explains why. Also, here's the biggest change that must happen when you become a 'serious' writer, and some tips for being an effective writer, for you to bear in mind if your definition of success is more than just writing for yourself whenever you feel like it.

If your goal is to become a freelance writer, check out this ultimate answer sheet for advice on how to go about it, and answers to questions you might have.

Not having much luck getting freelance work, or making writing pay your bills some other way? Well, would it really be so bad if writing never became your day job? Short answer: no.

On the other hand, if you do manage to write for a living, here are some tips for the work-at-home author, which you might find useful.

Next, here's a post full of tips on how to establish a writing routine, one on developing a writing practice, another that asks how often you unplug, one that reminds you of the importance of scheduling your downtime and writing time, and another that talks about your priorities. These will come in handy when I'm working on establishing a new routine after a bit more recovery time. Or, more accurately, attempting to. I never have been great with routines. I plan to try a few things though. I'll figure out what works for me eventually.

On a similar note to the previous articles: please remember that sitting at your desk all day, while potentially great for productivity, is bad for your health in the longterm. I mean, look at what sitting too long is doing to your body. Not good, is it? So, remember to take care of yourself while working on your writing. To help you with that, here are some self care tips for writers. So, how's your writing going? Have you been remembering to take care of your health while working on it?

Are you distracted by your phone or other things all the time? Or are you good at staying off the phone and social media when it's meant to be your writing time, and only going online when you're not meant to be writing?

Regardless of how much time you spend online, if you're an author, you need to consider your online presence, and these mistakes to avoid.

Oh, and... Yes. blogs are still relevant in 2019 - just in case you were wondering.

Does showing people what you write ever stop being scary? Short answer: not really. I've published several thousand blog posts, and more than 50 books, and I still get that quivery butterfly feeling when I hit, "Publish," on anything. Probably always will.

No matter how you feel when it comes time to share your work, or even if you share it at all, what do you write?

Do you write short stories? Or, perhaps, you're thinking about doing so? If either of those applies to you, you might want to check out this series of posts on writing short stories for some tips.

Or maybe it's poetry you want to start writing? If so, here's how to start writing poetry.

Alternatively, if you write the kinds of fantasy stories where you're going to need an army in your tale, here's a post that talks about the popular tools of the trade for fantasy armies, another with tips to creating a fantasy army, and another that talks about using military casters.

Whether you write fantasy, adventure, or some other genre, if your characters have to make a journey, here are some tips for when a story hits the road, so you can make sure your characters are prepared for their journey, and that you know where they're going, and why.

Speaking of your characters: have you ever written anything using a decoy/false protagonist? Would you ever do it? As a reader, what do you think of the idea?

In reality, even the best of friends will argue sometimes. With that being the case, it's only natural you'll sometimes have a situation crop up when friends fight in fiction.

No matter who's in your story, or how well they get along, you're going to want to promote your book at some point. So, are character interviews worth the effort? I think so. I also think they're fun to do, and have done several myself.

Speaking of marketing: consider those times when free isn't really free, and word things correctly. We already know books on Kindle Unlimited are free to subscribers, so do everyone a favour and only mention the word "free" in your advert or post if you really mean it. If it's only free to subscribers, or to those who sign up for something, make sure you make that clear from the start.

By the way, have you heard of using your magic garden to tie your stories together? I hadn't either. It's an interesting idea though, don't you think? Could be fun. Mind you, you could say I've done something like it without realizing, because of the use of my pets in many of my stories - both stand alone and series - and poems, especially the degu books, where I've conciously used my degus for all four of them, even though only two of them belong to the series, and one of the stand alone stories isn't so obviously about my own degus (I make it clear that Buddy from "How To Trust Your Human" is Joshua, but don't make it so obvious that Oscar from "Degu's Day Out" is Jasper, because it's not so important for you to know that).

Anyway, no matter what you write, and whether it's part of your own magic garden or not, if you're feeling a little sour about the writing process right now, check out this post on turning a lemon in to a book.

Next, here's an interesting mini series. It talks about how stories go through phases just like matter, considering the solid foundation, the flowing liquid of plot, and the churning gas of ideas. Being the kind of person who likes to exercise both sides of her brain, I enjoyed this combining of the creativity of writing with scientific thinking. I hope you do too.

Last, but certainly not least, always remember that not everyone will like your story, but that doesn't mean it's a bad story. People have different tastes, and that's OK.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Of #Ocean Views, Medical Mutterings, Weather Reports, Home Repairs, #HarryPotter Boxes, And #Crafting

The photo at the top of this post is one we took of the ocean this past Sunday (March 10th). Here's a short video taken around the same time, for those who might want to hear it too:

Well, I'm doing a lot better. I'm still a bit sore, but nothing like I was. I can sit up for a long time now without it hurting, and have been able to reduce the amount of painkilers I'm taking. I wish I could have stopped them completely by now, but I'm getting closer to that point at least, which is something.

By the way, just because I can, here's a photo of the get well card my Dad and Nan sent me, which I didn't get a chance to have Kelly sort a photo of until now, but wanted to share:

Anyway, as it turns out, it's just as well I'm doing so much better really, since it's unexpectedly been a week filled with workmen doing repairs around here, and looks to be a similar week this week. At least, assuming the weather continues to co-operate, since they keep talking about storms. So far the storms have been good about coming at night most of the time though, so I get to enjoy listening to them - the parts I don't sleep through anyhow - but they aren't stopping the guys from doing the work.

Naturally, Lilie liked that the repair guys were here at first. That is, until she realised they were here to work, and not to play with her. Lilie loves people, so she's happy they greet her when they see her. But, if she had her way, they'd spend more time giving her attention, and less time working. Good thing Lilie's not in charge of them, isn't it? *wink*

So, they got the keys from the new downstairs neighbour, at last, and were finally able to fix the buzzer thingy. Well, mostly, which I'll explain in a moment. Anyway, it was, as we suspected, because of what nasty neighbour had done before she left that it was completely broken. She had jammed the button on the handset in that apartment so well it kept sticking. They actually had to replace the handset for that apartment because of the button sticking as fast as they freed it. So it works again now. Finally! At least, the part where we can let people in to the building works. The speaker... That's where the problem lies. You see, we thought that part was fixed too. Even tested it with the guy who fixed it, and everyone could hear each other. Except then the speaker stopped working again, which we only discovered because we got a delivery on Saturday and they couldn't hear us telling them to come in. They were able to because the button to open the door worked, and they pushed it when they heard the buzz, but they hadn't heard Kelly speak. We'll have to let the guys know when they're back this week that the speaker part isn't as fixed as we thought. It's progress though. At least we no longer have to try and get down to the main door before the postman gets bored of waiting to be let in to the building. That's a good start.

They're coming back this week because they're doing some other work around here too, including some work on the roof. Now they're doing the work on the roof, maybe they'll actually get the issue where it keeps raining in the downstairs hallway properly resolved. The guys who came before were only fixing the inside part of the problem. These guys are actually doing the outside repairs too, so there's hope. Plus, we know they're working hard, since we're running a cable out for the electric for them to be able to run their tools, so we'd know what time they arrive and leave even if we couldn't hear them working. Let's hope they keep it up.

Also, we discovered when Kelly went up in the attic to rescue the pigeon that the skylight up there is broken. We suspect it has been for a while, since it would explain why it's so drafty that side of the apartment, regardless of how warm the rest is. We don't go up in the attic, which is why we never noticed. Kelly only went up there that day because Lilie and I heard the pigeon, and he braved a trip up there to verify what it was, and try to rescue it. It turned out not to need rescuing, since it got out the way it got in. But it was good he went up there, because that's how we found out the skylight was broken. Although, the guys might have noticed while they're up on the roof. Either way, they'll be fixing that too. They plan to do it this week, as long as the weather isn't too nasty for them to be able to go up there, since they need to fix it from the outside, which means them being four stories up on the side of the building facing the ocean. I don't envy them that task, and certainly don't blame them for saying they're not coming to do that on a stormy day.

Oh, and they're going to put a couple of rails up in the bathroom for us. The occupational therapist finally got in touch, but they're the "emergency response" team, and since I'm now at the point where I can move enough that I don't need one of their bath chairs - especially since it will have been six weeks since my surgery by the time they could get me one - and they'd have to ask the landlords about doing some rails in the bathroom apparently anyhow (there's no rail to grab to steady yourself when you get out of the bath at the moment) we politely told them to forget it. We wanted them for help when I was first out of hospital. What that team can do for me it's a bit late for now. I thought they'd likely be too late when we got the letter saying I was going on their waiting list. As it turns out, we've got a couple of rails we were given, which we already know the landlords are happy for us to put up, but nobody got around to putting up, so we've asked the repair guys to do them. In all fairness, the repair guys did ask if there was anything else we had that needed doing. We figured it wouldn't hurt to mention those, and they said they'd do them. In theory that's going to happen this week too. The occupational therapist asked if there was anything else they could help with as well, but there's nothing else they handle that we need help with, so I told them no.

Anyway, let's hope these repair guys do follow through, and the work they promised to do does get done... Preferably soon, like they said it would. So far they've been great workers... Much better than most of the guys the landlords have had do stuff around here in the past. But we'll see what ends up happening in the longterm. If nothing else, at least the buzzer thingy now mostly works. I mean, that's an improvement to start with.

Although, I notice there's still nobody talking about when the windows will get replaced, even though that's something we've been promised for a couple of years now. Maybe I should mention those when the guys are around this week...

In other news...

My February Harry Potter box arrived right at the end of February, like it's meant to. But I didn't get a chance to have Kelly sort photos of the contents for me to post about it last week. So I'm doing it this week instead.

Inside was an owl wand...

A deer picture...

A t-shirt with the animals that are the symbols for the Hogwarts houses on it...

Some chocolate frog tea...

A butterscotch bath bomb...

And an ornamental golden egg...

Just thought I'd share photos of it all, for the benifit of those of you who like to know what's in my boxes.

Lastly, I haven't finished the owl I'm stitching yet, because I haven't really been working on it. I have managed to sort out a photo of the elephant for you though, like I said last week I'd try to do, so here it is:

And that's my week in a nutshell. Well, actually, that's my week in a blog post, but let's not be technical. *wink*

Monday, March 11, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Quotes For March 11th 2019

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
~Ancient Chinese proverb

I have learned that the point of life's walk is not where or how far I move my feet but how I am moved in my heart.
~Anasazi Foundation

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~Oscar Wilde

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
~Neil Gaiman

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
~George Bernard Shaw

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.
~John Lennon

Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart.
~Khalil Gibran

Friday, March 08, 2019

#FurkidFriday: Mollie The #Chinchilla With An Update On Everyone

Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm doing really well. I'm healthy, and as happy as I can be under the circumstances. Actually, at the moment we're all doing well, and all happy. Of course, we're all really missing Maizie. Me especially. But we're all fine other than that.

I mean, I was really sad when the Mummy human went to the hospital place. Even with my degu brother, Joshua, keeping me company from his cage next to mine, I was miserable for those days. I'm much happier now the Mummy human is home though. Especially these last few days, when she's been able to do stuff with us more, so the Daddy human hasn't had to do it all.

She still doesn't do all the things she used to, and sometimes starts talking about how she can't do things because of her tummy being sore, and how it will make her have to go back to the hospital place if she does. So sometimes the Daddy human still does some of the stuff the Mummy human usually does. But she's doing loads better.

I'm glad because I like the Mummy human doing things with me best. The little white Lilie dog is glad because the Mummy human plays ball with her best, and she's now playing with her better (though not like she did before going to the hospital place). As for Joshua... Well, actually, Joshua doesn't really care. He loves the Mummy human, and is more likely to let her pet him than the Daddy human, but mostly he doesn't care as long as he gets his nibbles.

Squeak soon,

Thursday, March 07, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching - March 7th 2019 #Reviews

It's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during this past week.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Don't forget: I read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.


Here's what I read this week:

Meridon (The Wideacre Trilogy, #3)Meridon by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was the best in the series. Meridon is a great character, even if I sometimes found her behaviour frustrating. Also, the plot was a lot better than in the previous two books. The only fault I have with it is that there were several chapters in the middle where it dragged, and became a bit dull. Had it not been for the dullness of those chapters, I might have given this book the full five stars.

As for what I've been watching:

Other than a few episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" I caught when they happened to be on TV while I was in the living room, I haven't watched anything again this week. No movies at all, and no new to me TV shows.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

#WriterWednesday - March 6th 2019

Is your site accessible? If not, can you try and make it that it is? I, and other visually impaired users, will be extremely grateful if you do. We'll also be more likely to come back, and to share your posts. Just saying.

Anyway, the day I had my surgery - which was February 7th 2019 - I also had an interview go live. If you haven't seen it, you can read it here. I was quite late checking in, and am even later posting about it on here, but apparently that didn't stop people leaving some lovely comments, or sharing it around for me, which is nice.

Also, if you missed last week's post, you may not realize that "Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems" is now available in audio, narrated by Carol Weakland. You can read the book's blurb, and find purchase links for the audio book - as well as the paperback and eBook versions of the same title - in the post I just linked to. But here's the link to buy it on Audible.

OK... Since February's post schedule was interrupted by me going in to hospital, and then recovering afterwards, and the first thing I needed to post about was the availability of "Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems" in audio, I've got about a month's worth of links to share with you. Well, I never share all the posts and articles I read. Only the ones I find most interesting or useful. Plus, I haven't gotten to them all yet, since I had a rather large stack of eMails to go through by the time I could sit at the computer long enough to start working on them, with more coming in each day, and me still limited as to how long I can sit without too much pain (though at least I can do so for more than a few moments now). This means I'm still behind on those, and will be catching up over the next several weeks. Bear with me. But I do have a few links for you from the past month. So, we better get started with them, otherwise we'll never get caught up, will we?

First, if you don't know, the 10th annual Read an eBook Week Sale started on March 3rd. All this week, you can buy discounted eBooks from authors all over the world on Smashwords, with prices ranging from 25% off to 100% off. Check out the post I just linked to, or go to Smashwords's website for details, and to find the books on sale. I've enrolled most of mine at 50% off, so go to my Smashwords profile to find my list of books, and pick your titles. The coupons should automatically apply at checkout, but the 50% off coupon is EBW50 - just in case it doesn't apply itself. The sale ends this weekend though, so hurry! After 11:59pm Pacific time on March 9, the catalog disappears. This is exclusive to Smashwords, so you have to grab the eBooks there to get the discounts. There are multiple formats available though, so your prefered method of reading eBooks isn't an issue.

Speaking of Smashwords: they recently introduced global coupons, which are a potentially great tool for any authors who publish several books on their site who want to offer deals on a batch of them. The post I just linked to explains everything you need to know about global coupons.

Anyway, here's a post that talks about telling vs. showing when emotions are at work, which might be useful to help your readers connect with your characters during those emotional scenes. On a similar note, here's another post about showing your characters' emotions, this time with advice on how to show a character's repressed emotions. Oh, and here's one that discusses some ways to show emotions for non-POV characters.

Speaking of your characters: when it comes to characterization, this is what to avoid, and where to focus, and part 2 of that short posting series, which will give you ideas on how to repair those pitfalls if you need to.

Next, though still on the subject of your characters, here's another reminder to be careful of passive characters, especially when it comes to your main character(s), and another containing tips for using settings to develop characters.

Finally, regardless of who's in your story, don't forget to think about your story's essence.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

As the title says: we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Well, we sort of do, since I'm still quite sore, get worse when I sit up for too long, and am still WAY behind on pretty much everything. But posting will now be closer to normal than it has been anyhow, and I am making progress on getting caught up. Slow progress, but any progress is good progress, right? Plus, at least I've now reached the point where I'm only quite sore, and not in so much pain I feel like I'm being tortured, which is a wonderful improvement. I'll be glad when I heal enough to not be hurting at all though, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Yes. Technically I could speed up the catching up process by skipping some of the stuff I've missed. But I don't want to do that. I might miss something I'll later wish I took the time to read, after all. So I'm randomly picking certain things to catch up on each time, whether a spacific type of eMail, or posts from a spacific blog, or whatever. Yes, randomly, depending on what I feel like tackling each time. My method is obviously working, since I'm seeing progress. Slow progress, like I said. But progress never-the-less.

Luckily, thanks to Kelly, I don't have to worry about catching up with offline things, since he's been doing all the household chores, including the ones I usually do, and keeping up with them reasonably well too. So that gives me less to worry about, and makes it easier for me to focus on trying to catch up with the stuff he can't do in my place.

By the way, both of the photos at the top of this post are photos of our ocean view on the rather foggy morning of February 6th 2019 (the day before I went in to hospital). I just thought you might like to see those... Kelly took them for me when we realized it was a foggy morning, but we didn't have time to get them posted before I went in to hospital. We apparently had some pinkish fog one morning a couple of weeks later, but I didn't get any photos of that for you. Sorry.

Speaking of weather: my snow still hasn't shown up properly. There have been tiny snow flurries, and a lot of the UK has had a good amount of snow. But here it's been rain and hail, along with a lot of wind. Plus fog, as I mentioned above. It's been pretty cold most of the time, as I expected it would be after last year's hot Summer. Although, we have had a couple of unseasonably warm days... Days when we even had the windows open to let some air in. So, we've had rather a mixed bag when it comes to weather. But there's been almost nothing in the way of snow, despite places not far from us getting some, and regular promises we will too. As much as I wish we'd had some decent snow, in some ways I think it's probably a good thing, since I'm not sure how well I'd be able to get downstairs to play with it. Or, more to the point, get back up them again afterwards. I'm not really supposed to be doing the stairs yet unless it's important anyhow, but I know I'd want to if we got snow. So, for that reason only, I'm sort of glad our snow hasn't shown up. On the other hand, hearing about everyone else getting so much snow they're sick of it, when I've had no more than a light dusting that was slush and ice before I could enjoy it, is frustrating. Never mind. Hopefully it will make up for it next year, when I'm fit enough to easily race down and play with the snow when it arrives. In the meantime, I've had some storms to listen to, which is something. Plus, there's always the sound of the ocean, which I love listening to in any weather.

Anyway, I took two simple craft kits in to hospital with me. Spacifically two of my sewing kits. I figured I could do them if I felt like it, and not if I didn't feel up to it, but at least I'd have the option. I took one of my owl sewing kits, and the elephant one I got for Christmas. I didn't end up doing either while in hospital. I just felt too sore and unwell. I've been working on them since I've been home though, when propped up in bed is the closest to sitting up I can do without crying. I've finished the elephant, and have the owl about half done. I meant to have photos of the elephant to share with you here, but haven't had a chance to sort those. I'll try and get Kelly to help me sort photos of it in time for next week's post. Maybe I'll have finished the owl in time for it to be included too.

Speaking of craft kits: Kelly brought me a paint your own unicorn kit as a get well pressie. He knows he'll have to help me with paint colours, but figured I'd like it because it's a unicorn. He was right. Plus, I love doing craft kits in general, so there's that too. It's with the others, waiting for its turn to be completed. I've got an interesting selection of different kits waiting their turn to be done.

Also, I added another to the pile, since my February Makerly box arrived a couple of weeks ago. I always love when they come... It's so much fun getting the happy post, and then finding out what craft we'll be making this time. Anyway, February's box contained a kit to make some lavender bath bombs. I'm going to enjoy making those, and enjoy the bath with them afterwards too. I love the scent of lavender!

We didn't do anything for Valentine's Day. We mostly don't do much anyway, since we do plenty for and with each other through the year. Although, we do usually get each other a little something. But I was still really sick from the allergic reaction to the painkillers, not to mention in a lot of pain, which made me care even less about doing anything than normal. The week after Kelly when to Oscars though, and they wrapped up meals for him to bring home. They know I'm not allowed to go walking all that way just yet - not that I think I could do it right now, even if I was allowed that much exercise - and were happy to give me a way to get a jackfruit poorboy (sandwich) while still resting at home. They even wrapped it well enough that Kelly managed to get it home still warm. I thought that was really nice of them.

It's Pancake Day (AKA Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday) today. Do you like pancakes? What's your favourite topping? I love them with maple syrup, or lemon and sugar, or jam - in that order. I don't need the holiday as an excuse to have pancakes for dinner... I love pancakes, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and don't need a special day to have them. But I'll take the excuse anyhow, because I can. So, guess what I'm having for dinner tonight. *wink*

OK... Before I end today's post, I would like to say that I apologize if the shutting down of Google+ causes you any problems with commenting on my blog. It shouldn't cause problems with the actual running of my blog... It hasn't yet anyhow. But it might cause problems for you if you've been commenting using Google+. Should that be the case, as I said, I apologize. But it's not my fault or idea. Anyway, if you have no other way to comment, either because you can't or don't want to use one of the other methods for commenting, feel free to comment below the posts when I share them on social media, or by sending me an eMail. If you use the eMail option, it would be helpful if you could include something in the subject that makes it clear you're responding to the comments of a particular post though, that way I won't mistake it for junk and delete it by accident, which I might do if I don't recognize the sender name.

Monday, March 04, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Quotes For March 4th 2019

Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can be changed.
~Brene Brown

We don't know what life will bring, so it is what we bring to life that matters.
~Patricia Campbell Carlson

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
~Coco Chanel

Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.
~Debbie Ford

There is almost one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.
~Leo Tolstoy

Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it.
~C. JoyBell C.

Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again.
~Marie Lu

Friday, March 01, 2019

#FurkidFriday: Lilie The #Westie Nurse

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

Mummy is broken. She went to that hospital place, as you know, and came back broken, even though the humans say she went there so they could make her better. It doesn't make sense. Oh, well, broken or not, I'm glad to have her back. I told her when I talked to her on the plastic ringing thing to hurry up and come home, but she still took ages. Then, as I said, she came back broken.

So, I've been a very busy little dog since she got back. Mummy needs constant care right now. She keeps whining and howling - though, I admit, she's not been doing that as much the past few days as she was at first - and can't seem to do even half the things she can usually do. Daddy has to be the one to lift me up so I can watch the people out of the window, because Mummy just keeps saying she can't for a few more weeks, for some reason I don't understand. She doesn't come walkies with me and Daddy either. She can't even throw my ball for me unless I actually put it either in her hand, or right beside it on the bed. And she won't play tuggy-toy at all. She just says, "When I'm better," and tells me she's sorry. I don't want to hear about her being sorry... I just want to play!

Anyway, like I said, she's been keeping me busy. I've had to keep a close eye on her, and fetch Daddy whenever she howls a lot. When she first came home I was doing that a lot, since even trying to sit up to have a drink would make her howl. I've also had to supervise what Daddy was doing to her, to make sure he was doing it right. Plus, you know, because I was curious. Some of the things were weird, like when he was sticking sharp things in her tummy. I'd have thought she would have tried to stop him, after all, when her tummy was touched was when she howled the loudest. I know that for sure, because I put my paw on her tummy one time, and she howled so much I got scared. But she actually seemed to want him to do it. Well, I always knew she was strange.

At one point she wasn't eating her food properly either. That's not like Mummy at all. Not that I'm complaining though. I mean, I often get leftovers, and there were more of them when Mummy wasn't eating properly. Admittedly I don't like a lot of what Mummy eats... Too many vegetables. But, hey, a pup's got to eat, right? Especially one who's busy being nurse to a howling human, which is an exhausting job for a little dog, you know.

Mummy and Daddy say I'm being a great nurse, because I'm doing so good at looking out for Mummy. They even gave me special treats sometimes for fetching Daddy when Mummy was howling. One time I even got a new rawhide shoe. I loved when they did that! I got a new toy too, which I also loved.

I wish Mummy would stop being broken though. I want her to play with me properly again. At least she's howling a bit less now, which is nice, and means I don't have to go fetch Daddy as often. Although, I kind of miss her not eating her food properly.

Lots of licks,

Thursday, February 28, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching - February 28th 2019 #Reviews

Unless you're new here, and haven't read about it, you'll already know I missed doing reviews over the past two weeks, because I'd scheduled something else to go up instead, since I didn't know if I'd be recovered enough from surgery to be out of hospital in time to sort reviews, though I was pretty sure I'd be doing plenty of reading, even if no movie or TV show watching happened, since I'd planned to take my Kindle in to hospital with me. This means I now have three weeks worth of reviews to catch you up on. Although, with how I was feeling, that's not as many reviews as it might have been. Yeah. I was feeling so bad I wasn't even reading much. It's only the past couple of days I've started feeling a little better. Anyway, it's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during the past three weeks.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Don't forget: I read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.


Here's what I read over the past couple of weeks:

The Gemini ConnectionThe Gemini Connection by Teri Polen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a gripping read, filled with plenty of action and suspense. It is well written in general, the plot moves at a nice pace, The world building is fantastic, and the characters are well rounded and believable.

Wideacre  (The Wideacre Trilogy, #1)Wideacre by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have loved everything I have previously read by this author, and happened to think that she has truly fantastic writing skills. However, The main character of the story was a horrid and despicable person, and the things she did for disgusting and terrible, so that I hated her, and often found the book difficult to continue reading. It was only the author's skill, combined with my determination to finish any book I begin, which made it possible for me to read the entire book with anything close to enjoyment.

The Favored Child (The Wideacre Trilogy, #2)The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You often find the middle book in a trilogy isn't as good as the first. In this case it's the other way around, and I enjoyed this one better. Some of the things that happen in the story are disgusting and disturbing - especially where Richard is involved - but at least Julia is a decent character, who might have managed to actually do the right thing had she not been so naive. Still, for the times, and her social standing, her naivety is at least understandable, and you can't help but feel sorry for her, since there's no doubt she's one of Richard's victims (whether she realizes it or not). It's a hard one to read because of the subject matter, but a beautifully woven tale despite that.

As for what I've been watching:

I've not been watching anything - New to me or otherwise.  It was still too painful to sit up for very long until very recently (as in, the past day or so) and lying on our sofa is not an option right now... How I would need to get up from it would pull on my stomach muscles too much.  This made watching TV shows and movies rather difficult, because I prefer to watch them on the TV in the living room, and that would mean either sitting in my chair, or lying on the sofa.  Hopefully I can make up for not watching any of my DVDs now I'm not quite so sore, so can actually sit up long enough that I might get through at least a TV show episode before I have to take a break. Although, I am still quite sore, so don't be too surprised if I don't end up watching anything for a while yet. I'll have to make up for it with some serious DVD watching when I'm better.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

#Poetry #Book - Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems Now In #Audio!

A collection of poems of different lengths and styles – some with a hint of humour, others of a more serious nature – exploring a variety of themes, such as animals, nature, emotions, and the world around us.

Previously only made available in eBook and paperback, "Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems" is now available as an audiobook, read for you by Carol Weakland.

Regardless of the format you'd prefer, here's where you can buy the book:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, and The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Medical Mutterings - February 2019 Edition

This post contains mention of blood, vomit, and medical procedures concerning the female reproductive system. If reading about any of those things makes you uncomfortable in any way, you should probably avoid reading it. You have been warned!

As most - if not all - of you know, I went in to hospital for a hysterectomy on February 7th 2019, leaving a selection of scheduled posts to entertain you while I was in hospital having, and then recovering from, the surgery. Plus, I hoped, while I spent my first few days at home just focussing on my recovery, and spending time with Kelly and the furkids. I hope you enjoyed those.

Regardless, now I'm back, and glad to say, the surgery is over. At least, most of me is glad to be able to say it. There's a small part of me - a very small part - that still clung to hope, even while I begged them to give me the hysterectomy, and now weeps for the loss of any chance I'll have the son whose name has been ready for him since I was a teenager. But most of me is glad. Most of me is relieved to have a chance at a better future for myself, even if it meant extinguishing that last flickering flame of hope. Most of me is cheering, because the bleeding is gone for good. At least, I will be glad when I'm not in so much pain.

By the way, if you're curious: the drink stuff I had to drink before surgery wasn't quite as bad as I expected it to be, though it wasn't particularly great either. I've had worse. It kind of tasted like the lemon version of that powder stuff you add to water for treating colds and flu, except you're meant to drink that hot, and this stuff was cold.

anyway, our friends, Lorna and Andy, were helping us out with the fact the hospital wanted someone sighted to sign my paperwork. Officially I should have been allowed to do it myself, because I'm old enough to do so, and my impairment is physical rather than mental. But the gynecologists had insisted. None of the nurses are quite sure why, since they don't see any actual valid reason why I couldn't have just signed it myself with a second nurse there witnessing that the first hadn't forced me, forged my signature, or whatever. That's what I did when I was having my eye out, and for the surgeries after that when the implant was refusing to take. I should have been able to do that this time too, and we all would have been happy for me to do so. Except the gynecologists. So, Lorna and Andy helped us with the problem of needing to have someone sighted sign the paperwork, while someone else was able to stay at home with Lilie. It saved us the hastle and expense of arranging to put Lilie in doggy daycare for the day. Although, I do admit she would have probably really enjoyed that, since she loves having friends to play with. Still, the moved surgery date, combined with the cost, made having helpful friends a much better option from our point of view.

Lorna and Andy had planned to also be the ones bringing me home, but the surgery date being moved meant they couldn't, because they'd been planning for months to go away somewhere, and they were due to leave while I was in hospital. As it is I think they pushed back their departure date a few days for my sake. I don't know that for sure, but suspect it. If they did, I'm extremely grateful for them for doing so. It didn't really matter that they couldn't be there to take me home. It was having someone to watch Lilie while someone else provided sighted assistance for signing the paperwork that we most needed their help with. Getting myself home was easy enough, since I'm entitled to the free hospital transport available to elderly and disabled people, and there was the option of a taxi home if I didn't want to wait for that to be organized for me. I did wait though. I usually don't, because it's quicker to get a taxi. But I did this time around, since I didn't want to be rushed by a taxi driver when I was recovering from surgery. Plus, I wanted someone with medical training on hand in case the stairs proved too much for me (even though I did get some stair practice with the physio team before leaving the hospital, just to see how I handled it). I'm glad to have that hospital transport available when I want to make use of it, and really grateful to Lorna and Andy for helping as much as they could before they went away.

I'm also grateful to all those who sent prayers, positive thoughts, etc. So... Thank you!

I'm going to do my best to tell you everything, but it might be in a random order, because I'm having to write this in short sessions, since sitting down for too long is painful enough even now that I've jokingly said to a few people, "I wish I knew what I was being tortured for, because then I could give them the information." Apparently I wouldn't hold up well under torture. I've generally got a reasonably good tolerance for pain, but all anyone would apparently need to get information from me would be to take the pain past that point. Hmmm... Probably shouldn't have admitted to that.

For those who might be wondering - since I dare say some who have been following things closely will be - yes. We made it before the shot ran out. So, the bleeding didn't have time to start back up before the surgery.

A lot of the nurses on the gynecology ward remembered me from all my hospital trips last year. A couple of the doctors did too. I found it amusing when I showed up and was greeted by name, even before I gave it. Usually you'd have to identify yourself, possibly even show your appointment letter. Apparently I'm well known enough that I didn't even need to give my name. I can't decide if that's a good thing or not.

Anyway, I had what they call a "sub-total hysterectomy" (at least, I think that's what they called it). It essentially means they left part of the cirvex (neck of the womb) to avoid getting close enough to potentially cause problems with my bladder (especially since I had my ureta replaced during surgery when I was a young child, because of complications caused by something to do with the kidney problem I was born with). I also still have my ovaries. But the bulk of the womb... The part where the bleeding happens... Is gone. They asked my permission to do this before I went under anasthetic, and I told them as long as I wasn't going to have periods any more, that was fine. They assured me the only difference between the original plan (taking everything but the ovaries, which they left because of hormones, since I'm still only in my 30s) and what they did, was that I technically still have a cirvex, so could potentially get cirvical cancer (though I'm as likely to get that now as I would have been if they hadn't touched anything, so I'm not really worried about that).

The only other change to the plan for surgery itself was that they couldn't do the keyhole surgery like they'd hoped to, so instead I have a large scar that stretches right across my lower stomach. This is something I already knew would be a possibility, from the day they agreed to the surgery last June. The only difference that makes is more pain, and longer for healing. Something that wouldn't be such a problem if I wasn't apparently allergic to almost every single painkiller.

We already knew Paracetamol was a potential problem for me, since it can mess with my breathing. We also knew pure morphine couldn't be given for too long after surgery, since having too much of it has me throwing up. But apparently even things like Codine will have me throwing up after a few doses. Something we didn't realize at first, because I was putting my feelings of nausia down to being so hot in the stuffy ward, and having to ignore my body's intollerence for lactos, since I was having to have dairy at every meal due to the only dairy-free vegetarian dishes on the menu at the hospital being too spicy for me (something I knew from previous hospital visits). It was only when I got home, and things went from bad to worse, until I couldn't eat, but was throwing up anyhow, that we realized it was more than that.

I'm sort of glad we didn't realize before I went home though, because Ibuprofen (the only painkiller I seem to be able to take without any bad reactions) isn't enough to do much for the pain even now, and I know I never would have made it home without that Codine in my system. As it was I'm not sure how I managed to sit up for that long without crying, since sitting up for the ride home was so painful I was almost glad for the stair climbing, since at least I could straighten out. Yeah, it hurt that bad. It's now two weeks later, and I still can't sit for long without a lot of pain. The hospital is about ten minutes drive from my home, and the transport took someone else home first, making it more like a twenty minute journey. I never would have managed that without tears without the stronger painkiller in my system, and the ambulance guys who took me home would have had me back at the hospital if they'd known how much pain I was in even with that. As it was they were annoyed at me being asked to do the stairs so soon after surgery, and about the fact nobody bothered to tell them that the lady they were helping climb three flights of stairs was blind. Not that they minded my being blind, but they should have been told, and were annoyed they hadn't been.

Anyway, as is often the case for me after surgery, because of my being asthmatic, I spent the first night on oxygen. It started with the mask, but they ended up doing the tubes in the nose, since apparently I tolerate those better. I didn't keep trying to remove those anyhow. I've always hated the mask. It's not so bad if I can hold it, but I hate when they strap it to my face. So they'd strap it to me, I'd wake enough to realize and freak out, they'd let me hold it, I'd fall asleep and drop it, so they'd strap it to me, and around and around it went, until everyone got fed up and I agreed to the nose tubes. Not once did I attempt to remove those. Like I said, it's just that I really hate the mask. If I hadn't been so out of it until the early hours of the following morning, I might not have had it all night. But I was out of it enough that first night I only have a few flashes of memory, and hardly nibbled at the bit of toast they brought me (though I was drinking well from the start). Me being out of it made them reluctant to rush to take away the oxygen supply. I think it was because they had me on good pain meds that first night, hoping my system would tolerate them long enough to get me through the worst of the pain. It didn't. But it was worth a try.

Despite the issues with the pain meds, from a medical and surgical point of view, I was ready to go home within two days of my op. From a physio point of view, I was ready to go home two days later, and did. But I spent the first couple of days I was home in a bad way from what turned out to be the allergy to the Codine, so it's only been in this last week I've been able to really start recovering at all. I'm tired, sore, wish the OT (occupational therapist) would get their butt in gear so they could come tell us how I'm supposed to wash my hair when I can neither lean over the bath nor climb in to it, and unable to tackle the ever-growing pile of eMails waiting for my attention at the moment. So please bear with me. Oh, and if I spelled anything wrong... You know what? I'm not in a position to care right now. I just hurt too damn much! I usually take the time to proof-read my posts, and try to catch all those pesky typos (not to mention check my spelling). But right now I hurt enough that I'm prepared to risk spelling mistakes and typos if it means sitting here a little less time.

Yes, I'm improving every day, so maybe by the time this actually goes live I won't be hurting quite as much as I am at this exact moment. Also, maybe by the time my follow-up appointment rolls around on April 9th, I'll be able to sit up without feeling like I'm being tortured long enough to endure the trip to and from the hospital, and the waiting time at the hospital, without tears. Maybe. In fact, probably. Not yet though. Definitely not yet. But I'm getting there.

No. I don't regret anything. I'm glad it's done, and relieved there's a brighter future ahead than there otherwise would have been for me. I'll just be able to appreciate it more when I stop hurting so much, and wish I could just go to sleep, and wake up when that time comes. That or find a painkiller that does something for the pain without causing some kind of allergic reaction in me. Either would work.

Oh, and... I almost forgot... They checked my bloods before I left the hospital. My HB and iron levels are fine. It did take them about 45 minutes to get a vein willing to co-operate so they could check this. But at least the results were good when they finally got something to test. Hopefully they stay that way. They should.

My time on the gynecology ward was about as pleasant as a hospital trip where you get cut open, and then keep throwing up because you're allergic to the good painkillers, can be. One of the other patients, Ellen, even took me for a bit of a walk around the ward. She'd have done it more, I think, only I didn't want to bother her with asking. It's just a shame they moved me to SAU (surgical assessment unit) for the last bit of my hospital stay. They moved me there since they had some gynecology emergencies come in, and since I was just waiting to recover enough to come home, I didn't need to be close at hand for the gynecology team. Why they also moved Ellen, I don't know. Mind you, I actually think the hospital plays musical beds way too much in general. If someone else comes in, put them in the other beds. Don't move everyone all the time. Sometimes the move does make sense, like in my case when I didn't need the gynecology team on hand any more. But mostly it doesn't, like with Ellen, who still didn't even have proper answers from what I could tell, and had been moved to a new ward pretty much every day she'd been in hospital. Also, they like to do it in the middle of the night. It's really annoying, especially for people like Ellen who get moved constantly. I wish they hadn't done it in my case too though, since I knew where things were where I was, and things got all confusing when I got moved. Not helped by the fact the nurses in SAU had no idea how to deal with a blind person, and no interest in figuring it out. Then there was me being missed out with medication, and Ellen having to actually go make a nurse give me something for pain. Yes. My time on the gynecology ward was about as good as it could have been. But my time on SAU was far from it. About the only good things were that Ellen was there trying to look out for me, and I got to meet the Mother of one of the people from Oscars (our favourite food place) who was in the bed across from me during my time in SAU.

Kelly's been great, by the way. He's been helping me when I need him to, and even did my shots when I couldn't. Well, I probably would have managed to stick those needles in me eventually, but I won't pretend I'm not grateful to him for coming to the rescue. See, I needed to have shots for the first week I was home to avoid blood clots, because of not being able to be mobile. Fine. Except, though I knew how to do them, I had a slight problem with the part where I needed to stick the needle in me. OK. Fine. I couldn't bring myself to do it. Like I said, I'd have done it eventually, but was grateful I didn't have to find out how long "eventually" would have been, and could have Kelly do it instead. I had pills to take too. A couple of different antibiotics.

Lilie's been a sweetie, and shown how smart she is by fetching Kelly whenever she thinks I need him. She hardly left my side during the time I was at my worst, despite usually liking to go hang out with her Daddy for a while sometimes. Unless she was eating, drinking, going for potty runs, or fetching Kelly for me, she was never more than a couple of feet from me during the first week I was home.

Monday, February 25, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Quotes About #Love For February 25th 2019 - #ValentinesDay

Valentine's Day has come and gone. But I have some more quotes about love to share, so figured I'd continue the theme for my Monday quote posts a little longer. After all, love is not just something to be celebrated once a year.

We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
~Dr. Seuss

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
~Maya Angelou

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart.
~Kay Knudsen

Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
~Franklin P. Jones

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

Love is Immortality.
~?Emily Dickinson

Love is like the wind, you can't see it, but you can feel it.
~Nicholas Sparks

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.
~Helen Keller

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friends Of #FurkidFriday: Roscoe

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu.

As you'll know if you visit here regularly, the little white Lilie dog decided to invite some of her doggy friends over to the blog for a visit while the Mummy human went to that hospital place again. We really don't understand why the Mummy human keeps going there, especially since she doesn't really like going there, but the human caretakers do a lot we don't understand, and mostly we just let them get on with it. The thing is though, as the Lilie dog pointed out, it meant we were left alone with the Daddy human. He's great. In fact, I like him best most of the time, and I know the Lilie dog likes Daddy best for everything except play time. But he's not the Mummy human, so does things different to how we like them. He tries, and we always get looked after when the Mummy human can't be here with us, which is the most important thing. Although, I'm not sure my chinchilla sister, Mollie, agrees... She gets really cranky when it's not the Mummy human feeding and petting her. But She'll just have to put up with it, just like me and the little white Lilie dog, even if she doesn't like Daddy best, like me and the Lilie dog do.

Anyway, I didn't think it was fair that the Lilie dog got to have friends over and I didn't, so I wanted to invite some friends over too. The Mummy human thought it was a great idea, so that's just what I did.

Except, between me and the little white Lilie dog, there were lots of friends we wanted to invite over, and they were all happy to come for a visit. So this is going to be more than just something for while Mummy is going to the hospital place again. In fact, Mummy says we can do it now that she's home too, if there are any writers' pets who want to come over for a visit. Although, because we'll need to be able to do our regular "Furkid Friday" posts some weeks too, there will only be one spot a month available as from March. Well, as from April really, since March's spot is already booked.

So, if you're a writer's pet - regardless of species - and you want to come over and talk to me, the Lilie dog, or our chinchilla sister, Mollie, you can get in touch with us, and we'll send you the questions you need to answer to do it. Send us an email to with the subject "Friends of Furkid Friday" (you have to do that bit, or the Mummy human might think it's junk and delete it by accident). Just be patient with Mummy while she gets better from dealing with the hospital thing, because it's making her slow doing things on the computer, and sometimes off it too.

Today though, I'm going to introduce you to my friend, Roscoe.

Hello there, Roscoe. Now, I know we often end up known by more than just the one name. I get called "Joshua" and "Buddy" myself - sometimes "Joshy-Buddy" too. So, since you don't just get called Roscoe, tell everyone what you said when I asked you what your name was.

Roscoe. Also known on the Internet as Geordie Roscoe because of my accent. I think that’s why, anyhow.

I did notice your accent in some of your blog posts. I know some people find it hard to read. Me and the Mummy human don't though. Anyway, what species and breed are you?

I’m a guinea pig (cavy). I’m a fabulous mix of breeds - a little pink-eyed white (although I haven’t got pink eyes), a little ginger dutch (although I only have a ginger patch), a little sheltie, as I have slightly long hair, which is longer at the back, and a bit of Dalmatian, according to my Auntie Doris, as I have a black spot in just the right place.

That's quite a mixture. Describe your appearance in more detail. I know you sent a photo (which I'll share in a moment) but please describe yourself too, for the benefit of those who can’t see the photo.

I’m mainly white with a ginger patch over my left eye. Very dashing! I’ve got a lovely smooth coat which gets longer the further you go back as you stroke me. It sometimes gets so long I have a little bit of a tail but Mummy trims it when it gets long enough to get dirty. If you look closely you’ll discover I have one dark blue eye on my right/white side, and a brown one on my left side, in the ginger patch. But I just look handsome.

I'm sure everyone will agree that you do. So, here's a photo of you so they can see that for themselves:

By the way, what sort of place do you live in? Who do you share it with?

I live in a nice run with my mate Neville, who’s very very hairy. So hairy half the time you can’t see his eyes, even. The run is upstairs in my Mam’s house, next to where she does all her work. She’s shown us how to blog, so it’s easy to do from here. Next door to us is Bertie, who’s a bit of a scoundrel if you ask me, and Biggles is in the loft space above us, and he’s a bit of a softie.

Sounds like a nice set-up you guys have there. By the way, here's a photo of Roscoe with his friend, Neville, for anyone who might want to see it, which I'm sure is all of you:

Anyway, Roscoe, what’s your favourite thing to do?

Eat grass. Run around. Do things that make a noise like gnawing on the grassy tunnel or the nice hay-filled box we got for Christmas. Stare at Mam long enough for her to notice and come over and give me a head scratch. Mmm head scratches are great!

Sounds lovely! Do you have a favourite toy? If yes, what is it?

At the moment it’s the box filled with herby hay we got for Christmas. I think Bertie’s jealous because it’s much better than what he got for Christmas.

I can see why you'd love that so much. Nibbly things are always great, aren't they? Speaking of which, what’s your favourite food?

Hay, parsley, kale and grass. You can’t go wrong with grass. Cucumber’s pretty good too.

Yummy! Sounds tasty. Speaking of favourite things, what’s the one thing your human does that you love most?

Hmm. I like morning cuddles, but not for long. Not nearly as long as Neville. I like running around in the kitchen afterwards best, that’s great. I love it when Mam puts us out in the garden in summer, too. But I like most things Mam does, really.

That's great! I bet you don't like everything she does though, so what’s the one thing your human does that you hate most?

Cut my nails. She’s pretty good at it, but I hate all that holding and fiddling while she gets the clippers right. I can’t bear to wait for her to do it.

I can understand that.

Changing the subject on you though, I happen to know your human is a writer. Has she written anything about you? If yes, can you tell us about it? If no, do you think she will in the future?

I think that’s Neville and me in her last short story about Dylan and the Lights of Ulva. Neville seems to be steering a ship into harbour and I’m there telling him what to do. But that’s only based on the descriptions (I’m a fine handsome fellow, of course). Apparently Neville looks just like Dylan and Dougall who star in lots of Mam’s stories, nearly as many as Fred and George, Mam’s original pigs.

Oh - stop press! Mam says we’re important in the ninth book of the Princelings of the East series, the one she’s writing now. We’re privateers. That’s pirates who are sometimes helpful. Sounds good to me!

Nice! So, what do you do while your human writes?

Eat grass or hay, mostly. Or sleep. She writes a lot, so sleep is a good way to pass the time.

Yes. Sleep is always a good way to pass the time. Speaking of time, it's time for us to wrap things up here, but first... Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

I was born in Newcastle, in the north of England, and now I live in Norfolk, which is the east. We had a long train journey to move here. Nev and I are very well travelled, as we’ve also been for a holiday in Hampshire which is in the south, where we went by car. Perhaps we should go west some time.

I write on our blog George’s Guinea Pig World every other week, so people can come and see me there.
And unlike most of the other guinea pigs here, I’m very welcoming and would love to meet you!

WOW! That's a lot of travelling. I've had some car rides too, but ony short ones, and I didn't think much of them.


Author bio, links, etc:

Jemima Pett has been living in a world of her own for many years. Day-dreaming in class, writing stories since she was eight, drawing maps of fantasy islands with train systems and timetables at ten. Unfortunately no-one wanted a fantasy island designer, so she tried a few careers, getting great experiences in business, environmental research and social work. She finally got back to building her own worlds, and wrote about them. Her business background enabled her to become an independent author, responsible for her own publications.

Her first series, the Princelings of the East, mystery adventures for advanced readers set in a world of tunnels and castles entirely populated by guinea pigs, now has eight books online and in print. Jemima does chapter illustrations for these. She has also edited two volumes of Christmas stories for young readers, the BookElves Anthologies, and her father's memoirs White Water Landings, about the Imperial Airways flying boat service in Africa. She is now writing the third in her science fiction series set in the Viridian System, in which the aliens include sentient trees.

Find Jemima on her blog, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or Goodreads

Dylan and the Lights of Ulva

Dylan and the Lights of Ulva is the third novella starring Dylan and Dougall set prior to their entry into the Princelings of the East series in book eight.
Dylan is a princeling at a castle on the Isle of Mull. His job, as shown in the first Dylan novella, is to run messages for the castle.
On the way back from one assignment, he notices strange lights on the island of Ulva, just a few miles south of their own home. What causes these lights? His uncle warns him to keep his curiosity under control, but how likely is that? Will Dylan’s quest for adventure lead him into hot water? Find out in this 7,000 word ebook for 8 to 10 year olds.
Chapter illustrations by the author.

Available at Smashwords, and iTunes for just 99c. And while you’re there - get the first one, Dylan’s Yuletide Journey - it’s free!


I hope you enjoyed meeting my friend, Roscoe, and learning more about him and his human, Jemima.

Squeak soon,