Thursday, May 31, 2012

St Pancras International train station

On Monday April 30th I went up to St Pancras train station in London. I went because there was live music there as you will see from the first of the photos I took while there.
Molotov Jukebox is the band I was there to actually see. It's the band Natalia Tena (who plays Tonks in the Harry Potter movies) is in. Come back tomorrow to see photos of her and her band. Kelly

Giveaway gossip

Alright, it's the end of May. Don't ask me how we got to the end of May already; we just did!

Anyway, that means today is your last chance to enter in to the giveaway I've been running to win an Amazon gift voucher.

You literally have a few hours left, which is enough time; even my Dad managed to read the book within a couple of hours, and he's not known for doing things quickly. ;)

My blog is atatched to my Goodreads profile, so he will probably read this, but never mind; he knows it's true, and admits it himself!

So, as I was saying...

Today's your last chance if you want to enter the giveaway and get a chance at winning that $15 or £10 Amazon gift voucher.

But don't worry. This coming Sunday I'll be kicking off a brand new giveaway, where you could be one of the people to win a copy of my new book "Witchlet" absolutely 100% free!

But I've said enough for today, I think!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Willow's World: no fair!

Hi humans, this is Willow. Well, it's just not fair! First Kero had a bath and lots of attention from a human who came to the house. I don't know who she was, but she came a few months ago too and I don't think it's fair that she let Kero play in the bath and not me! Then Kero had one of those birthday things, and I didn't! The humans say I'll get one in about 6 months, but I don't even know how long 6 months is. Besides, why can't I have one now and then another one in 6 months? And, if that wasn't bad enough. The humans let Kero be on the bed, but when I jumped up there yesterday (which I was very proud of myself for as I could not do that a couple of months ago with the extra weight I had on me) I got in trouble and told to get down! Apparently I'm too big to be up on the bed. It's just not fair! Lots of licks Willow

Coming soon: Witchlet

In a world where everyone thinks witches are warty old women, a powerful 9 year old is trying to find her place in the world, and make amends for something that happened when she was only 3. Her name is Paige, and she can bend the elements to her rather strong will. But can she convince people to accept her for who she is?

You can find out soon, when I publish "Witchlet" - my second book!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Of giveaways and May celebrations

Firstly, a reminder for anyone who may have brought "Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems" and not yet entered my giveaway, or who planned to enter but hasn't gotten around to buying the book and entering yet; you have 2 days left to do so!

The giveaway ends Thursday night, the winner will be announced on Saturday, and all being well a new giveaway will start up on Sunday (and this one wont cost you anything but a few minutes of your time).

Anyway...

While I was busy with the A-Z challenge thing, several birthdays and things went by. So, I thought I'd give a mention to all the May celebrations; whether I mentioned them before on here or not.

May 1st was the birthday of a family friend named Emma (not little Emma-Jane; a different Emma... This one's known the family long enough to have babysat me when I was Emma-Jane's age, so it's definitely a different one!)

May 1st was also Beltane/May Day!

May 2nd was Kelly's birthday.

May 3rd was my bloggerversary.

May 9th was Elizabeth (my honorary sister)'s birthday.

May 13th was the grand opening of "The Game" craft blog.

May 16th was Rachel (my sister-in-law; well, I suppose ex-sister-in-law, but whatever)'s birthday.

May 18th was Lainie's birthday.

May 18th was also my Dad's new girlfriend Stephanie's birthday.

May 20th was Deanna (as in "Punkn" - just to clarify since I have two Deannas posting on my blog now)'s birthday.

May 21st was the birthday of a family friend named Julian.

May 22nd was mine and Kelly's 9th wedding anniversary.

May 22nd was also the birthday of a family friend named David.

May 23rd was Kero's birthday.

May 30th will be my Uncle Phillip's birthday.

May 30th will also be my Auntie Bev (Uncle Phillip's wife)'s birthday.

So, happy everything! LOL!

And if you - or a friend or family member of yours - celebrated a birthday, an anniversary, a bloggerversary, or whatever during May, then, happy whatever it was to everyone involved!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Z is for Zen

Zen

1.street name for lysergic acid diethylamide

2.a Buddhist doctrine that enlightenment can be attained through direct intuitive insight

3.school of Mahayana Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith; China and Japan

~~Above taken from this page.

I was thinking the second or third definition, having not actually known the first existed until today.

Anyway... Zen...

It's a great way to think, and a great state to be in.

To me it means accepting that you are the one responsible for your actions, and the answers to your questions and solutions to your problems come from within.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Y is for Yahtzee AKA The Game Challenge #2

"Yahtzee is a dice game made by Milton Bradley (now owned by Hasbro), which was first marketed by game entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe in 1956. The game is a development of earlier dice games such as Yacht and Generala. A public domain version of Yahtzee, which is popular especially in Scandinavia, is Yatzy. Yahtzee is also similar to the English game of Poker Dice and the Cheerio dice game.

The object of the game is to score the most points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make one of the thirteen possible scoring combinations. A game consists of thirteen rounds during which the player chooses which scoring combination is to be used in that round. Once a combination has been used in the game, it cannot be used again."

~~Above taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahtzee where you can read more if you like.

I had plenty of ideas for a "Y" word, but I needed it to fit in with a spacific theme to work for today. Why? Because it's time for the second challenge for The Game so it's time for me to post my entry for the challenge.

This time we had to use the "Jack" face card in our work. Nobody said anything about which one, so I used the Jack Of Diamonds.

Here's my entry:

The image was found for me somewhere online by Kelly (I have no idea where, sorry). I'm pretty sure the card is from "Craft Planet" and the same goes for the little gemstones used to make the dots on the dice in the corners of the card. And I'm pretty sure the foam squares were part of an "Art Attack" foam shapes pack I brought.

Anyway, join me and the rest of the Design Team at The Game and see what everyone creates. And, hey, why not see what you can create by using the Jack face card in your work?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

X is for Xylaphone

Xylaphone is a funny word.

I like funny words.

Platypus is another funny word I like.

Can you imagine a platypus playing a xylaphone?

Now that really would be funny! LOL!

Friday, May 25, 2012

W is for Writing

Oh, come on, don't tell me you're surprised at my choice for a "W" word! ;)

Before I start telling you about writing projects I'm working on (or planning to work on) I want to tell you about some giveaways going on.

First, there's mine; less than a week left if you want to enter. Click here for more details.

Then there's Magaly's blog tour for her book. The tour is almost over, but there's still time to jump on the tour bus and enter for a chance to win a free copy of her book, and maybe even the charm bracelet! Also, she gives details on where you can enter another fabulous blog tour/giveaway.

Anyway...

My book "Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems" is now available in a few more places.

You can now...

Buy it on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154488
Buy it on the Diesel eBook store: http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000154488/Zigler-Victoria-Mr.-Pumpkin-Head-And-Other-Poems/1.html
Buy it on Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Mr-Pumpkin-Head-And-Other/book-WaF2ScClukW_8C7YGwdKCg/page1.html?s=fm5vqhjV1UyZ4SJIWJpY0Q&r=1
Buy it on WH Smith: http://www.whsmith.co.uk/CatalogAndSearch/eBooksProductDetails.aspx?productID=KB00105657431

And it should become available at the apple ibook store, the Sony reader store, and Barnes And Noble within the next few days. With Amazon and Baker & Taylor happening at some unknown future time.

It's really getting about! :)

And... If that's not enough...

I'm getting my second book "Witchlet" ready to publish in the next couple of weeks. Remember Paige from the story of "Cara's Magical Cure" - one of the stories I did for Magaly's blog party in April? Well, "Witchlet" starts with a padded out version of that, and Paige's story continues after that. I've made it in to a JCB (junior chapter book). Which, for those who don't know, is basically a short novel aimed at young readers. Not that adults wont enjoy it too; it just means it's suitable for being read for children of about 6 or 7 and older, and is only a very short novel. I'll be posting more about it closer to the release date, so keep an eye out for that. I'll also be giving away a couple of free copies of the book.

I'm also working on a series called "Toby's Tales" about a little boy's struggles with adapting after sight loss. There are five short stories in the series (perhaps more if I decide to do more). I wont offer up a planned publication date for any of them yet though; despite having one in mind.

I also have several other short stories in various stages; everything from rough notes to almost completed stories, with several rough first drafts in the middle there. There are stories about fairies, stories about dragons, and a few others. But more on that at a later date. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

V is for Vows

Two days ago, Kelly and I celebrated the 9th anniversary of when we said our vows.

Yes, it's been nine years since the day we said "I do!"

And I still haven't figured out why he married me. LOL!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

U is for Update

But not just any update; Jaws update!

That's right; I'm finally getting my Jaws update! :)

For those who are confused, Jaws is my screen reader. It stands for "Java Access with Speach" (I thought it was "Java Application With Speach" but was corrected by Jaws itself today when re-installing it after having to reformat my laptop... Don't ask!)

Anyway, to make it less work for myself, I'm using the new version in demo mode for a few days while I wait for my full version to arrive (it's now in the post). I did it that way because I had the choice of install version 8.0 then have to install version 13.0 when it arrives in a few days, or install the demo version of 13.0 then just have to put in my authorization code to have access to the full version when it arrives. I went for the "I can deal with a few days in demo mode if it means I only have to go through the long and boring process of installing it once" option. ;)

So, now on to the not-so-fun job of reinstalling and updating everything else.

Boy am I glad I've been keeping my course lessons, ebooks and pieces of writing backed up on the USB storage key! Now it means other than grabbing a couple of programmes, I literally need to install what feels like a million updates, then go through some of my recent posts and save the photos back on my hard drive (luckily I did a backup disk a couple of months ago) then I'll have everything back. And, I'm also extremely glad right now that I have my links all nicely posted on my sidebar on this blog; I'd hate to have to find all those again... There's 91 just with the blogs!

Hey, while I'm doing all the updating, why not check out my giveaway? Only a few days left if you want a chance to win that Amazon gift voucher!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

T is for Tattoos

I have two tattoos.

On my right upper arm I have the Welsh dragon to match my brother's one (they were done at the same time, but the fact they're the exact same tattoo and in the exact same spot wasn't planned).

And on my left upper arm I have one that consists of a heart, a couple of little blue flowers, and a bone with the word "Kero" written on it. I had that one done when Kero was a little over a year old and I had to give him up (it's a long story, but the short form is that I had to give Kero up because he was accused of biting someone who had hit him across the nose with a metal pole, and I thought I wouldn't get him back, but then I did). I was going to get a picture of him put on my arm, but to do it small enough he looked more like a cat than himself, so we just worked out a special design instead.

Anyway, I'm planning on getting a third tattoo. You see, I love bracelets, but I can't wear them because I break them WAY too easily. The longest I've ever worn a bracelet without it breaking has been about a week. Also, my favourite flower - as I mentioned in the "P is for Purple" post - is a yellow rose (though I do like other roses too). So I want to get a bracelet of roses done. It's a perfect combination of a nature symbol, my favourite flower, and a bracelet I can't break.

I don't know when it will be done. There's a tattoo place a few streets away, but I need to have someone go with me, and I also need to have the spare funds that I can justify spending on something like a tattoo.

Monday, May 21, 2012

S is for Sleep

I've been managing to keep my routine. But for some reason today I'm really tired and really tempted to take a nap. In fact, the only reason I'm not currently curled up in my bed sleeping is that I'm reluctant to do so. You see, this routine is working well, and I'm worried if I take a nap that will mess it up. Of course, there's also the possibility that either it wont and I'll still sleep tonight, or the possibility that I wont sleep tonight whether I nap or not. There's no way of knowing for sure. Maybe I should just go for the nap so at least I know I've slept at some point? I mean, apart from doing the rounds on the 2 forums I'm a member of and Facebook, I have achieved everything I planned for today already...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

R is for Review (PTMI)

"Whenever Mamabuela talked about the night AlmaMia got her scar, she said that her granddaughter didn’t wake up until the morning after it happened. “Your big sister watched over you all night,” Mamabuela would say. AlmaMia trusted her grandmother, but she couldn’t control what took place in her nightmares. In dreams, AlmaMia chokes on the tears and blood that bubble out of her eyes, while her sister, Soledad, gloats over the younger girl’s broken body."

~~~From "AlmaMia Cienfuegos: a Story of Blood, Scars and Nightmares" by Magaly Guerrero.

Magaly Guerrero is a writer of dark fiction. Her tales are dark and bloody. And yet, I love them! And now, Magaly has published one of them.

"AlmaMia Cienfuegos: a Story of Blood, Scars and Nightmares" tells the story of AlmaMia Cienfuegos, a 9 year old with a past that would give even the bravest of us nightmares, and an older sister who seems to delight in torturing her. But I wont tell you more than that. No. If you want to know the secrets of AlmaMia Cienfuegos' past, then you'll have to read the story for yourself.

There is a preview of some of it on Magaly's writing site though (see below for the link).

If you're interested, the book is available for download for the kindle now, and I'm sure will become available in other formats later. Grab your copy by clicking the appropriate link below for the country you're in:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon FR
Amazon ES
Amazon IT

You can find Magaly at Pagan Culture and her writing site. You may want to go visit; she's hosting a giveaway until May 27th. See either (or both) of her blogs for details.

***

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own, and are neither influenced by anyone elses, nor influenced by the fact Magaly is a friend. I have reviewed this book as I would any random book which I happened to pick up and read.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Q is for Questions

Questions, questions everywhere, but no answers to be found!

OK, so that last part isn't always true; quite often questions can be answered easily. But it sounded good.

Anyway, I ask a lot of questions, and personally think asking questions should be encouraged. After all, if you don't ask questions, you'll never learn the answers, will you?

So, just because I love questions - and because it just popped in to my head - I'm going to ask you one of those random questions I sometimes ask.

Did you read as a child? If so, do you remember what your favourite book was? If yes, what was it?

Friday, May 18, 2012

P is for Purple

Purple is my favourite colour.

I don't mind what shade, just as long as it's purple! Although, I especially like lavender and lilac; the colours, the flowers and the scents.

I also like reds and blues, because they make purples.

Funnily enough though, my favourite flower is actually a yellow one; a yellow rose to be exact!

***

P is also for "Poetry" and if you're a fan, you may want to buy my book "Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems" then check out my giveaway.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

O is for Ocean

The ocean is beautiful, and I love living near it.

I love how you can hear it when it's rough, and how the sound seems to mingle with the stormy sea winds. And love the soft sigh it seems to make when you're near enough to hear it when it's calm. I love the salty smell in the air near it, and the sound of the seabirds (which is just as well, since that one's an almost constant noise).

Here's a photo of the shimmering reflection of the full moon on the ocean; taken when the photos posted in the "M is for Moon" post were taken.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

N is for New (kinda FD)

As in the new routine I've started.

Yes, I've started a new routine, and it's working out quite well so far.

I do the "education and work" parts of my day before I allow myself to start fiddling with things like blogs and such.

By the "work and education" stuff, I mean that I do things like writing, housework (including preporation for dinner on cooking days), sorting the dogs, working on anything I'd planned to do towards craft projects, and finally sorting the lessons that arrived in my inbox while I was sleeping. And only after those things are done do I start on things like any other e-mails I might have, blogs, Facebook, etc.

Like I said, it's working out quite well so far. And where I'm actually getting things done properly, I'm even having time to do all those things and still have some time for quiet story time before bed.

I'm also sleeping well for the most part. And at night too! :)

***

Just a quick reminder; check out my giveaway if you haven't already; you can find the giveaway here!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

M is for Moon (FD)

I've always thought the moon was beautiful, so it was my first thought when I was looking for an "M" topic. And, since I have a few shots Kelly took for me around the time of the full moon in April, it worked out well. He went down to the ocean to take them for me. And here they are:


Ever wonder what the different moons are called?

Well, as it happens, I got a list among some lessons in a Wiccan course I get, so here it is:

Full Moon Names and Lore
January ~ Wolf or Storm Moon
In January the stormy weather earned this moon its name. Snow covered the earth and the howling of wolves could be heard echoing through the cold winter air. Some tribes called this the Snow Moon, but that name was more commonly used for the February moon.

February ~ Snow, Ice or Hunger Moon
This moon is most commonly called the Snow moon, but the tribes that used this name for the January moon called this moon the Hunger Moon as the food supply was often low this time of year.

March ~ Worm, Crow or Seed Moon
As the earth starts to warm the earthworm casts appear, inviting the return of the robins. Some tribes called this Moon the Full Crow Moon, because the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter. It was also known as the Seed Moon as it was now time for sowing.

April ~ Hare or Pink Moon
The Hare was a sacred animal associated in Roman legends with springtime and fertility. In other areas, this moon was known as the Pink Moon, named after the flowers that began to appear, including the widespread grass pink or wild ground phlox. Other variations indicate more signs of full spring, such as Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, and Fish Moon (common among coastal tribes).

May ~ Flower, Milk or Dyad Moon
Flowers come into full bloom and corn is ready to plant. Also called the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. Some call it the Dyad moon, (the Latin word for a pair) refers to the twin stars of the
constellation of Castor and Pollux.

June ~ Mead or Strawberry Moon
During late June and most of July the meadows, or meads, were mowed for hay. Also called The Strawberry Moon, as Strawberry picking season reaches its peak during this time. This is one of the few names that was universal to all Algonquin tribes.

July ~ Wort, Hay or Buck Moon
When the sun was in Leo, the worts (from the Anglo-Saxon wyrt plant) were gathered to be dried and stored. Some tribes also called it the Hay Moon. Perhaps most commonly known as the Buck Moon, because deer start growing velvety hair-covered antlers in July.

August ~ Sturgeon or Barley Moon
Sturgeon, a large fish of major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes called it the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rose, it appeared reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. Persephone, virgin Goddess of rebirth, carries a sheaf of barley as a symbol of the harvest.

September ~ Corn or Harvest Moon
The September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the Autumn Equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. Native Americans sometimes refer to it as the Corn moon because it marked the time when corn was supposed to be harvested. The chief Indian staples of corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice are now ready for gathering.

October ~ Blood or Hunter's Moon
Native Americans named this moon the Full Hunter's Moon or Blood Moon as it was now time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Leaves are falling and hunters can easily see the animals they hunt. The Hunter's Moon is historically an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.

November ~ Beaver, Frosty or Oak Moon
Beavers were actively preparing for winter and they provided a source of warm winter furs for trappers. This moon is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon. Others call it the Oak Moon, named after the sacred tree of the Druids which withstands winter storms.

December ~ Cold or Long Night Moon
As Winter arrives the temperatures plummet. Some also call this the Long Night Moon as the nights lengthen and the moon spends more time above the horizon.

The Blue Moon ~ Variable
A Blue Moon occurs when the moon with its 28 day cycle appears twice within the same calendar month. Many consider theBlue Moon to be a goal moon where you set specific goals for yourself.

The Black Moon ~ Variable
A Black Moon occurs when there are two dark cycles of the moon in any given calendar month. It is believed that the second dark moon is a time of great power within the spiritual world and any magic worked during this time is especially powerful.

~~~Moon info and lore taken from a Wicca course via The Celtic Connection.

Monday, May 14, 2012

L is for Leftovers (FD)

I love leftover days!

The taste and neutritional values of a homecooked meal, without the work involved in making it. And - more to the point - without the dishes to wash afterwards, which is the bit I hate about cooking and baking; the cleanup. ;)

I usually cook for 2 days at a time, though sometimes there will also be extra meals to put in the freezer (especially if I make a stew or pie). I do this for a couple of reasons.

The first is that it means I get a leftover day every second day, which means I can use the leftover day either to catch up with things for projects I'm working on, do other things around the house that I didn't get time to do the day before because of food preporation, or just have a day to relax a bit.

The second is that due to me being a vegetarian and Kelly not being one, and him not eating many varieties of vegetables where as I want the variety, most of the time we have different meals. And when we do have similar meals, there's usually something added for each of us that's different (e.g. an extra vegetable for me where he has the meat). And it makes more sense to me to make enough of something to have leftovers than to just do enough for one all the time.

The thirrd is that when I was cooking every day, it felt like a chore, but when I started doing the thing where I cook one day and eat leftovers the next, it started to feel like less of one. That meant I started enjoying cooking more again.

Anyway, today is a leftover day; appropriately, since today is also my "L" day (no, it wasn't planned). And my leftovers tonight are from the vegetarian roast dinner I had yesterday:

Broccoli, carrots, peas, minted roast potatoes, and marinated quarn (it always tastes best marinated in something).

The roast potatoes were cooked without oil; I never use oil (don't even have any in the house). I just put a bit of water in the pan; just enough so they wont stick to the bottom of it while they cook. Then I just sprinkled them with mint and stuck them in the oven.

The quarn was marinated in a mixture of lemon juice and Branston sweet pickle. Why? Because it sounded like a good idea when I was deciding what to marinate it in. Anyway, it was then lightly fried with a bit of butter (just enough butter so it had some grease in the pan). It turned out very tasty, actually. The pickle gave the quarn a nice bit of flavouring. And you never would have known it was a pickle I have with cheese in a sandwich if you'd tried it without being told; I wouldn't have if I hadn't known. Definitely something I'll do again some time!

Mmmmm... Now I'm really looking forward to tonight's leftovers! ;)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

K is for Kinfolk AKA The Game Challenge #1

"kinfolk, kin·folk (knfk) also kins·folk (knz-) or kin·folks (knfks)
pl.n.
Relatives; kindred.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

kinfolk [ˈkɪnˌfəʊk]
pl n
Chiefly US and Canadian another word for kinsfolk

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003"

~~~Above taken from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kinfolk

I thought it would be an appropriate "K" word, since today is Mothers' Day in the US and Canada, and with my Mother-In-Law in Canada, we make a point of acknowledging both British Mothers' Day and American/Canadian Mothers' Day. So, I would like to wish my Mother-In-Law, Jenifer, and all other Mothers a very happy Mothers' Day!

Today is also the first challenge for The Game so it's time for me to post my entry for the challenge, which - as it happens - I sent to my Mother-In-Law as a Mothers' Day card.

OK, I've never done this before, so I hope I'm doing it right.

It was a "ticTacToe" challenge; we were given this image:

And told to pick three in a row in any direction. I picked flowers, ribbon and staples.

Here's my entry:

I'm not too good at remembering brands for my craft stuff, and couldn't check even if I wanted to; I store things in boxes and containers, and throw away all packaging. Plus, the paper flowers, paper square, piece of ribbon, the little oval gem things in the center of the paper flowers, and the staples, have been around for some time; all but the staples were among craft stuff I've had for ages, and the staples... I have no idea how long they've been in the stapler for. I'm pretty sure the card and the little ribbon roses were from "Craft Planet" though.

Anyway, join me and the rest of the Design Team at The Game and see what everyone creates. And, hey, why not see what you can create by doing three in a row?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

J is for Juggling (FD)

No, I don't mean the kind of juggling where you throw balls or something up in the air and juggle them about without dropping them. Apart from anything else, I've never been able to do that. Heck, I can't even catch one ball, let alone three! I did used to do a trick with a hula-hoop where I spun it on my hand using my thumb to stop it from sliding down my wrist or whatever; people seemed to think that was a clever enough trick to have me do it as part of an act when we did a circus show during a camp with Girl Guides. One of the girls in that act could juggle. That was a pretty good weekend actually; we had a circus theme going on all weekend... We were even grouped in tents based on our acts. I was part of the acrobats. We also had our own amusements where teddies did things good teddies should never do, but the Guiders never knew about that one. But, I digress, LOL!

So, juggling... Right... Yes. I'm talking about the kind of juggling where you juggle all sorts of responsibilities. Where you have all sorts of things you want/need to get done each day, and have to juggle your time to make them work.

I've been doing that a lot lately. I'm not doing too badly with it though. Things are getting done, and I'm even sleeping quite well, which is awesome!

I was going to do a full list of what I've done today, but I've just been fighting my laptop to persuade it not to turn off every time I come to work on a post, and now I really can't be bothered. Plus, I want to get on with doing the rounds on the blogs I follow. So I'll just tell you I've done housework (including doing laundry by hand), baked bread, worked on crafts (mostly organizing my messy craft box, but still), walked Kero, phoned my Grandma, played with Kero and Willow, and worked on some writing a bit. I even managed to find time to watch "Leeroy And Stitch"... Though admittedly that was while sorting my craft stuff out. Not a bad day, if I do say so myself; and it's a beautiful sunny day too! :)

I may be rubbish at the kind of juggling with balls and things, but I guess I'm getting pretty good at the kind where the thing being juggled is time. I still need to work on it a bit, but I'm not doing too badly...

Friday, May 11, 2012

I is for Internet

There are lots of great things I can say about the internet.

Most of my friends are on the internet, and without it I wouldn't know them.

I published my book "Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems" on the internet, and hope to publish more books online in the not-too-distant future (more on that in a future post). Speaking of which; my book has finally been approved for premium status, which means it will soon be made available in the Apple store, Barnes And Noble, etc. YAY!

I'm also a member of a design team on the internet; the blog for it is called "The Game" and we have an interesting collection of people on the design team. The challenges are all based around different games. The first challenge will be posted on Sunday May 13th. If you like crafts, click on the banner below to join us:

Note: There's a content warning due to the fact people are encouraged to express their creativity however they choose as long as it fits the theme of each challenge.



The internet is also where I've been doing some online courses. I've just started a new batch. If you're interested, the ones I've signed up for this time are:

Balanced Life Principles
Board Games - The Business Process
Business Letter Writing
Business Report Writing
Business Writing
Comedy Writing Tour
Dealing With Stress
Developing A Business Blog
Ego And Conciousness Awareness
Feedback Skills
Feng Shui Lifestyle
Focusing Your Mind

Freelancers Client Contract

Improving Your Memory
Inventions - From Idea To Product
Listening Skills
Making Board Games
Paranormal Romance

Many of them I may never use, but... *Shrugs*... They're free, so why not grab them, eh? ;)

So, anyway... Lots of great stuff happening on the internet! :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

H is for Home

Home is where I spend most of my time. Which is just as well since we had an inspection last Friday, and a visit from a handyman today.

The inspection was just a routine one, but they needed to check out some issues we'd mentioned having.

They also needed to check we still wanted to stay here, since our six months were up. We said we did. We like it here, and The Landlord is nice, and isn't all that noisy really (just the noises you'd expect to hear from someone living above you, though perhaps voices and the TV are louder than they might be; he's practically deaf though, so that's not his fault). As a general rule most of the neighbours are nice, and it's rare we hear much from them. It makes a nice change from all the times we've had rap crap playing from upstairs at all hours of the day and night, or dogs howling from upstairs because they've been left home alone again and aren't happy about it. Though, if I had to choose, I'd take the howling dogs over the rap crap any day!

Anyway, the handyman came to put a cupboard door back on. It fell off a couple of weeks ago and we couldn't for the life of us get it to stay on. He had a struggle actually, which makes me feel better about our lack of success, LOL!

Sometimes I would like to spend a bit less time at home; there are places I'd like to visit. But I'm greatful I have a home to be in, the freedom to choose where that home is, and plenty of things I can do in my home. Some things I do because they need doing (dishes, and other forms of housework) and others I do because I want to (writing, crafts, etc).

"Home" had to feature in my A-Z thing, because I have a rough theme of "things that are important to me, things I like, things happening today, or - if all else fails - the first thing I can think of for the letter" going on, and home is very important. Plenty of people don't have one, and I'm greatful I'm not one of those people!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

G is for Gift

Alison and Susan were responsible for me receiving the gift I will be posting about today. Alison made it, at Susan's request, as an anniversary gift.

It's a fertility charm, and here it is:

(I wear it around my neck to encourage good fertility and success with pregnancy).

Definitely just what I needed!

There was also a pouch to store it in when I'm not wearing it, and a piece of amethyst to cleanse it with regularly.

And here's the notecard that came with it:

And a pretty little silver fish:

Thank you again Alison and Susan! :)

***

Speaking of gifts...

An Amazon gift voucher is a great gift, don't you think?

If you agree, check out my giveaway by clicking here

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

F is for Friends

When thinking of something beginning with "F" I immediately thought of my friends.

Friends I know online only, friends I know both online and offline, and friends I only speak to offline. Friends who were there beside me as I struggled through sight loss and surgeries galore. And the newer friends I haven't known very long. All of my friends are special to me.

It would take some time to list them all, and to mention the wonderful things about them. Plus, I don't want to risk leaving someone out. So instead I'll just say, "thank you," to all my friends.

Thank you for being my friend, and for being who you are! :)

Monday, May 07, 2012

E is for Entertainment

Entertainment.

There's all kinds of it, and everyone has different ideas as to what's most entertaining.

There are those who think acting in or watching movies or TV shows is most entertaining, and those who prefer dancing, singing, or listening to music. There are those who find crafts most entertaining, and those who prefer computer games, figure gaming, or roleplaying. There are those who find the antics of their pets entertaining, and those who prefer to watch wild animals.

I could go on and on; but I wont.

Instead I'll direct you to Kelly's blog where he's in the process of posting about his trip to London last week. While he was there he admired a train station, met Molotov Jukebox (the band Natalia Tena, who plays Tonks in the Harry Potter movies, is in) and a singer named Sam Gray. I'd say that comes under entertaining! ;)

I'd have gone too, but we weren't sure of the exact time involved in the train rides, couldn't manage both dogs (especially with Willow's enthusiasm for being friends with everyone and everything) and didn't have a doggy-sitter, because the people I'd asked couldn't do it after all, and by the time I knew for sure it was too late to try out one of the other Doggy Daycare facilities listed for our area.

It wouldn't have been so bad if I could see, because I could have dealt with Kero and myself, and Kelly could have concentrated on keeping Willow under control. But we didn't think Kelly could manage to control an over-excited Willow, lead me (because the stations in London are much too crowded for me to safely use my cane) and help me with Kero.

Anyway, Kelly brought me back a CD with 5 of Molotov Jukebox's songs on it, so at least I didn't completely miss out.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

D is for Dog

What? I had to do dog too; can't forget Kero!

I really like dogs, but only one dog has ever been as special to me as my cats have been. And that dog is Kero.

I love that dog, and his behaviour tells me he loves me too.

I swear his Mother gave him to me when he was a puppy.

When I went to see him for the first time he was still a very tiny puppy. I'd seen photos, and knew which pup I wanted (the pup had a small patch on its nose where the fur didn't grow right). I was examining one of the puppies, when the breeder said, "you wont want this one, it's the runt," and pulled one of the puppies aside.

I put down the puppy I was holding, and asked her to give me the runt. She did (though reluctantly, and while looking at me as though she thought I was mad).

As soon as I looked him in the face, I knew he was my puppy. Not only did he have the patch I was looking for where the fur didn't grow right, but he'd been crying, and stopped the moment he looked at me.


While I was holding him, and she was trying to convince me the other puppies were better, their Mother came up and sniffed me.

"I'm going to have this one," I told the Mother while gently holding the puppy.

She sniffed him, sniffed me, sniffed him again, sniffed me again, then nuzzled him towards me and walked off.

I swear to this day that was her giving me permission to take him.

It was 6 weeks later before I finally could, by which time the teddy with my scent on that I'd given him had a rather chewed nose, and I learned quickly had worked too well. He was already so atatched to me that even taking the rubbish out without him resulted in him getting in such a state he set off every dog in the area.

Almost 8 years on, and he does a bit better. He still gets upset when I leave, and acts as though I was gone a year if I was gone only a minut. But at least he doesn't get in quite as much of a state as he did at first. And usually he only whimpers when I go now; howling is rare these days (which I'm sure my neighbours are pleased about, lol).

Yes, I did say almost 8 years on. And you know why?

It's because we have another celebration this month. On May 23rd, my baby boy will be 8!

And, yes, his birthday being the day after our anniversary was an accident. A wonderful one, since Kero was my first anniversary present. But an accident all the same.

I promised him a large rawhide bone for his birthday. Willow has one, and he keeps getting upset when she takes it back off him. So I promised him one of his own for his birthday. Bet he wishes his birthday would hurry up, LOL!

Oh, and if you're wondering... The fur still doesn't grow quite right on that patch on his nose. It's not as noticeable as it was when he was a puppy, but if you know where to look, you can see that one patch of his nose has finer and shorter fur on it than the rest of him. Only a very small patch though.

Also, though he was the runt, he's now one of the biggest West Highland White Terriers I've seen, coming in at about 31lbs and 12inches at the shoulder, which is the maximum size for a Westie according to the AKC (American Kennel Club).

Saturday, May 05, 2012

C is for Cat

Predictable, perhaps, but I do love cats; big and small!

The animal I'd love to own most in the world is a kind of cat; a lion!

It doesn't look like I'll get a pet lion though, despite my asking multiple times. So I guess I'll have to settle for domesticated cats. You can't have everything in life, I suppose. LOL!

I miss having cats, and hope to have one again some day; even if I can't have a lion!

I especially mis Chance (AKA Myskanco Silva Flame). He was an oriental Shorthaired Silver Spotted Red Tabby; try saying that three times fast, LOL! I loved that cat! I loved the other cats I've had too, but Chance was my all time favourite. I'd wanted an oriental cat since I was a child, so to finally have one was amazing. And he was so affectionate too! People think Siamese and Oriental cats are mean for some reason, but they aren't. At least, not all of them. Chance wasn't. Well, not unless you happened to be a dog anyway, LOL!

Anyway, speaking of cats...

The very first piece of creative writing we have of mine - a sort of rhyming story - is about a cat. And here it is:

MY CAT

My cat went for a walk,
He climbed up a stalk,
To get away from a hawk,
That was at the bottom of the stalk.

He looked at the cat flap,
And gave it a tap,
He gave a clap,
And went through the flap.

***

Another "c" is contest; which is what some people call it when they're doing giveaways. Have you checked out my giveaway? If you haven't, go here

Friday, May 04, 2012

B is for Baking (FD)

Baking is fun!

I love to bake; baking bread, biscuits/cookies and cakes. Like this cake:

It's a ginger spice cake; simple cake mixture with a tablespoon each of ginger and mixed spice in it.

Nothing beats the smell of a kitchen in which you've just been baking, nor the taste of fresh bread or warm cookies newly removed from the oven. Don't you think?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A is for Anouncement

A is also for alphabet, and I have decided to do the alphabet thing people were doing on their blogs last month. I know, trust me to do it at a different time to others; I never have been good with doing things other people's way, LOL! ;)

But, as I said in the title, "A is for Anouncement" and I have one to make.

Here's another A; anniversary. There are 2 anniversaries happening this month. The first is my bloggy anniversary, and the second is my wedding anniversary. My wedding anniversary isn't until the 22nd, but my bloggy anniversary is today. And, in honour of both these anniversaries, I'm running a giveaway through this month... That's the announcement.

The giveaway starts today, and you have until midnight my time on May 31st to enter (see "time in England" on the sidebar if you aren't familiar with GMT).

So, I suppose you want to know what you could win? And, for that matter, how to enter?

The prize is an Amazon gift voucher. $15 for anyone outside of the UK, £10 for those in the UK (that's as near as I can get to it being to the same value based on current conversion rates).

And how do you enter?

Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154488 and buy the book of poetry I published recently (if you haven't already) and tell me your favourite poem; quoting a line or 2 from it, and why you like it so much. Just do that in the comments section of this post (which I will keep a link to on the sidebar of my blog in case you don't enter until later in the month, and will link to in posts from time to time throughout the month too).

That's it; that's all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning the gift voucher... Just buy my book, pick your favourite poem, and tell me your favourite line(s) and why you like the poem so much.

I had hoped by now to have other options for where you can buy the book, but that hasn't been sorted yet, and I wanted to start running the giveaway today. And, anyway, it's free and simple to join Smashwords, so it's not like it will cost you anything more than a few extra moments of your time.

Anyway...

You can also earn an extra entry by posting about my book or this giveaway someplace (your blog, Facebook, or whatever) and leaving me a link in the comments section of this post; 1 entry per place you post.

Like I said, the giveaway ends at midnight GMT on May 31st. Again; see the clock on the sidebar if you're not sure on GMT.

I will pick the winner by assigning numbers to people based on the order they posted and how many entries they have, then use GMA Dice (an audio dice programme I have where you can roll a dice with up to 100 sides). I'll input whatever number the total entries comes to, then roll the dice... The winner will be the person who ended up with that number. For example, if you were the 4th person to post, and each of the people before you had 2 entries (1 for buying the book, and another because they posted about it somewhere) and you earned 2 entries yourself, then you will be both numbers 7 and 8. So if the dice lands on either of those numbers, the voucher is yours.

The winner will be announced on June 2nd.

Note: In case you missed my post about it last week; the $1.99 price gives you unlimited downloads of all available formats. So you can read the book on your computer, on your kindle or nook, on your ipod or iphone (if you have the ap for it), or even by printing out a pdf or text file and reading it that way.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A special day; Kelly's birthday

Today is a special day in our house.

It's Kelly's birthday!

So I wanted to do this post to wish a very happy birthday to my wonderful hubby!

I'll save all the soppy stuff for in person, don't worry. ;)

Anyway, happy birthday Kelly!

xXxXx

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Beltane 2012

A blessed Beltane, or happy May Day, or - if you don't acknowledge or celebrate either - a happy 1st of May to you! :)

I'm not doing anything to celebrate. This is partly because of the weather (which isn't very nice, meaning Kero wont come for a walk with me, and I'm not exactly eager to be out there myself) and partly due to lack of planning; I've been so wrapped up with other things that I forgot to plan for today. Too busy writing and promoting my book. ;)

Well, I did do one thing; if you scroll down you'll see that I posted a story. It's the last in the Meagan stories (meaning, the last I need to share, since I've shared all the others). I personally think they're really sweet stories; hope you enjoy this final one! :)

I might do a meditation later or something; if I don't get too tired and fall asleep first. I did think about doing it last night (since officially celebrations start the night before). That didn't work out though, and instead I ended up doing some writing and having a couple of hours sleep. Well, I'm thinking about the fact it's Beltane, and I'm sure the universe will forgive me for not doing more than that.

Anyway, have a good day, and get outside to enjoy it if you can! :)

Story: Meagan's Beltaine

By Kat Dyer

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Meagan. She lived with her mommy and daddy, her big brother Corwin and her beautiful cat named Starweaver. One day in April Meagan came home and found her mother and Nana making baskets. "What are you doing?", asked Meagan. "Well, soon it will be Beltaine", said her mother Elizabeth, "it's also known as May Day. A long time ago people would celebrate May Day by making baskets and filling them with flowers. Then they would take the baskets to the houses of friends, leave them on the porch, ring the bell and run and hide. Then the friends would have to guess who left them the baskets." Elizabeth's mother Nana nodded, "That's right, I used to get the most beautiful baskets from your late grandfather. I mentioned it to your mother and she thought that it would be a very fitting way to help celebrate Beltaine. Of course, I still can't keep all your holidays straight."

"Oh!" said Meagan excitedly, "I know! Beltaine is a fertile...fertul...fertility ritual!" "That's right," said Elizabeth, "and what else happens at Beltaine?" Meagan thought for a minute. "Hmmm. Oh! It's when the Goddess takes over the year again from the God and She starts dating the young God!" Elizabeth and Nana laughed. "Exactly right, my love," said her father Michael from the doorway. He was carrying a large basket full of beautiful flowers from the garden. "Were these what you wanted?" he asked Elizabeth. "Perfect!" she said smiling, "As soon as we finish up these baskets we can start filling them. Meagan, what else do you think we could put in them?" Meagan thought very hard. "I know!" she said, "We can put crystal and ribbons on the baskets and maybe some candy!"

Once Corwin got home everyone worked hard to finish making and decorating the baskets. They wrapped ribbons around the handles. They put soft grass and straw in the bottoms of the baskets. They put flowers and crystals and small presents in the baskets. Meagan made a basket for her best friend Cindy. Elizabeth made one for Cindy's mom Anna with herbs in it because Anna was an herbalist. They made a basket for Michael's parents, Gramma Lee and Granpa Scott. Gramma Lee and Granpa Scott were Christian and they wouldn't like hearing about the family celebrating Beltaine but they wouldn't mind having May Day baskets. "Is there anyone missing?" asked Corwin, "Look, there's one basket left over" They checked all the baskets but no one could think of anyone they had forgotten. Meagan remembered the old woman whose house she walked by everyday from school. "Mommy?" she asked, "Could we make one for that lady who lives on the corner?" Elizabeth hugged Meagan while Corwin looked surprised. "Oh Meagan," she said "I think that is a lovely idea! Mrs. Hanson has been all alone since her children moved away. Would you like to make it yourself?" Meagan nodded and got busy making a basket for the old woman who lived on the corner. She hadn't know the woman's name before. She hummed while she worked and hoped that Mrs. Hanson would like her surprise.

Soon it was May Day. Beltaine was on a Saturday this year and so they would be having Circle at their house that night. Meagan helped take the baskets around to her friends. But she saved Mrs. Hanson's basket for last. She crept up to the door, keeping low so that Mrs. Hanson wouldn't see her from the windows. She set the basket beside the door so that it wouldn't be knocked over when Mrs. Hanson opened the door. Meagan rang the doorbell and ran quickly to hide behind the bushes to wait. Mrs. Hanson opened the door. "Yes?" she said, "Who's there?" She looked puzzled and almost closed the door when she spied the basket on her porch. "Oh my!" she gasped, "A May Day basket!" Mrs. Hanson took the basket and sat down with it on the porch's rocker. She started crying. Meagan ran up to her. "I'm sorry!" she said, "I didn't mean to make you cry!" She was scared that she had hurt Mrs. Hanson's feelings. "You made this for me?" asked Mrs. Hanson, looking astonished. Meagan nodded, "My mommy was helping me make them for my friends and I thought that you would like one too. Mommy said that people used to do this all the time." Mrs. Hanson dried her eyes, "Your mommy is right. But I haven't had a May Day basket in a very long time. My children used to make them at school for me. I'm not upset with you dear, it's just that seeing this basket brought back many happy memories for me. I miss my children and grandchildren. They all live very far away and I don't get to see them very often."

Meagan gently put her hand on top of Mrs. Hanson's hand. "Would it make you feel better if I came to visit you once in awhile?" she asked. "Oh," said Mrs. Hanson, "you don't have to do that child, but if you decide you want to, I'll try to have some cookies ready for you when you come. So long as it's alright with your parents. If you really want to come by sometimes have them give me a call and let me know that it's okay for you to come." "Okay," said Meagan, "I'd better get back home now but I'll have mommy or daddy call you". Meagan waved to her new friend as she ran back home. She told her parents about what Mrs. Hanson had said. They called Cindy's mom Anna and talked to her for a while. Then they called Mrs. Hanson and talked to _her_ for a while. They told Corwin and Meagan that they were allowed to go visit Mrs.Hanson anytime they wanted on the way home from school so long as they didn't stay more than 15 minutes. Then they said that they could also visit her at other times so long as they told one of the grownups in the house where they were going and called when they got there. Just like they had to do whenever they went to visit friends. Meagan found out that Cindy had been given permission to visit Mrs. Hanson too. She was excited about sharing cookies with her new friend and her best friend.

Soon it was time to decorate the altar for Beltaine. Meagan was excited. They had made a May Pole with ribbons to dance around. There was also a fire pit dug in the Circle area. "What's that for?" she asked the High Priest Jeremy. "Back in the old days people used to run the cattle between two fires on Beltaine to make them fertile and help the herd increase. They would also jump over the Beltaine fire for luck. We don't have any cattle to make fertile but some of us will jump the fire for luck tonight. You're still too small to jump by yourself but we can pass you over the fire by putting you in a chair carry just like we will for Gwennie. You know that she's pregnant and we don't want to take the chance of her falling in the fire." Meagan nodded. She was very excited. So was Corwin. He was still too young to jump completely by himself but Michael said that he could jump just holding arms with Michael and one of the other men. Meagan smiled to herself as she put a flower circlet on her head and got ready for Circle to begin.

After Circle was over Meagan was very tired. She had had a busy day. Meagan kissed her parents and brother good night and looked for Starweaver. "Mommy! I can't find Starweaver" she said. Meagan's parents smiled at each other. "Don't worry dear," said Michael, "Beltaine is a time of fertility and Star must be helping out. You'll understand when you're older." Meagan stomped up the stairs. "I hate it when they say that" she thought. But she still smiled when she thought about what fun she had had dancing around the May Pole. She climbed into bed and snuggled down. It had been a good day.

(Click here to see the page that I got the story "Meagan's Beltane" from.