Archive for the ‘NEITH’ Category
My husband clued me in to the newest air safety message from Air New Zealand. It is AWESOME. Enjoy.
Okay, I couldn’t resist the alliteration. But I also had to share this video that was linked to me by a friend on twitter (yo, count_01!). It’s funny, it’s empowering, and it is just awesome. Enjoy!
Go on, now. Maybe not exactly safe for work, but… be brave!
Love and kisses,
There’s a hawk in the Library of Congress. No, not the war-favoring political kind. The kind with wings and whatnot.
I can’t tell you how cool I think this is. I love hawks. We have hawks at our house – Cooper’s, sharp-shinned, red-tailed and red-shouldered for sure. Oh. Wait. A lot of people don’t know their hawks. Let me help you.
Cooper’s Hawk (like the one in the Library)
Sharp-shinned hawk (pic taken from my great room window. This one was less than a foot from me through the window)
Red-shouldered hawk (I used to have a great pic of a red-shoulder eating a dove in the snow in my backyard, but I can’t find it!)
And a red-tailed hawk. This one is a light one, but red-tailed hawks have many color morphs.
Some things about these hawks. First, if you want to identify whatever bird is hanging out in your trees or bushes, check out Cornell’s online identification guide. Next, on to our four. You’ll notice that they have similar coloring, so identification isn’t always easy. The first thing is size. Sharp-shinned hawks are small hawks, about the size of a large blue jay, maybe 10-14″ long. The females are much larger than the males and are often difficult to distinguish from Cooper’s hawks. The sharp-shinned hawk has a very square tail, though, where the Cooper’s has a rounded tail. The Cooper’s is a bit larger (14-20″), about the size of a crow.
Red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks are larger. Red-shoulders are slightly smaller than red-tailed (16-24″), and have distinctive red streaking at the shoulders. Red-taileds (18-24″) have streaking on the underside, but its more toward the middle and less at the shoulders. Additionally, in flight the distinctive red tail is a very big hint. Red-tailed hawks are extremely common and if you see a hawk, odds are good it’s a red-tail.
In my experience, the red-shouldered, Cooper’s and sharp-shinned all hang out in the trees. They wait for some unsuspecting bit of yum and dive bomb from above. The red-tail hawks tend to hang out across the street by the power easement waiting for a mouse or bunny to make a break across the open terrain.
I like birds in general, and I love hawks. In fact, raptors were the major inspiration for the bird-winged aliens in Twice as High. So when I saw this story, I decided to share. What about you? Do you dig hawks?
Late again. Though not as late as last time.
Tonight I took my Munchkin with me to give a review session for a class I teach. She totally charmed them. And gave most of them hugs as they left. One of the guys asked me if she goes up to random people and hugs them. The answer is yes and no. She will if we’re right there and she thinks they look like they need a hug. Which is, at once both alarming and endearing. She’s a lovely, sweet soul, and she hates to see anyone unhappy. On the other hand, the world can be a hard place, and I want to protect her from that. It’s what I tell my classes all the time – it’s a continuum. On the one end I have the ability to keep my daughter secure. On the other end is her ability to be independent. Every bit of independence she gains costs me some bit of ability to keep her safe. But ever bit of safety I enforce costs her some bit of independence.
In the same way, I think authors can be really protective of their stories. And their characters. We don’t want bad things to happen to them, we want to keep them safe. But if bad things don’t happen to them, how can the reader see their character arc? How will the plot move forward. So, we, as writers, have to make a trade off. The safety of the characters in favor of moving the story forward.
Similarly, once the story is done, you face a similar dilemma. Do you send your baby out into the world, where it is sure to attract some slings and arrows? Or do you harbor it, safe and warm, in the desk drawer (or thumb drive)? Again, a trade off.
I’m not telling you that you have to send your stuff out right now. Maybe you aren’t ready (regardless of whether the story is). But I do think that you need to understand the trade off you are making. Yes, your baby is safe, but it will never shine. Yes, it’s safe, but no one will ever know it’s wonder. Consider taking a chance. Sure it’s a risk – but, like my daughter, you may just find that you brightened someone’s day.
I missed my blog date – I’ve been missing a lot of stuff lately. As I mentioned in a comment on Inez’s last post, I’m totally brain dead. I’ve been fighting off whatever the crud was/is, preparing for finals (giving, not taking), teaching, and supervising the installation of my new windows (hooray!). I’d probably be doing a bit better, but the cats have decided that the upheaval in the house caused by getting ready to move means they have to do their impersonation of Fight Club when I try to sleep.
I’m considering kitty Valium. Maybe for the kitties. Maybe for me.
In other news, I’ve revived an older project that’s been nagging me, and I’ve made some progress on the mystery-were project. That’s good news, right?
In the wake of releasing More than a Man – oh, wait. Have I even mentioned that? Yeah. Launched an interesting little story I co-wrote on Dec 1.
Here’s the blurb:
Manporium. It’s where women of The Future go to buy the men of their dreams…and where twice-widowed Noelle Lytton is going to buy the third man of her dreams. Like a child crafting a Christmas wish list and checking it twice, Noelle has poured every last measure of hope into the traits she’s selected to make up her third husband. She’s checked her list more than twice, weighed it against past mistakes and future anticipations, and as she uploads her life’s savings to pay the balance, she knows it’s this man or nothing.
Sometimes things don’t go quite as expected at Manporium, however, and a bride’s wish list is, er…subject to interpretation. A man might, for example, come out smelling like gingerbread cookies and possessing extra appendages. All of which Noelle discovers as she comes to terms with the husband who, despite mistakes, is everything she wanted and much, much more.
So…what are you up to?
Right now I am pissed at the power company – or maybe at the mowing contractor the power company hired.
We have – HAD – wild raspberries growing in the power easement and along an embankment that’s actually private land belonging to the day care center on the corner. Normally the power company mows along each side to make sure the power trucks have access to the easement, but leaves the center of the easement alone. This means that there is heavy, dense brush from the raspberry canes which provides not only yummy fruit for both human and animal (birds, deer, even bear occasionally), but also cover and nesting area for the birds.
They mowed it down. All of it. Even the stuff ON PRIVATE LAND. And they did it when the day care owners weren’t there so they couldn’t object – starting at about 7am this morning.
I’m furious. I am really unhappy about them mowing them down in the power easements – but that’s their right. But to mow them down on private property? That just makes me all kinds of livid. It isn’t the first time they’ve tried that – though the last time, the owners were there and got out there and told them to stop. This time – no.
Anyway, it’s shortsighted because the birds and critters – esp. the deer – keep the growth down and eat the stuff that might actually pose a danger to the power lines – trees and things. And, by cutting down the berries, they’re going to open the way for trees to grow in that area, which means a much bigger issue for power lines than berry canes. Not to mention, I expect my yard to be overrun with birds and whatnot looking for shelter. I can only hope they don’t flush out any bear.
Fall has arrived and I was caught unprepared. It’s been so hot here up until this week that the sudden cold caught me unawares. We still have all the summer sleeveless shirts and shorts out. I had to go digging for my daughter’s long sleeved shirts and jeans and a light jacket for her to wear. Yesterday morning I mounted a hunt for one of my fleece pull-overs so I could take Munchkin out to the bus stop without shivering.
It isn’t that I mind fall – I don’t. Okay, not much. I must confess that I really despise being cold. I can handle heat. Even triple digit heat. I can’t deal with cold. The temp drops below 40 and I don’t want to go anywhere. I want to stay inside with hot chocolate, warm socks and myriad blankets. I’ve never been one for playing in the snow – that just gets you cold and wet. I like LOOKING at the snow. It’s pretty and gives me all kinds of excuses to read and write. But out in it? Ugh.
In any case, the cooler weather kicked me into gear with some projects getting the house ready to put on the market. I bought a dozen azaleas that will go in this week. I’ll follow this with a good mulching of the front beds, a final cut of the lawn, and a heavy shearing of the hollies (the hollies in front of the master bedroom are more than 20 feet tall now. I think we can safely say they need some serious pruning). Once all of that is done, I can concentrate on other things. Like finding some burly men to help me move the piano. Since I can’t do it and GN/DH certainly can’t do it alone.
I wonder if there are rules about bribing my students to do it….
In any case, here’s hoping that whatever your fall projects, you complete them with ease and mastery. Good luck!
so a little background. GN/DH got a new job (hooray!) and we’ll (eventually) be moving up to where the new job is (DC area). In the meantime, GN is up there during the week and home only weekends. I’m teaching 3 different classes for 3 different colleges. One of those classes is (depending on which campus I have to go to that day) either 1.5 or 2.5 hours away. I’m running herd on Munchkin, getting ready for a move, and generally losing my mind.
This week, I’m divvying stuff up to get rid of it. Two weeks ago a friend helped me (more or less) empty our storage unit, which was packed to the gills with baby stuff from Munchkin. So now it’s all in my living room. and dining room.
The first stuff went to the church consignment sale. a stroller, a backpack, a couple of higher end toys. The next round is going to a women’s shelter. Swing, baby gates, bed rails, training potties. This means I had to clean the stuff and get it ready to go.
I also sorted through clothes and pulled the 18 mo, 2t, 3t stuff aside for a neighbor with a toddler.
Craigslist will be seeing the crib, bassinet, changing table, glider, and a few other non-baby things.
After that – it’s all getting donated. I want this stuff out of my house so bad I can taste it. I’m about ready to donate everything but our clothes, the computers and the kitchen gadgets and say to hell with it. Hell, we can even donate some of the computers. (You have no idea how many computers in this house. I’m pretty sure we qualify as a medium sized business.)
What about you? What moving prep stuff made you crazy? (Because I KNOW Inez has moving stories that will make your hair stand on end.)
So Inez and I were talking the other day – SHUT UP! We talk! – and I was whining about being woefully uncreative and not having ideas for a blog for this week. Jokingly, Inez suggested I do a post on sex toys. Well, I did a T-13 on my other blog on sex toys, so I didn’t really want to repeat myself, but I do loooove the idea of sex toys. So what to do?
Well, I thought I might mention a few stories FEATURING sex toys. Yeah. Now you wanna know, don’t you? You’re all…oooooohhhh…. tell me more, Elise!
Fine. I’ll tell you more.
One of my very favorite stories featuring a VARIETY of toys employed for a laundry list of purposes is Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series. Okay, maybe it’s not a single book, but really it is one story. Now, I have to warn you that these stories involve some very, very edgy stuff, and the toys are correspondingly… terrifying. Blades for blood play, clamps and hard edged pain toys, a truly terrifying dildo in the third book of the series. And yet…. I love this series. But certainly not for the faint of heart.
The Switch by Diane Whiteside. Now, I’ll be honest here. I pretty much hate everything else I’ve ever read by Whiteside. But this book… wow. Again, many toys – whips and crops and nipple clamps, oh my! But the story is lovely, and the toys are more integral to it than most.
Mallory Rush’s Love Play features some of the most beautiful scenes with sex toys. The hero (at least partially Chinese in heritage) uses traditional Chinese brushes, feathers, and a number of other tactile things as sex toys.
The anthologies Captivated and Fascinated both have multiple stories featuring toys. Bertrice Small uses dildos and various furniture to good effect, while Thea Devine uses nipple adornment and modified chastity belts.
I’ve read quite a few contemporaries which mention vibes or dildos, and a few that actually feature them. Harlequin Blaze has a tendency to use them fairly frequently.
How about you? Any good reads with toys?
So, my daughter’s bus stop is literally right across the street from our house. We’re in suburbia, not any sort of rural atmosphere. But that bus stop harbors wildlife aplenty. These pics aren’t from the bus stop, but they’re the same animals!
What are some things we’ve seen at the bus stop? I’m glad you asked….
Marbled salamander (saw this one on Monday)
Smooth green snake
red-tailed hawk (in the trees at the bus stop)
sharp-shinned hawk (in the trees at the bus stop)
bald eagle (flying overhead)
We’ve also seen turkey vultures, black vultures, deer, and various other critters. It’s evidently a busy place. Who knew?