Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Short Explanation for My Absence...

I have tried numerous times since Saturday to write something here that would explain to you all why I am not online as much as I had been. As a matter of fact this same post has been in *draft* for 3 full days. I would write a little and then have to stop and walk away.

I haven't been able to concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes at a time. I'm walking around in a fog, and even have needed to actually remind myself I need to eat. I went almost all day yesterday without eating anything at all. My blankets are my very best friend right now.

You see, there is a valid explanation for my absence and I pray you will forgive me for being gone and allow me the time I need to recover and come back to you all.

On Saturday October 27th, my Momma passed away unexpectedly. I still don't know what happened. She lived in Arizona with my brother and nephew. There has been a memorial scheduled for Monday November 12th in Sahuarita Arizona. I will be leaving Hope Mills on Wednesday November 7th, driving to Maryland to  pick up my eldest daughter and granddaughter, then leaving early morning on Thursday November 8th and  driving across country to Arizona. 

I'll be back in North Carolina on Friday November 16...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This is not a good day for me...

I had some very bad news from Arizona this morning I won't be around online much at all. Probably not for the weekend either. I don't know when I'll be back...

So this means I won't be doing my NaBloWriMo entries for the next few days.

Friday, October 26, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 26 ~ Friday Free for All...

Today has been a very busy and hectic and all around productive day for me.

Tanya picked me up at about noon and off we went to run some errands and see if we could get things organized for her and her trip next month. That's all I'm saying about a tip for now, I don't wanna jinx anything, LOL!!

We have been going ALL DAY and this Abi is beyond wiped out. So this is my big post for Friday... at least I'm keeping up with my commitment to post something each day, even if it isn't a novel...

We are on Hurricane Sandy watch here in the Sand Hills... I know it's supposed to be a bad storm and I'm sending positive energy to all our family and friends up in Maryland and points north. We're thinking of you ALL and I will be lighting candles in the morning.

G'night all! Y'all have a great night and be safe.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Thoughts on a Thursday

Today has been one of those days where I feel I didn't get anything accomplished. However, I know that is not true, because I did 3 loads of laundry and folded them and put them all away. I also vacuumed my entire house and dusted everything in sight. I had a cleaning bug...of sorts.

I also fought to get these few things taken care of. My morning began and I was in a great mood. I had my coffee, and breakfast, sat down at the computer to answer some emails, checked in on Facebook. And as I was sitting here finishing the Ten Things Thursday, my morning went to pieces. I have no idea what triggered it, but I was in a horrible mood all of a sudden.

I logged off the computer, put on some tunes, cranked the surround sound way up and let the music heal whatever the funk was. I'm happy to say, it went away quickly and I was able to return to normal... OK normal for me anyway, LOL!

This afternoon, I went with Tanya as she did her running around. We had a great time and the only problem was we got such a late start to the day we were both over tired before we got much done. Ahh well, tomorrow is another day and we'll be out and about again.

Not much in the way of excitement for me today. I'm having a hard time believing this month is almost over...

Ten Things Thursday ~ 10 of my Favorite Books

Since I began doing this meme, I've given you lots of information. I love doing this because it gives me the chance to go back in my memories and pull things out I may  have not visited in awhile.

For today's post, I've dusted off my current bookshelf and pulled some of the books I've read over the years and kept for one reason or another. Jimmy sometimes gets irritated with me about keeping some of the things I do, especially if he has to move them from one location or another, LOL!  In no certain order, here are 10 of my favorite book and their author (in case you want to google them or something). I hope you enjoy them...

1. Eat, Pray Love by Liz Gilbert ~ I found this book when I was attending the Triangle Pagans Book Club while living in Raleigh, NC. This was one we chose to read and discuss during one of our monthly meetings. I LOVE this book! There is so much Ms. Gilbert gives to anyone who may be searching for themselves but have no indication where to begin looking. I'd also love to be able to go to India and Bali to strengthen my spiritual path. The book has been made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, and I can't think of a better actress to portray Liz Gilbert. This is also one of the movies I have on my Amazon Wish List and hope to be able to purchase it in the near future.

2. The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop ~ This is actually three books in one and I will tell you right off the bat, these books are NOT for everyone. They are of the Fantasy genre and are considered by many to be very dark. There is a lot of violence and abuse. However, it is also the story of Witch, who she is, how she came to be and how she leads her coven. I love the characters, all of them and have read this trilogy probably 6 or 7 times. There are also sequal books in the series which I highly recommend.

3. The Woman With the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird ~ I have always believed Jesus was just like any other mortal man while he walked on the earth. I believe he was married and his wife was Mary Magdalen, I believe they had a child together. I also believe after Jesus was crucified, Mary his wife was smuggled out of the country to give birth to their child and raised that child alone as a single mother. This book was written by a Catholic scholar who questioned not only her faith, but her education as well. "The Woman with the Alabaster Jar is a quest for the forgotten feminine--in the hope that its return will help restore a healthy balance to planet Earth."

4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness ~ When this first came out I was just as excited as the rest of the people who had been waiting for its release. I wasn't disappointed. This is a book written by a historian and is full of historical happenings. I love the story of Diana and Matthew and her exploration of the powers she had tried to keep buried for a long time. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the trilogy "Shadow of Night".

5. Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small ~ I fell in love with this character within the first few paragraphs of this book. She's a strong independent young woman who first tries to defy her family for love, but ends up bowing to her father's wishes. By the time you get midpoint in the book, Skye has been named * chieftain* of their clan and antagonizes Queen Elizabeth. There is an entire line up of Skye O'Malley books and if you like Historical Fiction at all I can wholeheartedly recommend anything written by Bertrice Small. She just does not disappoint her readers.

6. Circle of Stones & I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk ~ These two books go together, read Circle of Stones first as it will give you the beginnings of how to search for the divine feminine. Throughout both books you are challenged "How might your life have been different if . . . ?"

7. A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K Hamilton ~ First let me admit I *used* to be a huge LKH fan and read everything she released. At first I was totally into the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter books, but they seem to be getting more and more repetitious with nothing new in any of that series. I've stopped buying the Anita Blake books. I still read the Merry Gentry series, maybe because there are only 8 books in this series and so far they keep the reader involved, much like the Anita bookes used to do.  Merry Gentry is a Faerie Princess and part of the Unseelie court. It's not easy to give you a review of these books, there is MUCH detail, and a lot of sci-fi/fantasy. If you don't mind explicit details of everything in the story line, I can highly recommend the Merry Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton.

8. The Tir Alainn Trilogy by Anne Bishop ~ This is actually 3 individual books, The Pillars of the World, Shadows and Light and The House of Gaian, and if you decide to read this series PLEASE read them in the order I just listed, otherwise you will miss a lot of information and be so confused, you'll probably stop reading them. These books follow the growth and journey of a young Witch through more chaos than any could imagine. On top of the trials she goes through, there is a hunter who is evil incarnate, trying to wipe out the Witches who are the keepers of the earth. Again this can be considered dark by some standards.

9. Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon ~ Acheron or Ash as he is known throughout all of  the books written by Sherrilyn Kenyon is the Elder of the Dark Hunters. Through Acheron we finally see who he really is, where he came from and why he has such a cold heart and refuses to love. Ash continues to watch over the Dark Hunters and keep them as safe as he possibly can. He also begins to thaw a bit and there is the possibility of love for him after all.

10. The Kadin by Bertrice Small ~ Yes as you can see I am a fan of Bertrice Small, and even though her books are considered smut, trash and worthless by some people, I really enjoy her stories. She researches her characters which give more credence to the setting and activities she writes about. The Kadin is actually her very first book, and it is set in Scotland and moves on to the harem of Sultan Selim, where Cyra/Lady Janet Leslie becomes not only the first wife to the Sultan but also the most powerful woman in his harem. The books by Bertrice Small are easy to read, a wonderful way to block out the real world, and run away for a while.

So there you have another installment of Ten Things Thursday. If you read any of the books I've listed, please come back and let me know what you think of them. I love having another perspective on books, music and life...

Till next time...have a great week and be safe!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 23 ~ Tuesday's Tidbits...

So, yesterday while Jimmy was home, we decided to go out and do the early voting thing. With him being on the road and having no guarantee of the days he'd be home, I was a bit concerned he might not be here for the actual election day. Off we go to the closest polling place for us, the recreation center for Hope Mills. It's busy when we arrive, people lined up half way along one side of the building... not a problem, it's moving pretty quickly.

While we wait in line we are approached by a few of the *candidates* who are doing some last minute campaigning, again, not a problem. They aren't overly aggressive and are staying behind the *no campaigning past this point* signs all across the front of the building. Each candidate offers us a card with the basics of their platform and some information they feel us voters need to know. Thus begins the part where I'm kinda having an issue.

Three out of the four cards I'm holding in my hand and trying to read each give us, the voters information about their church/religious affiliation. I look at Jimmy and hold my thumb on the card under the words I want him to make sure he sees. Before I could say anything, Jimmy shows me where one of them has listed his affiliation with the Mason's. And that he's a 32nd Degree Mason.

Here's where I begin to have a bit more of a problem... bear with me, it's kinda long winded.

I fully understand I am living in the South, right smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt. I also understand it is very important for everyone who lives in the South/Bible Belt to broadcast their religious preferences and church affiliation. Where I feel the problem is, at least for me, is that there is no place at all that is appropriate for a candidate to try to influence his constituents with information about his faith. And I will be honest, when I saw the information these candidates shared about which church they belong to, I decided to not vote for them. Up until that point, I *may* have been convinced of their stance on some of the issues they were campaigning about. But I feel (and please understand, I DO NOT expect anyone to agree with me. This is MY personal opinion and nothing more) very strongly about the separation of church and state and believe wholly in the fact that religion of ANY kind has absolutely NO place in politics.

As the line continued to move closer to the entrance to the building, there were 3 candidates campaigning for Cumberland County (the county we live in) School Board. They were spaced far enough apart, that they didn't step on each others toes as they were speaking. I listened to what they were saying, and each had a pretty good stance on the things that needed to be addressed in the school systems here in our county.

However, I asked all three of them point blank the very same question. *What is your position on bullying?* Two of the three candidates made me feel they were giving me the answer they thought I wanted to hear in order to secure my vote. Neither was very clear and when I attempted to pin them down on specifics, I was pretty much shuffled along so they could speak to the next person in line behind me. All except one man...

Morrie Turner actually took the time to *listen* to my question, and then he asked me questions in order to be clear on what I was asking. On the card he had given me it clearly stated he has a NO TOLERANCE policy when it comes to bullying of any kind. When I asked him to please clarify his position on bullying because of race or religion, and sexual orientation, he again stated there was no difference in the type of bullying, he will accept NO bullying what so ever. When I asked him about his educators possibly looking the other way or even blaming the victim because the victim chose to dress differently, or maybe they were part of the smart kids. He again said NO BULLYING... PERIOD!

Ok, I'm not some dolt with my head buried in the sand, I know policies are difficult to enforce. I know many times children are shuffled aside for one reason or another. I also know about the good old boy gang... my Dad and Uncles were part of this group all throughout my life. And again, maybe this man was just giving me what I needed in order to vote for him. But I have to tell you...this man, Morrie Turner gave me the confidence the other two candidates could not. He didn't flash his church/religious affiliation nor his Mason's degree, he didn't shuffle me along when he might have felt my questions a little too hot to handle. He acted in what is my idea of a true candidate who actually wants to connect with his constituents.

Was I fooled? Possibly. Do I care? Maybe, I can't really say. I don't have children or grandchildren in the public school system here in Cumberland County (yet). I did vote for Morrie Turner based on nothing more than his willingness to actually have a conversation with me and answer to the best of his ability the questions I asked of him. I honestly know nothing about him and here is where I made my one big mistake... I did NOT research the local candidates as much as I should have before I went to vote. Will Morrie Turner win his seat on the school board? I don't know, but I can honestly say I feel he is the one I would want to have backing my children or grandchildren when it comes to being bullied...

Monday, October 22, 2012

NaBloWriMo Day 22 ~ Monday Munchies ~ Pumpkin Pancakes with Black Cinnamon Syrup

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I have linked to the site I got this recipe from. It has been modified a bit, therefore making the post here in MY blog an original one that belongs to ME! As per US Copyright Law.

These were originally found on notmartha who had made their own adaptions from Noble Pig. All picture credits belong to notmartha.

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, separated
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg yolk with a fork. Add milk, pumpkin puree and vanilla; mix well. Add melted butter. If the butter is hot, add it slowly or you will cook your egg yolk. Stir this mixture into dry ingredients, just until combined.

In another bowl, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg white into batter.

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat and grease lightly with vegetable oil. For each pancake, spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the edges look dry. Turn over and cook until golden brown. 

Black Cinnamon Syrup

1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
black food coloring gel

In a saucepan combine white sugar, brown sugar, all-purpose flour and cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients together. Add vanilla extract and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Be really careful while boiling sugar, keep a bowl of ice water nearby just in case. As it heats squirt in a little of the black food coloring and mix in, add more until it’s as dark as can be (it doesn't take much). Allow to boil for a few moments until the mixture has noticeably thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to put into a squirt bottle (of the ketchup style). You can make it the night before and warm it by dipping the squeeze bottle in a bowl of warm water. You might also have your pancake eaters create their own designs.
Decorate the pancakes with the syrup. By all means decorate the plate with extra syrup. I find spiders, spider webs and bats work out well. Serve with sausages, sausages are creepy looking enough on their own.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 21 ~ Serene Sunday

It's been very calm and peaceful here today in the Lair de L'Esperance.

Miss Ravyn was here until about 2:30 and then Mommy picked her up to go get portraits done. I'm excited to see how these turned out as this session was a *themed* session. They were supposed to dress her up as a little fairy, complete with wings. She's not so much into dress up yet, so I'm thinking this may have been a challenge for everyone involved.

Jimmy is on his way home, he's been to Ft Worth, Texas and back this week. He should be home around 6:00 and I've promised him fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy for dinner tonight. Even though he didn't go out until Wednesday, he was still able to add up a little over 2600 miles, most of which will be on this coming paycheck. YAY! Bills will be paid on time once again. I LOVE that feeling after doing the robbing Peter to pay Paul thing for over 14 months, it's very nice to have that peace of mind.

Me? I've been doing homework... I have an 8 page rough draft due tomorrow and this time I didn't put it off to the very last minute, even though I still do NOT like this class at all. I'm just doing the work to get a passing grade so I can move on to the next one. I have absolutely NO idea what Introduction to Film has to do with my degree... but it IS an English credit which I need, so as long as I pass I'll stop bitching about it.

Tomorrows post for Samhain's Sirens is finished (early this time, LOL) and scheduled to post at 8:30 in the morning. There are 9 days left to get into the drawing for the Grand Prize Giveaway Extravaganza (scroll half way through the blog to find the information and pictures) so if you haven't checked it out yet, you are really going to miss out on something HUGE! The Grand Prize is a compilation of items from a multitude of extremely talented Pagan Artisans and the total value is over $400.00. So pop on over to Samhain's Sirens and check them out.

I've also got Monday Munchies ready to roll... I'm kinda expecting some backlash from it as it DID cause quite the uproar when it was previously posted, so I removed it until I got all my ducks in a row. However THIS TIME I have all the links and have given proper credit where the credit is due. There is even a link to the US Copyright website which covers copyright information on recipes.

That's about all I have for this beautiful Sunday. I do want to remind you that I'll be doing the 30 Days of Thanksvember when I finish NaBloWriMo, which BTW, I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed doing. If you'd like to join in, I'd love to have you. Please feel free to grab a button from the sidebar to add to your blog and let me know in the comments of any of my posts so I can follow you as you share with the interwebs the things you are most Thankful for.

Who knows, perhaps with 2 back to back month long challenges, I'll find myself in the habit of writing each day...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 20 ~ Saturday Sharing...

Hello everyone and happy Saturday to you all! I hope you are able to be out and about fully enjoying this magnificent day. It's sunny and going to a high of 72* here in the Sand Hills of North Carolina. Jimmy is on the road on his way back from Houston, Ms. Ravyn is napping and Tanya will be picking her up in about 30 minutes or so. After she leaves, I have a few errands to run (have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE having my own vehicle?) and then I'm spending a nice quiet evening here at the *Lair de L'Esperance* catching up on the things I have on the DVR.

But first I have a few things I want to share with you all...

To start things off I wanted to share there is a new blog in town. Aurora Brierley (aka: The Faery Whisperer) is writing over at Hedgewitch at Home. She's also new on her Pagan path so I'm asking all you all to stop by and show her some love. Currently, she is doing her 78 Days of Tarot, where she'll be pulling a new and different card each day and giving us her interpretation of the meaning of the card. Today's card is The Fool and I gotta tell you, she's very spot on with how she feels these cards.

Next up, I want to remind you all of the goings on over at Samhain's Sirens where they are on Day 20 with a Craft-tacular Saturday Giveaway presented by Sosanna of Sosanna's Closet. If you haven't already checked out what is going on over there, you are seriously missing out on some very AWESOME things. There have been a multitude of talented people contributing to this project and I'm hoping many of you either have already been there or will now take a few minutes to stop by. And on November 2nd, they will be announcing the winner of the October Extravaganza Giveaway Project. Each time you enter one of the daily giveaway drawings, you are also automatically entered into the drawing for the final prize, so if you've added your name each day, that's 28 chances to win the grand prize!!

And finally, when I finish the 31 days of NaBloWriMo I will be doing *Thanksvember* 30 Days of Thanksgiving. I did this last year on my Facebook Timeline and had quite a few requests to kick it off again this year. I'd love to have any of you who'd like to join in with us. This is not a contest, there will be no prizes awarded. Thanksvember is a personal story on your blog giving us a short daily entry of something you are thankful for. I know many people do not celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving holiday, and that's OK. We don't either, and our celebration is all about family, friends and the things we have been blessed with this past year. If you'd like to join in, please feel free to add one of the Thanksvember buttons to your blog, and let me know you are joining so I can stop by and read the things you are thankful for.

That's all for this week, Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be safe!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

This is a PSA... Public Service Announcement

Today is day 19 of NaBloWriMo and when I have completed this activity at the end of October  I will once again be doing Thanksvember, 30 days of Thanks. I'd love to have you join me, but it's not a contest, there will be no giveaways nor prizes, no daily prompts, nada...

Thanksvember is 30 days of things you are thankful for... things in YOUR life. This is your invitation to join in. So, if you'd like to participate in Thanksvember, feel free to grab one of the buttons from the sidebar >>>

Place it on your blog and show your readers you are sharing your 30 Days of Thanksvember.

See you soon!!

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 19 ~ Spirit Day

Today is National Spirit Day, it's all about wearing purple and standing up against bullying. It's sponsored by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and is all about anti-bullying, and the best thing about Spirit Day is you don't have to be LGBT to be against bullying. It's about getting the message out there, that bullying is not acceptable. It's about giving the young people of the United States the courage to take a stand and say I'm different, I'm me and you have NO right to treat me in a manner that would make me feel unworthy.  Bullying has become the number one cause of suicide among our nations young people. Every day, you can find a new story on Facebook or even on the national and local news telling everyone in America how yet one more child has killed themselves to escape being *picked on*. People, you need to wake up... our young people are NOT just being *picked on* any longer, it has gotten MUCH more serious than that.

I have a personal reason for being against bullying. Not only do I think it's unforgivable in any form, but my granddaughter Cheyenne has been a victim of different forms of bullying for the biggest part of her life. I'm talking about the people she goes to school with, not family members (although there IS one person, I'd like to have a come to Jesus meeting with about how she feels it's her *right* to chastise and humiliate a 16 year old, who made a unpopular choice). There have been times where a school administrator actually told Cheyenne she brought the bullying on herself  *because she chose to dress and look differently*. Are you kidding me? Diversity and individualism is what we teach ALL our young people. For someone who carries the title of educator to condone any type of negative behavior is in my opinion grounds for termination from that school system.

Then we have Alanna, she's my next granddaughter and at 13 has decided SHE will stand up against bullying. She is active in her small community in Woden, TX. She she participates with a program at her school where she can go into the community and help with people who may need help carrying their groceries, or to the nursing home to visit some of the patients who don't normally get visitors. And before you say this activity has nothing to do with bullying, I'd like to tell you you are wrong. This helps instill in Alanna and anyone else who participates that there are people all around us who are different, and there is NO reason to make them feel inadequate. There is NO reason to treat them less than human.

Alanna also has a Facebook page called Take A Stand Against Bullying which has attracted 124 followers in just under 30 days. On this page are various stories from people all over who have either been the victim of bullying or have at one time or another been the bully themselves. Please stop by this page and leave some love. Show your support of those who are Taking A Stand Against Bullying.

Did you know the idea behind Spirit Day, was first created by teenager Brittany McMillan in October of 2010? It is a simple idea, not dissimilar to the concept of “Spirit Week” held in many high schools, and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together. Spirit Day honors the teenagers who have taken their own lives. But just as importantly, it’s also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them. This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple.

By wearing purple on October 19th  you are using a simple way to show the world that you stand by these courageous young people and the perfect way to stand UP to the bullies. Please always remember those lives we've tragically lost, and show your solidarity with those us are still fighting by wearing purple today and then continuing to stand up against bullying in ALL of its forms.

OH! In case you didn't know the color purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 18 ~ Thoughts on a Thursday

After not feeling up to snuff for the past few days and then yesterday having one of the worst migraines I've had in over a year, today I feel remarkably well. I slept for almost 19 of the past 24 hours and woke up this morning  pain free, vision clear and looking forward to taking on this semi cloudy Thursday. I have the house to myself today and should give it a thorough cleaning...I'm not too sure about that. I DO get more done when I'm alone, but so far I've not been motivated to do much of anything. I'm feeling pretty mellow and relaxed, don't want to lose that *lax*...

Jimmy is on the road this week, he has two deliveries around the Dallas area. After he drops those we have no idea as yet where he will be going next. He was home this week to be able to see the presidential debate on Tuesday. This is the first debate he's been able to see, and he was pretty animated throughout the whole thing. Like many of us, he is astounded at the number of times Romney has changed his position on an issue, then out right lied about others. I think one of the biggest jokes out of this debate was the *Binder full of Women*. If you don't know what that is, Google it...

My current course at Ashford is an English credit but it's called "Into to Film". I HATE THIS CLASS!! I don't watch a lot of movies and the ones I do watch are considered classics. We don't go to the theater to see new releases and I won't order them on PPV. Needless to say, I know NOTHING about cinematography, or lighting or something called *Mise en scene* and my grades are reflecting my lack of knowledge. I turned in an assignment on Monday and got the feedback and grade on it yesterday. It wasn't good. The TA said I didn't format my paper correctly according to APA guidelines. IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME FORMAT I'VE USED FROM THE FIRST PAPER I SUBMITTED. Until this class I've gotten very good grades and have NEVER been marked off for the format of my paper. I was marked off for having an *extra* space between paragraphs. How in the hell do you add an extra space when you've got your parameters set to double space? I'm hoping for a passing grade in this class so I won't need to retake it before I can progress to the next scheduled class.

My Google reader has gone crazy again...some of the blogs I've removed for one reason or another have begun showing up again. I gotta tell you I am so over reading about the flip flop (maybe they are related to Romney, LOL) in a family relationship. Dammit! Be an adult, take a stand and stop whining about how screwed up your life is. And please for the love of the Goddess, quit yer bitchin about things you know you won't change. If you don't like something, REMOVE it, don't constantly complain about it. Yes, these are some of the blogs I removed that have now reappeared in MY Google reader. I removed them because I was so over reading the same exact thing day after day after day after day... there's a glitch in the system somewhere and I hope it gets fixed soon *yeah, I KNOW, be realistic Vickie*.

Samhain's Sirens  is on day 18 of their month long blog and giveaway party. There are some amazingly talented people working on this project and if you haven't been over there to see what all the excitement is all about, you are really missing out. On Monday they posted the pictures and descriptions of the items in the Grand Prize Giveaway Extravaganza, so please go check them out. You will be more than glad you did.

Well, there you have my ramblings for yet another day. I'm off to see what mischief I can get into. My wish for you is a happy, peaceful yet productive Thursday. Be safe and I love ya ALL!

Ten Things Thursday ~ My Favorite Scents, Aromas & Fragrances

I have a multitude of 10 things... and determining which 10 things each week is the challenge.  So far I'm guessing I haven't bored you all too much, I haven't gotten any negative feedback and the traffic hasn't dropped. I DO hope if you get tired of reading ANYTHING I post, whether it's in one of the meme's or just my unorganized ramblings, you will let me know. If you let me know, I can change up the things I post that may be boring or repetitive and then I'd hope you'd want to stick around.
So here are my Ten Thing Thursday ~ My 10 Favorite Fragrances or Scents or Aromas...
1. Cinnamon ~ Cinnamon has to be my all time go to fragrance when I want to refresh the air in my home or car. It seems to work the best at removing stale, musty odors. ATM, I have cinnamon wax melts burning in my wax warmer and you can smell it throughout the entire house.
2. Lavender ~ Ahhh, Lavender ~ lavender is in most of my personal body lotions, bath salts and spritzes. It's my go to fragrance for relaxation and I recently found lavender oil helps repel fleas on the fur babies. I keep a spray bottle full of lavender oil and water to spritz on my furniture and carpets.
3. Sage ~ My preference for sage is White Sage. It's used in many of my rituals and I smudge my house at least once a week to remove any negativity that may be lurking. Sage can be pretty strong smelling and I was once asked if I was smoking pot when someone came into the house after I had been burning sage. Admittedly it isn't for everyone...
4. Vanilla ~ I remember the scent of vanilla each time I would go to my great grandmother's house. She was an avid baker and her whole house carried the scents of what ever she was cooking or baking. Did you know, that in some cultures and parts of the country there are people who use vanilla extract as a personal scent or perfume? When times were tough back in the day, many women used their cooking vanilla as perfume when they had nothing else. I prefer to use the Molina Brand. It's real vanilla extract, not imitation, and more flavorful.
5. Nag Champa ~ This is my absolute FAVORITE incense. It calms me, it also energizes me. I use Nag Champa when I need to meditate and ground. I buy for or five of these boxes at a time. In my world you can never have too much Nag Champa, LOL!

6. Patchouli ~ Patchouli can be considered an aphrodisiac. Some people don't like it's raw earthy scent and again, that's alright. Thankfully free will can be applied to each situation we find ourselves in, LOL! I use patchouli in one of my personal body cream blends that I make myself. It just makes me feel empowered. This is the brand I buy when I can find it locally.
7. Pine/Evergreen/Cedar ~ During the winter months, I adore these scents. Being from Arizona we never had a real Yule/Christmas tree, so I didn't smell this fragrance unless we had taken a trip to the White Mountains or Mt Lemmon. Jimmy is from Vermont where they had live trees each year. When we got together, we had live trees for the first few years. I loved the fragrance, but couldn't decorate as early as I wanted, because live trees don't last very long. I finally convinced him to let me get an artificial tree by showing him our house could smell just as great if I burned candles that smelled like pine or evergreen. This is the candle I buy from Bath & Body Works every year. I get them when they are on sale 2 for $20.00 and buy 4. This *usually* gets us through the month of December, LOL
8. Pumpkin ~ Pumpkin pies, pumpkin break, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin coffee creamer, PUMPKIN!! Yes, this is also a flavor, but the smell of pumpkin baking is just so satisfying...nuff said, LOL! This is the new recipe I found for pumpkin bread...all I can say is YUM!
9. Gardenia ~ When I want a sweet floral scent, it HAS to be gardenia. I've always loved gardenia flowers and they don't survive well in the desert. So I used candles to accommodate my need for this flowers aroma. Now I have a gardenia bush in my flower bed in the front yard and after a couple near disasters and close calls with death, it is thriving and has bloomed TWICE this season. The secret is adding used coffee grounds to the soil to keep it more acidic...
10. Coffee ~ Yes I know, I know... really Vickie? COFFEE?? YES! I am in love with the scent of my coffee brewing and it doesn't matter what time of the day, either. LOL!! The aroma of coffee is just... unexplainable. If you don't like it, you won't get it. But if you DO like coffee, you know exactly what I'm saying.We drink Starbuck's Verona blend, it's a darker roast with a hint of chocolate... heaven.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 16 ~ I've Made It Half Way!!

When I was asked to participate in NaBloWriMo, I will admit I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep it going. October is an insanely busy month for me and taking on another project was not at the top of my priority list.

Monday, October 15, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 15 ~ It's Monday...

WOW! What a change from the way I felt last week at this same time... I slept 11 hours last night, and I mean slept hard. I didn't hear anything until right before the alarm went off at 7:00 AM. All in all today has been a busy, frantic, productive and all around great day.

First off we went and had the windshield repaired, when we got the truck, it had 2 *stars* in the windshield and I was worried they would eventually crack if not fixed. We just couldn't seem to coordinate our time schedules with the glass repair person at the dealership, so it's taken a month to get it fixed. It took a bit longer than I was hoping for him to actually get it finished, but since he was about 30 or 45 minutes later than he was supposed to be, it was to be expected.

From there we stopped at Panera Bread and had a bagel for breakfast. They have a new Pumpkin Pie bagel with NY Style Cheesecake cream cheese... OMGoddess! Talk about YUMMY! The only draw back to fully enjoying our breakfast was the woman sitting behind us. Evidently she had a cold and instead of going to the rest room to blow her nose, she felt it was proper to snuff all that crap back up inside her head... can we say GROSS? YUK!!! And then when we get ready to leave we found out SHE WORKS THERE! Ack! I thought Jimmy was gonna through his bagel at her...

Before we came on home, we stopped and I got vitamins, Complex B to be exact. I took the daily dose and already feel so much better... I'm hoping this will help me regain some of the energy I've lost somewhere along the way. And I'm thinking about driving over to the mall 3 or 4 times a week and do the *mall walking* thing. I've explained before I don't live in a safe neighborhood, and my yard is a hazard with roots, tree stumps, rocks and uneven places. I was going to go up to the park and walk on their paved path, but Jimmy is worried if I fell or got injured, I'd be without help for too long. SO that idea was nixed...

I didn't have Ravyn today, I had too much homework to do. I waited until the very last day to write a 5 page paper, so I had to scramble to get it finished. This class is considered an English class, it's Introduction to Film, and I'm seriously having a difficult time with it. I don't go to the movies and I don't watch that many here at home either. So the assignments have been more than a challenge for me. Today is day 7 of week 2, 3 more weeks to go...*sigh.

Jimmy's home today... and he's frustrated about not being on the road. If he's not driving, he's not making any money. Sometimes I think being paid by the mile is more of a challenge than it's worth. But it IS a good job with a GOOD company. He worked yesterday with a few drivers who had been with the company 7 and 10 years, they told him they have NEVER seen things this slow and everyone is hoping freight picks up soon. I do too... we have things we want to accomplish and it's more than difficult with limited or no income.

Well, that's my Monday. Hope yours was a good one too.

Monday Munchies ~ Praline Pumpkin Cake

Recipe Courtesy Betty Crocker

Praline Pumpkin Cake


1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 cup (from 15-oz can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy cream cheese frosting
Caramel topping, if desired
Additional coarsely chopped pecans, if desired

1. Heat oven to 325°F. In 1-quart heavy saucepan, stir together butter, whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter is melted. Pour into 2 (9- or 8-inch) round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup pecans.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Carefully spoon batter over pecan mixture in each pan.

3. Bake 43 to 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. Stir remaining 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice into frosting. To assemble cake, place 1 layer, praline side up, on serving plate. Spread with half of the frosting. Top with second layer, praline side up; spread remaining frosting to edge of layer. Drizzle with caramel topping and additional pecans. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 14 ~ Sunday, Lazy Sunday...

Sunday has mostly come and gone for this week, seems like it was the only day that moved in the normal manner. Today didn't rush by nor did it drag so slowly I thought we'd never make it through. No excitement here, just some down home cooking and I baked a loaf of banana bread. All in all I took it pretty easy, watched some of the programs on the DVR, and then worked on the blog post for tomorrow for Samhain's Sirens. If you haven't checked them out, you are REALLY missing out on some great things. And the final giveaway is HUGE!

I still don't have much energy and want to sleep more than I can ever remember needing, and I have NO idea what the problem is. My diet hasn't changed, I'm drinking LOTS of water and my sleep patterns are still the same except for the additional naps. I get up in the morning around 8ish or so, and go to bed around midnight after Ravyn goes home. I think I need to go to The Apple Crate and check on vitamins...

In the morning, I'm off to the dealership where we got our truck to have a star in the windshield repaired before it becomes a huge mess of a crack. Then it's back home and the rest of the day and night on my assignment due for Ashford. I haven't even begun the title page and I need 5 pages PLUS the title and reference page and it's due before midnight tomorrow. Thank Goddess Tanya said she'd have Daddy keep Ravyn if I needed her too... I think I'm going to need to take her up on that.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 13 ~ Ramblings On A Saturday

I think my brain has gone on vacation and left the rest of the body behind... it seems like it's been taking FOREVER to accomplish even the smallest things this past week. I've caught myself checking and re checking the simple things, things that I can usually do with my mind in a different place. This week... not so much. And I've been more than tired. No matter what time I go to sleep, I wake up tired and feel like crawling back under my blankets.

Ravyn was here this morning at 4:30, and even though she did go back to sleep and didn't wake up until 8:30ish, I couldn't get myself motivated even after 3 cups of coffee. Anyone else feeling this complete and utter exhaustion? We did go out for a couple hours, but by the time we got home I felt like I needed a nap. And on top of being tired, I somehow twisted my left ankle... crap!

Jimmy has been home since yesterday morning, he's working tomorrow but it's just local, taking trucks to the auction. They are paying him cash and buying lunch! I've got a pork roast defrosting and plan to cook it all day tomorrow in the crock pot, with onions, fresh garlic, potatoes and carrots. YUM! Haven't made this meal in quite a while and I'm looking forward to it.

Things at Ashford are a little wacky this class. It's considered an English class, but it's Introduction to Film. Since I don't go to the theaters to see new releases and don't really watch many movies I'm having a very difficult time with this one. Monday we have a 3-5 page paper due on cinematography and I haven't even started the title page... *sigh. Guess I'll be doing homework tomorrow after Ravyn goes home and dinner is over.

It's not even 8PM and I'm ready to shower and go to bed....

Friday, October 12, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 12 ~ TGIF?? ~ Sooo, Sleepy

This week seems to have been one of the longest in in quite a while, and I can't really pin point any one thing that has made it feel like it's been dragging. All I know is I've been more than tired, slept more than normal and haven't been very hungry on top of it all.

As I sit here trying to write this post, I'm literally falling asleep. I've already napped once today  and don't want to risk not sleeping tonight by going back and napping now. Good thing dinner was early and all the dishes have been cleaned and I have nothing in the *MUST* do category to finish before I do decide to give in and find my blankets.

And I'm gonna cheat here a little... I'm giving you a video clip of one of my most favorite scenes in one of my MOST favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus...enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 11 ~ Nothing Exciting Here Today

YAY! It's my Saturday, but today is going to be busy with running errands and paying bills. Once again I am so thankful that we have been able to purchase a vehicle and have our own transportation. I know Tanya didn't mind driving me around every place I wanted to go, but the sense of freedom is in-explainable.

Today is also my daughter Mylia's birthday. I paid tribute to her in my Ten Things Thursday post I did earlier. So please hop on over and read that posting...

Jimmy is back on the road after being home for his 32 hour reset. It was nice to have him home in the middle of the week, he got to play with Ravyn and I fixed Green Chili Chicken Enchilada's for dinner on Tuesday night. I even sent some out with him and he can warm the container via microwave at any of the truck stops he goes to. excitement for today, but I DID want to make sure I didn't fall behind in NaBloWriMo. I'll be back tomorrow.

Ten Things Thursday ~ My Beautiful and Amazing Daugther

Thirty nine years ago today, I was blessed with the most incredible gift any one could ever hope to be given. My eldest daughter was born in Tucson Arizona at Davis Monthan AFB Hospital (her bio dad and my husband at the time was in the Navy, so we had military medical privileges) at 11:31 AM. She was 18 inches long and weighed in at 5lbs, 5ozs. AND she was 4 weeks premature. I myself was 17, scared shitless, and had NO idea what was going on. They took the baby away from me before I ever laid eyes on her and transferred her to the neo natal unit at a completely different hospital about 30 minutes away. I didn't get to see her, much less hold her for 3 full days... in those days, a new mother was kept in the hospital for 3 days before discharge.

By the time I was discharged and was able to make it across town to the NICU, the doctors there had fully examined her and had her hooked up to all sort of machines, a ventilator,  IV's and cardiac monitors  and once again, I was petrified. I was finally able to meet with her primary doctor who told me she was a pretty sick baby. She had a heart murmur, and something called Hyaline Membrane Disease in her lungs. They were feeding her through tubes and at this point I STILL hadn't held her nor would they let me even touch her. I was encouraged to stay with her as much as I wanted, but I could only touch her after I had been gloved and gowned.

I visited her each day and spent as much time as the nursing staff would allow. Being in NICU was pretty restricted during those days, I could come and go as I wanted but couldn't stay over night. They just didn't have the room to set up any type of bed or cot. After about 10 days in NICU, the doctors began weaning her off the machines and oxygen, they told me she was a miracle and was beating the odds. At 14 days I was able to not only hold her but to also take her home. I will always remember that day...

Fast forward to today, October 11, 2012. My daughter is a grown woman, who has been through and survived more than any parent wishes for their child. Following is a list in no particular chronological order of the things I know to be true and proud that my daughter, Deborah July (Lewis) Erickson AKA: Mylia has not only survived but also conquered.
1. Mylia has always been an intelligent person. She has been an avid reader & bookworm since she was able to hold a book on her own. She has a very extensive library and collect books in all genres. She is an English major and also is the author of quite a few short stories and poems. Writing is her therapy. She can be upset or not feeling well and lose herself in her art.

2. During her high school years, instead of hanging out with the *normal* kids, my daughter was adopted into the HS ROTC gang. On any given day there would be 6 or 7 young men at our house who not only lived the military code while at school, but extended that training to their everyday, away from school life. These were some of the most respectful teenage young men I'd ever met.

3. She was chosen by Isis at the age of 13 and as she has developed in her spiritual path, she is now living as a Priestess of Isis. The entire Egyptian pantheon plays a huge part in Mylia's spiritual walk, and she has learned to stop and listen when one of them is trying to relay a message.

4. My daughter is a cat person. This is a picture of her and her cat Egypt. Egypt is the only one who can actually get Mylia to stop doing an abundance of things when she isn't feeling well. Even Cheyenne has a difficult time on occasion, but Egypt will definitely show her who the boss is, which leads to Mylia resting when needed.
5. And speaking of not feeling well. Mylia is a Chiari Malformation Type 1 survivor. Before she was diagnosed with Chiari, the doctors kept telling her she was just suffering from migraines. Now anyone who knows anything about migraines knows they are not JUST migraines. And most migraines don't come with *stroke like symptoms* of tingling in the arms and legs, inability to speak coherently and loss of conscious for no apparent reason. Even though she has had the necessary surgery, she still has some issues and we are working through them on a daily basis.

6. My daughter works for Goddard Space Center in College Park, Maryland. YES, I AM extremely proud of her and her ability to obtain and maintain this position even though she has had the health challenges she faces. 
7. Mylia is a single mother to my very talented 16 year old granddaughter Cheyenne. The relationship between the two of them is awe inspiring. Each looks after the other and sometimes the roles are reversed with Cheyenne taking on the parent aspect. I've never seen a relationship more grounded and solid than the one these two have. My daughter has done a remarkable job being a single parent in this time and place. 

8. Just recently Mylia has returned to writing the poetry she had loved for so many years but abruptly stopped when someone laughed at her work. Working through the issues surrounding this person has been difficult to say the least, and each day she takes one more step to finding and reclaiming the person she was before this destruction came into here life. While we were in MD during the trip to take Cheyenne home after her vacation with us, Jimmy & Mylia had a pretty intense conversation about the person who had been weighing her down and keeping her from her writing. Jimmy made the comment something like: If you stop writing the things YOU like, that person still has a hold over you and they win. Not too long after we got home, I got a phone call with a message to Jimmy: Tell Dad I wrote my first poem today and so & so no longer wins. VICTORY!
9. Over the summer, Mylia has been traveling... again. Something she hadn't done for quite some time and with the positive changes she is making, I'm pretty sure there are more untried paths she's going to be searching out. On one of her more recent trips, she was able to go to Pennsylvania and spend some time with two of her very bestest friends, Nichole and Jen. I've heard stories of this weekend trip and I picture in my mind 3 fantastic women loose on the streets of PA during Pride Weekend this past July. I think one of the highlights of this trip was their visit to have High Tea where they each wore stylish hats and enjoyed the afternoon. She has a few more trips planned before the end of the year and one of them is to come here to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. She is even considering the possibility of flying, something that up until now was pretty much out of the question. The cabin pressure causes severe headaches, but she's weighing the hour and half plane trip vs an 8 hour bus trip. So far I think flying is ahead, IF she can get her Dr to approve the flight and prescribe pain meds for the trip here and back.

10. OH YEAH! This is important! have ya'll ever heard of the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino? If you haven't PLEASE take the time to read this exceptional explanation of how to make someone understand you really are sick even when you don't look sick. There are MANY days where Mylia may not have enough spoons and we all just let her stop... sometimes we have to MAKE her stop, but you will understand  a LOT better after reading the Spoon Theory.

So there you have 10 random facts about my daughter Mylia and now I want to say