Saturday, August 29, 2009

Aye, There Be Dragons

and they are circling and roaring around our house these two days past. Hear the dragons roaring! What be those dragon riders thinking, anyway?

I can hardly get anything done, what with them roaring loud enough to shake the crockery when they fly over the house so low and so fast. Oh, they are beautiful enough that I must drop everything and go stand on my balcony to watch them as they swoop and dive, flying their dragon maneuvers singly and in groups. Surely the old stories about dragons and their riders and the way they bespell mortal folk who look upon them are true. For didn't I marry a dragon rider myself so long ago?

Weeping, We Resolve

Weeping as I join through live-streaming in Ted Kennedy's funeral Mass, I resolve to follow his example and never quit. The forces of hate and bigotry are not as strong as the forces of love and forgiveness. His death renews my determination to support with all my strength the unfinished battles of his life, beginning with health care for all, not just the privileged few.

To know the man, and not the caricature painted by his political opposition, see these eulogies from his funeral Mass:
his son Ted Kennedy, Jr.
his son Patrick Kennedy

We will honor him not with flowers but with contributions to carry on the fight.

Monday, August 24, 2009

SHADOWLIGHT by Lynn Viehl - Early Review

Deeper into the world of the Darkyn. Wider views of their various talents and relationships. Fuller development of their beginnings and the threats to their survival. That is where Lynn is taking her loyal fans in Shadowlight - A Novel of the Kyndred, to be released October 6, 2009.

Although preceded by seven best-selling novels of the Darkyn, Lynn's latest supernatural romance/thriller is plenty strong enough to stand alone, with new characters and plot twists marking the existence of a more complex world of Darkyn than the one I already knew. The fast-paced plot picks up speed and heat as Min and Matthias battle first each other and then the most deadly enemy the Darkyn have ever yet known.

Rowan, their friend, sparkles so brightly in her scenes that she nearly steals their show. It is a good thing that Lynn has already written a book just for her, and I got to read the ten page preview today. Pre-order, here I go again - Dreamveil is scheduled for publication in June, 2010.

Meanwhile, I have Shadowlight to ponder, and to read at least once more, before then. Another five star from Lynn Viehl.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Disappearing Panda

Silver Transitions e-mailed me a lovely bunch of bamboo fresh from Australia this morning, along with a charming picture of pandas (to remind me of what I'm supposed to eat and to look like, I suppose). She'd heard I've been feeling crummy lately, but I think the spelling was altered over the water because truth is, I'm feeling more cranky than crummy. But then, pandas do get cranky when they don't get their bamboo (or so I've heard).

I have lost six panda pounds in the past nine days. Pandas are supposed to have nice, big, round bellies and mine is shrinking away practically as I watch. Perhaps it has something to do with a hormone - balancing diet I'm on (see From Belly Fat to Belly Flat by Dr. C. W. Randolph).

Every few years I stiffen my will to the breaking point and Do Something to lose the fat - successfully. I enjoy my un-panda-like body for a while, then Something Happens, stress like a ton of bricks falls on me, and the pounds rapidly reappear: magical transmogrification - I look like a panda again.

Dr. R claims that estrogen overload is common among women like me who have been on The Pill for decades, followed by hormone replacement therapy to get through the bumps of menopause. He calls for applying a special Mexican yam-derived hormone cream and eating foods proven to encourage hormone balance. Often the meals make me slightly nauseous - I miss my comforting bamboo - but there's nothing wrong with lots of cruciferous and root vegetables, spinach salads and baked fish, except that my body hardly recognizes it as food any more.

But it is hard to argue with success, and any plan that has me losing weight (while still eating normal amount of calories and not getting hungry) is a plan that I want to keep following.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lovely Old Word of the Day

When I was in school, I loved sports of all kinds, was captain of our girls softball team, played tennis year round, and when I wasn't running, biking or swimming I was surfing. So I never thought of myself as a "geek", but geekdom lurked just under my skin, for I was a closet dictionary reader. Yes, I thought reading the unabridged dictionary was a form of entertainment.

Sometimes when I run across an especially lovely word, I bookmark it, and while I was cleaning up my bookmarked links today I ran across this lovely word from the year 1623:

ineluctable: not to be avoided, changed or resisted (see also inevitable)

As in: Visual evidence of the ineluctable physical progression of aging may be delayed or ameliorated, but it is ultimately inevitable.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ready - Set - RELAX!

That's right, relax. Saturday August 15 is National Relaxation Day. So when is the last time you relaxed? I mean really just relaxed, let go, stopped worrying - planning - doing, and r e l a x e d?

eHow, which will explain how to do almost anything (or in this case, almost nothing) has seven suggestions on how to celebrate National Relaxation Day. My favorite is #3: Spend the day in a place that is tranquil and relaxing. Suggested places: a lake, the beach, the mountains, or a quiet cafe. (Of course it is my favorite, I'm a panda.)

eHow rates the difficulty level of its instructions and good news! This one is rated easy. So no excuses - get ready - get set- relax!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cold - Hot - Cold - Hot - Cold - Hot

The water in the pool was cold this morning, and the air was only sixty-five degrees. It felt like the ocean at San Diego in December. I entered the pool very slowly the first time, and my breathing became irregular as the water reached my chest. Once my leg started cramping, I left the pool for the hot tub - aahhhh. Hot. Just right.

After the hot water restored my body heat I left the hot tub for the pool, and entered the water at a fast but steady pace, descending the steps without a pause. I had the whole place to myself (who else is crazy enough to go swimming in a cold pool on a cold morning?). Part-way through my laps, I got a foot cramp, so back to the hot tub. MMmmmmm. The only thing better than a hot tub is a hot tub after a cold pool.

For my third time in the pool, I let the teenager inside me loose, and simply jumped into the deep end. Whoooh! Another lap, back to the hot tub and done. That was so much fun I might do it again tomorrow. Dr. Randolph in his latest book, From Belly Fat to Belly Flat, writes "if you are too busy to exercise every day, then every day you are busy dying". That was the last thing I read before my jaunt to the swimming pool.

Today I'm busy living.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

God must have had fun building the world

I think God had fun building the world, because we are made in his likeness, and mankind is a builder and a maker. Yesterday I started building a miniature garden in an old shallow wooden box. I want a Yin/Yang garden, and the white sand covers half of it now.

Today I collected darker sand, a variety of rocks and some miniature cactus and succulents. It will not be a genuine Sand and Stone garden, but I'm inspired by viewing the Sand and Stone garden in the area next to the tea house at Portland's authentic Japanese garden. My little garden is 25 inches by 17.5 inches and fits nicely on a table on our balcony.

A story in sand

Hints of actions past
or yet to come

Proof of life in feathers and stone

Monday, August 3, 2009

Recovered and Inspired

I had a drug reaction last month to a change in a prescription medication, but I'm feeling much better now. Well, you try hitting your head against a brick wall for a month and then stop. You'll suddenly feel much better too.

So I dropped in on Pecked by Ducks this morning and discovered le bon mot - the perfect thought at the perfect time. Marina writes with her usual wit and humor about the tools essential to a writer (in her case, a sharp knife at the top of the list). Reading her blog caused all the little neurons and synapses in my brain to start firing in sequence, and I came up with my own short list of essential tools for writers - or, at the very least, for this writer.

a working computer

NaNoWriMo - to encourage me to use the computer

Key Note - for a place on the computer to put all those brainstorms

ywriter2 - because it is very good, and it's by an Aussie - it tells me the truth about ways in which my writing is deficient, and I'm encouraged me when I compare reports from now to previously.

sandbox, bubble bath or other alpha brain wave producing activity - to generate ideas to put to use with writing tools

I'm late with reviews for two books: The Rough Guide to Happiness by Dr. Nick Baylis and The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. I've had a rough couple of months, but expect to complete my reviews this week, as I started both books when they arrived in May and look forward to finishing them, as both have interesting things to teach me.