Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snail Racing You Say...?

Oh yes indeedy, I have raced seahorses, equines, and now…snails! Escargot on the shell, lumbering at a—well—snail’s pace. lol. Talk about awkward and intense.
You have to *fly* over hurdles on an obstacle course and your view is obscured by antennae and the other racers. You bascially become the snail.

Sadly, I finished last. I think from now on I’ll stick with horses and seahorses, unless there
is some place in Second Life with Indy/Formula One cars or NASCAR. Sure be a lot safer in SL than in RL. Buckle me in ya’ll, I am ready to race. Vroom, vroom! lol.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Racing Under the Sea

Almost anything is possible in Second Life, including fulfilling a long-time fantasy. Friday, I competed in my first Seahorse race!

My mount, a white mohawk punk seahorse I named Johnny Rotten Kibbler, finished a close second to the two time winner and reigning champ, Zohee G., whose bay seahorse held out for the victory win.

For a horse-crazy girl from the bluegrass, the race was a perfect blend of my two favorite passions—horse racing and the sea. I hope to compete again throughout the SL racing meet this winter, in between writing and editing my books. If you go into SL, check out the underwater sports and look up seahorse racing for time and location, then you can be my cheerleading team, lol. Hope to see ya there. ((hugs))

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cold Weather Soup Making

With the cold snap sweeping through the southeast, I’ve been fixing a lot of soup. Sometimes I get lazy and open a can, but the salt intake is insane in most canned and pre-packaged soups, so I do it all old school and homemade when I can. Here is a basic recipe for Irish potato soup, and it’s what is on the menu for today at my house:

On the writing front, I am editing a few stories and weeding through old projects that somehow were overlooked. I do think a few have a possibility of getting published. ::keeping fingers crossed::
For those of you who know me through Second Life, I have been busy decorating the beach house and minding the prims best I can. I think it’s really wild how something can look very cute and innocent and then ya check and the sucker is like 44 prim! Ouch! So the new watchword I’ve come up with is: Primmage.

Definition: The amount of prim either allocated or available for use on a parcel. The amount of prim used. Referenced: Second Life.

Example: Oh wow, I had no idea that tiny fruit bowl was 44 prim! I am already smacking my primmage limits. lol.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Big Eight Ohs

Yesterday was my mum’s birthday (she is in her 80′s but told anyone who asked that she just turned 39…like Jack Benny. lol).

My sister and I took her to the movies. We had planned to go *bra shopping- code for river boat gambling* but were not able to book a room at the hotel in time. So that side trip has been temporarily postponed.

Anyhoo, the movie (Love Happens) was picked by my sister (who obviously didn’t watch or pay attention to the movie trailer), and mum agreed it sounded fine to her. I was less enthused, but tagged along since I do like Jennifer Anniston and it was, after all, mum’s birthday.

My sister, thinking it was a romantic comedy in the vein of Sleepless in Seattle, was ready to grin and laugh her way through comedic devices and instead was tearful at so many of the plot props which coincided with her own life.

Although the movie ended on a somewhat happy note, the meat of the story wavered between poignant and flat out sad.

Mum also remarked on the odd coincidences, with their themes of loss, the grieving process, and coping with the death of loved ones.

What a lovely, cheery flick to take our 80+ year old mother to see. Ugh. Leave it to my sister to pick ‘em.

Loss and grieving is a universal constant, something we must all go through at some point or other in our lives.

About 30 people were in the theater watching the movie with us. Of those, I have to wonder if they could see themselves in the characters? If they saw similarities?

My sister’s late husband didn’t pass away due to a car accident, but her oldest son (my nephew) did. Her husband was a marine. Semper Fi. And sis still has the most annoying giant parrot. He’s quite the pecker and in his old age has become very crotchety and nasty. lol. But the last seeming coincidence dealt with the exact date of the lead character’s wife’s death…March 17th. St. Patrick’s Day.
So of course, sis left the theater more than a little weepy and depressed. You see, my brother-in-law died on St. Patrick’s Day, a few years ago. Whew.

Mum, being mum, said that my sister was meant to see that particular movie as it held a special message for her.

If that’s true, then I have to think back to some of the movies I’ve chosen and wonder if they held secret messages for me.

Hmm… Confessions Of A Shopaholic, Ice Age 3-D, and the latest Harry Potter.  Okay, now I’m a little scared. lmao.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Paperback Happiness!

Just wanted to share the latest with my readers. Got this jpeg in the mail for my upcoming paperback release from Amber Quill.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Don't Do This At Home!

foot-fracture-cast I had to go to the foot dr. today for x-rays because I am a klutz. I can’t believe I fractured my foot. Grrr.

I won’t go into how or where or why it happened, but suffice it to say I am too uncoordinated & will never try that again! Ouch! LOL. Leg and foot are swollen and discolored and it’s a damn good thing I am on pain-killers. The dr. said to keep it elevated. If I’m online less than usual these next few weeks, well, ya’ll now know why. Ugh.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Imagination On Overload

I'm sitting on the bed, reading over my notes for a possible future story when I hear what sounds like scratching coming from the closet in my room. Sounds like something is in there, crawling. My imagination is on overload. I grab a broom and get ready to defend myself.

I gingerly open the closet door, not sure what might come flying at me, and the only thing I see are two bubble pack mailers on the closet floor. They must have tumbled down from the shelf and that had to be the scurrying sound I heard. At least that is what I tell myself. So I go back to my writing, feeling more than a little foolish…when the sound happens again.

How many bubble pack mailers do I have in there anyway? Sheesh. I ignore it. Blissful quiet for about thirty minutes. Then I get up to fix a pot of tea and when I get back the closet door is partially open.  Okay, now I know I didn’t get up that second time I heard the noise. And I know I closed the closet the first time after I picked up the bubble pack mailers…so that would mean something came out of the closet and is hiding in the room. With me. Now. Shit.

I go find dh and tell him and he is like, “Why is it my job to find this thing you have in your room?”

“Because your are my official bug and critter catcher and removal expert.”

He gives me one of his typical looks, a cross between consternation and constipation. “Expert, huh? When did that become official?”

“When I became the ball and chain around your ankle, silly! Now go forth and slay whatever the hell came outta my closet!” In all fairness, I do hand him my broom. I would never send my champion out to battle without a weapon.

After an hour’s search we cannot find a thing.

“You must be imagining it.” He hands my broom back and heads to his home office.

I decide to do, of all things, housework instead of writing. Strange, invisible, scurrying critters have a habit of forcing me to change priorities.

It is as I am doing the dishes I hear my hubby go out to his car and then come running back in.
“Come here! You have to see this!”

chipmunk-in-downspoutI dry off my hands and follow him. He points to the downspout outside the house and makes scratching noises, and pantomimes what happened. Apparently, a small chipmunk decided to climb inside our downspout. When hubby walked past and bumped it by accident, the critter went a little crazy and tried to scramble up the metal.

Hubby banged on the downspout and when the little guy couldn’t climb any higher without sliding back down, he must have decided to make a break for it, so he scurried backwards, down the spout and took off flying across our front yard.

He thinks the noise I heard was not coming from the closet, but from the chipmunk outside, climbing inside the downspout. Puzzle solved. DH looks very proud, chest puffed out, dragon slain…well, figuratively since no chipmunk was harmed in the telling or doing of this story.

Of course, that doesn’t explain the partially opened closet…
::looks around nervously::  :P

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Romance Cover or Support Hose Packaging?


I recently picked up a pair of specialty hose for my mum who is diabetic and had to remark on the cover art for the packaging. I swear it looks like they took it from an ’80′s Harlequin cover. Very mysterious and sexy, probably an Intrigue.  :-)

I decided the girl on the box shouldn’t have all the fun, so I got a pair too. Now, where are the hot, suave, rich guys with their own yachts? Point us at ‘um. :P

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Roast Beast For Mum

After spending the better part of today searching for roast beef to cook for tomorrow’s family get together, I dragged home victorious. You’d think in a city the size of mine, it wouldn’t be so difficult to find a haunch of the proper beef to cook, but ahh, the hard part is it has to be perfect—the exact type that my mum cooked as a girl and young wife over in England.

A pork shoulder wouldn’t do. Nor would a Yankee beef pot roast— the horrors!  Oh no. For Easter (which is another story in itself) my mum wants all the traditional English fixings…baby potatoes, carrots, onions and of course—authentic Yorkshire pudding. Oh yeah—the works.

I should be thankful she didn’t want spring lamb. I am so not cooking lambiekins! Yikes!
Add to that, this sudden craving she has for cheesecake, and my goose is cooked…so to speak.
I forgot to go by Adam Matthews outlet and pick up cheesecakes on Friday. Eeps!

I didn’t feel like going out in a torrential downpour yesterday and drive 20 miles to go to the cheesecake factory.

So, I am spending today baking cookies (3 types) in a valiant attempt to distract her tomorrow when she realizes I still didn’t buy a cheese cake today. Adam Matthews is closed on the weekends—who knew?

But by God, I shall have Yorkshire Pudding and Roast Beef and it shall be good and all who partake of it shall be satisfied! Or else! Grrr.

Thank goodness for You Tube! I lost mum’s Yorkshire Pudding recipe, and I dare not call her, but I found this recipe and it’s wonderful! So is the sweet old lady in the video.

Enjoy your weekend and Happy Easter or Eostre!
I plan to soak my cookies in some hot cocoa and take a well deserved break to chill.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

For The Birds...

I can hear birds chirping madly outside my window.

I have to go investigate, so I push away from my table and take a peek and find that several birds are flocked around the bird feeder and the bigger ones are chasing the smaller ones away. I guess like the bird version of schoolyard bullying. I open the window and they all fly away.

Quiet remains, so I go back to my computer and rewrite a scene to layer in more description. I’m almost finished when I hear the first tweet. Then another. Soon, a veritable feathered orchestra descends on my window.

I swivel to check it out and the birds are pressed against my screen. I see that the bird feeder is almost empty and the bigger birds are guarding it for themselves, hogging the seed trough. Oh my.
I guess the smaller birds are squealing on their kindred. :P

If I am to get any further writing done this morning, I’m going to need more seed. I grab the bucket and go outside. The minute the door opens most of the birds fly away. A few brave souls watch as I refill the bird feeder and also scatter some of the seed on the ground near the Holly bush by my window. The second I go back inside my home, I hear the flapping of wings.

I manage to finish the scene and the chapter. Yay me.

Now, I could have simply put on my headphones and drowned out the little blighters, but nope, I fed them and gave in to their demands. Basically, the little squirts have me good and trained. And people call them bird-brains. rofl.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cassie's Pineapple Cake

CC's birthday cake 2009

My guy always thinks it's odd for me to insist on making my own birthday cake. But try finding a decent store-bought pineapple upside-down cake!
At best they are soggy, gluey pineapple concoctions, lacking any discernible flavor, especially that of pineapple.  ::snerk::

Since pineapple upside-down cake is my absolute favorite cake in the world (yes, even more than chocolate), why shouldn’t I have my favorite cake for my birthday?

I got some awesome presents yesterday. Teddy Bear slippers *yay* and a new computer! Woot!  I now have more bells and whistles than I know what to do with! LOL.

Hey, ya know what would be great with this cake? Pineapple sherbet. OMG! I am maxing out on a pineapple overload and it is…divine!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dreams and Dreaming

Last night I was chatting with a fellow writer friend about listening to her dreams and accessing her intuition. I think there are a lot of truths hidden in our dreams. Our subconscious and higher self uses dreams as a form of communication. We take in and perceive such a barrage of information during the day, that it stands to reason not everything gets processed.At night, though, when we are asleep the information earlier held in reserve reveals itself often through the landscape and language of dreams.

Of course, not all dreams are bits of hidden data we accumulated, but are an awakening to something more powerful. We all have the ability to dream. What we often lack is the recall. I always suggest starting a dream journal and having it on your nightstand along with a pen, so that when you first wake up, you can jot down notes about any dreams you might have had the night before while they are still fresh in your mind.

Once you start reading back through your journal, you can get a better idea of what your subconscious is saying. Of course, this also helps you sort out what kind of dreams you’re having.
I break them down into three main areas:

Subconscious P.I.
Inner Wisdom and Personal Truths
Prophetic and Intuitive Dreaming

Subconscious P.I. is the stuff that goes on around you all day that you may miss. All those things in the light of day you’re oblivious to and don’t see.  An example would be sitting next to a co-worker at lunch and then that night dreaming about them getting a divorce. The dream may be prophetic, but may have more to do with your subconscious picking up clues like a bare finger where they used to wear a ring, or eating take out when they used to bring a brown bag lunch. Your subconscious sees these things and streams the data into your brain for later use in dreams. Sometimes they can warn us of problems before they arise, like a wobbly ladder needing repair, or a tire with a slow leak. If we don’t get them fixed, they may become prophetic!

Inner Wisdom and Personal Truths  are those insights into our very nature, things we try to deliberately hide from during the day. Most of the questions we have about our lives can be answered if we choose to explore, see, and listen to the inner wisdom and truth in our subconscious.
An example would be dreaming of an old woman giving us advice, or a child playing on a swing, or inanimate objects that feature in dreams often signify and symbolize a part of ourselves. The old woman could represent the sage inside us, or the child our need for security, our cell phone the social aspect of our personality.

And finally, there are those dream that defy logic or “rational” thought…

Prophetic and Intuitive Dreaming  are the dreams that become all too real. We see things that don’t belong in either of the first two categories. We try to analyze and puzzle out a dream, only to find out later that what we dream came true.

An example of this would be dreaming about the number 26 in conjunction with an airplane crash into the ocean and later hearing on the news the next day that Flight 26 did. Or that you were chosen to appear on a game show and won $100,000. Then getting a call back that you were selected, and you went on to win exactly $100,000. We should all be so lucky, eh?

Many of us never have those dreams we classify as prophetic, but I believe we all have the capability to tap into the divine power and energy hidden within our own subconscious minds.

But before you think you’ve figured it all out, know that dreams are a sort of shorthand and often the interpretation we apply is faulty because of our own perceptions and personality.  For instance, I dreamed for over a month of driving a sporty new green car.  I loved the image of myself driving this car, the windows down, the breeze blowing my hair.  As I curved around a bend, I saw more in the dream, visual pointers I would be sure to look for later, I knew.

When my own car finally died, I believed that the perfect car, the one waiting for me, would turn out to be green.

And I did see a car I liked that was green…but it was out of my price range and nothing I could do would make that car be mine. Believe me, I tried, too. LOL.

I finally wound up with a vehicle that was white.

So my dream wasn’t prophetic at all—or was it? The dreams stopped after I bought the white one.  Then three months later, my sister went shopping and bought a car—a green car.

But in the dream I was driving it…? The answer soon become apparent when a few weeks after buying it, she invited me to go with her up to the country to visit relatives. Since my car turned out to be  a gas guzzler, we took her car and also, since she’d just had surgery on her toes, she asked me to drive her little green car. And as we curved around a bend in the two lane country road, I saw a red barn to the left and knew this was exactly like my dream! The green car wasn’t mine, it was hers! I’d had a glimpse into the future. But my own wants colored my interpretation.

Why did I dream about my sister’s green car? Or me driving it? I have no idea. But it just goes to show that not all prophetic dreams are matters of earth shattering proportions.

Sometimes dreams are just what they are. Whispers from the universe of possibilities.

Imbolc and Là Fhèill Brìghde

Having Celtic roots, I have always had a fascination and respect for the Celtic Goddess Brigid, or Bríde as she is sometimes called. Today is Imbolc, also known as St. Brigid’s Day. I wanted to give readers a little background on today and what it means, plus share a little bit about why I find this particular Goddess and her namesake, St. Brigid, so interesting, and why I feel honored to have been blessed by their mercy and love.

The beginning of February marks the first of the Quarter Days. These Quarter Days, as they are called in Scotland, are the basis of the ancient agricultural calendar used by the Celts in Britain and Ireland. Some scholars believe the four-fold division of the year may be pre-Celtic in origin.

The four Quarter Days, in Scottish Gaelic, are Samhainn (Nov. 1), Là Fhèill Brìghde (Feb. 1), Bealtainn (May 1) and Là Lùnasdal (Aug. 1). Their English equivalents are All Hallows, Candlemas, May Day, and Lammas.

An early Gaelic name for the February festival is Imbolc or Oímealg, This name is well known to students of Celtic mythology, but the festival itself is universally known in the Gaelic world today as Là Fhèill Brìghde.

Là Fhèill Brìghde is the beginning of spring, the time when milk began to flow in the udders of ewes that would soon give birth to lambs. It was time to prepare for the farming and fishing that would resume after Bealtainn.

A variety of traditions are associated with Brigid’s day, but in most places Brigid herself was invited to come into the house and bless the household.

“Oh Brìde, Brìdeag, come with the wand to this wintry land; and breathe with the breath of Spring so bland, Brìde, Brìde, little Brìde.”

This traditional rhyme, a translation from Scottish Gaelic, is found in Sheila Livingstone’s Scottish Customs (Birlinn Ltd., Edinburgh, 1996). “Brìde” is a more modern form of the Gaelic name Brìghde, pronounced something close to “Bree-jah.” Similar rhymes are found in Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Now who was Brìde? Let’s start with St. Brigid, or Naomh Brìde, before turning to the identity of the more ancient goddess, Brigid. According to medieval sources, Brìde was born in Ireland about 455 A.D., near what is now the town of Newry, the daughter of a druid named Dubhtach.

Although raised pagan, she became a Christian and was ordained by Moel, bishop of Ardagh. During this time in Ireland, many pagans were brought into the Christian faith, as Roman Catholicism adopted or adapted many of the same festivals as the pagans they intended to convert.

She founded several religious communities, including the settlement at Kildare (Cill Dara, which means the Church of the Oak). Her popularity spread far and wide, reaching wherever the Gaels settled.

St. Brigid was known in Irish as Muire na nGael, or “Mary of the Gaels.” In Scotland a belief spread that she was present at the birth of Jesus, and assisted Mary as midwife, which might be how she came to be called the banaltrum or nursemaid of Christ.

My favorite story about St. Brigid shows her charity and kindness. Her father, angered by Brigid for constantly giving his possessions to the poor, and food from his table to stray, starving dogs, brings her to Dunlaing, the king of all Leinster, in hopes of selling her into the king’s service to work in the mill with other slaves. While waiting outside the royal estate, a leper and beggar comes up to Brigid and asks for alms.

Having no money, Brigid takes her father’s ornamented sword (which by custom had to be left in their carriage while he saw the king), and gives it to the beggar. Hearing the girl was outside awaiting her fate, the king suggests he should meet young Brigid before he agrees. He follows her father out to the carriage and it is then that her father notices the sword missing.

Brigid declares that she would gladly give all she had, all her father had, and all the king had in order to aid the destitute. Impressed by her piety, the king tells Brigid’s father he could not accept her as a bondmaid, as he could never pay a price worthy of her.

Released from her father’s rule and shunning his choice of husband for her, Brigid and seven companions founded the first female religious community in Ireland near Croghan Hill.
Up to that point, early Irish nuns had remained in their family’s house after taking their vows. When Brigid took her vows to become a nun, the presiding bishop was reportedly so flustered by her piousness that he read the wrong section of his book and consecrated Brigid as a bishop by mistake!

Later, after founding several small monasteries, Brigid asked the King of Leinster for land to build her motherhouse on. He agreed, but only granted her the land that could be covered by her cloak. She spread her cloak on the ground and it eventually grew in size to cover all of Curragh. (Brigid also took this same cloak, legend tells, and hung it on a sunbeam to dry).

The large monastery she then built at Kildare, became a focal point for Brigid and for the spread and growth of Celtic Christianity. It housed both men and women, which seems unusual by today’s standards, but was acceptable at that time. Only women, however, tended to the holy fire that burned ceaselessly during Brigid’s rule. A group of women dedicated to the Goddess Brigid and to the blessed St. Brigid still tend an eternal fire upon a hill to this day, almost 1,500 years after the Saint’s death.

Not surprisingly, many of the attributes of St. Brigid can be traced directly to the goddess Brigid, indicating that the saint absorbed the traditions of the followers of the goddess at a very early date. This transferal was not uncommon.

In The Festival of Lúnasa, Máire Mac Néill argues that St. Patrick in legend received many of the attributes of Lugh, one of the chief Irish gods.

Both saint and goddess are associated with fertility — St. Bridget most notably as the nursemaid or foster-mother of Christ — and creative activity. Brigid is the patroness of smiths and poets. She is also a healer.

The Pagan goddess came in triplicate — the three Brigids, or three aspects of Brìghid, adored by poets, smiths and healers. In Irish literature the goddess is the daughter of the Dagda, whose name means the “good god.”

The Welsh-Norman writer Giraldus Cambrensis in the 12th century reported that a perpetual fire tended by nine virgins had been kept burning in Kildare since the saint’s time, probably a survival of druidic custom relating to Brigid.

Brigid has been equated with an ancient goddess well known in early Celtic Britain, Brigantia. Brigantia was the patron goddess of the Brigantes, a confederation of tribes that occupied what is now northern England. She was a river-goddess, associated with the River Braint in Anglesey, Wales, and the River Brent in Middlesex, England. Brigantia was sometimes associated with the Roman goddesses Victoria and Minerva. Her name means “High One.”

In Scottish Customs, it was believed that Brigid spent the winter imprisoned within Ben Nevis by the Cailleach, or Hag. She was rescued by Angus, or Oengus mac Óc, the young god, who was her brother. Brigid is able to defeat the Hag, who had held her prisoner since Samhainn, ending the rule of winter and bringing on the beginning of spring.

It is important to secure the saint’s blessing on her day. In Ireland the woman of the house, a young woman, or even a man representing Brìde would come to the door and ask to be let in.

In County Tyrone, a young girl carrying rushes in her hands would knock on the door three times and say, “Téighidh sibh ar mhur nglúna, déanaidh sibh umhlaíocht, agus ligigidh Bríd Bheannachtach isteach.” (“Go down on your knees, do homage, and let Blessed Bridget inside.”)

In some areas a “Brídeóg,” a straw dolly representing Brìde, would be carried around by young people who would sing and dance and ask for money.

In Scotland the “Brìdeag” was a straw dolly that was used by young women in a marriage diviniation ceremony.

On this, Brigid’s Day, I thank the women who tend the flame and keep it burning bright.
Brigid, Goddess of the hearth and of fire, of healing, caretaker of animals, patron Goddess of metalsmiths and blacksmiths, Seer and Goddess of divination and prophecy, Goddess of inspiration to poets and writers all, your daughter welcomes you home for another year, to bless my home, my body and spirit, to inspire my words and to forever keep the flame of hope and love alive. I honor you on this, your day and happily say, Fáilte! Croeso! And welcome!