Saturday, September 30, 2006

Catching Up

It’s been one hell of a busy week.

I found out at a meeting on Monday afternoon that a project deadline had been moved up a week and that I had to have it done by Friday – as in yesterday. Grr.. That meant some long days, where I went in at 6:00 or 6:30 in the morning, stayed until 5:00 p.m., took a break, and then went back later in the evening.

To make matters worse, I also had a training seminar to go to from 11:00 to 1:00 on Friday. I already knew about 90% of the material, but I get Continuing Ed hours for it and it was free – so it was worth my time. I also took a colleague with me and about 60% of the material was new to him (and he really needed to learn it!).

I haven’t totaled up my hours for the week, but I think I’m approaching fifty. I got home from work last night, had a glass of wine, and fell asleep on the couch. It was that kind of sleep that is hard to come up out of, where something wakes you but fighting back to full consciousness is almost impossible.

So what else have I accomplished this week?

Outlining for my NaNoWriMo novel: zilch

Writing on first draft of story for Lynn Viehl’s challenge: zilch

Revising two poems for submission to an e-zine: zilch

I did attend a couple of talks at the Book Festival going on here today. One panel included four authors who, for various reasons, have self-published. One of the authors was RoseMarie London, who was a finalist in last year’s Needle Awards (see POD-dy Mouth). Another author was a girl who wrote a novel while she was in high school, and her parents loaned her the money to self-publish her novel as a senior project. It was interesting stuff, and I’ll write more about it soon.

The second panel was about fiction writing, and five authors discussed their latest works and their writing process. Two of their books sounded interesting enough that I’m probably going to buy them. My only complaint is that all of the author’s write literary fiction. There were no genre authors on the panel. It’s a minor complaint, though, because the discussion was still good.

And to top off the day, I score big time at the used book store tonight. I found Holly Lisle’s “Midnight Rain”. I have read her “I See You” (loved it) and “Last Girl Dancing” (liked it). I also found a second book by Annette Blair called “My Favorite Witch” I just finished her “The Kitchen Witch” and loved that as well. This book is about one of the secondary characters in the first book.

And finally, though I hate to admit it, I bought another Susan Kearney book, “The Dare”.

***ducking and running because asked someone to shoot me if I ever bought anything by her again***

It’s just that the main character of this book, Dora, was so funny in the last one. If the book includes any “forced seduction” scenes, well, I used my trade credit for the book…so it’s not like I spent actual money on it.

I’m trying to get caught up on reviews, but I haven’t much lately that’s been really snarky-worthy. Most of it has been just bland and unmemorable. Except for a couple of gems that I will touch on in the next post.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pictures from Yellowstone (hopefully)

I've set up an account at photobucket to hold my Yellowstone pictures. Let's see how well this works...

Picture of a bison grazing

Bison and baby bison

What Park visitors like to call a "bison jamb" and, of course, a minute later.

We also saw a moose and baby. I haven't cropped the picture, and the woman you see in it is standing on the shoulder of the road. That's how close these moose were to the maybe 20 carloads of curious tourists.

This is Grand Fountain Geyser, quiet with the sunset behind it (I'll have to get the erupting geyser pictures from Youngest Sibling's camera this weekend). These are all of the photographers who showed up to take pictures of the geyser.

Pink Cone Geyser also erupted while we were nearby.

Some of the hot springs are very large and give off a lot of steam. Note the size of the people on the boardwalk in front of the spring.

This is the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone (you have to be there to truly appreciate their size):

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Inspirational Romance Gone Bad

So I'm browsing through the romance section of my local Wal-Mart Superstore the other night, and mindful of my monthly book budget, I grabbed a couple of series romances. I found out later that one of the two books -- "Silent Enemy" by Lois Richer -- was actually an inspirational romance. Not that you could tell that until you read the fine print on the back of the cover page.

Hm.... Inspirational romance is SO not my thing. But I decided to give it a try.

I'm about half way through, and this book is actually better written than many of the Harlequin Intrigues that I've read recently. I had been enjoying it. It's inspirational suspense, heavy on the suspense, light on the inspirational. Cool.

[A short time out here to say that I consider myself spiritual, but not religious in the organized-must-go-to-church-to-worship sense. A lot of God-this and God-that would have quickly turned me off.]

But then I got to the stupid part.


Our hero, who so far has come across as quite intelligent, educated, clever, etc., says of a tropical island paradise, "I can't figure out how Darwin could see all this and stick to his theories. It's obvious that only God could put this paradise together, that it didn't just happen to evolve."

**Julie repeatedly bangs book against nightstand** [Note: tossing books is too hard on my doggie's nerves so I've resorted to pounding the books on something hard. I'm seriously considering changing my rating scale to how many times I pounded the book]

Gr!! OK, look. Creationists drive up a frigging wall. The evidence for evolution is, frankly, overwhelming and anyone who espouses, in this day and age, that evolution is a myth is not...Oh, I don't know...not thinking rationally.

I have friends who are both scientific and religious. I have read books by scientists who are religious. I even took a course in college about religion and science. The generally accepted idea among those intelligent and articulate people seems to be that evolution did happen and that God was responsible -- for evolution that is. That evolution is part of God's plan for not just humanity, but this entire world that we know.

I can live with that.

The people who make me crazy are the ones who insist that the world was created 6006 years ago, that carbon dating is all wrong, that God created humans out of dust or ribs or whatever, etc. Grrr. Did God create the laws of physics or did he not? If he did, then carbon dating isn't wrong. If he didn't, then that opens a lot of questions for another post.

I know that I wouldn't be very popular with the Kansas Board of Education, but I hope I haven't offended anyone who actually reads this blog.

I'll keep on reading the novel because I (mostly) like the characters and the central mystery is intriguing. I just hope the let's-ignore-rational-thought trend does not continue.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yellowstone Park and Back

The trip to Yellowstone was a much-needed break for me. Youngest Sibling and I made a girls-only trip of it. The weather was much better this year – only a minor bit of rain one evening – than last year, when it snowed SIDEWAYS on us for most of a day and a half. Brrrr….. That trip, we spent a lot of time standing in the steam from the geysers and springs, so much so that I think one of my sweaters still smells like sulfur.

Highlights of this trip include:

  • Seeing Castle Geyser, Grotto Geyser, and Grand Fountain Geyser erupt. I’ve seen Old Faithful several times and have been underwhelmed. The other geysers were much better. Grand Fountain was pure luck. We had a little time left in the day and decided to drive by it on our way out of the park. As we got near, we saw a lot of cars parked on the road, so we stopped and went down to the boardwalk. There we were told that the geyser could start erupting any time in the forty minutes. We stayed. We watched it erupt off and on for about 40 minutes while the sun set behind it. Awesome!

  • Seeing one coyote, two moose (mama and baby), three bears (mama and two babies), 227 elk and 326 bison (many babies). We also saw an osprey hunting, but unfortunately, he didn’t spot any fish while we were watching him. ….OK, I didn’t really count the elk and bison; it just seemed like that many.

  • Hiking to several beautiful falls and one lake, where we caught on (digital) vidoetape a flock of Canadian geese landing on the mirror-like surface of the water.

  • Getting asked three times if Youngest Sibling and I were still in school. *ego stroke* I’ve been at my current job full-time for 15 years.

  • Getting asked once if Youngest Sibling and I were twins. She’s nine years younger, and she’s blond. Sort of. And I’m, well, not.

  • Getting called “you girls” twice by a waitress who was maybe 24.

  • Seeing the license plates 46 of 50 U.S states (and also 5 Canadian provinces). Yes, we started counting.
  • Hearing at least 8 different languages – and we probably heard more. Those were just the ones we could identify.

So the question for my few readers is... How does one say, "Hey, stupid, get away from that bison" in another langauge, any language? I know how to say it "auf Deutsch", but after that I'm stuck.

I ask because I know that my Red-Cross-certified first aid skills are not sufficient to deal with goring injury from a bison.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I just got back from vacation (and I left the Internet behind except for the occasional check of my e-mail). I have a seminar to attend for work this weekend, but I'll be back to blogging next week.