Thursday, April 30, 2009

No more work...

I can't work today. Something crashed on my computer and the mouse is missing...

**Thanks, Leslie Rae!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TN Trip Part III

The Sunday adventure began early as my flight was scheduled for a 12:35 take off. The family wanted to grab breakfast before I left and get in some last minute site seeing. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at one of my dad's favorite places, The Cracker Barrel. Our waiter, Abraham, was a one star newbie that tried his very best at keeping our orders straight. Short of forgetting part of the meal, he did a good job. With our bellies full, gifts bought (a must when I go there), and quick jaunt to the gas station we headed off to see some sites.

Downtown Franklin is an adorable array of shops and old homes. My SIL got us around the downtown chaos as they were having the Main Street Festival. I was able to see some great old homes and take my nostalgic pictures. Due to our lack of time before my flight I took most of the pictures from a moving vehicle. The one stop we made was at The Factory. This place was really interesting.
The Factory was built in 1929 to accommodate Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef, and Jamison Bedding. Now it is home to many high-end shops and dining facilities. We didn't tour inside, but I met one very interesting fellow. His name is Rusty.

Formal name is Russell T. Mechanism, created by artist Kris Nethercutt out of recycled junk over a six year period, and erected in 2008. Rusty, as he has fondly become known, stands over 20' tall and comes equipped with "Knobby Knees", "A Bug in his ear", "Water Works" (sprinklers between the legs), and numerous other quirks that you really need to see to appreciate. The sign posted on one side gives a nice review of where Rusty came from, what he stand for today, and how he is forging ahead for the future. I like Rusty.

We left the Factory and headed to the airport in Nashville. I made it there by 11:00 which was perfect timing to check my bags (5 minutes if that) and get to my gate. I made a couple of pit stops along the way to window shop and to buy one more gift for my oldest son. He's not as easy to buy for these days as my little guy. I got him a mouth harp and the poor thing nearly chipped his tooth trying to use it!

Sitting at the gate, I heard good news over the loud speaker. "Flight blah, blah, blah to Orlando is 30 minutes early. We have 137 passengers and 135 have checked in. We will begin boarding in the next 10 minutes." Woohoo! Early is great as I dreaded the traffic from OIA back to Melbourne.

I peek at my boarding pass and see that I am in the last group to board again. Okay, no big deal. I see a few faces from the first flight as most of them were in town for the weekend like me. The Music City Marathon was that Saturday so most of them were also fairly "small"--meaning John and Bubba from the first flight were not there to crowd my elbow room.

I was getting ready to board when the loud speaker sounded, "Ladies and Gentlemen of flight blah, blah, blah to Orlando, we have all 137 passengers checked in and will be able to take off ahead of schedule." Fantastic! Then I heard this..."Dude, the run was like balls to the wall awesome!" I cringed. Are you f***ing kidding me? He's back? Yeah, the same guy from the flight there was apparently flying back with me...and was behind me to board in the open seating of Southwest Airlines! I practically ran in front of two other people and made my apologies as I boarded the plane. There was three open seats, two next to each other and one in between a 5-7 year old boy and perhaps his 7-8 year old sister as they were arguing, "Did not," "Did to".

Crap. I took one of the seats with the open spot and crossed my fingers. The "Balls to the wall" guy got stuck with the kids, sort of. The mother traded spots and the dad got stuck sitting with him. I got stuck with a lady that drank too much wine on the flight home and kept falling asleep on my shoulder. It could have been worse. I'll definitely check in online next time when there are not assigned seats.

The flight was a bit rough once we hit Orlando. The turbulence, though not paralyzing, made for a rough landing as we bounced...seriously, we bounced onto the runway and halfway down as we taxied to the terminal. The weather was warm, humidity low, and sun shining. I was home.

After settling in for the night with my boys I asked Bam (my youngest) if I could go "bye-bye" again. This was his response:

That means NO.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TN Trip Part I

This past weekend was a fabulous getaway to TN--though it went by entirely to fast. I missed my boys. Especially Bam who actually likes having me around. Anthony was gone himself, as is the norm on weekends, so he didn't know I was even gone. Bobby had a rough time, interesting one at least! I left Thursday evening.

Friday morning came too early with a page from my hubster. When I spoke to him he said it must have been Bam playing with his phone. He had a rough night with Bam waking every hour, coughing, runny nose--sinuses. Then the poor baby coughed so much he spit up leaving Bobby to clean blankets and bedding as well as a milk-vomit child. He threw the bedding in the wash and the baby in the bath. Once bath time was over he was running loose in his birthday suit while Bobby got his diaper and clothes ready. Bam has a habit of squatting in a corner while he goes #2 and he did just that in his bedroom...without his diaper on. It landed on his heel and he took off through the house, leaving a poop trail for Bobby to clean, not to mention keep the dogs out of it. In order to do just that he wrangled Bam, put the dogs outside, and got the baby cleaned up and dressed.

Then he decided to try my method of containment while he showered--placing Bam on our bed to watch TV and eat breakfast. The TV was on, the breakfast was there...a pop tart. Yeah, Bam peeled the pop tart apart and smeared the jelly filling all over our bed spread and his newly cleaned self. Bobby jumps out of the shower, baby-wiped everything, and realized the dogs were still outside. Bobby got dressed, brought Bam outside to find that Doug (our bulldog) had made his way across the fence but couldn't get back in the yard. While Bobby coaxed Doug back over, Bam was running loose once again and stepped in...yep, dog shit.

Dogs inside, another round with the wipes, and everything at a stand still for Bobby to take a breath...whew. I got the phone call from him at 10:30 a.m. when he was on the way to the store with Bam and Ant (whom he let stay home from school because at that point he couldn't get him there on time anyway). That was the beginning of his weekend. Poor guy didn't stand a chance. Through the rest of the weekend it was similar chaos, sleepless nights with Bam waking and crying for me, and the occasional cute video or picture to show me they were all still alive. My weekend fun will follow in TN Trip Part II.

TN Trip Part II

Thursday evening, flight leaving on time at 7:35 EST. The flight, via Southwest, was okay considering I was in the last group to board and had to sit between to huge (NFL Refrigerator Perry huge) guys, and listen to another guy in front of me say "balls to the wall" in just about every sentence he uttered. The two big boys on either side of me were just as annoyed with him so I spent most of the flight placing bets on who was going to bitch slap the guy first once we landed (we all three lost the wager, but had the satisfaction of seeing him lose part of his luggage at baggage claim). My mom and big brother were there to rescue me, and after a brief stop to see my SIL and drop my brother off (songs, crying, laughing--Thanks Bekah and T.), Mom and I headed back to the hotel. We stayed up past 1:00 a.m. (2 a.m. my time) chit-chatting and catching up. That night we turned on the fan to cool, not the actual air (this has a significance for the next night).

We were up and running by 8:00 as my phone had gone off a couple of times. It was a page and a text message from Bobby. His chaos was just beginning as I posted earlier. Mom and I planned to spend the day shopping for the baby shower that was the following afternoon. We had the gist of our whereabouts to get us into just enough trouble:

Yeah, I have pictures of the other car that we wiped out, backing up in the parking lot of one of the gazillion stores we shopped in that afternoon, but due to privacy I'm not posting them. We were detained for a half hour perhaps, but people are very friendly in TN and this included all of the officers that showed up to make sure we didn't take off without leaving our information. Just for the record...I wasn't driving.

Once we cleared my mother's good name with the police, we shopped a bit more, then headed to my brother's house for some good food, and Oreo balls:

**Recipe to follow! They are AMAZING (yes, and right up there with my family's banana pudding).

Along the way I kept seeing a horse on a hot tin roof. After numerous drive-bys and a few glasses of wine I started to get annoyed with it and took a picture:

Taking a picture only confirmed my annoyance...his eyes followed me every time I passed him.

That evening after we got back to the hotel Mom asked me to turn on the A/C this time as it was not cold enough the night before with just the fan. Mind you it was already nearing midnight as we settled into the room. I turned the knob to cool, the fan purred loudly. I turned the fan to A/C and a blast of cold air came out. Brrr, it was cold and also purring....then it got scary. EEEEEEEEEEEE, Ugggggggggggggg, EEEEEEEEEEEE. Holy crap, it sounded like a S. Korean on a moped! If you've ever been to S. Korea and walked the streets during rush hour then you know the intensity of that sound and the urgent need to jump out of the way. If you have never experienced such a scenario then count your blessings. Back to the A/C, after the initial start up and death throttling moped sound it went back to purring. I settled into my bed to the sound of the cool purring when EEEEEEEEEEEE, Ugggggggggggggg, EEEEEEEEEEEE--the Moped returned.

That's it, no A/C for Mom. We had a beautiful, but rushed, Saturday. The morning was spent finishing details and gifts for my SIL's baby shower. We headed off to the, home of their friend that was hosting the party. It was GORGEOUS! Those pictures will be up later if I can get her permission to show them off. We polished off the Oreo balls and loaded the truck with all of her goodies. They had an afternoon/evening planned to visit Arrington Vineyards. The drive up was so serene and beautiful. The wine house was fantastic: The Wine Deck, The Wine Tasting, The Wine House & Part of the Vineyard

The wine tasting was my favorite part. After teasing my pallet with a few different versions of reds, whites, dry, and just plain YUM, I purchased a bottle of their specialty Raspberry Wine.

They brought it out with chocolate truffles, and let's just say I nearly fell out of my chair and off the Wine deck when I tasted the heavenly mixture.

After a beautiful Saturday in the hills of Tennessee we headed to a great dinner, then finally home to unload all the goodies from the baby shower, and finally back to our hotel...where we got locked out of our room.
Apparently it was standard procedure to lock us out when the had someone working on our Full Throttle Moped induced A/C. By the time we settled down to sleep it was again after midnight. My flight was due to leave at 12:35 the next day. The Sunday adventure will be posted shortly in TN Trip Part III where you will get to meet the tallest factory man I've ever seen, a revisit from flight companions, and my youngest son's response to my leaving...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flight Risk

In less than five hours I will be boarding a plane heading to Tennessee. My flight is on a fairly lackadaisical airline (SW), but I have confidence in the flight crew. I'm not afraid of flying, no phobia of falling either, and unless there are little people dressed as clowns eating corn on the flight then I should be just peachy, right? Not since reading this: Turbulence Paralyzes Woman .

Lord knows I've flown in worse conditions, but among those conditions I wore a parachute. The risks of flying should not inlcude possible paralysis from turbulance at 30,ooo feet in the air!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hostage Question Revisited

In light of recent events with the pirates taking over the high seas, I have thought about a question asked of me in a past interview: "If you found yourself in a hostage situation, what would you do?"

I've let this question haunt me for no apparent reason other than being frustrated at not having an answer...or having numerous answers. I've written scenes in my current WIP that have no close or flow into the next chapter because I don't know how to answer this question.

To see if other suggestions help I'd like to know what your answer would be: What would YOU do if you found yourself in a hostage situation?

**News Story**

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! It's days like today that remind me how blessed I am to have these guys every day. God bless!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Killing Off a Nom De Plume

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about my writing. One of the things that came up was why I used a pen name when I wasn't published. What was the purpose? *Biotch* first came to mind with the rubbing in that I am still unpublished, then I answered "I really don't know other than the fact that someone is already using my real name."

A writer may use a pen name if :

  • His or her real name is likely to be confused with that of another writer or notable individual.
  • Their real name is hard to remember and/or spell correctly.
  • Their real name sounds silly, stupid or obscene.
  • They write in several genres using different pen names for each genre.
  • Occasionally a pen name is employed to avoid overexposure.
  • Some female authors have used masculine pen names to ensure that their works were accepted by publishers or taken seriously by the public.
  • In some forms of fiction, the pen name adopted is the name of the lead character, to suggest to the reader that the book is a (fictional) autobiography.

In my case, my real name is already being used by an author that writes in a different genre. Not exactly the genre I prefer to be associated with either. More on that in a later post. For now I am going to keep writing and sign it with Sissi until I find a suitable pen name/pseudonym/nom de plume/alias/haiga/a.k.a.

Do you use a pen name? Why? and How did you come up with it? Now that I've killed off my nom de plume I am going to name my pen. I shall name her Lola.

(**refer to older posts for recap on nom de plumes)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eye Speye


Two women born a world apart find a common ground; each other. The disappearance of a political figure, and dear friend, ties their careers and lives together in a mysterious adventure where they find romance in unlikely places, mystery in the far realms of mankind, murder, mayhem, and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Saskia Devyani lives a quiet life in the bay region of Dublin where she works as a professor and scientist specialized in chemical compounds. Returning from a science conference at the university she finds her home in shambles. The police have no leads, but the one secret Saskia keeps could be the answer.

Zenevieva—also called Zen—Dubvronik is an electronics genius. Running her business, Speye Wear, and working with the U.S. government training and assigning agents; she is called to duty when a team looking for the missing political figure goes MIA themselves. Knowing her designs and their flaws this was not supposed to happen. Under new orders she is sent back to the feild to find them and is thrown into an adventure with a stranger that collides the past with the present and threatens both of their futures.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Changing Latitude: 1st page

The evening air hung heavy. Her hair clung to her face in damp wisps. Her heart pounded in rhythm to her stride as she jogged down the rocky path that led to the clearing of campground sites. Just a bit further and she would be okay.

The noises of the forest were common to her; it was the silence that nudged her fear. The shadows always lurked in the foliage or behind the limbs of the massive trees, but this time she sensed someone or something watched her every move. She was cautious to keep her pace as not to alert what or who watched. A few more yards to go and she would be in the clearing.

Just as she came to the bank of forest that lined the campground, she heard a loud rustle of tree limbs and snapping twigs. The earth moved underneath her. She took a deep breath as if diving into the ocean she braced herself, then everything faded to darkness.

She awoke in a cold sweat. The dream so vivid in her mind, Cadence glanced at her alarm clock: 4:20. "Ugh, I've got to get some sleep," she said. This was the fourth night of having the dream.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm April...Fool!

The origin of April Fools' Day is obscure. One likely theory is that the modern holiday was first celebrated soon after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; the term referred to someone still adhering to the Julian Calendar, which it replaced. In many pre-Christian cultures May Day (May 1) was celebrated as the first day of summer, and signalled the start of the spring planting season. An April Fool was someone who did this prematurely. Another origin is that April 1 was counted the first day of the year in France. When King Charles IX changed that to January 1, some people stayed with April 1. Those who did were called "April Fools" and were taunted by their neighbors. In the eighteenth century the festival was often posited as going back to the times of Noah. An English newspaper article published on April 13th, 1789 said that the day had its origins when he sent the raven off too early, before the waters had receded. He did this on the first day of the Hebrew month that corresponds with April. A possible reference to April Fools' Day can be seen in the Canterbury Tales (ca 1400) in the Nun's Priest's tale, a tale of two fools: Chanticleer and the fox, which took place on March 32nd.

The frequency of April Fools' hoaxes sometimes makes people doubt real news stories released on April 1.

  • The April 1, 1946 Aleutian Island earthquake tsunami that killed 165 people in Hawaii and Alaska resulted in the creation of a tsunami warning system (specifically the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre), established in 1949 for Pacific Ocean countries. The tsunami in question is known in Hawaii as the "April Fools' Day Tsunami" due to people drowning because of the assumptions that the warnings were an April Fools' prank.
  • The death of King George II of Greece on April 1, 1947.
  • The AMC Gremlin was first introduced on April 1, 1970.
  • On April 1, 1993, NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion Alan Kulwicki was killed in a plane crash involving Hooters of America executives in Blountville, Tennessee near the Tri-Cities Airport. The party was traveling to the Food City 500 qualifying scheduled for the next day.
  • The 2005 death of comedian Mitch Hedberg was originally dismissed as an April Fools' joke. The comedian's March 29, 2005 death was announced on March 31, but many newspapers didn't carry the story until April 1, 2005.
  • Gmail's April 2004 launch was widely believed to be a prank, as Google traditionally perpetrates April Fools' Day hoaxes each April 1 (see Google's hoaxes.) Another Google-related event that turned out not to be a hoax occurred on April 1, 2007, when employees at Google's New York City office were alerted that a ball python kept in an engineer's cubicle had escaped and was on the loose. An internal e-mail acknowledged that "the timing…could not be more awkward" but that the snake's escape was in fact an actual occurrence and not a prank.
  • The merger of Square and its rival company, Enix, took place on April 1, 2003, and was originally thought to be a joke.
  • The announcement of the anime version of the Powerpuff Girls, Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, was on April Fools' Day causing many to think it was a joke.
  • The game Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games was announced only a couple days before April Fools' Day. Forums were flooded because so many thought that the two rivals since the 90's, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, appearing together in a video game as an official 2008 Olympics game was a joke.
  • British sprinter Dwain Chambers joined English rugby league team Castleford Tigers shortly before 1st April 2008. The athlete was attempting a return to top flight athletics at the time following a high profile drugs ban, and his apparent unfamiliarity with rugby led many people to assume this was an April Fools' Day prank.
  • On April 1st, 2008, it was reported that UEFA would require the Swedish fast food chain Max to close their restaurant at the BorĂ¥s Arena during the European Under-21 Football Championship due to a conflict with official sponsor McDonalds and a requirement that only official sponsors may operate around the arena. The arena was later replaced as a tournament site.
  • On April 1, 1984, singer Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father. Originally, people assumed that it was a fake news story, especially considering the bizarre aspect of the father being the murderer.
  • On April 1, 2008, Christian Persch announced that the GNOME desktop web browser Epiphany would be switched from Mozilla's Gecko engine to the WebKit engine used by Safari and KDE's equivalent application Konqueror.
  • In the United Kingdom, 1 April is the start of the new police and local authority year, meaning many new organisations such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency in 2006 and the creation of new unitary authorities in 2009, may be seen by some as April Fools jokes.

How are you spending your April Fools' Day and what prank would you pull?

**Special thanks to Wikipedia for the daily dose of fun!