Sunday, January 21, 2018

Occipital Neuralgia and More...

Confession time.

I have more than one chronic illness, as some of you know. What a lot of you don't know is exactly what it entails.

It's called Occipital Neuralgia, and it can be quite disabling.

The Occipital Neuralgia Awareness Ribbon.

Occipital neuralgia is basically a type of migraine, but it doesn't happen in the actual skull, it happens in the scalp. It is caused by four nerves, two on each side: the lesser occipital nerve which goes up the outside of the back part of the head, closer to the ears, and the greater occipital nerves, which go up the back of the head parallel to each side of the spine.

When those nerves get injured, compressed, and irritated, they can cause a permanent headache, as well as "zinging" and burning pain along each of the nerves - I liken it to an AC current. It goes one way, then the other, back and forth along the nerves. It goes up the back of the head through the scalp, across the top of the head, and into the forehead and behind the eyes. Sometimes only one side is affected, others, both are. 

Here's a diagram showing the location of the occipital nerves:

It can "flare" up, meaning instead of the usual amount of pain from it - a five to six in my case - it can go to a 10 or higher on the pain scale. Think flat on one's back, and not even prescription pain medications will put a dent in it.

According to, occipital neuralgia can make the scalp so sensitive to touch that combing the hair, washing the hair, or laying on a pillow can be "nearly impossible" due to the amount of pain one has. 

Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia include:

I have pretty much every symptom on that list, especially when I am in the middle of a flare up. I wear sunglasses even during a blizzard or hurricane outside, and I have a constant headache. I've had this since I was a child... I've learned how to avoid triggers for it over the years, and I've also learned that the instant things start going crazy to just lay down and think happy thoughts - after popping a few ASA pills. I can't take anything prescription wise due to my son, and anything other than ASA either doesn't work or gives me a bad reaction... So ASA it is, and yes, it does work. Sometimes. It brings things down to a manageable level.

Up until a few months ago, I was managing without a lot of intervention. I could function with the pain until I got a bad flare up, then I'd have to sleep it off with ice packs wrapped around my head in a dark room. 

However, around the middle of November, I started noticing that it was on almost a constant flare up. It seemed I couldn't go three days without being flat on my back for a few hours, or I was flaring almost constantly. I finally gave in and said I need help.

Hubby noted that when I say I need help with my occipital neuralgia, it's BAD... Bad enough that I was almost begging for something like morphine.

I hate prescription pain killers for the record, and narcotics in general - I had a bad reaction to morphine during labor with my son - so when I say I'll even take a shot of morphine or stronger, I am in so much pain that I am willing to do almost anything to stop it.... I can take a *LOT* before I get there. 

So I talked to my family doctor, and she made arrangements for me to try something different - a nerve block. What happens is the doctor injects some kind of local anesthesia into the nerves, and hopefully after the initial overall numbness wears off, the nerves have calmed down enough that they are not causing any zapping pains.

I saw the doctor for this eleven days ago, on January 10th, in Dartmouth. I am terrified of needles in general, despite getting tons of them in the last few years due to the diabetes, so of course, I was shaking like a leaf when I went in.

We went over my history then he did an exam of my neck, shoulders and head, with pokes and a LOT of pushing on various areas to see what hurt and what didn't. The instant he hit the greater occipital nerves, I yelped. It shot a HUGE zap along both of the nerves so painful that I saw stars. 

It's definitely occipital neuralgia. That was the test for it.

I got the nerve blocks that day. It hurt like heck going in, but after about a minute or so, I wasn't feeling much. 

After the second side was done, I sat up, caught my breath and moved my head around. 

Nothing. Not even a teeny zing.

It was the least amount of pain I had in my head in about 35 years. I felt fantastic!

You could have cracked me in the back of the head with a 2 by 4, and I probably wouldn't have felt it for a few hours after that!

Four hours was the tell... If it wore off and I got the zinging again, that particular nerve block wasn't going to work for me. I would have to get something different like cortisone. That hurts even more.... 

I was also given an order for acupuncture via physiotherapy. I'm now waiting for the call to go in and start the sessions. I can't wait!

Eleven days later... I'm still without the zapping. No dull ache. No pain in the eyes.


I'm now wondering why I didn't do this sooner. This is freaking awesome! I can think without hurting for the first time in ages!

In fact, I am feeling so darn good that I've decided to catch up on a lot of things I've been neglecting for the last while... I've been putting off doing a lot of reorganizing and rearranging things in the kitchen. I finally got around to doing it this week, and the place looks amazing! 

I wanted a new office... I was right in the walkway in the cubby hole opposite the stairs. It was cramped, cluttered, drafty and my son could easily read over my shoulder... Not good! I was fed up and finally decided to switch things around.

My new office is in the corner of the kitchen, on the kitchen table. It's warmer, more private, and best of all, no stairs for the damn cat to run up and use as a platform for dive bombing. To my back is the eastern wall of the kitchen, and to my right is the northern wall. The table is facing the back of the house, I can see the entire room from here, including Amber's sleeping box with her blankie into it. 

My old Pentium 90 is still here, and still works. That's what's under the monitor. 

Amber isn't impressed. She can no longer sit on top of the monitor and look out the window. I said she can go suck cat litter if she doesn't like it. 

She does still sit on top of the monitor though, as y'all can see...

Me and my purple.... LOL

So I thought the dive bombing had come to an end without stairs to use as a platform.


What you are seeing is my printer on top of the old tower for my Vista system - the one that originally housed the hard drive that's now in my current system. This is to the direct left of my computer chair. In fact I was in the chair when I took this photo... Just to give everyone a perspective of how things are here. Behind the curtain in the back is the old computer area and stairway.

Anyway... Amber now likes to sit on the printer and look out the window.

However, she realized I was sitting here the other day, and the next thing I knew, I had a cat flying for my head.

Again.  *head desk*

I still say that crazy kitty is trying to kill me... I never thought I'd be dive bombed after moving the computer. Seriously.

Guess I shouldn't have told her to go suck cat litter, eh? *SIGH* 

Idiot cat.

Have a great week everyone, I'll be posting another update about the writing soon!

I leave you with another song by GHOST... "Ritual". Enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tears of the Jedi - SPOILERS ALERT!!!!

I've been meaning to post something, but things have been crazy here. Between the holidays, *two* major storms that caused long power outages, holiday vacation, and trying to write AND get to the theater, it's been crazy.

First of all, our holidays were pretty good, despite a 24 hour outage that started around 5:30 p.m. on the 25th and lasted until about 6 p.m. on the 26th. We've been back here 15 years, and that is the longest outage we have had in that time. My son wasn't impressed. Thankfully we went to my mom in law's on Boxing Day (the 26th) for a few hours, she had power, and my son was happy to be with Nanny as well as be able to watch her Star Trek DVDs. 

So... The second power outage was this past weekend, from Thursday the 4th at 9:40 p.m. to about 1 p.m. Friday the 5th, after that huge nor'easter clobbered the eastern seaboard of the States and the Maritime Provinces in Canada. We spent a good chunk of that morning at Hubby's gas station with him. Schools were canceled both days, so it's not like I could have worked even if schools had been open. 

Speaking of working, I took the entire holiday break OFF from writing. My anemia is back, full force, and it's affecting my concentration a lot. I can't seem to focus on anything except maybe a movie for more than a few minutes. I'm always exhausted, and feeling ill from this crap. 

My iron didn't come up at all last time either... BUT I found out why. I was taking 28 mg of iron once a day... I'm supposed to be taking *six* times that amount - 150 to 200 mg a day, due to the anemia. The smaller pills are just to supplement someone with a normal iron level, not help full blown iron deficiency anemia. So, I'm now popping the iron pills given to me by my doctor, and hoping my ferratin comes up, even a little. I'm off to Internal Medicine if it doesn't move this time. More poking and prodding. Fun stuff. Not.

I hope to get back into things either later this week or sometime next week. I have some ideas I've been bouncing around, so I may be feeling a little more up to working. I'll keep y'all posted.

Anyone who knows me or has been following me for a while knows I am a *huge* Star Wars geek. I first saw A New Hope in 1982, and I was instantly HOOKED. I've seen every single film except for Attack of the Clones in the theater, and I have a lot of the old EU/Legends books. 

I saw "The Force Awakens" two years ago, and "Rogue One" last year... This year, I finally saw my favorite character, Luke Skywalker, speak on screen for the first time in over 3 decades in "The Last Jedi". 




So many fan theories were blown out of the water during this film... Which was fine with me, I am so goddamn SICK of theorists thinking they know it all when in reality they have NO BLOODY CLUE what's going on... 

I admit I cried throughout the movie. It was Carrie Fisher's last role before her death, and it was so fitting it was the role that she was so famous for. 

NOW....I will warn everyone that if you haven't seen the movie yet, STOP NOW


I mean it gang. Stop if you don't want spoilers....




Okay, don't say I didn't warn you.................

It was pretty good. It didn't have the amount of action into it that TFA, ROTJ or ROTS had... But it had a lot of deeper, more intellectual things you really had to look for. 

Flaws? YES. Lots of them. Like Leia impersonating Mary Poppins. The sublight chase that took up half the movie. The bit with Finn and Rose going after the slicer... Um.. Nope. That was supposed to establish their characters a bit more, but to me, it felt awfully dragged out, and unnecessary. Same goes with Poe and the mutiny. Admiral Ackbar's death pissed me off too.

However, there were redeeming qualities....

Mark Hamill's performance was the highlight of the movie for me. That man has more talent in his pinkie finger than some out there have in their entire body. Seriously. 

I think it was his best performance to date, even if I really couldn't connect the Luke I saw for the majority of the movie with the one from the original trilogy for the first while. By the time we saw Luke and Leia's brief reunion on Crait, I had finally gotten my head around things. 

Then again, the Luke we saw there wasn't a broken man either. It was the old Luke, the one we fans were used to seeing.

I bawled at the end. 

To see my favorite character of the entire franchise "ascend" and become one with the force was a touch too much for me... It was a case of goodbye eyeliner and mascara, hello rivers of black running down my cheeks! I had an odd feeling it was on the way from the instant I saw him appear on Crait... And hated that I was right about Luke's death, just like I had been with Han's in The Force Awakens. It was one of those moments when I wanted to bash my head against the seat in front of me.

Luke's final scene was really well done... A throwback and tribute to where he started off in A New Hope.... Even if it made a lot of us in the theater cry. 


It does leave things wide open for Luke to come back as a Force apparition, like Yoda and Obi Wan have. I'd love it if Mark Hamill was back in IX, even if it was just as a cameo.

You hear that JJ Abrams? Bring Luke back for IX, since you're not going to do CGI with Leia!!!

And PLEASE... Do NOT kill off Chewbacca!!!


I do wish JJ Abrams the best though... He's going to need it, big time. IX was supposed to focus on Leia, but apparently they are not going to have her in the movie.... No old footage and no CGI. So, it's really up in the air what Abrams is going to yank out of his butt this time... 

If it's half as good as The Force Awakens, he'll have another winner on his hands in my opinion. 

However, if it's a movie similar to the Star Trek reboots... 


Nope, NOT going down that road......................

On that note, I'm going to share a new group with you. They had the top single of 2017 on Q104.3 in Halifax, NS, and I just got their latest album...

From the EP, "Popestar", here's GHOST with "Square Hammer"... Enjoy! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

We Salute You

Whoa, another week gone. This year is going so darn fast!

I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the "Holiday Shopping" tunnel - gift wise. We managed to get the majority of the remainder of the gifts out of the way this past week, thanks to a few orders from my favorite online shopping site, and a trip to Halifax. We have two full and two partial gifts to get, as well as the "extras" for Son. 

The next major bit will be the wrapping. I need more paper, tags, and tape. Thank the stars I have over a month to get *that* done. I abhor wrapping almost as I hate shopping. I despise shopping for the record... Unless it's earring or book related. Then I tend to go overboard... 

We started our shopping in January so we could just pick up things as we saw them, and wouldn't have a huge bill right at the holiday season. I like it, it's much more relaxed to do it that way.

Our outdoor holiday decorations are almost finished too... We have a kaleidoscope LED light that shines red, green and blue splashes of light over the front of the house, and Nanny's old light up candles framing the main door on the side. I still want a huge, sparkly silver bow to put on the front door to make it ultra pretty.

Yeah, I'm actually trying this year. Shocker, eh? I haven't enjoyed the holidays since my father passed away in 1997, and it got worse after we lost Nanny in 2010. It's not a good time of year for me. Daddy's birthday was December 25th... That says a lot.

Anyway........ The thumb is better. I took the bandages off completely the day after I wrote the previous entry... I kind of took things off to change the bandage and the flap of skin just fell off. Since it looked really clean, I left it open. It's not bothering me at all now. It's almost healed. No scabs. Just a small patch of newer looking skin, and the possibility of a scar. Better than losing the thumb....

Amber is still improving, and getting sassier by the day. She's been on the vet food for four weeks now and is like her old self. I'm getting dive bombed upwards of six, seven, or more times a day. Anyone who follows my main profile will sometimes see score tallies for "Shithead" and myself. She dive bombs me, I kiss her tummy... She gets revenge, and I get her back. 

In other words, a typical day at my house.

I am still writing for anyone who is interested. I'm almost done chapter one of the MSIP, and I hope to wrap that up later this week, so I can get moving in chapter two before the school holiday break. I've started a timeline of the entire story so I don't get mixed up and have them "going at it" in chapter three.... Like I did in another one. Oops! (That one is now in the "rewrite pile"!)

Finally.... On a sad note, I see Malcolm Young of AC/DC has passed away, at the young age of 64. 

I leave all of you with "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" from 1981.

Sleep peacefully, Mr. Young. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

National Diabetes Day and More

It's time for me to come out of the "chronic illness closet" and announce what I have that's a "life long condition".

In 2015, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes (insulin resistant or inefficient insulin). It is *genetic* in my case - it was inherited from my Daddy, who is suspected of having it for over 20 years before he was diagnosed... The doctors could tell by the amount of damage to his eyes, and to the veins in his legs.

Daddy passed away less than six months after his diagnosis in 1997... He was only 56 years old.

Since November is Diabetes Awareness month, I ask everyone reading this to get their A1C hemoglobin glucose checked - especially if you have a parent or another relative with type II diabetes. Kids of parents who had/have it have a 50-50 chance of developing it later in life. The sooner it's caught, the better your chances for a longer, fuller and healthier life. 

***Contrary to what some will tell you, there is NO cure for Type I or Type II diabetes. Anyone who claims that is severely misinformed.***

This little accident prone author did something ultra stupid last weekend...

I was slicing carrots using a mandoline slicer, and my hand slipped.... I wound up slicing my thumb wide open. It's at an angle which means there's a flap of skin that's holding the clot in place. Yeah.... I was using the grip but things slipped and that's when I cut myself.

It's healing slowly, but still sore... It is right on the spot that touches the space bar when I hit it. Not fun. In fact, it's quite uncomfortable, and was quite painful during the first day or so after the injury occurred. 

The worst of it is, it's my right thumb. I'm right handed......... *SIGH*

I won't show you the aftermath. It's bloody, and gross all around. I do have photos of the bandages an hour after the accident, and a photo of the wound itself taken a few days later, but it's all too nasty for public viewing. I'll show photos in the "later parts of healing" instead.......

Two days later, at the afternoon bus stop... Bandages galore. 

November 7, 2017.

It wasn't very comfortable then but it was a LOT better than throbbing all of the time like it was on Sunday...

Taken just today. I'm down to one bandage! I'd let it go without, but it is still pretty uncomfortable to hit the space bar..........

November 13, 2017.

It's still pretty gross looking too, but not like it did the day it happened. Yuck!


Even with the injured thumb, I still managed to get some writing done this week... I'm on a roll with this one manuscript again so far, and I hope this continues. If things go right, I hope to have its first draft done by the end of June. Hopefully with a little luck, this one will be off to my beloved publisher sometime before the end of next year. (And if I'm really lucky, I'll have the final companion book at least on the go by then too!)

I've been getting dive bombed by a crazy cat while working too... Or just sitting at the computer. 

Amber wasn't doing well for the longest time. That poor cat had gas galore, and couldn't pass any without "splattering" a bit most times... Plus her feces were not normal. Think runny. She lost a lot of weight, and hasn't been feeling great.

We discussed things, and I remembered that she was on the vet recommended food when we adopted her, Noelle and Angel. We couldn't afford to keep four cats on it - Birdie HATED it anyway - so they were switched over to one of the supermarket brands once the remainder of the food from Nanny's ran out.

Amber started losing weight, which became a little noticeable after we lost the dog in 2011, but it really started showing up once Noelle passed away. She wasn't getting the canned food either, because she didn't eat it. So we kept her on the dye free supermarket stuff, not realizing the cat wasn't going to do well off it.

The bottom line is she is now back on the vet recommended food, and is doing marvelously! Within three days, her eyes had brightened considerably, and her catitude was back to normal. I noticed an increase in dive bombing over the following week, and her energy level has jumped considerably.

Best of all, she *rarely* passes gas, she's no longer having accidents all of the time, and things are no longer messy! AND she's gained a little weight! Her tummy is getting a touch bigger. 

Her fur is a LOT thicker and silkier, she's taking much better care of herself too. 

It's a relief to see our Amber back to being herself. I really thought we were going to lose her, and soon. She's only 11 years old, and has at least a few more years left in her. The longer she lives with a better quality of life the better.

Sure, the food is ultra expensive - think four times what the supermarket brand costs for the same amount - but she's our one and only right now, and she's worth it. More than worth it.

She doesn't eat as much of this stuff either, so in a way it balances out. Instead of going  through a 3 KG bag of food in two weeks like she was before, she's going through one in about five to six weeks. She's been on it just over 3 weeks and there's more than half a bag left. I'd say that is a good thing!

Finally, we had an amazing Halloween/Samhain. Son dressed up in his usual, and I did all black and purple this year. Black shirt and jeans, my black sneakers with the purple laces, and even my black hoodie with my pen name on it in purple (gift from the mom in law and youngest brother in law last year).... Heck even my rings were black and purple for the  most part - the exception being my wedding band, which is plain with gold. I have a gothic style ring that's black with purple stones, and a black band that has purple stones in it, as well as two eternity bands in... you guessed it, PURPLE!!! I also had a black and purple witch hat and even feather earrings... Yeah, I went nuts, but who cares? At least my normal, every day look was actually toned down compared to what else was out there that night!

Witchy metal chick alert!


You can see my earrings better in this one:

Left hand:

Right hand!

Normally I wear an assortment of colors from my birth stone (pale green peridot) to the amethyst, but I wanted straight black and purple for the day. I'll probably do something similar IF I ever make a public appearance as an author... Yeah, like that will happen! LOL

I leave you with the official video for "Aces High" by Iron Maiden. Have a great week everyone! 

Friday, October 27, 2017


The end of October... Halloween and Samhain (pronounced "Sa-wane", it's the Pagan New Year) are now almost upon us, and it does not feel like it in my area. We're still getting summer temperatures here. Think in the high teens, low twenties Celsius - that's 60s and 70s for my American readers and friends. I am normally bundled up in sweaters, or at least socks, this time of year, but I'm walking around the house in capris and flip flops - with the windows wide open, and fans going full tilt!!! This is more like late May weather, *not* late October!

No complaints, I'm bragging! It's saving on the heating bill, even if we are still cranking up the bedroom AC at night, but that's negligible compared to having both infared heaters on, as well as the baseboard ones in the bathroom and bedrooms!

I hope it's nice like this for trick or treating Tuesday night. I don't want my son wearing a heavy jacket under his costume. 

Things have improved health wise for me, again. I'm down another three pounds. I'm not walking like I should be either, which is horrible... But, I am eating less carbohydrates again, which is a huge help. My jeans are getting a little looser! I am down a full six pounds since May, and it feels like I've lost more. My doctor is back from her maternity leave - we really, REALLY missed her! - and she's pleased with my progress in that department.

However, my ferratin - iron stores - are low again. Not low enough that I'm anemic, but close. Since I don't think I'm getting enough of certain vitamins like D, B12, and so on, she approved me taking a multi vitamin with iron in it. I found one that's sugar free, which will keep things balanced on that end, thank heavens. I haven't noticed much of a difference for the most part yet, I'm still tired and such, but it's been less than a month since I started taking it. I have noticed a little more mental clarity though. I feel more like writing instead of procrastinating, and I find I'm not seeing as many squirrels as I was even a month ago. 

That's good, right?

Writing news.... 

So I've been looking through the draft of "Dream On" and it's not good. The second half does need work, as all first drafts do, but the first half is filled with repetitive items, passive areas, and a *lot* of bull shit in general. The name wasn't right either, so I've changed it. Just what I renamed it is between me, my beta team, and a few other like minded people. 

I'm still up in the air about a few things with Fourteen, although a lot more is starting to gel with it. I'm hoping to get that one's first draft restarted and well underway before the holidays if I can do it. I haven't had a lot of writing time lately between my son being sick or having a Friday off - he had today off due to an inservice. No worries, I worked yesterday and made a lot of progress even if I didn't actually write anything!

I have also been working on a few promo posters/banners, as well as updating my website. Like here, I updated everything in a black and purple theme, including a new banner. I also added a list of links to where you can purchase Stricken online. That is one long list! (Thank you eXtasy Books!!!) I used white font on the banner because you couldn't see the black much, it blended in with the shadows of the rose. 

Go check out my updated look at V.J. Allison Online.

Have a peek at my latest promo poster. It's a quote from Chapter Five of Stricken.

I'm still not happy with the amount and kinds of fonts I have on the computer, so I'll be digging for more as time goes on. I want some really eye catching promo posters and banners for future books, better than I have for Stricken. I think I have about half the amount on here that I had before the rebuild. I want more, and a lot of script fonts if possible.

Other news... I made my own "ice cream" this week. It's sugar free, low carb, and if you want, dairy free. It's made using coconut cream. I found a recipe for it online, and it's really good. I did add some heavy cream to it, and some aspartame, along with some vanilla extract. I think next time I'll be using vanilla beans, because the extract didn't really mask the coconut flavor. It was still really tasty, and had the right consistency too. I was pleased, and I'll be making it again.

This is what the end product looks like:

It's so good... And best of all, healthy compared to the real thing!

I hope all of you have an amazing weekend, and have a safe and fun Halloween... If you celebrate Samhain, BLESSED BE, and all the best to you in the New Year. 

I leave you with one of my favorite melodic metal songs of all time... "Tears of the Dragon" by Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson. Enjoy!!!!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Afterglow Art Festival 2017 and More

The main part of Afterglow Art Festival happened last night. 

Our friend Kyle O (spray paint artist) wasn't there this year, but we still had a lot of fun. There were a lot of interactive things to do for kids and adults alike, as well as gorgeous art, and shows by various buskers (street performers). 

Son really enjoyed watching the Jugglin' Bubblers, a pair of circus performers who were creating a lot of interesting - think LARGE - bubbles and using the breeze to create a dazzling display of rainbow colored fun for everyone. He loved it so much that we spent most of the night watching their performances, and he even helped them with making some bubbles, like other children and adults. They had a juggling act after the sun set, with flashing pins that really looked cool in the shadows on King Street. They also had a small light show that was beautiful... The girl put on a cape lit with white LED lights and she danced while her partner let loose with some bubbles around her in a chaotic ballet. Talk about amazing!!! I loved everything I saw them do but that was probably my favorite out of their work. They're really nice people too, showing the kids and encouraging them to use certain techniques to get the perfect, HUGE bubble, sometimes with many little ones inside of it.


There was a lot of interesting things there, but my favorite wasn't exactly art related...

While looking at the program, I noted there was something called "Write Now"... An interactive writing and coloring fun area. 

You know I had to go see it. 

I'm so glad I did too. I met another writer, Candice, who is a poet. Although she's not published yet, she hopes to get there sometime. She's really sweet, I liked her a lot.

It was so wonderful to be able to "talk shop" with another writer, face to face. I don't get that too often - I don't socialize much locally due to my anxiety - but it is nice to do it once in a while. We had a great chat and I learned a little more about the local writing scene. It turns out there are a lot more writers in the area than I had thought. I know Laurie Lacey (he writes non fiction, and he's a sweet guy too), and a couple of others, but not as many as I'd like to know.

I think it's time to get out more, and meet like-minded others. I don't care if we write the same genre - or we're in different parts of the writing world (poets, etc, I'm a novelist) - just meeting other writers and authors would be awesome. So I am going to take her up on her invite to join her and a few other local writers for writing sessions at a local hangout. Even if I only go once in a while, it'll be wonderful. (I have to purchase a laptop bag so I can take that thing with me... it's kind of hard to haul my desktop there for only a short while!)

She writes the blog "Hope in a Handbasket".. She shares her poetry there, as well as bits and pieces of her life. Like me, she's a cat lover... Which led to us sharing photos of our cats. I just wish I had photos if Amber with her butt parked on top of the computer monitor, but unfortunately, I had cleaned the photos off my phone recently and forgot to leave a few on just for times like last night. 

Next time. LOL


As for my own work, things are not progressing as fast as I would like them to be... I'm having problems seeing where the leads in Fourteen trip over each other at the start of the story... Even though I have most of the rest of it figured out. I like having the first scene in my brain before I put anything down, for fear of messing things up later on. It's just an odd quirk of mine. 

I'm also deep in the "Dream On" revisions... I see a *lot* of problems with that one, from the town it's set in to various grammatical mistakes, as well as not plausible things happening between the mains. I see myself being buried in that for at least another month or so...Ugh. 

PHOOEY ON EDITING!! (It's a necessary evil in my opinion!)

Finally... My healthier journey continues. I finally got back to the track this week. It was so humid through September that I wanted to do nothing more than nap in front of the bedroom AC, I was so sick from it. 

The ice is in at the LCLC and it was borderline freezing in there, perfect for walking. You don't sweat so much when it's icy and you're not really zipping around too fast. I did a km (2/3 mile) because I was scared of pushing myself again. I'll be back to a mile (or more!) in no time. I'm that stubborn!

I am glad I'm able to do that amount of walking in one session.... We had a LONG walk from where we parked the car to King Street, and a long walk back and UPHILL on the return trip - AFTER we had walked up and down King Street several times! I was ready to drop by the time we got home, but it was worth it.

Let's start the week off right with a song from one of my favorite bands... DISTURBED. "The Night", live from Raleigh. Have a lovely week everyone!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

End of (Summer) Days 2017 (WARNING: Photo Heavy)

First of all... If you are in the path of #HurricaneIrma, PLEASE... Stay safe! If you are told to evacuate, DO SO. Don't forget about the pets... Make sure they're safe too!

Summer is officially over. Labour Day marked the end of the summer season in Canada, and school started last week in our district.

Son started Grade Seven on Thursday, and although he was sad to see his vacation time over, he was happy to jump back into the thick of things at his school. We took him into the school to see his homeroom teacher, find out where his locker is, and to get situated overall. Two days in, and he's loving it. Thank heavens.

He said summer vacation was a lot of fun. He and I spent a lot of time home this year - I needed new glasses and could barely see enough to drive the last going off, more on that later - but we did have a lot of fun with Hubby on day trips and other fun activities like bowling. 

Oddly he hardly played the Wii for the last month of vacation. I guess he was too busy using the laptop or having fun on our Acer tablet when he wasn't on his Nintendo DS.

I needed a break from hearing the soundtrack to "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" anyway. It was starting to grate on my nerves by the second week of July, and had me driven stark raving crazy by the time August rolled around. 

Day trips... Our first full day one was to Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park, and then we hooked over to Wolfville to zip up to Grande Pre and Evangeline Beach, which is on the Minas Basin, part of The Bay of Fundy - Highest tides in the world! Unfortunately, we were there at "half tide", it was slowly on its way out, but not fully out. It was still out a lot further than it would have been at somewhere like Crescent Beach down here.

The soil there is really red, it reminds me of Prince Edward Island (yes, I've been there, but it's been close to 30 years). 

Barred Owl staring at us.

One of the most iconic sights in my province, the statue of Longfellow's Heroine, Evangeline, in front the church at Grande-Pre, representing the site of the Acadian Expulsion in 1755.
These gorgeous flowers are MYSTIC ILLUSION Dahlias, a hybrid, they were in the front of the Grande-Pre church.

Evangeline Beach on the Minas Basin, which is part of the Bay of Fundy - highest tides in the world. This is at half tide, when it's starting to go out. Note the red soil.
Our (currently last) trip for the summer saw us going to the other end of the Annapolis Valley - Annapolis Royal, Fort Anne, Port Royal (Habitation), and lastly, a fun spot for kids and adults alike. They have go-carts, mini golf, a driving range, a batting cage, an arcade and a lot of other cool stuff. One could spend an entire day in there and *not* get bored!

We played a round of mini golf. The course Par was 51 - I was the loser with a score of 82. However, I got the *only* ace - hole in one - for the day, which royally ticked off my son. He's the golfer in the family, not me. I stink at it!

The guys played a few rounds of pinball, while I watched. They tried the driving range too, while I sat in the sunshine with a diet cola and relaxed. 

Fort Anne, Officer's Quarters.

The Ammunition Building at Fort Anne.

Port Royal (Habitation).

Bust of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Port Royal.

The Annapolis River, on its way out toward low tide.

The courtyard of Port Royal (Habitation).

The Tidal Generating Station, the ONLY one of its kind in North America. It uses tidal power to create electricity for thousands of people.

View of the North Mountain and part of the mini golf at the fun stop, just outside of Annapolis Royal, NS.
All in all, it was a great summer. We're talking about taking one last trip before it gets too cold, not sure when or where we're going though.

When I said I had problems seeing properly, it was a case of needing my prescription glasses updated. So far so good, my eyes are extremely healthy and have *no* damage from my lifelong condition. My new glasses arrived on Tuesday and I'm tickled with them.

The regular glasses are identical to my previous prescription, while this time, I got sunglasses for driving during the daytime, without the bifocals. It's the same style of frame, just black instead of silver. I love them.


Office 2016 is on my computer, it took me over an hour to download it and get it set up for my computer. I'm happy with it, I'm back to working and it feels awesome to be writing and editing again... FINALLY!!

Speaking of which, I'm now working on fixing "FOURTEEN". It's a *huge* mess, and won't work as a story the way it's currently going. Back to the drawing board for that one. Thank heavens I was able to do a lot of thinking over the summer when I wasn't able to work and found solutions for the problems. Hopefully I can get things right this time around. If not, I can always do yet another rewrite. 

You do know STRICKEN is a rewrite, right?...... Read previous blog entries, and you'll get it. ;)

Dream On is currently back in "edit mode", I'll be working on that when I'm not going nuts writing.

Have a great weekend everyone! I leave you with one of my favorite covers of all time, "TURN THE PAGE" by Metallica - original version done by Bob Seger. (WARNING: CONTAINS ADULT IMAGERY - NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!)

Friday, August 4, 2017


Things have changed a lot in the last week...

I finally got so fed up with the laptop that I decided it was going to be either get the old 160 GB drive running or get a brand new one somehow. 

I contacted Microsoft, and they gave me instructions on how to convert an old drive to GPT to support Windows 8.l. 

It took less than a minute to wipe the drive and convert it.


Within half an hour, I was setting up the main administrative account on the computer (mine), and installing some of the games we love. 

My internet security provider is back on the computer.... 200 MB later. 

It's great to be back on the desktop again, even if it is going crazy with getting updates and scans almost every day. 

Unfortunately, Office 7 is not working on the desktop system, and Office 2016 has not arrived yet, so I'm stuck working off the laptop or not working at all. Since using the laptop drives me bonkers, I've decided not to work on the manuscripts until it is here and I have it installed on my computer. 

I'm okay, for now. It's summertime and I haven't really had much of a chance to work on anything anyway. I think this is the universe's way of telling me I need a break, a long one.

I still have a few more things to install - think music from CDs in the little car that I hadn't backed up on the external drive yet - but so far things are working great and the computer isn't skipping or anything else like it was when it still had the old 1 TB drive into it.

Yeah, the drive is only 1/9 what the original one in this one was but still, it works and it's a good drive. It has maybe 60 GB worth of stuff on it. I didn't add all of my old digital camera pics to it, to save room, I can get them off the external if I need any of them. Same goes for my banners, etc. 

It's great broadcasting from the desktop again. 

Now if only Office 2016 would arrive so I can get back to work... Tee hee.

Have a great weekend everyone!

I leave you with one of my favorite songs of all time, STRICKEN by Disturbed. Enjoy!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Crazy Summer

This summer has been interesting so far...

My mom was visiting my aunt and uncle the first week of July, so of course, we went to see her a few times.

My aunt has a pool, and one of my mom's favorite activities is to go swimming. I finally have swimwear that fits me right - well the top does, the bottoms need to be brought in a lot, more on that later! - so we went into the pool with her.

The one evening wasn't so bad, except the mosquitoes were out something fierce. We were in for about half an hour or so before we decided it was enough.

That Saturday afternoon, though............

Stupid me forgot to put on waterproof sunblock or wear a t-shirt like I normally do. It was cloudy, and in my haste to get there on time, I forgot to pack something.

I wound up regretting it later that evening. We had spent an entire hour in the pool and of course, me without protection from the sun meant fried skin. I had a horrible sunburn that went from the top part of my back, around to cover both shoulders, the nape of my neck and the top of my boobs.

I was so sore I was in tears. But, that was my own stupidity.

Thank heavens for a certain kind of skin cream and aloe vera gel. Between that and putting cold compresses on the burned areas, it took away most of the pain and I was able to move without wanting to cry.

It took an entire week to heal enough to start peeling, after it blistered. Yeah, it was a really bad one. The worst one I've had since my early 20s. Normally I'm so darn careful because sunburns hurt like merry old hell, and I don't tan, I fry. Think redder than a cooked lobster after 20 minutes or less in the sun. Thank you Scandinavian genes....

In other news, I've been trying to get some work done on "Dream On" and other manuscripts I have saved on the portable hard drive. I wouldn't mind getting at least another standalone story published somehow sometime soon, and since none of the finished drafts are up to publishing standards period, I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Things would be a lot smoother if I was using my desktop system though...

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed things were slow, and the computer wasn't working right at all. I thought it was a virus, so I set it aside while Son and I went to see my mom.

Let's just say I had a hell of a time getting it shut down once we got home again.

When I went to turn it back on to do some diagnostics, Windows wouldn't load, and it would not let me into the Boot Menu.

This led me to wondering if it was a fault in the hard drive's software itself, not a virus. Like a few files got corrupted somehow somewhere along the way and it messed up the entire hard drive.

It finally tried a repair diagnostic, and I let it go.

Six hours later, I wound up pulling the plug.

Diagnosis: Full system failure, due to a faulty hard drive.

In other words, the hardware itself is no good. Whatever was on that drive is now gone for good, what wasn't saved that is, and that wasn't much... Just a few things I was messing around with on GIMP and a few downloaded photos for various things (desktops) that I got back.

I've been using an Acer laptop a friend of mine gave me a couple of years ago... It was originally set up for VISTA, but now has Windows 7 on it. It's a gorgeous computer. My main problems with it is that it has only 1 GB of RAM and Office 7 on it... I'm used to 8 GB of RAM and Office 2013... And a regular keyboard, not the flat keys on a laptop keyboard.

So...... What's going on with the desktop?

Nothing much right now. I do have a hard drive that works - it's from my old Acer computer, the one that decided it was going to keep frying video cards after the one on the motherboard got cooked during a power outage. That one was retired in 2013, and I purchased the Windows 8.1 computer then. It's only a 160 GB drive - compared to the 1 TB drive that was originally in the current desktop system - but it will do for now... I can easily run things from the portable hard drive if needed.

The drive has VISTA on it - that's what I was using the last year or so I was using the Acer system - so it needs to be rebuilt from the OS up, with  Windows 8.1.

I have a copy of that on disk, BUT there's a problem...

It has a different file system formatted on it. Windows 8.1 needs a GPT file system, while VISTA has a completely different one. Now this drive IS compatible with Windows 8.1, so I'm fine there. I just need to talk to a tech about how to format it... Which I'll be doing early next week. Or I hope to do it at least. Things have been so crazy the last while with everything else going on, I'm lucky to remember to get dressed every morning.

So until things are straightened out with the desktop system, I'll be broadcasting to all of you via the laptop, or if you follow my Facebook Fan Page (link to the left of the blog entries!) via my smartphone as well.

It's times like this that I'm grateful I'm so damn meticulous - (anal?) - about backing up my manuscripts and pretty much everything else on my computer... One never knows when something is going to die on them.

I will be upgrading a few things once this stupid computer is rebuilt... Office 2016, anyone? Drool!!!

Quick note about my wellness journey:

I am up to walking a full MILE each time I hit the track! (6 1/3 laps, or 1.6 km) I feel great! It takes me about 20 minutes to do the entire thing, and that's not too darn shabby. I always carry my phone with me, to listen to music while I'm zipping around, and to keep track of my time each lap on the clock app. It keeps me motivated to keep going!


I was weighed about 2 weeks ago...


I can tell I am still shrinking, because my jeans are getting looser, and my capris almost fell down the other day when I reached up to get something from a shelf in the bathroom.

I am feeling soooooo much better than I did even two months ago. I feel like myself again.

I am feeling so much like myself that I even went bowling with the guys AFTER I did my laps at the track! I only played 2 strings compared to their 3 but it was still bowling, and tons of fun.

It wore me out but it was worth it.

I hope all of you are having an amazing summer.... And if you are an author like I am, you do not have the hardware problems I've been having. It stinks!

And please, don't be stupid like I was and get a sunburn folks. It wasn't fun!

I leave you with some photos of Crescent Beach.... Have a great weekend everyone!

Moonlight hitting the water.


High tide... It's so high that you can't take your car on the beach at all without it getting soaked by salt water!

Wild pink rose - my favorite flower!

Information about the birds of Crescent Beach.

A prop job plane flying low over the beach and the LaHave Islands.

The government wharf on Bush Island.
One of the many jellyfish we see washed up on shore on the beach, this happens often.
This greeted me when I came downstairs this morning... Hello MONITOR KITTEH!