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In Rememberance

In remeberance of my wonderful, beautiful niece Rebecca Lynn Clevenger, who left this world at the too young age of twelve.
I love you, Becca.  I will miss you forever, baby.


.........actually, no.  The question would be 'to make or not to make......and then give?'

Here's my conundrum.

I like to make stuff, and I'm a sentimental person.  I'm the kind of person that would rather have something someone made just for me, simply because it shows they went to the effort of it.  Of course, that doesn't mean I like everything I've been given, but that is pertinent to store-bought gifts, as well.  There are a few specific people that don't really put thought into gifts, usually picking up something they like themselves, and assuming others will, too.  It doesn't matter to me......like I said, I'm sentimental.  I keep it and treasure it just because someone I love gave it to me.

The same goes for home made gifts.  I've reieved things that I would never have chosen on my own......even things that I would look at and grimace.  Some things badly made, or of bad quality materials or in the only two colors in the world that I actually hate.  But I've also received things I absolutely love.  And I treasure them all- the good and the bad- for the fact that it was made for me by someone I care about.  Like I said.   Sentimental.

But now, speaking as the giver and not the receiver, where do home made gifts stand in matters of appreciation?  Some of the things I'm making for people, they know about, and are anxious to recieve them. 

But what about things that are made for someone that doesn't know me as  well as my mother and siblings?  Or who, perhaps, has different tastes?

Is it still acceptable to give a home made gift, not knowing if it's something they will appreciate?

Example:  I am going to have a new niece in a few months.  I'm making a darling little infant dress for her.  My brother, I think, will like it and appreciate the fact that I made it especially for her, just like my other brother did when I made high top booties for my newest nephew last year.

But........what about my sister in law, the baby's mother?  I'm aware that some people see home made gifts as tacky or lame, or simply non-stylish.  Some people only want store bought name brands.

Does that apply simply because the gift is home crafted?  Or does it make a difference if the gift is made of quality materials, with care, and with the reciever's tastes taken into account?

Hmm......since I like to make things, and like to give things, I guess I'll find out.  Or not, I guess.  Most people are less than truthful when recieving a gift they don't like, after all.

A full day and cat wrestling


That energy I spouted about so early this morning did indeed wind down, but it served me in good stead while it lasted.

I had errands upon errands to run today, so I was out and about all day, which never fails to wear me out.  Despite the inevitable sleepiness that descended because of my very early rising, I continued to feel great all day long, and still do, in fact.

I got home (is this craptastic motel really home?  No, but I lack a civil word to describe it) in just enough time to corral my cat Shade for his vet appointment.  Only it wasn't really in enough time, because it takes more than I had to spare to get him in his carrier. 

Here is Shade's personality:  Sweetest cat you'll ever meet, very social, very personable towards people, even most strangers, loves to give and recieve affection, and has never yet, in his almost three years of life, scratched or bitten anyone in other than play.  Even the few times he's had reason to be angry, or in fear or pain.  That's just not part of his personality.

Here's another part of his personality: he absolutely hates his carrier and does not......I repeat, DOES NOT.......travel well at all.

Usually, when I have to force him into his carrier (he still won't scratch or bite, despite his desperate attempts to avoid being confined), he works himself into such a state by the time we get to wherever we're going that I'm quite concerned about his well being.  And he comes close to tearing the carrier apart, and this is not cheapie fragile one, either.

Today, I was just as concerned about the well-being of the veterinarian office staff.  I knew I had to release him eventually.......and then what would happen?

The vet assistant, a very nice youngish woman that had worked there all of three months, was afraid for me to open the carrier at first.  I kind of was, too, just in case.

Her exact words:  "Um......is he gonna attack me?  He sounds like a devil-cat".

And he did sound like some strange evil creature confined in that box, with his growling, hissing, hellacious sounding meows, and the occasional thrashing around that rocked the carrier from end to end and side to side and threatened to throw it off of the exam table.

My exact words:  "Well, he's always been an affectionate and sweet cat towards people and he's never hurt anyone before.  But he's still an animal and I can't guarantee his state of mind after the stress of being carted around in this thing".

I know.  Not very encouraging.  But it was true and I didn't wasn't to delude her.

So we held our collective breath and I opened the carrier.......

And he was the perfect gentleman.  He walked out calmly, gave me a lick on the cheek (strange for a cat, I know, but he does that), and walked over to meet the assistant, Donna.  He endured the exam, the vaccinations, the weighing, the blood test and the medicine- giving with absolute perfect dignity.  Then he gobbled up more of their petting and scratching, made sure to return to me on occasion for reassurance, then went right back for more attention from the doc and assistant Donna.

The only glitch came when it was time to put Shade back into his carrier so we could leave.  Donna had to help with that, because Shade can't be fooled twice and he knew what was coming.  Treats wouldn't work twice in an hour an a half, and we both had to laugh at  our attempts to wrestle him into the carrier, and his attempts to avoid it.  It was a scene straight from the Keystone Cops!  And he only sulked for a half hour when we got home and I let him out for good (he almost had the door pushed off, too, so it was none too soon- the carrier is NOTHING compared to having him loose in the moving car!).

I couldn't have been more happy or proud of him!  Donna even said that she had never known cats could have such sweet personalities and it made her want to get one of her own.  She also said that in the three months she'd worked in the office, so far Shade was the nicest, sweetest and most civilized cat she'd ever seen.

I decided not to warn her about Dora, my other cat.  She can figure that one out on her own when she has her appointment in a couple weeks.  Dora is nowhere near as accommodating as Shade is (with strangers, anyway), and she's only a couple months old.

And lord forbid I ever have to bring in my cantankerous Cockatiel Frankie.  They'd ban me for life.

But for now, I'll let assistant Donna think I'm the pet owner of the year. 





A Great Day

Today's going to be a great day, I can feel it!

I was an early riser today, which is usual for me if I get to bed early enough and actually get some sleep.  But that does't usually happen.

But it did last night!  I went to bed around ten, woke up a couple of time, but went right back to sleep!  I finally got up around 3:30 this morning, which is early, but not unusual for me if I go to bed as early as ten.  It doesn't sound like much sleep, but trust me, it is for me.

I feel enegetic, awake and I'm in a great mood!  I know I'll start to wind down early, because I got up so early, but these few hours that I feel so good are worth it, because it doesn't happen often for me.  I tend to live in a perpetual state of fatigue, feeling worn out and generally icky.....some can't be helped because of my health issues, but a lot has to do with sleep- or lack thereof, actaully.

I have plenty to do today, including a vet appointment for my cat, which is always a bit traumatic for both of us (he doesn't travel well at all), but I'm confident that I can deal with anything today.

Who'd of thought?

Nature's miracle drug- Sleep!

Doctors or torturers?

Okay, I knew a  few weeks ago that when the doctor came at me with a needle two miles long to stick down into my hip, and then into my bone, to pull bone marrow, that it wasn't going to be pleasant.  And it wasn't. 

And when they did it again, four days later in the exact same spot because they'd 'misplaced' the first test results, I knew it was going to be even more unpleasant.  And it was.

But did the pain stop there?

Nope.  Of course not.

I didn't anticipate the after effect, which I've been told could be a permanent effect.

I don't know quite what they did with that needle, but it messed something up.

Despite the fact that I'm what could be called 'extra blessed' in the weight department these days, I had never really had trouble keeping 'spry'.  I've worked too much for that.

But now, something is wrong with my hip and leg.  Sometimes it just gets a little stiff......every morning when I first get up, I literally hobble for a few moments until the stiffness works itself  out.  But other days, particularly wet and rainy days, or days in which I work harder or longer than others, the stiffness gets worse, and transforms into pain, and a lot of it.

Take today for example......I've been having trouble sleeping, and I only slept an hour or so before I got up to head to work.  Not only is it a house that takes me a little longer than most,but it was raining by the time I got there.  And, of course, I was very tired from no sleep- that aspect is not pleasant, but it's not like I'm not used to it, so I could function, albeit slowly and as if in a fog .  And dizzy, which is something that happens when I don't get enough sleep.  :(

 But it didn't take long for the pain and stiffness to set in, and this is  only something I've been dealing with for a few weeks, so my coping skills in this area are almost nil.  It's bad enough that I can no longer cross or bend that leg when sitting, or let it hold my weight too long while standing, but now I'm dealing with pain and stiffness while working, and that's not gonna work for me .

After about three hours I was struggling not to limp (I'm pretty stubborn), but it felt like the hip joint kept catching or something, and it hurt all the way down my leg.  I dealt with it until I was finished, then went home and crawled into bed to get the sleep I'd missed the last couple of nights.  I was fortunate enough to be so exhausted that I actually fell asleep, with the help of some melatonin.

 I woke up a few hours later in so much pain I could hardly catch my breath.  My hip and leg were on fire, it seemed.  When I managed to get up and out of bed, I almost couldn't stand, and it was several minutes before I could manage to take the first few hobbling stepps, which was really the result of trying to walk using just the non-painful side.

I'm not big on taking meds that I don't absolutely need, and now that my kidneys are compromised I have to be careful what I take.  So I downed three tylenol (which I needed anyway for my sleep-hangover headache).  It did seem to help a bit, because the pain became more manageable a few hours later, and I was able to actually eat somthing, which was a good thing because it was 9pm and I hadn't yet eaten a single thing all day.  Eating, of course, helped my mood tremendously, and it didn't hurt at all that the pain  in my hip and leg was finally, finally subsiding.

I jut hope this isn't going to become a permanent thing....I'm too young to be hobbling around already!

I guess only time will tell.

Aren't we supposed to go to doctors to get better?!  Not worse!

Stuck in a Mystery

I have very eclectic tastes in most of my hobbies.  Writing, music, crafting hobbies......and reading. 
Mystery is not one of my first- pick genres,  it's down there near the bottom of the list of the things that won't be picked before others.  For some reason, mystery novels just don't normally grab my interest.  Well, maybe they would if I would pick them to read, but since I do so rarely, I just don't usually feel that pull that mystery officionados have that pulls them toward that genre.  I'm sure there is nore than one reason for this, there has to be, but I do know for sure what one of them  is.  The thing is, I'm a re-reader.  I like to read a good book more than once, because almost every time I do, I discover something that I missed before, something that adds to the book, no matter how many times I re-read it.

But that doesn't work for me with mystery books.  The whole point of a great who-done-it is to be immersed in the mystery of it, follow the clues, speculate and theorize with the characters, and then be surprised at the ending- or gratified, if you'd already figured it out.  Once is enough for all that, because once the mystery is solved, the book loses it's allure.  That's not the only reason mysteries aren't on the top of my favorites list, but it's an important one.

Now, all that being said......there are times when I will find an author, a book or a series in one of my least favorite genres that I fall in love with, or at least in 'like a whole lot' with.

And one of these is the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. 

The series are all title creatively with numbers, beginning with One For The Money, up to, currently, Sizzling Sixteen.  Stephanie Plum is also featured in the 'between the numbers' series (which I have not yet read).

The series follows the misadventures of Stephanie Plum, average New Jersey resident (Trenton) that has taken up the career of bounty hunter for lack of other job opportunities and lack of money, after losing her job as lingerie buyer for the company she had worked for.

The books and plots become somewhat predictable, but still fun to read as Stephanie learns the bounty hunting business through trial and error, accrues a wacky collection of friends, contacts, helpers and acquaintances, deals with her colorful Catholic family that lives in the Burg, and discusses her problems with her trusty hamster Rex.  She even has the occassional romance with the vice cop Joe Morellie and loves to oggle the super bounty hunter Ranger.

All in all, it's a series that just  pulls you in and keeps you laughing. 

Instead of doing all the things I should have been doing in the past few days (except when I've been sick), I have been reading these first few books, and am now on number five, which I will neglect even more things so I can start reading it tonight.

I have fics to catch up on (writing and reading, but mostly writing), emails to get to, especially to some of my closest friends who I'm sure think I have fallen from the face of the Earth, a couple arguments to rectify (don't ask), a web page that needs a few more of it's never ending tweaks (time to post Little Boy Blue) and a Beta to reconnect with in preparation of a couple of read throughs on a couple of stories in progress.

And all that has been on hold because I have been stuck in the world of Mystery and Stephanie Plum.

Damn you, Janet Evanovich!

A Nothing Day

Today has been a day of nothing.  Slept late, sat around, didn't even write.  Watched reruns of House and NCIS.  Still need to do the laundry, but I'm catching myself wondering if I have just one more set of clothes hidden somewhere that can be scrounged up so I can put laundry off until tomorrow- again.
The answer to that question is depressing.  Prognosis: I'd better do laundry TODAY.

I'm actually starting to get into a writing mood (after all, the perfect substitution for doing laundry, right?).  Most likely I'll be getting to work soon, and will also work on it into the night, minus the laundry break in a couple of hours.  I'm still inclined to concentrate on Little Boy Blue and it's going well, but I also need to get back to His Sister's Keeper.  That one is actually posted, and I know I have readers waiting for it.  I got a review just today, in fact.

Well, time to turn this nothing day into at least a little bit of something. 

Now to go see if I can accomplish something so the day is not a total waste!


Meeting my goal for the week

Having fits with the internet connection but it's working for the time being.  I'm meeting the writing goal I set for myself this week.  Been concentrating on one story instead of altrnating, but I'm almost finished with my fifth chapter of this week.....the second since I posted last about wanting to finish at least two more chapters.  In the last two days I've topped 4068 words on the two chapters, one of which I'm not actually finished with.  Not totally impressive, but a good run for me since part of the time was taken up with working, then a few hours sleep, then an overnight clean fest.  I feel like I've accomplished something with that total. 

It sure beats the weeks I don't do any writing!

But beyond the past two days writing, my total for the week and all the cahps I've written this week: 9,015.

Still not an extremely impressive number for almost five chapters, but I'm satisfied with it.  Some of the time was taken up with re-reading and editing the work, and the time and effort that takes can't be measured in numbers, yet it's completely necessary.

Here's to hoping the internet continues to hold out!  I think I'll start posting some of the chapters Of Little Boy Blue on my Halfcent's site, maybe tonight or tomorrow.  It's kind of a test to determine the traffic and readership to the site, which I'm sure is nothing, but maybe posting my fics there before the ff sites will draw some of my readers there.

We shall see, I suppose!

Today's productivity

Unfortunately I haven't been very productive today, writing-wise (or anything else-wise!).  I actually got no writing done today at all, and that was after churning out three consecutive chapters yesterday on Little Boy Blue, one of the Moonlight fics in progress.  I'm in the process of chapter five, but didn't get to it today.  Since I've got to work tomorrow, it's likely I might not then  either, but who knows.  I tend to do most of my writing late in the evening, at night, and the wee hours of the morning.  The later hours tomorrow might still hold some suprises for me.

I've decided that if I get a couple more chapters written this week (and it looks promising because this is only Tuesday), then I will post a teaser chapter here and on my writing site www.halfcentsplace.weebly.com  

Maybe on the fiction sites, as well, but I really don't want to start posting there until I'm ready to do it regularly, and that will be after I've finished completely.  That said, I really do need to be working on His Sister's Keeper, the NCIS fic I've had in progress for way too long and not posting on anywhere near often enough.

Miep Geis dies at age 100


Miep Gies dies at age 100.
Anyone that knows of the Anne Frank story should read this.
Miep Gies did her best to hold on to humanity during a time and in a place in which it was all but gone.

Here's the link: