Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Calling the doggy tooth fairy!

This is kind of a Dusty update. Poor baby.

We noticed yesterday when he was smiling, which he does a lot, that he had a few too many teeth.

Look there on the bottom and the top he's got four sets of adult and baby teeth. He's being more careful about chomping down now, because either it hurts or he's conscious of being able to punch four times as many holes in me.

I've never seen so many baby teeth side by side with the adult canines. Have you?

He wants to know if the doggy tooth fairy
will leave fourble the amount of beef flavored bones under his little satin pillow, instead of just one.

Greedy little sucker.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring restoration

After the terrible depression that winter brings it is such a relief to sit by the bayou finally and listen to birds chirp, squirrels chatter, hummingbirds hum, the breeze ruffle the leaves. The new chimes lend a soothing melody to it all ranging from just single ringing tones to a light musical clang.( And then there's the crop duster in the background dusting the soybeans - mostly - with fertilizer and insecticide. Ugh!)

I can't help but think of the Psalm - "He leads me beside still waters, it restores my soul." I'm not sure I could ever move away from the beauty and peace that living near the water affords. If you know that I grew up in a subdivision 8 miles from the D.C. line, you might think that strange. Guess it just goes to show how flexible we are. I never would have thought I'd be shooting snakes, watching for alligators and working for my husband in his crawfish trailer either. But then I never had dreams of how my life would turn out to be after I lost the big one - getting to the moon as the first woman astronaut.

That is not until I gave in to desire to write. Someone asked on a blog or twitter somewhere what you would do if you won the lottery. How would your life change? What would get rid of, where would you live, what would you keep?

I'd live somewhere cooler, probably South Carolina, closer to my favorite Navy Guy, and to prime fishing for hubby. Build a house on a lake and WRITE full time.

What about you?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cherry Cottage

Leah's free book is up on the Samhellion site. Download a copy now. Cherry Cottage is set in beautiful Niagara Falls. More details on Leah's blog. You can also see the YouTube trailer here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I'm not going to show you what my office and storage closet looked like before my friend came to help me organize. It took a hard two and a half days to get things straight and behind me there are still bins to go through and a desk to clear but I'm happy with the results.

I seem to be able to come up with a plan but can't remember the plan &;-)). Ever since the Winter, I've wanted to get my house cleaned out, closets, cabinets, shelves stream-lined. Simplify. I know that's a Spring fever kinda deal, but it's been longer for us. It seems that after Christmas the tasks of gearing up for crawfish season take over and then before you know it, it's Summer and too hot to live.

I've still got painting and reorganizing in the bedroom, porch, kitchen, and living room to do but I have to get back to my synopsis on RC. AND of course I have to travel South tomorrow for crawfish. I can't wait til crawfish season is over. My Hero (CFM) WASN'T last weekend. I looked and him and said, "Come closer, dear, so I can wrap my fingers around your neck," just before I stomped off toward home. You know how they are. They want your opinion, want you around but won't take suggestions and won't accept any help. Sheesh.

When I go South tomorrow I'll pass this beautiful plantation style home. Having been exposed to many wonderful examples in nearby Natchez, Mississippi, I was quite impressed with this gorgeous home.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter in the Crawfish Business

Easter in the crawfish business is about suppliers waiting til the last minute to drop a price increase on you, not enough crawfish to go around cuz every one decides that crawfish is a great way to feed a lot of people on Easter weekend. It's about last minute issues caused by the 'Easter' snap - low harvest, high costs, short supply, lots of long hours on the road and at the shack, hauling, cleaning, toting, boiling crawfish. The stress of reinvesting everything you've made so far into one of the biggest crawfish weekends of the season. It's a tossup whether it beats Mother's Day or Memorial weekend.

Can you believe it? Crawfish for Mother's Day! Because Dad cooks, I'm thinkin'. And don't forget Valentine's. Um, is this about the givee, or the giver?

Anyway, the other day I mentioned that the crawfish harvest is way down. One supplier saying that he has plenty of crawfish but they aren't feeding which means they don't go into the net. Today at a restaurant in crawfish country (South Louisiana) someone speculated that it's the ECONOMY!!!

How interesting. What if our global collective consciousness was so negative that the vibes transmitted to the crustacean world and they are too depressed to eat! Come on, people, let's think positive.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Toxic environment?


Long day yesterday. I got lucky 'cause CFM needed help at the crawfish trailer and most of the mail carriers had from 17 to 72 certified letters. Each one has to be written up separately, sorted by order of the route, delivered and scanned or attempted delivered and scanned, in addition to all the regular mail and packages. It would have taken me forever! But I only had three. Whew! Of course CFM was too busy to answer his cell so the phone was ringing while I was trying to concentrate on the route. Ended up having to go back and rerun some of the route to deliver 5 packages I missed. But I was able to get done earlier than everyone else and get to the CF shack to help.

Not a great day sales wise and it should have been. Prices are too high yet, people want big crawfish(and we're lucky to get ANY) and many are out of work especially in the oilfield.

I found out later in the day from one of our local suppliers that most of the local crawfish growers are getting desperate. Some of them are getting barely enough crawfish to reseed their ponds much less to sell. And this is prime selling season. CFsupplier said he doesn't know what is going on. He really thought it was mostly because the babies were drowned when water came up after hurricanes. But CFM's thinking that possibly the hurricanes going back to 2005 pulled in toxic whatevers from the south and dropped them on the waters and land to the north. This map shows flooding from Gustav. It makes sense. I'm wondering if any environmentalists have looked into it.

Our garden since the hurricanes has not produced anything - not one tomato, not one squash. The greens barely broke through the ground. No one has caught any significant number of fish in the bayou in the last three years. Crawfish season was down in the south immediately after, many put it down to salt water invading the fresh. Surely that was part of it but there may be something much bigger going on.

This is particularly scary since many people are trying to supplement their food budget by growing their own gardens. And very few in Louisiana and Mississippi are having success. I'll have to see what I can find out.

Morning update: Man, CFM can't catch a break! It's Easter week, the biggest week of crawfish season and we have a freeze coming Tuesday morning. This is bound to affect the catch for the days following. Our supplier had said that he didn't think he'd have a problem with supplying what we asked for this year. Normally, there aren't enough to go around on Easter. But of course, purchases are way down too. Now, we'll have to see. At the very least it may throw the little buggers into a molt which means well, who knows. Lots of question marks this year!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Advanced googlin'

I picked up a copy of WRITING Science Fiction and Fantasy by Crawford Kilian. Cora mentioned it to me after the conference. This is a great little book, chock full of succinct answers to a writer's basic questions, and not just for science fiction writers. I love his style.

Chapters include Knowing your genre, creating your fictional world, the usual on researching and developing plot and character, voice, symbolism, selling the story, the publishing contract, all written from an experienced pro.

The research chapter was especially enlightening. The best google meister I know is Leah Braemel. While I'm attempting to follow a link on a page of google links, she's found the answer and sent it to me with the link on chat. But it's not just speed, it's in HOW you search. When I taught computer at night extension class, I was always amazed at how naturally some students could find answers on the web. (The exception was a student who, after taking computer for two months, bought one, had her granddaughter set it up, then proceeded to type 'fish' on the keyboard without opening a browser and then waited for the world of fish to start speaking to her.)

Here are some of the tips Kilian suggested.

Set Preferences:
Choose English, then 'search for pages in any language', 50 to 100 results per page, and open results in a new browser window.

Go to advanced search
: www.google.com/advance_search?hl=en or just click on advanced search in the google window. Bookmark or drag the url to your toolbar or desktop for quick advanced searches.

Use exact phrase field to find word strings, he gives the example of Canadian freelance writing.

Use all of the words filed in addition to exact phrase to add other words related to the search. And without the words to exclude terms.

You can specify the file format on resulting web pages, such as Word, pdf, excel. And there are more options there like last updated, domain name, usage rights, filtered.

A page specific search will find pages similar to a page whose URL you know. Also look for Topic specific searches.

To search for synonyms put a tilde (~) before the term.

Find a flexible phrase: Place * as substitute for any word in a phrase such as * basketball.

Search for page that no longer exists. Click on cached under any result on the page that doesn't seem to work or type cache:www.lostsite.com where lost site is the url of the siteyou're searching for.

Search within a specific website or domain: Type "avian flu" site:www.guardian.co.uk

You can search web page titles, number ranges, from years to prices.

If you need more details on this you can check out Mr. Kilian's book or go to www.google.com/intl/en/help/features.html.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My favorite Idol

Okay, this year they are all really good. But I'm intrigued by Adam who is much smarter than your average rock star. He's planned his career and designed his entrance into Idol after grooming himself for it with many years of theatre and stage performances. The uniqueness of the contestants this year - Allison, Danny, Kris, and Adam - make this an especially interesting time to watch Idol. They all seem to have stage presence and a clear vision of who they are. I'd watch it just for the performances. But since Adam is my favorite, I'll share some of his videos.

The Tracks of My Tears.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-NULFMky4s The audio version - much better sound.

I Can't Get No Satisfaction.

Some Kind of Wonderful - Adam's group song in the early weeks.

Well, shoot, if you haven't seen this 16yr old rocker, Allison, you should at least watch one video of her.

And the studio version.