Archive for May, 2010

First of all, in case you didn’t know, I take a relaxed approach to gardening. What that means is if something sprouts up that I don’t recognize, I don’t immediately pull it out. As you might imagine, this leads to a garden that gives the impression of, well, I call it natural, you may call in barely controlled chaos. It also leads to some pleasant surprises.

This spring, a plant began growing in one of my containers. Because of the leaf pattern, I assumed it was larkspur, which I had planted there the year before, but which did not appreciate the forced neglect my entire garden suffered almost all of last year due circumstances beyond my control. That’s the long way of saying it died. I thought perhaps it has managed to drop a few seeds before passing and was glad for the second chance.

It soon became obvious that the flowers were white. Although I’d planted the purple variety of larkspur, it was a hybrid and they don’t seed true to their parent. However, once this flower bloomed, it became obvious it was not a larkspur. So, after studying it for a bit, I went to the container where I keep my seeds. I even keep empty packets of flowers I love. Sure enough, there it was. A flower I had planted 2 years ago, but had never come up.

Meet Nigella–Hot Fudge Sundae (Give you two guesses at the double reason I picked this flower)

Nigella grows in full sun, but I have it planted in a container where it gets about seven hours of sun and is sheltered from the afternoon heat, which is necessary in my climate. This flower only gets more interesting the older it becomes. The flower that is centered in the picture is the developing seed pod. Yes, these will go in my fall flower arrangements. I don’t think they’re stamens, but those long projections begin to twist soon after the flower opens and they look like ram horns by the time the flower is full grown. This is an annual, but it self seeds, so I’ll save a few seeds and see if maybe we can have a repeat performance next year.

Because it is an annual, you can grow it wherever you live. It, obviously, blooms in early spring, and after doing a little more research, I found out it will bloom until the first frost—providing I can protect it from zone 9 heat. Each of the flowers pictured have been blooming for at least 2 weeks. The one in the middle that is developing into a seed pod bloomed 4 weeks ago.

This plant is also called Love-in-a-Mist, Lady-in-the-Green, and Jack-in-the-Bush. Why all the hyphenated names? You got me.

Next year, I think I’ll pair it with something vibrant and orange, like California poppies or nasturtiums.

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My good friend, and awesome writer, Kait Nolan, recently published her first novel, Forsaken by Shadow, the first book in the Mirus series. If you know Kait on twitter, then you already aware that she’s witty, intelligent and a fun tweeting partner. Not only does Kait have an informative blog about writing, Shadow and Fang,  check out her blog on cooking, Pots and Plots, for yummy recipes.  

To wet your whistle, here is a blurb for Forsaken by Shadow

Banished from their world with his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd doesn’t remember his life as Gage Dempsey, nor the woman he nearly died for. But when Embry Hollister’s father is kidnapped by military scientists, the only one she can turn to is the love from her past. Will Gage remember the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? If they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Today I have a special treat for you all, Embry from Forsaken by Shadow has agreed, after being encouraged by her author, to sit and answer some questions.

Embry, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a firecaster. Well, sort of. My father is a firecaster. He’s able to manipulate and control flame. So am I, but where I differ from others of my race is that I can produce fire. I can thank my mother for that—and little else. As a fire elemental she wasn’t what you’d call a maternal figure. She gave me up after I was born, so it was always Dad and me. And then came Gage.

Can you tell us a little about the Mirus?

I could, but then I’d have to kill you. You’re not supposed to know about us, you see. It’s our greatest law. But hell, after everything that’s going on with your military, I guess it’s only a matter of time. I’m already suspended…

Mirus is the collective term for the entire paranormal world.  There are many races—from the usual suspects of vampires, werewolves, and witches, to other shifters, shamans, wraiths, the fae.  There are many races that humans have no mythology to explain.  We’ve been around as long as the humans have, in some cases longer.  For the last several centuries, we’ve lived in secret, hiding in plain sight.  We’re governed by the Council of Races, which you might think of as a paranormal United Nations.  Each race has representatives on the Council and they vote and determine the laws.  The name of the game is secrecy, as that’s believed to be the only way we will survive. 

When you saw Cade, whom you knew as Gage, in the ring for the first time, what’s the first thing that went through your mind?

He’s alive. I didn’t believe it, not really. It was like being sucker punched. After all these years…Matthias let me think that he was dead. Because of me. If this whole situation with my father being captured hadn’t come up, I doubt he’d ever have told me.

Gage had fallen in with an interesting crowd. Care to tell us a little about them?

Well I wasn’t in New Orleans long enough to get to know them, but despite Matthias’s intention to get Gage entirely away from our world, Gage still managed to wind up surrounded by it. His best friend was a Wylk—a wolf shifter. A crazy Cajun one who owned a bar. And his adopted mother figure Jeannette—well, I don’t know exactly what she was. A witch of some kind, maybe. She wasn’t easy to read.

What did you do all those years you thought Gage was dead?

As far as I knew, he was dead because I didn’t have enough control of my abilities. So I focused on learning control. I couldn’t be a Shadow Walker like I’d always wanted—that wasn’t one of my abilities, but I could still put my training to use and did when I joined the Investigation and Enforcement Division of the Council of Races. We’re what you might think of as the paranormal FBI. I made a pretty decent name for myself until I went rogue to rescue my father.

Do you think you would have tried to find Gage if you’d found out he was alive but your father wasn’t in danger?

I couldn’t have stopped myself. I would have had to see for myself that it wasn’t a lie, that he really had survived. I don’t know if I’d have approached him. :pauses to reflect: In saner moments, I’d have recognized that what Matthias did, wiping his memory, was the safest thing for him. As a human in the Mirus world, he could never be truly safe, and that’s why I always planned to walk away again when it was over. No matter how much it hurt. But I don’t know if I really could have done it.

When you found Gage, even after he remembered who he was, he could no longer Walk. Can you speculate on why?

Yes, he could no longer Shadow Walk. We didn’t know why at the time. I thought maybe it was a result of the memory spell—that it was going to take longer for everything to come back than I’d anticipated. Or maybe he’d been living human for too long. He shouldn’t have been able to Walk as a human in the first place, and Dad always speculated it was because he’d come to us as a child, before learning that certain things weren’t possible. Living as a human, he’d have lost that belief. As to why he truly couldn’t Walk, you’ll have to read to find out.

Tell us a little about your father.

My father is a Shadow Walker. That’s like the Special Ops Force in our world. He can control the shadows, travel by them. That’s what makes the Shadow Walkers so good at what they do. Dad’s a career Walker, but he hasn’t always agreed with the Council’s orders. He broke all kinds of rules to bring Gage home as a child and train him as his protégé.

It was a little reckless of you to attempt to rescue your father with no plan. That’s out of character. What else have you done in your life that’s a bit out of character?

I wasn’t always like this. I didn’t always have a plan, and I wasn’t so regimented—a fact which Gage likes to remind me of with regularity. But when Gage died—or I thought he had—everything changed for me. It was all because I lacked control. There’s no group more controlled than the IED. Maybe the fact is that losing my dad like that made me revert back to that time, when I was little more than a kid, when I thought I could do anything and the rules just didn’t apply.

Thank you Embry, I know you’re a busy woman. One more question. What’s next for you and Gage?

A vacation? Seriously. The world’s about to go to hell…we should take one while we still have the chance. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Good point.

You can learn more about Kait Nolan on Facebook and Goodreads.

Forsaken by Shadow is available at Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,

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No Weekend Gardener

Although I planned to get out there, I didn’t. I woke up on Saturday morning determined to do two things I hate and reward myself with doing something I love. The two things I hate? Scrubbing the bathroom and going grocery shopping. I have no idea why I hate grocery shopping so much… I like food. I like eating–you’d think it would follow… but it doesn’t.

But I digress and this time, I can blame the pain pills. Yes. And muscle relaxers.

You see, as I was scrubbing the floor, I felt something go pop by my shoulder blade. Slight discomfort but no pain. I kept scrubbing…discomfort started moving up into the pain scale. But damn it, my daughters graduation party (the one I’m hosting, the one that all the almost–but ex anyway–inlaws will be in attendance.. that one) is this Friday.

So I finished and stood up. Um. Ouch.

No. I mean OUCH.

Not to be deterred. I took three motrin (and I’m a one motrin kinda girl) and went to the grocery store. By the time I got back, I was almost in tears. So in the middle of the day, I put the kids in charge of putting away the groceries, took a muscle relaxer and went back to bed.

Sunday was spent in a kind of muscle-relaxer haze in which no gardening was done. Unless you count turning on and off the sprinklers.

Hell, no housework was done. No writing. Not much of anything. But on the flip side, I have food in the house and my bathroom smells crisp and clean. Which actually is kinda nice.

But I’m really hoping I’m functional by tomorrow because I have a lot to do before Friday!

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Yes, I know, there are plenty of deep and meaningful questions for one to ponder, such as the meaning of life and our place in the Universe… but honestly? Forget those, these are the questions I want answered:

–Where do all the spoons go?

–Why hasn’t someone developed a sarcasm font?

–How is it that my children have energy in direct proportion to my lack of energy?

–Why does the phone ring as soon as I sit down with a good book?

–How many cups can one child use in a day?

Please, feel free to answer these or ask your own.

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Here is my pond and folks, that purple iris is one plant… it’s time to thin, but it’s pretty and the frogs hide among the stems. Compare it to two years ago in the picture above. It’s the little green plant in the back on the left of the pond.

This is my favorite bearded iris

My favorite color combination.

The clematis my daughter bought me for mother’s day two years ago.

And finally: Why I hate the avocado tree.

All. Summer. Long.

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Points to Ponder

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your  computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize  you’re wrong.

 3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was  younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. Is there a better way to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Is learning cursive really necessary today?

 7. Map Quest needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know  how to get out of my  neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the  person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired. 

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the  rest of the day.

 12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of MsWord and it asks me  if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to. (make that my 100K word MS)

14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this –  ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail.  What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

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DD’s boyfriend walks into the room: Do you have a th um er ah?

Me: Try again, this time use words.

BF: I don’t know what it’s called.

Me: A thermometer?

We walk into the kitchen to retrieve the thermometer. DD is not  feeling well.

BF: Yes, I have a speech em um im ah

Me attempting not to laugh: impediment?

BF (laughs): That’s it.

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The good news? My lady bugs are back. I’m not sure any of you heard me lament about the missing lady bugs but I did… quite vocally, with a hint of whine I’m afraid. But day before yesterday, I went out in the garden and saw one climbing on the Liriope growing under the plum tree. I looked up and sure enough, there was a baby lady bug. Okay, for your entomologists out there, a ladybug larva. After a little inspection…

And I should have taken a picture of these last weekend when they were at their prime but I didn’t. These are Siberian Iris and though they don’t last long after blooming (2 weeks or so), they’re beautiful.

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