Life in progress


The Countdown to A-Z is On!

Only five hours left, as I start writing this post, until April begins and I’m chomping at the bit to write my first A-Z. I don’t know if the fact that I have no idea what I’m going to write makes it harder – or easier for that matter – but a challenge is something I anticipate with glee pretty much all the time. I’m the same way as November 1st approaches when I’m getting ready to NaNo.

I’m so anxious to begin that I signed up my anonymous blog for the challenge too. I’ve assigned it an “Adult Content” classification and I’ve decided to write about controversial subjects in fiction. It will include articles on writing sex scenes, murder scenes, and the stuff that grosses people out among other things. If I’m brave enough I may even touch on topics like what is and isn’t considered child pornography, all with the greatest respect of course. Although I’ll have a set out theme, it may end up being more of a challenge than not knowing what I’m going to write at all.

So who’s with me? Are you ready? Are you dreading the next month? Are you anxious to read any particular A-Zs? Do you pronounce it “zee” or “zed”? There are quite a few April A-Zs I’m looking forward to. If you have one or two links to share, feel free. 🙂


Review – “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” by Diana Gabaldon

Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well that was disappointing. Considering I’ve given each of the other books in the Outlander series five stars out of five, I expected much more out of this one.

If I were to give this novel a subtitle, it would be “The Novel in which Truly Nothing Happens.” After the climax of An Echo in the Bone I went into this book hoping for a spectacular continuation. What I got was a long, drawn out story that lasted the entirety of the novel and ended exactly as I knew it would. There were so many chapters between the tales of Bri and Roger, and Clair and Jamie, that around the middle of the book I forgot one of the story lines existed. Completely lacking a plot, the only notable thing in this poor excuse for a novel is that Jamie, at one point, acts completely out of character.

I’m afraid Miss Gabaldon should have ended the series with book seven. If I wanted a history lesson, which is basically what Written in My Own Heart’s Blood amounts to, I’d have read a textbook.

Will I read the next book? Probably. I may borrow it from the library or wait for the paperback to come out instead of rushing to pre-order the hardcover. But if the next one doesn’t impress me, I’m out.

View all my reviews


Tokyo, Japan – My Final Day

Though after eleven days I’d had plenty of time to miss my family, it was with a deep sense of sadness that I packed up all of my belongings and set out from my hotel room on the morning of December 17th, 2014. Since my flight wasn’t scheduled until 5pm, I was pleased that the hotel agreed to hang on to my luggage, so I was able to wander about for a while before I made my way to the airport.

I figured, why not go on a little adventure? I’ve been on the London Eye, so I figured I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go on the Giant Wheel in Palette Town. Among many pictures were these:

From Daiba Park:

Here’s what I wrote in my notebook:

Palette Town, ODaiba, Tokyo – Tanto Tanto Restaurant, Venus Fort

Spent the first part of the morning packing and checking out of the hotel. They kept my bags so I’m out wandering. Went on the Giant Wheel where it was VERY windy. I think I may have prayed a little not to die. Walked a lot after that – to Daiba Park and then back here for lunch. The solitude in Daiba Park was almost overwhelming. I felt like I was alone at the ends of the earth.

The restaurant and the Venus Fort mall were pretty amazing. Here are some pictures – the first two were taken from my table in the restaurant:

It wasn’t until I got back outside that I found out I could have had the “dog.”


For Jason


And finally, Haneda Airport.


I had an incredible time in my eleven days of wandering, getting lost, meeting some wonderful new friends in person – Jay Dee, Susie, and Shigeyoshi – (please click on their names for links!) sightseeing and taking pictures and really just re-discovering who I am and what I’m capable of. And of course, the spectacular concert which was the reason I went.

I was there!!

I was there!!

Japan is a truly amazing country. Its people, its culture, its natural beauty… all of it. Rather than try to write something new, I’ll leave you with a journal entry I wrote the first time I left there. For me, nothing has changed and as I said at the end of this, “Japan, I will return.”

October 31, 2005 4:58pm, Kansai Airport, Japan

Well, this will be my last entry here in Japan. I’m sitting at the gate with my Starbucks tall mocha looking at the plane I’ll be spending the next 10 hours in.

What am I going to miss about this place? The fact that you can smile at anyone and they’ll smile back. The bowing. (There’s nothing quite like having a gorgeous young man bow to you, particularly when he’s a tough looking goth type.) Eating with chopsticks. The endless *different* scenery, both natural and manmade – for the natural scenery, you can’t look in any direction without seeing mountains. And of course the faces. Amazing how many Japanese people there are here!

I really do feel home here. I feel like I belong. Is there time in my life to find this place as I should, and everything that belongs to me here? If it is within my power I will return

Nihon ni kaerimasu.



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Review – 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3)1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1Q84 was a long, drawn out science fiction tale, seemingly full of extraneous information. The depth of its characters was its saving grace. I’m not sure that I would recommend it for anything but for the experience of reading it. I’m not sure how else to describe it.

Not my favourite Murakami novel, and certainly not the last of his that I’ll read.

View all my reviews


SoCS – Not Knowing

I’m such an idiot. I mean, you’d think I’d think about what I might want to write before I come up with the prompts for SoCS, or at least when I do, but what really inspires me is the words themselves. I don’t think ahead past that until I actually sit down to write the post. This one, for instance.

Someone (sorry, I can’t remember who at the moment, but I’ll look it up when I’m finished writing this – J.L. Campbell (@JL_Campbell) – that’s who it was) said to me the other day on my A-Z reveal that they couldn’t write posts not knowing what they were going to write about ahead of time. I said I thrive on it. And I do. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this year’s A-Z, finding a word minutes before I sit down to write a post. I think I may end up writing many of the posts largely in Stream of Consciousness style, though I will probably edit them before I publish. For me, once I get on a roll with my writing I can’t stop. It’s like those conversations you have in your head when you finally figure out, sometimes hours later, what you should have said. That witticism that escaped you that makes you, later, slap yourself for not thinking of it sooner. Or the eloquent explanation of how you feel about something that sounds so good in your head, but once the confrontation is upon you, you trip over. THAT’s exactly how being on a roll feels like to me. It’s that speech that’s impossible to reproduce. And that’s the real beauty of not knowing.

This post is part of SoCS: Please join in today! Just click on the link to find out how!

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions


Bedside Manner at the Dentist

I need your opinion on an important matter. First, the back-story.

Earlier this year I went to the dentist. I don’t like the dentist – this is something you need to know to truly understand where I’m coming from. In fact, “don’t like” is really a mild way of saying I’m a wuss.

It was my first time at this particular dentist and my first time in a long time at any dentist. I needed a filling. It all started great but then the dentist noticed my tooth was cracked. It needed some special attention. I, being who I am, let the dentist know in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t happy about what he was doing in my mouth. Suffice to say I said, “ouch” a few times.

It had already been determined that I needed two more fillings on the other side. The dentist suggested, quite strongly, that I should go to another dentist and get a general anaesthetic. I told him fine, I’d check and see how much it would cost.


So, I went back to the first dentist (to get a cleaning this time) and when I saw him I told him that I wanted him to do the other two fillings. He didn’t think this was a wise choice.

“But I can’t afford a general anaesthesia,” I told him.

“Well, you were in a lot of discomfort last time,” he said. “And besides, we have the other patients to consider…”

The other patients? I didn’t think I was that loud.

Dentists, even ones who don’t put you under, are expensive. The cleaning alone cost me hundreds of dollars, not to mention the fillings which were more costly. So here’s where your opinion comes in:

A) If you’re emptying your wallet at the dentist, do you have the right to be as loud as you want?


B) If you’re emptying your wallet at the dentist, do you have the right to a peaceful visit without someone in the next room wailing like a banshee/complaining that the dentist is trying to kill her/saying ouch?


C) Would you trust a dentist who had separate soundproof rooms?


D) All of the above.


E) None of the above.

Here’s a poll:

Please vote and add your two cents (or five, if you’re Canadian) in the comments. I need an answer to this conundrum!


The Friday Reminder and Prompt for SoCS March 28/15

Friday’s here again and time to get ready for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. I have a list which I keep adding to every time I get an idea for a prompt. Strangely, the list keeps getting longer – I never seem to use it. And you know what? This week is no exception. So I present to you once again, your unlisted prompt for SoCS!

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “naught/knot/not.”  Use one, use ’em all… you know the drill! Have fun!

After you’ve written your Saturday post tomorrow, please link it here at this week’s prompt page and check to make sure it’s here in the comments so others can find it and see your awesome Stream of Consciousness post. Anyone can join in!

To make your post more visible, use the SoCS badge! Just paste it in your Saturday post so people browsing the reader will immediately know your post is stream of consciousness and/or pin it as a widget to your site to show you’re a participant. Wear it with pride!!


Badge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!


What the medical community doesn’t tell you

Multiple times in the past few months I’ve been to see doctors who haven’t told me the whole story. I suppose there’s a fine line they need to tread – some patients don’t want to know. I, however, do not fall into that category.

The first was my optician. I went for a checkup where I was told I needed to make sure I wear sunglasses when I go out and to make sure I rest my eyes occasionally when I work on the computer. No problem, right? So a few weeks later I bought sunglasses and I during that time walked away from my screen once every couple of hours.

Then I went back to see the optician because I was still having trouble.

“Oh, you have the beginnings of a cataract,” she told me this time.

“I what?!?”

“Yes, that’s why I told you to wear sunglasses and to rest your eyes.”

Had I been told that in the first place, I might have been a little more diligent, don’t you think? I didn’t say those exact words out loud, but the answer to what I did say went something like, “I didn’t want to scare you.”


Next, my shoulder. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I have a rotator cuff injury and tendonitis. I’ve been told by numerous doctors over and over not to push myself past my pain limit. Until today I didn’t know why. Wanna know why?

Apparently if I put too much pressure on my tendons when they’re swollen and inflamed they can snap. Break right in two. Then I’ll have to get into surgery within 24 hours or I can say goodbye to the broken tendon for the rest of my life. I was told by the doctor (a resident working under my family doctor) that if I hear or feel a snap I’ll see my arm swell as the muscle, free of being held in place, runs down my arm and pools at my elbow… Nice, eh?

Had I been told that in the first place…  See above.

Again, I understand there are people in this world who wouldn’t want to know these things about their bodies. But there’s nothing quite like the worst case scenario to keep a person from doing something stupid out of ignorance.

Our physicians’ job is to help us heal. It’s also within their power to protect us from ourselves by either giving us the information we need – or not. Communication is of the utmost importance. If we want to know, we have to tell them and they need to be honest; it goes both ways.

Would you want to know? Because if not, I strongly suggest you follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter. You don’t know what kind of pain you’re in for otherwise.


Body and Soul

“Keeping body and soul together is an annoying business.” – a line by Charles Daniel Jacobs, Chapter VI – Revival ~ Stephen King

I was going to post this quote as a One-Liner on Wednesday, but it resonates with me beyond being able to leave it alone – I have to write about it. And that’s really what it’s all about for me.

What is a soul? Is it our life’s energy? Is it what makes us who we are? Is it what places us here on earth from where ever in the universe we come from? I suppose it depends on your belief. I believe it’s what drives me to be who I am. My nature, if you will. It’s what I was born with.

I am a writer. This is not something I chose for myself; I, like many others I have met, seem to be made for this occupation, as it surely is for artists in any medium. We are made to create – we have this in common. The poet who lives to make emotions and sensations come alive on the page; the musician who must play; the artist who needs to express herself in pictures; the architect who strives upwards, brick upon brick; the knitter who lovingly measures, stitch by stitch her work – the one thing each of us shares is the ability to stand back and say, “I created this out of nothing.” And oh, what satisfaction it brings! Our creations are what make our souls shine!

But, as relating to the quote, we all have our limitations. Whether it be physical or a matter of responsibility or both, there are times when we are inspired to create but can’t. For me, at times, it is an ache. A feeling that if I can’t just sit and write… something… I’ll go crazy. I think of Julie Andrews – her botched throat operation must have been beyond devastating. Or Phil Collins’s spinal cord injury that has left him unable to play the drums or even hold a pair of drumsticks. For some the physical disability didn’t stop them – Beethoven who continued to compose after he became almost completely deaf, and drummer,  Rick Allen of Def Leppard who lost his arm in a car crash, to name a couple. They are the exception rather than the rule, but it goes to show how the compulsion to keep going can help to overcome what may seem like impossible obstacles.

“Keeping body and soul together is an annoying business.” Indeed, Mr. King. It’s an annoyance, a stress, a heartrending misery that many of us experience. It is a human condition. It is the plight of the creator.


One-Liner Wednesday – Gettin’ Old

You know you’re getting old when you start thinking life’s too short to do things, like watch a movie, twice.


Anyone who would like to try it out, feel free to use the “One-Liner Wednesday” title in your post, and if you do, you can ping back here to help your blog get more exposure. To execute a ping back, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post and paste it somewhere in the body of your post. Your link will show up in the comments below. Please ensure that the One-Liner Wednesday you’re pinging back to is this week’s! Otherwise, no one will likely see it but me.

As with Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS), if you see a ping back from someone else in my comment section, click and have a read. It’s bound to be short and sweet.

Unlike SoCS, this is not a prompt so there’s no need to stick to the same “theme.”

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Make it either funny or inspirational.

Have fun!