Ready For A Valentine’s Day Concert?

Good.

I’ve recently become addicted to Korean and Taiwanese Movies and Dramas thanks to my fiendish daughter, Tracey, and our friend Leia. So I thought I would put up a couple of my favorite love songs from a couple of the more romantic of the movies they’ve forced talked me into watching. And yes they have English subtitles but it’s worth it.

These are also songs I listen to while writing. The music lovely and it’s actually very soothing. Because I’m not trying to listen to the lyrics since I can’t understand a word they’re saying it’s not distracting (although I’ve listened so much I’m getting a clue, I’ll be understanding Korean if not speaking it before too long). Makes sense to me.

Mary Stayed Out All Night:

In case your confused by the Merry Christmas reference, the girl’s name in the video is Mae Ri. Moo Kyul’s nickname for her is Maeri Christmas.

Boys Over Flowers. The song is so beautiful and sad. You gotta watch the drama (25 episodes) to understand why. Let’s just say I have a love/hate relationship with it. Lol.

You’re Beautiful:

City Hunter:

Secret Garden. I can’t say enough about this one. You just have to watch it.  The drama is good but the payoff comes in the last three episodes (there’s twenty in all). Episode seventeen made me cry like a baby. That man really loves that woman. The song is beautiful.

And Just For Fun A Collection of Kisses From Jang Keun Suk:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Peace.

What I’ve Been Doing

I have just over 4700 words on my third and final attempt to write the sequel of To Touch A Unicorn. Three times a charm, I hope.  I ended up going back to Holly Lisle’s techniques in How To Think Sideways and they, of course, helped me figure out what I needed to know to write the story. I think I have several more scenes to write and it is done. There might be one or so more but I’ll know more after I get the crucial scenes written.

After I write something I like to let it sit for a week or so because it gives me fresh eyes. My favorite part of writing is rewriting.  Yep, you heard me right. I love going in and tweaking, adding or deleting. It’s like a puzzle, fitting and moving things around to fit together. It’s hard to cut words you’ve labored over and pushed out onto the page. My work around is actually not to delete. The secret is to have a ‘notes’ page. I just put the deleted stuff there in case I can use it later. When I do that I don’t feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy therefore making me want to hang on to something that doesn’t work.

As a matter of fact I used the technique quite a bit this time around. On my third attempt to write the story, with a tweak here and there, I was able to salvage a scene or two. Of course I could still end up deleting some more scenes but it’s ok. I’ve got my ‘notes’ page.

First Snowfall, the second short story I wrote and sent out, was not accepted for publication. There could be a number of reasons why it wasn’t accepted, I really didn’t get one. Of course I can speculate all day long. One reason could be because of the ending which is left open. A couple of people did read it for me after it was rejected and they gave me their thoughts and suggestions. It might be I’ll just put it up on Smashwords free and let it go at that. I may or may not try to submit elsewhere. Technically the story was done as a writing exercise never meant to see the light of day beyond my notebook. But I got enough of an enthusiastic response I decided to try. For now I’m tucking it in the back of mind to think about until I complete Whispers Of The Unicorn.

Other than that I’ve done some beta reading for writer friends and family. I’ve come to enjoy beta reading quite a bit. I learn a lot from the process to help in my writing. It’s also teaching me how to articulate why I don’t like something or why I do. I tend to be very blunt but I’m learning to recognize and include the positive along with negative. Sometimes that’s not always easy to do, especially when time is short. 

One of the songs I listen to when I’m writing is called Violin Strange Sun Natseon Hae:

 

Peace.

To Touch A Unicorn

Buzzymag has published my short story! Here’s the link:

http://buzzymag.com/to-touch-a-unicorn-by-angela-mcgill/#

Please check it out and let me know what you think, good or bad.

There’s several people I have to thank for helping me: Diane J. Cornwell, Josh Gosselin, Leia Coleman, Tracey McGill, Holly McGill, and Theresa Bane. They all took time out of their busy schedules to read the story for me,  giving me feedback and making it the best it could be. I also have to thank Chuck Wendig for his Friday challenge to write a short story containing the word ‘unicorn’. I’m glad I accepted the challenge.

I found this incredible picture on Bing Images. There was no one I could find to credit except Bing.

Doesn't this spectacular image nearly depict a scene from the story? http://buzzymag.com/to-touch-a-unicorn-by-angela-mcgill/#

Doesn’t this spectacular image nearly depict a scene from the story? http://buzzymag.com/to-touch-a-unicorn-by-angela-mcgill/#

Peace.

A Mostly Gene Autry Christmas

Welcome to the annual Christmas Concert to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

 

I grew up listening to Gene Autry Christmas music meaning Christmas isn’t Christmas to me unless I get to sing along to his timeless songs at least once during the holidays:

 

Who hasn’t sympathized with Rudolph? I looked forward to the cartoon every year as a child.

 

 

 

I still love the idea of Frosty. This is a great song full of magic.

 

A duet with Rosemary Clooney.

 

 

 

This next one isn’t a Gene Autry song but it’s good for a giggle so I’m including it:

 

And last but not least:

 

Merry Christmas, y’all! And Happy New Year.

 

Peace.

Stormy and Clove Oil Used for Anesthesia

A quick update on our bunny, Stormy. We ran out of meds sooner than I expected so he went to the vet Tuesday instead of today. He’s also been having some discharge from the eye but the vet seemed to think it wasn’t anything to be concerned about.  Dr. Roth says we’re not out of the woods yet but there is progress. His eye is slowly but surely healing, it’s just going to take time and patience. That was good news.

Did you know clove oil could be used as anesthesia for fish? Now you know. Most people use it for pain in their gums but unfortunately for me and my poor goldfish that was not why I went hunting for clove oil. I found some at the health food store for a reasonable price.

For years I used the freezer method to put a sick/dying fish down. I was dreading it. I really hated the method but what else could I do? The only other options, I had been told, was to chop off its head, flush it down the commode, remove it from water or squish it–none of which was happening via me.

Instead of blindly doing what I had always been doing I went on the internet to see if there was another way and found a website called Wise Geek. They give good information on a humane way of euthanizing fish.  They advise the best way to euthanize the fish is to “First, anesthetize the fish with clove oil so that it is sleeping and unable to feel pain; then introduce a clear grain alcohol like vodka to ensure the fish will not wake up.”

To be honest I did not use vodka. I don’t drink and I was not interested in going into a liquor store to buy alcohol. What I ended up doing was a lethal dose of clove oil as described further down in the article. The fish died quickly and if it can be called this, peacefully.

The reason why I’m talking about it is because while it is hard to lose an animal, sometimes you are the one who has to decide to end its life humanely. Worse, you’re the one that has to do the deed. After using the clove oil I have to agree it is humane and would recommend its use if needed. I want this information out there for anyone who has a fish tank.

I embedded the website above but here it is again:

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-humane-way-to-euthanize-a-fish.htm

The other two goldfish are doing fine at this time but the 55 gallon they’re in looks bigger somehow. The humongous pleco and the three corys, this includes the little cory who has to be at least fifteen years old, are all in there and well. Still, we’re missing a friend and it will be awhile before that big hole where he used to swim in the tank closes.

 

RIP

 

 

Peace.

Friday’s Photo’s: The Bunny Dodges a Bullet…Again

Poor little guy, he’s had some what I would call ‘close calls’ in his life. Stormy got his name because he was left outside of The Natural Science Center of Greensboro during a thunderstorm in a cage so small he could barely turn around. The Science Center had no place for him and a suggestion was made that included the words dinner and anaconda. Holly wasn’t having that and took him home.

When she and John moved to Maryland about two years later (maybe less), Stormy came to live with me. He’s been here now for about five or six years. To be honest I wasn’t thrilled to get a rabbit.  I’d already had gerbils and guinea pigs for many years and just wasn’t interested in another ‘rat’. Tracey agreed to clean his cage if we took him and actually bought him a nice hutch. I provide food, treats and water for him daily.

Over the years I’ve come to enjoy his antics, especially when we started to let him to run around our home. His thumps indicate anything from I’m hungry to let me out to ha-ha, can’t catch me.

So last Sunday Tracey brought Stormy to me and told me to look at his eye. The problem was there was no eye, not really. Just this bulging sack of pus.  I can not tell you how horrified I was. And afraid too, the car wiped out what little bit we had in savings when it broke down in July.

Some might say, so what? It’s just a rabbit. No. Just no. He’s not just anything. For one he’s a member of our family. He’s a funny little guy who makes me laugh on days when I need to. He thumped his way into my heart a long time ago. Even if that wasn’t the case I believe all life has value if only because it is a life and God created it. No matter the circumstances that should always be respected.

Sunday night I set about treating my little bunny and praying we could make it through to Monday when I could get him to the vet.  The first thing I did was put the wrong freaking medicine in his eye. At 1 a.m. in the morning I realize I’m putting lubricant in his eye instead of the terramycin. Now the lubricant is for animals and harmless but that wasn’t the point. The point was getting antibiotic ointment  in there to help with the obvious infection.

To say I was upset is putting it mildly. I soaked Stormy’s eye with a warm rag and put the correct medicine in there. Before I go any further let me clarify, this is antibiotic ointment specifically for eye injuries and for animals. I keep it around because of my cats. They occasionally will get into a spat and bat at one another. Every now and then they’ll scratch another cat in the eye causing an infection.

When I looked at Stormy’s eye I already knew what I had on hand was not going to do the trick. I can not begin to tell you how awful his eye looked. I wasn’t even sure if there was an eye left in there. What’s worse is I didn’t even notice it. I’d let him out of his rabbit hutch the last several days and not noticed a thing. Surely his eye didn’t get like that overnight? At this point I just don’t know. What I do know is I feel so damn guilty.

On Monday the vet tells me several things: there is still an eye but it’s close to rupturing, if it ruptures the eye will have to be removed, even if it doesn’t rupture but won’t heal it will have to be removed and even if none of the above happens he still has lost the sight in that eye. At most he will see some light and shadows. To top it off the other eye was showing signs of infection, too.

My heart sunk to my toes. The vet gives me eye drops and antibiotic pills with the hope that I could convince Stormy to eat the antibiotic mixed with other food or even pear juice. Say what?! I wasn’t having that. The vet assistant had a suggestion I leaped on, a pill popper.

No, not that kind of pill popper. I kinda thought the same thing. My only excuse was that I was dead tired because what came to mind was some aging hippy, well preserved from all that dope experimentation in the sixties (head band, fringe jacket and all), trying to teach me and the bunny how to swallow a pill. O.O Although I have to admit by then I was more than ready to mellow out. The pill popper the vet assist actually had in mind was a plastic wand similar to a syringe used for liquid meds except the one she gave me was for tablets.

At the end of the visit I had just over $100 left in the bank.  I called back to get an estimate on what the eye surgery would cost because I didn’t think to ask while I was there. On Tuesday I found out the surgery would cost $550. Yikes! Holly and Tracey, my awesome daughters, stepped up to the plate and said they would help pay. I have been truly blessed. Really. Because…

Wednesday I took Stormy back to the vet. I had been up working 24/7 on his eyes. The vet was amazed.  She couldn’t believe how good his eye looked. It still looked like a pus bag but it was not bulging out of his eye socket like it had been and the other eye was nearly healed. Well, yay. He still won’t have sight in that eye but he will get to keep it.

On the following Saturday the vet wasn’t hopeful we could avoid surgery. The ulcer had not healed much. We set an appointment on the following Friday for a check up and possible surgery. If the ulcer didn’t heal all the way surgery would be needed to scar the cornea, forcing it to heal.

Today is Friday. I took Stormy in to have his eye checked. Guess what? His eye is looking awesome. We have a ways to go in treatment but the eye really looks so much better. We may be able to skip any type of surgery altogether. Any prayers you care to say for the little bunny are appreciated.

So here’s Stormy now, the white in the center is the ulcer. It may look a bit gruesome but trust me when I say it looks fifty percent better. We go back next week for a progress check.

Peace.

Friday’s Photos: Hershey Gardens and ‘Cheeky’ Chipmunks

Here are the last photos from Hershey Gardens. I enjoyed the Japanese Gardens very much and did not get to see enough of the Rock Gardens. Hershey Gardens is well worth the visit and so much fun.

Doesn’t this tree look like it’s holding a bouquet?

“To-Whit-To-Whoo”

Even with all the graffiti this tree is strangely beautiful in its own way.

The Fairy Queen is wearing a mask made from shadow and light while Princess Windflower kicks up her heels in farewell.

This last photo is probably tasteless beyond words. It’s also funny. Click ‘more’ only if you have an earthy sense of humor.

More

About Writing on Wednesdays: Updates on To Touch A Unicorn and First Snowfall

Well, I’m here in Maryland and have been for nearly two weeks. I was supposed to go home last Friday but the car broke down in Virginia. Fortunately it was late in the afternoon so the heat wasn’t too bad for humans or dogs. Thank goodness because Rex has a hard time in very hot weather. Still, it was hot enough that he whined a bit.  As a matter of fact I whined, too. Belle Amie and Paul did pretty good. Hot, thirsty, and in Paul’s case very dirty from working on the car, we all survived.

The editor from Buzzy Mag contacted me last week while I was here in Maryland about To Touch A Unicorn. I have to admit I was a little intimidated and put off reading her comments until this week. But honestly? When I finally read them it wasn’t bad. Everything she pointed out was dead on and I have no problem with making the changes. My feelings are not hurt and it is a lot like working with Beta Readers. I love working on the story to make it a great read.

Diane and Terry both beta read First Snowfall for me and loved the story. They tell me it’s creepy. Yay! I finished the edits they suggested in the middle of the night this week. There was no else around except me, Rex and Belle Amie. My own story creeped me out. Belle Amie kept barking and shaking at nothing. I’m pretty sure I just made this story up in my head. Didn’t I? o_o

After the story marinates a few days I’ll read over it, during the day, and send it off to see if anyone wants to publish it. I’m crossing my fingers. Many thanks and much appreciation to Diane and Terry for their time, critiques and encouragement.

The sequel to To Touch A Unicorn is in the works. I had to trash most of it although I hope to salvage some scenes. The fact I was having such a hard time moving forward in the story should have been a big clue I was writing in the wrong direction. I like the new start better and hope to have the story finished soon. It may end up being a novella. I’ll find out once I sit down to plot a few scenes. I should have done that to begin with anyway. I do know better.

Moonfire is calling to me. You know? My writing has grown and I might just be ready to get back to that story and get her done. One thing I’ve realized is that I was trying to write to an agenda. There are certain elements in the story that make it easy to cross a line and sermonize instead of telling a great story. I have enough maturity as a writer now to recognize that fact and hopefully fix it.

 

 

Peace.

 

References:

The clip art used is from ClipartPal.

 

In Memory of Spooky

First I have to give the official definition of spooky from dictionary.com:

World English Dictionary

spooky  (ˈspuːkɪ)
— adj  , spookier spookiest
1. ghostly or eerie: a spooky house
2. resembling or appropriate to a ghost
3. US ) easily frightened; highly strung
     Spooky passed unexpectedly on July 23, 2012. He was Holly’s cat so I didn’t know him that well but I what I did know, I liked. He was a sweetie. No, he wasn’t a black cat and yes, I’m going there.
     Holly got the six-year-old Spooky from the pound in N.C. long before Rex came into the picture. He had health problems. He wasn’t cute and cuddly. All strikes were against him when competing against healthy cats and darling kittens. But my daughter wasn’t looking for those things. She was looking for character. An animal that would get a long with her then boyfriend, soon to be husband, who never had a pet. Spooky turned out to be perfect.
     She posted this on Facebook:
My first kitty as an adult, Mr. Spookybutt passed away today. I remember when I went to the animal shelter to find a cat-he was laying on his back with his paw out the cage purring. I took him out of the cage and he nudged my cheek with his head and I fell in love. He kept me warm in bed when John was not home, he kept me entertained with his cuteness, he stayed off counter tops and loved being brushed. He was my first baby and I will miss him.
          However, please review the definition above, in particular number three. He was easily frightened and hid a lot in the first weeks, hence the name. I never saw the cat, except for once, even though I often took care of him while Holly and John were out-of-town. The one time I did see him was when Tracey saw the bump under the covers on their bed. I carefully lifted the covers and beheld Spooky for the first time in the months Holly had got him. It was also the last time for a long while. He hid every time I visited.
      Why the fuss over the name? It’s not my fuss but evidently others have taken a perfectly good word and used it with racist overtones. Holly had no clue and neither did I when she named him. I raised my kids to look at people’s hearts not their outsides. Sure, we know there are differences in culture, etc., but so what? I try to understand those differences and expect the same courtesy in return. I’ve tried to teach my kids this and I think I’ve succeeded.
     When Holly started talking about her new cat the soon to be inevitable question came. Is he black? Holly was bewildered so her friend Jill, who is black, explained to her the connotations. Well. To say we were surprised was putting it mildly.
     Holly was at a loss because she’d been calling her cat Spooky and had him registered at the vet with this name. She took to calling him Spookybutt or Mr. Kitty. Really? She had every right to name him Spooky but she also wanted to be sensitive to other people’s feelings. I’m not sure who I’m calling out here…the idiots who started using the word in a negative or racist way and maybe everyone else who lets the idiots dictate the use of a word in a way that was never intended.
     So here I’m taking the word ‘spooky’ back. It means what the dictionary says it does and nothing else as far as I’m concerned. I vote Spooky’s picture should be put beside the definition just to remind everyone spooky is a beautiful word that could quite possibly be a cat…a slightly ragged, grey cat. Who’s with me?
     Over the years Holly shared stories with me about her kitty. Once when I asked how John and Spooky were getting along she described John and Spooky sleeping together. John at the top of the bed and Spooky sleeping at the bottom. Both with their paws, er hands, er arms? over their faces and snoring in harmony. I love that story, it’s a great one.
     Since Faith was born I have been in Maryland quite a bit. I guess Spooky got resigned to my presence and started making his known. Although he was still easy to spook, he let me feed him chicken, pet him and even tolerated my Belle Amie. While I was cuddling Faith, he cuddled with his mama. When Faith was put down to sleep he curled up beside her on the rug in front of the crib.
     When he died Holly felt guilty because she hadn’t spent a lot of time with him since Faith’s birth. I told her not to feel guilty because he never felt neglected. Not once. All he cared about was that he had one more person to love.
     RIP, Spooky. You are missed. Spooky was fourteen when he passed.
Holly used a great poem on her Facebook page I want to share here:
The Gift of Animal
The animals that share our lives
enrich them beyond measure.
They show us that there is joy in
simplicity and that love can be
communicated without words.
They help us understand that life is to
be lived in the moment without regrets
over the past or worries about the future.
They teach us about companionship
and trust and about giving of ourselves:
our time, our attention, our affection.
Animals bring out our humanity and
help us become better people.
All we need do is open our hearts
to what we can learn from them.~ Mary Montgomery
Peace.

References used in this post:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spooky?s=t

Fat Tuesday: This Woman is A Duff? A Bit Of A Rant

Really?! All it takes for anyone to know Americans have serious body image issues is to hear men interviewed by The Five’s Andrea Tarantino describe Kate Upton as a duff. Duff is a new term I just learned and it means designated ugly fat friend.  Nice (sarcasm here). Hearing crap like that just makes me cranky. I only wish I was so fat.

During the same segment it was mentioned there are web sites dedicated to help women become anorexic, called pro anorexia sites. One of these sites slammed Kate Upton for being 30 pounds overweight making the subject a hot topic in the last week or so.  Read more here.

Update: Since I first wrote this post, the pro anorexia blog has walked their comments back some. Kate Upton has also came out and said I like who I am and I not making myself miserable by not eating. You go, Kate!

The pro anorexia site is obscene but their skewed viewpoint makes sense coming from where it does. What I don’t get is the two random men in NYC agreeing they thought Kate Upton is too fat. It makes me wonder about the women in these men’s lives. Do they starve and harm their bodies to be just the right size for these guys? What they ought to say is kiss my big fat…duff. Lol. I have to wonder why we do these things to ourselves.

Do women base our body image too much on what some men or even other women think or want? Or maybe it’s the photo shopping of celebs that cause the problems with body image. This is going to sound naive but I really thought Kate Middleton’s waist was that tiny or some of these women who just had babies looked like they hadn’t even been pregnant on the cover of People or other magazines two weeks out. Recent articles have outed these photos but how much harm has been done over the years and still does? More here and here.

Someone, somewhere, decided that America could not accept what real man or women look like. Worse, we let them decide for us. Women are by far judged on their appearance than men although I do believe men are beginning to get the same scrutiny.

I’m no anthropologist but it seems to me our culture has become a bit off kilter. Take writing for instance. Writers are told to have their character’s features and personality as flawed so they’ll be interesting but we do not want those same flaws to show in our celebs or ourselves.  There’s something wrong with us that we can no longer accept imperfection in the real world but find it acceptable  in our art or fantasies (or at least some of our art). It seems to indicate an inability to cope with reality on our part, doesn’t it? I don’t know about you but that kinda scares me.

The photos on and in those magazines are generic in looks and poses.  Oh, you might get the occasional tat, piercing or pink spiky hair but underneath the body art there lurks the same perfect blandness.  We have become a nation of cardboard cutouts in many ways. I keep thinking of that old Twilight Zone episode, Number 12 Looks Just Like You, where a young woman is forced to have surgery to make her look beautiful like everyone else. She just wanted to be herself. Sometimes I feel a bit paranoid the writer of that episode was a little too prescient in many ways.

I’m at the point in my life all I want is to hang around a bit longer and feel good while I do it.  Each person should be true to themselves and decide on what lifestyle best suits his or her own needs. Not by some cookie cutter model, tv or film star whose strings are being pulled by some godlike wannabe puppet master or whoever else wants  you to fit into their idea of perfection that looks just like everyone else.

No weight loss this week. I’m just holding my own at this point for which I’m grateful although I would like that freaking needle to move a little to the left eventually. Ahem. Please? :-)

 

Peace.

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