Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I would feel depressed if it were not for the story writing that I do in my spare time. I finished yet another chapter in my second (unpublished) novel and am engaged with the long tight rope act of rearranging the text so the chapters make sense in relation to one another and are not higgledy-piggledy thrown into the air to land on the page in a disordered heap. How's that for slant alliteration? This is an author who definitely needs a chamomile tisane and some sleep.

I have been picking up some writing and editing gigs but the work is sparse. I have almost given up the ghost in terms of being fully employed. I either do not have the requisite years that an employer demands or my rates are too high. Excuse me, but am I Methuselah? How old do you have to be and how much experience do you need before an employer will hire? My rates are not (too) much over standard market but I never cut a bargain because, dammit, I am worth every penny. My prose and editing, of any sort, kicks it like a can-can dancer. I am a meticulous and hardworking editor who does not stop until I have crossed and stabbed the last unholy and obnoxious “t” on the keyboard. Sigh. There are no jobs for the excellent.

Another cuppa, bartender....

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am happy that my favourite pyromaniac, historian Ruth Goodman, is in the follow up series to Victorian Farm. I am giddy because the series follows the triumphs and travails of three historians on a rural estate who survive only on what they can grow in the garden, or forage, or raise in livestock with the technology of the late Victorian age. The sequels will be A Victorian Farm Christmas and Edwardian Farm.

Ruth Goodman is a domestic historian who also was a presenter in A Tudor Feast at Christmas , a recreation of a sixteenth century Christmas banquet.

I cannot wait until the next series. The Victorian Farm was delightful and worth every minute of viewing.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I am currently employed as a technical writer and editor. The work is more steady but it is also tedious. The challenges that I venture lack emotional interest. Technical writing and editing, however much I may gain in compensation, bores me.

I want to be off with the fairies, or at least with fliskmahoy mice up to never any good. I continue to write on the second book of a novel series despite the grim outlook for the publishing industry in these less than holy days of the winter retail season. Work does not salve over deficits in the generous waste yard of this blighted economy. I feel as if I should have a tin cup to beg my work when I accept those alms from hires. There is not any space to write what one wants but only room to write what one must. I struggle with loneliness and, depressed with the near morbid thought, ken I am not isolated in the abyss.

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Monday, November 2, 2009


….stranded in the middle of Canadian school system purgatory. I am still homeschooling on part-time because the powers, in this temporal existence, that be retain my child on a yo-yo schedule for an hour and a half, then return aforementioned child home to a mother who is stressed for time in trying to pick up gigs and to write a second novel. I am picking up copy writing bits and editing shards but this is razing me to the white, skull-hued splinters of Joycean coloured bone.

What am I writing? For shame. I truly doubt the administrators who keep our family on the schedule’s leash would think in this manner, of James Joyce or anything connected to literature with regard to the dilemma. I cannot have an intelligent conversation with those rule-conscious minds that produce very little in real education. The schoolwork from this institution is not impressive. I have seen only the maths curriculum in the school district and it is not up to the standards that would prepare a child to go to the next grade level. There is not much one can do to maths to boggle the subject unless an incompetent teaches, and the school district has won the lottery with its failure to provide adequate subject matter. To quote my eldest, “This is baby crap!” The literature is similarly dreadful. I taught my child at home for a year and the“literature” the school provided was sunny and wholesome makelit about icicles and whatnot. Ew. I read to my child the works of Oscar Wilde, Stevie Smith, Emily Dickinson, and Heian era poetry ---among other choice morsels to feed the soul. The school prison does not give, with its rigid conformity, but scraps for the heart. Mine, certainly, now starves.

However, despite the hassles, I've kicked out another chapter last month in the novel and vetted another for inclusion last week. I have spotless turnaround time on gigs with perfect grammar and spelling. I will survive but these are the loneliest moments of my life.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


This is the copyright notice for my blog. I wrote, with the exceptions of the poems and other clearly marked articles, all the blogs. I do check on CopyScape and similar web sites to ascertain if and how someone is using my manuscripts.

That is all I have to write about this matter. I now return you to your continued reading.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


TWH NOTE: This is a recipe I originally posted in a Facebook group, Cooking Is EasyI enjoy Yorkshire pudding but I have special dietary needs so I found an online recipe at Cookstr and created an altered recipe. I baked this gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian Yorkshire pudding for Christmas.It is a tasty dish but you have to be wary of the possible poisons.


50g/2oz rice flour
50g/2oz tapioca flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, preferably free-range (free-range eggs have more Vitamin D)
300ml/½ pint milk (substitute almond milk or coconut milk for non-dairy diets)
10g/½oz butter or fake butter, melted
canola oil for greasing tins

You will also need a deep bun tin. I use one that is star-shaped.


1. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8.

2. Sift the rice flour and tapioca flour into a large bowl. Add the salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and drop the eggs in the center. Use a small whisk or wooden spoon to continuously stir the mixture. Add half the milk in a steady stream to the mixture while you are stirring. Whisk in the remainder of the milk and the cool melted butter. Allow to stand for one hour.

3. Grease a hot deep bun tin with canola oil and fill up to half to two thirds with the batter. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the tins and serve warm.

Now the fun stuff begins. I used almond milk or coconut milk because it has nearly the same texture and body as regular milk. I was careful to use milk made from sweet almonds because bitter almonds have prussic acid that can be refined into cyanide.

The next potential toxin is tapioca flour. Tapioca comes from the cassava (or manioc) plant. The plant contains prussic acid (thus cyanide) unless the toxin is pounded and cooked out of the plant. A paralytic neurological disease called konzo or mantakassa can result from eating raw cassava for many weeks. Fortunately, the tapioca purchased at the store has been highly processed to remove this threat.

How did the pudding turn out? I couldn't get a good rise out of the mixture probably because the mixture lacked gluten to give the pudding structure. It rose a bit and then collapsed. The taste was sweet from the almonds and my family devoured the lot. Everyone survived and had rave reviews for the dish. I will definitely make this again.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009


I've put my life on hold to do one more round of homeschooling until October. Then it's off to the races!

I have been picking up gigs and I have a loyal clientèle but there are days when I wonder why some people get up in the morning. There are days I wonder why I get up in the morning. I will go to the end of the Earth (okay, maybe around the block) for an employer. However, I expect modest needs and demands. I, usually, have a good working rapport with one client but this person is obsessed with every jot of manuscript layout. No, it's not in my job description to format the damn article if the employer in question does not understand technology and realizes that certain attributes are just part of the word processing software. I just proofread and copy edit the very badly worded sentences, burnish them into deathless prose, and then flush the entire business out of my system as graceful as an elephant with a dire rhinovirus.

It's been one of those days.


September 26, 2009 Update: Er, I feel a wee bit embarrassed. How the *bleep* was I to know if not deleting a comment or note would leave a grey space in the manuscript? One-o-clock in the morning and I am ready to cry or eviscerate the computer with my teeth over the dreadful screed. It's all good, though, and I got paid.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I've taken a summer hiatus to be with my family. September is almost here and this means the children will be going back to school. I'm leading the parade of mothers doing happy dances down the main street, veritable can-cans (Good grief, I never knew she wore that for her knickers!)of euphoria that we will be grownups again and not just auto-matrons cleaning up the same debris over and over and over...

I have, in the interim, picked up editing gigs and spot work as a proofreader. It's a slow rebuild to my career after going through one year of being seriously, but not fatally, ill and another year for homeschooling that included keeping my youngest up to speed on her maths during the summer so she can rock going back to school. I know she will.She's smart like her parents.

And yes, I continue to dream the impossible dream of being a book author. I am tackling second book in a series chapter by bloody chapter.* During the blessed time when the kids are at school or otherwise not giving me grey hairs, I'll update the status reports on all of the above.

Yours Virtually,


*Note: I'm not swearing but I tend to cuff my characters around a bit. Thankfully (due to the tender mercies of the author)no one has died, yet.

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Monday, March 30, 2009


This is probably the only time that I will blog J.K. Rowling. It seems that the author who is usually unnamed on TWH is upset that her novels are appearing on Scribd, a document social networking site. Shrug. While it is reprehensible that her content is bootlegged, there has to be the acknowledgment that there are so many peer to peer sites that Scribd is small taters compared to those that exist all over the Internet.

Furthermore, most of the content on Scribd is or other free out of copyright documents. There is also a lot of user generated content. I'm a homeschooling mum and I go to Scribd to find content that is created by my fellow homeschoolers or to find content similar to Gutenberg and Planet PDF, books that are all out of copyright. I also use Scribd to find information about open source technologies such as the cloud computing document that I am currently reading or the Linux/Ubuntu tutorials I need to sys admin my laptop. Several publishing houses, such as MIT Press, and political campaigns like Obama '08 have supported Scribd. The Partners link is always useful to check before casting stones at a technology.

I think that the to be unnamed author needs to research the particulars of social document sharing before disparaging sites like Scribd.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Today the Seattle Post Intelligencer published its last print newspaper. The journal will continue its presence online with a smaller staff. I feel sad at the demise of print media. I once worked at a college newspaper cutting and pasting with wax to layout stories for printing. Look how far I've come from worrying that I had the type pasted in a correct manner to typing pixels, and then sending them off to the world with one click of a mouse!

This ease of communication is amazing but also tragic as children in the future will not know what it is like to feel the natural texture of paper in their hands while they read or will be more isolated from their immediate environment in a web community. This was brought home to me when my daughter's acquaintance talked about her social network being in several different countries. The danger of having an Internet based news source is that many news companies feed off the same information pipes. There is no need to be original or local. Furthermore, there is the problem of those who do not have access to a computer. How will they get indigenous news?

I knew, as a blogger, that the end of printed media was inevitable. The new medium of the Internet has superseded an old form. However, this replacement may not be a salve for information acquisition and knowledge. There is more data but users tend to enclave in their own specialties and networks. A printed newspaper offers with, at least, its headlines the potential to put forth ideas for a common intellectual language. In the end of print, there is no shared lexicon and, as citizens, we have less to speak of with one another.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009



Can it be, can it be

That beasts are of various bravery,
Some brave by nature, some not at all,

Some trying to be against a fall?

I saw a cat. Beside a lily tank,
Paved level with the grass, she stood, this cat,
Considering her leap.
Three times she backed for jumping, gathered tight
(So tight thought landed her already over)
And did not jump. And then,
After a pause, as scolding humanly
"Not nervy eh? We'll see."
She jumped and what a jump that was!

Quite twice as along
And high
As it need be,
Now why
Did this cat jump at all, so force herself?
There was a path around the tank,
She could have walked.

Can it be, can it be
That beasts are of various bravery,
Some simply brave, some not, some taking thought
(Most curiously) to cast themselves aloft.

Stevie Smith

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Saturday, January 24, 2009


The wait to hear from potential employers or publishers, who are experiencing economic Ragnarök, can be tedious and depressing. However, there are steps that one can coach out of oneself that will contribute, hopefully, to future contacts and employment. I am using this down time to learn technologies new to me and to sharpen my job skills.

Currently, I am enrolled in a Linux administration class at the HP business online courses. I also have set up a blog for my resume and have worked at tinkering with the site's design by getting into the HTML template code. The site is called The Writers' Home Portfolio. I am pleased with the results which involved going through lines of HTML code until I found the specifications to change the design. I used GIMP to manipulate the designs, specifically the header divider. I attached a Google Gadget, a clock, and changed some of the code to be similar to my colour scheme. I am am also playing with cloud computing.

Being unemployed does not mean being idle. I plan to use both blogs, this and the portfolio, to showcase my newly found knowledge.

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Monday, January 12, 2009


One of the most anticipated events and shining new hopes in publishing, if you are not already depressed as an out-of-work writer, is a revival of the Winnie The Pooh brand. Publisher Dutton Books and author David Benedictus plan to have great sales with a retread of Christopher Robin and friends.

I ran this past my children who like many youngsters, including someone not now so spry as me, had the enchantment of A.A. Milne's characters to grace their childhoods. The immediate reaction from my very literate offspring was "What!!!" There was a general cry of shock and horror that these books of strong character identifications and mythology were being sold like cereal. The visceral yelps led to a long, about a half hour at the least, vilification of publishers who try to cash in on their readers' fond memories for short-term profit. Books were, and are, the friends who comfort us when the world seems too big. Tampering with these emotions with a written mockup (mockery?) destroys the child's primary experience and love of the elemental literature.

I am not sorry to comment that I am a literary traditionalist and that I have given these values to my children. An individual's genius, their spirit, cannot be copied and packaged like any other product. The publishing companies are in trouble not because brands such as Winnie The Pooh are insufficient but because book marketers are not bold and will not chance original writers to hook and engage new readers.

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