Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hiatus Haiku...

Aye, 'tis Robert Burrrrrrrns.
Hiatus Haiku
 Moving this weekend
Interwebs uncertain, so
New post on 10/8?

Sorry I've not been following along with y'alls' blogs, folks. I hope to catch up once the dust settles. Oh, and once my Internet service is set, back at the ranch. The 'rents, that is.

Since I'm here, if you've not yet signed up for my Resurrection Blogfest, check it out! It's an easy way to put yourself in the running for an gift certificate! (And while you're at it, keep the nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul...uh, I mean, spread the word, whydontcha?)

And Happy Michaelmas, y'all!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quirky Postcards...

Going through my crap as I prepare to move back in with my parents, I came across some postcards I picked up years ago. Clearly, I liked them too much to entertain the idea of actually using them for their intended purpose (though I'd also completely forgotten about them until I dug 'em up out of the dank hell-hole that is my closet). Check it:

My idea of a romantic date.

A bit of whimsy from Barnes & Noble.

My favorite, obviously. For when I need a belly-laugh. I'm thinking of framing it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Current State of Mind... equal to and greater than overwhelmed. I know some of y'all can relate.

Work's been crazy; gotta refill a position that became vacant in the office, have been picking up some slack from that vacancy, work travel coming up this week too, and have fallen a wee bit behind in my usual duties, alas.

Need to move out of my apartment by the end of the week. Been going through stuff to see what comes with, what gets tossed, and what's worth trying to sell. Am really bumming out about moving back in with the 'rents and feel kinda awful for bumming out, as they couldn't be more ready to help. But I just ache, ache, ache inside at having to move back into that small apartment (my parents own a two-family house and have the upstairs apartment). As well, it's in the town in which I grew up, which has seriously deteriorated since my youth. It's not merely a question of there's nothing to do/nowhere to go, it's actually become a dangerous place to live.

For those new to my blog, I'm moving back in with my parents, bless them, so that money I'd have put toward rent will go to my son's college fees. It's a sacrifice on several parts, mine and my parents, who're giving up space to me, free-of-charge, for which I am truly grateful. But the closer I get to the moving date, the more I feel I'm going to implode from the strain and the sense of loss.

I got no head space left for anything and this blog post is shite. I'm spent, y'all.

Gah, gah, GAH!

OK, tantrum over. For now.

Here's a pic of the sign I made to attempt to entice folks in my building to come buy my crap-that-I-don't-want-to-pack:

And here's a tune that's looping in my mind a lot, of late:

Postscript: I felt myself teetering so near the edge of despair that I texted my Dear Friend Nikki and we went out for comfort food. Spending the evening with her, bitching and laughing, really helped. Thank God for you, Nikki, and for all good friends, everywhere—y'all make the slogging-through-shit that much tolerable. (Plus, she let me unload some of my crap-that-I-don't-want-to-pack on her!) <3

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Kid Returns

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I've been breaking my heart over my son, Balthazar, going away to college in August. The first two weeks were the hardest. Then I experienced a Cesar Millan "TSHHHT!" moment when The Kid Returned.

About a week after my Dad, Sis, and I took Balthy upstate to his new school, he e-mailed me that there was a concert in Manhattan the following Friday and asked if I would buy the ticket for him. He said he'd take one of the college's shuttle buses to the nearest Metro-North Railroad station (about 40 minutes away from campus), train it down to Grand Central Terminal, rock out at the show, then return to our little village and chill with me for the weekend.

What joy knew my heart! With what pleasure did I anticipate my baby's return! What a kick in the ass that following week (and his visit) proved to be!!!

I bought/e-mailed him the concert ticket. I bought him a ten-trip train ticket, so he wouldn't have to spend any of his own cash, figuring he'd be able to use it on subsequent visits home. I sent it to him via Priority Mail. I checked in with him that Wednesday, to see if he'd received the ticket and which shuttle/train combo he'd be taking on Friday. Wouldn't you know it; the shuttle buses weren't yet running, and wouldn't be till the returning students arrived (he was up there for a three-week workshop required of all freshman, so school was not officially in session, and the kids were discouraged from leaving campus during those three weeks, hence, no shuttle buses). He figured he'd take a cab. A 40-minute cab ride which'd cost at least $40, if not more. (He, of course, didn't realize this.)

I advised him that this was a heinously stupid expenditure and told him to research public transport options. This he did, and presented me with findings of this bus, to that bus, to the train, and he'd have to miss the afternoon session of the workshop. Well, to summarize from here, I lost my cool, told him I thought better of him bussing around a NY countryside with which he was wholly unfamiliar, and that if he felt comfortable blowing his own money on the cab, he'd be better off doing so. But I was SO ANNOYED with his lack of foresight and completely stressed about him possibly getting stuck somewhere. (You know, if you get stuck in Manhattan, it's a sure bet you can find someone to point you in the right direction, and if not, cabs can be easily found just about anywhere. You get stuck in the country and what's around to help you? Fuck-all but cows. Maybe the Children of the Corn, too. But mostly cows.) GAH!

The whole time he communicated his movements to me that Friday, he snarked at me, and was just generally being such a tool that by the time he made his way home from Manhattan I very nearly told him to see if one of his friends in town could put him up for the night. But I didn't. I just expressed my maternal displeasure and with relief saw him spend most of that Saturday out with his friends. I'd cooled off by the time he got back, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and we finally exchanged some pleasant words. Then he said to me, "Mommy, I miss my college..."

Internally, I died. Externally, I said, "Tell me about that."

And he was all, "Well, I know I've only been away for two weeks, but coming back from Manhattan tonight, walking to our building, everything was familiar but already feels...alien to me. School just feels like home, now."

That little rat bastard.

Without conscious thought, and completely surprising myself, I answered, "Good. That means you've settled in and are happy there. I'd worry if you told me you hated it and wanted to come home. I'm really glad you feel that way."

And he nodded and went to bed. And I cried a little and then got over it.

Balthy makes his girlie sniff some God-awful cologne.
He returned again just this past weekend (so, two weeks after this first return), AND HE BROUGHT HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND WITH HIM!!!!!

She's adorable; a sweet blonde gal who laughed at all my lame jokes and with whom I enjoyed a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon on Chiller (as well as swooning over Spikewoof!) while Balthazar packed up the remaining contents of his room. Yesterday, while she showered before they took their leave, I said to him, "I notice you put a pic of the two of you as your Facebook profile page. You've never put pics of your girlfriends up before, she must be extra special to you, huh?"

He nodded, then jerked his head toward the bathroom. "So, what do you think?"

"I like her," I offered, then nibbled on my breakfast a bit before asking, "does it matter what I think?"

"Yeah," he said. He folded a towel, then nodded again. "Yeah."

"Well, in that case," I said, "I like her a lot."

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Turn Off Word Verification (A Pictorial Tutorial)

When I started blogging last November, there were many conventions and expressions that I didn't know about. I learned a lot by participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this past April and decided to pay things forward by sharing some of the wisdom I've picked up since then.

One thing bloggers complained about after the Challenge was over is "Word Verification" (a.k.a. "Captcha"). If you're not familiar with this term, lemme 'splain:

1. You're reading someone's blog and something in it tickled you or resonated with you so much, you feel compelled to leave a comment:

2. You enter a long, thoughtful note for the blogger and prepare to submit it by clicking the "Publish" button, thinking that's all ya gotta do to share the love:

3. But, NO! Due to a fear of spammers, that blogger has turned on "Word Verification" to make you prove you're a real, live human. Only, who the hell can read that, much less type it into the box?

At this point, you either break out a magnifying glass so you can press on with the "Word Verification" step or consign that blogger to the devil and go comment on some other blog. (Or maybe you pour yourself a stiff drink, I dunno.)

On the face of it, it doesn't seem to be such a big deal, but trust me: it's a pain in the ass to have to go through this step, as it's hard on the eyes and folks with not a lot of time (and a LOT of blogs to read through) will lose their patience with you, not comment, and possibly stop following your blog altogether. Which would be le suck, n'est-ce pas? Oui.

Now, when I started the Challenge, I could've sworn I'd turned off the "Word Verification" feature. But when I saw so many fellow participants complaining about other participants still having this on, I got paranoid and decided to view my blog through the eyes of a visitor. I logged out of Blogger/Google and visited my blog, following the steps pictured above. And, damn it, I was wrong: "Word Verification" was totally turned on! Chagrined, I made haste to turn that annoying shizz off.

If YOU'RE not sure whether you've got "Word Verification" on or off, do what I did in the preceding paragraph to check. If it IS on and you want to turn it OFF but don't know how, here's whatcha gots ta do:

1. Log back in to Blogger:

2. From the log-in landing page, click on the title of your blog to access the Overview:

3. On the Overview page, on the left-hand side, towards the bottom is the word "Settings." Click on that sucker:

4. On the "Settings" page, left-hand side, click on "Posts and Comments":

5. On the "Posts and Comments" page, you're asked if you want to "Show word verification." For the love of all that's holy, JUST SAY NO!

6. Once you've turned off "Word Verification," click "Save settings" over on the upper right-hand side of the page:

7. You'll know you successfully banished that bane of bloggers when you log out, visit your blog, type in a comment, click "Preview" and see this:

Whew! That involved a whole lotta clickery, huh?

Now, all of these instructions are for the newest Blogger version. Users of other blogging tools, I'm afraid I can't help y'all, but perhaps the steps are similar to the ones I listed above.

In any event, I can't guarantee that your blog will now get oodles of comments, but please believe you've done a good thing by ridding yourself of that pestilent option. Your followers will thank you. (In their heads, at least.)

A note to all my pals in the Blogosphere: I'm behind on my reading of/commenting on y'alls' blogs, for which I'm sorry. I'm traveling for my day job this (and next) month and also packing up my apartment for my move back into my parents' place at the end of September. So, while I will try to keep up with your blogs, I won't be able to dedicate myself to them over the next couple of months as I would like to. Sorry, folks. Forgive! :-(

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blog Props ~ Tahoma Beadworks & Photography

For this month's praise-worthy blog, I'm nominating that of my creative friend, JoJo. With Tahoma Beadworks & Photography, she showcases all of her lovely crafts, with a diversity stretching from tie-dye, to sand art, to gorgeous jewelry, to pretty cards, all made by the lady herself! And, I have to admit, what I like best about these blog-props posts is that I can let the pictures do all the talking! JoJo promises to re-open her Etsy shop and I truly hope she does, 'cause I heart, heart, heart her work, and I reckon you will, too. Click on the captions to see the blog post in which each image originally appeared.

First, the crafts and beadworks!

Votive Cup with Chips

Crafty Candles

Tie-Dyed Ornament

Birthday Card

Beaded Necklace with Azurite

Next, the photography!

Blue Moon, August 2012

At The Butterfly Garden Boutique - Bournedale, MA

Cape Cod Sunset

Snowy Beach

Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds

Clearly, JoJo's an incredible talent, and I hope y'all will visit Tahoma Beadworks & Photography soon, and tell your friends about it, too!

All images, except for the Blog Props Meme, belong to JoJo and were posted here with her kind permission.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Be Inspired (Redux) & The Next Big Thing Award!

Though I have been tagged with the "Be Inspired" meme before, there weren't any questions attached to it in that particular version. Now that the groovy Michael Offutt, author of sci-fi/fantasy novel Slipstream, has tasked me with bragging about one of my own books, I feel compelled to comply. Thanks for thinking of me, Michael!

I was also tagged by author Kate Larkindale of Fiction and Film for the "Next Big Thing" award - thanks so much, Kate!

I've merged these two memes into one post because the questions in each are nearly identical. (And because I don't like to work too hard, as many of you already know.) For each, writers are asked to discuss one of their books. There's really only one question that varies from one meme to the other, which I'll note below.

1. What is the name of your book?
That Fatal Kiss.

2. Where did the idea come from?
My interest in Greek mythology and my weakness for a passionate love story. (More about this in #8.)

3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Romance (mythical).

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
As I wrote That Fatal Kiss, I couldn't help but envision British actor Jeremy Northam as the male "lead," Hades—there's a sensual mastery he brings to pretty much every role that I always saw as perfect for the Lord of the Underworld (picture the scene in the movie Possession in which he's unlacing Jennifer Ehle's corset and you'll know just what I mean) (if you've not yet seen the film, I really think you need to). For the female lead, Persephone, I never had a particular actor in mind...I envision her as being in her early 20s (so to speak; time is relative for the Greek gods) (I imagine), with long, rich auburn curls, and amber brown eyes. She's intelligent, witty, and compassionate. I'd maybe say Kate Winslet (who I think would be a great leading lady for Northam, regardless of the project) except she's matured a bit for the part (the way she played Marianne in Sense and Sensibility is sort of, though not quite, how I'd see her play Persephone). The only other person who comes to mind is Emmy Rossum (as she played Christine in the 2005 Phantom of the Opera adaptation) (only, you know, a bit saucier).

5. Give us a one sentence synopsis of your book.
Gah, I suck at summarizing my stories, but I'll try:

Hades, fearsome Lord of the Underworld, wrests youthful goddess Persephone away from her life aboveground to be his bride—but the powerful goddess may yet escape him...if she really wants to.

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Hmmm...a year (ish)? I was unemployed for about three months and began writing TFK fast and furious then, but slowed down when I got a jobby-job.

7. Is your book already published (Be Inspired)/will it be self or traditionally published (Next Big Thing)?
Not yet/it will probably be self-published, unless some publishing miracle comes to pass in the immediate future...

8. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I'd become interested in Greek mythology as a kid and the bug for Hades and Persephone's story bit me in my adolescence. With my imperfect understanding, I found it sooooo romantical that the powerful god wanted the goddess sooooo much that he just couldn't help but ransom her away to his underground kingdom, though part of me didn't think it was fair to the poor gal to just take off with her without first asking if she wanted to go. Later, in college, I took a lit course that examined the Greek myths and, as part of my research, read some folks' opinions that Persephone and Hades' marriage was one of the few faithful and happy ones among the gods; that when together, they ruled harmoniously; and that at least once Persephone displayed some jealousy for/possessiveness of Hades when a sneaky nymph put the moves on the goddess' man. Er, the goddess' mate. Anyway, the dark romantic in me perked up at the idea that Persephone grew to want Hades just as much as he wanted her. Then it was just a hop, skip, and jump to imagining their rocky road to love and I just had to put my revisionist interpretation of the myth in writing.

9. What else about your book would pique the reader's interests?
Um...maybe the following snippet?
“Enough,” Hades said, closing the distance between them.  “I have taken you with your father’s consent, as custom allows.  You are in my kingdom, under my rule, and if you have any care for your continued well-being, you will get into my bed.  Now.”  And with the removal of the pins which held together his black cloak, he stood naked before her.

The anger warming Persephone clashed with another fire that roared to life within her.  She choked on a breath and turned her face from him.  “Be warned; I will resist you with the full force of my being, through violent means, if necessary.”
His large, unyielding hands encircled the soft flesh of her upper arms as he said, “If you must.  Though your surrender to me would prove more satisfying to us both.”
You're supposed to tag five other writers, and so I tag:

L.G. Keltner, Writing off the Edge

Mina Burrows, books for paranormal and mystic minds

Elise Fallson

Siv Maria, Been there, done that

Melissa Bradley, Melissa's Imaginarium

I hope y'all check these gals out!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Blogfest Is Announced!

Resurrection Blogfest Badge #1
I'm coming up on my first anniversary of blogging on November 7, y'all! W00000T! To celebrate, I'm hosting my first, to-be-annual (if we all survive my birthday this year), blog par-tay and I'm calling it my:


In this first year of bloggery, before I'd connected with other bloggers and attracted regular readers, I posted stuff which never got the attention I felt it deserved. I was sure I couldn't be the only blogger who felt that way. Only, you might feel kinda lame just trotting out an old post, fearing accusations of laziness (if you're neurotic, or, in fact, lazy). (Like I am.) So I thought I'd just host a blogfest so I could resurrect a piece from my first year of blogging. (Yeah, I know there's Linked Within, but there's no certainty folks'll click on your older stuff to check it out, now is there?)

Fellow bloggers, you're all invited to join in the fun! (PLUS there will be PRIZES!!!)

Resurrection Blogfest Badge #2
Here be the rules and procedures for me RESURRECTION BLOGFEST!:
  1. Sign up by entering your name and/or blog's name and URL on the linky-list, below. The linky-list will close after 11:59pm EST* on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
  2. Upload one of the three blogfest badges in this post to the sidebar of your blog and link it back to this announcement post, to encourage participation.
  3. Follow me on the Twitter (@GothMomLite) and re-tweet anything with this tag: #ResurrectionBlogfest. (Folks without Twitter accounts are still totally welcome to participate.)
  4. On November 7, 2012, your blog post should prominently feature the blogfest badge as well as something from your first year of blogging that you believe deserves some TLC, or that you're especially proud of and wish to showcase, or simply has sentimental value for you.
  5. I'll review all entries through to the weekend and by noon on Monday, November 12 and will post a list of seven semi-finalists (based solely on my own preferences and tastes, such as they are) ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10.
  6. Fellow participants and readers alike will be invited to vote from among the seven semi-finalists, up until 11:59pm EST* on Wednesday, Nov. 14 MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12.
  7. By high noon on Thursday, November 15 TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, I will announce the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners. I reserve the right to break any ties by flipping a coin, or reading chickens entrails strewn about the backyard, or maybe picking petals off a gerbera daisy till it's nekkid.
  8. Yes, I'm totally serious about all the rules. No, I'm not serious about the entrails. Gross.
Resurrection Blogfest Badge #3
Participants should know that:
  • *All days/times are based on EST
  • Subject matter is up to participants but whatever the topic, the post must have originally appeared on your blog in your first year of blogging!
  • It's OK to sign up if you're still in your first year of blogging and want to use something from the past few months.
  • It's also OK for participants to sign up more than one blog, however, in the spirit of Highlander—THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE prize per participant.
  • Participants whose Resurrection posts are not up by 11:59pm EST on Nov. 7 will be removed from the linky-list.
  • Topics/blogs with adult themes should have the appropriate preliminary warning before any participants or readers see your blog/post. Any participants' links who take the clicker to adult subject matter without warning will be removed at my discretion. And don't give me any crap about not knowing what I mean by "adult themes," 'cause you totally do.
  • 1st Prize = $20 Amazon Gift Card; 2nd prize = $15 Amazon Gift Card; 3rd Prize = $10 Amazon Gift Card, to be sent to the respective winners via e-mail.
OK, y'all; this has to be one of the easiest blogfests going, seeing as I'm not making you come up with any new content for it. Sign up and spread the word, already, sheesh. ;-)

(Whether you choose to participate or not, please help me spread the news of this blogfest by sharing this post on the social media of your choice. You can do this easily by clicking one of the little icons underneath this post's tag: "Posted by Mina Lobo at 12:00 AM." THANKS!)

The image used for the Resurrection Blogfest badge was taken from a pic snapped by my Sis, with her kind permission.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Star Light, Star Bright...

Me and my Star; Robert Moses Beach, NY; Winter, 1994
This past Saturday was my sister, Star's, birthday. She lives in Brooklyn with her love-toy and had plans of her own for the day, so I didn't get to see her, but hope to take her to dinner some time this week.

In another post I wrote about my Mom (and the cat face), and I did paint a picture of a fun gal, which she certainly can be. But these moments of whimsy were the exception, not the rule—growing up under her roof was a major buzzkill, more often than not. Through the eyes of a mother, I can now fully understand her parenting choices (though I'll never agree with them). She sheltered Star and me so securely as we grew up that we didn't live what I'd consider "normal" or "average" American childhoods and, as a result, missed out on a lot. (A LOT.)

Of course, first-generation kids in any nation can experience a disconnect between the ways their friends' families live and the way their own families get on, especially if their parents/guardians/whatevers are firmly attached to their homelands' mores. I geddit. But it's hard to deal with when you're a kid and you're not allowed to go over a friend's house, or do sleepovers or, later as a teen, go to the ubiquitous Mall, or dozens of other perfectly natural things kids do with their friends. I think the reasons she wouldn't let us do these things came from her unfamiliarity with American cultural norms as well as her inordinate fears for our safety. Like I said, I understand now what drove her, and I'm not holding a grudge (anymore). But I can tell it like it was, you know?

Anyway, the point for detailing all of the above is to illustrate the environment in which Star and I spent our formative years. We were stuck at home, like, ALL THE TIME. We definitely got on one another's nerves now and again, but we were one another's refuges, really. Whenever one of us got sick, Mom sort of flipped, growing irritable and worried and all smothery-like. So Star took to coming to me first if she had a headache or something simple like that, and I'd slip her some Tylenol or whatever, keeping everything on the downlow so Mom wouldn't freak out. When some weighty matter overwhelmed me, I didn't go to my parents but to my sis. I didn't expect her to do anything, as she's six years younger than I and was even less equipped to deal with shit than I was, but I needed to talk to someone I could trust and she was the only one who fit the bill. We trusted one another, implicitly, and she's still the one I turn to for a wise, honest opinion, or with a question regarding a point of honor, or justice. And she turns to me for fashion advice (for some unknown reason).

So here's to Star and all her sisterly support; I don't know how I'd have made it through without you. In fact, I probably wouldn't have. <3

*     *     *     *     *

Fellow bloggers, please check back on Thursday, as I've got a blogfest announcement in the works!
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