alpharaposa: (momcub)
The weather is beautiful today. I took our cat, Percivale, to the vet to get him his monthly shot. (He has arthritis, and this helps limber up his stiff joints.) Then, after lunch, I took the cubs out to one of the local parks for some sunshine.

There was a school bus there when we arrived; a handful of teenagers from the severe disabilities class from the local high school. Older cub was happy to see other people there. He didn't care how old they were so long as they wanted to play games.

One of the teens apologized for playing with my child. He was so happy when I told him I didn't mind and to go ahead. Intellectually, I know that personal space and various social permissions can be fraught subjects, but it didn't keep my heart from breaking a little over it. Older cub played hide-and-seek with him until they were both hot and tired, and then they sat together to draw in the sand. I chatted with one of the adults in charge. Younger cub worked up the gumption to go down progressively taller slides. One of the teens told me about how he'd been scared of such things when he was younger, but he grew out of it.

Once the teens had to go, the cubs and I tried to fly a kite, but the breezes weren't quite strong enough to get it up long enough to gain any height. Then a few kids about the cubs' age showed up, so we stayed to play with them until everybody was starting to look a little pink. We left just as a busload of elementary kids were showing up to do a little clean up project.

Under the strong spring sunshine, I can see just how pale I've become through the winter. I don't look pale when I'm sitting here typing, but I sure look it out there.
alpharaposa: (Rumex writing)
It's birthday week! My birthday was yesterday, and my husband's birthday is Saturday! To celebrate, I worked hard last week to finish up the next story in The Young Lord's Servants. Take a break (it's only a few pages) and catch up with Tul and Dai and their dragon lords.

Find Custodians of Fire on Amazon, here.

Winter has come, cold and snowy. This tale is about the little things we do, to warm each other.

If you haven't read any of my short stories in this series, you can find them all at Amazon. Start with Protectors of the Rice, first, then Watchers in the Tower.

Protectors of the Rice
Watchers in the Tower

If you enjoy them, please share and review! I tell Amazon they're for 3rd through 6th graders, but that doesn't mean older youths and adults can't read them.
alpharaposa: (micahicon)
I have always had an interest in politics. I largely understand how people relate to each other the way I understand everything else: by reading a lot of theories and then observing how well it fits what I see. (I am such an introvert at heart, and an analytical one, too.) So I studied political theories of how people organize themselves, and historical cases of how things fall apart. I still do this.

My dad has similar interests. Before he heard the Call to ministry, he studied to be a lawyer and took political science classes. We often talk politics together, comparing notes on what we see or discussing an article or book one or both of us have read.

When I was a teenager, grappling with the issues of being in the generation that comes after the Baby Boomers, he would tell me a story of when he was in high school, and blew up the world.

Read more... )

My fellow Christians, I implore you: do not vote for Trump. Do not fall into despair. If the world of politics leads you to that choice, turn your eyes away from it. Don't vote. Go to your community and build something. Build a Scout Troop. Start a Bible Study. Build a rehabilitation center for the addicts in our midst. Go on a food drive for the local pantry. If the building of this country is falling down, that is only because the foundation needs work. Go do the work. If the feet are set right, the rest of the body will follow.

Start small. Get a few people to bear each other up. It will grow. Believe in that, not in the promises of men.
alpharaposa: (Rumex writing)
(The writing continues. You can see all the posts in the story on the tag, demonspirits.



The coach stuck on the road once, and it took all the horses to pull it free. Rask did not appreciate having to do such menial labor, and I had to take a firm hand with him to keep him from leaving the slower horses behind once we were moving again. Thankfully, the rain stopped soon after and the clouds thinned enough to let the afternoon sun through. The tiny flowers that hide in the scrub opened up to catch the gentle light in little dots of purple and yellow.

Read more... )

We're still at the castle! Darn these people! When will they be on their way? Tonight? Tomorrow?

Also, in a trope-filled setting like this one, obviously Thorgun must be important! Is she:
A) a love interest?
B) a magic using secret agent?
C) a competent servant?
D) all of the above?
alpharaposa: (Rumex writing)
More with Prince Detlef! Part 1 is here. Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed I've already given this story its own tag, demonspirits.


Read more... )

The vote was for him to visit his relatives, but we're not there, yet! Do you think he'll make it there soon, or will it take a while?
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
One of the joys of being around my parents so much lately is their stock of cast iron cookware. This has enabled me to practice cooking techniques that move between stovetop and oven. Such as frittatas. Or, as I'm cooking tonight, chicken fajitas.

You will need:
A cast iron skillet (at least 12" diameter)
tongs/forks for handling food
Instant read and/or probe thermometer (for meat)
cooking oil
2-3 chicken breasts, thawed
salt
onions and bell peppers (2-4 vegetables in any combination)
oregano
pepper

tortillas
salsa, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, black beans, guacamole, rice... whatever you'd normally put with your fajitas

Read more... )
Congrats! It's fajitas, very like what you'd get at a restaurant! Serve with tortillas and your favorite additions. This is a very basic recipe, and is easily added to.
alpharaposa: (Rumex writing)
I've been trying to get my brain back in gear after last weekend (I helped cook for over 540 people at Maumee Scout Camp). I couldn't make it work on one of the projects I already have, so I started writing something new. Care to see the beginning?

Read more... )

So.. where shall he go?

To see the mysterious elves?
To visit his mother's family in the mountains?
Over the mountains to the green lands beyond?
The kingdom next door?
alpharaposa: (christmasdino)
The next movie in the Star Wars franchise is almost upon us! I'm not likely to see it in the theaters unless some kindly person babysits the kids for an afternoon. Le sigh. I'm usually not so torn up about missing things on the "big screen" anymore. Modern widescreen TVs have really come a long way.

I see some anti-fans around, and that's always a bit discouraging. If you aren't excited, you don't have to go around throwing wet blankets on everybody else. Don't be like the people who sneeringly call football "sportsball" at Thanksgiving.

In rewatching the original recently, I noticed some things that I hadn't before.

First off, compared to modern action whiz-bang Michael Bay stuff, the pacing is slow. I've watched some of the old Buck Rodgers serials on Hulu now, and the storytelling method is so spot-on that I can mentally throw in the "to be continued" at various scene changes. It really gave me new perspective on it. It also helps explain why they're long- it's like binge watching an entire arc of a serial at once.

Second, I had not realized Leia was supposed to be a General, not just a Princess. Once you see her character as an experienced commander who's been under fire before, so much of what she does makes a LOT more sense. Leia comforting Luke after Obi-Wan dies (when she just lost her whole planet) becomes the combat vet gently easing the new kid into the realities of war.

Third, I've generally accepted the changes from the "special editions". The final update where Han and Greedo shoot at the same time feels... acceptable. I still miss when it was just the Ewoks singing. (I've never understood the anger over that. Oral cultures often have set tunes that they sing and dance to on different occasions. I'd assume they just picked one suitable for a victory dance.) The CGI Jabba in A New Hope still seems a little too slick and skinny, though.
alpharaposa: (Rumex writing)
Yesterday, I sent Watchers in the Tower through Amazon's Kindle publishing system. Today, it's available for you to read! This is the second short story featuring Dai and Tul, two young boys who live in a world ruled by dragons. We meet them again at the end of summer, just as the harvest is ready.

It's a quick read (just over 3000 words), but only 99 cents. It's written for the Middle School age bracket in that I avoid any ten dollar words, but I wrote it so I could enjoy it, so other grown fantasy fans can, too.

The first story was originally published as The Young Lord's Servants. It has been renamed to Protectors of the Rice, and the series to The Young Lord's Servants.

[livejournal.com profile] rowyn, who is currently publishing her first book as a serial over on her livejournal (A Rational Arrangement, a regency-style fantasy romance novel), drew a sketch of the Young Lord and posted it on Twitter a little while ago.




I want to write at least ten more short stories in this setting. If you enjoy them, please leave comments, reviews, and spread the word! Comments are fuel to the fire, and keep a writer going when the going is tough.

Protectors of the Rice: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QB4SFGK
Watchers in the Tower: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0195IYZQW
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
For the holidays, I went hunting for a whole wheat, honey cookie with no refined sugar at all. I adapted a whole wheat, honey, chocolate chip recipe to remove the chips. I think they turned out delicious. Very soft, too. But huge.

Ingredients
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped walnuts

PREPARATION
1. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and all the spices.
2. Preheat oven to 325. Beat butter and honey with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; beat until combined. Mix in nuts.
3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden around edges but soft in middle, about 13-15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Makes 20

Make Ahead
Dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

These make fragrant cookies with great aroma. The ginger is noticeable! They also have that lovely, warm honey taste.
alpharaposa: (micahicon)
So, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks on Paris yesterday. (http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/14/world/paris-attacks/)

President Hollande of France has said that they will wage "pitiless war" on the terrorists in return. (http://breakingdefense.com/2015/11/vive-la-france-says-secdef-carter-hollande-pledges-pitiless-war-on-terrorists/)

France is our ally. Our oldest ally as a country. They're a member of NATO. We are honor bound to support them in war.

So.. I hear there's a Democrat debate tonight. Over/under odds on a question about it?

Let's ask all the candidates running for President. What's your strategy? Not just this or that tactic (like the "no fly zone" that came up in the Republican debate). What's your plan? What does victory look like? Do you think we ought to do nothing? To move economically? Invade and capture territory and hang the bastards?

I note that four of the candidates (Rubio, Cruz, Paul, and Sanders) are in the Senate. They can, in fact, introduce legislation to support whatever strategy they think is best. You think the President ought to go to war? Bring up legislation to declare war. You think we ought to impose sanctions? Well, go to it, sunshine. You think we ought to just sit back and support France financially? Congress holds the purse. Appropriate funds.

No need to wait for an official debate. You can go right down to the floor of the Senate and argue your plan in front of the C-Span cameras.

We don't know who's going to be President next year? Well, you're right! Means you'd better be careful designing that legislation so it doesn't have any extra stuff you wouldn't hand Hillary/Trump/Cruz/etc.

A year is a LONG time in war. If it's the right strategy now, it's the right thing to do NOW. It might not be enough later.

Plus, if we get the public debate going now, we'll have something approaching a consensus when we do have a new President. He'll know what's expected of him.

And I know, Obama might not use the shiny new tools you give him if you pass legislation. He might disdain them. Fine. At least, when the new President steps into office, the tools will be ready for use, instead of rusting away in the shed.

So, when the Senate gets back in session after the weekend, what's stopping you guys? Any of you? Rand Paul thinks we can oppose ISIS without sending in the troops? Okay, give us a plan and sponsor a bill to back it up. I honestly have no idea what Sanders would do. Tell us. Rubio and Cruz talk a mean game, but they could take action next week. It might die on the Senate floor, but at least we'd know there's more to it than posturing.

Are you serious, or not?
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
In my pursuit to use up pumpkin pulp, I found a recipe for cookies and tried it out. It's a keeper without any modifications, but I'm reposting it here because the original website is one of those that's covered in ads and takes five pages of story and pictures before you get to the recipe.

Pumpkin Cookies:

Read more... )

I halved the recipe and made a good test batch. I like these. Soft and cakey. Not a very strong flavor, but pleasant. I may have had half a dozen of them for breakfast this morning.
alpharaposa: (Rumex writing)
I mentioned an idea for a talking gun on Twitter, and was asked to write something, even if just a scene or two. So, here you go! I really like both the gun and the protagonist in this scene. :)

Read more... )
alpharaposa: (Rumex writing)
Hello! It's been far too long since I last posted anything on here. There are reasons for that.

My day-to-day situation has improved, though things are still unsettled on the housing front. Still, my life is so much less stressful that I can write again! This is an immense relief. I spent a lot of time thinking that all my creativity and skill had just dried up and I was no good anymore. Then my situation changed, and suddenly I can write again. And the ideas are back. I was just too stressed and depressed to spare cycles for creativity.

So! I've started writing an urban fantasy novel about a real estate agent (no, really). I wrote and put some polish on a fairy tale about a shelter dog, but I think Amber and the Fairy Dogmother has to be trunked for now. I can't find a suitable market for it just yet (that I'm actually eligible for), and I'd need it illustrated before I'd want to self-pub, even if it does stand on its own.

I have ideas (finally) for what to do with the world of The Young Lord's Servants (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QB4SFGK?*Version*=1&*entries*=0). The plan is to write a bunch more stories with the same two boys, and rename the series The Young Lord's Servants. That means I need a new name for the story. I can put off making that choice until I've written a second story, though.

And I have thoughts about another setting involving asteroid miners and dragons. That's not even on the back burner, yet. Still at the shopping list stage.

So, next up is working on the real estate novel. Then, short stories about the boys. In the spring, if I can line everything up, I hope to be able to run a Kickstarter to fund illustrations for Starlit Rays (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q0SZ5II?*Version*=1&*entries*=0) and finally get it published as a short children's book. I have no idea if I'll have finished the novel by then. I've never finished a novel before. We'll see.
alpharaposa: (carpetnap)
This morning, the biggest outrage on my mind was Hillary pretending not to know what "wiping a server" meant, when discussing her email and national security.

Boy, did that change.

The latest video about Planned Parenthood is out.

Cut tagged. No graphic images, just discussion of a difficult subject. )

God have mercy.

Please, have some links:
"There Is No Pro-Life Case for Planned Parenthood" - http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/there-is-no-pro-life-case-for-planned-parenthood/?_r=0
"Why the States Did Not Prosecute Women for Abortion Before Roe v. Wade" - http://www.aul.org/2010/04/why-the-states-did-not-prosecute-women-for-abortion-before-roe-v-wade/
A Map of health clinics that could take the place of Planned Parenthood - http://dailysignal.com/2015/08/17/planned-parenthood-loses-government-funding-heres-map-health-clinics-take-place/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=thftwitter
Mourning and Forgiveness for women who have had abortions and suffered - http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421624/planned-parenthood-brutal-pain
A clinic that focuses on understanding a woman's body, not just covering up symptoms - http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422607/FEMM-womens-health-care-goes-green
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
This weekend, there were ripe bananas, and leftover peanut butter chips. So I made muffins.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 c butter, melted
1/3 c maple syrup (the real thing, not the fake stuff)
2 very ripe bananas
about half a bag of Reese's peanut butter chips
some unsweetened flaked coconut

Oven at 350 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Beat the eggs, butter, and syrup in another. Mash the bananas and add to the wet ingredients. Poor the wet ingredients into the dry, mix, add chips. Sprinkle the coconut on top. Bake for about 20 minutes. Makes 12 nice, big muffins.

They are delicious muffins, full of peanut butter and banana goodness! And it allowed me to finally clear out some stuff that I needed to use up.
alpharaposa: (carpetnap)
Rain all afternoon yesterday, more rain today.

I like thunderstorms, especially when they whip into town in the evening and blow the trees around. I like the light, off-and-on sprinkles that we get some spring days ("popcorn rain", as my older neighbors called it when I was growing up). I do not like all day soakers. I have a little less energy for every day of soaking, steady rain.

I've been pushing hard. My mom got into a car accident last week and was in the hospital over the weekend. (She is home now and recovering, but very bruised.) We went down to my parents' place to help with the kitties (and celebrate a bit with Grandbear). I was in Responsible Adult mode and pushed hard to get everything fit in that needed to get done around the things that were fun, and crashed emotionally on Monday.

Then, yesterday, while I was heading out to get groceries, a young man in a truck rear-ended my car. Nobody was injured, but now that needs to get fixed. One more chore in the list of chores. The insurance adjuster was by this morning and took his pictures, so we'll get the news from our insurance company soon enough. I did some important phone calls yesterday, and I'm glad I did, but it took a hefty number of my spoons yesterday even before the accident and more phone calls.

I want to make muffins for the cubs, but I don't have the energy to measure and bake and then clean up afterwards, so I'm just trying to get through folding all the clean laundry by the time the husbeast gets home.
alpharaposa: (jrwoodchuck)
Next weekend is the United Methodist Indiana Conference's annual meeting. That also means that it's time for the annual Scouting Ministries breakfast! It will be held at Shapiro's in downtown Indianapolis at 7 am. Show up, eat good food, and catch up on the news.

Our local chapter of NAUMS, the Pathfinder chapter (which covers all of Indiana), will be having its annual meeting. We're going to be taking a big step this year and incorporating as our own non-profit. That means all contributions will be tax deductible, with forms filed to prove it. Otherwise, we'll continue doing what we've been doing.

What have we been doing? Why do we have a NAUMS chapter at all?

There are two structures in our conference to serve United Methodists that want to do scouting ministry. There's the conference coordinator and the scouting ministries specialists, who are organized within the structure of the conference itself. And there's the Pathfinder chapter, which stands outside of the conference but works cooperatively with it.

In that case, why have both? The conference coordinator can coordinate activities, right? Well, that's true, but who does he coordinate? Without the volunteers, there is no program because there's nobody to do the work or even profit by it. The biggest idea won't get off the ground if nobody hears about it.

That's the Pathfinder chapter's role. The conference coordinator is like the director of a high school marching band. He has the connections in the school structure and can contact people and schedule events (as well as lead the band). Our NAUMS chapter is like all the tireless parents who raise funds, drive teens to shows, and provide the extra adults needed to make long trips happen.

It might theoretically be possible to have a marching band program without the support of all those parents. It might be possible to have a scouting ministry without an organization to connect all the scouting volunteers, too. But there's no doubt that we're all enabled and enriched by knowing each other and being able to call upon each other. When the Bat signal (Scout signal?) goes out, it's good to know that there are people watching and ready to leap into action.

To get down to what exactly we're doing right now in the Pathfinder chapter, our ongoing projects include providing small travel Bibles for youth at the high adventure BSA bases (Philmont and Sea Base), and the Larry Richert Memorial fund, a scholarship program to help youth go on the big trips by providing a portion of the cost. We publish our newsletter regularly, to stay in touch with our members and the different scouting organizations in our conference (BSA, GSUSA, Campfire, American Heritage Girls, 4-H, et al).

You can stay up to date on various events on the facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/NAUMS1
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
Some of you on Twitter and Facebook may have heard my lament on the sad state of carrot cake recipes out there. Mostly spices and sugar, carrot cake rests mostly on the deliciousness of cream cheese frosting. I, however, wanted a muffin. Not too sweet, with lots of carrots in it, that I could eat without feeling guilty. I finally found a recipe that yielded a wonderful muffin. Perfect, tender crumb, just sweet enough to satisfy, and loaded with carrots.

Read more... )
alpharaposa: (grumpydino)
So, today on Twitter I saw a few people talking about GenCon sending out a letter to Gov Pence of Indiana about Indiana SB 101. So, I looked up the text of the bill. I read it, grumbled a bit to my husband about it not saying anything unusual, and then sent a link to some of the people exclaiming on Twitter.

Then one of my in-laws posted about it on Facebook. Pasted the link to the text of the bill in the comments. Then one of my highschool friends shared a post by George Takei threatening to never attend an event in Indiana if the bill passes.

Okay, so this escalated quickly, didn't it?

Read more... )

Indianapolis Star article:
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/23/indiana-house-oks-controversial-religious-freedom-bill/70336706/

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