Battelor Griffon

Battelor Griffon
Photo by Diana Robicheaux

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Most BOO-tiful Time of the Year!

It's been almost two years since I posted anything on my blogs. WAY too long! But I have been writing, busy, busy, busy pulling story ideas out of my head and typing away until they're something other people might want to read someday.

Since Fall is my favorite time of the year, specifically Halloween, this seemed like a good time to start up the blog again. This time I'm making Ink Wash my home page so I don't keep forgetting about it. Maybe I'll even get one of those badge thingies from the Speculative Fiction group on Agent Query and start doing blog hops. Who knows.

So, stay tuned kiddies. You never know what I'm going to do and Halloween is the season for surprises. Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Shawn and I went to Lexington on Christmas Eve to spend time with friends like we have for the past five years or so. We had a great time at BJ and Beth Willenger's house eating their traditional Chinese "A Christmas Story" dinner and watching Svengoolie. Then we went to Carol and Laura Reynolds house to watch the "A Christmas Story" marathon, the "Dead Like Me" marathon and have coffee, pecan pie, black forest cake, and Christmas fudge. We finally left for home at around 5am. We pulled into our driveway in time to hear the churches around us ringing their bells on Christmas morning. And then we went to bed and slept through Christmas Day.

So how important is it to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day? It isn't important at all, not to us anyway. There's so much pressure to buy gifts, get everything just right and be done by December 25th that the stress has sucked all the fun out of the day. So what is the solution? Do we stop celebrating Christmas altogether just to get out from under the stress and the headaches? NO! But we do celebrate it differently now than we used to.

First of all, we don't even think about Christmas until after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not one Christmas song or special is allowed in our house until then. The Christmas decorations don't go up until sometime in December, sometimes right before Christmas. And when the stress of not getting it "just right" starts to be too much and we find ourselves forgetting what Christmas is about, we sing Zombie Christmas Carols. Yes, that's right, I said Zombie Christmas Carols. It gets all the "bah humbugs" out and puts everything in perspective, believe me.

 And if we have a year like this year where one of us is sick and things don't get done at all, we get to it when we get to it. What's the big deal about December 25th anyway?

Short answer, there isn't one. It's an arbitrary day set as Christmas Day as the Christian answer to the Pagan Winter Solstice celebration and the Jewish Hannukah. No one really knows when Jesus was born, so it's not the date that's important, it's the celebration of his birth and why. And we can do that anytime.

We use the time to enjoy the company of good friends and family and don't worry about "the big day." If we forget something on Christmas Day, we stick it under the tree anyway and unwrap it on New Year's Day, or as we call it, "Oops! We forgot it" day. Besides, there's always better sales after Christmas than before and we don't mind waiting.

So relax! Give yourself a break and enjoy the "Holidays" as a whole, not as single, stress filled day. And I bet your kids will love the second chance to open presents on New Year's day! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

E-Reader TABLET! Ah-Ha!

First the update! 

It's been forever since I posted anything here.  I've been busy for nearly a year now with "other things."  Most of you know that I'm a fantasy artist and one of the mutitudenous horde of wanna-be-published authors.  I spent most of 2011 preparing for Dragon*Con which went well, I'm happy to say.  BUT as soon as we got home from the convention and my husband went back to work, he was told he was being laid-off at the end of September.  The money I got from Dragon*Con was thankfully enough to get us by until I got a decent paying job.  But my husband is still out of work so I take advantage of every over-time opportunity I can, which keeps me busy and unfortunately away from my computer.

So what does ANY of this have to do with the title of this post: E-Reader TABLET! Ah-Ha!  Well, since we only have one computer and I'm at work for most of the day, my husband has taken over the use of said one computer to hunt for jobs, update his resume, and report to Unemployment.  So where did that leave me?  Stuck with having two finished novels that I can't edit or write queries for because I need access to my computer files for that.  While I do have a computer at work, I can't access personal e-mail accounts through our system (potential virus and spyware hazard).  And I wouldn't want to leave any newly generated files on the system because anyone else using my computer could access them.  Then one of my coworkers came in with a Nook reader that let her check her e-mail and my brain went AH-HA!  If I could send and receive e-mails to myself on the reader, then surely I could do my edits that way.  And the search for the right e-reader began!

I started with a Kindle Keyboard...Bomb!  Straight back to Staples where I bought it.  I didn't like the Kindle Fire, and quite honestly couldn't afford one either.  Nook Color cost even more than the Fire, and I didn't like that Fire would only download from Amazon and Nook Color would only allow access to Barnes & Noble.  I hate being told where I can and can't shop, by anyone.  Enter another coworker with a brand new e-reader that looked like a tablet, and hers would download from anywhere.  So I looked it up and found that while hers wasn't really a tablet, there was another, smaller version that WAS an Android powered tablet!

Eureka!  I bought one.  OK, so maybe I'm a bit of a sell out, but I can't afford an iPad or a Galaxy tablet.  I can't have one at work anyway because those are actual computers, but I can have an e-reader.  With the addition of a free office app, I can get my edits done and even write new stuff in my spare time at work.  AND I use it at home too while my husband is searching for jobs.  It even allows me to get some access to my laptop at home.  All I have to do is start playing Angry Birds on the couch next to my husband and PRESTO!  He's ready to swap with me and I get to update my blog, finally =) 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bio Fuel

We're all feeling the strain at the pumps right now and we all know there's absolutely no legitimate reason for the exorbitant price of a gallon of gas.  We also know what's going to happen to the economy, our jobs, and our lives if it the prices don't go down.  So what is the answer?

Hybrid cars are wonderful, if you're in the position financially to buy one.  But what about those of us who struggle at the low end of the middle class who can't afford to add a car payment to the monthly bills?  Solar panels are a wonderful way to reduce, or even eliminate our electric bills, but who can afford to buy the solar panels these days?  The truth is, it takes A LOT of money to buy all this energy efficient, money saving technology and none of it will do much to help us right now.

The high price of fuel is not a new thing.  It nearly bankrupted the country three years ago and still there are no viable solutions.  The government's solution is "use less fuel" so we all did and instead of going down, the price went up because since the demand went down the oil companies reduced production.  The truth is, they don't want the price at the pump to go down.  In fact, they would all be very happy if it kept going up.  Case in point, BIO-FUEL!  You may wonder what I'm talking about, after all, bio-fuels are supposed to reduce our carbon footprint and save us money.  Eventually.  If only they didn't cost so much to manufacture.

The excuse for the cost of bio-fuel is that it's SO difficult to make.  I just watched an episode of NOVA that was all about alternative energy, including bio-fuel.  Soybeans and corn are two of the main sources of bio-fuel.  One fellow developed a yeast that distills bio-fuel that comes out ready to be used with no additional refinement needed.  Wonderful!  But he used sweet grass so the fuel cost $100,000 to manufacture one tablespoon.  Sweet grass?  Really?  I even heard of an oil company that's attempting to make fuel from algae.  It all sounds good on the surface, after all, soybeans and corn are food and we shouldn't be using food for fuel, but come on!  It sounds to me like they're deliberately choosing raw materials that will never be cheap enough to be cost effective.

But there's a perfectly good and potentially abundant, cheap source of the sugars needed to produce bio-fuel.  It's called...wait for it...SUGAR!!!  Yes, that's right!  SUGAR! Sugar comes from sugar cane, something that the US is capable of producing in abundance.  Nearly every state in the country could easily grow sugar cane, in fact, it's one of Louisiana's key agricultural crops.  Unless you've been to southern Louisiana in the fall, around Franklin and the surrounding countryside, you wouldn't know what goes on there then.  The fields around the town grow sugar cane and it's harvested in the fall.  What isn't needed for the harvest is burned.  Yes, I said burned, miles and miles of cane fields burned off because the cane isn't needed to make sugar.  It's been this way for many decades and I'm sure Louisiana isn't the only state that engages in this practice.  Researchers in Hawaii experimented with making bio-fuel from sugar cane several years ago and found it to be much cheaper and easier to manufacture and of much higher quality than fuels made from soy or corn, and won't deplete anyone's food supply.

So why aren't the oil companies who claim to want alternative energy pursuing the use of sugar cane as a viable source of bio-fuel?  I think that's the question we have to ask, and demand an answer too.  According to last night's NOVA, it should be as simple as adding yeast to sugar and distilling it, and that could be done at the local brewery.  Imagine that.  Cheap and abundant, renewable fuel that's as easy to make as beer.  I can see it now, the oil companies would all go out of business and Budweiser would become the king of more than just beer.  No wonder the oil companies are stalling.       

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


So this is something I've been thinking of writing about for almost a year.  I'm sure a lot of you have e-readers and love them, so I'm probably going to step on your toes, but I really don't like them.  I don't see the point of owning one, except to spend anywhere from $149 to $275 on a piece of technology nobody really needs.

E-books can be downloaded to your computer, laptop, I-Pad, netbook or phone.  So why lug around an e-reader too?  From a practicality standpoint, I would rather have a printed book.  I like the feel of a book in my hands.  I like the look of books on my shelves.  If I drop a book down the stairs, I just go down and pick it up, no harm done.  If I drop an e-reader down the stairs, I have to clean up a bunch of shattered plastic and buy another e-reader. 

Then there's the cost of e-books.  While some are free, most cost at least as much as a paperback.  So why not just buy a paperback?  If I buy an e-book, what do I have to show for my money?  Twenty years from now, the books on my shelves will still be readable and I won't have had to invest any more money to keep reading them, or pass them on to someone else.  Technology is constantly changing and what is new now will be obsolete and no longer functional in a few years.  After all, the computer I had ten years ago can't even get on the net anymore.  So I imagine if I want to keep up with e-books, I would have to keep investing in upgraded technology when the old becomes too slow to make the interface. 

I heard one person argue that e-readers were environmentally friendly because they don't use paper, save a tree and all that.  Please don't get me wrong, I love trees.  Forests are one of my favorite things in the world and I get very upset when I see a beautiful tree cut down for no reason.  BUT--The fact is that paper, and the trees it's made from, are a renewable resource.  Cut down a tree and a new one, or more, can be planted in its place.  Paper is also recyclable and bio-degradable, unlike the components of an e-reader, or a computer, cell phone, etc.  The batteries in these devices are quite toxic and do I really have to mention the manufacturing process from the acquisition of the raw materials on (strip mining for metals for example)?

So what is the point of having one more electronic gizmo tethered to us?  Paper is renewable, bio-degradable, recyclable, durable, portable, does not require batteries, has been around for thousands of years and will never become obsolete.  Wow, I don't know what you think, but that sounds like the perfect piece of technology to me.  I think I'll pass on the e-reader and spend my $149 dollars on a stack of new, PRINTED books instead.   

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day

Okay, so this entry may seem a little late, but Valentine's Day is sort of still going on at my house.  We didn't have the money, or time to celebrate on Monday by going out to dinner or giving each other gifts, not even cheap ones.  None of that really matters much to either of us anyway.  So instead, I made a special dinner for us and we re-decorated our Christmas tree.  Yes, that's right, I said the Christmas tree.  Hay, it's white and has pastel lights on it so it serves double-duty.  We decorated it with pink paper hearts and wrote on each one either "I Love You Because..." or "My Happiness is..." and something personal.  

Do something special for the one you love every day.  Send a text, bring home a single rose, or make dinner even if all you know how to do is warm up canned soup.  My husband brought home bagels for breakfast so I wouldn't have to cook and made pizza rolls for dinner just last night and I love him more for it.  Showing someone you love them doesn't have to be pricey or difficult, as long as it's sincere.
My husband is from Louisiana so the decorations on the tree will shortly change over to the purple, gold and green of Mardi Gras, but I'm keeping the hearts.  I think we'll add to them next year.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Another year ends tonight and a whole new one starts tomorrow!

I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore.  I realized when I was a teenager that I was only setting myself up for failure and disappointment. It never occurred to me that maybe I had unrealistic ideals set for myself.  Like lose a ton of weight, become the most beautiful girl in school and make all the guys love me and the girls jealous.  Yeah, like that was ever going to happen.  Or swear to get straight A's.  In art class maybe.

All that stressing to achieve things that were unrealistic did nothing but make me very unhappy.  And the truth was, I didn't really want those things in the first place.  Okay, maybe I did want the straight A's, but tests always made me draw a blank so I knew it wouldn't happen.  But the rest of it was all simply to make others, family, friends, even strangers, happy with me.  So I was the one who was unhappy because changing yourself to make others happy always leads to heartache.

I actually kept the very last New Year's resolution I made: Never to make another New Year's resolution ever again.  No, from then on if something needed doing I would simply do it.  I don't make unrealistic demands on myself or others and I don't accept them either.  I don't rush important things just to get them done and I don't leave the simple stuff undone because I'm too busy.  Except for the dishes from the night before.  Well, and maybe some laundry, but you get the idea.

So, my wish for myself and all of you is simply this: Get real and be genuine.  Appreciate yourself, your family and every day you have just the way it is.  Fix problems as they arise and don't worry about what hasn't happened yet.  If you do, you'll miss a lot of great opportunities and unexpected pleasures in life. 

Take a moment to say "I love you" to your family members even if you're not really feeling it right then.  I promise you won't be sorry later and they'll remember it.  If you feel like yelling at your loved ones, hug them instead and see what happens.  Do one small thing everyday that makes you happy: listen to music, watch a favorite show, read a book, or grab a pint of your favorite ice cream.

And have a Happy New Year!