Free at Last!

“Ha, ha! I’m free at last, free at last!!!”

Free at Last!!

Free at Last!!\












“Finally! That wretched creature you call the Domestic CEO released me from my plastic coffin. Stuffed in there with effigies of witches, pumpkins and candy corn, I’ve been in mass graves with fewer occupants. I thought I was your writing partner? Huh? Wasn’t that what we agreed to?”

“Uh…yes it was but, I didn’t realize she packed you away until it was too late to come find you. Besides, I knew you’d make an appearance about this time.”

“Some friend you are! Hey, you’ve been busy. The stories coming along and I like the twist…”

“Hush, Nabob! don’t give it away.”

“Okay, okay. But look at that section in the beginning with the entire cast. Now that really needs some work. What were you thinking?”

“Well, I was trying to keep the story moving forward and kind of glossed over it. I knew I’d come back and fix it later.”

“It’s time to get it done, Writer.”

“Not quite yet, Nabob. I still need to finish the last three scenes.”

“Oh yeah. Shitty first draft and all that, right?”


So, Writer, where are you at?”

“I’m in the middle of the big fight scene where Derek and Amy are …”

“Good to be back, Writer.”

“Good to have you back, Nabob.”



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MAVEN entered orbit around Mars at 10:24 p.m.EDT Sunday, Sept 21, 2014.

MAVEN during Mars Obit Insertion - MOI Image courtesy of

Artists rendering of MAVEN after Mars Obit Insertion – MOI
Image courtesy of











After launching on Nov. 18, 2013 and a 10 month trip covering 442 million miles the MAVEN Spacecraft successfully entered its initial orbit. The trajectory calculations were so accurate the third and fourth correction maneuvers were not needed. Cheers went up from the mission support at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado when confirmation was received from MAVEN.

The MAVEN Project has taken 11 years from concept to reaching orbit. during the next six weeks, MAVEN will be maneuvered into its final orbit path. The hard part is over, but now the science begins.

Sampling the atmosphere at various altitudes around Mars,scientists at the University of Colorado and other facilities, hope to obtain a better understanding as to what happened to the martian atmosphere over time. The primary mission will take one year to complete. It will also provide better understanding of the habitability of mars with future manned missions in the 2030’s.

Congratulations, goes out to the entire MAVEN Project team for getting the bird into orbit!!!

Congrats, Pat. Thanks for the belated birthday present. :-)

See previous posts on the MAVEN Project here.


Posted by on September 22, 2014 in MAVEN


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Quote of the Day 9/18/14


The quote today has its origins in ancient Persia. However, it has been used by nearly every generation since.

“This too shall pass.”

This is one that is very close to my heart as it has helped me through some rough times. No matter how difficult things get, I know that they will get better, eventually. It speaks of hope, a sustaining force.

A similar quote that has been used throughout history is, “All glory is fleeting.” So enjoy your 15 minutes of fame when you get it. For it won’t last long.

Have a great day today!! :-)


Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Other Strangeness


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Inspiring Spaces






As part of a blog hop run by Cate Russell-Cole, I was tagged by a wonderful lady named Jade Reyner, to share spaces that inspire me to write. Notice I did not say writing spaces. These are two different things for me. I posted about one of my three writing spaces back in June 2012 in a View of the Room. This is actually my home office where I do my day job one day a week and when I’m on call. It is full of inspiration and I love to be in this room even though oddly, it is not where I do most of my writing.

Reference and reading room

Reference and reading room









I have another writing room that houses most of my reference library, a comfortable chair for reading, and several paintings created by a friend who was inspired by one of my short stories. However, the spaces that inspire me to write are rarely indoors.

Inspirational View

Inspirational View









Those who follow this blog know that I spend a great deal of time at my cabin. And, if you read back through my posts, you will find numerous references to the lake, the weather, and the fauna who allow me to interact with them. I find that nature inspires me more than anything else. When I get stuck, lost, frustrated, etc., going back to nature sets things right. The change of seasons triggers different moods that translate easily to the page.

Treasure trove of inspiration.

Treasure trove of inspiration.









Another source of inspiration are the numerous antique and junk shop excursions the Domestic CEO drags me invites me to join her on. Seeing the odds and ends of eras long gone, fires my imagination. I see a vase or a chair and I wonder where they have been? Who owned them? What type of house was it? Why did the owners part with the object? You can easily see where this line of thinking takes me.

Anyway, All my teachers used to say that I liked to daydream and look out the window. That’s where my inspiration was all along.




Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Musings and Odd Thoughts


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MAVEN Update – 9/11/14

Ten days until MAVEN is placed into orbit around Mars.

Artists concept of the MAVEN Spacecraft - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Artists concept of the MAVEN Spacecraft – Courtesy of Wikipedia

On November 18th of 2013, I had the enormous pleasure to witness the launch of this space mission along side members of the project team. Our viewing site was at the base of the Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center. It was a bucket list event to say the least.

Since then MAVEN has been hurtling toward Mars at over 27,000 miles an hour. All in-flight tests to date have been successful and the control center is buzzing with anticipation of the September 21st when, at 10:23 PM MST, MAVEN will be placed into orbit around the Red Planet. The process is described in this YouTube video.

I am always amazed by the science and mathematics involved in these projects. If the numbers used to calculate the trajectory of Mars, the Earth, or Maven are off, or the length of burn to enter orbit, a multi-million dollar scientific instrument can become just so much space junk. That’s why the term ‘failure is not an option’ is so closely related to the space program.

I am proud of the team who have spent years preparing for this. And, though I will not be able to sit in the control room as MAVEN enters orbit, rest assured that I will be glued to the NASA channel on my television. You will hear me cheering as the final corrections are made. Join with me in celebrating an achievement of dedicated people seeking knowledge that will help us understand one of the mysteries of space and perhaps understand our own planet.

If you are interested in my previous posts on the MAVEN Project, they can be found here.


Posted by on September 11, 2014 in MAVEN


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Quote of the day 8/28/14


In April of 2013, I replied to a particular blog post. Unfortunately, I can not remember the name of the blog. However, the post related to making mistakes and trying to learn from them. I was feeling a bit snarky that day. The night before, I had screwed up a knife that I’d been making for a friend. It was the third time I had messed up the handle. But for whatever the reason, I made the following comment on the blog:

“We’re a product of our environment and experiences. mistakes are a hammer on the anvil of life. Good steel must be hammered repeatedly…”

I wasn’t really thinking when I wrote it. The words just sort of came out based on my reaction to the blog post I’d just read. I don’t remember whether or not I proofed it before I hit send. I just moved on to the next blog. A few minutes after I posted the comment, a blog/twitter friend asked if she could borrow it. Puzzled but not overly so, I said yes. The next thing I knew, she had tweeted my comment. It wasn’t until I read the tweet that I realized what I had said. I liked it and it fit my life at that moment. What can I say, even I can be profound once in a while. :-)

How about you? Have you ever made an off-hand comment that you later realized was profound in some way?


Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Musings and Odd Thoughts


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View of the Garden

Some of My Daylillies starting to bloom!

Some of my daylillies in bloom!

I have not blogged about one of my other passions, gardening. I can’t say why. It just didn’t seem to be right for this blog. Well, I’ve changed my mind.

Do you believe in magic? If you answered no, I want you to go outside and take a walk in nature. If you still don’t see it, find a gardener and ask them to show you. You see, magic is everywhere in nature. As a fantasy writer, if I need inspiration, I look outside and watch the daylillies change from bare ground, to little green spikes, to fountains of green leaves, to rockets of stalks that explode into glorious colorful displays. The idea of fireworks had to come from man’s trying to copy the splendor of daylillies growing to full bloom.

These were "throw aways" from the hybridizer.

These were “Throw aways” from the hybridizer.

Here are a couple of my favorites that were actually throw away plants from a local hybridizer. The colors and petal structure are normal for these plants. Throw aways, Really? Yes.

Still another "Throw away"!

Still another “Throw away”!

Do you want to be a better artist? Paint detailed gardens. The variety of textures created by the foliage will force you to perfect every type of brush stroke there is. When I designed my gardens, I spent more time thinking about texture than I did about colors. The reason is that most plants only produce blooms for a short time. The foliage however, is there all season. Even the textures of a hosta glade vary as each cultivar has unique shape and growth habit.

Textures of the foliage are overseen by the Watcher!

Textures of the foliage are overseen by the Watcher!

Then there is the magic of water. Moving water is best but any water holds magic. The sound of water splashing over boulders that are older than time creates a vibration within one’s body that is both soothing and invigorating. Cool water flowing over sun-warmed rock. Softly sliding over hard surfaces, the clear fluid continues to move toward the center, wherever that might be.

Mystic Waterfall (My Backyard)

Mystic Waterfall
(My Backyard)

And lastly, a sure-fire cure for writer’s block. Find a well-textured garden and get down on your hands and knees. Better still, on your belly. Get your eyes down as low as possible. Crawl forward until you are right at the edge of the foliage. Look into it and imagine you are a rabbit or chipmunk. What adventures await you as you enter into the jungle before you? What dangers lurk beyond the first few leaves. Get closer. Try to move through the leaves to the next layer. How does the view change? How does this affect you? Now you see how this change of perspective can stimulate the imagination and open up a blocked mind to allow the muse a chance to work again.

My gardens are a source of peace, therapy, and inspiration for me. What do you use?



Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Garden Walks


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