Lake Huron Under Snow

Good day folks.  🙂

Some days I think I’m taking pictures solely to play with them in Photoshop.  It’s not true, of course, but I do enjoy the ‘shopping.  In truth, this week we stopped to take pictures of the ice on the lake.  

Of course there's really no depth here...

Of course there’s really no depth here…

…so it’s really hard to tell just how far away the horizon is.   I took the photo with the Beach & Snow setting – which made the info panel at the bottom look something like this: IN 5 8m Norm[with a down arrow above it], no idea what it means.  Wait!  Let me ask my favourite photographer.

I had to use my webcam to take a picture of the back of my camera with the setting showing.  😀  Apparently this is a tricky question.  I have an Olympus D-700 and it seems Olympus likes to think outside the box.  

It turned all the evening snow pictures blue, like the one above.  I kind of liked the effect but what was REALLY strange was when I took that picture and put the auto-contrast on it…

...it turned black and white

…it turned black and white

Not greyscale, like I did to this next one but virtually black and white.  (This next picture is the first picture put in greyscale.  Confused?  I almost am.)

This is also pillow embossed with lavender shadows.  :D

This is also pillow embossed with lavender shadows. 😀

With this setting I took a picture of the gazebo at the beach.  However, when I used the auto-contrast on it I got a completely different result than the black and white one.  

I checked, used the auto-levels and auto-colour just to be sure I hadn't accidentally used a different setting.  All came out the same.

I checked, used the auto-levels and auto-colour just to be sure I hadn’t accidentally used a different filter. All came out the same.

See why I have been confused about this week’s photos?  *laughs*

Okay, Dawn did the research for me (see, there are reasons why I adore her).  The IN means that the internal memory is being used.  The 5 is how many shots I can store on the internal memory using that setting.  8m Norm indicates that I am taking the photos at 3264×2448 norm pixels.  

And now we know.   

The gazebo is a gorgeous picture, if I may say so myself.  

I didn’t do a lot to this next picture, auto-contrast alone, because I thought it had a luminescent quality to it that I really liked.  

The pier and the entrance to the marina.

The pier and the entrance to the marina.

That is a ton of ice and snow.  That white edge on the horizon is still ice and snow.  The lake is amazingly quiet.   

“Of course it is, woman; it’s frozen!”  The internal (mostly) peanut gallery has a point.  

So yeah, playing with Photoshop.  I took another picture of the lighthouse, this time with just the pier and lighthouse as the focus:

This is the original.  All I did to it was take it from the 3264x2448 to 1500x1125

This is the original. All I did to it was take it from the 3264×2448 to 1500×1125.

I applied the auto-contrast and ended up with this:

Dark and dreary

Dark and dreary

I did think it looked like an old photo though.  A couple of not-quite expressions from the ones I share these things with encouraged me to play with it again.  I went wandering through the filters, trying this and that.  Came out with this:

This is with the diffuse-glow filter added to it.

This is with the diffuse-glow filter added to it.

Just took it that one step further and made it a little more special.  I like it.

Earlier that day we were driving to go do some shopping and I was looking out the window as we drove, taking snapshots with my brain.  I said, “Why is it that the best shots happen on the worst days for pulling over?”  With a road shoulder covered in snow, ice and a slurry of the two and the road not all that much clearer, you don’t want to be stopped to something as unimportant as taking pictures.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the photography and if I could make money selling my photos, I would and I’d take more chances.  But since this is a hobby AND I’d have been risking Peter, parking on a sloppy shoulder was not going to happen.  

Peter, being the guy he is and loving me as much as he does, took the next right and drove until I saw a satisfactory place.   He was parked at the wrong angle for me to effectively use the roof as a stand for my itty bitty tripod (if the Gods would see to sending me a proper one I’d be grateful) but that’s ok, we were off the road and out of danger.  It is why this one, as lovely as it is, has a tilted horizon.

Pretty though, eh?

Pretty though, eh?

Auto-contrast and I cropped it to exclude the sloppy road.  …hmmm…I need a new word for sloppy.

This next one I took with the camera vertical, otherwise the same settings.  I did crop out the sloppy road, once, but decided that it was lacking.  

LOVE the contrasts.

LOVE the contrasts.

One of my favourite things about days like this, and this morning, is that the snow is uncaring about what it paints white.  It eliminates all the colours, leaving behind nothing but bright, pristine cleanliness and dark shadows.  The contrasts are sharp stark.  This is why I love having seasons (though I hate being too cold or too hot). Spring offers a riot of colours as small plants and trees alike burst into life with thousands of blossoms.  Summer turns the world green.  Autumn is an explosion of red and gold as nature prepares to slumber.  Then there’s the peaceful two-tone Winter.

Love, love, love having seasons.  While my health would love me to live somewhere temperate, I’d miss all the colours.

That’s it for me folks.  I was listening to some classical yesterday to meditate – starting with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto Number 12 and moving into Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – when part of the  Largo e pianissimo sempre (yes I looked it up) inspired Anna’s Demon form flight and now I’m ready to write it.

Finally.

Have a good day!

Muah.

The World Outside My Head

It often looks like this:

Escher's "Relativity"

Escher’s “Relativity”

I’ve talked on and off about  my health here and there before but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten in depth and explained why I have such difficult with sitting down and concentrating on writing most days.  So here I am, baring myself to you in full.  The Full Monty. 😀

I am disabled.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do things.  I do do things.  Then I get in trouble for overdoing it.  I seem to have a “Supermom complex” – at least according to my doctor.  It means that things are more difficult for me.  

I have (in no particular order of diagnosis):

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis (3 places in my spine)
  • Degenerating Sacroiliac Joint (it’s the hip joint that allows your leg to swing out, not just back and forth)
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Corn intolerance
  • Soy intolerance
  • Migraines
  • Chronic Sinusitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Interstitial Cystitis and
  • Asthma

There are a couple I’m forgetting; there have been so many diagnoses over the years it’s hard to keep track.  My biggest blocks come from the FMS, the SI joint and the MCS.  

The US National Library of Medicine defines FMS as 

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.

They don’t tell you it causes sleep issues, brain fog, short term memory loss, moodiness, inability to concentrate.

They define MCS as

Nothing.

And therein lies the rub.  MCS isn’t a widely recognized condition and most doctors fail to recognize it as a problem.  However, multiplechemicalsensitivity.org defines it as

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; in broad terms it means an unusually severe sensitivity or allergy-like reaction to many different kinds of pollutants including solvents, VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), perfumes, petrol, diesel, smoke, “chemicals” in general and often encompasses problems with regard to pollen, house dust mites, and pet fur & dander.

Multiple chemical sensitivity unlike true allergies – where the underlying mechanisms of the problem are relatively well understood widely accepted, is generally regarded as “idiopathic” – meaning that it has no known mechanism of causation & it’s processes are not fully understood.

It causes, in me, fatigue, a distinct loss of IQ, moodiness, headaches, asthma attacks, itchy burning skin, lethargy, an increas in my pain and a serious inability to focus.  Sometimes it leaves me feeling and acting stoned.  

The sacroiliac joint is this one: 

SI joint. Swing your leg in a circle, this is the joint that makes that happen

If I could I’d show you what nerves run through them and where the muscles are etc.  I can tell you that the sciatic nerve runs through it and that while the joint is still (barely) “within normal parameters” the nerve damage in my leg is getting worse.  It makes sitting, walking, stretching, etc. extremely uncomfortable on my worst days with pain down my leg and muscles seized up in my lower back.

All three of these things, plus the migraines and sinusitis, create a hostile environment in my head.  When I’ve been exposed to chemicals it triggers several reactions that flare  up other things.  When my FMS is in a flare I’m more sensitive to the chemicals.  Those two alone are a vicious cycle.  

So Escher’s Relativity is my outside world because of these things but what about the world inside my house?

"Beware", a fractal by my friend cate

“Beware”, a fractal by my friend cate

It’s beautiful, chaotic with a compelling kind of symmetry, peaceful and vaguely frightening at the same time.  

I live in an old apartment. It’s a 22-step walk up and there are three apartments here.  It’s part of a very old strip of buildings with stores with high ceilings on the ground floor (although there is a dance studio beneath me).  Butted up against me to the north is the first apartment in the next building.  To the east is the bathroom of the apartment on that side of the building.  Then a T-shaped hallway and the third apartment on the south side of that building.  Downstairs is a thrift store on the southeast side, a private laundromat on the southwest side (I think that’s where it is, I don’t use it) and the dance studio directly beneath me.

Lots of chances for chemical exposures.  

It was easier when the other two apartments were empty but this past month a mother, her daughter and grandson moved into those apartments.  And last night we found out one of them has a dryer.  The hall was filled with the scent of dryer sheets.  Which means they’re not venting properly (dangerous) and making it a chemical soup to get through my hallway whenever they use it.  Not to mention whatever is seeping around the door into my apartment.

I’m almost always in a fog.  I am trying to write every day but I have to admit there are some days when the file sits open, staring mockingly at me.  (Brings to mind Patrick Wharburton “You’rrre mocking me, aren’t you.”  I think it was The Emperor’s New Groove)   I have been trying to write Anna’s demon flight for days now.  Today I’m going to give it a try again.  I think that she will be telepathic, like she is in book 2 when she’s fighting that demon, Duemos.  

So I’m a writer with cognitive issues – easily distracted, poor short term memory, poor ability to concentrate.  On the plus side I’m really good at multi-tasking.  I can talk to my kids and type at the same time.  I can play two games at once AND watch TV.  If I can get focused on something I am zeroed right in.  So focused that I tune out everything.  Music can help with that but not always.  

This past month I’ve been working on getting a routine going for household and physical things.  Next week I start on my head and a shift of my meds schedule (I have 14 of them).  So we’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully more production!  So much I need to do and so much I want to do.  I have a great support system, I really do, but there is one thing that they can’t do for me:  Write my books.  

Have a great Friday and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Muah.

Photoshop Frenzy

Good Saturday afternoon folks!  

I have spent the morning playing with Photoshop and I’ve been having some fun with it.  This tutorial about monochrome and sepia was a lot of fun to play with and I will show you the photos from it.  I also discovered the Inversion setting. 😀  THAT turned out a couple of awesome photos, I will be showing you one of them along with the original.  I have a macro shot or two to share and one where I simply played with the brightness and contrast.

Shall we?

First, I find it funny that they have to post this picture on the pier. 

It's actually on the lighthouse.

It’s actually on the lighthouse.

What kind of fool made them have to put this up?  Who is willing to jump into the swirling, murky miasma of lake water that crashes into the concrete & steel wall?  Honestly!  There are some very dim bulbs out there.

Peter and I were at the beach together last weekend.  I was mostly on the pier, seeking a spot to meditate and a different perspective for pictures.  He caught up with me in his walk…

As above, so below?  *laughs*

As above, so below? *laughs*

It’s weird that his camera angle is pointing lower than my face.  He says, “It looks like I’m taking a picture of your below.”   *chuckles*  

There were some broken branches and driftwood tangled up on the beach that offered me a couple of lovely macro shots.  For this first one, I shifted the focus to the background after doing it accidentally in another shot while trying to take a shot of the twig.  I lined up the composition better and took the shot.  I liked the different textures of the branches against the sand.  

The focus here was on the background, not the twig.

The focus here was on the background, not the twig.

In editing I used auto contrast then sharpened the image.  Then, as an experiment while browsing through the filters, decided to see what “Dust and Scratches” did.  It softened everything I had just sharpened.  *laughs*  I like it though.

This time I focused on the twig itself.  The water on it made it look varnished and made it glisten.  I quite liked the image when I saw it.  The depth of colour in the actual photograph pleased me because it’s the same as what I saw on the beach.  However, I did tweak it.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

There wasn’t a lot of tweaking; I merely played with the brightness/contrast.  I deepened the contrast and made it just a smidgen brighter.  It turned out really well I think.

I have limited time here so I’m going to post my three favourite pictures out of the ones left.  The first one here is taken while I’m standing at the edge of the pier.  I had the camera on “sport” trying to capture the waves as they rolled in and out.  This is the best one I think.  All froth and foam.  

I could have cropped out the edge of the pier but why?

I could have cropped out the edge of the pier but why?

In editing I did the auto contrast, despeckled it and used the sharpen filter.  It turned out really well.  I’ve been looking for an image to do sepia on and thought this might be a candidate.  However, before I went to the Photoshop tutorials I was wandering through all the tabs and I found Invert.  I clicked it (of course) and LOVED the result!  Watch what happens to the grass.

Val thinks the grass is blue Christmas garland. She's never gonna let it go.

Val thinks the grass is blue Christmas garland. She’s never gonna let it go.

I am absolutely thrilled with the way the water turned out.  It looks like clouds of smoke or roiling ink.  It’s dark and dangerous and just a little sassy with the bright blue along the edge.

Two more.  This first one is a wonderful little stone I found.  You can get a grasp of the size by the size of the tiny pebbles around it, those are grains of sand.

See the veins in the left side?  What do they make you think of?

See the veins in the left side? What do they make you think of?

It’s had some brightness/contrast work done.  It was also cropped and spun 90° to the left so you could see the veins of rock climbing through it.  To me it looks like a skeletal tree, something you’d find in a Tim Burton movie maybe.  😀 That was all I did to it.  I love how sparkly the sand is.

And this one is me trying that tutorial as he was talking.  I didn’t quite get the “New Style” thing but I believe he has a different version of Photoshop than I do (I have 7.0).  

It's a large mussel shell.

It’s a large mussel shell.

The editing has already been talked about for this one. I did have fun with this though, pausing the tutorial in order to play with the hue and saturation slides.  I also decided I didn’t like it in the orange based sepia.

I may have a bonus photo blog this week.  Peter’s given me some pictures he took to play with.  He was trying to get them to look aged, to make the town look more desolate.  It’s hard to make this…

Isn't it cute?

Isn’t it cute?

…look desolate.  *laughs*    But since I have fun experimenting with Photoshop, I offered to give it a shot.

Have a great weekend folks!

Muah.

 

 

Demonizing Anna

Hi, my name is Catherine.  I’m a writer and it’s been five days since my last blog.  

I’m sorry it’s been so long, boys and girls.  I’ve been writing and trying to deal with the toxic crap floating into my apartment from the shared hallway.  My landlord has dumped a bunch of scented trash from cleaning the apartment next door and hasn’t yet removed it.  I’m getting more than a little irate but I don’t think he realizes just how much it stinks.  It’s not just that though, the big clear bags and the old furniture are unsightly and a fire hazard.  The Marshall would  be on his ass if he knew.  I really should call but I have this phobia about making phone calls.  :/

I know, I know, “Suck up the phobia, stop whining and call him already.”

Anyway, I have written every day this week and I have a couple of things to share with you. 

In case you’ve forgotten (or I haven’t talked about it) Anna is now in Ballachulish with Marcus, Jules, Brock and Doug.  They’ve done their first bit of wandering around and at this point they’re in a pub for a meal before going out to let their Wolfie selves run a bit.  Marcus overhears a little conversation:

At a nearby table two men were arguing about her and it was all Marcus could do to stay in his chair.  The two men, obviously fishermen, were trying to keep their voices down but Marcus had a wolf’s hearing.  He mentally labeled them Fish One and Fish Two. 

Fish One said, “She’s ugly I tell ye! Reminds me of a banshee what with those scars and that white hair.”

Fish Two scoffed.  “She’s ethereal,” he countered.  (Marcus was surprised at the word.)  “Romantic.  I bet she’s a strong woman who has been through much.  I like that.” 

Marcus decided not to kill Fish Two.

“Them scars are ugly.  Her eyes are freaky and her mouth is a little too puffy.”  Fish One ran his eyes over Anna’s face and Marcus studied her too.  She did have lush lips, often curved in a smile.  The longest scar tugged ever so slightly at the corner of her mouth, giving her the appearance of a slightly cocked grin.  Marcus thought it was charming.  Fish One continued.  “Even her eye colour is freaky.  Have you looked close?  I’ve seen the depths of hell in them.”  He had indeed had the opportunity to look at her eyes, Anna had met his eyes and greeted him with a small nod when she entered and caught him staring.

Fish Two shot to his feet and punched Fish One in the mouth.  He wasn’t too sure why he was being so protective of the woman.  He didn’t know her from the Queen of England but for some reason his best friend’s opinions were making him furious.  “Mind yer tongue!  There’s nowt wrong with the woman!”  He turned to Anna, bestowed a charming, heart stopping smile on her then stormed out, shouting over his shoulder.  “Willie’ll take care of the check, Mable!”

Marcus burst out laughing and quickly smothered it, deciding then and there that Fish One had been properly taken care of.

Fish One and Fish Two… Appellations created solely for my amusement.  I felt that people needed a reminder of Anna’s appearance and this is the way I thought to do it.  I have to admit there’s some repetition in Fish One’s final statements about her eyes but that will be taken care of in editing.

After dinner they headed out for a hike in the forest at the south of Ballachulish so they could run.  Once they’d found a spot to shift Anna pulled Marcus aside and told him she wanted to explore her demon side.  Marcus, of course, objected.  Anna pulled rank and forced Marcus to shut his mouth.  He insisted on standing watch over her while she attempted to make a controlled change for the first time since she got back from Hell.  This is what happened:

Truth be told, Marcus was exhausted from the shifting he had already done that day so he widened his stance and looked as immovable as a mountain.  “I’ll watch.”

“Fine.”  Anna turned her back on him, unwilling to see his face.  She wasn’t even sure if she could accomplish it again.  The first time had been done without thought.  She closed her eyes and turned her focus inwards.  Anna had compartments in her head for the pieces of herself – one for the Vampire, one for the Wolf, one for her memories (that one looked like a library with a card catalogue), special chamber to contain her power and a new one for the Demon.  All those compartments held the bulk of her monsters, the full power of each of them and still small pieces of each made up the whole of Anna.  They were separate and yet one at the same time. 

Anna opened her mind to the visualisations.  The chamber for the demon was locked and Anna stood before that door, key in her hand and took a deep breath.  She put the key in the lock, a simple steel padlock and key, turned it and removed the lock.  The door burst open and the demon was on her in a second.

Marcus took a step forward when Anna staggered and hunched over with a pained grunt as her skin turned ash grey.  The pulsing, moving bulges that appeared over her shoulder blades frightened him.  He stopped when Anna straightened up.  As he watched she stood straight and began her shift.

The Demon burst from her with the same elegance as the Wolf.  The skin colour deepened and wings exploded from her back, unfurling with a snap.  She grew taller, slimmer and her muscles became sleeker, more defined.  Hands and feet lengthened, her middle fingers and middle toes melted together to become one digit, claws sprouted from all the nails. 

Marcus waited as she stood there, head bowed, and took several deep breaths.  He watched as she turned then looked her over from her feet to her hair, gasping at the look of her face.  It was a blend of Vampire and Wolf and wasn’t quite the same face that she came back from Hell with.  Her forehead was prominent and ridged, her eyes were black.  She had a short but definitive wolf snout with long sharp teeth.  Whereas before she was covered in leathery skin this new skin was the colour of the sky just before a thunderstorm and had in fine silver fur that brushed over her torso, thighs and forearms, even the hair on her head shone silver.

“Wow.”  The word slipped out before he could stop it.

Reading over the week’s writing, I have to say it’s not the best I’ve ever done but I’ve been writing and actually getting things done.  I count this as a good thing.  

I will be posting a blog tomorrow, I took some excellent pictures from the pier last week. 

Have a great day!

Muah

PS.  I fixed it.  The double “her eyes are freaky” has been changed.  The second one is now: “Her eye colour is unnatural.  Have you looked close?  I’ve seen the depths of hell in them.”   I don’t think it is quite right yet, needs to sound more uncouth fisherman but it works for now.  IT would have nagged at me!  

Cats, the Weather and a New World

Good Sunday morning folks!

I only have three pictures to share with you today.  This week has been about recovering from the motorcycle supershow last Friday – which doesn’t explain going to the Food & Wine Show in London yesterday *laughs* – and it means that I didn’t get out to get the photography done that I wanted to.  

The first is a little snippet of my life (and here’s picture number 4!).  

This is my desk space:  

Although I have the top half of a pine roll-top desk on it now, behind the monitors.

My laptop sits on a rack now, not a cooling pad and the cat still gets up there behind it.  Tucks himself into the space under the bottom shelf of the roll top and naps.  But the naps don’t usually happen until he’s finished trying to get to anything that may have rolled until the rack which, in my case, can be anything from a pen to a spool of thread to a folding knife.  

It’s total chaos when he does this.  Trying to do anything on a bouncing laptop is impossible.  So I tapped him on the top of the head with my finger and told him to stop while shaking the aforementioned finger at him.  His response?

He chewed on my thumb.  Then whacked me back (not that I whacked the kitty).

 He chewed on my thumb. Then whacked me back (not that I whacked the kitty).

Terror the Terrible!  Too bad he’s so cute.  Or rather, it’s a good thing he’s so cute.  Means I haven’t had him stuffed yet. *laughs*

He did calm down and nap eventually but some days this behaviour gets him unceremoniously dumped on the floor.  

It’s been a slow week, lots of pain meds, lots of resting my legs, lots of trying to encourage the muscles and nerves to calm the fuck down and return to normal.  Four and a half hours of walking on concrete floors is a lot for an athlete, never mind someone with as many health issues as I have.  So I did what I always do when I’m having trouble:  I watched TV.  One of the shows I found was called Countdown to Apocalypse on History Channel.  

Fascinating stuff.  They said that on 12/21/12 the sun, earth and milky way were in perfect alignment, (well, they said would be, given that the show was created prior to that date).  It’s an event not seen in 26,000 years and is one that ended the last ice age.  They said it warmed the earth so much that, well, the ice went away.  They also said that the sun has entered its most violent stage and we can expect more, larger, solar flares and storms.  If there’s a big enough storm it’ll basically act as a massive electromagnetic pulse and wipe out all our electronics.

Scary eh?

They theorized that this change in the way the sun, earth and milky way were all shifting to create this alignment has something to do with global warming, possibly more so than anything we’ve done – which certainly hasn’t been helpful!  (We are destroying the planet we need to survive.)  And now that the alignment has occurred, we can certainly expect changes in our weather and quite probably catastrophic earth events.  

Fun.  

You can see it happening already.  Snow in traditionally wet, temperate places on the west coast (just ask Val, who lives in Vancouver or those poor saps in San Diego California who are dealing with a winter storm that dumped snow on them).  

As for us, last week we were dealing with this:

A blanket of snow covered the entrance to the beach.

A blanket of snow covered the entrance to the beach.

And yesterday morning I woke up to this view through the kitchen window:

Spring??

Spring??

 

It looks like March outside!  The temperature yesterday reached 12°C but felt much warmer.  It’s the middle of January.  It is, however, supposed to hit the low of -5°C and snow tomorrow.  

The scientists can say all they want, talk all they feel they need to but nothing is going to change what will happen.  I believe that in addition to the climate changes, possible orbit changes and maybe the poles swapping places the most fascinating thing to happen will be the resurgence of magic.

What?  You didn’t seriously expect that I, Caity Bowman, writer of the paranormal, witch and energy worker, wouldn’t think that?  *chuckles*

Welcome to the new world.

Pain, Life and Work

So today I wanted to get to work.  I wanted to dive right back in there and make myself happy by accomplishing things.  A little writing, a little blogging (oh hey, will ya look at that? Here’s a blog!), little time on my Facebook and trying to figure out what a website should have – content, photos, etc., maybe do some work on filling out my Goodreads profile some more.

Instead I’m sitting in a pain puddle.

Actually electricity hitting water but hey, who wants to be accurate. 😉 Photo courtesy of Loreescience.ca

The motorcycle show was awesome and I’d do it again.  Just… differently.  Use my cane, sit more, something. I have been left unable to walk without searing pain in my legs and feet.  Man oh man does it ever blow chunks.  So I’m taking acetaminophen with codeine and ibuprofen to try and cope. 

Unfortunately, with the kids back in school my weekdays start out busy, which means I’ve over done it already.  

I am going to try to work though.  We’re still here in HW3:  

Anna tapped a finger on the page.  “We need to find these people.  And I need Elsie.  Jules, you start with the newest one.  Brock, the one before it.  Doug, take this one,” she handed them out as she spoke.  “Marcus, this one,” she gave him the next oldest, “and I’ll take the remaining.  First though, I need to get Elsie.”  She leaned forward and set the last two books on the low coffee table in front of her then stood up.  “I’ll go to the bedroom.”

A small, grunted chorus of agreement from Wolves already deep into ancient journals reached her ears just as she closed the bedroom door.  She smiled and crossed to the bed and sat down lotus style.  Anna closed her eyes as she rested her hands palm up on her knees with the fingers relaxed.  Three deep breaths later and Anna was deep into a practiced meditation.

Her astral self drifted from her body and she reached for Elsie.  Anna popped up beside Elsie and Alasdair and wavered a little bit before firming up.  “Phew!” she said, “It’s warm in here.”  She looked around the ethereal home they’d fashioned in the valley of the caldera and smiled.  “I like it though.”

Alasdair jumped about a mile.  “Damn ye!  Don’t you ever knock?”

Anna smiled sunnily.  “Hard to knock on smoke walls, MacIain.”

The Laird growled then chuckled.  “What can we do for ye, lassie?”

“Marcus found some journals.  We need Elsie to help us wade through them.”

Elsie stood.  “As you like, young Miss.”  She kissed her husband and popped into Anna’s hotel bedroom as the Hybrid opened her eyes.

“Thank you, Elsie.”  Anna unfolded herself from the bed and went back out to the sitting room, the ghost following closely.  “We’re back,” Anna announced.

“Welcome back, pretty ghost.”  Marcus smiled at Elsie.

“Ah ye young bucks all think with that monster between your legs, doncha?”  Elsie grinned at him.

“Only when one so lovely as you is about.”  Marcus leered at her.

Anna chuckled as the others groaned.  “Marcus you flatterer, go back to your reading.”  She sat down and opened the journal very carefully.

“What do you need help with, Missy?”

“Deciphering this journal for starters.  I took a quick peek before I went to you and I can’t read it to save my life.”  Anna opened it to reveal a page covered in old words scrawled in smudged ink.  It was barely legible, let alone anything Anna could understand.

Even Elsie squinted at it before reading out loud. 

I know what I want to put there… well, knew.  I just have to find it again.  

*rummages*

Ah here it is:

What in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great Argument
I may assert th’ Eternal Providence,
And justifie the wayes of God to men.
~Book 1, Paradise Lost, John Milton

That will be the start of the very first journal and then Elsie will simply translate the Gaelic, without me showing what the Gaelic text is in the first place.  I can’t imagine trying to figure that all out!  Gods that would be hard.  I’d have to learn the entire language, which would be fascinating but something I don’t have time for right now.  Getting a tutor to learn would be relatively simple I think, given my friends.  But no, I don’t have time.  *gives her head a shake*

My brain is now running on almost all cylinders so we shall see what’s in that first journal.  

Have a great day folks!

Snow in Photoshop

Greetings!

Yep, my brain is lame today.  You’ll have to forgive the title.  Yesterday we went to the… *takes a deep breath*…  North American International Motorcycle Supershow.  

Phew.  What a title!  

It was AWESOME.  

It was also 425,000 square feet of bikes, helmets, leather and people.  Oooh the leather!  And the bikes were amazing.  The Century of Motorcycles exhibit was insane.  We had a great time.  Today I am beyond tired and in a lot of pain (thank you Tylenol, codeine and Advil for helping me cope!) so aside from my pictures there will be very little chit chat.  But there is this one thing… 

I have decided what the Thing in the “book and…” thing is!

It involves these!

It involves these!

One or two of them at least.  They’re pewter and the pentagrams are about the size of a nickel.  Perfect.  I found them at the bike show yesterday.  Serendipity.

On to the pictures!  They are the last ones of 2012 and I think they’re beautiful.

Val, the one who talks to me daily about the writing and everything, flew out from B.C to visit her family.  We drove close to 5 hours to go and visit her.  It was a lot of fun!

Val, the one who talks to me daily about the writing and everything, flew out from B.C to visit her family. We drove close to 10 total hours to go and visit her. It was a lot of fun!

My daughter's 13th birthday was this past week too.  Thirteen!  She wanted a cookie monster cake.  I poured the blue dye into the milk and had to photograph the result.  Even the reflection if my camera and fingers makes it that much cooler.

My daughter’s 13th birthday was this past week too. Thirteen! She wanted a cookie monster cake. I poured the blue dye into the milk and had to photograph the result. Even the reflection if my camera and fingers makes it that much cooler.

Look at the richness of this blue!  It's fantastic and looks like a marble.

Look at the richness of this blue! It’s fantastic and looks like a marble.

On New Year's Day Peter and I went for a walk in the snow.  Of course we brought our cameras...

On New Year’s Day Peter and I went for a walk in the snow. Of course we brought our cameras…

First we stopped at the top of the stairs to the beach and I just had to try and capture the violence of the lake, the brilliance of the snow and the starkness of the trees.  Then I put it all in grayscale because, really, it looks awesome.

First we stopped at the top of the stairs to the beach and I just had to try and capture the violence of the lake, the brilliance of the snow and the starkness of the trees. Then I put it all in grayscale because, really, it looks awesome.

So then we went to the main beach (so I wouldn't have to climb the stairs back up from the private) and this is what we saw.  Boulders of ice being tossed around by waves.  They were probably close to 2 feet across!

So then we went to the main beach (so I wouldn’t have to climb the stairs back up from the private) and this is what we saw. Boulders of ice being tossed around by waves. They were probably close to 2 feet across!

The next two photos are my absolute favourites.  I cropped them both to showcase the focus better and applied the auto-contrast plus grayscale.  They are beautiful photos, if my opinion means anything.  😉

We met this pair in the parking lot and they walked out to the pier to stand together and watch the waves and snow.  It was a lovely moment and I couldn't help but capture it.

We met this pair in the parking lot and they walked out to the pier to stand together and watch the waves and snow. It was a lovely moment and I couldn’t help but capture it.

The pier and the lighthouse.  My goal was to capture the snow.  It was appearing out of the sky only a few feet above our heads as big fat flakes. It was like magic, such purity from a heavy, iron grey sky.

The pier and the lighthouse. My goal was to capture the snow. It was appearing out of the sky only a few feet above our heads as big fat flakes. It was like magic, such purity from a heavy, iron grey sky.

That’s it for me today folks!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  

Muah.