Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moony Over Mars

It's been a great couple of weeks for Veronica Mars fans.

First, this happened:

And then, this happened:

Having sampled both, I can tell you they were a-freaking-mazing. I expected nothing less than awesomeness from the movie, but the book? We've all seen novelizations of our favorite movies or TV shows. Has that ever worked out? Ever?

I can tell you now that it has. Exactly one time.

By Chapter Two, it was like coming home. I could hear them all in my head. Veronica's snarky voice-overs, Keith's calm restraint, even Cliff's luscious baritone. It was perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. And oh, the plot twists. The plot twists, you guys.

Well, if you haven't read it yet, you're in luck. In keeping with the tradition of the My Favorite Things giveaways, I'll be giving away one ebook copy (ebook only, no physical books, sorry) of the Thousand Dollar Tan Line, as well as one e-copy of my own book, Blind Study.

Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014


It's been a year. One full year since I started running. Kind of appropriate that this happened last weekend. 

I didn't expect it to go this far. I didn't expect it to go anywhere, to be honest. I've tried running before and gave it up every time. Blamed it on my lack of "natural stride," tried to come to terms with the idea that I just wasn't a runner. And ignored that wistful feeling I'd get when I saw someone jogging by, wind in their hair, headphones on.
Two important things I've learned this year:

1. I am, in fact, a runner. 
2. Running is a skill, not a talent.
What I mean by the second one is this; yes, you can have a natural talent for running. Running will then be easier for you than others. However, anyone, natural talent or no, will get out of it what they put in. And that applies to anything in life, not just running. 

What did I put into it? Half an hour a day, five to six days a week. Forty miles per month, 480 miles a year. Running in snow and ice and anywhere from ten to ninety degrees Fahrenheit. 

This is starting to sound like a brag-fest, and that's not what I want. The point I'm trying to make is that you--yes, you--will get out of it what you put in. Even if you have no "natural stride," even if your legs are so short you have to hem petite pants to fit, even if you're massively out of shape. You will get out of it what you put in. 

And don't forget, that goes for everything in life, not just running. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Made A Thing.

The armrest remote control holder I had suddenly decided it no longer wanted to remain on the armrest, so I decided to make my own. I looked at a few patterns online, got a few ideas, and went to work. 


I'm going to attempt to give you some basic instructions to make one of your own, if you find yourself so inclined. Unfortunately, I had this brainwave 3/4 of the way through making the second one, so of course I don't have many supporting pictures. But here goes:


Sewing machine (you can hand-sew this but it will take you forever)
Fabric, two colors. I bought three-and-a-half yards of the main color (brown) and three of the accent color (striped) and had enough to make two of these with plenty of fabric left over. Which was good, because I screwed the first one up :-)
Optional but recommended: seam ripper

Because this is going to be holding a lot of weight, I doubled each piece of fabric so that the end result was double sided. So, you will need to cut pieces in the following sizes:

Main color: 2 pieces, 36" by 14". You may need to adjust the length according to the size of your couch or chair arm; my couch arm is a bit overstuffed. The goal is to have it hang over so you can reach the remotes comfortably, and so you can stuff the other, soon-to-be-marble-filled end between the cushions to hold it in place. 

Accent color: 2 pieces 11" by 14", 2 pieces 10" by 14". 

Lay the two pieces of the main color together with the wrong sides facing each other. Pin them together with a 1" hem folded around all edges and sew. Set aside. 

Now, take the 11" pieces and lay them with right sides facing each other, pin together without a foldover hem, and sew around, leaving a four-inch gap on one side. Pull fabric inside-out through hole, so that the right side of the fabric is now on the outside. Fold edges of the gap inside (so that it matches evenly) and sew hole shut (like a pillow, if you're familiar with sewing.) 

Follow the same instructions for the 11" pieces for the 10" ones.

Now, here's where it gets a little tricky. Lay the 10" joined piece on top of the 11" joined piece, with the bottom edges lined up. If you left the gap to pull the fabric on one of the long edges, make sure those go on the bottom. The 14" edge is going to be the horizontal edge. Now, sew one vertical line through both pieces, 4" from the left edges,  from the bottom to the top of the 10" piece, and another 4" from the right edge, leaving a 4" space in the middle. This forms the beginning of your remote control pockets. 

Lay these pieces on top of the main color piece's right side (the one without the hem wrapped over it) with the bottoms matched up. Now that the hems have all been sewn, they should all be approximately the same width. Sew around edge of sides and bottom, leaving top edge of accent piece unsewn to form a large pocket. Make sure you sew over the edges of the 10" piece as well, so that the 10" piece now forms three pockets. 

Now, at the opposite end of the main piece, fold approximately 3 1/2" around the back (the side without the pockets) pin, and sew the long edge and one of the sides, leaving one side open. Fill this small pocket with the marbles, and then sew closed. This weighted edge will be tucked between the arm and the cushion, to keep the remote holder securely in place.

Voila! You have hopefully, in spite of my poorly illustrated instructions, managed to create a remote control organizer. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Vacation Roundup

Sorry I dropped off the grid here for a few weeks, but I had a good reason...I was in Florida!

Well, I was only in Florida for three days, but the preparations, etc, had me busy for quite a while. We were there to visit family, but we still got to do and see quite a few things!

First, we took a riverboat tour around Merritt Island.

One of the things I really wanted to do was to see a manatee in the wild, and this trip granted that wish. I didn't take any pictures of the manatee, because I wanted to be in the moment and not peering through my phone's lens, but we also got to see dolphins!

We also learned quite a bit about the island. Below, you can see what's left of Annie, the Merritt Island dragon. Until a tropical storm blew through and broke her up, she was large enough to contain two rooms, and according to our guides, "breathed" actual fire. You can also see the abandoned home of the guy who built her.

Then we stopped at an orange grove stand, Harvey's. The orange trees grow just like birches or pines up here.

Melbourne, Florida is also the winter home of the Washington Nationals. It was right down the road, so of course we had to check it out. Here you can see Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth (he's the one rocking the Sasquatch style).

We also spent some time in a local wetland, owned and preserved by a utility company. They do a great job; there's a fantastic array of wildlife. Lots and lots of gators, too!

No, really, lots of gators. You kind of have to watch your feet. (Watch till the end; it's worth it.)

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