Abyssinian Cats

Abyssinians, or Abys as they are known by their fans, are another short hair whose looks hark back to their wild ancestry. There is some confusion on whether Abys originated in Ethiopia or in Egypt. Regardless they're beautiful, fascinating creatures. These cats have a ticked coat. i.e. lighter at the root and darker at the tip. Some folks claim that wild Abyssinians can still be found in North Africa.
These cats come in different colors including Fawn, Silver, Sorrel, Blue, Lilac, Tortieshell, Chocolate, Red, Cream and the ever popular original Ruddy: a brownish-red with black tipping and black feet. The kittens are born with dark coats that lighten as they get older.(Note the picture on the right.)
Abys have long muscular bodies with long tails, wedge-shaped heads, almond-shaped eyes, large ears and petite feet. The dark marking on their foreheads is shaped like the letter M.
If you want a couch-potato this probably isn't the cat for you. These cats are very active and when they aren't playing demand attention. They like their toys. They are also extremely affectionate. They love people and are gentle. If you don't keep them active and give them a lot of time and love they can become depressed. They are highly intelligent and can often be taught basic commands, such as fetching.
They are tolerant of other cats but prefer dogs.
These cats are prone to retinal atrophy.
Their average life expectancy is anywhere from nine to fifteen plus years.
If you are interested in adding one of these exotic kitties to your home, please first try your local rescue, look for an Abyssinian rescue or go to petfinder.com. 


old english font - Old English Ireland

The Old English (Irish: Seanghaill, meaning "old foreigners") were the descendants of the settlers who came to Ireland from Wales, Normandy, and England after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169–71. Many of the Old English became assimilated into Irish society over the centuries. 

Some were dispossessed in the political and religious conflicts during and after the Tudor


The Hardest Part

There are days I think each part of the book is the hardest to write. Yet on others, it all comes easily to me. *sigh* I miss the latter as they are few and far between some days.
The beginning of the book can go two ways for me. It could be the fastest, easiest, BEST thing ever. When that happens, I feel like I’m sitting on a mountain top with my Muse by my side talking a mile a minute. My only job at that point is to let my fingers go and pray to the writing gods I can keep up. I feel free, ready to take on anything because this is THE BOOK.
Then other days I’m string to start the book going “OMG why?” Those days I’m looking at this book saying, yes, these characters need me, but I don’t want to move on. I over think things. Am I writing to much? Is this an info dump? Is this engaging? Wait, was that passive? Why would anyone want to read this garbage?
I hate those days.
I love writing the beginning of a book. Most days.
Then other days, the middle of the book is the one that has me in its claws. Sometimes I’ve found my stride and things are coming together. That key plot point that was alluding me is in full force and I’m ready to rock and roll. My characters are just starting to fall in love and the chemistry is intense. I want to be them. I want to have them love each other, defeat the bad guy, and rule the world in the way that they do because I KNOW the world is ready for them.
Then other days I’m crying because my characters are boring me. Okay, not really. But I feel like they could bore me. And that scares me.  What if this is the wrong direction for the book to go? What if I can’t get through? What if my characters can’t make the chemistry work and I have to force them to love each other for the readers even though I KNOW they love each other and I just can’t write it? What if I’m doing all this backstory and world building and I find myself so lost as to what the point was?
Yes, the middle of the book can drag on. That’s scary. But we can make it work.
Other days it’s the ending. When I look at my outline and I realize that it’s almost here and I’m at the final BIG BANG before the quiet HEA, I’m READY. These characters are going rock. They are going to kick some demon ass and fight for the right to be themselves. (Yes, I just sang the Beastie Boy song, RIP man. RIP.) But I digress… Sometimes the ending is SO there for me that I almost don’t want to let them go. I’m totally ready for them to be happy together and the words are just flowing from me like I’ve lived it.
Other times I’m sobbing again because I don’t know if I have enough action, enough passion. What if the ending screws it up for the rest of the series? Should I put that final sex scene in there? Is it lagging? What if it sounds cheesy? Hey, don’t I like cheesy?
Yes, the ending is hard. Hard like the middle. Hard like the start.
Imagine that. Writing is hard. It’s filled with self-doubt. It’s filled with the OMGs and sobbing. It’s filled with the ups and downs of a manic roller coaster. It’s filled with creating new worlds and then beings scared to let them thrive. It’s filled with taking those new worlds and making them even bigger.
Yes, you’ve just seen into the mind of a neurotic writer. We’re all thinking the same things. Am I good enough? Is this good enough? Then it leads to Yes, I’m amazing. This is a NYT bestseller. Then it leads to Why would anyone read this? To finally, yes, THIS IS MINE. Mine.
We’re all a little bit crazy. But sometimes the fact that we have an outlet to be that crazy is the best thing.

Carrie Ann Ryan


When Plants Strike Back

Rhododendron-- beautiful but poisonous
-- so are the cousin plants
 azaleas and laurel shrubs.
When I was a preteen--can't remember my exact age--I caught a bad case of poison ivy, most likely from walking in the woods. I was miserable for two weeks, and literally covered head to toe in red, blistered, and oozing skin to the point I was physically ill. By the time I recovered, I was very careful to look about me when in the wild for those leaves of three. For years I suffered hypersensitivity to the plant, but now, not so much. I've known others who could walk through the stuff in shorts and pull the vines from trees with their bare hands with no effect. Since becoming a garden enthusiast, I've learned all those sappy or scent-laden plants can pose dangers to certain people.

While individuals quickly learn any fruit and vegetable they are allergic to, they are often less aware of the dangers in their yards, flower gardens, or inside among the houseplants. Some plants are fatally poisonous; others just make a person very ill, or cause severe dermatitis. Most gardeners know the 'dangerous' plants, those so poisonous they watch their grandchildren don't pick or eat them. Any of these plants can be fatal: caster bean seeds, the twigs and leaves of cherry trees, delphinium, foxglove (digitalis), hemlock (looks similar to queen ann's lace), jasmine berries, all parts of the jimson weed, larkspur (the annual delphinium), aconitum or monkshood, oeleander berries, and the leafy parts of rhubarb and tomatoes. Yet, do home owners know the ubiquitous yew shrub in their landscaping can also be fatally poisonous?

These are often the most toxic plants, mostly due to the various alkaloids they produce. Other plants, which most gardeners don't expect to cause trouble, do. Plant parts like the bulbs of many of those lovely spring flowers including daffodils and hyacinth. The milky saps from certain plants like milkweed can cause skin problems for some people. Another hazard? Scent. A vase containing Stargazer or Casa Blanca lilies with their strong, sweet smell, can induce migraines in susceptible people (me). The best way to prevent accidental problems is to know your plants. One of the best sources I've found for poisonous garden plants is North Carolina State University's Poisonous Plants web pages. Michigan State University has a downloadable file of 21 of the most hazardous native or wild plants. While both list only local varieties for their local, these plants are common to many other areas. I've also another list of troublesome, common garden plants on my garden blog.

    Trixie's Hot Box, an adult content urban fantasy romance. Witches aren't what you expect. From MuseItUp Publishing.


french calligraphy alphabet

This is a digital download image used for transfer to fabrics and paper. This is a vintage image of a sample of french calligraphy writing. 


A Day at the Naschmarkt

            First, let me apologize for posting this so late. I’ve had bronchitis that is kicking my butt. The weather here is cold and it’s snowing again. That’s another story...here’s today’s post...
            Nearly every Saturday since we’ve been here, rain or shine, we go to the Naschmarkt. The only time we don’t go is when one of us is ill or we feel we have enough food. It is similar to a Farmer’s Market in the States but much more. In addition to the weekly vegetable vendors, there are flower vendors, bakery vendors, and the inevitable flea market where people show up to sell their goods of all kind. Now, I asked my husband once if these were open during the week and at the time he didn’t know if they were or weren’t as he’d only been there during the weekends. Since I asked, I’ve discovered that all the vendors with permanent places are always open during the week. It’s only those at the flea market who come and go.
            Now, we have a friend who every time he’s in town, he will go to find antique signs at the flea market portion of the Naschmarkt. He has decorated his recreation room with signs of every sort from here. The ones he chooses most often are the signs concerning the train system here in Vienna. He has many U-Bahn signs as well as ones for the Strassenbahnand the Sudbahnhof. All I can say is that his basement where he keeps all these signs must be very, very interesting.
            It’s here that I’ve actually done some Christmas shopping as there are vendors amongst the flea market who have some great things I’d be proud to give as gifts. Some are new shops and some are old but all of them have a unique flavor about them that’s seen in few places in the world. It was at one of the small vendors at the flea market where I got my lovely floor rugs. Here’s a couple of pictures of them but first I'll describe them a little.
            The first one is in our living room. I had actually picked out a bigger blue one but when they showed me this one, I fell in love with it. I also got a good deal on both the rugs. The bigger one actually still has the tag on it from the maker and this is wonderful when proving the worth of the rug. Originally it sold for $2450 Euros whereas I was lucky enough to purchase it for $400 Euros. I’m using Harry for scale as he’s a 20 pound dog that’s only 14.5 inches at his shoulder. The picture is also taken in my living room.

            The second rug is actually more interesting as my husband thinks it was done by someone in their home. Many of the oriental rugs you see are actually machine made using the same precision as those made by hand. This one is a little worn and is actually softer to the touch. I love the blues in this one whereas the other one is green. This one is at the entrance of my bed room and is the small of the two.

            Here are some of the shops that we frequent, such as vegetable vendors, the flower shop, the Oriental shop and more.


            Please note that all of these pictures were taken during the fall as a lot of it is currently covered in snow. Hope you had a great day with me at the Naschmarkt!
            See you next time...

Modern calligraphy

Modern calligraphy ranges from functional hand-lettered inscriptions and designs to fine-art pieces where the abstract expression of the handwritten mark may or may not compromise the legibility of the letters (Mediavilla 1996). Classical calligraphy differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may create all of these; characters are historically disciplined

Tim Flannery in ESPN The Magazine

In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge sports guy. Been that way from the moment my chubby little feet hit the floor for the very first time. Sports weave their way through every cell in my body and have a profound effect on everything I do.That said, it is understandable we subscribe to ESPN The Magazine at my house. It’s an okay sports magazine. I’m not totally enthralled by The Mag as I was with Sports Illustrated as a younger person, but, like I said, it’s okay.
Well, last week, the 2-18-2013 issue arrived in the mail. It’s dubbed, The Music Issue, and has LeBron James and Dr. Dre on the cover. I see this and I hardly have any desire to read it. Don’t get me wrong, I like music, I like LeBron, and I like Dr. Dre, but where’s my sports going to fit in all this? The magazine sits for over a week, untouched.
Finally, I get so bored I pick up the magazine and flip through it. It is pretty much as expected; a lot of athletes playlists, an interesting story about Dr. Dre’s invention and marketing of Beats headphone, but that is about it.
Then on page 86 (of 92) magic happens; a story by Tim Keown about San Francisco Giants assistant baseball coach and accomplished musician/songwriter, Tim Flannery. Magnificent story about a very talented, loving, and caring individual.
Here are a story, a quote, and a song lyric from Coach Flannery which resonate with me as an athlete and a creative person. If you get a chance to read the entire article, please do. I highly recommend it.

“My father (who had Alzheimer’s) died with a straightjacket on. It was violent at the end, but it was one of the great miracles of my life, being part of it. I got to walk with him and change his diaper, and when you do that, you start to thing of the circle of life and how they did it for us. I handed him a piece of Kentucky coal and he put it to his mouth and tasted it. His eyes lit up and he started to tell stories of his childhood - stories I’d never heard before.”

“When I started writing my own music, I realized it isn’t for everyone. People listen to music and try to write that song. At that point, you’re not an artist, you’re an act. When you’re an artist, it’s: ‘Here it is. Hope you like it. Don’t care if you don’t.’”

(from his song, RIGHT OR WRONG)
“There’s just one thing for certain
I promise you will see
It’s never too late to be the person
you were meant to be”

Thank you, Tim Flannery, for all you do to inspire and create good things in our world.

Persian calligraphy

After initiation of Islam in the 7 th century, Persians adapted the Arabic alphabet to Persian and developed the contemporary Persian alphabet. Arabic alphabet has 28 characters and Iranians added another four letters in it to arrive at existing 32 Persian letters. Around one thousand years ago, Ibn Muqlah and his brother created six genres of Iranian calligraphy, namely "Tahqiq", "Reyhan", "

Japanese calligraphy

The Chinese roots of Japanese calligraphy go back to the twenty-eighth century B.C., to a time when pictographs were inscribed on bone for religious purposes. When this writing developed into an instrument of administration for the state, the need for a uniform script was felt and Li Si, prime minister in the Chinese dynasty of Qin, standardized a script and its way of being written. He

Eastern Asian calligraphy

First of all, the word ‘Calligraphy’ in Greek means beauty and writing and to express signs in the most beautiful way. Calligraphy in Asia is incredibility famous, people there not only use it as a art style but also as a way of communication like writing letters.

The art of calligraphy is widely practiced and revered in the East Asian civilizations that use or used