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Rogue wolves, party planning, and fate: Review of Fated in Winter

Welcome back to the Redwood and Talon packs and the Christmas season.

What do you get when you mix rogue wolves, party planning, and two stubborn wolves?

Conner Jamenson is an enforcer within the Redwood pack, trying to track down a rogue pack member—while harboring the fear that one day his family will be tracking him.

Romy Temple keeps to the shadows of Talon pack, even as she offers to help track rogue wolves.

They’re tasked with planning a large Yule party, and that’s when they stumble upon the biggest ‘secret’ of all…

What is the secret? Will they manage to pull off planning a ‘surprise’ party? Can they find and save their rogue pack mate?

The answers lie within the pages of ‘Fated in Winter’, a novella set within the Redwood and Talon packs world.

I loved this story, and catching up with the packs. While it is a stand-alone novella—it probably wouldn’t hurt for one to binge read the Talon pack series to get all the details on the hierarchy of the packs.

I give ‘Fated in Winter’ five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who loves paranormal romance and wolves.

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Getting back to reading & meditating: Full Moon Goals in Review

So, we’re going to be entering the first full moon of 2022 tomorrow (or possibly even today, depending on where you are in the world). This means that the month is halfway over, and my fingers are still crossed that 2022 is going to go a little more smoothly than 2021 did—but before looking ahead to Cancer full moon, I need to reflect on the Gemini full moon goals.

So what were some of the goals that I set for the Gemini full moon? They included:

  1. Finish setting up my master 2022 habit tracking journal. I’d decided to buy a larger bullet/dot journal and place all (or almost all) habit trackers that I’d been trying to use during 2021 into a single journal. This way, it should save me time overall during 2022, when I don’t have to copy them back in for the next month.
  2. Start a non-fiction book. I’d been lax on my reading (even fiction) for a couple of weeks, so I’m trying to get back into a reading habit (may have to ‘remove’ the games from the kindle).
  3. Continue to work on improving my evening/afternoon meditations.
  4. Figure out an schedule/calendar for the blog/website heading into 2022 and beyond. Since I’m really leaning in the direction of writing—I need to become a little more consistent in posting, as I realized the past few months I haven’t posted as much as I had earlier in the year).

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. I have my master 2022 habit-tracking journal more-or-less done—the pages are labeled, I just need to finish drawing in the boxes from about April through December.
  2. I’ve slowly gotten back into bouncing between fiction and non-fiction books. So far, I’ve managed to finish: Work Quilting by Vicki Walton (hopefully will have a mini-book review written in a week or so). I’m also currently reading ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson, and ‘Girl Take Back Your Career’ by Solange Lope.
  3. Slowly working on improving my evening meditation—I think that I need to get back into the habit of candlelight meditation and/or meditating in the dark. I’ve been doing my oracle card drawing and then trying to meditate on the message of at least one of the cards…the ‘quiet’ reflection period doesn’t last that long…
  4. Still working on the figuring out the schedule/calendar for the blog. After allowing myself to quit setting up weekly to-do lists in September—my productivity fell, not totally but enough that my inner critic grabbed the ‘wheel’ again. I have plenty of ideas for topics to research and write on—I just have to constantly remind myself that this is a continuous journey of learning, exploring, creating, and sharing. Therefore, I will try to set a minimum goal in terms of blog posts and pages added—if I surpass the minimum number of posts, great; if I fall short, I’ll evaluate what possible went wrong and try to ‘adjust’ my course.

So I managed to get basically three-fourths of the goals I set out to accomplish for the end of December/beginning of January completed.

2021 continued the roller-coaster events of 2020 (namely in terms of the ongoing pandemic), but I slowly started to improve in different areas: namely in setting goals for each new and full moon period (sometimes a day or two late—but they were set), actually getting several mini-book reviews written and posted to the blog and other sites, but also saw me getting ‘stuck’ in other areas (namely trying to curb the impulsive purchases).

But—progress is what I’m aiming for, not perfection. ‘Perfection’ is what the inner critic wants, that way she can keep me ‘stuck’ in my comfort zone. 2022, is going to be the year that I keep trying stretch the comfort and bounce zones, and slowly shrink the ‘die’ zone (namely possibly move those tasks/items into the ‘risk’ zone, as the ‘risk’ zone becomes the new ‘stretch’ zone).

Each day is a blank slate—my goal is to make the most of each of those slates, to where by the end of 2022 I’ve managed to accomplish several large goals: transition to the remote writing position, rework/rebrand the blog to start landing small freelance jobs, and slowly but surely find my online tribe.

With tomorrow marking the first full moon of 2022—I’m sending out happy thoughts and vibes to everyone, with hopes that this year goes more smoothly than the past two years.

Namaste.

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Happy New Years and some updates

So Happy New Years (a day late)!! I’ve realized that I forgot to save several documents as I was writing them (so I’m going to be in the writing cave for awhile), but the next few days will see update posts (Dec 2019 in review, a review of 2019, possibly a review of 2010-2019, and maybe an updated Level 10 life and goals). I’ve decided that one way that I’m going to try to work my photography into blog more is to make use of my photos and inspirational quotes to make my own memes. In addition I’m going to work them into the cover photo for the blog topic as well.

I’ve realized the major reason why I had trouble posting towards the end of last year, I was totally and completed frustrated with where I was in currently in life—I didn’t hate my job, but knew that I needed to finish out the contract (which went two weeks longer due to other circumstances), so I spending a lot of my energy just trying to get through the work day. I wasn’t happy with the fact that I let my health slide again (I’m currently at my heaviest again since college), and I’m still battling with writers and creativity block.

Well I’m now on my reboot break, and I’ve decided that instead of just one word to describe the year (last year I chose the word change), I’m going to have four words and two phrases. The four words are “grow”, “change”, “achieve”, and “succeed”; my phrases for 2020 are going to be “progress over perfection” and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life”.

The four words are to continuously remind me that in order to transition out of academia and into industry I need to start cultivating and keeping a growth mindset—start taking baby steps to reclaim control of my life (control I had been unconsciously been giving away), and the phrases are to remind me that it is both okay to stumble, and that some friendships are meant to end and new ones formed as we move through our lives.

I may get back into doing a daily photography challenge, and those photos may or may not have a lengthy text post accompanying them (which was one of my hurdles with the photography challenge last year; that and feeling like I was posting the same thing over and over again).

I have a good feeling that this is going the be the year that I manage to shed my “old skin” and transform into who I have always wanted (and have been meant) to be. Here is to a new year, a new decade, and new adventures and stories.

So stay tuned for more posts, and I do intend to try to make sure that I’m posting at least three days a week.

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Common Grackle: Photography Challenge Day 53

Grackle in the bushes

Today’s photograph is of the common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), that I spotted sitting in a bush close to the waters of Boomer Lake.

The grackle is a large blackbird that does appear black from afar, but once you get closer to them—the males have glossy purple heads, and their bodies have an iridescent look to them. They also have bright golden eyes as well.

These birds typically nest in small colonies, and even when they’re foraging/feeding they’re usually in small groups. They are omnivorous—feeding on insects, spiders, minnows, berries, grains, and acorns (just to name a few things). Plus they will eat at feeders—though they typically prefer feeding on the ground compared to sitting on the feeder (though I’ve seen quite a few of them hanging from our small suet feeder in the backyard).

They typically raise four or five young (the female incubates the eggs), and then both parents handing the feeding (which is primarily insects). The young grackles leave the nest usually a little over two weeks after hatching.

Grackles are found basically east of the Rocky Mountains, and within that range there are the areas that they can be found year round, and then the areas that they are only seen during the summer/fall (or breeding seasons). For those that might migrate during the year (breeding in the northern parts of the US & into Canada), they probably winter down in Texas and then potentially intermingle with local groups of grackles in other states (so we might have migratory grackles coming through, but wouldn’t notice since we also have grackles that live here year round).

References:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Grackle/id#
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/common-grackle
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Shortish Post–Photography Challenge Day 12: It’s still icy around the pond.

Well we got above freezing today, and we’ll be above freezing for awhile tomorrow before the next winter storm comes through. So while I was out in the yard filling up the bird feeders for the birds, squirrels, raccoons, and any other animal that wants to eat some sun flower seeds I’d noticed that there was still ice around parts of the pond.

It’s an ice snail.

What I find so cool about the ice, is that I’m pretty sure in the middle of those two ice cones are just little twigs, or possibly the stems of a some weeds that were growing at the edge of the pond last fall.

It’s been an yo-yo winter in terms of the temperature differences (we’ve had some nice days, followed by some really cold days), but luckily all the winter weather that has hit usually disappears within a couple of days. It will be interesting with next storm coming through to see how quickly it moves through, how much precipitation falls, and how long it stays around.

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Day 2 and 3 of Photography Challenge

Pancakes looking down from her perch

Well since there were issues with connecting to the wifi last night and being able to add in a new post–today there will be two for the entry of one in the photography challenge.

The picture selected for yesterday is another one of Pancakes. Unlike the other two cats who will sit lower towards everyone, if Pancake is isn’t on someone’s lap or curled up under a blanket–she is watching everything from the “top” of her world.

When we lived out in Boston, I actually have pictures of her sitting on top of a large box that I had kept (I had numerous other boxes in it), and covered with a blanket. There were several nights when she would just sit up there and watch both me and the dog, before jumping down to sleep on the bed.

Whenever we do move, I have the old cat condo to take with (hopefully it will stand in the new apartment), so that she can still sit at the top of the world.

The pond froze a little bit last night and today.

The picture selected for today, is one of the outside pond that we have. So a polar vortex has been pushing its way south and east over the past few days. Luckily, we are far enough south and west, that we got chilly temperatures (today we were about 34 degrees, and last night it was 17 feeling like 6)–but not the frigid temps that some of the other states are getting.

I’ve realized that with the job search it may very well lead me back to a state that actually gets a good amount of winter weather (i.e. the snow), and gets dark earlier than what I like. I’ve also realized that to grow as a scientist and an individual–it means change, and dealing with things that I don’t enjoy (cold, wet snow and the sun setting at earlier times)–those changes though can lead to other adventures. Right now that is one thing I can say for certain is needed–change. The form of that change–I’m not 100% certain, but I am certain that I really don’t want to be in the same place again come winter next year.

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My Current Mood (and short post)

So it does seem that the universe is giving me the hint that it will soon be time to close the door on this chapter of my life (at least professionally for now). My current position is up in about three and a half months (give or take a few days)–it’s scary to realize that Thanksgiving is that close; and no one can give me a solid answer on whether or not it will be extended. One song that has been going through my mind almost on constant replay has been “Maybe” by Sick Puppies. I first heard this song (and of the group) when I was out in Boston; and right now it seems to almost be becoming my theme song. So here’s their video via youtube.

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Photography Challenge Day 2 and a note

So I had decided that today’s post was going to be some type of quote. The only problem was that I couldn’t decided on either the type of quote or the quote that I wanted to use. I have several different sets of cards that have quotes on them, so you wouldn’t think that there would be a problem. Well tonight there was–I just couldn’t find one that totally fit my mood. So instead I took a picture of the tank top that I wore today, because that quote on it totally fits both my current mood, and just how I am in general.

Now this isn’t going to be a post bashing on religion–I have plenty of friends who are religious and as long as we don’t really talk about religion we’re fine. The reason is this: I don’t believe in organized religion, especially the western ones. As far as I’m concerned it shouldn’t be that difficult to realize that killing someone is bad, stealing things are bad, and so forth. I mean if you have to be told how to behave, and then threatened with “hell” to behave–then I think you should be talking with a psychologist.

My point is this–being kind to each other can be both easy and hard. There are people that we always get along with, and then there are the people that we get along with some of the time, and then there are the people that we can’t stand but put with for a variety of reasons. Everyone has their own paths to walk, and not every path is an easy path but we shouldn’t be making each other’s paths harder if we can avoid it. I know that there are people that I have to deal with that I don’t get along with for a variety of reasons–I always try to remain polite and professional.

With the way the world is going these days, lets all try to be a little nicer to each other–that can be as simple as saying good morning when your co-workers show up (or wishing them a good evening when you’re leaving); and then being polite and holding the door for the person behind you, or giving directions to someone who is new to the area. Let’s try to spread a little more light and happiness in the world and drive out the hate and fear.

 

Also while today is national watermelon day–I think that post is going to be getting published sometime this weekend, as I’m being a total geek and adding in a little more science to my article (which means reading and summarizing a couple of research papers).

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The female mallard came by for some seed

Well most of the afternoon was again spent sitting outside in the backyard enjoying the slight breeze that coming through the yard and noticing that numerous butterflies were starting to come through the yard. Then someone noticed that there was a duck on the side of the house by the bird feeder. It turns out that the female mallard came by for some of the bird seed that was on the ground.

      Waterfowl came back

It was slightly unusual in that the male wasn’t with the female, but he could have been back at the nest guarding the eggs (or chicks if they’ve hatched), giving momma mallard some time away from the nest (since it is mothers day you know).

Considering our close proximity to Boomer Lake, it isn’t all that surprising that when there is water in the creek, at least one pair of mallards come by for grazing on the bird seeds.

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Friday Photography Post—probably a day late (shortish post)

Well it’s looking like today’s photography challenge is going to be getting posted tomorrow. The pictures were rather larger and my phone isn’t happy trying to email them to myself (I know that I could plug the phone into the computer & download them–but that becomes even a bigger pain of trying to locate them in iPhotos library for uploading).

The weekend is going to be spent trying to get a lot of personal & professional development things taken care of, plus the usual yard and house work. I’m hoping that I can get back on track with certain things and get the anxiety under control and start moving forward with the transition plan. It has been helping to see the vision board every time that I turn on my computer, and that has been helping me move (even in baby steps) forward, when I would really like to curl up in a ball at times and forget that the world exists.

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