Archive | February 2016

Share Your World – Week 8


Spring Bouquet and new table cloth in the kitchen

It’s time again for Cee’s Share Your World Challenge . It’s pretty straight forward; answer three questions and participate in a tiny challenge. Sounds like fun, so let’s go!

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Vacuuming. This is 50% of the reason we got rid of all of the carpet in our house. Oddly, I don;t mind sweeping, as I’ve gotten older I don;t mind dishes anymore. I used to hate those.

What was the last URL that you bookmarked?

Sports and Games in Elizabethan England. It’s in my “Handy Research Links” folder where I bookmark research for my books.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

My neck. I think I’m coming down with something (I feel fevery and achy all over) and so it’s hurting worse than usual. It thinks I should go to bed.

Would you rather have a two-bedroom apartment in a big city of your choosing or a mansion in the country side in the state or country where you currently live?

Mansion hands down. I need room for all the junk I’ve collected, and I like the countryside better than the city. (If you’d asked me a few years ago I’d have had a different answer. Moving here reminded me that I like rural life better.)

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for my awesome beta readers. Three (out of six) have the book back to me and the other three are nearly done already. Of those, one had eye surgery and is STILL working on it anyway.  I owe him a huge box of chocolates or something.  As for looking forward…um…I think we’re going to a friend’s house Wednesday. That will be fun.

And that’s it. Fun, huh?

Have a Sharing kind of day!

Jo 🙂

Chinese Portrait

I got this from Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie. Be sure to check out their blog.

joWhat is a Chinese Portrait? It is a set of questions ones answers about themselves. Most people agree the answers should be spontaneous. They’re then used to get to know the writer better.

Though I looked, I could not (easily) fins an origin for this, so if you’re curious you’ll have to do your own research.

On to my Chinese Portrait:


If I were a sound… I would be falling rain.

If I were an animal… I would be a cat; pampered and petted.

If I were a flaw… I would be a crack in a mirror.

If I were a season… I would be autumn when colors blaze.

If I were music… I would be a violin piece.

If I were a sin… I would be greed.

If I were an element… I would be earth, whether I like it or not.

If I were a song… I would be Jingle Bells, sung loudly and off key.

If I were a color… I would be red.

If I were a fruit…. I would be watermelon.


If I were an insect… I would be a butterfly. (does that count?)


If I were a natural phenomenon… I would be a tornado – become the thing you fear.

If I were a month…I would be October.

If I were a place…I would be a wooded stream with lots of bunnies hanging around.

If I were a job… I would be annoying and detail orientated.

If I were a word… I would be happy.

What would YOU be? Feel free to post your answers in your blog, or in a comment, or even on Facebook. You can use these questions or you can make up your own/find others you’d rather answer.

Have a red Jingle Bells kind of day!

Jo 🙂


Mixed Bag

I have nothing to say. Actually, that’s not true. I always have lots to say, but I don’t have anything worth sharing. I have lots of boring stuff to say about my book – I got the symbol designed and drawn for the top of the chapter pages, I re-did the synopsis, and I set up the pre-order at Amazon. I also have the book back from three of the six betas and need to go through and incorporate their (very good) suggestions, along with some things I have been discussing with Steve (like another action scene in the boring part) – but that’s boring to listen to.

I could rave about the band I am currently obsessed with – The Dreaming, if you want to know. It’s most of Stabbing Westward regurgitated into a band I think is better. Or maybe not. I admit, while I owned SWs albums back in the day, I didn’t listen to them a whole bunch. I guess they just didn’t catch me at the right moment. But anyway, The Dreaming has, and I’ve gone on to buy all three albums. I’ve got Etched in Blood on repeat right now. Bullet* is my current favorite, though it will change in a day or two. Maybe I need to backtrack and re-check out SW?

Other than that I have worked on some book covers and been editing a friend’s book. It’s taking me forever because I keep forgetting to edit and then have to backtrack and redo whole sections because I was busy reading it.

I could also talk about the Terrible Turtles comic, of which I posted a new page tonight wherein my twin sister is rescued and I’m blown up by the evil turtle overlord – but you can always just go check it out yourself.

I don’t know. I just feel randomly bleh for some reason. I was fine earlier and then…I think it’s that baby dolphin the tourists killed. I keep running into it on facebook and every time I do it upsets me more. The poor thing. It looks so upset in the photos and then… I hope they catch whoever did it and throw their asses in jail for a long time.


Anyway, here are the two covers I’ve finished recently:

And now I think I’ll take my bleh self and head to bed.

Have a “song driving you insane” kinda day (I am!)

Jo 🙂

*You know you wanna hear it:


Pythian Castle – 2012

This is another of those photo events i finally got around to editing and uploading. In June 2012 mu Aunt and Uncle came for a visit and we checked out Pythian Castle in Springfield, Missouri. From what I remember, it was built as an orphanage and during WWII was a PoW camp, which is what gave it it’s haunted reputation.

They didn’t allow very many photos – okay, NO photos, except the outside and the entryway, and when we went most of the rooms weren’t done yet. It was fun, though a lot of the tour was about the current owners and their daughter (who worked for some hollywood thing – I forget what. Maybe she was a dancer?). the basement, however, was worth it, as it was plenty creepy, including the room “as seen on TV” that the Japanese PoW had painted (hopefully that’s still there), and a weird little closet that was just big enough to stand in where they would supposedly put people who caused trouble.

Anyway, on to the handful of photos.

I’m sure that by now they have a lot more of the place redone, for instance on the Private Rental page of the website there’s a photo of the tower room – when we were there it was all bare wood and a cat who was wandering around, so it’s probably a better value for the price of admission. Still it was enjoyable, and as I said, the basement was creepy. I don’t think I’d go down there after dark! And it looks like they have a whole bunch of event now besides just the day tours, so if you’re in the area you should check it out!

Have a castle kinda day!

Jo 🙂


Share Your World 2016 – Week 7


Rockhopper at the KC Zoo

Plain Ol’ Vic participates in Cee’s Share Your World Challenge every week, so I thought I’d give it a try rather than rambling at you. It’s pretty straight forward; answer three questions and participate in a tiny challenge. Sounds like fun, so let’s go!

What are you a “natural” at doing? 

Poking in weird details at the last minute, such as odd things on the Terrible Turtles Comic pages, or last minute ideas for contests or pages for my author website – but this only works at the last minute for some reason.

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?

Multiple levels because I can get more rooms that way with a smaller lot. Luckily we got a two story house. If I win the lottery I am finishing the basement, the attic, and adding a tower or two to get even more height.

What was your favorite subject in school?

Art, Creative Writing, and History. My freshman year I loved pre-algebra because we had an awesome teacher who explained it really well and made it all seem like beautiful magic, but sophomore algebra quashed that.

Complete this sentence: If only the rain would… fall every day I’d be in heaven. or almost every day. I suppose we need some sun now and then to keep from getting too soggy.

BONUS: What are you grateful for from last week and what are you looking forward to in the coming week? I’m thankful for penguins. I am still excited about having been on the overnight event at the KC Zoo. As for this week…I don’t know. I suppose more editing on my book. Though that’s not really exciting.


Kansas City Zoo

And I’m back! I mentioned in yesterday’s Penguin Polooza post that hubby and I also went to the Kansas City zoo for a day of fun.


I’ve been meaning to check it out since 2009/2010 when our electric coop magazine ran an article about the director “pleading” with people to come to the KC zoo instead of going all the way to Omaha. Despite the intent, it’s taken us this long to actually get there. (hey, life is like that).

We actually meant to go last autumn, but ran out of time before it got chilly. So, I’ve checked out reviews and such for the zoo before and have always been surprised by the negative ones. Now that I’ve gone I am REALLY surprised about the negative ones. I thought it was great – it’s not as big as Omaha’s, but it doesn’t cost as much to get in, either, and it has plenty of animals and some really great exhibits. I noted with dismay that one reviewer complained because the habitats were “too big” and offered animals”privacy” to “hide from people”. Um…yeah. how is that a bad thing? I guess because the people in question didn’t get to stick their faces in some poor animals’…

As I mentioned yesterday it was COLD – like seriously twelve degrees F cold, so most of the animals weren’t out. Signs on the exhibits explained that they had the option to stay indoors if they wanted to (meaning you might get lucky) but for the most part the animals were smart and chose to stay inside.

That’s not to say we didn’t get to see things. The Tropics house and Discovery Barn were open, the polar bear Berlin was out, the river otters loved the weather, and the sea lions were even having fun. The coolest, though, were the orangutans. They have a HUGE enclosure and normally you wouldn’t get to see them up close, but because they were indoors, they came right up to the viewing window to see us. And I mean right up.


As in that photo is a 35 mm shot.


You can see in that one how close they were to us. As someone who usually finds the orangutans scary, this was especially fun because these guys weren’t scary at all (Omaha’s are sometimes pretty aggressive). The older one was more quiet and thoughtful while the younger one there was funny. I doubt we’ll ever get to see them this close again, and I wish I’d been able to get more photos, but the reflections on the glass were terrible. I need to learn how to handle those.

As I said, the Tropics House was open:

The sea lions were swimming:


Berlin was roaming a bit (the polar bear habitat is HUGE!):


The river otters were playing:


And the birds were chillin’


The zoo is divided up into areas:


In Asia/the Tiger Trail there were only the aforementioned orangutans and some monkeys whose habitat is inside:

Australia had the snake house:

We wandered over the bridge to Africa, but alas no one was out there because of the cold. Still it was a nice walk and they have some great ambiance.

And I forgot to mention that in with the penguins (who are the big draw of the month) are some cool jellyfish:


As always, there are more photos in my flickr album.

So, final verdict? I thought it was great, and I’m looking forward to going back when its warm and everyone is out. All the animals I saw seemed happy and cared for, the grounds were well maintained and fun, and everyone was friendly. I don’t understand why this has bad reviews at all. Sure, it’s no Henry Dorley, but it’s not trying to be. I’d put it between Omaha’s and the Dickerson Zoo in Springfield (which is a very small one) because though this one is small-ish, it has some great, very modern exhibits,like the penguins, polar bears,  tropics building, and most of Africa for instance. It has good themed decor, plenty of great interactive areas for kids, including lots of photo stops and signs with tons of fun facts, and in warm weather there is a carousel, tram, and boat rides! If you’re in the area, it’s worth dropping in.

Have a river otter tummy kinda day!

Jo 🙂

Penguin Polooza

Hubby and I have been together since 1998. That’s a lot of Valentines’ Days. In all those years we’ve done all the romantic/sexy/sweet/lovey-dovey things. This makes it challenging to come up with something to do (besides ignore the holiday, which we have also done).

But this year hubby came up with an awesome one: Penguin Polooza at the Kansas City Zoo. For less money than a motel room would have cost, we got to spend the night in the zoo’s penguin complex. Though the event is geared towards children, it was plenty interesting for adults (it has to be or else parents wouldn’t come!)  And since we were there with no children and as a Valentine’s thing, the awesome ladies let us sleep in a little area by ourselves, which had the most penguin activity so i literally got to lay awake and watch penguins swim past me.



Since we slept in the zoo, it meant we got to be locked into the zoo – so we got to drive through the zoo!


Anyway, I thought that was cool.


The penguin house at night

Aside from penguins, there was an animal encounter that involved a bunny, a rainbow boa, and hissing cockroaches, all of which we got to pet:

(Yeah, there’s no cockroach pic, though I *did* touch it)

We got a snack:


And then we got to go on a night hike around part of the zoo (it was so cold we didn’t go too far, mostly just to the tropics building, but we got to go back into staff areas, which was very cool, including the kitchens), and the kids played games, and then, did I mention there were penguins?

There are more penguin photos in the Flickr album for penguin enthusiasts.

The swimming penguins were taken while I was laying on my sleeping bag. I admit, I didn’t get much sleep between being cold (our fault because we didn’t think about the fact that the building would be cold – I know, I know) and watching penguins. But we still had to get up at 7 a.m.


Yes, that’s frost. It was very cold. We then had a tasty breakfast:


And it was time for penguin selfies:

Yes, that is my teddy bear. He goes overnight with me. It’s become a superstitious thing, but I don’t care because I’m cool like that.

After that we got to go to the zoo itself, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s blog.

In all, it was very fun, and very cool, and as I said, cheaper than a motel would have been – and motels do not have live penguins swimming past you all night, so…The staff who ran the event were awesome and a lot of fun, and the handful of kids (there were seriously only seven or so) were well behaved, their parents were nice, and the facilities are great. I have to recommend this as a nice overnight outing – whether you have kids or not. I don’t know when they’re doing it again, but it probably tells on their website. I do know they have camp outs in the summer in Africa, and they have a polar bear night as well. I’m sure those are just as fun.

And now I need sleep. I am sooooo tired!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Jo 🙂


Back to 2005

Another two rolls of film made it to walmart and back. Not a lot of good pictures on it, sadly. Some were ruined by time like this one:


And others were just bad photography, like the four of the blurry toad (Which I’m not uploading). Among them were a few salvageable ones.


There was one photo that the effects of time enhanced:


Pretty cool, huh?

Not much to share. Been editing on the book. Hopefully it can be done soon so I can give it to the beta readers. Fun times.

Have a good one,

Jo 🙂

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