Category Archives: Chocolate Choices

Books the Gateway to, eh, More Books

Did you see that I have a new site for my blog? Read my latest post here:

Books the Gateway to, eh, More Books

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy

Sharing favorite books with my daughter…

Don’t miss any posts. Go here http://dianabeebe.com and follow me there. Thanks!

Muscle Memory is the Source of All Evil (Extra Spaces, Anyway)

When you type, how many times do you hit the space bar at the end of a sentence? Do you double tap or single tap? Two keystrokes or one?

A friend of mine sent me this link Space Invaders by Farhad Manjoo. The article made me think about my own space bar habits.

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy

Random sentences from my MG manuscript (STATE SECRET KEEPERS) with extra spaces…

Go to my brand new website to read the rest

ūüôā¬†Are you following my new site yet? It‚Äôs super easy to do! Thanks for your support.

Finally, My Own Place

I’m moving to my very own place! My whole life, I’ve never been on my own.¬† So now I’m going out on a limb.

I upgraded to my very own domain!

Mermaids Don’t Do Windows has moved to dianabeebe.com.

You know what this means for you, don’t you?

  • Go over there and follow (subscribe for free), so you’ll get email notifications when I post something new. This site won’t get the new stuff forever.
  • No more annoying ads!
  • All the same great content to browse when you need to laugh at me.
  • CommentLuv for you bloggers who’d like to share your recent posts.

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy

It’s still needs some tweaking, since some of the widgets aren’t behaving as expected, but I’m pretty happy with it.

Thankfully, I’m still not out on my own.¬† I’ve got¬†TechSurgeons to thank for helping me get the site up and running¬†in one day (as soon as I finially decided to go out on that limb).¬† I have my very own TechGuy now!

What are you still doing here?¬† Go here and subscribe.¬† ūüėČ See you soon!

What carrots taught me about patience and goals

There is one thing that a home garden doesn’t provide: instant gratification.

The instant I harvest something is only one moment of gratification. Eating it is another.¬† Two moments of gratification–cool, huh? Three, if you count the successful feeling of sowing the seeds in a well-ordered garden.

Give carrots room to grow and reap the rewards

Give carrots room to grow and reap the rewards

Carrots are the ultimate vegetable for teaching patience.  They take the longest to sprout. In fact, they take so long, I sow a few radish seeds with the carrot seeds so I can keep track of the row. By the time the radishes are taking shape, the carrots are pushing up through the ground. By the time I harvest the radishes, the carrots are tiny, little bitty hints of roots.

So why not run to the grocery store or farmers’ market to buy a bunch of carrots and have instant gratification?

Because home-grown carrots are the best tasting carrots I’ve ever eaten.¬† We start thinking about our orange root vegetables the second we plant them.¬† Yes, they are that delicious.

While the little tiny roots are taking shape, we have to take care of them. They need the usual water and sun but not too much heat. They also need space and soil that allows them to grow down, or they will grow around each other and at odd angles.

If we want the biggest, best carrots, then we have to thin the row and wait. Even pulling¬†the smaller carrots to make room for bigger ones later is a reward. These “baby” carrots are tasty, too.¬† They also remind us that better veggies are still to come and that we shouldn’t give up on the goal.

Sounds a bit like patience and working toward a goal, doesn’t it? We have goals that we want to achieve, but we can’t expect to complete them overnight. We must take baby steps or have smaller goals that lead us to the ultimate goal.

I have friends who climbed Mt. Ranier last summer. They planned for it and worked up to it. They didn’t show up at the base of the mountain and start climbing the minute they decided to do it.¬† They were patient, organized, and safe. They trained and climbed smaller mountains until the time was right to conquer the big one.

If we have too many goals (too many carrots crowded together), then we have a hard time focusing (have nowhere to grow) on the ultimate prize.

In our digital, fast-paced culture of instantaneous chatting and information gathering, we can’t rush quality work.¬† We can do things that help us be more efficient, but a carrot takes about 3 months to grow. Some take longer if they didn’t have room from the beginning.

If you look closely at the picture of my first harvest, you’ll see a tiny pale root next to the largest carrot.¬† It got pulled when I thinned them. If I’d seen it, I would have put it back into the row so that it could keep growing. I can’t be devasted that I missed it–the space will be taken up by another, bigger¬†carrot.

We have to reevaluate our goals from time to time, which means throwing out ones that don’t fit our needs anymore. Then we have to wait some more.¬† Even mountain climbers have to change plans if the weather turns unsafe.

Maybe this post should have been called, “How carrots and mountains teach patience.” ūüôā

While some¬†of my goals take longer and require more patience,¬†I’m going to be happy with my small steps of achievements that are getting me there. And eat a few carrots along the way.

What goals are you working on right now? What things do you do to help yourself be more patient?

Demon Dog to Cuddle

I’m having one of those weeks when deadlines at the day job (and editing my final draft of my¬†middle grade book!) make the blog a distant priority. (If you read yesterday’s post, you know what I mean. Sorry about that. *sheepish grin*)

To make it up to you, I give you Demon Dog to keep you company:

Diana Beebe's Blog

Looking a little scruffy…Mockingbird needs to groom her dog.

Mockingbird adopted her from a local ASPCA almost two years ago. She even used her own money.

Demon Dog is a sweet, gentle “velcro” kind of dog and makes a nice addition to the family. She’ll sit in your lap and lick your face off. ūüôā

Share your pet stories in the comments while I attend to a few insane deadlines.  {{{Hugs}}}

Weekend Updates…

I promised earlier to report about Armadillo’s comic book cover selection. Are you sitting down? Because my frilly, girlie, pink-loving Armadillo picked this one:

Diana Beebe's BlogYou didn see that one coming, did you? The shocking thing was that she didn’t even hesitate in the store. LOL. There is an evil genius in there somewhere. And I mean that in the nicest, most loving way possible! ūüėÄ

The poll results were split. A few of you (30%) guessed that she picked the dark and sinister cover because it was cool. No one guessed that it was her only option. The other two options about the other cover (cute ponies in snow: 40% and pink: 30%) combined for a whopping 70%. *shakes head* She surprised even me.

In other news…

We don’t watch¬†Saturday Night Live very often, but we recently discovered “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Coversation with at a Party” on the “Weekend Update” skit. She is not on often enough, in my opinion.

Click this link to check it out on the official website¬†(or you can search for her on youtube). What I love about this one is that her speech patterns butcher English pronunciation, but she throws in a grammar zinger every once in awile. I think this one is our favorite.¬† Mockingbird has a knack for immidating the girl.¬† It’s also clean enough (so far) for Armadillo to listen to it.

In gardening news…

I’m sad to say that my sweet potato experiment is looking like a complete fail. Sigh. The three slips that I planted are brown and dry. One has one tiny live leaf left–so there is hope.¬†There is good news though. I pulled up some volunteer celery from the garden stones and planted them where the sweet potatoes are dying in the ground.¬†(“Volunteer” plants are ones that grow from the scattered seeds of plants.¬†I let nature do the planting, and I am sure as heck¬†gonna use them.)

Diana Beebe's Blog

So what’s going on for your weekend? Share your news!

Who Needs Flowers Anyway?

Most people create beautiful landscaping in their front yards. Curving flower beds, lined with stones or rocks or edging. We did that, too.

But we live in North Texas. Have you experienced a typical summer in North Texas? It’s HOT.
Year after year, we would buy several flats of flowers and make the flowerbeds all pretty in the spring. Then by the end of June, the flowers start to look haggard. By August, the several days of intense 100+ degree heat will have fried the plants to a crisp.

What did we have to show for all the hard planting work?
Not much. Mostly a bunches of dried up, scraggly plants in the flower beds that have to be cleaned up. Bleh.

What could we do to have pretty flower beds, but not toss a lot of money out in the compost trash when it all died?

Plant a garden!

One of the side gardens with four different kinds of lettuce in front of the broc.

One of the side gardens with four different kinds of lettuce in front of the broc.

Winter vegetables are very pretty and love the cold. If you’re in a climate that doesn’t have frozen ground in the winter and you want to garden, why not plant a garden in the front flower beds?¬† One of the garden experts at our local feed store told me once that he doesn’t plant anything in his front yard unless it’s edible. He doesn’t have much of a backyard, so he takes advantage of what he does have.

This is the second year that we’ve planted broccoli–more than 40 plants across the entire length of the beds. They have lettuce and carrots and spinach to keep them company–although those aren’t growing as I expected. *pouts*

Would you plant your vegetable garden in your front flower beds?¬† What would you plant? I’d love to hear your gardening plans or experiences!

Geek Mom Strikes Again

Comic books are awesome!¬† When I was little, I was so happy when we would get to buy them. I still have one of my very first comic books. It was Disney’s Scamp (Tramp and Lady’s errant son). My sister and I had a few others with that same level of fun and silliness.

Then there was my Thundercats stage, which coincided with my Spider-Man stage but didn’t last as long.¬†I read DC comics, too, (Wonder Woman, mostly).

There is something to be said about kids and literacy and comic books–they can only encourage kids to read. I found this great article by Charlie Brooks, a¬†geek dad,¬†about getting younger kids to read by using comic books. He has good suggestions for comics that are kid friendly (and not violent and oversexed as some of the superhero and supervillain ones¬†are).

What’s not to love about comic books? They are colorful and action packed and feed imaginations in ways that books and movies can’t.¬† Comic books give visual clues that¬†we don’t get from¬†novels and yet still leave more to the imagination than TV or movies. They can be a good gateway to reading books. (A gateway to reading, not drugs…sheesh.)

When I stumbled on the new My Little Pony comic books, I knew I had to get them.¬†My¬†kids don’t need encouragement to read, but they love the My Little Pony humor. I bought the first one and gave it to the girls to share. They loved it. This geek mom was so proud. *wipes eyes*

When it was time to get the next one, I tried to get them to go to the comic book store with¬†me.¬†Mockingbird looked at me as if I’d grown another head.¬†Armadillo, on the other hand, squeed and said, “Comic books! Yea!”

At least one of my daughters is mine. ūüėČ

The latest thing about comic books is to make at least three different covers for every edition. What? You want me to choose which cover I want? I want them all!

Which one did the seven-year-old Armadillo pick? Cover C wasn't available.

Which one did the seven-year-old Armadillo pick? Cover C wasn’t available.

*cough*

Since buying more than one copy is not a viable option (unless it’s Spider-Man #700…*whistles and walks away*), I let Armadillo pick the cover she wanted. Do you think you can guess which cover she picked?

I’ll reveal the answer later this week. ūüėÄ

Are you a comic book fan? If so, what have been your favorite titles?

Winter Gardening and Slips

A friend asked me if she could be gardening right now. She’s from a different state that has a climate that allows one growing season. She was surprised to know that we garden year round in North Texas.

I gave her the list. In January, we planted red and white potatoes, spinach, kale, and lettuce. And carrots, too. I planted radishes in the same row with the carrots because the carrots take so dadgum long to sprout. The radishes grow long before the carrots. If I don’t plant the radishes, then I tend to lose the carrots. You don’t want to plant something else and ruin the carrot planting.

We get to pick radishes not long after the carrots sprout. Yum. The great thing about gardening since we started this is that our kids love it. Mockingbird said this week that we need more radishes–and I’d planted them just to be able to see where the carrots would be, which means I didn’t plant enough. They love the broccoli and kale, too. They’re still turning up their noses at the carrots though.

Three tiny sweet potato slips sprouting in party cups.

Three tiny sweet potato slips sprouting in party cups.

I’m trying something new this year. Sweet potatoes! I must be crazy, because no one I talk to in our local gardening stores knows how to grow sweet potatoes. So I googled it.

It’s not like planting regular potatoes where you dig a deep hole and plant the cut up pieces in the ground. Nope. Sweet potatoes want to be coddled and helped along in something called a slip (leaves on the top, roots on the bottom). After buying a few organic sweet potatoes from the grocery store, I waited until there some signs of growth. Turns out, if you try to use a regular sweet potato, the chances are high that the farmer did something to the crop to keep them from sprouting so they keep longer in the store.

I cut up four sweet potatoes and put the ends in water. And waited. After two months, I ended up with three sprouting sweet potato slips. Three.  One of those has hardly any root system at all.

They went into the ground on Sunday.  Now we wait some more.

Do you garden in the winter? Do you wish you could garden in the winter? What do you or would you plant?