Blogging from A to Z April Challenge—Updated May 3, 2017

So apparently there’s this blogging challenge that has been going on for the last couple years, and I just found out about it this year.  There is a different theme every year, and the participants can take it in whatever direction they like on their own blogs.

The details can be found here: A to Z Challenge 2017

I plan to participate this year, although they’re having everyone put clickable links into their posts and  there’s a lot of complaining about that on their site already.  Apparently in previous years there was a list for participants to add their site’s URLs to so people could just go to the Challenge site every day and click on the links, making it easier to find the blogs they wanted to read.  This year they’ve done away with the list, expecting people to go to the Challenge site every day and post the clickable link to that day’s Challenge entry, as well as go through other people’s posts to find the blog entries they want to read for that day.  There have been a few people complaining about this new method, but as the Challenge hosts have explained, it’s less work for them, especially as this way they won’t have to worry about possible broken links on the list.  They also gave clear instructions on how to create a clickable link, which I’ve never done before, and it took me quite a while to get the hang of, but now I’ve got it down, and am actually having fun using this new skill elsewhere, like on Facebook. 😀

Anyone who has known me for any length of time at all will tell you that I am not very tech savvy at all, and my computer skills are severely outdated (anyone remember BASIC programming, from the 80s?  See what I mean?) so throwing all this code at me and going, “Oh, it’s easy, all you have to do is copy and paste and put your own information in here and it’ll be great!” and I was going, “What?”  I’m lucky I figured out PowerPoint in 2011 for my Ivy Tech computer class, and you’d better believe I’ve forgotten every bit of it since.  Why?  Because I never use it for anything, that’s why.  I don’t work in the business world, I don’t run my own business, and even if I did I would have no use for PowerPoint or Access, and the only thing I use Excel for is to keep track of all my usernames and passwords because otherwise I would lose them all and there’s no way I can remember them on my own.  Basically the only part of Microsoft Office I use consistently is Word, and it doesn’t require any special codes to use it, or specialized computer skills.  Even using WordPress isn’t that difficult.  But all these codes that other sites expect us to be able to use?  No thanks.  I’ll leave code writing to Bill Gates and his buddies.

At least, that was my attitude, until I got the hang of creating clickable links.  Okay, okay, so it’s still my attitude as far as code writing in general goes, because it might as well be written in Klingon for all I understand it.  But now that I have this new skill, I don’t know how I ever managed without it up to this point, so if I get nothing else out of this challenge, it will be one positive experience for the month of April!  Wish me luck!

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Hello world!

Welcome to my place!

This is where I will post my thoughts and feelings about all kinds of subjects…my favorite books, movies and music, the stupid things people do that royally tick me off, the funny things my furry kids do on a daily (and sometimes hourly!) basis…just about anything, really!

Disclaimer: I have a tendency to ramble on about all kinds of stuff, and go off on about 30 different tangents, and sometimes I might even manage to get back to the original subject I was rambling on about (although  this doesn’t happen all the time, it has been known to happen, so pay close attention).

Some (but not all) of the subjects that interest me and that I may (or may not) ramble on about here on a semi-regular basis…Star Wars, Star Trek, NCIS (all of them), CSI (all of them), forensics shows (Forensics Files, Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda, Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, A Crime to Remember, Southern Fried Homicide, Swamp Murders), Ghost Adventures, The Dead Files, Ghost Hunters (aka the TAPS crew), paranormal investigations in general and my own in particular, my favorite book genres/series (mysteries, sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal, historical fiction, Celtic lore/history, U.S. history—especially the Revolutionary and Civil Wars)….and anything else that catches my attention, however temporarily.  You have been warned!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.  Just remember, “We’re all mad here…”

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Craving For Cozies Challenge 2019

Okay, y’all, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but real life has gotten in the way, in the form of two jobs, one at a factory 40 hours a week, and the other at Wal-Mart on the weekends.  This does not leave me a whole lot of time to do anything else except sleep (sleep?  What is this sleep you speak of, and where can I find some?) and take care of my furbabies.  However, I’m going to give this Challenge a shot again next year, and hope I can actually make my quota this time.  Wish me luck, everyone!  If you want to join in, here’s where to go:


You can always look for the Craving For Cozies Challenge group on Facebook, and it will give you all the details there.

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#AtoZChallenge Day 5: Ernie MacMillan

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018---E

Ernie was one of the first students to let slip to Harry (and anyone else within hearing range) that he was a Muggle-Born.   He also said that he had been down for Eton when his Hogwarts letter had arrived, so even though he doesn’t outright say it, the reader gets the impression that his family is at the very least well off, if not positively rich.  Yes, lots of British kids go to Eton whose families aren’t rolling in cash, but it gives you an idea of what his family is willing to go through to send him to one of the best private schools in the country.

Harry privately thinks of Ernie as being slightly (sometimes more than slightly) pompous, but never arrogant, and he is always willing to give someone a second chance, so when Ernie publicly apologizes to Harry, Harry quickly accepts his apology and they start over with a clean slate.  They may never have become close friends, but because of that fresh start, Ernie was welcome to join the D.A. their fifth year, and became a fairly decent Defense student under Harry’s tutelage.  Considering how valuable that group would become, to Harry and the rest of the student body, Ernie was fortunate to be a part of it from the beginning, and to be able to count Harry Potter as a friend.


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#AtoZChallenge Day 4: Draco Malfoy

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018---D


Draco Malfoy was doomed from the start to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Death Eater.  The problem was, he didn’t realize that wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps was probably not the best idea he’d ever had…at least, not until Voldemort assigned him the task of killing Albus Dumbledore, beloved headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and leader of the Order of the Phoenix, a group dedicated to stopping Voldemort.  Not being the brightest crayon in the box, Draco didn’t realize that Voldemort was more than likely setting him up to be killed, either by Dumbledore himself or one of his minions.  But because Draco wasn’t a total idiot, he did eventually figure out that if he didn’t succeed in his task but managed to escape and report back to Voldemort, that Voldemort himself would probably kill him, in the most painful and humiliating way possible (not necessarily in that order).  That’s why Harry found him in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom being comforted by Myrtle while he cried over the sink, desperate to find a way to complete his task even though he clearly didn’t want to do it, because he feared for his own safety and the safety of his parents if he failed.

Draco eventually realized that he did not want to emulate his father, but felt trapped in the life he’d been born into and had no idea how to get himself out of it.  The opportunity came, of course, at the Battle of Hogwarts, when Voldemort was defeated and for the first time in his life he had the chance to be who and what he wanted to be and not what someone else wanted him to be, assuming he could figure out just what that was.  He also had the problem of being on the losing side of the battle and having to face the Wizengamot on charges of being a Death Eater and hope someone offered him leniency, otherwise he’d wind up in the cell next to his father’s for a very long time.  Luckily for him, Harry came forward and testified on his behalf, trading on his fame and status as the Chosen One to help a friend in need.

Yes, a friend.  I read in a fan fiction story one time an internal assessment Draco did of his and Harry’s relationship, where he’d come to the realization that Harry was his best friend—he knew all Draco’s secrets, all his faults, all his imperfections, as well as he knew his own, and was still unwilling to write off Draco as a lost cause, even as his friends tried to convince him to do just that because they couldn’t see past the vicious Death Eater to the lost little boy trapped inside Draco’s body.  Harry knew that if the circumstances had been different, Draco could have been a close friend of theirs.  Maybe they would never have that close of a relationship, but hopefully their children would.

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#AtoZChallenge Day 3: Colin Creevey

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018---C


Colin was a year behind the Golden Trio at Hogwarts, and was a source of constant annoyance to Harry during his second year (Colin’s first) because he was always following Harry around with his camera, wanting to take pictures of Harry to send home to his dad (mostly, I think, to show his dad how wizarding photos worked, but also to show his dad that Harry was his friend).  Colin eventually grew out of the hero worship (I think he did, anyway) but remained loyal to Harry until his death at the Battle of Hogwarts.  He was an enthusiastic student of Harry’s in the D.A. during Harry’s fifth year, when Dolores Umbridge (aka “Toad Face”) was the so-called professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts (although even a toddler could tell you she was rubbish at it).  He and his brother Dennis were killed during the Battle of Hogwarts when they both snuck back into the castle to help with the fighting.  Harry saw Neville and Oliver Wood carrying his body into the Great Hall during the temporary cease-fire granted by Voldemort so that the fighters could collect their dead (nice of the old snake, wasn’t it?).  Seeing someone so young killed needlessly only strengthened Harry’s resolve to stop Voldemort once and for all.

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#AtoZChallenge Day 2: Bathilda

A to Z 2018 Participant---B


Bathilda Bagshot was an expert on wizarding history (not surprising, since she lived through so much of it), and one of Albus Dumbledore’s earliest correspondents.  The two actually became friends when his family moved to Godric’s Hollow after his father was imprisoned for killing the Muggle boys who had tormented Ariana.  She had read and was impressed by his article in Transfiguration Today, published while he was still a student at Hogwarts.

Seeing how lonely Albus appeared to be, Bathilda introduced him to her nephew Gellert (perhaps not her brightest idea), believing they would be good for each other.  Many years later he was forced to duel his old friend, who had grown into a feared Dark Lord, and in defeating him he won the Elder Wand, perhaps the first person to win it without having to kill its previous owner, keeping it until Draco Malfoy disarmed him on the Astronomy Tower shortly before Severus Snape killed Albus (on Dumbledore’s previous orders).  One wonders if Bathilda ever regretted introducing the two boys to each other that summer, or if she was glad that at least for a little while her nephew had a positive influence in his life, even if their friendship didn’t last.

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#AtoZChallenge Day 1: Aberforth

Aberforth Dumbledore was one of the most overlooked characters in the entire Harry Potter series.  Even his own brother managed to forget he existed most of the time.  The most Albus ever told Harry about his brother was that he had an unnatural interest in goats, but never (thankfully) elaborated.  Harry had to find out from Rita Skeeter’s awful book about Albus that Aberforth is the one who broke his brother’s nose for the first time, and the reason why he did it.  Harry also found out from the book that Albus and Gellert Grindlewald had been friends at one time…but that’s another post.

Aberforth, for all his talk about giving up when Voldemort was trying to take over, did just as much for the light side as his brother had ever done, if not more.  He hid Harry and his friends from the Death Eaters, he helped Neville and the other students by supplying them with food and anything else they needed after they started hiding out in the Room of Requirement (all without the Death Eaters finding out what he was up to), and he sent word to the rest of the Order to come to Hogwarts for the final battle and let them all go through his pub to get to the school once they arrived.  He managed to do all this right under the Death Eaters’ noses, openly defying them every chance he got, knowing that they didn’t dare touch him because they needed him.  He appeared to be playing both sides, at best he appeared to be a neutral party, when in reality everything he did was for the sole purpose of helping the Order in their fight against Voldemort…okay, and also trying to stay alive long enough to hopefully see the end of Voldemort once and for all.

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Ziva vs. the Computer

“Remove your hand or I will rip your arm off and beat you to death with it.”  Ziva glared at the hand on her computer mouse.

“I’m just trying to help, Ziva.  You’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get this program to work, I figured you could use a hand,” McGee protested.

“That’s because my computer hates me today for some reason,” Ziva replied through gritted teeth.  She took a deep breath.  “But I’m fine now, really.  I just need to show this overgrown paperweight who’s boss, that’s all.”

“Fine, but when you decide that you’ve had enough, let me know, and I’ll be more than happy to help,” McGee replied, backing away from her desk and walking back to his own.  He sat down, finished typing his own report, saved it to his desktop, then clicked on the printer icon to send the finished document to the printer across the room.

Just as the printer finished its task, Ziva let out a strangled cry and started slamming her computer mouse against her desk.  “McGee!  Get over here and fix this, or I’m going to pull a Gibbs and shoot it!”

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You’re Lucky You’re Cute (Response to a writing prompt found on Pinterest)

“That’s disgusting.  You’re lucky you’re cute,” Hermione told Crookshanks, who ignored her and kept chewing on a leftover chicken leg bone.

“That cat has never been cute a day in his life,” Ron said casually, never looking up from his paperwork.

“Pay no attention to him, sweetheart,” Hermione crooned to the cat.  “He’s just jealous.”

Crookshanks looked up at Hermione, glared at Ron, and proceeded to roll over and start licking the base of his tail instead.

Ron grimaced.  “Now that’s disgusting.”

Hermione laughed as Crookshanks stuck his tongue out at Ron with a comical expression, then went right back to grooming himself.

“He’s just mad because he can’t do that,” Hermione assured the part-kneazle, who grunted in apparent agreement before returning to his previous activity.

Ron sputtered indignantly as Hermione collapsed in a fit of laughter.

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Xena and Gabrielle in Rivendell (Original idea set in the Xenaverse)

Xena, Gabrielle, and Bilbo approached the small party of elves waiting for them at the entrance to Rivendell.

Mae govannen,” Elrond greeted them warmly.  “We’ve been expecting you, Bilbo.  Gandalf sent a message ahead of you, explaining you were on your way, and that you were bringing two new friends with you as escorts.”

“Yes, this is Xena and Gabrielle, two travelers who happened upon my home as I was preparing for my birthday party,” Bilbo replied, indicating each young woman in turn.  “They kindly offered to accompany me at least as far as your home, as they’d never been near the valley in their travels before.”

“Enter, friends, and take rest,” Elrond invited, waving them in before him.  “When you are rested, come find me, and we will talk.  We can exchange stories of our travels over a late supper, and learn much from each other.”

“Thank you,” Xena answered.  “We would be glad of a short rest.  We’ve been traveling since first light.”

Elrond himself led the travelers to their rooms, and after ensuring they had everything they needed, left them alone.

“I’m not sure which I want first, a long nap or a longer bath,” Gabrielle said wearily, leaning her staff against the wall.  “My whole body aches in places I didn’t even know I had.”

Xena walked through to the next room, which turned out to hold a sunken tub, with bath oils already set out along one side.  It was already filled with steaming water, and Xena was tempted to slide right in, clothes and all, but decided it wouldn’t be prudent to take her chakram and sword with her.

Stepping back into the bedroom, she leaned her sword next to Gabrielle’s staff and placed her chakram on the table.  “The tub is already filled, and there are bath oils on the ledge,” she informed her friend.  “You go first, while I find us some fresh clothes.”

“Deal,” Gabrielle said, dropping her pack on the floor.  “I can’t wait to get a few hours’ sleep in a real bed for a change.”

“Hear, hear!” Xena agreed, stretching to work the soreness out of her back.  “A girl can only take so many nights of sleeping on the ground before turning into a hunchback.  I don’t care how long we spend here, I intend to take full advantage of the facilities while we’re able.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Gabrielle called from the tub.

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With Friends Like These… (Response to a writing prompt found on Pinterest)

“What happened to me last night?”

“You thought you developed magical powers and could talk to squirrels.”

“Kind of glad I don’t remember any of that.”

“It’s okay, I got it all on video.”

“Oh joy, you can show it to my grandkids in thirty years and embarrass the hell out of me.”

“I have no intention of waiting that long to embarrass you.  I put it on YouTube first thing this morning.”

“You did what?!?

“Yep.  Right now there are about 5,000 hits…oh, my bad, that was a couple hours ago…now there are 10,000 hits.”

“I’m so going to kill you!”

“Well, you always wanted to be famous, now you are.  You’re welcome.”

“You are so dead!  You just wait.  You have to sleep sometime.”

There was a sudden burst of laughter from the living room, followed by a gleeful shout.  “Hey guys, come check this out!  Somebody put last night’s party on YouTube!”

“Dead.  Man.  Walking.”

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