Tami Parker Fantasy Author & Other Duties as Assigned

Categorylife

Show Me Your Vampire

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Lazy Vampires

I think one of the things that really bugs me about popular media portrayal of vampires is how often they seem to waste their time.

They’re immortal, right? Many of the popular ones are hundreds of years old. Yet when we meet them, they seem like teenagers or normal people, with no sign of having taken that most precious gift — unlimited time — and using it to better themselves.

And then I think to myself, “Heh, so they’re doing what most people do. Procrastinating. Not starting. Not finishing. Swinging from one day to the next watching Netflix or playing video games.”

Ouch, I says to myself. But I’m not wrong.

Apples

Perry and I have a shorthand communication tool that we used, based on an ancient Cracked article he sent me many moons ago.

“Making apples”

There’s nothing wrong with eating apples. With consuming media and entertainment. Heck, those who produce content would be nothing without fans.

But if you feel called or compelled to create. If you define yourself as a creator — a writer, an artist, a musician — there IS something wrong with never actually producing apples.

If I am not writing, I am not a writer.

There’s wiggle room in there, of course. But I’m sure as hell not fooling myself when I say I’m “thinking about writing” and weeks fly by without any actual wordcount happening. I know what I’m doing. I know that fear is what is keeping me from making apples. Hell, I even know how to conquer that fear — by giving it the swift kick in the teeth of sitting down and actually writing.

And yet.

Daydream Time

So I found myself judging vampires for their laziness and I want to ask yourself some questions.

If you knew you could live forever (and let’s be generous here and say that you won’t be murdered by monster hunters or turn into a bloodthirsty beast with no self control. Let’s assume this forever looks an awful lot like your today …. but maybe you’ve got ten million dollars starting capital to work with.

And why not, let’s go ahead and give you a hearty dollop of motivation. Your mental health issues? Gone. You have the energy and the stick-tuitiveness to enable you to actually take advantage of this opportunity.

You’re rich, healthy, and young forever as long as you don’t like … fall chest-first on a silver-tipped stake or something.

What do you do?

What do your days look like? Do you have a job? Start a company? Invent something? Learn to play the accordion? Finally take those yodeling lessons you’ve always yearned for?

Go ahead and daydream your perfect you. Mine can play multiple musical instruments. She writes novels and short stories and rides a horse like she was born on it. She speaks a dozen languages fluently enough to travel the world. She cooks and bakes and has a square-foot garden the size of a football field, filled with flowers and vegetables and trees and wild birds.

That’s what my vampire would be like.

Bringing it Back To Earth

Now that you know that. Now that you have painted this obviously impossible picture, because you don’t have enough years in your life to do all those things …

… are there any small steps you could make in your life now that would get you closer to those goals? Any portions of that picture that are more precious than others? Any piece of it worth being brave enough to take those steps?

Show Me Your Vampire

I’d love to know what your vampire looks like.

What big risks would you take if your success was guaranteed?

Are there any small risks you can take today?

Product Review – Seatbelt Adjuster

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Okay, this is a silly thing to give an entire blog post to, but I’m doing it anyway.

The Masterlink Seatbelt Adjuster is a small plastic clip that attaches to the waist portion of a seatbelt and offers a little flap so that you can tuck the shoulder strap into it.

(Please note I linked to an amazon search for it because I only paid $6 for a two-pack of black ones and the prices seem all over the board now.)

As a short lady, I cannot imagine how much this has made my driving life easier. Even having to re-do the shoulder strap every time I sit down is minimal compared to the lack of choking/cutting pressure on the side of my neck from the shoulder strap.

I gave the second one to my mom and she reports similar results — took a week or so to get used to slipping the strap through the latch and now neither of us can imagine driving without it.

Inexpensive and useful. My second favorite combo. (If it was also adorable it would get extra points).

 

 

What are you loving right now?

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Books, TV, movies, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, board games, Escape Rooms … lay it on me. I want to know the things so good you’re glad to spend your precious free time on them. <3

Books

I recently started the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire. I’m liking them a lot (and it’s one of her earliest series, so it’s a good place to get started, I think.) She’s a marvelous author and I can’t think of anything I’ve read by her that I wouldn’t recommend.

TV

I’m working my way through the last season of the Great British Baking show on PBS. (I won’t bother with a description, I’m sure all of you except Faith are eager for me to stop gushing about this show. /wink )

Party Game

I also picked up a board game called Escape The Room: The Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat. SO much fun, especially for smallish groups of 3-5. Granted, once you’ve played it, you know the secrets … but that just means I get to play hostess for other groups of friends and supply clues. =]

Movies

I really enjoyed Spiderman: Homecoming. I feel like the recent Marvel Universe movies have been spending more and more time in dark and gloomy places. S:H brightens the world up a little with his wit and banter and I could not have enjoyed that more. The overall storyline dovetails neatly into the Marvel Universe without disrupting or being required. I was very pleased, like finding a lovely novella by an author you love in a world you adore.

Your Turn!

Decorating Rivendell

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I know, I know, I promised this post AGES ago, but I’ve been lazy. (see how I didn’t hide there?)

You can look at all the photos in a separate photo album here.

First View – Walking in from the Front Door

Front door - Before

front door - after

 

A nice before-and-after setup that I can’t promise to continue. /wink

I don’t want to go into great detail here, because everything is easier to see in upcoming pictures. First, let’s look at the kitchen.

The Kitchen

 

Kitchen - before

kitchen-after

Slightly different angle on the after picture, but that’s okay. You can see my mint-to-turquoise theme pretty strongly here. (You can also see that I’m thawing some turkey and my rice cooker is making my oatmeal for breakfast, but we’ll ignore that for now.)

Notice instead the happy teakettle, the turquoise frying pan, the super cool shell-patterned hand towel, the teal spatula assortment (in an owl-shaped glass jar, for the sharp-eyed), the hilarious crocodile guarding my sink sponge, and the spritely tree inviting you to look into the living room, which we’ll see in more detail in just a moment.

That rice cooker, by the way? MAGICAL. I splurged and bought a slightly expensive (but still small enough for one person) rice cooker. It features fuzzy logic cooking AND it sings to me when it’s done.

I may or may not have decided to splurge more based on the singing than the fuzzy logic, though I do appreciate that it also cooks things like beans and oatmeal.

The Dining Room (aka, the little bit of area beneath the stairs).

dining room - before

dining room - after

Hooray, a table! Let’s pretend for a moment that I actually eat on this thing instead of just hanging out on the balcony with Tiny and eating off my lap like a savage, shall we?

This cute little two-seater used to be our table many moons ago, and my mom used it for a long while after we upgraded. She wasn’t using it any more, and it’s just perfect for this little nook of a Dining Room. The old red pads moved upstairs (you’ll see those in a minute) and I replaced the downstairs ones with some powdery-teal ones that match better. Tree picture over the table to symbolize family and life (or maybe just to be pretty, who are you to judge?)

Hanging shoe organizer is AWESOME and strongly recommended. I got this one from Ikea.

You’ll also see my key/badge/clutch hanger there on the wall — if I panned more to the left, you’d see the front door there. Very handy.

The Living Room

the living room

looking back to the living room

the weird cranny

I had a before picture of the living room, but it was just an empty carpeted square, so I didn’t waste time posting it.

The after pics are where it’s at.

I’ll start in the middle, because why the hell not. =]

That bookcase used to be a boring old brown. My mom bought it for me when I was still in high school, and I’ve had it with me ever since.

It got painted blue before I moved here, and I absolutely love everything about it. So many good memories in that shelf. (Y’all are all book lovers, I’m sure you understand.)

It’s holding what remains of my book collection (which will continue to dwindle as I read/reread and thin out the herd). It’s also got a few knickknacks and whooziwhatsits on it, including a hand-painted custom Harold nerf gun from a certain Canadian we know and love.

To the right of that, we see the soul-hugging chair — still huge, still paisley, and still romancing everyone who sits in it. The blanket on the ottoman is a hand-made gift from my niece and mom and it is SO WARM.

Tiny side table to the right of that holding books to be read and a box to hold bookmarks and hide stray ponytail holders from a certain mischievous kitten.

You’ll see said kitten ignoring the giant cat tree in the corner in favor of peering creepily at me over the edge of the ottoman.

Just behind him is one of the two random turquoise leather chairs found at Habitat for Humanity. Too inexpensive and perfect not to pick up, and they add both seating and some semblance of propriety to what is otherwise mostly a room filled with toys. =]

Above the bookshelf is my keystone piece — a cheap print of Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom painting. It validates and deepens all the teals and blues I’m using, and I love it so much that it’s also the cover for my iPad and Kindle.

On the wall just next to the balcony door, there’s a little record player on a stand. It makes me happy, even though my collection is woefully tiny at the moment. My favorite record is “What if Mozart Wrote Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and I’m also the proud owner of the sountrack for Westworld (in a really creepy-cool “milk white” edition color). Yes, it is exactly as awesome as you think it is.

Steampunk butterfly print on the wall is from Ursula Vernon, and yes it is why there’s a mechanical moth in Choose.

The room also has this weird nook just at the base of the stairs. I’ve got my internet-making-machines there (because I have no choice) as well as the litterbox and tiny vacuum. (that machine is AWESOME. I got it from Costco on sale and it runs on BATTERIES. No cables.)

Before we leave the living room, let’s turn back and take a peek towards the kitchen, where you’ll see Sir Reginald Von Bartlesby’s fish tank. Smaller than he’s used to, but plenty big enough for a single betta. Plus, he’s got three different hidey-holes, and he loves them all. Still sasses at me in the morning when he knows it’s time for him to be fed, and he follows me through the kitchen when I’m cooking. =]

Also, badass owl hanging out on top of the cupboards is still one of my favorite owls. (There’s also a neat cement planter owl out on the balcony, but it was too sunny to show up on the pics. Heavy as a beast, but very very cool)

The Stairs

going up stairs - before

The stairs - after

One before picture (the owl was the first thing I moved, so he shouldn’t technically be in that picture, but he’s such a ham).

The main point of these pics is to show you the flowers and ivy a little better … but also to show you the second leather chair waiting in the wings for someone to need him. <3

The Bedroom

the bedroom - before

the shelves - before

looking upstairs - after

the bed

the shelves - after

The previous tenant left those shelving units for me and you bet your boots I said yes when they asked if I wanted them.

Here’s where you can see that I invested in a loft bed (I super duper love it, but making the bed is an exercise in frustration, so you’ll have to excuse the nonsense on that upper bunk. In my defense, the blanket is a queen and the bed is a twin, and if you think that’s silly, you clearly don’t toss and turn as much as I do at night. I have ALL THE BLANKET.)

The bottom half of the bunk is a full-size futon. I toyed with the idea of having it be a desk instead, but this worked out better (and was actually available to purchase from Big Lots instead of buying something sight unseen or HUGE). Now I have a comfy “tv” watching station and a place for a guest to stay the night. You may be asking yourself why anyone would choose the bottom bunk when they could have the soul-hugging chair, but it’s already been used once when mom, niece, and nephew all stayed the night. So there.

And yes, that stuffed dog is exactly as soft and comfy as he looks. His name is Rufus T. Justice and he’s the law in these parts. When he says “cuddle,” you say “yes, sir” and you will like it.

Those shelves are filled with tons of barely-organized art supplies and hobby stuff. And games. And random stuffed animals.

I’m looking forward to the ukulele classes that start this week!

Also, see that sand timer? That’s not just for show. It’s a 45 minute sand timer and when I sit down to write, I flip that guy over. I cannot stop writing until it is done. I can whine and stomp and mope and flail, but until the last grain of sand is gone, I am not allowed to do anything that isn’t directly related to writing.

She’s a hard taskmistress, but she is fair.

The Office aka The Walls in the Bedroom

the office

the murder board

I felt like separating the “office” from the bedroom in photos, even though it’s all the same room.

Two monitors hooked up both to my computer and my PS4 means I have many options when it comes to entertainment here. (and the futon opposite it means I can play the PS4 comfortably)

The white chair is there because it’s light, portable, and seven billion times more comfortable for long-term typing than my fun little ergonomic fellow. Also, he’s open with a pillow on him so that Tiny has as many options for sleeping surfaces as possible. (yes, he runs the show. No, I am not ashamed of this).

On the wall, you’ll see a gaming poster gifted me by some Canadian fellow. (/wink). Also a Wonder Woman poster, because she is amazing and the new movie was well worth watching. Seriously. There’s unapologetic thigh jiggle. Hall-A-Freaking-Lue-Ya.

Ahem. There’s also a fan that somehow survived all of my various “I own too much stuff” purges and actually came from my trip to Japan when I was in high school.

The last pic is my plotting board — affectionately known as my “Murder Board” because the previous incarnation had red thread tying together various pushpins for plotting purposes. It looked like one of those crazy boards you see in police procedurals all the time.

I use it to do my story plotting according to the 7 Point Plot Structure, as well as keep tabs on pending questions I need to answer and various other things. Hopefully none of you can actually read those notes, because they contain spoilers for the next book I’m writing.

Also, yes, both Tiny and I use that side table to boost our way to the top bunk. Graceful swans, we are not, but it gets the job done. The handles are feathers, because I’m an adult and I can replace boring old store-bought handles if I want to. Even if that means multiple trips to a Menards because screw length matters, and when that doesn’t work, I just hold the last quarter-inch in place with bubble gum. (In the distance, I high-five MacGuyver)

That’s It!

I know I forgot to mention or show things. The bathroom is pretty neat, and my mouthwash is in a fancy glass jar with a cork stopper. The closet is actually HUGE — not just walk-in, but with shelves all along the top and in the back (where I’m keeping extra blankets and bedding for the most part).

I really, really like it, and I hope you do, too! Feel free to ask any questions!

Banish Flimsy Nails Forever With This One Inexpensive Cream

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Okay, despite how clickbaity that title is?

… I’m absolutely here to tell you about this cream.

It’s called Healthy Hoof and you can buy it on Amazon.

It is not expensive.

It IS magical.

I bought it less because of my nails (I had long ago resigned myself to floppy nails for life) but rather because I’d developed some rather destructive nervous habits with the dry skin on my hands.

So I picked this stuff up to try it.

I keep it at my desk at work. A few times I week, I remember I have it and dollop a tiny bit on my dry skin and nails. It takes about a minute longer than I would like before it sinks in and isn’t lotion-y/slimy feeling … but it’s totally worth it.

It took a while for the nail effect to be obvious, but this is the longest, healthiest, strongest, and most magical my nails have EVER been.

If you or someone you love suffers from flimsy, floppy, too-soft nails, I recommend it. It also totally helped for my dry/cracked skin problem. But the nail thing is the stuff of unicorn daydreams.

Real Life

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We interrupt this internet frivolity to bring you news from real life.

Many of you are already aware that Steven and I are getting a divorce.

A loving, mutually-agreed-upon, for the best for both of us kind of separation … but it’s still the Big D.

Absolutely everyone has extended offers to help and be here for me no matter what I need. Because you are all amazing and awesome people.

And I promise to accept those offers of help when I need or want them. I do. I am not going to shut myself up in my home and shrink into myself. I’ve accepted an offer to go to a symphony that I otherwise would not have done. I am making plans to do things with people. I am mentally making plans to take a trip to Japan after the house sells. Maybe even New York and Canada. Maybe a cruise.

It’s going to be good, but it’s not going to be easy. I know that.

That being said, some details from my side of the fence.

1. It will take three months for the divorce to be final. There’s a mandatory waiting period for the paperwork.

2. I will be changing my name back to my maiden Parker. Tami Jean Parker.

3. TavenMoore.com and TamiMoore.com will remain domains I own for a while, after which point I may phase out TavenMoore. Steven will remain a trusted and super-valued partner in my writing adventures, just not to the same extent.

4. I’m considering TJ Parker as a pseudonym for writing. The domain isn’t available for poor folk like myself to buy, so I’m not sure what my new web space will look like. Suggestions are welcome. Maybe whiskerwing.com?

5. Tiny will be moving with me. Ollie will be heading on adventures with Steven.

6. I am moving into a cute little loft apartment next Friday. Most of my stuff is packed up and I have a moving company hired. Those who offered a strong back are off the hook — I’m taking more than I expected to, and I value your friendship more than the cost of a moving company, lol.

7. I am hoping to get a dog after a year. My current lease does not allow canine pets, so I have a year of buffer before I can make the call. I’d be shocked if I didn’t wholeheartedly invite a pupper into my life though. Expect blogged adventures looking through shelters (or just a single post if I fall in love immediately).

8. I’m keeping the blog. Expect an even more hodge-podgey mess of topics.

9. The Camelot house is going up for sale moooost likely the first week of July. It is an absolutely fantastic, gorgeous, magical forest of a home. If you know anyone wanting to move to the Madison Area, let me know and I’ll make sure they get the details. I’m sure the new owners will adore it as much as we did. (moreso, because we did a lot of upgrades and repairs they won’t have to worry about).

If there’s anything in particular you want me to make sure to blog about during the transition, let me know and I shall try to oblige.

 

Books as Experiences

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Re-Reading

I find it fascinating to re-read an old book.

My expectation is always that it will be like revisiting an old friend I haven’t seen in a while. We’ve both changed in the interim, but in general we know what to expect from each other.

After all, when I was a kid, that’s exactly what it was like re-reading my worn old companions.

Everything Changes

These days, it’s totally different.

It’s probably due to the longer time between readings — but also in large part due to the changes in myself as a reader and the writing world as a whole.

I notice things that never used to bother me. Cliches. Misogyny. Tropes. Awkward wordings or weak plots.

Storytelling Changes

Also, even in the relatively short time since becoming an avid reader, styles themselves have changed.

Books now demand a tighter plot with immediate action. Page One Line One had better grip the reader immediately, Or Else.

Passive characters used to be acceptable. Books that once were happily described as “The Adventures of So and So” are now laughably dated.

Change is Good

This isn’t a complaint, by the way.

These are all objectively improvements upon the older storytelling systems and I find I have little to no patience for stories that insist upon an antiquated system.

Not only do I not have time to read as much as I once did, I just … don’t enjoy it any more. Sure, every once in a while one is worth the effort of wading through but in general they end as muddy and unfocused as they begin.

Past Me

The only “problem” lies in my inability to reread an old favorite and enjoy it the same way that I did when I was younger.

Young me didn’t just read those books. She LIVED them. Loved them. Cherished them.

These days, I hesitate to crack open those pages because I don’t want to tarnish that glowing, ruby-lensed memory of them.

A Book is an Experience

“How good the book is” is tangled up with memory and history and beribboned by that one moment in time.

Which means that the books I’m reading now? The ones I enjoy today? They’re only as good (or bad) as they are for ME right NOW.

A book isn’t just a story about a character.

It’s a story about the reader, too. And a time and a place.

And that, my good friends? That is true magic.

Samurai Gourmet – A Netflix Show Recommendation

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I’m not gonna hide it.

I’m super addicted to this Netflix show called Samurai Gourmet.

It is gentle and funny and calming and beautiful.

It is partly food appreciation, with gorgeous cooking cinematography.

It is partly auditory pleasure, with a combination of perfect background musics and internal dialogue from the hero, whose deep Japanese patter paints gorgeous portraits even without the accompanying subtitles.

It is partly guilty pleasure, as the hero (a recently-retired Japanese businessman aided by a Samurai spirit guide) revels in the knowledge that he can have beer in the middle of the day, or agonizes over whether or not he looks silly in the sunglasses he bought.

Seriously. This guy worries about everything. I relate to him so much — should I say something to the rude person, or keep quiet? What will people think if I eat spaghetti with the wrong utensils?

Watching him grow stronger as a person (to the point of actually standing up to someone by the end of the first season!) as he … well, he just ENJOYS the heck out of the food he’s eating.

I love this show.

It is the perfect calming evening-ender. I’ve fallen asleep to it almost every night since it’s been shown and I’ve watched every episode multiple times.

I’m addicted and I don’t even care.

Also, I want to go to Japan. I may not want to eat EVERYTHING he eats, but I want to at least TRY most of it.

If any of this sounds like something you’d enjoy, I strongly recommend checking it out.

The Best You

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Be the best You you can be.

How do you WANT to define yourself?

What activities, qualities, hobbies, or loves do you want to be associated with?

“Oh, she’s a writer.” “Or him? He’s the most generous guy you’ll ever meet.” “Them? They know everything there is to know about dogs.”

If you fall short of those lofty ideals, do not fret.

Most everyone believes themselves to be less than they are — less than other people see them.

I have a coworker who calls me a writer. Inside, I doubt. I list my failures as if the sheer weight of them buries that label like the rubble from a broken building.

I am a writer. Not despite my failures, or even because of them.

I am a writer because writing makes me more like Me.

I can do better. I can become more Me than I am, but that doesn’t mean I cannot claim the title. That doesn’t make me unworthy of it.

I love to learn. I love to organize things. I love cute things and soft things and sweet things.

I am open and sympathetic. I am smart and sometimes I am brave.

It is important that I know what the best Me looks like because I cannot be the best someone else.

Who are you? What does the best You look like?

Write it down. Remember it.

Because nobody else can be You.

Don’t let anyone else try to convince you to be Else. Even if that “anyone” is yourself.

Know who and what you are and be the best You you can be.

February’s Book – Ready Player One

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I remember fondly the days when I not only did not have to PLAN for books, books just sort of happened to me.

Alas, adulthood is fast upon me and time for reading must be carved out by my very fingernails.

This month, I’m reading <a href=”https://smile.amazon.com/Ready-Player-One-Ernest-Cline/dp/0307887448/” target=”_blank”>Ready Player One, by Ernest Kline</a>. I’m not quite halfway through it (so this notification to YOU, dear friends, is a bit postmature. Is that a word? It should be a word).

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

It is neither new nor obscure — most of you have probably heard of it if not read it yourselves.

But it will be my first time reading through it, and so far I’m enjoying the references to popular culture from my youth and the concept of the fully-immersive virtual reality platform OASIS.

Well, perhaps “enjoy” is a bit tame. I wish like hell I had OASIS available to me today, now, this very second. There’s more than a few of you I’d love to hang out with sans-keyboard.

Anywhoozle, feel free to nab a copy and read along with me this month if you’d like! It’s always more fun experiencing content with friends.

Tami Parker Fantasy Author & Other Duties as Assigned

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