Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'everything else' Category

Thursday, July 14th, 2016
Shopping fun

Went shopping up in Portland with my mom today. It was fabulous. I’m not into a lot of clothes shopping, so of course, we weren’t doing that. We went to Penzey‘s and got fabulous spices. I love that place. After that, went to a big mall and went into a shoe store for mom, then into Chico’s for mom, into Teavana, and then lunch and out. I did end up with a pair of Alegria clogs that actually fit (Dansko’s run way too small for my ginormous surfboards I like to call feet.) So I’m really happy about that. Teavana had a ‘tea’ called Beach Bellini, and there’s no tea in it. It’s all fruit. Can be mixed with tea, but I’m thinking it will make a great drink for the fam. Going to try it out and see.

But shopping is exhausting. And I have only got 4K steps in. I need to go out and do some walking this evening.

I’ve got a post up on Imposter Syndrome at Magical Words today. Check it out.

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

There are lots of opinions on illegal immigrants and so on, but I read this article in the paper today about the problem of so many children of illegals being American citizens for being born here, and that if the parents are deported, they either have to take the children or leave them, but can’t stay with them. It’s actually probably more complicated than that and the article was about lawsuits and the supreme court and all that, but here’s my confusion. You know as an illegal person in the US, that your child will be born a citizen and that you may get deported.

So why do it? Okay, I know why. To give your kid a hope of a better life and the benefits of being a US citizen. However, you know you’re taking a big risk. That you could be deported. That this question will come up sooner or later. So in this article there was a lot of gnashing of teeth and lamenting and so on, which I get, because these people are used to living here, mostly have been good citizens and hard working, and often fill out our labor force in important ways. They may have been here for decades and there’s nothing in Mexico or wherever they are from to go back to.

At the same time, this is the law and it hasn’t changed for a really long time. Surely they knew it could happen. Surely they had a plan of action? Or did they just hope for the best? That the laws would change? That’s what confuses me. What do they do to prepare for the eventuality that they’ll be caught and deported? It’s the parent in me wondering here. Also because I’m updating my will and we were talking about godparents, since there have been changes since the last time we put that in (divorces and remarriages and family fights and so on). This brings up the concern of how would our kids be cared for if we were no longer around.

Anyhow, that’s what’s been running through my mind today.

Sunday, October 18th, 2015
Body hurts

Friday the kids had the day off from school and so the man took the day off and we went to central Oregon to look for limb cast. Those are agates formed when hot ash covers wood after a volcanic eruption. The wood disappears and leaves a void and over time, minerals filter in and create a limb cast. It looks from the outside like petrified wood, but instead of minerals replacing the wood and leaving rings and so on, they are simply molds of the wood that was there. Anyhow, we went looking. We found a lot of little pieces about the size of my thumb, and a lot of smaller chips. Then the man found a Y branch about four inches across. It’s pretty blue. Then later he found a really big piece about five inches long and maybe four across. It’s lovely. limb cast 2 limb cast 1 There’s a lot of blue and purple in them. We hope to go back another time and look in some other spots for other colors. limb cast 4I love rocks, but don’t really know what I’m doing as far as hunting them. So the fact that a month or so ago we found some really cool obsidian and this weekend we found these limb casts was really exciting. We’ve got books and stuff, but I just didn’t know if we’d be able to find anything or that we’d know were to look or what we were looking at.

So Friday was a seriously long day, and then yesterday we went in the opposite direction to the coast and walked along the beach. The day was a little rainy, but then it cleared up for awhile and the waves were lovely and I walked around 5 miles with the doggies. I picked up a few shells and we went to a place called the Crystal Wizard and I got a really cool celestite geode egg and a lovely piece of black tourmaline. I’d like a piece of watermelon tourmaline, but they didn’t have any. We ate lunch/dinner at the Pig-N-Pancake and got home and I collapsed into a puddle.

Somewhere in all that, I tworked my back in a particular spot that tends to annoy me and now it hurt. Dammit. Worst part is that I think I did it sleeping rather than doing anything fun.

The dogs are exhausted by all the traveling in the last couple of days. When we were hunting rocks, we let them out of the truck off leash and they followed us for a bit, then Viggo kept running back to the truck. Voodoo followed me from shade to shade. Then when we went back to the truck to drop stuff off and head up a hill, they jumped inside like they thought we were going to sneak away without them. Goofy beasts.

Today I’ve done laundry and attempted to do some cleaning. Got the replacement mat for under my desk. The old one didn’t hold up. They sent me a replacement that is much heavier duty, so hoping it works better.

In the meantime, I’ve done a couple of minor changes to the website–notice the bar up at the top is now where the menu is. The reason is that I’m writing more and the old menu didn’t leave a lot of options for adding more stuff.

I’m hoping to do more with my newsletter. I kind of stink at thinking what might be nice to include in that. I don’t suppose anybody out there has suggestions of what they’d like to see?




Sunday, June 7th, 2015
On cops and McKinney, Texas

I posted this on Facebook, and then decided to repost here. I’m deeply upset over the video of what happened in Mckinney, Texas. So I’m talking it out.

I can’t tell you what the context of what happened in McKinney, Texas is. I can show the video and let you see what I can see. But I do have a lot of very mixed reactions to it. I don’t know why the police were called, and I don’t know at what point the filming started. I know that the officer at the center has been put on leave. I know there’s going to be an investigation. I have very little faith that the investigation will turn up the truth. I hate to say this, but I don’t trust that the police can police themselves. That bothers me a great deal. I have a lot of respect for the people who go out into the world and put themselves between me and danger. The day to day front lines of that are the police. I admire them. And yet I’m learning to fear them.

And then there’s race. It’s a visceral reaction, but when the cop is kneeling on the girl (who turns out to be 14) all of a sudden I’m put in mind of the days of slavery, when black women were nothing more than livestock. There was something about seeing her mostly naked body, face down, helpless, under the weight of a white man in uniform telling her not to fight, not to struggle or it would go worse for her. I wanted to throw up. At 14, I would have wanted to fight the touch of this strange man. I would have felt attacked. I wouldn’t have been able to think. Instincts would have said fight and scream and escape, no matter what. Find help. Yet there is no help. The other men mill about watching, and her friends can do nothing. This girl has great courage and presence of mind to lay still. Or perhaps she’s got enough wherewithal and sense of self preservation to recognize that this man is dangerous. This man could hurt her. This man could kill her. Not only that, he just might. This man who is paid to protect her.

The story of this event may be quite different from the story that I see. But the story that I see is terrifying. It speaks to a world where authority is dangerous, not protective. Where uniforms are symbolic of menace. Where even the men most semiotically demarcated as guardians, are in actuality demons. Cops are supposed to be dangerous, but they are supposed to be the warriors guarding the people. The warriors seem to be turning against us.

I wonder what cops see when they look at this video. Do they see people who’ve turned against them? I don’t know. This is not an easy situation and I fear that the bad is escalating as both sides see each other as enemies, as they fear one another. Rightly so on too many occasions, as we’ve seen. So here it is. The video.

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Oh the thinks you can think

There are now things on the walls of my office. Swords, axes, pictures, maps . . . the usual. Then there are stacks of boxes that need to be emptied. Boxes of stuff. Supplies. Useful things, but they aren’t all going to fit. So I’m going to have to figure out what to keep and where and then get rid of stuff.

I was over at Magical Words today talking about gifts for writers. Check it out. And the comments. Fun stuff.

Unfortunately, both my kids are down with a stomach bug and looks like I’m getting it too. I took boy to the doc a couple days ago–he keeps getting stomach sick. So far we have nothing definitive. He’s on some medicine in case it’s related to acid, but it could be that he’s just susceptible to stomach stuff. He does like to nibble his nails. That never helps. I am feeling rough as well. Hoping it doesn’t get worse. I have things to do, dammit.

I’ve been looking up recipes that call for spices I don’t have. Like this one: Carne Adovada. Looks pretty good. I have cumin and coriander, but not the whole stuff. I guess it’s time to go to Penzeys. Then there’s this one: Cochinita Pibil. Not sure what achiote paste. But I’m willing to find out. I don’t know why I’m looking at recipes while I’m feeling puny, as the saying goes, but I am. Wackjob. That’s me.

So the title of this post . . . a total lie, really. Not sure a lot of thinking was going on in my head today.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Random Thoughts

I don’t like Woody Allen films. I don’t usually get the humor, or they are boring, or something. I generally avoid them.

I was elbowed in the face by boy last night. So if/when the bruise develops and I don’t know where it came from, feel free to remind me.

Not being Catholic, I have little interest in the old or new Pope. However, I’m weirdly fascinated by what they might be using to make the black and white smokes, and whether those burnables go back many many years or if they use something modern. I like the concept of using the smoke to notify the waiting world. Might be using that in a book sometime.

The dogs insist on finding tree sap and sticking it to their fur. If I were to entirely cover them with sap, do you suppose it would stop them from shedding all over the place?

Spiders are dangerous and evil relative to their proximity and size.

Monday, February 25th, 2013
Grass and torture devices

I love Sheri Tepper’s Grass. It’s a really good book on a lot of levels. If you haven’t read it, you should. Part of the novel involves riding these native animals for long distances for long periods of time. The riders practice on these electronic practice animals for hours and hours. Days even. So when I saw this on Amazon, I felt like Grass had become suddenly very real. saddle I’d like to say more, but the spoilers would be bad. But if you have read Grass, tell me if you have a reaction to that picture.

I have mostly completed the list of work I have to do today. Yay for me! I’ve got another stupid meeting tomorrow. I suppose napping through it isn’t possible.

Has everyone started/finished reading Moon Called? We talk about it this weekend!

Monday, February 11th, 2013
and another thing

I forgot to mention that I won a book on GoodReads Giveaways! It’s the new, not quite out yet Seanan McGuire novel Midnight Blue Special. It’s an Incryptid novel
and I really like the first one, so I’m excited to read the second. And I won something! I never win things.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Hi people. I need some website help. I’m looking to install a forum. I need it to be fairly easy. I’ve looked at a couple, but I wondered if there is

anyone out there who might know something about forums and have a recommendation, and two, if there’s anyone who would be able to help me take a stab at this.


Also, for Saturday’s discussion, we’re going to have some issues. I can’t allow any more than ten deep on the comments–WP won’t let me. So we’re going to have to

deal with a bit of a jumbled mess. Be warned.

Saturday, January 12th, 2013
Book Violence

I’ve been thinking about violence in my books. I got to thinking about it because I’m one of the people that think that violence in video games, TV, movies, and other entertainment have desensitized children and adults and hugely contributed not to just recent gun violence events, but other violent actions in our culture. I firmly believe that. Grand Theft Auto is a game that horrifies me, but then when you look at ‘ordinary’ violence in children’s games and films, it has increased considerably from when I was a child. This post is not about that, or about gun laws, though those things have prompted this issue to rise to the surface. What this post is about is how much am I as a writer culpable in creating the ambience that desensitizes people. Surely if I believe that violence does desensitize, and if I believe that that is not a good thing, which I do, I must consider my part in this as a provider/creator of entertainment.

This is a very complicated subject and not one I can really do justice to. I’m not a psychologist, I don’t have the research or experience to really know the science of violence. I do know that there are no simple explanations. I do know that violence for some is simply raising a voice and using a harsh tone, while for others it’s not violent until bones are broken.

I’m not sure what I think. Part of me says that much of what is depicted in the world of entertainment is quite real and only reflects reality. I’m thinking of Criminal Minds or The Burning Bed, for instance. Is it wrong to depict what is? Does it give people ideas? But so what if it does? People can choose. They are not biologically destined to commit violence. And I believe in freedom of speech and the importance of uncensored art. On the other hand, children are susceptible to many things and should they be exposed to horror films or violent games? If their values come to them through entertainment, does that mean they are incapable of choice because they don’t know better?

The question of values is another issue. I know what I teach my kids, but many kids are taught a much more violent way of life, often coming from abusive situations. They may or may not have active parents or be in situations where those values are tainted or corrupted. So violent entertainment might reflect their world rather than not. Which means, it doesn’t desensitize so much as confirm what they already know.

Then you have questions of mental illness. Mental illness does not automatically mean, or even likely mean, that a person so inflicted will commit violence. Any more than not having mental illness means you won’t commit violence. I am not at all qualified to talk about mental illness, so I’ll just say this. For those with such an affliction, how they perceive the world and other people and the rules of life and living may be quite different from what other people perceive. How they perceive violence is not something I personally can predict and therefore, I don’t know the influence of entertainment on them. I do think mental illness must dealt with more in our culture, and not with some sort of database, but with actual treatment. But of course, not every mentally ill person will partake of treatment and they have a right to refuse. I only mention them because I can’t help but think that people who blow up buildings or walk into schools and theaters to kill people are mentally ill. Maybe I just want them to be, because it’s easier than thinking someone rationale and stable would do that. Which means that this is a piece of the big puzzle that must be dealt with. However, it has little to do with book violence. So back to that.

I know I write violent scenes. Bloody, painful, torturous scenes. I think of them as necessary to the story, because for supernatural situations/characters, it seems that ordinary pain and violence isn’t as meaningful to those characters and the plot. For the Shadowblades and Sunspears in particular, their entire lives revolve around brutality, pain, damage, and death. To give them scrapes or mere broken bones doesn’t seem to do the situation justice. But then again, I created the situation and the characters. Do I have to make them so impervious that so much violence is necessary? My Crosspointe books aren’t my only violent books. There are significant moments of it in all my books. Again, because it seemed necessary to each story. But was it?

I don’t know. The violence I write never feels gratuitous. It feels necessary to the story, and I need to be faithful to the story. But doesn’t that mean the same for the Grand Theft Auto developers? There are lines I simply won’t cross, but there are a lot of lines I do. Should I be censoring myself? Editing myself? Should I be more careful about whether I’m contributing to the desensitization? Should game developers? Movie makers? Does a rating system make sense? Does it even matter?

Honestly, I don’t know. This is a bit of a muddle, but I would love to have a discussion here about writing and violence. We *are* part of the entertainment industry. What could we or should we be doing? I ask because frankly, I don’t think taking guns is going to solve the problem. It might help, but the problem is too big and complicated for one thing to fix it. I say that because of bombings and other killings that happen. Guns are an issue, but I still think that they are more a symptom than a cause. I think that hearts and minds are an enormous factor and I think this is worth discussing.

I put it to you. What are your thoughts?

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