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Pamela D Lloyd
15 April 2016 @ 10:08 pm
When my husband and I got together, we knew that we would never have children together. We were both in our mid-40s, plus I have two sons from my first marriage and he has three, so our family was already going to be a large one. We also had between us a rather large assortment of animals, but somehow another pet didn't seem as daunting. So, when someone came into PetsMart carrying a laundry basket with four tiny kittens, we looked and instantly fell in love with one in particular, a little tortie with a color line right down the middle of her face. Sassafras came home with us that afternoon. We called her our daughter.

We weren't really certain how old Sassy, as she soon came to be known, was, so I supplemented her diet with kitten milk, which I fed to her out of a bottle. Her sharp milk teeth made short work of the nipple. We also didn't feel she was ready to face an entire household of dogs and cats, so her first home was the master bathroom, which doubles as a sort of kitty dormitory for newcomers to the household, after ensuring that the middle-aged, orange and white tom cat awaiting neutering in that same space would not be any kind of danger to her. As it turns out, Ginger, the tom, was not only not dangerous, he was so besmitten with her that he allowed her to nurse. Yes, our male cat nursed this tiny kitten and even, we believe, produced milk.

This is a long, sad tale, if you care to read more...Collapse )

I will miss her.

P.S. I've disabled comments. An emotional story can be hard to respond to, and I don't want you to feel obligated.
Current Mood: sadsad
Pamela D Lloyd
18 February 2016 @ 12:26 am
Thanks to gillpolack, I learned a new word today: "idiolect."
What does this mean, you ask? (You did! I'm sure I heard you.)
"In linguistics, an idiolect is an individual's distinctive and unique use of language, including speech. This unique usage encompasses vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Idiolect is the variety of language unique to an individual" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiolect).
Which makes me wonder what the linguistic term is for a family's usage. I know my birth family had/has some vocabulary that was rather unusual, at least for the region in which I grew up. I know that many of the more distinctive features of my idiolect are things I "inherited" from my father, who grew up in the Florida panhandle, but are modified by my mother's origins in Ohio.
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Pamela D Lloyd
10 October 2015 @ 05:09 pm
So much of my friends feed is filled with people at Sirens in Denver, Colorado. Traveling is not in my budget, so I am not in Denver. Instead, I'm at work, taking a brief break because there's only one student (nope, as soon as I wrote that he checked out, so now there are no students) left in the learning center. Or, at least, none looking for help with reading or writing. The math tutors still have a few students.

Over at writerunboxed there's a post on alter egos.

Like many folks, my childhood alter egos were all about action; they were fearless investigators and explorers, ready to solve mysteries one day, climb mountains or ford raging rivers the next. But, as an adult, I see things a bit differently. I've realized that I wear different personas for different situations.

My unnamed alter ego as a mom is always calm and collected. She always knows what to do and what to say. She's fantastic at getting things done, so there's never a need to panic over impending deadlines or sudden guests. All the linens in her linen closet are carefully layered with lavender flowers and never develop moth holes; to this day I prefer lavender-scented laundry detergent. The original was a mom in a book I read when I was a teen; as a mom, I've never managed to live up to her example, except for brief moments when channeling her helped me to get through a few parenting crises.

Interestingly, I seem to draw on her for my tutoring work, as well. This week is National Tutoring Week (aka International Tutor Appreciation Week), and my supervisor shared the following note with me:

I can hardly believe she's describing me!

Then, there's the alter ego associated with the little shop my husband and I have on Etsy. There, we take turns with various shop tasks, including writing posts and answering "convos" from customers. For that, we try to do a bit of a mind meld and write with a single voice. Not that we're necessarily all that successful at maintaining the same voice, but we do seem to have at least some of our customers guessing at which one of us is responding to their messages.

But, what about my alter ego as a writer?

When it comes to writing, I try to celebrate my creativity. Here's the ultra-short version of my standard writer's bio:

Pamela D. Lloyd was born to a witchy alien fortuneteller and a mad scientist. A sock salesman once tried to buy her in exchange for two suitcases of socks and a realtor later offered an entire house, but her parents, not knowing when to cut their losses, held out for more, only to get stuck with her. It’s no wonder she turned to writing fantasy and science fiction. It was either that, or take over the universe, and the keys to the spaceship had fallen down a rabbit hole.

The details of that bio are amazingly close to reality. (No. Really. My mother claimed the severity of her allergies were because she came from another planet; my dad was an organic chemist and pret-ty darn strange; and various people really did try to buy me when I was still a baby.) It's the breezy, carefree attitude that's the expression of an alter ego.

I wish I had that kind of blast ahead, all engines running, take no prisoners temperment when it comes to writing. Instead, I'm most likely to drag my feet all the way to the keyboard and sit there moping, every word pried from my mind with all the generosity Scrooge showed doling out coins to the Cratchit family before that notable Christmas so delightfully documented by Dickens. To make matters worse, I have a terrible time sending stories off. One motto my children heard many times was, "If you don't ask, the answer is always, 'no.'" But, when it comes to asking if publisher XYZ would like to include one of my stories in a magazine or anthology, I'm terrible at asking. This is especially true when I've scraped up the courage to ask once and the story has been returned. Please, please, don't tell me about how I need to write and submit. The message has been received. Thoroughly. The problem is, it's also been chewed and mangled by my psyche. I'm working on it.

My Facebook alter ego might be said to have multiple personalities. I rarely share personal news there, especially when it's bad. I don't feel comfortable sharing news in that space, in large part because I've got two or three complete strangers on my friends list for every friend I've actually met in person, and the ratio's far worse when it comes to people I know well. So, it sometimes becomes my soapbox for expressing myself politically, and sometimes for sharing stuff I find amusing, interesting, or useful. And, now that I've got a decent camera in my phone (thanks to my wonderful son, Keith), I sometimes even post pictures of food I'm about to eat. Really yummy, made-from-scratch food requiring discipline to stop long enough to take a picture before digging in.

So, who am I, really? Some days, I'm not entirely sure myself. I'm complicated.

ETA: This post was started at work, but completed from home. I don't get that much free time, even on Saturdays. In fact, during the week, I find it difficult to find time to take even the smallest break. Also, I was thrilled to discover that at least a few of the songs by one of my favorite albums are available through the Internet Underground Music Archive(IUMA). I highly recommend that you use the link provided in the Music field to listen to the beautiful and haunting song, "Still My Thoughts."
ETA2: Just in case it's not entirely clear, when I say my alter ego as a mom was always calm and collected, I am absolutely not trying to suggest that my actual parenting style bore any resemblance. I'm sure my kids would be very amused at the very idea. Or, indignant. Their mom, calm and collected?! Nope. Didn't happen. Except when she was. Which happened about as often as a supermoon eclipse.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: https://archive.org/details/iuma-desert_moon
Pamela D Lloyd
04 February 2015 @ 04:41 pm
Recently, I spent the day with my oldest son. Our visit was centered around food and discussions of creative projects, so it was a really satisfying day.

I'm a vegetarian; my son is not. He's become very interested in finding meals he can serve me, but that also meet his taste and that of his roommate. Our menu: broccoli & tomato quiche in a potato crust, paired with cream of mushroom soup. A bit rich for everyday fare, but wonderful as a treat.

The recipe we used for the potato crust we found at Taste of Home, in their Potato Crust Quiche Recipe. We lined a large, round, deep casserole dish with this. The crust turned out okay, but was not as good as we had hoped. The coursely grated potatos weren't as suited to a crust as mashed potatos might have been, and the crust seemed a bit undersalted. I'll admit, too, that I would have preferred a pastry crust, even though I was willing to experiment.

The quiche filling we put together blended elements from a couple recipes and made a few adjustments of our own. The primary recipes we started from included Broccoli Garlic Quiche from epicurious, and Tomato Quiche from Taste of Home.

Broccoli & Tomato Quiche Filling

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup broccoli florets

  • 1 cup pear tomatos (like cherry in size, but more oblong), cut in half; plus, 2 pear tomatos, sliced (used as garnish)

  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped fine

  • 6 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups half and half

  • 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese; plus more as garnish, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


Preheat oven to 375°F.Saute the onion in the butter until translucent and golden. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the broccoli, tomatos (reserving the sliced tomatos), salt and pepper, nutmeg, and thyme and continue sauteing for 2-3 more minutes. Take the pan off the heat. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended and a little frothy, then add the half and half. Blend the cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese into the egg mixture. Put about 1/4-1/3 of the vegetable mixture into the crust, then blend the remaining vegetable mixture with the egg mixture and pour this on top. Gently lay the tomato slices on the surface of the filling and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake 40 minutes, then check for doneness. Custard needs to be golden brown and set, with only a slight jiggle. Let sit 20 minutes before serving; custard will continue to set as it cools. (We needed to cook ours for an additional 20 minutes, or so, probably due to the depth of the dish we cooked the quiche in.)

The mushroom soup we made was based on the Food Network's Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup. Our budget didn't stretch to wild mushrooms, so we just used 16 ounces of plain white mushrooms; we used dried thyme, instead of fresh; and, we'd managed to miss the need to buy leeks, so we substitued 1 cup chopped onion for the 2 cups of chopped leeks. Oh, and we didn't have any white wine, so we used 1/8 cup of gin.

The quiche and the soup were both out of this world. 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Pamela D Lloyd
02 February 2015 @ 08:50 pm
A student came into the writing center, distraught over an assignment. The assignment was to write about the most traumatic event of their life and how it had changed them. I suggested that perhaps the teacher would be willing to let the student write an alternate assignment, but the student had already asked, and the instructor had not been willing to do so.

The student showed me the attempted essay. Yes, it was personal and traumatic. It was also choppy and disorganized, not so much stream of consciousness as tiny pools of consciousness scattered randomly across the pages, which fits with what little I know about how people may react to truly traumatic events. One of the hardest aspects of my job is being faced with therapy-grade outpourings, but being constrained to adress only the writing aspects of the story. It can be very difficult to separate content from style, discussion of story from discussion of a personal nature.

I suggested that the student didn't have to tell this story. "But, that's the assignment. That's what we're supposed to do."

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I think I may have created a writer.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Pamela D Lloyd
27 January 2015 @ 11:27 pm
As a writing tutor at my local community college, I've learned a tremendous amount about how to help beginning writers discover what they have to say, as well as how to say it clearly. I hope some of that skill has found its way into my own writing and editing process, too.

But, I'm not planning on writing a long post tonight, It's been a big day, it's getting late, and I really should be off the computer and getting ready for tomorrow. So, I'm just going to point you to writerunboxed's recent post Editing, Uhh! What Is It Good For? in which Tom Bentley discusses this process from the perspective of someone who has worked as both an editor and a writer.
Current Mood: productiveproductive
Pamela D Lloyd
26 January 2015 @ 11:47 am
A few days ago, heleninwales mentioned that she uses HabitRPG to help keep her on track with getting things done. Knowing that I'm someone who enjoys games and finds the types of rewards found in games motivating, I have sometimes wondered if there was a way to apply those types of rewards to my real life. Well, it turns out that HabitRPG does just that; it helps people to apply game rewards, and penalties, to our real lives. And, it's customizable. You get to decide what activities are important to you, how important they are, and whether rewards or penalties apply. There are four lists for things you want to do: Habits, Dailies, To-Dos, and Rewards.

So, I signed up. And guess what, that very evening, I started seeing positive changes in my behavior. For one thing, getting off the interwebs early enough that I can get myself in bed at the time of my choosing has been an issue for me; too often I crawled in bed later than I wanted to, either shorting myself on sleep, or getting up later than was ideal. Just having a Habit identified (I've actually got three related Habits, getting to bed on time, getting up on time, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep) helped me to get myself to bed at my chosen time. I woke up early the next morning. Plus, I got more things done, in large part because they were on my Habits or Dailies lists, but also because getting up earlier helps me to be more effective.

I used to think I was a night owl, but I've been coming to recognize in recent years that that isn't really true of my actual experience. Sure, it's easy to stay up late—in fact, it's often hard not to—but I'm just not as efficient when I get up late. Go figure! Either my body has changed as I've aged, or I've been wrong about this for most of my life.

Back to HabitRPG. I'm still working up to To-Dos. I've assigned some things to the list, but haven't actually started working on any of them. This will happen, I'm sure. But, right now, I'm still working on just getting all the immediate items on my schedule done, and done on a new, earlier schedule. No more dawdling in bed in the mornings because I was up until the wee hours of the night. No more putting stuff that ought to be done every day off, just because I've spent too much time doing things I don't really need to do. Huzzah for a happier, more balanced life!

I'm also thinking about connecting tasks in HabitRPG to items in Trello, which I used to use regularly. Trello's interface is similar, in some ways, to HabitRPG's, but much more customizable and without the reward system. It's focus is on organization and keeping track of tasks.

The one thing lacking from all this is an integrated timer. For that, I'll probably use Reminderfox. Reminderfox is another application I've used for quite some time, but I haven't been leveraging its features to help me keep on top of everything. In fact, these days, I probably use the timer feature more than any other.

I'm hoping that with the help of these three apps, I can waste less time, be more effective, and get more done.

P.S. Just so you know, today when I logged into HabitRPG, there was a message that included mention of a Spread the Word Challenge. There are in-game rewards for writing a blog post or sharing on social media about HabitRPG. I don't expect to actually win, since the winners are based on "the most likes/notes/favorites/upvotes/etc." and I don't have the kind of web presence likely to result in a lot of this type of activity, but it just feels fair to let you know that I've entered.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Pamela D Lloyd
24 January 2015 @ 08:33 am
Hello. It's been a while. I'm trying to get back into the LJ habit, as I miss the interactiveness and in-depth conversations.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Pamela D Lloyd
29 January 2014 @ 11:18 pm
Today, one of my friends, a librarian, asked for help from the community in defeating Arizona House Bill 2379. This bill would, according to the library director, slash funding to Arizona's system of county libraries. She recommended that we contact our state representatives, and provided a link to the Arizona State Legislator "How to Contact Member" page.

Since I live in Arizona District 3, my state legislators are Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, Representative Sally Ann Gonzales, and Representative Macario Saldate IV, all democrats.

Here is the text of the letter I sent to them:

Dear Senator Bedford and Representatives Gonzales and Saldate,
I am writing to you today in support of all of the public library systems in the state of Arizona, and specifically for the Pima County Public Library system, and to urge you to oppose the passage of Arizona House Bill 2379. It's my understanding that passage of this bill would have disastrous consequences for our public libraries, reducing the funds for library services so severely that as many as twelve branches might close, hours and services at remaining branches be reduced, and library employees laid off.
This would be a terrible disservice to the people of Pima County and to all Arizonans. Our libraries provide us with far more than the books, computer and internet access, homework and job help, English and GED classes, early childhood literacy programs, and other services that are part of their mandate, but also with a sense of community and hope. Our libraries represent the opportunity that knowledge and learning can bring, and are essential to building and maintaining a healthy, prosperous society.
I hope that you will agree with me that it is extremely important that our libraries fill a vital and fundamental role in the well-being of Arizona, and that you will stand with the citizens of Arizona in ensuring that our libraries will continue to be fully funded.
Pamela D. Lloyd

If you live in Arizona, I urge you to contact your representatives and to express your support for our public library system. You are welcome to use what I wrote, if you would prefer not to compose your own letter. Thank you.

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Location: Tucson, Arizona
Current Mood: determineddetermined
Pamela D Lloyd
12 December 2013 @ 01:29 am
Genealogy, and genealogy blogs, tend to focus on the past. But, tonight, I'd like to share a bit of the present. For the last couple of years, I've been making calendars to help my stepson Fritz, who has Down's Syndrome, better understand how long he has to wait for important events, such as his birthday or Christmas. Fritzie loves his calendars and loves marking off the days, which he does with the help of a family member, usually his dad.

Here's this year's advent calendar:
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What else are we doing this year? We're baking biscotti. Or, to be more accurate, my husband is baking biscotti with Fritzie's help, although I hope to be able to help with tomorrow's batch. He's made at least four different batches so far, in a variety of flavors, and we're all chiming in with suggestions for new flavor combinations. Tonight's batch is orange-almond. I managed to snag a taste from the small stack of imperfect cookies that won't be going back into the oven for their second baking, so I can attest to the fact that they're very yummy.

ETA: Crossposted from my genealogy blog at: http://search4rootsandbranches.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-traditions.html
This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth at pameladlloyd. Feel free to respond at either location.
Current Location: Tucson, Arizona
Current Mood: happyMerry & Bright