Lisa Reads: The Gift and the Defender

The Gift and the Defender (Lumen Legends Book 1) by Tyrel Bramwell
Book cover for The Gift and the Defender (Lumen Legends Book 1) by Tyrel Bramwell

It has been a while since I have done this. I’ve been reading. This is the year of the coronavirus, many people made dents in their “to-read” pile. Granted, sometimes it was for work or school, but not in my case.

This is plain old JUST FOR FUN reading. I have finally gotten to one of the books that was toward the bottom of the pile. I have been intending to read it for quite a while, I just hadn’t.

This book, The Gift and the Defender is by Pastor Tyrell Bramwell. Some of the other reviewers have commented on the deep allegory hidden within the parallel stories. Maybe I need to reread it, but I didn’t see that. I saw 1 story taking place in roughly modern-times New York City. There is also a story set in a fantasy kingdom, with an obvious battle between good and evil.

I thought I was reading a novel that is sort of a bidirectional novel like Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates. I was wrong. The stories do eventually link together, and the tie between them surprised me. It was well done, in spite of my original impression that this was “too simplistic” to be any good. I should’ve noticed some of the links to Latin and other elements.


Possible Impending Website Problems

One of the benefits of maintaining your own website is the fact that you can pretty much try what you want when you want. Granted, it takes away from “writing time.” Still, it can be very satisfying. I find that I can sometimes set the back of my head to work at untying a knot in my fiction while using the front of my head to work on my website.

Yes, it is just plain fun for me.

The downside is sometimes upgrades are more problems than they are worth. I’m dreading having to go to the next version of PHP. Apparently, it causes all sorts of problems for WordPress users.

If you’re interested, you can read all about my fears here. Otherwise, please enjoy a wonderful day!

Lisa Writes: Timeless Treasures

Book Cover for Timeless Treasures
I don’t know whether to call this “my first book” or “my first lesson in publishing”

Yes, I’ve been writing since I was about eight years old. I remember Mother stitching paper together to create books that were about 3 inches tall by about 2 inches wide. I would fill them with stories, jokes, and pictures.

I guess that means that this ISN’T my first book.

I’ve been writing, but I haven’t been finishing stories. I certainly haven’t faced the daunting prospects of getting published.

This year, I decided that it was time to face these fears. I wrote And Finished AND EDITED a short story. I added introductions to four public domain texts. Putting these things into a package and uploading them to Amazon is an education, but it’s kind of fun.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

If you want something that you can send as a greeting card, feel free to send this. Nothing inside should offend anyone. I’ve found errors that I’m going to fix but if you find more, feel free to let me know.


This was one of those busy weeks. In preparation for taking Spinraza, I had to rearrange my medications. No blood thinner when I’m getting punctured in the spine. Even though I have been through this several times, I always feel a small amount of stress. Things CAN go wrong even in the best of settings. For the most part, though, I was fairly confident that things would get done quickly. Granted, I don’t really enjoy being NPO for after midnight, but it really isn’t a huge problem. I Have certainly faced worse.

The trip down was uneventful. Traffic seemed fairly light. I can’t tell if it was really due to coronavirus or whether it was just a good traffic day. Downtown seemed kind of sad, although I guess it was more the medical center itself then downtown. We some more of that on the way home. It just seemed like fewer people were around, of course they all were masked. They also seemed a little bit sadder, if you could tell by their posture while walking around the campuses of all those hospitals.

We probably got there about 15 minutes before I thought we would. I always budget extra time for finding the parking lot, it’s usually horrible. I may not have needed to, but I don’t know. The parking lot was not empty, but it was not difficult to find a parking place. There were fewer people around waiting to use the elevators that led to the place where you could walk across the sky walk. We answered some questions about whether we thought we had Covid, they took our temperatures, and sent us on our way.

We made it to the waiting room in record time, this time we didn’t turn the wrong way. There were about one third as many chairs available for patients as usual and everyone was being correctly distant. And then we waited and waited some more. We got back to the pre-procedure area and I got my hospital gown on. Then we waited for a bedpan so they could sample the urine to make sure the Spinraza wasn’t affecting my kidneys. Then we waited for them to access my port so they can do blood work. Then we waited for all the lab work to come back.

The nurses and the doctor came to discuss with me about the procedure – making sure I knew what I was getting into. I pretty much described to them what they were going to do and how long it was going to take. Then we waited, I’m not sure what we were waiting for this time but it was part of the procedure.

I went to the CAT scan room and they positioned me. They tried to comfort me but I really didn’t think that was necessary, I have mastered lying still. The doctor came in, I was mildly sedated (very mildly, by my own request), and they figured out how the needle was going to work around all my spinal instrumentation. (I have to admit, I think CAT scans are a nifty tool, and I like seeing the pictures afterwords.) When they inserted the needle, I was a little uncomfortable in my thigh this time. It is SO weird what happens when they brush against a nerve! Anyhow, the procedure itself took about three minutes, but I was back in that room for about 15 or so minutes?

I got back to the room and got dressed. Oh yeah, they introduced me to the PureWick device. I couldn’t use it then, I’ve been without any liquid since midnight the night before. I drank an instant breakfast so I at least have SOME nutrition in my system. Then I had to wait for them to de-access my port and get papers to go home.

This is the longest amount of time it ever took to do a Spinraza’s dosing. We got into the parking garage at maybe 11:10 AM. We did not leave the parking garage until 4:50 PM. Then we got to face Houston Medical Center and downtown area traffic. Such FUN! After nearly running down some suicidal bicyclists who almost deliberately ran in front of the car, we got to the HOV lanes. It was not incredibly bad, except that just as we came to it, FM 1488 had an accident that really messed up traffic. We found another way home and I ate pizza for dinner.


Looking for a Game I Played That May Not Have Been a Game

Hive-mind, I have a question. I’m trying to find a piece of software (hopefully it’s been updated a few generations) that I used in the mid- to late-1980s. There’s a 25% chance that it was for the Apple II plus, a 35% chance that it was for Windows 3.1, and maybe a 40% chance that it was DOS. It had a German name, I’m 90% certain it began with a “Z.” It may have even been “Zettelkasten.”

I didn’t use it for “Smart-Noting,” I thought it was a game, a murder-mystery-solving game. It had virtual 3 x 5 cards. You could write one item on it, maybe 100 characters? You could tag each card with a 15-character tag and mark it with colors indicating

  • who
  • what
  • where
  • why
  • when
  • or how


Then the fun began. You had two kinds of windows to then look at the data. If you used it sort-of like a spreadsheet, you could sort it in various ways. That was kind of useful, but I tended to prefer the window where you “dropped the cards all over the floor and drag them when you thought you saw relationships.” Either way, when you looked at the information, you would often see a new bit of information based on what you could see. And then you would create a new card.

Does anyone else remember seeing this software? How difficult would it be to create?

My “Virtual Star Trek Movie Marathon Fundraiser” Didn’t Work

I still think it was a good idea. I need to learn how to speak my needs more clearly and openly, I’m not afraid to share others’ needs. This is just a downside to my being “a hardheaded woman from a long line of hardheaded women.” It is also a downside from my tendency to “John Wayne” my way through illness.

(I’m sure you know what I mean: he has been shot and is traveling across the desert with no water. Someone offers him a drink of water from their canteen and to bandage the gunshot wound. He says, “It’s just a flesh-wound. I’m fine.”)

Anyhow, Saturday I was sick enough to admit that I was sick. I stayed in bed and did NOT drink Romulan ale.

In spite of that, I couldn’t focus well enough to enjoy the movie. To top it off, only two people were able to participate. (That’s on me. I obviously did planned and advertise well.)

Onward and upward. I learned from this.

A recipe: Romulan Ale

We can’t have a party without something fun to drink. How about ROMULAN ALE? Not only does it match my uniform, it is forbidden in 15 planetary systems.

Here is the link to the non-alcoholic version.
Virgin Romulan Ale

Here is the one that sounded like fun to me:
Romulan Ale Cocktail

1 ounce vodka
1 1/2 ounces blue curaçao
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
tonic water
4 drops orange blossom water

1. Fill a pint glass with ice.
2. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, blue curaçao, simple syrup, lemon juice, and egg white. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds to emulsify.
3. Pour into glass and top off with tonic.
4. Add 4 drops of orange blossom water and enjoy!


Next Week, at about This Time, My Fundraiser Should Be Finishing

There are so many folks who need additional help with funding medical needs! I found a group who helps with that. Take a look at HELP HOPE LIVE.

They are helping me get that bed funded, and there is a lot of creativity behind this. We are doing a Star Trek Movie Marathon watch party on Facebook. We are each getting a copy of my favorite trilogy of the classic movies, watching them in comfort of our own home, and discussing it online.

A link to the Star Trek marathon fundraiser
Come to my Star Trek themed fundraiser.