Heating Safely in Frigid Weather

My thoughts and prayers are going out to anyone in the country who is dealing with the frigid ice and snow storms lately. I’m keeping in touch, well as I can, with friends in those areas, and every news report weighs heavily on my heart.

I’ve just heard from a friend whose neighborhood is struggling with ice storms. She mentioned widespread power outages and the dangers of hypothermia, which threaten residents—such as the elderly—who don’t want to leave their homes. They’ve also had reports of fires that were caused by people who brought their outdoor grills in for heat.

This news sent a different kind of chill through me—there’s another danger that many people may not be aware of, in this time of cold and ice. Carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. Many times the poisoning occurs when inappropriate grills and heaters are brought indoors, to an enclosed space without adequate ventilation.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is a byproduct of incomplete fuel combustion. Anything that burns can produce carbon monoxide. Fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters should be tested by the fire department, the gas company, or a heating technician every year, to make sure they are working properly. Also, adequate ventilation should always be made available—for example, kitchen fans that vent outdoors; chimneys and flues that are properly maintenanced; and windows that are opened a crack in furnace rooms.

But who has a window open during the middle of winter? When people want to heat their homes, they will be doing their very best to seal up all the cracks. This is danger enough simply with normal household appliances—but when outdoor grills or stoves are brought inside for heat, the carbon monoxide can accumulate and reach deadly levels.

If you know anyone who might be trying to use such methods of heating their homes, please spread the word about carbon monoxide safety. My family and I survived chronic exposure to CO, and came away with long-term damage. Yet we were lucky.

And I’ll keep the prayers going.


Four Days Late–in the Knick O’ Time



Gotta love irony—or maybe it’s serendipity.

A couple weeks ago, I created an original watercolor piece as part of “Home for the Holidays,”an online auction event presented by the group Art for Critters. To quote A4C, “Artists from around the world, with a desire to help animals in need, have committed to donating a portion of their art sales to help animal charities…Home for the Holidays is a special auction this holiday season to help raise awareness and funds for animals seeking a forever home or permanent refuge.”

I chose a horse charity to benefit from my auction—I love the beauty, spirit, and heart of horses. My experience in drawing them has been limited, but I long to try more often. What better time to practice than now, I asked myself? Since I was right smack dab in the middle of organizing Art for 1000 Wells, though, I didn’t have time to create a new work for home for the Holidays—so I happily took a work I already had in progress, and completed it for the event. I named it “Home for the Holidays,” imagining this fantasy heroine and her faithful companion were heading home after a long journey.



For me, art inspires words. As my work takes shape on the paper, a tale begins weaving through my mind. I see possibilities in nuances—by the time I’ve completed the artwork, there’s a very good chance I have a short story outline to go along with it. This piece was no exception. As I painted, a longer tale came to my mind—one which may very well end up as a novel in the next few months! But I filed it away in my thoughts and went to create my listing for the charity.

Time got in the way—Art for 1000 Wells was wrapping up, and a few days passed before I could give attention to getting the charity information for my fantasy work. In the meantime, since I really enjoyed this one, I used it as the background for my Twitter page. Every day—many times a day—I would glance in, see the work, and be inspired yet again by the story it had prompted.

Then, on December 4th, I received a message from Twitterer seamusspeaks—a writer himself (with an awesome Star Wars story on his blog,I might add). He had come up with the idea of TwittyTales—one story serial a month, one part per day, one Twitter post at a time. A chapter in 140 characters, as it were. Not as easy as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound easy!

But exciting? Awesome. I was totally up for that challenge—yet I had absolutely no idea what to write. As I thought through my mental filing cabinet of characters and scenarios, my eyes drifted up to my Twitter wallpaper.

And “Four Days Late” was born.

Marian stood in the empty camp and stared at the devastation. 4 days. She was 4 days late. How could one make up for 4 days lost?

A winter wind bit at her lips as she drew a gasp. Tents & supplies were scattered. No sign of life. She was afraid to start looking.

A messenger had been sent but was caught. He escaped after 4 days. Only then did Marian get the news: Her home camp was under attack.

Marian had grown up among the forest camps. Now she was lady in waiting to a baroness. But her blood was wild, & her spirit was free.

With no more aid than a knight, a horseman & the messenger, she had come to save her people from the enemy. But found home in ruins.

Movement behind her; a large form. A deep, quiet voice.“What next Milady?”
The knight. A nobleman, returned from war that very day.

He was a war hero & noble; Marian had a background lower than peasantry. Yet he quickly helped her. Eyes wet, she replied: “Search.”

The four combed the camp. Silent, cautious. Marian knew the enemy could hide. Raiders, thieves, they were. Covetous of home’s bounty.

Soundless minutes passed. Then a voice:“Everyone’s gone.” The wiry horseman, roughly clothed, eyes wary. “Fled? Captured?” he asked.

“Doomed,” whispered the messenger. A shell of a man, eyes blank. “The enemy took no prisoners.” The Knight stared. “They took you.”


Marian’s story continues every day on my Twitter posts. You can tell the story serial from the updates about what’s in my teacup by the story’s header, “TTa:” followed by the number of the installment. I have a couple weeks left…tune in daily, or catch my Twitter in my blog sidebar on the right, to find out what happens next…

And in the meantime, I have renamed my watercolor work “Marian.” It goes live on eBay tonight…and, to my thinking, would make a fabulous Christmas present for someone. (Hint, hint.) Especially since 20% of the sale price will help abused or abandoned horses find a caring, loving home.

Today I finally finalized the charity my work will benefit–Knick O’ Time Horse Rescue.Very ironic, I thought to myself—Marian’s story is “Four Days Late”…but for the “Knick O’ Time.”



Happy Birfday!

I like to wish “Happy Birthday” to people through my blog, so that’s what I’m gonna do today!  Happiest of “Birfdays” to kellypuffs and many more! I frequently enjoy reading her blog, on my blogroll over there. Best wishes for a fabulous year!



The Fairy Court of Seasons


The Fairy Court of Seasons

Every season of the year brings a new Fairy Queen to reign over the Fair Woods. Each Queen is different, and is accompanied by her own attendants. There are other courtiers who are present year-round, and attend every Queen.


Winter, Fairy Queen of the Season, ascends her throne with quiet grace. Her beauty and celebratory spirit are welcomed by all—despite the harsh conditions that are known to weigh upon her reign.



Loyal attendant to Queen Winter, Holiday’s warmth and passion help to soften the hard times that often beset the Court during the Queen’s reign.



Evergreen serves faithfully as attendant to every Fairy Queen of the Season. The reign of Autumn always gives Evergreen a brief fear that her vibrant youth will fade; but it never does…and with the arrival of Winter, Evergreen truly shines. She looks forward to Winter’s rule with great joy.



Quiet Frost is close to Queen Winter of the Fairies, and also contributes to the courts of Autumn and Spring. However, Frost is rarely present during Summer’s reign.



Sunlight serves in every court of the Seasons…but the Queen of Summer is her closest friend. When Summer departs, Sunlight begins to grow distant from the court.



Autumn, Fairy Queen of the Season, has only just passed the scepter to her successor. Now it is her part to wait and rest…knowing that her vibrant spirit and reign of bounty will be welcomed by the Court when it is her time to rule again.


~~~by Christine Taylor
For more brief story bits, don’t forget to follow my December TwittyTales serial, “Four Days Late”!
Some of this artwork is available for purchase—I invite you to take a look!

Tales to Tell…

In here there be many tales to tell, says I…

Tide of Tales ACEO


This be me celebration for “Talk Like a Pirate Day”…arrr
They say dead men tell no tales…but live ones be sure to go on about their adventures…


Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 10:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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