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I write this while I have what seems to be a wicked head cold that has sapped my strength and submerged my world in a cloud of noise and nonsense. So if I come of nonsensically, let me assure you it's not the meds, for I have not taken any: previous encounters with Robitussen, Sudafed, and other decongestants and cold/flu aids have resulted in hallucinations and mania I can't really begin to fathom.

This is pure, sick Vicki.

I spent most of the morning asleep. Actually, all of it. After calling in to work sick, I promptly passed out until noon, when my work-at-home hubby gently nudged me to awakeness to ensure I didn't sleep my whole day away so that I wouldn't have trouble tonight. After tea and lunch, I lay and read Hugo-Award winner The Big Time by Fritz Leiber. It's been a while since I've read any hardcore sci-fi. And I think I remember why I don't when I'm sick...

I once again promptly passed out for an hour.

Rested but still weak, I decided to try to get some work done on the website, which has been in serious need of some refreshment. I never realized how tiring it was just sitting at this desk. It seems to be an effort to just be upright.

So here I am now, trying to write to get myself in the "write" state of mind to get some actual writing done. Hubby is making me nourishing congee (jook): Chinese rice porridge, for those of you who have never had it. Here's a recipe:

2 cups (old) cooked rice
6 cups of water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Ginger, finely sliced into little matchsticks
1/2 pound of ground pork
pinch of salt

In a big pot, brown pork in oil with ginger on high heat. Add water, bring to a boil. Add rice. Reduce to medium low heat when the soup comes to a boil. Let simmer for 1-2 hours. Add salt as needed. Serves, 4 people. Or one very sick person.

Water may be added to thin out the mixture, or it can be left to boil off to make it thicker. It's really very idiot-proof; just make sure you don't burn it.

Serve with fresh scallions (green onion) or whatever else you want. I like picked vegetables, deep-fried donuts from Chinatown and dried pork floss, but that might just sound weird to other people.

Apologies if there's a lot of eyesore-ness on this webpage in the next little while--I'm trying out various schemes to freshen up the ol' girl.

Note that I now have a static home page and that my blog is at www.vickiessex.com/blog. If you have RSS feeds that go to my homepage, please update them. Thanks!

If you have any thoughts about how it looks, or have any suggestions--or you just can't stand the way everything looks--let me know in the comments!

Blazeauthors.com: Harlequin Blaze Editorial Assistant Laura Barth talks vampires, heroes, bad boys, saving cats, and her upcoming gig at the Toronto Romance Writers meeting. Point of discussion:

"I think it’s the belief that this character may be redeemable that keeps us interested. But is that what we really want?"

Is the modern independent female reader really looking for a guy they have to change? Do (loosely most but not all) women want to be the girl who changes her guy and settles him down to a life of marital (and sensual) bliss? Does a hero have to be "broken" so that the heroine gets to fix him? Discuss!