Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Page A Day

I was over checking out another writer's blog, Writer's Delight and saw this great quote:

A page a day is a book a year. Listen to that again: A page a day is a book a year
- Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize Winner

He's right you know. A page a day will in fact add up to a book in a year. It gives me something to aspire to. I can't always write a page a day, but if I can do a couple of pages every other day, it adds up quickly...

Link:
http://writerspak.blogspot.com/2009/12/extra-writing-dividends-from-research.html#comment-form

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Good News Website!

I stumbled over this website this morning and realized what a great idea it is!

The news can be so darn depressing, all about crime, poverty, sad stories and negativity. However, if you just can't take another sad tale, you can go to http://niceone.aol.com/ and check out some happy stories.

It's a nice change from the day-to-day drama.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Amazing Space Images Gallery

Amazing Space Images Gallery

Wow! Just wow!!

Check it out!

Be Thankful On This Day

Today is a day to share, with family and friends and neighbors. A day to be thankful for the blessings that we've been granted in the past year -- and those in the year to come.

The turkey is in the smoker. Giblets are simmering on the stove. Soon I'll make some apple pies to go with the pumpkin and sweet potato pies I've already made. And a pea salad to go with the huge potluck.

We'll celebrate with our neighbors this year, while my parents and family in Oregon celebrate at my sister and brother-in-law's new house. (It's FINALLY ready for company!)

We will be thankful.

Tomorrow is soon enough to worry about bills and jobs and money and all the troubles of the world.

Today, well, we will be thankful on this day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's Been Twenty Years???

Has it really been twenty years since the Loma Prieta earthquake?

Really?

I will never, ever forget that day.

I worked in San Francisco and had just left the office. Walking down the street, I suddenly felt light-headed, reeling, like I was going to faint.

Then the next ripple of the earth pushed me in the opposite direction and I realized that I wasn't having a fainting spell, it was an earthquake!

My first thought was "Oh, no, not today!"

I looked around and saw dust and pebbles coming off the tall buildings surrounding me on Pine Street. My instinct was to get undercover, but there was no place to hide. I was too far from the lobby to run back to my office. So I stepped quickly over to the nearest building, squatted down against the wall and put my briefcase over my head.

The shaking went on forever. (Amazing what adrenaline will do to your perception of time!)

Finally, the shaking stopped.

I got up and ran back to my building, 111 Pine, and into the lobby. It was crowded. I waited and finally my co-workers came out of the stairwell.

I think we were all a bit shockey. They told me that upstairs it was bad. The file cabinets were all over, the contents were a mess.

We all waited a while and then finally decided that we should start making our way home. By then we'd figured out there was no power, little phone service, and something really, really bad had happened.

I went into the basement where there was a working pay phone. I needed to call home and see if my son was OK. The line was long.

Finally, I got to the front of the line and punched in my calling card info. At first, I couldn't get through, but by alternating my home phone and my parents' phone in Downey, California, I finally got through to my son in Fairfield. He said my parents had already called, so I told him to call them back and tell them that I was OK. And that I love him very much.

Once I got off the phone, I knew that it would be a while before I could get out of San Francisco. Since my dad was CalTrans, I knew that they'd check all the bridges and overpasses and that it could be a good while before the roads were fully open. I had driven in that day by myself, so at least I didn't have to worry about my vanpool van. They were on their own.

I walked around for a little while, taking snapshots of some of the damage and when it started getting dark, I saw that the traffic (which had been at a standstill) was finally moving a little.

I walked to my truck, parked under the Embarcadero Freeway, and got ready to try to make my way home. I turned on the CB radio and oh my goodness, was I surprised! Up to this point, I had no idea that the Bay Bridge was broken.

I gathered myself and started listening and asking questions. The best way out appeared to be over the Golden Gate Bridge, so I started working my way across town.

I'll never forget how the lights were all out. The young businessman, coat open and tie askew, beer bottle in one hand and directing traffic through the intersection with the other. The people walking up, away from the Financial District, or down, toward the Ferry Building, trying to get home.

The CB kept chattering and I was talking to others who lived out in the far East Bay. I wasn't the only one trying to get to the Golden Gate. In addition, there was fire in the Marina. A huge fire and buildings that had collapsed, people still inside. Fire and rescue efforts were blocking the main streets so I knew I couldn't go through the Marina.

Thanks to my CB buddies, I knew that Lombard was absolutely packed with cars trying to get out of the city, so I went up another couple of blocks. I THINK it was Filbert that I drove down (OK guys, it was 20 years ago!) paralleling Lombard. Even that far away from the Marina, I could see the flames and light of the fire in the night sky.

I made good time until I had to cut right to get onto Lombard/Richardson. Then it was just bumper to bumper crawling all the way to and over the Golden Gate.

I did finally make it to Highway 37 and from there it was dark, dark, dark, with very little traffic. By the time I got to Vallejo, it was surreal. It seemed like nothing had happened. However, when I pulled into my apartment parking lot, I could see water all over the driveway still.

My son was so happy to see me! Then I found out that he hadn't been able to call my parents, so no one knew I was alive.

When I called my parents, they were frantic with worry. The news showed the Bay Bridge and the collapsed Cypress structure. I still have no idea why they would have thought I was on the Cypress, it wasn't on my route home. My sister was raving with worry until my dad finally blew up and told her "If she's dead, she's DEAD, there's nothing we can do about it!".

Yeah, that's my dad, as subtle as a baseball bat.

I think I was still on the phone when I turned on the TV. That was when I had to sit down. I had NO idea what else had happened until that moment. I was truly in shock at that point. I knew the quake was bad but I didn't know how bad until I saw the collapsed Cypress and the broken Bay Bridge. I think I spent the entire next day glued to the TV, watching it all over and over and over again.

It's hard to believe that it's been twenty years already. I'll never, ever forget that day in San Francisco.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Writing On eHow

I've been writing articles on http://www.ehow.com/.

Since my main newsletter at work has been canceled due to budget, I've had to find other ways to keep those creative juices flowing.

Non-fiction is a good way to do that. The process of writing out how to do something, step-by-step, is good practice for plotting the fiction novel too.

Writing is like art, whether fiction or non-fiction, whether painting or decorating or designing, some principles are the same. They overlap. Step-by-step instructions, or plotting the next chapter (or the whole book) follow the same principles. Organize, outline, write, edit, rewrite, it's all the same concept.

Anyway, I've been enjoying writing on eHow. And the little bit of money I make at it helps too!

I've only written 64 articles so far. I've been trying to take the time and go back, rewriting some of my early articles to better fit the eHow format.

What's great is that the passive income adds up, penny by penny. If you make $10 or more in a month, you'll find the payment in your paypal account the following month.

Every penny counts these days!

Here's a few of my eHow articles:
http://www.ehow.com/how_5381451_go-right-sleep.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5352468_download-clip-art-microsoft-office.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5310424_lose-weight-slowly-naturally.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5090063_rid-bedbugs-using-pesticides.html

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sacramento Has Talent

Well, last night was the semi-finals of "Sacramento Has Talent" at Tommy Ts.

Unfortunately, Lofeeya has been sicker than a dog since Saturday night. Stuffed up, runny nose, sore throat and hoarse.

But like the trooper she is, she got up there and sang "You're Not Supposed To Be Here". She had 10 minutes, but she knew that one song was all her voice would hold for. She did a fine job, but only singing one song, and the small crowd, hurt her.

Yes, she didn't advance to the final, which is this coming Tuesday night, September 22, at Tommy Ts in Rancho Cordova, CA.

I'm so proud of her. She knew that she wouldn't be able to do more than one song, and as the promoter said, "I don't know how you hit some of those notes with your voice like that."

She's a trooper!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reading Patricia Briggs

I've been reading Patricia Briggs' books.

OH MY GOSH, they are so darn good. The main character, Mercy, is interesting and complex. So are the other characters. The books move right along with lots of detail that keeps you involved in the story.

So far I've read Moon Called, Iron Kissed, and Blood Bound. In fact, they're so fascinating, I've turned right around to reread them. I don't do that often, sadly most books aren't worth the time. These are!

They've inspired the book I'm working on right now, which is NOT in the same universe as Ms Briggs', but maybe two dimensions over and to the left.

I highly, highly recommend these books to the fantasy/sci-fi fans as well as fans of the latest supernatural books.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More On The American Idol Experience

Well, as I wrote before, we went to American Idol.



While the experience was interesting, I'm not sure we'll go again. My daughter's decision, not mine.

Judging by the immense talents that we saw, who did NOT make it through, it's essentially a crap shoot on whether or not you make it. As my girl said, it's all about their show, their product, and not about the best singers at all.

I think back on the talent we've seen on the show, vs the talent we saw in Pasadena, and yes, the girl is totally right.

I am so proud of her to figure this out at her young age.

So here's a few news articles and as soon as I find the clip that has my girl in it, I'll post that too.

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_12727769
http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_12727769

Ah, and here we are!
http://www.fox5sandiego.com/videobeta/watch/?watch=8f8c34a0-a733-423c-8e40-ba05134166e1&src=front

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Have Been Neglecting My Blogging

Well, I have been kinda busy.

I started writing articles for www.eHow.com and I've been having a LOT of fun with it.

Ever since my job eliminated one of my newsletters, it's just really been an exercise in creative frustration. That was the one that I got to really cut loose and tell people how to run their lives.

Sigh, yes, more budget cut stuff.

So what have I been doing?

Let's see. What have me and mine been doing?
  • Went to Oregon
  • Went to Pasadena for American Idol
  • Teaching a teen to drive
  • "Sacramento Has Talent" competition (Tommy T's on Tuesday nights!)
  • State Fair talent show auditions
  • Working on my shed project again
  • Still selling stuff on www.craigslist.org
  • Tried to get my bookshelves in the living room organized
  • Growing tomatoes and pumpkins mostly -- LOL, they're ALL volunteers, I didn't plant them, they just came up from last year's dropped fruits and the Halloween pumpkins
  • Working on the upcoming Stand Down
  • Just working and working

I'll try to do better on my blogging...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I've Been So Busy

Oh my goodness, I have been so darn busy!

Let's see, five months of planning a special event for work was completed mid-May. It was a huge success and I think I'm starting to recover from it! It was a huge, complex event, but my team got it done and I think everyone is happy. I know the big bosses are!

Planning for the North Bay Stand Down continues. We're also working on a cookbook as a fundraiser. Fortunately someone else is gathering the recipes, I'll "just" design the book.

If you want to know how to help homeless and at-risk Veterans, check out the website at www.nbstanddown.org.

I'm about 2/3 the way through a little book I'm writing. I'm thinking of self publishing it. I've found that I can purchase a block of ISBNs, 10, for about $350 or so. That's only $35 per ISBN.

Oh, you probably don't know why I need ISBNs. Those are the identifying numbers that are attached to your book(s). If you have an ISBN, books can be sold through Amazon and other book sellers.

I'm also alternating working on two fiction novels.

One is a near future Apocalypse. No, no, not 2012, that is so overdone! Besides, if I was going to write a 2012 disaster novel, I should've written it 20 years ago!

The other is more a alternate reality sci-fi/fantasy. I'll only give one hint, the hero is a mixed race woman -- Cherokee, Black, Irish and Welsh. I've already written the draft of the ending and the opening chapters, so now it's a matter of filling in the middle.

Then rewrite, rewrite, edit and rewrite. Yes, once I've written it, I'll send it to my sister, the middle school teacher for review.

AND

What else have I been doing?

I told you, I've been so busy!


Anyway, I have to run, I have other blogs to update, rant a little about the idiots in the media and politics who are twisting the words of an old speech, post another scam warning, and talk about the Lord.

I may not get it all done by 9:30am today...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Big Cat!!


I didn't post this before, but the paw prints were in my sister's driveway this past winter. Note the size of the paw next to her boot print.

Yes, a big cat. A VERY big cat, as in mountain lion kind of big cat.

There are a lot of wild animals out there where my parents and my sister's family live -- deer, rabbit, a bear, mountain lion, coyote, lots of birds, hummingbirds, snakes.

It's beautiful.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Judge Not...

Oh my goodness.

I saw this online and I just could NOT believe it. Talk about judging a book by its cover!!

We should all take a step back from our judgemental selves and watch this video.

http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/92464

Susan Boyle, singing, "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables.

(And the look on Simon's face was absolutely priceless!)

Again, judge not...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

Yes, a great day!

It's absolutely beautiful out there today -- a fabulous day the Lord has Blessed us with!! We didn't make it to church today, my daughter has been sick with the flu. But my house is filled with Tommy Goss and the Gospel Express this Blessed Day.

Let's see, it's a bit after 11am. I have a chocolate cake made, hard boiled eggs peeled and dyed, the macaroni and cheese is done. I still have to get the chicken out, we're frying chicken and the fresh fish my neighbor caught yesterday (yummy!!)

Oh, and I need to dash to the store, I forgot to buy ice cream and broccoli. I also need to make a pie crust, the sweet potato pie filling is thawing right now (The last time I made pies I made too much filling, so I froze the extra).

So the Easter menu is:
Fried Chicken
Fried Fish
Broccoli
Macaroni & Cheese
Hard boiled eggs
Sweet potato pie
Chocolate cake with ice cream

(And no, I don't do the Easter basket thing. The Easter bunny has no place in Resurrection Day -- not at my house!)

May your day be as Blessed as mine!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

La Familia

Este es mi familia.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Very Cool Shasta Compact

This is such a great renovation of a wonderful little trailer.

I have one too, but mine is NOT as nice as this one. It's been pretty much stripped out inside, so I have a lot to do. I keep debating about keeping the floor plan or just going ahead and finish stripping it out (the ceiling needs to be redone, paneling isn't in good condition) and redo the inside to fit my personal needs.

Anyway, check out this great example of redoing a 60s Shasta Compact. http://www.freewebs.com/kc8jwa/shastacompact.htm

Mine was originally very, very similar to this one.

Now, I do have a vintage stove for it, about the same size, yes with an oven, and it's even blue! (My favorite color!)

Anyway, I'm still plotting and planning and trying to figure out just what I want to do before I take everything that's left out of the trailer. Honestly, the only thing that's really salvageable is the shelf on the back wall...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The New Darkover Books

Wow!

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I just finished reading Exile's Song, The Shadow Matrix, Traitor's Sun and The Alton Gift. (I told you I'm a voracious reader!)

I am extremely impressed with the new Darkover books. I'm especially looking forward to reading more Darkover stories by Deborah J. Ross. Excellent reading, right in Marion Zimmer Bradley's style!

I don't have all of the Darkover books, and I'm still not sure how many I lost in that plumbing disaster a while back. I still have boxes of books to put away. Sigh, there's only so many hours in a day and I have a lot of books, a lot of stuff.

I highly recommend these additions to the Darkover series. I am going to have to take some time and buy the other books by Ross. Plus, of course, try to finish arranging my massive library so I know what I'm missing so I can fill in the blanks.

Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930-1999)

Link:
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/marion-zimmer-bradley/

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Well Duh!!!

I recently had this guy tell me that my blogs were self indulgent.

Well duh!!

Aren't blogs inherently indulgent? We talk about our lives, our kids, our houses, our vacations, our hobbies.

Yes, dude was trying to insult me, but I didn't take it that way. I had a good laugh at his expense.

When someone is trying to push your buttons, insult you, act a fool, don't take it so seriously. Too many people are just so serious about all this (yes, me too).

Listen, have a good laugh and move on. If you're going to hang out in this vast kindergarten that we call the Internet, you're going to have to grow a thick skin and not let immature people bother you. Remember, they have zero credibility in your real life. Actually they don't have any impact on your virtual life either -- unless you take the bait.

Have a good laugh and move on.

LOL, self indulgent?

Well duh!!! Yes, of course it is!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I've Been Pretty Busy

Well, OK, I've been kinda busy lately.


I've been spending a lot of time reading. I've been neglecting my books for a while and now I'm on a major reading binge.


I've read about half of my Darkover series, plus some I picked up last week at the local Friends of the Library bookstore -- Exile's Song, Shadow Matrix and Traitor's Sun. I ordered the next one, The Alton Gift, plus a Patricia Briggs and another Norton book last night online.

I'm also working my way back through my collection of Andre Norton.

Plus I'm currently reading Lucy by Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey.

I'm such a book fiend, little do my friends know, unless they've been to my house. Even then, most of them don't know that I still have boxes of books in the spare bedroom and about five boxes under my bed.

I've always been a voracious reader.

I've been trying to remember when I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I remember when I was young, my parents had a little nook in the living room where my dad had his reloading gear. And one entire wall was books and magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics (oh, I wish I had those today!!) That was where I discovered the Hardy Boys (the old series, not the new stuff) and Edgar Rice Burroughs, I think it was Cave Girl.

I also remember that there was this school librarian that thought she should limit my reading to what SHE thought was an appropriate reading level. I didn't know it until years later, but my parents went in and had a little discussion with her about my reading abilities. So she stopped trying to tell me that I couldn't read the upper grade level books. And I read and read and read...

People, I have to tell you, having parents that read plus many books and magazines in the house really led me down the reading road.

Now, my own kids? Yes, they read, but not as much as I do.

LOL, then again, most people don't read as much as I do.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My "Little" Goalie

This is so cool.

My youngest, as we all know, is a roller hockey player. He's only been playing for a year and a half and he's pretty darn good.

Yesterday, he was at an open practice time, called a Skate and Shoot.

Well, there was an adult league game after the Skate and Shoot, and one of the adult goalies no-showed.

My son plays both floor and goalie and oh my goodness, he had all his goalie gear with him. (Like that's a surprise to any hockey parent!)

So guess who was the goalie for the adult team last night! And they won!!

Check him out!

video

Blocked the shot!!

video

Last shot of the game!! (Hear the buzzer in the background?)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

National Treasure - One and Two -- A Fun Ride


Well, lets see.

If you're looking for a historically accurate movie about the Declaration of Independence and the men who signed it, Knights Templar, and Free Masonry, you'll be sadly disappointed.

But if you're looking for a crazy fun ride that rides a roller coaster of improbability to a satisfying conclusion, then you'll really enjoy these two movies.

As usual, I thought the first one was the better of the two.

However, they were tied together nicely. I thought it was pretty fun that their lives weren't perfect despite finding the huge treasure in the first movie. I liked the twists of Ben's parents' lives. I also liked the parts about Riley's personal life, that was pretty funny.

It was a fun ride, very enjoyable as long as you relaxed and went with the flow of the movie. I wasn't bored at all.

Rated: Good
(Yes, I bought both DVDs and am looking forward to the 3rd movie.)

-----------------------------------------------------
Now, I do want to clarify something about these movies.

The Masons are not a secret society with a huge hidden treasure or any other madness. Nor are today's Masons connected to the ancient Knights Templar. Yes, it was fun in the movie, but it wasn't real. (Remember, just because you read it on the Internet, it doesn't mean it's true!)

A couple of interesting websites for you:
http://www.masonicinfo.com/nationaltreasure.htm

And some words from my old friend, Eugene Goldman:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

108 In February!

Wow, he'll be 108 in February!

Who?

Frank Buckles, the last known World War I veteran in the US. He'll be 108 in February. I wish I could meet him, he sounds like a tough old guy. First he served in WWI and then was captured in 1941 and spent WWII in a Japanese prison camp. Dude is a tough man.

Whew... You should read the article, I can't do it justice.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/30/MN8G14MFAO.DTL

He makes me think of my grandfather. Grandpa was in World War I. My mother has his hand-written diary, written in pencil at night. He served in France.

That was the second time he was in the Army. The first time he was with the party that surveyed Glacier National Park. I'll have to ask my mom for another copy of the Thanksgiving Dinner menu from his service days. It had the menu, and on the other side it had all the men's names that were in his company.

I'd like to gather copies of all those things, put them into a book about my family.

Grandpa went on Ahead many years ago.

I miss him. It's been a long time, I still miss him.

Honestly, we didn't talk much. He was old and kinda deaf and mumbled. He was a gentle and generous man, but you know, he was tough as nails too. He and my grandma were the last homesteaders in Oregon. They came all the way across the United States from North Carolina to settle in the "Wild West".

I wish I had known him better.

There are a lot of things I wish for.

In the New Year, I really need to make a point of documenting more of what my mom tells me. We've already lost so much of our family history, of our heritage.

The students who are preparing the documentary about World War I are providing a valuable look at our past.

I think I'm jealous.

And dang, I can't get over it. Frank Buckles will be 108 in February.

Wow....

My Library Idea

I wish that I had more time to read.

I probably spend too much time with my nose in my books, or on the Internet.

But I LOVE to read.

Once upon a time, I considered having a private library.

I thought of something like a homework library which would stay open from 3pm until 10 or 11pm. I'd have a few computers for use by students, it could be contracted with the school or private membership or even a minimal charge for daily use.

Maybe even have a few tutors or community type classes available.

The whole idea was this: Your child informs you at 8:30 at night that they need to finish a report that's due TOMORROW!

What to do?

You take that child to my study library, drop him off. He has books, reference materials, Internet access and a printer available to him. It's quiet, he's not driving you crazy with questions you can't answer. There's no TV, no distractions for him.

You pick him up at 11pm and if he didn't have time to completely finish his project, he at least has enough materials and the work he's already done burned to a CD and a hard copy in hand. With that, he can beg the teacher for another day to finish up.

It's a thought. As much as I love books, it would be fun. Another excuse to buy more books!

It's a thought...